LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Interview With Tom McClintock; Interview With Ted Strickland; Interview With Arianna Huffington
Aired August 11, 2003 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, California is the state of confusion. Two of our guests tonight, and about 100 others, want to fix that -- gubernatorial candidates Arianna Huffington and state Senator Tom McClintock.
Europe is recording record temperatures, suffering through drought, and there's rising concern about France's nuclear reactors overheating. A special report.
Americans are still dying in Iraq, and military and veterans benefits are being cut back. Our guest, Congressman Ted Strickland, says this country should keep its promises to those who served.
And, American classics all this week. Tonight, the most popular hot sauce in the country, more than a century of spicing up our lives.
This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Monday, August 11. Here now, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN HOST: Good evening.
The war in Iraq goes on more than 100 days after President Bush declared the end of major combat operations. U.S. troops today launched an offensive to find remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime. That operation followed the death of another American soldier, the 57th to die since the end of major combat on the 1st of May.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the report -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the 4th Infantry Division in northern Iraq has now launched Operation Ivy Lightning, a major operation in the north to try and track down some of the people it believes are responsible for the continuing attacks on American forces. These raids are said to be the biggest deployment of forces in the remote areas outside Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's homeland area, since the war ended -- heavily-armed raids where the U.S. believes opposition forces may be hiding.
Turning to another unit in Iraq, the 101st Airborne Division -- the commander said his unit has now gotten word that they will be in Iraq until early next year. That will have put them on deployment for a full year. So, he, in an e-mail to the military families of the 101st, has said he's going to make every effort to improve living conditions for the troops -- getting them more ice, better food, Internet and e-mail access. And very interestingly, General David Potrea (ph) says he is going to try very hard to give each of the soldiers two weeks' leave to come home from Iraq, come back to the United States, visit their families, and then go back to the war.
But, Lou, another reminder that not everybody does come home from the war, of course: in New York, a funeral for 24-year-old Private First Class Wilfredo Perez (ph). Private First Class Perez (ph) was one of the three soldiers killed on July 26 in Iraq in a grenade attack as he and his fellow soldiers guarded a children's hospital in Iraq. And at his funeral, his mother was presented with his Bronze Star and his Purple Heart -- Lou.
DOBBS: Barbara, thank you.
Is there any indication at the Pentagon that there is going to be new thought, new consideration on these troop rotations, and on the strength of force that would be required to end these almost daily deaths of Americans in Iraq?
STARR: Well, they are going to keep the forces there, they say, as long as it takes.
Now, very interestingly, U.S. military officials say the actual number of attacks per day against U.S. forces is declining. Now, of course, not all of the attacks, thank goodness, result in fatalities. So, they believe the actual numbers of attacks are going down.
But one area of very significant concern is -- excuse me -- they believe the sophistication of the attacks is still increasing. That is a concern to them. And, as we have said in the past few days, they are especially concerned about that attack that happened against the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad late last week. They believe that was a very sophisticated bomb attack. They're looking at that very closely, trying to determine if that maybe is some signal of a new wave of sophisticated attacks against U.S. forces. There is particular concern about the radical Islamic group called Ansar al-Islam that is widely believed to be operating in Iraq and possibly planning more attacks -- Lou.
DOBBS: And, of course, that is the same group that was supposedly taken out in northern Iraq in the final days of the major combat operations.
Is there any sense of tiring on the part of the general staff there at the Pentagon of the sort of Rumsfeldian (ph) aphorisms? For example, as long as it takes, that doesn't really respond to the strategic issues, the size of force, the security of those forces, let alone the job of rebuilding Iraq.
STARR: Well, you know, that's a very good point, and I suppose one could assume they really don't have much option at the moment other than to stay as long as it takes. Their strategy is to continue to try and get other countries to contribute a number of forces, stop making it so much a U.S. operation. They are hoping to have approximately 30,000 coalition forces on the ground sometime around September, next month. Right now, they're at about 18,000 forces, coalition forces on the ground. They want to spread some of this out. They do believe clearly here that they are making progress. But, you know, those latest -- the latest unrest in Basra, an area that was calm, the unrest about the lack of power and other commodities there, other supplies, has them a bit concerned. They just have a continuing problem, and they say they're working away at it in every way that they can.
DOBBS: Barbara, thank you very much -- Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.
In this country, a major wildfire alert tonight in the western states -- 37 large fires are burning across several states in the west, 305 new fires were reported yesterday. As a result, this country's wildfire preparedness level has been raised to the highest possible level.
A fire warning is in effect for parts of Montana and Idaho tonight. Gusty winds, low humidity, dry forests have raised the threat of a serious fire outbreak in those states.
