[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/15/shoe.reporter.profile/art.shoe.suspect.bgdtv.jpg caption="TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush."]
The New York Times
A Saudi reportedly has offered $10 million for just one of the shoes thrown at President Bush in Iraq. That got me thinking. The journalist who threw the shoes no longer possesses them, of course, but hopefully some member of the White House staff picked them up and will do a deal with the Saudi buyer. The second one could be put on Ebay to defray the White House travel costs.
But that got me thinking. The Times article about the Saudi offer says that the shoe-thrower is a hero around Iraq, and indeed in much of the Arab world. That suggests that the resale market for shoes thrown at Mr. Bush is fairly deep. And in this difficult economic environment, can we as a nation overlook any way of raising money?
Couldn’t we trot out Mr. Bush before a series of, er, unfriendly audiences, with a White house aide then designated to collect the shoes and auction them off? (To protect Mr. Bush, we could insist that attendees wear only slippers, but in any case he seems to have excellent reflexes and is a pretty good sport.) My own research suggests that a three-week presidential tour of the Islamic world, Latin America and Western Europe would generate a considerable number of flying shoes. Even if there are diminishing returns and we can sell them for an average of only $3 million each, that could bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Treasury. If a Saudi will pay $10 million for a single shoe that missed the president, consider the income-earning potential of a pair of slippers that actually grazed a presidential ear, perhaps autographed by him as well? Given that a lame-duck president doesn’t have much else to do, Mr. Bush might as well spend his final weeks raising money to pay for a fiscal stimulus, and the United States might capitalize on his global unpopularity.
Any thoughts for how we could refine the business model?
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with