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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
May 7, 2013

Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, Eugene O`Donnell, Amy Ziering, Joy Reid


ALEX WAGNER, GUEST HOST: We begin with breaking news in the South
Carolina special election and the victory of Mark Sanford.

The state`s first district had the choice between an accomplished
businesswoman, who is the sister of one of the best political satirists,
and the state`s former governor who ditched his job for a few days in 2009
to cheat on his then-wife and has a court date on Thursday because he`s
accused of trespassing on the property of his now ex-wife. Somehow, this
became a close race.

Ultimately South Carolina`s first district chose the devil they knew
best. With 100 percent of vote counted, the tally stands at Sanford with
just over 54 percent, Colbert-Busch slightly over 45 percent.

But before Mark Sanford could take the victory lap, he had to retrieve
a kitchen pan from supporters so he could stand on it. No, really, a
kitchen pan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD (R-SC), WON CONGRESSIONAL RACE: I need the pan back. I
need the pan back for these guys. Where is the pan back here? Thank you.
I need it back.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: He really needed that kitchen pan. Now, fully atop his
culinary booster, standing in front of his campaign signs and flanked by
spray painted plywood, Sanford invoked the grace of God.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANFORD: I talked a lot about grace over the course of this campaign.
Until you experienced human grace as a reflection of God`s grace, I don`t
think you get it and I didn`t get it before. And I get it in a way I never
have before, and I want to publicly acknowledge God`s role in all this, not
that he said you`re it, but what he said was not that you win but do you
learn.

I was over in Edisto a couple of days ago, over at the beach, and I
ran into a woman named Jenny Fowler (ph). And she works at the Easy Go
convenience store there at Edisto. And we got into a conversation on life,
and she said, you know, I`m the luckiest woman on earth. She had a health
scare, and she had a chance to go back to work at the convenience store.

And there from the convenience store at the beach, you look to the
ocean. She says, "I`m the luckiest woman on earth. I get to look at the
beach each day, and I get to bring a smile to customers as they walk into
this convenience store each day and I`m incredibly blessed. I don`t focus
on what I don`t have but on what I do have in life, and trying to bring a
blessing to each person I run into." And I think she was an angel.

I just want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, but
third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances, because that`s the
reality of our shared humanity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: We have a full panel tonight joining me now. MSNBC political
analyst Steve Schmidt, "Washington Post" political reporter Nia-Malika
Henderson, and "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson.

Thank you guys all for joining me.

I want to go to the South Carolinians first, Nia and Eugene. We just
played the sound of Mark Sanford talking about grace and shared humanity
and sort of making his bid at communing with the poor and the working
class, giving such story about the convenience store workers but -- the
worker.

Eugene, as someone who understands Mark Sanford`s legacy, when he was
governor, did he care about the poor and working poor, and did his policies
reflect that?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Not exactly, Alex. Not
exactly, no.

I mean, this is -- look, he is doing now what he managed not to do
through most of the campaign, which is kind of make it all about him and
his personal redemption. He started his campaign that way, and that`s how
I think Elizabeth Colbert Busch managed to get a 10-point lead at one
point. Then he started talking about other things and kind of more or less
Republican talking points and that district which is heavily Republican, he
won

So welcome back to Congress and it`s going to be -- I don`t know if
the people of S.C. won tonight, but I think journalism probably did.

WAGNER: That is for sure. Nia, I think it will surprise many South
Carolinians and actually Americans that Mark Sanford wasn`t actually
running against Nancy Pelosi. He talked more about Nancy Pelosi in these
recent last days of the campaign than he seemed to talk about Elizabeth
Colbert-Busch, then whirled around, accused Democrats of making it a
national referendum.

Did you follow that and what did you think of it?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, I think in that
speech, rather than thanking God, he really should have thanked Nancy
Pelosi, all right? Because that very much worked for him.

It was almost like he had an epiphany one night where he was like, oh,
let`s make this about Nancy Pelosi, let`s make this about unions, let`s
make it about all of those sort of bogeyman liberal ideas and figures. And
it very much worked for him there.

And I think you did have in Colbert-Busch someone that wasn`t a strong
candidate. Here was a person who I think her initial feeling was that she
could sort of campaign by not campaigning, make Mark Sanford get out there,
trip up on the Appalachian Trail by himself, then he sort of turned it on
her, made it about Nancy Pelosi. And she was left out there being the
aggressor, trying to bring up his past, you know, foibles, and you saw, I
think, people rally around him.

