tv The Last Word MSNBC June 22, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT
interest rates on student loans are scheduled to double. >> student interest rate loans will double. >> if congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike. >> the president is not interested in staying focussed on jobs d the economy. >> the stalemate in washington threatens to make the situation even worse. >> keep it up, let's get this done. thanks, everybody. today, the romney campaign tried to stop the governor of the largest battleground state from talking about the improving economy there while president obama was trying to stop student interest loan rates from doubling. >> others have said we're just talking about student loans to distract from the economy. that doesn't make much sense because this is the economy.
this is all about the economy. this is all about whether or not we are going to have the best trained, best educated work force in the world. that improves our economy. we can't control every economic head wind that we face. but this is something we can control. >> the president's remarks come hours after a bloomberg report surfaced saying that the romney campaign asked the repubcan governor of florida rick scott, quote, to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state's economy because they clash with the presumptive republican nominee's message that the nation is suffering under president obama, according to two people familiar with the matter. the romney campaign reportedly made the request after governor scott's re-election campaign issued a press release touting the state's unemployment rate, which has dropped from 11.4% in january 2010 to 8.6% in may of 2012.
the florida governor was asked to say that the state's jobless rate could improve faster under a romney presidency, according to the people who asked not to be named. both the romney campaign and rick scott's office have called the bloomberg report into question. a new quinnipiac poll of registered voters shows president obama with a four-point lead on mitt romney in florida where 29 electoral college votes are at stake. last month, that same poll of registered voters showed president obama trailing mitt romney by six points, so that is a ten-point swing in the president's favor in florida in one month. and in the veep stakes tonight, another "x" goes up on our big board. last night we crossed chris
christie off the list of possible candidates for the republican vice president nomination. today,uriversity board of trustees crossed indiana governor mitch daniels off of our list by unanimously electing him to be the next president of purdue university. and of course, in other big board news this week, pawlenty has now been recognized as the front-runner for the republican vice presidential nomination, a status he achieved on this program 224 days ago. joining me now, msnbc contributor krystal ball and an pulitzer prize winning journalist david k. johnson, a tax columnist for reuters. krystal, this game of chicken over student loan interest rates continue. it's the fight about how do you pay for the provisions that would allow those rates to stay low. how much farther can the republicans push this. it seems the president is working it so his advantage. >> he's been brilliant at navigating these political
waters. i think a decision was made at some point. obviously the republicans in congress are not going to work with us on anything. we're not going to be able to get anything passed. so we need to focus on issues that are broadly popular and expose the incredible obstructionism that has been in place obviously with the republican party since, i mean, they were planning it on his inauguration day. i think this has been, you know, student loan interest rates is something that people across the country broadly support. and to have the president be the face of advocating for keeping them low is a very positive thing. >> david, mitt romney has a terrible problem in florida. that economy, sorry, was it's just doing better than mitt romney wants it to do. >> it's amazing people don't understand how much better the economy is. it would be a lot better if we had a bigger stimulus, but it's getting better, and yet all you hear is we're going to create jobs, jobs, jobs. i'm sorry, the republicans told us that two years ago.
where are the jobs? they didn't do anything to help create jobs. they helped destroy jobs, schoolteacher, police officers, firefighters. >> let's talk about the swing states unemployment rates. national unemployment rate, of course, is 8.2%. colorado, 8.1%. florida, 8.6%. iowa, 5.1%. michigan, 8.5%, nevada, way above the average, 11.6%. new hampshire, 5.0. north carolina, 9.4. significantly above the national average. and that's where the democratic convention be. ohio, 7.3. virginia, 5. and wisconsin, 6.8. krystal, as the obama campaign tries to navigate th map, do they emphasize going into the states where the unemployment is actually the highest? is that where they're going to need to focus the most?
