Conservative Counter-Event Boasts Bigger Size Than Netroots (But It’s Not)

Las Vegas — Organizers of a conservative convention designed to counter Netroots Nation tonight declared they’d put together a larger event for the first time, mocking the progressive activists also in town as “angry and bitter.”

“Netroots Nation going down faster than Mel Gibson’s career,” Erik Telford of Americans for Prosperity told a laughing crowd at the Venetian casino gathered for the third annual RightOnline.

AFP started RightOnline to counter Netroots Nation, celebrating its fifth anniversary and holds the event each year in the same city as the progressive event.Telford received huge cheers for saying that with 1,100 registered attendees, RightOnline was larger than Netroots Nation. He said the progressive event had estimated “between 1,000 and 2,000 attendees.” But Netroots Nation’s official spokeswoman Mary Rickles told TPM that Netroots has 2,100 registered attendees.

As RightOnline-ers enjoyed a formal three-course dinner, Americans for Prosperity’s Tim Phillips told them he has message for President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “November is coming.”

Phillips also boasted about the (faulty) attendance figures. “In our third year, Right Online is bigger than Netroots Nation,” he said, to cheers. Phillips added that he believes the netroots crowd at the Rio casino isn’t happy. “They are really angry and bitter,” he said.

Conservatives in the crowd – arguably older and less diverse than the netroots crowd – were buzzing about Mike Pence’s lunchtime speech. Pence, a potential challenger for President Obama in 2012, riled up the crowd and was credited as having a lot of energy.

Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) was received as something of a rock star when she arrived tonight. The crowd chanted “Sharron! Sharron!” and she posed for pictures and worked attendees with a big smile. I interviewed a Riverside, Ca. woman who called Angle an “icon.”

Angle is scheduled to address the crowd Saturday.

Follow our coverage of Netroots and RightOnline here.