President Bush today toured the site of last year's devastating fires in Arizona. He urged Congress to pass his plan to thin overgrown forests to reduce the number of wildfires.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our forests are our treasures that must be preserved for future generations. It's important that we have good sound forest policy. And the best way to do so is to listen to the experts, who understand that by thinning out our forests, we risk -- we reduce the risk of catastrophic fire. That we can and we should have good sound forest management policy all across the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: And across Europe, wildfires are burning. Forest fires in Spain have now killed at least five people. A huge fire in the northeastern part of Spain forced hundreds from their homes. Four villages in Portugal evacuated today ahead of a wildfire that's been burning out of control for the past three days. Across Portugal, half a million acres have been destroyed over the past two weeks.
Those European fires are being fueled in part by a punishing heat wave that's lasted now for more than a week. In Britain, temperatures continued to sizzle today, just after the thermometer topped 100 degrees yesterday, the highest temperature ever recorded in Britain.
The situation in France appears to be even more severe. One French health official says at least 50 people have now died from the extreme heat.
The world's weather extremes have reignited the debate about global warming. ITV's Dan Rivers has the report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAN RIVERS, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mercury may be falling slowly this week, but on Brighton Beach, people were still having to cool off, as temperatures stayed in the mid 70's Fahrenheit.
The weekend's record-breaking weather, though, has provoked an intense debate among scientists about what's causing Britain's sizzling summer. Many think global warming is to blame, saying man- made pollution is turning the planet into one giant greenhouse. If they're right, unless we stop burning fossil fuels, we can expect every summer to be like this one -- great for sunbathing, but it could have a real impact on the way we live.
Our rail network may grind to a halt with tracks being damaged by the heat. Air pollution may become unbearable, and skin cancer may also become a bigger killer. But other experts say global warming is not caused by man, but rather by natural variations in the strength of the sun.
PIERS CORBYN, WEATHER ACTION: We say it's products from the sun which determine climate, and carbon dioxide levels are, in fact, on average determined by temperatures, not the other way around. The fact that man is producing more carbon dioxide now is just a coincidence.
RIVERS: Whatever the cause, it appears 2003 is a scorcher worldwide. In Canada, forest fires have devastated homes in British Columbia. There have been similar scenes in Portugal and Italy.
The heat has also triggered violent thunderstorms and flash floods in northern Britain. If the most dire predictions are correct, we can expect much more extreme weather every year.
Dan Rivers, ITV News.
DOBBS: Tonight's quote comes from Europe, where the severe weather has prompted a papal prayer for rain: "I ask you to join me in my prayer for the victims of this calamity, and urge all of you to ask the Lord fervently to grant the thirsty earth the coolness of rain" -- those words from Pope John Paul II.
Well, if the pope's prayer is answered, it would help out a lot of people in the markets. From heat to energy, oil prices today closed near $32 a barrel, following a power failure at Iraq's main oil refinery. Crude oil prices are now trading at the highest levels since coalition troops invaded Iraq in March. And higher prices in the United States could well weaken economic recovery.
Peter Viles has the report.
PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If American businesses and consumers were betting on cheap oil after the fall of Saddam Hussein, they bet wrong. Crude prices are below their March peaks, but they've climbed sharply in recent weeks. And at $32 a barrel, crude is up 18 percent from year-ago levels. And gas prices are now 10 percent higher than they were a year ago.
It's worth noting: Expensive oil is never good for the American economy.
FADEL GHEIT, FAHNESTOCK & COMPANY: Thirty two dollars oil is not good news for consumer, not good news for the economy, not good news for industry. We have to look at it as if it's additional taxes.
VILES: Behind the rising prices: firming global demand, chronically low inventories and a series of shocks to production most notably in Iraq.
MICHAEL ROTHMAN, MERRILL LYNCH: We've had developments over the past seven months, like Venezuela's oil strike and the loss of reduction there. You had Nigeria at one point lose about 40 percent of its production. And, of course, Iraq going offline and having stayed offline this long was not what most people had anticipated. The market thought Iraq would be over two million a day by May 1, and, of course, they're nowhere close to that level.
VILES: Production in Iraq is now running at roughly 700,000 barrels per day. Power outages, acts of sabotage and general unrest have hampered production.
Inventories in the United States are now at historic lows -- heating oil stocks at a three-year low, gasoline inventories at a six- year low, crude oil at a 28-year low. In other words, there is no cushion in this market against future negative surprises -- Lou.
DOBBS: One other factor in Iraq, it's starting to look like mismanagement that could be added to the litany there in terms of the Iraqi recovery.
VILES: Yes, mismanagement, and from the north to the south there you've had attacks on the oil infrastructure -- pipelines bombed. So, that's a situation that is not clearly getting better.
DOBBS: Indeed. Peter Viles, thank you.
