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Agence France-Presse

Despite Incongruity, Corporate Media Love a Good War Speech

US Media Positive on Obama's Oslo Speech


WASHINGTON - US media and leading opinion makers on Friday had largely positive views of Barack Obama's Nobel Peace award speech in Oslo, with conservatives especially delighted with his choice of words.

"We've said before ... that awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize after so short a time in office and so few concrete accomplishments was a mistake," wrote the Los Angeles Times in its newspaper editorial.

However the acceptance speech was "a blockbuster even by Obama's lofty standards."

The speech "should serve as a blueprint to guide international decisions on alleviating conflict, poverty and tyranny," the LA Times wrote.

For the New York Times, Obama "gave the speech he needed to give, but we suspect not precisely the one the Nobel committee wanted to hear" by constantly mentioning the Afghanistan conflict.

One example from MSNBC:

There is no chance of winning in Afghanistan or in "the broader fight against terrorism, unless the United States hews to international standards and upholds its own ideals. That is Mr. Obama's promise and his challenge going forward," the Times wrote.

Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote that the speech "was both a Judeo-Christian epistle, conceding the moral necessity of war, and a meditation on American exceptionalism."

Obama was "the unapologetic president of the United States and not some errant global villager seeking affirmation," she wrote.

At certain moments Obama "articulates our problems in ways that elevate us beyond our pettier differences," and the acceptance speech "was a triumphant expression of American values and character."

Two fierce Republican Obama critics -- former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, both potential 2012 presidential hopefuls -- also praised the speech.

"I liked what he said," Palin told USA Today. "Of course, war is the last thing I believe any American wants to engage in, but it's necessary. We have to stop these terrorists."

"I thought in some ways it's a very historic speech," Gingrich told a public radio morning show, according to the Politico website.

Obama "clearly understood that he had been given the prize prematurely, but he used it as an occasion to remind people, first of all, as he said: that there is evil in the world."

The "evil" phrase prompted a CNN reporter to say that Obama seemed to be "channeling George W. Bush," famous for his 2002 "Axis of Evil" speech.

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson told CNN that it was "a complex, intellectually rich, impressive speech."

Obama was "completely unapologetic" about US intervention in Afghanistan.

"He talked about America being a force for moral good, about the reality of evil. This was a very American speech. He didn't speak as kind of the citizen of the world as sometimes he has in the past," Gerson said.

Not everyone liked the speech: Bush's ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said it "followed the standard international leftist line," and that Obama "played to the crowd and filled the speech with cliches from the American and international left."

And prominent liberal commentator Arianna Huffington noted the "supreme irony" of accepting the peace prize after ordering a troop surge in Afghanistan.

The problem, Huffington said Thursday on The Joy Behar broadcast chat show, was that Obama has not told Americans how the Afghan war will make them safer.

Surveys ahead of the ceremony showed that most Americans were skeptical about the president accepting the award: only 19 percent of Americans believed that Obama deserved the Nobel, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll out Wednesday, while an earlier Quinnipiac University survey put support at 26 percent.

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