tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC January 23, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
>> one last note, out of virginia, the attorney general used to be ken cuccinelli. he devoted a whole section of his campaign website to talk about his affection for virginia's sodomy law. now mark herring announced his office would no longer defend virginia's ban on gay marriage. elections have consequences. sometimes really, really blunt consequences. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> the rnc winter meeting. >> will the ghost of past election defeats haunt their efforts? >> eventually republicans will come around. >> a kinder, gentler brand. >> who is the leader? who is the voice for the
republican party? >> that's a good question. >> speaker boehner maz to get something for the caucus. >> we're here to bring fiscally responsible leadership. >> remember why we're here. we're here to win elections. >> let's talk first about the broad change of strategy. >> wernd not defought on our debt. we should get close to it. >> some folks aren't crazy enough to start that thing all over again. >> he says he's not going to raise it for nothing. >> strategizing for 2014. >> the administration gets its debt limit increase and the american people get their spending cuts. >> will the ghost of past election defeats haunt their efforts? >> we should not default on our debt. we shouldn't even get close to it. >> we'll see if that's really the politics of that.
>> john boehner got more bad news today. no, another one of his house members did not get arrested for buying cocaine. and no, another republican governor did not get indicted today. for john boehner, something worse happened. the secretary of the treasury told him that we are getting very close to hitting the debt ceiling once again. john boehner has enjoyed the most chaotic and least powerful speakership in modern times, mostly because of the debt ceiling, which i think was actually predicted by someone on election night in 2010 when the republicans won back the house of representatives. >> this is a challenge for boehner in the house. he must pass a debt ceiling increase in his republican house of representatives. >> that was way back when most members of congress did not know what the debt ceiling was because it had always been increased routinely and almost without comment and definitely without news media attention. when president obama was last asked about the debt ceiling
just before christmas, he actually said something kind of crazy. >> will you negotiate with house republicans on the debt ceiling? >> you know the answer to this question? no, we're not going to negotiate for congress to do pay bills it has accrued. i've got tot assume that folks aren't crazy enough to start that thing all over again. >> joining me now are washington post columnist e.j.dionne and sam stein, senior politics editor for the huffington post. e.j., i've got to assume folks aren't crazy enough to start that thing all over again. why would anyone assume that? >> well, i think the issue on the table is how many times can a group of politicians keep making the same mistake and not get sued by their supporters for political malpractice. i mean, i truly think that the republicans in the end will not go to the brink. they suffered a lot in the polls
when they shut the government down. they feel like they're on a better trajectory now. i was talking to a knowledgeable democratic staffer. you know all about those, lawrence, who said their feeling is that boehner is putting out soothing words to the tea party that's going to fight because he already turned his back on them on the maury paul ryan deal. but just arguing everything that i just said, paul ryan said they want to go after the so-called insurance company bailouts in obama care. that's a temporary provision to make sure some insurance companies don't get stuck with pools of enrollees who are sicker than the average. so maybe they're going to go to the mat on obama care. i just don't believe they're going to make that mistake
again. >> is the president right to assume that republicans in his words aren't crazy enough to fool around with the debt ceiling again? >> i don't think he's right, but he might be posturing himself, too, right? >> i think what's happening here is that, you know, a bit of sabre rallying. a lot of showmanship. i think at the end, having talked to some knowledgeable stfers myself, the likely conclusion is that you will have a raising of the debt cheeling with some rather ceremonial policy tacked on top. for instance, last time they did it, they put in los angeles that said the irs had to certify people who got subsidies of oba obamacare were deserving of the subsidies. at least the republican party was able to go back to the base and say we got something in exchange. that could be the end result this time around. the only thing that gives me pause to people i talk to on the hill is the timing of this. this is going to happen in late february. we are not through the republican -- or through any of the primary season right now.
