Antiwar activist seeks Pelosi’s seat

Times Staff Writer

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who gained international fame by camping outside President Bush’s Texas ranch to protest the war in Iraq, announced Thursday that she would challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress.

“The country is ripe for a change,” said Sheehan, citing her son’s death in Iraq in 2004 as inspiration for her long-shot bid to unseat the first female speaker in history.

Sheehan’s announcement in Pelosi’s San Francisco district comes a month after she said she would run against the 11-term Democratic congresswoman unless Pelosi moved to impeach Bush. Sheehan has also complained that Democrats have not moved aggressively enough to force the White House to bring the 4 1/2 -year-old war to an end.


Under Pelosi’s leadership, House Democrats have voted three times since January to mandate a troop pullout, though legislation with withdrawal dates has been vetoed once by the president and has stalled a number of times in the Senate.

Pelosi and other senior Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly said they would not cut off funding for troops in the field, as some antiwar activists have demanded.

And the speaker has flatly rejected calls to impeach Bush, which most Democratic leaders see as a divisive course that would divert energy from the party’s legislative priorities.

Thursday, Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said Pelosi would continue to push for an end to the war.

“As a mother and grandmother, the speaker understands that there is no greater tragedy than losing a child,” Elshami said. “The speaker has opposed President Bush’s misguided war from the start and has focused on changing course in Iraq by bringing our troops home safely and soon.”