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PoliticsNation, Friday, February 28th, 2014

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February 28, 2014

Guests: Gordon Johnson; Cynthia Tucker, Ed Rendell, Nia-Malika Henderson,
Hillary Transue, Laurene Transue, Robert May

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, caught on tape. The bridge scandal. Nearly six months
after the dangerous traffic jam ordered by people working for Chris
Christie, we`re hearing for the first time the police and emergency calls
from the chaos of those gridlocked streets. These calls were released by
the city of Fort Lee. And in them, we hear people who need paramedics and
police complaining about delays. We hear first responders blocked from
doing their job who don`t understand why they`re there is such a mess
created around the George Washington bridge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if anything happened on the bridge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ll give them a call. I think it`s sun glare.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, 4-5-3, they have a new pattern. They`re testing
new pattern traffic from off the Washington. It`s down to one lane now.
It`s a test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At traffic is a nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10-4. We`re getting calls from irate motorists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re aware the town is a total gridlock, right?


SHARPTON: Total gridlock. A nightmare. And in the middle of all this,
people were facing real-life emergencies all over the affected area. Here
is one 911 emergency call with personal details redacted by the city of
Fort Lee.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medical and personal identification information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know. I just got here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, is she warm when you touch her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medical and personal identification information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And you`re the home health aide?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Hold on one second. Hey, Gary, that`s the
building to our house and the person has chest pains. So we need medics
and the fire department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Let me get an ambulance and an officer
right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, please hurry. Thank you.


SHARPTON: Now, we don`t know if there were delays reaching that particular
woman suffering from chest pains. But these recordings do reveal obvious
frustrations from callers to 911.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911, where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, 911. I`m calling back because I called about
an hour, almost an hour and 15 minutes ago to say my car was stuck on a
highway, and you were going to send a tow truck. And I`m just wondering if
it`s coming.


SHARPTON: Now, in that case, it was just a car in need of a tow. Other
callers complaining about delays were potentially more serious.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. Where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called you. Where are they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medical and personal identification information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. They`re on their way. You only called a
couple of minutes ago. They`re on their way, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but, you know, it`s an emergency. And they are
not still here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I know. They`re on their way.


SHARPTON: Now, remember, there didn`t have to be a traffic jam. None of
this had to happen, but it happened. Though we still don`t know why. All
we know is one month earlier, Christie`s deputy chief of staff Bridget
Kelly sent an e-mail saying, quote, "time for some traffic problems in Fort
Lee. Port authority official David Wildstein wrote back, "got it." And
months after the traffic jam, Governor Christie himself was joking about


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I worked the cones actually, Matt.
Unbeknownst to everybody, I was the guy out there. I actually was the guy
working the cones out there.


SHARPTON: But after hearing those emergency phone calls, it`s clear this
was no laughing matter.

Joining me now is New Jersey assemblyman Gordon Johnson whose district was
affected by the lane closures and "the Washington Post`s" E.J. Dionne.
Thanks for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Assemblyman, what is your reaction on the tapes tonight?

JOHNSON: I`m a former police officer in the city of Inglewood and a former
sheriff in Bergen County. And we -- law enforcement and first responders
take an oath to protect life and property That is our job. The people of
the borough of Fort Lee are used to having a response time of about two or
three minutes when they call for help in Borough Fort Lee.

SHARPTON: Two or three minutes?

JOHNSON: Two or three minutes, usually. And when you have this traffic
chaos that went on there, because of some individuals who abused their
power this the port authority and also in the governor`s inner office, it
just shows that the lack of regard for the importance of first responders.
I mean, you disrespected them, the first responders, disrespected the
people who are there serving, because of some abuse of power.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., you know, the "Associated Press" analyzed the logs of
these tapes. Their report said a traffic jam deliberately orchestrated by
members of governor Chris Christie`s staff appeared not to lead to anyone`s
death or seriously compromise their medical care. That reflects good
fortune, not good planning. It could have been worse. Isn`t that the
point when people are wondering why we stay on this story, the point is
that this traffic jam created unnecessary real danger, and it could have
been much, much worse. And we need to hold people accountable for this.

