U.S. Rep. David Price agreed President George W. Bush has abused his power, but stopped short of committing to lead impeachment proceedings at an Aug. 20 meeting with constituents in Chapel Hill.

Members of the Carrboro-based N.C. Grassroots Impeachment Movement met with the Democratic Congressman in hopes of persuading him to jumpstart impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. (See “N.C. Grassroots Impeachment Movement“.)

“We were hoping for a home run but we hit a double,” said Jim Lindley. “I think he’s doing a lot of soul searching.”

In a press release, Price noted that he “will continue to advocate adamantly for intense congressional oversight of the executive branch.”

However, Price added that initiating impeachment against Bush or Cheney isn’t in “the best interest of our country.”

Longtime Price supporter Michelle Cotton Laws said she felt discouraged by Price’s response. “He seemed to have lost the perspective that this is a government for and by the people. He’s there to do what his constituents want him to do.”

Like many Democrats, Price is concerned about political fallout from impeachment proceedings, particularly in the 2008 presidential election. Laws said those ramifications are less important than restoring the public trust. “I know there’s a lot on the line, but our democracy is at risk.”

Several local Democrats are considering withdrawing their support for Price and the Democratic Party because of their impeachment stance. “Among my peers, middle-class black folk, we’re talking about jumping ship to independent,” Laws said. “People are so disenchanted.”

Read Price’s statement (MS Word, 31.5 KB)