'A Moment I Will Never Forget': Perino on 10 Years Since Iraqi's Shoe-Throw Left Her With Black Eye
Dana Perino marked ten years since the infamous Iraqi shoe-throwing incident that saw President George W. Bush ducking a journalist's flying shoe and the "Daily Briefing" host receiving a black eye.
Perino, who was White House press secretary at the time, joined Bush and then-Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki at a Dec. 14, 2008 press conference where the two leaders opened the floor to the Baghdad press corps.
Part way through the conference, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi stood up and threw a shoe at Bush while yelling "Long live Iraq" in Arabic.
Bush ducked as Al-Zeidi threw his other shoe at the president, while al-Maliki successfully blocked the second throw from hitting the president.
Perino said Secret Service agents tackled al-Zeidi and a very tall U.S. Marine grabbed her and pulled her to safety outside the room.
She called it "a moment I will never forget," and noted that, unlike Bush, she did not escape the fiasco unscathed.
Perino showed a still photo of herself sporting a black eye on the right side of her face. She said she had been blindly hit by another journalist's boom mic, which bashed her in the face during the scramble.
Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, then a White House staffer, joined Perino on "The Daily Briefing" and recalled how he was seated next to her when she was hit.
"It was a fraught day," he said, recalling how prior to the incident, American and Iraqi officials hammered out differences over the Status of Forces Agreement, which stipulated U.S. military presence in the country.
Gillespie said U.S. reporter Olivier Knox told him that some other reporters had discussed whether one of them might attempt the shoe-throw -- seen as a cultural sign of deep disrespect in the Arab world.
Gillespie added how impressed he was when the then-62-year-old Bush athletically reacted to the sudden throw.
He credited Bush for "quick reflexes" and remaining calm -- continuing to take questions despite al-Maliki's calls to end the conference and profuse apologies on behalf of Iraqis.
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