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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/09/12

Guests: Tom Tarantino

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for this hour. Part of the problem with waiting for a big announcement in news about politics this year, in this case, we are all waiting for the big Mitt Romney vice presidential announcement, but part of the problem of anticipating a big announcement is that practically every time somebody in Republican presidential politics has said this year they are going to make a big announcement, it has been a big letdown. I don`t know if this happens every year, but this past year it is starting to approach satire. I mean, just take, as an example, a year ago tonight, political watchers on the edge of our seats after Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says he`s going to make a major announcement the following day. Everybody starts trying to read the tea leaves, trying to figure out what this announcement could possibly be. I mean, at that point, Jon Huntsman campaign was not a joke, he was seen as a potential contender in the race. So, political reporters flocked to Florida where this major announcement was set to take place, and then this was it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like Jon Huntsman, I believe, are the best person for the job. To begin with, I would just say his resume, his experience, my opinion, is just far better than any other candidates in the race. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Who`s that guy? That guy, it turns out, was the Jon Huntsman major announcement. The big deal in Florida a year ago today was that Jon Huntsman locked up the endorsement of Bush. Not that one -- actually, not that one either. Nope. Nope. Try again. One more. Yes, that one. Jeb Bush Junior. The promised major announcement from the Jon Huntsman for president campaign was an endorsement by George W. Bush`s brother`s son, who has never held public office, and that is called defining down the term "major announcement." And then, just a short while later in the campaign, it happened again. Rick Santorum promises big announcement on Friday. Rick Santorum`s campaign released a statement promoting a major campaign announcement on Friday at 6:00 p.m. OK, setting the tone for the weekend of coverage. Here we go, Friday at 6:00 p.m., be there or miss out on a big announcement in the Republican presidential campaign. Here`s how we covered the anticipation of the big announcement the night before it was to happen. Rick Santorum, bless him, said today he would have a big announcement tomorrow in Iowa. There are no indications the big announcement is that he`s quitting, but never a good sign the first thing everybody asked are you quitting. Rick Santorum is not quitting. Far from it. Rick Santorum was preparing to unload this bomb shell on the presidential race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am announcing today and have announced that I am going to be voting and supporting senator Rick Santorum on January 3rd in the Iowa caucuses. You know, the first time -- (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Who`s that guy? Anybody? Rick Santorum`s major campaign announcement was that he got the endorsement of the secretary of state from Iowa. When somebody of Republican presidential politics this year says they have got a big announcement. At this point, I`m starting to hear a little boy out in the yard yelling wolf, wolf, and that has nothing to do with the man n the beard at CNN. When someone in Republican politics says there`s a big announcement coming. That is now essentially become a signal to ignore them. I mean, just this week, the chairman of the Republican Party, or Rience Priebus, announces exclamation point and all, they announces in twitter that he is going on my pal, (INAUDIBLE) show over on FOX News in order to make an exciting announcement. Are you ready? I hope you are sitting down. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Big news tonight about the Republican national convention and you are here - first to hear it right here on (INAUDIBLE), Rience Priebus is here with that announcement. REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I`m really proud tonight to announce as well a very prominent role for governor Scott Walker, my governor from Wisconsin, and your governor too for that matter, Gretta. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The big exciting announcement from Rience Priebus is that not six Republican governors, but seven Republican governors will be speaking at the Republican national convention. And did you know Gretta is from Wisconsin? Breaking news, flashing worldwide, everybody freak out. And just for the record, there is such a thing as a major announcement. Major announcements due exists in the world. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The God particle, a discovery at the world`s biggest Adam Smasher that says biggest they get in the world of science, what does it tell us about our world. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The announcement today in Geneva, haled is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is big. This is really big. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The long shot holy grail of the sub-atomic world. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, just for context sake, I mean, discovering the God particle, that`s a major announcement. We have killed Osama bin Laden, that`s a major announcement. We have landed on the surface of Mars, that`s a major announcement. This - this is not a major announcement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like Jon Huntsman, I believe, are the best person for the job. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Jeb Bush Junior, I`m sorry. You are, I`m sure, a very nice guy. You are not a major announcement. In the crucial swing state of Ohio, as we talked about last night on the show, the Republican secretary of state in Ohio announced yesterday that this morning, there was going to be a major announcement. A major announcement about voting in Ohio. Now, even though I`m inert to big announcement, announcement this year, for all the reasons I just explained. I will admit that this one, from the Ohio secretary of state, this is worth paying attention to. I mean, not only is Ohio critically important as essentially the ultimate swing state in presidential politics. But voting rights in Ohio right now are really do for a major announcement. The whole country ought to be paying attention to Ohio and its voting process stage right now because there`s actually a really big problem in Ohio for this year. We all remember the Ohio voting disaster that was the presidential election of 2004, an estimated 170,000 Ohioans leaving their polling place without voting because the lines there were just too long. By the way, that is a significantly larger number of voters than the margin of victory by which George W. Bush won Ohio that year. In the next presidential election in 2008, Ohio basically fixed that problem. Instead of having everybody overwhelmed the polling places on election day, Ohio greatly expanded its early voting. They made it so you could cast your ballot in Ohio for 35 days leading up to election day. And that really did helped cut down on the line. There were many fewer complaints. Election day 2008 went smoothly in Ohio. The problem for Republicans though, was that the other thing that happened in Ohio in the election of 2008, is that the Democrat won. And when Republicans took control of state government in Ohio, thereafter, they decided to use their control of state government to fixed that 2008 problem of all the voting going very smoothly and people not going home in frustration from their polling places without actually casting their vote. After Ohio Republicans initially tried to eliminate 24 of the early voting days. Under political pressure, they were ultimately only able to get away with cutting off three days of early voting in Ohio, the last three days. And conveniently, that last three days includes the last Sunday before election day which is when in particular African-American churches like to make sure that their congregations go out to early votes souls to the polls. That day will not be available for early voting in Ohio this year. And as we described last night, there were something going on in Ohio that I can`t believe isn`t more of a front-page story around the country. I mean, eliminating those three days of early voting in Ohio is not actually the biggest scandal in what Ohio is doing this year. That is a scandal. But this is worse. The biggest scandal in Ohio is what`s happening on a county by county basis there, where the state`s plan right now is to allow more hours and more days to vote if you live in a Republican-leaning county than if you live in a Democratic-leaning county. Seriously. Republicans on Ohio county elections boards have been voting in favor of adding early voting on nights and weekends in Republican-leaning counties, but the Republicans on the county election boards in Democratic counties are voting against extra voting on nights and weekends. County election boards are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but the Republicans are voting for expanded voting hours in the Republican counties and they are voting against that in Democratic counties, and in the Democrats counties where the Republicans are objecting to expanded early voting, the Republican secretary of state has personally intervened to break the tie to side with the objecting Republicans, to make sure that, in fact, Democratic-leaning county will not have early voting on nights and weekends but the Republican-leaning counties will. Here`s what that means in real terms, Democratic leaning counties in Ohio, homes of Cleveland and Columbus and Akron, where Barack Obama won 2-1 and 3-2 and 3-2, those counties will not have early voting on nights and weekends leading up to election day. But Republican-leaning counties, places where John McCain won 2-1 and 3-2, like Warren counties and Butler counties, they will have extended early voting, nights and weekends, come on down, whatever`s convenient for you. The Republican secretary of state in Ohio is personally intervening to ensure fewer voting hours in Democratic-leaning counties than in Republican-leaning counties, that is happening right now. And yesterday, that guy, the Republican secretary of state, his name is John Husted said that he had a major announcement to make about the process of voting in Ohio. Oh, my God, I don`t care about the little boy crying wolf, I want to hear that announcement. This is an issue of national significance. Anybody who cares about what`s going to happen in the presidential election in the fall has to care about how badly Ohio is screwing this up. To have this insanely partisan outcome where you have more opportunities to vote if you`re a Republican and fewer opportunities to vote if you`re a Democrat, a big announcement from the guy who was making that possible, let`s hear that big announcement. Well, the big announcement about voting in Ohio today from the secretary of state, his big announcement, is that you can now change your address online at a Web site. That`s the announcement? That`s the announcement. They put out even a follow-up announcement later in the day to breathlessly announce that several hundred Ohio residents had, in fact, already changed their addresses online. That`s it. But in terms of the glaring flashing red light Democracy emergency that`s underway in Ohio where Republicans are being given more opportunities to vote than Democrats in a presidential election year when Ohio is maybe the most important swing state in the country. Yes, nothing to say about that. That`s not big news. There is nothing to say about that, nothing to see here. Joining us now, E.J. Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist, MSNBC contributor, Brookings Institute senior fellow and the author of "our divided political heart." E.J., it`s good to see you. Thank you for being here. E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you. Good to have the early slot, given this story we`re doing. MADDOW: Yes, you know, I have to say, I don`t know if I`m predisposed to be more interested in issues like this than others in the media, but I don`t understand why this isn`t a bigger story. Do you see this as having national significance? DIONNE: It`s huge, and I think the explanation of why this isn`t a bigger story is a kind of paradox. That this story is almost always treated in partisan terms as a Republicans say this, Democrats say that, and it is entirely true there is a big partisan element to this story. Republicans, where they have control, are trying to make it harder for democratic groups to vote, and occasionally, they`ll admit that, as the legislator did in Pennsylvania where he said what we`re doing here is Mitt Romney will carry the state. But this is much bigger than a partisan story. We passed a great law in our country in 1965 called the voting rights act, and the voting rights act was designed to tear down illegitimate barriers to voting, particularly for African-Americans, and this, what`s happening in this election year. Ohio is an excellent example, is, I think, the most fundamental attack on the right to vote in the country since the voting rights act was passed. And it`s happening all over the country and this thing happening in Ohio is so blatant. I mean, we`re supposed to believe in equal protection under the law. It can`t make sense that if you live in one place, it`s easier to vote than if you live in another place. There`s got to be legal action taken here, because I cannot believe this would stand the scrutiny of any fair-minded judge. MADDOW: E.J., in terms of scrutiny in the political world and from the media, so much of the other -- the other reporting, the other attention that has been paid to voting rights this year has been specifically on the issue of voter ID, because we`ve seen the voting I.D. laws changed in so many Republican-controlled states. Now, I think part of the reason that hasn`t actually become even more of a story than it has been is that the Republicans have put forward a red herring that there is voter fraud and that voter I.D. will somehow combat a problem that they say exists in voter fraud. It`s a factually challenged red herring, but that`s what red herrings are for. On the early voting issue, there is no fraud issue, there is no red herring, there is nothing that they can say that is a problem about early voting other than the idea it might cost money. Could the idea that early voting is too expensive for the states are used to sort of block interest and attention here? DIONNE: But why is it OK to pay for early voting in Warren county but not early voting in Cuyahoga county? I mean yes, it costs some extra money. Democracy is worth spending a little money on. And the notion if there is a financial problem in some of those counties, then that should be taken care of, because you cannot allow an election to be tilted by money. I mean, we`re already letting elections be tilted by money in the campaign finance system. This is a kind of indirect poll tax. If you live in the wrong county, if they have more budget problems, then sorry, you`re not going to have the same voting rights as people in other counties. So, it is -- I think that`s at least -- no, the voter fraud thing is a huge red herring. This is another red herring. Red herrings may be easier for them to vote in Ohio than for real people. MADDOW: Real people, provided they live in democratic leading counties. E.J. Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist, MSNBC contributor, Brookings Institution senior fellow, and of course, the author of "our divided political heart." E.J., thank you for your clarity on this tonight and extra taking time to join us. I really appreciate it. DIONNE: Thank you. MADDOW: It should be noted that we have asked the secretary of state, of the great state of Ohio to join us on this program to discuss what it is he thinks he`s doing with the county-by-county voting rules in the state of Ohio. We have not been yet to secure his agreement for an interview, but we, you know, live in hope. OK, do you remember when Mitt Romney`s pitch to be president of the United States was all about the economy? Mr. Romney, what are your thoughts about anything but the economy, he would answer, there is nothing but the economy. That`s all I want to talk about. That was the way it was for a very long time, but that has changed now, and the quantitative empirical data that shows how it changed is kind of nuts, and we`ve got that next. We`re laying it out. Plus, later on, the best new thing in the world now comes with extra screaming with joy at your television. Please, stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If there`s one group of Americans everyone agrees we cannot mess with, it is our veterans. That is a non-partisan agreement across this entire country, except, apparently, for one small highly visible, very, very well-funded part of our country. That story is coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Looking at the official Mitt Romney campaign page