DIONNE: No, I think that`s right. I mean, thank God no one apparently
died because of this. And that`s a good thing. But you know, the AP had
that story a while ago. I think what these tapes do is they dramatize what
this was about. I mean, you can read it on a sheet of paper. And Lord
knows I worked for newspapers for years. So I think the written word is

But when you hear the urgency in the voices of some of those people, the
anger on the part of some of those people, you really realize this wasn`t
just they caused a traffic jam. Causing a traffic jam has real
consequences. And also the fact that these tapes have now come out gives
you a sense of how this story is going to keep developing. There will be
more information coming out over time. And I think that`s snag is going to
bother Chris Christie in political terms.

SHARPTON: And talking about those tapes and hearing it another emergency
call reports of a missing child Assemblyman.


SHARPTON: Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a possible missing 4-year-old. He`s wearing a
yellow shirt, a blue jacket, blue pants, last seen about ten minutes ago in
the courtyard.


SHARPTON: Missing 4-year-old. Describing what he has on. Now, if you
hear that tape, and remember Bridget Kelly`s e-mails to David Wildstein
during the lane closure, quote"it is wrong that I am smiling? I feel badly
about the kids, I guess." David Wildstein wrote back, they are the
children of Buono voters, meaning Barbara Buono, the Democrat who was
running against Christie.

So I mean, to put this in focus as to why this is a story that needs to be
followed up, you are talking about people working for the government that
are exchanging e-mails, talking about should they feel bad that they don`t
feel about kids while kids are missing. And you have 911 calls discussing
that. This is no mild little matter.

JOHNSON: This is a callous disregard for public safety. That`s what this
is. And as I said before, it`s an abuse of power. It`s well, you`ve seen
it. You`ve heard it, and you`ve read the comments, the texts. Could care
less about people`s lives and about the effect that this traffic chaos
caused for the dedicated men and women in the police and fire and EMS,
trying to protect the people of the borough of Fort Lee and others who were
trying to get across the bridge.

SHARPTON: You know, E.J., on Wednesday night, Governor Christie dismissed
the media coverage as hysteria. Listen to this.


CHRISTIE: We`re going through an internal investigation. All of this
stuff will come out over the appropriate period of time. And I`m not going
give into the hysteria of questions that are given by folks who have
information today that I didn`t have at the time that you`re talking about
why didn`t I ask certain questions. I mean, I didn`t ask the questions
because I didn`t think they needed to be asked.



DIONNE: You know, I think one of the problems all along with this story
and it`s I think the big hole in Governor Christie`s big press conference
is why he didn`t ask more questions earlier. Because it was well-known
that this event happened. It was well-known that this event inconvenienced
lots of people. He was running for reelection. You would think that a
governor running for reelection, many of whose constituents have been badly
inconvenienced and plus these problems succumbed to the four with these
phone calls, you would think he would have had more curiosity over all
those months to get to the bottom of this.

So Governor Christie talks about hysteria now. The reason there is such
interest in this story is all those months went by and he didn`t ask hey,
did anybody on my staff have something to do with this.

SHARPTON: And, you know, again, Assemblyman, and I can`t emphasize enough
the human element here and danger. Listen to this 911 call during the lane
closures. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. Where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, this is the plaza diner in Fort Lee. We have an
older elderly customer that has just fainted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, but they`re conscious now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re conscious, yes, but I think it`s best for you
guys to send over somebody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. We`ll send an ambulance over.


SHARPTON: Now you have an elderly gentleman who has fainted. I know that
diner, and I`m sure you do too in Fort Lee. The diner calls the police.
We`ll send someone over. They`re caught in a gridlock.

JOHNSON: Correct.

SHARPTON: Hysteria. You`d be hysterical if it was your 4-year-old kid
that was missing.

JOHNSON: Correct.

