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. jennifer

    JULIE YOU ARE VERY SAD, UNABLE TO DISCERN FACT FROM FICTION... YOUR QUOTE "IT ISN'T ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE FAITH"!!! TO MY KNOWLEDGE OBAMA HASN'T LEFT CHRISTIANITY BUT EVEN IF HE WANTED TO, IT IS ALLOWED. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS NOT SMART.

    December 28, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. How Very Sad

    I am an Obama supporter. I think Bush made many mistakes but he still represents the office of the President of the United States.

    How sad it is from reading these posts how many fair weather Americans there are. I don't care if you voted for him or not he was and still is your president.

    I can't believe how many people here are on the side of America's enemies.

    Even Charles Rangel defended Bush when Chavez insulted him.

    I don't agree with Bush but he is our elected leader untill Obama takes office. Have some respect for your country and the Presidents office.

    I got news for you. Obama is an American first and foremost so I guess you will hate him too.

    December 28, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Adam Levi

    Dear Laura-

    Stop defending your husband and come to realize that he has brainwashed you and his mistress Condi. If only the whole room joined in the shoe throwing they are heros and should be given the credit they deserve for their worthy acts of kindness =)

    December 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. fat john

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The first lady should know all about not being able to express yourself, for we seem to have lost some of that right right here in the good ole U.S. of A. Thanks to her idiotic husband. Just look at how much CNN doesn't put onto this board.This prolly won't make it but then again, who cares. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    OBAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Patty Pal

    I do not understand why this was is the main list of news stories for CNN's front page! Outside of her family and friends, who cares what Laura Bush thinks about anything? Please, CNN to move on to some other topic! The 'shoe incident' and the Bushes are history!

    December 28, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Dave, Illinois

    You hateful little Lefty jerks, of course she is not amused that some scum threw a shoe at her husband. CNN – duh, what a stupid ticker. I can't wait till Teflon man gets into office so I can blame all the worlds hatred and bad events on him. The muslim extremists hated us enough to bomb the World Trade Center the first time, bomb embasies, and attack and kill our military personnel while Clinton was in office. So, what makes you think that things will be any better with Obama in office? Unless, of course, he surrenders to their terms – which he will not do.

    December 28, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. She's right

    I'm no lover of Bush but she's right.

    What do you think would have happened if that guy threw a shoe at Saddam Hussein?

    He probably would have had his head cut off right then and their in front of everybody.

    December 28, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. J.C.

    "Bruce December 28th, 2008 3:58 pm ET

    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."

    Well said, Bruce! I will add President-elect Obama to the list of presidents.

    December 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. earle, florida

    Isn't ( Lorra') she wonderful,now the "Pen Money Trust" stipid will go to Michelle a much better example of "America...oh,and by the way if the shoe fits; wear it!

    December 28, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Boston Irish

    Lauren, I agree with you one thousand percent. You are exactly right and I wish more people could see the truth thrugh their hatred.

    December 28, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Bob

    In viewing the shoe throwing incident, I wondered where the Secret Service people were, and why so slow a response from them, if any. Had this been something more lethal than a shoe, I don't believe anyone could find this amusing or justified. I have never supported Mr. Bush, but this was totally out of line.

    December 28, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. cat

    All I can say is too bad the shoes missed!

    December 28, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. S. King in Maine

    I think her eyes are smiling despite her protests.

    December 28, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. MBFLA

    There are thousands of Iraqi people whose family members have been slaughtered since we arrived six years ago. Many folks have no homes, have been driven from their country, have seen their infrastructure destroyed, have no earnings and you expect Dubya to be greeted as a hero? Not even in Bush's highly controlled venues is that possible!
    Only the Bush family could be so delusional as to think that he garners any world respect. Laura, he is a failure, totally and needs to be indicted.

    December 28, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. Bill in Ct.