on you tube is kind of like looking at a big sliced cross section of a giant tree. You can read the rings of the tree to get interesting, chronological data about what the campaign has done in terms of its public message. The chronology of the campaign ads is fascinating, and while I have always had a bit of a grudge about how bad the you tube search engine is, you can arrange videos from a particular account, say the Mitt Romney campaign account. You can arrange the videos in chronological order as a pretty empirically sound way by seeing what Mitt Romney has been running on and when. And that turns out to be a story that has a surprise ending. Check this out. Mitt Romney basically wrapped up the primary, as you know, in May. By May, the Romney campaign no longer had to bother engaging with his one-time primary rivals, no longer had to answer levies from Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich or even Ron Paul who sort pretended to stay on the race until the middle of May. But honestly, the primary was over by then and the general election campaign was underway, and here is what the Mitt Romney message looked like then, according to their own archives back in May just as the general election was officially getting underway. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you had enough of President Obama`s attacks on free enterprise? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve seen layoffs, cutbacks. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve heard of Solyndra. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When others shied away, Mitt Romney`s private sector leadership team stepped in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would a Romney presidency be like? Day one, president Romney immediately approves the keystone pipeline. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to keep America strong. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Mitt Romney in May, about ten TV ads and web ads, jobs, jobs, the economy, Solyndra, economy scandal, economy, jobs, jobs, the economy, drill, drill, drill, more jobs. And then June. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From day one, president Romney focuses on the economy and the deficit. From day one as president, Mitt Romney`s strong leadership will make all the difference on jobs. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Of course, the economy isn`t where it needs to be. The private sector is doing fine. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Mr. President, you`ve had your moment. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day one, president Romney moves to repeal Obama care and attacks the deficit. Then Romney moves to cut taxes. President Romney stands up to China. President Romney reverses Obama`s offshore drilling ban. Day one, job one, repeal Obama care. Mitt Romney has a plan to get America working. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was the Mitt Romney campaign in a capsule from June, via about a dozen different ads, the economy, jobs, the economy, the economy, down with Obama care, tax cuts, the economy, the economy. The economy with specific reference to China, drill, baby, drill, economy, that was June. Then July. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, where did the Obama stimulus money go? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama`s campaign and allies will run more negative ads against this Republican nominee in 2012 than ever run in the history of the world. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama`s dishonest campaign, another reason why America has lost confidence in Barack Obama. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time we had somebody who believes in us. MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Freedom and free enterprise are what creates jobs. ROMNEY: Everything I do is going to be focused on getting this economy going. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So you look at the ten or so ads that came out of the Romney campaign in the month of July, the economy, the economy, the economy, President Obama is a liar, the economy, jobs, jobs, jobs, the economy. All but three of the ads that month were about economy and jobs, and the ones that were not were about how terrible and horrible President Obama is as a person. Say what you will about the guy, Mitt Romney has been very focused, his campaign has been really focused, looking at these things that the campaign did overtly on its own terms. It`s a great way to cut out all the clutter of the campaign and focus on what they were trying to do, what they started on their own terms, because these are the things the campaign was paying to say. In some cases, paying to get on TV. That message for the entire election, May, June, July, hugely dominated. About 95 percent dominated, if you add it all up, by the economy. And now all within the last week, we have this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who shares your values? As president, Barack Obama has never visited Israel. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under Obama`s plan, you wouldn`t have to work and wouldn`t have to train for a job, they just send your welfare check. