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. dan

    I agree with Laura Bush – the entire room of people should throw all their shoes at him.

    December 28, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Irish

    Bravo to the shoe-throwing journalist. Laura Bush lives in a bubble and seems clueless about the damage her husband and his cronies have inflicted on the people of Iraq and the people of the United States. My son is currently on duty in Iraq and when I heard and watched W's inappropriate responses to this incident, I realized my son takes the world situation and our foreign relations much more seriously than this clown. W came in like a cowboy and is going out like horse excrement at the bottom of a pair of 'size 10s'.

    December 28, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. marty

    The Iraqi shoe throwing was not right but it's also rather telling that President Bush would, in essence, 'blow off' the incident by spinning it under the umbrella of ... freedom. This was an enormous insult to Mr. Bush and his entire administration, and to the Americans as well. Consider the fact that anytime George Bush appeared in any public forum, everything was orchestrated and tightly controlled, whether it be a press conference or a campaign stop. That Mr. al-Zaida, a professional journalist, would surprise everyone in a relatively safe environment dramatically illustrates the anger and hatred that many Iraqis hold towards the U. S. as a result of the invasion. Hopefully, one day the veil of secrecy which surrounds this Bush administration will be lifted and facts will replace spin.

    December 28, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. unlikely voter [D]

    wow, they even got laura on fox trying to save face from the shoe incident. what a fitting end to a horrible , horrible nightmare of an administration. He deserved to get hit in the head with those shoes. They should give that iraqi a medal. Laura says if saddam were ther he would have exicuted the guy. sorry but i disagree, if saddam were there that guy would have gotten a medal for tossing his shoes at Bush!

    December 28, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Tony

    Who cares what Laura Bush thinks? Given the chance I would have thrown something more than shoes at that Nazi Bush!.....and my aim is a lot better too!

    December 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Gil

    There were a lot of people out there who would have liked to throw more than a shoe at her husband.

    December 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Kim

    And in America, throwing shoes at some one is seen as as sign of affection :}

    December 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. bill, alabama

    If the option was available to other people both world wide and here, the "Prez" might get more than shoes thrown at him.

    December 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Karen,

    Well Laura, The world hasn't been amused by your husband for 8 long long years.
    He had it coming!!!! Just too bad the shoes missed.

    December 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. CAdreamin

    I just wish one had connected!

    December 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. via

    I have to actually agree with Mrs. Bush. If it had been Saddam Hussein, the man would have been executed, hence the Iraqis are exercising the right to express themselves without those consequences.

    December 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. S.Owen

    Thank you for speaking out about the shoe incident in which the President was attacked.
    I do wish you both all the best in 2009.
    Remenber one thing.It is easy to critiicize but very hard to lead .
    You both did your best against all odds.
    My you enjoy your future .
    Just a Canadian friend.

    December 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Sherrol in Canada

    Of course she wouldn't be, after all, lame or not, he's still her husband and she would have found it unsettling.

    The question is however, does she realize that the incident speaks volumes as to how hated and dispised her husband is in Iraq and the rest of the world?

    December 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. cile/fairhiope, al

    I really don't care what Laura Bush thinks about anything. She has sat by and condoned her husband's decisions for all of the last eight years and yes the Iraq jouranalist was correct in what he did and what he said and I think a majority of Americans would agree.. Bush had it coming and I wish the thrower's aim had been more accurate and this is coming from a mother of a solder on his second deployment to Iraq and someone who expierenced Katrinia up close and in person both situations about which the Bush's have no clue.

    December 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Elsee

    Amazing. Throwing a shoe is "bad?" How about bombing innocent Iraqis, including women and children, because your husband entered a war based on lies? How about gutting the economy of a country to pay for a war based on lies? What a bimbo.

    December 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Dixon

    I completely agree with Mrs. Bush. I don't like where President Bush has taken our country, but he deserves our respect. As for the shoe guy, he deserves what ever they do to him. The words he spoke alone would have been death for him when Sadam was in power. He should be thankful for his freedom.

    December 28, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Robert Sparks

    Only Fox News would exploit the story and who cares what she thinks.

    December 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. chris

    What an insult to our President who is helping those people! Throw that person in prison for 5 years! – US Patriot

    December 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Wade S.

    Let's think about the reverse scenario. What would have happened if an American (westerner) performed the same act on an Iraqi official, let alone leader?..let's just say, heads would role. Sadly, we westerners are far more tolerant of such childish acts of temper. Peace loving Muslims..

    my As@#$%^

    December 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Sue in Florida

    Athlete, huh? Well..okay....if you think so, whatever. As for the Iraqi who
    hurled the shoe, yes it was disrespectful but then maybe they feel
    bombs, war and death all around them is as well. Is it 3 weeks to go
    now? Thereabout......we can wait this out.

    See ya'll ......

    December 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. RazorWilly

    I have not been "amused" by the last 8 years of these idiots. Her Husband has screwed the American people... good bye

    December 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. James Martin

    Ouuuu. The Queen is not amused. Tough, Laura!!!

    December 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Al V

    If Bush wants to rescue anything at all from his failed presidency, he would pardon the shoe thrower.

    December 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Angie

    laura, i think you are the only one not amused. even your stupid husband thought it was funny.

    December 28, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Jodo

    Lauro fails to understand that the world is not amused at the tragedy that calls itself George Bush.

    December 28, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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