But I think in some ways, the takeaway from this, I don`t know if the
people of South Carolina won. I don`t know if journalists won. But I
think Democrats won in some ways, right, now they have in Mark Sanford this
poster boy and you already have Democratic figures tweeting out jokes about
Mark Sanford, saying he is going to be on the Foreign Affairs Committee, an
Lord knows he knows a lot about foreign affairs.

WAGNER: Steve, following on what Nia said, Chris Cillizza wrote that
Sanford victory puts the guy in the House Republican conference. That
means that not only do late night jokes start again, but more importantly,
every GOPer in the House and Senate will be asked whether they support
Sanford, what they think of serving with him.

The narrative that Republicans have a woman problem will have new
life. With little the GOP leadership can do about it. What do you make of
that? Is it a problem for the ruckus House caucus?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I don`t think it`s an
enduring problem. It is what it is. It is somewhat embarrassing that he
is back, his behavior was deplorable. There`s no shortage of hiking trails
in Washington, D.C. area, on the good side of it.

Look, it`s a Republican --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHMIDT: It`s a Republican district and what his opponent didn`t do
in this race is she didn`t differentiate from House Democrats. If you`re
running as a Democrat in a Republican district or Republican in a
Democratic district and you want to be evaluated on your own standing, your
own record, you have to differentiate yourself from the party`s brand.

She just failed to do that. So, this was a Republican district that
performed like a Republican district tonight. There`s no doubt that all
manner of Republican congressmen are cringing tonight, know that they`re
going to be embarrassed by this. And, certainly, the leadership will hope
that he keeps his head down, he works quietly, and through deeds, not
talks, tries to restore his reputation.

WAGNER: Yes, you can see the enthusiasm is perhaps less than effusive
among House Republican leadership, Eugene. I would like to play a little
bit of sound from Speaker of the House John Boehner when asked about Mark
Sanford earlier today. Let`s take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Are you worried that he could be a
distraction if he were to win, and would you welcome him into the House GOP
conference with open arms?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Listen, the voters of
first district of South Carolina will make their decision. And just like
any one of us or any of the 435 members of Congress, we don`t get to choose
who they are. Their electorate gets to decide who they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Eugene, the key phrase in that is we don`t get to choose who
they are, which would sort of suggest that maybe John Boehner is not
thrilled that Mark Sanford is going to be one of his army, if you will. He
tweeted this shortly after Mark Sanford`s victory. "Congrats to Mark
Sanford for winning today South Carolina first special election, #jobs," as
if to return us to Boehner`s area of focus.

How bummed out is John Boehner right now, Eugene?

ROBINSON: Well, you know, it`s going to be kind of a drag for awhile,
but he would have preferred just about any other Republican to win that
seat. That said, I think Steve Schmidt is right, I don`t think it is an
enduring problem necessarily depending on how Mark Sanford behaves, and
depending on whether again he makes his new congressional career about him.

You know, in this race basically Democrats were playing with House
money, because this is not a district that a Democrat should win in, but
from the Republican side, temporary embarrassment aside, it`s better to win
than lose. And so, they want to see. They were supposed to win it, but
they won it, so they have reason to be happy on that.

WAGNER: Nia, if you look at the county by county map from the first
district, what`s interesting is it basically all went red. I mean, there
was some question Charleston may go for Elizabeth Colbert-Busch and
Dorchester I think might go for Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. But in the end,
Mark Sanford swept all of them.

What do you make of that?

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, this was an off, off, off year special
election. Usually you get low turnout for these, for Democrats the same
could happen in 2014, that Obama coalition that showed up in 2012 might not
show up in the same way in 2014, and certainly didn`t show up, isn`t in
much existence in this district, but in whatever way probably didn`t show
up tonight.

I do think for Democrats, they`ve got to figure out whether or not
they`re growing candidates in the South to take advantage of things like
this, because politics is a business where opportunities like this crop up.
Are they growing the party down there in places like South Carolina, in
places like Georgia. In South Carolina, they`ve got a Democratic mayor in
Columbia. Is that somebody who two, three, four years could run for Senate
or could run for governor?

So, I think Democrats put a lot of money into this, but they also need
to think about a strategy down in the South because that is a place where
the Obama coalition is in full force down in South Carolina. A lot of
African-American voters, a growing percentage of Hispanic voters as well,
and certainly they have an advantage among women, too.

What does it mean for the party going forward?

WAGNER: And, Steve, that is a good question. I mean, we talk about
the Republican Southern strategy and its roots, its decades-old roots.

