Barack Obama, wartime president, sets out to receive Nobel Peace Prize and address irony in speech
On the heels of his controversial decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama is set to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday in Oslo, Norway.
A massive anti-war demonstration is scheduled to greet him there. Protesters already have hung signs around the city modeled after Obama’s iconic campaign poster and reading “Change?”In his speech Thursday, the president is expected to directly address the irony of his status as a wartime president and peace prize recipient. He will fly quickly in and out of Norway, attending just the award ceremony and banquet and opting out of a full-scale news conference and CNN’s traditional post-ceremony interview.
Political expert Kevin P. Wardally on Wednesday applauded the White House’s minimalist approach. “It’s a ridiculously difficult issue,” said Wardally, of Bill Lynch Associates. “I think he’s got to be measured. He’s got to be careful.”
Obama is expected to travel with a smaller entourage, which will include his wife Michelle.
The Nobel committee had defended its surprise decision to award the prize to Obama in October, saying the president encourages multilateral diplomacy. Since then, Obama has announced he will send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
“I think he feels as if it places a responsibility upon him,” said Obama national security aide and speechwriter Ben Rhodes of the Nobel Prize. “It’s the company that you keep as a Nobel laureate that I think makes the deepest impression upon him.”
Obama plans to donate the $1.4 million accompanying the Nobel to charity. The White House said he has not decided which charities.