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The Early Show on CBS and NPR's Morning Edition Cover Cindy's Protest

The Early Show 7:00 AM EST CBS
Monday, August 8, 2005

JULIE CHEN, co-host:

President Bush may be on vacation in Crawford, Texas, but one mom wants to make sure he doesn't forget there is a war going in Iraq. CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller reports.

MARK KNOLLER reporting:

Just a few miles down Prairie Chapel Road from the Bush ranch, there's a makeshift campsite. It's occupied by a few anti-war protestors led by the grieving mother of a US soldier killed last year in Iraq, and she is demanding to speak with the president.

Ms. CINDY SHEEHAN (Gold Star Families for Peace): I'd ask him what noble cause did my son die for. And if he started saying freedom and democracy. I'd stop him. I'd say, `No, that's not why Congress gave you the power to invade Iraq.'

Hi, everybody. Thanks for coming.

KNOLLER: Cindy Sheehan came to the president's hometown on Saturday, and tried to lead a protest march to his ranch.

Ms. SHEEHAN: You're going to let me go through.

Unidentified Man: No, ma'am, you're stopping right here. OK?

Ms. SHEEHAN: He killed my son.

KNOLLER: But in fact, she already met with Mr. Bush last year during his visit to the Ft. Lewis Army base in Washington state.

Ms. SHEEHAN: He came in, and the very first thing he said was, `Who are we honoring here?' And me and my family looked at each other, like, `He doesn't even know Casey's name?' And he wouldn't look at the pictures we brought of Casey.

I'm going to go see the president!

KNOLLER: Sheehan wants another meeting to tell him face to face of her objections to the war in Iraq. In the hope of calming the anguished mother, the White House on Saturday sent two top aides to talk with her. She said they tried to explain the administration's policy, but she wasn't buying.

Ms. SHEEHAN: Finally, I just said, `You know what? I might be a grieving mother, but I'm not stupid. And I don't think you guys are stupid either and I don't think you believe even what you're telling me.'

KNOLLER: Sheehan concedes there's probably nothing President Bush could say that would satisfy her. But she still wants the satisfaction of a meeting. And she'll stay here through the month of August to try and bring that about.

Mark Knoller, CBS News, with the president in Crawford, Texas.

NPR's Morning Edition 11:00 AM EST
Tuesday, August 9, 2005


As President Bush spends his August vacation at his ranch in Texas, he's had an unexpected distraction. Her name is Cindy Sheehan, and her son was killed in Iraq last year. Sheehan has set up camp a few miles down the road from the president's property and she says she is staying until the president agrees to meet with her. NPR's David Greene reports.

DAVID GREENE reporting:

The short, winding road to President Bush's ranch is normally quiet, just the way the Secret Service likes it. But these days, before you hit the entrance, you come across Camp Casey. It's a smattering of tents and protest signs.

Ms. CINDY SHEEHAN (Protester): We're about three miles from the president's ranch. It's down Prairie Chapel Road. It's a prairie. We're sitting in the middle of the prairie. We're sleeping in tents in a ditch.

GREENE: Cindy Sheehan says she's keeping a vigil here to honor her son, Casey, an Army specialist who died in Baghdad last year. And she's not leaving until she gets a meeting with the president. Mr. Bush has already dispatched his national security adviser and deputy chief of staff to meet with the war mom, but Sheehan says that's not enough. She says she wants to tell him personally that she's offended whenever she hears him say that the mission in Iraq should be continued in part to honor the fallen.

Ms. SHEEHAN: I just want to tell him to quit using my son's death to justify more killing. On April 4th, 2004, my heart and my soul were ripped out. Why would I want one more mother, if it's Iraqi or American--why would I want one more mother to suffer like I'm suffering just because my son is dead?

GREENE: Sheehan is attracting a supporting cast. They arrive each day, sleeping in tents or in their cars.

Unidentified Man: There are people all over this country tonight that are making their way to Crawford trying to figure out where in the heck it is.

GREENE: Sheehan has become an instant celebrity. Her interviews are now being booked by Abby Delosure(ph), a realtor who drove up from Austin and eagerly volunteered to be press secretary.

Ms. ABBY DELOSURE (Realtor): I've got her scheduled with "Good Morning America," a radio in Seattle, Dallas radio.

GREENE: White House spokesman Trent Duffy(ph) said Mr. Bush has no plans for a face-to-face with Cindy Sheehan. He says the president already spoke with her last year in a larger meeting with grieving families.

Mr. TRENT DUFFY (White House Spokesman): We mourn the lives of all those who are lost in this conflict in defense of freedom, but we don't want those lives to be lost in vain. And what President Bush believes is necessary is for us to focus on the mission and to complete the mission and not to cut and run in the face of terrorism.

GREENE: Sheehan was part of a group that produced anti-Bush ads during the last presidential campaign. Privately, White House aides have pointed to a newspaper story from Sheehan's hometown of Vacaville, California, which quoted her, after her meeting last year with Mr. Bush, as saying, `I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss.' Sheehan doesn't deny those comments, but she says the president told her at the time that he would not use such meetings with families for political gain. Now Sheehan says one of three things will happen: The president will meet with her, she'll be arrested or she'll spend the hot month of August camped out in a ditch on Prairie Chapel Road.

David Greene, NPR News, Waco, Texas.


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