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. Amber

    Well Lady, I'm sure a lot of people weren't amused by your husband's flagrant disregard for rule of law either.
    Instead of focusing on the symptoms , focus on the cause.

    December 28, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    too bad he didn't throw a bowling ball.

    December 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. hdog

    okay okay, I just realized it was in Baghdad that this happened. Still, where's the outrage? In any case, Iraqis are scum.

    December 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. PeopleDemocracy.com

    Eight years ago...No Way!

    You can't even imagine about
    throwing shoe at the then Iraqi President.

    If you did...

    There was no Judicial Custody; No Court; No Justice.

    Saddam Hussein was the head of all the three branches,
    Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

    In Saddam Hussein's regime, this journalist
    would have got executed in public by this time on the street.
    Perhaps, his whole family would have been wiped out.

    Now, the journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi is in judicial custody.
    He is getting treatment in the hospital.
    He is produced in the court. The judge is hearing his case.
    People are protesting against his arrest.

    That means:
    – the present day Iraq Government has effective Police Force.
    – Judicial System is now part of the Democratic Government.
    – They do follow the process of keeping the person in Judicial Custody
    – Judges do exist in the present day Iraq.
    – Above all, from the fact that the people are protesting; that is,
    Civil Rights Movements are allowed in the present day Iraq.

    That was the Mission of George W Bush.

    His mission was – Establishing a Democracy based Government in Iraq
    and provide total freedom to the People of Iraq.

    No other leaders on Planet Earth could have achieved this.

    George W Bush and Bush alone could accomplish this.

    So, George, Thank God for this Shoe Throwing incident.

    Shoe Throwing incident clearly demonstrated
    the Results of your Performances and Effective Decision on Iraq.

    It demonstrated to the entire world that the
    People do enjoy Freedom in the Present Day Iraq.

    And the judicial process, treatment in the hospital and
    Iraq police force, demonstrate to the entire world that
    Democratic Process and Government is in place in the Present Day IRAQ.

    So, George, Congrats.

    Go Ahead and Shout; Let the World hear your voice;

    Mission IS Accomplished.

    December 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Bill

    I'm sure military families aren't amused that her husband sent their loved ones into Iraq without any real plan for victory.

    December 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Raymond Christopher

    Laura Bush misses the point: freedom to speak is a sign of democracy; freedom to hurl a shoe at her husband is a indication of how Iraqis feel about the U.S. intervention.

    December 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Renee

    Laura is not amused about shoe incident! Well, I guess I should be amused as to how Bush has screwed up this economy. I guess I should be amused about how he has thrown out our tax money to every industry, bank, mortgage company, and wall street -not to mention the measley stimulus checks that puts you in a higher tax bracket so the government can get some of it back. The critics who claim Obama is a socialist must somehow be related to Ray Charles.
    So, as for Laura's statement, will somebody please give me another shoe!

    December 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. tularemia

    We should be more restrained than the Iraqi reporter. Let everyone who feels that the "BUSHMAN" has done more damage to our country than was in bin ladens wildest dreams .... should send a picture of a shoe to the white house. This could be snail mail or email. A picture is worth a thousand words. Of course our country deserves all it is experiencing for we reelected him as well as the congresspeople who once had a 13% approval rating. We could send them our favorite shoe picture as well.

    December 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. I told you so

    She shouldn't be, nor should the foolish people of this country. To have someone throw a shoe at the president not only disrespects the president, but it also disrepects the people of America. Even if you don't like the president.

    December 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. hitobito

    The shoe throwing incident in Iraq is an example of how some of the Iraqis feel about the invasion of their country. We eliminated Saddam Hussein and his Baathist Party, but failed to establish law and order and failed to understand the religious and ethnic conflicts which existed for hundreds of years. The invasion gave the Al Qaida a convenient venue to engage in terrorism. If anything, it encouraged other Arab countries to increase their hostility against the US. Suicide bombers came from a variety of nearby Arab countries. The lack of planning, the insufficient number of troops and the incompetence to monitor the contractors contributed to the disaster in Iraq.

    December 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Griff

    But now your going to elect a: "Muslim Idiot"....... More Muslim Shoes to come....

    December 28, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. William, Atl, GA

    Who throws a shoe? Honestly? You fight like a woman.

    December 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. lakeside176

    Even though the shoe throwing incident should not have been done to a dignitary, I believe it just shows how Bush is hated in other countries.

    December 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. mike

    I wonder how Laura feels about her husband causing the deaths of thousands under false war pretense. How does she sleep at night?

    December 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. bruce morningstar

    She should be concerned. That is the way the entire world thinks of him and the US thanks to his stupidity! He is a frat brother from a school down the road, and he is dumber than I am and I have no business being President. The shoe thrower should get a medal. If he had hit Bush he would qualify for the Congressional Medal of Honor. The dumbest and worst President in the history of the world needs to get out of town and stop pardoning embezzelers, they must be Republicans.

    December 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. TuffEnuff

    We've had enough of your husband and you too! Peace be with y'all, now get the "F" outta here!

    December 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Griff

    America'a promlem is not "Race"..... Just plain Religous Idiotss....
    The Black keep shouting Race,.... But they want your simpathy.... While the Black Religious idiot Freeeload by programming Kids with Crap............

    December 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    This woman has got to be missing a few brain cells...

    December 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. HAJ

    I am sure even the iraq orphans are not amused by how we invaded iraq

    December 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Teresa

    This woman is as clueless to humanity as her Mother-in-law. It doesn't appear to occur to her that the emotion from that Iraqi shoe-thrower is echoed all over Iraq for the countless murders ordered by her husband and his henchmen. She appears to be blind to all the harm he's committed.

    December 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Buzz-Seattle

    I think Laura Bush is delusional! "Thie Iraqis are freer to express themselves"...is she for real? Let's remember it was her husband, George, who invaded Iraq...and even if she chooses to ignore it, George was responsible directly or indirectly, for the deaths of over 4,200 Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis as well as the displacement of over 1.5 million Iraqis.
    Sure the argument can be made that Saddam was a bad man who killed thousands of his countrymen and needed to be removed. But...wait...what about Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? or Kim Jung Ill in North Korea, or the regime in Thailand? Why haven't we invaded these countries and toppled their leaders to save the hundreds of thousands of people who have been murdered or imprisoned? Could it be that there's no oil...no national interest for the U.S. in these places? Hmmm I wonder. Anyway, I can understand why Laura stands by her man...but please get real with the shoes! I will be just as happy to see George Bush out of office as I'm sure most Iraqis will be.

    December 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. James Dadas

    She shouldn't be surprised, because she gave her husband and president GEORGE .W. BUSH the BOOTS when he used to come home DRUNK and out of his friken mind....HE DESERVED that, HITLER deserved the shoes so is GEORGE.W . BUSH.

    December 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. claudeintexas

    Mrs. Bush's comments are very predictable. She always stands by her man, rather than realizing the true significance of the shoe-throwing episode. She has obviously adopted the Bush party line that Iraqis feel they are better able now to express themselves than in the past. I have a feeling they threw shoes at those they intensely disliked even before President Bush "liberated" the country.

    She is wrong that Saddam Hussein would have executed the shoe-thrower. Instead, he would most likely have made him a hero.

    December 28, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. La Chatte

    I'm too really sad about the shoe incident because al-Zaidi missed! What a waste of a good pair of shoes!

    December 28, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. SarahSnowGirl

    How much Botox does this lady shoot, anyway? Even more than me, I guess!

    December 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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