President Bush still hasn’t agreed to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother whose 24-year-old son was killed in Iraq. But he did find time yesterday for a “bike ride on the ranch with journalists and aides,” according to wire reports.
Before peddling off, Bush again defended his decision not to meet with Sheehan:
Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.
“But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there’s somebody who has got something to say to the president, that’s part of the job,” Bush said on the ranch. ”And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.”
”But,” he added, ”I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”
If a balanced life is what he’s after, Bush is doing a very poor job. According to a list released by White House aides last week, Bush has attended 24 gatherings with grieving military families during his presidency.
Meanwhile, with three and a half years left in his second term, Bush has already spent more than 319 days on vacation — almost 20 percent of his time in office. (Ronald Reagan, who holds the record for most presidential vacation days, spent 335 days away from work over 8 years.)