One Thousand Progressive Activists Gather at the Campaign for America's Future's Take Back the American Dream Conference 1 of 5 >
June 18-20, 2012--Less than five months until the November election, one thousand progressive activists gathered at the Washington Hilton for the Campaign for America's Future's annual conference.  "We have to build an independent progressive majority, one that is prepared to take on big money politics," stated Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Camapign for America's Future.  Borosage described Mitt Romney as a candidate "of, by and for the 1-percent."  "We're not going to let the brazen billionaires elect this guy president," he declared. 
Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor and host of MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry," said, "We [as a country] are in our adolescence and we're making a bit of a mess of it."  Harris-Perry said, "There is no reason to lose hope."  "It's our fear of each other that makes us exceptionally easy to divide," she said.
Van Jones of Rebuild the Dream urged attendees to "put your thinking caps on."   Jones said that progressives need not just control of the government but a movement in the streets and a coordinated media strategy to achieve their objectives.  "We were check-mated," Jones said.  "The key to real change is to have the right president and the right movement at the same time," Jones said.  In his speech Jones emphasized, "first we have to win in November...we have to also win in December."  In December, Jones pointed out, the Bush tax cuts expire, Pell grants run out, and Congress will address "every can that was kicked down the road the past two years."  Jones said progressives should make just on demand on this president, a vow to veto "these Bush tax cuts for the rich."
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The absence of an Obama campaign presence at this conference was interesting.  There was no Obama campaign table in the exhibit space and no representative of the campaign spoke here.  By contrast at the recent Faith and Freedom Coalition conference the Romney campaign had a table where staff handed out literature and signs, and Romney spoke to attendees live via satellite.  Organizers said that they invited President Obama and Vice President Biden to speak, but they did not want to settle for a lower level person.  (Candidate Obama did speak at this conference on June 19, 2007).

Asked what advice he would have for the Obama campaign, Robert Borosage said, "Run on an economic populist message."  "You have to go right at the Republicans," he said.  Borosage's colleague Roger Hickey said that Republicans are trying to convey the message that President Obama doesn't get how the private sector works.  "He's got to explode that Republican characterization of him," Hickey said.
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