TPM News

Bush U.N. Ambassador John Bolton weighs in on President Obama's Nobel Peace prize. Not surprisingly, the mustachioed neocon takes issue with the Nobel committee's decision.

From the National Review:

"He should decline it and then ask to be considered again in three or four years when he has a record."


"Today's news is just another demonstration of how politicized the Nobel Peace Prize has become, from President Carter winning in 2002, to Al Gore in 2007, and President Obama in 2009."

"When the award was given to President Carter, the chairman of the committee said that it was a 'kick in the leg' to the Bush administration," recalls Bolton. "This is yet another 'kick in the leg' for the Bush administration."

Bolton says the main problem is that basis for the award itself. Bolton says awards should go for deeds not words:

"Today's prize, by the terms of the award itself, was made for President Obama's 'extraordinary efforts.' The Nobel Peace Prize should be for achievement, not effort," says Bolton. "Just look at the other Nobel prizes awarded this week, from physics to chemistry, they were given to those who have made tangible progress and achieved in their respective fields. Obama's award is just for effort."

Bolton also offers some advice on who's more deserving of the prize:

"I was nominated three years ago and I'm still waiting for the call."

NYT: Withdrawal From Iraq Daunting, Complicated The New York Times reports that the withdrawal from Iraq is an enormous logistical task: "By itself, such a withdrawal would be daunting, but it is further complicated by attacks from an insurgency that remains active; the sensitivities of the Iraqi government about a visible American presence; disagreements with the Iraqis about what will be left for them; and consideration for what equipment is urgently needed in Afghanistan."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver remarks at 10:30 a.m. ET, presumably on his having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He will meet with Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) at 11:35 a.m. ET. He will meet with Vice President Biden at 12:30 p.m. ET for lunch. At 1:40 p.m. ET, he and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner will meet with five Americans who have been hurt by outdated rules regulating the financial sector, and Obama will deliver remarks on regulatory reform at 2 p.m. ET. Obama will meet with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan at 2:30 p.m. ET. Finally, the President and First Lady will host a barbecue for Secret Service members and their families on the South Lawn.

Read More →

David Axelrod appeared on Morning Joe this morning to say President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize is an affirmation of the causes he's championing: nuclear nonproliferation, climate change and building global alliances.

Axelrod told the MSNBC morning show crew that liberals, conservatives and everyone in between "ought to be able to agree on the need to reduce the threats to humanity and the threats to our country and that's what the president's working on."

Read More →

Among the critics scratching their heads over President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize? The Taliban.

Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tells the AFP, "We condemn the award of the Noble Peace Prize for Obama."


"We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan. He has not taken a single step for peace in Afghanistan or to make this country stable."

"We condemn the institute's awarding him the peace prize. We condemn this year's peace prize as unjust."

Mujahid's comments came via telephone "from an undisclosed location."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did the early morning duty today to let President Obama he'd won the Nobel Peace Prize.

A senior administration official tells TPMDC Gibbs called the White House just before 6 a.m. and woke Obama to share the news.

"The president was humbled to be selected by the committee," the official says.

There will be more coming out of the White House reacting to the news today.

Worth noting, Gibbs also had pre-dawn wake-up call duties during Obama's first trip abroad, telling Obama that North Korea had fired a test missile.

President Barack Obama, in his tenth month in office, was chosen this morning as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The one-liner from the committee - it goes to Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."


"For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that 'Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.'

Late update: Obama will make brief remarks at 10:30 a.m. ET in the White House Rose Garden.

Later update: Here's the full release from Oslo, text after the jump.

Read More →

Ben Ali, founder of U Street institution Ben's Chili Bowl, died today. He was 82. His landmark eatery served presidents, celebrities and many ordinary people. Photos of Denzel Washington, Danny Glover and Bill Cosby, among others, line the walls. Famously, two people are allowed to eat free there: Bill Cosby and President Barack Obama.

Newscom/Zuma Wire

Ben Ali accepts congratulations on the occasion of the Chili Bowl's 45th anniversary on August 22, 2003.

