Video: Bush counters anti-war protesters

By Kelly O'Donnell Capitol Hill Correspondent
NBC News
updated 8/24/2005 8:32:11 PM ET 2005-08-25T00:32:11

A presidential “thank you note” was hand-delivered to Idaho Wednesday.

President Bush praised the 1,700 members of Idaho’s National Guard now in Iraq , a small state but with the country’s highest percentage of its Guard mobilized.

While there, on the defensive and dogged by attention around protest mom, Cindy Sheehan— whose son was killed in battle in Iraq— the president engaged his critics in a new way. 

After careful planning, the president put a name and face on his supporters, citing one of Idaho’s own as “a mom named Tammy Pruett.”

The Pruetts have four National Guard sons in Iraq—a fifth son and dad, Leon, already served and came home safely.

The president made his point that the fight is worth it by quoting mother Tammy as saying, “I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country.”

The Pruetts, who says they were contacted by the White House last week, quickly and even tearfully offered condolences to families who have lost loved ones, naming Cindy Sheehan. 

Tammy Pruett says they fully support the war, but adds they do not want to be seen as judging those against it. “We don’t feel like we’re out here trying to be a poster family, we’re just proud of our sons,” she says.

In sharp contrast with the rousing event in Idaho, the president later met privately with 68 family members who are grieving for sons and husbands lost in the war.

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