In a new interview with National Journal, Sen. Chris Dodd says that continuing the Democratic primary race for the next several months would be "devastating," and that over the next several weeks, Democratic leaders "have to step up to the plate and say enough is enough."
A few excerpts from his interview:
Look, we've got five more months to go before the Democratic convention at the end of August and, candidly, we cannot go five more months with the kind of daily sniping that's going on and have a candidate emerge in that convention. My hope is that it will be Barack Obama, but if it's Hillary Clinton, she too will suffer, in my view, from this kind of a campaign that I think is undermining the credibility and the quality of the two candidates that we have. We have two very strong candidates. So I'm worried about this going on endlessly and to a large extent, Linda, the media, a lot of these cable networks, are enjoying this. It's what is keeping them alive financially. The fact that this thing is going on forever, back and forth every day, all night -- I don't think it's really helping the candidates or the political institutions.
Asked about the solution to ending the race:
Dodd: Well, the solution is -- look, we've got a contest coming up in Pennsylvania and one in North Carolina and Indiana very quickly afterwards. In my view, the outcome of those three races will determine -- I think the race has been determined, anyway, at this point. I think it's very difficult to imagine how anyone can believe that Barack Obama can't be the nominee of the party. I think that's a foregone conclusion, in my view, at this juncture given where things are.
But certainly over the next couple of weeks, as we get into April, it seems to me then, that the national leadership of this party has to stand up and reach a conclusion. And in the absence of doing that -- and that's not easy, and I realize it's painful. But the alternatives, allowing this sort of to fester over the months of June, and July and August, I think, are irresponsible. I think you have to make a decision, and hopefully the candidates will respect it and people will rally behind a nominee that, I think, emerges from these contests over the next month. That's my suggestion. That's what I would do.
...I mean, if a person wants to stay in the race, stay in the race. But if you have enough people rallying behind what appears to be the likely choice, and I believe the choice is Barack Obama, and I believe that will be the choice over the next several weeks, then I think you have to step up to the plate and say enough is enough. We want this to be over with. We want to get behind this candidate, and we want people to pull together to win that election in November, to build those majorities in the House and the Senate if we can, and then start doing the work on health care and Iraq and all these other issues that demand our attention.