Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the newest Democratic superdelegate to back the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, nonetheless doesn't believe Hillary Rodham Clinton should drop out of the race.

"I believe Sen. Clinton has every right to continue her campaign," Klobuchar said this morning in a conference call with reporters. "She should continue."

As the Democrats' presidential campaign remains frozen in a delegate stalemate, the party's superdelegates have begun migrating to Obama's side.

In becoming the ninth of Minnesota's 14 superdelegates to back the Illinois' senator's bid, Klobuchar rethought her original plan to remain neutral in the race.

Citing Obama's sweeping victory at Minnesota's precinct caucuses on Feb. 5, Klobuchar said her neutrality had placed her "between  Barack and a hard place -- and I chose Barack."

She also said her continued silence about the race had become awkward, although "overall I haven't had a lot of hand-wringing over this."

Despite growing fears within the party that the presidential campaign could become increasingly toxic, possibly ending in a bloody fight on the floor of the national convention, Klobuchar said she remains optimistic it will be resolved peacefully long before then.

"I have faith that our candidates will work this out and resolve it by early summer," she said. "I believe they'll do the right thing and we'll figure this out."

And unlike some Democrats, who have said the Clinton-Obama standoff has hurt the party's prospects in November, Klobuchar said what she called "this spirited contest has been good for the party."

Klobuchar cited work she has done with Obama on issues such as ethics reform and toy safety.

In a statement Sunday night, Obama expressed his gratitude for Klobuchar's support. According to the Obama campaign, Klobuchar is the 64th superdelegate to endorse him since the Feb. 5th Super Tuesday contests.

Bob von Sternberg • 612-673-7184