The turmoil in the Democratic presidential race has presented a sharp test of Howard Dean's low-profile approach to leading the Democratic National Committee, bringing calls from many Democrats for him to take a more aggressive role in defusing the threat of a protracted and divisive nominating fight.
After months in which he was largely absent from public deliberations about how to avert a risk to the party's hopes of taking the White House in November, Mr. Dean stepped forward last week to say he wanted the contest resolved by July 1 and for Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama to tone down their attacks on each other.
Yet three years after he won election as the party chairman by running largely as an outsider, it is not clear that Mr. Dean has the political skills or the stature with the two campaigns to bring the nominating battle to a relatively quick and unifying conclusion.
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