On Friday, all three network morning shows fretted over a woman throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a speaking event in Las Vegas. NBC Today co-host Tamron Hall was particularly melodramatic: "I mean, but how scary is that?...Had it hit her, that would have been awful. It would have been awful." Weatherman Al Roker added: "Jeez, that's frightening." Hall declared: "It's hard for me to watch, actually." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The shoe was on the other foot in 2008, when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at then-President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. At that time, ABC and CBS referred to the shoe-thrower as a "celebrity" and "folk hero" who "thrilled the Arab world." In 2009, then-MSNBC host David Shuster actually cheered the release of the footwear assailant from prison. Tamron Hall happened to be on the show at the time and observed that people would have been "more outraged" if someone threw a shoe at President Obama.
By contrast, on Friday's ABC Good Morning America, White House correspondent Jon Karl reported: "Hillary Clinton took that with good humor. But it was a scary moment." Co-host George Stephanopoulos remarked: "Yeah, Hillary Clinton, quick with the quip. But that was a scary moment there for a second."
On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose observed that Clinton "handled that quite well" before noting that the thrower was "facing federal charges." Fellow co-host Norah O'Donnell gushed: "You know, it was amazing to see how calm she [Hillary Clinton] was....she didn't really react much at all and had a great retort, you know?" Rose agreed: "It was amazing." O'Donnell concluded: "Incredible, indeed."
In 2008, concerns over Bush's safety were less important to the networks, who seized on that shoe-throwing incident as a gaffe that showed his unpopularity.
Here are transcripts of the coverage on the April 11 morning shows:
9:05 AM ET
TAMRON HALL: Well, who's not in good shape is this person who's been arrested and now charged with throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton. It happened in Las Vegas. Take a look here. The former secretary of state giving a speech. And then listen to her reaction. That's a shoe going past her.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: She's Got Sole; Hillary Clinton Dodges Shoe During Speech]
AL ROKER: Whoa.
NATALIE MORALES: There you go. She dodged that one.
HALL: And take a listen to-
ROKER: Well, she didn't really dodge it. She just missed her, thankfully.
MORALES: Bad aim.
HALL: The woman there with the blonde hair is the person who goes out with her hands up, she's taken into custody. But listen to Hillary Clinton's reaction.
HILLARY CLINTON: Was that part of Cirque du Soleil?
ROKER: "Was that part of Cirque du Soleil?"
MORALES: Cirque du Soleil.
HILLARY CLINTON: What was that, a bat? Was that a bat? That's somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque du Soleil? Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did.
HALL: Her reaction was priceless. I mean, but how scary is that? She thought it was a bat, so it didn't process what was really happening. But that shoe came so close to her face. Had it hit her, that would have been awful. It would have been awful. But this woman is in custody. We don't know a lot about her at this point. But we do know.
ROKER: Jeez, that's frightening.
HALL: It's hard for me to watch, actually.
Good Morning America
7:06 AM ET
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: On another front, another politician, high-profile politician under fire in a different way. Hillary Clinton out in Las Vegas, you see it right there, she took a shoe right – whizzing right by her head. And here's what she had to say about it.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Shoe Thrown at Hillary Clinton; Woman in Federal Custody]
HILLARY CLINTON: Recycling, about two – what was that? A bat? Was that a bat? That's somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque du Soleil? My goodness. I didn't know solid waste management was so controversial.
JON KARL: Well, as you can hear-
CLINTON: Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did.
KARL: As you can hear there, George, Hillary Clinton took that with good humor. But it was a scary moment. Reminiscent, of course, you remember that time when George W. Bush had two shoes thrown at him at a press conference in Baghdad.
As for the woman who did it, no indication of who she is yet. They haven't identified her by name. And no indication as to why she threw that shoe.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, Hillary Clinton, quick with the quip. But that was a scary moment there for a second. Okay, Jon Karl, thanks very much. We'll have all the week's politics Sunday on This Week.
CBS This Morning
7:18 AM ET
CHARLIE ROSE: And the Las Vegas Sun says a woman threw a shoe at former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. She ducked out of the way.
HILLARY CLINTON: It's already recycling about two – was that a bat? That's somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque du Soleil? Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did.
ROSE: Boy, she handled that quite well, didn't she?
NORAH O'DONNELL: She really did.
ROSE: We don't know why the woman threw the shoe, but she is facing federal charges.
O'DONNELL: You know, it was amazing to see how calm she was.
ROSE: It was, exactly.
O'DONNELL: Yeah, she didn't really react much at all and had a great retort, you know?
ROSE: About Cirque du Soleil.
O'DONNELL: About Cirque du Soleil. And saying, "Glad she didn't play softball like I did." Maybe she would have had a better throw.
ROSE: It was amazing.
O'DONNELL: Incredible, indeed.