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. Reasonable Party

    This is just the icing on a cake that the media has been feeding us for years. We will look back on this moment and say "what the hell were we thinking". Granted, that look-back will occur after we have become so enslaved by our government that we will yearn for the 'good ole days" when we still had freedom. It's time to take our government back – campaign finance reforms and term limits for every elected official. No one should retire from elected office in America – if we truly love our country, then all of us should have a hand in how we define it – not a bunch of out of touch politicians that cower beneath corporations and special interests.

    October 9, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. anonymous

    Why do we think anyone ever liked the U.S./ We have always been the country that everyone wanted to be like.

    October 9, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Ray

    Well, since throwing shoes at someone is a huge insult and winning an award for trying to bring about international cooperation and peace is an accolade...

    What's the point here? The president was given a very prestigious award and Bush had shoes thrown at him. Makes sense.

    October 9, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. D.

    When people throw a physical object at you, you know what they mean, the risk is short term and easy to handle, when they send undeserved honor and flattery– it is highly suspicious of undue influence and meddling with your policy! Be careful, be very careful!
    Got it state department, if not handled with care, this can be very dangerous to the USA!

    The prize itself..., well, vanities..... at the end Machiavelli said "the prince is judged by his achievements, not his actions" (let alone "his non-actions)!
    So, cool down dem's and rep's, the verdict is not out yet!

    October 9, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Bill of Florida

    I think that President Obama, humble though he is, deserves the award. He has brought hope to many people around the world, and I believe he will fulfill that hope to a very great extent. He isn't perfect, but he is a great man and a great President. He's also begun to restore America's image abroad. We should be grateful that he is our President. Also, as the Commander in Chief, I think he will eventually do the job that was meant to be done in Afghanistan, get us out of Iraq, and bring out troops home victorious. Finally, I think that Barack Obama will win healthcare reform, bring us out of this terrible recession and be reelected in 2012.

    October 9, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. JD

    Show me one thing 0bama did in his first 11 days in office that's Nobel worthy and I'll withhold all criticism.

    Until such time, this award is nothing but hollow nonsense. If 0bama had a shred of decency, he'd refuse it.

    October 9, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Brian from NJ

    What an idiot! Way to take the high road, morons! This from the administration and party that claims the Republicans are treating the current President poorly but have no problem trashing the previous President, who has shown more class than the entire Obama administration combined...

    October 9, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Bull

    For all of you that would say that it is un-American to be opposed to Obama and his Cult of Personality, I say Bull.

    If standing up to a political faction and exercising my first amendment rights is un-American, then all of the DNC was un-American for 8 years under Bush.

    Get use to it. We are not going away.

    October 9, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Fed Up

    I want to know who nominated him and paid for this award.

    October 9, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. gwen

    The right will say what did he do to deserve this... I say he inspired a world to be greater, better.... he opened doors that were once slammed in our face due to a cowboy tyrant who played bully on the playground. ... give him time...and even if you don't like him how can you argue with wanting a better world, a more peaceful world that embraces diplomacy rather than arrogance.

    October 9, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Zap

    Wow! I am amazed that many can't see past politics! Does patriotism mean anything any more? A Million negative comments I have seen, pictures of right wing propaganda, applauding the loss of the Olympics, states wanting to secede from the Union, US Senators holding meetings with foreign countries advising them not to believe anything the US tells them.

    The one nation under God thrown aside for politics! Why? The only change different from the past.... a black man is now POTUS.

    October 9, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. donttreadonme

    Unfortunately he has forgotten that he is the President of the USA not the world. What will they say when he sends more troops into Afghanistan?

    Will we give up our sovereignty for the benefit our “being respected” around the world?

    October 9, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. John

    Bush Should be in Jail.

    October 9, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Mary in AZ

    I am very dissappointed in the Republicans. Presently I would not vote for any Republicans.

    October 9, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. John

    Cheney Should be in Jail

    October 9, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Farrell in Houston

    Republicans need to stop throwing stones at our President Obama over the Noble Peace Prize when in fact it was their George W. Bush who did nothing for peace. Republicans, cast your anger where it belongs, in fact you can find it in Austin, Tx.

    October 9, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. donttreadonme

    Will we give up our sovereignty for the benefit our “being respected” around the world?

    October 9, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. KG

    Just imagine the backlash if he had actually won the Olympics. At least this one wouldn't cost us a dime (and actually gains some charity money). The "honor" of the Olympics would be an unnecessary economic drain.

    October 9, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. mark

    Accolades are easy when you do nothing and promise everything.
    Shoes come later.

    October 9, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Angela TX

    Republicans are just jealous and envious of Obama Whitehouse. Think about it, Republicans had a president the world despised and Democrat has a president the world loves and admires. No brainer

    October 9, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Last, I think simply the point that the DOS makes is that Obama has done MUCH to improve international relations...not just the way that America interacts with other countries around the world...but the way that we are _perceived_ around the world. And I know the typical arrogant American response is to say, "I don't give a crap what the world thinks of me!" but that's a sadly tragic attitude to have and it's been America's biggest character flaw for ages. As to the cynical thinking that has had no measure of silence ever since this man took office....how wasteful of one's time & energy. How very easy it is to be cynical than it is to risk supporting something outside of what you *think* you know. What does it say about Americans that it is a country who is perhaps the hardest to motivate to do anything besides complain, whine, and engage in negative & distrustful thinking? I believe America can be better than that. I wish Americans believed it too.

    October 9, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Kim in Atlanta

    You would think that despite all of our political differences, we could come together and be happy that our president was bestowed this honorable award.

    It is an absolute shame that this country has become so bitter and divided. What a great example of unity – we have become – to the rest of the world.........

    October 9, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Mike

    It's Ashame How Un American the GOP is they have not tried to help this COuntry or this President whom by the way GOP He's and AMERICAN!!!! so you snubbed your own people!!! You are the Bigots in America!!! YOu GOP are the Communist for America!!! Because you continue to cause Kaos and Fuel Hatred.........and Have NO SOLUTIONS TO RESOLVING THE MESS YOU CAUSED DURING YOUR 8 YEAR RULE........YOU SHOULD ALL BURN IN HELL!!!

    October 9, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Soumaya

    This award honor me and my family as American and I am PROUD of my President!
    The world shows us respect and honor us all with that Award!

    I just want to say: Thank you Mr. President and congratulation on your WELL deserved Award!

    October 9, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Linda C in Cal

    Pathetic comment by the State Dept.! It looks like the Dems are working for the citizens of the world, not the US citizens...SAD!

    October 9, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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