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Mark Warner's First Date (with the Netroots)

LAS VEGAS -- Mark Warner didn't break much new rhetorical ground during his address today at the Yearly Kos convention, delivering a stump speech that was politely, if not passionately, received by the crowd of liberal activists.

"In Virginia we know what it means to be a Democrat and we know how to win," said Warner, starting off a speech heavy on describing the accomplishments of his four years as governor of the commonwealth.

The root of that success, said Warner, was his willingness to move beyond traditional political posturing where "everyone looks at the wedge issues, how can we divide folks" to a more centrist approach aimed at appealing to voters on both sides of the partisan divide.

Warner received occasional applause today as he described the across-the-aisle work he did in Virginia, but it was not until he offered a few bits of red meat that the audience truly perked up.

Warner's biggest applause line came when he said the country needs an administration that "unites our friends and divides our enemy, not the reverse." He followed that up with a call for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign, which, not surprisingly, brought a loud cheer from the heavily progressive, "netroots" crowd.

Warner was introduced by Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos blog, who credited the governor's decision to speak at the convention as one of the keys to its success. "He put his credibility on the line to commit to doing this event," Moulitsas said of Warner. "He sent a message to the party that we are a force to be reckoned with."

Moulitsas was careful to note that his introduction of Warner did not constitute an endorsement, conceding only that the governor's presence at the convention amounted only to a "first date." He urged attendees not to rush to any decisions about their preferred 2008 candidate. "We don't have to make any choices right now," counseled Moulitsas

Warner quickly picked up on the courtship theme. "If that was the first date, I hope we can get a second date," he said at the start of his address. He closed his remarks, which ran roughly 25 minutes, saying: "Let's keep dating."

A somewhat obligatory standing ovation followed, an indication that though the progressive blogosphere is interested in Warner, a political marriage is still a ways off.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 10, 2006; 8:03 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Eye on 2008 , Fix Notes  
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Next: Sunday's Post: More From Yearly Kos and What's Wrong With the Dems?

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