Poor President Bush.
The man can't catch a break from protesters opposed to his war in Iraq, even when he ventures off into the reddest of the red states. Even with Cindy Sheehan off to visit her ailing mother, protesters are still camped out near the president's estate in Crawford, Texas. They filled a park and lined the streets when he spoke Monday in Salt Lake City. And about 200 protesters turned out to greet the president this week in Donnelly, Idaho -- population 138 -- as he prepared for some rest and relaxation there.
Idaho may be the Bushiest state in the nation, but it doesn't seem to matter. "President Bush probably breathed a sigh of relief when he landed in Idaho last night," the Washington Post quotes Laura McCarthy, whose son Gavin is serving in Iraq, as saying at a protest in Boise this week. "But no matter where he goes, he's going to find a Cindy Sheehan in every community across the United States. The name is going to be different, but the message is going to be the same."
The president's response is apparently going to be the same, too. Two weeks ago in Crawford, Bush said that he has heard the pleas of the Cindy Sheehans of the world but that he simply disagrees with them. Speaking to reporters in Idaho yesterday, Bush said that Sheehan has expressed her opinion and that he disagrees with it. "I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake," the president said. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States. So I appreciate her right to protest. I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with. And I'll continue to meet with families."
It seems that he'll have plenty of opportunities. Twenty-five U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq during the two weeks between the president's statements. Another was killed yesterday, raising August's death toll to 73 just as Donald Rumsfeld was announcing plans to send two additional battalions of troops to Iraq.