Bush: Leaving Iraq Now Would Be 'Mistake'

President Bush speaks after a meeting on defense issues.

President Bush speaks after a meeting on defense issues at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Reuters hide caption

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Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., who lost her son, Army Spec. Casey Austin Sheehan.

Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., who lost her son, Army Spec. Casey Austin Sheehan, in Iraq, holds a cross with his name on it amid dozens of crosses representing Iraqi war dead. Reuters hide caption

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President Bush acknowledges the pain and public impatience caused by continued violence in Iraq, but he says "it would be a mistake" to hasten the withdrawal of American forces. Bush said he feels sympathy for Cindy Sheehan, who has been protesting her son's death in Iraq by camping outside the president's Texas ranch.

At Bush's ranch in Crawford, President Bush discussed the U.S. involvement in Iraq with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday. The three met amid polls that show declining public support for the war in Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan, a California woman who lost her eldest son in Iraq just days after he arrived there, has said that she wants to meet with the president. Dozens have joined her in a peace vigil a few miles from the ranch where Bush is spending the month of August.

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