Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  82 minutes
Date:  2006
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10 - 12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Street Fight

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Tells the gripping story of the race for mayor of Newark, N.J., where elections are won and lost in the streets.

Street Fight

STREET FIGHT chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, NJ between Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics.

Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old-style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; 'disloyal' businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night.

Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.

The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and -- in a surprising twist -- race. Both Booker and James are African-American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League educated Booker of not being 'really black' it forces voters to examine how we define race in this country. 'We tell our children to get educated,' one Newarker says, 'and when they do, we call them white. What kind of a message does that send?'

STREET FIGHT tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin-doctors, media consultants, or photo ops. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets.

'It's a hard fast film that needs airing now... Street Fight is briskly edited, imaginatively scored by James Baxter and vastly entertaining... Even if you know the outcome, Street Fight will keep you on the edge of your seat.' Variety

'Engrossing...Pulls no punches.' The New York Times

'Extraordinary...Marshall Curry...has hit the documentary jackpot.' David Denby, The New Yorker

'Unpretentious and absorbing...Street Fight has enough cultural crosscurrents to fill out a novel.' Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

'***1/2... a telling behind-the-scenes chronicle... Highly recommended.' Video Librarian's Best Documentaries of the Year List

'Highly Recommended. Curry constructs a portrait of a unique and complicated political landscape in a way that conveys both the importance and the intensity of political engagement... expertly conveys the stakes at hand... [Street Fight] crystallizes how such tactics cripple the discourse needed to address issues that affect too many African American communities, such as poverty and corruption... although Curry presents many things that are wrong with the corrupt leadership in Newark, he never loses focus of the hope that many of its residents have for their community... This riveting film would be appropriate in any library collection. Street Fight offers dramatic tension that parallels even the best feature films about political intrigue, and as such would make a great addition to public libraries and curriculum-based collections alike. It would provide an engaging centerpiece for discussions concerning race issues, politics, and community development.' Meghann Matwichuk, Morris Library, University of Delaware for Educational Media Reviews Online

'Riveting drama.' Curry is one of '25 New Faces of Independent Film, 2005' Filmmaker Magazine

'Curry's film is genuinely smart and rousing.' New York Newsday

'Marshall Curry's Street Fight packs a wallop...riveting...' Indiewire

'This is a fascinating story... A wonderful documentary.' Tavis Smiley Show, PBS

'You won't wanna' miss Street Fight' ABC News: The Note

'A riveting expose!' Time Out

'Street Fight, which took the [Hot Docs] festival's prize for Best International Documentary, avoids dryness entirely... It was the most riveting film I saw in the entire festival, in and out of competition.' FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics)

'Street Fight is a real life Spike Lee movie (that would be the best work of Spike's career...) A more complex version of Rocky... It is the rare documentary that commands-- not demands-- that you take action.' David Poland's The Hot Button

'Riveting documentary, in which an idealistic reformer comes to grips with machine politics and dirty tricks.' The New York Daily News

'It was exceptional.' Crooks and Liars

'Perhaps the most significant Tribeca Film Festival award is that given by the audience. And so it is time to pay attention to Street Fight... [Curry] couldn't have dreamed up a more compelling subject.' The New York Sun

'An incredible film by Marshall Curry... entertaining.' Bloomberg News

'Engrossing nonfiction -- a grimly funny account of bloody-knuckled democracy... the political version of a slasher picture.' The Star Ledger

'A compelling David versus Goliath story... Street Fight is this year's political thriller.' Center Stage with Mark Gordon, KXLU

'Street Fight is a must see documentary for anyone with even a passing interest in American politics... It's fascinating to see the drama unfold.' The Portland Mercury

'The film is a lesson in street-level politics that can not be learned in civics class.' Tribeca Trib

'Street Fight is a riveting account of the most brutal of contact sports: politics...First-time documentarian Marshall Curry emerges from the fray with a film that raises vital questions about the health of our democracy.' Museum of TV and Radio, NYC

A critics pick: (**** 4 stars) 'Prepare to get seriously pissed off... [a] sharp, infuriating documentary.' Toronto Eye

A 'fascinating, disturbing documentary... a ballot-box bloodbath.' San Antonio Current

'Few documentary films achieve epic climaxes worthy of a Shakespearean drama, but Street Fight does.' SilverDocs Film Festival

'Curry's film is a jaw-dropping example of rough and tumble politics that places the audience at the center of this dramatic fight.' Tribeca Film Festival

'A truly exceptional piece of filmmaking...a tight and coherent narrative that has universal appeal...One could argue that Curry stumbled into a gold mine when he ventured from his Brooklyn home to Newark, but not anyone could have taken such a complicated and colorful campaign and produced something thus focused and, dare I say, sharp.' Politics NJ

A 'tough look at issues of race, class and corruption.' Vancouver Straight

'Winner of the [Toronto Hot Docs Festival] Best International Documentary prize, Marshall Curry's film is both a fight story worthy of a UFC match and a penetrating examination of racism, bossism and privilege in American municipal politics' Dose

[Street Fight is a] 'terrific fly-on-the-wall documentary' Toronto Metro

'Eye-opening...This film demonstrates chillingly how down-and-dirty politics happen at the local level as well as nationally.' The Martha's Vineyard Times

'...very insightful.' Word Magazine

**** (4 stars) 'Absolutely vital viewing...A scary look at how race and class divisions are perhaps most venomous when they afflict the same race and class...[It's] not too much to call Street Fight a microcosm of a crippling national disease.' Film Freak Central

'Go see this film...This is powerful stuff.' Blog T.O.

'Hats off to Marshall Curry for making this courageous film... Street Fight is a film every American and every Black American needs to see.' Diversity in Business

'A fascinating documentary.' Cincinatti Enquirer

'In a sea of small print and button pushing, it's refreshing to see another straightforward and honest look at the underbelly of American politics. It's this directness that keeps Marshall Curry's Street Fight interesting and exciting from start to finish, giving viewers a front row seat of an underdog's campaign against a seemingly fixed system...Firmly Recommended.' DVDtalk.com


Awards

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Academy Awards®
Nominated for Oustanding Coverage of a News Story, Emmy Awards
National PBS Broadcast on 'POV'
Audience Award, Tribeca Film Festival
Jury Prize, Best International Documentary, and Audience Award, Hot Docs Film Festival
Audience Award, SilverDocs Film Festival
Gold Hugo for Best Program, Chicago International Television Awards
Video Librarian's Best Documentaries of the Year List
American Library Association's VRT Notable Videos for Adults List
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA)
Nominee for IDA Award, International Documentary Awards Competition
American Sociological Association's Annual Meeting Film/Video Screenings
Human Rights Watch International Travelling Film Festival
International Documentary Film Fes

TRANSCRIPT FOR STREET FIGHT

 

SCENE 1: CORY BOOKER GOES DOOR TO DOOR

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Newark, New Jersey, 2002 (Shot of downtown Newark at night)

 

CORY:

Hi, I'm Cory Booker, did you ever hear my name?

 

CORY:

Cory Booker.  I'm not sure if you've heard of me, but I'm the city councilman for the Central Ward but I'm running for mayor.

 

CORY (in the street):

Fellas, how y'all doin? 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory Booker is a 32 year old first term city councilman running for mayor of Newark, New Jersey's largest city.  He's hoping to unseat the long time incumbent, Sharpe James.

 

CORY (at an apartment door):

So, I can't believe that you used to live in a house where you could keep the door open.  And now you're in a building where you're not even–

 

WOMAN:

I know, I know…

 

CORY:

It's outrageous.

 

WOMAN 1:

I got a million locks on my door.

 

CORY:

            Well that's our number 1 issue, and no disrespect to Sharpe James, but he's had 16 years to show you what he could do.  And anything he could've done, he should've done by now.

 

CORY:

It's time for some new young blood, ok?  Thank You. God Bless you.  Ok, bye bye.

 

WOMAN 2:

Alright, Bye.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

I've been documenting the campaign for a few weeks now, and I'm beginning to get a sense of how many forces there are in this city, working against his candidacy.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Joe Foushee, Chief of Security, Newark Housing Authority

 

JOE FOUSHEE/SCREEN SUBTITLE:

You can't do it.  Can't do it.  I'm not going to let you walk the hallways.

 

CORY/SUBTITLE:

Joe, this is ridiculous.  Nothing we're doing here is illegal.

 

JOE FOUSHEE/SUBTITLE:

You want to leave, or you want me to call the cops?

 

CORY/SUBTITLE:

I think you need to call the police.  Let's continue, guys.  Hey, how are you sir? I’m Cory Booker.

 

PABLO FONSECA:

There's nothing illegal that we're doing.  Sharpe's people canvassed here just a couple of days ago.

 

JOE FOUSHEE/SUBTITLE:

This is not a public building.  This is private…you know.

 

PABLO:

The Housing Authority?

 

CORY:

Now you take care of yourself.  Bye Bye, now. 

 

CORY:

They brought out the big brass!  How you doin'?  How you doin'?  Is this the kind of security they get every night here?  (laughs) How are you?

 

PABLO:

Bringing out the deputy chief! 

 

CORY:

That's unbelieveable.  It's so ironic, man.  Here's a neighborhood that never gets police protection. But I show up and they get the top brass! 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

In Newark, I'm discovering, elections are not about media consultants.  They're not about sound bites or photo ops.  In Newark, elections are won and lost on the streets.

 

SCREEN TITLE:

Street Fight

 

SCREEN TEXT:

a film by Marshall Curry

 

SCENE 2 - SCREEN TEXT:

Booker Campaign Office, 120 Days Until Election Day

 

WOMAN (answering phone):

CORY Booker for Mayor!

 

MARSHALL V/O:

A few years ago, I had spent some time teaching in Newark.  So I was intrigued when I heard the buzz about the election shaping up between Booker and James.  They're both Democrats; elections in Newark are non-partisan.  And people were saying it would be a battle over the future of black leadership in America.  But no one was giving Cory much of a chance. 

