The U.S. President was riding an unstoppable wave of "Yes, we can" euphoria in 2009, which left other candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize swept aside by a bolt from the blue. Barack Obama was chosen for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," which raised more than a few eyebrows, considering the nomination came just 12 days after he took office. The New York Times called the decision a "stunning surprise," while less generous spectators accused the Nobel Committee of having political motivations. For their part, the committee acknowledged the award honored Obama's "efforts" to advance global harmony rather than his concrete achievements to date.
Next Cordell Hull