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. Frances

    awaiting moderationbyCNN.. Bush was the candidate who was handed the election by the Republican witch from FL. Al Gore won. If you want to talk about a fraudulent idiot I suggest you look in the mirror for your conversation as one will be looking back at you. What a freak.

    October 9, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. jd

    I am not so sure it is better than having shoes thrown at you, if the shoes are thrown by Islamic extremists. This president just wants to be loved at any cost to his country–even if it means he has to go around the world trash talking America to gain favor with all those third rate countries that regularly come whining to America when they need help.

    October 9, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Linda C in Cal

    I think it's time for an investigation on the Nobel Prize Committee for corruption. There is no way an empty suit like Obama can get such a (formerly) prestigious award without some 'quid pro quo' going on.

    October 9, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. Mary in AZ

    Congratulations Mr. President.

    October 9, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Me

    That's the administration in a nutshell: CLASSLESS.

    October 9, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Deb

    I think this is wonderful. It is amazing at how many people out there must be warmongers. I for one like peace. Obama may not get peace but at least he is willing to try. Congrats Mr. President!!

    October 9, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. Nuwan Samaranayake

    First of all, he didnt ask for this award. As all we are he is suprised by it too. Secondly, US has no say in that prize as it is decided by an independent group of people called Nobel committee.

    So in essence it is basically a decision to honor our president by a body outside of US. And I completely agree with the State Department. For past 8 years, the best those republican cry babies could produce was a president who was treated with shoes. It is a honor that this president has changed that global attitude towards US. I would rather like to see my president is treated with a prestigious prize like Nobel Peace Prize rather than a shoe from a journalist. That means something and every American who loves its country must be proud about it.

    October 9, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Mike

    HIllary's comment is just another example of why so many Americans don't trust her and won't vote for her when she considers another run in 2016 (if not 2012). Not only does she belittle a former President who otherwise would have nothing to do with this article, but it also diminishes her rival's ... I mean boss' ... accomplishment. It's almost like saying "He didn't deserve it, but it's better than ..."

    By the way, I don't like GWB or Obama. I don't think Obama deserves the award. Appeasement never works creates lasting peace. And I think peace, by itself, is a worthless goal. Peace didn't found the longest standing democracy on Earth. Peace didn't free the slaves of the southern U.S. Peace didn't stop the Holocaust or Japan's rape of China. Peace didn't bring down the Berlin Wall (although, it is our great fortune that WW3 was averted).

    As long as there are dictators and oppressive governments there will either be enslavement or war. Which would you rather have?

    October 9, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. republicans hate america

    the rush limbaugh party prefer america fail and have the whole world hate us rather than win peace recognitions.

    October 9, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Denis

    Seems as if Republicans see more value in the shoes because their administration, had to take a hike out of office
    after they lost in nov 2008.

    October 9, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. Tom

    Bull....people like you always go away. From the Civil Rights, to Women's Lib, to Germany, to Gay Rights.....naysayers like you always get stomped on by positive change. Best that YOU get used to it.

    October 9, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. John

    Ask yourself why Democratic Presidents/Vice-Presidents win Nobel Peace Prizes (Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Obama) and Republican's are thought of as War Criminals. Republicans and their supporters should wake up. Is this the way you want to be remembered. Really.

    At least I'm on the CORRECT side of history and I am very proud to say so..

    October 9, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. johnken

    Unfortunately, GOP today and only today now knows that OBAMA has only spend two weeks in office as collaborated by HUCKABEE just because he won an award. but when it comes to MR PRESIDENT doing his job and fixing things, they portray him as if he has spend eternity in the office. most annoying is that they readily forgot how we got to the issue of the bogus debt!!!-BUSH &CO and all they want is for this guy with all his VISION for AMERICA to sit down and continue to clean the mess created by BUSH. i consider GOP supporters dummies because in the eyes of the world, OBAMA is at the top of his game and posterity will judge him not those GOP FOOLS!!!.

    October 9, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Alan

    I just knew the same people who would rejoice at our country NOT getting the Olympics would be screaming bloody murder about our country getting this award.

    Idiots. And anyone who listens to or follows them - idiots, too. I won't go so far as GW did repeatedly and call you un-American because you're obviously "agin' us," since it's clear you're not FOR us.

    But you sure SOUND like it.

    October 9, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "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."

    That's interesting...you know...seeing as how that's not at all what came out of the mouths of the Nobel Prize Committee that decided to award him the Peace Prize. They awarded it specifically for what they feel he has done, his effect on the global community, his visions and plans and actions...i.e., all of which define who he IS as a person. I tend to think they know better why they gave it to him than you or I or the myriad bobbleheads who have chimed in on the subject all day just to keep the "controversy" going for ratings purposes.

    October 9, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    LOL throwing shoes. I guess going into Iraq was worth it; just to see someone throw something at Bush!

    October 9, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. tien

    right give a peace award to someone who is continuing the Bush policies we all hated.

    At Bush was honest about it.

    October 9, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Confused

    Come on folks, can't some of you be happy for OUR President for anything? This reflects on positively on the entire country. Why some people can't be happy for that I don't understand.

    October 9, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. HouseDiva

    after putting up with Bush for 8 years....America deserves an award.

    October 9, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Patricia Gauger

    I have to say congradulations Mr. President, but, sorry to see and hear the Republican response. However, it doesn't surprise me in the lease. Every year the partisan BS just gets worse. Here's hoping both parties get a reality check before the next election. Again, congradulations, Mr. President. I am very proud that you won this award and also proud to be an American.

    Sincerely, Gladdyonthehill, Hampstead, MD

    October 9, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Marie Laveaux

    What a great line, I love it! And, JD, the guy who threw his shoes was not an Islamic extremist. He, like many Iraqis and people around the world, didn't like Bush's policies and the fact that he ordered a full-scale invasion of his country. For the record, I was horrified at the news that this was done to Bush, even though I didn't vote for him or like him. Like a true American, I have respect for the office.

    October 9, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Bill

    I get it: The (formerly prestigous) Nobel Committee was short on funds and George Soros had a few hundred million to spare.

    October 9, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    As each passing day shows, from the elation about losing the bid for the 2016 Olympics to trash-talking the President when he gets honored by the Nobel Foundation, the GOP has only one concern:

    They want power and money. They care about that more than anything, including our country and the people they supposedly represent.

    You'd think that after 8 disastrous years of Cheney/Bush policies, two ill-conceived wars, global financial collapse, incredible incompetence from ignoring a briefing entitled, "Al Qaeda Determined To Attack the US Using Airplanes" to appointing a horse show judge to head FEMA – you'd think that more people would have woken up to the fact that the GOP and their lackeys don't give a flying rat's derriere about anyone but themselves and their cronies!

    October 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. g-girl

    Well, this is one way to make republicans go "green". Small people show their true colors when their ideas are trumped by another individual's hopes of peace and honor for all peoples. I'm proud of Pres. Obama's endeavors, and happy to see him recognized for them.

    October 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Sniff This

    The US has seen 5 presidents get the Nobel….ALL DEMOCRATS; that tells you something:

    Obama
    Gore (yeah I'm counting him)
    Carter
    Wilson
    Roosevelt
    -----------------------------
    @Sniffit
    You're wrong, birdbrain. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican.

    October 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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