Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama in 2009 was an experiment to encourage the newly elected Democrat to follow through on his lofty promises, according to at least one former member of the Nobel committee. But apparently, that was a failed experiment.
A regretful Geir Lundestad, onetime secretary of the Nobel committee, told the Associated Press that he hoped the award would strengthen Obama. But it didn't, according to the group, despite the White House's belief that the president "lived up to the standard that he has set for himself" regarding the prize.
Instead of being an encouraging sign, the award was met with palpable indignation, particularly among conservatives who believed Obama should have done something rather than spoken something to receive the lofty prize.
"No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama," Lundestad, who is working on his memoir, reportedly wrote in the forthcoming book. "Even many of Obama's supporters believed that the prize was a mistake. In that sense, the committee didn't achieve what it had hoped for."
The ex-secretary said even the president himself was surprised to win the award. Lundestad noted that Obama considered not going to Oslo, Norway's capital city, to receive the Nobel prize.
"In the White House, they quickly realized that they needed to travel to Oslo," he wrote.
Lundestad, who served as the group's influential but non-voting secretary from 1990 to 2015, broke with long-held tradition in coming forward with his disappointments surrounding the committee's controversial decision to grant the award to the president.