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. Bill Williams

    The first lady has it right.Funny as though it may look on tape,if those
    shoes had connected,the President could have been injured.

    December 28, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Raj

    What does she expect, shower flowers on him????/ She should visit mothers who have lost kids, wives who have lost husbands, kids who have lost their parents..... Does she realize how many murders her husband is responsible for? And all of these were killed under a false pretense of national security. Iraqis had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with 9/11. Going after Afghanistan was justified, and Bush did not finish the job there, instead he went after oil in Iraq to line his and VPs friends pockets.

    Never have we seen such corrupt administration in the Western world, and hope we never see. I hope there is justice at the end of it all and all the corrupt members of this administration rot in JAILS......

    December 28, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Scott

    Yeah, but the rest of us were amused.

    December 28, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. NV, NYC

    Stay by your man. It will be more interesting if shoe had reached the target.

    December 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. OMG, shoes on Bush?

    those ungrateful arab rats,

    they deserve to be bombed and left to die.

    December 28, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. SANDRA

    I AGREE WITH THE FIRST LADY IT IS THE SIGN OF THE TIMES . MR .BUSH IS HATED ALL OVER THE WORLD HE WENT THERE TO GLORIFY HIS EGO BUT WHAT A WAKE UP CALL HE GOT. AMERICA IS FALLING DOWN ALL AROUND HIM AND HE FLYS OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND GOES TO A COUNTRY HE INVADED OUR COUNTRY IS IN PIECES . WHAT A ROTTEN PRESIDENT AND THE WORST AMERICAN EVER.

    December 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Lisa T

    Some people's attempts at trying to rewrite Bush's legacy are elementary! The majority of the world's citizens do not approve of Bush's actions during his presidency. I am constantly amazed that they are now trying to put positive "spins" on things that went terribly wrong instead of admitting his mistakes and giving him credit for the things that he did well. Iraq war should not have happened, regardless of how well the surge has worked! Al Quaeda was NOT in Iraq before we invaded and therefore he cannot be given credit for getting rid of them!

    December 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Br

    Would someone stop Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA from increasing fares on subways and buses.

    No 3rd term for Bloomberg !!!

    December 28, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. JoAnne

    Republicans, Mrs. Bush included, still do NOT get it. This shoe incident is symbolic of how deeply countless people, Iraqis and others, feel about the US. Twenty years ago you see Rumsfield shaking Hussein's hand as an ally. Fast forward and it's W's "regime change." Imperialism plain and simple.

    December 28, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. dub

    I see why they are married. She is just as lost as he is. Her husbands policies are by far going to be the reason the Bushes are going to bust hell wide open. From top to buttom. Maybe even the whole party.

    December 28, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Michael

    Who cares what Laura Bush thinks about anything? She married W. for crying out loud. She's a moron too. Half of this country and the rest of the world "weren't amused" by W's illegal invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and thousands of American servicemen and women.

    George Bush should have a steel-toed work boot hit him full force in the face every minute of every day for eternity.

    December 28, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Civic Commentary

    It wasn't meant to be amusing.Mrs. Bush is taking a page from her husband's book and ignoring the righteous anger behind the words. It wasn't a journalist getting the chance to exercise his lungs; the man had lost friends and family to the Bush Regime. Over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the United States' invasion.

    It wasn't supposed to be amusing, Laura. Your husband was the only one laughing.

    December 28, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. A. Bert

    Really? Who cares?

    December 28, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. cf

    The shoe incident... Laura not amused. So, what? I am positive many of us parents are not amused or even acceptive of the fact that her husband has robbed many Americans of their children. This was not our fight to begin with... it belonged to Bush and the shoe incident is only proof that he is not respected even by the Iraqis.

    December 28, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Shoe-icide bomber

    The shoe thrower is now apologetic and pleading for leniency.
    Apparently the shoe is now on the other foot.

    December 28, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Million Shoeless Man March

    CALL TO ACTION: Pave his limp out of Washington with size 10's! "The Million Shoeless Man March on Washington."
    It is not the job of the US to make anyone free. It is the job of the people in that country.

    December 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. S Callahan

    My first thought when I heard of this incident was the same as Mrs. Bush...he (the shoe thrower) felt he had achieved the freedom to express himself.
    Though I think it was wrong to throw an object and believe he would have been better off just yelling like us "Americans" do...I don't think the man should spend oddles in jail for this. In our country with no past violent history it would be a fine and probation. Nor should he be viewed as a hero....there has to be some boundaries for respect even when one disagrees.

    December 28, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. girlfriday

    Mrs. Bush said her husband was "very quick", and that he's "very athletic": this is an example of the delusional state of mind that exists in the Bush Administration. It's odd that she would say that the shoe-throwing incident is a "sign: of Iragis feeling freer to express themselves, as opposed to the truth – the Iraqis got screwed after the U.S. went into Bagdad. There was no plan to reconstruct the country, and the U.S. turned a blind eye, figuring everything would work itself out. Iraq is in worse condition than it has ever been, thanks to Bush. That's why the man threw his shoe.

    December 28, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Brian Geiger

    Laura is just as useless as her husband. Who cares what she thinks?

    December 28, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. A. Bert

    Really? Who cares what Laura thinks? Most of the civilized world is cheering the Iraqi man who threw his shoes at this American president. I applaud the shoe-thrower; he has spoken for hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people around the globe, including me. May he heal quickly from the broken bones inflicted upon him for his bravery!
    As for Laura Bush? Good riddance!

    December 28, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Marty

    I'm not amused by Laura's Dracula or Batman Joker burgundy lips on that pancake make-up face either. Yuck.

    December 28, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. A

    Shame he didn't hit him.

    December 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. sean c

    This is News? Who cares what laura bush thinks?

    December 28, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Jan Illinois

    I bet you wish that you had went out dancing on the night of the famous bar-b-que!! See ya.

    December 28, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Against the war

    While I don't condone the act. I think it would be worthwhile for Mrs. Bush to ponder what her husband's motovations were for the war.

    December 28, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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