Sen. John McCain and Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty, at least, chose the classy route. McCain told Greg Sargent through his press spokesperson, “I congratulate President Obama on receiving this prestigious award. I join my fellow Americans in expressing pride in our President on this occasion.” And Pawlenty used his weekly radio show to say this:
“I would say regardless of the circumstances, congratulations to President Obama for winning the Nobel Prize. I know there will be some people who are saying ‘Was it based on good intentions and thoughts or is it going to be based on good results?’ But I think the appropriate response is when anybody wins a Nobel Prize that is a very noteworthy development and designation and I think the appropriate response is to say ‘Congratulations.”
Michael Steele, you will not be shocked to hear, was a different story:
The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama 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. One thing is certain -– President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”
Steele did not escape criticism for these words — even from his own party:
Veteran GOP operative Scott Reed, who ran Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, was happy to go on the record to criticize his party’s chairman. “He should not have done that and I gasped,” Reed said in an e-mail, “Michael Steele needs to remember that he is the chairman of the GOP, not a political analyst who needs to comment on every news story every news cycle.”
Via the Washington Post, France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy sent Pres. Obama a congratulatory letter:
“By awarding you its most prestigious prize, the Committee is rewarding your determined commitment to human rights, justice and spreading peace across the world, in accordance with the will of its founder Alfred Nobel. It also does justice to your vision of tolerance and dialogue between States, cultures and civilizations. Finally, it sets the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples,” Sarkozy wrote.
“I am convinced that everyone, all over the world, will draw from this an even stronger determination to cooperate with you and with America” on the common objectives of justice, peace and “the planet’s global balance,” he added.
Global Zero, “a group of more than 200 political and military leaders from around the world” organized to support and work for global nuclear disarmament, applauded the Nobel Committee’s choice:
Said former ambassador to Germany Richard Burt, chief U.S. negotiator for the START 1 negotiations and Global Zero U.S. chair in a statement: “Global Zero applauds President Obama on receiving the Nobel Prize and for his extraordinary leadership, along with President Medvedev, to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
“This award reflects a new international consensus that whatever stability nuclear arsenals may have provided during the Cold War is now outweighed by the growing risks of proliferation and nuclear terrorism — and that the only way in the long term to eliminate the nuclear threat is to eliminate all nuclear weapons.”
Via Garance Franke-Ruta at the Washington Post, where tons more reactions can be found.
Sharon Otterman at the New York Times blog, “The Lede,” also has a large collection of links to global response (most of which are additional to the WaPo‘s).
The last word (and it’s delicious) goes to Hillary Clinton, speaking through official channels at the State Department:
“Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum — when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes.”