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. Jeff in AZ

    Dear Laura, Muntadhar al-Zaidi should be and given a medal. He did what a lot of Americans would like to do to your husband. I hope he comes to my neck of the woods one day, I'll be throwing more than shoes, and we can see his athletic ability. We all know he has no cerebral ability.

    December 28, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. D. Dean

    One of the bloggers said that the shoe-throwing incident showed the world how deep the resentments are for President Bush, and he represents all of us. Sorry to disagree with you but he didn't represent me. I didn't vote for him and not once in 8 years did he do anything I wanted. Nope, the shoe throwing incident was an expression of what that particular individual thought of George W. Bush, . . . and frankly, I agree with him!

    December 28, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Chris (WA)

    she sees the incident as a sign that “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.”


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

    Dear Mrs. Bush, I "wasn't amused" by your husbands presidency. I did, however, personally gain some satisfaction from Muntadhar al-Zaidi acting out on the rage felt by 6,000,000,000 others on this planet which apparently you do not share.

    December 28, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Said Mushefi

    Getting rid of Saddam has done nothing! Iraqis are still prisoners in their own country. U.S interference is the cause of the countries problems. Saddam was only in power because of the US interference to begin with!

    Bush received what he deserved. He is not the cause of Freedom of Iraq. Brave men and women do these things no matter what the situation is.

    December 28, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Messiah watch

    The ugliness of the Obamist comments here tells us a lot about the culture of "hope and change" descending on us. The Cocktail Party Marxist that the Donks and other clueless groups have voted into office are going to make Fidel Castro look like a pixie.

    December 28, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Steve R

    W is naturally athletic wow, had I had known I might have voted for him..NOT

    December 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Francisco Venancio

    On a U.S. "freed" Iraq he is only tortured.

    December 28, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Donna from PA

    I can not beleive we as Americans are saying the things we are saying about our President. To me it shows other countries we are not behind our leaders. Did Bush do wrong? Who is to say not me. I love America and love my president and wish he and his family well after they leave the White House

    December 28, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Steve R

    Laura Bush is not blameless, she's a billionaire because of his policies and she probably hoped that the shoe hit him square and rendered him even more brain dead than he his now so she wouldn't have to put up with him for another 30 years. I bet she believes the best iraqi is not a free one but a dead one, and he killed a lot of innocents worst first lady ever so it's a matching pair

    December 28, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. No Hillary = No Obama

    Wifey comes to defense of hubby – that's newsworthy? To be married to George Bush tells you all you need to know about Laura Bush.

    December 28, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. MK

    To "Lauren", IF a visiting world leader (and I really hate to put W in that catagory) had invaded our Country and was here, giving a press conference with Obama, I would hope to God that reporters from CNN, FOX and MSNBC would do more than throw a stinking shoe or two at them.

    Bush invaded their Country for no reason, do you understand that or do you have no reasoning abilities due to GOP brainwashing? Stay off the kool aid, read, inform yourself, and come and tell us if you really still believe your own bs.

    December 28, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. al

    too bad he missed , if the shoe fits, I fitting end to a failed foreign policy

    December 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Proud American

    you keep Richard Rohde's comments but don't post mine? I agree with your comments. Richard receives special treatment because he's retarded.

    December 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. American Living in London

    Dear Sammy

    Good point, but who "freed" the Iraqis, your boy Bush – see ironic

    December 28, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. sarah

    I think Mrs. Bush realizes what few Americans seem to, that throwing anything at the President of the United States is an insult to every American. Regardless of what most people seem to think about Bush, Congress has a big hand in our national problems and while Bush will soon be gone, Congress is still there. Consider this, the second most supported Democratic candidate for President (and member of Congress) bears responsibility for Iraq and now, incredibally, she is Secretary of State! Can Obama offer real change if he only resuffles the same old lawmakers?

    December 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Richard Rohde

    The insults and slams that are hurled at Ms. Bush are beyond belieft. Some real repugnant people out there in socialist land. Don't say a thing bad about Blago, Rangel, Frank,. Pelosi or Reid, but attack this poor woman. What a shame this party has bamboozled the american people in to getting a thug from Chicago elected. Hussein the great community organize with less than 4 years as a senator has a $2 million house in Chicago and is currentyly staying in a $9 million one in Hawaii. I can't afford a house or a vacation like that but, then again I didn't promise the corrupt unions I would give them everything they want. Illinois politico, endorsed Blago twice, sure there is no corruption.

    December 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Alex

    The shoe-thrower faces two years in prison? That is a "free society"?

    December 28, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Tammy

    I am so upset that this happened to our President. I happen to like our President, as he knows what he is doing, strategically in the middle east. And our troops like their leader also. I was wondering, where was the Secret Service? Why were they so slow to respond to the shoe. If that were a bullet, they would have been fired from the Secret Service. Unacceptable!

    December 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |


    December 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Proud American

    Richard Rohde, I feel sorry for you. This is what happens when brother and sister become parents. Idiot.

    December 28, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Virginia

    “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.” HAHAHA u mean they are free cuz Bush is leaving or else they will be still in prison.
    Such an honor to see wat had happen to Bush.

    December 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Jesse

    Does anyone on the left ever have anything to say other than something hateful? For being the progressive party I just do not see anything progressive about any of you.

    December 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Ryan

    I hate to break it to all of you pathetic bloggers... Bush will not be charged with any war crimes. Sorry, it just isn't going to happen. Saddam could have stopped the whole war by letting UN inspectors into his country. Sorry Bush, and several other leaders stepped in and did the right thing.

    December 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Cindy

    I myself was not amused by this incident and no American should be. No matter your take on Bush, he is still the leader of America. This was so disrespectful & that guy should get some time for it. I am not fond of Bush but he deserve better than that. As a matter of fact I was extremly upset at that and then to see Americans laughing at it was even more disgusting!

    December 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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