• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Top Obama aide raged at Norway over Nobel

The Local · 15 May 2014, 07:39

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. 
 
Story continues below…
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
One in four 'on drugs' in Oslo's nightclubs
Photo: Colourbox

City's nightclubs appeal to the police to help cut down drug use.

Philippine ceasefire deal reached in Norway
FM Børge Brende applauds as Philippine government representative Jesus Dureza and Communist representative Luis Jalandoni announce the ceasefire. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB Scanpix

UPDATED: In Oslo, a "major breakthrough" in ending one of Asia's longest running insurgencies.

Norway’s Progress Party wants a burqini ban
Stenersen said the burqini, shown here on a woman at a beach in Tunisia, has no place in Norway. Photo: FETHI BELAID/AFP/SCANPIX

The party's leader in Oslo wants the "cloth prison" barred from Norwegian beaches.

MP slammed for playing Pokémon at defence hearing
Grande's behaviour during the hearing was all over the Norwegian media. Photo: Stortinget TV / NTB scanpix

She said playing the game helps her "listen better".

Tanks, guns and bras: Norway's women join the draft
Selection exercises during Joint admission and selection camp 2016. Photo: Olav Standal Tangen/Forsvaret

They sweat together, they sleep together: Norway has introduced compulsory military service for women, even bunking them in mixed dorms with their brothers-in-arms.

Norway PM hunts Pokémon in Slovakia
Solberg, shown here at the Arendal political forum earlier this month, said she recently got hooked on Pokémon Go. Photo:Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

An avid gamer, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg took a break from her official duties in Bratislava this week to hunt for Pokemon monsters in the Slovak capital's old town.

Western Norway braces for extremely heavy rains
Heavy rains in Bergen earlier this month. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix

Residents requested to stay off the roads.

Norwegians conquer England in record time
(L-R) Øystein Garfos, Øystein Djupvik, Andreas Munkelien and Gunnar Garfors

Another wacky record in the books for Norway's extreme travellers.

Norway asylum centres report increase in teen prostitution
File photo of an asylum centre in Råde. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

Reports increased fivefold between 2014 and 2015 and officials fear there are more unreported cases.

New signs of life in the Norwegian economy
Finance Norway CEO Idar Kreuetzer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Positive signals in Finance Norway’s quarterly expectations survey are being interpreted as yet another sign that the Norwegian economy is over the hump.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Travel
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
National
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Lifestyle
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
National
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Education
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
2,052
jobs available