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Leahy: Clinton 'ought to withdraw'

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
High profile Obama backer, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), told Vermont Public Radio that he thinks Clinton should drop out and back Obama.

"There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough
delegates to get the nomination," Leahy said. "She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that's a decision that only she can make. Frankly I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate."

VIDEO: http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Video/_NEW/x_dc_leahy_080328.300w.jpg">Sen. Patrick Leahy explains his view that the ongoing political tussling between Obama and Clinton may be helping McCain's candidacy.

Here's the full transcript:
(Host) Will a protracted battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination hurt the Party's chances of winning the November election?

Senator Patrick Leahy, who supports Obama, says the answer is yes, and he thinks Clinton should drop out of the race.

But Clinton's supporters in Vermont have a very different opinion.

VPR's Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) It's a question that's being raised in political discussions on the radio, on TV, in newspapers and in the blogs.

And the results of a new poll highlight the danger for the Democrats if their presidential primary contest gets any nastier.

According to a new Gallup poll, 28% of Hillary Clinton's supporters say
they'd vote for GOP candidate John McCain if Barack Obama wins the
Democratic nomination and 19% of Obama's supporters say they'd vote for
McCain if Clinton is the Party's nominee.

Senator Patrick Leahy, who's a super delegate supporting Obama, is clearly
worried about this situation:

(Leahy) "I am very concerned. John McCain, who has been making one gaffe
after another, is getting a free ride on it because Senator Obama and
Senator Clinton have to fight with each other. I think that her criticism
is hurting him more than anything John McCain has said. I think that's
unfortunate."

(Kinzel) Leahy says it's virtually impossible for Clinton to win more
elected delegates than Obama, and as a result, he thinks it's time for her
to accept defeat:

(Leahy) "There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough
delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be
backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that's a decision that only she can
make. Frankly I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate."

(Kinzel) Former Governor Madeleine Kunin is the co-chair of the Clinton
campaign in Vermont. She thinks Leahy is dead wrong on this issue:

(Kunin) "It is premature, to tell her to drop out now is just unfair
because it isn't over. Admittedly, it's tough for Senator Clinton to get a
majority of the delegates but it's not over till it's over. It seems a bit
patronizing to tell her 'Honey, you know you've got to drop out for the
good of the Party.' Sure it's not easy, but I think the process has to go
forward as it was designed to go."

(Kinzel) And Kunin thinks, in the end, the Democrats will unite behind one
of these candidates:

(Kunin) "I think both Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton know that what everybody wants in the Democratic party is a winner
and some of this is just inevitable. But I think they will unite and I'm
confident that judging by the turnout at every democratic primary which has
been unprecedented that Democrats will do very well in November."

(Kinzel) It's likely that roughly 800 super delegates will ultimately
decide this race. Vermont has 7 super delegates - five are supporting
Obama, one is backing Clinton and one person - former governor and now
D.N.C. chairman Howard Dean is neutral.