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. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    He just did what many free Americans are afraid to do.

    December 28, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Obama Supporter

    She should be thankful that shoes were all that the thrower had at hand, or at foot... whatever...

    December 28, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. BB

    That's fine. There will plenty of time to lampoon Obama over the next 4 years, and frankly, it will be fun. Not my president.

    December 28, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Pat

    I agree with Mrs. Bush. You people who applaud this action by that nut should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves!!!! Wow! Do you people have a twisted sense of values !!!!!!!!!!

    This guy does NOT represent "the hearts of the Iraqui people." If you would ever watch anything but CNN - or the other ultra left news organizations, you would see Iraquis speaking out to reporters about how happy and hopeful they are about their country's future without Saddam. (But that kind of reporting is NOT allowed by the MSM) - and I know it would blow YOUR little minds!

    December 28, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. liz

    Okay you people do not see the magnitude of insult the incident is to us (United States)
    There are million ways to express your view, throwing shoes is not one of them. Shoe throwing is an act of violence and to throw show at president Bush is an insult to the people of the United States.
    you fools! no matter what Bush done over the past eight years, he is the president of United States.
    never let anyone disrespect the president of United States
    The man should be severely punish.

    December 28, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Pissed off Ex-Solider

    I got out of the military because of all of the gutless Americans. I was in Iraq twice and I hated the way the war was handled but I also saw a lot of good come out of it. I haven't always liked Bush but I'm not gone condemn him either, history will tell whether he was right or wrong and we're ignorant to make the decision so soon. American's have become bitter and sniveling and I got out of the Army because I was tired of defending them. Let the country rot to its own vices I'm tired of the leftist smearing of the this land. It wasn't Islamists or Communists that brought us to our knees, just unappreciative Americans who were born with silver spoons in their mouth.

    December 28, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Kathie, Houston, TX

    Proud American – I'd have to disagree with you. No one tied her arm to marry the Village Idiot. She wasn't living under a rock., she knew exactly what she was getting into.

    Muntadhar al-Zaidi deserves a medal. He has done what millions of people both here and abroad have wanted to do for the past 8 years. Any way you look at it Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice – all war criminals and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Dave

    I guess the press will have to check their shoes at the door....until Jan. 20th!

    December 28, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Dr. Nerd

    Just think what would have happened if the shoes were thrown at Sadam... He would have been shot and then his family shot.

    The fact that something like a first amendment expression of freedom of speech is a perfect example of how successful our reforms in Iraq have been.

    December 28, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Roland in St George, UT

    You're so right, Mrs. Bush. If the reporter disagreed with your husband, then what that he should have done is waited until Bush's car was stopped at a railroad crossing and then he should have "accidentally" rear-ended Bush's car, pushing it onto the train track just as the train came. Is that the way you would have handled it?

    December 28, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. yen

    Who is amused? Must be a very stupid person. I am glad the President was not hurt. The journalist could have written all he could write about liking or not liking Bush. To ambush the president in this manner is absolutely unacceptable. He should get what is legally right as his punishment.

    December 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. FreeNLovIt

    I dont agree with what he did to the FREEDOM Shoe, but he helped release all the anger and frustration and disappointement, people have felt and bottled up, in the past eight years.

    December 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. Griff

    You keep coming on with this ADD! The How???? The How??? My Kids first... NOT RELIGIOUS IDIOTS... The USA is not out of Sorts...
    The USA is not what the UN is saying.... The Blacks and their stupid religion is..., Your going to Elect an Arab Allie.... Barack Obama...
    How Stupid.... America is not in this fight in the Middle East... Not with a Muslim in the Whitehouse...................

    December 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. bob from Oregon

    To sammy:
    I will respect the man in the office when he earns my respect. Just the fact that he has a title means nothing if he (or she) can't do the job. Bush and apparently Mrs. Bush are so far out of touch they may as well be on another planet.

    December 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Dave

    Hey "BB" .. If Saddam was still in charge, there would have been no reason to throw the shoes, as there would be no war and thousands of Iraqis killed, you dolt!

    December 28, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Randy

    To bad she wasn't there maybe the shoe thrower might of hit her sorry butt go have another drink.

    December 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. JMS

    Laura.....NO ONE LIKE YOU.....or YOUR HUSBAND!!!! It has nothing to do with the Iraqis feeling so free that they can express themselves....it has to do with the fact the are FED UP with this administration as is the rest of the WORLD!!!! Thank GOD it is almost over!!!!! Go back to TEXAS!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Gay Marrage

    Richard Rohde's the federal Gov't will give you a check once a month for being stupid (SSI). You should look into it, I'm sure you would qualify.

    December 28, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Bradley -Canada

    We do not care that she is not amused.
    She is not a story.

    December 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. JMS

    Laura…..NO ONE LIKES YOU…..or YOUR HUSBAND!!!! It has nothing to do with the Iraqis feeling so free that they can express themselves….it has to do with the fact they are FED UP with this administration as is the rest of the WORLD!!!! Thank GOD it is almost over!!!!! Go back to TEXAS!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Texas Teacher

    Laura Bush was "not amused".... not amused? What does she think is expected of her? Hysterical laughter may be more appropriate considering the horror this man, her husband, is reponsible of... :(

    December 28, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Joshua

    People who stand in self-righteousness and say things like "I hope you burn in hell" or "I look to God to mete out punishment and I hope it's a doozy" are hypocrites. If you call yourselves Christians and this is what proceeds out of your mouth, no wonder people want less and less to do with "Christianity".

    If any of you actually read your bibles, you would see that your own judgments condemn YOU, while you vainly call down God's vengeance on your neighbor.

    If you do not forgive others, why do you expect God to forgive you?

    December 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Bo C. Phuss

    I bet she wasn't amused about the shoe-throwing incident since the shoe thrower beat her to the punch.

    December 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. AB

    Bruce Bruce Bruce Bush is no President he's a failure. Call him what you want but he's an idiot no matter how you look at it.

    December 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. whateva

    2 years is the maximum sentence? what kind of lenient laws did these people enact? I thought the incident was funny. Bush was a terrible President and screwed up this country and arguably the World with his inane policies. Hopefully the new administration will start cleaning up this mess ASAP.

    December 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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