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US Presidential candidates face bloggers at convention

07 August, 2007
By Allison Orr

The YearlyKos Convention is an annual get-together of some 1,500 Netizens, bloggers, online activists and community builders, organised by the DailyKos blog and sponsored by bloggerpower.org.  The second such convention was held in Chicago on 2-5 August, and included a Presidential Leadership Forum, where seven of the eight Democratic candidates (Senator Biden could not attend) debated issues based on questions from the audience. 

"Our goal is to provide a citizen-driven forum by truly democratizing the discussion and providing a meaningful role for regular citizens and grassroots movements to engage, vet and judge our country's potential leaders," said YearlyKos Convention Executive Director Gina Cooper.

The questions and comments from Netizens were unsurprisingly outspoken, with Senator Clinton finding herself in the firing line over questions on campaign contributions from lobbyists.  She went on to praise bloggers for "helping us create a modern progressive movement in America."

All the candidates also participated in breakout sessions with convention attendees after the debate.

In summing up the experience, co-moderator and DailyKos blogger Joan McCarter said, “We wanted to try to force them out of their stump speech talking points--to set them a little on edge and to try to force an informative conversation out of that discomfort. We were only partly successful in that….  Even so, up there on stage, it felt like we had the most lively, engaged debate yet among these candidates.”

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