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. Andy

    Well when you go around and apologize to the rest of the world for believing in democracy than I guess you do deserve a prize. It would have been nice to see this award actually go to someone who actually earned it.

    The fact that this administration is still talking about Bush 1 year later is pretty pathetic, it's good to see they are trying to move foward.

    But it seems like every administration has their embarrassing moment. Bush's was probably the shoes while Clinton's was the whole sex scandal thing, remember that Hiliary. I'm sure Obama will have his too.

    October 9, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Bull

    Sniffit, it tells me that the world recognizes these Democrat Presidents for their willingness to sell out their own country.

    October 9, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. Clark

    when a man or woman knowingly accepts an award that he/she has not earned (it was earned by another individual) then it is not an award accepted honorably and will only bring shame.

    if the President earned the award .... then stop the rhetoric and just list the accomplishments that lead up to the award being given to the President .... it should be fairly easy since the Nobel Committee deliberated for 6 to 8 months on their decision.

    October 9, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. tonyt

    The Ugly Americans:
    The Obama Haters, GOP, Right Wingers, Birthers, Big Baby "Rush", Tea Baggers, Repugs, Death Panal Palin, Becker Head And Hand, Will Never Be Please, No Matter What!

    October 9, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. beckyt

    I think the most notable thing the President did to earn this award was his fantastic and ballsy speech to the Muslim world. He showed respect and he laid out a plan for peace in the Mideast. What the speech did was connect muslims worldwide to this great man and effectively helping to cut off much funding for al quaeda and the taliban. Even those extreme groups are now having to play the propaganda card to elevate the Hate levels back up to where they were under Bush, but even that is not working well. You can measure a body count, but you cant really measure how well a great leader paves a way for the climate of mutual respect necessary for PEACE. Having grown up in the cold war era of making more and more nuclear bombs, I am so relieved we have a leader who wants to end the threat of nuclear war.

    October 9, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. Simmy

    The (sanctimonious obnoxious buffoons) are at it again....
    President Obama should not be apologizing for receiving an award he didn't campaign for.....It's evident that the members of the Noble Award Committee were watching him for a long time....His award is more about his persona/character than anything else......Not being Bush didn't hurt either......He is more than worthy, and I humbly submit that I am more than thrilled to have him as my president, at this time in history......

    P.S........Who are any of you to dare say it's too much too soon?......You said that when he ran for president.....Let me tell you, right wing nuts, and others, this man is destined for greatness......All the Becks, joe the hecklers, Limbaughs, Hannitys, Foxes in the world can't derail him......For this term, and the next (if he so chooses), he will be your worst nightmare......President KRYPTONITE is in the House........

    October 9, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Ray, Florida

    I would like to congratulate President Obama for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What an inspiration he is. A man that is trying to help lead everyone to peace. All people. What is so shameful is that some Americans are so full of hatred they can not be happy for our president who represents all of us. Maybe now they will see the world is watching, and is re-acting.

    October 9, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. m

    sniffit- Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican.

    October 9, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. simon

    Better to be thrown Shoes than to be Ridiculed!!!

    October 9, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Karl in Charleston,SC

    HRC is no Statesman! (or Stateswoman...)

    October 9, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Terry from West Texas

    There are Americans who want their president to fail. It is not for us to decide whether Obama deserved the Nobel Prize; the committee that decides those things has decided. Obama's achievements do not match his hopes – yet. The appropriate response for any patriotic American would be to say "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure he deserves the award by the time he leaves office, even if some people don't think he deserved it this year.

    Perhaps the committee was expressing a hope that the United States will throw it's massive influence behind every realistic hope for peace in the world. We are in a world that cannot support its exploding population. Severe climate and weather changes are inevitable due to the inaction of every American administration after Carter. The climate will get much worse before it can get any better – and a lot of things are going to have to change for any hope of success there. Billions of poor people have limited access to education, medical care, rewarding employment, and access to the pleasures of life that we take for granted.

    While we want to spend our time squabbling with oil producing countries over our access to their oil and squabbling with a few million Islamic militants over who God is. However, we do not have the luxury of doing that.

    The Nobel Committee is – perhaps – challenging America to live up to the award that was given to him in our behalf. If they are not, then we should pretend that that are and act accordingly.

    October 9, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    That was a riot! I LOVED watching that little pip squeak TWICE duck out of the way of those shoes... PRICELESS!!!!!

    October 9, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Alex R.