    O please Laura, her husband is a liar and a Killer of innocent people. He has robbed millions of dollars from people, him and his gang of thugs, Chaney, Rice, Rumsfield, Rove and the rest of those thugs related to him. You're also responsible with him Laura, you said nothing well he did his dirt so you're just as guilty as him. Laura Bush paling around with a terrorist ( BUSH )

    December 28, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. Loretta

    I wish to god evryone would get off President Bush's back and just
    be thankful we had a strong president, because as of Jan. 20, 2009
    we will have the biggest wimp as our president. I swear , Obama walks around like a pimp. You people will be SORRY you voted him in.

    December 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. Rachel

    I can't believe how many of you feel it's okay that guy hucked two shoes at a visiting President. Whether you agree with Bush or not, keep in mind that hatred that man felt was directed at US – not just the President – I'd bet money he chants 'death to America' as a prayer every night. What fools you all are...

    December 28, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. Josh

    I am not a supporter of George W. Bush and I feel he was not that great of a President for America. However, he is still our American President and to have someone throw shoes at him is disrepectful to Americans not just President Bush. Hopefully, America can restore its image and respect with the rest of the world over the next Presidency because this is just pure madness.

    December 28, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. Janet

    It is too bad that the journalist missed the president with his shoe. What a sad country when we have to cheer on an outsider to do something we
    Americans have been wanting to do for 8 years. George Bush is a disgrace as a president. As for being athletic? Mabye in his dreams!
    Personally, I am so ready for CHANGE and I pray that Obama can help us change this country to where we are, again, at the top of the food chain, so to speak.

    December 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Shoes vs Bombs

    What a democracy we have created. A guy who throws shoes on a president goes to jail and a president who throws bombs and kills more than 200,000 Iraqi civilians is looking for a little crack to enter the history books.

    December 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. jaye

    I know Laura loves her husband, but, he is the worst president in the history of the world.
    I've never seen people so down and out, so hateful, so fearful, so scared, or so mean as they are now.
    Our country is in shambles and its due to the republican party.

    December 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. jlc

    I am not a fan of Bush! As a matter of I fact, I worked and donated to the Obama campaign. I detest his policies and thank God his term is almost over, but I was pissed when I heard and watched the tape of the the "shoe" incident. It was a serious disrespect to The President; The office and the USA.

    What about the military men and women currently serving in that country and probably is protecting the "shoe thrower" rights to hurl shoes at World Leaders!

    Where is the heck was the secret service. Everytime I think about this incident it makes my blood boil What nerve!!

    December 28, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. stephanie

    By all means bash whom ever you want, be spiteful and judgemental.I too did not vote for President Bush but, as american I am not only appalled that he was insulted over seas but, more appalled by the negative response from his nation. It seems to me that not one of has been in mans shoe for last 8 years, it easy to blame one man, when as citizens of a wonderful country we dint make ourselves heard until now. We have gone along with what has been told to you through the airways and print. Have you ever thought about writing your own congressman or representatve, probably not.Its always easier to complain after the animals are loose and the barn door is closed. Just think what this country would have been if we did nothing after 9/11.

    December 28, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Texas Teacher

    Poor Pres. Bush... poor Laura Bush.... not amused.... I suspect the man's family was not amused either with the beating their family received. I suspect this is form of showing disdain that just might be understood there, but not here. I'm not condoning the act. But I am not offended as an American. I know enough about other cultures to know that the man in question was insulting Bush, not the people of this country. He most surely would have thrown shoes at the American Flag, not Bush.

    What about a little mercy for the immerging democracy that Bush is so proud of. Wouldn't that mercy show more to the Iraqis about what a true Democracy is capable of than an unmerciful beating and possibility of 2 years of Prison? But, no, Mrs Bush is not amused. :(

    December 28, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Bill in Ct.

    That guy should have pull a gun out and shot that idiot. That report lost family members b/c of that idiot Bush. He lied about Iraq and thousands of people of lost their lives b/c of him, but Laura doesn't care about that, all she cares about is, someone threw a shoe at that killer(Bush). For all you idiots out here who allowed this administration to get away with murder, our rights being taking away, throwing innocent people in jail without any trails or just bringing the people to a court room, I say to you you're just as guilty as them. This country has laws and under this administration, there were no laws. They broke every law on the books and got away with it.

    December 28, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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