>President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and “it’s also important for me to go on with my life,” on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq. Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan (video message) and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.
“But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there’s somebody who has got something to say (NYC Rally, Union Square, August 15, 2005 at 5:00 PM) to the president, that’s part of the job,” Bush said on the ranch. “And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.” “But,” he added, “I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”
The comments came prior to a bike ride on the ranch with journalists and aides. It also came as the crowd of protesters grew in support of Sheehan, the California mother who came here Aug. 6 demanding to talk to Bush about the death of her son Casey. Sheehan arrived earlier in the week with about a half dozen supporters. As of yesterday (Saturday) there were about 300 anti-war protesters and approximately 100 people supporting the Bush Administration.
In addition to the two-hour bike ride, Bush’s Saturday schedule included an evening Little League Baseball playoff game, a lunch meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a nap, some fishing and some reading. “I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy,” he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. “And part of my being is to be outside exercising.”
On Friday, Bush’s motorcade drove by the protest site en route to a Republican fund-raising event at a nearby ranch. As Bush rolled by, Sheehan held a sign that said, “Why do you make time for donors and not for me?”
~ Sunday, August 14, 2005, KEN HERMAN, Cox News Service ~