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Hurricane Cindy

"BASH: In a word, no, there is nothing new and at this point there are no plans for the president to meet with her. And, in talking to White House officials, they say it's about setting precedent.

"They say that this is where the president is going to live forever and this is his home and that ironically or I should say actually surprisingly no one has ever done this before. He's been here for four-plus years and no one's ever tried this and they don't want to set a precedent.

"They don't want to say, yes, he will meet with somebody because they're protesting outside his ranch because they say that that could encourage other people to do it. So, at this point, the line from the White House from the president is that he sympathizes with her cause but no plans to meet with her.

"ZAHN: So, what is the administration's chief concern now about public perceptions of what's going on down in Crawford?

"BASH: Well, you know, it's interesting the way they sort of deal with this. They are very careful not to say very much at all about this, Paula, but they are not unaware of what is going on.

"They're very well aware that, for example, Cindy Sheehan said that she wanted the president to come out and pray with her on Friday, again, no plans for him to do that.

"And, they are I think increasingly aware of how savvy she and the people around her are. She has constant interaction with the media, as you know. She not only talks to the people like us who are around her actually here in Crawford, she's always on blogs."

"She is doing interviews, remote interviews like we'll see on CNN tonight and she does things like radio. She's doing drive time radio tomorrow for 50 minutes across the country, so she knows how important it is to keep the momentum up."

Incoming

Steve Duin writes in the Portland Oregonian: "Almost a year after Spc. David W. Johnson, a 37-year-old cook turned machine gunner, was killed by a roadside bomb on a supply run to Taji, Michelle DeFord still thinks something is irrevocably wrong. That's why she and Lynn Bradach will fly to Texas on Wednesday, drive to 'Camp Casey' and join Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside the Crawford ranch of President George W. Bush.

"The nation is at war, the president is on an extended vacation, and DeFord and Bradach are the mothers of dead soldiers. Bradach's son, Marine Cpl. Travis J. Bradach-Nall, 21, of Portland, died in July 2003 while clearing a Karbala minefield."

Dane Smith and Greg Gordon write in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Two Minnesota moms at the forefront of the anti-Iraq war movement, one of whom recently lost a son in the fighting, are flying to Crawford, Texas, on Thursday to join Californian Cindy Sheehan's expanding, and increasingly controversial, protest near President Bush's ranch."

Joe Milicia writes for the Associated Press: "The day after burying their son, parents of a fallen Marine urged President Bush to either send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether.


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