In terms of Democratic Southern strategy, I mean, how much is this a
slap back for Democrats? Is it a slap back? Is there a chance in two
years when the seat, this is a special election, that Democrats could
possibly take this? I mean, is there hope --

SCHMIDT: This is -- you need an extraordinary event for Democrats to
win this seat. And even having a candidate as flawed as Sanford in this
race, they just couldn`t get there, and it just speaks to how Republican
this district is. Also when you went through the redistricting, a lot of
the African-American votes that used to be in this district went into
Clyburn`s district.

So, this district is more white, more Republican as a function of the
redistricting process, so it`s a very, very steep climb for Democrats.

But when you`re playing in special elections, in the off years, you
want to try to get that sense of momentum. You want to try to get the ball
to the open receiver. Democrats took a good shot. They were in the game
all the way to the end, but just too Republican a district to win.

WAGNER: The only thing Mark Sanford will be climbing now is
apparently kitchen pans, not the Appalachian Trail.

Steve Schmidt, Nia-Malika Henderson and Eugene Robinson, thank you all
for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

ROBINSON: Thanks.

WAGNER: Coming up, when the officer charged with responding to sexual
assaults in the branch of the military is arrested for -- wait for it --
sexual battery, is there any way the military can deny they have a serious
problem?

Plus, the secretary of defense and the president spoke about a
shocking new report released today.

And how did Cleveland police miss clues and chances to find three
girls imprisoned in a house a decade before one of the young women managed
to break free. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: The Dow closed at an all time record high today, 15,056. You
know what that means, time to impeach President Obama. Hat tip to Think
Progress for finding this one. A conservative publication called "Capitol
Hill Daily" sent out an email accusing the president of wrecking the stock
market and asking readers if that wasn`t grounds for impeachment. For
those checked into reality, when President Obama took office, the Dow was
just over 7,900.

Up next, Chris Christie`s surgery and what it means for the year 2016.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`m at the beginning stages of
this thing. And so, no, I don`t -- I don`t feel markedly different
physically, no. And about how I feel about myself? I feel great about
myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie admitted today to having
secretly undergone lap band surgery. Christie reportedly had the
outpatient surgery on February 16th, and registered under a false name.
When asked today about his motive for the surgery, Christie said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: It`s not a career issue for me, it`s a long term health
issue for me. I turned 50 years old and it made me think.

And, you know, it gave -- I got confronted with, you know, your own,
you know, mortality as you start to age. So from my perspective, this is
about Mary Pat and the kids and me. It`s really not about anybody else and
it shouldn`t be about anybody else.

Everybody is going to have opinions as is obvious from this scrum of
people here today, but I don`t -- with all due respect to everybody here,
your opinions on this issue really don`t matter a whole hell of a lot to
me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Twelve days before the operation, Chris Christie didn`t seem
to have any concerns about his weight during an appearance with David
Letterman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: I made jokes about you, not just one or
two, not just on-going here and there, intermittent --

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

LETTERMAN: How is your cholesterol?

CHRISTIE: Actually, Dave, my cholesterol is normal, believe it or
not.

LETTERMAN: That`s pretty good.

What about your blood sugar?

CHRISTIE: Blood sugar also normal.

LETTERMAN: Also normal. So --

CHRISTIE: I`m basically the healthiest fat guy you`ve ever seen in
your life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Donut jokes aside, seems news of his surgery has garnered
bipartisan support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: The challenge, Chris, is to start, now you
have to maintain. And if I couldn`t be your starter, I could help be your
maintenance man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Joining me now, the Reverend Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC`s
"POLITICS NATION", and MSNBC political analyst, Steve Schmidt, a senior
adviser for the McCain/Palin campaign in `08, and senior strategist for
Bush/Cheney in `04.

Reverend Al, you`re -- around this building, your self-discipline is
legendary. It`s one of the healthiest men in public life. I thought your
congratulations were kind and generous.

In terms of what it means for Christie, self-discipline, potential
campaigning -- how hard is it, how hard will it be for him to deal with
this, deal with the weight at the same time he deals with other national
issues, if you will?

SHARPTON: That remains to be seen. I mean, the discipline we`ll see
now in terms of his maintaining, and maintenance of what he`s done. All
jokes aside, keeping weight off is much more difficult than getting it off,
especially when you don`t do it naturally.

But on the political side, he is going to have to do more than lose
weight to be president. I mean, the policies that he believes in and has
proposed, including his reaction to Obamacare and other things, are clearly
not where the American public has been polled.

