Anchors Kiran Chetry and John Roberts turned to the correspondent right out of the gate at the beginning of the program at 6 AM EDT. Chetry asked if there had been any official reaction from the White House at that early hour, and Lothian confirmed that the administration hadn't released any statement at that point. He continued that "two things came to mind when this shocking announcement was made. First of all, that the President obviously is getting an 'A' for effort here. The President has made overtures and talked about, since he was running for president, that he wanted to be one who would engage in dialogue." The White House correspondent cited the Obama administration recent work with Iran and the President "trying to get both the Israelis and the Palestinians to jump-start the peace process there."
Lothian continued with some of the administration's own talking points on foreign policy:
LOTHIAN: The other factor as well- and this is something that we hear from the White House time and time again- any time there are polls that come out that shows the favorability ratings of the U.S. on the rise around the world, they'll e-mail those to us. And so there's this real sense from the White House here that the President has been able to change the tone and the way that the Americans are viewed around the world, from ones of being bullies pushing the rest of the global community around, to one who says- listen, let's sit down- let's talk together- there's a partnership here. So there's a sense that that's one of the factors involved here- the President changing the tone of how people view the United States around the world, and then also the President making these efforts towards peace- being willing to sit down, have some dialogue with countries like Iran.Later in the segment, Chetry commented that "it's also interesting about whether it ratchets up the pressure- you know, on this President and on this administration to get something done because of the fact that this prize was awarded." This is where Lothian's bizarre speculation about the Nobel Prize's effect on the health care issue came in:
LOTHIAN: That's true, but on the other hand, it could also help him. I mean, this -the White House has been beaten up most recently over- you know, what to do next in Afghanistan- Republicans and both Democrats pushing this administration about whether additional troops should be sent in or whether it should be a more focused approach in Afghanistan. Perhaps, this could be something that helps this administration not only push through on the front in Afghanistan, but also- you know, health care as well- a lot of hurdles involving health care. And so perhaps this is something that the administration can use to say- hey, listen- you know, in the world community, the President has some juice here, so this could help him.Five hours later at the top of the 11 am Eastern hour of CNN's Newsroom program, the White House correspondent repeated some of his points from American Morning to substitute anchor Don Lemon, who clearly has a similar mindset:
DON LEMON: I'm going to bring in our White House correspondent Dan Lothian, awaiting the President's remarks- Dan, good to talk to you today- quite an interesting choice and very early on in- in a presidency. He's not the first one, but this is pretty fast.You heard it hear first: CNN thinks President Obama earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his "soaring rhetoric" for peace dating back to his presidential run, and that this development will help him with the health care issue.
DAN LOTHIAN: He's the first one to get this award so early in his presidency. I mean, typically, when presidents get this, it would be in the case of President Carter- long after he left office, or other presidents after they have signed some kind of accord or some peace agreement ends a conflict. But in this case, this is a president who- at least to the committee that awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize- saw a lot of promise. Essentially, he has- he's a president in progress and he has already at least, according to the administration, started changing the tenor and the tone of how the U.S. is viewed overseas- from- from an administration- perhaps in the past, they believe- that used to only use a hammer to bully around- you know, other world leaders, to an administration, at least according to the White House, that is now decided to sit down and have some dialogue with some of these difficult countries, such as Iran and North Korea. And so it is unusual to- to see a president receive this kind of honor so early in his presidency, but that's exactly what happened, and the White House pointing out that they were also taken by surprise.
LEMON: You know, this is- and some say that- you know, this is support really from the international community because the international community wants peace and it appears in all of his rhetoric, as you have been saying- all of his speech [sic], and even before he became president- that he spoke up for peace and for speaking to allies and enemies as well, to try to bring some peace throughout the world. Is that correct? Is this a message, you think, from the international community possibly?
LOTHIAN: Well, you know- perhaps- perhaps that's correct, and- you know, as you pointed out, this is something that President Obama has been pushing even before he became president, and was criticized by his now-Secretary of State Clinton for talking about wanting to have a dialogue with Iran without preconditions. So- you know, and we've seen now for the first time at the P-5 plus 1 meetings in Geneva recently, where the United States and Iran not only engage with each other, but agree to have additional talks with these other world leaders as well in the future. So certainly this is something the administration has been pushing for long before the President came into office, and it certainly got noticed.
- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.