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DNC party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz draws jeers, won't appear at convention

By Allen Cone
DNC party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz draws jeers, won't appear at convention
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz talks to Clinton supporters at a rally at Florida International University Arena, Miami on Saturday before presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton introduces her pick for vice president, Sen. Tim Kaine. Wasserman Schultz drew jeers when she spoke Monday to the Florida delegation in wake of leaked DNC staff emails that suggested favortism toward Clinton. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo | License Photo

PHILADELPHIA, July 25 (UPI) -- Outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz drew jeers as she spoke to her Florida delegation at a breakfast Monday morning, hours before she bowed out of an appearance at the party's convention.

Audience members wearing Bernie Sanders shirts started shouting "shame" as she began speaking at the state breakfast at the Weston in Philadelphia. Some held signs that said "EMAILS" and "Thanks for the 'Help' Debbie."

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They were protesting leaked DNC emails that suggest Wasserman Schultz's staff favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders during the presidential primary. The FBI has launched a probe into the hacking of the DNC's emails, the bureau announced Monday.

"So I can see that's little bit of interest in my being here and I appreciate that interest," Wasserman Schultz said amid the boos. "And a little bit of interest from the press."

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Wasserman Schultz was scheduled to gavel in the convention later Monday but hours after the breakfast event, she told the South Florida Sun Sentinel she won't open the gathering in Philadelphia.

"I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," she said.

She said she asked Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, secretary of the DNC, to open the convention at 4 p.m. Monday. She said on Sunday she would not speak at the convention as originally scheduled.

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Chris Riker, a pro-Sanders delegate from Miami, said Florida delegates received an email that Wasserman Schultz would be speaking at the Monday breakfast.

"Honestly it's their fault that this happened. There is absolutely no reason that a day after rightfully resigning in disgrace with the quote 'Bernie Sanders will not be president' leaked from an email that she should be addressing the delegates," Riker said. "It's bad for the party, it looks biased and quite frankly it looks tone-deaf."

"I will literally boo anytime she's involved in the convention because she shouldn't be involved," Riker added.

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Wasserman Schultz also had supporters at the breakfast.

Florida state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, wearing a "Debbie for Congress" shirt, called the Sanders supporters "rude, disruptive and obnoxious."

"They're not real Democrats," Sobel said. "They should have stopped screaming and let her speak.

Although Wasserman Schultz is leaving her DNC post, Clinton says she will serve as honorary chair of her campaign's "50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states."

Florida has 29 Electoral College delegates, which President Barack Obama carried in 2008 and 2012.

"We are the state that will deliver the White House to make sure that we can continue to make the progress that we have been able to make under Barack Obama for the last eight years," Wasserman Schultz said Monday morning.

She was drowned out by cheers and boos from the crowd.

She concluded her remarks, saying, "You will see me every day until Nov. 8 on the campaign trail."

As she was escorted off stage by police, protesters sang, "Na na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye."

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