 

CORY:

We really- our focus is in grassroots efforts, so we try and skimp as much as we can on facilities like this.  What we’re basically looking at is where we do all our scheduling, our fundraising operation comes out of here.

 

HIVER AMBROSE, BOOKER AIDE:

This is what we're living next door to.  They're constantly making black, plastic bags.  When we first moved into that office, it looked like this. 

 

FEMALE STAFFER off cam:

I have to write this thing-- it's so loud in here I gotta get outta here. 

 

MALE STAFFER OFF CAM:

We're sort of plugging in a surge protector to an outlet to surge protector, to give electricity to the whole place.  (male bangs on fluorescent light) That's pretty disgusting.

 

SCENE THREE: CORY IN THE STREETS AGAIN

 

MARSHALL V/O:

There's an old joke in Newark that the only way an incumbent ever leaves office is death or conviction.  But Cory thinks he's found another way.

 

CORY

I have a philosophy for campaigning, which is, I walk every street that I want to represent.  All I've been doing in the evenings is walking the streets and talking to people like you. 

 

CORY (Talking to a second story window):

I can't even see you, I'm talking to a screen but I'll just let you know, I'm running for mayor, and the reason why I'm running – 3 reasons real quick, ok? 

 

CORY V/O:

Newark faces real challenges.  We have a murder rate that's twice the Bronx.  We have almost a third of our people living below the poverty line.  And we graduate only about 40% of our kids from high school.  There's no excuse for this.  This city could be doing so much better for the people that live here. 

 

CORY (to a group of kids):

I'm trying to get people to vote for me, are you going to vote for me?  

 

KID:

Yeah, I'm going to vote for you.

 

CORY:

You're gonna vote for me? 

 

KID

What does vote mean?

 

CORY

What does vote mean?  It means participating in democracy, trying to make your community better.

 

WOMAN (SUBTITLE FROM SPANISH):

Where are you from?

 

CORY SUBTITLE:

Where am I from?

 

STAFFER SUBTITLE:

He's American.

 

CORY SUBTITLE:

Guess…guess…

 

WOMAN SUBTITLE:

American?

 

STAFFER:

Si. Es Americano.

 

CORY SUBTITLE:

A handsome American or not? (laughs)

 

WOMAN SUBTITLE:

I wish you well.

 

CORY:

Gracias.

 

CORY:

Did I tell you my ancestors come from a small island south of Spain? 

 

STAFFER:

Oh really?

 

CORY:

It's called Africa. 

 

STAFFER:

Small island!

 

CORY:

A little rain's not going to stop us, is it?  (fade out)

 

SCENE FOUR: CORY AT HIS APARTMENT

 

CORY:

How you doin'?  What are you doing out this late?  It's almost 10 o'clock!

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory lives in Brick Towers, a low income housing project in one of Newark's poorest wards.  It's the ward he represents in the city council.  But he grew up 25 miles and a world away in suburban Harrington Park, New Jersey.

 

CORY V/O:

My parents were very active in the civil rights movement.  And we integrated an all white neighborhood after a big court fight against a real estate agent who wouldn't show us any houses there.  I was a high school all American football player, got a scholarship to play football at Stanford University where things really took off for me. 

 

GAME ANNOUNCER V/O:

Booker breaks free.  Fifteen, ten, he'll score!  Touchdown Stanford! 

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Yale Law School

 

CORY V/O:

Towards the end of my law school career I moved to Newark to set up a non-profit going after slum lords.  But I got pulled into politics, and decided to run for city council, and amazingly, won.  After I got elected, I moved to Brick Towers, because I wanted to stay close to the community that elected me.  Every morning when I woke up, and when I came home at night, I wanted to be reminded of the reasons why I got into office in the first place. 

 

MAN:

How you doin', Mr. Booker? 

 

CORY:

Doing very well.  You alright?

 

MAN:

Yes Sir.  I'm going to vote for you.

 

CORY:

Thank you very much.  Spread the word, alright?

 

MAN:

Yes Sir.

 

CORY:

I don't want to interrupt your work.

 

WOMAN IN LAUDROMAT:

My hands are wet.

 

CORY:

That's all right, I'll take a wet hand.  It’s CORY Booker.

 

WOMAN:

I've met you before.

 

CORY:

Oh, ok. 

 

GROUP OF MEN OUTSIDE:

MAN:

I like you but I ain’t voting for you.

 

MAN:

I hope they make a change, whoever gets in.

 

CORY:

Well if you keep putting the same people in there, you're not going to see a change.  You're going to get the same results.

 

MAN 2:

Yeah but we been hearing that for so long!

 

CORY:

How old are you, brother?

 

MAN 2:

I'm 41 years old.

 

CORY:

Ok, for the last 32 years of your life, you've had the same leadership.  Sharpe James has been in city hall since 1970.  We don’t make change.  We let people get down there and create dynasties.  We have the highest paid city government in the country.  Your city council people make over 100 Gs a year, when they put in all their perks.  Sharpe James got into office making 70,000 a year, in 1986, has raised his salary - now the brother's making over 200,000 dollars a year, and he wasn't satisfied.  Then he went over and got another job, he's got two jobs now.  We've got brothers looking for one, he's a mayor and a state senator, makes about a quarter of a million dollars a year.  So let's be for real right now.  If every politician was on the streets, ok, out there really fighting to make real solutions, ok, they're living in the- make every politician live in the worst neighborhood in their city, I guarantee the city would turn around a lot quicker.

 

SCENE FIVE: SHARPE JAMES RALLY/MARSHALL GETS HARRASED

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Today, Sharpe James is formally throwing his hat into the ring. 

 

SHARPE (TO REPORTERS):

This campaign, from the beginning to the end, has always, is a positive campaign. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

I introduce myself to the campaign's press person.  I tell him I'd love to spend some time following the mayor's campaign, and he seems receptive.  I've never heard Sharpe James speak before, but once he takes the stage, it becomes obvious why he's never lost an election.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Jim McGreevey, Governor of New Jersey.

 

MCGREEVEY:

Sharpe James is the real deal!  Sharpe James is the real deal!  Ladies and gentleman, the mayor and the next mayor of the great city of Newark, Sharpe James! (applause)

 

SHARPE:

Today, I wish to continue to give something back, to the city of Newark that took a poor boy, living on Howard Street and S. Orange Ave, in one room with a pot-bellied stove, with an outhouse in the backyard.  One pair of sneakers, one pair of pants, one t-shirt.  And today the poor boy from Howard Street is your mayor and seeking re-election.  (applause)  Let the work I've done speak for me.  I don't feel no ways tired.  (applause)  Today, I officially declare myself a candidate for re-election as mayor of the city of Newark, New Jersey!  (applause)

 

MARSHALL V/O:

As I film the crowd, the mayor notices me, and says something to his security detail. Suddenly, I'm surrounded by four plain-clothes policemen. 

 

POLICEMAN (SUBTITLE):

You had to be authorized to come in here.

 

MARSHALL (SUBTITLE):

I was authorized. 

 

POLICEMAN:

I want to know who you spoke to.  If not I'm gonna lock you up.

 

MARSHALL:

That's fine.

 

POLICEMAN:

I'm being for real with you. That's why I'm asking you to take the tape out.

 

MARSHALL:

I'm not going to take the tape out.

 

POLICEMAN:

Open it up.  Open it up.

 

MARSHALL:

No, I'm not going to do that.

 

POLICEMAN:

You're not?

 

MARSHALL:

No, I'm not going to do that. 

 

POLICEMAN:

You want to hang out with me?

 

MARSHALL:

No, I don't want to do that either.

 

POLICEMAN:

Do you have identification on you?

 

MARSHALL:

Are you a police officer?

 

POLICEMAN:

I sure am. 

 

MARSHALL:

OK, well we'll talk about it when we get outside.

 

POLICEMAN:

Follow me.

 

POLICEMAN:

Where's your car, sir?

 

MARSHALL:
I don’t see what the problem is.

 

MAN (SUBTITLE)

I don’t see what the question is.  Mayor said can you just escort him out and that's the-ain't no question about it.

 

MARSHALL:

Ok, Ok. 

 

MAN:

You Hanging with Cory, huh?

 

MARSHALL:

I've been shooting Cory.  It's an election, and I'm trying to cover the election.

 

POLICEMAN:

He's not our guy.  I was gonna confiscate his film. 

 

POLICEMAN:

I need to see some identification. 

 

MARSHALL:

You're a police officer?

 

POLICEMAN:

I sure am. 

 

MARSHALL:

Ok.  And so, you need to see identification from me because why? 

 

POLICEMAN 2:

We're police officers and we need to see some identification, that's all we want to see.

 

MARSHALL:

Ok.  And you’re sure you can just ask people on the street for identification?

 

POLICEMAN 1:

Sure can. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

They write down my home address and license plate number.  I'm baffled.  I call the mayor's press person and explain again what I'm doing.  He apologizes and says he'll talk to the mayor but my follow up phone calls and faxes go unanswered.  And I soon discover that I’m not the only one having trouble for spending too much time with Cory Booker.

 

SCENE 6: TOWNSPEOPLE GETTING HARRASED

 

JIMMY MITCHELL: OWNER, NICOLE CAR WASH:

I put this place up in '97.  I never had any problems.  Until Cory Booker came to my house one night. He the people in the community get to know him that didn't know him.  So I suggested we have a coffee klatsche at my house, invite 15 or 20 people over.  So I had one one Sunday night, and that Monday, police came, said I was illegal.  And they closed my business down. 

 

PABLO FONSECA:

You can go to any place in the city and you can find a violation.

 

MARSHALL V/O

Pablo Fonseca used to be the head of code enforcement for the city of Newark. 

 

PABLO FONSECA, BOOKER AIDE:

If you're in the city, you have to be very careful if you take on Sharpe James.  Everything is at his power—is at his behest.  He can make you life impossible. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

He was also Sharpe James's campaign manager in the Latino community.

