Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean has issued a stern statement regarding the duration of the Democratic presidential contest, saying that either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton must drop out of the race following the last primaries in June. "We really can't have a divided convention. If we do, it's going to be very hard to heal the party afterwards," Dean said on ABC's Good Morning America. "So we'll know who the nominee is, and that'll give us an extra 2½ months to get our party together, heal the wounds of having a very closely divided race, and take on Senator McCain." Dean argued that allowing the candidates to continue to campaign until the convention, as allowed by party rules, would harm the party in November.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's controversial pastor, delivered a speech at the National Press Club in Washington this morning in which he said that remarks he made in a sermon about 9/11 and race relations in America had been misunderstood by the "dominant culture" in the United States. Addressing the Washington journalists, Wright said that black church traditions remain "invisible" to the rest of the country. Wright is in D.C. for a two-day symposium with other black church leaders.
A 400-acre wildfire in the Sierra Madre foothills, about 15 miles north of Los Angeles, has forced more than 1,000 people to evacuate their homes. More than 500 firefighters are working to control the flames, which intensified over the weekend and temporarily stranded a 50-person wedding party, which was later airlifted to safety by local rangers. The fires come roughly six months after at least 16 major wildfires killed seven people and burned in excess of 500,000 acres across California.