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Brush-off for mother in war protest
The Telegraph (UK)
By Francis Harris in Washington
A bereaved mother camped outside George W Bush's Texas ranch was given expressions of sympathy from the president yesterday but no pledge of the meeting she is demanding to discuss a US withdrawal from Iraq.
Cindy Sheehan has been camped out for the past six days, prompting 50 other anti-war campaigners to join her and the White House press machine to display clear signs of anxiety at the potential public impact.
Her son Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq last year.
Speaking on the issue for the first time after a meeting yesterday with his aides at the Crawford ranch, Mr Bush said he sympathised with the Catholic mother of four.
"She feels strongly about her position, and she has every right to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position, and I thought long and hard about her position.
"I've heard her position from others, which is: Get out of Iraq now. And it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so."
More than 40 Democratic congressmen have asked Mr Bush to meet Mrs Sheehan and so have anti-war groups.
Mrs Sheehan said she begged her son not to leave for Iraq: "I said, 'I'll take you to Canada' but he said, 'Mom, I have to go. It's my duty. My buddies are going'.''