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New Wave of Violence in Iraq Under Way; Split Between Bush and NAACP

Aired July 15, 2004 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, insurgents challenge U.S. policy and military power in Iraq with deadly attacks in two Iraqi cities. A new wave of violence against the Iraqi government is underway.

IYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI INTERIM PRIME MINISTER: This is a kind of a global war against terrorists, and we have to win this war.


DOBBS: As the violence in Iraq escalates, more coalition countries are considering pulling their troops out or cutting the number of troops. We'll have a special report.

In our Campaign Journal tonight, Senator Kerry tries to exploit a split between President Bush and the NAACP. Senator Kerry says he will never divide America by race or riches.

Republicans and Democrats are stepping up their efforts to win the votes of 40 million Hispanic-Americans. I'll talk with Jorge Ramos, author of "The Latino Wave." He says Hispanics will determine the outcome of this presidential election.

And federal agents launch a crackdown against smuggling kingpins who bring hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into this country. Tonight, our special report, Broken Borders.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Thursday, July 15. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion is Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening.

Insurgents today launched a new wave of attacks in the latest challenge to the Iraqi government and U.S. political and military strategy in Iraq. Today's attacks killed 17 people. Yesterday, a bomb attack in Baghdad killed 10. This new wave of violence comes as the Philippines prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq. It is the fifth coalition country to pull its troops out.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A burst of violence. A car bomb in a western town exploded near the main police station, killing 10 Iraqis, wounding 30 others. A mortar attack in Kirkuk also targeting a police station hit a house instead, killing five residents and wounding two. After a brief lull in recent weeks, the last two days have brought a flurry of attacks.

Today, Al Jazeera network read a statement from militants holding a Filipino hostage, saying they will free him at the end of the month when the Philippines withdraw its 51 troops from Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi urged the Philippines to "reconsider withdrawing forces because we cannot give up to terrorism."

Hostages of other coalition partners were also held. Coalition attrition is well underway. Of the 32-nation coalition, five members are already gone.

STEVEN COOK, CFR FELLOW: This is indicative of the fact that political support for Operation Iraqi Freedom was thin to begin with, and now that at least in name sovereignty has been transferred to an interim Iraqi government, our coalition partners, such as they are, can make the argument that, well, sovereignty's been transferred, there's really no point in us being here any longer.

PILGRIM: Insurgent attacks and the pressure on coalition partners to drop out are expected to continue, and many think now is exactly the time when the coalition should stay committed.

GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Between now and the election, whether it's in January, February next year, is a very difficult time. We must realize that, and I think we need to get as much cooperation as possible between the new Iraqi government, the United States and the coalition and alliances around the world.


PILGRIM: Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said today he's planning a series of visits in the Arab world to establish more of an intelligence network to root out the insurgents, but it's clear insurgents will continue to pressure the coalition partners who have troops on the ground in Iraq -- Lou.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much.

Considerable mystery surrounds a U.S. Marine who disappeared in Iraq and turned up in Lebanon. Tonight, he's back in the United States. Corporal Wassef Hassoun arrived at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia after medical exams at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the report -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, Corporal Hassoun arrived at the Quantico Marine base looking rested, smiling, not looking at all like somebody who could face possible criminal penalties for desertion. The Marine Corps said privately that they had indications that when Hassoun left his base in Iraq, he did not intend to go back but was trying to meet up with relatives in Lebanon. But publicly they're playing it very straight and not making any indication that Corporal Hassoun could possibly be guilty of any wrongdoing.

Today, a Marine spokesman simply said that this repatriation process which brought him to Quantico was the normal process that would be used for anyone who had been held hostage.


LT. COL. DAVID LAPAN, U.S. MARINE CORPS SPOKESMAN: Corporal Hassoun will remain at Quantico until the repatriation team decides that he is able to return to full duty. Repatriation is the process of decompression, debriefing and integration of individuals who have been captured or detained. The length of this process can vary from weeks to months, depending on the circumstances of the individual case.


MCINTYRE: All that spokesman said today was that Hassoun arrived healthy, in good spirits. Otherwise, the Marine Corps is saying very little publicly about the explanation that Hassoun has offered for his disappearance in Iraq June 19 and in his subsequent reappearance in Lebanon July 7 when he turned himself into U.S. embassy officials.

Sources say Hassoun insists he was abducted, but he didn't make any mention of that in the brief public statement he issued in Germany before coming to the United States.

One thing, though, the Pentagon and the Marine Corps both are making clear is at this point Hassoun has not been accused of any wrongdoing, nor has he been charged with anything, nor has he been provided with a military attorney, which would be a first step if the military was considering any sort of punishment or reprimand -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you.

Turning to election politics in this country, the White House today tried to end growing speculation that President Bush may drop Vice President Dick Cheney as his running mate. White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the speculation as simply a part of what he called the beltway rumor mill.

