Prize spurs strong partisan reaction in isles


POSTED: Saturday, October 10, 2009

While President Barack Obama was commended yesterday for being the first Hawaii person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Hawaii Republican Party bashed him, saying his recognition is without merit.

“;What significant shift has taken place on the international front since he has taken office?”; questioned Hawaii Republican Party spokesman Jonah Kaauwai yesterday in a written statement.

“;North Korea and Iran continue to demonstrate their unwillingness to disclose nuclear capabilities or negotiate real disarmament. American troops are still risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect the country from those who wish to do us harm,”; said Kaauwai.

Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz said Obama has charted an entirely new course by changing America's relationship with many countries. “;America is strongest when we have good partnerships with other countries so we can keep the peace and look out for strategic interest. When we go it alone, we often find that we're not as successful. That change happened the moment he was elected.”;

In response to the Republican Party, Schatz said, “;We should be thrilled about this, and it's sad that the local Republicans can't get beyond their partisanship for just a moment to realize what a great day this is. It's no wonder that the local GOP has been so ineffective in capturing the enthusiasm of Hawaii residents when they focus on nipping at the president's ankles rather than solving problems.”;

James K. Scott, president of Punahou School where Obama graduated in 1979, said in a written statement, “;In his role as U.S. president and with this award, President Obama continues to inspire students across the state, the nation and the world to pursue their highest potential. The Nobel Peace Prize resonates with the values that Hawaii upholds—a deep respect for diversity, and the resolve to work toward international peace.”;