Bush Motorcade Ignores Protesters

At left: Quinn Timmers, 6, of Fort Worth, Tx., runs through the maze of nearly a thousand white crosses memorializing GIs killed in Iraq. At right: Kathleen Hernandez (left) of Topanga, Calif., holds a flashlight for June Brashares (right) of San Francisco as the two read the paper at the campsite. Both photos 8-11-05 at the campsite set up by protesters standing vigil with Cindy Sheehan near the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. AP

President George Bush and his motorcade passed the growing camp of war protesters outside his ranch Friday without incident.

As Mr. Bush passed on his way to and from a political fundraiser, law enforcement blocked two intersecting roads where the demonstrators have camped out all week. Officers required the group to stand behind yellow tape, but no one was asked to leave.

The motorcade didn't stop.

Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., whose 24-year-old son Casey died in Iraq last year, started the vigil along the road leading to Mr. Bush's ranch, held a sign that read: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"

On Friday, Mr. Bush arrived before noon at a neighbor's ranch for a barbecue that was expected to raise at least $2 million for the Republican National Committee.

It was unclear whether Mr. Bush, riding in a black Suburban with tinted windows, saw the demonstrators.

Sheehan says she wants to meet with him again, they spoke in June 2004, in light of information since then discrediting the war rationale that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Sheehan, 48, set up camp last weekend a few miles from Mr. Bush's ranch, and the group with her has now grown to more than 100.

Barbara Porchia, whose son died two years ago in Iraq, joined Sheehan on Thursday.

"These are our children and I think we deserve to know the real reasons behind this war," Porchia said in a telephone interview Friday.

"I think what America is not understanding is there are a lot of people in pain here," she said. "We've lost children. We've lost loved ones. You could get some peace if you knew what was going on."

Despite the growing numbers of people joining Sheehan, demonstrators are facing increased antagonism from locals and opposition from some military families.

More drivers are speeding and blaring horns continuously as they pass the camp, which started Saturday as grieving mother Cindy Sheehan's simple peace vigil. It has grown to about 100 people, with more expected from across the nation.

Protesters are digging in their heels, vowing to stay by their tents in the heat or rain until President Bush talks to Sheehan or until his five-week ranch visit ends later this month.

Mr. Bush commented on the protests for the first time Thursday, saying he sympathizes with Sheehan and has tried to comfort many slain soldiers' relatives. He did not say whether he will meet with Sheehan.

"Listen: I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position," Mr. Bush said.

He also acknowledged that some families of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq want to bring the troops home now, but said that would be a big mistake.

"Pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy," he said.

For Cindy Sheehan, the president's words weren't enough, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports.

"I don't want his compassion or his sympathy, because I know it's not real," Sheehan said. "What I want is answers to my questions."

The White House, while reluctant to criticize Sheehan, points out that the president met with her and other families of the fallen a year ago and Friday put out a list of 24 such gatherings with 900 family members.
  • Joel Roberts

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