Want to protest a politician? Throwing a shoe is a time-honored way of showing offense.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's brush with an orange and black shoe in Las Vegas on Thursday wasn't her first with flying footwear.
In 2012, then-secretary of State Clinton's motorcade was pelted with shoes and tomatoes during a visit to Egypt after Mohamed Mursi was elected president. Shoes and a water bottle landed near the Clinton delegation's cars in Alexandria. Clinton's vehicle wasn't struck. Protesters were chanting "Monica, Monica" in a reference to former President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Others chanted, "leave, Clinton," according to Reuters.
The Vegas shoe-throwing incident, of course, immediately brought to mind what happened to President George W. Bush on his last visit to Iraq in 2008. (See above video.) Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi stood up during a news conference with Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and shouted in Arabic: "This is the farewell kiss, you dog" before throwing shoes at Bush. The president ducked and narrowly avoided the footwear.
Then-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was unruffled when a protester threw a sneaker at him during a speech at Cambridge University in England, about seven weeks after the Bush incident in Iraq. The throw was wide, missing Wen by about 30 feet, according to Reuters. A video of the incident shown on Sky News television showed a man yelling about Wen, "How can you listen to the lies he's telling?"
Several shoe-throwing incidents occurred in protest of the Iraq War, which made former British prime minister Tony Blair a prime target since he was such a close ally of Bush and the United States. During a 2010 book-signing event in Dublin, Blair was greeted by shoes and eggs hurled by anti-war protesters. Some were shouting, "Hey, hey, Tony, hey: How many kids have you killed today?," according to The Guardian. Blair defended his decision to go to war with Iraq in his memoir, A Journey.
Clinton's quips at the Vegas shoe-throwing incidents — such as "Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?" and her critic's apparently poor softball-playing skills — certainly helped defuse the tension.
Dominque Strauss-Kahn, the French economist who headed the International Monetary Fund, had a wry line after a student tossed a sneaker at him in 2009 during a college appearance. The IMF was meeting in Istanbul and the protester wanted the IMF out of Turkey.
Since the shoe-throwing incident occurred after Strauss-Kahn was finished with his remarks, the Wall Street Journal reported the IMF chief had a quip about his critic's manners.
"I was glad to meet students and hear their views," Strauss-Kahn said in a statement. "One thing I learned, Turkish students are polite. They wait until the end to complain."
But shoe-throwing is no laughing matter, especially for those who are lobbing the objects.
Faegheh Shirazi, a Middle Eastern studies professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told CNN last year that throwing a shoe, hitting someone with a shoe or showing the bottom of your shoe when sitting down are "culturally unacceptable" in the Middle East and "considered to be a grave insult and belittling to a person."