Rival Political Conferences Held In Downtown Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Conservative and liberal political activists are ramping up for the 2012 presidential campaign and their boot camps are right next to each other in downtown Minneapolis.

Raven Brooks, the executive director of Netroots Nation, a progressive, Internet-focused conference, says he’s happy to have conservative bloggers and activists about.

“It’s almost like your little brother, you know, tagging at your shirt to let em’ play with a toy for a while,” he said.

The liberal conference kicked off at the convention center Friday morning with a member of President Obama’s inner circle, Dan Pfeiffer.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also part of Friday morning’s event while Sen. Al Franken and Congressman Keith Ellison will take the stage Saturday.

The four day event is expected to draw 2,400 people.

Two blocks away at the Hilton, Right Online has set up its camp.

Erik Telford, of Americans for Prosperity, is the executive director.

“I think it inspires some friendly competition and makes each side want to be more effective and beat the other side certainly, so certainly for our activists it’s a rallying point to get more involved,” he said.

Some of their big headliners include two Minnesotans who have spent a lot of time in the news lately: presidential candidates former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

The Right Online conference has 1,300 people registered.

Friday night the conference will host the first official screening of the Sarah Palin documentary “Undefeated” for a crowd of 1,500.

As for speculation that the documentary might reveal Palin’s future plans, Telford’s not sure.

“You’ll hear about it as soon as I do,” he said.

One common thread between both conferences is the focus on social media.

Both groups are offering training on various social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook, to help activists better use these sites.

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