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Democratic Party Leaders Mull Next Steps in Hard-fought Race

With Hillary Clinton's campaign on the rebound after wins against Barack Obama in the Ohio and Texas primaries Tuesday night, the Democrats face a long, potentially divisive road to the nomination. Three former White House hopefuls and one former Clinton administration official discuss the road ahead for the Democratic race.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now, four seasoned Democratic views of the race.

    Leon Panetta is a former House member and Clinton White House chief of staff. He now directs the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University.

    Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley ran for president in 2000. He's now an author and hosts "American Voices" on satellite radio.

    The Reverend Jesse Jackson twice ran for president. He's the founder and president of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition.

    And former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's running mate in the 1984 presidential election. She's now a practicing attorney.

    Now, first, let's just go around to make sure everybody knows where you all stand.

    Mr. Panetta, you've endorsed Hillary Clinton, correct?

    LEON PANETTA, Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff: That's correct.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    Reverend Jackson, you're supporting Barack Obama?

    REV. JESSE JACKSON (D), Former Presidential Candidate: Indeed.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    Ms. Ferraro, Hillary Clinton?

    GERALDINE FERRARO (D), Former Vice Presidential Candidate: Absolutely.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    And, Senator Bradley, Barack Obama, right?

    BILL BRADLEY (D), Former Presidential Candidate: One hundred percent.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    OK.

    Starting with you, Senator Bradley, do you believe that both Clinton and Obama are viable candidates and both should go on from this point on?

  • BILL BRADLEY:

    I think Barack Obama has a much stronger chance of beating John McCain in the general election. I think Hillary is flawed in many ways, and particularly if you look at her husband's unwillingness to release the names of the people who contributed to his presidential library.

    And the reason that is important — you know, are there favors attached to $500,000 or $1 million contributions? And what do I mean by favors? I mean, pardons that are granted; investigations that are squelched; contracts that are awarded; regulations that are delayed.

    These are important questions. The people deserve to know. And we deserve, as Democrats, to know before a nominee is selected, because we don't want things to explode in a general election against John McCain.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    But as a practical matter, based on what happened yesterday, winning three out of four and where the delegate count rests right now, do you think she still has a really good — there's a real good possibility she could win the nomination, Senator?

  • BILL BRADLEY:

    No, I really don't…

  • JIM LEHRER:

    You don't?

  • BILL BRADLEY:

    … because, mathematically, even if she won 60 percent of the rest of the races, she'd still be behind in pledged delegates. And that would mean that the super-delegates would end up making the decision.

    And I think increasingly super-delegates are going to go with Barack Obama, particularly in districts that he won substantially.

    I don't think you're going to find congressmen, even congresspeople that are behind Hillary early, go against their district, because if they go against their district, they're going to find that they could very well have a primary challenge the next time.