Coming up next here, California is a state of confusion, but hundreds of hopefuls are lining up to replace Governor Gray Davis should the electorate decide that that is appropriate. Two of those hopefuls join us tonight: columnist Arianna Huffington; California State Senator Tom McClintock.
And, broken promises -- Congressman Ted Strickland of Ohio. He's a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. He calls veteran's health programs grossly inadequate, and he joins us.
Our feature series this week, "American Classics," brands so much a part of our culture, they can only be called classics. Tonight, a company that's been sizzling for more than a century. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DOBBS: Arnold Schwarzenegger today took his gubernatorial campaign to New York. Schwarzenegger again at the center of a huge media circus, but he didn't offer any specifics, at least today, on how to solve California's financial crisis.
Bill Tucker has the report.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rarely has a state election attracted so much attention. But then again, it's California, and this is a campaign that began on "The Tonight Show."
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Arnold Schwarzenegger, ladies and gentlemen.
TUCKER: It's a campaign built for the media.
BERNIE WARD, KGO RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: When you've got Larry Flynt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arianna Huffington, and Gary Coleman, what else can you ask for?
TUCKER: There are national polls on who might win this state election, and empty podiums, as the media, including this one, repeatedly advised viewers that Arnold was expected to speak at any minute, while we waited for him to appear for a New York City after- school program event scheduled months ago. The media clearly cares. The people? Well, they seem to understand what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's a movie star -- I mean, I don't think he's very qualified as a politician, but he's a movie star, so he gets a lot of attention.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if it's worth it. It's kind of making a mockery of the whole election, I think.
DOUG MCINTYRE, KABC RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I was in a hardware store yesterday, and there were guys yelling at each other that they were angry that so many of these freak shows had jumped in to make a joke out of it.
TUCKER: But the circus aspect of all of this has not escaped the management at the Game Show Network. They're launching a show called, "Who Wants to be Governor of California: the Debating Game."
RICH CRONIN, PRESIDENT, CEO, GAME SHOW NETWORK: We thought this was the most amazing race, and politics, of course, is the ultimate game, and we're a game show network. So, why not have the first live political debate that's in game show format?
TUCKER: The co-producer of the show? Mindless Entertainment.
(END VIDEOTAPE) Which perhaps distracts from some very serious issues that are at stake in the state -- a huge budget deficit, a tripling of the car tax, a massive increase in the state's workers' comp insurance rate -- all of which means people are moving out of the state of California faster than they are now moving in -- Lou.
DOBBS: Bill, thank you very much.
Well, Schwarzenegger's lack of detail about policy appears to have done little or no damage to his popularity among possible voters. A new CNN poll says 42 percent of registered voters in California say there is a good chance they will vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins me tonight from Los Angeles.
Bill -- this is turning out to be quite a story in California.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It certainly is. And I can tell you one other thing the poll shows that's very clear, and that is the voters out here do not like Gray Davis, and he's in a lot of trouble. In our latest poll taken over the weekend, 64 percent said that they would vote to fire him. Only 29 percent said they'd keep him in office. That's more than two to one.
Figures like that, Lou, are difficult to turn around, and there's a good chance the Democrats will start to abandon him and possibly start to rally behind the candidate, the one Democrat. The serious Democrat who is trying to replace him is Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.
Well, who's leading the replacement field? You just mentioned a lot of people like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger leads the crowded field, almost 200 potential contenders on that second ballot, 25 percent of the vote. Only one other candidate in double digits, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, followed by two conservative Republicans, Tom McClintock and Bill Simon, Jr., both of whom have run for statewide office.
All of the other candidates are below 5 percent. Three of them are Independents tied at 4 percent: the former baseball commissioner and Olympics organizer, Peter Ueberroth, the self-described "smut peddler who cares," Larry Flynt, and tied with Larry Flynt and Peter Ueberroth, Arianna Huffington. So, Ueberroth and Huffington tied with Larry Flynt. How embarrassing is that?
DOBBS: Well, at this point, the embarrassment is really about a state with a $38 billion budget deficit, workers' comp that's completely out of control, businesses fleeing the state. It is still an extraordinary place in which for people to live and to work, although it's a very difficult place because of all that is happening to the tax base.
Is any one of these candidates, in your judgment, at this early stage offering any solutions? SCHNEIDER: Well, Gray Davis claims that the problem is under control. And, in fact, his whole campaign is based on presenting him as someone who is doing his job as governor. He wants to be above the circus. He's running against the circus. And he says, look, we had a $38 billion budget deficit, but through a deal with the state legislature, we've got it down to $8 billion. A lot of that deal, as you and your viewers know, was smoke and mirrors.
