- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2005

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — Cindy Sheehan, who started an anti-war demonstration near President Bush’s ranch nearly two weeks ago, left the camp yesterday because her mother had a stroke.

Mrs. Sheehan told reporters she had just received the phone call and was leaving immediately to be with her 74-year-old mother at a Los Angeles hospital.

“I’ll be back as soon as possible, if it’s possible,” she said. After hugging some of her supporters, Mrs. Sheehan and her sister, Dede Miller, got in a van and left for the Waco airport about 20 miles away.

Mrs. Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed last year in Iraq, said the makeshift campsite off the road leading to Mr. Bush’s ranch would continue. The camp has grown to more than 100 people.

Mrs. Sheehan had vowed to remain there until Mr. Bush met with her or until his monthlong vacation ended. Her vigil has been supported by MoveOn.org and other anti-Bush groups.

Mr. Bush, who met with Mrs. Sheehan in June 2004, has said he sympathizes with her. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said earlier yesterday the president agreed that Mrs. Sheehan had a right to protest but that he did not plan to change his schedule and meet again with her.

Michelle Mulkey, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Sheehan, who lives in Vacaville, Calif., said Mrs. Sheehan hoped to be back in Texas within 24 to 48 hours. Miss Mulkey said Mrs. Sheehan’s mother, Shirley Miller, was in a hospital emergency room and Mrs. Sheehan did not yet know the severity of her mother’s condition.

Meanwhile, the conservative Move America Forward group has produced a national TV commercial to say Mrs. Sheehan doesn’t speak for military families. Group founder Deborah Johns, whose son is a Marine, is featured in the ad.

“I’m here to tell you that military families support our troops and their mission — in spite of what people like Cindy Sheehan say,” she says in the ad, emphasizing the word ‘and.’ “Cindy Sheehan certainly doesn’t speak for me, our military families or our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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