>> you know, the obama campaign, it's interesting has sketched out more of a state by state strategy. for example, in michigan to really tout the auto bailout and ohio as well. virginia, focus on local issues. i think they will navigate that on a sort of state-by-state basis, but we shouldn't get too caught up by the fact that in virginia, for example, the unemployment is quite low and in iowa, because so much of the economic focus is on a national level. so the trend line nationally is in some ways going to be more important i think than what's going on in the individual battleground states. you know, right now we've had this sort of slow and steadily recovery. i frankly am nervous because the republicans since they did take over the house have blocked any kind of action. the fed is doing very limited. we have this thing going oin europe that is very scary and we don't know what the outcome is going to be. if things were today in florida, the new poll, that's fantastic.
but if things start to go downhill, mitt romney is no longer going to have this conflict with rick scott and other republican governors having to say tamp it down on economic optimism. i'm nervous about head winds this summer. >> let's take a look at this new ad that team obama released today. >> the son of a single mom, proud father of two daughters. president obama knows that women being paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men isn't just unfair, it hurts families. so the first law he signed was the lily ledbetter fair pay act. because president obama knows that fairness for women means a stronger middle class for america. >> david, it's an ad that is obviously talking about women, but it's also talking about the economy. and it seems that it has a broader audience than women. what two-earner couple doesn't want the wife to earn more money? >> well, yes.
married men should be in the forefront of promoting equal pay. this is an issue that should do wonders for him in terms of getting people to turn out the vote. the republicans have made it very clear that they really don't care about this issue. they will put procedure and politics ahead of any effort to end gender pay discrimination, which when you look at totally comparable jobs from public records that we have, fewer women earn well paid jobs and make less money in the same occupations. >> and let's just remember that mitt romney has been unwilling to even take a position on the lily ledbetter act and the paycheck fairness act. he won't even say where he stands on these and i think that's something the obama campaign needs to highlight. >> that's part of his policy. i have a secret plan.
i have a secret plan for immigration, secret plan to bring down the budget deficits. richard nixon told us i have a secret plan in 1978 and six years later, we were still in the war. >> let's take a glance at the national polls which don't tell us all that much at this stage. they are of registered voters. we have a new national poll of registered voters saying president obama is at 50%. mitt romney is at 46%. we have another associated press national poll of registered voters. president obama at 47%, mitt romney at 44%. but the trend here on all of them, there's a consistent edge, small edge, with registered voters of president obama nationwide. >> i think the obama campaign has to feel good about the fact that we have seen a slower recovery, slower job growth and yet he's holding on to a slight lead in national polls and is doing well in battleground states. so that has to be comforting that maybe there's more wiggle room than we thought in terms of facing economic head winds and having a more difficult summer than we anticipated. >> david, between now and november, what is the likelihood in the economic landscape?
what is the possibility of an improvement that would be noticeable to the electorate and what is the possibility of a decline that could be noticeable? >> well, there's significant risks of a decline, but in all likelihood, we'll continue to have very slow growth out of this because we don't have enough jobs. population has been growing since 2000, more than six times faster than jobs. and if the policies that we have now that romney wants to double down on worked, we would have abundant jobs right now. but i think the risks are relatively small we'll see some significant collapse between now and then, which would be very bad for obama. i think one thing that's important for the obama campaign is getting out the vote. that's part of the wisconsin. you can look good in the polls but if people don't go to the actual polls, it doesn't matter. >> krystal ball, now one of the new co-hosts of msnbc's newest show "the cycle" that's going to start next week. 3:00 p.m. wedays. so you're move into the hosting ranks here. >> i am. co-hosting ranks at least. >> stick around, do some
co-hosting here. >> all right. the supreme court threw out the fcc's broadcast decency rule today. so now we can say and do anything we want. so we've got profanity and nudity coming up. hey. hey eddie. i brought your stuff. you don't have to do this. yes i do. i want you to keep this. it'd be weird. take care. you too. [ sighs ] so how did it go? he's upset. [ male announcer ] spend less time at gas stations. with best in class fuel economy. it's our most innovative altima ever. ♪ holding down the fort while you're out catching a movie. [ growls ]
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so you're going to be co-hosting this new show starting next week. so why don't you co-host what's coming up on the show. we have a prompter right there. >> cher made history today. she was quoted for the first time in a supreme court opinion. a unanimous supreme court opinion, thanks to cher, allows everyone on tv to say anything we want, including the word cher said on tv that got her case dragged in front of the united states supreme court. and while the supreme court was deciding what we could say on
tv, they also decided nudity is okay on tv. we'll show you the nude scene that the supreme court liked so much coming up. [ thunk ] sweet! [ male announcer ] the solid thunk of the door on the jetta. thanks, mister! [ meow ] [ male announcer ] another example of volkswagen quality. that's the power of german engineering. right now lease the 2012 jetta for $159 a month. visit vwdealer.com today. laces? really? slip-on's the way to go.
