Video: Axelrod: 'Nothing the president sought'

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    >> us right now. let's get our first response now from the white house . senior adviser david axelrod . david , we've been talking about the nobel peace prize here.

    >> let me just say, david , we've been very excited. you know, we were wondering why he didn't win it last year.

    >> i heard your starbucks this morning, joe.

    >> so, what's the white house response?

    >> well, i can only give you my own.

    >> you are the white house .

    >> look, i think obviously it's an honor. it's nothing that anyone expected. certainly nothing the president sought. i think that he's less interested in individual honors, and this certainly is one, than in advancing the causes that were cited by the nobel committee . and i think it's an affirmation on the part of the nobel committee for the things that he's been working on, the things that he's been talking about around the world for the last nine months and before, are important and significant. and they're monumental challenges for humanity. rebuilding international relationships, dealing with the issue of arms -- nuclear arms proliferation, dealing with the issue of climate change , building alliances to deal with conflict. these are causes to which he's devoted and to which i think the world wants to be devoted, and so i think there is an affirmation of that.

    >> savannah?

    >> david , how much will the white house play this up? would you go receive the award in person?

    >> this is all news to us. and so i don't know what -- what we're going to do with regards to that. i would assume so, but i don't know. the point here, though, savannah, is to rededicate ourselves to the causes that the president has brought forward here, to rededicate ourselves to the cause of dealing with the threat of nuclear weapons , the cause of climate change , to the cause of conflict of the resolution, and to the cause of rebuilding frayed relationships around the world so as to reduce the chances of conflict and promote solutions to these very difficult problems.

    >> david , as we're gauging reaction, i would like to touch on something chuck todd brought up. does it raise the burden of expectation on this president, on the world stage, which many argue he faced as he entered the presidency overall?

    >> well, that's something that he's always carried with him. and i must say, he spends very little time , i think, worrying about that. and all his time focused on moving the ball forward and trying to solve problems. and so, yes, there are high expectations of him. he's lived with high expectations for a very long time. he has the ability to push those things aside and focus on the business at hand. and that's one of his strengths as a person and as a president.

    >> david gregory .

    >> david , good morning.

    >> how are you?

    >> to what extent do you think this is a rejection of george w. bush more than even an affirmation of this president?

    >> you know, david , i don't have any -- i don't have any knowledge of the politics or the thinking behind these decisions. i read the citation, and i accept the citation for what it is. i think the president has worked hard to bring some issues to the floor internationally and to point the world in a direction of solving some very big problems. and i think this is a regular cognition of that. i think the important thing is the affirmation of those causes and the important thing for us is to move forward with humility and redouble our efforts to promote solutions to these great challenges.

    >> david , it's mark. how are you?

    >> hey, how are you?

    >> would you predict --

    >> by the way, i'm waiting for the chapter in your book that dissects the inside wrangling that went on that led to all of this. i'm sure it's probably --

    >> it will be in the paperback.

    >> you probably got it in the works already.

    >> would you expect republicans and conservatives to be as excited about the president winning the nobel prize as they were disappointed about losing the chicago olympics ?

    >> i don't know. i can only -- i can only speculate on that. look, it's immaterial. i would hope that everybody would view this as, again, an affirmation of some very important causes to which we all should be dedicated. i think we -- conservatives and liberals should be able 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.

    >> yeah.

    >> that's what the president is working on.

    >> david , it is unorthodox, is it not, it is interesting that the president received this award in his first year, isn't it?

    >> well, i think it's -- it's unusual for a president. there have only been three presidents who have received this. so it's unusual in general, joe. but, yeah. but, yes, it's unusual. but there are a lot of unusual things that have happened over the last couple of years. a lot of people thought was unusual that he got elected president because they thought it was remote that someone named barack obama , someone who was not part of the washington establishment would get elected president of the united states . so, you know, yes, it's unusual. and again, i think the important thing is not to, you know, i guarantee you the president would trade every award as humbling and as important as this one is, for -- for the dissolution of nuclear arsenals back home here to get our economy moving in a way that creates more jobs and more opportunities and so on. the goal is not to win awards. even wonderful prestigious awards like this. the goal is to move america forward . the goal is to bring a level of peace and understanding and progress to the world.

    >> all right. david axelrod , thanks so much for calling.

    >> >> congratulations.

    >> david gregory , thank you as

updated 10/9/2009 10:05:02 AM ET 2009-10-09T14:05:02

The chairman of the Republican Party is contending that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize as result of his "star power" rather than meaningful accomplishments.

Michael Steele issued a statement Friday saying, "The real question Americans are asking is, What has President Obama actually accomplished?"

Steele, who took over the reigns of the party earlier this year, said he thought it was "unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights." He said he doesn't think Obama will be "receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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