Washington Watch Roundtable: Newt’s Rise In The Polls, $1.6 Million Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Paycheck & The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal

Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss Newt Gingrich’s sudden rise in the polls and his $1.6 million paycheck from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Plus the Penn State Child Sexual Abuse Scandal.

MR. MARTIN: New Hampshire poll out.  Newt Gingrich basically tied with Mitt Romney.  In the last debate, Newt talked about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  They were the problems.  But then he got about $300,000 in consulting fees.  Then we come to find out it was almost $2 million.  I think Newt’s going to have a serious credibility problem attacking the housing crisis, when he was one of the reasons why we couldn’t stop those –


MR. MARTIN:  — two companies.

MS. NELSON:  He says he was a “historian.”  Isn’t that what –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  Well – well –

MS. NELSON:  — he called himself?

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — it’s interesting, because –

MS. NELSON:  [Laughs.]

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — he’s in a rhetorical bind right here, because he says that he’s not a registered lobbyist – which, legally and ethically, he is not.  However –

MR. MARTIN:  But we know the game –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — how- —

MR. MARTIN:  — Robert.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — however – however, in order to skate around that – or, skirt around that, he offered “strategic advice” –

MS. NELSON:  Yeah.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — which is almost the same, exact thing –

MS. NELSON:  Exactly.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — for lobbying – except he does not, obviously, pick up the phone and say, “Congressman Such-and-such, vote for this.”

MR. MARTIN:  But here’s the deal –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  The problem –

MR. MARTIN:  — Robert.  You –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — with Newt –

MR. MARTIN:  — don’t have to –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — Gingrich –

MR. MARTIN:  — because they –


MR. MARTIN:  — hire Democrats and Republicans –

OFF CAMERA:  Right.  Right, right.

MR. MARTIN:  — and you know they’re –


MR. MARTIN:  — on the payroll.

OFF CAMERA:  Right, right, right.

MR. MARTIN:  So, you go –

MS. NELSON:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — “Okay, gotcha.”

MS. NELSON:  Right.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  Re- — and let’s remember he’s a former Speaker of the House; so, you know, he’s splitting hairs here, and he needs to be very, very careful – because in many ways, he’s branded as a straight shooter.  He’s branded as someone that’s a stra- — strategic thinker.  However, in especially New Hampshire, which – where they’re very bright voters up there, if, in fact, he walks down this road, he’s going to hang himself.

MR. MARTIN:  He’s got some problems.  He’s got some serious problems.

Speaking of problems, this whole scandal at Penn State – these allegations of sexual molestation, Penn State not doing anything, no- — and wh- — what’s amazing with this story is that you’ll – you see people who’re coming to rush to judgment.  A lot of people have been emailing me, tweeting me, saying the kids involved were Black.  “The New York Times” reports that –

MS. NELSON:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — a lot of the kids were W- — young, White kids.  Exactly, why is the race issue somehow driving a lot of the conversation in this?

DR. WATKINS:  And I think that the race issue is what got the Black community most interested, because when you re- — read the reports, there were a lot of – there was a lot of that code language.  You know, “at-risk youth” –


DR. WATKINS:  — “underprivileged youth” – things that made –

MR. MARTIN:  But a lot of Black –

DR. WATKINS:  — people –

MR. MARTIN:  — folks don’t realize it’s poor White people in Pennsylvania.

DR. WATKINS:  — absolutely.  Absolutely.  That is true.  But you know also one of the – the mother – the mother of one of the victims allegedly spoke to a – a media – media – I don’t even like to mention media takeout – and said that this coach had this fetish for thin, wiry, strong, young, Black males.

MR. MARTIN:  But, see –


MR. MARTIN:  — but, see –

DR. WATKINS:  — that’s what led –

MR. MARTIN:  — the media takeout –

DR. WATKINS:  — to the – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — [crosstalk] –

DR. WATKINS:  — conversation.

MR. MARTIN:  — so, I – I give them no credibility.  But what’s amazing to me, again, though, with[?] their stories, that people were kind of like, “Oh, my God!  These are Black victims.”

And I’m going, “We don’t know that.”

MS. NELSON:  I don’t think it should matter what color –

DR. WATKINS:  Right.

MS. NELSON:  — the victims are.

DR. WATKINS:  It shouldn’t.  It shouldn’t.


MR. TRAYNHAM:  [Crosstalk] — that’s why I’m –

MS. NELSON:  What I think –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — struggling with this – [crosstalk].

MS. NELSON:  — we should all be concerned about –

OFF CAMERA:  Absolutely!

MS. NELSON:  — is that these were young children, and that, allegedly, Joe Paterno and – and that Coach McQueary, who saw this – I’m sorry –

MR. MARTIN:  Mike McQueary —

MS. NELSON:  — Roland.  I’m –

MR. MARTIN:  — the gra- —

MS. NELSON:  — little.

MR. MARTIN:  — who’s the gr- — grad assistant.

MS. NELSON:  I – I’m five-foot-two in stature on a good day, but I woulda tackled him had I seen that in the shower, and I would think most of us would’ve done something immediately to stop the physical danger of the child –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  I – I – look, I’m —

MS. NELSON:  — and then –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — with you –

MS. NELSON:  — reported with –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — but you know what?

MS. NELSON:  — the police.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  But you – Sophia, you’re absolutely 1,000 percent correct; but being from Pennsylvania and – and growing up at or near Penn State – and I hate to say this – football and “Joe Pa” –

MS. NELSON:  No, I get that.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — is – it’s – it’s a religion up there, and –

MS. NELSON:  Well, who cares?