    I congratulate the president on the award; now it's time for him to earn it!

    On another note, it would be great if people would just stop complaining about the 2000 election. Gore never was president, he never will be president. Get used to it! You've had over eight years to come to terms with it already, and you got Obama at the end of it! You got your liberal president, so keep your mindless, bitter complaining on the inside.

    October 9, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. Z

    This is a freaking joke.

    I am sad to call myself an American in today's world. We are a laughing joke to the world as it is. And now....we have a president that hasn't proven anything in his first year win the Noble???? HAHAHA.....I will laugh along with the rest of the world.

    I can't wait for 2012 to get rid of this make believe president!!!!!!!

    Z

    October 9, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. m smith

    can not think of a truer statement. Our president did not ask for this award and made a nice speach to say he did not deserve it. But I am proud that the world views us in a better light than it has and shares our hopes for the future. It is too bad that the right has once again shown their true colors and their really christian attitude. If this doesnt get some people fired up it should. Yes for America and it\s President. Congratulations!!!

    October 9, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. tonyt

    The Obama haters are absolutely apoplectic about his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Good, I love it! They are haters and always will be. Even if Obama accomplishes everything he has elected to do, and continues to restore America to the standards for which it has been revered over the years (until Bush and Cheney destroyed it) they will continue to hate him because they are just - haters. You Go, President Obama, you have made us proud and will continue to do so. God Bless You and the U.S.A.!!

    thanks geecee

    October 9, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Mike

    One veteran GOP official puts it bluntly: “The image of a bunch of white guys booing an African-American president is about as bad as it gets.”

    October 9, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. Theory

    Obama drives you reps crazy doesn't he ? The world loves him and it drives ya'll crazy ! I think it is safe to say that the giving of this prize is going to DRIVE YA"LL MAD !!! Huckabee is like WHOA ! PUT THE SHEETS DOWN ! THE WORLD IS WATCHING ! WHOA !!! LMAO !!!

    October 9, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. Congrats, now earn it

    As an Obama supporter, I offer the president my sincere congratulations, and I hope he will endeavor to earn the award by pulling out of Afghanistan in the careful way he has done in Iraq.

    October 9, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. Nancy

    Republicans celebrated the loss of the olympics as a slight from the international community to Obama - tho now we have learned more about the pereception and errors (arrogance–imagine that!!!) of the AOC. Now they are freaking out over the Nobel Prize which demo's int'l respect for Obama. Obama correctly spread the kudos around. Big lesson here is that there is international adulation for an American populace that had the collective wisdom to put the right man in the job as leader of the free world. It aint all about us!!!!!!! When you throw your weight around, the world weighs in. Get over it - the USA did not have "dibs" on the fate of Iraq - just muslcle. It si a big world and a big planet, Bigger than Alabama and Wyoming, etc....

    October 9, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. DianneNurseGittens

    Congratulations Mr President. May the SupremeTeacher's Wisdom Guide you always

    October 9, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    When the juvenile GOPers grow up, maybe they'll be able to claim something higher than governor of a state.

    Until then, y'all just keep bickering and snivelling.

    October 9, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. Fan of Common Sense

    Nominated just twelve days after taking office. TWELVE DAYS! My gosh, how anyone with any intelligence at all could ever again take this award seriously is a mystery. I think there is FAR MORE honor in being hated by an Iraqi thug then being loved by a bunch of corrupt, America-hating elitists.

    President Bush and Vice President Cheney, you never got this award because the two of you are PATRIOTS. The people who really understand what America is all about miss you more and more every day.

    October 9, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. Anna

    Congrads Pres. Obama....granted it may not seem like he's done alot for America but he's headed in the right direction and would have done a lot more if the Republicans would get out of the way. For example, the public health opition he wanted would have eased a heavy burden on poor and middle class Americans but that was crushed by those who could care less about them.

    His message is SO important right now and if you think a message isnt important then you need to open a history book. Both Hitler and MLK both had messages that shaped history in two very different ways. The power of a message is linked to the people who follow it. I hope the American people stick wth him (that doesnt mean agreeing with everything) cause I've seen your alternative and all I have to say is 'WOW.'

    Anna (London Ont, Canada)

    October 9, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Nice

    It is amazing. Who is really behind this guy? All the money and no experience and suddenly pres and no NBP???? I think this really lowers both the office of the pres and former NBP winners. What a joke.

    October 9, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
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