• Norway's news in English
 

Top Obama aide raged at Norway over Nobel

Published: 15 May 2014 07:39 GMT+02:00

Morten Wetland, Norway's former ambassador to the United Nations, told The Local that Rahm Emanuel, nicknamed "Rahmbo" for his explosive disposition, has taken US ambassador Wegger Strömmen to task after the award was announced.  

"What I know for a fact is that he gave the ambassador some words, 'a dressing down', with respect to this," Wetland said. "The word 'fawning' was used." 

Wetland, now a partner with the Oslo lobbying firm First House, speculated that Obama's advisors must have seen the prize as an unwelcome embarrassment. 
 
"My guess is that the president’s staff want to be in control and not to be forced into a position that they have not been seeking themselves," he said. "It could have been perceived that someone was consciously or subconsciously thinking about the prospect of having Obama visit Norway. Obama wouldn’t have visited Norway if it hadn’t have been for the Peace Prize." 
 
Wetland first revealed the dressing down in an opinion piece he wrote for Norway's Dagens Næringsliv business paper.  
 
"My most embarrassing day in the United Nations over the years I was the Norwegian ambassador there was the day the award to US President Barack Obama was announced," Wetland wrote. "My colleague in Washington received an overhaul from Obama's chief of staff."
 
Wetland wrote that the Nobel Prize award  was widely seen as "weird" in Washington circles. 
 
Emanuel, who began life as an aide to Bill Clinton and is now mayor of Chicago, is notorious for his combative style. Early on his career he reportedly sent a dead fish in a box to a pollster who was late delivering polling results.
 
The night after Bill Clinton won his election in 1992, Emanuel stood up at the celebratory dinner and ran through a list of Clinton enemies who he believed had "betrayed" the team during the campaign. As he uttered each name, he plunged a stake into the table, before yelling "Nat Landow! Dead! Cliff Jackson! Dead!" to the nervous laughter of his colleagues. 
 
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which though independent of Norway's government consists of former MPs, often, as now, headed by a former Prime Minister.  The committee's present chair Thorbjørn Jagland has presided over two controversial awards, in 2009 to Barack Obama and in 2012 to the European Union. He is likely to be replaced this year. 
 
Wetlands said he believed that Emanuel understood that the committee's decisions were independent of the Norwegian government. 
 
"I believe they knew perfectly well that the Committee is a totally independent body, but it’s in the business of ambassadors to be the target of positive and negative impressions of his country." 

The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sunday shopping 'breaks Norway constitution'
Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien. Photo: Church of Norway

Sunday shopping 'breaks Norway constitution'

Norway’s most senior bishop has declared that allowing shops to open on Sundays would violate the country’s constitution. READ  

'Eco homes cause asthma': Norway group
Passive terrace houses in Grimstad Norway built in cooperation with the Rockwool company. Photo: Rockwool Scandinavia

'Eco homes cause asthma': Norway group

Norway’s largest association for asthma and allergy sufferers has warned that new carbon neutral building regulations may lead to an increase in breathing disorders and allergies. READ  

Breivik takes Norway to court on human rights
Anders Behring Breivik during his trial in 2012. Photo: Haakon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix

Breivik takes Norway to court on human rights

Anti-Islamist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has taken legal action against the Norwegian state claiming his four years of "extreme isolation" in prison is a violation of his human rights. READ  

Two Norwegians held after Israel ship siege
The Ship to Gaza trawler at the Israeli port of Ashdod. Photo: Ship to Gaza

Two Norwegians held after Israel ship siege

Israeli authorities are holding two Norwegian citizens after their ship carrying aid to the Gaza Strip was boarded in international waters by the Israeli military. READ  

Norway scientists find cause of coeliac disease
A biopsy of a small bowel afflicted by coeliac disease. Photo: ToNToNi/Wikimedia Commons

Norway scientists find cause of coeliac disease

Norwegian scientists have discovered the cause of coeliac disease, the auto-immune disorder which causes gluten intolerance in about one in a hundred people READ  

'We not ill. No children. We beg for beer'
Adrian Golebiewski poses on Oslo's Karl Johans Gate. Photo: Facebook

'We not ill. No children. We beg for beer'

Two young Polish men have started begging for money in central Oslo with a sign which mocks the many Roma beggars. 'We not ill. We have no children. We beg for beer,' it reads. READ  

Man faces eight years in Norway jihadi trial
This image was posted on one of Ishaq Ahmed's social media profiles. Photo: screen grab

Man faces eight years in Norway jihadi trial

Norwegian prosecutors are seeking an eight-year jail sentence for a jihadist who they say fought for the Islamic State group and an affiliate of Al-Qaeda in Syria, media reported on Tuesday. READ  

Ban Ki-Moon to visit Svalbard in climate move
Ban Ki-Moon on his trip to Svalbard in 2009. Photo: UN/Mark Garten

Ban Ki-Moon to visit Svalbard in climate move

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon plans to visit the Arctic islands of Svalbard next week as part of his preparations for the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. READ  

Video
Dramatic helicopter sea rescue in Norway
The fishing boat was half submerged when the rescue team arrived. Photo: Screen grab

Dramatic helicopter sea rescue in Norway

A video filmed from a rescue helicopter shows how two fishermen were rescued from an inflatable lifeboat after their ship sank on Thursday off the coast of northern Norway. READ  

Video
Norway player in awesome bicycle kick
Matthias Vilhjalmsson as he executes his extraordinary kick. Photo: Screen Grab from YouTube

Norway player in awesome bicycle kick

Norwegian Elite Series footballer Matthias Vilhjalmsson has pulled off one of the finest bicycle kicks in football history, showing that the technique is not the sole preserve of Latin players. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Oslo is the crystal meth capital of Europe
Sport
VIDEO: Man in Norway catches fish too big for boat
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
International
'Snowden could come to Norway to collect prize'
Technology
Oslo builds world's first bumblebee highway
Culture
World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo
Norway's men soon to be among Europe's fattest
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,182
jobs available