If Obama failed to make headway on his agenda, some Democrats said, the award could also come to be seen as the equivalent of the “Mission Accomplished” banner unfurled on an aircraft carrier for a speech by Bush shortly after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.

Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist, said that if the job market remained sour, he expected to see the Nobel medallion featured prominently in GOP attack ads with such lines as: “He got a Nobel Prize. What did you get? A pink slip.”

“Either the economy is going, and this won’t matter, or this will be another tool in the Republicans’ arsenal to accuse the president of not doing enough,” Trippi said.

“Maybe if he won the Nobel Prize for economic recovery and created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, this would be a good thing for him politically,” Trippi said.