 

PABLO:

Two years ago, I supported a candidate Sharpe James did not like and did not back.  And even though I was protected by civil service, he brought me up on charges and demoted me.  From supervising a four million dollar budget to supervising 2 people in the sanitation garage. That's a reality check on politics, that's politics 101!  And it was, you know, wow.  What the hell?  I sued the administration, and won, and I joined the Booker team. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Jimmy Mitchell joined the Booker campaign, too, as Cory's driver.  But for most people, their businesses come first.

 

CORY:

They sent code enforcement down to Bergen Street to basically threaten folks and say, if you put up a Cory Booker sign you’ll face the consequences.  And having code enforcement deliver that message, you know, is pretty uh, persuasive. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Over the next few weeks, I meet a policeman, whose support for Booker got him transferred to night patrol in a dangerous neighborhood.  A minister, whose church was threatened by code enforcement after he criticized the mayor.  A woman who fears she'll lose her public housing if she hangs a Booker sign in her window. 

 

SPENCER HOLDEN, BOOKER CAMPAIGN:

People have children, people have houses and mortgages and rent to pay and food to buy, why are you firing somebody because they don't want to vote for you?  That's their god given right.  That's their, born in America, you have the right to vote for who you want to, that's what it's all about.  And when you take that from somebody, and the law doesn't stand up for it and do something about it, something's seriously wrong. 

 

PABLO at STAFF MEETING:

Just on the schedule, like tonight's fundraiser.  You shouldn't have Jimmy Wright's name on it, if someone picks this up, guy, Jimmy Wright's ass is going to be at cell block 24 hours a day.  There are people putting a lot on the line for us, and if Sharpe has any idea, you know, he will crush these people.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

100 Days Until Election  Day

 

SCENE 7: BOOKER TAPES A CAMPAIGN AD

 

CORY (REHEARSING):

Drug Dealers don't own this city, we do. 

 

MAN:

Yeah.  Drug Dealers don't own this city, we do.

 

CORY:

Drug dealers don't own this city, we do.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

The polls show that Cory's biggest challenge is name recognition.  So he's outside his building, trying to create a Booker brand. 

 

AIDE:

I thought we were just bringing the camcorder out!

 

CORY (to neighbor in window):

Can I have a cup of coffee, Junior?

 

NEIGHBOR:

Aw come on, I just woke up!  Another day!

 

CORY:

Ok, I got a shot here junior, tell me how I do.  I'm Cory Booker.  It's time that we put- argh!  I apologize, I apologize. 

 

DIRECTOR OFF CAM:

That's ok.

 

CORY:

I'm Cory Booker.  And I'm butt cold right now.

 

DIRECTOR:

Ok, here we go!  Quiet please.

 

SCENE 8: SHARPE'S STORY

 

SHARPE JAMES AD PLAYS ON TV IN A DELI V/O:

Real jobs, real safety, real progress. Our mayor, Sharpe James.  The Real Deal.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Sharpe James is pushing his story as well.  He grew up in Newark, served in the army, and taught gym at a local high school.  In 1970, at the age of 34, he was elected to the city council.  He served 16 years and then running as a reformer, he was elected mayor.  But in the 90s, corruption scandals plagued his office, taking down his closest aides, including his chief of police, and his chief of staff who was caught with bags of money under the floorboards.  Sharpe weathered the storm, though.  He was funny, and an energetic booster for the city.  New buildings went up in the downtown.  A performing arts center, a minor league baseball stadium.  And Sharpe James gained a reputation for creating a renaissance in Newark. 

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Stella Wright Housing Projects

 

CROWD w/ SHARPE:

Five, four, three, two, one, zero! (building implodes)

 

SHARPE TO REPORTERS:

This is a great day for Newark.  We heard cheers when it came down, because what will go up will be part of a new Newark, and a new America, and new dreams and new hopes.

 

CORY TO REPORTERS:

What this city is doing is destroying homes for low income people, and displacing them and not providing places for them to live.  In the last 10 years, 10,200 homes have been destroyed and only 2,500 homes have been replaced. 

 

WOMAN:

Cory Booker does not have a vested interest in this city.  He doesn't own anything.  He's a Johnny-come-lately.  He doesn't understand the politics of this town.  And just because you come in as some golden boy, and you happen to get lucky and win one election, does not mean that you have a handle on what's going on.  People that live here, and have a vested interest in our city know that Sharpe James is doing a great job for this city. 

 

MAN:

Sharpe James trying to get credit for something he didn't even do!  He ain't nothing!  You know what I'm saying?  If he was right here I'd tell him in his face!

 

WOMAN 2:

Ok let's not blame this on Sharpe, cause I know what's already here, I don't know what I'm getting if Booker gets in. 

 

WOMAN 3:

Why you want to blame it on Sharpe?  Cory's a councilman.  If he couldn’t do it in the central ward-

 

MAN:

Sharpe James (yelling, angry, too many voices overlapping)

 

CROWD:

Sharpe!  Sharpe! Sharpe!  Sharpe!

 

CROWD:

Booker!  Booker!  Booker! Booker!

 

SCREEN TEXT:

89 Days Until Election Day

 

SCENE 8: CORY'S PARENTS

 

CAROLYN BOOKER ON PHONE:

Yes, Mr. Simon?  This is Carolyn Booker, I'm the mother of Cory Booker.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory's parents have come to town for the rest of the campaign. 

 

CAROLYLN ON PHONE:

The reason for my call is simply to say thank you for supporting Cory's campaign. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

I knew they had raised Cory and his brother in a comfortable suburb, so I was a little surprised when I learned more about them. 

 

CORY:

My dad was born, very poor, to a single parent in the South.  He had a tough, tough childhood.  You have to imagine what it was like in '36 to be born when they called it an illegitimate child-- really a self made man.  And really what I’m doing is a result of my parents guidance.

 

CORY SPEAKS AT A FUNCTION:

A lot of people ask me, who is this boy with a Rhodes Scholarship and a Yale law- why would he want to come to Newark? 

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Newark Council of Black Clergy

 

CORY:

My father grew up in North Carolina.  He still has physical scars on his body for being caught by the white citizens council on the wrong side of town after dark.  In '61 when the sit in movement started in North Carolina, my father was one of the first people on the stools being kicked, bruised ribs, being hurt basically in that sit-in movement.  Back in the later 60s, my parents were the first African-Americans in the Northeastern seaboard to be hired by IBM.  My mom was first, my dad became the first black salesman, has these awful stories about making sales calls and people ripping up his card and saying you tell IBM not to send anymore nigger salesman out here.  My parents told me, to he who much is given, much is expected.  And they expected their two children to be a part of the struggle.  And I believe in my heart, that Newark New Jersey and cities like this are the frontiers of the American dream, and we as African Americans and we as Americans period have an obligation to fight for our communities. That's why I'm doin' this.

 

SCENE 9: CORY AT A WOMEN'S FUNCTION/FUNDRAISING

 

CORY:

Happy Valentine's Day.  Happy Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately I'm running today, but I just had to come through here and spread some love.  We have some gifts to give out to everybody down here.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

In Newark, giving stuff away is a big part of campaigning.  There's a saying: If you feed 'em, you can lead 'em.  And candidates host chicken dinners, charter buses to Atlantic City, give away flowers or perfume, pot holders, tickets to concerts or the circus.  And it matters.  One woman told me she wasn't going to vote for Cory, because the Mother's Day card that his office sent out last year was cheap looking compared to Sharpe's.  In his first few years in office, Cory tried to defy that system, but he's been getting more realistic. 

 

PABLO (to 2 staffers):

Sharpe’s is this Saturday? What is he doing?

 

STAFFER:

He's doing Bingo and Breakfast.  Sausage, home fries, eggs…our mistake in his last two appearances was not to publicize that there was going to be major food.

 

PABLO:

The food, no brainer.  Let's do it.  Let's just-

 

STAFFER:

Ok.  And the entertainment you're gonna-

 

PABLO:

I'd rather win and owe $100,000, than lose for not spending $100,000.

 

CORY (ON PHONE):

And the check there is that from you?  Or is that from-

 

MARSHALL V/O

Everyday, Cory spends an hour or two shaking down his friends, and their friends, and their friends.  People he knows from Stanford and Yale, and Newark, and New York, and California.  To be competitive, they think they'll have to raise $15,000-- every single day.

 

CORY:

Show me the money!  Where's the money?!

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Housing Words Bookshop, New York City

 

WORKER OFF CAM:

Have your check made out to "Friends of Cory Booker." 

 

CORY:

In our generation, I see that willingness to make a sacrifice to make this nation what it has not been yet.  To make it real for every single one of its citizens. 

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Mediterranean Manor, Newark, NJ

 

CORY:

The things that we brag about, buildings downtown.  They are symbols of a renaissance, but not the substance of a renaissance.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

The Paradise Club, Newark, NJ

 

CORY:

David did beat Goliath!  OK?!  Ali did upset George Foreman!  And on May 14th, we-- not me-- we, WE, are gonna upset Sharpe James.  (applause)

 

SCREEN TEXT:

49 Days Until Election Day

 

SCENE 10: SIGHTS NIGHT CLUB SCANDAL

 

MARSHALL V/O:

It's Monday morning, and everybody's talking about Sights. 

 

SIGHTS OWNER MOSES WILSON V/O:

We're the only nude club, nude dancing club, in Newark.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Last night, a vice raid looking for drugs and prostitution, discovered a 16 year old stripper working in the club.  They also found a young man in line, outside, named Jermaine James.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Moses Wilson, Owner, Sights Club

 

MOSES:

The police department, knowing who Jermaine James was, uh, told the mayor.  The mayor, what I understand, told the police department to issue a press release. 

 

BOOKER STAFFERS LOOKING ONLINE:

Oooooh.  Uh oh. 

 

MOSES:

Jermaine James turns out to be Cory Booker's chief of staff. 

