Dean looking for superdelegates to decide "now"

DNC wants to wrap up the race, but uncommitted superdelegates are in no hurry.

By Steve Benen
Published April 18, 2008 6:59PM (UTC)
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There are competing tallies showing how Democratic superdelegates are planning to vote -- it's not an exact science, and some of these party leaders are still changing their minds -- but by one updated count, Hillary Clinton now has the support of 252 superdelegates, 24 more than Barack Obama's 228. That leaves 314 uncommitted, sought-after superdelegates.

Howard Dean seems to be growing more and more impatient with each passing week.

An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they're for – and "I need them to say who they're for starting now."

"We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time," the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We've got to know who our nominee is."

It appears that the uncommitted superdelegates have other ideas. USA Today and Gannett News Service spoke with "dozens" of them, and found that "they feel little pressure to resolve the heated nomination battle before the last primaries on June 3. Few said they expected the ongoing fight to damage their party's chances in November."

While that's certainly a debatable point, USA Today did add, "Most of the undecideds said they expect to make their choices known by July 1 -- a deadline proposed recently by DNC Chairman Howard Dean -- to avoid a showdown at the party's Aug. 25-28 convention in Denver."

And what's likely to move the uncommitted superdelegates in one direction or the other? Intra-party attacks don't seem to have much of an effect.

In this respect, neither Obama nor Clinton are getting exactly what they want from these guys. Obama wants the uncommitted superdelegates to help him end the race by announcing their support immediately. They won't. And Clinton wants them to consider the mini-controversies that have dominated the news lately and perceive Obama as unelectable. They won't do that, either.

Stay tuned.

Steve Benen

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