You'll hardly notice he's gone: Obama to Oslo

Back in a flash! The Obamas, sans Oprah, hit Oslo   (WH photo)

President Obama was a blur of activity today — a meeting with congressional leadership and a statement in the Diplomatic Reception Room. Then an announcement on community health centers in the Eisenhower Building, followed by a meeting with business and environmental leaders in the Roosevelt Room. Busy!

That's partly because the president and first lady are off tonight to Oslo, so he can accept the Nobel Peace Prize. The White House is hoping you won't even notice he's away — the trip is sandwiched between high-profile public events at home and the visit so truncated, he's skipping the traditional lunch with King Harald! And a meeting with some children! Will someone please think of the children?

The Daily Beast takes stock of the general sense of Scandanavian umbrage attending the president's visit:

News outlets across the region are calling Obama arrogant for slashing some of the prize winners’ traditional duties from his schedule. “Everybody wants to visit the Peace Center except Obama,” sniped the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, amid reports the president would snub his own exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center. “A bit arrogant—a bit bad,” proclaimed another Aftenposten headline.

Now he's done it. He's annoyed the Aftenposten. More from the Beast:

Also among the dissed, according to news reports: a concert in Oslo on Friday that was arranged in his honor, and a group of Norwegian children who had planned to meet Obama in front of City Hall.

“The American president is acting like an elephant in a porcelain shop,” said Norwegian public-relations expert Rune Morck-Wergeland. “In Norwegian culture, it’s very important to keep an agreement. We’re religious about that, and Obama’s actions have been clumsy. You just don’t say no to an invitation from a European king. Maybe Obama’s advisers are not very educated about European culture, but he is coming off as rude, even if he doesn’t mean to.”

The White House said Obama plans to confront head-on in his acceptance speech the apparent contradiction of running two wars while accepting a peace prize. There are major peace and anti-nuke protests expected during the president's visit, and polls show both Norwegians and Americans don't really think Obama deserved the award. Notes Reuters:

This “interesting coincidence of history” is not lost on the president, said a senior administration official who gave Reuters a preview of what Obama will say when he becomes the fourth U.S. president to receive the award.

“He is well aware there is an interesting context that he will be receiving this award roughly a week after announcing the deployment of 30,000 troops,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as Obama was still working on the estimated 20-25 minute speech.

 

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD Gang Task Force is ‘no more’: Chief re-envisions investigative unit

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

Most Read