the timing is really unfortunate this go around and it could complicate things. >> all right. well, let's listen to the two importantly different things that john boehner has said about this. first of all, let's listen to what he said about it last week. >> we should not default on our debt. we shouldn't get close to it. i would hope the house and the senate would act on a bill to increase the debt limit. what that vehicle is and how it will be unveiled, we'll find out soon enough. >> now, that, of course, sounds pretty close to president obama's position on it. but then today, when he got word from the secretary treasury that this was coming up, boehner's response through his spokesman was this statement. the speaker has said that we should not default on our debt, or even get close to it but --
it's a very big but -- a clean debt limit increase simply won't pass the house, and there you have it, e.j. dionne. the negotiation has begun. >> right. well, i think sam is right, by the way. i think they may well find in the end something relatively symbolic that will allow republicans to say they got something so that second statement will be true. but it won't really contradict the first statement. again, i think there's been a shift in the balance of power among house republicans. only a little over 60 republicans voted against the budget. i think a lot of the middle ground republicans who are afraid of primary, and i think that means there will probably be more than 62 votes against the debt kreel, but enough of them looked at the damage done and said they are going to be able to look to the general election and say we're on a
pretty good path now, why would we wreck it? >> i think there's a general sense among republican leadership that the biggest wounds they could suffer are self-inflicted wounds at this jing chur, that the president is low in the popularity polls mainly because of the embarrassing roll outout of the affordable care act. and then why mess with a good thing? why disrupt what seems like a very promising political trajectory. that could overwhelm the entire process. they could go to the caucus and say listen, we need to think big picture here. but if history is any guide, there will be a self-inflicted wound. it might not come from the house. it could come from at the time cruz, for instance, what he did in the past, which is go back to the lower chamber, the house chamber and say you guys need to stand firm on this. there are a lot of variables out there. it's impossible to know how this thing plays out at this moment. >> i think what's dangerous about what ryan said is if it gets too entangled into obamacare, it's a theological position of the republican party that they've got to keep pushing
to repeal obamacare. so if it looks at all like a republican is, quote, selling out on that, it becomes harder to do what is the sensible thing for them which is pass a debt ceiling increase. >> let's go back to what the president said when he was asked about this before christmas. will you negotiate with republicans on the debt kreeling? and he said you know the answer to this question. no, we're not going to negotiate. sam, that could not be clearer. is the president going to have to move a little bit? in that statement, i don't see what movement he has. >> this has been the position of the white house ever since the disastrous grand bargain negotiations in 2011. the white house basically said we're not going to do this again. the mere act, the sheer act of negotiating itself is dangerous and damaging potentially to the economy. we're not going to partake in this. and to their credit, as a political tactic, it's worked.
i know we shut down the government in october and then we led up to the debt ceiling lift towards the middle and end of that month. but they got a relatively clean debt ceiling hike out of it. and the same thing happened at the beginning of 2013. so i guess the white house feels pretty emboldened by this. in the past standoffs it's been the republican party that's shouldered the majority of the blame. >> it absolutely should not be negotiated. i'm glad to hear the president saying it in no uncertain terms. i think he absolutely has the power to not negotiate. e.j., do you expect him to hold to that position? >> i do, for the reason sam said. summer of 2011 was a real disaster for the president. he ended up looking very weak out of the process. he agreed to this terrible sequester, which is still crimping his ability to do a lot of the things he wants to do. i think he'll hold to that.
