Dean Wants a Nominee by July 1

Amanda Carpenter

3/28/2008 10:12:19 AM - Amanda Carpenter

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean wants his party’s superdelegates to publicly endorse Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton for president to determine who will be the nominee by July 1, a month before the Democratic convention.

In two separate morning television interviews Friday, Dean said the bitter battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama must come to an end in order to unite the party.

“I think it would be nice to have this all done by July 1," Dean said on ABC's Good Morning America show. "If we can do it sooner than that, that's all the better.”

In different interview on CBS’ Early Show, Dean said superdelegates who have so far remained neutral should begin supporting a candidate. “I think the superdelegates have already been weighing in,” Dean said. “I think that there's 800 of them and 450 of them have already said who they're for. I'd like the other 350 to say who they're [for] at some point between now and the first of July so we don't have to take this into the convention.”

Dean also said whoever wins the nomination should be ready to begin mending fences within the party. “The candidates have got to understand that they have an obligation to our country to unify” and “somebody is going to lose this race with 49.8 percent of the vote and that person has got to pull their supporters in behind the nominee.”

The Clinton campaign has expressed outrage over the decision of some superdelegates to endorse Obama, most notably former Clinton Administration cabinet member Bill Richardson. Longtime Clinton adviser James Carville publicly called Richardson “Judas” for allegedly betraying the Clintons, partially to intimidate other superdelegates who may be considering an Obama endorsement.

Obama has not captured enough pledged delegates in the Democratic primary contests to secure the nomination, but leads Clinton in pledged delegates and the popular vote. Clinton argues her campaign should continue because she won larger states like California, New York and Texas.

Friday morning Pennsylvania Senator and superdelegate Bob Casey will announce his endorsement of Obama. Casey has said he would remain neutral in this race, but decided to weigh in for Obama in the run-up to his state’s April 22 primary.