The Washington Times - July 18, 2008, 01:11PM



AUSTIN — There’s mostly a ton of excitement for Sen. Barack Obama at the Netroots Nation gathering. Many of the 2,000 progressive bloggers, activists and candidates are sporting Obama t-shirts and cheering his name during the big keynotes.


But in the breakout sessions some are voicing frustration with the campaign or with the presumptive Democratic nominee for his recent vote on the eavesdropping bill.



That image above is from the LaRouche crowd, which was handing out fliers yesterday.


After Gen. Wes Clark spoke last night, DNC Chairman Howard Dean got a rousing welcome as the main keynote speaker.


Dean had spent the day trekking from President Bush’s Crawford ranch in the new DNC Change bus as part of a major voter registration drive in the South.


He quipped he will send Bush and his cronies into “retirement” into Crawford: “1200 acres is a lot of acres. No one is going to notice.”



He also noted it’s an “incredibly pleasant place” where the people “want a change.”


Dean, like other speakers, offered wide praise for the netroots community, saying without them, “We would not have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives,” and thanking the group for helping elect him as chairman.


He also received hearty applause for talking about his push of the 50-state strategy, something he and Obama had in common and now the campaign and DNC have merged, it’s their major party promise.


“We can win everywhere and that’s why we’re doing this,” he said. “Every state is going to have resources and no state will be lacking.”


Earlier yesterday in a speech outside the convention hall in front of the Change bus, Dean talked about candidates who have good chances at winning in Idaho and even Texas. He also joked he was “too conservative to come to Austin.”


On the strength of online grassroots outreach and fundraising, Dean said, “Barack Obama has done everything that we did and multiplied it by 10.”


But mainly he asked for their help, giving a line yesterday and in his keynote last night that you only get a “D” for voting. He said the nation needs the netroots to get involved, to knock on doors, donate and make phone calls.


“Barack Obama will be the next president … but that is not enough. We have to rebuild this country,” Dean said. “We need you out there.”


Before both speeches, Dean was greeted with chants of “Four more years!”


Finally, I had a story in today’s paper detailing Obama’s $52 million money announcement.


AUSTIN, Texas - Sen. Barack Obama raised $52 million in June and had $72 million banked for the presidential campaign, showcasing a massive donor network that the Democratic candidate can continue to tap until the Nov. 4 election.

“I know this isn’t the first time we’ve asked you for money, and it won’t be the last,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told supporters Thursday when announcing the haul.

June was the second best month to date for the senator from Illinois. Campaign donations averaged more than $1.7 million per day during the month, when Mr. Obama wrapped up the presidential nominating contests and announced he would become the first major party candidate in history to opt out of the public financing system established in 1974.

The money allows his campaign to continue airing biographical ads in the 18 states targeted as battlegrounds and helps fund the unprecedented number of campaign offices in all 50 states. The spending pace also keeps Mr. Obama’s Republican rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, on the defensive in traditionally red states that President Bush won easily in 2004.

June was the biggest fundraising month for Mr. McCain. He raised $22 million, bringing his total to $132 million compared with Mr. Obama’s $340 million.


Read the full story here.


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times


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