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War protester Sheehan announces plan to challenge House leader

ssociated Press | July 10, 2007

CRAWFORD, Texas: Leaving her former peace camp near U.S. President George W. Bush's Texas ranch, well-known war protester Cindy Sheehan began a nearly two-week trek toward Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to challenge the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Sheehan, the soldier's mother who motivated the U.S. anti-war movement, said Sunday she will run against the California Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. The date is when Sheehan expects to arrive in Washington.

Sheehan criticized Pelosi, who became the first female House Speaker in January, for keeping U.S. troops in danger.

"I know what Californians care about," said Sheehan. "They don't care about the ruling power elite."

In response to Sheehan's announcement, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said Tuesday that the House Speaker is pushing for peace.

"As I said before, the Speaker's focus is on ending the war in Iraq. She believes that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home safely and soon," Daly wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Democrats will continue to hold the Bush administration accountable by having votes in July to change course in Iraq, to responsibly redeploy our troops, and to refocus our effort on protecting Americans from terrorism."

But Sheehan said that was not enough.

"You can't bring the troops home if you give George Bush $100 billion (€73.2 billion) to wage this war," she said. "You're not supporting them. You're keeping them in harm's way."

The White House has declined to comment on Sheehan's plans.

Sheehan first came to Texas in August 2005 during a Bush vacation, demanding to talk to him about the war that killed her son Casey in 2004. She became the face of the anti-war movement during her 26-day roadside vigil, which was joined by thousands. But it also drew counter-protests by Bush supporters, with many saying she was hurting troop morale.

In May, Sheehan shocked supporters when she announced she was leaving the anti-war movement. She said she felt her efforts had been in vain and that she had endured hatred from the left, as well as the right.

She said she wanted to change course.

Sheehan, who turned 50 on Tuesday, said Bush should be impeached because she believes he misled the American public about the reasons for going to war, violated the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees, and crossed the line by commuting the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing justice in an investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity.

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