So I think I congratulate him for losing the weight, it is the right
thing to do for himself and his family. But I don`t think he ought to
think it is going to make people that have polled against a lot of the
policies he believes, in all of a sudden, say we`re going to reward him
with the White House because he decided to lose weight.

WAGNER: To lose some weight.

Steve, when we were talking earlier, I asked you how much of this is
Christie planting a flag in the ground and saying, I`m running. Share with
America, if you will, your thoughts on his potential bid at the presidency.

SCHMIDT: Well, look, I think that he has been an extremely effective
governor of one of the bluest states in the country. He`s going to be
reelected as governor of New Jersey. He`s going to have record level of
support among African-Americans, Hispanics, women, Democrats, someone who
has crossover appeal. That`s important for a Republican Party that`s lost
the popular vote in five of the last six elections.

He is a dynamic political figure. He`s a real genuine leader. He is
a very gifted politician, and when you look at the field of Republican
presidential candidates, he is somebody that can go all the way. He is
somebody who can change the electoral map.

Now, it is a long, arduous, tough road from announcement to
inauguration. We will see what comes with it. But he has removed one of
his great liabilities, because every time you talk about a Chris Christie
prospective candidacy, the first issue talked about in the media or among
private donors is the weight issue.

And now, this liability will become an asset. People will be rooting
for him, they will encourage him in his struggle. And the fact that a
leader had a public struggle with something like this will do nothing but
accrue to his benefit.

WAGNER: You know, it`s interesting as Steve brings up, Reverend, we
talked about the Mark Sanford race. Here is a guy wearing his humanity,
his fall from grace as a badge of honor. He almost sort of ran on it to a
certain degree in this congressional race.

Christie struggled with weight, overcoming it, being public about it,
would maybe seem to be an asset in running, and also we know in terms of
polling, Quinnipiac Poll in March asked Americans how they feel about an
overweight candidate for governor, the majority are comfortable with it.
In fact, many cases, people prefer the overweight candidate.

SHARPTON: You know what, gave them some folksy kind of relating to
the guy next door. I don`t know, though, whether that translates three
years from now. One, we have to see if he maintains it. We do not know
whether he`s going to be able to maintain it, whether or not over a period
of time, the weight does go all the way down and he stays there.

But second, his policies. You know, on all due respect to Steve,
reason he`ll do some record numbers in African-American communities in New
Jersey because of the record of Republicans getting African-American votes
are so low, he would almost have to do record numbers if he is still there
election day.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: So when you put that against a Democratic opponent in 2016,
if that`s Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Michelle Obama, I don`t think he
will do record numbers.

I think they`re being naive. I think that Republicans who have been
embarrassed by Mark Sanford want to try to overplay the potential weight
loss of Mr. Christie. Let`s remember, he just had the surgery. Haven`t
seen a great shift in weight yet, pun intended.

WAGNER: Steve, before we go, you logged on -- you logged some miles
on the straight talk express. Can Chris Christie continue to be the
idiosyncratic, no nonsense kind of guy if he does, in fact, try to lead the
Republican Party in the future, which is to say in the Oval Office as
president?

SCHMIDT: There`s no reason to believe that Chris Christie would run
as anything other than himself. I think that when you look at Chris
Christie, one of the things that he has broad appeal about is the fact you
get what you see, you see what you get with him.

So I think that he is going to run as Chris Christie. And we would
see him obviously expand his policy portfolio, expand the issues he talks
about as he goes from governor to national candidate, if he does it. But I
don`t think you`re going to see someone who all of a sudden becomes a
constricted, tight, fearful, timid candidate, afraid of offending this
portion of the base or that.

WAGNER: But one thing is for certain, I think his donut-eating days
on Letterman are now over.

SHARPTON: But a skinny bully is not that attractive.

WAGNER: This is true. Reverend Al, it`s not time for me to say
that`s the last word but effectively it is the last word on this particular
story.

Gentlemen, Reverend Al Sharpton and Steve Schmidt, thank you both.

Coming up, the amazing drama playing out in Cleveland, Ohio.
Yesterday, three missing women escaped their captors. Tonight, what we
know about the three suspects and the potential missed clues over the last
10 years.

