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DNC chairwoman booed off the stage hours before the Democratic convention

The Democratic National Convention kicks off on Monday night, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz faced jeers when she spoke to Florida's delegation.

by Brendan James
Jul 25 2016, 2:55pm

US Representative for Florida and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA)

The Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia on Monday night with speeches from First Lady Michelle Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and this year's primary season underdog and challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders.

The theme of the night is titled, somewhat redundantly, "United Together."

Despite that slogan, outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz faced a wall of boos and jeers on Monday while addressing Florida's convention delegation.

"We know the voices in this room that are standing up and being disruptive," she said, voice straining above the noise, "that's not the Florida we know. The Florida we know is united, the Florida we know will continue to create jobs."


Up until Friday, the Democratic convention looked on track to be a more orderly affair than its game show-flavored Republican counterpart. But an anonymous hack of the party committee's email trove, released by WikiLeaks, put the DNC on the defensive and ended the tenure of Wasserman Schultz, who resigned and will leave office after the convention."

"Debbie is done!" people chanted at a Sanders rally in Philadelphia, according to CNN. The DNC and its chair had been at odds with the Sanders camp for months during the primaries, a fact only underlined by the leaked emails showing DNC officials trading ideas about how to undermine his run.

But in the convention hall, Sanders will be part of a combo with Warren — they are two of the nation's most left-leaning lawmakers — starting the week off with a progressive punch. Expect a lot of talk about the party's commitment to a forward-looking agenda for working Americans, especially contrasted with the racial war drums pounded by Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Perhaps by design, their speeches follow a less progressive moment over the weekend when presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton selected "safe choice" Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate.

Related: Clinton taps Tim Kaine for vice president, but fails to impress Sanders supporters

Beyond the left-of-center street cred, Warren and Sanders are expected to push the appearance of party unity after a competitive primary season that has left some supporters of the Vermont senator flirting with the idea of staying home, voting third party, or even voting Republican.

Still, the number of people chanting "Bernie or Bust" has yet to reach the number of self-professed Clinton voters who bolted for Sen. John McCain rather than vote for nominee Barack Obama in 2008.

Before the Sanders / Warren / Michelle Obama trio, delegates will hear from Latina activist and "DREAMer" Astrid Silva and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

The Democratic convention follows a disorderly Republican one, where setbacks included a crushed coup by anti-Trump delegates, an extended middle finger to party unity from primary challenger Sen. Ted Cruz, a death threat against Hillary Clinton by a Trump campaign adviser, a plagiarism scandal, and even, outside the convention, the resignation of Republican kingmaker Roger Ailes, the boss of Fox News.

Liz Fields contributed reporting from Philadelphia