October 9th, 2009
05:09 PM ET
5 years ago

State Dept. on Nobel: 'Better to be thrown accolades than shoes'

State Dept. on Nobel: 'Better to be thrown acolades than shoes'.
State Dept. on Nobel: 'Better to be thrown acolades than shoes'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – "Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum - when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes."

That's the take of Hillary Clinton's State Department on President Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, according to her spokesman, Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley.

Crowley was referring to the incident last December when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during his final visit to Iraq of his presidency.

Muntader Zaidi, who worked for the Iraqi television station Al Baghdadiya, hurled both his shoes at Bush and called him a "dog" during a press conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He narrowly missed the president, who quickly ducked.


The shoe-throwing, considered one of the highest insults in the Middle East, illustrated the deep anger toward the United States over its invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Crowley's comments suggested a recognition by the Obama administration that the Nobel Prize was as much an indictment of the Bush administration as it was an effort to praise President Obama's outreach to improve the US image around the world.

Echoing comments by the White House, Crowley said the award was not just an "affirmation" of the Obama administration's foreign policy strategy of engagement, but also on its robust foreign policy agenda, which includes non-proliferation, dealing with Iran and North Korea, and pursuing peace in the Middle East.

"There is an opportunity here," Crowley said. "The tone has changed - but obviously we recognize that, while the tone in the world has changed, the challenges remain. They are very significant."

This "call to action," Crowley said, will fall primarily on the shoulders of Secretary Clinton and the State Department, who will look "to advance the president's agenda and confront the challenges of the 21st century."

soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. No Hillary = No Obama

    The Obama Presidency in a nut shell: Tokenism

    October 9, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. New Age Independent

    What an incredibly disrespectful remark, especially for Sec of State. I would have thought Hillary would know better.

    October 9, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. LacrosseDad

    this award is as merited as letterman getting husband of the year award, well deserved.

    October 9, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. veteran

    It were a consolation prize for the Olympics !!

    October 9, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Typical Republican

    I just want to say..........."Some retarded complaint, no constructive input, a moronic false statement and a totally made up fact and completely delusional belief that republicans are good and patriotic who just happen to hate americans"

    Thanks, that's all I have!

    October 9, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Objective Thinking

    Wow. Such partisan, unclassy comments straight from the State Department, made about a guy who has been respectful enough of the new administration not to say anything, saying that "Obama deserves my silence." I can't believe how low Washington has sunk.

    October 9, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    You get accolades for doing nothing except forsaking you pledge to uphold the Constituiton of the United States and diminishing this country. Shoe get thrown at you when you free millions of people. The insanity of socialism. ACORN/SEIU must have tampered with the vote like they did in the election that gave us this fraudulent idiot.

    October 9, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. GuyInVA

    Priceless. Now it's even the official line of the U.S. Department of State:
    President Obama won because of who he is NOT and what he HASN'T done, rather than who he is and what he has accomplished.

    DOS sounds a little defensive.

    October 9, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Neil

    This has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with politics. If you really think about this, you will realize why Pres. Obama was given this award. Time will tell whether it was merited or not. Time will also tell if it was good for the world and good for the US. It may be good for both, it may only be good for one. I'll wait and see.

    Now if they can apply the same logic to baseball, they can award the World Series title to the Chicago Cubs.

    October 9, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. J.C. - Independent

    I cannot believe how Republicans are reacting to such great news.
    Congratulations, Mr. President!

    October 9, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. WE LIKE WAR

    We like war and killing others. We will fight anyone anywhere. Does this sound familiar to those of you that hate others because they are different. I got news for all of you I hope that Peace breaks out around the world. I am so proud of Our President and proud to be American.
    Have a Great Weekend Everyone and be proud to be an American. This is a Great Country and we are back where we belong, respected by the World.

    October 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. YBM

    Better if the accolades are truly earned. This country is going the same way as the roman empire and for the same reasons, only it is happening more quickly to us. At least the roman empire had a thousand years or so.

    There is something fishy about Obama. I am not a Hilary Clinton fan, but he should never have beaten her. A first term junior senator that has done nothing but vote present and campaign his time as senator, all of a sudden he is president? something strange is going on here.

    October 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Spelling Police

    It's also nice when you are able to properly spell "accolades".

    October 9, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. al in memphis

    Same old story– Clean drinking water is not news or something to talk about until it's not available. Obama did asked or campaign for this award, he was just doing his job. If other people want to recognize his approach towards world issues, then why are we gripping.
    Americans are only worthy of recognition is it the right American, same old story.

    BTW– Can we have some comments from level-headed people and not these "I want to ruffled the feather attention getters"

    October 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Dimslie

    It makes as much sense as Gore and Carter. But, Kanye West would have been a better pick.

    October 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. alvaro

    What did he do to get this onor?,

    October 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Bull

    A Cult of Personality.

    All Hail Obama, King BO

    October 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Patricia Dickson

    this is great the Republicans should know that when God is for you who can be against you you go Mr President let them eat their heart out if they have any left God is great he always lift up the humble and bring down they who exalted them selfs thank you Lord my Prayer does't go in vain ah ah Glory be to God.

    October 9, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Garth

    Ummm, someone should remind the State Department that some of our best Presidents were hit with bullets.

    October 9, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. mark

    It will be worse than shoes very shortly.

    October 9, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Mark in Atlanta

    You know what is "unclassy"? Torturing people. sending out private contractor death squads. Warrentless wiretaps. Ignoring the warnings leading up to 9/11. deciding to invade Iraq while telling the world you are working for peace. Appointing a nut-job to be Ambassador to the UN. Trying to make the US Attorny's office a branch of the Republican party.

    No wonder the world was throwing shoes at us for 6 of Bush's 8 years. no wonder the world is celebrating to see America return to her senses and lead again.

    October 9, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Lisa

    Hahaha...it's funny cuz it's true. And Bull...you're full of Bull.

    October 9, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Tracy-Oakley

    I second that – "Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum — when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes."

    October 9, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Eric

    Two words for this award: Affirmative Action. Like everything else in his life, Barry Soetoro was handed this due to his skin color, not by action or merit.

    It's ironic that a baby-killing abortionist wins the "Peace" prize, but it's named after the man that invented smokeless gunpowder and was also awarded to a murdering terrorist (Arafat). Barry Soetoro is where he belongs.

    October 9, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Lisa

    And Mr./Ms. YBM...whoa...careful there. You sound very conspiracy-theory all up in this biz....Yes, I said biz...

    October 9, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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