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Nate Silver on celebrity, Obama and the Internet

NEW YORK -- Micah Sifry, the co-chair and co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum 2009, said that the rise of Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com demonstrates how the Internet can make celebrities and can make them fast.

"The site didn't exist a year ago," he said at the Forum. "Silver was blogging as Poblano on Daily Kos."

Silver, who was also present, explained that once the media became interested in what he was saying, they did not want to quote "Poblano on Daily Kos" so he uncloaked and started the fivethrityeight.com Web site.

The site had 3 million hits on election day, according to Silver, but between two-thirds and three-quarters of those left after the election or after Al Franken won the final race of the 2008 election.

"It's more fun now," Silver said. "I can riff on Iran, healthcare, and the climate bill."

Sifry asked if Obama could have won the election without the Internet.

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