So, they've got it, but they say they've got it down with no big tax increases. The only tax increase is going to triple the car tax, which is going to make a lot of people angry because they didn't need a law to do that. It was a law that reduced the car tax has expired. So, when that comes around, a lot of people are going to be angry.
But Gray Davis' whole approach is to say, I'm the governor, I'm acting as the governor. The circus, that's these other guys. And he hopes that will save him.
DOBBS: Based on the poll that you just reported, Bill, how volatile does that appear to be?
SCHNEIDER: Well, the only thing people do have their minds made up on is they don't like Gray Davis. In fact, the poll is interesting. There is no partisan or ideological shape to this at all. It's pure popularity. And what's happening is everybody dislikes Gray Davis, even Democrats -- 40 percent of Democrats say they're going to vote to recall him.
He is universally disliked, because to most voters he is the face of "the politician," the political face of the government in Sacramento that they hate. Arnold Schwarzenegger is universally liked. He's gotten some flak from conservatives, who say he's not a real conservative.
But in the poll 80-some percent of conservatives like Arnold Schwarzenegger and almost 70 percent of Democrats like Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though he's a Republican. He is universally liked. Gray Davis is universally disliked, which shows you how much trouble Gray Davis is in and how this race could turn out in the end, unless someone figures out a way to bring Schwarzenegger down to the level of a politician, which he is not right now.
DOBBS: Well, Bill, you're our senior political analyst. Are you ready to give us your forecast about how this will all come out?
SCHNEIDER: No. And the reason is, we don't know who's going to vote. If Schwarzenegger can get lots of people out to vote, who rarely vote -- namely, his fans -- if he can translate box office appeal into voter appeal, I think he can win. But the kinds of people who love Arnold Schwarzenegger, we don't know if they're ever going to vote.
DOBBS: OK, Bill Schneider from Los Angeles tonight, thank you.
Coming up next, I'll be talking with two of the people who, as Bill Schneider just said, are hoping to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger in the recall election and to see Governor Gray Davis out. Republican State Senator Tom McClintock joins us, and independent syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington will also join us.
And, President Bush has chosen a new leader for the EPA. White House correspondent Dana Bash is traveling with the president and will have the live report for us.
Also ahead, broken promises. American veterans desperately short of health care. Congressman Ted Strickland, a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, says Congress has turned its back, along with this administration, on America's veterans. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Police today shot and killed a man, after he ran a checkpoint set up for President Bush's visit to Arizona. The man was shot after he drove his SUV at officers, who were blocking the highway with their cars. Police said the man appeared to be intoxicated and suicidal. They said the incident had nothing to do with the president's visit.
President Bush is in Denver, Colorado, tonight. A short time ago, he talked with reporters about his selection of Utah's governor, Mike Leavitt, to be the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
White House correspondent Dana Bash is traveling with the president and joins me now -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lou.
Well, the president is here in Denver for a fund-raiser tonight. He's going to take in about $1 million for his re-election effort. But, as you said, when he got here on the ground in Denver, he nominated Mike Leavitt, who's the governor of Utah, to be his next EPA administrator.
Mike Leavitt is with the White House. The White House says that he is actually the longest-serving governor. He is somebody who the White House calls the dean of governors. And he is also somebody who has championed getting the federal government really out of the business, of telling states and local officials exactly how to regulate the environment. What he says is that state and local governments should have more control over how to regulate the environment and environmental policies.
Now, he, of course, comes after the former EPA administrator, Christie Todd Whitman, decided that she was going to step down. That was in May. And she certainly had somewhat of a stormy tenure.
The environment is something that the president is talking about. He actually talked about it earlier today. He was in Arizona. He toured some fire damage there in the Coronado National Forest, and he was there in order to promote what he calls his "healthy forest initiative." And this is really one of a couple of environmental events that the president is going to have throughout the next couple of weeks, as he makes some day trips from his ranch in Crawford.
So, this is an announcement today that we didn't expect, but we knew it was going to come pretty soon. And it certainly coincides very nicely with the White House attempt to push out the president's environmental policies -- Lou.
DOBBS: Dana, thanks very much -- Dana Bash traveling with the president tonight.
American veterans returning from war have a battle on their hands when it comes to their health benefits. Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi was on this program just last month. He said veterans making more than $35,000 are cut off from care.
Congressman Ted Strickland of Ohio is a Democrat. He's a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Veterans Affairs. And he says we should keep all of our promises to each and every veteran.
REP. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: Well, we have over 100,000 veterans who are on a waiting list of more than six months just to see a physician. We are woefully under funding veterans' health care.
And I know the secretary disagrees with me but he's being a good soldier. He's being a good soldier for this administration. And they're simply unwilling to face the facts that we need more resources in order to provide the kind of care that our veterans need and deserve.
DOBBS: How much more money, Congressman, do you think is needed to provide those veterans the care that, A: has been promised them and B: should be given them?
