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US media on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo
President Obama addressed some of the criticism levelled at him

US President Barack Obama has collected his Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo. Accepting the prize, the president addressed some of the criticism which had been expressed when he was named the winner. This is how US media have reacted to his speech.

Ben Pershing writes in the Washington Post that when he was elected a year ago, not even Mr Obama's aides would have thought the president would be spending 10 December in Oslo picking up the Nobel Peace Prize. However, Mr Pershing writes, it has turned out to be an award that "has probably spawned more headaches in the White House than pride".

"And now the president and all his men are trying to make the best of a politically awkward situation," he continues.

ABC News' Rick Klein points out the gap between the accolades the president is receiving in Oslo and the political troubles he is facing at home:

"Think he'd trade a Nobel Peace Prize for some peace in the Democratic Party? Or a 60th vote in the Senate? Or maybe he'd settle for bottling some of the adoration and bringing it back home with him?"

But Mr Klein thinks that, by "giving voice to a humility that was much of what he was recognised for in the first place", the president managed to remind the nation and the world of "the Obama of January 2009, rather than the Obama we see at the end of a tortuous first year in office".

Ben Feller, writing in The Huffington Post, says Barack Obama managed to confront the irony of receiving the award during wartime. He says the president delivered a robust defence of war "while acknowledging his own few accomplishments".

"Obama refused to renounce war for his nation or under his leadership, saying defiantly that 'I face the world as it is' and that he is obliged to protect and defend the United States," he says.

Conservative commentators are dealing less with the contents of the speech than with the question of whether the president should have won it the first place.

Michelle Malkin is urging her readers to join the president in claiming what she describes as an unearned reward.

"In honour of President Barack Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, I think we should declare today Happy National Post-Achievement Day. What award or honour don't you deserve? Claim it. What unearned prize for unmet aspirations would you like to give yourself? Declare it."

Kathryn Jean Lopez, blogging on the right-wing National Review Online, has decided to ignore President Obama's speech altogether because "based on my e-mail traffic: Most of you are too busy in the morning to be bothered tuning into Oslo. That, and many of you avoid Obama speeches as a routine matter (which you tell me every speech night)."

In an editorial for the New York Daily News, Josh Greenman says Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize mocks the award.

"They wounded two doves with one stone. No matter how much you like Obama and his foreign policy, it is patently ridiculous that a man who's served less than nine months as President should earn a prize that eluded even Mahatma Gandhi."

But Mr Greenman does not blame Mr Obama for what he calls this mockery:

"It's not Obama's fault he attracts such absurd knee-jerk adulation from the world's elites, all for a series of compelling speeches and pledges to cooperate with the world community... Now, the prize is officially a late-night joke. And like it or not, Obama is part of the punch line."

Melissa Clouthier writing for Rightwingnews.com says the president has managed to disappoint just about everyone during his trip to Oslo.

"The Norwegians aren't happy. The King isn't happy. Any American who actually believes in achievement as a measure of success isn't happy. The peacenik left isn't happy. Is anyone happy?"

Meanwhile, Juan Cole in his blog Informed Comment says that Mr Obama was clearly given the prize to encourage him in the direction of peace. And he has come up with 5 ways the president can redeem his Nobel Prize:
1. Get out of Iraq on schedule.
2. Resist calls for Iran to be bombed.
3. Stop allowing the CIA to operate drones with which to assassinate people.
4. Get the Palestinians a state by the end of 2011, even if by unilateral recognition.
5. Stick to the plan of beginning a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in summer 2011.



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