Elaine Quijano reports from the White House.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House says there's no doubt Vice President Dick Cheney is on the Republican presidential ticket to stay, despite rumors to the contrary published on the front page of "The New York Times."

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: And, look, there's -- this is a campaign season. There's going to be a lot of inside-the- beltway rumormongering going on, and that's all this is.

QUIJANO: Fueling the rumor mill in part, public opinion. A recent Gallup poll found the vice president's favorable rating trailed the Democratic VP pick, John Edwards, by 9 percentage points. And, in a separate survey looking at swing voters, the gap was wider.

ED SARPOLUS, MICHIGAN POLLSTER: Some 60 percent of those voters really like John Edwards. Amongst that same group, only 25 percent to 28 percent like Dick Cheney.

QUIJANO: Given the tight race, those numbers worry some Republicans, with some wishing out loud options others would only whisper.

ALFONSE D'AMATO, FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR: And I think that Secretary Powell would be one of those, and my good friend, John McCain, would be another.

QUIJANO: But, at every campaign stop, President Bush has made clear he's happy with his choice.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm running with a great American in Dick Cheney. He's a solid, solid citizen.

We've got a fabulous vice president in Dick Cheney.

QUIJANO: As for the concerns about how Mr. Cheney stacks up against his competition, even he poked fun at the issue.

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody said to me the other day that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks and charm, and I said, "How do you think I got this job?"


QUIJANO (on camera): Now the Bush-Cheney campaign says the vice president is a strong fund-raiser, well liked by supporters. They also point to Mr. Cheney's experience in Washington as an asset and a strong advantage, they say, over John Edwards -- Lou.

DOBBS: Elaine, thank you.

Senator John Kerry today told the NAACP that he will never seek to divide this country by race or riches. The NAACP also asked President Bush to address the group, but the White House declined that invitation. Today, White House officials said the NAACP has crossed the line in partisanship and civility.

Candy Crowley reports.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush declined an invitation from the NAACP, teeing up John Kerry nicely. SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And you know something? The president may be too busy to speak to you now, but I've got news for you. He's going to have plenty of time after November 2.

CROWLEY: He hit all the usual notes of his middle-class pitch, promising more jobs, better jobs, less crime, improved education, a safer America. Nine of 10 African-Americans who voted in 2000 voted for Al Gore. So Kerry's challenge is not so much winning the black vote as getting blacks who don't vote to go to the polls.

KERRY: Don't tell us the strongest democracy on earth, that a million disenfranchised African-Americans and the most tainted election in American history is the best that we can do.

CROWLEY: Kerry's speech came as his campaign unveiled a $2 million ad buy targeted at the minority community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he really make a difference for me and my family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Learn about John Kerry's plan to expand access to health care to nearly all Americans, especially our children.

CROWLEY: The Congressional Black Caucus was greatly under underwhelmed and said so.

REP. JOHN CONYERS (D), MICHIGAN: We're going to revise the ad itself, which was not -- didn't turn on any of my colleagues in the caucus at all.

CROWLEY: It is the latest in a series of private grumbling and public complaints about the Kerry campaign's minority outreach. Early on, it was about the lack of color in the upper echelons of the campaign. More were added.

Yesterday, Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama was put on the primetime convention lineup after criticism that the roster was too white.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Kerry cannot win without the African-American vote. We know that, and he knows that.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Capitol Hill.


DOBBS: Despite the rift with the NAACP, the White House tonight says President Bush will continue to reach out to members of the NAACP and all African-Americans. President Bush is scheduled to speak with another civil rights group, the urban league, next week.

That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question: Do you believe either presidential candidate has articulated a clear vision of a bright American future? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results for you later in the broadcast.

Coming up next here, a new twist tonight in the Democratic presidential campaign. I'll be talking about this and other developments on the campaign trail with three of the country's top political journalists.

In our special report, Broken Borders, federal agents have launched an offensive against gangsters who make millions of dollars smuggling illegal aliens into this country. That special report coming right up.

And a leading congressman takes on American companies that set up their headquarters in overseas tax havens and then demand U.S. government loan guarantees and subsidies.


DOBBS: The United States has granted billions of dollars in loans to American companies that have relocated to foreign tax havens. Now Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed an amendment that would block rewards for such corporate expatriates.

Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're called corporate expatriates at best, Benedict Arnolds at worst, American companies that incorporate in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and other tax havens to shield their profits.

Congressman Bernie sanders says companies that companies that relocate their headquarters overseas should not be entitled to the same government benefits as U.S. companies that stay.

REP. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Either we're part of the same team, either we're Americans, either we're employing people in America and paying our fair share of taxes and then get the benefits from the government or we're not. You can't have it both ways.

