Wasserman Schultz: Sanders camp tried to make me the 'boogeywoman'
© Greg Nash

Former Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz defended her handling of the party's presidential primary as "by the books" and criticized Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE's campaign for attempting to peg her as the "boogeywoman."  

The Florida lawmaker shared her thoughts on her recent resignation from the Democratic National Committee in response to the release of hacked emails that showed a bias against Sanders during a meeting with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's editorial board.  
 
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"The Sanders campaign’s strategy, when they were not successful in primary after primary was to turn the DNC and me into the boogeyman, the boogeywoman. They needed to keep their supporters engaged, their supporters riled up and focused on someone as the enemy," she told the board. 
 
"So when you are under siege for that many months and every day you have people going on TV attacking your integrity and suggesting that you are rigging the outcome of an election somehow, that’s going to be expressed in private. ... Unfortunately when your emails are stolen, as in our case, it became public."
 
The release of the emails was just the latest in a long tiff between the national party and the Sanders campaign. The Vermont senator and his allies repeatedly accused the party of tipping the scales against him, and Sanders eventually endorsed Wasserman Schultz's primary opponent. 
 
While Wasserman Schultz said that the "buck stops with me" and admitted the party made "mistakes," she said the party always remained neutral in its handling of the primary.
 
"If your personal emails were stolen, would they sustain and withstand the bright, white hot spotlight? Probably not," she said. 
 
"My staff made mistakes, we all made mistakes. At the end of the day, we ran, I ran, a Democratic nominating process that was by the book.”
 
She added that she stepped down from the party post after the release of the hacked emails to not distract from the Democratic National Convention.