Obama Peace Prize Pick Chagrined Key Aide: Report

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
May 16, 2014, 9:06 a.m.

Some at the White House ap­par­ently were not happy when Pres­id­ent Obama was awar­ded the No­bel Peace Prize in 2009, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

Nor­way’s then-rep­res­ent­at­ive to the United Na­tions, Morten Wet­land, was quoted in a Thursday art­icle as say­ing that then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel ap­proached the Nor­we­gi­an am­bas­sad­or to Wash­ing­ton, Weg­ger Stroem­men, about the U.S. pres­id­ent’s se­lec­tion and ac­cused him of “fawn­ing” over Obama.

Wet­land said he did not per­son­ally see the ex­change between Emanuel and Stroem­men. He de­clined to dis­close how he learned about the al­leged ex­change between the two men. Emanuel, who is fam­ously blunt and hot-tempered, is cur­rently the may­or of Chica­go. Stroem­men, now a top of­fi­cial at the Nor­we­gi­an for­eign min­istry, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

“I think every­one wanted to know what mo­tiv­ated the [No­bel] com­mit­tee,” Wet­land said. “But when I was go­ing down to the U.N. in New York, nobody talked about it. It was weird be­cause the U.N. is a talk­ing shop. And people just looked at their shoes. People didn’t raise it with me.”

In an­noun­cing their de­cision to give the prize to the U.S. lead­er, the five-mem­ber No­bel com­mit­tee, which is se­lec­ted by the Nor­we­gi­an par­lia­ment, said it had “at­tached spe­cial im­port­ance to Obama’s vis­ion of and work for a world without nuc­le­ar weapons.”

At the time, a num­ber of skep­tics noted that Obama had oc­cu­pied the Oval Of­fice for a mere 12 days be­fore the No­bel nom­in­a­tions dead­line, and that it was not clear how much tan­gible pro­gress he had made in his am­bi­tion to foster glob­al nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment.

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