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who shares your values? President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion. When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: August is young, but there has been a very dramatic turn in Mitt Romney`s messaging. After focusing like a laser on exactly what he said he was going to focus on like a laser for May and June and July, for the first three months of the general election campaign, after doing literally dozens of ads almost exclusively focused, 95 percent focused on the economy, this week now we`ve seen three new ads and the subjects are birth control, welfare, and Israel. What`s going on? Oh, look, here`s what`s going on. If you look closely at the Gallup daily tracking poll, you can see not just that President Obama is ahead of Mitt Romney by a couple of points, but you can see a really fascinating piece of data emerging from the other eight percent of people who are not included in the Romney V. Obama totals, the eight percent of people who are the undecided. The number of undecided voters in Gallup`s daily tracking poll has been between Six eight percent for about the last month or so. Which is to say there are only six or eight percent of registered voters who say they haven`t decided who they are going to vote for. We didn`t get to that lower percentage of undecided voters in the presidential race the last time around in 2008 until October. It`s only early August, and we are already at the point in the campaign, which is usually a very late point in the campaign, where each candidate stops trying to persuade anybody who`s undecided, independent, in the middle, they recognize there are no people left to dissuade and they turn instead to try and turn out their bases of support. Campaigns usually do not make that turn until October, because the number of undecided people isn`t low enough to justify it until October. But right now, the number of undecided beam is so low, apparently it`s justified, at least the Mitt Romney campaign feels that way. That turn for them is happening now. So apparently, for them, the economy is over. Now it`s time to rile the base, so you get, what I believe, is the obviously and purposely obviously racist welfare ad, you get the Obama didn`t visit Israel ad, and you get the contraception ad. There have long been only two pages in the Mitt Romney for president campaign playbook, there`s the economy and then there`s anything else he needs to resort to in order to excite the Republican base. He only has one page to turn, and he has now turned it in the second week of August. Mitt Romney actually had a very focused jobs, jobs, jobs message. That is what his entire campaign was trying to focus on for months. That appears to be over. According to them, it is now time to talk to the conservative base. So instead of jobs, jobs, jobs, it`s now jobs, jobs, abortion. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: "The Rachel Maddow Show" as an entity has been a really big fan of U.S. women`s soccer. Group outings to local establishment in the morning hours to drink beer when we`re not supposed to drink beer, but to watch them play live, cheering in the newsroom when we`re supposed to be working, waggling of our official team USA scarf, the whole bit. Today was a great day for the U.S. women`s soccer team which would ordinarily make that our front runner for the best new thing in the world today. But, for all the legitimately spine tingly just some that U.S. A. prideliness of today`s development on the women`s soccer pitch, there`s someone, something, that tops it. I cannot wait for the best new thing in the world tonight. It`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The co-chair of the fundraising team for Mitt Romney in the state of Florida is the chief executive of this. Full Sail University, and the reason I said the Mitt Romney campaign Florida fundraising co-chair is the chief executive of Full Sail University and not say the president of the school, is because Full Sail University is a business. It is a for-profit institution, and when Mitt Romney gets asked policy questions about higher education, he often brings up for-profit colleges, and as his proposed solutions specifically, he often brings up Full Sail University, that specific school. That is happens to be run by his fundraising co-chair. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I was in a place in Florida called Full Sail University. They provide a four-year degree for people in the entertainment world, production, media, broadcast, and so forth. And they hold down the cost of their education by recognizing they are competing. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Full Sail University, cited by Mr. Romney, is the example of how to hold down the cost of education. It costs $81,000 to do a 21-month program in video game art at Full Sail University. That`s what Mitt Romney says is going to save America from high education costs. But it is run by Mr. Romney`s Florida fundraising co-chair, so that part of its finances is definitely looking good for America. Beyond just the CEO being a major Romney fundraiser, it should also be noted Full Sail University is technically owned by the private equity fund. And the chairman of the private equity fund is also major Mitt Romney donor. When "the New York Times" reported this front-page story earlier this year on Mr. Romney`s financial ties for the for-profit college industry he promotes as a candidate, they also note for that video game degree program, the one that costs $81,000, the on-time graduation rate is 14 percent. The total graduation rate is only 38 percent, but whether or not you actually graduate, the median debt taken on by students to pay for that program is $59,000. This is a lot of things, but a solution to the high cost of higher education, it is not one of those things. Here`s another detail. In June of this year, just a couple of months ago, the Web site had to be handed over to the federal government. It turns out had been bought by a marketing company in California. It looked like an official government portal where you might go to figure out how to apply for and use your G.I. bill benefits if you are a veteran. But really this marketing firm that owned was just capturing the data unsuspecting veterans entered into that Web site looking for official help, and then they were selling that data to for-profit colleges. The marketing company settled in an agreement with multimillion states they get a multimillion dollar fine and they agreed to handed over the Web site. So now, when you go to, it kicks you over eventually to the real V.A. Web site about your real benefits, which should not result in a million high-tactic phone calls from full profit universities trying to get you to use up on all your benefits, paying for something like a $81,000 video game program that has a 14 percent graduation rate. Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate is not just tied to Full Sail University, though, he has generally been a big proponent of this industry. He`s going to be speaking at another for-profit college this weekend in North Carolina. And Mr. Romney plating his trout with this industry. In doing so very aggressively, had the hopeful political effect of putting a real spotlight on this incredibly profitable industry and how much we are all paying them to become so profitable. This past month, Tom Harkin and the education committee in the Senate released a report on the for profit college industry. That was the product of a two-year investigation. The report was not good. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA), EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: For-profit colleges charge exorbitant tuition while experiencing sky-high drop-out rates. How are they able to recruit a steady stream of new students? The answer is that for-profit colleges are what I would call a marketing machine. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Whether or not you graduate, whether or not your degree is worth anything in terms of getting you a job, perhaps in the video game art field, whether or not you are able to ever repay the loans that you took out to be able to pay for these expensive programs, the business model of the for-profit school industry is to market to you aggressively, to get you to sign up. To then get you to take out loans to pay your tuition to the school, and then to cash those loan checks. They get paid and you owe the money to whoever gave you the loan. And more often than not, the entity that gave you the loan is the federal government. In the 2009 school year, for-profit schools got paid $32 billion in federal money. One out of every four dollars the education department put out in student aid went to a for-profit school. This is students taking out federally supported student loans to pay these schools. The reason we do that is because there`s supposed to be a national interest in helping Americans get a valuable public education. But the more loans a student can take out, the more money these students could potentially soak out of them. The more eligible you are as a student for loans, the more beautiful you are as marketing target for these schools. And so, if you are a post-9/11 veteran eligible for the post-9/11 G.I. bill, for these schools, you are a very, very beautiful target indeed. Quote, "since the post-9/11 G.I. bill took effect almost three years ago right now, eight of the ten colleges collecting the most money from the new G.I. bill, eight of the ten have been for-profit schools. As taxpayers, we are paying for veterans` higher education. That`s what the G.I. bill means. We have a national interest in doing that. And these schools are marketing aggressively to veterans so that our federal taxpayer money is going to them, the for-profit schools. It`s $4,600 to pay for a veteran to go to public school. It`s more than $10,000 for that same veteran to go to a for-profit school. And at that for-profit school, what we get for our extra money is a lower graduation rate, and a higher student loan default rate, and a whole lot of profit to make sure these marketing machines are very, very, very well politically connected. Joining us now is Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America, which full disclosure is a non-partisan organization that I personally support. Mr. Tarantino is an Iraq war veteran who served 10 years in the U.S. army. Tom, thank you very much for being here. Appreciate your time. TARANTINO, CHIEF POLICY OFFICER FOR IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: Thanks for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: Is it your experience as a veteran and working with vets at IAVA, that post-9/11 veterans are specifically being targeted by for-profit schools? TARANTINO: They are absolutely being targeted by for-profit schools. And this is largely because of regulatory loopholes that were created before the G.I. bill actually existed that classified the G.I. bill as private funding. You know, we actually have controls on for-profit schools so they don`t abuse the system, so they actually have some element of free market control that says we can have 90 percent of your revenue can come from the federal government, but 10 percent actually has to come from customers who want to buy your product. In terms of business, it`s kind of the best deal going. But because of a loophole, that 10 percent, the G.I. bill falls in that 10 percent of private dollars. And so do DOD tuition assistance benefits. And so do benefits from military spouses. So, that means for every veteran or military member that a for-profit school can recruit, that`s nine more people on federal financial aid, equaling about $125,000 in revenue per veteran. That`s a huge incentive to line their pockets with benefits instead of providing the service they are supposed to be providing. MADDOW: In terms of the service they are providing, though, the rejoinder from these schools is that veterans are signing up and hugely disproportionate numbers in for-profit