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. ginny

    I don't like Bush, but that was unacceptable behaviour and he should get the full two years. I would like to know what is going to happen to the secret service guys who stood by and let it happen. Perhaps they were Obama supporters.....

    December 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. MorningStar

    I can understand Laura Bush; this shoe incident is personal to her. This is also personal to the families and friends of dead Iraqis... Bush presidency seems to generate a lot of controversies from the start to the end...very strong feelings ... because of what happened during his "watch".

    December 28, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. bhkcpa

    What a brave Iraqi. Perhaps if he and his countrymen were that brave when Saddam was in power they wouldn't have had to rely on the U.S. and the blood of our soldiers to free them from Saddam's tyranny. What a coward.

    December 28, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Dr. D.L. Curl

    In my opition, The State of Isreal should bar any one , who is not at the meetings for the News should loose there license to practice there profession of Journalism, I realise that it is a free country, however his freedom should annuled.

    December 28, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Apples for sale

    Laura is the ultimate stepford wife,yes dear,yes dear and yes dear.

    December 28, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Mike O'Brien

    I wish Muntadhar al-Zaidi was a better pitcher or thrower. Mike in Montana

    December 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Anne

    who cares what either bush says, theyre both useless.

    December 28, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. MrManhattan

    After all,

    Had Bush not killed tens, if not hundreds of thousand Iraqis, over four thousand of our fine military people, running up a close to one trillion bill (to be paid by your kids), that guy wouldn't be free to throw his shoes.

    Yea, that puts it ALL in perspective.

    Have a safe trip back to Texas, Laura!

    December 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Keith!

    We aren't amused by your husbands presidency either.

    December 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. sami

    It was really bad end for bush.

    December 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. ane

    laura bush is just as stupid as her husband, bush deserved what he got! GO IRAQIS GO! u hav my support! and another thing if saddam husein was alive, im pretty sure he would've praised al-Zaidi for throwing a shoe at George Bush!!!

    December 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. republicans hate america

    Dont worry Laura me and the rest of the world thought it was hilarious. Now of all the 44 presidents in our great nations history, your husband will have this one stick into every history book and deservedly so.

    December 28, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Marscar

    Who cares if she is not amused, it wasn't meant to be funny. A shoe is the nicest thing that should be thrown at him.

    December 28, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    the shield of stupidity and arrogance will forever protect the Bushes from ever understanding or caring how much the world hates them.


    December 28, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Adisco

    Not her fan, but I do agree with the lady.

    Good for her it did not leave her with a hurt or even disabled spouse.

    Best of the New Year ma'am.

    December 28, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Niki Birdsflight

    Yes sure Laura, you feel bad that your husband is not respected by all in Iraq. It would be interesting to take an anonymous poll with the people to see exactly how they feel about the occupation, constant fear of harm and general destruction in the country. Sadam was a crazy dictator but he did not go about to destroy the whole country. The troops mean well, but we occupy a Muslim culture and that will never fly. I think the sooner we get out of there the better.

    December 28, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. The Shoe Thrower

    While I admire you Mrs. Bush and yes what the journalist did was wrong he among millions of Iraqis and americans have suffered a great loss in this war and it was President Bush that authorized this war that killed and wounded thousands of Iraqis and Americans .So while this journalist is being condemed by what he did remember he too have suffered a great loss

    December 28, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Anonymous


    December 28, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Donovan

    Well, we Americans aren't amused by our terrorist dictator Bush. The rest of the world isn't amused either. I can't WAIT to see him, the administration, and the rest of his cronies TRIED AND CONVICTED in either American courts or international tribunals. I wish I could have gotten close enough to throw MY shoes at Bush too! He deserves everything he gets. Hopefully he gets the same treatment he gave Saddam.

    December 28, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Carole


    December 28, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Counting down to Jan 20th

    The only thing I will miss about Bush is his wife, Laura.

    December 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. republicans hate america

    “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.”

    How out of touch you are. you are actually proud. you are such an airhead that shoe was thrown because your husband authorized the butchering that is happening in that country not because they feel free to express opinion. you jerk!

    December 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Hope is Coming

    Although I am not a big fan of GW, I was appalled by the shoe throwing incident, he is still the President of the greatest country in the world and he should be respected as that, to throw shoes at him is an insult not just to our President but to our country as well, the shoe thrower , in my opinion should be executed.

    December 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Mark from Denver, Co

    If Saddam had still been in power. Bush would not have been in Iraq for a press conference. To make the hypothetical "If Saddam had been the show thrower would not be alive today" statement is rediculous.

    December 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Bill

    Comparing Bush to a dog, is an insult to dogs everywhere!

    December 28, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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