SHARPTON: And there was some interference with possibly getting to finding
that kid or if it was your father or mother that had fainted at the diner
in Fort Lee. There is not a overreaction here. Only by the Grace of God
did we have something more serious to happen.

JOHNSON: We know the importance of response time when it comes to
emergencies. Response time. The police know about it. The fire know
about it. EMS. When you obstruct the traffic, you increase response time,
which frustrates everyone. And then when you find out it was done not
because of some emergency, but because some people abuse their power,
that`s a problem.

SHARPTON: E.J., do you think that must stay on this? We`re getting a lot
of people saying ah, move on.

DIONNE: Well, I think that it`s inevitable that people are going to stay
on this there is an investigation going on. There are lots of other
aspects of this story now. People are asking questions about how Sandy
relief was used. They`re trying to figure out who else in governor
Christie`s operation may have known about this.

So I think it`s inevitable there is a story like this. The press is
supposed to find out if the government has abused power. And that`s what
the press is doing in this story.

SHARPTON: If nothing else, I think people in government ought to know that
they cannot put people in danger for whatever reasons that they did this.

Assembly Gordon Johnson and E.J. Dionne, thank you for your time tonight.
Have a great weekend to both of you.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

DIONNE: You too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama`s year of action. Moments ago, he
wrapped up a speech rallying the Democrats, pushing them to ramp up their
fight for fairness this election year.

Plus, Vice President Joe Biden`s definitely running in this video. But
will he make another run for the White House?

And a judge getting kickbacks for throwing children behind bars. The
scheme detailed in a new documentary. You won`t want to miss it.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Coming up, the campaigner in chief. Just moments ago, President
Obama rallied the Democrats, pushing them to make the fight for fairness
central in this election year. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Moments ago, President Obama wrapped up a combative emotional
speech, rallying fellow Democrats. A big theme, economic fairness. The
president calling out a right wing trickledown theory that is obsessed with
slashing the safety net.


drastically reduce or eliminate the safety net for more people. We`re
seeing that right now played out in the debate about unemployment
insurance. They`ll even shut down the government or threaten the full
faith and credit of our country when they don`t get their way. It`s a
theory we presented in the run-up to the great depression. It`s a theory
they expounded in the run-up to the crisis in 2008. Just because this
theory has a history doesn`t mean it should have a future. It`s time to
retire this theory.


SHARPTON: Americans agree with the president, and that the GOP`s broken
ideology is isolating them on issue after issue. Starting with the basic
question, should the distribution of wealth in America be more even? In a
new poll, a majority of Americans say, yes. Majority of Democrats and
independents say, yes. Everybody says yes, except Republicans.

And on the minimum wage, the same pattern. Only Republicans are raising
it. And on Obamacare, once again, majority of Americans, including
Democrats and independents, say the law is good and should be kept the way
it is or improved. The GOP again is alone in opposition. And yet
Republicans won`t read the writing on the wall, especially when it comes to


Obamacare and get this monkey off the backs of the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The worst example of the abuse of the rule of law has
really been with the president`s health care law.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This country wouldn`t be in this angst that it`s in
today if we had been better obstructionists when they tried to jam
Obamacare at us.


SHARPTON: It`s astounding. The Republican plan is more obstruction and
more attacks on Obama care. It`s an election year strategy that might only
obstruct the GOP from winning votes.

Joining me now is Cynthia Tucker. Thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: Cynthia, next week Republicans are planning a vote targeting the
health care law. For the 50th time, 50 votes, do they want one for each
state or something, Cynthia?

TUCKER: Well, here is the scary thing, Reverend Al. If in fact,
Republicans are able to win the Senate later this year, there might be a
very serious effort to repeal Obamacare because a couple of right wing
senators like Ted Cruz are going to insist on it.

For now, what we see is sort of show votes in the House of Representatives
that are not going anywhere. But if Republicans take the Senate, there
might be a real effort to repeal Obamacare, which as you noted, most
Americans do not want.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, this week Speaker Boehner said the president
isn`t interested in governing. Listen to this.


