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. Jane/Seattle

    Good indirect way to get this jab in at the Bush Crime Family (Mike Malloy). They richly deserve shoes and a good stint at The Hague (World Criminal Court) for their multiple crimes against Humanity and this Earth. Remember New Orleans? So many millions still suffering all ovwer this world due to these heinous Crimes for MONEY! Democrats and Eric Holder, where are you? You are the ones who took the oaths to uphold this Constitution. Why do the poor go to your contractor prisons while the rich get to take another vacation? Get with upholding our Laws!

    October 9, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. tom

    Was that shoe thrower really an Islamic extremist?

    October 9, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. RCB

    Evidently somebody feels he deserves this. If it's there and they're willing to honor him – so be it. Rather than complaining, the GOP needs to re-build itself to be taken seriously by the MAJORITY of the people who elected him and citizens of the world. Face it – today's Republican Party is a pathetic shell of what it once was. I don't dislike or hate Republicans as a rule – I just pity them.

    Here's a start: Don't tear into health care reform. Just come up with a better idea if you can.

    October 9, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. TH

    The Olympic commite felt sorry for the uSA as does the rest of the world, therefore they gave the Nobel to the world loser. He will go down with the rest of the ignorant democrats.

    October 9, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. John,Black Hills/SD

    The republicans who criticize President Obama really need to pull their heads out of their rear-ends, the air is better out here, and you can actually absorb reality when your nose isn't tucked inside your colon. I read the criticisms in the comments, and I would ask the writers to read their own comments because they whine without saying anything specific. That's the republicans problem, they have no idea what they're complaining about. Tokenism...socialism...fishy...what are you idiots talking about. How embarrassing.

    October 9, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. bob in LA

    Great line! you go Hillary!

    October 9, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. independent

    The Party of No, the Republican, the GOP knows no limit. Our President has won the recognition of the World for his efforts toward world peace, and the Republicans complain. This is worse than their applause of Chicago's loss of their Olympic bid. The GOP is a disgrace to America and all Americans.

    October 9, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Jenni

    Those of you bellyaching about this are idiots. We FINALLY have a reason to be proud of our leader, after eight years of being embarrassed in front of the rest of the world. Give your President the credit he is due. Congratulations Mr. President!

    October 9, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Jay T.

    Fantastic line. I'll be laughing at that all week. Come on, Repubs, spin that!

    October 9, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. frank from Az

    I agree with the statement that the State Department should not have referenced the shoe incident. And I agree that with valid critiques such as motivational vs results. But people like Linda C scare me. As a veteran who fought for this country, I learned to respect the offlice of the president, no matter who is in there. Because who is in there is there by the will of the people, which is our democratic process. We should be proud that the world recognizes us as the leader that we are. For those that feel the same as the Taliban and Alqaida seems to hate this man more than they love their country.

    October 9, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. nance

    Way to go President Obama! Your continued success on the world stage makes us PROUD to be Americans again. I haven't felt proud in a long time. Disregard all the negatives....you make us feel POSITIVE!

    October 9, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. What The Prez Sez

    Ignorant hateful rants from run amuck right wing nuts deserves the response they received. Bravo Madam Secretary. Bawhahaha.

    October 9, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Wakeup Call

    The number of nutcases that we have in America and around the world is truly amazing. Fanatics, eagerly willing to abandon their free will and bind themselves in service to another.

    Elevating a man to Sainthood, falling in line to worship him as though he himself were the Chosen One, the Anointed One, the One We have all waited for !

    Instead we should be elevating each other not an individual. Elevate the individual and you will give him power over you.

    Wakeup America before it is too late.

    October 9, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. Carnell From Detroit, MI USA

    It Was Only Fitting That Former President (Thank God!) George W. Bush Got A Shoe Trown At Him. He Should Be Thankful That When It Was Thrown, It Actually Missed The Mark. It Could Havd Also Been Used To Give Him A Swift Kick In The Ass!

    October 9, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Gerry

    Congadulation President – but what did you do in the 12 days of your office that led to this peace award

    October 9, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. Pat

    sniffit – not all Demo, the Roosevelt that won the prize was Teddy – a Republican, but forward thinker! Congrads to Obama, I think that he deserves the award for attitude toward all!

    October 9, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Concerned

    This serves as a wakeup call to all Republicans and NeoCons in general.

    The President did not ask to be nominated but he was and due to the fact that he is not a NeoCon who goes to war blindly; he was awarded the peace prize.

    What can you guys say for yourselves? Are you all waiting to implode? do yourself a big favor and begin the implosion process.

    Congrats Mr. President! There's much work to be done and pay mind to the evil doers, they have nothing good to say or do but watch people suffer with glee. Eight years of go it alone, invasion and the suffering of humanity have not taught them anything. They will never learn and their evangelical aspirations are only that of a white washed tomb.

    October 9, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Good Riddance!

    The Republican's are the least diverse, most hateful, intolerant political party. I haven't heard anything positive coming out of their mouths for at least 10 years. Most people of color look at them with scorn, they are turning droves of women away, young people think they're uncool, and their followers appear dumber and dumber. They will soon be extinct.
    You would think that even though they are on the slow side, they would realize that it is great for America that countries around the world are finally gaining respect and admiration for America again and it's all due to President Barack Hussain Obama!

    October 9, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. Fmr Republican

    This serves as a referendum to the republican blowholes who oppose this President at every juncture, regardless of whether the majority of us in the USA and the rest of the world support him.

    The youth are paying attention...GO OBAMA

    October 9, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. tonyt

    I'm Also Very Surprise By The Vote, But I'm Also Very Proud and Happy For America and Our President!

    Congratulations Mr. President

    October 9, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. Timothy Lewis Whiting, COACHELLA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

    An award that epitomizes human brilliance and creativity which closes the door to conservative stagnation but opens the door to CHANGE.
    Good job, President Obama!
    I am looking foward to another 4 years.
    God bless America!

    October 9, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. RRRUSA

    Seriously, you GOP'ers....give us ONE PERSON from the GOP who should have or could have come even close to being nominated for this award.
    Again, the GOP....Party of NO...with NO alternatives and NO hope.....and evidently the party of 'NO' Peace.......how base to attack a person winning an award for Peace in this World, when the GOP solution is to invade and propagate peace by intimidation.
    And again, you GOP wise sages...give us some names who SHOULD have won the award.......or just shut up...your jealousy shows.

    Is it true? The GOP wants to add Norway to the 'Axis of Evil' and Sarah Palin is calling for a troop increase in Sweden?

    October 9, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Ken in Gainesville

    The Republicans are already doing their typical bashing. What a shame they hate so much. You can bet, their hate-America campaign will backfire once again, and they will be seen for what they are - perpetual losers always on the wrong side of human progress.

    October 9, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. fiscalfighter

    The President's speech was very gracious and self-effacing. Nice to see some decency from Washington.

    October 9, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  25. ML

    So now they are "dumbing down" the Nobel Peace Prize"....

    October 9, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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