Top White House adviser to address annual liberal gathering

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer will deliver a keynote address at "Netroots Nation," an annual gathering of liberal activists that starts next week in Minneapolis, Minn.

Pfeiffer's speech will likely be one of the most closely-watched of the four-day event because of past spats between the Obama White House and the president's liberal base.

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"With the 2012 election cycle already underway, many are wondering whether Obama can motivate his base like he did in 2008. For the sixth year in a row, Netroots Nation will bring together more than 2,000 progressive activists and leaders to discuss key issues, strategize for upcoming political battles and organize for the long-term," reads a release from the group.

Pfeiffer's appearance at the conference will give the White House a chance to lay out its accomplishments and motivate the liberal grassroots, a group that played a key role in President Obama's 2008 victory, ahead of his 2012 reelection campaign.

Obama's reelection campaign has already began reaching out to major donors, with fundraising events in big cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. But Obama will likely need a strong turnout and small individual donations from his liberal base to replicate the success of his 2008 campaign.

Past Netroots Nation gatherings have underlined tensions between President Obama and the left.

Last summer's conference, which took place four months before the 2010 midterm elections, featured several high-profile speakers who questioned Obama's toughness and his willingness to defend his agenda, especially his healthcare reform law.

In November, Republicans dealt Democrats a stinging defeat, taking control of the House of Representatives.

Netroots Nation will also feature speakers from other Democratic organizations, left-leaning groups and labor unions. Last week, the conference announced that newly-elected Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will also address the crowd.