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Obama camp hopes to avoid 'circus'

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The Obama campaign called for unity at Saturday's meeting, as aides said they hope avoid a "circus"-like atmosphere. Pro-Clinton protests, however, are expected outside the meeting.

"We are not encouraging our people to gather and protest," Campaign Manager David Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters, adding this warning shot. "With a click of a mouse in the Mid-Atlantic, we could get thousands of people there. But in the interest of party unity we are not encouraging a protest. We don't think a scene is helpful as we try to bring the party together."

The campaign has sent an e-mail to supporters making sure that message is loud and clear, and Plouffe said there will also be a message on the Obama campaign Web site. "We're trying to send a signal that what we don't need is an unhelpful scene here at the close of the nomination fight."

They also attempted to juxtapose their willingness to compromise with the Clinton camp's hard line on getting the delegates seated 100 percent according to the results of the discounted January primaries in Florida and Michigan. That's something Plouffe said is "not a position people find terribly reasonable."

"We don't think it's fair to seat them fully," Plouffe said. "We both played by the rules. We are willing to give them some delegates. They're out there saying no compromise. We're saying compromise. And I thnk that's where most of the party is."

Obama is on a "healthy moral high ground," said Obama supporter David Wilhelm, a former Democratic National Committee and Ohio superdelegate. "He's acting clearly in the interest of promoting party unity. No Obama folks will be protesting. We're not going to turn this thing into a circus. We're willing to compromise."

Former Michigan congressman David Bonior said, "We're willing to bend and to go to get to where we need to to take on McCain in the general election."

Obama supporters from Florida are hopeful for a resolution and sought to pivot to the issues of the economy, housing, health care and the war.

"Democrats are uniting in Florida behind Sen. Obama," Congressman Robert Wexler said. "We hope that the DNC will take this opportunity to bring finality to the question of Florida's attendance at the Democratic convention, and Sen. Obama supports a compromise to make sure Florida is in attendance and at the convention."

Rep. Kathy Castor added, "I'm really looking forward to a resolution on Saturday and moving on to the general election. It looks like the rules committee is moving toward a 50 percent solution with full delegation in attendance. They're on the right track there. The 50 percent number is in the rules, and that should have been the way the DNC should have handled it all along -- rather than put us through this rigmarole."

"We need to come up with a compromise so we can move on from here," Plouffe said. "There's a lot of interest in both of these states in moving on to the general election."

NOTES: On Clinton claim of having won the popular vote, Plouffe turned the tables and claimed the popular vote, saying Michigan and Florida should not be factored into that because Obama did not campaign in Florida and his name was not on the ballot…

Also, asked if the campaign is stockpiling superdelegates, Plouffe said, "That's not accurate. We announce superdelegates as people commit to us. We are announcing them as they report to us. … We do not have superdelegates in our back pocket. The pace of movement to us, we're very pleased by, but no that's not an accurate statement."