updated 1/13/2014 10:01:02 AM ET 2014-01-13T15:01:02

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
January 11, 2014

Guests: Loretta Weinberg, Ingrid Reed, Wade Davis, Sue Wicks, Anita Marks, Eleanor Clift, Blake Zeff


STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Direct link to Governor Chris Christie`s
office in the bridge scandal e-mail chain.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

KORNACKI: We`re going to get to who`s who guide to all of the major
players in the Chris Christie scandal in just a moment. Everything you
need to know about everyone involved.

But first, we do have some breaking news to report this hour out of Israel.
NBC News has now confirmed that former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel
Sharon, has died at the age of 85. Sharon bills his reputation as a tough
military leader, someone who would fought on all of Israel`s wars himself.
When he became prime minister in 2001, he used those skills to end many
years of violent Palestinian uprising.

But then, Ariel Sharon surprised everyone by saying it was time for change.
He understood that in order to keep the west bank, Israel would have to
give back some of the occupied territories, including Gaza Strip as a first
step toward peace with the Palestinians. Sharon also started his own
political party to reflect his new beliefs, but then he suffered a massive
stroke in 2006 that prevented him from leading Israel down that new
political path left him in a permanent coma, and now, at the age of 85,
Ariel Sharon has passed away.

After that, we will now turn this morning to what is the biggest story of
the week. It is the biggest story. It is at the lowest moment in a
potentially catastrophic moment in the political career of Chris Christie.
We don`t know yet if the revelations that of one of his top staffers was
involved in a scheme to shut down access lanes to the George Washington
Bridge and to jam up traffic in the New Jersey town of Fort Lee will end up
sinking Christie`s presidential ambitions and possibly even more than that.

We don`t know that and we don`t know a lot of other things because for
every question that was answered this week, ten more new ones were
seemingly raised. Christie, obviously, is at the center of this story, but
right now, it involves other key players, at least five other key players
who words and actions or whose lack of words and whose lack of actions in
the coming days and weeks will determine if the scope of this story
expands.

And if the words that Christie spoke during a marathon press conference
Thursday will come back to destroy him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I had no knowledge or involvement in
this issue, in its planning, or its execution. And I am stunned by the
abject stupidity that was shown here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, if you`ve been watching this story play out on this network
this week, then you know that I`m just -- I`m a little bit more than just a
curious onlooker here. I got my start covering New Jersey politics. I
lived and breathed it for three years of my life and I`ve never completely
separated myself from it either. Someone once told me that politics in New
Jersey is like a soap opera.

There`s always all sorts of drama and intrigue and it never really reaches
a peak or comes to an end. It just keeps going, one surprise after another
year after year, and you can`t help but keep watching and trying to guess
what`s going to happen next. Well, the person who told me that is one of
those key players in this story. He was my boss, he was my editor, he was
the owner of a non-partisan political news site where I got my start back
in 2002.

And now, he`s smack in the middle of this scandal. He`s played a very
important part in my career, so it makes all of this a little bit awkward
for me. But at the same time, because I know him, because I know so many
of the other people who are a part of the story, it also puts me in
position to give you some context of who all of these key players are, how
they all fit together, and what it all might mean for where this drama is
going to go next.

So, I`m going to do my best right now this morning to explain them to you,
who they are, what I know about it. We`re going to start with the first
one of those key players, Bridget Kelly. The world learned her name on
Wednesday morning when e-mails leaked out in which she wrote the now
notorious line, "Time for some traffic problems for Fort Lee." By late
morning Thursday, this is what Chris Christie was saying about Bridget
Kelly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: This morning, I`ve terminated the employment of Bridget Kelly
effective immediately. I`ve terminated her employment because she lied to
me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, until Thursday, Bridget Kelly was one of Chris Christie`s
deputy chiefs of staffs. She was the deputy chief of staff for the
legislative and intergovernmental affairs. That was her official title.
It is the most political job in the governor`s office. Her job was to be
Christie`s point person in dealing with mayors, municipal council members,
county officials across the state.

And Christie with the words that he spoke on Thursday all but declared
Kelly the ring leader in the plan that clog up traffic in Fort Lee because
of the vendetta against the town`s Democratic mayor. Now, here`s the
thing, I know Bridget Kelly. She was the chief of staff to a low-key
moderate Republican state assemblyman from Bergen County, the suburbs of
North Jersey.

She was in that position when I was covering the state. That assemblyman
she worked for, that was one of my favorite people to cover. She was one
of my favorite people to talk to. One of the reasons was because she
defied the stereotype of the skimming Jersey political operative. And it
wasn`t just me who thought this.

I heard from a New Jersey Democrat who I`ve known for a while yesterday,
who remembered Bridget Kelly as, quote, "issue driven, eager and energetic.
She struck me as a moderate Republican, in it, for all of the right
reasons." If you don`t know Bridget Kelly and you don`t know the New
Jersey political world, it might be easy to swallow what Christie said this
week, that Kelly had deceived and and lied to him, kept him totally in the
dark on all of this until this week.

But if you know Bridget Kelly, well, that`s not quite as easy to swallow.
She`s relatively new to Christie`s or bit. She`s had a well-earned
reputation for integrity. It`s clear she`s involved in this, but it`s also
hard to believe she concocted this and it`s harder still to believe that
she had the authority to order it. The state legislative committee that`s
looking into this next week has not technically subpoenaed her, but has
asked her to testify.

Will she show up? Will she talk? Those are the questions in the immediate
future for Bridget Kelly. Next up on our list, we have David Wildstein.
And now, this is the guy who used to be my boss, gave me my start in
journalism. He was one of Christie`s appointees to the Port Authority.
He`s one of those people whose records were subpoenaed by the state
assembly in the same records that contain all those explosive revelations
this week.

And David Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority a month ago. And if
you heard or read about him at all since then, you`ve probably heard or
read him described as Christie`s long-time friend, Christie`s high school
buddy. But here`s what Christie had to say about that on Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: David and I were not friends in high school. We were not even
acquaintances in high school. We didn`t travel in the same circles in high
school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don`t know
what David was doing during that period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And here`s what I can say about that. I can actually pretty
much vouch for that, pretty much vouch for a Chris Christie saying there,
because no one who knew Christie and Wildstein in their high school days
describes them as friends from back then. And I can tell you that when I
worked with Wildstein on our Jersey political news site, there was never
any reason for me to suspect that he had any kind of a relationship with
Chris Christie.

We were tough on Chris Christie plenty of times and more to the point,
there`s this. A few years after I left that site for a job in Washington,
D.C., David Wildstein sold. And he didn`t just sell it to anyone. He sold
it to someone named Jarod Kushner (ph) who was the young rich son of
someone named Charles Kushner.

And Charles Kushner was a New Jersey real estate magnet and a top
Democratic donor who Christie prosecuted and put in jail when he was U.S.
attorney. And by the way, do you know what Christie prosecuted Kushner
for? It was the ultimate only in Jersey scandal. Charles Kushner was
having a business dispute with his brother-in-law, so he hired two
prostitutes.

He had one of them so deuce his brother-in-law, then he had a videotape of
the encounter sent to the brother-in-law`s wife. I swear, this is
completely true. I am not making it up. Charles Kushner did two years in
jail for that and it was the Kushner Family that was totally and completely
humiliated by Chris Christie.

It was that family that David Wildstein sold his New Jersey website to.
So, the idea that Wildstein and Christie had this tight, close partnership
that dates back decades, I don`t buy it. This is also, by the way, why I
think the most significant development this week might have come later on
Thursday after Christie`s press conference when Wildstein appeared before
the state assembly which had subpoenaed him.

He took the fifth. You probably know about that by now. But at the very
end of the hearing, his lawyer also dangled this in front of the committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the attorneys general for New Jersey, New York, and
the United States were all to agree to clothe Mr. Wildstein with immunity,
I think you`d find yourselves in a far different position with respect to
information he can provide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s your job. We just want answer to our questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understood. I`m suggesting a way you can get there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, to be clear, Wildstein is not a long-time Christie protector
and he is apparently looking for immunity. That`s important to keep in
mind. I can also tell you this, I worked for him for three years from 2002
to 2005. Of all the people involved in this, I think he`s the sharpest, I
think he`s the savviest, and I think he is, by far, the most strategic
thinker. He doesn`t do anything without thinking ahead, without
considering the possible o outcomes and planning for contingencies. I
think that`s worth keeping in mind as the story plays out.

And maybe you`re asking if Wildstein and Christie weren`t that close, if
Wildstein sold his media operation to a family that despises Chris
Christie, why would Christie ever send him to the Port Authority in the
first place? Well, that`s a good question. And the answer has to do with
this man. This is Bill Baroni. He is the other Christie appointee to the
Port Authority who also resigned last month.

He`s the one who told a state assembly committee, this is when he was not
under oath, by the way. He told that committee that the lanes had been
closed because of a traffic study, a traffic study that has never been
produced and it multiple Port Authority officials of (INAUDIBLE) never
existed. His e-mails and texts along with Wildstein`s were also subpoenaed
and were part of that released this week.

Now, who is Baroni? Well, to give you some background, he was a rising
star in New Jersey politics a few years ago. He`s an affable lawyer who`ve
made a lot of friends in the state Republican Party who got elected to the
state assembly in 2003 when he was 31 years old. I actually remember
covering that campaign. In 2007, he went on to get elected to the state
Senate, and in 2009, he did something politically courageous.

