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1416Re: [prezveepsenator] Antiwar Protester Arrested Before Speech, but Her Presence Looms Large

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  • Greg Cannon
    Feb 1, 2006
      I heard on the radio this afternoon that a Republican
      congressman's wife was also removed from the chamber
      for wearing a political shirt. Hers said "Support The
      Troops!" The congressman was very upset about it,
      though the radio reporter noted that he didn't mention
      Sheehan being removed for the same reason.

      --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

      > February 1, 2006
      > The Scene
      > Antiwar Protester Arrested Before Speech, but Her
      > Presence Looms Large
      > WASHINGTON, Jan. 31�To spotlight his priorities,
      > President Bush
      > invited ordinary people � a teacher, a physicist,
      > Afghan
      > politician, the family of a fallen soldier � to
      > State of the Union
      > address on Tuesday. But a Democratic congresswoman
      > turned the tables
      > on Mr. Bush by inviting a guest of her own: Cindy
      > Sheehan, the antiwar
      > protester who has dogged Mr. Bush from his Texas
      > ranch to the White House.
      > Ms. Sheehan's presence loomed large in the House
      > chamber, though she
      > was not there. Capitol Police arrested her before
      > the speech began,
      > ejecting her from the gallery after they discovered
      > her wearing an
      > antiwar T-shirt. A police spokeswoman said Ms.
      > Sheehan was charged
      > with unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor.
      > The episode sent the Capitol into a tizzy, and the
      > congresswoman who
      > invited Ms. Sheehan, Representative Lynn Woolsey of
      > California,
      > insisted she was not trying to make Mr. Bush
      > uncomfortable. "I didn't
      > see this as a political statement at all," Ms.
      > Woolsey said.
      > But on a night when the president was trying to
      > reassert himself, in a
      > critical midterm election year with lawmakers
      > nervous about their
      > prospects, there was no escaping politics.
      > When Mr. Bush entered the House chamber on Tuesday
      > night, his latest
      > political trophy � Samuel A. Alito Jr., newly
      > confirmed and sworn in
      > as a justice of the Supreme Court � was on full
      > display, a powerful
      > reminder that Mr. Bush can still flex his muscles on
      > Capitol Hill.
      > Justice Alito smiled sheepishly as the president
      > singled him out in
      > the speech. "It's like a prizefighter showing his
      > belt," said Senator
      > John Thune, Republican of South Dakota.
      > But the prizefighter has taken more than a few
      > punches in recent
      > months, and Democrats were rowdier than usual.
      > Although Mr. Bush hit
      > as many notes as he could to rally the chamber �
      > paying tribute to
      > Coretta Scott King, demanding changes from the newly
      > elected
      > Palestinian leadership and a defiant Iran � Mr.
      > gave Democrats
      > several openings to get the better of him.
      > And they took them. When he defended the National
      > Security Agency
      > eavesdropping program, several Democratic members
      > audibly groaned.
      > When he scolded Congress for not passing his Social
      > Security program,
      > Democrats leaped to their feet in cheers, drowning
      > the president out
      > for a long stretch.
      > The president arrived in the Capitol at a chaotic
      > moment for
      > Congressional Republicans, who are absorbed by the
      > fallout from the
      > Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and consumed with the
      > outcome of
      > leadership elections scheduled for Thursday. So the
      > mood on Capitol
      > Hill was palpably different from last year, when Mr.
      > Bush, fresh from
      > his 2004 re-election victory, was talking about how
      > he had political
      > capital and intended to use it. "There ain't no
      > capital," Senator
      > Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, said. "As
      > a matter of fact,
      > he's coming here to borrow."
      > Republicans would hardly concede that point, but
      > they did show a
      > little less spring in their steps. "We're still
      > exuberant," said
      > Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi. "But we have a
      > little bit more
      > realization that it's tough getting things done in
      > Washington."
      > The State of the Union address is often as much
      > symbolism as
      > substance, an occasion for the president to use his
      > invited guests to
      > put a human face on his domestic and foreign policy
      > priorities.
      > On Tuesday, Mr. Bush did just that, with a
      > compelling counterpoint to
      > Ms. Sheehan: the parents and widow of Dan Clay, a
      > 27-year-old Marine
      > staff sergeant who was among 10 soldiers killed in
      > Falluja when a
      > roadside bomb exploded Dec. 1. When Mr. Bush read
      > aloud from a letter
      > Sergeant Clay had written before his death � "I
      > faced death with the
      > secure knowledge that you would not have to," the
      > sergeant had written
      > � the soldier's mother gently put her hand over
      > heart.
      > The invited guests also included several soldiers,
      > among them a
      > wounded Air Force technical sergeant, Jamie Dana,
      > who later adopted
      > Rex, her bomb-sniffing dog. Rex was on the guest
      > list, too, and made a
      > well-behaved appearance in the chamber.
      > Republicans, who regard national security as the
      > president's greatest
      > strength, welcomed his effort to seize the spotlight
      > in that arena.
      > But with gas prices rising and health care costs
      > spiraling upward,
      > some could not help but sound a bit weary.
      > "It's a State of the Union address," said
      > Representative Thomas M.
      > Davis III, Republican of Virginia. "Like the old
      > saying goes, you
      > campaign in poetry and govern in prose. This is
      > poetry. He's got to
      > fill in the bones now."
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