Hildebrand added that he considers the grassroots field organization and bloggers to be vital in beating back rumors and smears: "Every single day there is an attack. In a 24-hour news cycle, we need immediate response, we need help, and we can't do it on our own. Make sure that people who are reading your sites know the truth."
"Thousands upon thousands of volunteers will go register millions of people that weekend alone," said Hildebrand, a key architect of the 2007 "Walk for Change" strategy that spurred the Obama organization in states throughout the country before the campaign had even a single staff member in most of them.
Hildebrand, speaking at the Organizing for Change: An Inside Look at Obama for America's Grassroots Strategy panel this morning at the Austin Convention Center, called 2008 "an historic opportunity to build a truly dominant Democratic Party and forget, once and for all, about this concept of red states and blue states."
Hildebrand said that the goal is to target "people who have been disenchanted" with electoral politics, and "people who thought their votes didn't make a difference."
The suggestion is that the "bully pulpit" of the widely televised Democratic National Convention August 25-28 will be used to prod viewers and supporters into participating in the registration drive the following weekend.
Update (from the panel, still going on): In response to a question by The Field, Ohio General Election Director for the Obama campaign, Jeremy Bird, noted that as the Obama Fellows program winds down next week, the campaign will be hiring many of those newly trained and field-tested community organizers as field staff, and that the campaign will hold "huge statewide and regional trainings" as the next step.
Volunteers will be trained to register voters and "to take ownership over your turf," said Bird, "giving people the skills to register, persuade and turn out voters, so when we go to doors and when we talk to people on the phone, it won't just be reading from script, but forming relationships."