Even at 62, and after spending almost nine years in the top office, outgoing US President George W Bush is still able to look into people’s soles. Even so, he got off on the wrong foot at a press conference in Iraq during what was his farewell tour. He wasn’t booed off but shooed away when an Iraqi journalist — Muntadar al-Zeidi — threw two shoes at him during a presser. Deftly ducking these missives from the sole and making light of the offender’s comment, “It is the farewell kiss, you dog”, Dubya told the world, “All I can report is a size 10.” And then went into the customary Bushwaffle on how this was a ploy to grab attention and how he was not daunted, yada, yada, yada. Was the scribe or his employer, an Egyptian television channel repentant? Not at all. They retorted that Mr Zeidi was a “proud Arab and an open-minded man”. And Dubya continued his merry jaunt to address that other haven of freedom — Afghanistan — to cheer up the US soldiers. And luckily, no boot and scoot here.
We wonder what the secret service guarding the world’s most-powerful man has to say about this barefoot diplomacy. What if the offendee’s throwing arm had flung something more lethal than a shoe or two? We know that Bush is now a lame-duck president. And that he might have wanted to duck a question or two. But he surely could not have imagined that anyone would play ducks and drakes with him during his grand finale.