SYLVESTER: But companies do try to have it both ways. Four of the top 23 recipients of loan assistance from the Export-Import Bank have paper headquarters in tax havens. Together, they have received nearly $1.3 billion in U.S. loan assistance while saving tens of millions of dollars in taxes. An appropriations amendment sponsored by Sanders would prohibit the Export-Import Bank from giving direct loan assistance to corporate expatriates.

But the Export-Import Bank argues these four companies employ more than 50,000 American workers, and cutting off financing could mean more American job layoffs.

PETER SABA, COO EXPORT-IMPORT BANK: There's a real risk that this will backfire. There's a lot of disincentives for companies to operate here in the United States, and this would just add one more. SYLVESTER: But U.S. taxpayers are not only paying for the loan guarantees, they're paying a greater share of federal taxes when the companies move.

ROBERT SCOTT, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Private individuals are being forced to bear the burden for a much higher share of overall government spending in our economy.

SYLVESTER: Congressman Sanders says companies are free to leave the United States for sunny tax shelters like Bermuda, but they shouldn't turn around then and ask the U.S. taxpayers for help.


SYLVESTER: The vote on the Sanders amendment is expected to take place in the next few hours, and the amendment is supported by not only Democrats, but conservative Republicans who are opposed to any form of corporate welfare -- Lou.

DOBBS: And this is a substantial form of corporate welfare.

Lisa, thank you very much.

Tonight's thought is on what it means to be a patriot, whether a citizen or a corporation. It's a statement we thought worthy of its length and deserving of our attention.

"I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility which will enable America to remain master of her power, to walk with it in serenity and wisdom with self-respect and the respect of all mankind of patriotism that puts country ahead of self, a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. These are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty assignment, for it is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them."

Those the words of Adlai Stevenson from a speech he gave to the American Legion while governor of Illinois.

In our special report tonight, Broken Borders, a massive effort is now underway to crack down on immigrant smuggling. A network of kingpin smugglers is responsible for bringing thousands of illegal aliens into this country. Now the federal government has begun to fight back.

Peter Viles reports.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A shoot-out last winter on Interstate 10 in Arizona, four dead in a gun battle between organized crime rivals. The underlying crime: the lucrative and violent business of smuggling illegal aliens into the United States.

PAUL CHARLTON, U.S. ATTORNEY ARIZONA: They are killers, rapists, car thieves, and the only thing that's important to them -- the only thing that's important to them -- is profit.

VILES: A federal crackdown that began last year in Arizona shows the scope of the problem. Two hundred thirty-three people have been arrested on charges related to smuggling. More than a hundred assault weapons seized. Pending charges include murder, rape and hostage- taking. Homeland Security officials believe that effort may have succeeded locally by driving some smugglers to other states.

MIKE TURNER, IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: This isn't about just moving the smugglers out of Arizona. This is about putting the smuggling organizations out of business. We're expanding our investigative operations to places like Los Angeles, Texas, New Mexico.

VILES: Which explains why Border Patrol agents are now on patrol and making arrests at Los Angeles International Airport. Smugglers have been using the airport to move illegals deeper into the United States.

KEVIN JEFFERY, IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: We're not trying to get the drivers. We're not trying to get the cooks. We're looking at the people who are making the money.

VILES: In explaining the crackdown at LAX, the Border Patrol felt compelled to say it will not be profiling inside the airport.

PAUL BLOCKER, U.S. BORDER PATROL: At no time and under no circumstance will we question or stop anyone based on race or ethnicity.

VILES: One challenge away from the border: On some Los Angeles streets, locals are actually rooting for the illegals. This was a raid on a drop house last month. The chant in that neighborhood, "Let them go."


VILES: Smuggling is a lucrative business, Lou. Worldwide, federal officials estimate that this is a $9.5 billion industry -- Lou.

DOBBS: Pete, thank you very much.

Coming up here tonight, the race for the White House stops at front porches across America. That's the plan. We'll be talking with three of the nation's top political journalists about whether that new campaign tactic will help the Democratic ticket.

Also, an enormous task for the former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. He's trying to uncover the roots of corruption at the United Nations, investigating the U.N. Oil for Food program. We'll have that special report next.


ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Here now for more news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: The scandal of the multibillion-dollar United Nations Oil for Food program in Iraq is widening. Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker is leading that independent investigation into corruption at the United Nations. Volcker has promised a full report in the next eight months, but Volcker has already run into significant problems and obstacles.

Richard Roth reports.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigating the massive Oil for Food program is a tall task, even for a 6'7" Paul Volcker. The man who whipped inflation may have a tougher foe in getting to the bottom of the multimillion-dollar humanitarian deal between the United Nations and the Iraq of Saddam Hussein.

Volcker's probe started slowly as he searched for staff and resources, but, already, the former Fed chairman who says he is no FBI agent, thinks he spots early traces of corruption.

