By Msnbc.com contributor
updated 3/16/2008 1:17:38 PM ET 2008-03-16T17:17:38

As the reality of a financially and emotionally draining Democratic race set in, former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., attempted to steer the conversation away from the week’s dominating race and gender controversies while appearing on "Meet the Press."

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Lowey, a Clinton supporter, and Bradley, an Obama backer, both hewed closely to messages that implored party loyalists to rise above party infighting and prioritize the long-term goal of winning the general election against presumed Republican nominee John McCain. Conceding that there was not much difference between Obama and Clinton on key issues like health care, Lowey called for “voters to realize there will be a change in their lives as a result of a Democratic presidency.”  Bradley concurred, saying, “The differences between Republicans and Democrats is much greater than any difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”

Both Lowey and Bradley beseeched host Tim Russert and voters alike to drop issues like former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro’s incendiary comments in support of Clinton (“I really think they are attacking me because I’m white”), as well as recently uncovered footage of Obama supporter the Rev. Jeremiah White making inflammatory race-baiting sermons.  “What more can you do except condemn these statements and move on?” asked Bradley, whose sentiments were echoed by Lowey.

There seemed to be no resolution on the horizon for the issue of re-voting in Florida and Michigan, states that held primaries in January against the rules set out by the Democratic National Committee.  Lowey, in keeping with Clinton campaign rhetoric, continued to refer to those races as ones already won by Clinton, but open to re-voting.  Bradley put forth the argument that Michigan and Florida made an informed decision to move up the primaries at the cost of losing their delegate seats, and they should now live with the consequences rather than be put in the position to determine the overall outcome of the race.  “Rules are rules,” Bradley claimed, when Russert suggested that such an attitude may disenfranchise voters.  Lowey countered that because of McCain’s strength in the state, Florida was too important to the general election to discount the Democratic voters’ preference.

The debate continued on the role of superdelegates, with Lowey attempting to convince wavering supporters that superdelegates bore the big-picture responsibility of defying a seated majority of delegates if it meant winning the November election. “The superdelegates have to look at large states like Florida, Texas, Michigan and Ohio and make a decision based on who can win.”  With Obama in the lead in delegates, votes, and states won, Bradley pointed out that Clinton would have to win more than 60 percent of the delegates left.  “Some early superdelegates endorsed Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee, but then their districts went for Barack Obama,” he said.  “Those superdelegates face decisions about what’s good for the country, the party, and what’s good for themselves.… Do they really want to go against a district that is overwhelmingly for Obama?” 

Speaking with a finality that belies the reality of a race that continues to tighten, Bradley proclaimed, “At the end of the day, if [Obama] has more pledged delegates, he should get the nomination.”

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