Peace activist Cindy Sheehan targets Obama’s vacation

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Cindy Sheehan, the peace activist who camped out in the summer of 2005 near President Bush’s Texas ranch, is heading for President Obama’s vacation site in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Ms. Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in the Iraq war, said in a press release Monday that she would hold a press conference Wednesday morning at the Oak Bluff’s Elementary School on the island resort. That is where the White House press corps is working during the president’s vacation.

“We need to give the president the moral backbone he needs” to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sheehan said last week, speaking on MSNBC. Sheehan seeks what she said is “immediate, complete, and as safe as possible withdrawal” from the Middle East.

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Mr. Obama “doesn’t represent real change,” Sheehan charged, noting that July was the worst month yet for casualties of US soldiers in Afghanistan. The “only change I have seen in foreign policy is, unfortunately, things are getting worse” in Afghanistan and Iraq, Sheehan said on MSNBC.

Feeding a hungry press corps

With the president on vacation and mostly out of public sight, the White House press corps traveling with him to Martha’s Vineyard is hungry for news. Sheehan will likely get more coverage than if she called a press conference in Washington and had to compete with many other events for attention.

Her press conference will come as polls show declining public support for US military involvement in Afghanistan. This month’s ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Americans, by a margin of 51 percent to 47 percent, do not feel the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting. In the same poll, 45 percent of Americans felt the number of US troops in Afghanistan should be reduced, while 24 percent felt the number should be increased.

Camping in Crawford

In August 2005, Sheehan created a makeshift camp named for her son down the road from President Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch near Crawford, Texas. She demanded a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Bush, but was never granted one. She had met with Bush in June 2004 at Fort Lewis, Wash., along with other families who had lost sons in the Iraq war.

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