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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Rising Insurgency; Friends Like These; Truce or Treaty?; Illegal Immigration Plan
Aired May 24, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a public safety crisis. Our children are at risk. Tens of thousands of registered sex offenders have simply disappeared. We'll have that special report for you.
And terrorists working for the Department of Defense? Thousands of Pentagon employees have false Social Security numbers.
And should the FBI have subpoena power? The powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Pat Roberts, says yes, and he's our special guest here tonight.
The war in Iraq and the rising number of American deaths is our top story. Tonight, is U.S. strategy in Iraq on the brink of failure?
Four American troops were killed today. Five killed yesterday. Nearly 60 of our troops have been killed since the Iraqis formed a new government last month. U.S. officials have repeatedly said the formation of a new government could lead to a decline in insurgent attacks.
Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Iraq, no let-up in the deadly attacks. In Baghdad, a car bomb explodes near a junior high school for girls, killing six people.
Nine U.S. troops have died in two days of insurgent attacks just in and around Baghdad. Altogether, 14 Americans and 49 Iraqis have been killed since Sunday in a string of explosions, suicide attacks and drive by shootings carried out by insurgents, even as Internet sites declared their leader is wounded.
Pentagon military and intelligence officials tell CNN there is no intelligence to corroborate Web site claims that terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded. The postings on several insurgents Web sites purportedly come from a Zarqawi associate who contends Zarqawi has suffered a heroic wound and asks for "prayers for our leader."
The U.S. military admits it just doesn't know, but a spokesman puts the latest assertion in the same category as previous unconfirmed rumors Zarqawi was ill or injured. The last month, one tip was deemed credible enough to launch a raid on a hospital in Ramadi after an informer claimed a terrorist had gone there seeking medical treatment. An exhaustive search revealed no Zarqawi or any other terrorist was ever there.
LT. GEN. JAMES CONWAY, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, JOINT CHIEFS: I can simply say there's been no evidence to indicate that he was there either through interrogation of the people that we spoke to afterwards or any physical evidence of his presence.
MCINTYRE: And there has been conjecture that Zarqawi may have been injured jumping from a moving vehicle on February 20 when the U.S. military stopped his car and captured his laptop computer. But that, too, remains unconfirmed speculation.
If Zarqawi was hurt, it didn't stop him from taping an audio message to his followers a month ago.
ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI (through translator): Dear brothers, be patient. It is only a matter of a few days and you will be the ultimate winners either by way of martyrdom or victory.
MCINTYRE: The bottom line is the U.S. military isn't putting much stock in the report. As one official said, it's not like these insurgent Web sites have much of a record of accuracy.
Another official quipped, "If the report is true and Zarqawi needs medical help, the insurgents should tell us where he is. We'll make sure he gets all the medical attention he needs."
Back to you.
DOBBS: Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon. Thank you.
Sixteen hundred and forty-three American troops have now been killed in Iraq since the war began two years ago. In January this year, 170 -- 107 Americans were killed. In February, 58 of our troops. The number of deaths dropped to 36 in March, but then in April the monthly total rose to 52. So far this month 58 Americans have been killed in Iraq.
Syria is one reason that terrorists and insurgents have succeeded in escalating violence in Iraq. Syria calls the U.S. charge unfair. The Syrian government today stopped all military and intelligence cooperation with the United States. The United States says that's hardly a loss.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cooperation is at a standstill; diplomatic relations are hanging by a thread. The U.S. ambassador hasn't been at her post in Damascus since February. The State Department today stating clearly why.
RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Our ambassador, as you know, has not been in Syria for many months now because of our concerns about Syrian behavior. And that's where it really comes down to.
PILGRIM: The State Department calling Syria's cooperation "minimal and sporadic," saying Syria has not done enough to keep insurgents from crossing the border with Iraq. Syria also is said to provide a conduit for financial support of the Iraqi insurgency.
U.S. forces wrapped up Operation Matador 10 days ago, a weeklong hunt for insurgents along the Syrian border. One of the largest operations in months that left more than 125 militants dead and uncovered massive weapons stockpiles.