He cast the sole Republican vote in the New Jersey state Senate for gay
marriage. It didn`t pass back then and it exposed Baroni to a ton of heat
from the right in his own party. So, when Christie came to power in 2010,
he offered Baroni to Port Authority gig, which comes with a great paycheck
and some enviable perks, by the way, and Baroni took it. And he told
Christie that he wanted to bring somebody with him.

He wanted to bring his friend, David Wildstein, who`d also been in politics
before he`d started that website that I worked on for him. So, that`s why
Wildstein was at the Port Authority. It was because of Baroni. And the
question now is whether Baroni is going to hear again from that assembly
committee, if this time they`re going to demand that he come back and
testify under oath about that supposed traffic study that he talked about
at the end of November, will they call him?

Will he take the fifth? Will his story change? Those are the major
questions about him right now. And now, we go to the fourth name, the
fourth key person to all this. This is Bill Stepien. Now, until this
week, Bill Stepien was one of Christie`s closest, most trusted, and most
talented political lieutenants. He had managed Christie`s campaign in 2009
and his re-election campaign in 2013.

He was slated to become the state Republican Party chairman and to serve as
an advisor to the Republican Governors Association. That is the group that
Christie is now taking over, a national group. Bill Stepien was also set
to play a major role in the 2016 presidential campaign that everyone has
been assuming Christie will run. But, Stepien pops up in those e-mails
that came out Wednesday morning, too.

And one of them, he ridicules the mayor of Fort Lee as an idiot. There was
nothing in those e-mails that showed he had any advanced knowledge or any
role in planning the traffic jam, but Christie threw him overboard too and
here`s why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: Reading that, it made me lose my confidence in Bill`s judgment.
And you cannot have someone at the top of your political operation who you
do not have confidence in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, talk to anyone in New Jersey politics privately, though,
and they`ll tell you there is still an awful lot of suspicion around
Stepien. He`s connected to these other players. His first big break in
politics came in 2003. That`s when he ran Bill Baroni`s campaign for the
state assembly. That campaign that I remember covering all those years
ago. Baroni was the only non-incumbent Republican who won a legislative
race in New Jersey that year.

It was a really good year for Democrats, but Baroni won. And so, that
election made him a rising star and it also made Stepien, who managed his
campaign, a rising star in Republican politics. So from there, Stepien
went on to work for George W. Bush`s re-election campaign in 2004, for John
McCain, and for Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and then he got his real big break.
He ran Christie`s successful campaign for governor in 2009

It`s the first time in 12 years that a Republican had won a governor`s race
in New Jersey. And that Stepien is also the way to understand or at least
to start to understand Bridget Kelly`s role in all of this, because it was
during that 2009 race that she, who was then a relatively unknown aide to a
relatively unknown politician in Bergen County, provided key help to the
Christie campaign and to Stepien in particular in Bergen County.

So, they grew close from that experience, and when they won that election,
Stepien brought her with him to Trenton to join the new administration.
And Stepien`s job in the first two years of that new Christie
administration was the same job that Kelly had until this week. He was
Christie`s local enforcer. (INAUDIBLE) like Kelly, Stepien earned a
reputation in that role for aggression, for playing rough, for diving into
seemingly ultra-local, seemingly ultra-petty political matters.

And when he left that job to run Christie`s re-election campaign last year,
Bridget Kelly took it over for him. Bill Stepien`s character has now been
challenged by Chris Christie on national television. His career
trajectory. He was going to play a leading role in the 2016 presidential
campaign. He was may be going to work in the White House. That career
trajectory has now been derailed.

Is he getting bettered (ph) by that? Will he be subpoenaed? Will his
records? Is he sitting on anything that could make this scandal bigger and
because he wants to get anything out? There`s also one more name to
include in our wheel here, Kevin O`Dowd. He`s Christie`s current chief of
staff. He has been the chief of staff as the bridge stories played out,
and on Thursday, Christie talked about how he leaned on Kevin O`Dowd as the
story began to gain steam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I put to all of them one simple challenge. If there is any
information that you know about the decision to close these lanes in Fort
Lee, you have one hour to tell either my chief of staff, Kevin O`Dowd, or
my chief council, Charlie McKenna.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: But did O`Dowd know anything himself? Did Christie interrogate
him at all? O`Dowd is Christie`s nominee to be the state`s next attorney
general. Under a cloud like this, though, should Christie`s chief of staff
be placed in such -- in a place of power as the chief law enforcement
officer of the state of New Jersey? He was supposed to sail through the
state Senate. That was before all of this.

But now, Democrats are saying, wait a minute, the State Senate Judiciary
Committee was supposed to begin its confirmation hearings next Tuesday.
Now, they`ve been postponed. His faith is up in the air. And that was the
full wheel of key players in this. At least, it was until the latest trove
of e-mails and text messages was dumped late yesterday afternoon and
pouring over them reveals two additional key names to talk about here.

One belongs to David Samson. He`s something of a father figure, maybe a
grandfather figure with the New Jersey Republican Party. He`s a former
state attorney general. He`s in his 70s. He`s known and respected by a
couple of generations of garden state (ph) Republicans. Actually his
respect has gone across party lines in the past and he was Christie`s
choice to serve as the chairman of the Port Authority.

And what we are now learning from the new e-mails is that he aggressively
pushed back against a withering critique of the lane closures from the New
York officials at the Port Authority as they were playing out. The other
new name in the mix after yesterday is Regina Egea (ph). She`s Christie`s
current pick to replace Kevin O`Dowd as his chief of staff.

But her job before this has been the director of what`s called Christie`s
authorities unit. That means she`s part of the Christie`s office. She`s
part of the governor`s office. And in that role as the head of the
authorities unit, we now know she was forwarded on September 13th of last
year a copy of that same withering critique of the lane closures that was
written by New York officials.

So, we can now say that someone inside the governor`s office was alerted to
the serious concerns about the lane closures four full months ago and that
someone is Chris Christie`s current pick to be his next chief of staff.
That`s how close to him she is. So, that brings us now to seven
characters, seven characters at least for now who are most crucial to what
comes next in this story. There are connections between and among some of
them.

There are some very deeps and very personal and some very lasting
connections. Others, other connections are more recent and more
superficial. All of these people have legal worries. They have career
worries. They have worries about their reputations to tend to right now.
They are facing a raft of questions from the press, from the public, from
everyone who`s following this story in any way. And there are now
mechanisms in place.

There are mechanisms in motion that could compel them, even if they don`t
want to, to produce more information, more revelations to add more names to
this mix, to produce some of the answers to the key questions that now hang
out there. The U.S. attorney for the state of New Jersey is considering
whether to launch an investigation.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee sniffing around, and then, there`s that
state assembly committee, the transportation committee that`s been looking
into this that brought those e-mails to light this week, that forced David
Wildstein to appear own Thursday and that expects Bridget Kelly to do the
same next week.

To talk about how all of these players might possibly fit together and
where all this is going, well, in just a moment, we are going to be joined
by the man who is leading that state assembly committee, State Assemblyman
John Wisniewski. He joins us right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I`m just stunned. And what does it make me ask about me? It
makes me ask about me what did I do wrong to have these folks think it was
OK to lie to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right. Here to discuss the latest development in all of
this, we have state assemblyman John Wisniewski. He`s the chairman of the
transportation committee which has led the investigation into the lane
closure. Thank you for joining us. And I`ll start with the very simple
question because I`ve talked about this on the air this week, and that is
the subpoena power of your committee expires next Tuesday because the
current legislative session expires next Tuesday.

JOHN WISNIEWSKI, (D) NJ ASSEMBLYMAN: Correct.

KORNACKI: And there is a new speaker who`s coming in, and it`s a
complicated story, but he`s the product of this alliance that Chris
Christie has an informal alliance that Chris Christie has with some sort of
pro-Christi Democrats. So, there had been speculation before all of this
that that new speaker would not extend your subpoena power.

Can you guarantee us this morning that after next Tuesday, you`re still
going to be able to issue subpoenas like this and pursue this
investigation?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, I`ve spoken to the speaker`s staff and I`ve asked them,
as a matter fact yesterday evening, I`ve asked them that on the day we
reorganize, January 14th, our first order of business ought to be to adopt
a resolution just requires 41 votes to the general assembly, to reauthorize
the committee subpoena authority going forward for this upcoming
legislative session.

So, there`s no gap in the ability of the committee to do its work. His
staff said they`d take it under advice that they`d get back to me. I don`t
have an answer as of today.

KORNACKI: Take under -- I can`t imagine the heat he would face from
Democrats if he didn`t reauthorize this and not just from Democrats, from
anybody who has any curiosity about the story.

WISNIEWSKI: I`m confident that the new speaker will do the right thing.
I`ve made a request, but I do think it`s important that there not be a gap
in the committee`s ability to do its work. There`s so much that needs to
be looked at right now with the revelations of Bridget Kelly, Regina, Kevin
O`Dowd, Bill Stepien, the list goes on and on. And to have the committee
stop and pause and then get back to work at a later date would do an
injustice as the entire investigation.

KORNACKI: So, right now, you guys -- you subpoenaed records from Wildstein
and Baroni who we just talked about --

WISNIEWSKI: That`s right.

KORNACKI: And all of these re revelations we`re seeing are the result of
that. Are you, do you have plans to subpoena records from anybody else or
is that on hold until you find out the status of your subpoena authority.

WISNIEWSKI: I don`t want to issue a subpoena today or tomorrow before the
14th because then whoever gets that subpoena will likely run to court and
say the committee`s authority has expired. I don`t need to comply.

KORNACKI: So, you`re waiting until next week to make sure you have the
authority to do this?