WAGNER: And later, the epidemic of sexual assault in the U.S.
military. The numbers of reported abuse skyrocket as the man who is
supposed to help stop sexual abuse in the Air Force is now facing charges
of sexual assault himself.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: We`re just grateful that they`re safe
and, you know, that it is probably a parent`s worst nightmare to lose a
child in any way, shape or form. But I am just happy for these families
that they found their daughters and that they`re -- that they`re alive and
safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: That was First Lady Michelle Obama in an interview that will
air tomorrow morning on the "Today" show, weighing in on that remarkable
story from Ohio.

In the spotlight tonight: found alive. Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry,
and Michelle Knight all went missing at different times about a decade ago.
They lived just blocks away from each other. Tonight, all three, plus a
six-year-old child who police believe is Amanda Berry`s daughter, have been
reunited with their families after being held captive for nearly 10 years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDRA RUIZ, GINA DEJESUS` AUNT: Let me tell you, sisterhood, women,
those girls, those women are so strong. What we do out here, what we have
done in 10 years is nothing compared to what those women have done together
to survive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: It was Amanda Berry, just 16 when she went missing in 2003,
who got the attention of neighbors yesterday and then made this 911 call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM: Help me, I`m Amanda Berry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, and what`s going on there?

BERRY: I`ve been kidnapped and I`ve been missing for 10 years. And
I`m here, I`m free now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: As of this afternoon, the Cleveland Police Department reports
that 96 people are still missing across the city. Out of those 96, 46 were
minors when they went missing, and 76 have been missing for more than a
month.

Nationally, as many as 100,000 people are actively missing at any
given time, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Person
System. Tonight in Cleveland, residents are celebrating the safe return of
three of their own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn`t be more happy for somebody. I even
woke up this morning and kissed my son because you just got to be blessed
for what you have. And I know that they are so happy. It ain`t no better
feeling than knowing your child is OK, no matter what that man did to them.
You know what I`m saying? Like she OK now, that`s all that matters. She`s
at home. That`s all that matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Three brothers are in custody in connection to this case.
NBC`s Ron Allen has more on the investigation. Ron?

RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Alex. The three
brothers are held here at Cleveland Police headquarters while investigators
build their case. The police are now saying they will likely be charged in
the morning. Those charges could include kidnapping and rape.

The focus seems to be on Ariel Castro. It is his house that`s at the
center of the investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN (voice-over): The three brothers are Ariel Castro, 52, Pedro,
54, and Onil 50. It is Ariel who neighbors new best, as the school bus
driver who also gave kids rides on an all terrain vehicle on the streets of
this blue collar Hispanic neighborhood.

The three women who each disappeared about a year apart were all last
seen within a five block radius, and allegedly held in Castro`s house about
three miles away. The Castro Brothers` uncle owns a neighborhood corner
store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They might have been living two different lives.

ALLEN: Some neighbors thought the house was vacant, a place Ariel
Castro checked on from time to time. But a few now say they were
concerned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wouldn`t open no windows, no doors, only the
attic window

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve had family members that have phoned the
police. And they have come and knocked on the door and nothing.

ALLEN: Police say they only answered calls twice on the street, once
before the women disappeared, and in 2004 to question Ariel Castro about a
child mistakenly left behind on his school bus. No charges were filed.

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": People don`t seem to understand
that these are sociopaths. They`re very cunning at it. And they know how
to avoid the police. It is really sad because it could be your next door
neighbor.

ALLEN: And it turns out the Castros have ties to one of the women
rescued, Gina DeJesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gina vanished in broad daylight.

ALLEN: Arlene Castro (ph), Ariel`s daughter, appeared in this episode
of "America`s Most Wanted" just after DeJesus disappeared, and said she was
the last to see Gina alive.

ARLENA CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO`S DAUGHTER: My mom said no, that I can`t
go over her house. And so I told her I couldn`t. And she said well, OK,
I`ll talk to you later. And she walked.

ALLEN: And Ariel`s son Anthony, as a college student, wrote an
article about DeJesus disappearance in 2004.

And in yet another strange twist, Pedro Castro, also now in custody,
was near the scene of a search for Amanda Berry`s body last year. Castro
told reporters the search was, quote, "a waste of money."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WAGNER: And just to clarify, Ariel Castro was no longer a school bus
driver in Cleveland. He was terminated from his job back in November.
Neighbors also told us that they recently saw him out for the first time in
the neighborhood with a young child, who may just be the young girl who was
just rescued.

Alex, back to you.

WAGNER: Thanks, Ron. Joining me now, Eugene O`Donnell, a former New
York City police officer and prosecutor. Eugene, thanks for joining me.

