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. sheena - Canada

    Trust Lou Dobbs tonight to give no credit to President Obama for his Nobel Peace prize – gee – what a shock – calls himself an Independent – biggest non biased reprter ( and I use that word losely) ever televised – except for Rush – CNN – why do you even pretend to promote him as an Independent. Hope Cafferty does not fall into his realm – although must admit I have some reservations – Cafferty was the reason I kept watching CNN – thought he was unbiased – starting to wonder.

    October 9, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  2. Les

    I believe calling attention to the difference between these two presidents treatment is appropriate. Let's reflect honestly-do we want to be seen as the nation that inspires the world again, or do we prefer being received with the kind of hatred and anger demonstrated by the throwing of a shoe? Peace has been derided for so long we hardly consider it a real possibility anymore. A new way toward Peace is what President Obama embodies and represents. It is why he was awarded this honor and it honors us all for having made the leap of faith, of thought, and of courage to elect him. I know I'd rather be recognized for that than having a shoe thrown at my head- and I don't think it was a bad idea to remind us of how recently that was the case.

    October 9, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Judith in Rural NY

    I'm very proud of our President and the tone he has established in both his domestic and foreign policies, and I applaud the fact that he himself acknowledges the award as being a call to action. Let's get behind him because what's good for the world is also good for America and Americans.

    October 9, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. Give me a break

    I guess I should win too for good intentions.

    I bet he keeps the money as he has never given much to charity relative to his wealth. Easier to take from us and give to others than to walk the walk.

    October 9, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. Mo from Detroit

    Ha ha ha. More appropriately, better to have $1.4 million thrown your way than a pair of shoes.

    Most people know that it's just politics.... look it up, ALL of the people on the Nobel award panel are Norwegian politicians.

    October 9, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. mjm

    Obama getting a Noble Peace prize for things he "may" do just goes to show how irrelevant this Prize has become.

    Nobel meant for this award to go to someone who achieved great thing in the preceding year, not for future accomplishments.

    What has Obama done other than not get a shoe thrown at him?

    This almost seems as a bribe. You got the award so you must do...what? Good luck enforcing sanctions on Iran, Peace Prize Winner.

    If it turns out that he truly ends up doing nothing, and it looks like it's headed in that direction, does he have to give the award back?

    October 9, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Aviate

    If Obama walked across the Potomac River live on all the major networks, in front of a crowd of spectators on both sides of the river, the immediate GOP reaction would be "See, we told you he can't swim!"

    October 9, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Tired

    1. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican. Maybe not by the standards of the current Republican Party....but he was a Republican President.

    2. Always in the past decades we have been proud of anyone in this country receiving a Nobel Prize in any category. Suddenly it is different? I realize the committee based its vote on the hope of Obama reuniting the US with the other world democracies. When did Europe become elitist? We took in their emigrants for centuries. Most of the world is happy to see the US try to become part of the world community. It does not mean we tolerate tyrannical regimes but that we want to work together to try to make our world a better place for all. We can do better by concensus than by unilateral action. We can't police the world. It is just not possible. Our democratic friends resent it and the autocratic governments hope we will be spread too thin to do any good. If the President or any other member of the government can generate goodwill among our friends in the world...great! Why criticize it? The unreasonable hate in our country needs to end.

    October 9, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. Steve (the real one)

    'Better to be thrown accolades than shoes'??

    It is also true that it is better to be thrown a bone than shoes. Yet Congress will not toss me a bone by putting a halt to this socialist-leftist bent we're on!

    October 9, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. R U for Real? CA

    Here's a fact that may make a thoughtful person pause and think – The two groups that are most indignant about Obama winning the NPP are Al Qaeda and the GOP...

    Isn't that interesting...?!

    October 9, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Praise God!

    I praise God for President Obama receiving such an excellent honor. We pray for him all of the time and I know the world is haapier than some of the US citizens. Congratulations Mr. President on turning this nation around. I want to see my country with positive instead of negative for a change. I love my president and I hope that he does not take to heart what jealous people are saying. God bless and keep you President Obama!

    October 9, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Erika

    Come on, what the state department said was 1st true!!! 2nd in response to the statement made by the rnc and 3rd not disrespectful in anyway. It's the same ole same ole, the repubs want to throw dirt, and then when someone throws it back they cry fowl. Pathetic!!