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obama has over mitt romney with latino voters. president obama is at 61% with latino voters. mitt romney is running at 27%. now mitt romney bravely pretended to answer the now weak-old question that no one, no one, has been able to get him to answer. >> now the president has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on day one but didn't. i think you deserve better. some people have asked if i will let stand the president's executive order. the answer is that i will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure. >> of course, the solution to the problem would require a new piece of legislation and romney did not say whether he would allow the president's executive order stopping deportations to
stay in effect until romney was able to replace it with a legislative solution. so once again, mitt romney did not answer the question about what he would do on day one about the president's executive order. here is romney's outline of his so-called long-term solution. >> it's critical that we redouble our efforts to secure the borders. that means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a advise is a. we should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence and implement an improved exit verification system. reallocate green cards to those seeking to keep their families under one radio roof and we'll exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents. i would staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advance degree to america. i will promote a path to legal
status for one willing to defend this great nation through military service. >> joining me now are the former dnc communications director and msnbc political analyst and ari melber, an msnbc contributor. so he's going to go to graduations with a stapler and a stack of green cards and staple them to the diploma and the green card is going to say nothing. >> that's right. >> because the republican congress will not legislate that green card on to the diploma. >> ari had a great thought about the stapler. it makes you think of staples, the one company that may succeeded. >> if you listen to the story that he said, it's the same old stuff we heard from republicans, it takes us back frankly to before when john mccain actually did support immigration reform. it's the same stuff we heard from republicans. the trick about it is, and i think the latino community remembers, they remember the debate in 2005 and how divisive and ugly it was.
they remember what john mccain was going to do then he voted against it. they also know a lot of what he's talking about continues to undermine american workers. it's not creating good jobs with benefits. he's talking about guest worker programs and the same kind of programs that continue the labor issues that aren't good for this country. >> and ari, he did not use the most famous romney phrase on this subject, and so for that we have to cut to video of a presidential primary debate. >> so if you don't deport them, how do you send them home? >> the answer is self-deportation. people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here. >> wasn't this the perfect audience for the whole deportation thing? how could he forget that? >> it's memorable. when you're giving speeches, especially if they're boring, it's good to have a good thing
that everyone will remember. but no, he didn't do that. he did change up the tone and tone matters, particularly when you talk about marginalized communities. the one thing i really did like in this speech is he made an effort to talk about the fact that we're stronger when we bring in immigrants. i like the tone to some degree. it was better than the earlier tone you just showed. but the substance was not there. at the end of the day, we have 11.5 million undocumented workers in this country. and if you gpiecemeal and say well, i want to deal with veterans because we lue veterans and we do, but i don't want to do the rest of it. i don't want to approach the dream act and give the president credit for doing something that even republicans have said is humane, then i don't think he's taking it seriously. >> we have a new poll in arizona, colorado, nevada, virginia. they found that romney's statements on undocumented immigrants, the statement on self-deport, they make, and the statements about immigration laws in arizona, they are really hurting romney with those people. they are less enthusiastic to
vote for him. 59%. so his words have been heard before today. >> that's right. they have been heard. and again, it sound like what they've heard in the past that is not about moving forward in the way that president obama actually gets to go to this same group tomorrow and talk about something that's a positive development. ari and i were talking about this before we came in. this community has followed this debate. they know what happened on day one when president obama came into the oval office. they know what's been going on in coness. they know that it took to this point for the president to finally say look, if congress isn't going to act then i'm going to have to do this. they're much savvier than romney is getting them credit for. and by the way, he didn't say anything that's going to get him to the 30% that he needs. >> let's listen to what jay carney said today about why the present had to take the action that he did and where the failure lies in getting real progress in this area. >> congress has had the ability to act on this ever since republicans blocked the dream act.
