President Barack Obama speaks about exports, jobs, and the economy, Wednesday, July 7, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
LAS VEGAS (AP) - President Barack Obama made an election-season
appeal Saturday to disgruntled liberal activists and bloggers,
assuring them his administration is committed to their causes and
urging them to help elect Democrats in November.
"Change hasn't come fast enough for too many Americans. I know
that," Obama said in a surprise video appearance at the annual
Netroots Nation convention. "I know it hasn't come fast for many
of you who fought so hard during the election."
In a year when Democrats are expected to lose seats in Congress,
party leaders have grown concerned with malaise in the left wing.
Liberals who helped elect Obama in 2008 have grown disenchanted on
issues from the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the failure
to create a government-run insurance option in the health care
overhaul, and many believe the White House has been too
accommodating with Republicans.
In his remarks, the president said the combat mission in Iraq
would soon end, and that the administration is working to repeal
the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays and close
the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
"In ways large and small we've begun to deliver on the change
you fought so hard for," Obama said.
"We cant afford to slide backward. And that's the choice
America faces this November," he added. "Keep up the fight."
Hundreds of activists and bloggers applauded warmly after the
video ended, but some were not appeased.
The video "doesn't really change my views. I'm still waiting
for action," said Matthew Filipowicz, 33, a cartoonist and
comedian from Chicago. "Words only do so much."
Obama's video was introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who received a standing ovation from most of the people in the
cavernous, partly filled auditorium at a Las Vegas casino.
In her remarks, she referred to "differences of opinions," and
like Obama ticked off legislative victories like the health care
overhaul and broad reform of the U.S. banking and financial sector.
When asked a question about the military policy on gay
servicemembers, someone shouted from the audience.
"Your impatience is justified," Pelosi said.
Just two days after Senate Democrats gave up plans to attempt to
pass an energy bill that caps greenhouse gases blamed for global
warming, Pelosi said "this is not an issue the Senate can walk
The plan was a priority of Obama, who had hoped to add a climate
bill to his list of legislative successes.
"We'll welcome whatever the Senate can pass to reduce our
dependence on foreign oil," Pelosi said. "Sooner or later this
has to happen."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was slated to speak at the
convention Saturday afternoon. Reid faces Republican and tea party
favorite Sharron Angle this November in his bid to keep
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