WISNIEWSKI: Right. And if we do the resolution on the 14th, we could
issue a subpoena before then and it would continue seamlessly into the new
session. But we need documents from Bridget Kelly, we need documents from
Bill Stepian, from Regina -- I mean, from everybody that you mentioned in
your wheel there.

We need their documents first so we can understand what took place and then
we need to bring them in and ask them questions under oath.

KORNACKI: Let me ask you about David Wildstein, my former boss.

WISNIEWSKI: Sure.

KORNACKI: We showed the clip there. I thought this was an amazing moment
at the end of that hearing when his lawyer said to you, basically, we are
looking our immunity on this. Am I reading this wrong or are they trying
to send you a signal of, hey, there`s stuff we are ready to tell you if you
can give us some protection?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, I think that was a signal. Clearly, the e-mails are
very curious. And he made a point during the hearing to say what was
provided was specifically responsive to our inquiry about the bridge. So,
the reference to the meeting between the governor and David Samson --

KORNACKI: Yes. Let`s talk about that for a minute so people understand
this clearly here. So, David Samson is the chairman, as we say, of the
port authority. There is a reference in the records that David Wildstein
provided to you that a week before this time for some traffic in Fort Lee
e-mail went out, from Bridget Kelly, that a week before that, a meeting was
arranged between Chris Christie and Samson, the chairman of the Port
Authority. And you`re saying Wildstein is trying to tell you that`s
significant?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, they specifically said that we`ve redacted stuff that`s
not significant. So, everything else you have is significant. And what we
don`t have an answer to and we tried to get an answer from Mr. Wildstein is
what is the significance of this reference to setting up a meeting between
the Governor and David Samson.

We don`t know if the meeting happened. If the meeting happened, we don`t
know who else was at the meeting. We don`t know the topic of the meeting.
But I think the committee needs to have that information.

KORNACKI: And do you think -- I just -- watching this -- you know,
Christie was up there on national television calling Bridget Kelly a liar,
ending probably the political career of Bill Stepian. I mean, in
situations like this, maybe when people are put in situations like that, do
you think somebody like that is more likely maybe now to cough something
up, to cooperate?

Does this give you an opportunity now to get revelations from people who`ve
been sort of cast overboard like this?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, you know, the list is growing. And so, you started with
Wildstein and then you went to Baroni, and now, you`ve got Kelly and
Stepien and the list of people being cast overboard, with this with this
interesting caveat, being cast overboard without being asked a single
question. When we talked about Wildstein`s termination and we asked Pat
Foye (ph), did you ask him what happened?

The answer was no. Governor Christie, when he announced that he was
terminating Bridget Kelly, did you ask her what happened? No. It`s very
curious that people are being thrown over or under the bus and nobody is
asking them any questions. I want to know, are they afraid of the answers
they`re going to get.

KORNACKI: Very quickly because we`re short in time here, but looking
through all the documents you`ve looked through, do you have a sense in
your mind of when Chris Christie knew about this?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, I know that his senior staff, Bridget Kelly knew about
it August 13th, but during that week where the traffic jam started and
there was all the press inquiries and there was the attempt to cover it up
and spin it, clearly, his senior staff knew and his senior staff don`t do a
lot of things in this administration without checking in with the governor.

And so, I believe that the governor had some knowledge of what was going on
during that week.

KORNACKI: Yes. No. I mean, that`s the part I`m having trouble with here
is if they knew for four months and he didn`t find out until he was at the
gym this Wednesday. I find that completely impossible to believe. So many
more questions we are all, I think, hoping that the subpoena power gets
reauthorized next week. So, that will be the next key test in all this.

I want to thank New Jersey assemblyman, John, Wisniewski, the chairman of
the transportation committee (ph) and I`m sure this is not the last time
you will be on this show or other shows here. A panel of New Jersey
experts they will join me next to dissect all of this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: Four weeks ago, when I had them all in that office and I said,
if any of you have any information about this that I don`t know, you need
to tell me, Kevin, or Charlie now. That was the last time I raised my
voice in that office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right. Here to talk about all of the latest news from the
Garden State, developments in the story, we have the Democratic state
Senate majority leader, Loretta Weinberg. Her district includes Fort Lee,
the George Washington Bridge -- Blake Zeff, he`s a columnist and politics
editor at Salon.com, Ingrid Reed, she`s a New Jersey political analyst who
now chairs the board of NJSpotlight.com. They`ve done some good work on
the story. It`s an online news service.

And we have Eleanor Clift who`s contributing editor with the "Daily Beast."
So, Senator Weinberg, this is your district. So, I`m going to start with
you on this. The basic claim from Chris Christie here that he`s completely
in the dark until this week seems totally unbelievable -- where do you
believe the truth lies?

LORETTA WEINBERG, (D) NJ SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I would assume that over
four months, the governor never read the newspaper. This story was in our
local press. It was on our local TV at least for three and a half if not
four months. I went to four meetings of the Port Authority personally to
ask each of those men who are commissioners on the Port Authority questions
about this.

And they all looked at me -- I`ve never heard one voice. I wrote a
personal letter to one of those commissioners mid-September. Never got an
answer back. So, this has been in the newspaper. So, the governor finally
found out two days ago that this was a big issue that put thousands of
residents that I represent and that he represents in jeopardy.

And when I just saw in your earlier segment where he said what did I do
wrong to make these people lie to me? The question should be, what did I
do wrong to make these people think that this is appropriate behavior? And
that`s the question that the governor really has to answer.

KORNACKI: And let me just follow up on that with you, though, because the
why did this all happen, not the line to the governor but why did the
traffic thing happen really sort of haunts me in this because the idea of -
- the one thing I kind of bought in what Christie was saying there on
Thursday was, he wasn`t that obsessively concerned with the endorsement of
the mayor of Fort Lee. Do you have an idea, any sense in your mind what
was driving this?

WEINBERG: Yes. Well, you know, part of it is conjecture because we don`t
really know yet. And that haunts me too, Steve, actually the same way.
From the time I first heard about this story, who would have thought that
you would punish any elected official by closing the George Washington
Bridge? It`s the busiest bridge in the world.

It was the week of 9/11. It was the first day of school. I cannot get my
arms around the mentality of anybody or any group of people who sat
together and said, gee, I`ve got an idea. I mean, it`s so bizarre. Look,
Fort Lee is the gateway from New York into New Jersey. The George
Washington Bridge is in Fort Lee.

So, we`ve gone through several months of news reports. We went through a
cover-up done by Bill Baroni. If these people who spent half their time
trying to cover up the story, keep the press in the dark, telling me that
I`m obsessed somehow or that I don`t have -- I have too much time on my
hands to follow up on this story, if they spent half the time trying to get
to the bottom of it, we`d know all the answers.

KORNACKI: Yes. Well, here`s -- Ingrid I want to ask you a little about
the culture of New Jersey politics and the culture of this governor`s
office. We had in some of the initial e-mails that came out there was a
reference to David Samson, the chairman of the Port Authority maybe
retaliating when all this all happened and the New York side of the bridge
was saying this is a disaster, don`t do it.

There was a reference from the New Jersey side, the Christie people saying
he`s retaliating. What did that mean? Well, in this latest trove that
came overnight, we got a clue of what that meant we have -- in the screen.
This is one of the e-mails that David Samson wrote to the New York side of
the bridge as this was playing out, talking about a "Wall Street Journal"
story based on this Foye thing (ph).

"I just read it. It confirms evidence of Foye`s being the leak, stirring
up trouble. This is yet another example of a story we`ve seen it before
where he distances himself from an issue in the press and rides in on a
white horse to save the day. (INAUDIBLE) examples all provided. In this
case, he`s playing in traffic, made a big mistake."

So, here you have the chairman of the Port Authority completely dismissing
the concerns, all of these very valid concerns being raised by the director
on the New York side. Is this a window into this administration? Is this
is a window in New Jersey political culture? What is this telling us?

INGRID REED, NJ POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I don`t think
anyone and probably across the country would think that you could blame a
mayor or a legislator if something goes wrong with huge infrastructure.
You close down an interstate or a bridge. So, it`s sort of curious why
anyone would have ever thought that you could, in effect, hurt somebody in
that scenario.

You can speculate about a lot of these things. What`s really interesting
is that Chris Christie and his administration and administrations before
that have enacted very good reform ethics codes in New Jersey for state
officials and legislators. And this has not come up in this whole
discussion of what is your responsibility if you are working in the public
sector.

You`re doing it for the public, not for yourself. Any self-interest is
considered a conflict. And, the other piece of this is, there`s always the
campaign issue that comes up. And we know that at the federal level, as
well as at the state level, you`re supposed to separate entirely your work
as a public official with your campaign activities.

And somehow, this has not come up as a way of looking at this or for
holding people responsible.

KORNACKI: And there`s clearly a bleeding over that`s taking place here. I
want to broaden this out and talk about this because we have some folks who
are not from New Jersey looking at this from a slightly different angle. I
want to bring them into conversation. Time is flying --

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: -- right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE SEN. BARBARA BUONO, (D) NEW JERSEY: Look, it`s one of two things,
either the governor is lying or he`s incompetent. But my prediction is
that he will be leaving the governor`s office before his term is up, but it
won`t be to run for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That is Barbara Buono who run against Chris Christie last year,
lost that election to him, predicting basically that this will be the end,
not just of his presidential ambitions but of his governorship. A pretty
bold statement there.

I have to say, as I have been trying to make sense of all this, the thing
I`ve said on the air on this network a lot this week is that I think there
might be a gray area that exists between he knew from the beginning, he was
in on it, and he was completely duped and the gray area is willful
ignorance, that he had some sense of it, he put two and two together.

