Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized the US anti-war movement, said that she plans to seek House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional seat unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in the next two weeks.
Sheehan said on Sunday she will run against the San Francisco Democrat next year as an indepen-dent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That is when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting from the group's war protest site near Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan said. "We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money."
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the congresswoman has said repeatedly that her 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 said in an e-mail. "July will be a month of action in Congress to end the war, including a vote to redeploy our troops by next spring."
The White House declined to comment on Sheehan's plans.
She plans her official candidacy announcement today.
Sunday wrapped up what is expected to be her final weekend at the 2-hectare Crawford lot that she sold to California radio talk show host Bree Walker, who plans to keep it open to protesters.
Sheehan announced in late May that she was leaving the anti-war movement. She said that she felt her efforts had been in vain and that she had endured smear tactics and hatred from the left, as well as the right. She said she wanted to change course.
She first came to Crawford 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, many of whom said she was hurting troop morale.
Sheehan, who has never held political office, recently said that she was leaving the Democratic Party because it "caved" in to the president. Last week, she announced her caravan to Washington, an undertaking she calls the "people's accountability movement."
Sheehan, who turns 50 today, said Bush should be impeached because she believes he misled the public about the reasons for going to war, violated the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees, and crossed the line by commuting the sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. She said other grounds for impeachment are the domestic spy program and "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina.
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