    October 9, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Jake

    that pretty much sums it up! that's the best take i've read it on it all day!

    October 9, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Robert

    Oboy, another chance for Republicans to show how much they hate America!

    October 9, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. m smith

    The GOP have become a national disgrace. Congratulations MR President. The American people are honored to have their president recieve this award. Thanks to the rest of the world for seeing what a great President we have. We are proud of him and of America. Gop R.I.P. You are the party of discontent and liers.

    October 9, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. big papa

    To the Obama-hating terrorists...

    ...I pray you won't be heckiling our President much longer...

    ...May the rest of the world band together...

    ...to make you ALL extinct...

    October 9, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. Canadian

    To those opposed the award they can rest assured the prize didnt come from their cheque book. So they can continue cherry picking on other issues. To those celebrating the award they can atleast look up in the sky and say atleast their work no matter how minimal is not in vain. There is no work without hope

    October 9, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. John from California

    I think President Obama deserves the Noble Peace prize because he beat John McCain and Sarah Palin last November. If those two were in the White House the world would be a scary place – you betcha!

    October 9, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. isdunlap

    I am a huge supporter of the president and the democratic party as a whole. I am also from Chicago and I am proud we have a president who calls Chicago his home. However, I dont see how Obama deserves the peace prize. I also object to the obama supporters here that do believe he deserves it. The nobel peace prize is a ridiculously high honor and I believe it should go to someone who has earned it. A president who is bogged down in two wars and has done little to improve relations with enemies is not deserving even though I dont know if improving relations with some countries is possible. Again, i am a steady supporter of Obama and as liberal as they come. However, I feel embarassed as a US citizen that Obama was awarded this honor. Does anyone agree?

    October 9, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    Barack Obama does not deserve Nobel peace Price. Al Gore did not deserve it and neither Yasser Arafat. Barack Obama can dance with the nobel peace price and now he wants to give the money to charity. What kind of charity? Perhaps Accorn? Barack Obama has lots of money from his campaign. He did not even pay HIllary's bills. In any case I have least regard for Nobel Peace prize committee. If Alfred Nobel was alive today, he would make sure that above persons would never receive it. It is the mockery of peace itself. Why should they politicize this event. They are a bunch of jokers.

    October 9, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Andi

    Some of you whining act as if OUR President somehow asked for this award! And the woman who wants to 'investigate' the Nobel Committee for corruption – what do you think, that the US controls the Nobel awards? Call Parliament over in Norway and tell them you want to investigate them...hahahaha good one!

    I also am stunned that Huckabee says the left can 'explain' how OUR President, Barack Obama, merited being nominated two weeks into his Presidency....uhhh....Call Norway. We don't (and can't) explain it to you – he acts like somehow the 'left' is behind this evil deed. I can't even type anymore I am so angry! I keep thinking the GOP can't get any lower or more stupid, but they always do! I am just outraged by this BS! IT IS A NOBEL P E A C E prize! I give up.

    October 9, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. Mike O

    All this does is cheapen the previous award winners and bring to light just how little Obama has actually accomplished. Peruse the other nominees for the award and tell me that Obama belongs among them.

    October 9, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. John from California

    President Obama changed our National Priorities from the republican agenda and that deserves the Nobel Prize.

    October 9, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    Sniffit, I would agree with you, except Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican. It was in an age when Republicans were respectful and respected for giving a darn.

    October 9, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. Nina

    I believe if he had any shred of dignity or pride he would return or refuse this award. To think that they have people like the Gates' and Warren Buffet who are spending their own money to better proverty stricken countries and helping actually bring about peace yet they pick a man that has done nothing to deserve this award is disrespectful to the previous winners and to those deserving. He had someone in his pocket to win this and you could tell he was not being honest or sincere when interviewed today. He chooses to keep this award although he is not worthy. I guess he was never a military man nor believe in the code the cadets at Virginia Military Institute do. "A cadet does not lie, cheat nor steal and will not associate with those who do." You Mr. President are Cheating other well deserved people out of something that you have no right to. To have respect you must earn respect is a line I always believed in and I do not respect you Mr. President.

    October 9, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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