Another contentious issue, it's still unclear whether Syria has withdrawn all its intelligence units from Lebanon. A recent U.N. report on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri has blamed Syria's government for creating political conditions that led to the killing. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been increasingly critical of Syria.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... that the Syrian government is behaving in a way that could unfortunately lead to long- term bad relations with the United States. It is incumbent on Syria to respond finally to the entreaties of the United States and others about their ties to terrorism.
PILGRIM: Now, the State Department today said in the past Syria cooperated with the United States on the al Qaeda network, and there were a few things they did on the border with Iraq. But now Syria is no longer cooperating in any kind of practical terms -- Lou.
DOBBS: And Kitty, we should note the United Nations confirming that Syria has withdrawn from Lebanon all of its military and intelligence operations.
Kitty Pilgrim, thank you.
Turning now to domestic politics and a last-minute compromise shaped by Senate elders and Republican renegades, the compromise ended a confrontation between majority Republicans and minority Democrats over use of the filibuster to block President Bush's judicial nominations. Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, whose nomination has been blocked for the past four years by Democrats, is tonight on the brink of winning confirmation as U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals judge.
Ed Henry reports.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The so- called gang of 14 was beaming, not just about the deal on judges, but the promise it holds for the future.
SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA: I think the good faith and the mutual trust that we've achieved here will carry over into this Senate on other business as well.
HENRY: In recent years, the Senate has become more like the House, increasingly partisan and less centrist. But this band of moderates now believes it may hold the key to unlock President Bush's second-term agenda by forging bipartisan deals on Social issues like abortion and stem cell research, and pocketbook issues like energy and Social Security reform.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Bottom line, we can repair it in a way that will allow the country to have a Senate that functions for the common good.
HENRY: Robert Byrd and John Warner, the veteran senators crucial to crafting the filibuster deal, are cautiously optimistic.
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: The work of the Senate has got to go on. We have got serious problems facing our population today.
SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: And don't you hope, John, that the spirit of give and take, the spirit of cooperation, will prevail in the coming days? There will still be disputes, there will still be differences. But we've got to put political party aside.
There's been too much of this Republican versus Democrat. I hope we can get away from that and think of the people and of the country and of the Constitution and the institution of the Senate.
HENRY (on camera): But can that -- can that be realized, or is this just a flash in the pan?
BYRD: But it can be...
HENRY: On something like Social Security, can a gang of 14 get together and pull this together?
BYRD: ... but I don't know. I hope that both sides will get together. I hope Democrats and Republicans will work together to save this.
HENRY (voice-over): But the unit will be tested, especially if there's a divisive fight over a Supreme Court nominee. One senator noted the deal on judges was just a truce, not a treaty.
HENRY: That's why a lot of lawmakers in both parties are wondering whether or not this agreement that was forged last night will really last or whether it's just a piece of paper -- Lou.
DOBBS: Ed Henry, thank you very much.
President Bush met today with Judge Priscilla Owen at the White House now that she appears poised to win Senate confirmation. President Bush praised the judge and hailed the Senate agreement that will lead to her confirmation vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And it's such a -- it's a great day for our friend, to see our friend finally get a just due after a long, long wait.
PRISCILLA OWEN, APPEALS COURT NOMINEE: Your support was tremendous throughout all of this. I really appreciate it. And thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in responding tirelessly for months and months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: The Senate vote on Judge Owen's nomination for the 5th Circuit Court of appeals is likely to come tomorrow.
Coming up next, the House of Representatives has just passed a bill that would fund embryonic stem cell research. President Bush maintains his threat to veto that bill. Kathleen Koch reports from Washington.
And our senior political analyst take as look at the three issues that are creating deep divides now within the Republican Party.
And we'll be talking with a governor who detests the stench of politics in our national capital.
All of that, a great deal more still ahead.
