Top 20 Reactions From Pundits and Politicians on Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is a lightning rod of debate. Here are the best quotes from the maelstrom.

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“Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such a profound impact.” 

President Shimon Peres of Israel

“Unless real and deep-rooted change is made in American policy toward recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people I would think such a prize would be useless.”
Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minister of Hamas


“If I were the decision-maker, I would have given the prize to a different person.”
Oleg Morozov, senior member of the Russian Parliament from the Ruling party

“We congratulate Obama for winning the Nobel. His hard work and his new vision on global relations, his will and efforts for creating friendly and good relations at global level and global peace make him the appropriate recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai

“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights.”
Michael Steele, the head of the Republican National Committee


“We have no objection if this prize is an incentive to reverse the warmongering and unilateral policies of the previous US administration and if this encourages a policy based on just peace.”
Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki

“I can’t divine all their intentions, but I think part of their decision-making was expectations. And I’m sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to. I think all of us were surprised at the decision, but I think Americans are always pleased when their president is recognized by something on this order.”
Sen. John McCain(R-AZ)

“I’m delighted at this recognition of President Obama’s work to strengthen international cooperation. It validates the president’s approach to tough transnational challenges such as global warming and the spread of nuclear arms. And it celebrates his steady efforts to improve America’s standing around the world.”
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee


“Congratulations to President Obama on his prize. I’m not sure what the international community loved best; his waffling on Afghanistan, pulling defense missiles out of Eastern Europe, turning his back on freedom fighters in Honduras, coddling Castro, siding with Palestinians against Israel, or almost getting tough on Iran.”
Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC)

“The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the ‘Nobel prize for escalating violence and killing civilians’.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman


“It seems premature to me. I think the committee should be very careful with the integrity of the prize, and in this case I don’t think we are in a position to really evaluate the full impact of what this candidate has achieved.”


Nils Butenschon, director of the Norwegian Center for Human Rights at the University of Oslo

“I cannot think of anyone today more deserving of this honor. In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself.”
Mohamed ElBaradei, former Nobel Peace Prize winner and director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency

“The jury is still out as to what his presidency is going to add up to. It’s more of an embarrassment to the Nobel process.”
Fred Greenstein, author and professor of politics emeritus at Princeton University


“[It is a] bold statement of international support for his vision and commitment.”
Former President Jimmy Carter, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner

“In an increasingly challenging and volatile world, President Obama has given a sense of hope and optimism to millions around the world.”
Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary general who won the peace prize in 2001

“Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast–he hasn’t had the time to do anything yet.”
Lech Walesa, 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Poland president


“It would have been been better to give it to Sen. John McCain for having the guts to push through the surge in Iraq, which has brought relative peace to that country.”
Bill Kristol, editor, The Weekly Standard

“If President Obama is to be a true Nobel Peace laureate, he must engage personally to reverse his country’s current blocking role in the climate negotiations to secure a fair, ambitious and binding deal for the climate this December.”
Gerd Leipold, executive director, Greenpeace International

“It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope.”
Desmond Tutu, archbishop of South Africa and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner


“It would be like giving someone an Oscar in the hope that it would encourage them to make a decent motion picture.”
Christopher Hitchens, author, God Is Not Great


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