The President And Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., the mother of a fallen U.S. soldier who is holding a peace vigil near President Bush's ranch, awaits an interview with a TV network about her protest, Aug. 7, 2005. Sheehan, whose son, Spcl. Casey Austin Sheehan, was killed in Iraq, has formed the Gold Star Families For Peace and has spoken out against the war across the nation. AP

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
So what do you think? Should President Bush take an hour out of his vacation to sit down for a chat with Cindy Sheehan?

Sheehan is the mom whose son was killed in Iraq and has chosen a roadside in Crawford, Texas as a platform for her protest. Sheehan says she just wants to ask the president some questions. She wants to know why her son died?

Is she entitled to an audience? The president has visited plenty of parents. He's visited with many wounded. But, does a woman whose politics is not aligned with his, whose view of the war is in direct opposition, does she deserve a hearing?

We know the president is busy. He's made a number of politicking and policy trips since his vacation began. He's been visited by Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. He's also found time to go mountain biking and went to one of the regional Little League playoff games.

Meanwhile Cindy Sheehan maintains her vigil. Hers is not the voice of a celebrity or politician. It's the voice of a woman who has sustained an injury that cannot be healed. She's had something taken from her in a manner that in her eyes cannot be justified. The president says he's aware of the anguish. He says Mrs. Sheehan has all the rights in the world to voice her opinion, to protest. Does she deserve an audience? Should she have the chance to have a face to face meeting, to look the president straight in the eye, to look into his heart.

By Harry Smith
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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