we have a situation here where the nominee of the republican party, the head of that party at this point has said he would veto the dream act. that is not encouraging as a sign of cooperation or willingness by republicans. said he would simply veto the dream act. >> yeah, romney said he would veto the dream act. it at one point had 55 senators supporting it. for most americans who don't follow this as closely as we might. oh, that sounds pretty good. but it was subjected to a filibuster like so many other aspects of the president's agenda. i don't expect everyone to follow the cloture vote, right? but i do think karen makes a point. for the task that mitt romney had today, going into a community that voted double for his opponent, you know, 67 to 31 last cycle, he didn't move the needle on that. >> and karen, how can the president be accused by mitt
romney of taking these voters for granted and then at the same time accused by mitt romney of issuing his order limiting deportations because he doesn't take them for granted. because he needs their votes. >> right. this whole week has been about romney and the republican party licking their wounds. they got caught flat footed. they didn't see it coming. you have marco rubio whining the president didn't come to us and all this. yeah, this is romney trying to have it both ways. you put coalition of voters together block by block, piece by piece. again, if you can't get some portion of the latino vote, it's very hard to win a national election. they're not buying what he's selling. >> ari, how much of this campaign on the latino vote needs to be -- is it strategically played nationally? you know, we talk about
battleground states and all this kind of thing. but the latino vote seems to be a vote that you can appeal to with a national message as opposed to going into pacific places to deliver your message and find them. >> yeah, i think outside of florida where you have other sort of transnational issues in cuba, which plays out differently, when you talk about most of the southwest, even parts of michigan, wisconsin and ohio where you have increasing immigrant communities and their families that have sort of gone into the midwest, sometimes for jobs, i don't think it is as differentiated. i think that you talk first, frankly, abo the economy and education. those are the top line issues when you see what's polled. but the tone and the engagement and the seriousness which you approach the immigration questions does play out as well. >> and by the way, having a discussion about the economy, that's a great conversation for obama to have. what romney is defending with the ryan budget, that's not going to help the latino community. >> thank you both very much for joining me tonight. coming up, women in the american military actually face a greater threat from sexual assault in their barracks than they do of being killed in battle.
we'll have the shocking stories of the women who have suffered these assaults, including women who have served in the elite marine group that stands guard at the white house for president obama. male announcer ] we imagined a vehicle that could adapt to changing road conditions. one that continually monitors and corrects for wheel slip. we imagined a vehicle that can increase emergency braking power when you need it most. and we imagined it looking like nothing else on the road today. then...we built it. the 2012 glk. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial services. to provide a better benefits package... oahhh! [ male announcer ] it made a big splash with the employees. [ duck yelling ] [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. ♪ ha ha!
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or i guess i should say cher changed our world once again today. the united states supreme court ruled in cher's favor against the fcc that had issued a fine because cher used a word that the fcc doesn't like on television. now thanks to cher, we can say whatever we want. and thanks to an episode of "nypd blue" the supreme court also ruled that nudity is now okay on tv, too. the big victory for the first amendment is coming up in "the rewrite." anr, the shocking story of a real war being waged on women
in the american military. the most dangerous enemy they face are the sexual predators in our military who have assaulted military women serving around the world, including the marines who stand guard at the white house. that's coming up. good morning! wow. want to start the with something heart healthy and delicious? you're a talking bee... honey nut cheerios has whole grain oats that can help lower cholesterol. and it tastes good? sure does! right... ♪ wow. delicious, right? yeah.
