[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/18/art.getty.shoe-throwers.jpg caption="Sympathizers of Iraqi TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi hold their shoes in the air while participating in a support rally."]BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The journalist who hurled his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush has described his attack as "ugly" and asked the Iraqi government for leniency.
A government spokesman confirmed Thursday that Muntadhar al-Zaidi penned a contrite handwritten letter to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki requesting compassionate treatment.
Yaseen al-Majeed, the prime minister's media adviser and spokesman, read CNN part of the letter, saying al-Zaidi describes what he did as "the great ugly act I perpetrated" and says an excuse would not be enough for that.
Al-Zaidi said he recalled interviewing al-Maliki in 2005, and al-Maliki had said to him "come in, this is your home, too."
Al-Majeed told CNN al-Zaidi asked al-Maliki for that same "fatherly compassion." The letter was received on Thursday but it was written at another time, al-Majeed said.
Asked if al-Maliki would consider exonerating him, al-Majeed said it is too early to talk about that because the case remains with the judicial authorities.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/21/obama.mideast/art.obama.afghan.ap.jpg caption="Obama arrived in Iraq Monday."] BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Barack Obama - the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate who has made ending the Iraq war a cornerstone of his historic run for office - huddled on Monday with Iraqi officials and coalition military commanders about the status of the grinding, bloody conflict, now in its sixth year.
It is the Illinois senator's second trip to Iraq, after a visit in 2006, and the latest leg of his overseas trip, which began in Kuwait and Afghanistan and will continue on to Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Germany, France and England.
Obama - who is accompanied by two key Senate colleagues - arrived Monday afternoon in the southern city of Basra, according to U.S. Embassy spokesman Armand Cucciniello.
Obama met with Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq; British Maj. Gen. Barney White Spunner, commander of Multi-National Division South East; and Iraqi Army's 14th Division Commander Maj. General Abdul Aziz.
Obama then traveled to Baghdad, where he was to meet Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. troops in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.