Bush tries to dodge a tough critic

Cindy Sheehan drove to Crawford, Texas, to protest the war that claimed the life of her son.

Topics: War Room,

Salon editorial fellow Aaron Kinney checks in with a report on an aggrieved mother who’s staking out the president.

It’s hard to imagine how Cindy Sheehan, the 48-year-old mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, could pose a threat to national security. But it looks like Sheehan, who has been camping out three miles from President Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch, may be arrested Thursday on precisely those grounds, according to friends who are posting updates at Daily Kos.

Sheehan, a resident of Vacaville, Calif., drove to Crawford this weekend hoping to speak with the president, but police prevented her from getting within three miles of his ranch. So she decided to set up camp where she was, determined to remain there until the president agrees to give her some face time. In the process she has become a sought-after interview for television news networks. Today Sheehan said she’d been told that she and those staying with her will be arrested if they don’t leave by Thursday, though the latest reports from Crawford have clouded the picture. It does appear that sheriff’s deputies have forced Sheehan to relocate her campsite.

(Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrive on Thursday to brief the president on the situation in Iraq. On Friday, Bush is scheduled to leave the ranch to attend a fundraiser.)



Sheehan transformed herself into an antiwar activist after her son Casey, an Army specialist, was killed in Iraq last year. Her anger grew after a meeting with the president in June 2004 at Fort Lewis in Washington state. According to the New York Times, Sheehan recalled that the president didn’t know her son’s name, repeatedly referred to her as “Mom” and generally acted in a glib manner during their encounter.

The Times reported that National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and Joe Hagin, the deputy White House chief of staff, visited with Sheehan on Saturday, but they failed to mollify her. Apparently the only option left to the White House was to threaten her with a trip to the big house. Could this be the P.R. masterstroke the president needs to revive his dismal approval ratings for the war in Iraq?

Aaron Kinney is a writer in San Francisco. He has a blog.

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