David Broder (L), Michel Norris (2L), of NPR, of the Washington Post, and David Gregory (2R), of NBC, listen to Tim Russert (R) ask a question during a live taping of Meet the Press at NBC March 16, 2008 in Washington, DC.
by James Oliphant
Sen. Barack Obama picked up 14 new delegates yesterday, widening his lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton even as the Clinton campaign maintained the race was in a dead heat.
Obama grabbed nine delegates in Iowa as the majority of John Edwards' delegates were awarded to him. And late Saturday night, he added five delegates in California. According to the Associated Press, Obama now enjoys a 119-delegate advantage over Clinton.
The delegate count was a central focus of Sunday's "Meet the Press" on NBC. The news program featured Rep. Nita Lowey, a Clinton supporter, and former Sen. Bill Bradley, who backs Obama.
Lowey focused on a core Clinton argument, that because Clinton has won more key states, she is more electable than Obama.
"Now, you and I know that no one, since 1960, has won the presidency without winning Iowa. [perhaps she meant Ohio?] We know you have to win Iowa, we have to win Pennsylvania, you have to win Florida. There are key states that are critical to getting the number of votes in the electoral college," Lowey said. "And I think right now, frankly, it's a tie, and I would hope . . . that between now and the time we go to the convention, we can have a really constructive discussion [about the issues]."
Bradley countered that if Obama has the most delegates at the time of the convention, he should be the nominee.
"Barack Obama has more delegates, more votes, he's won more states. Last night in Iowa he won 10 more votes. If you take what happened in Mississippi and Wyoming, he won more net delegates in those two races than Senator Clinton did in Ohio and Texas combined," Bradley said. "So I clearly think that we're heading into a period where, certainly, after last night, she's got to win more than 60 percent of all the remaining -- all the remaining states."
The contentious subject of what to do about Florida and Michigan came up. Not surprisingly, Bradley echoed the position of the Obama camp, saying, in effect that because the Democratic party in those states broke the rules, they shouldn't be seated. Or if they are, the delegates should be split 50-50.
Moderator Tim Russert quoted Clinton saying in October about Michigan: "You know, it's clear, this election they are having in Michigan is not going to count for anything."
Last week, Clinton said she believed the results in Michigan should indeed count.
Lowey responded to Russert by saying that if Democrats had any hope of winning the general election, voters in Michigan and Florida should not be disenfranchised.