I just got off the phone with Hildi Halley, a woman from Maine whose husband is a fallen soldier. Yesterday President Bush met with her privately, and news of their meeting was reported in a local Maine paper, the Kennebec Journal. The paper shared few details of the meeting, saying simply that Halley objected to Bush's policies and that she said Bush responded that there was no point in them having a 'philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of the war.'
But Halley has just given me a much more detailed account of her meeting with Bush. She told me that she went much farther in her criticism of the President, telling him directly that he was 'responsible' for the deaths of American soldiers and that as a 'Christian man,' he should recognize that he's 'made a mistake' and that it was his 'responsibility to end this.' She recounted to me that she was 'very direct,' telling Bush: 'As President, you're here to serve the people. And the people are not being served with this war.'
Sargent goes on to say that she was actually sitting knee to knee with Bush and he actually cried with her and appeared moved. Although Halley says, "I feel he responded to me emotionally. I don't know if that's going to change policy."