NR: "All that people will remember is this moment."
Four more NewsRoom appearances: first is with Betty Nguyen at 8pm Baghdad time; second is pre-recorded; third is with TJ Holmes at 10pm Baghdad time (there is a brief transmission glitch during this one); and fourth with Rick Sanchez at 11pm Baghdad time.
BETTY NGUYEN: And with that, you can see why it's now the most-Googled video of the day. Can you believe it? That shoe-throwing incident happened yesterday during President Bush's surprise trip to Iraq. The man who hurled the footwear, well, he is an Iraqi journalist and the gesture is a regional insult. CNN's Michael Ware is in Baghdad.
You know, Michael, the president's headed back to the states now, but this trip in Iraq was surely memorable and maybe not in the way that he wanted it to be.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, no, I suspect not, Betty. But, I mean, this really was an extraordinary event. And for the president, it will be unfortunate that it doesn't matter what he said or what he did here, all the people will remember is this moment.
And indeed the journalist, a 28-year-old from Sadr City here in the capital, is currently enjoying the hospitality, so to speak, of an Iraqi jail. But let's go back first and have a look at just what happened.
WARE: And this new Iraq, full of progress, as President Bush would like to see, is exemplified by the actions of this journalist. According to the president himself, as you saw, he said that, you know, this is an act of free expression. That free expression has landed the journalist in jail and perhaps reflecting popular opinion here in Iraq today, the charges they're investigating are not for assaulting the American president . . .
NGUYEN: President. Yes, it's more about the prime minister because he was standing next to him, right?
WARE: Yes. Exactly. Exactly. And I think that's the government or the investigators tapping into the way Iraqis are responding to this incident -- Betty.
NGUYEN: That is very interesting. Okay. Michael Ware joining us live.
Thank you, Michael, for that.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Iraq, it was the morning after the American president had to duck for cover.
When an Iraqi journalist at a press conference threw his shoes -- the height of insult in this culture -- at the American president, opinions were divided the next day here on the ground. Evenly, people split between those who supported his actions -- a fierce protest said President Bush deserved no less -- were opposed by those who condemned the action, not because President Bush did not deserve it, but that the journalist should not have done it in front of the Iraqi prime minister and embarrassed him.
Also, it seems to be universally accepted among Iraqis today that the journalist should not be sitting in a jail, and popular opinion appears to sympathize with his sentiment, if not his methods.
And indeed, in his home neighborhood of Sadr City, hundreds took to the streets in angry protest, setting American flags ablaze, and calling for the journalist's release.
This is almost certain to be one of the most lasting images of this war, and that will become part of the legacy of this American administration.
Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.
MICHAEL WARE: And the fiery young Iraqi journalist at the center of all this, a 28-year-old from the Sadr City slum here in the capital Baghdad, is still sitting somewhere in security forces custody, most likely somewhere in a prison cell.
The prime minister's office here says that the young man is being investigated for possible charges -- not connected to assaulting President Bush, but for doing it in front of the Iraqi prime minister, and hurling the shoes in the prime minister's general direction rather than at President Bush's head, TJ.
TJ HOLMES: Okay, I think I heard that right, but -- the guy was targeting the president --
WARE: Oh, yeah.
HOLMES: -- of the United States. But just because the Iraqi prime minister was in the vicinity, that might really be what gets him in trouble. All right. I think we've got you there.
WARE: Yeah, brother. This is Iraq.
HOLMES: All right. Michael Ware, let me ask you one more here. This is the thing that is overshadowing the visit itself, and that security agreement that's put in place.
How do Iraqis feel about that security agreement that's going to lead eventually to U.S. troops leaving Iraq?
WARE: Well, to be honest, much like the American public, the Iraqis really don't know much about this agreement. Indeed, few journalists have probably read the document beyond the headine. They know the headline.
This is the beginning of the end of the American phase of this war. And the irony is, despite President-elect Obama coming into power vowing to end the war, the administration that started it has pretty much finished it as well.
So this agreement says U.S. troops, whether you want to be here or not, non-negotiable, no questions, no petrol, you're out of here in three years no matter what's happening on the ground. That's not what America wanted. That, for the Iraqis, is a blessing and a curse. In one way, the Iraqis are happy to have the occupation because it's keeping warring factions apart so they can breathe for a bit. Although their hope is dwindling and starting to question, because, you know, these guys, they're just tired of it. They want the tanks out of their streets. From the moment Saddam was removed, they said thank you very much for that, what time are you leaving -- TJ.
HOLMES: You know, we can't blame them for that. This has been coming up on year six now. Michael Ware for us in Baghdad. Thank you so much.
RICK SANCHEZ: Let's do this. Before we do anything else, let's take you to Baghdad. That's where Michael Ware has been following this story. He's joining us now with the very latest on this.
Take us back to when this happened and what the reaction has been there since, Michael, if you would.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can see clearly from this extraordinary film that is almost certainly going to become an icon of the war in Iraq what happened.
There is a press conference. President Bush arrives without any warning. He's going through all these sort of formal meetings, a sort of show and tell, you know, dog and pony show, ceremony for the signing of the agreement.
And in the middle of the press conference, this guy just stands up, no warning, and starts hurling the shoes at President Bush's head. Now, today in Iraq, it's the morning after the night before, because this happened overnight in Iraqi time.
When the people woke up here, you know, this was clearly the talk of the town. And opinions divided pretty much equally straight down the middle. Some people criticize this Iraqi journalist for doing this. They say that it's not about throwing it at President Bush. It's about doing it in front of Maliki.
President Bush is Maliki's guest. You embarrassed the man. And it's impolite. Others say President Bush deserves this and more. Across the board, everyone agrees the guy shouldn't go to jail and that whether you approve of his etiquette or not, you understand why he did it.
So, that's the reaction here on the ground, Rick.
SANCHEZ: It's amazing, and especially when you consider that this guy is all but being made a hero at this point. And it may be a bad move to keep him behind bars.