Anti-War Protesters Greet Cheney Outside Las Vegas Fundraiser
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Waving American flags and calling for an end to the Iraq war, protesters rallied Thursday outside a gated community where Vice President Dick Cheney raised money for Republican Rep. Jon Porter.
About 60 people chanted "No more endless war!" as the vice president's limousine pulled into a tony development in northwest Las Vegas, home to billionaire casino magnet and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.
Cheney was scheduled to speak at a reception at Adelson's home. He had no public events planned for the Las Vegas stop, which is part of a Western fundraising swing. The event had a $250 per person minimum contribution, $2,500 to have a photograph taken with Cheney.
Porter, who represents a suburban Las Vegas district with roughly equal number Democrats and Republican, is considered a prime target for Democrats in the 2008 election. He's been a consistent defender of the administration's war policies, including the troop surge ordered this year.
The protest was organized by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, a national campaign targeting lawmakers who supported the surge.
"We'd like them to know that a majority of Americans do not agree," said Jerry Helmuth, a 52-year-old Las Vegas stagehand. "I don't have any solutions. I know that it's wrong to be there. I support the troops but I do not support this war."
Porter spokesman Matt Leffingwell said the congressman "understands that Nevadans are sick and tired of this war."
"The congressman looks forward to our men and women coming home from Iraq as soon as possible and he thinks it should be done in a responsible manner," Leffingwell said.
Protesters also held signs criticizing the administration's opposition to a spending increase for a children's health insurance program and its support for plans for a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
A spokeswoman for the vice president did not address the protesters' criticisms but said Cheney "has been looking forward to this stop ... and looking forward to talking to a number of folks about a wide range of issues."
Several demonstrators called for the impeachment of President George Bush and Cheney, though they acknowledged their views were out of step with the Democrats they support.
Joy McNally, a 39-year-old pilates instructor, said she hasn't decided if she'll support Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary. She doesn't believe either candidate will take her hard stand on ending the war.
"I just don't think they will put themselves out on a limb to stop it. I don't think they think they'll get elected if they do," McNally said.
Two Democrats have said they plan to run against Porter, Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Daskas and accountant Andrew Martin.
As of the end of June, Porter had raised more than $700,000 and had more than $600,000 in his campaign account.
© 2007 The Associated Press