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Inside Politics

Dean e-mail: 'Out of race' without Wisconsin win

'We must win Wisconsin'

Howard Dean makes calls during a campaign stop Thursday in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Howard Dean makes calls during a campaign stop Thursday in Royal Oak, Michigan.

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Howard Dean
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FLINT, Michigan (CNN) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, struggling to regain momentum in his campaign, told supporters Thursday that his viability as a candidate hinges on a win in Wisconsin.

Without a victory there, Dean said in a fund-raising e-mail to supporters, he is "out of this race." Wisconsin's primary is February 17. (Top story: Race now built around challenging Kerry,'s interactive Election Calendar)

The e-mail is the starkest assessment yet by the candidate of his campaign, which has been flailing since Dean's crushing loss in the Iowa caucuses more than two weeks ago. (Iowa recap)

The former Vermont governor, once seen as the man to beat for the Democratic presidential nomination, has failed to place first in any of the nine states that have held contests to date. (A delegate scorecard)

And his campaign was recently forced to temporarily withhold pay for some staffers.

"The entire race has come down to this: We must win Wisconsin," Dean said the e-mail.

The e-mail states that the Dean campaign needs $700,000 by Sunday to fund a new television advertisement Monday in major Wisconsin markets. The e-mail asks for a $50 contribution.

"All that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state," the e-mail states.

The e-mail tells supporters that he expects "a boost" in this weekend's caucuses in Washington, Michigan and Maine.

"But our true test will be the Wisconsin primary. A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2-and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this race," the e-mail said.

The e-mail concludes, "Thank you, Governor Howard Dean, M.D."

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