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 goodbye 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.”
Here is the video:
As was described in the video above White House Press Secretary Dana Perino received a microphone in the eye and has a shiner. The Secret Service who were apparently in the other room eating donuts also received a black eye because they were nowhere to be found. Secret Service = disgraceful in this case.
Michelle Malkin has more on the journalist, Muntazer al-Zaidi, a correspondent for the independent al- Baghdadiya television station. Whoever this jerk works for will award him a medal.
Flap wonders if the President-Elect will make a comment? So, far crickets.
In the meantime, unfazed President Bush is off to Afghanistan.