From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- Obama yesterday said that Sen. Patrick Leahy's call for Clinton to leave the race was premature, declaring that Clinton had a right to stay in the race as long as she wanted.
"Yeah. I hadn't talked to Pat about it," Obama said when asked about Leahy's comments and if it was a premature move on the part of his surrogates.
"My attitude is that Sen. Clinton can run as long as she wants. Her name is on the ballot. And she is a fierce and formidable competitor, and she obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best opponent," he said. "I think that you know she should be able to compete and her supporters should be able to support her for as long as they are willing or able."
Obama said that the nominee should be decided upon after all the Democratic contests have been completed "some time in early June."
"At that point, we would have had contests in all 50 states and some territories. We would have tallied up the pledged delegate vote. We would have tallied up the popular vote. We would have tallied up how many states were won by who, and I think people will have more than enough information to make a decision," he said.
Obama added it was "important to pivot as quickly as possible." He called on the superdelegates to make a quick decision, so that the Democratic nominee has as much as time as possible to select a running mate and plan and prepare for the Democratic convention.