Bloggers attract presidential hopefuls

Aug. 5, 2007 at 6:50 PM

CHICAGO, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Internet bloggers showed their growing clout this weekend by drawing all but one U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful to their Chicago convention.

"What you have here is a bunch of micro-media outlets that connect to thousands upon thousands of people -- influential people," said Baratunde Thurston, who writes a political blog in Boston.

Started last year by the liberal Web site, Daily Kos, the convention of so-called netroots -- Internet meets grassroots -- had the feel of a mini-national convention, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois garnered the loudest applause from his hometown audience of more than 1,500, while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York drew books and hisses for her practice of taking contributions from lobbyists. "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans," Clinton told the raucous crowd.

Clinton rivals Obama and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina do not take contributions from lobbyists, a point they were quick to note during the forum. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware was the only Democratic hopeful who did not appear Saturday.

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