He did not want to ask questions, did not have any curiosity. But I`ll
tell you what, in this dump of documents last night, something really
jumped out at me. We reference this on the top of the show. We can show
you. This is September 13th. This is when Pat Foye from the New York side
of the Port Authority has this memo that says we are breaking potentially
federal and state laws here, among other concerns.

It is forwarded (ph) you can see from Bill Baroni three hours after that
memo goes out it is forwarded to a woman named Regina Egea. Regina Egea
runs the authority`s unit out of the governor`s office for Chris Christie.
She is very close to him. She is his current choice to be his next chief
of staff. So, to believe that Chris Christie was not told about this by
her for four months, that part I`m really having trouble getting my head
around.

So, the willful ignorance thing, I`m even starting to doubt a bit myself.
But Eleanor, I`m just curious, watching this from outside New Jersey,
watching this national political figure embroiled in a national scandal
that has ultra-local root, how do you make sense of what you`re seeing.

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, first of all, a full disclosure, I
have a brother who lives in Summit, New Jersey.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Everyone`s got some relative in New Jersey.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: And watching the cast of characters develop, it also reminds me of
the Iran contra hearings in Washington and they issued booklet (INAUDIBLE)
all of various characters. So, this has the potential to really, you know,
grip the political imagination outside of New Jersey and New York. It`s
abuse of power. And while I think Barbara Buono, some of her language is
strong.

She says the governor runs sort of a paramilitary outfit, and she`s
suggesting he could be impeached. If more information comes out that shows
that he really was in the chain of custody in some way, I mean, I think he
is in serious legal trouble and I think that may be why he didn`t question
any of his staffers. Everybody is getting lawyered up.

So, we`re going to learn a lot more here. You know, this is as much a
psychological exploration as it is after the facts and I come down to one
word. Hubris. I mean, this is the summer leading up to this election
where they are rolling out these huge victories. He said they were going
after all of these local mayors.

He said -- I think he said they got 60 some of them -- 100. I mean, he`s
got that number in his head.

KORNACKI: Right. Right.

CLIFT: And you have Kelly in charge of recruiting all of these mayors.
She`s really irritated maybe at this Fort Lee guy. And it just gets out of
hand. And so, you have to then look at the personal connections between
all of these people. Does it go beyond Stepien and Kelly or does it stop
there?

KORNACKI: And what you`re getting at, too, I think the thing that
everybody think about, too is the old Nixon-McGovern thing where it`s like
you look at Watergate and like, why? You were going to beat George
McGovern by 30 points. It really didn`t matter. But Blake, to Eleanor`s
point on this, there are -- as we`ve seen, there were all these mechanisms
in place now, potentially.

We have the state assembly committee. Now, the chairman told us something
interesting that he`s not sure the subpoena power is going to be extended.
We can get into that in a minute, but the U.S. attorney looking around, the
Senate Commerce Committee looking around. So, a lot of different ways that
more information can come out of this.

BLAKE ZEFF, SALON.COM: Absolutely. And you know, I think it`s important
to differentiate between this scandal and other scandals that we`ve had in
recent American political history. There tends to be kind of been a
tendency to talk about them as if they`re all kind of the same. Mark
Sanford committing infidelity is not the same thing as this, OK?

I`m not glad that he did it and I don`t condone it, but this is very, very
different. This is the government turning on the constituents and putting
lives in danger. It`s an abuse of power like Eleanor said. People`s lives
were put in danger. People who needed emergency assistance vehicles
couldn`t get them in time, potentially.

School kids who might be five years old are waiting in traffic for two and
a half hours. You know, people were late for their jobs, and they have
lost wages as a result for that. This is very serious business. This is
much bigger deal that other people`s scandals who have lost their jobs. I
think it`s time we should be thinking about it in that way.

To get to your question about specifically now that I`m off my soap box
(ph), I can actually get to your question. Another thing that I think we
need to be careful about is when we talk about the investigations is the
standard that we`re talking about. A lot of people are saying, well, if we
can see Christie is directly related to this in the e-mails, then he`s
toast. Well, you`re not going to see that. You know, I work in
governmental offices for a long time --

KORNACKI: See, I might make a bet with you, but OK.

(CROSSTALK)

ZEFF: You may not see that, but I argue you don`t need to. OK?

KORNACKI: Right.

ZEFF: You know, I worked in many governmental offices and campaigns. I
never worked in an office where the culture was such that anybody would
have thought that this would be OK. I assume they`re be careful enough not
to have Chris Christie`s personal e-mails involved in this, but I argued
(ph) it doesn`t matter. This was an office where this was clearly
condoned.

That e-mail that you put up on the screen in the previous segment, the last
sentence was he made a big mistake when they`re talking about Foye getting
all worked up. That tells you everything you need to know about the
culture of this operation and how they act. It`s absolutely reprehensible.

KORNACKI: Yes. And I want to -- we`re going pick that up in the next
block because I know Senator Weinberg, you`ve had some personal experiences
with how this administration deals with people who cross it. So, I want to
talk to you a little bit about that. And I also want to get into the issue
that Chairman Wisniewski raised earlier about is this investigation going
to go away next Tuesday?

Because I thought that was a close question. He left me to some question
that we`ll get into that right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, Senator Weinberg, I want to talk to you about Chris Christie
made the statement on Thursday. He said this kind of thing is the
exception, it`s not the rule. And I know there were a lot of other stories
out there. Some of which you`ve been involved in that suggest no, this
kind of behavior, this kind of culture is the rule for the Christie
administration.

I wonder if you just talk a little bit about your experience in dealing --
if people don`t know this. The most infamous line of Chris Christie`s
governorship was he was talking about you at a press conference and he said
somebody ought to take the bat to Loretta Weinberg. That`s what he said
about you at a press conference.

WEINBERG: Right, which of course is always followed by my age and the fact
that I`m a widow, which I find a little troublesome from time to time but
that`s OK. Yes. In fact, in some ways sort of as I`ve gotten further away
from it, I treat it humorously. I have in my office in Trenton two bats
that are friend gate me (ph), with his name on it and one with my name on
it.

Mine is much larger than his. You`re all welcome to come and visit them.
So -- but it gave you an insight into the way this man operates. There has
been this culture of fear. Look at the mayor of Fort Lee. Even when the
governor came to see him the other day, the first thing on his mind was, I
need an assurance from the governor that he will not wreak any vengeance on
the residents of Portland.

Why should the mayor feel that way? How about the 30-year Port Authority
employee who manages the bridge who told us under oath, in essence, that he
feared for his job.

KORNACKI: Who was scared to answer the questions.

WEINBERG: Yes. Chris Christie didn`t know that. That was all over TV.
What kind of an atmosphere is it? A 30-year professional employee probably
been through heavens knows how many governors and how many executive
directors at the Port Authority was fearful that he was going to lose his
job if he didn`t follow what he knew was completely inappropriate
directions.

KORNACKI: And so, that was at the state assembly hearing on this. And
Ingrid, you know how New Jersey politics works. On Trenton, it works
really well. I wonder what you make of the conversation we had with John
Wisniewski at the start of the show where he said, so next Tuesday, the
subpoena power, when the state assembly committee which has produced all of
these revelations.

It expires this new speaker who is the product of this pro-Christie
alliance comes in. He says he is not sure that this is going to be
extended past next Tuesday. Is that -- do you think there`s a chance that
this power goes away?

REED: I think that under the circumstances, the Democrats are seeing that
also that they`re above the fray, they`re going to do this in the correct
way. They`re going to get to the bottom of it. I don`t think that the
subpoena power will go away. I think it will be reenacted and the new
person really wants to be in charge of making that decision.

But I really think that the democrats are seeing that being organized,
thoughtful, ethical is the way to go. And so, I think they`re deferring to
this new speaker. He`ll come in and he`ll make the decision.

ZEFF: But this question of the subpoenas is a very critical point,
because, you know, these people who are saying -- the Republican saying
Christie acted swiftly and decisively. He did all the right things. No,
he didn`t. He thought they might get away with this. They ran out the
clock until subpoena power was about to run out.

The subpoenas came out and these revelations came out, and then he, you
know, got rid of the two people he absolutely had to politically. There
are always other people involved. We`ll see what he does next.

KORNACKI: All right. We got to take one more break. We`ll be back right
after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: I can`t believe this hour went so fast and there is so much more
I want to ask all of these people about. And I`m really sorry we have to
cut this short and say thank you to New Jersey state senator, Loretta
Weinberg, state political -- Ingrid Reed. Blake and Eleanor are going to
be back a little bit later for some fun.

But tomorrow morning, at the same time, we`re going to have some new
context into Chris Christie`s claim that he was shocked that someone on his
team would lie to him. So, we would be back with another full hour of
news. It will also be fun, so stick around and that is right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We can all agree that professional basketball players are
generally speaking tall, except for Muggsy Bogues. But that was a long
time ago. So, we can forget about him.

Some are taller than others and some are so tall that they make their
teammates look like midgets. This is the way Manute Bol tried to stop
Patrick Ewing from driving to the basket. He makes Ewing pretty small in
that picture I would say. Patrick Ewing is 7 feet tall, by the way.

Manute Bol, he was 7`7". George Morrison (ph) is also 7`7". Yao Ming and
Shawn Bradley, they`re both 7`6". How about Rick Smits, the Dutch man,
7`4". Right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder have someone playing for them
named Hasheem Thabeet who is 7`3".

