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. FactCheck

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

    He was nominated after his first 11 days. The prize was awarded 6 months later. What part of common logic do you Republican wing-nuts have a problem with? Oh yeah, all of it.

    October 9, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Wade

    I would like to see the list of the other 204 nominees and see what they contributed to the world.
    I bet they actually achieved some of their goals.

    October 9, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. David

    The state department statement is a logically fallacious argument: the shoe thrower and the award thrower are not the same entity.

    Maybe getting a shoe from such a low life is no worse than getting an award from people who see a weakness in someone or some way and think they can mold the US policies in their preferred structure and then they apply "influence" that should normally be unwelcome.

    I am not talking the president here (it is not a personal issue) but "false flattery" by some political circles (Europe liberal politicians who may have unknown motives) should not be mixed with "vicious hatred" by others (a person educated in anti-Americanism from birth by local dictators). Somehow the comparison is not in place. I'd rather be hated by a useless person for America's achievements than be loved and coerced by someone who can influence the nation's course and steer it in the wrong way.

    October 9, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. catmom

    It is amazing listening to Obama haters with all of their rants and rages over the fact that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. They whine because they say he hasn't done anything but then some say he is trying to do to much. They say he hasn't accomplished anything but completely dismiss the fact that he beat out a number of candidates who had much more experience than he did and he didn't need the Supreme Court to do it to become the first African American President in a still racist country. They diminish the Olympics and the Nobel Peace Prize, other countries and their leaders and the committees, why, because they hate President Obama. They are more than willing to see our country fail as long as Obama fails. AND they have the nerve to talk about President Obama ???!!!!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Liberal4Obama

    LOL... Another quick reminder George W Bush and the GOP disgraced America.

    October 9, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Kirsten

    interesting how no one is commenting on what Mike Huckabee said. Yet thy]eyre still going out of their way to bash the Republicans. If anything they should be thanking Mike for being classy and NOT insulting the president. And then do what Mike said. Give details on WHY the President deserved this 11 days into his presidency
    (compared to other presidents) WITHOUT insulting anyone. Just use clean, hard facts.

    I know Mikes asking alot, but please, all you who are Democrats, at least TRY.

    October 9, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. jr

    soon we forget Bush=8 years Obama=10 months. look at the Dow folks, I think he is doing a great job considering. Some republicans are simply racist/unamerican slugs who need to be wiped off the scene.

    October 9, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. Stephee

    Not sure about the remark from Hillary.
    As for the Nobel Prize, Congrats to our President. I was surprised and laughed when I heard President Obama won. I guess the nomination was an early Christmas present?

    Either way, he got it and deserves it. Yes he probably didn't do much (at least planned before things are done), but I think it's the effort he puts in doing his best as President of the United States. Whether people think he deserves it or not, trying your best does pay off.

    October 9, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  9. Terry, TX

    Nobody deserves a 1.4 million dollar award....after being nominated 12 days being president.....Sorry that's obscene.

    October 9, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    How to tell if you are a "True American" according to the GOP: When America loses out on a chance to host the Olympic Games you cheer and celebrate. When America's President wins one of the most prestigious awards in the world, you rant, rave and scream like toddlers who need a nap.

    October 9, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Wade

    Sniffit
    The US has seen 5 presidents get the Nobel….ALL DEMOCRATS; that tells you something:
    --------------------------------
    4, Gore does not count.

    It tells you that the Nobel Committee has a left leaning bias.
    It tells you that they do take into account the politics of the nominee in their decision making process.
    This makes the award meaningless in that it fails to recognize people like Ronald Reagan who did more to end of the cold war than Gorbechev did.
    But Gorby is the Socialist, so he gets the award.

    October 9, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Nathan D. from CA.

    I think a lot of people who suggest President Obama didn't deserve this award need to look back at what he's accomplished during his lifetime so far, and not just during his presidency. You may still not agree that he should have gotten this award, but at least you'll have a better understanding for just how much work Obama's done for our country, for international relations, and for peace up to now.
    President Obama – my deepest congratulations on your nobel peace prize. You have worked tirelessly in your first 9 months as President to help turn this country around, and I believe there is still much that you and we will accomplish together as Americans. Don't listen to the haters, they're just afraid of real change.

