CRAWFORD, Texas - Cindy Sheehan, the fallen soldier's mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unless she moves to oust President Bush in the next two weeks.
Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not file articles of impeachment against Bush by July 23. That's when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting from the group's war protest site near Bush's Crawford ranch.
"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan told The Associated Press. "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."
Messages left with Pelosi's staff were not immediately returned. The White House declined to comment on Sheehan's plans.
She plans her official candidacy announcement Tuesday. Sunday wrapped up what is expected to be her final weekend at the 5-acre Crawford lot that she sold to California radio talk show host Bree Walker, who plans to keep it open to protesters.
Sheehan made the surprising announcement in late May that she was leaving the anti-war movement. She said 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 Bush's vacation, demanding to talk to him about the war that claimed her son Casey's life in 2004.
Sheehan became the face of the anti-war movement during her 26-day roadside vigil that swelled to thousands. But it also drew counter protests of Bush supporters, many who 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" into the president. Last week, she announced her caravan to Washington, which she calls the "people's accountability movement."
"I didn't expect to be back so soon, but the focus is different than it was before," Sheehan said Sunday. "Instead of talking and making accusations, we're going into communities and talking to the people who've been hurt by the Bush regime. We're finding out how we can help people."
Sheehan, who turns 50 on Tuesday, 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 prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. She said other grounds for impeachment are the domestic spying program and the "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina.
Sheehan said she hopes Pelosi files the articles of impeachment so she can move onto her next projects, including overseas trips for humanitarian work. But if not, Sheehan said she is ready to run for office.
"I'm doing it to encourage other people to run against Congress members who aren't doing their jobs, who are beholden to special interests," Sheehan said. "She (Pelosi) let the people down who worked hard to put Democrats back in power, who we thought were our hope for change."
Pelosi was elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 1987 and became the first woman speaker in January.
Sheehan said she lives in a Sacramento suburb but declined to disclose the city, citing safety reasons. The area is outside Pelosi's district, but there are no district residency requirements for members of Congress, according to the California Secretary of State's Office.
© 2007 The Associated Press