BOEHNER: You know, back in 2012, the president chose politics over
governing. He took the year off, got little done. And this year I`m
beginning to see the same pattern of behavior. We see more and more that
the president has no interest in doing the big things that he got elected
to do.


SHARPTON: But look at this report from "the Washington Post." Quote,
"Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months
ahead, shelving any big ticket legislation for the rest of the year. So
isn`t it a little bit ironic, Cynthia, that the speaker is attacking the
president for allegedly not being interested in governing?

TUCKER: It`s more than ironic. It`s laughable, Reverend Al. The most
interesting thing than was that Speaker Boehner could keep a straight face
as he said that. The president has several big items on the table,
including immigration reform, which the house refuses to even take a vote

And as far as Obamacare is concerned, they keep claiming that they have a
replacement. They`re going to get all of their members together behind a
replacement. I`ll bet you that when November rolls around, there is no
serious Republican plan to replace Obamacare. They just want to repeal it
and go back to the old system where many people didn`t have any health care
at all.

SHARPTON: Now, this week, the tea party celebrated its five-year
anniversary by attacking the president. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is not a smidgen hardly of constitutional
authority that this man actually exercises. He is outside the bounds of

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: It is easy at times to look at the expansion of
government power, at the lawlessness, and to be demoralized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As this president and this administration continues to
abuse its authority.


SHARPTON: Now, but the truth is, after five years, the tea party is
unpopular even within the GOP. According to a new poll, only 37 percent of
Republicans have a favorable view of the tea party, 37 percent. Just 21
percent of independents share that view, and six percent of Democrats.
Doesn`t it seem like Americans are tired of the tea party ugly attacks,

TUCKER: They are sick of the tea party, but the tea party continues to run
the Republican party. They can`t get away from it. I mean, one of the
speakers that you saw up there just a little while ago was Senator Ted


TUCKER: Up there trying to play indicate the tea party. So yes, the vast
majority of Americans want nothing to do with these folks. But they`re the
very people who are more or less in charge of the Republican party. And
the reason that Americans can`t get anything sane done on immigration, on
the economy, on the minimum wage in any number of other issues that need to
get done.

SHARPTON: Cynthia Tucker, thanks for your time this evening, and have a
great weekend.

TUCKER: You too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, will Joe Biden run or won`t he? Will he wait for
Hillary Clinton to decide? Lots of new buzz tonight.

Plus, did a judge get millions in kickbacks while throwing kids behind
bars? A new documentary exposes this shocking story. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: For weeks, months, years, we`ve heard one thing from the GOP,
repeal and replace Obamacare.


BOEHNER: We want to repeal Obamacare and replace it.

replace Obamacare.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We will repeal and replace Obamacare.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We will repeal and replace Obamacare.

RYAN: We`re going to repeal and replace this entire law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can repeal Obamacare, replace it.

BOEHNER: We need to repeal this law and replace it.


SHARPTON: That was exhausting, even to watch.

OK. We know the Republicans have tried to repeal it. But how is that
whole replace part going? Just this week majority leader Eric Cantor said,
quote, "Obamacare is on borrowed time. We may have an opportunity for an
alternative to be put in place."

They may have an opportunity? They`ll give it the old college try? Maybe
Speaker Boehner has the answer.


BOEHNER: We`re going to continue to go through a lot of ideas. You can
see our members. They`ve introduced 126 different ideas about how to fix
Obamacare, how to replace Obamacare.


SHARPTON: That`s it. Of course that`s it. They just have too many ideas.
The ideas are just whiz big so fast, they don`t know which one to pick. Or
maybe, just maybe, they`re backing away from the plan to replace Obamacare
because Obamacare is working.

This week we learned four million Americans have signed up, and that number
is just going to keep growing and growing.

Did the GOP think we wouldn`t notice they need to repeal their stale old
punch line? Nice try, but replace this. We got you.




PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Absolutely. Let`s do this thing.
Let`s move.


