The World's Response to Obama's Peace Prize

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President Barack Obama became only the third sitting president to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Friday.

He joins Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who both had years of White House experience behind them-- adding to the surprise of Obama's nomination this early.

The peace prize comes with a $1.4 million cash prize which Obama said he will donate to charity.

Now, it seems the announcement of the award not only shocked the White House, but also the rest of the world.

You could hear the amazement in the room when the Norwegian Nobel Committee told the world.

The committee praised Obama for "creating a new climate in international politics" and cited his efforts on climate change, ridding the world of nuclear weapons and reaching out to Muslims.

The president said he was surprised and humbled by the award.

Click pla for more on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize with Roy Cooper of the Heritage Foundation.

"I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations," Obama said.

Yet critics wonder how a president just nine months into his term of office qualified for the prize.

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele asked, "what has the president 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," he added.

Obama received congratulations from many leaders around the world, including Israel.

Israeli President Shimon Peres congratulated Obama "from the bottom of my heart."

Still, many in Israel are troubled by the president's view of the Middle East and puzzled by the Nobel choice.

"I think it's a little premature," said one Jerusalem resident. "I think his ideas of peace are a little different from what true peace really is."

Israel's Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin bluntly noted that "someone who gets a peace prize should not force-feed Israel with his version of peace," and that he hopes the president won't "dictate a peace accord to Israel."

It seems the Nobel committee voted for the Obama potential rather than the results. It will take years to tell if their decision will be vindicated.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.