Rich Galen
President Obama stopped off in Oslo to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize. He declined to participate in many of the traditional appearances previous winners had done, spending just a few hours less in Norway than he had spent in the Oval office before being chosen for the award.

Without rekindling that argument, he gave a nicely written and delivered speech in which he acknowledged he was awarded the Peace Prize not for what he had accomplished in his first 12 days in office, but what the committee members hoped he would accomplish.

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However, in in its coverage, the Washington Post had this less-than-reverential paragraph from reporter Michael Fletcher:

Since taking office, Obama has tried to engage North Korea and Iran in a bid to rein in their nuclear programs, called for stronger protocols to limit nuclear proliferation and pushed for an agreement to combat global warming. He has also tried to coax the Israelis and Palestinians into a new round of peace talks. None of those goals has been met.

Barack Obama is not, by most accounts, the warmest of people in his interpersonal relationships. Take the traditional White House Christmas/holiday parties, of which there can be as many as a dozen.

We have been honored to have been invited to one of these events. The White House was decorated beautifully. People were dressed in their holiday finery for the occasion. There was a buffet table stocked with food at one end of the building and back toward the East Room all the halls were decked with boughs of holly and the other accruements of Christmas.

At some point a line forms at the top of the main staircase and the several hundred people in attendance queue up to go through the ritual of having a holiday photo with the President and First Lady.

It is a pain for the First Couple; they have to smile and shake hands with their guests as they come up to the photo position; and every guest wants to remind them about the time they met at that fund raiser in Upper Iguana when it was so cold - or some similarly forgettable event.

Yet, every First Couple in the modern era has gone through the ritual night after night to thank their best supporters, the Executive Branch staff, and the media, depending upon the nature of that night's guest list.

According to Politico, the first Christmas party of the year did not include a photo op.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at