PAUL VOLCKER, CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT PANEL ON OIL FOR FOOD: here is a lot of smoke, and I think there's enough smoke so that there must be some fire there.

ROTH: But Volcker is worried about his own investigation getting burned by competing Oil for Food inquiries, many coming from U.S. congressional committees.

REP. JOHN SHADEGG (R), ARIZONA: I think that this Congress owes it to the American people to get to the bottom of this outrageous scandal.

ROTH: There are at least seven other inquiries, including one run by the new Iraqi government.

VOLCKER: That is my concern with some of these other investigations, that people will climb all over each other and complicate our job of getting a kind of straight story, complicating whether people will come forward as freely as they might otherwise and talk to us.

ROTH: As Volcker frets, the U.S. State Department made its first significant hand-over of Oil for Food paperwork to several congressional panels, and a House committee issued a subpoena for information to the French bank, BNP Paribas, which managed millions of dollars in Iraq oil sales revenue for the U.N..

Volcker's first priority is the role of the U.N. in the oil for food program led by Benon Savan. Savan's name turned up on a list in Baghdad of people who allegedly received millions of dollars worth oil vouchers. Savan denies any illegal activity. A source told CNN Savan has turned over all his records to Volcker's panel.

VOLCKER: He says he's turned them all over. To the best of our ability to determine, he's turned them over, yes.


ROTH: Volcker says another big challenge is tracing the paper trail. Tens of thousands of documents stretching from New York to Baghdad. As with other famous scandals, Volcker says it's a case of following the money -- Lou.

DOBBS: And he does not have subpoena power with which to follow that trail. The Senate does. A number of other investigative agencies. Rather than decrying these other investigations, shouldn't there be a level of cooperation?

ROTH: He says he'd like a one-way street that leads to him. He doesn't seem too ruffled that he doesn't have the subpoena power, but he may be able to use these other panels who do have subpoena power as sort of stalking horses, and, eventually, there may be some pooling of information. But, right now, he's still concerned, he says, that everybody's going to stumble over each other.

DOBBS: Well, stumble or not, this is a huge mess, a huge scandal, and someone has to get to the bottom of it. Is he still confident he can do that?

ROTH: He says he's confident. He says he's got a good team, and there are a varied amount of people with money-laundering experience, CIA, Canadian intelligence. They just are going to need a lot of time.

DOBBS: Richard Roth, thank you.

Turning back to the campaign trail, Senators John Kerry and John Edwards today began what they are calling a front porch tour. The candidates say they will visit front porches all across the country to share their vision for a better America. Senator Edwards' tour began today on a front porch in New Orleans. President Bush will be in the South tomorrow in the battleground state of Florida.

And joining me now for more on the campaign, three of this country's top political journalists: Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent, "TIME" magazine; Roger Simon, political editor, "U.S. News & World Report"; and E.J. Dionne, columnist for "The Washington Post," all three from Washington.

Let me begin, Karen, with you. Front porches? Does this sound to you like a highly effective campaign strategy?

KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME": Oh, Lou, it's all about the visuals. This is really, you know, a series of photo ops. And what better backdrop? And I guarantee you you're going to see a lot of that footage coming back again in campaign commercials and in the videos that they show at the convention.

DOBBS: And, Roger, the president's refusal to appear before the NAACP, how significant? How troubling to the Republican's ticket's chances in November? ROGER SIMON, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Oh, it probably won't make any difference to the Republican ticket's chances in November, but I thought it was a bad move politically.

It's very good to be a Daniel in the lions' den. I thought President Bush should have gone to the NAACP, given his stump speech and gotten booed. It would have made President Bush look good.

This way, he's just showing that he doesn't like the NAACP very much. They opposed him in 2000, and so he's going to snub them. It seems to me he could have made more politically by going in the other direction.

DOBBS: Well, it's also -- in fairness, it is also, I think, important to say that they have snubbed him, have they not?

SIMON: Well, they certainly do not -- they have not supported him in the past, and I'm sure black voters are not going to support him this year. In 2000, George Bush did real outreach to the black community, and he did speak to the NAACP that year, and he ended up with the smallest percentage of the black vote of any Republican since Barry Goldwater who had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So maybe the Republican Party has just figured there's no way to make any inroads here and just skip it, although he is speaking to the Urban League next week.

DOBBS: E.J., your assessment?

E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I basically agree with Roger. I think that going there and getting booed would have been much better for him than skipping it, and, since the issue with the African-American vote is turnout, I think risking increasing hostility is not a great idea for Bush.

And, as Candy Crowley pointed out, it gave Kerry that great opening line underlining the fact that Bush wasn't there. Yes, the NAACP had been really tough on Bush in the past. That's obviously why they didn't go.

