December 28th, 2008
04:56 PM ET
4 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. Bruce

    I am more ashamed of so-called americans who like seeing their own president insulted, than I am angry at the shoe-thrower. I would have been angered if he had thrown the shoe at any president, be it Bush, Carter, Reagan, Nixon, Clinton, or anyone else.

    You hate-mongers who have nothing but evil to say about our president are helping to make us a nation of sitting ducks who think, since we hate our own leaders, we are prime targets for terrorism and other attacks.

    You ought to be ashamed of yourselves for the hate speech. I know I am ashamed of you.

    December 28, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. Lauren

    Sue, and all the other Bush bashers,

    Let me ask you this question.
    Would you admire an American reporter who did the same to a visiting leader from another country here?

    Meaning, if a president or other important person from any other country came to speak to Obama, they held a press conference, and one of CNN or Fox, or MSNBC tossed something at the foreign leader in response to something he or she opposed. Would that be acceptable?

    I am not saying Bush is great, or he has done enough to help this country or world, but he does demand a certain amount of respect. WE, the people elected him. Like it or not, he WAS and still is our president at the time of his visit to Iraq.
    I agree free spech is important, and the Iraqi reporter had a right to question, drill or even piss of Bush. But there has to be some respect shown.

    As far as all of you holding Bush responsible for the countries problems, you know, there are many, many other congressmen and women who have also sat on thier butts watchign this country go down the tubes. And they LET IT HAPPEN. Bush is only one man in a machine called Washington politics.

    You can tooss your slams at Bush, but he alone is not the only problem. And it is wrong to show a lack of respect for a leader when on foriegn soil. It would not happen here, a leader can visit and not get anything tossed at him or her,,, why should it happen to Bush?

    December 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Sanny

    Oh Mrs. Bush, your husband will go down as the worst.
    You need to stop living in your fantasy world.
    I guess you and your husband never care that our soldiers, and
    a lot of innocent Iraqi people weren't able to dodge bombs, bullets,
    IED's. Thanks to your husband. He wasn't even man enough to
    stand there and let one of those shoes hit him. If I were that reporter
    I would have brought at least six pairs and kept throwing and throwing
    I would have got him.
    He is the worst down go home and live out your life with your lying
    deceitful husband and go away. We are tired of looking at all
    of you and his Administration.
    By the way I hope you know that know matter what you say or you
    believe God will have the last word on all of you.

    December 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. A deal with the Devil

    bush destroyed Iraq for the Saudis .. to stop 911….and

    ..please … his daddy…who was scared of Saddam!!

    December 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Sunny

    I didn't vote for either of the Bushs; I was and am very much against this war in Iraq. HOWEVER, I do not like anyone throwing shoes at my president. I would not want anyone in this country throwing shoes at a foreign leader who was visiting the U.S. Laura Bush got it right.

    December 28, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Bob Reynolds

    Hey Bush Bashers! Like it or not, this country was safer because of Bush's policies. He took action against a dictator when no one else in the world was willing to because they were actively selling military hardware and technology to the Sadam Insane regime. The Arabs and other Muslim nations, Europeans, and the Russians didn't care, and with the exception of a few European leaders still don't care enough to risk thier men and women in uniform to keep communist and other dictatorships from attacking other nations in the world. I don't see any of you Bush Bashers complaining about Obama's agenda to double the troop stregnth, to impliment a surge in Afganistan. Not that I don't support our new Commander in Chief, but Gee, I wonder where Obama got that idea?

    December 28, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. B.Real

    She should be happy he's being tortured then in post-Saddam Iraq.

    December 28, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Cathy R., Philadelphia, PA

    Of course Laura Bush would say that. Her husband's lies about WMD, incursion into Iraq, mental retardation with regard to Katrina, dumbfoundedness as our economy, including loss of jobs, spiraled into a deeper recession, and the TARP bailout, it's a wonder she can sleep at night while he's snoring in blissful ignorance.

    My God, she probably tells GW he can dance and sing! Stand by your man Laura, as P-E Obama begins the long process of cleaning up this mess.

    December 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Carol McFarlane

    It's interesting that Mrs. Bush speaks as if she wishes the journalist DID get his just desserts (under Saddam Hussein), yet the murdered Iraqi leader was OUR target! Ah, Laura, you and the rest of you can't have it both ways. At least that's ALL that Iraqis have done to us, while we felt free to invade their country and ruin their culture, in addition to the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis and the barbaric end to their leader. We have demonstrated far more primitive behavior, on the international scene, by unilaterally meting out justice, and in such a horrific way. Let's see, what was this all about? To bring democracy to Iraq, to punish Al Qaeda, to put an end to a dictator??? It's SOOOOO confusing, the many reasons we invaded Iraq and did what we did. I'm surprised that Mr. Bush can safely move about anywhere in the Middle East or in Muslim countries. He is fortunate indeed that all he got was a pair of shoes flung at him. That was MUCH more civilized than what we did to and in Iraq.