DOBBS: The House of Representatives just moments ago voted in favor of a bill that would increase federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. You are now looking at live pictures of the House vote on a second bill. President Bush says he will veto the first measure if it does reach his desk despite polls showing that it has considerable support among American voters.
Kathleen Koch reports.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Supporters set the stage with emotional pleas from parents like Beth Westbrook, who believe stem cell research might have prevented her daughter Katie's death at age 15 from cancer.
BETH WESTBROOK, STEM CELL ADVOCATE: No parent should ever have to look at their child and tell them there are no more options, there's no more hope.
KOCH: And hope was what authors claimed the two bills offered. One boosting federal spending on umbilical cord stem cell research, the more controversial measure allowing federal funding of stem cell research on excess embryos at fertility clinics.
REP. CHRIS SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: These are discarded embryos that were never in the womb. They weren't taken from it and they weren't put into it, but they can help save lives.
REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D), COLORADO: Every single American who suffers from a terrible disease should have the right to a cure.
KOCH: But many who supported umbilical cord research drew the line at embryonic stem cell research.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: It's morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans who believe as I do that human life is sacred and use it to fund the destruction of human embryos for research.
KOCH: President Bush is promising to veto the embryonic research bill in an East Room speech surrounding himself with babies born from embryos that might have been destroyed but were instead adopted by others having children.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo.
KOCH: Still, even some ardent pro-life Republicans tearfully split from the president, voting for research that many believe holds the cure for diseases from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to juvenile diabetes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am for life, and I'm for the quality of life. But I don't want another six-year-old to die.
KOCH: Congressman Cunningham there talking very emotionally about a 6-year-old with juvenile diabetes who told him in a recent hearing, "You're the only person who can save my life."
And, Lou, as you just reported, the House has voted 238 to 194 to allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. But that is not enough to override a presidential veto.
DOBBS: But at the same time, a strong statement of support for the legislation. Kathleen, thank you. Kathleen Koch reporting from Washington.
Stem cell research is only the latest issue to divide the Republican Party. The Senate compromise over filibusters and judicial appointments has also exposed sharp differences of opinion among Republicans. The Republican Party is also facing a split over immigration reform.
Bill Schneider reports.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): The Republican monolith is beginning to crack. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist could not hold the GOP majority together to end the filibuster on judicial nominations. This time. Just wait until next time, he says.
SEN. BILL FRIST, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: The constitutional option is going to come out again. I will bring it out once again. And once again I will set a date to use it.
SCHNEIDER: A powerful counter-veiling force led seven GOP senators to go a different way. They put the interests of the Senate ahead of their party.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: We have reached an agreement to try to avert a crisis in the United States Senate and pull the institution back from a precipice.
SCHNEIDER: The House majority leader tried to keep his majority intact on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. He faces a powerful counter-veiling force: human needs.
REP. MIKE CASTLE, (R) DELAWARE: That's more than one out of three who have illnesses who could potentially benefit from this kind of research. To not go forward with this kind of research I think would be wrong.
SCHNEIDER: Many House Republicans are putting human needs ahead of party principle by voting to ease restrictions. Christian conservatives see betrayal.
Focus on the Family chairman, Dr. James Dobson, issued a statement saying, "We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust."
The next issue to split the GOP could be immigration.
TRENT DUFFY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president wants to see, I guess, a worker program that matches willing workers with jobs that Americans are not interested in. He wants to see that passed by the Congress.
SCHNEIDER: A lot of Republicans are critical of a guest worker program. What's the counter-veiling force that could lead them to oppose the president? Populism. Specifically, widespread resentment of immigration abuses, another force that could be stronger than partisanship -- Lou.
DOBBS: And I think when we say immigration, Bill, if I may add this to your excellent report, I think most people are focused on illegal immigration rather than immigration.
DOBBS: It is interesting, too, that not only filibusters, but stem cell research and immigration reform, Social Security, all oppose by the public at large the positions of the president. A remarkable situation.
SCHNEIDER: It indeed is. And the Republican majority in Congress has to deal with every one of those issues and popular pressure.
DOBBS: And a vote.
