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Steele on Obama Nobel peace prize: "Unfortunate"

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, who criticized President Barack Obama's failed overseas sales trip on behalf of the U.S. Olympic Committee, issued a grudging statement this morning in response to the president's latest, and unexpected, global laurel: the 2009 Nobel peace prize.

"The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights," Steele said.

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"One thing is certain – President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action," added the former Maryland lieutenant governor.

Other Marylanders were more generous with their praise.

Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, in Athens, Greece, where he spoke about climate change to a meeting of European parliamentarians, said the award "represents international support for a world leader to pursue human rights concerns and advocate for peace around the globe. This award is a testament to the power of diplomacy and it serves as a reminder that the light of cooperation can be rekindled through open dialogue and a willingness to concentrate on the values shared by different peoples rather than our differences."

House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of southern Maryland issued a congratulatory message, which noted that Obama "has committed our nation to a course of renewed diplomacy and engagement across the globe, noting that the challenges we face can only be met when the world acts together. As the president said today, this award is a 'call to action' to continue working with our allies to address the issues of our day. This award does not mark the end of a legacy; rather, it marks support for a new vision of American leadership."

The Democratic Committee responded to Steele, tying the Olympics and the Peace Prize together.

Dem Party spokesman Brad Woodhouse, widely quoted online: "The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists — the Taliban and Hamas this morning — in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize. Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize — an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride — unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore – it's an embarrassing label to claim."

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