Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Emanuel Angered by Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

An ex-Norwegian ambassador reportedly received an earful from Chicago's mayor

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    The White House
    President Barack Obama talks with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the Oval Office, Nov. 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. 

    While serving as White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel mouthed off to Norway's former ambassador to the United States over the decision to award President Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, The Associated Press reports.

    Emanuel -- elected Chicago's mayor two years later -- complained to the ambassador, Wegger Stroemmen, that his country was "fawning" over the brand-new U.S. president, said Morten Wetland, who was then Norwegian ambassador to the United Nations, in an interview with the AP on Thursday.

    The Norwegian Parliament hand-picks Nobel committee members. When Obama received the honor nine months into his presidency, he echoed the sentiment of critics who felt the award came too soon.

    "Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations," he said at the time. "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize."

    Obama was lauded for a commitment to combat climate change and enforce international diplomacy, among other noble Nobel causes.

    "I think everyone wanted to know what motivated the (awarding) committee," Wetland told the AP. "But when I was going down to the U.N. in New York, nobody talked about it. It was weird because the U.N. is a talking shop. And people just looked at their shoes. People didn't raise it with me."

    Without giving specifics, Wetland said it was "the job of ambassadors to be available for those lashings out" by the famously volatile Emanuel.

    And ... what else is new? Emanuel is the Alec Baldwin of politicians. This is legend. The baffling part of this anecote is why Rahm and associates would stage a fit over a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win the Nobel Peace Prize. That's drop-the-mic, max-exposure-on-the-mantle, bragging rights for life.