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.

Former Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Meyers told the news outlet that the President "worked the room for a few minutes, shaking hands and posing for candid pictures - not taken by the White House photographer - before leaving the party."

I know what you're thinking:

Aww. How awful for you. You have to go to a party at the White House but won't get photo with the President. Tell you what. Give me your invite. I'll go and suffer on your behalf.

Most people never get to go to the White House for a Christmas party. Those who do, may get to go but once in an eight-year Presidency. Almost anyone who has gone has that photo with the President and First Lady framed and displayed on the mantelpiece for decades - perhaps for generations.

Sounds like a small thing, but it is further evidence of the growing impression that Barack Obama is cold, distant and doesn't play nicely with others.

We voted for change. That's what we're getting.

Mullpal Ginny Wolfe pointed out that the increasingly-anti-Obama group, MoveOn.org is incensed about the health care deal apparently making it its way to the Senate floor which not include a public option.

According to the Left-wing group's web page:

"Instead of pulling out all the stops, they've bargained away the heart of health care reform - allowing conservative senators like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to hold the process hostage and protect Big Insurance."

When President Obama was riding high in the polls a threat by MoveOn.org might have gotten some notice on Capitol Hill. But a quick peek at the RealClearPolitics Presidential approval poll summary is shocking.

Of the eight polls listed, only one - ONE - has Obama's approval over 50 percent. Three have his approval at only 46 percent.

Not a pretty picture.


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 Mullings.com.