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Young Dems learn campaign techniques

/ Source: The Associated Press

Move over, James Carville. More than 2,000 young Democrats drilled on Saturday to become future party politicos, complete with blogs, their omnipresent cell phones and unquenchable desire to get Democrats into office.

But before they take over the party, the Democrats want to teach them how to help John Kerry win the presidential election in the battleground states.

While the professional Democrats are celebrating over at the Fleet Center, young Democrats will be at the Hynes Convention Center learning the political skills they need to take home and work for Kerry and the Democrats.

Called the “Kicking Ass Training: 101 Days, 101 Ways to Victory,” that boasts training sessions with names like “Takin’ It To the Streets: Getting Out The Vote” and “Fear Factor: Campaign Finance 101,” Democratic GAIN (the Grassroots Action Institute and Network), clearly wants to speak on the level of its 18-to-35 target audience.

Message from the top
Democratic Convention Chair Bill Richardson made the opening session his first stop of the convention. He told the fledgling operatives their youth and energy will help swing crucial votes in battleground states, especially if the 2004 election goes down to the wire like the 2000 election, he said.

“I am looking at the future political operatives that are going to change America in this election,” the New Mexico governor said.

But there was a generation gap.

When Teresa Vilmain, the Democratic National Committee’s general election strategist, asked some wannabe operatives the best way to communicate with voters, she heard e-mail, snail mail, community meetings and speeches.

Then one guy shouted, “Message boards!”

Oh, she said, the kind people wear on their backs at football games saying “Vote for me” or “Eat at Joe’s?”

No, the bewildered guy replied. Computer message boards.

Some politicos-in-training, shunning dress-for-success attire, showed up in shorts and sandals, earning them a warning from Vilmain that to be taken seriously, they must dress professionally.

“You are not kids, you are serious organizers,” she told them.