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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
democratic crisis

Watch: Bernie Sanders booed for telling his supporters to elect Hillary Clinton

The Democratic Convention hasn’t got off to the smoothest of starts.

BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTERS booed and jeered when the Vermont Senator called on them to support Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The unrest comes amid a party row over leaked emails that’s disrupting Clinton’s bid to present a united front against Donald Trump.

Speaking to followers ahead of a speech on the convention floor tonight, Sanders slammed the Republican as a “demagogue.”

Clinton will make history on Thursday when she formally accepts the Democratic presidential nomination — the first woman to lead a major party’s White House ticket.

But two new polls showed Trump surging since his confirmation last week as the Republican presidential nominee, with a CNN poll putting him three points ahead of Clinton — a six-point post-convention bump.

“We have got to defeat Donald Trump. We have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine,” Sanders told a gathering hours before the opening of the four-day convention in Philadelphia.

“Trump is a bully and a demagogue,” said the senator from Vermont, whose call to support Clinton was met with loud jeers and chants of “We want Bernie!”

Sanders lost the primary race, but after he endorsed Clinton — and with the party desperate to present a show of unity — he has been offered a prime speaking tonight, along with popular liberal senator Elizabeth Warren.

The Democratic confab was formally opened this evening with chants of ‘Bernie! Bernie!’ heard around the arena as it began.

Even before it began, the party was scrambling to contain the damage caused by thousands of leaked emails that showed its leaders had sought to undermine Sanders during his primary battle with Clinton.

The FBI said it was investigating the “cyber intrusion” at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which the Clinton campaign blamed on Russian hackers bent on helping Trump.

The agency said in a statement it was “working to determine the nature and scope of the matter.”

DEM 2016 Philadelphia AP / Press Association Images Some Sanders supporters have been protesting at the convention. AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images


Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks at the weekend released nearly 20,000 emails from between January 2015 and May 2016, gleaned by hackers who apparently raided the accounts of seven DNC leaders.

At least two of the messages showed senior committee members were keen to undermine the Sanders campaign by seeking to raise questions about his faith and Jewish heritage.

The DNC this evening released an official apology to Sanders saying that the remarks made over email were “inexcusable”.

DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz abruptly announced her resignation on Sunday, effective at the end of the convention.

But frustrations about the crisis boiled this morning when delegates loudly booed her as she addressed a Florida delegation breakfast.

Delegates chanted “Shame!” and held up laser-printed signs that simply read “E-mails.”

Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, had stubbornly insisted she would still open and close the convention, but after the reception she got this morning, she reversed course.

MSNBC / YouTube

“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,” Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel newspaper.

‘We need to move on’

Her about-face marked the latest effort by Democrats to steady a rocky ship after a hard-fought primary campaign.

The party is seeking to project a more unified message than the Republicans did at their convention last week in Cleveland, where fissures over Trump’s candidacy were laid bare.

“The Democrats are in a total meltdown,” Trump taunted on Twitter.

Trump has long sought to scoop up disaffected voters who feel Sanders — a self-described democratic socialist — was denied a fair shot at the nomination.

First lady takes the podium

Sanders and First Lady Michelle Obama headline the first day of the Democratic convention.

Recently added to Monday’s program is Warren, whose support for Clinton could help convince skeptical left-wing voters to get behind the nominee.

Many in the Sanders camp have also voiced disappointment with Clinton’s choice of centre-left running mate Kaine, a senator from Virginia, instead of a more liberal firebrand like Warren.

Former president Bill Clinton is the star speaker at the convention Tuesday, while President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden take the stage Wednesday.

© – AFP 2016 with reporting by Rónán Duffy

Read: Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia with huge protests >

Read: Leaked Bernie Sanders emails a headache for Hillary as convention gets set to kick off >

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