schools because it`s a good deal, because that`s - it is a good way to get an education because it meets the needs of military families and the constraints and posts by being a veteran or being in the military. What about that argument from them? TARANTINO: Well, there is a little bit of something to that. But the reality is when 40 percent of all of your -- all of your revenue is spent on marketing and recruiting and it`s laser targeted at the military and veterans benefits. You know, when I was a young officer and I was getting my in-brief on my education benefits, it wasn`t telling me about how much I could use or where I could go to college. It was a for-profit school marketing directly to me saying I could get this master`s degree from this for-profit college. They have unprecedented access. And so, it`s very hard for veterans to make a determination as to what schools they can go to. I could find out how much every piece of sushi within ten miles of me costs using my phone, but I have no way to figure out how to compare schools. There`s no yelp for higher education and that lack of transparency is causing problems for veterans looking around and trying to figure out what schools best fit their needs. Sometimes it is an online college. There actually are very good for-profit colleges, but they are being drowned out by these large behemoths that are just looking to line-up pockets with benefits. MADDOW: President Obama signed an executive order back in April that was aimed at least part of these problems. It was aimed to protecting vets and veterans families from deceptive recruiting, overly aggressive recruiting by schools. Did that help at all? TARANTINO: I think it is going to help. It actually did three very important things. It actually told all schools that they need to report some basic consumer information metrics. There`s a lot of information coming out of the department of education, but really hard to sift through and doesn`t help consumers very much. It also trade marks the phrase G.I. bill so that these marketing Web sites and for-profit schools that want to create these deceptive Web sites, they can`t use the phrase G.I. bill. That`s actually going to be copyright and protected. And most importantly, it allows veterans who were scammed by for-profit schools some way to not just complain, but to actually get some sort of redress. MADDOW: Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America. Tom, thanks for helping us understand this tonight. I appreciate it. TARANTINO: Thank you for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: Thank you. OK. Apologize and retract. Those are two things perpetrators of irresponsible news stories almost never do. I have a prime candidate for both of those things next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I love the associated press. You love the associated press. Whether or not you are aware of how much you love them, the fact is that if you are at all a news junkie, if you`re reading over the course of your typical day, you are basically marinating in associated press content all day long. The A.P. is everywhere. The A.P. is jointly owned by the American news organizations that use their stuff. And that means thousands of newspapers and TV stations and radio stations, they have hundreds of news bureaus all over the world. They have staff all over the world. They are the only news organization, for example, with a bureau in North Korea, for crying out loud. By dint of sheer size, the Associated Press is just indispensable, they are everywhere. But because they are everywhere, because their content is ubiquitous, and used by so many news outlets, when the Associated Press does something bad, it`s really bad. It isn`t like one newspaper printing one lousy story. If it`s the A.P., it`s one bad story that ends up in a zillion different newspapers and websites and TV stations and radio stations. So, for example, when the Associated Press published just a shockingly bad article about Kansas politics this past week, it did not just end up in some tragic little Kansas newspaper. It ended up in the Kansas city star and the Fresno Bee, and in "the charlotte observer" and "the Indianapolis Stars Tribune" and in the "Miami herald" and "the state" in South Carolina and in the "Times Pick" in Louisiana and the "Seattle Times" and The "St. Louis Post Dispatch" and in the "Connecticut Post" and "the San Francisco Chronicle" and "the Atlanta Journal Constitution" and, and, and. All these papers or their Web sites and all of the Web sites running an eye-popping associated press story that never should have run anywhere. Dr. George Tiller was murdered in Kansas three years ago when the anti- abortion activist who killed him was pulled over by police right after the killing, the murderer had in his car the name and phone number of the policy director operation rescue written on a piece of paper on his dash board. Operation rescue, the radical anti-abortion group. The Associated Press on Friday published a piece about the Kansas primaries this week focusing on the district attorney`s race in Wichita where Dr. Tiller was killed. The A.P. notes that the incumbent D.A., a Democrat named Nola Foulston is stepping down and no Democrat is stepping up to replace her. It`s was just too anti-abortion Republicans who campaigned for Nola Foulston`s off seat in the Tuesday primary in Kansas. Reporter, Roxana Hegeman reporting for the Associated Press writes in this piece that it`s a liability for one of these two Republican candidates that he has a deputy in the D.A.`s office he`s now running to be put in charge of. Why would that be a liability to be a deputy district attorney? Why would that be bad? It`s because, the Associated Press explains, people blame the current district attorney for the murder of George Tiller. What? This is just astonishing. Look at this. This is quoting directly from the A.P.