Rod Paige, the secretary of education, had a piece in "The Wall Street Journal" today criticizing the NAACP. But I think it would have been better off if he'd shown up.

DOBBS: Ron Paige, the secretary of education, as you point out, itemized some of the accomplishments of this administration, and they're actually rather substantial. The largest number of minority appointees to the Cabinet. The largest number serving in the administration. Yet this will have no effect, in your judgment, Karen, with black voters in this country?

TUMULTY: Oh, I think not, and not only just the numbers, but the fact that, you know, the two most powerful figures in foreign policy at a time when foreign policy matters more than it has in a long time, of course, are Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. So, in terms of appointments, this administration, I think, has done a lot. But a lot of the policies have only, you know, served to alienate African-American voters more, and, of course, the administration didn't start off on a good foot because much of the controversy over the balloting in the 2000 election had to do with African-American voters saying that they had been denied access to polling places.

DIONNE: I think that's right. I also think, Lou, just briefly that what you talk about on your show a lot, which is outsourcing, the decline of jobs, the Clinton economy, if we can call it that, was very good for African-Americans. There were rising incomes. This -- the recession at the beginning of the Bush administration was very tough on the African-American community.

DOBBS: And now the beltway rumors, as Scott McClellan put it at the white house today, that Dick Cheney could be dumped. Any -- give us your best judgment as to the accuracy, the possibility -- Roger, speculate for us.

SIMON: I'll be glad to. I don't think he's going to be dumped. I don't think he's close to being dumped. If this town was abuzz with rumors that Dick Cheney was going to be dumped, the buzz missed me. It's a good story, but it's mainly a story mainly that exist on the media and not in real life. Dick Cheney, whatever his down side is, his upside the base Republican voters like him. Bush also happens to be very loyal to his team, and I don't think he's going to dump anybody.

DOBBS: Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsey amongst others might question that blanket statement right now. Turning to the Democratic Convention, a new face has been added, that of Senator Hillary Clinton. This speaks to the power of the media, the power of her supporters, or simply good reason finally arriving at the Democratic National Committee -- Karen.

TUMULTY: You know, it's funny because this is another one of these non-story stories. Maybe I was missing something here, but I did not hear that either from the Kerry campaign or Hillary Clinton's camp there was a great deal of, you know, anxiety over this. It was, you know, once again, agitation from the outside, people in the media, I think, picking up on it. So the worst snub was when they failed to invite the group of women senators of whom Hillary Clinton is a part to speak. That was bone headed.

DOBBS: Is it also bone headed to ask Senator Clinton, E.J., simply to introduce her husband rather than to have a more prominent role?

DIONNE: No, I think Clinton is almost like a prescription drug. In the right dose, he's very good for Democrats. If you overdose on Clintons, you would turn this into the Clinton-Clinton convention instead of the Kerry-Edwards convention, which they want it to be. On the other hand, if you sort of look like you're snubbing Clinton, you get into all the arguments -- the stories that Al Gore isn't using Clinton enough. I think they found the right balance here. They have them all together on one night. He is very persuasive, especially to Democrats. But they don't end up with the overdose. DOBBS: Roger, at this point, are you -- we're asking our viewers tonight, "Do you believe either presidential candidate has articulated a clear message and vision of a bright American future?"

How are they doing, both the president and Senator Kerry, in that regard, in your judgment?

SIMON: Well, this is what the campaigns are about, and this is what they are going to engage in. And the starting point is really each of their speeches at the respective conventions, the Democratic Convention in a couple of weeks and the Republican Convention at the end of August. And from then until election day, it's going to be two men trying to be optimistic, trying to be upbeat, and trying to say that America, whatever its current troubles, has a bright future ahead if only you'll vote for me. I don't think we've reached the point yet where the campaigns have really even begun to fight.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this very quickly. I'm going to ask it, perhaps, in long fashion, but ask you to give short answers, unfairly. But it seems to me that the campaign has taken on a more civil tone, from both sides. Is that my wishful thinking, or is it in your best assessment reality -- Karen.

TUMULTY: I don't see it, Lou. Two names to throw at you, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Moore. I don't think they've become more civil or they're more likely to any time soon.

DIONNE: I'm sorry to disagree with you too, Lou. I don't see the civility out there on either side. I just saw a few moments ago another negative ad from Bush on the air. I think it's going to be pretty tough all the way through election day.

DOBBS: Roger, are colleagues suggesting I'm simply inured to this mud and assault?

SIMON: You're optimistic, Lou?

TUMULTY: Starry-eyed, Lou.

SIMON: You see things others do not, Lou, and that's good.

DOBBS: Karen, E.J., Roger, thank you very much for being here.

SIMON: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Let's take a look at some of "Your Thoughts" now. Many of you writing in on our report last night in "Broken Borders," which showed the Department of Homeland Security forcing local law enforcement agencies, to release illegal aliens unless they have committed a crime.

