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. Brent

    Too bad he didn't hit him!

    December 28, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. BUSH BEGONE AND 75% OF AMERICANS FINALLY AGREE!

    I would submit that all of the young men and women that were maimed in Iraq were "not amused" at the loss of there limbs due to a war your lying husband started.

    Laura, you silly republican nincompoop, go back to Dallas and the "ladies that lunch" crowd! Join a garden club and hope some one names a rose after you as your legacy.

    Geez...

    December 28, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. Ron from Baltimore

    Mrs. Bush, in putting out her unnecessary "I am not amused" statement, has sentenced Mr. al-Zaidi to torture and likely an early death. He was expressing his desolation at the deaths of at least seven of his family members, along with many friends and neighbors-in the name of getting Hussein out of power.

    Mrs. Bush, this is your own "Bring'em on" pronouncement, and will not help the situation. What a totally useless, thoughtless, vindictive piece of tripe! I dearly hope we are not seeing y our true colors here-condemning a sad man to a life of hell at the hands of the thugs who already broke his arm and several ribs.

    What were you thinking??

    December 28, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. brian

    why would she be amused it was her husband the shoe was being thrown at get past your hatred for President Bush he will finally now go down in history as a liberator, hero, and most importantly a great President during some of the toughest times for decades. Bush hasn't even had time to get under the desk with his intern! Oh wait Iforgot he has morals and respect for his wife, country, and the white house

    December 28, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. jrc903

    I wonder if those who support Bush would have also been against starting that war with Britain in 1775. After all the King of England also deserved respect.

    December 28, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Gay Marrage

    Richard Rohde = Complete Idiot.

    December 28, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. Linda B., Ga.

    I'm not a Bush supporter, however, I DO have respect for the position that he currently holds. I think it is disgraceful what that Iraqi Journalist did, throwing his shows. He might not like Pres. Bush, but, I'm sure he and the rest of his countrymen/women LOVE the $$'s that the USA has sent their way! As a matter of fact they are in alot better position financially then most of our citizens, go figure!

    December 28, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. Why did that guy miss?

    Bush can rot in hell.

    December 28, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. Linda B., Ga.

    oh and one more thing....Bush supporter I'm not, but, his wife Laura has been a WONDERFUL First Lady and a true LADY, at that.

    December 28, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. SN

    Haha. Hilarious that Missy says it's a sign of freedom of speech. Um it's a sign that Iraquis hate Bush for ever starting a war over alledged womd killing innocent peeps and destroying their country. I don't think all the zillions we put to that war (and not to our own country which put us where we are now with record layoffs and collapse) that anyone can say there is any success with that decision of his in 2003. Bush is dumb. Good riddance dumbo. Thank you for leaving your people that you are supposed to think of first close to the streets. Dumb azz. I hope karma gets you good!!

    December 28, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. Stephen Eutsey

    That's highly ironic considering the fact that she was amused when Bush's dog bit the reporter's hand and drew blood a few weeks back.

    December 28, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. Chris

    G.W. Bush's visit to Iraq was an insult to the Iraq's people at the time
    when their PM was faced with decent in Parliament about American forces staying in Iraq 3 more years (2011) instead of pulling out of Iraq as ASP !?
    His advisor and president Bush have poor judgment if they could not see what was coming.

    December 28, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. steve

    How do I contribute to his legal defense fund?

    December 28, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. Nick Branson

    2 years for throwing both shoes at President Bush? I'd do it any day.

    December 28, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. River70

    Only her doctor knows how medicated she is. The bush group is desperate and they send her out to do this?????

    December 28, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. jrc903

    If Bush deserves respect,, then I don't know anyone that doesn't

    December 28, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. Apples for sale

    Wake up Laura,your husband thought he was General Lee,and the South lost again.

    December 28, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. The Bu

    I wouldn't be amused if somebody threw a shoe at my spouse either. I, like many of you, was shocked that OUR President had that happen to him. I'm not a fan of his, but I couldn't imagine anyone doing that. It was very disrespectful.

    December 28, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. bucketball

    Why didn't Bush charge the mound?

    December 28, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Sean

    Bush said it well when he said he was, and I quote, " I am The Decider-in-Cheif. " Or did we all forget he was taking full responsibility for his statement : "I'm the decider, and I decide what's best,"

    You can't say it wasn't me and point to everyone in your cabinet or people outside your policy. Instead leadership is best when a person is able to influence by the policies prevailed.

    Bush failed in the key area of the word, President. Defined as: "The highest executive officer of a modern republic, as the Chief Executive of the United States. An officer appointed or elected to preside over an organized body of persons. The chief executive of the United States, serving as both chief of state and chief political executive. Officer in charge of the Continental Congress. The office of the United States head of state. A protector; a guardian; a presiding genius."

    These words of tears cannot mix with oil. Bush has failed.

    And I will say it again:

    Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US, stated unequivocally, "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." His statement is a powerful testimony that giving up freedom to protect it is not wise nor patriotic. AGAIN nor patriotic. Even Benjamin knew when a light bulb didn't come on it meant failure. Benjamin well he was different, he knew how to learn from its failure instead of being obstinate. And if I was correct even God knew when pharaoh of Egypt was being obstinate.

    Leave the Military out of this, the People will take care of them for life...period.

    Bush is a failure.

    December 28, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Eric

    This is amazing and so newsworthy. Up until minutes ago I was of the undertanding that Laura Bush found this amusing.

    December 28, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Alert

    I am a Democrat and I still think it was disrespectful to have a shoe thrown by a journalist. I don't think places with atrocious policies towards women and children should then have a man disrespecting our current leader. My mom and grandma used to sing a song that lyrics read "sweep around your own front door, before you try to sweep around mine." I think perhaps their people should show each other respect before deciding that others are disrespectful. I don't agree with almost anything Bush does but he is still the President. Who the hek is that man, probably a typical misogynist in that country, to throw something at our leader? I am not a Bush fan, but he needs to play basketball the way he was dodging and fakin' to get away from that shoe!

    December 28, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. Linda in MS

    I absolutely agree with you, Cindy, and all the rest of you who feel it was wrong to throw the shoes at Bush. Like him or not, his is still the President of the United States.

    December 28, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. Renee

    I wasn't amused either. He should've been shot. Where was the Secret Service. Not only one shoe, but two. I was exceedingly glad that he trailed a pool of blood as he was dragged away. Ingrate.

    December 28, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. truth

    He invaded a stable country and turned it into complete chaos, with magnitutdes more risk to everyday civilian life than they would have EVER faced under Hussein. The entire country is a warzone, and we may never know how many HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of civilizans were caught in the middle of our baseless invasion. We had no reason to be there, if you read the news you know this is true. A shoe thrown at him? 1) How about the hundreds of thousands of troops getting SHOT AT as a big news story? The 4200 of them that are now DEAD? 2) He's lucky someone didn't take a REAL shot at him.

    December 28, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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