The thousands of Democrats snaking through Chelsea last night, waiting to enter a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, represented a typical outpouring for the popular party leader. What was new, however, was the appearance of 75 antiwar activists nearby to heckle her on her position on Iraq.
Mrs. Clinton is such a political celebrity in the city that seeing her challenged so vigorously is a little new. But there it was, a predominantly female crowd of angry grandmothers and mothers who expressed concern that their relatives might end up fighting in Iraq or suffer retribution from terrorists at home.
Protesters were particularly exercised by a letter Mrs. Clinton sent to New Yorkers last week. In it she took responsibility for her vote to authorize military action and said Iraqis could not be abandoned by the United States, while also calling for a plan to start withdrawing some troops as early as next year.
Ann Roos, a member of Grandmothers Against the War and an Upper West Side resident, said she was disgusted by the letter.
"Hillary has no plan to withdraw the troops - we could be there for another 15 years under her," said Ms. Roos. "She'll never get my support again. I feel so let down by her taking a wishy-washy, all-things-to-all-people position."