 

PABLO:

I picked up my phone that morning and I must have had like 20 messages, just frustrated supporters, just angry.  What do we say, how do we move forward? 

 

STAFFER:

Everybody wants to go off camera.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

It's a major blow to the campaign.  And they won't let me film the meeting where they figure out what to do.  Sharpe James embellishes the story a bit, and then hammers them with it all over the city.

 

SHARPE AT RALLY:

If any member of my staff frequented a place of prostitution and narcotics, that's illegal in the city of Newark, where 14 year olds are doing live sex acts.  They don't have to touch 'em, I'm still going to fire them! 

 

PABLO:

Sharpe did a mass mailing on it.  Everybody got it yesterday. 

 

MARSHALL:

What are you going to do?

 

PABLO:

Don't let it take over the campaign.  Stick to the issues.  Um, we don't talk about it.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory is a vegetarian, who doesn't drink or smoke, and rarely even swears.  But one of the risks of running a choir boy campaign is that if you stumble, you fall hard. 

 

SCENE 11 – THE TWO NEWARKS

 

MARSHALL V/O:

As I spent more time in the city, I found that there's a side of Newark that most outsiders don't know about.  A Newark of homes with lawns, of parks, and middle class neighborhoods, and many Newarkers see Sharpe's improvements downtown as an expansion of that.

 

MAN:

He's changed this town.  He's changed the perception of this town.  And if you walk around this town and you're from here, you can see.

 

MAN 2:

It's gotten better, everyday, over the last 16 years.  And it's going to get better tomorrow, the next day after that, it's getting better.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

It's clear that the Newark of today is not the Newark of 1986, when Sharpe James took office.  But it's almost as if there are two Newarks.  One, where thousands of people struggle with relentless poverty and crime and poor schools year after year.  And another, where a proud phoenix is rising from the ashes.  The question is, when voters go to the polls in less than two months, which Newark will they be thinking of? 

 

SCENE 12: SHARPE JAMES PUBLIC APPEARANCE

 

MARSHALL V/O:

I’ve continued calling and faxing the mayor's office, asking to spend time with him, but no luck.  So I go to one of his public appearances, in the Portuguese district.

 

ANNOUNCER:

Please welcome our mayor--  the great mayor of the city of Newark, the honorable Sharpe James!

 

SHARPE, GLADHANDING:

Hey partner, how are you?  How are you doing?

 

SHARPE AT PODIUM:

I get tired of people coming to Newark, moving their family here, and then saying "Newark is so terrible, you're gonna die, your sky gonna fall out, you gonna go in quicksand.”  But they move here, why?  A political agenda.  A political agenda.  Stop that nonsense.  We've been here during bad times, good times, and we're going to stay here during improved times.  We ain't going nowhere.  And we don't need no carpet baggers coming in here telling us how bad we are.  Stay out!  It's a great day, don't let me get started.  Boy, I drank some of that wine, they gave me some Porto wine, I'm in trouble now.  Where is it, they took it away from me.  I'm quitting.  Bessy and Gale told me stop talkin' now—the wine beginning to work.  That porto wine is too much.  Thank you very much.

 

SHARPE:

Let's go Bow Wow.  Who y'all taking pictures for, man?

 

MARSHALL/SUBTITLE:

I'm making a documentary.  We spoke before about it. 

 

SHARPE:

That's a Cory Booker man.

 

SHARPE SECURITY WOMAN:

Yeah, kill your film. You can film everybody else but him,

 

SHARPE:

We don't want you filming.  I don't want you to put me on camera. Now next time we'll take your camera.

 

SECURITY WOMAN:

Don't you just film – film them, but your not going to film him.  He don't want you.

 

MARSHALL:

He's the mayor of the city, I'm allowed to film him. 

 

SECURITY WOMAN:

You're not going to film him. 

 

(LENS GETS GRABBED)

 

MARSHALL:

Let go of my camera!  Let go of my camera!  Don't do that. 

 

SECURITY WOMAN:

I’m just asking you not to film him.

 

MARSHALL:

I'm allowed to film him.  It' doesn't matter.  He's the mayor of the city.

 

SCENE 13 – MARSHALL TALKS TO SHARPE'S PRESS GUY

 

MARSHALL:

I've been having a lot of trouble..

 

RICH MCGRATH, JAMES CAMPAIGN PRESS SPOKESMAN:

OK, still?  Those guys? 

 

MARSHALL:

I mean, I've had my camera grabbed by security people, and stuff like that.

 

RICH:

I will try and talk to him, I mean it's not just you, I've had the Ledger and the Times, it's like, I've had to go like, and the problem is I don't really know him too well, I wish I couldn't start up here sooner so that I could have gotten to work up a rapport, and it's just idiotic.  It's also counterproductive.  It makes us look terrible I think.  And the rest of the press sees it, it makes us look paranoid too.  But these guys, I tell you, they are- I can't believe it, they got this thing about the press, they think it's like a conspiracy, it's just been so frustrating.  So I do have to try to grab him and talk to him. 

 

SCENE 14: CAMPAIGNIN TRUCK

 

(CORY BOOKER GOES BY ON A CAMPAIGN TRUCK)

 

SHARP SUPPORTER:

Experienced leadership!  We don't want nobody practicing on Newark!  We need someone who knows what's going on in Newark.  We need someone who's been here since 1967 riots.

 

MAN:

Cory Booker, baby!  Cory Booker!

 

SHARP SUPPORTER:

We need experienced leadership.  Experienced leadership.

 

SCENE 15: BOOKER OFFICE VANDALIZED

 

ROB SILVA:

It happened Saturday night after 10:30. We had the police come out and they dusted the whole window for fingerprints.

 

CORY:

I haven't seen the damage. 

 

ROB SILVA, BOOKER CAMPAIGN:

Well the first thing that happened is Edie reached for the telephone, and there was no telephone.  She felt the draft, walked back here, saw everything opened up and she realized that we had been broken into and robbed.  So they took a radio, two telephones they ripped off the wall.  But what really bothered us is they got two books worth of information, two districts, and they know who's a Booker who’s a James, who’s undecided-- all that stuff.  And that's valuable, sensitive information.  We have it backed up, but still, they have it now.  You know, one of the police officers suggested that we have the whole trailer swept for listening devices.  From what I understand we have somebody coming in to do that now. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Sweeping for bugs seemed a bit paranoid to me.  Until somebody told me that when Cory was first elected, it was discovered that his home phone was being tapped by the police.  The police insisted in was an honest mistake.  But it still lingers in the back of people's minds. 

 

SCENE 16: SHARPE SIGHTS SCANDAL/ATTACKS ON CORY

 

SCREEN TEXT:

27 Days Until Election Day

 

MARSHALL V/O:

This morning, Sights is back in the news. 

 

MOSES WILSON:

I had heard that Sharpe James said in his re-election speech, that uh, he would fire anyone in his staff who went to places of ill repute I think he called it.  And uh, you know he was basically talking about Sights.

 

SHARPE AT RALLY:

I think we have to send a message to our young people, to our children, to our city- it is wrong to frequent houses of ill repute! 

 

MOSES:

You gotta have a lot of balls to stand up with the Governor, state senators, congressmen sitting behind you, and make it sound as though you've never been to a place that you know you've been to.  Mayor Sharpe James sat right there (points) at a table, drinking Snapple, watching a dancer on stage dancing, he was here himself.

 

NEWS INTERVIEWER:

Were you in the club, or were you not in the club?

 

SHARPE:

We are too smart to dignify that.

 

DIANA LEWIS, CHANNEL 7 NEWS CLIP:

Newark mayor Sharpe James today refused to answer repeated questions about whether he visited a strip club.  When a reporter asked him if that was true today, the mayor lashed out.

 

SHARPE CLIP:

I dismiss you!  Who you think you're yelling at!  Who do you think you're yelling at?!  Hey young man, who do you think you're yelling at as a reporter!  Who you think you're yelling at?  You better show some respect!

 

DIANA LEWIS:

Mayor James says the only time he went to the club was when police raided it.

 

SPENCER HOLDEN

Let me show you something here, babe, (grabs newspaper) here you got the "it wasn't me!" 

 

WOMAN:

In that club?  He said he wasn't in that club?

 

SPENCER HOLDEN

Just read this.

 

WOMAN:

Well didn't you see him on Channel 11 that night?

 

SPENCER:

You mean, when he got crazy? 

 

WOMAN:

He got up there, and he said that he was in there, but to see what he could do about closing it down.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Sharpe James made a speech at a BBQ he hosted for a housing project last night.

 

WOMAN:

Oh yeah, and then he called Cory last night, Baby Face.  Yeah.  Baby Face is a snake, don't trust him.  And I was so made I didn't know what in the world to do!  Yeah, he had 'em all fooled last night. 

 

WOMAN SUBTITLE:

Called Cory a white Republican, yes he did. 

 

MAN:

You heard him say it?

 

WOMAN:

Yes!  That's what came out in the building today. (shot of Booker is Republican flyer) White republican.  He gave that out last night to everybody.

 

MAN:

Unbelieveable.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

They brush aside the Republican stuff, but the white comment stings.  And what it means to be black is now becoming a major campaign issue out in the streets.

 

SHERIA BROWN, BOOKER CAMPAIGN:

The division, I mean, and that's what I was telling people, they were saying "oh, Cory's light skinned. Oh, he's almost white."  I'm like, this is what has kept us, all this time, separated and divided amongst ourselves.  The racist comments that were coming from the black people.  An older lady walks up to my car and says, "who you voting for, the white man or the black man?"  I said, "I'm voting for Cory Booker."  They're mad at Cory because his mother was able to give him a good education, because he wasn't raised in the projects.  So what?  You know, he's still black.  If my mother had the opportunity to raise me in a better environment and give me a good education, I'm sure she would've done that.  But you can't be mad at him because he's making it, you can't be made at him because he has a vision, you know what I'm saying?  You can't be mad at that.  You know, you have to just say, you know what?  Let's make it so all our children can be that way. Why play a hate on him because he's doing well?!  Stupid.  It's just stupid.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Sharpe is quoted calling Cory "a faggot white boy."  And telling audiences that he takes money from the Ku Klux Klan.  On the Today Show he says that Cory, a Baptist, is actually Jewish. 