STRICKLAND: Well, at least $2 billion for fiscal year 2004 and, in fact, the joint budget resolution agreed to by the House and the Senate called for $1.8 billion more than actually was included by the appropriators in the VA budget.
So we are at least $1.8 billion short in 2004. And that does not include, Lou, caring for the Priority 8 veterans that have been excluded from even participating in the VA health care system.
DOBBS: Priority 8 because of their income levels. What do you -- what do you say should be done there?
STRICKLAND: Well, quite frankly, this Priority 8 group can make as little as $25,000 a year and the VA considers them higher income and they are no longer able to enroll.
Now these people can be combat decorated veterans, people who have served this country with great honor and yet, the VA is basically saying you're out of here. You make too much money and so we're not going to let you continue to participate in this health care system. It's outrageous. DOBBS: What are you going to do about it? What can be done about it?
STRICKLAND: Well, we still have the conference committee to work with. And it is my hope that when we go back into session following this August recess that we can bring some common sense to this process and that we can convince the conference committee to add this $1.8 billion.
It's absolutely essential just to continue to provide the level of services that we are providing. We'll need more than that if we're going to allow the Priority 8 veterans to participate in the system.
But without adding the $1.8 billion to the budget, the VA system is just going to fall far short of what is needed just to continue the current level of services that are now being provided to our veterans.
DOBBS: And at least keep promises to those to whom we all owe a great debt. Congressman Strickland, we thank you very much for being with us.
STRICKLAND: Well, thank you, Lou. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this important issue.
DOBBS: And that brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question: "Are you willing to pay more taxes for veterans' benefits?" Yes, no, or maybe?" Cast your vote at cnn.com/lou. We'll have the results for you later in the show.
The results of Friday's poll. The question: "Do you believe marijuana should be decriminalized?" Ninety percent of you voted yes, 10 percent said no.
And when we continue, total recall. The California governor's race is shaping up sort of. And it seems the Terminator man is the man to beat, at least in the early going. Syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington and California State Senator Tom McClintock each hope they'll be the one to be the next governor. They'll join us in a moment.
And our feature series this week on "American classics." Tonight, the condiment that Americans put on everything from eggs to bloody Marys. That and a lot more still ahead.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Returning now to one of our top stories, the California recall. My next guest says Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign has no substance. Republican State Senator Tom McClintock is also running to replace Governor Gray Davis. And the latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll finds him in third place behind Schwarzenegger and the lieutenant governor, a democrat, Cruz Bustamante. State Senator Tom McClintock joins us now from Sacramento.
Good to have you with us.
TOM MCCLINTOCK (R), CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me, Lou.
DOBBS: Every poll we're looking at, you're doing pretty well, I guess all things considered, against someone as powerful in terms of name recognition as Arnold Schwarzenegger. He appears to be the man to beat. But we haven't even decided yet, in the state of California, at least, whether or not to replace Gray Davis. You've got a number of hurdles to cross, don't you?
MCCLINTOCK: Well, I think the people have already formed their opinion on Gray Davis and it's not going to change. He will cease to be the governor of California in 57 days. And the only question now is who will replace him? I know there's a great deal that Arnold Schwarzenegger could teach me about making movies. There's a great deal I could teach him about the fiscal reforms that are needed - desperately needed to set California back in good order.
But there's no time for training. The new governor will take office as soon as the last ballot is counted. I think you'll find the people of California are riveted on public policy issues in this state like never before, and for good reason, their futures depend on it. And ultimately, I think it will be policies and not personality that decides the election.
DOBBS: Well, that is a cry of optimism in what is a very confusing field of candidates right now, if I may say, Senator. You say you can teach the Terminator man about fiscal policy. You've got 60 days to do it. You certainly have the opportunity. Do you really think Californians are going to sit still and listen to real debate, real substantive debate, about fiscal issues in this election, because right now, with about two months to go, it sure looks like just another beauty contest?
MCCLINTOCK: Well, I don't think the national media realizes what's going on here in California. They tend to focus on all of the eccentricities of some of the colorful candidates. But what you're seeing in California is an awful lot of citizens realizing that it's fight or flight time. A lot are fleeing. You're seeing the job numbers leaving California.
Many more are realizing that this state is worth staying and fighting for. And so they are engaged like never before. And as I said, you're going -- you're seeing a very serious rising to the occasion of a lot of people who haven't been involved in politics before. This is not about the eccentric personalities. This is about the future of California.
DOBBS: Well, I can understand why you say it's not about personalities, it's about the future of the state of California. Those two things are not necessarily contradictory. The $38 billion deficit for that state, and as you suggest, a beautiful state, a wonderful place to live, but with all that's happening, do you really believe that the Californians are right now prepared to take on the issues, because they had a governor that left them $12 billion in surplus before Gray Davis, and watched as the legislature and the governor took that to a $38 billion deficit?
