Obama to Accept Nobel Peace Prize as War President, Address Afghanistan Troop Surge

Ceremony Reignites Debate Over Obama's Qualifications for Nobel Prize

The award again opens up the debate over whether Obama deserved the Nobel Prize after less than a year in office. The deadline for nominations was Feb. 1, meaning the president was nominated after being in office for just 11 days.

Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said that Obama needs to accept the award with humility, given his thin resume so far in office.

"I think the best thing he can do is to take the prize and accept it in the name of those who the Nobel committee apparently didn't want to consider and who really are deserving," Pletka said, citing the Iranian people and Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uighur Congress as examples of others who she thinks have done more in the last year to advance world peace.

Republican strategist Kevin Madden said the fact that Obama accepts the prize as the commander in chief of a military engaged in two wars is "the elephant in the room. They're going to have to acknowledge it."

"What you're going to see is the White House project an image that says, 'This isn't about me, and this is about the people who actually have done something. This is a shared reward, a shared responsibility,'" Madden said on "ABC News Now's Top Line." "And sort of deflect away from his most recent actions, which was to essentially increase troop movement in Afghanistan."

The news that Obama was awarded the prize came as a surprise even to the White House back in October. Press aides said they had heard from news reports that the president had been nominated for the peace prize, but they do not believe Obama himself even knew of his nomination.

The Nobel committee apparently took a forward approach with the prize, citing the "hope" that Obama's presidency brings to the global community.

"Obama has, as president, created a new climate in international politics," the citation from the Nobel committee read. "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

The director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute said this fall that the decision to award Obama with the peace prize was unanimous.

"President Obama has changed, very dramatically, international politics," Geir Lundestad told "GMA's" Diane Sawyer Oct. 9. "We feel he has emphasized multilateral diplomacy, he has addressed international institutions, dialogue negotiations. He has inspired the world with his vision of a world without nuclear arms. He has changed the U.S. policy dramatically. There's a whole list."

Michael Worek, author of "Nobel: A Century of Prize Winners," said Obama's win was "extraordinarily unprecedented."

"It's like giving an Oscar award halfway through the movie when you haven't seen how it ends," Worek said. "We're saying, 'Well, Obama has just started, we don't know if he's going to be successful.' Yes, he's said good things, but is it going to work?

"I think in America we feel he's been given his Oscar too early."

But Worek said the award was given not for what Obama has done but what the international community expects he will do.

"It's rewarding hope and they use that word in their release, they use vision twice and hope once," Worek said of the Nobel committee's citation. "It says Obama has captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

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