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. AJ

    What's the sense in arguing the point? Rebublicans will spew vile hate filled diatribes and Obama fans will spew idiotic catch phrases but Obama will still have the Award for accomplishing nothing.

    October 9, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. PK III

    The rhetoric from both major parties on the Nobel has been pathetically juvenile... that said, this was actually kinda funny. Funny in a "ha ha" way; not funny in a "won a peace prize while ordering the U.S.military to kill civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia" kinda way.

    October 9, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. S M R

    OUR Forefathers would be proud.

    October 9, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. Robert

    The GOP is unAmerican.
    It criticizes the President of the United States when he is honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.
    It cheers when the United States loses its bid to host the Olympics.
    It obstructs health care reform that most Americans want.
    The GOP is clearly prepared to throw the United States under a bus just to make a popular President look bad.
    Shame on the GOP.

    October 9, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. cj

    I'm am republican but can we stop taking sides I am an American and am pleased he recieved an award that may help give us more respect and influence although I am having a hard time seeing where he got it and all those people who are telling republicans we are being whiny and rude consider what you may have said about George Bush who had a lot to deal with and you guys still trashed him

    October 9, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Anthony

    Well, you can counter comment ALL YOU WANT...

    but it still doesnt change the fact that this statement is TRUE.

    Congratulations MR.President... it appears hope and inspiration are the few rewardable intangibles these closed minded individuals will never understand, yet the WORLD seems to get.

    October 9, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. The Baron of Cheese

    The republicans are likely going to face the same fate as the federalists, but the ideals they have won't die that easily, the party itself likely will.

    How is Obama's presidency a token presidency? Unlike Bush he's actually doing something instead of letting his cabinet do everything while he plays mini golf in the oval office. What I think you should be worried about isn't whether or not Obama's doing anything, but whether he's doing too much too fast. I think he has the right idea, but I'm concerned that the system might not be able to keep up with the rapid changes he's implementing and potentially burn itself out. To his credit, he's already prevented the situation from becoming a neo-depression, but the real work will come with building the economy back up, and I'm not sure that the country can afford so much reform in so short a time.

    There is I think one potential effect of the proposed reforms that people have been overlooking, job creation. For starters something this big needs a lot of people to manage it, and if the plan itself succeeds then the increased demand driven by newly insured people who otherwise had little access to medical services would spur a need for more nurses and doctors, who would in turn require more equipment to perform their functions, computers and other electronics amongst other things.

    In short, it could help revitalize the economy, BUT ONLY IF it's a sustainable plan that can generate more funds than it consumes, and that would depend on just how much it spurs sales.

    October 9, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. Reese

    What is wrong this country? First of all, Pres. Obama was given the by a committee outside of the US. Now, if people in this country are so insecure about this award (including the republican party) they need to get a life. Stop being so anti-American! Go for the win! What do you want-THE WORLD IS FLAT...........We are not going back in time. I pray that he will make this a better place for all of us.

    October 9, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. John Doe

    In reading this article, I do feel that President Obama is trying to pursue peace; however, I feel that there are more qualified people who deserve the award than him. This is NOT a race issue, just pointing out that there are others who have done more than he has. Examples of this would be Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, etc. I think that once the president has a few more peace accomplishments under his belt, then he will have proven himself. It does astound me how this one article has turned political party against political party. As an Independent, I must say that this is a real turn-off big time. Finally, as for Hillary Cllinton's comments from the State Department, when will she learn that the campaign is over with? She has proven to be the most divisive person in politics, right up there with the former president. I don't think her "tongue" is really helping out her party. I will admit that it is causing me to re-think about voting for Obama in 2012.

    October 9, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Brian in MD

    The Bush well, at this point, has run dry. References to his administration to justify your own missteps is weak at best . Let Obama stand on his own merit.

    October 9, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. Censorship in Practice form at CNN--S Callahan NYS

    Nice one SOS Clinton! lol
    I think I was initally shocked because i believed the award was given to someone who had a history of accomplishment such as making a huge difference through events, writing, or some type of communication avenue that bettered man, or mankind's living situation...not just for a moment but a proven track record of making a difference.