There are so many twists and turns in this story already, just a day
in. Certainly I think the entire community and the nation is glad that
these three women were found alive. But there`s a lot of questioning, a
lot of analysis and some dissection about police action or perhaps inaction
in and around the case. There were reports from neighbors that say they
saw a naked woman seen crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard.
Another heard pounding on the home`s door, and plastic bags over the
window.

They asked the police to investigate. The police showed up, but never
actually went inside the house. How much of that is going to be sort of
further examined and investigated in the coming days?

EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NYC POLICE AND PROSECUTOR: This clearly is a
leadership issue for the people running the police department, indeed for
the city of Cleveland, how these things could have happened, how three
young ladies could disappear and how that did not raise hackles in terms of
their safety. They were not shepherded away out of the country or taken to
the Nevada desert. They were a short distance away. So --

WAGNER: From a practical perspective, the neighbors are saying
they`re seeing sort of suspect activities going on. Could the police have
actually gone inside the house to investigate? Do they need a search
warrant? What specifically could they have done in these intervening years
when reports were filed?

O`DONNELL: Unfortunately, a lot of police departments are trapped in
bureaucracy. And the actual delivery of street policing on the street,
where the cops actually are adept at finding clues and pushing the envelope
when they should push it, sometimes that falls by the wayside. There needs
to be more emphasis no that.

Remember the infamous case in Milwaukee, the Jeffrey Dahmer, where the
police actually responded and took somebody who was being held by a mass
murderer and handed him back to the mass murderer. This is -- hopefully
the clues here weren`t quite so clear, but there are serious questions
about whether the police are nosey enough. They need to be nosey properly.
Sometimes they get criticized for being overly aggressive.

But certainly in a situation like this, it is a horrible thing to
think that any of these ladies could have been rescued earlier if the
police had been empowered and had been willing to take the extra step and
to go the extra mile and to intervene.

WAGNER: And let`s keep in mind, this is Cleveland where in 2009, just
a few years ago, 11 bodies were found in the home of a serial killer
Anthony Sowell. A lot of those victims were poor black victims. And a
panel formed by the mayor in the wake of that recommended that the city
overhaul its investigation into missing persons. It seems as if that
overhaul was not done, or certainly there will be questions about the
efficacy of that overhaul.

O`DONNELL: It`s a problem that goes beyond Cleveland. But it is
clearly a class and race problem. There`s a sigma still this issue.
There`s mental health issues, and people don`t always feel comfortable.
There`s embarrassment. But every police department in the country now
should be dusting off any cold cases involving missing persons. Families
will tell you how hard it is to capture and keep the attention of law
enforcement in these cases.

But every single one of the 70,000 police departments in the country
should make it a point tomorrow morning to go back and double check and
make sure that this could not possibly be replicated, and double their
efforts to the greatest extent they can.

WAGNER: Indeed, if there`s a reason to double down for those 100,000
who are missing at any given time, this story is it.

Eugene O`Donnell, thanks for joining me.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

WAGNER: Coming up, the military`s sexual assault problem. The
numbers that have been reported are bad enough. The numbers that are never
reported will shock you. That`s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WAGNER: The first state is about to become the 11th state to approve
marriage equality. And before you secretly Google that, we are talking
about Delaware. Today, the Delaware State Senate voted 12 to nine to
approve the same-sex marriage bill. Late this afternoon, Governor Jack
Markell signed it into law. It goes into effect July 1st.

Last week, Rhode Island became the tenth state to allow same sex
unions.

Up next, a stunning report from the Pentagon; 26,000 sexual assaults
in the military in just one year. What Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had
to say about it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sexual assault is an
outrage, it is a crime. That`s true for society at large. And if it is
happening inside our military, then whoever carries it out is betraying the
uniform that they`re wearing. For those who are in uniform who have
experienced sexual assault, I want them to hear directly from their
commander in chief that I`ve got their backs. I will support them. I have
no tolerance for this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: President Obama`s response to today`s shocking Pentagon
report which estimates that 26,000 people in the U.S. military were sexual
assaulted in the last fiscal year. But of the 26,000 estimated victims,
fewer than 3,400 sexual assault crimes were recorded. The report comes
just days after the 41-year-old officer in charge of the Air Force`s Sexual
Assault Prevention Program was arrested for allegedly sexual assaulting a
woman in a parking lot, a fact that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
brought up today in a room full of military officials at a Senate Armed
Services Committee hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: If the man in charge for the
Air Force in preventing sexual assault is being alleged to have committed a
sexual assault this weekend, obviously there`s a failing in training and
understanding of what sexual assault is and how corrosive and damaging it
is to good order and discipline.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Gillibrand got into a heated exchange with Air Force Chief of
Staff General Mark Welch on the question of why more military sexual
assaults are not reported.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLIBRAND: I think because it is in the chain of command -- because
this is what our witnesses have told us -- people aren`t reporting. They
don`t feel that there is an atmosphere by which they can report safely.
They`re afraid of retaliation. They`re afraid of being treated poorly by
their commanders, being treated poorly by their colleagues. There isn`t a
climate by which they can receive justice in the system.

