December 28th, 2008
04:56 PM ET
12 years ago

Laura Bush ‘wasn’t amused’ by shoe incident

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Pat

    Texas Teacher December 28th, 2008 7:46 pm ET

    Lauren… it's your side of the aisle who hides everything they can…. just look at the horror of your boy's administration…. and the stupidity and utter ignorance of choosing Sarah Palin as a VP choice….. makes me cringe to think of it…. Come on, Girl…. get over it! Your party lost… suck it up…and get engaged in turning this country around like 75% of the rest of us!

    Really, Texas "Teacher." Please enlighten us with specifics. YOU are one sick puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |


    December 28, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. happy new year

    God Bless America.

    December 28, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. Jermaine

    Honestly if he would of thrown that at Saddam he would of been killed. instead he gets a court date, not bad. There are pros and cons to every country. America has killed innocent people and if you don't know this your lost. Being a journalist and a Muslim he has seen first hand the destruction that has taken place. Bottom line is Iraq never deserved to be attacked and people are upset about this. If Americans would try to understand other people instead of just yourself then we could avoid this. In Islam it is considered very bad to start a war without cause and innocent blood is bad to.

    December 28, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. David Smith

    I think Mr. Bush will carry that humiliating incident to the grave but that disrespect was pointed at every American so is intolerable! I don't like or respect Bush but I would have crocked the SOB had I been there. Where the hell was the Secret Service ?????

    December 28, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  6. Dave, Illinois

    So, "Gay Marrage", for somebody (guy, gal, thing, or whatever you are) who likes to throw around the "idiot" label, you might want to spell your own alias correctly first. It kinda makes you look like the idiot. I think what you might be babbling about is that you cannot wait another 4 weeks. Well, neither can I – every problem in the world will then be Obama's fault just like everything for the last 8 years was Bush's.

    December 28, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Dan, TX

    I pity America, a country that has citizens that can leave so many emotional responses to this. You people need to work on your emotional problems first, then maybe you can post here.

    I am not proud of my country if it is represented by people on both sides of the political aisle such as is illustrated here.

    December 28, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Natasha in tally

    He is not a failure Laura, he is a COMPLETE failure

    December 28, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. tk

    Anyone think of bush as a drunken barstool braggart?

    December 28, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  10. ~Honey~

    Honestly if he really wanted to hit Bush he would have but I think he knew the penalty for him would be far greater so he missed on purpose...I don't wish for Bush to be hurt but it's time to go...time for him to get out of the white house...his reighn is over and now it's time fore some sunshine 🙂 OBAMA!

    December 28, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. Texas Teacher

    I must say that I am so disgusted with this topic that I could JUST SPIT! Sitting there in your comfortable home without a care in the world and you state that you are not amused... "not amused" at a man throwing shoes at your husband as a show of complete disdain at the thousands of Iraqis AND Americans being killed in his country in the name of Democracy. That is truly one of the most hypocritcal comments that I have ever heard uttered from the lips of a first lady! It just shows how very out of touch she and her family are at the plight of other people the world over... not to mention the people in the military fighting for her Husband's idiotic war! She has not the slightest idea of what this war has done to the world... and she is worried about a couple of shoes thrown as a demonstration of the freedom of speech which comes with a democracy!. Sure it is not like our demonstrations... it is a different culture... with different ways of showing contempt!

    What price Democracy? It saddens me so greatly to hear the Bushs spin this as a war for Democracy.... this is a personal war between Saddam Hussein and the Bush Family .... over OIL! Saddam Hussein lost... the rest of us here and in Iraq will be paying for it forever! No one has won.... and probably never will. Come now... let's look the truth in the face and call it as we see it! As my old daddy used to say, "If the truth hurts... let it hurt!"

    If the Bushs truly wanted to believe it was the growing pangs of a democracy that THEY have been fighting for... then they should show the Mercy of a Democracy and condemn the horrible beating the man took and ask for mercy for him and his family. These stupid comments from the First Lady will probably be a license to beat the man to death in or out of prison. I am saddened by the pure hypocracy of the Bushs....

    Why not give the man a Pardon, Mr. Bush, that would be the act of a merciful President of a Democracy!

    December 28, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. Messiah watch

    Sanny – the U.S. has not been attacked in eight years under Bush. Under Clinton the U.S. was attacked dozens of times. Educate yourself and don't accept the Messiah's propaganda at face value.

    December 28, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Bruce

    Anyone in here who advocates throwing a shoe at a head of state is no more than a traitor. whether you liked him or not he was YOUR President. The shoe wasn't thrown at just him, it was thrown at all of us. Again, whether you like it or not he presesents all of you as well. I wonder how you will feel when a terrorist throws a dirty bomb at us. who are you going to blame then? Probably bush since most of you all are morons and don't have a clue as to what really happens around the world. All you see are the 30 second sound bites and the left-leaning liberal media. You all are like lemmings going to the sea, you just follow the leader because you don't have any brains yourselves. You people just don't get it. All of you are just a bunch of morons.

    December 28, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |

    @Pat I believe that folks like you that beat their chest and send others kids to die or be maimed are the true depiction of traitor. The war was "pre-emptive". You want to tell the parents of those that died their kids died so Bush and Republicans could spread the "seed of democracy"? Don't want to be in your shoes on judgment day!

    I also belive that OLD men like you start wars, and young men die in wars!

    December 28, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. JHG

    This forum needs Jesus.

    December 28, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Polly

    America- be grateful for what you have. It could be much worse.

    December 28, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. Apples for sale

    Hey Snerdly,dont you ever give it a rest?It sounds to me like you have made Rush Limbaugh and Hannity your savior.If we make it to 2012,maybe you will be old enough to vote.

    December 28, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. Dave

    The only thing wrong with your statement is that Bush made up the lies(intelligence reports) and the others only believed the lies.

    You moron!

    December 28, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Vikzatl

    I wonder if the shoes will be bronzed.

    December 28, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  20. @the failures who call Obama the "Messiah"

    1. Put down the kool-aid, and change the channel from Fox News to C-Span.

    2. Find the nearest shoe and smack yourself with it repeatedly.

    3. Sit back and watch our Pres-elect take charge, something Bush can't do in a million years.

    4. Unsubscribe from "Fox News", "Team", "The RNC", and from anyone who is a religious conservative.

    5. Make sure the Bible is nowhere near your children.

    6. Make sure your guns aren't loaded and aren't easy to reach.

    7. Board the next trip to North Korea.

    December 29, 2008 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  21. MCG de Oliveira

    Does the presidents wife have an idea about the number of americans that would have done the same thing considering that it is an offense in the middle east and not in the United States, sounds like she lives in a fantasy world! Does anyone like her husband????????

    December 29, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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