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Martin Sheen, Sharpton Visit Anti-War Camp

Martin Sheen, Sharpton Visit Anti-War Camp

The Associated Press
Monday, August 29, 2005; 6:37 AM

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Cindy Sheehan hasn't achieved a meeting with the president during her three-week war protest, but she met a man who plays one on TV. Martin Sheen, who portrays the president on NBC's "The West Wing," visited Sheehan's makeshift campsite Sunday.

"At least you've got the acting president of the United States," Sheen said as the crowd of more than 300 people cheered. "I think you know what I do for a living, but this is what I do to stay

Sheehan arrived in President Bush's adopted hometown Aug. 6 and promised to stay until she could question Bush about the war that has claimed more than 1,870 U.S. soldiers' lives _ including her son Casey. Bush's vacation ends Friday.

She was among a group of grieving families who met President Bush about two months after her son died last year, before she became a vocal opponent of the war. Bush has said she has the right to protest and he sympathizes with her, but his aides have said there are no plans to change his schedule to meet with her again.

Earlier Sunday, the Rev. Al Sharpton spoke at an interfaith service at the camp, saying he was compelled to meet Sheehan.

"I feel that it is our moral obligation to stand and to be courageous with these families, and particularly Cindy, that have become the conscience of this nation," said Sharpton, a former Democratic presidential candidate.

During the service, several cars with pro-Bush signs drove slowly down the road by the protest campsite. Later, one man who had been walking down the street was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly shoving an anti-war demonstrator, McLennan County sheriff's deputies said.

Amid all the comings and goings around Camp Casey on Sunday, peace activists Genevieve Van Cleve and Peter Ravella got married.

The aisle was strewn with hay, and the crowd hummed "Here Comes the Bride."

"This is meaningful. This has substance," said Van Cleve, 34, of Austin. "We completely support what they're doing, and we just wanted to add whatever love, fidelity, loyalty and honor that we could."

After the war protest ends and Sheehan packs up camp, the anti-war group plans to spread its message on a bus tour, with the first stop likely in the southeast Texas district of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.


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