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. Phil

    Like it or not George W. Bush was the president of the United States. He deserves just as much respect as our current President, Barack Obama, like him or not. It's respect for the position, not the person or the person's position on issues. The reference to shoe throwing by the State Department is yet another disrespectful comment toward the prior administration (it didn't need to be brought up). It is very difficult to respect those who have no respect for others.

    October 9, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. indie voter

    P.S. This us (U.S.) against them attitude is not very Christian, at all.

    October 9, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    The Republicans' take on the award really shows that the brains of anyone associated with the GOP carry them (to be politically polite) in their back pockets....well maybe a little closer to the center rear.

    October 9, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Linda

    GOSH people, Obama did not seek this Award. People Around the world see us in a New and Better Light because of his Presidency. The Hope he brings, the Kind of world he wants for all our children and to inspire people to work together to bring about these changes. The Commitee stated the award was for encouraging President Obama in his Goals. The World is now watching and ready for America to lead again and this is how we act. God Help This Country

    October 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. jon

    With all the truly deserving peace makers and humanitarians in the world, it's a shame that the Nobel committee has destroyed the integrity of this award through such a blatantly obvious political move. It's shameless.

    October 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. Andrea

    Bravo Mr. Presenent! It looks like patritism is comming from the outside in.

    October 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. malclave

    This is hilarious. You're telling me that lefties actualyl think Obama has done something to DESERVE this?

    Face it... Norway wanted to give him an award, they knew that he's too much of a wimp to ever earn one on his own, so they give him one now for showing up.

    October 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Tanya

    I believe that the Nobel Prize award to Obama signals the return of hope and the potential of peace. He has done a great deal to restore some respect for the U. S.

    That said, he has not yet made good on promises to get out of Iraq, although he voted against the war as a Senator. And, Afghanistan will be his Waterloo, if other strategies are not used to deal with Al Queda and other terrorists. A worldwide coalition of intelligence, and, strategic placement of troops might be the answer.

    If Obama continues with current strategy, he will not be better than Bush, other than NOT choosing to invade Iraq in the first place. I'm hopeful, I want this Presidency to succeed.

    And, for obsessive Hillary haters, it's time to get a life. her comment was right on and aimed at Republicans. It speaks of respect for Obama vs the disdain shown for Bush.

    October 9, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Minnesotan

    Funny how the conservatives laud the loss of the Olympics and condemn this award. They don't seem to have anything to offer America other than complaints and negativity, much like the Taliban and bin Laden. I guess terrorists, conservatives and hate-mongers can all crowd together and wish for America to fail.

    October 9, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Objective Thinking

    Mark in Atlanta: I agree that Bush was a horrible president. Now explain to me how this statement from the State Department does anything to solve those problems you described?

    Obama did the right thing by campaigning for the presidency, winning it, and working to clean up Bush's mess. THAT actually solves the problems Bush created.

    This statement from the State Department does nothing to solve the problems Bush created. If you disagree, show me how this statement helps solve those problems.

    October 9, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. Fred, OR

    The Committee said they gave the award to President Obama because of this leadership in the "climate of change". They are right; the country stunk to high heaven while Bush was in office. It took President Obama to go into the Oval Office and fumigate the place to give us back our credibility in the world. Apparently the world recognizes that. Everyone does, except the clowns calling themselves Republicans. In reality they are Rush's ditto deads.

    October 9, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. David

    I suppose we should not begrudge Barack Obama his Nobel Peace Prize, though it represents a radical break in tradition, since he's only had slightly less than nine months to discharge his imperial duties, most concretely through the agency of high explosives in the Hindu Kush whereas as laureates like Henry Kissinger had been diligently slaughtering people across the world for years.

    Woodrow Wilson, the liberal imperialist with whom Obama bears some marked affinities, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919, having brought America into the carnage of the First World War. The peace laureate president who preceded him was Teddy Roosevelt, who got the prize in 1906 as reward for sponsorship of the Spanish-American war and ardent bloodletting in the Philippines.

    TR was given the peace prize not long after he’d displayed his boundless compassion for humanity by sponsoring an exhibition of Filipino “monkey men” in the 1904 St Louis World Fair as “the missing link” in the evolution of Man from ape to Aryan, and thus in sore need of assimilation, forcible if necessary, to the American way. On receipt of the prize, Roosevelt promptly dispatched the Great White Fleet (sixteen U.S. Navy ships of the Atlantic Fleet including four battleships) on a worldwide tour to display Uncle Sam’s imperial credentials, anticipating by scarce more than a century, Obama’s award, as he prepares to impose Pax Americana on the Hindukush and portions of Pakistan.

