News24

Obama speech 'a blockbuster'

2009-12-11 14:14

Washington - US media and leading opinion makers on Friday had largely positive views of Barack Obama's Nobel Peace award speech in Oslo, with US conservatives especially delighted with his choice of words.

"We've said before ... that awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize after so short a time in office and so few concrete accomplishments was a mistake," wrote the Los Angeles Times in its newspaper editorial.

However the acceptance speech was "a blockbuster even by Obama's lofty standards".

The speech "should serve as a blueprint to guide international decisions on alleviating conflict, poverty and tyranny", the LA Times wrote.

For the New York Times, Obama "gave the speech he needed to give, but we suspect not precisely the one the Nobel committee wanted to hear" by constantly mentioning the Afghanistan conflict.

Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote that the speech "was both a Judeo-Christian epistle, conceding the moral necessity of war, and a meditation on American exceptionalism".

Two fierce Republican Obama critics - former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, both potential 2012 presidential hopefuls - also praised the speech.

"I liked what he said," Palin told USA Today. "Of course, war is the last thing I believe any American wants to engage in, but it's necessary. We have to stop these terrorists."

"I thought in some ways it's a very historic speech," Gingrich told a public radio morning show, according to the Politico website.

Obama "clearly understood that he had been given the prize prematurely, but he used it as an occasion to remind people, first of all, as he said: that there is evil in the world".

The "evil" phrase prompted a CNN reporter to say that Obama seemed to be "channelling George W Bush", famous for his 2002 "Axis of Evil" speech.

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson told CNN that it was "a complex, intellectually rich, impressive speech".

Obama was "completely unapologetic" about US intervention in Afghanistan.

Surveys ahead of the ceremony showed that most Americans were sceptical about the president accepting the award: only 19% of Americans believed that Obama deserved the Nobel, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll out on Wednesday, while an earlier Quinnipiac University survey put support at 26%.