So, you get the picture. The NBA always have seven-footers, because when a
player is that tall, it really doesn`t matter how old they are or how good
they are. Coaches always find a place for them on the bench for that kind
of wing span.

So, last season, a 7-footer named Jason Collins played center for the
Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. He was reserved, but he was on
their roosters. And he`s had a long career of not scoring that many
points, averaging about 3.6 per game. But he`s always been tall, he`s
always been intimidating, and a team somewhere for his entire career
through last year had always managed to find a space for them.

This year, though, Collins is not playing anymore. Collins is not retired.
It`s simply that no one has offered him a contract, not even one of those
10-day contracts they sometimes offered veterans in the NBA. Do you think
it might have anything to do with this?

He said, "I didn`t set out to be the first openly gay athlete in a major
American sport, but since I am, I`m happy to start the conversation."

Lots of former athletes have come out after leaving their careers in one of
the major team professional leagues. In April, Jason Collins became the
first to do it while still playing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`d say something about
Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a
terrific young man and I told him I couldn`t be prouder of him. You know,
one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we`ve seen in this
country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full
equality, not just partial equality. Not just tolerance, but a recognition
that they`re fully a part of the American family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Is Jason Collins fully a part of the American family, if six
months after coming out when the NBA season started, he no longer has a job
with any team?

At the end of the year, "G.Q." magazine named Collins their game-changer of
the year 2013. But how much of the game really changed?

Former punter for the Minnesota Vikings named Chris Kluwe says he was
released from the team in May for being a gay rights advocate, for his
support of same sex marriage.

He also accused some of his coaches and his general manager of using
homophobic language during team meetings. Vikings say they are
investigating Kluwe`s claims.

This is not to say there aren`t some signs of progress. This week, a major
league soccer player named Robbie Rodgers returned to the pitch. Retired
last February after announcing his gay, but just started playing again for
the Los Angeles Galaxy.

And the women`s team sports don`t seem to have quite the same problem.
There`s Megan Rapinoe and there`s Abby Wambach on the U.S. women soccer
team, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner, she came out before the WNBA
draft last year.

So, why is it that Jason Collins can`t find a job in the NBA and how is it
that football players still make allegations that an NFL locker room is
still an acceptable place to slur someone`s sexuality?

Well, to talk about all of this, for this discussion, I want to welcome
former professional football player Wade Davis, who spent multiple pre-
seasons with the Tennesse Titans and the Seattle Seahawks before coming out
after his retirement. He`s now the executive director of the You Can Play
Project, a group that works to promote equality in sports for LGBT
athletes.

Anita Marks, member of the New York Giants broadcast team and radio host
with NBC Sports. She`s reported for three different NFL teams and knows
the ins and out of locker room culture.

We have Sue Wicks, who`s a long time player in the WNBA and a member of the
woman`s basketball Hall of Fame.

And Thomas Rogers who is no stranger to MSNBC viewers. Thomas Rogers was
my former co-worker at "Salon". And suddenly Thomas Roberts is my co-
worker at MSNBC.

And he`s --

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Nice to be here, Steve.

KORNACKI: Nice to meet you, too, Thomas. And he is taking over the anchor
chair of "WAY TOO EARLY" this coming Monday. And also, he will be enjoying
"MORNING JOE" on a regular basis. So, he will be as I do, he idea of
getting up at 4:30 in the morning.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: This is a first, so I like it.

KORNACKI: With a name like Steve Kornacki, they mess up my name all of the
times, but for different reason. This is because I`m an idiot.

But anyway, welcome to all of you. I appreciate all of you joining us.

I guess I`ll just -- we`ll start with the basic question and, Wade, maybe
I`ll ask this to you. Look at the Jason Collins situation and when he came
out last spring, the headline was it`s the first active male team sport
athlete to come out, except the season was over, he was done then, the new
season started, he hasn`t played.

So that designation doesn`t really fit anymore. I just thought when that
happened that David Stern, who has a really -- the commissioner of the NBA,
who has a really good record on gay rights, was going to find a way to make
this work -- somehow get him signed somewhere. Has it surprised you that
Jason Collins hasn`t been signed?

WADE DAVIS, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER: Yes, in a lot of ways, I think it has.
But I don`t think that Jason Collins, who`s a friend of mine, would want to
be signed by a team just because he`s actually gay. No, he`s an athlete,
too. I think part of the problem is it`s a very nuanced conversation.
There`s a salary cap issue. There`s a luxury tax issue.

He`s 35 years old. He`s been a journeyman his whole career. He`s been
with 12 different teams in and he`s been with 12 different -- I mean, six
different teams in 12 years.

So, I think it`s much more a nuance than we think. I do think that all of
the sports leagues are doing a lot to make their locker rooms more
conducive to having an out gay player.

KORNACKI: Well, Sue, but -- I remember when he came out, I think it was
Mike Pesca, I don`t want to put words to his mouth, but Mike Pesca from NPR
was on the show and he told us that he looked back at players who are Jason
Collins size, who are that all and who are that age and in that relatively
good health, and he had found 16 who were unsigned free agents, all 16 of
them ended up on a team next year. The stat was something like that. If
I`m making this up, I`m sorry. But I`m pretty sure basically there was a
sound statistical basis to expect that somebody like Jason Collins would
get signed by a team.

So, do you think the size of what Wade is talking about, do you think
there`s an element here of teams looking at this and saying, you know, I
don`t know -- we`re not comfortable with him in the locker room, we`re not
comfortable with the press that comes with this? Do you think that there`s
an element of that here?

SUE WICKS, FORMER WNBA PLAYER: He`s definitely a valuable asset and from a
character standpoint, that`s the guy that you want in the locker room and
the courage that he has, and the way he`s respected across the league. So,
maybe there is.

You know, .I don`t know what goes on but I know that there is a lot of
attention that would come with Jason coming to a camp and for a 10-day
contract. That`s 10 days of media that`s taking away from a team that
would sign a veteran like that that probably on a championship run that
wants to steady a boat. That`s what he would bring to it.

So then you have the other thing you`re bringing into the story, the media,
the constant attention to that. And then asking your players to think
about it a little more deeply. What about this? How do you feel about
that? Then, they start thinking about other things other than what they`re
doing and that`s playing basketball and trying to win a championship.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s -- and, Thomas, I mean, from a media standpoint, we
can -- there`s a couple of numbers we can put up on the screen. I think
they`re kind of interesting here. But this was a nationwide survey from
Gallup in February of last year asked, percentage of adult Americans who
identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The number was 3.5
percent. That`s the number who identify, but the right number might be
higher.

But if you take that 3.5 percent number and you apply it to a major male
team sports, you should have 60 gay NFL players, 42 major league baseball,
34 in the NHL, 16 in the NBA and 26 in Major League Soccer. We have right
now zero, zero, zero, one in Major League Soccer.

From the media standpoint I wonder, it`s true, right? If Jason Collins got
signed somewhere or if the major star athlete came out right now, the media
would be all over this story. The press pool for these teams` games would
be flooded and it could in a way create a distraction, couldn`t it?

THOMAS: Well, Robbie Rogers is a great example of somebody who is living
in it right now, although that soccer or European football is not that big
of a story in America. But Jason Collins is a great example of someone who
is a ground breaker and a pioneer. And sometimes I think when it comes to
LGBT issues, as we`ve seen historically in this country, sometimes you only
get to break the ground and then it`s on to somebody else to advance on
your shoulders.

So, Jason might get to break the ground on the issue in the NBA and it`s
going to be up to somebody else. You know, growing up as a gay kid, we
don`t have sports role models that we can talk about in this country that
we looked up to. And so, as a kid we are segregated from being able to
integrate our own confidence in being an athlete with then being a good
person. And those two don`t systematically meet up until much later life.

So, now, that we`ve got a Jason Collins, now that we have a Robby Rogers,
now that we have, I think Thomas Heltzberger (ph) who just came out in
Germany, who`s a retired footballer, now that we have these examples,
they`re leading the charge. They`re clearing the field to allow these hits
from the media to come first for people to get used to it, and then kids
are going to come up with a much different identity and confidence about
how they are an athlete, how they can perform and how their personal life
is something they can be proud of in comparison to their professional life.
They don`t have to be mutually exclusive.

KORNACKI: There was a really interesting story that got some national
attention. It was in "The Houston Chronicle" a couple of weeks and it was
about the 1993 Houston Oilers, though Houston Oilers do not exist anymore.
1993, they were a really good team. They were a crazy team. This is the
year Buddy Ryan who was an assistant coach on the Oilers threw a punch at
the offensive coordinator who just left the Giants under some interesting
circumstances.

But that was -- it was kind of a crazy team. They were a really good team.
But the story that came out in the paper two weeks ago, looking back in a
team, you had players saying that they need to had gay teammates, they knew
this.

This is a quote from a linebacker on the team at the time. He said,
"Listen, those guys that we`re talking about were unbelievable teammates.
And everybody in the locker room, the consensus knew or had an idea that
things were not exactly right but guess what? When they strapped the pads
own and they got in the field, man, we were going to war with these guys
because they were unbelievable."

Now, nobody knows who these two players were, but the story caught some
attention because it`s always -- we`re always looking about, is sports
ready for this. And now, we`re looking back 20 years and we`re saying,
well, the Houston Oilers went 12-4 that year, got upset by the Chiefs in
the first round of playoffs, and had a great season and apparently this was
a total nonissue for them.

Anita, you`ve covered a number of locker rooms, what`s your sense of that
culture?