GOV. MARK WELCH, AIR FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF: We did a survey in Third
Air Force in Europe; 79 percent of the respondents said that they would
report sexual assault if it occurred to them. That ends up not being true
once they become victims. We find that 16 percent of our victims report.
So what changes when you become a victim? I think we all know. The things
that cause people to not report are -- primarily are really not chain of
command. It is I don`t want my family to know; I don`t want my spouse to
know, or my boyfriend or girlfriend to know; I am embarrassed that I am in
this situation.

It is the self blame that comes with the crime. That`s overridingly,
on surveys over the years, the reasons that most victims don`t report, I
don`t think it is any different in the military. Prosecution rates in Air
Force --

GILLIBRAND: I think it is very different in the military. I think
you`re precisely wrong about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Joining me now is Amy Ziering, one of the film makers behind
the documentary "The Invisible War," about sexual assault in the military.
Amy, thanks for joining me. As someone who has looked closely at what is
happening in the military, I want to ask you to weigh in on this. Is it
different in the military?

AMY ZIERING, DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKER: Absolutely, it`s completely
different. I was just staggered by hearing what Secretary of Defense Hagel
was saying. I mean, let`s imagine this. Imagine you`re assaulted in your
workplace. Do you report your crime to your boss? No.

WAGNER: And you`re referring to General Welch, not Chuck Hagel, I
think the secretary of defense. Please continue.

ZIERING: Yes, sorry. I`m not seeing any visuals. You don`t report
these crimes to your boss. You report it to the police, to an impartial
authority that doesn`t know any of the participants. So of course it is
incredibly different. It`s hugely different. It`s categorically
different. And that is why we have in our U.S. military today what we`re
calling an epidemic or, as Senator Carl Levin today called a plague in
which we have embedded serial predators that are preying on victims and not
receiving any kind of prosecution or any reprimands for their actions.

WAGNER: Amy, I want to ask you about the spike. If you look at the
statistics, there are 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact in the
last fiscal year, which is up from an estimated 19,000 in the previous
year. Again, these are estimates drawn from anonymous surveys. Given
this, what we are talking about a reporting of 3,374 sexual assaults in
2012, and 3,192 in 2011, we are talking about an increase here. What do
you think accounts for that?

ZIERING: You know what, these statistics just came out today. I
can`t say what accounts for it. I can`t say what accounts for the
increase. I can say what accounts for it. And I`ll repeat, there`s an
embedded serial predator problem and these crimes are not being prosecuted.
And no one is doing anything about it. And this has been going on for
decades. And it`s time for a change.

And it`s going to keep no going, especially when there`s a mentality
within the military that thinks that the system isn`t broken. It is
clearly broken. It is not working. When your assault rates jump by 33
percent in one year, something is not working. And they really need to
look at that and hear about solutions, because this is preventable. This
does not have to be occurring at the rates it is occurring.

WAGNER: Let`s talk about how it is preventable. Because there`s been
a lot of back and forth about chain of command. I want to play some sound
from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, weighing in on the question of
whether chain of command is an adequate method of adjudication. Let`s take
a listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I don`t think taking it away, the
responsibility -- ultimate responsibility away from the military, I think
that would just weaken the system. We know we`ve got big problems. We
know that. And we have addressed that and will continue to address it. It
is imperfect. But I think it does say something that we`re seeing more and
more people come forward.

There may well be some new confidence starting to develop that we will
take it seriously, those charges. They won`t -- the victims won`t be
penalized. We will do something about it. And we will get control of
this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: So Amy, the secretary of defense thinks taking it out of the
chain of command weakens the system. It sounds like you wouldn`t agree
with that.

ZIERING: No, I completely disagree with that. The system is not
working. Seventy people are assaulted daily in our U.S. military on
domestic soil and abroad. That`s not something -- so obviously the system
they have in place is not effective. And what was the -- remind me, what
was the statistic of how many of those 26,000 crimes that are reported
yearly, how many lead to actual prosecutions? What`s the answer to that
question?

