Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: What was the Nobel committee thinking?

October 9, 2009

OBAMA/Even before sunrise in Washington, tongues were wagging over the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s choice of President Barack Obama to receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. And the big question — aside from whether a first-term president in his ninth month in office has done enough to deserve the award — was, what was the committee thinking?

Obama urges graduates not to follow Madoff’s path

May 14, 2009

91TEMPE, Arizona – President Barack Obama warned graduating students on Wednesday not to follow in the footsteps of swindler Bernard Madoff as they enter the workforce and look for jobs.
 
The U.S. president, delivering a commencement address at Arizona State University, told a crowd of tens of thousands that big money and fancy titles should not be a priority while the country faced recession and two wars.
 
“The leaders we revere, the businesses and institutions that last — they are not generally the result of a narrow pursuit of popularity or personal advancement, but of devotion to some bigger purpose,” Obama said.
 
“The trappings of success may be a by-product of this larger mission, but it can’t be the central thing. Just ask Bernie Madoff.”
 
Madoff, 71, pleaded guilty in March to operating a huge Ponzi scheme in which early investors are paid with money from new clients. He is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.