    We should allow Obama the opportunity to prove himself worthy of the other presidents who have won the award by giving him the time necessary to make sure plenty of people suffer and die, just as these other presidents have done. Go get-em Obama!!!!

    October 9, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. proud dem in nc

    How many Repubs have won this award? zero... count them ...zero. They are so jealous of Obama. Congrats Mr. President. You go Hillary!!! Though I don't agree with the shoe thrower, Bush created a HUGE mess with his "with us or against us remark" and now Obama has to try and repair the damage. Don't worry Repubs, if there were an award for hate mongering bigots, you'd receive it hands down. Quit your whining and start offering solutions. Health reform WILL pass and there's nothing you or the special interests can do about it. Losers.!!!

    October 9, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. New Age Independent

    The Nobel prize should be given out for great accomplishments. Just what has he done to win the Nobel Peace prize? NOTHING! Dont give me this "he provides hope" garbage, because that is a load of crap. Has be brokered some monumental peace treaty? NO! Has he stopped wars?? NO! The Nobel prize just isnt what it used to be. Next week check your Cracker Jack boxes, I'm sure you can get one of your own.

    Oh, and "Mike", you need to seriously get some mental help. You have quite the delusion going on there.

    October 9, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. malclave

    "iffit October 9th, 2009 5:42 pm ET

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

    Yeah... that the Nobel Peace Prize is a joke given for politically partisan reasons.

    And Gore was never President.

    October 9, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Byron

    I'd actually like to see more shoes getting thrown at republicans than Obama receiving awards... Awards are nice, sure... but shoes thrown at republicans is funnier

    October 9, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. indie voter

    Looks like Republicans and Iranian leaders are in agreement, great bed fellows-

    Attributing Mr Obama's win to his "star power", Mr Steele said it was "unfortunate" he "outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights".

    Iran's foreign minister said the decision to give the award was taken too "hastily".

    "A good timing for the award would be when US troops have pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq and the United States is standing up for the rights of the Palestinian people," Manouchehr Mottaki told the Mehr news agency.

    October 9, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. Jessica, TX

    I agree with Patricia. Don't mess with God. He said you trash this president for doing what he could do to get the Olympics in America, I've got something for you. I'm going to award him the Nobel Peace Prize for the "climate of change" in the world.

    Unfortunately the "climate of change" in America is a different story. We have bozos being paid to attack the president on a daily basis, and ditto heads saying "duh, ditto". But the president is doing a good job in spite of the clowns.

    Congratulations Mr. President, we are with you, all the way.

    October 9, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Luke Brown

    GOP has been spinning the media since before dawn today to denigrate Nobel Prize for our country's President. They should be proud of this, and not try to politicize it.

    In their eyes there is nothing Obama can do right, and they won't be happy until they get a white guy in there to take his place.

    October 9, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. shelly

    You would think that he did something bad like started a war or banned all white sheets or something, yet all he did was graciously accepted an award that was bestowed on him. So far everything that has been associated with him good or bad has been criticized.

    October 9, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Tony Owusu

    Linda C in Cal obviously doesn't realize that what the US does affects the whole world. Maybe she should turn off FOX News for once and actually see what is going on in the world.

    Do you think THE WHOLE WORLD would have rejoiced the way it did if that Warmonger John McCain and his I can see Russia from my house sidekick had won the Presidency..I doubt it. I would have given this planet less than two years to keep existing with them in power and in control of the Nukes.

    People like Linda C hate Obama no matter what. He could get rid of the deficit and she would still complain.

    The Republicans..are THE DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE!!!. Hate,Fear,racism,division,etc etc etc.

    This award is good for America but your still mad..it just shows what kind of person you and your sheep are.

    October 9, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. maripil

    Pres. Obama deserves the biggest award the international community can award. He has earned the respect of all the nations around the world. The Republicans will never show appreciation to anything President Obama achieves, whether here or abroad. They are just the party of NO, sheer recklessness and evil doing!!! The Republicans and the Talibans are one and the same, have no shame and will dismiss any prestigious award or honor our president receives.

    October 9, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Obeah

    To not be a war monger like the last President, is all it took.
    WAY TO GO MR. PRESIDENT!!

    October 9, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Heart Hillary

    One of the best and most hilarious jabs I've heard in a long while. Bravo, Hillary.

    October 9, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. retired military public affiairs officer

    Statements such as this political appointee's shoe throwing quip certainly make the case for our professional diplomatic corps. I'm sure many of them cringed and mourned the lost opportunity for positive spin.

    October 9, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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