Obama on Nobel Prize Win: 'This Is Not How I Expected to Wake up This Morning'

"This so far can only be rewarding efforts, because he hasn't had that much time to devote to results," Worek said.

Many analysts and politicians agree the award will likely ratchet up the pressure on Obama to do more on the international challenges facing him.

"I think all of us were surprised at ... the decision. But I ... think Americans are always pleased when their president is recognized by something on this order," Obama's former rival Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" that airs Sunday. "Nobel Committee, I can't divine all their intentions, but I think part of their decision-making was expectations. And I'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to."

The award comes as a mixed blessing and is more about the promise the president brings rather than any concrete achievements. It presents the opportunity to further the dialogue with countries like Iran and North Korea, but it also turns up the pressure on Obama to present more results. Obama is the first U.S. president to win the prize in his first year in office.

The nomination process is kept secret, and it may be 50 years before the world finds out who nominated Obama.

Many U.S. presidents have been nominated for and been denied the Nobel Peace Prize, among them William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and foreign ministers Charles Hughes and John Foster Dulles.

The previous sitting U.S. presidents who won were Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Jimmy Carter won in 2002, after his presidency.

Asked on MSNBC this morning if the Nobel Prize was more a rejection of former President George W. Bush than an affirmation of Obama, White House senior adviser David Axelrod deferred judgment, saying he didn't have any knowledge of the politics or the thinking behind these decisions.

"I read the citation and I accept the citation for what it is," he said. "I think the president has worked hard to bring some issues to the floor internationally and to point the world in the direction of solving some very different problems and I think this is a recognition of that."

A spokesman for former President George W. Bush said his office would have no comment on the Nobel Prize.

Worek said the award to Obama could be a repudiation of the Bush administration, but the Nobel committee should not be giving out a Peace Prize "because you want to snub the other guy or say 'we're glad there's change.' For the Peace Prize, you really have to accomplish something."

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 57 percent of Americans approved of Obama's handling of international affairs, the Nobel committee's main concern.

Nobel Peace Prizes for political figures have not always reflected or engendered broad public support. In a Gallup poll in October 2007, fewer than half of Americans, 43 percent, said Al Gore deserved his Nobel.

In a Time/CNN poll in 1994, shortly before that year's announcement, Americans were divided on whether Jimmy Carter should receive a Nobel, 47-41 percent. They opposed it for Yitzhak Rabin, with 50 percent saying he should not get one; and opposed it more broadly for Yassir Arafat, with 64 percent saying he shouldn't receive it.

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