President Bush is in Baghdad today on a surprise farewell visit highlighting the security deal recently reached between the U.S. and Iraq. CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware reports this afternoon that during a press conference with Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an Iraqi man threw a shoe at Bush — “a grave insult in the Arab world” — but “it just sailed past his head”:
WARE: Well, Wolf, the most extraordinary thing. You may or may not believe this. We’re getting reports from the press pool that flew in with President Bush and apparently just a short, short time ago in a press conference with Prime Minister Maliki, an Iraqi man stood up in the press conference and threw a shoe at President Bush. But the reports we’re getting, it just sailed past his head and while the man was dragged out of the room, President Bush is said to have remarked that, “This was a size 10 shoe he threw at me you may want to know,” even as the man was heard screaming in the hallway.
McClatchy identified the man as Iraqi television journalist Muntader al-Zaidi and reports he threw both of his shoes at Bush just after he finished prepared remarks.
The New York Times notes that the first shoe “narrowly missed” and the second shoe also missed. “This is a farewell kiss, you dog,” Zaidi shouted.
Apparently, Bush was unfazed by the incident. “I didn’t feel the least bit threatened by it,” he said.
MSNBC has video of the incident with correspondent Patty Culhane reporting that Bush was “not injured” but that White House Press Secretary Dana Perino received a black eye in the scuffle of trying to contain Zaidi. Watch it: