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Obama's Shock Nobel Win Continues To Draw Mixed Reactions


U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "humbled" to receive the award.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "humbled" to receive the award.

(RFE/RL) -- The Nobel Committee's decision to award its Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama continues to draw mixed reactions instead of the near-unanimous tribute that usually comes with the prize.

The committee stunned the world on October 9 by bestowing the prestigious accolade on Obama, who is just nine months into his presidency and has yet to score a major foreign-policy success.

U.S. newspapers were deeply divided over the decision, including those that endorsed him during the 2008 presidential election campaign.

"The New York Times" called it a "mixed blessing" for Obama that highlighted "the gap between the ambitious promise of his words and his accomplishments."

The conservative "Wall Street Journal" voiced "bemusement," while "The Washington Post" said the world had reason to be surprised that the award went to a president "with no major accomplishments internationally."

The newspaper added that the award, which it described as "odd," was less a recognition of Obama's achievements than a denunciation of the controversial politics pursued by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

The "Los Angeles Times," which had also supported Obama's presidential bid, said the prize was premature. "The Nobel Committee didn't just embarrass Obama, it diminished the credibility of the prize itself," it said.

Abroad, too, Obama's Nobel win continued to stir both praise and skepticism.

Britain's conservative "The Daily Telegraph" called it "one of the biggest shocks Nobel judges have ever sprung," stressing that nominations closed just 12 days after Obama took office.

In China, the unofficial "Beijing News" said it was very early for Obama to win the prize, which it said will put "great pressure" on him to deliver.

More reactions from world leaders and dignitaries poured in on October 10.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he hoped Obama's Nobel Peace Prize would provide "further stimulus" to a U.S.-Russian diplomatic rapprochement.

Obama's administration has pledged to "reset" relations between Washington and Russia, who have disagreed on a range of issues, from Russia's war with Georgia last year to Iran's disputed nuclear program.

And Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro described Obama's Nobel win as a "positive measure," which he said mostly intended to denounce the Bush administration's policies.
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