Most of Nobel Panel Objected to Obama Pick

Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland talked fellow voters into selection
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2009 2:00 PM CDT
Photographers and reporters gather around Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland in Oslo, Oct. 9, 2009, as he announces that Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.   (AP Photo / Jon-Michael Josefsen, Scanpix)
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(Newser) – President Obama's Nobel Prize was a tough sell for the chairman of the committee that awarded the honor, with three of the five members initially opposing his selection, anonymous sources tell a Norwegian newspaper. They were persuaded mainly by chairman Thorbjoern Jagland, who strongly backed Obama from the beginning. The members agreed that Obama had solid nuclear disarmament and reconciliation initiatives in place, but some questioned whether he’d accomplished enough.

One newly elected committee member was especially skeptical of the pick. “I had expected a debate, especially around the issues I find problematic, the war in Afghanistan,” Aagot Valle told a Norwegian paper earlier this week. But when announcing the prize, Jagland said the decision was unanimous. A former PM of Norway, Jagland is known for his grand gestures and frequent gaffes.