David E. in Mesa, Arizona, wrote to say, "The INS is constantly telling local agencies to release illegal aliens who have not committed a crime. But I always thought that crossing the border illegally is a crime." You are in very good company in that assumption. Owen Burns of Crescent Springs, Kentucky, "If entering our country illegally isn't breaking a law, then why do we have an immigration department?"

And Charles in Micco, Florida, "It doesn't seem possible that anyone can boast about gains in homeland security and the war on terror and completely ignore the shameful lack of enforcement of the most basic security laws."

E-mail us your thoughts at

Coming up next, "Grange on Point." Iraq's new government has a new plan to stop insurgents before they attack. General David Grange joins us next.

And Latinos are the fastest growing minority in this country. Author Jorge Ramos says their political power is also in ascendancy and will play a decisive role in this year's election. He's my guest, coming right up.


DOBBS: In "Grange on Point" tonight, the insurgent challenge to the new Iraqi government. Insurgents today killed 10 people in the second major bomb attack in two days. Afterwards, the Iraqi government said it will form a new intelligence service to fight terrorism. Another 17 people killed today, but the Iraqi security forces are few in number, many poorly trained, troops and police unable to operate in a number of places in Iraq. U.S. troops are still doing most of the fighting. In Ramadi, for example, a Marine battalion has suffered 20 percent casualties. More than 30 Marines killed, 175 wounded in just four months.

Joining me now, General David Grange. General, are the Iraqis prepared to deal with this insurgency? We're hearing a lot of big talk coming from Allawi and other members of the provisional interim government.

What's your assessment?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Lou, I'm glad that the prime minister is talking that way. The people need to hear that. The insurgents need to hear that. But some are trained very well. They're very capable, and the people are in awe of those particular forces. But the majority are not. The majority is going to take a while to get trained to standard. They're changing the entire culture of this former military and police force by the U.S. Army, which is their top priority. But to be successful, they're also going to have to resource with the same type of equipment that many American GIs used. Armored vests, armored cars, which they don't have right now.

DOBBS: Any plans to get that equipment to them?

GRANGE: Absolutely. But it's going to take a while. Look how long, in our past shows we talked about getting that stuff to the American GI. It takes time. And it should have been front load, and it is not, so it's going to take a while.

DOBBS: And this is why I ask you about your pals at the Pentagon, general. What's in the world -- there's no surprise these men will need -- and women need this equipment, just as there's no surprise that ours did.

Why the delay?

GRANGE: Well, part of the problem is not -- it's just contracting the stuff out, having the manufacturers make things that were not made in the past. You know, we learn lessons from every war, and sometimes we don't prepare as well as we should for the next one. Lessons learned from Iraq, hopefully, will do that in the next fight overseas.

DOBBS: And hopefully, that fight will be a long time in coming. To take on the insurgents, is it necessary, is it critical, in your judgment, that al Zarqawi, the head of the al Qaeda, be killed or captured as has become the popular expression, at least among the military brass in Iraq?

GRANGE: Well, I do hope he's killed and not captured. It won't change the insurgency totally, but it will affect it, and he has to be taken down. He's responsible for some terrible things to Americans and allies and Iraqis themselves. And right knew -- now, I know there's a full court press to hunt him down like a rabid dog. They're going after him.

DOBBS: They also, the U.S. military command in Iraq, said they were going to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr. Instead, we have been treated to weeks, now a month of negotiations. What is the likely disposition there?

GRANGE: Well, I think it's totally wrong that they let Sadr go without going to a court, a proceeding, with the Iraqi government. I think it will happen, but I think the timing is not advantageous right now. And I think only the people on the ground, the Iraqis themselves, know when to do it. But I agree with you, it has to be done.

DOBBS: General David Grange, thank you, sir.

GRANGE: My pleasure.

DOBBS: Turning to Washington, NASA announcing plans to launch its first mission to the planet Mercury in 30 years. The mission is called Messenger. It's scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the early morning hours of the 2nd of August. That journey will cover nearly 5 billion miles. It will be completed in 2012. This risky mission will include 15 orbits around the sun. Scientists hope to study Mercury's magnetic field and what appears to be ice on the planet closest to the sun.

Meanwhile, NASA is also considering a final manned repair mission to the Hubble telescope. A blue ribbon panel, currently examining options for the Hubble has asked NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe to consider sending astronauts on a final mission to the Hubble. NASA favors a robotic mission, but O'Keefe has agreed not to rule out another manned mission to save the very important observatory Hubble.

When we continue, the Latino wave author and newscaster Jorge Ramos will be here to tell us why he says the Hispanic vote will be crucial to electing the next president. In fact, he says it will determine the outcome. Stay with us.


