All Things Considered 9:00 AM EST NPR
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Highway bill, energy bill, Central American Trade Agreement, economic upturn. President Bush should be enjoying a state of euphoria on his Texas ranch. But other signs, mainly about Iraq, are disturbing.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: As happened with the Vietnam War, the indications of dissatisfaction at first came gradually. The opinion polls showing the president's handling of the war are slipping. A veteran returning from Iraq runs for a vacant House seat in Ohio as a Democrat, denouncing the president as a chicken hawk, and he comes within an ace of winning in a heavily Republican district.
And then there is Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Sadr City, Baghdad, and who wants the president to tell her why. With a few dozen other Gold Star Mothers, she is holding vigil in tents on the road leading to the ranch. Ms. Sheehan, suffering from laryngitis, talked to me on the phone today through a companion, Jody Evans(ph). She feels buoyed by the media attention and a feeling of growing support. The sheriff who was sent to order them out of their roadside position instead offered them parking space for their vehicles. They think they are the beginning of something, a spark that will ignite a movement. They will stay in their position until the president goes, probably at the end of August, and they plan to follow him back to Washington. They are not expecting Mr. Bush to meet with them.
More than the Democratic near victory in Ohio, more than the polls showing support for the president's handling of the war down to 38 percent, these Gold Star Mothers against the war indicate something happening in a nation long willing to stand behind the leader. Tomorrow the president is planning, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by his side, to report on progress in Iraq at a news conference on the ranch. Cindy Sheehan and her Gold Star Mother companions have not been invited to attend. This is Daniel Schorr.
CBS Evening News 6:30 AM EST CBS
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
BOB SCHIEFFER, anchor:
President Bush is headquartering this month at his ranch in Texas, and Bill Plante is there tonight.
Bill, I understand the secretary of Defense is coming down there tomorrow. Are we going to see some sort of a strategy session? Is there any kind of change in policy coming?
BILL PLANTE reporting:
I don't think so, Bob. I think what you're likely to see is more of a coping strategy session. With the president's ratings continue to drop as the casualties in Iraq continue to rise, some of the president's closest allies outside the administration are grumbling very publicly about Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, wondering whether he has an actual plan for getting out of Iraq. The insurgency continues. Iraqis are facing a deadline of Monday to write a new constitution, and US officials tell me that they think that's going to slip at least by a little bit. Bob.
SCHIEFFER: And at the same time, we had this mother of a soldier who was killed in Iraq sort of camping out there down in Crawford. What's that all about, Bill?
PLANTE: Well, Bob, Cindy Sheehan lost her son last year in Iraq, and she now wants the president to withdraw all troops from Iraq. She's gotten a lot of media attention by camping out on the road that leads to the president's ranch. She knows that the president isn't likely to meet with her, but she also understands that it's very difficult for the White House to dismiss anyone in her position. And she also knows she's not alone. One recent poll shows that one out of three people now say it's time to bring all the troops home.
SCHIEFFER: I wonder why the president doesn't meet with her.
PLANTE: Well, you'd think it would be an easy thing to do, but I think they fear that he would meet with a lot of people. They say he did meet with her once at Ft. Lewis with some other families. She says that wasn't a satisfying meeting.
SCHIEFFER: OK. Thanks very much, Bill.