 

SHARPE ON TODAY SHOW:

He went to Stanford and he's Jewish.  He tells the story about his graduation where he couldn't date a white girl.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

He also says of Cory, "You have to learn to be African-American, and we don't have time to train you…"  And all this is just when he's speaking on the record.

 

SPENCER HOLDEN:

We asked our black children to get educated.  And they do, and we call them white.  That's sad.  That's truly sad.  And to believe that, it's not that Sharpe did that, that's dirty, that's low.  Sharpe is a low individual.  For them to believe it!  And they talk about civil rights? These are people who've been through-- some of them have been through the 60s?  That's a disgrace to Martin Luther King, to Malcolm X, to Medger Evers, and uh, anybody and everybody who worked like a demon to get us beyond that.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Interview with Tavis Smiley, NPR

 

CORY ON PHONE:

This is an attempt, a really sad attempt by Sharpe James to racialize this campaign and ignore or distract people from what the real issues are – safety, security, economic empowerment and good schools.  The truth of the matter is, I'm an African American who has benefited from a legacy of stuggle in our country, an African American who benefited from my parents' generation, who marched for me, who sat in for me, literally bled that Southern soil red for me, I have been told by my family never to forget where  you came from, and the struggles that got you to where you are.  My grandfather who passed away during this election, the day I got my diploma from Yale law school, grabbed me by the arm, and said "don't you ever forget that that diploma you're holding was paid for by the blood sweat and tears of your ancestors.  And if you want to prove worthy of that struggle, then you must continue it.  If you want to be proven worthy of that legacy then you must roll up your sleeves and get to work.”

 

SCENE 17: ON THE STREETS AGAIN, MORE RALLIES:

 

CORY:

My voice is shot. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory is spending more hours every day knocking on doors.

 

CORY (PICKS A KID UP):

Oh, watch your head, don't hit your head! Oh, you hit your head.  What's up, big man?

 

WOMAN:

Tell Mr. Booker to help mommy get a job so we can get outta here.  It’s not safe.

 

CORY:

Listen Mommy, what we're gonna do is, we're definitely going to fight to help people get more employment…

 

PABLO:

We're going to win this campaign in the streets.  We're not going to win this campaign on TV, we're not going to win this campaign on radio.  We're going to win this campaign in the streets. 

 

(CORY RALLY)

 

ANNOUNCER:

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get ready to rumble! 

 

CROWD:

Time for a change! Time for a change!

 

MARSHALL V/O:

The crowds at his campaign events are getting bigger and bigger. 

 

CORY:

Well it's time that we pull together.  Black Newarker, white Newarker, Portuguese, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, old, young!

 

CORY AT ANOTHER RALLY:

We need to be unified, because in unity there's strength.  There's an old African saying that says, "sticks in a bundle, can't be broken" 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

But the bigger the rally, the bigger the bill.  And everything requires more fundraising.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Booker Fundraiser, Montclair, N.J.

 

BOOKER AIDE:

You aint' seen this room?  Let me show you this room.  It's been described to me as the card room.

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Cary Booker, Cory Booker's Father

 

BOOKER AIDE:

Can you imagine playing cards with three of your friends?

 

CARY:

In here?  Sure.

 

AIDE:

This is a nice room.

 

CARY:

Sure, you wanna play some cards?  Wanna roll a little dice? (laughs)

 

CORY:

The people of this town really have amazed me.  And maybe you realize more than any other place, the truth of what Martin Luther King said, that we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a common garment of destiny.  That injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere. 

 

CORY IN CAR:

Jimmy, there are rich people in this world.  They live in some very large houses!

 

AIDE:

I had to call my-- when I flushed the toilet, and it didn't make any noise.. (laughter)  I said, I gotta tell my girlfriends about this.

 

CORY:

What did Job say, “Naked, I came into the world and naked I shall leave.”  Does your toilet make a sound? 

 

SCENE 18: BACK AT CAMPAIGN HQ/MONEY RUMORS

 

WOMAN OFF CAM:

How are you doing?

 

CORY:

I'm doing well! 

 

MAN:

Hey, you see the total for today?

 

CORY:

What was the total for today?

 

MAN:

64

 

MARSHALL V/O:

That's $64,000-- for the day.

 

CORY:

Pretty damn good.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory's fundraising effort has managed to surpass Sharpe's.  Their filings with the government show that each side has raised between 2 1/2 and 3 million dollars, which should be a huge boost for Cory-- it shows that he's a real competitor.  But Sharpe has managed to turn this advantage into a disadvantage.  Everywhere he goes, he's saying that Cory has raised 10 million dollars, not 3, and is trying to buy the election. 

 

SHARPE TO REPORTERS:

10 million dollars can buy a lot of votes (chuckles).  Why does Cory Booker, after 4 years in Newark, have 10 million dollars?  If money can buy an election, then it will.  But the people are saying in Newark, is that Newark is not for sale.

 

SHARPE SUPPORTER:

Booker can't buy this!  Newark is not for sale!

 

CORY:

Sharpe has this amazing ability to tell a lie so many times that people believe that it's the truth.  And if the mayor of the city is saying this, you puts some veracity in it. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Even I began to wonder whether perhaps I was being spun by the Booker folks.  So I confirmed by looking online.  It's all public information on a government website.

 

BOOKER AIDE:

So we don't have 10 million dollars? 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

But it's not just a matter of how much money there is.  It's also where it comes from.  An anonymous flyer goes out accusing Cory of conspiring with Jews to take over the city.  Sharpe tells reporters that Cory is propped up by white, right wing investors.

 

SHARPE TO REPORTERS:

..because of the extreme groups, far white, right wing Republican party who are supporting him. 

 

MARSHALL V/O

His commercials, speeches and mailings all push the message hard. 

 

CORY:

I'm a tool for the Republican Party, I confess it!

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

I thought you were a tool for the Jews!

 

CORY:

I'm a tool of the Jews, Republican Party, Afghanistan, the Taliban, I'm a member of the KKK, I'm part of a CIA conspiracy.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN, PRESS SECRETARY:

Oh, you want to know what the newest one is? 

 

CORY:

I'm gay?

 

JEN:

There's a media conspiracy to elect Cory Booker. 

 

CORY:

I'm part of a media conspiracy.

 

RADIO HOST:

You're listening to 98.7 Kiss, WRKS FM, New York.  And our guest, candidate for mayor of the city of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker.  He says he's a Democrat.  No matter what some of these people are saying about him including his opponent, Sharpe James.  This piece that we have from off the internet, The Black Commentator, rips you a new booty.  (Cory laughs)

 

RADIO HOST 2:

What is this dalliance with Republicans that, you know, of course, you say the word "Republicans" and black voters are like ready to run!

 

CORY:

Well, let's just put it this way.  I'm a Democrat.  If there are some moderate Republicans who have chosen to support me that's their prerogative.  What my focus has been since I was a young man, is to make sure that the Democratic party is as strong as it can be so the needs of inner city can be met.  So I'm proud of my roots in the Democratic party.  And I'm tired, frankly, of Sharpe James trying to cast this debate in terms of Republican and Democrat instead of what he should have been casting it in terms of, why is his city at a poverty rate that's gone up, why has his city had an unemployment rate that's gone up..

 

RADIO HOST 2:

But do you think it's ok now to align yourself with extremists or far right people, like J.C. Watts.

 

CORY:

Sir, I'm not sure what you're talking about.  I've never met JC Watts, nor have I aligned myself with him.

 

RADIO HOST 2:

You have had no sort of alliances with them, in terms of Republican handlers, anybody coming to you-

 

CORY:

These smear campaigns really concern me, because I've never met JC Watts, I've never met a lot of these people he's talking about.  I've been a life long Democrat, and suddenly here we are wasting time talking about Sharpe James's accusations…

 

RADIO HOST 1:

Here's the problem though, Cory, I think people are confusing your broad based support, I mean I gather just from looking at your contributors and looking at where the money is coming from, you're getting a broad base of support.  And you know what, Cory?  That scares people.

 

CORY:

Well let me tell you this. This is what is almost comical about this.  The majority of Sharpe James's supporters are developers, and people that have city contracts, and the majority of those are people that don’t live in the city of Newark.  And the majority of those happen to be white. 

 

HOST

Republicans?

 

CORY

Many of them are Republicans as well.  So here's a man, who's allowing our city, the most precious resource that we have, our 600 million dollar budget, 80% of those contracts are being taken by outsiders. 

 

RADIO HOST 1:

And we'll be right back with our guest, Cory Booker, a Democratic candidate for the mayor of the city of Newark, New Jersey after these messages.

 

CORY:

I'm enjoying it. 

 

RADIO HOST 1:

I knew you could handle it!

 

CORY:

Now I'm waking up, before I wasn't awake!

 

RADIO SHOW PLAYS IN CAR:

I gave Cory Booker a hard time, because I had some questions for him.  I was suspicious about his associations.  But I think it's time for a change.  Cory Booker to me represents a type of young leadership, a type of leadership that Newark wants. I like his answers about police, what he's going to do with that, uh, I like his answer to the questions about education.  I think he has bright ideas- that's what Sharpe James is afraid of. 

 

SCENE 19:  ENDORSEMENT FROM BILL BRADLEY

 

BILL BRADLEY, FORMER N.J. SENATOR:

Today, I'm endorsing Cory Booker for mayor of Newark, because I believe he's Newark's best hope for Newark's future.  Cory represents the best of the Democratic party.  Honored by both the DNC, the DLC and asked to speak at the Democratic National Convention.  So if anybody tells you Cory Booker is not a Democrat, they got a lot of people they gotta argue with!  (applause)

 

SCENE 20: CORY DEFENDS HIMSELF AT COMMUNITY MEETING

 

WOMAN AT COMMUNITY MEETING:

We're really tired of people lying to us and telling us we're gonna do this, if you elect me, I’m gonna do this and then you get into office, and you work part time, and you don't do what you say you're gonna do and our streets still look like this, and stolen cars and drugs and we don't have what we need.  We're tired.  We're really, really tired.

