President Barack Obama surely expected to face in Oslo the same question about his newly won Nobel Prize that critics have asked recently at home: Do you deserve it?

And he did, this morning, just hours before he plans to formally accept his award tonight. When a local reporter prompted the president to respond to skeptics who described the recognition as too "premature," Obama began by remarking the Nobel Prize was a great honor owed to "others who may be more deserving."

Continued the president, according to ABC:

The president said that his "task here is to continue on the path that I believe is not only important for America but important for lasting peace and security for the world.

"That means pursuing a world free of nuclear weapons over time and strengthening our mechanisms to avoid nuclear proliferation," he said. "That means addressing climate change in an effective way. It means stabilizing counties like Afghanistan and mobilizing an international effort to terrorism that is consistent with our values and ideals. It means addressing issues of development and understanding the connection between economic justice and peace.

"So on a whole host of initiatives that I've put forward this year, some of which are beginning to bear fruit, the goal is not to win a popularity contest or to get an award -- even one as esteemed as the Nobel Peace Prize -- the goal is to advance American interests, make ourselves a continuing force for good in the world. Something that we have been for decades now," he said.

"And if I'm successful in those tasks then hopefully some of the criticism will subside, but that’s not really my concern," he concluded. "And if I'm not successful then all the praise and the awards in the world won't disguise that fact."