There was no victory lap. President Obama accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize with humility yesterday to keep his shocking receipt of the world's most prestigious award from turning into a political hot potato.
Ordinarily, scoring so exalted a prize requires no damage control. But, Obama walked a fine line.
He acknowledged those who doubted whether he had earned it after less than a year in office, but he embraced the hopes that drove the prize committee's choice, which was among its most controversial in more than a century.
"I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel committee," Obama told reporters in a brief Rose Garden appearance. "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."
"To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize," he added.
Nonetheless, Obama said he would accept the prize as "a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century."