    I understand this is to keep the momentum going universally...but it still surprised me...either way...congrats to our President though I do pity you for the pressure this has now put you under.

    October 9, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. Paul

    I'm a Democrat through and through and I believe President Obama is taking us in the correct direction. Having said that, there are 2 things I don't understand about this Nobel prize: 1) Obama seems to have gotten it because he is not Bush – is that a good enough reason? 2) Even if that isn't a good enough reason, all the people who are trashing Obama for this are really trashing the United States of America – why wouldn't any SANE person be glad that our president, Democrat or Republican, got one of the most prestigious awards there is?

    October 9, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. NYC REPUB

    Diplomacy, hope, the attempt at peace, it's a shame some view these virtues as wek......
    It's a shame that one can be more appreciated away from home, and a prophet is received mostly out of his hometown.......
    Sec. Clinton has her work cut out for America, and it's exciting to see America hard at work handling these tough times......
    Obama/Biden 2012!!
    God Bless America!!!

    October 9, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    While I like President Obama and find him a massive improvement over the recent shrub disaster, in all fairness, he has not time to do anything worthy of so prestigeous an award.

    I am afraid the Nobel committee has always been rather political or eccentric in its selections, ignoring many of greatness. As an example, the following literarys were alive during the Nobel prizes, but did not get it:

    Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, D. H. Lawrence, Ralph Ellison, Milan Kundera, Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, Anna Akhmatova, Arthur Miller, Edith Wharton . . . and the list goes on.

    For Peace Prize, dubious war-mongering winners include Yasser Arafat and Henry Kissinger. None for Gandhi.

    If you look at who won and who didn't, you will find it hard to take the Nobel Prizes seriously. Remember, Henry Kissenger and

    October 9, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. NYC REPUB

    BTW, As an American I didn't appreciate the office of the President being disrespected when GWB had sandals thrown at him.

    October 9, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. Mike

    "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples"

    October 9, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. File under "Sarcasm"

    Let's be honest. Obama hasn't done anything but read speeches so he won because he's a liberal, because he's black and because he's not George Bush

    October 9, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. sososam

    Amen State Dept. enough said

    October 9, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. ray

    well said state dept. look at these haters on the right, are these people americans? remember when someone protest the war they racists on the right called them anti-american and other names , now look at these republicans, i wish all republicans crash on the road while driving and die soon so this country and world can be a better place .

    October 9, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Taylor

    This award was bestowed by the International stage not what President Obama has done for the USA. People are so stupid.
    Congratulations Mr. President. The World loves you it is sad you are disrepected here in the USA. Republicans get a life.

    October 9, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Conservatives hate Obama more than they love America

    Wow the thuglicans are really making America look good. I can't believe how low they are willing to sink to spout their tired vitriol. I keep hearing the conservatives on this board talk about the upcoming sweep they will have in 2010. Sorry to break it to you, but Americans are tired of your hatred and aren't in such a hurry to have more of it in our government.

    To set the records straight, our President has begun to restore America's good name throughout the world. You're all so stuck on this game of cowboys and indians that was started by Bush, that you can't see it. Hopefully in a few years, when our economy is strong again and we are no longer the bullies of the world you will see it. Though I doubt it.

    October 9, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. File under "Sarcasm"

    "Accolades rather than shoes". Another opportunity seized by the left to bash Bush so as to obscure any real issues that sould be discussed.

    October 9, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Riaz, NJ

    Wonder what would be the reaction in case, Cheney received it today!!!

    October 9, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Stu

    Appearing now on CNN..TIME article about the truth. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to he who most loudly opposes George W. Bush. The Nobel Prize process is a total joke. Obama has yet to make any contribution towards peace. It's just a way to slap Bush yet again.

    October 9, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. c in ca

    It may not have been entirely diplomatic to bring up the shoe thing,
    but – in my opinion – the truth of the statement is unavoidable.
    Altogether obvious.
    I am a white anglo-saxon American man, but I get a big kick out of it when the rednecks are going really bonkers like they are right now!
    Come out from behind the bushes, rednecks, so we can know who you are!

    October 9, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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