December 28th, 2008
04:56 PM ET
8 years ago

Laura Bush ‘wasn’t amused’ by shoe incident

Laura Bush spoke out about the shoe incident in an interview with 'Fox News Sunday.'

Laura Bush spoke out about the shoe incident in an interview with 'Fox News Sunday.'

(CNN) - First Lady Laura Bush said that although she “wasn’t amused” when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at her husband, she sees the incident as a sign that “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.”

Earlier this month, an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush during a news conference in Baghdad. Bush ducked, and the shoes, flung one at a time, sailed past his head.

“It was an assault. And that's what it is,” the first lady said in an interview that aired Sunday on “Fox News.”

“And the president laughed it off. He wasn't hurt. He's very quick. As you know, he's a natural athlete. And that's it. But on the other hand, it is an assault, and I think it should be treated that way,” she said.

During the incident, the shoe-thrower - identified as Muntadhar al-Zaidi – could be heard yelling in Arabic: "This is a farewell ... you dog!" Al-Zaidi is an Iraqi journalist with Egypt-based al-Baghdadia television network.

Hurling shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult among Muslims.

Asked if she thinks someone who attacks another person should be released, Bush said, “that’s going to be up to the Iraqis.”

“And they'll do whatever. But I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there, the man wouldn't have been released. And he probably wouldn't - you know, would have been executed.

“So it is - as bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves,” she said.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi goes on trial Wednesday (Dec. 31) on charges of assaulting a foreign leader. Conviction could mean a prison sentence of up to two years.

Filed under: George W. Bush • Laura Bush • Popular Posts
soundoff (621 Responses)
  1. BB

    Bush deserves more prison time than that poor man is getting. We need to hold Bush and Cheney accountable.

    December 28, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. arc, Lugano CH

    The left shoe represented the hearts of the Iraqi people and his right shoe represented the minds of the Iraqi people.

    Muntadhar al-Zaidi deserves to be freed without prosecution. He is a hero. Many proud Americans, myself included, support his statement against The (not our) War Criminal Republican President.

    December 28, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. j

    The way Bush ducked, it made me wonder if Laura Bush didn't throw things at him on a regular basis. There are a number of people around the world that applaud the Iraqi reporter for expressing the way many of us feel about Bush. Bush deserved it .

    December 28, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Lyndon from CA

    "Stand by your man", Tammy Wynette.

    December 28, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. AB

    You know what the say Laura, if the shoe fits wear it.

    December 28, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Rickymo

    Would all you Bush's please just go away.

    December 28, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. christa

    Laura has always been a poster child for a Stepford wife; why change now?

    December 28, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Sarah McMaster

    Oh, boo-hoo! Do we honestly care about whether Laura is upset over an Iraqi throwing a shoe at her loser husband? Why not ask her if she's upset about all of those 4,000+ pairs of empty boots which were returned from Iraq? Her husband's decisions led those empty boots; how about a tear, Laura?......

    December 28, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. Godluvr

    Actually, it was an insult to all Americans. It showed the world how deep the resentments are for President Bush, and he represents all of us. I pray that President-Elect Barack Obama can reverse the evil curse of ill-will during his terms. God bless us all, and Happy New Year to all!

    December 28, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*

    Pretty sad that Laura, not necessarily the brightest bulb in the box herself, is still the brains in that family.

    December 28, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Jed

    Laura, I think you're an ok person but your husband is a murderer. The song "stand by your man" comes to mind. I wouldn't expect you to think it was funny but it is more than people in Iraq expressing themselves.

    December 28, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Bob from LA

    She hasn't got a clue.

    December 28, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. Rob in CA.

    The president "laughed it off", the same way he does the war in Iraq. He's a liar and a war criminal who deserves a much more severe punishment.

    December 28, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Anon

    Stop lavishing praise on your husband. "As you know, he's a natural athlete." No, he isn't. Be quiet! No one wants to hear from you anymore. (Maybe no one ever did.)

    December 28, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Waiting Moderation

    “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.”

    ...and are then free to get beaten and have their bones broken.

    December 28, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. BB

    I know that the anti-Bush folks got a lot of mileage out ot the shoe throwing incident, but I think it proved our actions in Iraq made it possible for some idiot to throw anything at leaders of Iraq and the US and not fear for his life. I believe that Mrs. Bush was exactly right when she said that if that had happened under Saddam Hussein's rule, the shoe-thrower would not have made it out of the room alive. So I guess we did some good.

    December 28, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. virginia for obama

    I always liked Laura Bush. No matter what people think of Her husband who I think we should respect because He is the President of the US. I love how gracious she is and also beautiful.

    She should be offended about the shoe incident because that's her husband who she loves.

    Good-Bye First Lady.

    December 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Willy Brown

    Making a big deal on a slow news day: From CNN Political Producer Kristi Keck

    December 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Scott Alexander

    I wonder if Laura's amused by the hundreds of thousands of deaths her husband and his administration is responsible for. Strange how she never makes any comments about that (perhaps since its not her family, she doesn't care).

    December 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Sue

    Thank you for speaking for millions of us, al-Zaidi. I only wish your shoe met its target. Laura, it's time to realize that your husband is internationally reviled. You're not garnering any sympathy. He has the blood of hundreds of thousands of souls on his hands. A shoe in the face is nothing compared to what he truly deserves. I look to God to mete out his final punishment. I hope it's a doozy.

    December 28, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. Jim

    Wow!!!! Nothing quite like the Retardlican spin machine!!!!!! Take a negative and turn it into a positive. I was obvious the journalist and millions more are disgusted with the way the Bush Administration has handled the "war" in Iraq. But leave it to the Retardlican spin machine to present it as "well they must be feeling a lot more free now because they can throw shoes at foreign dignitaries". When will it ever stop? I just wish the Retardlicans would go lick a window for the next hundred years and let the country recover from the damage they have caused.

    December 28, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. J.C.

    I totally agree with Mrs. Laura Bush. But I do hope the Iraqi government will not execute the journalist, or even keep him in prison for more than 2 years. Now Mr. al-Zaidi is no longer a Joe Journalist. Being a journalist, he could write a book about it and sell it to a media company after he gets out. We respect freedom and personal properties.

    December 28, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. yellow dog democrat

    The man was frustrated! People need to have a say - he obviously felt no other way to express his feelings. too bad. But at least he wasn't shot dead on the spot. I feel the same way – I want to throw something at someone – all the irresponsible bloggers for a start – but it wouldn't really do me any good – wouldn't change their minds or attitudes – but maybe I can throw shoes at my wall – nobody would no any different and I might feel better for a minute – the world is in desparate need of healing and nobody wants to take responsibility!

    I hope our new President Elect can get the ball rolling – we all have to start somewhere – but look what you have to work with!! its appalling! Thank you everyone everywhere with good hearts and good minds! the only HOPE left – regardless of yoiur religious (or not) beliefs!

    December 28, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. kathy

    I think Mrs. Bush is avoiding the truth. Most people don't care
    for him and feel he is a failure as a leader and has been nothing
    but a bully with all of his cowboy antics. It's almost over, we have
    to endure a few more weeks of him and hopefully things will begin
    to heal. He has ruined any respect we had as a powerful nation.

    December 28, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Meka

    Bush has been DOGGING, for a long time now. The Iraq Reporter only expressed what a HUGE PERCENTAGE of the WORLD POPULATION is feeling.

    With the US INVASION of Iraq, it only helped IRAN become a STRONGER POWER in that Region!

    Not that I was a supporter of Saddam, but he kept IRAN IN CHECK!

    December 28, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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