SHARPTON: It`s official. Vice President Biden is running. Well, at least
he is in a new video released by the First Lady`s "Let`s Move" initiative.
But as for 2016, he has people talking about that possible run too. He is
the subject of an extensive cover story in this month`s Politico magazine.
And on two talk show appearances this week, he made it clear a presidential
run is not out of the question.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I was planning on making a major announcement tonight.
But I decided tonight is your night.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, I hope you`ll invite me back.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You haven`t said no?

BIDEN: No I absolutely have not said no. As likely I run as I don`t run.
I just truly haven`t made up my mind.


SHARPTON: He hasn`t made up his mind. But at least one former Obama
official, someone from inside the President`s inner circle had this to say.


Biden loves what he is doing and he doesn`t want to stop. I don`t think
it`s a stretch to believe, as he was telling "The View" that he might
continue to want to do it, even if somebody else named Hillary Clinton


SHARPTON: Even if Hillary runs, the Vice President says that won`t play
into his decision.


BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": You have said that if she runs for
president, you will not run.

BIDEN: No, I haven`t.

WALTERS: Then tell me what you`ve said.

BIDEN: The only reason to run for president of the United States, if you
truly believe you`re better positioned to do what you think is most needed
in the country. So whether she runs or not will not affect my decision.


SHARPTON: So will 2016 mean a matchup between Biden and Clinton? I
wouldn`t rule it out.

Joining me now are Governor Ed Rendell and Nia-Malika Henderson. Thank you
both for coming on the show tonight.



SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, you have been a supporter of Hillary Clinton
in the past. How likely is a Biden-Clinton matchup in 2016?

RENDELL: I`ve also been a supporter of the vice president in the past, and
I think he has done a great job as vice president. But, Reverend, it`s
totally unlikely. And let me tell you why. There are two numbers in "The
Washington Post" poll. Seventy three to 12. That`s democratic voters
nationwide. Joe Biden loves to run and he believes he would be a good
president, but he is also a good politician. And he looks at those numbers
and says to himself I can`t raise money off of those numbers against
Hillary Clinton. Because basically, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the
same givers, have had for years. And when the numbers are 73-12, you tell
me where the givers are going to go.

SHARPTON: But Nia-Malika, Joe Biden has seen those numbers and he is still
talking. He is doing the circuit, talk shows, he is throwing it out there.
Is he trying to change those numbers, or he doesn`t care about those
numbers? What are we seeing here?

HENDERSON: You know, certainly I think he is trying to change those
numbers. And if you read that article and if you know what he has been
doing, he is been sort of privately on meeting with these folks and then
seeing what the lay of the land is there. I think if you look at where
things are now, his big problem is sure, he might have these ambitions to
run for president, but there is no infrastructure in place for him to do
that. He is essentially a party of one, a coalition of one, where as if
you look at what Hillary Clinton has now, she has these huge Super PACs
that are not only raising money, they are out there, encouraging supporters
to get on the bandwagon and essentially draft Hillary into this movement.
And they`re prepared to hand over lists of volunteers to Hillary Clinton
should she decide to run. So Joe Biden just can`t compete with that.

SHARPTON: Now, governor, you know, it appears that Biden is making moves,
though, toward that infrastructure, towards something, according to
Politico, this is. According to them, he has been pushing for a bigger
role in the second term. He has also convened a series of meetings to
discuss his strategy for the next two years. And he has also agreed to
campaign in more than 120 midterm races. It`s a lot, governor.

RENDELL: It is, Rev. And what Joe Biden is doing is very smart. He is
positioning himself by doing all that to be the front-runner, and a strong
front-runner, if Hillary Clinton decides not to run, which I still think is
a distinct possibility.


RENDELL: Because Joe Biden -- if Hillary pass out, he is not going get it
handed to him. I think you`ll see a number of other people contest. So
Joe Biden is building for that eventuality if it occurs. He wants to step
in and assume the front-runner`s role right away. And he is doing exactly
what he should be doing. And he said the best thing he can do is be a good
vice president, and that`s right. He is exactly right.

