MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) – Democratic insiders worry that the party may emerge mortally wounded if this protracted nomination battle trudges on into the summer.
But Hillary Clinton and one of her top backers, New York’s senior Sen. Chuck Schumer, apparently have different feelings on whether the fight should go all the way to the Democratic convention in late August.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, Clinton said she was “prepared to go the distance” and make a push on the convention floor to seat the barred delegations from Michigan and Florida.
She argued that the party was benefiting from the ongoing delegate chase. It’s “part of the excitement of the American political system,” she told reporters, adding that her husband’s 1992 campaign, which endured into the summer of that year, “was fun.”
“This is a spirited contest that is bringing more people into the Democratic party,” she said. “It’s getting a lot more people interested that might not have been before. I feel good about the way this has shaped up because I have watched this for more years than some of you have, and there is nothing out of the ordinary here.”
But Schumer told NBC’s Tim Russert on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press that the Clinton and Obama campaigns must avoid an “internecine fight that's so bitter that the other feels that they can't enthusiastically support the winner.”
He called for Clinton and Obama to sit down with the chairman of Democratic National Committee in June, after the final primary contest in Puerto Rico, to hammer out a deal before the convention.
Citing "party unity," Schumer said that on June 7th, "Howard Dean and the two candidates will have to get together if neither candidate has 2025, which is the margin that the rules require to win, and come up with a strategy."
“Each candidate,” he said, “will have to have buy into that strategy to determine who wins because, if the loser and their supporters stalk away, then we will lose the general election.”
Asked about Schumer's comments, Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the campaign hopes the nomination will be decided before the convention, but emphasized that the race will go “as long as it takes.”
“I don’t think anyone is looking forward a convention fight,” he said. “Everyone would like us to be focused.”