In a shocking moment of clarity, the man responsible for handing a Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama – before he actually accomplished anything – might have been a bad idea.
In a book coming out today, former Nobel secretary Geil Lundestad writes that the committee had high hopes for Obama and that the Nobel Prize in October 2009 would give Obama a “boost.” Instead, the group was roundly criticized for giving the prize to a man who hadn’t been president long enough to accomplish anything.
Looking back over Mr. Obama’s presidency, Mr. Lundestad said, granting him the award did not fulfill the committee’s expectations.
“[We] thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect,” he told the Associated Press in an interview.
The award so early in his term appeared to take the Obama White House by surprise, and Mr. Lundestad said U.S. officials privately asked if a Nobel Prize-winner had ever skipped the awards ceremony.
Normally the Nobel committee’s decision regarding recipients remains private, and Mr. Lundestad’s frank and revealing remarks regarding internal decisions have caused a stir in Norway, detailing the politicking and compromises that have gone into determining the annual laureate.
“Even many of Obama’s supporters thought that the prize was a mistake,”Mr. Lundestad said. In the book, he expressed regret that the decision had been based in a hope for the future rather than recognition of past accomplishments, and that their expectations for Mr. Obama were not fulfilled.