The Nobel Committee's surprise award of the peace prize to President Barack Obama certainly tells us something about how they viewed his predecessor, but with only 9 months on the job and a war in Afghanistan to plan, it might be a little premature at best. So what's the best political response? Does he accept the award on behalf of the American people? Or does he respectfully decline it, saying he's got miles to go and should be judged on results? Whatever he does, I'm of the mind that this won't help him make headway with his enemies abroad and will only harden the contempt of his political enemies at home who'll ask what he's done (and probably work in a little anti-elite European criticism). Humility might be the best answer to both.
*Update: Obama accepted the prize. He said he was "humbled" and "surprised," and added: "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize..." The video of his statement is here and the text here.
**Update II: On today's "To The Point," Time's White House correspondent Michael Scherer, Atlantic Media's, Peter Beinart of the Daily Beast, and Robin Wright of the US Institute of Peace, and formerly of the Washington Post, talk about the ramifications of the Nobel prize on Obama's foreign and domestic agenda.