i don't think that rules out some symbolic gesture that some democrats would work out with republicans. but if for some reason boehner actually backs up that second statement you read earlier with something substantive, then we could face a real problem. it's crazy, i suppose ever to predict the republicans will simply go in a straight line towards the sensible thing. but i think in this case, because they see the politics running their way right now, they might actually do it. >> the key question is who goes first? does the house produce a bill with their desired changes in it? and can that pass a house? or does the senate try to pass a kleenex tension and put pressure on the house? i'm not sure the democrats have settled on a legislative tactic. and i'm not sure which one will be more effectual. >> i think for the democrats in this situation, i don't see that they have much alternative other than having the senate at least
try to go first. that's the only way they can have strategic place to execute. the republicans have finally chosen someone for that job. i want to put up a list of people who have had that job during the obama presidency. all the most prominent republican of the time, the first one, bobby jindhal 2009. 2010, bob mcdonnell, of course. 2011, representative paul ryan went out there and did it. then 2012, mitch daniels. last time the unforgettable and thirsty marco rubio. these are big stars. and now what that list indicates if you do this, you have an equal chance of being selected as the next losing vice president or being indicted. the honor has gone to congresswoman cathy
mcmorris-rodgers we discovered this afternoon. this is not someone that america is very familiar with. >> and i think that's what they want. first of all, they have a big problem with women voters made a little worse today by that mike huckabee story you're going to talk about later in the show. and so putting up a woman fairly prominent in the leadership is a good idea. and she has no enemies and it suggests that they don't want a fire breathing speech. it will be very interesting to see what she does with this opportunity. what we do know is she's not going to grab that glass of water. no one is ever going to do that again. >> you have to feel bad for her. the madden curse for giving this speech, i guess she'll have to lose her next re-election and it was a nice political career, but it ends now. coming up, another day of subpoenas into the investigation
of chris christie's administration. and mike huckabee is the latest republican to say something very strange about women and birth control. and in the rewrite, mitch mcconnell's new campaign strategy is actually to be for socialized medicine. kentucky style. that's coming up. [ male announcer ] this is the story of the dusty basement at 1406 35th street the old dining table at 25th and hoffman. ...and the little room above the strip mall off roble avenue. ♪ this magic moment it is the story of where every great idea begins. and of those who believed they had the power to do more. dell is honored to be part of some of the world's great stories. that began much the same way ours did. in a little dorm room -- 2713. ♪ this magic moment ♪ [ car alarm chirps ]
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can. >> if you think listening to a state of the union address can be boring, imagine how boring it can be to listen to a state of the state address. wisconsin governor scott walker's state of the state address last night, a state assembly woman wrote this on facebook. omg, this speech is so full of s-h-dot-dot, i wish i could get up and walk out. she later wrote, bottom line, the rich get richer and the poor and middle class continue to get
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related possibly to the bridge closures. the bridge lane closures. two lawyers for the political organizations have confirmed the subpoenas to nbc news. joining me now, steve kornacki who is the host of msnbc's "up with steve kornacki. what is the significance of these subpoenas going out to the political campaign? this seems to really be a broadening of the scope of the investigation. >> yes. so the basic story here is we knew the u.s. attorney's office was looking into the allegations from the mayor of hoboken about whether the christie administration linked sandy aid with a development project in her town. now this is the first indication, the first confirmation really that the u.s. attorney's office is also looking at the question of the george washington bridge lane closure scandal. so it is the u.s. attorney getting involved in that. and the immediate question that raises is this legislative committee, it's now a joint committee in the new jersey state legislature, the senate
and assembly that sent out, last week they sent out about 20 subpoenas. a few weeks ago, they got back subpoenaed information from david wildstein and david baroni. the immediate question of the u.s. attorney getting involved in this raises, will that legislative committee survive. will the subpoenas now be answered? will the public information we've all been waiting for, will that ever actually become public. if the u.s. attorney gets fully involved in this case now, there's a lot of talk in trenton that paul fishman is his name, that he will essentially politely request that the legislature step back and let him do his job and that they would only get in the way with their subpoenas. if that happens, this process will play out in a much less public way than it's been playing out. you know, we were privy to all these e-mails and texts from wildstein and baroni.
