"From our standpoint, you know, we think that this gives us a sense of momentum … when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Friday.
Crowley was referring to a 2008 incident in which an Iraqi reporter hurled his shoe at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad. The act of protest struck a chord with millions in the Arab and Muslim worlds who had been captivated and angered by daily images of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Obama, who has publicly committed to improving America's image abroad, was named recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for, the Nobel committee said, his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.
Obama said he was "most surprised and deeply humbled" to win the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, adding that he accepts the honor as "a call to action to confront the common challenges of the 21st century."
Obama will go to Oslo in December to accept the honor, which includes a $1.4 million award, the White House said. Obama intends to donate the award to charity.
Critics, however, were stunned at the announcement, given the nomination deadline was Feb.1 -- less than two weeks after Obama's presidency began.
FOX News' Justin Fishel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.