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. Gary

    Ms. Bush your husband deserves a lot more than shoes thrown at him for what he has done to the innocent people of Irag and our country as well. I hope he and your family burn in hell. What your husband has done is despicable. Not only the damage to irag but our country as well.

    December 28, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. larry kraus farmersville illinois

    Well all i have to say is I haven't been amused by her husband for the last 8 years either.

    December 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Wenton Chan

    Keep throwing shoes and keep validating the spread, however paltry, of western liberal democratic ideals.

    "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."

    And it's true! The blood of thousands of Americans and trillions of America's wealth enabled this guy to express himself freely.

    December 28, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Susan

    I don't blame her. Laura is a very nice lady.

    December 28, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Mal Bumgarner

    Dear Laura,

    As an American citizen, under the present Bush/Cheney/Rove/Wolfowitz administration and the huge number of Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms it has stolen, if I would have thrown my shoes at "W" I would probably be sent to Guantanamo, or maybe even executed on the spot as a "terrorist".

    My only reason for thinking Muntadhar al-Zaidi should be penalized in any way is that his aim wasn't better.

    If you want to laud the fact that Iraqis are freer and can now express their thoughts and feelings in that new democratic society, (obviously just another well crafted White House spin on the shoe throwing incident), have you heard the discouraging news that they have been expressing (for quite a while now) that they want the us OUT of their country? You see, its THEIR country so don't you think they have the right to determine things like that? You know, being a democracy and all.

    Or is that too much democracy for you and your old man to stomach?

    Thank God there's only 23 days left of the most despicable administration in our country's long history.

    Please go back to Texas. (As in: don't call us, we'll call you, if we need anything else from the Bush family.)

    December 28, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. David

    Yes, Laura...people are "expressing themselves" and thus that things in Iraq have improved...

    He threw his frikkin' SHOES at your husband!

    You can't spin that!

    December 28, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Wenton Chan

    And another thing, why do you lefties keep blaming hundreds of thousands of deaths on President Bush? Is he telling the Shiite death squads to go house to house looking for Sunnis? Is he ordering suicide bombers to go into crowded markets? You freaking people and your moronic hyperbole. President Bush got many things wrong, but be honest about IRAQIs killing IRAQIs.

    December 28, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. vJ

    Now we know how much people like him because of his stupid actions as a president. he should be ashamed?

    December 28, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Concerned Citizen

    Let's ask ourselves the more important question:


    Nine days after the due date and there's no child. Was there something to that story after all?

    December 28, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Ken

    Facing one's shoes towards someone, or trampling their name with the shoes, etc. is not a "muslim" insult, as suggested by the story. It is rather prevailent in all Asian/South Asian cultures.

    December 28, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. David S. Robins

    Laura is not amused that a patriotic Iraq threw his shoes at her husband. My, my, my. The rest of us think it was a wonderful thing to do. Too bad it wasn't an explosive shoe like Richard Reid's and that the guy didn't have time to light it first. It will be so good here in America when the Bush's are gone.

    December 28, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. shaiiwn hoover

    come on peoples, lets be true, Proof and real here, trow a shoe to even a human beeing iz an Injustice,the president iz a guest, wherever happen, he represent the united states of america, he is still the president by constitution what kind of freedom are we talking about here????
    let anybody trow shoes? or spit at him???or insulte him as Dog??
    u guys think that the solution???
    help me god..this Iraq journalist deserve just to be educated
    he deserve to be punish,//no laws in this planet allow this kind of behaviour
    so he fully have to be Jail, Fire from his work and Monitor closly
    Shaiiwn from the netherland

    December 28, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Prof.Benarey

    Mrs. Bush does not realise that the journalist just expressed what most of the world thinks, Bush is a dog and the world hates him for what he did to the USA

    December 28, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. happy new year

    he was not only throwing the shoes at president bush, but also at all americans for invading their country without just cause, i admire larua,but the iraq war is a shame and a disgrace to all america.

    December 28, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Ken

    Oh, and as for "feeling a lot more free" comment. Ask the people who's entire families got killed, parents who lost children, children who became orphans, how much the "freedom" is worth!

    December 28, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian

    It was an INSULT no matter how you want to TWIST IT AND TURN IT!

    Sure I am somewhat sorry that this journalist has to be punished
    for this incident, (and I hope he is) but the BOTTOM LINE IS, HE DID A REALLY STUPID AND INSULTING THING!



    WHITEHOUSE. I think this would go a long way to getting the
    people of IRAQ to stop and think very seriously of just how

    December 28, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Mavericky

    Laura, he's a loser, a dud, a moron. The shoe throwing was the only amusement that we got from him the last 8 years, the rest is misery and pure hell, a place I hope he, cheney and rumsfeld will rot in eternity.

    December 28, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Roberto

    ...and we are "not amused" that her husband brought the USA on the brink of bankruptcy...
    It was an attack?
    I wish her husband used shoes instead of bombs.
    Get some perspective...


    December 28, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Estuardo

    Mrs. Bush:

    With all due respect, if Iraq is such a Democracy (“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”), why does your husband still feel it's necessary to sneak in and out of that Democracy in total secrecy?

    December 28, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Justinbronxny

    Oh you liberals! War or violence of any kind is never acceptable...oh that is unless a republican is on the receiving end of it.

    December 28, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Wow. Lots of people posting comments who have a biased recount of history. I'm no fan of Bush, but believe that Congress and the Senate authorized war, too. I also believe that Clinton, Pelosi, the British, Kerry and other voted for it, too. Lastly, both Clinton and Kerry were on the Senate Defense Committee at the time of the authorization.......MEANING THAT THEY HAD THE EXACT SAME INTELLIGENCE THAT BUSH DID.

    Vilify Bush all you want, but do the same to everyone else who let him do it.

    December 28, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Badger

    I found it amusing.

    December 28, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. crazy

    Just sorry the shoe didn't hit him is the face. This is what the world thinks of the US.

    December 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. I told you so


    This man is no hero. I wish you were here so I could kick the crap out of your liberal butt

    December 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. bayoubanshee

    Maybe we should all go to Payless buy one pair get the second free.
    Then we could really give him a good send off.

    December 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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