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. Lara

    He never even ducked. As if he was expecting it. Also, the man threw 2 shoes. The secret service was slow to move in. As if they new it wasn't a real threat. The whole act was staged just like every other staged and preplanned incidents since this man became president. How stupid the general public is to believe whatever is cooked up by the media to get people emotional. Good grief.

    December 28, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Mark from New York

    In response to Dave from Illinois:

    Ofcourse what you said is all true but bush's fault was going to Iraq in the first place. To be honest I agree this isn't about popularity contest but to anyone who says Bush kept us safe, I say he has kept us in danger ever since Shock & Awe and it'll catch up eventually. What obama will do differently is finish the osama bin laden war and extremists.

    December 28, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Janet

    Laura Bush has been a very refined, controlled First Lady through all of her husbands mistakes, stupid remarks and offensive actions in the past 8 years. No, Mrs. Bush, it is not you who we dislike. It is the idiot you married. Please, get him to more AA Meetings so he can remember what it is like to be part of a solution and not part of the problem. He should not be allowed to think for himself. I have often wondered how he slept at night

    December 28, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Elliot

    Bush is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq, so being called a 'dog' and getting a couple shoes tossed at him is just the beginning of what he deserves.

    For all the people who think it was a bad thing to do, just ask yourself:

    Would it have been bad if it was Adolph Hitler?

    Whoever answers that question 'yes' can maintain their position, but like it or not Bush IS a modern-day Hitler; he was just too stupid and incompetent to be as successful as Hitler, despite all the power we have here in America.

    December 28, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. D.Tin

    Although I am no fan of Bush, the shoe throwing incident is not one to be taken lightly. How did his security team allow this to happen twice, where was the Secret Service Agent -"throwing himself in front of the president to protect him?" They failed miserably and should be replaced. Good thing Bush is a practiced "dodger" and shows that he can take care of himself.

    December 28, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Barb

    I have never supported George Bush and I feel he stole the office of President. Just to place this in perspective. I want to express my outrage at the man who threw shoes as a way to insult George Bush. Bush is the POTUS. Period. He represents our country. We may not like that but there it is.

    December 28, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. joe

    too bad the shoes missed

    December 28, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. Jon

    I am in NO way a Bush fan. However, he is our President and it is unfortunate the people of the middle east do not respect us or him. Throwing a shoe at President Bush is such a sign of disrespect for the entire US. What ashame – all we have done for them and all the lives lost for this showing of disrespect by the backwards people.

    December 28, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Todd from TN

    I just wish the journalist had practiced his aim beforehand. Or brought some more shoes.

    December 28, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. jrc903

    Sorry George, your father is four times the man you are- and some say he isn't much either.

    December 28, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Virginia Born

    I'm glad to hear that "W" is a natural athlete. At least he has some talent. Perhaps he should have pursued a career involving sports.

    December 28, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. chris@stl

    I respect the office of Presidency, and I believe every one should even though the person occupying the position is not worthy to be the president. That's the American value.

    However, I look at this incidence from a different angle .... from the Iraqi's position. Imagine how frustrated the ordinary citizens are so as to risk their lives and commit to acts like this. Try to understand the frame of mind of the person and the reason why he decided to trow shoes at our president. I'm sure there are millions of people who would want to do some thing similar but do not have the guts to do it!

    December 28, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. BUSH BEGONE AND 75% OF AMERICANS FINALLY AGREE!

    "Natural born athlete" my eye, throwing all those empty half-pints of Wild Turkey at him for all these years, has made him agile and quick!

    December 28, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Jeffrey

    I think Mrs. Bush is pretty delusional. As a result of the Iraq war close to 100,000 civilians have died. How much more "free" are they than they were under Saddam? And look, if someone threw a shoe or two at someone here in the states I don't think they'd face 2 years in prison. If she thinks this guy deserves that sentence, she's as demented as her warmonger husband.

    December 28, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. fred

    CNN.........2 words. NO DUH Why would someone be amused by someone throwing shoes at their husband trying to hurt him? for real, shouldn't this be an obvious one?

    December 28, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. The Shoe Thrower

    Dave in Illinois you don't have to wait until the Teflon Man gets into office because Bush have already left enough hatred and blame to spread around surely you've seen the majority of comments on these blogs and what most americans think about Bush and his administartion just look at his approval ratings ...You Jerk

    December 28, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Leon

    For the last 2 years I have been appalled by the childish name calling and hate filled comments by Obama supporters against Hillary, Bush,
    Mc Cain-Palin actually anyone that doesn't agree with them 100%.
    This is frightening because what will they do to Obama when he disappoints them?

    December 28, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Alex

    Face it Laura, he deserved it (or worse) and you deserve a size 12 across the kisser yourself... You married into an organized international crime family, it's time to learn what comes with the territory.

    December 28, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Charles from Atlanta

    Well.. think about from Iraqi side.. No one knows how many Iraqi died because of this war. Many Iraqi became refugees. Yes Saddam Hussein is a dictator. But dictator is different than terrorist. And it needs to fight differently. Historian still cannot settle the true objective of war on Iraq. We do hope Iraq become a democratic country with freedom and prosperity. But even that will not help Bush's legacy because of poor management after major conflict finished.

    December 28, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Gay Marrage

    Dave, Illinois Your a complete idiot 4 more weeks of Bush is to long. Bush should leave Washington today and allow a real leader to do the job he couldn't.

    December 28, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. bill for barack

    I'd be upset too if he didn't keep the shoes.
    How wasteful.

    December 28, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. liz

    Thank God for some voices of reason! Many of us respect the office of the President of the United States ~ no matter what! Many of us, though we may not agree with him, see the redeeming qualities of George W. Bush and are appreciative of the fact that he has kept us safe for these many years. Many of us are appreciative of the fine example and wonderful works of our First Lady.

    From the liberals, all I hear is hatred! What sad, miserable lives you must lead!

    December 28, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. Gay Marrage

    "WO" you sound just like the idiot Gov. from Alaska. You make no sense what so ever. Take a pill and go to bed.

    December 28, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Ron West Coast

    Now they have Laura Bush out there " rewritting history ".......
    Thank god for the internet , and people who are news junkies.....
    George W . Bush will always be known as the worst president in american history , no matter who tries to " spin " history to glorify that nen-come-poop ......

    December 28, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. Anna

    Only the Bushes. Only they would try to spin this into a positive: "Well, see; They're free to express themselves now. Had we not gone there – spending trillions of dollars and murdering thousands of American troops and innocent Iraqis – Saddam would have killed this man." Okay, first of all, Saddam hated Bush, so he would not have killed the journalist, he would have given him a gold medal. God I can't wait 'til January 20. Bush will burn in hell for the immoral attrocities he's done.

    December 28, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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