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♪ [ male announcer ] hunger getting to you? ♪ grab a ritz crackerfuls. made with real cheese and whole grain. get hunger before it gets you. at the beginning of this year, republicans announced that one of their chief legislative and strategic priorities was to investigate the administration and damage the president politically. instead of creating jobs or helping the middle class, congressional republicans are
focused on this politically motivated taxpayer funding election year fishing expedition. in the spotlight tonight at the white house today, president obama blamed republicans for blocking the democrats' plan to extend low rates for student loans, which will double in a week. >> if congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike. that's not something they can afford right now. we've been talking about this for months. this issue didn't come out of nowhere. it's been looming for months. but we've been stuck watching congress play chicken with another deadline. >> a national journal poll found 50% favored the democratic plan to pay for keeping rates low by taxing some businesses. only 34% supported the republican plan that takes money away from preventive care in the health care law to pay for those loan rates. joining me now is pulitzer prize-winning columnist and msnbc political analyst eugene robinson. we see a double-team. we see jay carney saying listen, we're here trying to work on the economy, talk about the economy, get student loan rates fixed. and these republicans are just
going on this investigative fishing expedition, which they always said they were going to do with this president. they were going to run investigations no matter if there was a reason to do it or not. >> yeah, it really -- lawrence, it really underscores the narrative that the president's campaign and the administration are trying to get across, which is that this is a congress that is interested in defeating the president and not interested in . a lot of people with student loans, and they're not just kids in school. most of the increase in the student loan, the amount of studenbeen to older students who are really going to be hurt by this increase if indeed it happens. >> let's listen to what the president said today in blaming the republicans for protecting the top tax bracket, the high income earners versus the student loan rates. >> over in the house, the republicans said they would keep
these rates down only if we agreed to cut things like preventive health care for women which obviously wouldn't fix the problem but would create a new problem. this is even as they were voting lock step for an economic plan that would cut financial aid for 9 million college students by average of $1,000 and give $150,000 tack cut to wealthy americans. >> and so that's the president's work day. the republican congressional work day seems all about investigation, investigation and subpoena and contempt and all of that. and i want to read a piece from politico that we will all remember.
november 8, 2010. the headline was, darrel issa plans hundreds of hearings. california representative darrel issa is already eyeing a massive expansion of oversight for next year, including hundreds of hearings creating new subcommittees and launching fresh investigations into the bank bailout, the stimulus, and potentially health care reform. issa told politico in an interview, i want seven hearings a week times 40 weeks. you gene, there we see the definition of a work year in congress, 40 weeks. but it didn't matter to darrel issa's committee what they were going to investigate. 's, we want to be seen investigating. >> exactly. and, you know, they should be careful what they wish for because i think there's a real danger politically in being seen to do nothing but investigate, especially if the investigations seem to be without substance and without reason. meanwhile, everybody knows what state the economy is in, everybody knows certain things that need to get done. and if congress isn't doing that, if instead they're busy
trying to call administration officials on the carpet, i don't see how that really helps him that much. >> and the other thing you would like to have, if you're going to run the investigations is mr. clean running the investigations, not exactly darrel issa. i want to read to you something that was written in the new yorker back in 2011 about darrel issa. among other things he's been indicted for stealing a car. arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. and accused by former associates of burning down a building. gene, that's not the investigator in your party in charge of investigating in congress. >> is this the first time someone in a glass house has begun to throw stones? i don't think so. but there you have it. darrel issa is not the guy i would want leading the charge, but the republicans seem to be stuck with him and i don't think they can control him. >> thanks for joining us
tonight. coming up, the supreme court smacked down the fcc today and quoted cher in a unanimous ruling about broadcasting profanity and nudity. that's in tonight's "rewrite." and later, there really is a war on women. women in the american military. there's an epidemic of sexual assault against women in our military. you will hear from them about some of the horrors that they have suffered. that's coming up. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if we took the nissan altima and reimagined nearly everything in it? gave it greater horsepower and best in class 38 mpg highway... ...advanced headlights... ...and zero gravity seats? yeah, that would be cool. ♪ introducing the cpletely reimagined nissan altima. it's our most innovative altima ever. nissan. innovation that excites. ♪
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we're still waiting for the supreme court to rule on the new health care law, but today, the supreme court issued a unanimous ruling in favor of profanity and nudity on broadcast television. that's coming up next. we will celebrate our new freedoms in "the rewrite." you can prevent gas with beano meltaways, or treat gas with these after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later.
