Edison Sentinel, NJ

Pallone, Buono Attend Anti-Bush Rally In Edison

Rally protests president while he attends GOP fundraiser nearby

Edison Sentinel, NJ — Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Staff Writer

As President George W. Bush's motorcade passed the intersection of King Georges Road and Raritan Center Parkway toward the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center just after 5 p.m., the crowd of over 150 protesters chanted "Hey, Bush, back to the ranch."

Congressman Frank Pallone [D-6], state Sen. Barbara Buono [D-18], Assemblyman Joseph Cryan [D-20] and Edison Mayor Jun Choi joined the Democrats, led by the New Jersey Citizen Action and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq groups, held a rally protesting President Bush's visit to Edison for a state GOP fundraiser on May 30. The rally started around 2:30 p.m. in the 90-degree weather and the NJCA handed out "Keep 'em safe – Iraq War – Wrong War" signs.

Other groups participating in the protest included the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, New Jersey Stonewall Democrats, the Teamsters Union, New Jersey Million Mom March, Coalition for Peace Action, New Jersey Peace Action, peace and justice groups, religious organizations, labor unions, veterans, community associations and voters.

As protesters who came from all over the tristate area toted signs with the underlying message "Bring home our troops," Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" blared from the loud speakers next to the "Bus for Change" bus, which displayed the colors of the American flag.

"I can't believe Bush has not been impeached yet," said Lawrenceville resident Ed Dunphy, who has a bumper sticker that reads "Impeach Bush" on his car. "He lied to Congress on the reasons to start the war, which has caused a mess in the Middle East and will take years to cleanup."

Protesters stood on the curbside holding up their signs, which received numerous honks by passing vehicles.

"I am against the war in Iraq and against Bush, [Vice President Dick] Cheney, and terrorism," said Somerset resident Barbara Tenbroeke as she held up her "Keep 'em safe - Iraq War - Wrong War" sign. "I am an outstanding American citizen and participating in my constitutional freedom."

Woodbridge resident John Holowach said he came to the rally because it was an opportunity to protest close to home.

"This gives me the opportunity to lend my voice in my own backyard," he said.

Metuchen resident Barry Savage, who likened the Iraq war to the one in Vietnam, said he thought he would never see another war like it.

"It's unbelievable," he said.

Asbury Park resident Laura Cayford said she was appalled by Bush's visit.

"I can't believe he had the nerve to enter New Jersey, considering the Republican leaders disowned him," said Cayford, who has a daughter in the Air Force.

The casualties of the war were heavy on the minds of the protesters.

"Some 3,450 soldiers, which they have admitted, have died," said Tewksbury resident Deb Huber. "Thousands of mercenaries have died, and not counting all the other soldiers and mercenaries from other countries who have died."

As of May 30, 3,471 U.S. soldiers have died and 25,549 have been wounded.

Ocean Grove resident Maureen Glover displayed her string of photos of U.S. Army and Marine soldiers from New Jersey who have died in the war, since 2003.

"What you see here is only a small piece," said Glover, who displayed the photos and names of 54 New Jersey service members. "The string extends a mile long. I have brought the whole string to rallies in Washington, D.C., and New York City."

Each link on the string displayed a photo and name of the New Jersey soldier, hometown, and how each one of them was killed.

South Orange resident Pam Black said she takes vacation time off from work as a nurse to travel to different rallies.

"We need to stop this war now," said Black, whose son Danny has been to Iraq twice as a U.S. Marine. "I am grateful that my son came back physically and mentally healthy, but others are coming home in caskets or on disability. All of this for what? People need to wake up because we are destroying two countries - ours and Iraq."

Pallone told the crowd of protesters that it was a disgrace that the New Jersey Republicans were honoring President Bush.

"The same people are in power, like U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales," said Pallone, who received applause from the crowd. "A poll of 70 percent of New Jersey residents are against the war, but they [the Republicans] are against a timetable, withdrawal of troops, and on refusal to change what's going on in Iraq."

Pallone said the reason why the Democrats were at the rally today was because of the disgrace of the Republicans.

"All Democrats believe that there needs to be a change and a new direction," he said. "President George Bush doesn't want a change, and that's bad for New Jersey."

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