• 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
Norway’s wealth fund passed on Facebook investment
Photo: Marianne Løvland / NTB scanpix

The head of the fund declined to speculate on how much it could have earned by getting on board earlier.

Tromsø is ’world’s third-best small town’
Tromsø: one of the three best small towns in the world. Photo: CH - Visitnorway.com

Norwegian world traveller Gunnar Garfors - aka ‘that dude who visited very country’ – says that Tromsø is among the best destinations on the planet.

Norway kids and parents tell each other to log off
Parents and kids accuse each other of spending too much time online. Photos: Jan Haas and Frank May / NTB scanpix

Norwegian parents are critical of the amount of time their children spend online but their children feel the exact same way about them.

Norway firm opens office in Minecraft
The Oslo firm set up their island office on Norway's biggest Minecraft server. Screenshot: Heisholt Inc

The company behind the world's first ever live Minecraft concert has now set up shop within the popular gaming platform.

79-year-old Norwegian lands plane with no propeller
Garstad's propeller (left) was found after his crash landing at Sola (right). Photos: Arnstein Løvbrekke/NTB Scanpix and Florian Pépellin/WikiCommons

The veteran pilot said the air traffic controllers were "more flustered than me” when he told them he was coming in for a crash landing.

Norway oil investments set to drop again in 2017
After 15 years of solid growth boosted by rising oil and gas prices, the Norwegian economy has rapidly slumped. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Oil investments, one of the main drivers of Norway's economy, are expected to fall for a third straight year.

App-surd! Norwegians read app terms for 32 hours
The Norwegian consumer protection agency staged the readathon as part of its #appfail campaign. Photo: Forbrukerrådet

In a live-streamed 'readathon' Norway consumers read the "very bad" terms and conditions of popular smartphone apps.

Norway firm to buy portion of Finland defence company
Patria specializes in armoured vehicles. Photo: Patria

A portion of Finnish state-owned defence manufacturer Patria will be privatized through a sell to Kongsberg, a partially state-owned defence company in Norway.

'Historic': McDonald's agrees to contain Arctic cod fishing
The McDonald's on Nedre Slottsgate in Oslo. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX

For the first time ever, major players in the seafood industry have voluntarily imposed limitations on industrial fishing in the Arctic.

Norwegian ship rescues over 1,000 refugees
Kripos said that the ship had never before brought so many people on board. Photo: Kripos/Scanpix

The Norwegian rescue vessel Siem Pilot on Wednesday came to the aid of more than 1,000 people off the coast of Libya.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Memo: Norway 'not mentally prepared' for refugees' impact
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Society
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
National
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
2,044
jobs available