ANITA MARKS, NY GIANTS BROADCAST TEAM: I have and I`m not going to date
myself, but I`ve covered three mayor NFL teams and I will say that in all
three teams, there were gay athletes in that locker room and I will say
that players in that locker room know who those gay players are, and they
don`t have a problem with them on their team. They don`t have a problem.

They are warriors on Sunday. And they dress together. They had out --
they take on their opponents together and they are team mates.

The problem -- so I really think you hit this on the head. I think the big
problem here, the issue -- not really a problem because I don`t -- I am in
the media. I don`t think it is a problem. But maybe an organization
thinks it`s a problem, and that is, once it becomes public, the way that
the national media will now handle that team, the questions that are going
to be asked and posed in that locker room and how players, teammates are
going to have to address the issue publicly, that`s where I think the
concern is.

But make no doubt about it -- there are more than 60 NFL gay players active
players in the NFL right now. And guys in the locker room, they are
teammates, they know who they are and they don`t have a problem with it.
They don`t have a problem.

KORNACKI: Well, you know, Wade, you`ve been there. We`ve got to fit in a
break here. But I`m going to ask you a little bit about your experiences
in that culture when we come back.

DAVIS: OK.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, Anita was just talking about her experience saying there are
more than 60 gay NFL players within the locker room. This is a known
thing, not necessarily a big deal.

I do want to put -- you know, there was an interesting survey. I don`t
know the scientific value of this because not many people -- not many
athletes were actually surveyed. But ESPN did this in 2012 across the
major sports and they asked opinion onto the U.S. legalized gay marriage
and it was overwhelming in the NHL, overwhelmingly yes when you get that
down to the NFL. It was six in 10 saying yes. It was much smaller in
major baseball, in the NBA, the combine total of about 59 percent there.

So, it suggests there may still be some measure of resistance, because
Wade, I`m wondering, your experiences in an NFL locker room, just what was
it like for you?

DAVIS: To be honest, when I was in the NFL locker rooms, and I was on five
different teams, I rarely heard any type of homophobic language. I think
one of the things that isn`t discussed, a lot of sexist language and the
ways that sexist language really informs homophobia.

But I would say also that one of the big issues that isn`t talk about also
is a lot of internalized homophobia that many LGBT people face, which
really keeps us in the closet, to have to deal with the shame of being gay
and the denial of it, from stuff that we learn us kids. You know, f you`
not out in high school and you`re not out in college, then you`re
definitely not going to be out in the pro-sports league.

So, I think if we start, to really talk about how do we -- how are we
teaching kids what it means to be LGBT and those really -- those narratives
kind of -- they match on to you and they stay with you a long time.

KORNACKI: Well, what was your -- what was your situation -- did your
teammates know about you? Was that -- were you --

DAVIS: I don`t believe -- I think I was a really good liar. So, I don`t
think anyone knew about me. And that was really because I really hated who
I was. You know? And if I didn`t love myself, how can I come out and tell
the world who I am when I don`t really know yet?

And I think when we start to talk more about this issue internalized
homophobia issue, then we`ll see that, hey, a lot of these athletes have
been in playbooks and they really haven`t addressed this idea that they
have so much shame about being gay.

KORNACKI: Well, Sue, you addressed it during your playing career. It was
2001, 2002, somewhere in there, I think you were playing for New York
Liberty at that time.

WICKS: Yes.

KORNACKI: Is that right? What was -- what led you to decide to say it
publicly? Was there a difference pre and post?

WICKS: It was so simple. We have our beat writers all of the time and
they wouldn`t ask you that type of question. But you get outside, someone
from "Time" magazine, they would ask a question like that.

So, it was a simple question. Are you a lesbian? And I just answered yes.
So there was no agenda for me. It was just --

KORNACKI: There was no dramatic press conference.

WICKS: I was 35 at the time. I went through the whole process of being
ashamed of myself and hiding it when I was young. But then I had a long
process of coming to terms with it and it was yes. And you`re standing on
the shoulders of a lot of giants like Martina, someone that came out like
came out when no one came and just said that. So -- and to be in New York
at the time when so many people are fighting and they risk their lives.
For me to lie about that, it was impossible.

KORNACKI: And the culture, we`re talking about men`s teams here. Many
more out-female professional athletes. What is the difference there in the
culture that you think that accounts for that?

WICKS: So, our culture is very small in sports. In very similar, Wade`s
experience in his locker and my experience in our locker room, it is -- it
really comes down to content of character and that`s how you see a person.
You know longer see the color, their religious or political or sexual
orientation. It is who you are and what you bring to the table as an
athlete. It really comes down to character.

And for me, absolutely on the highest level, that`s what happens. But
there`s always people that are, you know, operating on a lower level and it
does come -- Wade, you touched on something that`s so important. It`s
language and how we even just think, language informs our culture and our
culture influences our language.

Homophobic words are so quick and slide out of the mouth that it becomes a
bad thing. And the shame is just one word away from keeping everyone in
the closet. You know, it just happens that quickly.

So, if we think more about how we speak I think the moral courage that
Jason has to say that. You`re right, I hate to say something like he`s the
guy that storms the beach at Normandy, he`s dead. That`s it. But he opens
the way for other people, a little easier path for them to slide down.

ROBERTS: The great thing that Jason Collins has done, there was a picture
you guys had, he spoke at the U.N. I got to moderate that panel. And we
had Martina as a part of that panel, and other out-athletes talking about
homophobia in international sports and the culture that goes along with
that, how to change that.

And this is a world conversation now. That`s the great thing. This is an
international conversation that we`re all having and it`s because of
leaders just like Sue, just like Jason, who have decided that this is about
time. We need to have these conversations because there`s nothing wrong
with Sue being a great role model, there`s nothing wrong with Wade being a
great role model, Jason Collins.

So, for kids that are coming out, they`re growing up with a different
mindset. I now the NFL as we see with the You Can Play Campaign, they have
every team now, every professional team is involved with that organization.
They have made a commitment and an investment to show that homophobia is
not going to work any further going forth with that organization. So I
think that`s a huge step forward for hockey.

KORNACKI: And we see, we put the statistics up there of 92 -- NHL being
much more -- NHL athletes in this poll is being a lot more accepting of gay
marriage. I wonder if there have so many Canadians in the NHL and gay
marriage came to --

DAVIS: And European.

KORNACKI: Yes, and European.

Anita, you knew it was like?

MARKS: Yes, I mean, we opened up this topic talking about why isn`t Jason
Collins on an NBA team. I thought he was going to play on the Brooklyn
Nets because of his relationship with Jason Kidd and Brooklyn, New York, a
great environment for him. It didn`t happen.

And I think another reason why it didn`t happen is because we`re not
talking about a major top starter in the NBA. For example, Kylie Irving,
for example. If a player like that of his magnitude was to come out, the
NBA would have no choice but to still have him be a part of the team.

Whether it`s in the NFL or Major League Baseball, if a star player, I think
that will make the difference. If a star player comes out and a league
does not have really a choice to decide -- well, should he be on a team,
should he not be on a team, an owner, an organization have a decision,
well, should we sign him, should we not.

No, he`s a star player. We need him. We`re going to handle PR, marketing,
we`re going to handle the fact that this is a homosexual player because his
talents and what he h brings to the table outweigh all that we have to
handle in regard to the media and marketing.

ROBERTS: Well, we talk about media though and I think that we`ve seen just
recently the fact that there had been discussions, maybe over the summer in
the NFL of players coming out. And so, we run a risk of this whole witch
hunt kind of thing of potentially scaring off valuable players who are in
the prime of their careers who are not at the point of feeling completely
integrated.

Now, we all know those of us who have gone through it, when we feel
confident about our timing to take on the professional onus for revealing
that we`re gay. Some of us go through that earlier than others. And I
think that for everybody, it`s in their own unique time.

But I do think we run the risk of pulling off witch hunts on certain
players who are very dynamic and can pull a lot of head lines. And then it
forces them into shameful out front statements of "I`m not gay" and we run
a tough --

KORNACKI: Yes. I want to pick up on that after this break, because that
story of the NFL players who supposedly were possibly organizing to come
out last summer and then there was a recent statement from a star NFL
player. We`ll talk about that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: To pick up a little bit on what Thomas was talking about in the
last segment. And, Wade, there was this story a couple of weeks ago, there
were sorts of speculation out there, none of this was ever confirmed or
whatever, but it somehow got out there through the tabloid outlets,
basically, speculation that Aaron Rogers, the star quarterback of the Green
Bay Packers was gay.

He was asked about it on a radio show and he said, "I`m just going to say
I`m not gay." And he added, "I really, really like women. That`s all I
care to say about it."

Some people were thinking about that response and were thinking back I
think to 2002, over 10 years ago when Mike Piazza, the star player with the
New York Mets, basically held a press conference to affirm that he`s not
gay. And some people were sort of saying that -- I feel bad for Aaron
Rogers to get caught up if a rumor like that. But some are comparing that
moment to Mike Piazza and saying, that`s a sign that there`s not been much
progress.

DAVIS: Well, I think one of the big issues is like the speculation of an
athlete`s orientation has become a sport now, right?

So, just the fact that Aaron Rogers had to even answer the question is
inappropriate. Like I think we fail to see the athlete`s humanity
oftentimes. We kind of talk ownership, that there are stars, our
gladiators so we have the right to know everything about them. And that`s
just really not fair. And I think if this really unfair.

ROBERTS: Meanwhile, we have actors like Josh Hutcheson who`s in "The
Hunger Games", we have George Clooney, people like that on a different
level, in a different field of celebrity, who are at the top of their game,
but when they get questioned, they`re like, yes, if you think I am, so
what? I take it as a compliment. There`s nothing wrong with that.

