Presidential Historian: Nobel Boosts Obama's Status
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Good morning, sir.
D: Good morning.
INSKEEP: What do you think this award means for Obama's presidency?
D: So it's somewhat surprising, but the award, as I understand it, says it's being given to him for rekindling hope in the world that there can be international peace. His speech in Cairo, Egypt and his...
INSKEEP: About reaching out to the Muslim world, right.
D: But I think it gives him a lot of standing here at home...
INSKEEP: Well, I want to ask about that because when you talk about standing here at home, just a few hours ago we would have described this man as a president with a slipping approval rating, with his domestic agenda under attack, and incidentally, with tough decisions still to come over a war in Afghanistan, and suddenly he's on this different plane where we're making comparisons with Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and seeing how he stands up.
D: Yes, exactly. And so it does give him a kind of cache at home - political cache - that he may be able to turn to his advantage and has, unlikely as it may seem, in the fight to win passage of a major national health care reform bill.
INSKEEP: I wonder if this Nobel Prize simply underlines the dominant role that that job still plays in the world today, no matter how America's role changes on the world stage.
D: Yes, I think it's a very good point. But also what I would add to it is, remember, Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural said, Where there is no vision the people perish. And Obama is offering the world a vision of peace, hope for peace. And I think the Nobel committee is responding to that.
INSKEEP: Mr. Dallek, thanks very much.
D: Very good.
INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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