 

CORY:

I need your help.  All I ask is that you look at me, and how I've led my fight. 

 

WOMAN:

I don't listen to that stuff, because I'm not into politics, and I haven't been in New Jersey that long.  But they've been following you and now they're disappointed at the fact that some of the things you have promised that you have not done, so-

 

CORY:

What, specifically what?

 

WOMAN:

Ok, you said you lived in Brick Towers.  There's no proof that you have lived in Brick Towers

 

CORY:

Oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH!  Stop for a second, stop for a second!  I appreciate you keeping it real with me about what you heard out there and what people are saying, but I'm simply saying I'm asking you to look at my record.  And if you want to right now, anybody that doesn't think I live in Brick Towers, come to my apartment, I'll show you my mess!  I've got dishes in the sink.  I've got dirty laundry on my floor.  People say they're tired of politicians lying to them, that's because we've had the same politicians there for 32 years!  32 years!  You have a question for me brother, ok, fire away.

 

BOY:

Is you lying?  (laughter)

 

CORY IN CAR:

That crushes me in there.

 

JIMMY MITCHELL:

That hurts. All that time you put in there. 

 

SCENE 21: TRYING TO TIP THE POLLS

 

SCREEN TEXT: 14 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY

 

MARSHALL V/O

New numbers have just come in from the campaign's pollster.  The poll shows the mayor still ahead.  41% to 33.  But that leaves 26% of Newark still undecided. 

 

CORY:

41-33, what does that mean? Is that good for him or bad for him?

 

POLLSTER ON PHONE:

Bad for him.  But we have to make it fatal for him.  Actually Jeff, wouldn't you say it's almost generally speaking, if this were just a normal race, wouldn't you say an incumbent at 41% is in extreme trouble right? 

 

POLSTER 2

Yes. 

 

CORY:

Big trouble?

 

POLLSTER 1:

But this isn't a normal race.  How do we drive his favorables down?

 

POLLSTER 2:

A negative attack I think, Jeff?

 

JEFF:

Yeah.  Negatives will drive his numbers down and they'll also drive our own down.  And Cory, it's not going to be pretty.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

It's a tricky balance.  In the past, when Cory's ads have pointed to crime or failing schools, Sharpe has spun them as an attack on the city itself.  If they criticize the mayor directly, there's the risk of it backfiring. 

 

VAN PARISH, CAMPAIGN MANAGER:

The thing about Sharpe James is that, you have to remember that, he's 66 years old, 32 years of those, half his life has been spent in public office, and people have grown with him.  People know him, people like him.  He's a good cheerleader for the city. 

 

SHARPE:

…one of the best basketball teams in America—East Side High School

 

VAN PARISH

People vote for Sharpe because they like Sharpe.  And Sharpe James is their guy.  The same thing happened in Washington DC with Marion Barry.  How does guy, who gets busted for what he was busted with, get re-elected?  And essentially people began to feel defensive about either folks from outside, or other people going after somebody they felt was "their guy." 

 

CORY TO POLLSTER:

Is this going to damage – I mean I had two seniors come up to me today and tell me they really respected the way I was running this campaign, you're not running a negative campaign like Sharpe is, yadda yadda yadda.  So the only thing I wanna make sure is, we don't have a backlash as a result of this with a candidate who, 70% of the people in this city say they like.

 

PHONE VOICE:

Um, you know, I care less than you do about how people are going to feel in the end.  I'm more concerned about winning the election.

 

CORY:

You know Carl, I'm not going to lose this race because I'm afraid to punch Sharpe James in the nose.  I just think that there's a way to do it with dignity.  That you're still rolling  up your sleeve and slugging this guy in the face.  But there's a way to do it with dignity.

 

CORY BOOKER TV SPOT:

Sharpe James says he's the real deal.  The truth is, Sharpe James is getting really rich at the tax payer's expense.  While schools crumble and crime and drugs plague our streets, Sharpe has given himself a raise to over $200,000 a year, he bought two vacation homes, a 46 foot yacht and a rolls Royce.  The real deal?  How about a great deal…for Sharpe James.  After 16 years, it's time for a change. 

 

 

SCENE 22: SHARPE JAMES RALLY

 

(Sharpe James line dances with a crowd of supporters)

 

RICH MCGRATH, JAMES CAMPAIGN PRESS SPOKESMAN

This is unlike any election—this is unlike the elections I usually work on. Most elections I've worked on – it's media, advertising, polling, all that kind of stuff, you know?  And this- this really is more old fashioned, political machines.  My parents would liken this to Boston, when they were there.  And you know what, with all that goes on in street level politics up here, it definitely is a throwback. 

 

SCENE 23: BOOKER RALLY GETS DERAILED

 

PABLO:

You know we were having a rally in the North Ward, tonight? 

 

MAN:

Yeah, the Flamboyan thing.

 

PABLO:

He’s just closed the place down.

 

MAN:

What?!!  What do you mean he closed it down? 

 

PABLO:

The place is closed for business! 

 

PABLO ON PHONE:

I go to the club down the street to try to move it from this place to the other place and the guy goes "listen, Pablo, I love you, but I'm too afraid to let Cory in here.”
  He goes you know, Pablo, you know how politics is, you know if I let Cory in here I'll have the police here tomorrow.  They’ve been laying off me since I let the mayor put his signs up here-- the police don’t come anymore.  Yup, you know Sharpe, that's what he does.  He threatens everybody.

 

PABLO AND CORY IN CAR:

PABLO:

Just paranoid. Totally, totally paranoid. It's unbelievable.

 

CORY:

This campaign of intimidation, it's not gonna win for them. It's just not gonna win for them.

 

PABLO:

Somebody put a threat in the email.

 

CORY:

What'd they say?

 

PABLO:

You know, Cory Booker better watch out. I'm tryin' to get it.

 

CORY:

Was it a physical threat?

 

PABLO:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

 

SCENE 24: BUSINESS OWNERS THREATENED

 

MARSHALL V/O:

The heat is being turned up even hotter on business owners, and some ask the campaign to come take back their "Booker" signs.

 

WORKER FOR BOOKER CAMPAIGN 1:

Think about it this way, if Cory wins you don’t have a problem.

 

BUSINESS OWNER 1:

But if he don’t, I have a big problem.

 

WORKER FOR BOOKER CAMPAIGN 2:

You wanna put the little one on Ann Street and we'll take the big one back? I know you guys aren’t gonna put it up, you're worried, and I understand that- that's fine.

 

BUSINESS OWNER 1:

You know, people getting closed down you know.

 

WOMAN:

See, our only thing is that we have city contracts. He told the police officers they're not allowed to go to any more Cory Booker fundraisers.

 

MARSHALL V/O

They're also being encouraged to donate money to the James campaign.

 

BUSINESS OWNER 2:

This cop came down and was like, you know, since you have the contract for the city of Newark, you know…

 

WOMAN:

… give me five hundred dollars

 

BUSINESS OWNER 2:

I said yo man, I can't afford it. Here's two hundred and fifty. You don’t understand, they'll do you in man. They will do you in. There's no way around it.

 

 

SCENE 25: BOOKER BILLBOARDS AND SIGNS RIPPED DOWN

 

(Close-up of "Cory Booker For Mayor" billboards as they were first posted; and then as they are- ripped down.)

 

PABLO:

You see what they're doing?

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

Yeah, yeah I saw all that.

 

PABLO:

Yeah, they're ripping down tons of our signs. They took two hundred signs in the North Ward, lawn signs.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

Two-hundred?

 

PABLO:

Two-hundred lawn signs.

 

MEETING AT BOOKER HQ/ KEEPING ELECTION HONEST:

AIDE 1:

That's fine, but you were there. 'Cause she wasn’t there.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Tension is rising on the campaign. And it seems that as much effort as people were spending before on winning over voters, they are now spending just trying to keep the election honest.

 

AIDE 2:

I got a very interesting call, an anonymous call, on my cell phone early this week. This person told me that there are three machines in the East Ward that she believes are being tampered with. OK, I asked her specifically what are the machines? And she said that I really can't tell you that, because of the position that I'm in, they would know how you got that information. So, I was inclined to think that she was calling from the board of elections.

 

SCENE 26: CORY AND JEN DISCUSS UP-COMING MAYORAL DEBATE

 

SCREEN TEXT: BRICK TOWERS

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

Remember that this is not a debate the way…it's not an intellectual debate; it's not an academic debate. You will not win any points for the quality of your arguments, for the logic…

 

CORY:

It's saying things that resonate with the crowd.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

So you really wanna think now of some good snappy sound bites. Even though I know that sounds like-- just memorize them and see if you can throw them in there.

 

CORY:

OK. Some of the documents, like the tax rates, I wanna be able to hit him on that. Sharpe James has raised taxes 100%. He's raised them from dah-da-dah to dah-da-dah.

 

WOMAN:

You don’t even need dah-da-da-da-dah…

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

Don’t dah-da-dah-da-dah. Sharpe James has raised a hundred and ten percent. 'Cause people, people…The thing about a debate is that people believe what you say so, you don’t need to offer them much evidence. Sharpe James has raised taxes a 100 percent; versus Shape James has raised taxes a 100 percent from blah-blah-blah to blah-blah-blah.

 

CORY:

I see what you're saying.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

Right.

 

CORY:

Just get me those numbers.

 

WOMAN:

What numbers?

 

CORY:

What the tax rate was back in 1986, what it is now, what the average family paid, what the average family pays now.

 

WOMAN:

There's one chart.

