(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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President and Mrs. Bush will be moving to Dallas after Mr. Bush leaves office, the White House announced Thursday. “The President and Mrs. Bush have purchased a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood in Dallas, Texas,” Sally McDonough, Mrs. Bush’s press secretary, said in the statement.
The Bushes lived in Dallas from December 1988 through January 1995. They moved to Austin after Mr. Bush was elected Texas governor in November 1994. The president was partial owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team during part of their time living in Dallas.
During the latter part of Bush’s presidency, the first lady had made it known that Dallas would be their primary residence after leaving the White House, not the president’s beloved Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.
“I like Crawford,” the president told a crowd at a Houston fundraiser in July. “Unfortunately, after eight years of asking [the first lady] to sacrifice, I’m now no longer the decision maker.” The Bushes will continue to spend some time at the ranch, according to the statement.
As to the specifics of their new home, the Bushes “do not have occupancy of the home, and therefore, no additional details will be provided,” McDonough said.
(CNN) – Republicans are rejoicing. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Democrats say goodbye to dreams of a filibuster-proof super-majority after losing the Senate runoff in Georgia. CNN’s Dana Bash breaks down the significance of Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s win, and its implications on a national level.
Plus: CNN International lands an exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton, his first since his wife’s nomination to be Secretary of State. Hear what the former president had to say about Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the nomination and his involvement in her upcoming political decisions.
CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on the Obama/Clinton relationship, and how it could play out in the upcoming administration.
Also: The festivities surrounding President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration could be the biggest Washington has ever seen. CNN’s Jim Acosta takes a look at planning of the historic event during difficult financial times.
Finally: Happy Holidays from the White House! First lady Laura Bush gives CNN a look at the presidential Christmas tree, and opens up about her meeting with Michelle Obama.
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Watch Laura Bush show off the White House Christmas tree.
(CNN) – It’s a red, white, and blue Christmas this year in the White House.
First lady Laura Bush showed off the executive mansion’s Christmas tree and its patriotic trimmings Wednesday on CNN’s American Morning. Among the decorations: an ornament featuring President-elect Barack Obama.
In a CNN interview with Kiran Chetry, the first lady discussed how the Bush family is welcoming the Obama women as they transition to Washington. Laura met with Michelle Obama in November to discuss the challenges of bringing up a family in the White House, but declined to give the future first lady specific advice on adjusting to live in the country’s most famous home.
“I didn’t really try to give her any advice, but I did say that this can be a wonderful home for a family and that she can make it that way and she doesn’t need to worry about it, that everybody who works here will want it to be perfect for them. They’ll want it to be a wonderful home and that’s the way it’ll turn out, I know,” said Bush.
(CNN) - First lady Laura Bush said Sunday she plans to continue working to advance the position of women in Afghanistan after her husband's time in office ends in January.
In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Mrs. Bush also offered her take on the recent U.S. election, her first impressions of President-elect Barack Obama and incoming first lady Michelle Obama, and what she'll miss most.
When President Bush spoke Tuesday at Fort Campbell, he said he will miss most "spending time with men and women who have volunteered to serve the United States of America."
That speech "made me weep," Laura Bush told NBC.
"I'll miss being with the military, too, and that's one of the things about Camp David that we liked so much, and that's going to church at Camp David with the people who are posted there... I'll miss a lot of things. I'll miss all the people that are around us all the time," she said. "From the ushers and the butlers who are there for every president and have been there four or five administrations, to our own staff, of course, that we love to laugh with and talk with and solve problems with. And so I'll miss the people the most."
She said she and her husband plan to spend their weeks in Dallas and weekends at their ranch in Crawford, Texas.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House and the Obama-Biden transition team both released statements following Barack and Michelle Obama's visit to the White House Monday:
From White House spokeswoman Dana Perino:
"The President and the President-elect had a long meeting, described by the President as good, constructive, relaxed and friendly. They spoke about both domestic and international issues, though since it was a private meeting the White House will decline to comment on specifics. The President also showed President-elect Obama the living quarters, including the office the President uses, the Lincoln Bedroom, and the rooms for the Obamas’ two young daughters. The President enjoyed his visit with the President-elect, and he again pledged a smooth transition to the next administration."
Watch: President Bush, President-elect Obama walk through the Rose Garden Monday
Obama Biden transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter:
“President-elect Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama were very warmly welcomed today at the White House by President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Upon arriving, President-elect Obama and President Bush proceeded to the Oval Office, where they had a productive and friendly meeting that lasted for over an hour. They had a broad discussion about the importance of working together throughout the transition of government in light of the nation’s many critical economic and security challenges. President-elect Obama thanked President Bush for his commitment to a smooth transition, and for his and First Lady Laura Bush’s gracious hospitality in welcoming the Obama’s to the White House."
(CNN) - First Lady Laura Bush told CNN Wednesday Sarah Palin lacks experience in foreign policy, but quickly added the Alaska governor is "a very quick study."
Asked by CNN's Zain Verjee if she thought Palin's resume included sufficient foreign policy experience, Bush said, "Of course she doesn't have that."
"You know, that's not been her role," she continued, "But I think she is a very quick study, and fortunately John McCain does have that sort of experience."
The McCain campaign has pointed to Palin's gubernatorial service as head of the Alaska National Guard, part of which is deployed in Iraq, as experience in foreign policy.
But in the interview with CNN, Bush reiterated she has "a lot of confidence" in Palin.
"She's got a lot of really good common sense, and I think that's very important," Bush said. "She also has executive experience from being a governor and a mayor, and I'm thrilled to have the chance to vote for Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket."
Bush also said she agreed with those who have charged Palin is being treated unfairly because she is a woman.
"I do think there's a little bit of that going on, and I think it's to be expected," she said.
Laura Bush is in New York Wednesday promoting global literacy. She also met with political dissidents from around the world Tuesday, including a Burmese monk.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – President Bush’s commitment to AIDS relief, particularly in Africa, may be the one achievement that is widely respected around the world and across the political spectrum
You’ll probably hear one word from Laura Bush’s speech again and again this convention: Safe. We’ve kept you safe. It’s a major theme of the GOP convention.
What she didn’t talk about are the kind of achievements that two-term president Bill Clinton talked about in 2000, when he walked into the arena and his accomplishments scrolled across the stage: economics, economics, economics. You didn’t hear any of that from her, and probably won’t hear much from anyone else.
Prospective VP nominee Sarah Palin, first lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain met in Minneapolis, Minnesota Tuesday. (Photo credit: McCain campaign)
(CNN) - First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain addressed the Republican National Convention Monday evening, delivering abbreviated remarks due to Hurricane Gustav.
Watch: "We are all Americans," says Mrs. Bush
George and I were planning to come to enjoy this convention to have a really good time," Laura Bush said. "And we would have been here tonight speaking, but, of course as we all know, events on the Gulf Coast region have changed the focus of our attention. And our first priority now, today, is to ensure the safety and the well-being of those living in the gulf coast region.
Joining Bush on stage after a video message from four governors of states affected by the storm, Cindy McCain, wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, urged delegates to help with hurricane relief.
Watch: Cindy McCain calls for hurricane aid
"I would ask that each one of us commit to join together to aid those in need as quickly as possible," she said. "As John has been saying for the last several days, this is a time when we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."