WAGNER: I believe less than 3,400 actually lead to prosecutions.

ZIERING: Yeah. OK, so is that a system that`s working? No. Clearly
we have predators that are not getting prosecuted. And clearly it is
because there are conflicts of interest within the chain of command. As I
said before, if you were assaulted in the workplace, you don`t report to
your boss. When we were doing our film, I can`t remember the exact -- like
20 percent of people who chose not to report because their perpetrator was
their commander.

WAGNER: Amy Ziering of "The Invisible War", thank you for joining me
tonight. >

ZIERING: Thank you.

WAGNER: Coming up, Republican versus Republican. Marco Rubio turns
on the Tea Partiers who created him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Forty seven percent of Americans
are not paying income tax. And I guarantee you those who would be made
citizens via amnesty would also be in the income range where they wouldn`t
be paying any taxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: The politics of the 47 percent are back. And this time it is
over immigration. Before we talk about what exactly is so wrong with the
Limbaugh position on immigration, let`s remind ourselves just who is in the
47 percent. Most of the 47 percent pay payroll taxes. And most of the
people who pay neither federal income tax nor payroll taxes are low income
people who are elderly, unable to work due to serious disability, or
students, most of whom subsequently become taxpayers.

And when all federal, state and local taxes are taken into account,
the bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their income in
taxes on average. In other words, most of the bottom fifth of American
households pay a higher tax rate than Mitt Romney.

But here is the best part. How do states with the highest percentage
of non-federal income taxpayers tend to vote? Republican. Rushbo`s
invocation of the 47 percent was in provoked by a new Heritage Foundation
report that claimed "granting amnesty to an estimated 11 million unlawful
immigrants will cost taxpayers at least 6.3 trillion dollars."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM DEMINT, PRESIDENT, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: No sensible thinking
person could read this study and conclude that over 50 years, that they
could possibly have a positive economic impact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WAGNER: Apparently Jim Demint does not believe Marco Rubio to be a
sensible thinking person. Rubio, Demint`s former Tea Party apprentice,
told reporters today, quote, "their argument is based on a single premise,
which I think is flawed. That is these people are disproportionately poor
because they have no education and they will be poor for the rest of their
lives in the U.S. Quite frankly, that`s not the immigration experience in
the U.S. And that`s certainly not my family`s experience in the U.S."

Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid. Joy, I am in a state of disbelief
that we are once again talking about Republicans alienating people of
color, immigrants and also back on the 47 percent. Can you believe what`s
happening?

JOY REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Takers.

WAGNER: Double down.

REID: Yes, we want them -- I love it. I think we have come full
circle. Jim Demint is finally now doing to the party from the outside what
he was doing to it in the Senate. In the Senate, he was the guy who
championed Tea Partiers, who primaried his fellow members of the United
States Senate on the Republican. Now he is out at Heritage championing
this much discredited study. Even Grover Norquist thinks it is bunk, that
essentially says, if you legalize these immigrants, they`re going to be
takers. They`re going to take welfare. That`s all they want.

WAGNER: And it is so counterintuitive to be saying this right now.
The Center for American Progress, which is not exactly a bastion of
conservatism, but has done studies on the economic impact of having a
reformed legal immigration system, says that it -- the economic benefits of
undocumented immigrants granted legal status starting in 2013, but not
eligible for citizenship within 10 years, which is always the caveat, the
cumulative gain in U.S. GDP between 2013 and 2022 would be 832 billion
dollars.

REID: Right.

WAGNER: You reform the system, the country makes money.

REID: The country makes money because these people become legal.
They become taxpayers. And in the Rubio bill -- this was his protege --
they`re even barred from getting Obamacare. They can`t even get the
benefits that you would think they would be entitled to by working. So you
are talking about people who would just be paying in, but not even eligible
to get anything back. They wouldn`t be eligible for any of that. But all
they want to do is frame this in the old 47 percent, makers versus takers.
This is why they`re losing Hispanics. This is why they`re losing rational
people in the middle.

But you know what, keep doing it, Jim Demint. The Democrats love it.

WAGNER: Could they rename the Heritage Foundation the House of
Confusion and Obfuscation? I don`t know. Joy Reid --

REID: How does that work out as an anagram? I think that`s a good
idea.

WAGNER: Joy Reid gets tonight`s LAST WORD. You can always catch me
on my show, "NOW," Monday through Friday at noon eastern. Chris Hayes is
up next.

END

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