Rep. Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.) is trying to cajole the largest single cache of undeclared Democratic superdelegates - members of Congress - to make their presidential choices public within a week of the final primaries June 3.
"We need an endgame; we need a timetable," Brady, who also is chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party and an undeclared superdelegate, said in an interview.
Yesterday, Brady and a group of other representatives circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter to House Democrats urging them to put their cards on the table.
The aim, he said, is to move the 57 undeclared members of Congress who are superdelegates to help end the battle between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
All told, about 212 of the nearly 800 superdelegates have yet to announce whom they will support. Superdelegates are granted automatic seats at the convention and are not bound by the results of primaries or caucuses.
Obama has won a majority of pledged delegates awarded so far in those contests but remains short of the total number of delegates needed to win the nomination.
"We must lead," the letter says, expressing concern that the extended primary fight puts the party at a disadvantage against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.
The letter was signed by Brady, who brought together the group, as well as Pennsylvania Reps. John P. Murtha (Clinton) and Michael F. Doyle (undeclared).
Also signing were Reps. Linda T. Sanchez of California and Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts (Obama), Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey (Clinton), and Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan (undeclared), head of the Congressional Black Caucus.
- Thomas Fitzgerald
BOSTON - Barack Obama has agreed to deliver Sunday's commencement address at Wesleyan University in place of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who pulled out yesterday after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Kennedy (D., Mass.) had planned to address the graduates, who include his stepdaughter, at the Middletown, Conn., school. Obama said he and Kennedy had talked earlier in the week about Obama doing the speech.
Obama said in a statement: "Considering what he's done for me and for our country, there's nothing I wouldn't do for him. So I'm looking forward to standing in his place on Sunday even though I know I won't be able to fill his shoes."
Kennedy, 76, decided against making the trip after suffering a seizure Saturday and undergoing a brain biopsy Monday that led to his diagnosis. He is recovering from the biopsy at his family compound on Cape Cod.
- Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. - New York Gov. David Paterson, a superdelegate who supports Hillary Rodham Clinton, said she was showing "a little desperation" and should give up her effort to count votes from Michigan and Florida.
Paterson said yesterday that Clinton should not derail the process by which the national Democratic Party stripped the two states of their convention delegates because they moved their primaries up to January in violation of party rules.
"Candidates have to be cautious in their zeal to win that they don't trample on the process," he told WAMC-FM.
A Clinton spokesman declined to comment.