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. Paul

    Not sure why Laura is not happy about the shoes.

    George Bush and his ineptitude earned those shoes. Probably one of the first things he has ever earned in his miserable life...

    Those 2 shoes and the matching comments do a pretty good job of summing up his entire Presidency! Last time I check about 75% of America agrees!

    December 28, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. GP

    FOX and the repubs will spin this in a myriad of ways, but the fact remains:

    Indeed a sign of the times. A US president is so popular in the country he liberated they throw shoes at him.

    December 28, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Union Flag

    We all know Laura was the brains of the outfit.The South lost again.Long live the Union.

    December 28, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. False Prophet

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and Laura Bush is no different, but I found the incident to be very amusing. This "insult", expressed by an Iraqi , certainly converys how the majority Americans feel toward Bush.

    December 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. trevor

    In every article about this event CNN consistently omits the second sentence of al-Zaidi's words, "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."
    This sentence seems to explain WHY he took the action he did and failure to print this reeks of an intentional omission. The "farewell kiss you dog" is nice and all, but translation of the second sentence might help all of us get a better understanding of the story and perhaps even convince some that CNN practices responsible journalism.

    December 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Daniel

    Of course this is up to the Iraqis and their "justice" system but she should have addressed the well-publicized claims that he was tortured. Is that beneath her?

    I guess we and Iraq are "torture buddies" .

    December 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. petena

    While I am not a Republican, I did find the incident very insulting. The problem is that Bush has "earned" us that kind of reputation around the world. I hope president-elect Obama can restore the respect we deserve.

    December 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    I personally... would have throw a couple of combat boats at the man to symbolize all the pain and suffering this personal war of the Bush/Cheney administration has brought the people of Iraq. I'm not condoning the activity, but feel it should be treated for what it is... birth pangs... not malice. The man was showing his contempt. He could have thrown a pipe bomb. AND he was beaten unmercifully... not exactly the signs of a growing Democracy.

    December 28, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Texas Teacher

    Well, combat boats would have demonstrated a definate amount of disdain.... but actually meant combat boots! *LOL* I think I would have wanted to insult the man and his senseless war, but not DESTROY him! 🙂 Pardon me, Commentators.

    December 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. srk

    So that's a scale to measure freedom in Iraq, by Bushes! Bush will be ever haunted with his decisions made for millions while he is high, unless he is high 😛 Big Looser!

    December 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Sue

    Bush only had to dodge some shoes-unlike the soldiers that have to dodge bullets for the war that he lied us into.

    December 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. The Republican Party left me.


    December 28, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    Difinite... NOT definate... when will the old Texas Teacher begin to proof read before posting? I have no excuse for the old thing.... *sigh* except to ask for your consideration in that she is honest in her statements, if not deliberate in her spelling. 🙂

    December 28, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. An Angry American

    Ahmadinejad gets a heroe's welcome and W gets a shoe thrown at him?!
    It was our sons who liberated you and not the sons of Khomeini who are still working on distabilizing your country.
    Saddam had killed more Iraqi Shiites than anyone in the history, and we should have never liberated you hypocrite Iraqis.
    Thanks for the treatment though. We shall never forget your hypocrosy and true allegiance.

    December 28, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Remy

    Ohhhhhhhhhh.. She already expected it! Thanks Laura!

    December 28, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Alfred

    Bush deserves to have a lot more than a shoe thrown at him.

    December 28, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. james

    Yeah, he should come visit my neighborhood. He'd get a lot more than shoes hurled at him. In fact, he should get a few subpeonas and arrest warrants thrown at him. Let him laugh those off.

    December 28, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Raj

    Dont forget Laura that your husband deserved it

    December 28, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Juanita Johnson

    Mrs. Bush's observation is on point. I feel most Americans are insulted by that reporter's actions. The decision of his fate rests with his country.

    Americans are able to express themselves in voting booths, with our shoes on. Maybe one day Muntadhar al-Zaidi will develop this as his only acceptable human option.

    May President and Mrs. Laura Bush live a long and healthy lives as shoe wearing Americans. God bless both of you. A Democratic African American female in Atlanta, GA.

    December 28, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I can understand why she might not have found it amusing, but I laughed harder than I have in many years. It was so beautifully fitting – almost poetic.. How many of us would throw shoes at Bush if we had the chance???

    December 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Patriot

    No one cares what you or your idiot husband think, Laura. We just want you out of the White House and out of the country.

    December 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Fred

    I think that everyone that has lost a job, lost a relative or loved one in Iraq should have a shot at hitting GW Bush in the face with a shoe. His lack of response to economic issues for 8 years and all the efforts to win "HIS" un-winnable war are deplorable. We now have even more people in the world that hate us and want to kill us.

    December 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Rolleyes

    I'm sure that Iraqis weren't amused when your husband sent in troops to destroy their infrastructure based on lies.

    Approximately ONE MILLION Iraqi civilians dead as a result of this conflict. That is almost as much as Saddam killed in his almost 30 year rule, and we did it in less than 8.

    Laura Bush, the world isn't amused at your husband's criminal behavior, and I'm sure you won't be amused when he is arrested and put on trial.

    December 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. ALL CAPS

    props to the shoe thrower. i would've done the same thing if i had the chance.

    December 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |


    December 28, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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