DOBBS: President Bush and Senator Kerry are actively seeking the votes of 40 million Hispanic Americans. Both campaigns have spent millions of dollars on Spanish language advertising, but President Bush faces a considerable challenge in this election, in 2000, two- thirds of the Hispanic population supported Al Gore.

My guest tonight is the author of a book which says Hispanics will elect the next American president. Jorge Ramos is the author of "The Latino Wave" and anchor for Noticia Univision.

JORGE RAMOS, AUTHOR: That's perfect.

DOBBS: Thank you. Good to have you here, Jorge.

RAMOS: Thank you. Great to be here.

DOBBS: Hispanics are absolutely critical, you think determinant to the outcome of the election.

RAMOS: Absolutely. They decided the 2000 election, and they will decide this election. There are 8 million Hispanic voters concentrated in many states, among them five battle ground states, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, and they will decide this election.

I believe the country's polarized, it's divided politically.

DOBBS: It's divided and yet, we're watching identity politics overwhelm the country. We have African-American voters who are absolutely convinced they're going to determine. We have the Christian Coalition absolutely convinced they're going to determine. There are a few folks in various splinter groups practicing identity politics. The suggestion is that they vote as a block. Is that what you mean when you say Hispanic Americans will be determinative?

RAMOS: What I mean basically is exactly what happened? It is not my opinion. It's what President Bush believes. I asked him in an interview in the year 2001. When I asked him, do you believe that Cuban Americans decided the 2000 election? He told me yes, and then he added in Spanish (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) and I won't forget them.

Just recently, I spoke to John Kerry in East L.A., and he told me it's quite possible, entirely possible, that Latinos will decide this election. So obviously, when you have such a close election, when the country is divided politically, when it's polarized by the war, you have 8 million Hispanic voters that could decide who the next president would be.

If it would be otherwise, a landslide election, we wouldn't be talking about the importance of a Hispanic vote.

DOBBS: And the question really rises because I'm one of those people who is absolutely anti-thetically, passionately against identity politics. I think it is horrible. I think people need to vote on the basis of their conscience and not necessarily their self interest, but rather the interest of the country.

Does it concern you, as you assess the impact of the Latino vote, whatever special interest, moving beyond the Latino vote, as to what's going on in politics in this country?

RAMOS: Well, the problem is that Latinos are underrepresented. 40 percent of Latinos are poor, 6 out of 10 Hispanic families do not have health insurance. So, I think it is right that Latino voters are asking their candidate for something specific.

This year, candidates have to go beyond saying a few words in Spanish. We don't want the same sombrero type of politics. It's not enough to bring a mariachi band, but they have to address -- yes, they have to address the specific issues. And then Finally, we are seeing candidates talking about Cuba, talking about immigration, issues that affect deeply the Hispanic vote.

DOBBS: Affect deeply the Hispanic vote, but basically, the issue is one of national interest. The fact that Cuban Americans sitting in south Florida have a strong, passionate, deep feeling about it is frankly irrelevant to me because I'm...

RAMOS: Not for them.

DOBBS: Hear me out. Because I'm more concerned about Cuba than the context of the national interest rather than any one particular group of people. I also have no use for, frankly, the policies, to be very specific, of then Congressman Newt Gingrich on Cuba. I prefer that we assess these policies in the light of the national interest. What is wrong with that?

RAMOS: Well, the reality is that many states are voting in different ways. We have a Latino swing state with completely different concerns. So what's wrong about, if you want to get the Cuban American vote, you better talk about Fidel Castro. If you want to get the Mexican American vote, you better address the issue of undocumented immigrants. That's way the politics work in this country.

DOBBS: It's the way it's working now, absolutely.

RAMOS: And that's the way it's going to work in the future. Right now, there's 40 million Latinos. And we talked about, 120 years from now there will be more Hispanics than non Hispanic whites. In other words, the trend is towards the latinization process in the United States.

DOBBS: And that is a demographic fact and the result of an immigration policy...

RAMOS: And a very high birth rate among Latinos.

DOBBS: Absolutely. 70 percent of the population growth in this country is the result of immigration.

RAMOS: I'm not sure about 70 percent.

DOBBS: I am.

RAMOS: But what I can tell you is that this trend is going to continue.

DOBBS: It's going to continue if we leave the status quo where it is. And the question is should we do that? And the next question is why should there be a...

RAMOS: We need more immigrants, Lou.

DOBBS: We need them?

RAMOS: Of course we need them.

DOBBS: How many do we need?

RAMOS: Let me give you some figures.

DOBBS: I'm very serious.

RAMOS: More than the ones we need right now. We need more immigrants to maintain under control (ph) inflation, we need more immigrants to pay for the Social Security of a rapidly aging population.

Of course. No, no, no. Listen to this. In the next 25 years, the white working age population will decline by 5 million workers. Who are going to replace these workers? Immigrants. Now, Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently testified in Congress. He said, and I quote, "immigration will respond to labor shortages."

