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President Obama Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Mixed Reviews

President Barack Obama was named this year's Nobel Peace Prize honoree, becoming the second sitting president to win. Ray Suarez reports.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    President Obama was named the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize today in Oslo, Norway. The unexpected choice made him the third U.S. president to be so honored while still in office.

    Ray Suarez begins our lead story coverage.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The announcement in Norwegian drew gasps of surprise as the audience realized who had won.

  • THORBJORN JAGLAND, Chairman, Norwegian Nobel Committee:

    … Barack Obama…

  • THORBJORN JAGLAND:

    … extraordinary…

    Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    White House officials said the president did not know he had been nominated until the announcement. Hours later, he appeared in the Rose Garden.

  • U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    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.

    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.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Mr. Obama had been president only two weeks before the deadline for Peace Prize nominations. And there was no word on who submitted his name. But the Nobel Committee cited a string of initiatives the president has launched in speeches around the world, in Prague last April…