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Brazile's message to her critics and why it's inopportune timing for the Democrats

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Posted at 12:15 PM, Nov 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-05 12:15:43-05

Donna Brazile is a rare breed in American politics: a one-time Jesse Jackson insurgent who became an important member of the Democratic Party's national leadership, often playing big roles in bridging differences between competing factions.

Now, she faces criticism that she is stoking a divide at the worst possible moment -- as Democrats try to win key elections this week and deal with the broader challenge of choosing a course, and a message, heading into 2018 and beyond.

At issue is Brazile's new book, a personal memoir that includes some blockbuster stuff: her view that the Clinton campaign had too much influence over the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential primaries, complaints she was mistreated after she became interim party chairwoman for the back half of 2016, and an eye-popping account of how Brazile says she considered using her power as chairwoman to try to replace Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, with Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker.

People who have called Brazile a friend for 30 years or more are furious. Some say she twists facts in her book. Others say she is being disloyal by spilling in public things best kept private. Even some Brazile allies say the timing is horrible because Democrats need big turnout in Virginia and elsewhere this week and cannot afford bad blood or distractions.

Brazile acknowledges fierce blowback but says she is at peace with her decision.

"Read the book. Make your own conclusion," she said in one exchange in recent days, responding to complaints from Clinton staffers who challenge her account of a campaign Brazile says lacked passion and often lied to her. She said her in-box was helping her "define real love versus sour grapes."

So does this longtime inside player worry about being cast now as disloyal and destructive?

This in an email to CNN: "After what the country went through, I'm not afraid."

Then this on ABC on Sunday, to her critics: "Go to hell. I'm going to tell my story."