AUSTIN — Some of the bloggers and activists here for Netroots Nation have been irritated for the past few days that Sen. Barack Obama was not in attendance.
Attendee David Boyle told Obama’s deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand that during a panel discussion earlier today, and the campaign let Doyle know he would indeed be playing the video this evening.
He said his boss “needs the netroots,” and, “We don’t turn down help and support from anybody.”
But most of the attendees didn’t know that, and the Saturday night keynote is one of the least attended events of the conference.
Hildebrand also told the panel the campaign had “no larger priority” than registering new voters this summer and fall, adding there are 56 million unregistered voters in the nation.
He said the campaign would organize a 3-day massive voter registration drive on Labor Day weekend following the Democratic National Convention in August.
“We need everyone in this party to get behind this effort,” he said, suggesting that with a large enough effort Team Obama could register “millions of new people that weekend alone.”
He said many of the unregistered voters are low-income or are minorities. “Those are our people,” he said, and the progressive community must help to court them and engage them.
In Texas alone, he said, there are 2.3 million unregisitered voters. Of those, 600,000 are black and 1 million are Hispanic. By registering those voters and reaching out to them to “build a movement,” the Democrats could have a lasting majority, he said.
Here’s some (low quality, sorry) video I took of the Obama video on the jumbotron that offers a bit of crowd reaction to their nominee.
Here’s the full Obama address:
Obama also joked about the protest page bloggers set up on his own campaign site over his FISA vote.
Netroots Nation organizers also announced the host city for the 2009 event — and said both the hotel and convention site will be union-run.
Next year, the event will be held August 13 through 16 in Pittsburgh and it will include a carbon offset program.
— Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times
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