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Peace prize winner Obama meets the press

Much of the media speculation ahead of Obama's flying visit to Norway today has centered on what the one question he has said he will take from Norwegian press will be. And the question is:

Annette Groth, The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK): "Giving the peace prize to you has been described as premature, how can you use the prize to fulfill its intentions and counter that criticism?"

Obama reminds us that, as he said when he received it, the prize came as a complete surprise to him and others might have deserved it better, but says he will use the prize to address climate change, terrorism and a whole host of initiatives. The goal is not to win a popularity contest, but to help further America's goals, he asserts. He concludes that if he's successful the criticism will die down, if he's not successful in those tasks no awards can hide it.

The one question US press was allowed to ask, of course, turned out to really be three in one...

Much has been made of how Obama has cut his visit to Norway very short, snubbed a lunch invitation from the Norwegian king and declined to attend some of the functions the peace prize winner traditionally attends, but I'm not too surprised given how contentious, and in some respects awkward, this year's prize is - not at least in the US. In a talk after meeting the Norwegian prime minister Obama blamed all the work he had to do back in DC before the year comes to an end for having to cut his Oslo-visit so short.

Still, it's been rather amusing to follow the speculation among Norwegian journalists and Twitterati on Twitter as to what the one question would and should be...

Update 10/12-09 15:30 CET: See also John Einar Sandvand: How Norwegian news sites covered the Nobel peace prize cermony


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