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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is stepping down after just 18 months at the Pentagon, but his legacy is guaranteed to be a long one. He has lifted the ban on women in combat. We look at the pros and cons for the military, in Constitutional law and American culture. Also, Democrats unveil an assault weapons ban pleading for grass-root support, and a White House message to Wall Street.

Banner image: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta (L) and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Department of Defense photo by Glenn Fawcett

Making News Dems Unveil Assault Weapons Ban Pleading for Grass-root Support 7 MIN, 45 SEC

California's Senator Dianne Feinstein today announced a new bill to ban assault weapons, replacing a ban that expired in 2004. She called on the public to overcome opposition from both Republicans and fellow Democrats. Dan Freedman is national editor at Hearst Newspapers' Washington Bureau.

Dan Freedman, Hearst Newspapers

Main Topic Another Gender Barrier Is about to Come Down 35 MIN, 56 SEC

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a historic announcement today when he lifted the ban on women in combat, at the request of a unanimous Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, the nature of modern warfare already puts women in combat, where they've earned purple hearts and medals of honor, been wounded and died. But opponents are adamant, based on physical strength, sexual distraction and traditions of male camaraderie as old as the practice of warfare itself. We hear the arguments of both sides as the Pentagon prepares to implement a historic change.



Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hands Army Lt. Col. Tamatha Patterson
his signed document lifting the Defense Department's ban on women
in direct ground combat roles.
DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal (@julianbarnes)
Ashley Pullen, retired military specialist
Jed Babbin, The American Spectator (@jedbabbin)
Kim Olson, Grace after Fire (@graceafterfire)
Anne Coughlin, University of Virginia School of Law (@UVALaw)
James Bowman, Ethics and Public Policy Center (@JamesVBowman)


James Bowman

Reporter's Notebook Obama Nominates Prosecutor Mary Jo White to Head the SEC 7 MIN, 15 SEC

Yesterday on this program, we heard that 12 big banks are still too big to fail and that guaranteed taxpayer support could mean risky investments and another financial bailout.  Today, the White House said it's trying to prevent that with appointees to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Former US Attorney Mary Jo White has been nominated to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Ohio's former Attorney General Richard Cordray has been re-nominated to head the SEC's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Michael Hirsh is chief correspondent at National Journal.

Michael Hirsh, Politico Magazine (@michaelphirsh)

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