    October 9, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. sheena - Canada

    donttreadonme

    the US hasn't had sovereignty in the World for years – so – yes respected would be a good thing.
    Amazing the difference between how the US viewed itself the last 8 years and how the World viewed it.

    October 9, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Russell

    Congrats to our new President, a statesman, pragmatist, intellectual and all-round good human being. This is a new era for America....moving from one where isolationism reigned to one where multilateralism is the order of the day.

    You have my unyielding loyalty and commitment as a citizen of this wonderful nation. This from a newer immigrant who wants to keep this country the decent place it is for citizens of all nations who abide by its laws and have freedoms available nowhere else on earth!

    October 9, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. RanDe from SoCal

    Wow I always thought you had to do something worthwhile to get the noble peace prize. This kind of cheapen it.

    October 9, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Sharon

    I just like President Obama. I like how he loves his wife, I like how he smiles with his big ears, I like the father he is. I like that he has tried to live up to his campaign promises.. Heathcare was one of them.. remember.. I like that he can multi-task.. and still get in a game of basketball. Oh I recognize that he has made errors.. but I still like him. Am I surprised he got the Nobel Peace Prize.. Yes!!!! Is he surprised he got it? Yes!!! Why is it so difficult to just stand behind him and support him in these extraordinary difficult times. He is the President of this Country for 4 years get over it and do something to contribute to this country instead of the immature bashing that goes on daily.

    October 9, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. Barbara - a Canadian Perspective

    I heartily congratulate the American people on the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to your President.

    Some of you need to look at this, outside of the boiling pot of politics which is now your political norm.

    President Obama's Cairo speech was inspiring – setting a new tone of encouragement and respect to the rest of us who inhabit this globe. His actions since that speech legitimize his intention to live up to that new perspective.

    He has re-energized the United Nations.

    He has engaged the world in conversation and enthusiasm that maybe, just maybe we can come together in a more cohesive group of humane peoples.

    He has rejuveniated the positive image of your nation.

    Be proud of your President!

    BTW, note that BOTH Hamas and Israel endorse this selection!

    October 9, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Tim Whiting

    An award that epitomizes brilliance and creativity.
    Good job, President Obama!
    I am looking foward to another 4 years.
    God bless America!

    October 9, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Last laugh

    Congratulations Mr. President. I personally do not care what the haters have to say. I am proud to finally have the world gaining lost respect and admiration for America again. The party of no and the right will continue to be the laughing stock of the world. Their group is getting smaller and very easy to pick out. Ha, ha!

    October 9, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. Paul H

    This is agenda driven by a secular progressive group on unknowns and shady characters in back room meetings. Obama still really hasn't done anything yet. Except travel around the world on the apology tour, and try to push bills through congress that still haven't even passed yet.
    This doesn't really look that great for Obama, and it's a black eye on the Nobel Prize it self.
    This committee is a joke, and a laughing stock.

    October 9, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Liberals are Hypocrites

    This is an award from one socialist country (Sweden) to what it hopes will be another. In your dreams, Sweden!

    October 9, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Timothy Lewis Whiting, COACHELLA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

    An award that epitomizes brilliance and creativity.
    Good job, President Obama!
    I am looking foward to another 4 years.
    God bless America!

    October 9, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. Joe

    the shoes comment is tacky. he's gone, let it go.

    October 9, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  24. wbn

    The Dems don't like the conservative criticism of Obama, but they quickly forgot the vitriol Democratic leaders, TV talk show hosts, and other libs poured out on Bush for eight years. The state department is as unprofessional in its comment about the "shoes" as President is when he whines publicly about Rush Limbaugh. I wish the division in America was not so deep and mean-spirited, but liberals sowed for this throughout Bush's tenure.

    October 9, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  25. They call me "tater salad"

    Ladies and gentlemen, The President of the United States of America....Barack Obama!!!!! That never get's old! In fact I could listen to that all day and not get tired of it! No matter what happens or what is said about him, this man is just as, if not more, a historical American figure than George Washington himself! He belongs on Mount Rushmore! Isn't it a pity that you inferior,Republican, halfwits, will never be able to change that? Awwww, duzums have a boo boo! Here's a tissue! WAH!!!!

    October 9, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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