TOPICS > Nation

Extended Interview: Tim Smith

August 5, 2003 at 12:00 AM EDT


SAMARA ABERMAN, NewsHour Media Reporter: First question: Why are you here tonight?

TIM SMITH: Well, to see Dean and to — the benefit to the community, first and foremost.

For me, the main benefit for me on the Meetup is the sense that I’m not alone, that I have a focus of my energy and that I’m not watching the news and getting really, really angry. I don’t feel alone. It gives me a focus..

SAMARA ABERMAN: Do you feel like you or friends of yours are enjoying Meetups because it’s an active way to get involved with campaigns? Is that something that appeals?

TIM SMITH: Well, I mean, the other option is to watch the news, sit home and stew in my own juices. That is actually, that’s absolutely what happened with me. I first saw Dean on Meet the Press back in February. Up to that point, I thought he was kind of a left-wing kind of fruitcake, governor of Vermont.

After I saw him on Meet the Press, I decided he was, that he was making a lot of sense, that he was a lot more centrist, a lot more thoughtful than I was expecting, and that inspired me to go search out more information.

So then I got on the Internet, saw some of the speeches, which are really, really fiery, saying exactly the things that I want the Democratic leadership to say and haven’t been, they haven’t been saying. And from then, I just felt like I had all of this, all of this energy that I was wasting on the Internet just looking up speeches, and ideas and stuff, and I wanted to do something a little bit more proactive, and that’s why I got involved.

SAMARA ABERMAN: How did you originally find out about Meetup?

TIM SMITH: I think it was on the official Web site. They had some sort of link. SAMARA ABERMAN: Would you be likely to donate money on-line to the campaign?

TIM SMITH: Yes. I haven’t yet, but I will, I think. Right now money is a little tight, but I will definitely plan on donating money on-line sometime soon.

SAMARA ABERMAN: Does learning about campaigns through the Internet appeal to people that you know as well? Is this something you and your friends share an interest in?

TIM SMITH: No, I can’t say that it’s necessarily anything that’s spread among all my friends. Right now it seems to be that I have, I take an interest on-line. I get information, and then I disseminate to the people in my circle.

SAMARA ABERMAN: So the Internet really has helped you connect to a campaign versus if there was no Internet, would you be here tonight at a campaign rally?

TIM SMITH: If there was no Internet I would not be here at this campaign rally. Without the Internet, I think I would feel much more isolated, I would feel much more alone, much less informed, and through that community on the Internet, I feel like I am not alone, that I have a voice, and that it both reflects what I am thinking and gives me new ideas, new perspectives, new arguments. I feel more certain about my positions and more hopeful about the future.