‘For What?’ — Barack Obama Was Also Puzzled After Winning Nobel Peace Prize

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Former President Barack Obama writes in his memoirs he was also puzzled as to why he was chosen in 2009 to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

In volume one of his memoirs, A Promised LandObama detailed the call he received from his advisor Robert Gibbs at 6:00 a.m. waking him up to inform him of the news:

Gibbs: You were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Obama: What do you mean?

Gibbs: They just announced it a few minutes ago.

Obama: For what?

Obama said when his wife Michelle Obama asked him what the call was about, he replied, “I’m getting the Nobel Peace Prize.”

“That’s wonderful, honey,” Michelle Obama replied, before rolling over in bed to get more sleep.

Obama recalled how he delivered a statement in the Rose Garden, but immediately thought about how he was leading the war in Afghanistan. His experience as commander in chief with the military, Obama wrote, inspired him to deliver his acceptance speech noting the paradox of justifying war to bring about peace.

The award ceremony, he wrote was “sensibly austere” with jazz music followed by a black-tie dinner with champagne, grilled elk, and a “surprisingly good swing orchestra.”

Obama also spoke about witnessing the thousands of people in the city who held aloft a lit candle to honor him.

“It was a magical sight, as if a pool of stars had descended from the sky,” he recalled.

He added, “The idea that I, or any one person, could bring order to such chaos seemed laughable; on some level, the crowds below were cheering an illusion.”


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