October 9, 2009
Posted: 1607 GMT
There were audible gasps of surprise from journalists gathered in Oslo when the Nobel committee announced it was giving U.S. President Barack Obama its peace prize.
Critics said it was too soon to give Mister Obama, in office only nine months, whose country is involved in two wars, an award that should be reserved for men and women whose achievements are more tangible.
Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating wrote in his blog: "If ever there was a moment for Kanye West" to intervene, this would be it, referring to West's spectacle at the MTV Video Music Awards.
"Giving the president this award only nine months into his presidency (and nominating him less than two weeks into it) will draw attention to his shortcoming more than his actual achievements," writes Keating.
Others, such as 2006 Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus, whom I interviewed this morning, welcomed the Nobel committee's decision. Yunus said Obama's multi-lateral approach to foreign policy and his willingness to open dialogue with foes was reason enough to merit the honor.
Then, we heard from the man himself. President Obama addressed his critics head on by acknowledging he didn't feel he "deserves" to be in the company of past recipients, but that he will accept the Nobel as a "call for action" to achieve peace.
Hundreds of you have already voted in today's Idesk poll on whether you think President Obama deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Keep voting and commenting: we will read results on air at 7pm CET.
Also today, we will take you live to Islamabad. A suicide bomber killed dozens in an open-air market in Peshawar. This type of bloodbath highlights precisely what Obama will have to take into account when making tough decisions on Afghanistan: Al Qaeda militants are wreaking havoc and gaining strength in parts of neighboring Pakistan.
Should the U.S. effort focus more on Afghanistan? What type of cooperation does America need to establish with Pakistan to fight insurgent groups on both sides of the border? Does sending more troops to Afghanistan drain resources that are needed elsewhere?
We are also live on Wall Street and around the world, with reaction to the day's top stories.
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