So immigrants are needed in this country. And overall, the most comprehensive study ever conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, they say that all immigrants, legal and undocumented, contribute more than $10 billion to the economy of this country. So immigrants are an incredible contribution to this country.

DOBBS:'re saying immigrants and the fact is the issue is illegal immigrants because...

RAMOS: Undocumented immigrants.

DOBBS: You can call them undocumented.

RAMOS: They're not criminals and they're not terrorists.

DOBBS: They're criminals because they broke our laws.

RAMOS: Are we calling criminals or illegal Americans those who hire undocumented immigrants?

DOBBS: Absolutely. Why would we not?

RAMOS: Then there's a double standard in this country.

DOBBS: No, no. There's not a double standard.

RAMOS: There is a double standard.

DOBBS: There are simply people who don't want to deal with truth and reality.

RAMOS: There's a double standard. People criticize undocumented immigrants, and at the same time guess what, they are eating the food that was harvested by undocumented immigrants, most probably in the house where you live and the building where you live was built by undocumented immigrants.

DOBBS: The building where I live?

RAMOS: When was the last time you went to a restaurant, and most probably the undocumented immigrants were the waiters and the cooks helping and serving you?

DOBBS: No question about it (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You come back and we're going to talk more about this. Unlike Univision, we have very strict time controls. And my producer...

RAMOS: Univision too.

DOBBS: And my producer is an absolute iron fist with a clock.

RAMOS: So is my producer.

DOBBS: Thanks a lot.

RAMOS: Thank you so much.

DOBBS: Come back soon.

Coming up next here, the SEC chairman chooses his next target for regulation on Wall Street. Christine Romans will have that report on what could be William Donaldson's biggest challenge among many big challenges.

And "Exporting America." An overwhelming number of Americans have strong feelings on the matter. We'll tell you what the majority of us say shouldn't be done.


DOBBS: SEC Chairman William Donaldson today called for tighter regulation of the $850 billion hedge fund industry. Donaldson testified before the Senate banking committee today about proposed new rules. The SEC voted yesterday on a first step that would require hedge funds to register with the SEC Bill Donaldson has accomplished more in a year and a half than almost any other member of the Bush administration. This is only Donaldson's latest effort to protect the investing public. Christine Romans has the story.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill Donaldson is, in the minds of many, the strongest champion of the small investor in decades, and an unlikely champion at that. Like the president who appointed him, Donaldson is a Yale-y and a member of the Skull and Bones. He's a friend of the Bush family, a graduate of the Harvard Business School. He founded the investment bank, Donaldson Lufkin, and Jenrette before he was 30 years old. He was CEO of Aetna Insurance, a Yale Management School professor, President Nixon's undersecretary of state, and the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. While others in the moneyed elite who have enjoyed similar success stepped back from the public life, Donaldson stepped forward at the age of 72 to take on the toughest job of his career in the midst of economic malaise and the worst corporate scandals in our country's history.

MURIEL SIEBERT, CEO, MURIEL SIEBERT & CO.: I had questioned when he was appointed. Could he be tough on the people that he knew well and knew well for years? I am 100 percent a fan of Donaldson now. I think he's taken some very tough stands.

ROMANS: In less than a year and a half, stunning success. Risky and powerful hedge funds are now in his crosshairs. Mutual fund board chairman now independent. Wall Street firms coughed up $1.4 billion for their self-serving research, and he took on his old friend stock exchange chief Dick Grasso over his gargantuan pay.

JOEL SELIGMAN, WASHINGTON UNIV. SCHOOL OF LAW: Chairman Donaldson came in and he was like a breath of fresh air. He was a consensus builder. He listens. And that's an enormously ingratiating quality in any leader.

ROMANS: Donaldson has taken the SEC from reaction to prevention. To do that, he's hired hundreds of examiners, accountants, and economists. And he's quietly whittled SEC employee turnover from 12 percent to less than 5 percent. In fact, morale at the SEC hasn't been higher in modern history.


ROMANS: Donaldson and the SEC still have a lot of work to do, and some of his critics think he should do more to insist that investors directly choose boards of director -- Lou.

DOBBS: And if history is prologue, Bill Donaldson will win on that issue as well. Christine, thank you.

Coming up next, the result of our poll. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Results of tonight's poll. 53 percent of you say one of the presidential candidates has articulated a clear vision of a bright American future. 47 percent do not.

Finally tonight, we bid fond farewell to our executive producer Bill Gorman (ph), who's been on this show for the past three years, at CNN for 21. Throughout that time, Bill has served in almost every editorial capacity and with great distinction. We thank him for being a great producer, colleague, and friend, and we wish Bill and his wife Noriko (ph) all the best in their new adventure.

For all of us here, good night from New York.


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