MCCLINTOCK: Well, exactly right. What's happened to California is not because of some terrible act of God striking down the state. It's because of very stupid acts of government. And that's what we have the opportunity to change. The very first act I will undertake, the moment that the oath of office is administered, is to rescind the governor's tripling of the car tax. Next, I'll go into court and void the $42 billion of outrageously overpriced electricity contracts that this governor locked us into. And then I will call a special session of the state legislature to rescind our workers' compensation law and replace it with Arizona's, bringing down the cost of workers' compensation in California by two-thirds. All of that can be done before lunch if the governor is willing to act. And I am and I will.
You are willing to act and you will. But do you think it is entirely fair not to consider the California legislature as part of the problem in this fiscal mismanagement of that state?
MCCLINTOCK: Yes, it is, but there's a great deal that the governor can do quite independently of a legislature, starting with the rescinding the of the car tax. That requires no legislative action. That's an executive order of the governor. With respect to the electricity contracts, once again, all that needs to be done is to stipulate to the facts that we are involved in the negotiation of those contracts.
It was a clear legal conflict of interest that the governor will not admit to because it would require him to admit wrongdoing. I will stipulate to those facts and we will void those contracts. You're right, the workers' compensation reform will require legislative action. I'll give them 30 days to act. And if they fail to do so, I'll take the issue to the ballot and let them explain to the voters why they failed to act while our job market was collapsing.
DOBBS: And let me ask you this, Senator, a couple of other issues which have arisen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in relation to Proposition 187 in 1994, supporting it. Did you support it?
MCCLINTOCK: I supported it. I campaigned for it. I actually ran radio ads in support of it up and down California.
DOBBS: Would you like to see that proposition, that is, denying health care to illegal immigrants in California, resurrected?
MCCLINTOCK: I believe that Proposition 187 never had a fair day in court. When it was challenged, this governor's responsibility was to defend the will of the people of California. He refused to do so, 187 has never had a fair day in court. I intend to see that it gets one.
DOBBS: And the color blind initiative in California, do you support that as well, because that's going to be on the ballot with you? MCCLINTOCK: I do. I believe that this government should be color blind. I don't believe that the color of a person's skin should make any difference in the way they're treated by their government.
DOBBS: Senator Tom McClintock, we thank you very much for spending some of your, I know, precious time right now as you're in a 60-day race for governor. We thank you very much, sir.
MCCLINTOCK: It's my pleasure, Lou. Thanks for having me.
DOBBS: Everything old new again at the box office, at least over the weekend. The action film S.W.A.T.," which is a remake of the 1970s television series, took the top spot. "S.W.A.T." stars Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson. It grossed 37 million bucks for Sony. "Freaky Friday," a remake of the '70s film of the same name took second place. "American Wedding" slipped from first to third, but that's OK because it was second in a series. And "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Seabiscuit" followed up.
Tonight our series of "American Classics" this week. We take a look tonight at a truly unique American product, Tabasco sauce of all things. The spicy sauce found its way to American kitchens in 1868. It continues to fire up taste buds all around the world. Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tucked away in the marshes of southwest Louisiana is Avery Island. There is plenty to see here. Gardens, a bird sanctuary, and acres of pepper plants.
TONY SIMMONS, EXEC. V.P. MCILHENY CO.: This is the same plant that my great, great grandfather, Edmund McIlheny, Brought. Well, this is a red -- or will be a red tobasco pepper. At this point it's not ripe yet.
SYLVESTER: During the civil war Edmund McIlheny fled the invading Union Army. When he returned to Avery island in 1865.
DR. SHANE BERNARD, TABASCO HISTORIAN: There was one pepper plant left in the family garden, and from that one pepper plant Edmund picked the peppers from which he made his sauce and from which all Tabasco sauce is made today, really.
SYLVESTER: By 1868 the sauce was bottled and soon started shipping around the world. The problem was back then Tabasco was sometimes confused with ketchup.
BERNARD: We heard about one guy from St. Louis, some guy who came in from the country and went to an oyster saloon and used this and threw the bottle on the floor and threatened to fight everybody in the place because he thought they had played a joke on him. People just didn't know how to use it.
SYLVESTER: So the company put a caution label on the back, and for five generations the same recipe has been used in the family business. The peppers are grown in central and South America from seeds from Avery island. When they turn a bright red, they are mashed and stored in barrels for three years, much like a fine wine. Hamilton Polk (ph) has worked for the McIlheny company for 32 years. His taste buds know when a batch is ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot. Like Tabasco is hot.
