NEW YORK--Right before Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama addressed the MySpace-MTV "Closing Arguments" event via videoconference from Minneapolis, one of the young studio audience members whispered, "He's the whole reason why we're here."
And those of us inside the studio could hear enthusiastic cheers from outside in Times Square, where dozens of Obama supporters had gathered before the event.
Obama might not have the online cult following that Republican candidate Ron Paul does, but he has arguably amassed the most significant online following out of all the Democratic candidates; he was MySpace users' favorite candidate from the party, and let's not forget the "Obama Girl" online video sensation. (Okay, so that was unofficial.)
But as with Paul's "dialogue" earlier in the evening, technology policy was wholly absent from the conversation. Maybe it just isn't high-profile enough for the crowds tuning in via MySpace and MTV; Obama has become famous for a broad-based message of sweeping change. Geek policy might just seem too narrow in focus.
"The future is about more than just gender or race," Obama said when asked about the fact that the two Democratic front-runners are a woman and an African American, and then quipped, "If it were about race, I wouldn't have to...(campaign). I could just show up." The young audience, receptive to a bit of humor in an otherwise serious event (minus the red-and-blue lightning bolts on the walls) cheered and applauded.