WICKS: James Franco.

ROBERTS: And James Franco and the other. You know, so you get on this --
so if you don`t make it a big deal, then it`s not a big deal, so you kind
of take the oxygen out of it.

KORNACKI: I do, though. So when Jason Collins came out last year, there
was Chris Broussard is a basketball reporter for ESPN. I mean, I just --
last night, I was watching some of the Nets game and there he was
interviewing Jason Kidd during the time. That`s what Chris Broussard is.
So, when this came out, Chris Broussard was one of the top NBA media
personalities.

He said, "Personally, I don`t believe that you can live an openly
homosexual lifestyle, an openly like premarital sex between heterosexuals -
- if you`re opening living that type of lifestyle, then the bible says you
know them by their fruits. It says, you know, that that`s a sin."

He took a lot of heat for that. He tried to walk it back with a subsequent
statement. But I wonder, you know, Anita, if what Broussard was getting at
there was an attitude not all Christians are homophobes. There`s lots of
gay Christians. I`m not trying to say anything like that.

But there`s sort of, I guess, a strain of Christianity that`s still very
sort of hostile towards homosexuality and I wonder how prevalent that is,
you know, in the locker room than teen sports.

MARKS: In the locker rooms, again, that I`ve covered, that I`ve been in, I
haven`t seen it. I mean, yes, there`s fractions -- I mean, there`s bible
study every Thursday. Did you do bible study?

DAVIS: Oh, yes.

MARKS: So players pray together. But again, I`ve been in several locker
rooms and players know who the gay players are. It`s not a problem.

ROBERTS: Right, I heard this the other day --

MARKS: The problem is once it goes public and how the national media and
the fans and how a team and the extra media and PR that they`re going to
have to bring in to handle the situation and how the perception market the
team, money, maybe money being lost, maybe money being made. So, it`s not
a locker room culture.

ROBERTS: But if we look at the Christian principles and we look at, you
know, Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality in the bible, but
there`s some stuff about shellfish, and we do still eat it.

However, we pick and chose and cherry pick what we want to use contextually
as our modern day values. And I heard on our air the other day, I think it
was John Fugelsang, who said, that being gay is natural, hating gay is a
lifestyle choice.

I completely agree with that, because, yes, there`s stuff about
homosexuality in the bible. There`s stuff about heterosexuality in the
bible. So, really dark stuff about heterosexuality in the bible. But
we`ve gotten past that. And now, we are at a different point.

So we`re at a different value point in our culture today, that if we`re
going to cherry pick from the bible, we`ve got to be careful about that.
And especially people in the media are then going to go back and use their
Christianity as a platform to spout hate. That`s just ridiculous.

KORNACKI: The other thing I want to get into a little bit. And, Sue,
before the show I read the story when you said you were a lesbian back in
2002 and at the end of the story it`s said what`s left to be seen is how it
will affect the endorsements for her.

What is the follow-up story today? Did it affect the endorsements for you?

WICKS: Well, when I was doing the interview, when he asked that question,
all I was thinking about, that just ruined the story because we spent two
days doing this great story all about me and basketball and what it went to
me and now I was like now the story just changed, the headline just changed
because of this one facet of who I am.

I don`t think it changed anything for endorsements. I didn`t have a lot of
endorsements. It goes right over to major sports, NFL or basketball --
NBA. The top players have the endorsements. Not the lower level players,
mid players. There`s just a few select players who are branded and sold
out there.

MARKS: When Martina came out, though, she lost a lot of endorsements. It
was Porsche or Mercedes -- there was one car company that stuck by her, one
car company.

DAVIS: I think the climate was a little bit different then.

KORNACKI: Yes. I also think, to Thomas` point that we oftentimes pigeon
hole athletes to being homophobic because of the way athletes treated you
in high school. I was like a huge homophobic bully, right? But I grew up,
right?

I think that we don`t think that athletes, that they mature, that they
become worldly, that they`re sophisticated enough to say, hey, the way that
I was in high school, I`m not that way now. If I see someone who is gay, I
don`t care. Like how are they on the football field. Hence our anthem, if
you can play, then you can play.

KORNACKI: And the other thing is we -- the generation coming up right now,
even years behind me, I look at my cousin and other people in my family who
are just five years younger than me, their culture, it`s just amazing to me
how different the culture is they`re going up, even when it comes to
sports.

Anyway, I want to thank basketball player Sue Wicks, football player, now
LGBT youth advocate Wade Davis, and sideline reporter Anita Marks.

Coming up, Thomas Roberts is sticking around and he`s joining contestant`s
row and two other brainiacs are warming up in the wings.

Another all new, exciting edition of "Up Against the Clock". You`ve been
waiting for it all day. I know. It`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We`ve within digging deep into New Jersey politics this morning,
but tomorrow, we`re going to Arkansas -- the natural state -- with an
exclusive look at an event that is one of the most important events of the
year on the Arkansas political calendar. It has a menu that is equally
unusual.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: For those who have never had the opportunity to try coon, we
asked some coon-noisseurs to tell us about it.

BILL CLINTON, THEN-ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: It`s kind of -- it`s sweeter than
beef or pork, sort of sweet pork.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That`s right, raccoon. That was then-Arkansas Governor Bill
Clinton in 1987, his pre-vegan days apparently, describing what it tastes
like. And since we love local traditions here on UP, we are going to bring
you a first hand account of this year`s Gillett coon supper. It`s
happening tonight. Our team is already on the scene in our exclusive can`t
miss coverage.

We`ll be here tomorrow morning, the senate race this year in that state
could decide control of the chamber. So, we`re going to want to talk about
that top, too. But also raccoon -- a big, big morning show ahead tomorrow.
You will not want to miss it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center USA, it`s time for
"Up Against the Clock."

Originally from Jackson Heights Queens, she`s no stranger to fighting for
her chance to speak as a panelist on the McLaughlin Group. Please welcome
the great Eleanor Clift.

From Jericho, New York, it`s (INAUDIBLE), it`s Blake Zeff.

And from Townsend, Maryland, he`ll soon be the best way to enjoy the
sunrise as host of "WAY TOO EARLY" starting this Monday at 5:30 Eastern,
right here on MSNBC, say hello to Thomas Roberts.

And now, it`s the host of "Up Against the Clock", Steve Kornacki.

KORNACKI: Thank you, Bill Wolff.

Thank you, studio audience. Thank you at home for tuning.

Welcome to another all new edition of "Up Against the Clock". It is nice
to be back in the plaid jacket and away from contestants row. We have a
fresh, new batch of players here with us today.

Eleanor and Blake, we have been waiting for you to join us at the podium.
Blake actually trying to psych out Eleanor. I don`t know if you can see
this at home, with his McLaughlin Group t-shirt at home featuring Eleanor
Clift. So, it`s a psychological tactic there.

And Thomas who got up earlier for us this morning and on Monday, he will be
getting up early on Monday. He begins hosting "WAY TOO EARLY". You can
catch him at 5:30 a.m. here on MSNBC.

A little plug for you right there, Thomas.

ROBERTS: Thank you, sir.

KORNACKI: Good luck with that new schedule.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Moving right along, you`re all familiar with the rules right
now. Three rounds of play, 100 seconds each questions. We`ll get harder
as we go along. We can ring in anytime, but if you will be penalized for
wrong answers.

There are already pushing each other by the same. And there are some
instant bonuses that are scattered throughout these bonuses. I will remind
our life studio audience, please remind absolutely silent during these
rounds.

And so, with that, I will ask you, are you ready?

BLAKE ZEFF, SALON: Yes.

KORNACKI: All right. They are ready. We`ll put 100 seconds on the clock.

One hundred-point round begins with this. These two celebrated their 69th
wedding anniversary this week, the longest marriage -- Thomas.

ROBERTS: It would be President George Bush and Barbara Bush.

KORNACKI: We can accept that. George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, correct.

A hundred-point question. Former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford marked the
third anniversary -- Thomas.

ELEANOR CLIFT, MCLAUGHLIN GROUP: Skydiving.

THOMAS: Jumping out of a plane, sky diving.

KORNACKI: Skydiving is correct, Eleanor just a split second late.

A hundred-point question: in an interview with NBC News on Thursday,
Congressman Paul Ryan said he would give the U.S. a failing grade in its
efforts to --

CLIFT: Poverty.

KORNACKI: Thomas.

ROBERTS: Poverty.

KORNACKI: Eleanor you`re giving him the answers.

A hundred-point question: a report out Thursday showed that for the first
time in history, there are now a majority of U.S. congressmen who are what?

CLIFT: Millionaires.

ZEFF: Millionaires.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: That`s correct, Blake. And, Blake, you`re 100-point instant
bonus. With $464 million net worth this congressman is the wealthiest of
all congressmen --

ZEFF: I know.

CLIFT: Issa.

ZEFF: He has $220 million I read somewhere. Issa.

KORNACKI: Issa is correct, the assist to Eleanor, 100 points.

This European leader canceled most of her European plans after falling on -
-

CLIFT: Merkel.

KORNACKI: Is correct. In the unofficial game, Eleanor is cleaning house
here.

A hundred-point question, before Chris Christie took over the news cycle, a
large part of the United States was at a stand still --

CLIFT: Gates.

ROBERTS: Robert Gates and his new book.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

ROBERTS: Penalize 100 points. I`ll finish the question for Eleanor and
Blake.

A large part of the United States was at a stand still because of this --

CLIFT: Weather.

KORNACKI: Blake?

