ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reports from Baghdad: Not everyone is excited about President Bush’s surprise trip to Iraq.
An Iraqi journalist in Prime Minister Nouri-al Maliki’s palace threw two shoes at President Bush during a joint press conference with Maliki. The president quickly had to duck to avoid the shoes, while Maliki stretched out his right hand to try to catch the second one. Neither leader was hit.
As he threw the shoes the man, identified as Muntadhar al-Zaiydi, a local television correspondent, yelled "This is a farewell kiss, dog!" and, "This is the end!"
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Displaying the soles of shoes or throwing shoes is not polite behavior anywhere, but in much of the Arab world the shoe is used as a special tool of insult or affront. Before the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein had a mosaic of former President George H.W. Bush on the ground at the entrance to the main foreign hotel in Baghdad, the Al-Rashid. You had to step on Bush’s face to get in.
Right after the fall of Saddam, men beat his ubiquitous posters with their shoes.
Al-Zaiydi was grabbed and dragged out of the news conference screaming.
Bush, who reacted spryly as he saw his assailant winding up, joked about the incident, saying, "That was a size 10 shoe he threw at me, you may want you to know. "
As security grabbed the man, White House press secretary Dana Perino got knocked beneath her eye by a microphone and ended up with a small shiner.
After order had been restored to the room, the man could still be heard screaming from another room.