if they shut down the committee in the short term, at least, we won't see all that. >> so the good news for the christie administration is if the u.s. attorney does come in and in effect big foot the committees, and we've seen this in other examples of this kind of dual investigations at other times. once the federal prosecutors move in, the legislatures tend to step back and let them do their work. if that happens, things will probably get much quieter on this front. that's the good news for the christie administration. the really, really bad news is the u.s. attorney is not empowered to ask questions about the george washington bridge just out of curiosity. the u.s. attorney must be pursuing a crime. there must be on the horizon of those subpoenas a crime that they think 4r -- could fall within this material. >> well, yeah. what's interesting here, too, is -- the question that everybody is asking sort of in trenton about all of this, if the u.s. attorney, if paul
fishman takes over, he's chris christie's successor as u.s. attorney. chris christie used the position to prosecute cases exactly like this. in fact, it was basically ten years ago, almost to the day that chris christie has u.s. attorney subpoenaed the democratic state committee. he was subpoenaing governor jim mcgreevey's political operation. now chris christie is basically on the receiving end of that. the questions about paul fishman, though, are he's very, very different than chris christie. chris christie really loved the big public corruption cases. he prosecuted them aggressively. he prosecuted them in abundance. he prosecuted them in a way where the information would frequently find its way into the press. little, devastating damning details would leak out. no one thinks paul fishman runs that kind of office. he also doesn't have much experience with the big corruption cases. and the x factor everyone wonders, too, is how many people in fishman's office were there
when christie was u.s. attorney as well and how does that affect it if he takes over. >> when you have a situation like this where you're a relatively obscure u.s. attorney because nothing really big in a national way has come your way, when that happens to that u.s. attorney, most of them usually react from the perspective of, i have to absolutely leave no stone unturned. the thing that i want to be able to say at the enof this is that i looked at absolutely everything so that they can either confirm and prove suspicions or eliminate suspicions. >> right, absolutely. and that's -- look, the -- either you're in or you're not in, is sort of the question from the u.s. attorney's standpoint. i will say it's been notable. like you said, he was a short-term, long-term distinction here. it's been notable to listen to christie's staunchest defenders in new jersey. their spin for the last week has basically been, they have trying
to make the legislative investigations seem like a partisan witch hunt. it's too partisan, too much controlled by wisniewski. and saying look, we have one of christie's defenders on the show over the weekend. he was saying it over and over again on our air. he was saying i don't want politicians looking into these. these are serious matters that should be looked at by law enforcement. so they have actually -- christie and his defenders have wanted this going into the u.s. attorney's office. the u.s. attorney doesn't get any more serious than that. that could spell serious trouble. >> the one distinction i would make siure is these defenders would say and want that. but i would be almost equally as sure that chris christie himself did not want to see this go into the attorney general's office. because he knows exactly what the powers are in there. and, you know, guilty or innocent, you don't ever want to end up in a u.s. attorney investigation.
i think he would much rather be tangling with the questions of, will i submit to this political subpoena that i just got from that legislative committee? i think he would rather be in that posture. i think he better than anyone else in his office knows that this tradeoff of getting some sort of public rest from the noise through the u.s. attorney isn't worth it compared to actually having fbi agents on your case. >> i do know that chris christie would not want this going into the u.s. attorney chris christie's office, especially the way he tried these cases. "up with steve kornacki" it is mandatory viewing for all of us. coming up, preacher turned politician mike huckabee has a new favorite word he's using in his speeches now. libido.
later, virginia goes from a right wing, intensely anti-marriage equality attorney general to a new and very different attorney general who announced today that he will not defend the state's ban on marriage equality. virginia attorney general mark herring joins me tonight. i always say be the man with the plan but with less energy, moodiness, and a low sex drive, i had to do something. i saw my doctor. a blood test showed it was low testosterone, not age. we talked about axiron the only underarm low t treatment that can restore t levels to normal in about two weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications. serious side effects could include increased risk of prostate cancer, worsening prostate symptoms,
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without the help of the government, then so be it. >> wow. mike huckabee really knows how to get cecile richards' attention. joining me now is cecile richards' joy reid. i'm not quite sure what mike hub bee just said, but i'm sure you have a reaction to it. >> i heard what he said. i'm not exactly sure what he meant, but he must have missed whatever classes they were giving on how to talk to women. but i think at the end of the day, what's more important, lawrence, is not what he said, but the fact of what he believes. and that's that women don't deserve access to birth control. but i also think it's an illustration of why politicians should not be making decisions about women's health care. he clearly doesn't understand how birth control works. >> joy reid, just as it seems, as it might seem to quiet down on the republican front, one of them will pop-up and say something nutty about either abortion rights or birth
