NBC Nightly News 6:30 AM EST NBC
Thursday, August 11, 2005
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:
Now to that woman outside the president's ranch in Texas. Cindy Sheehan lost a son in Iraq. She has met with the president before but wants so badly to meet him and talk to him again. She's vowed to live outdoors, outside his Texas ranch, until she gets to see the president. Her story tonight from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell.
KELLY O'DONNELL reporting:
Day six at this improvised campsite, about a five-mile drive from the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas. One mother's vigil...
Ms. CINDY SHEEHAN: Why did George Bush kill my son?
O'DONNELL: ...morphed into a headquarters for anti-war demonstrators who erected hundreds of crosses today.
Unidentified Woman: (Singing) Why does justice go so slow?
O'DONNELL: A media magnet.
Ms. SHEEHAN: Someone else tell me what camera to look at.
O'DONNELL: Forty-eight-year-old Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, California, lost her son, Army Specialist Casey, in Iraq 16 months ago.
Ms. SHEEHAN: I am an angry mom, and I want answers to my questions.
She waits in the Texas heat, through hours of rain, and spends night after night. Sheehan, a registered Democrat and self-described peace activist, did meet the president with other families last year. She's here now demanding that US troops come home, and she wants another personal visit with the president. The White House says President Bush has met with families of 272 fallen service members. Today, the president was asked specifically about Cindy Sheehan.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: Listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her--about her position. And--and I--she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position.
O'DONNELL: The president did send two top aides to see her, but advisers say Mr. Bush does not plan to meet her himself. Sheehan also has some detractors.
Mr. PAT BUCHANAN (Conservative Commentator): I think the longer she stays and the more she appears to be hectoring the president, I--I think it is of diminishing returns to her.
O'DONNELL: But Sheehan says she will attempt to drive closer to the president's front door this weekend and may ultimately take her protest back to Washington. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Crawford.
All Things Considered 8:00 AM EST NPR
Thursday, August 11, 2005
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
And I'm Michele Norris.
Today, President Bush acknowledged that there is deep and heartfelt opposition in the country to the war in Iraq. He also acknowledged a symbol of that opposition in the peace vigil taking place just a few miles from his ranch. Cindy Sheehan, a California woman who lost her son in Iraq, is insisting on a meeting with the president. Mr. Bush gave no hint he plans to meet with Cindy Sheehan, but today he spoke about her. NPR's David Greene reports from Crawford.
DAVID GREENE reporting:
This week, the vigil along Prairie Chapel Road has become a bit more organized and a bit more of a spectacle. Several dozen people from around the country have now joined Cindy Sheehan in what she calls Camp Casey, named for her son. They set up tents that don't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon. There are tables set up in the grass with sodas and water. Sheehan supporters today walked along a side of the road erecting tiny white crosses with the names of dead soldiers from Iraq.
Meanwhile, Sheehan invited reporters who are here to cover the president to a news conference featuring other parents who've lost family in Iraq. This is Jean Pruitt(ph) from Birmingham, Alabama.
Ms. JEAN PRUITT: My son Kelly(ph) was killed April 6th of 2003 in an ambush on his convoy, and it was only three weeks into the war. I didn't even get a chance to get a picture of him from over there. And it has devastated our family as it has all these others who are here. And I just don't want to see anybody else have to go through what we've been through.
GREENE: Sheehan, for her part, is still demanding a meeting with the president. She met with him last fall when the president saw a group of grieving families. At the time, she praised Mr. Bush as a man of faith, but now she says he was insensitive during that meeting. She has been an active war protester since then, and says she wants to speak with the president face to face.
Ms. CINDY SHEEHAN (War Protester): He is on vacation here for five weeks. I don't understand why he can't take an hour to speak with somebody whose life he has devastated.
GREENE: The president today held meetings at his ranch with his war council, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Afterwards, he was asked a question about US troop levels in Iraq and about the new constitution being drafted there, but he seemed to be answering a different question.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: You know, I grieve for every death. It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one. I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place.
GREENE: Reporters asked if he was referring to Cindy Sheehan.
Pres. BUSH: I'm referring to any grieving mother or father no matter what their political views may be. You know, part of my duty as the president is to meet with those who've lost a loved one. And so--you know, listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan.
GREENE: Mr. Bush, who is used to being alone in the spotlight in Crawford, Texas, seemed to want to respond to Sheehan directly, even if not in person.
Pres. BUSH: This is America. She has a right to her position. And I've 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.
GREENE: But Mr. Bush also showed a bit of stubbornness. Sheehan says she came to Crawford after hearing the president make a comment last week that Americans should finish the mission in Iraq in part to honor the fallen. She said that infuriated her and that she doesn't want her son honored that way. After speaking about Sheehan today, Mr. Bush still repeated that very same language.
Pres. BUSH: We should do everything we can to honor the fallen, and one way to honor the fallen is to lay the foundation for peace.
GREENE: Tomorrow, the president is expected to drive past Camp Casey on his way to a neighboring ranch where he'll be attending a fund-raiser. David Greene, NPR News, Crawford, Texas.