According to CBS correspondent Richard Roth, in a report on Monday’s CBS Early about an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference, the incident was reminiscent of the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein five years earlier: "Mr. Bush's message of progress was eclipsed in Baghdad by a sign of his unpopularity...The symbolism wouldn't have been lost on Iraqis, for whom shoes can be used to show extreme contempt, as with the footwear beaten against the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled by Marines five years ago."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith teased the story: "So the tabloids in New York are having a field day with the shoe attack on President Bush in Iraq. The Daily News calls it a ‘Shoe-icide Attack.’ And then the Post calls it ‘Lame Duck’." After Roth’s report, Smith looked at the video of Bush’s reaction and observed: "I mean, look at the president's face, look at the look on his face...He's amused almost by this." Co-host Julie Chen then chimed in: "He looked more embarrassed. I mean, he turned a little bit beet red afterwards."
Chen later remarked: "And he did kind of shoo off the Secret Service agent who came up-" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez interjected: "No pun intended." Chen didn’t understand the pun at first, but then added: "I didn't mean that! Hey, I'm wittier than I think this morning." In May, Chen thought Hawaii was in the Atlantic Ocean.
Here is the full transcript of the segment:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Breaking news. President Bush makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan after an Iraqi journalist lobs his shoes at him in a similar visit to Baghdad.
GEORGE W. BUSH: In fact, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw. So what if the guy threw a shoe at me?
RODRIGUEZ: Why did it take so long to stop?
HARRY SMITH: So the tabloids in New York are having a field day with the shoe attack on President Bush in Iraq. The Daily News calls it a 'Shoe-icide Attack.' And then the Post calls it 'Lame Duck,' as in duck-
RODRIGUEZ: Duck, oh good one-
JULIE CHEN: Well, his duck was pretty good-
CHEN: I mean, it was, you know, thinking fast.
SMITH: And the president has basically said this was no big deal, but there are some other people asking some questions about it this morning.
JULIE CHEN: But first, President Bush's trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Where a reporter threw his shoes at the president. CBS News correspondent Richard Roth is in London this morning with the story. Richard, good morning.
RICHARD ROTH: Good morning, Julie. Well, it was the president's valedictory tour of two war zones, meant to highlight political and military achievements, but it's sure to be remembered for the dramatic departure from the White House script that occurred in Baghdad. Early this morning, at the giant U.S. air base outside Kabul, the president told an audience of soldiers and Marines that Afghanistan's a dramatically different country than it was before the American invasion more than seven years ago.
GEORGE W. BUSH: The Taliban has gone from power and it's not coming back. Al Qaeda terrorists have lost their safe haven in Afghanistan and they're not going to get it back.
ROTH: U.S. Commanders, though, are calling for another 20,000 troops to bolster the 31,000 already fighting there, in a war that's increasingly violent. In Iraq, too, the president said the war's not over. He said it's on its way to being won, but Mr. Bush's message of progress was eclipsed in Baghdad by a sign of his unpopularity. The angry near miss of an Iraqi reporter shouting 'this is your farewell kiss, you dog,' as he threw his shoes at the president. Size 10, said Mr. Bush, who was unhurt, and nonplused.
BUSH: I don't know what the guy's cause is, but one thing is for certain, he caused you to ask me a question about it. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it.
ROTH: The symbolism wouldn't have been lost on Iraqis, for whom shoes can be used to show extreme contempt, as with the footwear beaten against the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled by Marines five years ago. The president said he wasn't insulted. The reporter, who works for a privately owned Iraqi TV station, is being held and interrogated, according to officials there, who haven't said yet if he'll be charged with a crime. The shoes, both of them, are being held as evidence. Julie.
CHEN: CBS's Richard Roth in London, thanks Richard. Well we were wondering why it apparently took so long for the Secret Service to react, take a look. So if look at our counter, it took 5.3 seconds to pass from when the first shoe was thrown before a Secret service agent actually got up to attend to the president. But what we should make note of is that everyone who went into this room, you know, they went through security. I mean, he wasn't armed with anything but his shoes.
SMITH: Listen, I've been in the Green Zone in Baghdad and this is -- it may be the most secure place on the planet, so nobody is going to be in there with any kind of a weapon. I mean, look at the president's face, look at the look on his face.
CHEN: He didn't look nervous at all.
SMITH: He's amused almost by this.
CHEN: He looked more embarrassed. I mean, he turned a little bit beet red afterwards.
SMITH: Look at this, look at him.
CHEN: And he did kind of shoo off the Secret Service agent who came up-
RODRIGUEZ: No pun intended.
CHEN: -like 'I'm okay' -- [Laughter] I didn't mean that! Hey, I'm wittier than I think this morning. So, there you go.