control, which is just an area of zero controversy, birth control. and somehow they manage to find a spot to create a controversy. >> i think anytime your argument involves the phrase uncle sugar, you probably already lost the argument. what's interesting is this really assertive reasserting of the religious right and sort of imposing itself on the vortex of leadership that really exists in conservatism right now. i think there is sort of a mad scramble for who is going to decide the direction of the republican party absence sort of real, official credible leadership. the house is in disarray constantly and can't get stuff done. the religious right, used to really be the strong part of the party really asserting itself and saying we're going to turn what seems to be a negative into a strength. we're going to proactively argue our anti-choice position and find a way to sell it. the problem is their messengers are people like mike huckabee and he's not credible with the women he needs to bring in,
which are really single women and younger women. >> lest anyone think it was some sort of slip of the tongue today. he actually lersed this line on his weekend program on fox news this past weekend. so this was very much premeditat premeditated. let's listen to how he did it this weekend. >> for democrats who reduce women for beggers for cheep government-funded birth control is demeaning to the women that i know who are far more complicated than their libido and the management of their reproductive system. >> he really loves getting this word libido in there now. that was right in his teleprompter, completely premeditated. >> it's extraordinary, first of all, as you said, lawrence, birth control is the most common form of medicine women use. 99% of women in america use birth control. for us, this isn't a controversial issue. it's a health care issue. it's an economic issue. and at planned parenthood, women
all across the country have been fighting for equity afor all these years, to finally get birth control covered. for huckabee to talk about it as if it's some sort of strange or extreme measure is amazing. the fact is we have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of any western industrialized country, far more than we need. birth control is something every woman needs, and they need it not only to plan their pregnancies, many women use it for other medical reasons as well, a fact that seems to have escaped mr. huckabee. >> this speech comes on the same day that harvard's kennedy school of government, the institute of politics has announced that mike huckabee will be one of its visiting fellows this spring. where i'm sure the students will have some questions for him. i just want to play a little bit more of what huckabee said today to his republican audience. let's listen to this. >> i think it's time republicans no longer accept listening to the democrats talk about a war
on women. because the fact is the republicans don't have a war on women. they have a war for women. for them to be empowered to be something other than victims of their gender. >> joy reid, are you appreciative of the war for you that he just identified? >> if anyone is going to fight for me? i think uncle sugar is who i pretty much want on my side, lawrence. >> the reality is, if you unpack what they're doing at this point, you're seeing the religious right in the republican party move from what really is in terms of polls maybe a sounder ground on the issue of abortion which there is real ambivalence .among the public and a real closer polling, even among women on the questions regarding the various sort of stages and the various issues surrounding abortion to birth control, which is something that is not controversial to almost any woman alive. and then the way that mike huckabee is arguing it,
essentially saying that women are begging the government for birth control because they are outover control sexually, that is actually the anti-argument for fighting for women. he himself is reducing women to this libidinous beggers who are going around jonesing for birth control billings. if you describe women that way you can't then turn around and say you're fighting for women. you're literally doing the opposite. he's just insulted potential female voter the republican party wants. and again, the only people left really out there to bring across to the republican party are really younger and single women. and they're going to be absolutely repelled by an argument that has now gone from abortion to birth control. it makes no political sense. >> and cecile, obviously when you talk about birth control and birth control pills specifically. you are talking to men.
men, the reason we have birth control pills is because we have men that we wouldn't bother with them if men were trying to prevent something that men can actually effectuate. and men are the huge beneficiaries of those bills along with women. and so the ail natilienation th get into with the voter population when you start talking about, there's something wrong birth control pills and we as a republican party have an issue with that, you're not just alienating women there. >> you're absolutely right. men are as supportive of birth control as women. men like to plan their families as well as women. the best news i've had, that i heard on this show is that mr. huckabee is going to be going to harvard. maybe he can take an anatomy class, something on how women's reproductive organs work because he's missing a lot of information. >> the republicans have got a
solution. they have a way to appeal to that women voter. they've announced that a woman will give the response to president obama's state of the union address. a woman the country has never heard of. cathy mcmorris-rodgers and she's going to be in there tuesday night. once again, that seems to be the republican method on this. they think oh, we've got a problem with women voters, how about this, we put a woman up to the microphone. >> right. and the party that sclamclaims they don't support affirmative action and quotas, the women they have a problem with african-americans, they roll out a black guy. the minute they have a problem with women, they roll out a woman. it's the optics they're trying to effect rather nan the policy. the woman they're rolling out, she has a 100% pro life record. she's on the other side of most women on the issue. especially when the gettable voters are younger women. and she has a 98% conservative union rating. she meets the minimal criteria.
