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Cristina Cabrera

Cristina Cabrera is the social media editor at TPM based in New York. Previously, she worked for Vocativ and interned at USA Today and New York 1 News. She received her B.A at NYU. Follow her on Twitter @crismcabrera

Articles by Cristina

On Dec. 14, 2008, President George W. Bush was holding a farewell press conference in Baghdad with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when he was suddenly interrupted by a flying shoe.

A furious Iraqi journalist named Muntadhar al-Zaidi had yanked the shoe off his foot and lobbed it at the President while shouting in Arabic, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog.”

Part two was quick to follow: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq,” al-Zaidi yelled as he flung his second shoe at Bush.

The reporter was immediately arrested and served a nine-month prison term, during which he says he was tortured. Meanwhile, the video went viral worldwide, and al-Zaidi was celebrated as a hero in the Arab world and among left-leaning Americans who were eagerly awaiting Bush’s upcoming departure from the White House.

Bush, who managed to dodge both shoes, was apparently unfazed by the whole thing. “It doesn’t bother me,” he told reporters. “If you want the facts, it’s a size ten shoe that he threw.”

At the time of the incident, several media outlets explained the shoe-throwing as a uniquely Middle Eastern form of insult because shoes are considered unclean, though this framing has been criticized by Middle East scholars.

Al-Zaidi’s protest largely reflected his country’s anger toward Bush and the American foreign policies that led to the eight-year Iraq war, which resulted in the death of more than half a million Iraqis.

“What compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot,” al-Zaidi wrote in a 2009 Guardian column. He (unsuccessfully) ran for a seat in Parliament in 2018, though he told Reuters he “refused to have any images of me from that incident used for my election campaign” because he wanted to focus on policy.

Today, any American official’s support for the war in 2003 is now considered a political scarlet letter, and Iraq is currently battling terrorist cells that arose in the power vacuum left behind by the U.S-led invasion.

Still, you have to give Bush credit: Not getting whacked by an enraged Iraqi’s shoes after dismantling his government and leaving the country in shambles? Mission accomplished.

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It’s that time of year again, folks.

TPM’s 12th annual Golden Dukes are upon us and, much like 2017, this year gave us a seemingly bottomless pit of political disasters to consider.

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In the spirit of the holiday season, GOP Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wondered on Thursday whether a Democrat would run on a “food stamps for all” program, asking, “if healthcare is a right, is food as well?”

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Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) announced he was withdrawing his concession after the state began a recount in the extremely tight governor race on Saturday.

“I am replacing my earlier concession with an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote,” Gillum tweeted.

The Democrat had conceded the race to Republican opponent Ron DeSantis late Tuesday. “We didn’t win it tonight,” he told his supporters.

However, as the vote gap between the two candidates continued to shrink throughout the week, Gillum’s campaign said it was ready for “any outcome,” including a recount.

DeSantis is ahead of Gillum by 0.41 percentage points. A margin of 0.5 percent or less triggers a recount in Florida. There will also be a recount for the similarly tight Senate race between Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Republican challenger Rick Scott.

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