Dissenting vote on military action results in media stir

OAKLAND, CA: The press office for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), the only

member of Congress to vote against using military force to retaliate for

last week's terrorist attacks, has spent all week responding to intense

media scrutiny.

"I have agonized over this vote," Lee said to Congress. "This

unspeakable attack on the United States has forced me to rely on my

moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction."

Newspapers across the country published stories focusing on the "lone

voice" opposing Bush's military plans.

The San Francisco Chronicle has received and published angry communiques

from her constituents across the country. "Perhaps if the planes hit the

Oakland Coliseum during a Raiders game, her 'moral compass' might guide

her differently," wrote one New Jersey resident. Lee's own East Bay

district posted mixed reactions.

Lee's press office has focused its attention on responding to local

press rather than the national media. The Chronicle, Los Angeles Times,

and other California publications have interviewed her.

"She obviously didn't make this vote to increase her media coverage,"

said Andrew Sousa, Lee's press secretary. "So we haven't been doing a

lot of national media." Sousa added that the interviews have resulted in

positive coverage of her vote, while the national media, which has not

been able to interview her, has been more negative.

Lee's office has received 20,000 emails and phone calls since the vote

last week. But "the positives outweigh the negatives," Sousa said.

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