SCHNEIDER: And a vote.
DOBBS: Next -- next year. Bill Schneider, thank you very much.
DOBBS: Tonight's quote on the day is on the Senate filibuster compromise coming from Senator George Allen, Republican of Virginia, who said, "Overall, this is a major disappointment on principle. It's a good victory for three of the president's nominees who the Democrats have vilified. They will get the vote they deserve, but this is not a great deal for two nominees who have been accorded a nice wake having been thrown overboard at sea."
Still ahead here tonight, staggering new information about the number of convicted sex offenders in this country who have simply disappeared from the system intended to track them. Officials say it's nothing less than a crisis threatening our children.
And a department charged with fighting the war on terrorism doesn't even know whether terrorists are working for it. Thousands of Pentagon employees have false Social Security numbers. That's right, Pentagon employees. That special report is next.
DOBBS: There is a public safety crisis, a crisis that threatens our children. Tens of thousands of registered sex offenders are simply missing from the system designed to track them.
Christine Romans has our special report -- Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, there are more than half a million registered sex offenders in this country. Half a million. And tens of thousands of them have simply violated their parole or disappeared from their communities. Experts say it's nothing less than a public safety crisis.
ROMANS (voice-over): Nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford, 13-year-old Sarah Lunde, police say both were killed by registered sex offenders. Registered sex offenders are in every state in this country.
California has the most, more than 100,000. More than 30,000 each in Texas, Florida, and Michigan. But like John Couey, accused of Jessica Lunsford's murder, more than 100,000 of them are not living where they're registered, are in violation of their parole, or have simply disappeared. ANDY KAHAN, HOUSTON CRIME VICTIMS' OFFICE: Considering the fact that you've got 25 percent of the nation's sex offenders that right now are currently not in compliance with their rules, conditions, and registry requirements, you essentially have a national public safety crisis.
ROMANS: A crisis that has Florida lawmakers considering mandatory 25-year-to-life sentences for sex crimes against children or lifetime GPS monitoring. New Jersey's acting governor this week called for electronic bracelets for released sex offenders. They are already used in Illinois.
CAROLYN ATWELL-DAVIS, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: It is a very serious problem. And the American public needs to wake up to this -- to this problem. And fortunately, state and federal lawmakers are now taking steps to address this problem.
ROMANS: Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez will have a national sex offender public registry ready by summer. And on Capitol Hill, there are a number of bills before Congress right now to expand the tracking of sex offenders.
ROMANS: But this is almost 10 years after Megan's Law. Some are concerned that lists of offenders and electronic bracelets might not be good enough. After all, both require the integrity of the sex offender to follow the rules.
Lou, we reported last night on the outrageous story of convicted sex offenders in New York receiving Medicaid reimbursement for Viagra. The federal government now telling all 50 states, we're going to be able to figure out a way that you don't have to do that.
DOBBS: So it didn't take that long to figure out what to do. At least the government woke up to that issue. This one, however, critically serious as well. A hundred thousand sex offenders, law enforcement agencies have no idea where they are.
ROMANS: They have no idea where they are. I mean, you can ask for a list. You can ask to put people on a list, but if they move away, like John Couey did, now he's accused of killing a little girl in Florida. What can law enforcement do about it if they -- if they don't tell the truth?
DOBBS: Well, Attorney General Gonzalez better figure out what to do because this is simply unacceptable. It's outrageous beyond belief.
ROMANS: A hundred thousand.
DOBBS: Christine Romans, thank you.
The FBI has a crimes against children unit to coordinate a national registry of sex offenders. You can find more information on the FBI home page at fbi.gov. There are links to state databases, as well, for all 50 states, where you can check for information on sex offenders in the community in which you live.
Alarming news from the Pentagon tonight. An audit by the Social Security Administration shows hundreds of Department of Defense employees are using invalid Social Security numbers, and the majority of the invalid identification numbers are being used by active duty or reserve members of the military.
Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The audit by the Social Security Administration's inspector general found more than 6,400 Department of Defense employees between 1997 and 2002 were working with bogus Social Security numbers. Nearly a third of those were using a deceased person's Social Security number or the Social Security number of a child.
DAN STEIN, FAIR: If one government agency is hiring someone whose identity is not really known, who is paying on a Social Security number that was never issued or that belonged to someone else, it really represents potential security threat.
SYLVESTER: The Social Security Administration matched W-2 forms against the information in its database. Sixty-four percent of those with invalid Social Security numbers were on either active duty or reserve status. Thirty-six percent were civilian DOD employees.
According to the report, while the Social Security Administration offers all employers a verification service to screen potential employees, the inspector general could not find evidence that the Air Force or Coast Guard were verifying their employees' names and Social Security numbers.
MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It uncovers a sloppy practice that has no justification, that's hard to really understand why it would be allowed to occur. And that must be immediately fixed.
SYLVESTER: A Pentagon spokesperson said the DOD inspector general is in the process of reviewing the report and will take appropriate action as required. The Coast Guard went even further, saying, "The Coast Guard investigates every employee, both military and civilian, at hiring, using a much more rigorous standard than a simple Social Security number verification."
But questions have also been raised over the lack of screening of private DOD contractor employees. Illegal aliens have been arrested working in restricted areas of the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
SYLVESTER: Congressman John Hostetler, chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, sent the Department of Defense a letter today saying, "It is very disturbing to me that the DOD employs persons with unknown or unconfirmed identities who may take up positions with access to dangerous weapons or access to sensitive information."
And he is now demanding that the Pentagon provide proof that it is screening Social Security numbers -- Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
Coming up next, I'll be joined by the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Pat Roberts wants to expand the FBI's powers under the Patriot Act. He will join us.
And a politician who says he is simply tired of the stench of Washington politics. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana will be our guest.
We'll have those stories, and also your thoughts on stem cell research, Mexican President Fox, and a great deal more.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Pat Roberts, wants to expand the government's powers to fight terrorism. Senator Roberts says the FBI should have the power to subpoena private records without permission from a judge or grand jury. The senator's legislation would also renew the Patriot Act.
Senator Roberts joins us tonight from Capitol Hill. Mr. Chairman, good to have you with us.
The -- Senator, I apologize. We have a little bit of an audio problem. We thank you for being here. Let me begin by asking you first, why does the FBI need, as you suggest, direct subpoena power without oversight or approval by the court system in this country?
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS), CHMN. INTELLIGENCE CMTE.: Well, Lou, number one, the FBI has taken a lot of brick bats and a lot of complaints about not reacting to terrorism faster. Obviously we had the 9/11 situation, and so what we're trying to do is give the FBI what the criminal investigators already have, any kind of grand jury, any kind of district attorney, any law enforcement official. There are 335 statutes that allow several of our government agencies to go in and get this kind of information. What we call it is an -- an administrative subpoena. Now, you know, use it on child pornographers. You use it on healthcare fraud and you use it on drug dealers. It makes no sense not to give this authority to the FBI.
DOBBS: Of course, senator, critics of your proposal say that in those instances, a court process is a follow on that those cases usually end up in court, where rights are asserted and protected. In the case of terrorist arrests that is not always the case. How do you respond?
ROBERTS: Well, I would hope that we would not let a terrorist know that he's under surveillance or under investigation. A national security investigation is already according to very strict guidelines and so, if you have a terror suspect, you certainly don't want to let him know. But, in terms of whoever has the records, they can go to court and try to get those records quashed and also have the help of the attorney and also have the help of a CPA if they would need them.
Here's the deal. If the president of the United States can rely on the Secret Service to get an administrative subpoena to guard him in terms of his life, why on earth can't the FBI have the same kind of power to protect the country from another terrorist attack?
DOBBS: The idea, of course, is that, on the part of the ACLU, other civil liberties organizations, Senator, as you know all too well, the idea that privacy is being breached here without due process in some cases, or could be. At the same time, I wonder how you balance that against simply the offshoring and the outsourcing of personal financial records, medical records, and financial records overseas without any concern of the ACLU. The same records would be at risk here, if you will, taking it from the perspective of the civil libertarians, wouldn't it?
