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Bush pressed to meet protester mom
By Dave Wedge
Friday, August 12, 2005
Pressure continued to mount for President Bush to meet with the distraught mom of a soldier killed in Iraq as both Bay State senators backed the woman and scores of families joined her outside Bush's Texas home, including two from Massachusetts.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday each threw their support behind Cindy Sheehan, who has been camped outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, home since Saturday, vowing not to leave until the president meets with her about the war. Sheehan's 24-year-old Marine son, Casey, was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq.
``The president has not leveled with our troops and the American people,'' Kennedy said. ``I admire Cindy Sheehan for her courage and determination to make the president answer to her.''
Kerry spokeswoman April Boyd said: ``Senator Kerry understands the demands on Bush's schedule but hopes he will take time to meet with Mrs. Sheehan.''
Speaking with reporters at his ranch yesterday, Bush expressed sympathy but made no concessions. White House aides met with Sheehan, which she described as ``pointless.''
``She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes,'' Bush said. But, he said, pulling out of Iraq now would be a ``mistake.''
``One way to honor the fallen is to lay the foundation for peace,'' he said.
Sheehan was joined by soldiers' families who oppose the war, including a Hyannis mom whose son is being deployed next week and the wife and daughters of a Massachusetts National Guard sergeant from Billerica who is in Iraq.
Rose Gonzalez, whose mother is serving north of Baghdad with the National Guard, called Sheehan ``inspiring.''
``It's not too much to ask a president sending all these people into harm's way, to ask for time to speak with him,'' said Gonzalez, who will speak at a vigil on Boston Common tomorrow night to honor Sheehan. ``She lost a 24-year-old son. He was just a baby.''
Boston Mobilization organized the vigil to raise awareness and help military families who want to join Sheehan. Spokeswoman Eve Lyman said Bush should give her the courtesy of a meeting.
``I can't believe Bush has been so stupid to not come out and talk to her yet and diffuse the whole thing,'' Lyman said.