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. William

    I wish I was there to see it! I would have cheered the man, on. I think most american's feel the same way. It is a clear sign that Bush needs to go....

    December 28, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. Messiah watch

    CNN – "unlikely voter [D]" below advocates violence against the POTUS. Why did you post it ?

    December 28, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. Larry in TX

    Al-Zaidi must have just been seeking attention when he screamed while being beaten. Were the Iraqis following the US example of how to treat prisoners? They were probably most upset because he was able to hurl the second shoe before being stopped.

    December 28, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. Joe Jackson

    Who cares what this woman has to say anyway. Paris Hilton makes more sense.

    December 28, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. Franklin

    Your husband madam, is a fool and the worst president in American history. He has been the idiot tool of neo-conservatives and lunatic theocrats of the far right. He leaves our great nation grievously wounded and deserves our disrespect and contempt. And before you dismiss me as just another bleeding heart liberal, I am a conservative Republican who voted for Mr. Obama, rather than put another ninny a heartbeat from the presidency.

    December 28, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Richard Rohde

    Proud American is a true sociocrat why does he attack me like that? Love it though. Impeach Hussein & Hairplug.

    VPE Hairplug says there will be no earmars in the stimulus package and Harry Reid is telling all the Nevada news media there are billions for Nevada in the package. Which one is lying? The one moving their lips.

    December 28, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. John Lubeck

    Laura Bush is as clueless as her husband. She would be probably just as dangerously ignorant given the chance.

    December 28, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. Apples for sale

    I think Richard Rohde is the pen name for Laura Bush.Oswalds wife defended him too.

    December 28, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. ferdinand

    people! if you're wondering why americans are hated in some countries blame the media, i think the media (american) is the main enemy of the united states.

    December 28, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. Sanny

    Don't you worry, Obama will do so much better than Bush.
    Bush has not kept us safe. Where is Bin Laden?
    He won't go and get him.
    After eight years he is still on the loose.
    Oh my I feel so much safer with Bush!!
    Go get a life!!
    This president is a liar and terrible person.
    Better be careful the big bad wolf is gonna get you Bush!!!

    December 28, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. John Kellermeyer

    Not amused, and apparently, not forgiving.

    You'd think someone with a vehicular homicide on her back might be?

    But then, she's a Bush.

    In full bloom.

    December 28, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  12. jack

    "the way Bush ducked, it made me wonder if Laura Bush didn't throw things at him on a regular basis. There are a number of people around the world that applaud the Iraqi reporter for expressing the way many of us feel about Bush. Bush deserved it ."
    my feelings exactly!

    December 28, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  13. Anna

    GARY: Ummm... What? Who's to say he's kept us safe? He KNEW about the 9/11 attacks before they took place. (Read: Document titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Within US"). So, had Gore – the RIGHTFUL winner of the '00 election – been in office, none of this probably would have happened in the first place. And, yes, President Obama's administration will do FAR better. Although, that's not saying much. An orange traffic cone would have a better term than Bush had.

    aaandres: What "style" are you referring to? She looks like she belongs in an episode of Dynasty.

    December 28, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  14. Pat

    truth December 28th, 2008 8:36 pm ET
    He invaded a stable country and turned it into complete chaos,

    REALLY? Iraq was stable? Saddam coducted genocide across his land. And YOU call that stable? What planet are YOU living on?

    Would YOU condone that in the U.S.? Would YOU have condoned that in Nazi Germany? Do YOU think WE should NOT have stopped that?

    Probably YES, from your perspective. I hope you experience that PERSONALLY one day. Boy - would YOU change your tune!

    December 28, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  15. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Well, it di show freedom of speech and freedom of the press which would have not happened under Saddam. PS a couple of weeks ago I did see the bias of the press again when CNN called the Obama Inaguration "the Peoples' Inauguration", every Presidential Inaguration in America is " the Peoples Inauguration"! Even Bush's and Clinton's Inaguration were "The People Inaguration".

    December 28, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |

    If the I raqi "shoe thrower" is free to express himself, then he should be allowed go home scot-free without any incarceration or trial!

    Putting the Iraqi "show thrower" under incarceration & trial in a "freedom of speech" new Iraq is equally the same as being "executed" under saddam's regime!

    GW Bush Iraq is far more worse than Saddam's Iraq – the millions of innocent Iraqis killed during GW unjust war & occupation is far more greater than those killed under saddam!

    BLOOD FOR OIL IS NOT FREEDOM – go figure!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. TyWebb

    Laura is the only one that can throw a shoe at George!

    December 28, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  18. yockintampa

    How about shoving a size 12 1/2 up where the sun doesn't shine?

    December 28, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  19. John

    Dear Richard Rhode,

    It sounds like you are jealous of the fact that a black man was able to actually achieve the American dream before you. If that's the case then you should just say so and be open with your bigotry. It's clear from your sentence structure that you are not an educated man. Try that first. Learn how to read and right fluently, organize your thoughts in a sensible fashion, then go out there and actually do something useful like making a community a better place. Maybe then people will begin to take you seriously and the doors will begin to open for you. On the other hand an education may turn you into one of those nasty socialist liberals like me. On second thought, it's probably more convenient for you to just be ignorant and angry.

    December 28, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. Polly

    At least Hussein isn't killing and torturing Iraqi's anymore.

    December 28, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. amra

    Throwing a shoe is not a "muslim" thing.... it has nothing to do with religion, more of a tradition in certain parts of the world...

    December 28, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. shasha

    Anyone who supports Bush on here why don't you pay for my half
    of the 700 Billion your President wants, and how about you pay for
    my half of the War of Lies too.
    Don't tell me about how this president has kept us safe.
    He will go down as the worst.
    You don't go and kill thousands of innocent men, women, and
    children, and your own Military for your own selfish ways.
    This war was Lies and you know it.
    Lies, Lies, Lies!!
    He needs to go to Prison with the rest of his idiots!!!

    December 28, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. Tom in New Hope, MN

    I have lost total respect for George W. Bush. He took down his friends, his party, his country and participated in dismantling the world economy. Given the last 8 years of total disaster he doesn't deserve a shoe he deserve jail time along with Dick Cheney.

    December 28, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  24. Bob C

    It was disrespectful for shoes to be thrown at our President. It was criminal for Bush et al. to prosecute the war in Iraq. And to all you on the "right" complaining about "hate" you hear from the left, take Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Hannity, and go to Hell.

    December 28, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. Juan

    I think it was wrong. No matter how much Bush is hated, he is still human, and should be respected as such. That shoe-thrower is lucky I was not the President. Had he done that to me, I would have had my secret service men shoot him in both knees, then I would have taken a gun, and shot him between his legs!

    December 28, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
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