but marco rubio and other nie candidates put forward, you have a person with the same policies that drive people away from the republican party, but you just put them in the guise, i guess, of the demographic that you want to attract. that is not actually the way you attract new dem graphs to your party. >> joy reid and cecile richards, thanks for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> ken cuccinelli says gay people are destroying their own souls. his replacement as attorney general says he will not defend virginia's ban on marriage equality. virginia's new attorney general will join me. and mitch mcconnell is so afraid of losing his re-election campaign, his attack ads against obamacare while running ads in favor of his own intervention in the health care market that was his idea. that's next in "the rewrite." ♪ stacy's mom has got it goin' on ♪
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>> four years ago, liberals wanted obama care but kentucky said no. >> that was mitch mcconnell's voice you just heard in that radio ad. but obama care became the law of the land despite kentucky's oppositi opposition. and now kentucky is saying yes. 116,152 people have signed up for health care through the kentucky state exchange.
mitch mcconnell is now so worried about his reelection that he is running television ads in january. something confident incumbent senators don't normally do until after labor day. and what is mitch mcconnell's big issue in his tv ads? socialized medicine. but this time, he's in favor of it. >> these days i don't have much of a voice. but i and so many kentuckyians have been helped by someone with a strong voice. mitch mcconnell. i worked at the paducah plant, vital to our national security. i was exposed to radiation. and like many ovthers, i got cancer. but mitch mcconnell stepped in and helped create cancer screening programs and provide compensation for sick workers. he knocked down walls for us. he helped save people's lives. mitch mcconnell gives a voice to
kentucky's working families. i know firsthand he cares. mitch gets results for kentucky that no one else can. that's why i like to raise my voice, because we're represented by a man who's fought hard for us. and always will. >> i'm mitch mcconnell and i approve this message. >> what a tragic story. how could you not feel sorry for the fellow in that ad. and what it comes down to is if you worked in a plant in kentucky that mitch mcconnell allowed to operate unsafely for decades and you get cancer, mitch mcconnell is there for you. in 1999 after a scathing washington post expose of the conditions at that plant, mitch mcconnell helped push a bill that provided $150,000 lump sum payment to workers at that plant who developed cancer. so he actually flew to kentucky
to provide the very first check to the family of a man who had already died of cancer. the money did not come close to covering the man's medical bills, but his family appreciated mcconnell's public gesture. the man's daughter said, it was recognition that daddy had done good. the health care entitlement, which is what it is, allowed plant workers over age 50 to get free body scans and other free health care services as well they should. and so mitch mcconnell does believe that the government should provide free health care and free cancer screening. he believes cancer victims should not be left to fend for themselves in the harsh health care marketplace. mitch mcconnell completely agrees with president obama on that. but the senator isn't quite as ambitious as the president is about helping cancer victims. he wanted to help some cancer
victi victims dangerously exposed to radiation in a plant. obama is out to help ul cancer victims. and he's out to help everyone else in america have bet e, more informed, and more affordable access to sensible health insurance and health care services. and president obama didn't have to be politically embarrassed into taking that position by an expose in "the washington post." [ male announcer ] if you can clear a crowd but not your nasal congestion, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec-d®. powerful relief of nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms -- all in one pill. zyrtec-d®. at the pharmacy counter.
dell is honored to be part of some of the world's great stories. that began much the same way ours did. in a little dorm room -- 2713. ♪ this magic moment ♪ and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early, he'll find some good people to help guide him, and he'll set money aside from his first day of work to his last, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. afghanistan, in 2009. orbiting the moon in 1971. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation.
>> good evening from york. i'm chris hayes. in the past 24 hours we have learned federal authorities on two different fronts have ratcheted up their inquiry into the administration of governor chris christie for new jersey. legal stakes climbing ever higher the explosive charges for mayor don zimmer, she was approached by two separate christie officials saying that sandy money would not flow to hoboken unless she expedited a private development. development for a developer who had hired the law firm of