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. CH in Maine

    Well I can't stand George Bush and I am literally counting the minutes left in his administration. He has done more damage to our country than can be listed here.
    However, the picture of an American President ducking a projectile (even foot-ware) fills me with anger toward the thrower. This is not acceptable as a means for dealing with an awful President.

    That shoe thrower should just wait with the rest of us for the next 22 days 21 hours 31 minutes and 5 seconds like the rest of us.

    December 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. i am not amused

    Well Laura, I'm not amused at what your husband has done to Iraq, the U.S., and our reputation around the world. So I guess neither of us are laughing much these days.

    December 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Erika, Midwest

    I've never figured out what Laura Bush ever saw in George. Must be the name and money that goes along with it. Give it up sweetie, your husband is an idiot. He's caused a lot of death and destruction in the past eight years. He's lucky he didn't have something else thrown at him.

    December 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. MikeH

    I can't help thinking that Laura has thrown a shoe or two at Geroge in the past for his drunken behavior.

    December 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Who cares.

    December 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Myron

    Who cares.

    December 28, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. unhipcat

    I imagine a lot of people aren't amused they have dead family members because of an unnecessary war.

    December 28, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. B. Reese

    This journalist did what millions of Americans would like to do to George Bush.

    December 28, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. giniajim

    I too am upset by the disgraceful show of disrespect for the President. As much as I disagree with policies and the near-criminal execution of the Iraq situation, this is an inexcusable incident. I do applaud the President's athleticism in ducking the shoes; bravo!

    December 28, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. welches, oregon

    OMG is she kidding. Here's what we can all do In support of the Iraq journalist. Tie a shoe to your car antenna. I have and my friends and family also – I hope everybody would do the same. (put a slipper if a shoe is too heavy) If you don't want it on your car, tie a shoe it to your door knobs.

    And what about attacking a soverign nation and killing thousands if not millions of innocent Iraqs and more Americans than were killed in 911 in order to steal the Iraq natural resource – it's oil? How about that Laura the Idiot wife of the Idiot W. Get a clue. CNN post this.

    December 28, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. rich

    Laura should be spending her time packing up her things so that she and Bush can get out of the people's White House. People dont want to hear from either of these two anymore.

    December 28, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Joe Fattal

    Democracy for you. In that part of the world instead to give you the bird, they'll throw a real one at you.

    December 28, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Larry in TX

    We would not have accomplished much in Iraq if we can only say their current government is better than Saddam Hussein's.

    December 28, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Mike

    Could the shoes have been thrown because:

    ...hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's have lost their lives over the war against Sadaam?

    ...the country has been driven to an economic collapse resulting in increased hunger and despair?

    ...sectarian violence will eventually lead to a civil war and partioning of Iraq?

    If I was sitting next to that journalist I would have removed my shoes and offered them to him. The Bush family just doesn't get it. They still believe that this war has been good for the Iraqi's. Well nuts to the Bushes.

    December 28, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Unblock Myspace

    Thanks for the information. some was old news but some was also new!

    Again, thanks!

    December 28, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. John

    Muntadhar al-Zaidi is a hero in most peoples eyes, he should be given a medal

    December 28, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. David Newport, OR

    So in other words, she supports cutting off this man's hands for throwing shoes at her husband. Frankly, I applaud the man. I also am yelling "This is farewell you piece of trash". Goodbye and good riddence.

    December 28, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. anonymous

    That is so beside the point.

    Sure under Saddam Hussein he wouldn't have done that same thing. Then again under Saddam Hussein's rule a US leader wouldn't even dream of being able to visit Iraq.

    The shoes were thrown out of frustration from the incompetence of the invasion. The reporter probably saw the thousands of people who were killed by this war and he was personally affected by it.

    And the shoes were thrown at a US president not at an Iraqi leader. So how do you know? Maybe if bush would have visited Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule he would have had a show thrown at him as well!

    God. Bush and his administration should talk about the failure of the war not “Iraqis are more free”.

    Bush knows he's a loser, people around him know he's a loser and they don't want to address the issues.

    And Bush went ahead and admitted the fact that the US invasion has brought in Al Qaeda into Iraq. So if that is the case then the shoes were well deserved.

    December 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Richard Rohde

    Laura is nice. I don't understand how the community organizer, Illinois politician, senator for less than 4 years and friend to all corrupt unions as well as standard bearer for Charlie Rangel, William Jefferson, Chris Dodd and all those corrupt socialcratsaffords a $2.2 million home in good ole honest Chicago, and vacations at a $9 million home in Hawaii. Oh this is going to be a wonderful four years. Impeach Hussein and Hair Plug.

    December 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Jason in Vegas

    Good riddance to a first lady whose contribution to society, especially education, has been so unbelievably insignificant. Don't let the door hit you on the way out! Great show this morning, Faux News. Blah!

    December 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. moufasi

    Wow! The 1st lady is pissed!

    December 28, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. MaryanneAZ

    It's funny how we think we're so superior, but when push comes to shove we're vindictive and unforgiving. This journalist and many of his fellow countrymen lost family, jobs, utilities, culture and much more in a war of choice for reasons ultimately only known to Dubya. If I had the opportunity, I'd like to see the book thrown at Dubya himself. He is a war criminal without doubt. When did torture become a U.S. policy? I'm no dove, but an unprovoked war on a nation that had not one countryman on one of those flights into the towers, pentagon and the pennsylvania field makes no sense to me. We fight if we're attacked or credibly threatened with imminent harm, not for oil. Sorry, Dubya. I hope we do eventually throw the book at Bush and his administration. That would be Democratic!

    December 28, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. California Gold

    Begging your pardon Mrs. Bush, but I believe there is more to this than citing your husband is "... a natural athlete." and this is an indicia of the improvement in Iraq. The citizens of the country are certainly pleased the dictator is gone, but once our country under your husband's leadership completely ripped out law, order, the court system and political system, your husband's leadership had nothing else. It has cost the Iraqi people more than quality of life. The American brand of lawlessness, murder of innocent civilians, pillaging and plummeting their country and years of lies in the name of "freedom" is why shoes were thrown at your husband.

    December 28, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Darren

    Go bake cookies, Laura. It's time for the adults to 'play' White House' for awhile...time to clean up your mess.

    December 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. dg

    Who cares what Laura Bush thinks?
    Get off the stage already.

    December 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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