Minneapolis (CNN) - Might President Obama and Democrats have a tough time rallying their supporters in the 2012 elections?
If responses from a gathering of progressives in Minneapolis is any indication, the answer may be yes.
Minneapolis (CNN) - Perhaps the 2012 presidential and congressional races will come down to right clicks versus left clicks.
Such computer jargon that typically refers to two sides of a computer mouse might also become a political metaphor as Internet and social networking savvy groups - aligned with the left and the right - converge on Minneapolis for competing weekend conferences.
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Using some of his trademark humor and dire predictions, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken implored thousands of his fellow progressive activists Saturday to redouble their efforts to prevent the Democrats from losing control of Congress.
He jokingly called the Netroots Nation convention of bloggers, leaders and others "the most exciting political gathering of the year without guns."
On a serious note, he said, he shared many of the frustrations of those in the audience about a lack of progress on some of their key priorities.
"You really haven't gotten your moneys' worth," he said, specifically mentioning such ideas as a public option government-run health care plan or education reform or public financing of elections.
"I know progressives are frustrated...because it feels at times not everyone in our party is pushing at the same pace," he said.
He told them, however, that several of the bills that have been passed in this Congress - such as the health care overhaul or Wall Street reform - have helped the nation and were stronger because of their efforts.
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Acknowledging that he and they don't always see eye to eye, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) on Saturday praised the influence of progressive activists gathered at the annual Netroots Nation convention.
Speaking to a large ballroom filled with bloggers and others in the movement, Reid said they help represent the voice of "real Americans."
"I admire how you pursue the truth as relentlessly as you reveal hypocrisy," he said. "You shine much-needed light on fear tactics and misinformation. I am calling you to keep calling them out."
But Reid, who has not always pushed agenda items as liberal as progressives would like on such issues as health care reform, acknowledged their past differences.
"I know that there are times I am told that I get on your nerves," Reid said to some laughter in the room. "And I am here to tell you ... you get on my nerves sometimes."
Las Vegas (CNN) – The woman many in the progressive community hope will be the first head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received a hero's welcome Saturday at the Netroots Nation convention.
Speaking at a seminar on building a progressive economic vision, Elizabeth Warren received a standing ovation as soon as she was introduced.
Warren, head of the congressional panel overseeing the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, is considered a strong advocate for the working and middle classes and has been one of the fiercest proponents of the new consumer bureau, a centerpiece of the financial reform bill signed into law earlier this week by President Obama.
Las Vegas (CNN) - President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday thanked progressive activists for their help in pushing through some of the Democrats' policy initiatives, but acknowledged more work needs to be done.
In a videotaped message played at the Netroots Nation conference, President Obama said some progress has been made to help the American economy, but "change has not come fast enough for too many Americans. I know that. It hasn't come fast enough for me either. I know it hasn't come fast enough for many of you who fought so hard during the election."
But he asked some of those who were his most loyal supporters during the 2008 election to take a moment and consider his administration's accomplishments. To help do that, the video included snippets of news broadcasts which reported on such developments as the passing of the stimulus bill and the health care overhaul, a new arms treaty with Russia, a new hate crimes prevention act and reforms in the student loan system.
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) – Some of the activists attending the Netroots Nation convention have some stern words for the White House and the national media over how they handled the Shirley Sherrod story.
"From the beginning, traditional media outlets that were running with this should have looked at the full video, to get the full context. I mean, it wasn't like it wasn't available. They ran with it because the right wing had one of their manufactured outrages and there was no critical thinking involved in handling that story. And of course the Obama administration trying to make nice with the right wing, overreacted, and shot from the hip, instead of once again, getting the facts," Markos Moulitsas, co-founder of the influential blog the Daily Kos, told CNN.
Many of the attendees here say the administration should not have reacted so quickly after conservative media businessman Andrew Breitbart posted an edited version of Sherrod's speech on Monday that did not fully represent the racial views of the Agriculture Department employee.
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Organizers of the annual Netroots Nation convention, beginning Thursday, hope what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.
With the president's poll numbers hurting and chatter increases about the possibility of major defeats for Democrats in this year's mid-term elections, sponsors of the fifth conference hope the ideas and techniques that emerge from the participants will help propel the progressive agenda and spur action by the more than 2,200 progressive activists participating. It is billed as the largest gathering of the Democratic base in advance of the November election.
While the president still has an over 80 percent approval rating among Democrats, it has slipped a bit. As for the Democrats running this year, they are facing a large enthusiasm gap. Only 32 percent of Democrats said they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year compared to 54 percent of Republicans, according to a May 21-23 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.
Some 80 groups and organizations, many of them key constiuencies of the liberal wing of the Democratic party, are sponsoring NetRoots, including the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, MoveOn.Org as well as the Democratic National Committee's Organizing For America wing.