 

CORY:

OK.

 

WOMAN:

It’s all the same chart.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:
Promise me you wont say that when you get in...

 

CORY:

I will not promise you I wont say that. I'm good at reading audiences and…

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

You don’t have an audience.

 

CORY:

I'm good at going with the flow.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

OK, but hear me because first of all, you have no audience. The audience is one camera.

 

CORY:

No. When I need to think on my toes, and I need to make a good comeback, if Sharpe keeps going back to the things, I wanna know my shit.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

Ok, but just, just keep in mind…

 

CORY:

So, so, I’m not promising you anything-- you've given me some good things, some good pointers, but ultimately it's me out there and I have to go on my guts…

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

I know that. But one thing that I know is that if you roll out something that takes longer than a minute, they'll cut you off and then your point will get lost.

 

CORY:

 I understand that.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

OK?

 

CORY BOOKER

 I understand the point.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

OK.

 

CORY:

So just make sure I get that information.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN AND WOMAN LEAVING BRICK TOWERS:

JEN BLUESTEIN:

He's gonna boff it. He's gonna try and do his thing and he's clearly gonna boff it.

 

SCENE 27: MAYORAL DEBATE

 

MARSHALL V/O:

I show up at the debate with my camera, but the police tell me I can't film. I put the camera in my bag, but continue recording audio.

 

(Following bites are screen text and audio only)

 

CORY BOOKER:

I'm a black man, and I'm insulted that another black man would come up here and try to accuse me of being something other.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

As soon as it ends, a fracas breaks out.  The mayor accuses a Booker supporter of being a terrorist.

 

SHARPE JAMES:

He frightened me-- he's a terrorist.  Get his identification please.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

They haul the man into another room.

 

POLICEMAN:

Might be wanted.

 

SHARPE:

You wanna find out, check him out?

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Two lawyers from the Booker campaign argue until he's released.

 

LAWYER:

Why is he being held?  Why is he being detained?

 

POLICEWOMAN:

Everybody step back.  Everybody step back.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

The mayor lunges at the lawyers, but his supporters hold him back.

 

SUPPORTERS:

Sharpe!  Sharpe!

 

SHARPE:

Where you going?  Come on…

 

MARSHALL V/O:

A Booker supporter taunts him.

 

BOOKER SUPPORTER:

See you in two weeks!

 

JAMES SUPPORTER:

See YOU in two weeks!  I'll see you in a little while…See ya later! 

 

JAMES SUPPORTER 2:

Faggot!

 

JAMES SUPPORTER 3:

Carpet baggers!

 

JAMES SUPPORTER:

See YOU in two weeks!

 

JAMES SUPPORTER:

Don't get caught in the streets. 

 

JAMES SUPPORTER:

Don't get caught in the streets.  Don't get caught in the streets…

 

(video resumes)

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Everyone pours out onto the sidewalk.  As I pull out my camera, a policeman from the mayor's security team comes at me.  (lens is grabbed)

 

MARSHALL:

Let go of my camera!  Let go of my camera!  There is free press.  This is America.

 

POLICEWOMAN:

This is private property.

 

MARSHALL:

This is a sidewalk.  It is not private property.  This is a sidewalk.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

He's broken the microphone off of my camera, while the mayor is whisked away.  Reporters gather around.

 

ACCUSED BOOKER SUPPORTER:

I was trying to listen to what the mayor was saying, and I happened to have shades on.  So when he commented about the shades, I took 'em off!  So after I took 'em off, he said "he's still a terrorist. Run a check on him, see who he is.  I don't know him, he's not a North resident" So I pull out my North welfare ID, and they said "where's your address," and I said I gave them my address, right?  My social security number was on there and everything.  So that wasn't sufficient enough, they wanted to take me off to the side.  I told them I was here with Cory Booker, that's when they really took me out.  I was just sittin' there, no, I was just sittin' there! 

 

MAN:

He was just looking.

 

ACCUSED BOOKER SUPPORTER:

This is what he saw (takes Booker hat off), he saw the hat.  You know what I'm sayin'?  That's all it was.  He saw the hat.

 

SCENE 28: POST DEBATE EVENING

 

CORY:

(talking on phone) You saw how I comported myself, and I really hope, again, that you write the truth.  This is how Cory behaved, this is how Sharpe James behaved.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

The Booker team is struggling to get the press to show more outrage.  But so much of the reporting just treats the election like a sport.  They call it "rough and tumble politics,” as if Newark were a crazy regime on the other side of the globe, rather than an American city, just twelve miles from Manhattan.

 

SPENCER HOLDEN:

He's doing some things, I don't understand how he gets away with them. It's-- you couldn't do that in New York.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

I realize that I've gotten a bit out of my league.  If a cop will shove me and break my camera in broad daylight with reporters around, what would happen if, as they taunted, I am caught out on the streets?  Two different reporters who cover Newark take me aside and tell me to be very careful.  I ask one Booker aide if this is serious, if I should be worried, or if this really is just "rough and tumble politics?"  He tells me the night before last, his front door was smashed in, and now he's carrying a gun in his car.

 

SCENE 29: CORY IN HIS APARTMENT

 

CORY:

I have not been sleeping that easily the last week or two, so sometimes I spring up at 5 o'clock in the morning and can't get back to sleep. 

 

CORY:

(pointing to picture on wall) That's city hall and me and Mayor Sharpe James.  He stopped shaking my hand months ago.

 

SCENE 30: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STEPS IN

 

SCREEN TEXT:

5 Days Until Election Day

 

 CHRIS CHRISTIE:

Good afternoon, I’m Chris Christie, the United States Attorney for the district of New Jersey.  Today I have directed attorneys, investigators and other staff in my office, to be prepared to serve as election observers on the Newark municipal election this Tuesday, May 14th

 

CORY:

I'm very happy that now we have every assurance, every possible assurance that this is gonna be an election that's safe, fair, and a democracy will be served.

 

AUDIO FROM SHARPE JAMES RALLY VAN:

A-1, Sharpe James.  Let's continue the progress.  Vote Sharpe James.  Vote for the right person.

 

SCENE 31: ENDORSEMENTS

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Back to back, the Star Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper, and The New York Times have endorsed Booker.

 

PABLO:

Awesome, awesome article.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

And suddenly, this local election in a medium sized city, has become the center of American black politics. 

 

SPIKE LEE:

This is the director, Spike Lee, asking you to do the right thing by voting for Cory Booker for Newark mayor this Tuesday, May 14th.

 

JUDY WOODRUFF CNN CLIP:

Well the race for mayor in New Jersey's biggest city is heating up.

 

JOE TORRES ABC 7 CLIP:

On one side you've got Mayor Sharpe James

 

NJN ANCHOR CLIP:

Facing the toughest challenge of his career from the 32 year old councilman Cory Booker.

 

REPORTER V/O:

This has clearly been the most exciting election in recent years,

 

REPORTER V/O:

Both candidates have alleged acts of intimidation, and other shenanigans throughout this race.

 

REPORTER V/O:

The campaign, at times intense, has attracted the interest of the national media. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Sharpe has been lobbying Bill Clinton for an endorsement, and he says in a speech that the former president will be coming to stump for him.  But the next day, Clinton's office says he won't be taking sides.  Sharpe sends out a mailing featuring Clinton anyway, that implies the endorsement, without being explicit enough to get into trouble.

 

BOOKER AIDE:

How long ago was this picture, anyways?

 

BOOKER AIDE 2:

I don’t know-- 3 years ago.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Jesse Jackson comes to town, and calls Cory a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

 

CORNEL WEST, AUTHOR/SCHOLAR:

This is not just about Newark, now.  This is about the nation.  What you are beholding here is a new vision, that's what we're talking about here in Newark. 

 

CORNEL WEST:

(To Cory) This is just the beginning for you, man.  I'm serious.  In 5, 10, 15 years!  (gestures a rocket taking off)

 

CORY:

This is the real battle in America right now.  This is the front line for the American dream.

 

CORNEL WEST:

This is the front line.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

But as people line up, to get Cornel West to autograph his book on race relations in America, a sound truck rolls by. 

 

SOUND TRUCK:

You ain't black!  You're suspect, boy, you ain't black.  You're suspect.  You're suspect. 

 

SCENE 32: STATISTICAL DEAD HEAT

 

PABLO:

(on phone)  I don't know, I have no idea.  Yeah, I'm in front of the TV right now waiting for their poll results. 

 

TELEVISION AUDIO:

There's an incredibly close race emerging in the election of the next mayor of Newark.  According to a new Eyewitness News poll, incumbent mayor Sharpe James now finds himself in a statistical dead heat… (booker office cheers)

 

PABLO:

We're in a fight!  We're in a fight!  It's only costing fucking 200,000 dollars a week, but… you know.

 

PABLO:

(on phone).  That is a great poll for us, that is an awesome poll for us.  That put--everybody who's with Sharpe right now has gotta be thinking twice.  Cory Booker!

 

SCENE 33: CORY ON THE STREETS WITH KIDS

 

CORY:

(to some little girls on street)  How you doin', ladies? 

 

GIRLS:

Fine.

 

CORY:

Are you sure?

 

GIRLS:

Yes.

 

CORY:

All right.  Who you gonna vote for for mayor?

 

GIRLS:

You.

 

AUDIO OF WOMAN INSIDE HOUSE:

Oh my god, it’s Cory Booker!

 

CORY:

(crossing street with kids) Watch for cars!

 

CORY:

How are you all doing?

 

MALCOLM, YOUNG BOY:

My name is Malcolm McDonald, and I just met Cory Booker, my best friend!

 

GIRL:

If you don't believe me, smell my hands!

 

MARSHALL:

Smell your hands?  What do you mean?

 

GIRL:

Yes.  Cause I just touched Cory Booker.

 

MARSHALL:

And he's got a smell?

 

GIRL:

Mmm hmm.

 

BOY:

And she loves him.

 

MARSHALL:

What's he smell like? 

