Bob Franken

The Surprize

When Barack Obama steps on the stage to accept ” The Prize”, and shouts, in his rock star way, “HELLO COPENHAGEN!!! and a chagrined aide whispers in his ear that he’s in Oslo, it won’t be that hard to understand.

Just a week earlier President Obama was flying back from Copenhagen when he got the embarrassing news that his efforts to get the Olympics for hometown Chicago had been harshly rejected, even after his personal appearance.

Just seven days later from another Scandinavian capitol,Oslo, comes the altogether surprising news he has won the Nobel Peace prize. That is what his basketball buddies would call a “rebound” He didn’t even have to show up.

In fact, it’s less than a year since he’s really shown up on the world stage and he’s already won the Tony Award for his role as peacemaker…way before he’s made any peace.

The Nobel committee cited his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international cooperation and diplomacy between peoples”. The announcement specified his outreach to the Muslim world and efforts to stop nuclear proliferation.

There will be some who will believe this is a tad premature, that the star-struck award committee members each had “This thrill going up my leg”. It’s not the first time someone has had those symptoms.

In fact, the committee does seem to have a leg thing. In 2002 the chairman said that the choice of former President Jimmy Carter should be seen as a “kick in the leg” to President George W. Bush who was preparing to march his country off to war in Iraq.

The instant analysis people were already interpreting the Obama selection as still another “kick” at Bush. It would be the third one if you include Al Gore, who got his for global warming efforts and apparently for barely losing to Bush.

Barack Obama is not the first sitting U-S president to get the Nobel Prize. Teddy Roosevelt got it in 1906, Woodrow Wilson in 1919…the same Woodrow Wilson whose efforts to create a League of Nations failed.

That was then in Oslo, this is now. “Only very rarely”, gushed the Nobel chairman, ” Has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future”. Later today, the President is expected to continue his meetings on fighting the war in Afghanistan.

He was reported by his spokesman to be “humbled” by his selection. He got the call, we’re told at 6 AM, in Washington. It wouldn’t be a surprise if before “humbled” he said “Huh”?

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