(CBS) Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said that he believed if Barack Obama goes into the Denver convention leading in the count of popular vote and pledged delegates, that he will have earned the support of superdelegates - and the nomination.
“I think the superdelegates in the end will ratify the will of the people and the pledged delegates," Patrick, a Democrat, said.
“He will have earned [the nomination], he will have earned it against a very entrenched and strong contender.”
Appearing on Face The Nation, Patrick told host Bob Schieffer that he hoped the Democratic Party would not become divided over the choice of a nominee.
Schieffer asked, if Obama were denied the nomination by the superdelegates despite his current lead in pledged delegates, "do you think black voters will stay home?"
"I hope not," Patrick said. "Because I think that it's the future of all of us, of our United States that's at stake, and ought to be at stake in this election, and always is at stake in a presidential election. And we all have a share in that future."
Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, however, emphasized that the superdelegates are designated to exercise independent judgment when voting for the party's nominee. "The superdelegates were created as an independent body," he told Schieffer. "Otherwise, they wouldn't exist. And they have to exercise independent judgment.”
Panetta believed that the current division might only be healed by merging both candidates into one ticket. "Clearly, if this is a divided convention, and if it's one in which you've got constituencies in the Democratic Party going in different directions, it may be that some kind of combined ticket of these two candidates may be necessary in order to bring the party together and in order to win in November.
“If different segments and constituencies go off, if this party breaks apart, then clearly we'll probably pull defeat from the jaws of victory. But if the nomination is one in which all of the party comes together and decides this is the strongest nominee, this is the strongest ticket, then I think the Democrats have to unify behind that ticket and put a good race on for November.”
Also appearing: The New York Times' David Brooks said the Democratic campaign is entering "trench warfare," while the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page warned that the Democrats need to present a united front or else.