Weigel

Netroots Nation: The Legend of Andrew Breitbart

MINNEAPOLIS – The question that most often comes my way is unanswerable: “What’s happening at Right Online?” It can’t be answered because the conservative tech conference, which has happened in the same city as NN11 since 2008, has not yet begun. But there have been reports since Wednesday of RO11 organizers in the city, and confirmed reports since Thursday of organizers and speakers arriving at the Hilton booked by Netroots Nation. The conference is right beside them.

I mentioned last night that NN11 chairman Adam Bonin warned people not to give video interviews to anyone with a flipcam; they might be right-wingers. After that, though, the fact that conservatives were prowling the city seemed to amuse people. On the way from one after-event to another, I ran into a group of NN11 attendees chortling at the photo they’d just snapped. It was with Andrew Breitbart, smiling as if they were best friends. Coming off a day that began with Breitbart collecting Anthony Weiner’s scalp, this was an encounter with the biggest celebrity in town. The camera was passed around like a wedding album. Minutes later, I ran into reporter Mike Elk who said (and tweeted) that he’d just met Breitbart, challenged him to a debate about labor unions, and gotten his number. “I talked to him for two minutes!” said Elk.

I walked back to the hotel. The first conversation I overheard was between a few attendees and a man in a suit, on a segway.

“Breitbart’s here!”

“Should we find out what room he’s in?”

I don’t think they did.