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — and I have seen it even in my own family where it is literally a civil war, rhetorically, between whether or not, you know, Joe Paterno did the right thing or not d- — have done the right thing.

So, you know, it’s interesting to have this conversation, because – i- — it’s interesting to have it from afar, but being from Pennsylvania and growing up near there, it is a heart-wrenching –

MR. MARTIN:  Well, for –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — almost religious –

MR. MARTIN:  — we- — well, I’m – I’m sure some- —

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — cultural –

MR. MARTIN:  — I’m sure somebody in Alabama who loved Bear Bryant — football is king in –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — but –

MR. MARTIN:  — Texas, but doesn’t this speak to, though, when we put institutions –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  — above an innocent child –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  We saw that with the Catholic –

OFF CAMERA:  Here’s –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — Church.

MR. MARTIN:  — absolutely.

OFF CAMERA:  — here’s –

MS. NELSON:  Absolutely.

MR. WILLIAMS:  Well, in – in – I went to University of Richmond, [a] very small school.  We had a football program.  I played in that program.  We had a similar scandal – not quite as horrific on that scale.  But what was interesting about that whole thing is that there were people who were inside the institution – I was one of them, but I did not necessarily agree with this – who felt that the institution needed to be protected –


MR. WILLIAMS:  — despite law breaking, that there were people who were willing to do some things to sort of make this case go away, even though there was an innocent victim and even though we were at a program that nobody cared about.  We certainly didn’t have anywhere near the budget that Penn State had.  We certainly didn’t have anywhere near the recognition, but a culture developed around these sorts –

MR. MARTIN:  A- — and –

MR. WILLIAMS:  — of things.

MR. MARTIN:  — and I – and I want people here to – to understand that this is not just football.  We see this in police departments.  We see this –


MR. MARTIN:  — in people who are insular and protective of institutions.  But what is going to be the lesson, going forward, for these parents who – I mean I’m sorry, guys.  There is no way in hell my child is going to be sleeping in a room with a coach.

MS. NELSON:  I agree.


MR. MARTIN:  I’m sorry.

MS. NELSON:  I agree.

MR. MARTIN:  So, you[‘ve] got parents out there who are so trusting – “Hey, take my kid,” “Take my kid.”


OFF CAMERA:  Well, we were talking about that –

DR. WATKINS:  I was talking to this brother earlier about the fact that I remember when I was a track coach in the inner city, and I remember I was actually shocked at how many parents were just happy that their son had a role model and didn’t properly vet –

MS. NELSON:  Right.

DR. WATKINS:  — to see – I could’ve been –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

DR. WATKINS:  — R. Kelly up in that mug.  You know, I could’ve been –


DR. WATKINS:  — doing anything


MR. TRAYNHAM:  But you know what I think it is?

DR. WATKINS:  — to your child.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  I think it’s desperation.  I think – I think a lot of parents out there are so desperate to have a role model in their kid’s life –

MS. NELSON:  [Crosstalk] – single moms.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — particularly – particularly –

MS. NELSON:  [Crosstalk] – single moms.

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — ex- — exactly – particularly if there isn’t anyone in their life.  So, they’re – I – I guess they’re blinded, unfortunately –

OFF CAMERA:  Well, and –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  — to – to the –

DR. WATKINS:  — a- — and parents need to be educated –

MR. TRAYNHAM:  Absolutely.


MR. MARTIN:  Right.  Joe, final comment.

MR. WILLIAMS:  Just also very quickly, this also speaks a lot to the economic pressure that we’re under now.  Single-parent household – parents – where parents –households where parents have to work long hours.  Their children don’t necessarily get the kind of caretaking and the kind of interaction and the kind of activity that we had when maybe, perhaps, some of us who were growing up in the sixties and seventies did.

MR. MARTIN:  And I[’ve] got to say it again.  This is also what happens when you have fathers who are not there –

OFF CAMERA:  That’s right.

MR. MARTIN:  — in the lives of children, and we’re trying to find some replacements for them, when daddy should be handling his business.


MR. MARTIN:  Before we go, hey, Boyce, we’re going to play a clip of your commitment at Rev. Al Sharpton’s “Measuring the Movement” town hall meeting.  Here’s what you had to say.


DR. WATKINS:  We’re engaging young, Black men through our institute with the Your Black World Coalition to basically teach them to work as hard at academics as they do –

MR. MARTIN:  How many –

DR. WATKINS:  — in sports.

MR. MARTIN:  — are you trying to r- — over the next year, how many are you tr- — how many are you – how many are you trying to recruit?

DR. WATKINS:  Well –

MR. MARTIN:  And so, again, setting a target on – on it.

DR. WATKINS:  — well, so far, we’ve already had about 2,000 people sign up, but we’re going to probably have 20,000 by the end of the year.


MR. MARTIN:  So, Boyce, where – where do you stand with that?

DR. WATKINS:  We’ve got about 3,000 signed up so far, and we’re focusing on – on Black, male athletes.  We created ALARM, the Athlete Liberation Academic Reform Movement, which focuses on teaching African-American males to excel in everything they do – not just athletically, because –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

DR. WATKINS:  — will turn it on on the football field, but turn it off in the classroom.  And we want them to understand that being a Black man means you are excellent in everything you do – not just in sports.

MR. MARTIN:  And, of course, today men[?] like[?] Magic Johnson, they made more money outside of basketball than they did in basketball.

DR. WATKINS:  Exactly.

MR. MARTIN:  Sophia, Boyce, Robert, Joe, we appreciate it.  Thanks a bunch.