Should be interesting, since I’ve yet to speak with anyone here who has any respect left for the White House:

The conference kicks off Thursday morning in Minneapolis. Organizers say it will be the largest Netroots Nation on record, with more than 2,200 in attendance. Speakers include Minnesota’s own Sen. Al Franken (D), former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Netroots favorite Howard Dean. The White House will also be represented, with Obama communications director Dan Pfeiffer addressing the crowd Friday morning.

Participants told TPM they expected the crowd to be “respectful” of Pfeiffer, but they also made it clear he’s not addressing a friendly crowd.

“He’s got some hard questions to answer,” Netroots executive director Raven Brooks told TPM. “It’s not going to be a bunch of softballs lobbed at him.”

Brooks said participants will likely press Pfeiffer on Obama campaign promises they feel he hasn’t delivered on and frustrations they have over the administration’s compromises on the Bush tax cuts and other matters that have left progressives frustrated.

Chief among those concerns is the economy. Progressives have lamented Obama’s focus on deficits and debt rather than stimulus to create new jobs. Pfeiffer can expect to hear and earful about that one.

“We will be out there fighting Republicans and we’re planning to fight hard for the people who work for a living in this country and the people who are trying to get their piece of the American dream and who haven’t been able to get that lately. Those people are also called Democratic voters,” said Levana Layendecker, communications director for Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy group founded out of the remains of Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.

“What we want is for the White House to be with us in this fight.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), whose district includes Minneapolis and — this weekend, anyway — the epicenter of liberal politics in America, agreed. Despite his position in the Democratic minority in the House, he said Netroots needs to keep the pressure on his party to lean left whenever possible.

UPDATE: I don’t know who the interviewer was, but she was tough and snarky. (I got there late and was sitting all the way in the back.) “We’re Democrats, we’re going to vote for the president. But we’re not knocking on doors, we’re not making calls and we’re not making donations. Are we of any value to you? What are you going to do for us?”

9 thoughts on “Today

  1. I’m not a democrat. I am one of those independents that the president seems to want. He is not going to get my vote unless he comes here and asks for it.

    Its not my job to get him elected; its his job. I am only going to vote for someone who is going to help me, and I sure as hell am NOT going to vote for someone who has hurt me, even if he explains how he only did it to keep me from being hurt worse.

  2. There are, however, a lot of people whose jobs depend on Mr. Obama being re-elected, and it seems that they are the ones begging me to vote for him to help make sure they keep their jobs. Although I hate to see anyone lose their job, I say, “To hell with them.”

  3. Per the WaPo, Pfeiffer got a “chilly reception” at Netroots Nation.

    To heckling and some loud boos, Pfeiffer drove home two themes to activists attending the Netroots Nation conference: change is hard and installing a Republican in the White House would be much worse than reelecting President Obama.
    Pfeiffer contended that the administration had gotten an “historic amount of things done in the first two years” despite the “challenges” posed by a Congress that didn’t always cooperate. He pointed to the Lily Ledbetter Act, which extended the amount of time people could sue for alleged wage discrimination.

    “Frankly we’re a little sick of hearing about that one,”replied moderator Kaili Joy Gray.
    On Friday, Pfeiffer further ruffled feathers by refusing to answer a number of specific questions that have served as liberal rallying cries during Obama’s first term.

    For example, he would not say whether the White House would promise to stand against raising the age limit for Social Security. “I’m not going to have a negotiation with Republicans here on the stage with you,” Pfeiffer said. (My emphasis)

    Well, actual actions will tell us what’s going on with Obama and his behind closed door dealings. He does not speak truth to voters.

    Looks like Pfeiffer did indeed get booed.

    Has anyone watched the coverage? Is it archived?

  4. He was there to try to answer the perennial question about the Obama White House, do they have a clue yet ?

    The answer seems to be no.

    I was hoping he would be more glib. I left after it was clear that nothing that has happened has penetrated.

  5. Since virtually everyone there will not only vote for Obama but also urge others to vote for him and raise money for him my guess is that Pfeiffer isn’t all that upset by the boos. Obama may be thin skinned, but I doubt the political operatives who work for him are.

  6. A lot of people told me they would vote for every office except president. I don’t know how they’ll feel by then, but that’s what they’re saying now.

  7. That’s probably true, susie, for a lot of the smaller bloggers. I realized after I posted my comment that I mostly meant the A-list bloggers. The people who have the largest megaphones will no doubt be screaming at the top of their lungs about how much worse the GOP is and how much even though they disapprove of Obama, we all have the obligation to go out and vote for him. And I assume because of their larger readership, it’s those bloggers the WH cares about. The rest of us I assume they figure will either fall in line in the end or don’t have enough votes and influence to matter.

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