Newscom/Zuma Wire

Ben's Chili Bowl was packed full on its 45th anniversary. Besides the throngs of regular Washingtonians, Bill Cosby, Jessie Jackson and then-Mayor Anthony Williams attended.

Nescom/Zuma Wire

Then-President George W. Bush lends an artistic touch to a mural.

CC: Wikimedia

Mayor Adrian Fenty drops by Ben's Chili Bowl on August 24, 2007 for an event honoring WPGC radio host Donnie Simpson.

Newscom/Wenn Photos

Mayor Adrian Fenty chows down as he samples the offerings of a Ben's Chili Bowl in the new Nationals Park.

Newscom/Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI Photos

"Killing Me Softly With His Song" singer Roberta Flack entertained the crowds as Ben's Chili Bowl made it to 50 on August 22, 2008.

Newscom/Carrie Devorah/Wenn Photos

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Bill Cosby also celebrated the big 5-0. No word on whether Cosby took advantage of his free meal.

Newscom/Carrie Devorah/Wenn Photos

Then-President-elect Barack Obama ordered a chili half-smoke with shredded cheese on the side on January 10, 2009. Despite his free-eating privileges, Obama left $20 on a $12 meal.

Newscom/Joshua Roberts/UPI Photos

Then-President-elect Obama takes a big bite.

Newscom/Joshua Roberts/UPI Photo

Then-President-elect Obama and Mayor Fenty take time to pose with Washington police officers.

Newscom/Joshua Roberts/CNP Photos

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) said on MSNBC today that he's still "agnostic" on a possible compromise for states to opt out of a public option, but noted that no one presented such an idea during any of the committee hearings.

"My initial reaction was, states have the authority right now, if they want to establish a so-called public option within their state, there's no prohibition against that in federal law. There's nothing to keep them from doing it," he said. "I guess the idea of having a state opt into a national option might be the federal government would provide assistance to states that want to do it."

"But I'm not sure that that's what's being thought about. So I'm sort of agnostic until I learn more about the proposal," he said.

Read More →

The story of the day on the health care beat belongs to Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Tom Carper (D-DE). Their new proposal to devise a national public option in such a way that states could choose not to participate quickly overtook yesterday's news from the CBO that the Senate Finance Committee bill would save billions of dollars. But is it the long-sought solution to the public option conundrum?

The short answer is: it's way too early to tell.

"The amount of ink and media attention being spilled on this issue bears little relationship to where it is in the process," said one leadership aide.

Conversations with a number of Senate aides from across the Democratic spectrum all touched on the same theme: The idea may be decent on the merits, and appealing to some key conservative Democrats. But all 60? Or 59 plus Olympia Snowe? That's hard to answer when the concept hasn't even been fully fleshed out. And yet, it's almost certain that, as an amendment to the bill that ultimately reaches the Senate floor, it would need 60 one way or another.

Then there are House liberals, who remain extremely focused on a Medicare-like public option, available everywhere. They're not saying much about this idea just yet, but from initial conversations with House aides, it's unlikely that they're going to drop their campaign for a robust public option and get on the "opt-out" bandwagon. Whether they would ultimately settle for such a compromise if it came out of a conference committee is a question whose answer enters the realm of multiple levels of speculation. There's no denying that the initial reception by both liberal and conservative Democrats has been generally positive. But as the quote above indicates, we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

Late this afternoon, NRSC communications director Brian Walsh responded to Marco Rubio's claim today that national Republicans are shrill and lazy. The NRSC has publicly endorsed Rubio's opponent in the Florida senate race, Gov. Charlie Crist (R), and it's fair to say Rubio's take on the tone in D.C. was aimed squarely at many of the group's senior leadership.

Walsh writes,

"I'm going to decline to comment. If Marco think[s] it's useful to spend time attacking fellow Republicans that's his decision. We're focused on building on the momentum Republicans have been seeing in the polls the last few months as more Americans make clear they do not support the big spending, big government policies that are being pushed by President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi."

NRSC officials pointed to Crist's continuing lead in polls and money to show that Rubio's message was falling on deaf ears.