ROBERTS: Well, I think so, but, you know, let me point out something, that -- if we do pass this bill and if we do give the FBI this authority to make America safer, there's a very strict reporting requirement back to the Congress that does not exist today. And so I think we would have better control on exactly how this would operate, and our whole goal here is to detect and deter any kind of future terrorism attack and make America safer. We're just trying to get the FBI up to speed with the rest of the law enforcement community with the tools that they have.
DOBBS: And, Senator, often joining you when we have these conversations is Senator Jay Rockefeller, your vice chairman. Do you expect passage? I take it his absence tonight might suggest some reservation on his part. Do you believe that this legislation, you will be able to move out of your committee and ultimately win approval?
ROBERTS: Well, I don't know what Jay is doing tonight. He's probably got other obligations but he has pretty much expressed the same view I have. And I have stated to all members of the committee, we're dealing with the eight provisions that deal with intelligence in regards to the Patriot Act. We're not dealing with the entire act. It will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee and then to the full Senate.
We have -- we say to all members, please state your concerns. My goodness, we had four hearings. We've had personal briefings, and so we're going to have that option.
DOBBS: Senator, you think you are going to win passage?
ROBERTS: Ah, yes, I do.
DOBBS: Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Good to have you with us. ROBERTS: Thank you. Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: That brings us to the subject of our poll. Do you think the FBI should have subpoena power? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later in the broadcast.
Still ahead, one governor says politics in Washington simply stinks. He's our guest here next.
And, giving millions of illegal aliens a path to citizenship. I'll be joined by the head of a Latino group that strongly supports a controversial new immigration plan. Stay with us.
DOBBS: My guest tonight is the governor of the state of Montana, the first Democratic governor in fact to be elected in that red state in 16 years, and Governor Brian Schweitzer is the source of the "Quote of the Day" we presented here last night, that quote, "I have a 72- hour rule," he said. "If I stay in Washington for more than 72 hours, I have to bathe myself in the same stuff I use when one of my dogs gets into a fight with a skunk -- stuff to get the smell out."
Governor Brian Schweitzer joins us tonight from Helena, Montana. Good to have you with us.
GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER, (D) MONTANA: Great to be here. Thanks for having me on, Lou.
DOBBS: You gonna -- you're going to have a tough trip back to Washington after saying that, aren't you?
SCHWEITZER: Oh, I don't know. I think the folks back in Washington, D.C., they kind of hear it from the folks back home. Folks back home, they're getting tired of just delivering a message. That's what it seems like in Washington, D.C. They choose up sides, then they have a message and then they go out and deliver the message and they accuse the other side of things. They say the other side is not getting something done. Meanwhile, the first side is not getting something done.
It's states -- it's state governments that have to get things done. We balance budgets. We deliver programs and in Washington, D.C., it seems like what they like to do is talk about things and raise money from the constituency groups because they're shrill. I don't think that's good public policy.
DOBBS: Well, I think most Americans would agree with you, to be honest, governor. You are a life-long rancher. You're a life-long farmer. Do you want higher office? First, what made you run for governor?
SCHWEITZER: Well, it's the best doggone job in America, governor of Montana. We have 920,000 of the best-educated, hardworking people in Montana. If you have ever been to Montana, you know the kind of terrain that we have -- beautiful mountains and wild country -- some of the greatest cattle herds in the entire country. Why wouldn't you want to be governor of Montana? I'm representing the best people in America.
DOBBS: Well, I think that -- I think everyone should be happy in their work, governor, at the same time, when you're talking about representing the people's interests. You are a Democrat -- explain for us all what the difference is between a Democrat and a Republican these days when you talk about that stench in Washington, D.C. Do you see much of a difference in the parties?
