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. Suzie McKay

    Laura is our First Lady and has comported herself with dignity throughout her husband's troubled administration. She deserves our support and is not to blame for George Bush's failed presidency. She is not a Stepford wife. She is a woman who loves her husband. She also realizes full well that her role is NOT that of the highest elected office in our country, but as an honored spouse. I will miss Laura and know that Michelle Obama will continue her fine tradition of support and principal head of the family, thus freeing her husband's time for the crucial work of guiding our country out of this terrible war and into better economic opportunity.

    December 28, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. jim

    True love has to do with honesty not delusions.
    Americans who are fed up with the lies, manipulations,disregard for our Constitution, arrogance and above all else, a criminal responsibility for the deaths of >4000 soldiers (and thousands more Iraqis) should send our own old shoes to the White House as a show of support..............
    for al-Zaidi.

    December 28, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. If the shoe fits

    Laura Bush has lived in a bubble with W for many, many years and is clueless as to how her hubby is viewed by the rest of the world.

    December 28, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Doug

    Thanks to Bush, American have murdered thousands upon thousands of innocent children. woman and men in Iraq. It's no wonder the U.S. flag is reviled around the world.

    December 28, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. mb

    I think the First Lady gave a good interview today. Sure she should be offended that the reporter threw a shoe at her husband and although I do not care for the President my self. It was offensive to me and should have been offensive to the US that such a thing was done.
    Note* How many people in the US that are raised up with "get your feet off that table", "don't you hit him/her with that shoe" (kicking) "keep your feet on the floor". If this sounds familiar to you , even hear in the US some of us were raised with the same beliefs.

    December 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. doolster

    Good Ridance.

    December 28, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. arc, Lugano CH

    Godluvr December 28th, 2008 11:07 am ET
    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!
    I respectfully disagree with the beginning of your post. I am an American, but Bush never represented me. He was never my President. I applaud Muntadhar al-Zaidi and didn’t at all feel insulted as an American when he threw his shoes at Bush. Besides Iraqis, like most of the world, primarily play football (or soccer) and that is why he probably couldn't connect.

    However, I do very much agree with the latter portion of your post. Sante!

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

    I am not an American.1- I can't wait for the USA to go bankrupt because they support too much corruption in poor countries like Haiti. They send millions and the millions never reach the needy. If America doesn't have money then the corruption will go down.

    December 28, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Aaron from Ohio

    From bouncing pom poms at Yale where he was cheerleader to dodging shoes at a press there isn't anything this marvelous "athlete" can't do?

    December 28, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Pete,Howard Oh

    In a short time the abortion seekers will have to be back on the job since Bush has been doing a job for them the last eight years,

    December 28, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Wayne D. PA

    I don't care for Bush but he is are president if Saddam was there that reporter would get beheaded. The man threw the shoe at USA people wake up!

    December 28, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. arc, Lugano CH

    Scott Alexander December 28th, 2008 11:20 am ET
    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).
    Indeed, you are right. Her sentiments are probably very much the same as any other Republican.

    December 28, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. shaiiwn hoover

    so trowing shoes, or spiting at a human beeing iz legit???
    trowing shoes will bring all those dead back to life???
    humiliate him will make u happy???
    put the fact that he is president Aside
    and remember what goes around come around..
    its him george bush today///tomrrow will maybe be barrack obama
    American plz look back history plz plz plz plz
    he prez george Bush was the first in history to name a first black to highest office position in yre history, so why evryone getting insane at him?im not white, american or republican, im simply a foreigner who appear to follow evryday american news and fact check
    Shaiiwn in the netherland

    December 28, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Everyman

    IDIOTS! What would have happened if this clown threw his shoes at Sadam? He wouldn't have left the room alive!

    In a free society, EVERONE is free to protest and some go to far. Iraqi's have a shoe thrower and here in America, we have idiots who throw fake blood on old ladies wearing fur coats (PETA).

    The fact that this "Shoe Thrower" was able to protest in this way without fear shows we have brought something important to the Iraqi people-FREEDOM!

    December 28, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. carol

    I'm sure Laura wasn't amused it was rather dangerous......but she must know that incident was an act of disdain to put it mildly of how lots of people in that region really feel about Bush.
    Although it was unfortunate it happened it shows that we have to change our mind set about our arrogance round the world and how we deal with other countries.

    December 28, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Kathy from PA

    I agree with Rob from CA who commented on the fact that the president "laughed" at the incident. Neither Laura nor George have shown any ability to look beyond themselves and the actions that have adversely affected people all around this world.
    How sad that these people have the power they have and yet don't have the wisdom to recognize it's consequences.. George could only laugh and Laura could only idealize the situation, while the rest of the world looked on and "got it".

    December 28, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. MS

    The moral values violated by Bush and Cheney in comparison to those of Clinton are staggering. Invading the wrong country for the wrong reasons. Afghanistan should have been our primary focus from the start. Public officials should be required to take responsibility for bad decisions as well as good ones.

    December 28, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. jb

    I wonder what the world would have said if an American had thrown a shoe at an Iraqi or and Irani or even at North Korea's Kim Jing.

    Funny how we have such double standards.

    December 28, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. rollicky

    This individual is as limited in intell. as her spouse , what do you expect. Proof, she caused "no child left behind" which has greatly DUMBED down the education system.

    December 28, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Frank from Gilroy

    He's quick at moving out of the way of thrown objects.
    That comes from a lifetime of practice!

    He's a natural athlete.
    From all that male cheerleader training!

    Laura's knows her man!

    December 28, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. ralph tyler

    George Bush should be in prison.

    I am tired of the Bush family. They are a group of spoiled, self-entitled people who do nothing but cause problems.

    December 28, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Union Flag

    The South has fallen again.

    December 28, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. vermont

    Wow, what a bunch of moonbats you Bush haters are. If you have any grasp on reality you'll remember that the world hated the US long before President Bush arrived. Perhaps you'll also remember that almost all of the Democrats supported the war and that Saddam had 19 months to allow inspectors in to avoid this mess.
    You will soon see that President Obama is going to be changing his views on a lot of things he promised in the campaign. (The tax increase he promised but now opposed is just the beginning) The world is more complicated than your simple, left leaning minds can comprehend.

    December 28, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. celo miqoco



    December 28, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Michael Flanders

    Good for Laura Bush for defending her man. She's doing a good job taking the lead on the administration's defense against some of the most disappointing poll results ever and against the overwhelmingly negative sentiments expressed (at home and abroad) about our President and his performance. The First Lady's grace during this difficult period is much more palatable and appreciated than is the continued arrogance of Vice President Cheney, as evidenced during his recent interviews.

    I would be surprised, however, if the First Lady really believes all of the things that she's saying these days in defense of her man. For example, does she really believe that George Bush is a "natural athlete", as she stated today? If so, then what would possibly be her basis for this claim (that he is a good runner or bike rider)? In which sports did he ever excel in grade school, high school, prep school, or university?

    The reality is that our current President is not a "natural athlete" and he did not regularly compete in athletics (although he had many good opportunities to do so over many years). Why is this false athletic claim important to consider? Because it is one of many examples of a credibility gap, in which false positive attributes are bestowed upon this President.

    A free society with open access to good information will eventually punish a candidate or a public official who claims false levels of credibility (whether it be athleticism or military service, or other more relevant capabilities, such as communication skills and diplomacy). In a free society it is best for candidates and officials to be frank with their constituents about strengths and weaknesses. A false claim on behalf of a public official will do more damage because once identified publicly, it calls into question other perhaps legitimate claims.

    December 28, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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