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Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activists interrupt Democratic press conference

David Edwards
Published: Wednesday January 3, 2007
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While President Bush and his fellow Republican lawmakers have been the target of many protests since the invasion of Iraq in 2002, this time around, a Democratic press conference was disrupted by a group of anti-war protestors, which included "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan.

"While discussing the Democratic ethics legislation, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Democratic Caucus chairman, was interrupted by anti-war protestors lead by Cindy Sheehan, a well-known activist whose son was killed in Iraq," CNN reports.

"We're here to let the Democrats know that the grass roots and the anti-war movement elected them to create change," declared Sheehan.

At the activist web site, After Downing Street, a schedule of events was posted asking readers to "join Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace, AfterDowningStreet, Progressive Democrats of America, Democrats.com, World Can't Wait, Democracy Rising, CODE PINK, and others in walking the halls of Congress for peace and impeachment."

Today's schedule for the "Walk for Change" campaign said that from 11am to 2pm, protestors would be "walking the Halls of Congress and meeting with Congress Members and their staff."

A Fox News Channel report suggested that the headline should read "Peace activists drowned out House Democrats."

"De-escalate, investigate, troops home now," the activists chanted.

Video from Fox News coverage:

YouTube video link

Transcript from press conference:

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REP. EMANUEL: We're going to be -- we're going to be joined in a second by the rest of the leadership, who are just coming back from the steering and policy -- (background noise) -- it's okay.

MR. : Keep the noise down!

REP. EMANUEL: (Chuckles.) I could use that at my house with my kids, okay? That would be helpful.

First of all, I want to apologize for running a little late. We had a steering and policy meeting over in the speaker-elect's office.

Second, it goes without saying I want to wish everybody and their family a happy and a healthy new year, and I hope everybody had a good holiday. And without a doubt we also wish, to all those members of the armed services, whose loved ones are overseas, who have lost loved ones, that their thoughts and prayers are with -- our thoughts and prayers with them at this time.

I know you all are here because we're having the first meeting of the full caucus in the new Congress. As you know, 12 years ago the Republicans said they came to Washington to change Washington. And what happened in the 12 years is Washington changed them; they did not change Washington.

We ran on a(n) agenda -- the Democrats -- to move this country in a new direction and to bring change most fundamentally to Washington and to the way politics -- the people's business is done in the people's house. And what that means most essentially is that, as one of the people who introduced -- with Marty Meehan, my colleague from Massachusetts -- the first comprehensive lobbying and ethics reform legislation, that we have basically years ago changed the relationship between contributors and candidates with campaign finance reform.

Now we are changing the relationship between lobbyists and legislators with our lobbying and ethics reform legislation. It is a comprehensive package. It will alter the way business is done.

Now, some people think lobbying and ethics reform is this bill and that somehow prescription drugs, direct negotiations is over here. The prescription drug direct negotiations that we're offering to lower prices for prescription drugs is about lobbying and ethics reform because the product of that legislation was about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry lobbyists.

When we talk about taking away the tax subsidies for oil and gas industry and putting them toward renewable energy, that too is about changing the direction of Washington and making sure that the people's voices are heard in the people's house, and people know when the speaker's gavel comes down it is not opening the auction house, it is opening up the people's house.

And so whether it's oil and gas royalties that we're going to direct now towards a renewable fund; whether it's direct negotiations for lower prescription drug prices; whether it's, in fact, we're going to make sure that we cut the interest rate in half for student loans rather than subsidizing big financial interests; at every step of the -- every -- (interrupted by chanting) --

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

REP. EMANUEL: Okay. At every --

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

REP. EMANUEL: All right.

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

REP. EMANUEL: All right, let me -- let --

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

REP. EMANUEL: We're going to keep going here. We're going to have our --

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

REP. EMANUEL: Thank you.

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

REP. EMANUEL: Well, actually, that is exactly what we're going to talk about.

(Chanting continues in background.)

So what we're going to deal with today is the lobbying and ethics reform legislation --

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

Q Can I ask you a question while we're waiting?

REP. EMANUEL: All right, go ahead.

Q You all have issues, obviously, on ethics, with people like Mollohan and Jefferson. And sort of the question is, how are you going to deal with those issues, make sure they get due process, and go forward? Is it simply just wait and see what happens, cross that bridge when you get to it?

(Chanting continues in background.)

REP. EMANUEL: John (sp) asked -- (off mike) -- we're going to come back right after our meeting, okay? Thanks, guys.

BACKGROUND CHANTS: We escalate, investigate! Troops home now!

(Chanting ends.)

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