WASHINGTON – No support at home or abroad. As US President Barack Obama boards a plane from Washington for the Nobel Prize ceremony that will be held on Thursday in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, some two thirds of Americans believe their president is not deserving of the prize.
According to a poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, only 26% of Americans believe Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to him on Thursday. Some 36% of Norwegians think the US president deserves to be awarded the prize.
Accepting the prize could be a particularly sticky issue for Obama, who just announced that he is sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. Obama's senior advisor, David Axelrod, said that Obama's acceptance speech will have to strike a balance between the president's role as commander in chief and his aspirations to promote a world of peace during a time of war.
Obama is the third US president to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize during his term in office. Before him were President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 for his part in ending the war between Russia and Japan and President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 for establishing the League of Nations.
Obama reportedly invested quite some time reading their speeches as well as the speeches of other laureates, in particular those of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964 and Nelson Mandela in 1993.
The Nobel Prize ceremonies and celebrations typically last three days, but the president will only remain in Oslo for one day, during which anti-war protesters are expected to gather outside his hotel.