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well, okay, only half of it is thanks to cher. and no, it is not the nudity part. it's the profanity part. in the unanimous opinion written by justice kennedy, he tells the story this way. in the 2002 billboard music awards broadcast by respondent fox television stations, the singer cher exclaimed during an unscripted acceptance speech, i've also had my critics for the last 40 years saying that i was on my way out every year. right. so [ bleep ] them. the fcc then idiotically imposed a fine on fox for cher's use of the forbidden word. fox fought the case all the way to the supreme court which decided to hear the cher case, along with a case brought by abc to fight an fcc fine imposed for an episode of "nypd blue." justice kennedy described the offending nudity this way.
the episode broadcast on february 25, 2003, showed the nude buttocks of an adult female character for approximately seven seconds and for a moment the side of her breast. justice kennedy warned you, this is the shortest nude scene you're ever going to scene if your life. so are you ready? get ready. okay, get ready. here comes msnbc's second nude scene. >> sorry. >> it's okay, no problem. >> that is the second time we have shown this historic television nude scene. the fist time being, of course, a year and a half ago when i predicted the supreme court would rule exactly the way it ruled today.
for the freedom to be nude on television, we can thank the actress charlotte ross who appeared in the scene and the two guys who desperately wanted to see her naked on television and on their set, the co-writers of the episode who were also the co-creators of that brilliant series which won over 80 awards, including golden globes and emmys. the supreme court unanimously ruled against the fcc on the grounds that its rule on what it calls, quoting indecent material is, quote, just too vague. the fcc can do the smart thing and give up now, but it has absolutely no history of doing the smart thing, so it will probably attempt to rewrite its definition of indecent material into something more specific. and then the supreme court will, of course, eventually strike down that definition, too. there are plenty of other completely constitutional
activities in the fcc's jurisdiction to keep them all busy regulating various activities in the telecommunications industry. but thanks to cher, charlotte ross, stephen bochco and david milch, the federal government will never be able to tell us what we can say and do or show on television. but the legal right to be profane or naked is not something that any of us choose to exercise in almost any workplace. and so for better or worse, well, come to think of it, this really is just for better. the msnbc workplace rules still don't allow profanity or nudity. but if cher comes on this show as the supreme court proved today, cher makes her own rules. [ groans ] [ marge ] psst.
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by joining the military, women now risk their safety in more ways they realized when they signed up. today, women soldiers serving in afghanistan and iraq are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a fellow serviceman than to be killed in combat. >> when you report something, you better be prepared for the repercussions. >> if a man gets accused of rape, it's a setup. the woman is lying. >> i could choose to report it, but if i wasn't -- if they found that what i was saying wasn't to
be truthful, i would be reduced in rank. >> you could lose your rank, your school if you file a false report. so do el to file a report? >> even with the rape kit and everything and my friend catching him raping me, they still don't believe me. >> i reported it two different times to my squad leaders and he told me there was nothing he could do about it because they didn't have any proof. >> they acally did charge me with adultery. i wasn't married. he was. >> they took me before my lieutenant commander. he says do you think this is funny? and i said what do you mean? he said is this all a joke to you? i was like what do you mean? he said you're the third girl to report rape this week. are you guys all in cahoots? do you think this is a game? >> all those stories from the invisible war, a new documentary
that exposes the epidemic of sexual assault in the united states military. not only do these women suffer the horrors of rape, but they are often shamed, isolated, blamedr discharged after reporting the assault. the documentary includes story of women who served at the marine barracks in washington, d.c. the nation's most prestigious marine base. the home of the marines who stand guard at the white house. >> after my deployment to operation iraqi freedom in 2008-'09, my command officer recommended me for marine barracks washington. i was excited. it was the tip of the spears as far as the marine corps is concerned. one of the first things i was told when i checked in was, don't wear any makeup because the marines will want to think you want to sleep with thei tho. >> the atmosphere was horrible. people asked me what sexual favors had i performed to get my
orders there. >> there was a senior officer in my command, the first time he spoke to me he said female nes here are nothing butn't objects for the marines to [ bleep ]. >> joins me now the makers of this amazing and shocking documentary. >> this is shocking beyond description. the fact that these stories are coming from the marine barracks in washington, the that reens we see all the time in their full dress uniform at the white house, not to accuse any of them in particular, but where they live, this is happening. >> one of the things we noticed is often this is reported in the press as these anomalous situations. what we tried to do in our film and show was no, this is
actually systemic, widespread epidemic going on chronic and daily in our u.s. military. and one of the ways we did that was by focusing in part on marine barracks in washington where it's ongoing. that's why we made a purpose of inserting those instances in our film. in fact, three women that we spoke with off the record at marine barracks washington told me they had actually asked repeatedly for transfers back into combat to leave that bar racks. >> kirby, you get the feeling when you think about the scandals that we read about, they're like speeding tickets. it's like, you know, who got pulled over for speeding today. instead of the 10,000 going over the speed limit today. >> according to the department of defense's own estimates more than 19,000 men and women were sexually assaulted in the u.s. military. >> in one year. >> in one year. over the last several decades, hundreds of thousands -- >> is there something in military culture? is there something in -- is this group of people chosen from a subset of us who are more aggressive, more trained to be even more aggressive?
