Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bush Aides Meet Angry Mother of Fallen Soldier

By Edwin Chen, Times Staff Writer

CRAWFORD, Texas — Two senior White House aides met with the angry mother of a fallen U.S. soldier Saturday, but they rejected Cindy Sheehan's demand for a direct accounting from President Bush for the way he has conducted the war in Iraq.

The surprise meeting, which lasted about 45 minutes, took place on a roadside several miles from the president's ranch, where federal and local law enforcement officials had halted Sheehan's advance toward the 1,600-acre estate. Bush is spending much of August on vacation at the ranch.

Sheehan, a 48-year-old from Vacaville, Calif., was accompanied by about 50 placard-wielding antiwar activists. After police and Secret Service agents stopped their march on a country lane, Sheehan and half a dozen resolute supporters stayed put while others turned back, trudging down Prairie Chapel Road under the hot Central Texas sun.

After her conversation with national security advisor Stephen Hadley and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, Sheehan said in an interview that she would remain in Crawford and continue to seek a meeting with Bush.

"I didn't change my mind at all," she said.