Paul E. Tsongas Tuesday night congratulated Bill Clinton for his convincing primary victories in Michigan and Illinois, but immediately launched his bid for what he conceded is a "must-win" here next week in the Connecticut primary.
"I give him credit," Tsongas said. "When someone does well, you have to stand back and give him credit."
At a campaign rally at Trinity College attended by more than 1,000 supporters, mostly students, the former Massachusetts senator also acknowledged former California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.'s showing in Michigan, where Brown finished in second place, ahead of Tsongas.
"He went into a labor state and took positions that people found attractive," Tsongas said of Brown. But he said he is not about to bow out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Tsongas has been saying with increasing frequency in recent days, as it became clear he would not do well in either Illinois or Michigan, that he nevertheless will take his campaign to the party's convention in July.
"This is a campaign of peaks and valleys, and tonight is one of his peaks," Tsongas said of Clinton Tuesday night. "I give him credit, but it is a long way between now and July," when the Democrats will have their convention in New York.
Tsongas began the day in Chicago, then headed for what he hoped would be friendlier territory after a brief morning visit to a polling place in South Side Chicago.
Upon arriving at the Bradley International Airport here, in late afternoon but well before the Midwest polls were closed, Tsongas renewed his pledge to press on. He said he is the only mainstream alternative to Clinton, should the Arkansas governor's campaign falter as a result of allegations involving marital infidelity, his draft status during the Vietnam War and his and his wife's business dealings in Arkansas.
"There's a point at which the cascade of stories begins to have an impact," Tsongas said.
Tsongas also said he was cheered that contributions were still coming in.