By GUY CHAZAN and ALISTAIR MACDONALD
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, so early in his presidency, is bound to reignite criticism of the workings of the Nobel committee.
The deadline for nominations for the prize was Feb. 1 -- two weeks after Mr. Obama was inaugurated.
"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far," former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, said Friday. "He is still at an early stage."
The award reflects the enormous hopes invested in Mr. Obama, both in the U.S. and abroad, since he entered the White House, and the occasionally unrealistic expectations that his presidency could change the face of international diplomacy.
The Peace Prize Committee, made up of Norwegians, appeared to have anticipated criticism of its choice. (The other Nobel prizes are awarded by a Swedish committee.) Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said the prize often has been used to encourage laureates rather than reward them for their achievements. FULL STORY
Obama Peace Prize win has Americans asking why?
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The award of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to U.S. President Barack Obama had many puzzled Americans scratching their heads.
"It would be wonderful if I could think why he won," said Claire Sprague, 82, a retired English professor as she walked her dog in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. "They wanted to give him an honor I guess but I can't think what for."
Itya Silverio, 33, of Brooklyn, was also surprised. "My first opinion is that he got it because he's black," she said. "What did he do that was so great? He hasn't even finished office yet."
When told of Obama's win Robert Schultz, 62, a retired civil servant and Vietnam veteran, asked: "For doing what?
"The guy hasn't solved any conflict anywhere so how can he win the peace prize? But if we don't reelect him the next go around we will all look like idiots because the world has anointed him," said Schultz, who lives in a suburb of Dallas. FULL STORY