From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –
Democratic leaders had hoped for a show of unity at their convention here in the City of Brotherly Love – instead, their 2016 gathering opened with boos, catcalls and jeers whenever Hillary Clinton’s name was mentioned, as supporters of Bernie Sanders arrived intent on making sure that their candidate was not ignored.
Even before the convention began, there was the turmoil with ousted Democratic National Committee party chief Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who finally backed off doing the job of gaveling the convention to order, as Democrats worried it would have resulted in an ugly scene on national television.
While they avoided that, it only took a few minutes for the delegates of Sanders to make their voices heard.
During the invocation given by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale of Decatur, Georgia, Hale praised Hillary Clinton – and that set off a raucous response
There were cheers at first, but then boos drowned that out, and in the minutes ahead, that was repeated several times.
At one point, the boos, jeers and catcalls continued while Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) – picked to replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz for this convention – had to stop her speech because of the noise.
“Excuse me,” Fudge said with a hint of impatience that you might hear in a school teacher’s voice.
“We are all Democrats and we need to act like it,” Fudge said firmly.
But in the crowd, there were certainly other views.
“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both champions,” said former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. “They both deserve our cheers.”
As for Sanders, he personally sent out a message to supporters, asking them not to engage in excessive demonstrations on the floor – saying it was of “utmost importance” as he argued that “our credibility as a movement will be damaged by booing, turning of backs, walking out or other similar displays.”