SHARPTON: You`re nodding, Nia-Malika. You saying Joe Biden is running to
be number one if, in fact, former Secretary Clinton does not run?

HENDERSON: I think that`s exactly right. The people I talked to in his
circle say exactly that. If all, you know, all else fails and Hillary
Clinton does not run, then he would be presumably the front-runner. Now,
if we look historically, vice presidents haven`t done a very -- don`t have
a very good track record. I think only four sitting vice presidents have
been elected to the number one job. And so in that article, you see Biden
grappling with that reality. There are so many passages in there that
describe him as restless. And that`s because often the vice presidency has
been described as nothing but it could be everything.

And he is trying to figure out how to make it everything. But so far he is
looking at those poll numbers certainly. But also looking at Clinton, who
hasn`t made up her mind. The folks I talked to in her circle say she is
legitimately grappling with this decision. And I think for both of these
folks, primarily Hillary Clinton, she`s got to probably make up her mind
at some point, because that would activate a broader plan from Vice
President Biden, and then also any other Democrats out there thinking about

SHARPTON: Governor, you know both Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Biden.
They`re two different type of personalities. Mrs. Clinton is kind of more
laid back, more of an introvert, very, very smart, very studious, very
methodical. Joe Biden, folksy, back-slapper, you know, out there, hungry
for it. They would run two very different type campaigns.

RENDELL: No question. And I would say, Rev, that everyone is introverted
compared to the vice president. But Joe would be a formidable candidate if
Hillary is out of the race, I think Joe Biden is going to get a lot of
support from a lot of Hillary people because he is going to be a formidable
candidate, he is the happy warrior. He can bring the message. And Joe
Biden is easy to underrate, except when you see his skills in operation.
He has been a valuable member of the Obama team.

He`s been the one guy who has related well with the Congress on both sides.
He has led in many different areas. I know when I was governor, he did a
great job leading the stimulus. So it`s easy to underrate Joe Biden, but
you do so at your peril. If Hillary Clinton doesn`t run, I believe Joe
Biden will be our candidate.

SHARPTON: Now, you just heard, Nia-Malika, the governor said Joe Biden
will probably be the candidate if Hillary doesn`t run. But we hear
different names. Is anyone out there that could be a major obstacle to
Biden? Hillary out of the race. Biden is running. Who could stop him?

HENDERSON: You know, there are all sorts of names you hear. Right?
Elizabeth Warren being one. Kristen Gillibrand who is making quite a name
for herself, particularly among women`s groups. Somebody like Amy
Klobuchar, maybe, Martin O`Malley down in Maryland. He`s been a pretty
successful governor. Maybe Brian Schweitzer, who I know just signed on
with your network. Maybe he would won. So, there are a number of people
who could, but we`ll just have to wait and see.

SHARPTON: Well, let me make it clear though that has a right of what they

HENDERSON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And a lot of time not to do it.

RENDELL: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: If he maintains the Senate. So all of this will be day after
tomorrow in politics.

RENDELL: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you both for
your time tonight. Have a great weekend.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

RENDELL: You too, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a judge got kickbacks while putting 3,000 kids
behind bars. We`ll talk to one young woman who was incarcerated.

Plus, First Lady Michelle Obama gets personal about her "Let`s Move"
campaign. And breaks down her mom dance. All of her moves. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: It was a shocking case of judicial corruption. Three thousand
kids, one judge, and a scandal that rocked the nation. A new documentary
"Kids for Cash" looks behind the notorious 2009 scandal. A Pennsylvania
judge had teenagers shackled and sent to juvenile detention for minor
mistakes. Three thousand kids ripped away from their families for over
$2.6 million in kickbacks from companies, building a private juvenile
detention center.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: -- was a no-nonsense zero tolerance judge. He always
jailed kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`re going to experience prison. I`ll be glad to put
you there.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The way he ran the courtroom. (INAUDIBLE) And kids
would have gone away.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There is a mechanism that takes over that keeps kids
in that system.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No one listens because we were kids, there was never
any instance of guilt or innocence. He would lock them up.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A really high number of kids appearing without

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s unbelievable. We`re talk about children.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I wanted them to be scared out of their minds. I don`t
understand how that was a bad thing.


