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Presidential Historian: Nobel Boosts Obama's Status

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Presidential Historian: Nobel Boosts Obama's Status

Presidential Historian: Nobel Boosts Obama's Status

Presidential Historian: Nobel Boosts Obama's Status

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President Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for international diplomacy efforts. Steve Inskeep talks with writer and presidential historian Robert Dallek for his analysis of the announcement.

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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