 

GIRL:

He smells like the future.

 

SCENE 34:NIGHT BEFORE ELECTION DAY

 

SCREEN TEXT:

5 Hours Until Election Day

 

CORY:

Night before- evening before the battle, and I feel good.  I feel really good.  We fought a great fight, and tomorrow's just execution and prayer.  Life could change a lot for all of us come, come the end of the day.  You know, who knows what the outcome's gonna be.  I could be completely wrong.  I could have completely underestimated our enemy, and he could just come out and crush us, or, keep us so we narrowly lose.  My gut of guts tells me that uh, we got this guy against the ropes and he's going to go down tomorrow.

 

SCENE 35: ELECTION DAY, CORY AND SHARPE CAST VOTES

 

MARSHALL V/O:

It's election day. 

 

BOOKER SUPPORTS:

Booker all the way! Booker is the man!

 

SHARPE SUPPORTERS:

A-1, Sharpe James!  A-1, Sharpe James!

 

WOMAN VOICE:

There go our next mayor. There goes our next mayor, ya’ll.

 

SHARPE ON TV AFTER CASTING VOTE:

Democracy!

 

ABC 7 REPORTER AUDIO:

Sharpe James knows more than any other that you need to get out the vote on election day.  In tight races like this, it could make the difference in the end.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Each campaign has about 1500 workers on the streets, dragging people out to vote, waving signs, and watching the polls for cheating.  With the voter turnout that's expected, it works out to be around one worker for every 15 votes.  Some of the workers are volunteers, but many of them are paid.  And both campaigns are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars today.  Since Sharpe won't let me get close, I have another camera crew cover him. 

 

SHARPE CAMPAIGNER:

Michael, this is our mayor.  (to mayor) Mike is charge of the three buses.  All these people came from Pennsylvania.  We work with Mike every year. 

 

SHARPE ELECTION WORKER ON BUS:

Time to tell the truth now, you're on candid camera! 

 

WORKER 2:

We're from Philadelphia and we don't have a clue. We’re just here to help out.

 

WORKER 3:

For who?  Who are we showing support our support for?  Oh yeah, James.  James the real deal. 

 

WORKER 4:

Why we came from Philly?  Get paid!

 

SHARPE:

The press can come here.  I can stand in here while I talk to them again.  This is a volunteer army against a paid army, and um, a volunteer army against a paid army. So I'm indebted to the people of Newark who are coming out, pouring out their love of their city, love of people- volunteers.  You can't pay volunteers.  They're doing it cause they love this city.  They live here and they love their city.

 

SHARPE SUPPORTER 1:

Sharpe James the real deal!  Sharpe James the real deal!

 

SHARPE SUPPORTER 2:

We're much better than we were before in the city of Newark.  Look at Newark!

 

BOOKER SUPPORTER:

In the community?  He don't give a fuck about our community!  Nothing!

 

BOOKER SUPPORTER:

It belong to us, it goes beyond when we take it beyond.

 

JEN BLUESTEIN:

(on phone) Wilson Avenue school, one of the voting machines is allegedly broken, poll workers are claiming they have no emergency ballots to go to.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Problems are erupting all over the city.  Lawyers and poll challengers race around putting out fires, but new ones spring up in their place.

 

BOOKER AIDE:

All right we just got another report that now there's a power outage over there.  They've disconnected the power.  So um, if you can get someone over there I'd greatly appreciate it.  Ok, thanks.  Alright.  US Attorney's office, finally getting back to me.

 

BOOKER AIDE 2:

Intimidation.  Highly, high intimidation in all the polling sites.

 

PABLO:

We've had machines broken, we've had levers broken, uh, we've had district leaders bringing in people to vote. Machine politics as usual.

 

NJN TV CLIP:

At this polling station, Booker's campaign complained that elderly residents were bringing people into the polling booths with them. 

 

SHARPE TV CLIP:

Have you ever had a day when Mr. Booker didn't make accusations?  Have you ever had a day when he didn't complain?  Have you ever had a day where he didn't condemn everyone and everything to spin the media?

 

CORY:

A new day is dawning in Newark.  The sun is rising on new opportunities and new hopes.  Today is a glorious day in our city.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

But as the day goes on, the relative inexperience of Cory's operation starts to show.

 

BOOKER WORKER:

(on phone) They're saying that a lot of places we need more poll workers.  But we don't have more bodies.  You have more bodies over there?

 

BOOKER VOLUNTEER:

I don't know what to do, what I'm supposed to do.  I asked Kareem and he was like "just go down to Clinton Place," what is my job?  What am I supposed to be doing? 

 

PABLO:

The police is down at 505 Mt. Prospect ripping down our signs. 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

A federal judge has ordered the city government not to selectively take down any Booker signs.  But around the city, the federal order is being ignored. 

 

AL SHARPTON:

They're trying to buy it!

 

SHARPE JAMES SOUND CAR:

It's not about how white you are or how bright you are…It's how right you are.  Mayor Sharpe James!

 

CORY BOOKER SOUND TRUCK:

Cory Booker for mayor, yeah, yeah, Cory Booker for mayor!  Yo!  Cory Booker for mayor, yeah, yeah. 

 

MAN IN VAN:

(singing) Sharpe James, he's our maaayor! 

 

SCENE 36: ELECTION NIGHT, POLLS CLOSE

 

MARSHALL V/O:

At 8 o'clock, the polls close and the counting begins.  One by one, each polling site reports its numbers. 

 

BOOKER AIDE:

I feel good man, I really do feel very good.  It's been all positive, it's been all positive.

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Cory surges ahead in the Latino and Portuguese districts.

 

CORY BOOKER
What’s the other wards look like?

 

MARSHALL V/O

 But from the predominantly black districts, the results are very different. 

 

SHARPE TEAM:

(cheers as latest numbers are written) Sharpe James, he's our maaayor!  Sharpe James, he's our maaayor, forever!  Sharpe James, he's our maaayor, forever!

 

SHARPE:

I'll be back, I'll be back.  Robert Treat Hotel.  Robert Treat Hotel! Kick ass!

 

BOOKER AIDE:

Um, 110 of 161 districts are reporting so far, uh, shows James up by 800 votes.  800 votes.  Very, very close. 

 

CROWD OF SHARPE SUPPORTERS:

Four more years! Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

 

PABLO:

(on phone) Hello?  Yeah.  Then it's over? 

 

MARSHALL V/O:

Sharpe James got 28,300 votes.  Cory got 24,800. 

 

JIMMY MITCHELL, BOOKER CAMPAIGN:

He went upstairs to his apartment.

 

MARSHALL:

How did he seem?

 

JIMMY MITCHELL:

You know.  He's a strong man.  He didn’t wanna show it- he's got a lot of troops behind him, he didn’t want to show his weakness, you know what I mean?  He didn't show it.   But I knew. It's gonna be better next time. 

 

CORY (concession speech):

We, who fought so hard, have now slipped a small end of a larger wedge, into the door of this political machine.  Let us show our dignity, and our love for the city of Newark by not giving up our principals, by not giving up our passion, by staying persistent in this cause, and in this fight.  I want all of you to know, who struggled so hard, who put your faith in me and my leadership, that I have not yet begun to fight.  Thank you and god bless you!  (cheers)

 

SCENE 38: THE DAY AFTER

 

SCREEN TEXT:

The Next Day

 

CORY:

I've just never had this experience in my life where something bad happened, or against my expectations that didn't turn out to be better, um, for the better for some reason.  You know, in my mind I kept thinking of a victory speech, and ended up having to make a concession speech, but I wanted everybody to hold hands, I wanted to talk about the different people who were holding hands at that one moment and what those people were able to accomplish and achieve.  And the power that we were able to bring to bear—it wasn’t the power of individuals or one race or one color, even age groups, I mean there teenagers, kids that worked on the campaign—to senior citizens.

 

CORY:

(on phone) Feeling a bit, uh, a bit, uh embattled, but also feeling incredibly, incredibly good.  We fought one hell of a fight, I wish you could have known all the things that were going on, it was- it was just phenomenal.  

 

SCENE 39: ONE YEAR LATER

 

SCREEN TEXT:

One Year Later.

 

CORY:

And I learned something, I learned something.  Real courage is like that famous poem by Maya Angelou, who says "you may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies, you may ground me down in the very dirt, but like dust, still, I rise.  (applause)

 

SCREEN TEXT:

Cory Booker still lives in Brick Towers and is practicing law in Newark.  He is also founder of Newark Now, a community non-profit.  He will be running for mayor again in 2006.  Sharpe James is the mayor of Newark and has not yet announced whether he will seek a sixth term.

 

END.

 

 

 

Citation

Main credits

Curry, Marshall (film producer)
Curry, Marshall (film director)
Curry, Marshall (screenwriter)

Other credits

Photographer, Marshall Curry; editor, Marshall Curry; original music, James Baxter.


Distributor credits

Marshall Curry
Executive Producers: Liz Garbus and Rory Kennedy
Original music by James Baxter
Director of Photography: Marshall Curry
Edited by Marshall Curry
Additional Editing: Mary Manhardt and Rachel Kittner
Executive Producer for POV: Cara Mertes
Executvie Producer for ITVS: Sall Jo Fifer
A Marshall Curry Productions, LLC film in association with Moxie Firecracker Films. STREET FIGHT is a co-production of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Docuseek2 subjects

Urban Studies
U.S. Government and Politics
American Studies
Democracy
African-American Studies

Distributor subjects

African-American Studies
American Democracy
American Studies
Anthropology
Citizenship and Civics
Communications
Government
Humanities
Journalism
Law
Political Science
Race and Racism
Social Psychology
Sociology
Urban Studies

Keywords

race for mayor, Newark NJ, Cory Booker, Rhodes Scholar, Sharpe James, New Jersey politics, neighborhoods, housing projects, political machine, codes enforcement, voter data, federal observers, African-American democrats, race,"Street Fight",Bullfrog Films

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