SHARPTON: Three thousand kids, amazing. One of them is Hillary. She was
incarcerated when she was just 14 years old for posting a joking MySpace
page about her assistant principal. That`s it. That`s all she did. But
finally it was Hillary`s mother who fought this injustice and helped expose
this amazing scheme.

Joining me now is Hillary Transue and her mother Laurene and Robert May,
the academy award-winning producer and director of "Kids for Cash." Thank
you all for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Robert, what made you do this documentary?

MAY: You know, I actually live in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where it
happened. And all the other projects that I worked on, worked on from my
offices in New York here. But we were developing another story about kids
and greed and power when the scandal broke in January 2009. And this was
one of those stories, the truth was stranger than fiction. And I was aware
of these judges who were celebrated by the community for many years, didn`t
know them personally. And I was really curious about how they could wake
up one day and perhaps do something so evil.

SHARPTON: But I mean, it`s an unbelievable story when it came out. I
think one of the most gripping moments in the documentary comes during the
judge`s trial. A mother whose son committed suicide went after him outside
the court. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is not a "Cash for Kids" case, and we hope somebody
starts getting the message.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My kid is not here. My kid is not here. He is dead.
Because of him. He ruined my (bleep) life. I`d like him to go to hell and
go there forever. You know what he told everybody in court? They need to
be held accountable for their actions. You need to be. Do you remember
me? Do you remember me? Do you remember my side? He is gone! He shot
himself in the heart. You scumbag! You ruined my life. I hate him. I
hate him. You got to do something with him.


SHARPTON: You ruined my life. Somebody needs to do something with him.
You did. You stood up for your daughter. Tell me what really got you so
determined to find out what was going on here.

advantage over some of the other parents in our county because I did have
some background as a caseworker. So I knew what to expect in court with my
daughter. And I think what really alarmed me is that when I got in there,
the court proceeding and everything involved with it was the complete
opposite, completely different of what it should have been. And that`s
when I first became alarmed.

SHARPTON: Hillary, tell us your story. What was going through your mind
when you were being arrested?

one of my girlfriends when my mother called up and said, do you know
anything about a MySpace page? And I said, yes, from months ago. And then
she was exasperated. She was having this -- I could tell by her face, by
her expressions that she was having a crazy conversation with whoever was
on the phone. She got off the phone and said that was the police. They
want to come down here and arrest you. And I was terrified. And I didn`t
know that I could be arrested for making fun of my vice principal.

SHARPTON: And what happened in court?

LAURENE TRANSUE: Well, we -- when we got to court, we were asked if we had
a lawyer, and I said no. So we were given a blank form to sign, which I
did. And then it was pretty quick. Things happened quickly. We went into
the courtroom. We were not in the courtroom 60 seconds, next thing I knew
the gavel came down. She was adjudicated delinquent, taken out of the
courtroom and put in handcuffs.

SHARPTON: So you were put in handcuffs for a MySpace page.


SHARPTON: And, I mean, this must have been mind-boggling to you.

HILLARY TRANSUE: It was. It was. It was completely surreal. I was
expecting them, you know, someone to come out and say this has all been a
big joke at any second. It was totally surreal. Even as I was being
cuffed in the next room, I could hear my mother`s wailing and pleading, and
the bailiff, who is cuffing me is going look what you did to your mother.
Just a completely shocking, it`s almost like -- you have sort of an out of
body experience. Sort of watch yourself go through this because it
couldn`t be happening to me.