    December 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. JKB

    Bushy deserves everything he gets. I can't wait until he disappears. Instead of overseeing his library being built, he should volunteer at Walter Reed and see the irreversable damage that he has caused first hand. Maybe he could help someone learn how to walk or talk again. But since his presidency is up, he can just walk away and hopefully not with a clear conscience. Condi thinks that people will soon be thanking him for his 8 yrs, but I NEVER will. Is everyone in Bush's cabinet disillusional? Unbelievable. Good riddance Bushy, job not well done.

    December 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Brian

    He didn't throw the shoe because the Iraqis feel alot freer. That has to be to stupidest thing I have ever heard. Obviously this guy speaks for a great number of people living in that country. Just because the media is shutting out the reception that the Iraqi people gave this man, doesn't change the fact it wasn't welcomed. Face it, they don't want us there. Bush's legacy cannot be saved. The history books will call him our worst president. Nothing can change that.

    December 28, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. David

    great – when looking for insight into worldviews, problems & foresight, i always consult my librairian. they really get it.

    December 28, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Southern

    To all you people who say that you believe Bush is a war criminal.......

    Where does that leave you and the rest of the democrats?

    Since no charges have been brought.......you are either accomplices or liars. Or just possibly gutless pussies.........

    Please, pray tell why hasn't your Vice President Elect brought charges?
    (I won't question Obama, he was such a junior senator he wasn't expected to do anything.........And he didn't.
    Why hasn't the speaker of the House?
    How about Senator "the war is lost" Reid?

    Gutless?
    Liars?
    Accomplices?

    What is it to be...........

    Please tell us what your representatives are?

    Or is it that no presidential war crimes have been committed?

    December 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Marilyn, Powell Ohio

    I felt sadness for the United States that shoes were thrown at our president because he is so disliked, especially in the Middle East. Laura Bush has campaigned for her husband and tried to legitimize every dastardly act he has commited during the past eight years. How many thousands of innocent children have been killed (women and men also) for Bush to "set them free"? Why go on and on? We Americans (majority) know that Bush and Company have taken our great country down a path of destruction. Good riddance to all the Bushes, Cheneys and their cronies who helped with the deeds.

    December 28, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. PhilT

    "He's very quick, a natural athlete".

    Let's hope he needs to dodge more than just shoes when the crimianl charges go his way (along with Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and Rice).

    December 28, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. PJP

    You go Mrs Bush! Defend your man and the President of our United States. No matter what people think, they don't know the whole story and even though I don't know the whole story either, I believe Pres Bush is not as criminal as a lot of people think he is. I will say, I was very disapointed when he did say he did not take the Bible literally. But neither has a lot of presidents and neither is the one coming in. I wish we as American's would have prayed for Mr Bush like the Bible tells us to, but we failed and for that I am sorry.

    Have a good retirement.

    December 28, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. mike

    And the hate from the left continues.

    December 28, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Proud American

    It's not Mrs Bush fault she married into a family of complete idiots and who lack any knowledge of policy at home or abroad. Please do not blame this lady because her husband, father-in-law and entire family are village idiots. Goodbye and thank God and grayhound.

    December 28, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. reginald smith fairfax va

    did u notice that chris wallace never challenged her !! with facts , this is an irelavent agument with no substancse . of course she will defend her husband, if this were clinton she would have been challenged by wallce with facts contrary to her statements and held accountable to her husband actions

    December 28, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. you keep Richard Rohde's comments but don't post mine?

    This has to be a random censure, his comments while very funny are far worse and misrepresentative of the truth that most that I read on this blog and certainly than mine

    jail Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rove, Rice, Scooter, Powell and Rumsfeld

    December 28, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Sammy

    I agree with Mrs. Bush (and feel bad for her).

    All said and done, you respect the Chair even if you do not respect or agree with the person sitting in it.

    In this case, it is the President of a nation. I don't think it was proper for the reporter to throw anything, leave alone a shoe, at President Bush. It was downright insulting. I was utterly shocked.

    What was more disheartening is the fact that the press made light of the issue. This whole episode was disgusting. Shows how much respect the so-called free Iraqis are capable of showing.

    December 28, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    People who voted for Busch twice , i hope you getting what you ask for .you made your Bed now slep in at . you f Repuplicans

    December 28, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. S.Owen

    Just a Canadian,re::your comments,
    Your comments show so much hatered.]How can you ever heal.
    Please all take a nap till the new President is in Office and go from there.
    Just a friend to the best neighbor on the Planet.
    Love from aCanadian.

    December 28, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Julie.

    Keep at it,bloggers.... they aren't smart, he deserved it..... but it will be your guy in the White House soon, and when Muslims find out the Obama is no longer one of them, they will be throwing more than shoes. It is not allowed to "leave the faith."

    December 28, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. PJP

    For all of you that blame Bush for the war, you do realize that we have a voluntary enlistment, don't you? Nobody has made anyone enlist in the military. But we have been blessed with lots of men and women enlisting on their on. Yes, I know that many of them have been killed, but be thankful for the ones that have come home. You do know that death can come at any time, wether is be at home or in war. I know most of you just want to blame someone for all the bad around us. Well, then go look in the mirror and ask yourself, or God, how can you make a difference. If you will listen hard enough, He will tell you!!!!

    December 28, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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