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. johnnie w

    the republicans have no CLASS and as i have said .the GOP and RNC and the Republican Party are ABYSS, they are the MOST HATEFULL and just PLAIN DONE, no RESPECT for our GREAT PRESIDENT. Congrats President Obama, you have LIFTED our MORALE, in this GREAT COUNTRY, America the BEAUTIFULL......

    October 9, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. maripil

    The republicans are at it again!! They have no shame in dismissing such a prestigious award. They are just the party of NO!!

    Biggest congratulations to our president, Barack Obama!!

    October 9, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. kermit

    Let's see...nominations closed February 1st....giving Obama just 11 days in office.

    It nice to see that we have disencumbered ourselves from the awkward obligation of accomplishment and have risen to the lofty standards of wishful thinking.

    October 9, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. They call me "tater salad"

    Some right wing, no job, system milker, will probably turn off Springer and put down the ole crack pipe just long enough to make a stupid comment about all of this! Just wait......you know it's coming! It's not a matter of if but, when!

    October 9, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. triana

    Stop hating and let him do his job. We are all American and who's to say who belongs in this country. All of our ancestors came to this country in a boat. Stop the hating.
    Congrats Mr. President

    October 9, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. NSmith

    The likely explanation bhind the award is that it was given more to insult Bush than to honor Obama- and in that case it was very richly deserved.

    And Sniffit, the Roosevelt who won the prize was republican Teddy, not FDR. So what that tells me, is that Obama's critics tend to be not only paranoid, but ignorant too.

    October 9, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Todd (not the Alaska Separatist)

    Congratulations President Obama. And suck it up Team Hate America.

    October 9, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    I would expect nothing less from Hillary Clinton on this. She has nothin to offer and usually proves that whenever she speaks.

    October 9, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. me

    Big congratulations to president Obama!

    This prize is given for reason. People respect it.

    October 9, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Barbara, FL

    Seems to me that true Patriots (as opposed the the Tea Party whiners) are proud of their country and accomplishments of their leaders. Yes, this was probably knee jerk on the part of the Nobel committee, but it just goes to show how much GWB damaged this country in the 8 years of his presidency.

    October 9, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Julie

    Congratulations to President Obama and to the American people who elected a man who seeks diplomacy before war. I think that the contrast between him and the former president and vice president is recognized across the world and by leaders of the world. His expectations are that nations and people will work together for common goals and for the common good and when they don't and Americans are in danger, he will deal with that as needed.

    October 9, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Phoenix

    Congratuations Mr. President. keep up the great work. And for all you jealous haters out there, all I can say for you is, good luck with the Prozac. The POTUS has got a lot more accolades and accomplishments coming. He's a distance runner. I suggest you get a hair cut to avoid tearing your hair out or you can invest in Pepto Bismol to help with those stomach aches.

    Can't under stand why anyone would find fault in the USA having a postive International image...................oh thats right because you absolutley loath the guy running the show in the US....pitiful.

    October 9, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. The Essesntial Republican

    It is absolutely terrible that the U.S. no longer has a president that is hated by the rest of the world. Being loved and respected by foreigners is a sure sign that we are on our way to Armegeddon. A pox on peacemonger Obama!

    October 9, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Le Docteur

    When others won the Nobel Peace Prize, there is no such question: "Did he deserve it?" Why when it comes to our President Obama such question is asked? Yes, he deserves it. Congratulations my President, you had made history and continue to do so.
    It's time for people in America to be united to help the President resolve or ameliorate the existed problems he inherited.

    Le Docteur

    October 9, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

    To those who ask what Obama did before the deadline that was Nobel worthy, I would point to ending the illegal use of torture, for one.

    Now. For the grownups who really want to discuss this rationally (as opposed to the bigots and sociopaths and other emotionally stunted people who immediately hate everything even remotely Obama-related as a knee-jerk reaction), I can see arguments that the award is premature, but it looks like the Nobel committee did here what they did in awarding the prize to Willy Brandt for his policy of Ostpolitik. They recognized that while the gains are yet few, the field has been well sown and the harvest may be great.

    It is worth remembering that the Nobel is an international award, not an exclusively American one.

    Oh, and to the moron below who says only Democrats have won the Nobel Peace Prize: the Roosevelt you name was Teddy, not Franklin: a Republican. Also, Republican Vice-President Charles Dawes won in 1925.

    Yet another wingnut fails at grasping reality...

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

    Congratulations Mr. President

    I believe how the Republicans are acting. Domestically or Internationally, we are most violent country in the world and when we become civilized like our president may be we will not have to worry about Terrorist and our economy. You wonder why corporations are shipping jobs overseas, look at the mentality of workforce. NEGATIVITY ALL DAY LONG!!!

    October 9, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    who was the last Republican to win this award? I'm not really sure but maybe they should have given it to Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber. The right wing opposition to President Obama is just as plain as the nose on a face. Had he been up for this award and NOT won it, then the right would have attacked him for not being good enough. They are just sore losers and it shows more and more everyday.

    October 9, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Dave R. Pawleys Island, SC

    The best thing that these negative comments can do is to drive many Republicans to vote for Obama in 2012. That would go along way in telling the rest of us that they are not as stupid as they currently sound.

    October 9, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Linda C in Cal

    The gasp of disbelieve from the people sitting in the room when they announced BO was the winner of the NPP... PRICELESS!

    October 9, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. m jeff

    When was the last time a Republican won the Nobel Peace Prize, they are too selfish, too greedy,and too violent.

    October 9, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. mw

    Huckabee is first to act like a crybaby. The neocons are so jealous we have such a smart and popular president.
    Would you repugs prefer limpboy, crybecky, or chaney, bushy, hannity???????????????????????????????????????????
    Nut cases-all you negative whiny repugs.

    October 9, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. Lynda

    Every time the Republicans open their mouths they show America and the World what poor losers they are, what total idiots they are and how filled with Hate they are.......nothing this President can do would ever be good enough to receive any decent remarks from the Republican Party.....We should all be Proud that an American won this Great Award.......

    October 9, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. Hmmmm.

    President Obama may someday deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but receiving it now had nothing to do with merit and therefore degrades NPP. Why? Simply because he was nominated 2 weeks after he became President. The committee has chosen to participate in the building up of our President in hopes that it would both obligate him to a course of foreign policy which meets with their approval and arm him with credentials that could assist him eventually achieving success. Does he deserve the award? Of course not...at least not according to the official criteria by which the committee is supposed to consider candidates. The real question is whether the NPP should be used as a foreign policy engineering tool. I'm not comfortable with that, and I think the Norwegians will likely pay an embarrassing price for having used the NPP in that way.

    October 9, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. ib

    First hyprocrite Gore wins and now Obama. What a joke the nobel price has become. Nothing more than politics anymore.

    October 9, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Enough

    Let's just diminish the meaning of a Nobel Peace prize. To hand it out like candy on halloween to someone who has NOT earned it is wrong. Obama has spoken nice words, but there is nothing except nice words. Bit premature, this should not be handed out until something is accomplished. Credibility is lost when it is for effort and not accomplishments

    October 9, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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