>> actlly most people in the military are horrified by this. they are not sexual perpetrators at all. but there's a small percentage of serial perpetrators that assault again and again. and the military has not done enough to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate them. what's worse is when they leave the military with honorable discharges, they go out into society and continue to assault civilians. >> so this is actually starting to have some of the contours of the scandal in the roman catholic church. it was probably a very small number of priests but they were not disciplined. they were not thrown out. and the complainants were not death with honestly. >> the majority of service members we spoke with, and it was a wide number of them, did say more often than not, their commanders were good commanders and they had no problems. but the problem was once they were in a base with a commander
who did not really reinforce the rules, prosecute these perpetrators, that's when there were problems. >> i want to show you what leon panetta said after seeing your documentary. >> sexual assault has no place in the military. it is a violation of everything that the u.s. military stands for. >> listen, i know leon panetta. known him for a long time. he had to be horrified by this. what actions has he taken as a result of what he's seen in your documentary? >> well what he's done is elevate the decision to investigate and prosecute these crimes from the level of unit commander to the level of colonel or captain in the navy. the problem is, it's still within the chain of command. it needs to be moved out of the chain of command so there's no conflict of interest. what we need here is an independent arbitrator to decide whether to investigate or prosecute. and that's the way it's done in every other civilian justice system in this country. >> amy, what are your hopes on where we will be a year from now, once the documentary is
kind of absorbed by the military. i'm sure this is going to be seen by virtually everyone in the military. >> yeah, the military actually has responded extremely positively to this film. it's not an anti-military film. every person said i'm speaking up because i know the military can be better. i love the military and i want them to hear this message and improve it. we hope that the military will see this film, own this problem and really take it on with the same vigor and purpose that they take on all the other things that they try and do. >> the women, are they using their real names in the documentary? are they current service members? are they mostly now retires and out of the service? >> they are mostly -- it's from one that we shouldn't shadow. they're retired and out of the service. but many are quite recent within the last two years. this is a problem that's not going down. this 19,000 number has been in place for the last five years. >> that's what shocked me, the size of it. it is a breathtakingly strange
and horrifying development in our military. >> that's why we made this film. the military has done a very good job of keeping this under wraps because it's time to get out and have people know about this. that's why we made the film. >> the documentary is called invisible war. thank you very much for joining me tonight. you can have the last word on my blog and you can follow my tweets "hardball" is up next. stop dreaming. let's play some "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, etch a sketch people. during the republican primaries, mitt romney tried to outflank his conservative opposition with
talk of self-deportation and support for arizona's tough immigration law. today, eager, some might say desperate to win over latino votes, romney softened his tone and talked of bipartisan reform. can he etch a sketch away the months of tough talk with one speech? plus the romney campaign tells florida's rick scott stop talking about how good the state's economy is. it clashes with our message. also why is team obama smiling over the contempt vote against attorney general holder? because it allows the democrats to tie mitt romney to an unpopular and they would argue extreme republican majority. and we may now know why jerry sandusky decided at the last minute not to testify at his own trial. and it involves what his adopted son would have said about him on the stand. finally, leave it to joe the plumber to blame the holocaust