ZEFF: Polar vortex.

KORNACKI: End of first round. We have Blake and Thomas are tied with 300,
Eleanor officially have zero, unusually about 2,000 points. But if we
tweak in the rules, you`ll be the all-time high scorer.

But we enter the 200-point round. Easy to make this up, Eleanor. Put 100
second on the clock and we will begin the 200-point round with this:

A former Republican who won a seat in Congress as a Democrat -- Thomas.

ROBERTS: Charlie Crist.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll conflict the question -- this Long Island
congresswoman.

Blake?

ZEFF: Carolyn McCarthy.

KORNACKI: I think that might be Blake`s home district.

ZEFF: Bordering.

KORNACKI: Bordering. Oh, Pete King. OK, that`s very different. Two-
hundred-point-question. How many Senate Republicans on Tuesday voted to
kill a -- Blake.

ZEFF: Five.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

CLIFT: Six.

KORNACKI: Thomas.

ROBERTS: Six.

KORNACKI: Eleanor, you got to ring in.

CLIFT: I didn`t hit --

KORNACKI: Two hundred to Thomas.

ROBERTS: I knew it, though.

KORNACKI: Two hundred-point question, Arizona Senator John McCain
suggested this week that he would be open to running for another term in
2016. This would make how many terms in the senate for McCain? We`ll call
time. The correct answer was six.

ROBERTS: I was going to say that.

KORNACKI: Two hundred-point question here: a state of emergency was
declared in nine counties of this state on Thursday after a chemical spill
--

CLIFT: West Virginia.

KORNACKI: Blake?

ZEFF: West Virginia.

KORNACKI: It`s correct.

Two hundred-point question. On Tuesday, President Obama`s former national
security adviser and long time Joe Biden aide Tom Donilon endorsed what
controversial energy project?

ROBERTS: I don`t want to risk it.

KORNACKI: We`ll call time. It`s the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Two hundred point question: disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner
appeared --

ROBERTS: "Alpha House" cameo.

KORNACKI: He appeared on "Alpha House", that`s right.

Two hundred-point question. The ACLU and members of the rap duo Insane
Clown Posse sued the U.S. government this week after the FBI -- they
identified the groups followers as a criminal gang. What is the name of
those followers?

KORNACKI: Eleanor?

CLIFT: I don`t know.

ZEFF: What`s the name of the group?

KORNACKI: Insane Clown Posse. What are their followers called?

We`re going to call time. They`re gigolos. The gigolos is what we were
looking for there.

End of the 200-point round. It is 500 for Blake, 500 for Thomas, Eleanor
yet to officially get on the board. But she has many assists. She leads
the league in assist.

CLIFT: Right.

KORNACKI: The 300-point round where champions are crowned. Put 100
seconds on the clock. Still a chance, Eleanor. Still a chance for
everybody.

We go with this. On Tuesday, voters in Florida`s 14th congressional
district will nominate candidates to replace which long -- Thomas.

CLIFT: Congressman Young.

KORNACKI: Thomas?

ROBERTS: Young.

KORNACKI: Bill Young is correct. Eleanor giving it away.

Three hundred-point question -- expected to announce he is running for
Senate in Virginia next week -- Blake.

ZEFF: Ed Gillespie.

KORNACKI: Ed Gillespie will announce his candidacy in Virginia. That`s
correct.

Three hundred-point question. It was revealed this week that this former
Republican senator who was defeated by a Tea Party challenger in a primary
in 2012 donated $5,000 to Democratic Senate candidate Michelle --

Eleanor?

CLIFT: Richard Lugar.

KORNACKI: Richard Lugar is correct. And, Eleanor, this is an instant
bonus question to double your 300 points. What Democrat went on to capture
Lugar`s seat in the 2012 general election?

CLIFT: Oh, God, what is his name? Murdoch.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. It was Joe Donnelly. No penalty. But 300 points
there for Eleanor.

Three hundred-point question -- not letting ongoing controversy deter him,
Governor Chris Christie will travel to Florida for an RGA event and to
headline a fun raiser for what statewide politician?

Blake?

ZEFF: Governor Rick Scott.

KORNACKI: Governor Rick Scott is correct.

Three-point question: John McCain announced on Twitter yesterday that he
has -- Thomas.

THOMAS: Puppy.

KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll finish a question --

THOMAS: He has a puppy, though. He announced it on Twitter.

KORNACKI: It`s a Chesapeake retriever named Gilley.

What president who McCain also identifies as one of his political heroes
also has a dog of the same breed?

Time. It was Teddy Roosevelt.

Final question. Despite showing a decline in violence for much of 2013, a
federal judge ruled on Monday that this city`s gun ban is unconstitutional.

Call time. It was Chicago. The game ends.

The final score with 1,100 points, Blake is the new winner, Thomas Robert
with 500 points, Eleanor Clift got on the board with 300, although again,
really, it would be 3,000 if she hits the buzzer.

CLIFT: They couldn`t have done it without me.

KORNACKI: Blake Zeff is lucky, McLaughlin Group t-shirt.

Bill Wolff is going to tell you what you`ve won.
ANNOUNCER: As our champion, you`ll have your name printed in exquisite
Sharpie on the coveted "Up Against the Clock" gold cup. And you get to
take it home and show it off to friends, family, and local school children
for exactly one week.

You will you also receive an appearance this coming week on MSNBC`s "THE
CYCLE", airing weekdays, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

You will also get to play in our bonus round for today`s grand prize of $50
gift certificate to Rutt`s Hut in Clifton, New Jersey, serving up the best
franks in the greater Meadowlands area. The relish is on us.

Back to you, Steve.

KORNACKI: Wow, that prize package always inspiring. Blake with the gold
cup. But, Blake, you can win more if you can correctly answer this jackpot
bonus question.

ZEFF: Help me out, Eleanor.

KORNACKI: Here it is. Yes, there`s no phone a friend. Before he became
the center of New Jersey`s bridge-gate scandal, for executing the orders to
close the bridge lanes, David Wildstein spent years working under a
pseudonym on a New Jersey political blog. He took his name, his pseudonym,
from the 36th governor of New Jersey.

Name that governor.

ZEFF: Who is Wally Edge?

KORNACKI: Wally Walter Edge is correct. It`s my boss. What a great
question.

Blake, you have won the grand prize. You have won the $50 certificate to
Rutt`s Hut. Congratulations.

ZEFF: Awesome.

KORNACKI: You become the grand prize winner. What an exciting match we
had. You will also be eligible for upcoming tournament of champions.

And no one leaves empty handed. Eleanor, Thomas, we have for you the home
edition of "Up Against the Clock."

Fun for kids of all ages, the family just enjoy. Have a great --

ROBERTS: My husband just texted me -- don`t come home, you big loser.

KORNACKI: Even with a home edition?

We will back with final thoughts -- they`re yelling in my ear -- right
after this.

Thomas, thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: This New Jersey Chris Christie bridge scandal has turned into a
huge national scandal. There are a lot of moving parts to the story. I
know a lot of people have a lot of questions. If you want to ask me any
questions, well, you can go ahead to our Web site, you`ll do it there.
I`ll be answering as many as I can. We`ll post the answers back in our
site. You have until 11:00 a.m. today to get your questions and submit
them in the "Up on Politics" group at our Web site, UP.MSNBC.com.

We have a few seconds left. I want to find out what our guests know now
that they didn`t know when the week begun.

Eleanor, we`ll start with you.

CLIFT: White House is doing quiet little briefings on deep, deep
background, trying to urge the press to redefine success if he comes up
empty-handed in Congress. Look at the Volcker Rule. We`ll change how Wall
Street operates, look at these things he`s doing with kids around the
country. So, they don`t want us to focus on Congress which may be a
disaster once again.

KORNACKI: Interesting. Interesting behind the scenes take there.

Blake Zeff, the reigning champion, it`s yours.

ZEFF: In the Christie flap, we saw that the aides to the governor in the
Port Authority thought they could get away by using their personal email
accounts, instead of the state government. It turns out if you plan on
something nefarious, subpoenas can still get to your personal e-mail
accounts. We learn that today.

KORNACKI: Yes, you got to use sign language or something in the future. I
don`t know.

Thomas?

ROBERTS: Christie is not the bridge between the Democratic and Republican
Party, that`s for sure. That`s what I learned.

KORNACKI: That`s what he learned.

You also learned I think if you didn`t like getting up at 8:00 a.m., you`re
going to, my God, this new schedule --

ROBERTS: Yes, "WAY TOO EARLY." And "MORNING JOE", I`m going to join that
table with that gang at 5:30 on Monday.

KORNACKI: Monday morning, everybody. Check this out. My thanks to
Eleanor Clift and Blake Zeff. As we said, Thomas Roberts, thanks for
getting UP.

And all of you as we say, weekday early risers, be sure to catch Thomas
this coming Monday. It starts at 5:30 a.m. His debut, very, very early
"WAY TOO EARLY" you might say. But still, not too early for Thomas.

Please join us tomorrow morning. We`ll have new context on Chris
Christie`s claim that he was shock, shock, that someone on his team would
lie to him.

There`s also a chance that that pastry plate might be filled with jerky,
raccoon jerky to be specific. We`ve sent Perry Bacon and the producers to
the wild of Southeast Arkansas to attend the Gillett Coon supper. It`s the
big political event of the year in that state. A must attend for any
politico and you`re not going to see it anywhere else. I can promise you
that.

But coming up next, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" on that traffic jam. Plus,
special guest Bill Nye the Science Guy. Stick around. Melissa`s next.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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