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Obama's Peace Nobel Comes Early In Presidency


Juan, good morning.

JUAN WILLIAMS: Good morning, Steve.


INSKEEP: Surprised?

WILLIAMS: It seems in his first - he's been in office I guess eight months - nine months. It just seems a stunning decision and very political decision by the committee. But again, when you think about the idea of human rights activists from China to the rest of the world, at the moment who were the leading candidates, this is really one that comes out of the blue.

INSKEEP: I suppose we should underline what they're saying here and that they're not claiming that the president has brought world peace or dramatically advanced world peace, but that word climate comes in; they say he's created a new climate. You could almost say that by implication, he's changed the path that the United States has been on under the Bush administration. That's essentially what they're saying he get's credit for here.

WILLIAMS: I think that's right. I think this is a point of comparison with what took place under the Bush administration and this notion again of world values being reflected in terms of world leadership and that President Obama has created this new atmosphere. It also says that it gave special importance to the idea of President Obama's opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons, but this notion of multilateral diplomacy gaining a central reputation, the role of the United Nations and other international institutions, that's sighted directly in the words of this Nobel committee.

INSKEEP: Is this going to help the president?


WILLIAMS: You know, this is someone now who's so extraordinary, a sitting president, as you pointed out Steve, only the third sitting American president to win a Nobel Peace Prize, puts him in the league with Nelson Mandela, puts him in the league with Mother Teresa, that's a different league. And, I mean again, it's hard to imagine given President Obama's popularity worldwide, but it has just gone higher.

INSKEEP: Juan, thanks very much.

WILLIAMS: You're welcome, Steve.


INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.