SYLVESTER: The seeds are filtered out of the mash and mixed with the salt and vinegar in 2,000-gallon tanks. Up to 750,000 bottles of Tabasco roll off the assembly line every day. The privately owned company has kept control of the production process from start to finish. So every bottle of Tabasco sauce worldwide is made here.
SIMMONS: We like to tell people, from our fields to your table in only three short years.
SYLVESTER: The sauce is bottled in 20 languages and sent to stores and restaurants in 110 countries.
(on camera): After over 100 years of making the original hot sauce the company decided about ten years ago to expand its product line to include an even hotter saw sauce, the Habanero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clears your sinuses and makes your scalp sweat, but those are good things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put a nipple on the bottle and raise it and gave our son a bottle of Tabasco. That's how much we like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one here, I'm not kidding, he almost drinks it with a straw. He eats it on everything.
SYLVESTER: He's not the only one. Tabasco fans will tell you, it's not just about the heat. It's also about the flavor.
Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Avery Island, Louisiana.
DOBBS: And tomorrow night we take a look at an altogether different kind of classic. We take a look at the DC-3, the aircraft that has forever changed aviation around the world.
And a reminder to vote on our poll tonight. The question, are willing to pay more in the way of taxes to provide veteran's benefits. Yes, no or maybe. Cast your vote at cnn.com/lou. We'll have the results coming up in just few minutes.
Next, the race to replace Gray Davis in California is underway. Among the hundreds of hopefuls, syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington. She is joining us tonight from Los Angeles. We'll be talking with her next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: My next guest is another one of the nearly 200 people who hope to become the next governor of California. Arianna Huffington says she's running to stop big money influence in California. She blames that state's fiscal crisis more on the White House than Governor Gray Davis. Arianna Huffington is a syndicated columnist. She's running as an independent. And she's running pretty strongly here at the outset, and joins us tonight from Los Angeles.
Good to have you with us, Arianna.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Good to be with you, Lou.
DOBBS: This race, as I was just talking with Senator McClintock, it looks like it's, at this stage, far more about Arnold Schwarzenegger than Gray Davis. What do you think?
HUFFINGTON: I think this race is going to have many phases, Lou. I don't think we can predict now where we're going to be on October 7 when we actually have to vote. A lot will depend on who turns out to vote. You know what is amazing and what we don't really pay enough attention to, that is in the last election, Gray Davis got elected with just 17 percent of eligible voters. Thirteen million eligible voters did not vote. That's how disaffected the California voters are. And so part of what my campaign is doing, a lot of it is Internet, by actually getting people to participate, especially young people, is to actually get them to stop feeling shut out from the process.
DOBBS: All right. You get them out to vote. They look down at that ballot, and the name selected in random order, and there is Arianna Huffington, and they're going to vote for you because you've said what about how to fix the deficit and the budget crisis in California?
HUFFINGTON: Well, really, for three main things. First of all, because I'm campaigning to end the hall of special interests in Sacramento. And this is not a sound bite I picked up on the way to my announcement speech. I've been writing about this in books, in columns. And I have specific proposals that include ending tax loopholes and tax shelters that will help address the budget deficit. Secondly, I'm running to reorder our state policy priorities, which means that we need to put our children first again and stop building jails the way we're building them and giving pay raises to prison guards' union in the middle of the budget deficit. And thirdly, we need to have a public financing system of paying for our elections, because otherwise, money will continue to dominate. I mean, the last election, again, Gray Davis spent $77 million to run against Bill Simon. And so, Lou, what I'm asking for is debate, weekly debate with all of the candidates, at least the six or seven who are seen as being viable candidates. And I'm doing that through my Web site, AriannaForGov.com.
DOBBS: Arianna, are you going have to raise taxes in the state of California if you're elected?
HUFFINGTON: You know, Lou, I'm not going to rule it out. As you were saying in your poll, when you were asking people, are you willing to pay more taxes to pay veterans' benefits? That's a legitimate question that we may have to address. Are you willing to pay more taxes so that children don't have to have rats in their schools and have some books with which to study? All these have to be on the table. I think the fanatical ideology that says that tax cuts are the only way to lead to an economic recovery, simply (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has not made any sense at the national level and may not make sense at the state level.
DOBBS: Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Democratic Party criticizing, you're running as an independent, for his support of the 1994 Proposition 187 which would cut off health care to illegal immigrants in the state of California. Would you support that same policy?
HUFFINGTON: Absolutely not. And at the time, I voted against the proposition. I did not speak out against it, because my ex- husband was for it and he was running for the Senate at the time. But I'm an immigrant. I'm one of the 9 million Californians who was not born in this country. And I'm very proud to be an immigrant and the rights of the...
DOBBS: But you're there legally, aren't you?
HUFFINGTON: I'm here legally.