SHARPTON: All of this really, on kids, on minor offenses because they
wanted to make money off these kickbacks of billing this prison. And you
had in the documentary the judge broke his silence. And let`s listen to
what`s had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not this mad judge who was just throwing kids away
and shipping them out and locking them up and putting them in shackles. No
one would ever look at the whole picture. They only wanted to look at a
little bit of the picture. Well, all the media ever focused on was "Cash
for Kids." If that was something that the feds wanted to charge us with,
then bring the charges and we`ll go to trial.


SHARPTON: How do you respond to that, Hillary, as one of the kids?

HILLARY TRANSUE: It`s hard for me to watch him deny that he did anything
wrong to kids. I mean, the money was never one of our concerns. We were
there when he was violating my rights. And that was our big first concern.
And so it`s really hard for me to have him admit to maybe taking the money
and not writing it off on my taxes, maybe that was unethical. But I never
did anything wrong to kids. It`s extremely frustrating that he refuses to
acknowledge what he did.

SHARPTON: Robert, I understand the judge`s daughter saw the film. And
what does she have to say?

MAY: She -- surprise a lot of people, she has empathy for the kids and
families. In fact, tells us stories about how her father was zero tolerant
with them when they were growing up. Told a lot of stories about that,
about his toughness and his tough love attitude he had.

SHARPTON: I suppose that one of the last thing you would have thought you
would have been is an activist of sort. But if it wasn`t for you and your
activism in drilling down, this might still be going on, and children might
still be suffering.

LAURENE TRANSUE: Well, I do feel that we play a part in bringing this
issue to the forefront, and you know, certainly with what happened in
Luzerne County. And I feel good about that, but my concern is that it`s
happening all across the nation. So I think we still need to get the word
out and get other parents and other folks within the system to be more of
an activist and really take a look what is going on, what we`re doing to
our children.

SHARPTON: Thank all of you for being on the show tonight, sharing your
story. And "Kids for Cash" opens in select cities this weekend. You can
go to for details.

Coming up, a great off court play from one of the newest members of the

And the First Lady breaks down what it takes to do a mom dance. You won`t
want to miss it.


SHARPTON: The world is moving forward on gay rights, and so is the world
of sports. Jason Collins made history Sunday, becoming the first openly
gay athlete in a major sports league. Collins wore a spare Jersey that
night, the number 46, because the number he wanted wasn`t ready. Collins
is now wearing the number 98 to honor Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college
student murdered in 1998 for being gay. The tragedy is deeply personal to
Collins. And last night Collins met privately with Shepherd`s family after
game in Denver, and presented the family with a number 98 Jersey to honor
Matthew`s memory. That`s what I can call an all-star performance.


SHARPTON: The role of a First Lady is never easy, even if you`re working
on something that shouldn`t be controversial, like making our kids
healthier. But critics haven`t stopped First Lady Michelle Obama and her
"Let`s Move" campaign and her efforts are paying off. This week we learned
obesity rates for young children dropped 43 percent in the last decade.
"Let`s Move" was a big part of that. But the First Lady isn`t done. On
Tuesday, she announced new restrictions on advertising junk food in
schools. And yesterday she unveiled new nutritional labels, making it
easier for people to understand what is in their food. Mrs. Obama says
it`s personal for her.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: I try to model the behavior that we talk
about all the time. I want my girls to grow up to be strong, healthy young
women who aren`t afraid to exercise, and they see it as fun.


SHARPTON: And she makes sure to have fun too. Just this week, funny man
Will Ferrell helped the First Lady talk to kids about healthy foods. It
was announced she would guest star in the season finale of Amy Poehler`s TV
show "Parks & Recreation." And now she is breaking out the moves in her
famous mom dance.


M. OBAMA: You want to stay low.


M. OBAMA: So if you just sort of move your shoulders, you know, you move
your shoulders. You don`t want to go too far, you know, because if you get
out of the pocket, it gets a little --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Things get crazy.

M. OBAMA: It gets crazy. So keep it all crazy. Stay in the mom dance.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Stay in the mom zone.


SHARPTON: She`s got those moves down, and she`s got the rest of the
country moving too. Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL"
starts right now.


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