October 9th, 2009
05:30 PM ET

State Department on Nobel Prize: better to be thrown accolades than shoes

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/16/shoe.reporter.profile/art.shoes.bush.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Bush, left, ducks a shoe as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to protect him."]

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

"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 an incident last December, when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during his final visit to Iraq during his administration.

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, narrowly missing the president as he ducked.

The show-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 recognition by the Obama administration that the Nobel Prize was as much an indictment on 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 Middle East peace.

"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 Secretary Clinton and the State Department "to advance the president's agenda and confront the challenges of the 21st century."

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dave

    This showed what a farce the award is now, giving for pure political reasons not on the true merits of the individual. Obama even admitted himself that he has not done anything to warrant the prize. I am sure there are many other candidates who have actually been involved in spreading peace. Obama just has not been in office long enough and has simply not done anything except give a couple hopeful speeches.

    October 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  2. Cathy Patterns

    Geeze after all of these months of having our President compared to Hitler, Stalin, saying he will create 'death panels', the constant drumbeat that he's not a REAL US Citizen as in that birther movement– a constant barrage of negativity from the extremist right–I think the State Department said exactly the right thing.

    This who conservative hate Obama movement is showing themselves again to be unworthy of being a political party and leaves most Americans just wondering what they hate America so much!

    October 9, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  3. John Coonen

    Further proof that the current administration only cares about its own agenda and staying on-message, comparing Obama to Bush. Notice how they don't have the guts to compare Obama to other nominees, or past awardees? #Fail

    October 9, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  4. ram

    When the Republicans place partisan politics over a wonderful gesture, State Department states the case precisely. After 8 years of Bush, Obama's efforts toward diplomacy instead of war and strife was the clincher.

    October 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Mari

    So true! We can't stop "dogging President Bush" because he nearly destroyed our nation! The Great Recession, TWO wars, torture, spying on Americans. What do you Republicans want? For us, Democrats to stop talking about the last ...... eight years? Not going to happen, we have to keep the Bush Disaster front and center to remind us all, what eight years of a GOP presidency and seven years of a GOP Congressional majority can do to our nation.

    October 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  6. Ed

    Congratulations to the Obama team. The rest of the world welcomes the new 21st century America.

    October 9, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  7. Michelle R.

    Why can't the Republicans stop dogging Barack? This may bring certain individuals back down to earth after shamelessly celebrating our loss of the olympics. In addition, maybe winning this award will help him get his mojo back.

    October 9, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  8. karen clarke

    Presidant Obama is a great humantarian,nobel and peace loving.To all his haters- go Kick Rocks.

    October 9, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  9. stanley

    Accolades better shoes thrown? Damn Right!!

    October 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  10. Cindy

    Obama may as well had shoes thrown at him...that's about as much as it means with him winning this prize. Diddley...


    October 9, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  11. lam0nt Austin

    State Department on Nobel Prize: better to be thrown accolades than shoes.
    Should say it all

    I just thought a blackman becoming pesident would be a major accomplishment, maybe not if there never had been slavery or racism...
    "Ungrateful souls on this planet of doom!"!


    October 9, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  12. paula

    Why can't the Democrats stop dogging President Bush and show us what they are going to do for this country? So President Obama got an award before he did anything.... now he has even more to prove... ready, set, go.......

    October 9, 2009 at 5:48 pm |