Welcome to Baghdad. An Iraqi reporter set off pandemonium Sunday by hurling two shoes at President Bush during a news conference that was the centerpiece of his secret good-bye visit.
Bush was cool under fire and prevented an even bigger incident by waving off his lead Secret Service agent, who was prepared to extract him from the room.
Video shows the president's lead agent rushing to the podium, but the president immediately and subtly motions to him that it's OK. The agent backs off.
The president successfully ducked both throws. Photos show him with his head down near the top of the podium. The embarrassing incident marred a visit meant to show off the improved conditions since the troop "surge" dramatically reduced casualties to U.S. troops.
"This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog," the journalist shouted (in Arabic), Steven Lee Myers of The New York Times reported in a pool report to the White House press corps.
Myers reported that the man threw the second shoe and added: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."
Myers wrote in his pool report: "The president's appearance was interrupted by a man, apparently a journalist, who leapt to his feet and threw his shoe at the president, who ducked and thus narrowly missed being struck. Chaos ensued. The [man] threw a second shoe, which also narrowly missed the president. The man was roughly 12 feet from the lectern in the center of two rows of chairs, about two feet from the pool. A scrum of security agents descended on the man and wrestled him, first to the floor and then out of the ornate room where the press conference was taking place. The president was at no point injured and he brushed off the incident."
"All I can report is it is a size 10," Bush quipped.
I know how President-elect Barack HUSSEIN Obama (aka Little Barry Soetoro)would have handled this incident. He would have run for the protection of the Secret Service and afterwards claimed he came under fire in Iraq.
Thank goodness for GWB keeping his cool in reacting to this. My quote today will be his response to the incident:
"All I can report is it is a size 10." - President George W. Bush