HUFFINGTON: Do you want to break some news?
DOBBS: I was wondering, because what I asked you about was providing health care for illegal immigrants.
HUFFINGTON: Yes, I know, but you know, when you have children here, whether they're legal or illegal, you're not going to deny them health care. In the same a way that Gray Davis had to reverse his position on driver's license for illegal immigrants. When they're here, they're really part of the community. And that's one of the things we need to recover, a sense of morality about the most vulnerable among us. That has been lost in the state and part of what my campaign is about is restoring it.
DOBBS: And the issue that will be on the ballot with you, and that is the racial privacy initiative in California, that is, the color blind initiative on all data that is collected. Do you support that or oppose it?
HUFFINGTON: No. I'm absolutely opposed to the Ward Connerly initiative. And I believe that there are a lot of policies that we have, including drug war policies, including education policies, which have very unfortunate unintended consequences against minorities. And we need to know what these are. We need to collect this data and not be blind to the information.
DOBBS: Arianna Huffington, we thank you very much, candidate for governor of California.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you, Lou. DOBBS: Coming up next here, we will have the preliminary results of tonight's poll.
Also, what's in a name? Too much, according to some executives, at least at the parent of this network, AOL Time Warner. Christine Romans will have the market. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The results of tonight's poll. The question, are you willing to pay more taxes for better veterans' benefits? Sixty-nine percent of you said yes; 20 percent said no; 11 percent said maybe.
Turning now to stocks. The Nasdaq today broke a six-session losing streak. The Dow continued its run. The Dow up 26. The Nasdaq up 17. The S&P up 3. Christine Romans with the market for us -- Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: The good news is the Dow is now up four days in a row, Lou, and that hasn't happened since the beginning of June. The bad news, it was on the lightest volume of the year today, about a billion shares changing hands. That's down 23 percent from the average daily volume last August.
Now, Lou, program trading accounts for a lot of the action on the Big Board these days. In the most recent week, 45.5 percent of the volume was program trading. That compares with 36 percent last year.
Now, what does it mean? Well, short-term traders moving money between stocks and bonds have been quite vigorous in this market. Program trading hit 52 percent of the daily Big Board volume in late June, just when that bond sell-off was accelerating.
Now, on an otherwise quiet day today, some interesting movers. Martha Stewart shares fell 2 percent. Martha Stewart's personal legal problems (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the core brand. Profit fell 86 percent. AOL Time Warner shares rose 2 percent. They were the second most active stock on the Big Board.
ROMANS: The company says it will consider dropping AOL from the parent's name. There's going to be a board meeting this fall, and Dick Parsons and company are going to discuss that.
3M announced its first stock split in nine years, and a quarterly dividend of 66 cents. The stock hit a record high today, as did FedEx and Caterpillar. The economically sensitive shares continue to do well, Lou. Trucks, machinery, textiles, also hospitals have outperformed computer software and the like over the past couple of weeks.
DOBBS: There is room in the world for that whole old analog stuff.
ROMANS: The stuff that rusts in the sun, as Larry Wachtel says. DOBBS: And also rusts even faster in the rain.
DOBBS: But we hope doesn't rust at all, because they're producing it and it's being used.
All right. Christine Romans, thank you.
ROMANS: Thank you.
DOBBS: Let's take a look at some of your thoughts now. Many of you wrote in about our poll question Friday asking whether marijuana should be decriminalized in this country. Jennifer Smith of Harrison (sic), Virginia said -- Harrisonburg, Virginia said: "The war on drugs has been an incredible waste of money. Our tax dollars are needed to fund education and should not be diverted to fund prisons, jails and more prisons for the 485,000 non-violent drug offenders behind bars.
Bill stationed in Bahrain from the U.S. military said: "In general, the only pot related violent crimes involve the dealers. Why shouldn't we regulate and tax it, instead of spending billions on a war that can't be won?"
Jim Stephenson of Pittsburgh disagrees: "Unlike alcohol, the effects of marijuana remain in the body days after it's used, diminishing reaction times and natural abilities. Do you want to depend on pilots, police officers, paramedics, bus drivers or even your spouse to react as needed when they've just spent a weekend getting high?"
And Shirley Lathbury of Absecon, New Jersey said: "I believe it's been established that the use of marijuana is a precursor to other drug uses. As a professional nurse all my life I have seen too many patients overdose. Why can't these 'feel good' people see the risks they take?"
We thank you for your thoughts. We love hearing from you. E- mail us at email@example.com. That's our show for tonight. Thanks for being with us. Tomorrow, our feature series this week, "American Classics." We look at an American aviation legend, the DC-3. For all of us here, good night from New York. "LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES" with Anderson Cooper is next.
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Strickland; Interview With Arianna Huffington>