`s story. Look at this. "It`s important to note that Scott Roeder, the abortion opponent serving a life sentenced for killing Dr. George Tiller once told the Associated Press that he believed Dr. Tiller would never be brought to justice as long as Nola Foulston was in office." Brought to justice? That`s not in quote or anything. That`s how the Associated Press describes it uncritically. She was never brought to justice. Continuing, the district attorney Nola Foulston had refused to allow then attorney general Phill Kline to prosecute Dr. Tiller in her jurisdiction resulting in a judge dismissing charges that the doctor had performed illegal late term abortion. While Foulston has insisted she was simply upholding the law, many abortion opponents blame her for derailing Kline`s prosecution and ultimately for Dr. Tiller`s death. If Nola Foulston had done her job with George Tiller, he would still be alive today, said Try Newman, president of Wichita-based Operation rescue. Operation rescue, quoted as a credible observer in this case. Yes, the blame for the doctor being shot to death by the anti-abortion activist with ties to operation rescue lies with the district attorney who didn`t prosecute that doctor for something rather. He didn`t get prosecuted so obviously he had to be shot, so says operation rescue. And so writes down the Associated Press. Thus resulting in newspapers all over the country printing this absolutely whack-a-doo uncontested more than insinuation that an abortion doctor was murdered in Kansas because what? He needed killing? Because he hadn`t been brought to justice? Incidentally, the assistant D.A. from Nola Foulston`s office won the primary on Tuesday in Kansas. But that`s not what this is about. Generally speaking, I love the Associated Press and you probably do, too. But the A.P. besmirched Tuesday`s Kansas primary with this trash that they published about it this past Friday. I haven`t said anything about it until now because I keep expecting them to retract it. So far nothing. Before this week is out, the Associated Press ought to retract what they published and they ought to apologize. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK, best new thing in the world today. Last year, if you are a fan of the show, you may have notice when the whole Rachel Maddow show staff got a little bit obsessed with the U.S. women`s national soccer team in the world cup. They went to the finals of the world cup but they lost an absolute heart breaker to Japan for the world cup championship match. And right after that, we were honored to host four team USA members here on this show. I was very nervous. It was very cool. Well, "the Rachel Maddow Show`s" staff obsession with the soccer team has not stopped. And today, as you likely has probably heard, the U.S. women soccer team got vindication. They beat the team who beat them in the world cup. They beat Japan to win today`s Olympic gold medal match in soccer. Now, naturally we took totally unjustifiable pride in our role in this victory, in team USA`s golden moment. I mean, they came on our show at one point at last year. Surely, that propelled them to victory, right or not? Not at all. But you feel this, right? You feel this way inappropriately then you feel pride in something that happened in your country. But I have to say, there are folks at hoe right now who are taking tremendous pride tonight in an American winning a gold medal in the Olympics and people who are taking pride in it. Unlike us, totally deserve it big time. Last night, we reported the story of Clarissa Shields, the American boxer from Flint, Michigan. Her hometown has gone all in for Clarissa. She is 17-years-old. She`s been boxing in Flint since she was 11. She has courted in her hometown, her fellow Flintonians (ph) for their support, hear there their emotional support and their financial support in getting her into these games. And today, Clarissa Shields fought for the gold medal in the middleweight boxing division. According to "the Flint Journal" at Blackstone bar, more than 300 of her fellow Flinters (ph) watched the fight on TV there. More than 100 people others, more than 100 other people watched and cheered at the auditorium at northwestern high school where she goes to school. She`s not even a high school senior yet. Four rounds of fury later, the fighting pride of Flint, Michigan, emerged the winner. Clarissa Shields became the greatest female middleweight amateur fighter in the world. This is the first year that women`s boxing has been in the Olympics so she is the first to gold medalist in this weight class effort. We e-mailed with Clarissa`s principal today who wrote this to us, the principal said "what you saw was a young lady who had a goal and she worked toward the goal achieving her dream through shear work and determination. Unlike the other ladies boxing, up until she left for the Olympics, Clarissa still had school, papers to write, scheduling early finals. With that smile, you saw the true Clarissa. This young lady, once you speak with her, you would think you`ve known her all your life. She is much wiser that most some 17-year-old. I`m sure she will set new goals and obtain them. She`ll only be 21 for the Rio Olympics. A 17-year-old giving everything she`s got for her country and her hometown, yes. That`s an Olympic story we have seen. But this particular hometown giving everything it`s got for its pride and joy and an Olympic gold medal to show more. Flint has taken some hard knocks, but Flint -- Team Clarissa in Flint, you are the best new thing in the world today. Yay! That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END