December 14th, 2008
05:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Bush targeted by Iraqi shoe-thrower

President Bush, left, ducks a thrown shoe as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to protect him Sunday.
President Bush, left, ducks a thrown shoe as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to protect him Sunday.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - President Bush made an unannounced, farewell visit Sunday to Baghdad, Iraq, where he met with Iraqi leaders, talked to reporters and was targeted by a shoe-thrower, who missed his mark.

Before midnight (4 p.m. ET), the White House announced that the president had left.

The incident with the shoe-thrower occurred early in the evening in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's palace inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, as Bush was addressing members of the news media and the two leaders were preparing to sign the Strategic Framework Agreement and the Status of Forces Agreement.

The man, seated with reporters, spoke in Arabic as he hurled his shoes toward Bush. Both projectiles sailed past his head, with the second striking a U.S. flag behind the president and falling harmlessly to the ground. The man too fell to the ground, where he was grabbed and dragged screaming from the room.

During the incident, the man could be heard yelling in Arabic, "This is a farewell ... you dog!" His full quote, captured on video, was not immediately clear.

As the man continued to scream from another room, Bush said, "That was a size 10 shoe he threw at me you may want to know."

Among Arab culture, throwing one's shoes at another is considered the ultimate sign of contempt.

"So what if the guy threw his shoe at me?" Bush told a reporter in response to a question about the incident. "Let me talk about the guy throwing his shoe. It's one way to gain attention. It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers.

"It's a way for people to draw attention. I don't know what the guy's cause is. But one thing is for certain. He caused you to ask me a question about it. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it.

"These journalists here were very apologetic. They were, you know, they said this doesn't represent the Iraqi people, but that's what happens in free societies where people try to draw attention to themselves.

"I guess he was effective, because he caused you to say something about it."

Full story


Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    George Steinbrenner immediately offered $120 million for 8 years!!!

    December 14, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Jared

    I think I just discovered the way to pay off the national debt. Everyone pays 100 bucks to throw shoes at President Bush.

    December 14, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. chris24

    Mr. Bush is a war criminal, period.

    I hope he is proud of being responsible for the deaths
    of hundreds of thousands of people.

    December 14, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. crownsy

    "who throws a shoe, honestly. I mean, honestly!"

    December 14, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Stacy Clarks, TX

    this is toooo funny!!

    yea, we don't like him much here either!!

    [this ladies and gentleman is what Bush has done to this respectable position, that of the president of the united states. Of all the talk of honor that republicans always boast, as if we liberals don't know what honor is, YOUR president gets shoe thrown at him!!!]

    thank GOD for Obama!!

    December 14, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Alex

    I LOL'ed

    This must be most surprising, yet very fitting, news about Bush's legacy as one of worst presidents ever in U.S. history.

    He deserved it though :D

    December 14, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    HAHAHAHAHA too back they didn't have crappy diapers handy.... Bush is probably the most hated person on earth.

    December 14, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Lame Duck

    Dude has terrible aim... Two chances and you come up empty both times. Shame on him !!!

    Did George look like a little girl cowering or what?

    December 14, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. AP

    Gotta hand it to our outgoing President. Those were some pretty deft moves to avoid the shoes. Too bad he didn't have any deft moves for foreign policy or the economy.

    December 14, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. katiec

    I cannot imagine that Bush would think he would be welcomed with open arms. The deaths and destruction he has caused to Iraq would be impossible to accept, especially because of his beliefs that he has done no wrong.
    The man clearly made horrific mistakes in declaring this war, and our country will be paying for it for many years to come.

    December 14, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    I really wish Bush had decided to retire to some place other than Texas. We don't need the added security risk of having him in our state. But then I guess I can't really wish his presence on anybody in any other state either. Maybe we should all pool our money (what's left of it) and buy him a little sliver of deserted land in some remote sea– maybe a small melting iceberg in the Arctic or something.

    December 14, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Angel

    Not exactly the look we were hoping for......

    December 14, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Ronald

    Ah yes, greeted as liberators...

    December 14, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Silas

    This is entirely appropriate.
    January 20, 2009: Throw Shoes @ 'W' Day.

    December 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Tonya

    Say it ain't so JOE This is the best news I have heard all year like Katt Williams say HOW COULD YOU MESS UP EVERY THING, IF YOU GET ON THAT HORSE YOU GOT 2 RIDE IT (LOL)

    December 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Tremendo Slap

    Throwing shoes at someone is considered an insult? Fascinating!

    December 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Waiting for January 20

    Glad you can joke about your disgraceful presidency. Did you ever consider that maybe the man was throwing his shoes because that was all he had left after you destroyed his country and murdered his family. History will not judge you kindly, despite your feeble desire that the next generation ignore your murderous and hate-filled partisan administration.

    You have disgraced the American people and sold the soul of the country so your country club buddies can buy another Mercedes. There is not a fire in hell that can burn hot enough for you.

    December 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |