A few hours after learning that the Nobel Prize Committee had bestowed on him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama spoke of his surprise and honor, "I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."
To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.
But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.
You can read his full remarks here and see video below; adorably, he started off things with, "Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, 'Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday!' And then Sasha added, 'Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up.' So it's good to have kids to keep things in perspective." (OMG IT'S BO'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!)
Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy
But speaking of people who don't think Obama is deserving, former Polish president Lech Walesa told the Wall Street Journal, "So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," while Rush Limbaugh Radio talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh told Politico, "This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama. And with this 'award' the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States... They love a weakened, neutered U.S, and this is their way of promoting that concept." OH—and Limbaugh said this is more embarrassing than Chicago losing the 2016 Olympics.
But obviously the whole thing is quid pro quo for the White House declaring yesterday Leif Erickson Day.