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. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    "As you know, he's a natural athlete."

    This is complete crap, Bush a natural athlete? Come on, the guy played baseball in highschool, was head cheerleader, and owned the Texas Rangers for a while. That sports resume doesn't qualify him to be labeled a "natural athlete." All I can say is Bush got lucky with some pretty good reflexes, that is about it. The only thing Bush is a natural at, is being a failure. He failed at several businesses and failed to be a good president. I don't respect him or the bloggers who continue to try to defend his legacy. While I respect the first lady, I think she is living a lie, and clearly out of touch with mainstream Americans.

    December 28, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Lauren

    Let all the Bush bashing begin. There will be over 200 comments on the shoe tossing, mostly immature silly comments from immature people who really feel this is important.

    So fire away Bush beaters,,, toss your comments, your shoes, or your underpants,,,,because you will have nothing smart to say about the REAL problems of this country.

    Did you know there are young children in THIS country that can not afford new shoes let alone tossing them at anyone? We have homeless people who can not afford clothes,,,
    But yet,, we care only about our new Hollywood style President.

    December 28, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. James McCue

    I have not agreed with many of President Bush's policies but agree 100% with Mrs Bush.

    December 28, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. REAL Morning in America

    Oh, but the rest of us are quite amused, Mrs. Bush. We're planning shoe throwing parties of our own. We're also pleased that the Iraqi people are astute enough to see what horrific damage your husband has wrought on their nation and brave enough to express their outrage. They get to write the first chapter in your husband's legacy of failure.

    December 28, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. YOLA

    I am a Democrat and I was ticked off by the shoe incident as well! President Bush is our president and good, bad or indifferent, no one should get away with trying to hit our president!

    December 28, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. bud in NC

    While I am not a fan of GWB, and do consider him the worst president in history, a complete jerk, he is still the POTUS. So I agree with Mrs. Bush. I too am not amused. The office of president does deserve some respect. I will be happy when he is gone and insiders can begin writing the inside truth, probably worse than we had thought. Where were the Secret Service?

    December 28, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Richard , Naples, Fl

    TOO BAD IT WASN'T A BIGGER SHOE AND HIT HIM MAYBE KNOCKING SOME SENSE INTO THAT BOOZE BRAIN, HE HAS INSULTED THIS COUNTRY AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FOR 8 PLUS YEARS BUT THE CLOCK IS TICKING, TICK, TICK WHAT A DISGRACE AS A LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD.

    December 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Her husband on the otherside

    deserved that shoe, though as an American I am offended that that happened to my president, a definate conflict

    December 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. slack al san diego

    did her Xanax wear off or something and she finally noticed the outside world

    December 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Steve

    She shouldn't be amused. It wasn't intended to be funny. It was an Arab man literally hurling the worst kind of Arab insult at a head of state. I am no fan of Mr. Bush, but it is not, in any stretch of the imagination, acceptable that this man did what he did. Had an American citizen done that, he'd be in a cell so deep that they'd have to pump sunlight into him.

    In spite of all the horrible abuses of power Mr. Bush has been a part of, it it sad to see the leader of the free world being subjected to this kind of stuff. It shows just how far Mr. Bush and his administration have fallen in the eyes of the world. Mrs. Bush seems like a nice person. I hope when her husband is being tried for war crimes at the Hague, she'll have the strength to support him.

    December 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Richard Rohde

    On Friday, I pointed out in one of these posts that Obama has never voted against a union proposal and and that no one has reported (at least on CNN) that UAW owns a $33 million dollar golf course for union executives. I was called a republican idiot with a 4th grade education, uneducated, no capable of having an orignial thought, several mentions of incestuous relations ships with my sister along with the usual stupid and idiots thrown in. This truly is the Obama socialcrat network. I expect the hob nailed boot people from the Chicago thugocracy at my door any minute.

    December 28, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. ABG

    Where was the Secret Service after the man stood up and started moving his arm?

    Seems to me, that shoe never should have been able to be launched!

    December 28, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Please find a graceful exit

    and get our boys home, they never should have been there and need their families

    They all deserve a hero's welcome

    jail Bush, Gonzalos, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rove (the list just seems to increase as I think back to all the law and trust violations)

    December 28, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Salt & Pepper

    When Bush stated that "they were a size 10", did he try them on? Did he walk a mile in them? If he did, maybe he could have seen the war from the reporters perspective.

    December 28, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Sam

    Although I am not a fan of Bush my any stretch, neither was I amused by the shoe throw incident.

    December 28, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Joe

    Yet another feeble attempt by CNN to open the floor for Bush bashing. I am not a huge fan of him but come on you liberal scumbags. CNN is the most biased form of media around. YOU SUCK CNN!!!! Oh, by the way, what is worse than a liberal preaching morality? A liberal lawyer. There is one set of rules for the liberals in Washington and a whole different set for everyone else. Back to my original statement, CNN SUCKS!!!!

    December 28, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. fletc3her

    Laura Bush is nearly alone. Most of the rest of the world and most Americans thought it was hilarious. It really puts cap on the whole Bush Presidency. He can't even hold a press conference without shenanigans.

    December 28, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. CanIcallyouJoe

    Ma'am, your husband deserved it, if not more.

    December 28, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. Slash

    "It's not as bad as Saddam" is an often-used excuse by the Bush administration, and it's a stupid one no matter which crony uses it. The new government not being as brutal as the old (though it is nearly as corrupt) does not comfort the Iraqis who have lost family and friends due to our pointless war. We had no business, absolutely none, going in there, and the million plus deaths that have occurred in the past half-decade are on our hands. Anyone who thinks that we helped the Iraqis is deluded; we merely turned a dictatorship into chaos.

    December 28, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. MLH

    Can't blame the woman – there aren't many of us that would be amused by someone hurling a shoe at our husband and having the rest of the world give a big laugh. And as much as I am not a fan of President Bush, it was an incident I thought he handled with quick thinking and grace.

    December 28, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Nikunj from Sugar Land, TX

    Thank God it was only shoes and thank God they did not hit the President. At least he reacted faster than he did on 9/11.

    December 28, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Clint, Wa.

    Natural athlete, what was he, the center man in a circle jerk?

    The sentence of two years in prison isn't for throwing the shoes at him, it was for missing him.

    December 28, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. waytagojoe

    IS there still suspicion that Pres. Bush would not allow Iraqis to actually have their own freedom like so many press pieces alleged? This is a testimony that Pres. Bush is a man with the freedom of a people held carefully in mind. History will record that he kept America safe from homeland attacks for years after 9/11 and that he was dignified and reverent enough to take no repercussions when insulted and attacked, Perhaps the media will think twice in the coming years before it produces such sensational and benign coverage, but in any event, Bush will be hailed as a stick to his morals man.

    December 28, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Julia

    I feel that it is extreme to convict Muntadhar al-Zaidi to 2 years in prision for a "shoe" incident that didn't actually hurt Dubya.

    December 28, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Nick - Arlington, VA

    We were amused....he wasn't hurt and the guy wasn't trying to actually hurt him. He was just showing his disgust. If he had actually tried to hurt him, then he would deserve punishment, but not for this.

    December 28, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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