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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted by loud, angry crowd



PHILADELPHIA -- Angry protesters drowned out Debbie Wasserman Schultz this morning as the soon-to-be-former Democratic National Committee chairwoman made a futile plea for unity, a raucous scene that underscored hard feelings among supporters of Bernie Sanders

"Shame. Shame. Shame!" the crowd yelled, holding signs that read "e-mails," a reference to the WikiLeaks controversy that has engulfed Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee.

"Debbie. Debbie. Debbie," her fans yelled. "Email. Emails. Emails," the detractors shouted as Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant banged a gavel.

"Shame on you, Debbie!" a woman shouted.

"So I can see there's a little bit of interest in my being here," Wasserman Schultz said, visibly shaken as police moved in to push back the crowd. But as she tried to continue, boos filled the ballroom at the downtown Marriott.

Eventually she was forced to leave the stage, surrounded by security and a crush of reporters.

"We are the state that will deliver the White House," Wasserman Schultz said, shouting above the boos. She said that she spoke Sunday to Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, thanking him "for the honor of serving as chair of the Democratic National Committee, being able to watch his back and bring him across the finish line in 2012."

"We have so much to do. And we to make sure that we move forward together in a unified way. We know that the voices in this room, that are standing up and being disruptive, that's not the Florida that we know. The Florida that we know is united."

But the scene showed Democrats, like Republicans last week, have their own discord to deal with as the convention gets under way.

"She rigged the election from the outset and I don't think she should be here," said Sanjay Patel, 39, of Satellite Beach, Fla.

Former Sen. Bob Graham vouched for Wasserman Schultz. "I think she has served this party well," he said as tension lifted.

Nick Insua, 17, said Wasserman Schultz did the right thing stepping down as chair after the convention.

"She has to land on the sword," he said. "She has to take responsibility for the actions that happened. But I'm not disappointed. I'm going to support her run for congress."

[Last modified: Monday, July 25, 2016 2:37pm]


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