President Bush was in Colorado during the event, the first allowed near the White House since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Vice President Dick Cheney, another target of the protestors' anger, was in a Washington hospital for minor surgery.
Cindy Sheehan, who spent much of August camped out near Bush's Texas ranch to protest her son's death in Iraq, was one of the speakers in a lineup that also included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, actress Jessica Lange and other longtime Bush opponents, the New York Times reported.
The focus of the rally changed somewhat after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Curtis Muhammad, a New Orleans union leader, compared the situation in Iraq to that in coastal Louisiana.
"If you're against war, you must be against the war against poor black uneducated people," he said.
Several hundred Bush supporters held a counter-demonstration.
Organizers estimated the crowd at 200,000 but police said it was closer to 150,000, the Washington Post reported.