Lefty Bloggers Assemble in Las Vegas

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A first-ever convention of left-leaning bloggers is under way in Las Vegas. It's called "The Yearly Kos," a nod to a popular progressive blog called The Daily Kos. Politicians are part of the crowd.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

They came, they saw, they blogged. Today is the last day of the yearly Kos Convention in Las Vegas, named for the liberal blog Daily Kos. The conference is the first of it's kind, bringing together progressive bloggers, their readers and politicians. NPR's Luke Burbank has the story.

LUKE BURBANK reporting:

It was 12:30 Saturday afternoon in the Royale Ballroom of the Riviera Hotel, and Mark Warner was just offstage getting ready to speak to a packed house. The former Virginia governor, and 2008 presidential hopeful, looked very politician-like in his suit and tie. Next to him, though, was a young man who could've passed for a high schooler on his way to gym class. He had on shorts and a soccer jersey, and as it turns out could be the key to helping Warner become the next president.

Mr. MARK WARNER: (2008 Presidential Hopeful): Well, this is an idea and a movement whose time has come. You know, where is it going to lead? I can't completely tell you. But I sure as heck want to be here, want to be part of it and want to ride this wave.

BURBANK: That wave Warner is hoping to ride is that of the progressive blogosphere, a place were Markos Moulitsas, the guy in the shorts, is a really big deal. Moulitsas runs Daily Kos, a blog with some 600,000 readers per day. If Warner, or any other candidate, hopes to reach the liberal grass roots of the Democratic Party, they'll have to do it through Daily Kos and other influential blogs.

Once the stuff of basements and internet equipped coffee shops, blogs have come a long way, a fact Moulitsas clearly reveled in as he addressed the crowd.

Mr. MARKOS MOULITSAS: (The Daily Kos): We're going to have a lot of time, this year and next year, to get to know all the people who want to earn our vote and become the next nominee for the Democratic Party. And whoever that person is, that nominee, he's going to be the next President of the United States of America.

BURBANK: Of course, American politics still makes it pretty hard for a guy in a soccer jersey to get elected president, so the bloggers need a candidate, someone with the political credentials and experience to actually get elected as much as the candidate needs the bloggers. Even so, they'd love it if that candidate didn't come off like such a, well, candidate, which made things a little awkward when Mark Warner did a very candidate-like thing, and rolled out his inspirational video.

(Soundbite of Warner campaign video)

Mr. WARNER: (In video) When I ran for governor in 2001, all the pundits said it couldn't be done.

BURBANK: The montage, which highlighted Warner's political accomplishments as Virginia's governor, would've gone over great at just about any other Democratic event, but not in front of Saturday's crowd at the Royale Ballroom. These were people who pride themselves on not being spun by things like inspirational videos. A quick glance around the room showed more than a few rolled eyes. People went back to pecking on their keyboards. Even Marcos Moulitsas couldn't resist taking a shot as he introduced Warner.

Mr. MOULITSAS: Ladies and gentleman, wipe those tears from your eyes, and welcome Governor Mark Warner.

BURBANK: For his part, though, Warner took the stage gamely, working the crowd until most of them were actually looking up from their laptops. They clapped warmly at the end of his speech, maybe because they liked his message, or maybe because Warner's mere presence at the conference was a reminder of just how important bloggers are becoming. Luke Burbank, NPR News, Las Vegas.

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