SCHWEITZER: Oh, yes. The Republicans are in power right now and the Democrats aren't. That seems to be the biggest difference between the two. In Montana we -- we find ways to work together. Now people thought it was unusual that when I ran for governor I interviewed people from across the state and ended up picking a Republican state senator as my running mate. And people think that, well that was unusual. How are you going to work together? I say, well, simple, we will. In fact, he and I've been roommates for the last six months in the governor's mansion. We get along just fine.
DOBBS: It can work. People can decide to work in the interest of their constituents, and move aside the influence of -- well the greatest influence right now in politics whether Democrat or Republican. Whether the White House or whether in Congress is without question, corporate America. Part of doing business, but also a part of politics is representing the people. Do you think there's any way at the national level from your perspective, governor, that we can see representative government returned to Washington, D.C. Or the first concern is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
SCHWEITZER: No, it's a government for where you get the most money. It's about getting reelected. It's about getting the special interest to pony up. That's why when we have these wrestles like you have over judges. You've got on both sides the liberals and conservatives, they lineup and they give money to both side so they can deliver the message. Look, you've got to get the big dollars out of this thing. McCain and Feingold talked about that, but I don't think we got the job done. Until you have leaders that are willing to do it in a -- in a unilateral fashion. When I ran for governor of Montana, I said I'm not taking any PAC money. No PAC. It wasn't just corporate. No PAC money from any source. Because I wanted to be in a position after election of being able to say, look, nobody buys their way to the front of the line. We'll do what's right for the people of Montana. And it's not because of where the money is coming from, because we didn't take any of it.
And with this whole business, these lobbyists, this is -- this has become almost legalized bribery. What happening is, these lobbyists they get special interests to hire them. And they give them large sums of money, six, 10, 12, $15,000 a month. And they get a dozen clients like that. And then those lobbyists in turn give money to the leadership PACs that these folks in Washington, D.C. have. So, all it is is a way of moving the bag money to a new source.
This is a system that most people in America think is -- it smells pretty bad. And that's why I mention it's a little bit like dog getting sprayed by a skunk. I mean, it take as while to get the smell out.
DOBBS: Well, governor, you're -- you're doing a lot to diminish the odor in politics, and you're starting in your corner of the country. We hope that your deodorizing spreads across the country. We really enjoyed talking with you here. Come back soon and you're one of the politicians in this country, one of the state officials and certainly one of the governors who folks I'm sure need to hear more from.
Governor Brian Schweitzer, Helena, Montana. Thank you, sir.
SCHWEITZER: Thank you very much. Get a chance come on out to Montana. Best place in America.
DOBBS: Love the fly fishing.
A reminder now to vote in "Tonight's Poll." Do you think the FBI should have subpoena power, yes or no. Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results here in just a few minutes.
My next guest supports a plan that would allow millions of illegal aliens to work legally in this country. The head of the nation's largest Latino right's group joins us here next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: My next guest joins me now to discuss a bipartisan, but highly controversial immigration proposal. It's really about illegal immigration and how to make illegals legal. The plan, sponsored by Republican Senator John McCain, Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, among other things, would allow illegal aliens now working in the country to apply for temporary work permits for up to six year, much like the president has asked for. The Center for Immigration Studies tells us there's an estimated 7 million illegal aliens now working in the United States. Other estimates run considerably higher. Joining me now from Washington D.C., a strong supporter of the McCain/Kennedy plan, Janet Murguia, she's president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza and a frequent guest on this broadcast.
And we thank you for being here, and being here frequently. Janet, good to have you here.
JANET MURGUIA, PRESIDENT & CEO: Thanks, Lou, I appreciate talking about this very important topic. This is not about making illegals legal. It's really about enhancing for the first time in a real way, in the 21st century enforcement and security when it comes to our border.
DOBBS: You know, it's being styled by critics though, already Janet, as a "pay to stay" plan. What do you think?
MURGUIA: No, absolutely not. We need to really talk about a comprehensive solution. And when we're talking about a solution to this very important problem, we need to talk about it both on an enforcement and security standpoint. But also we need to be able to create some fairness in the system when it comes to recognizing the contributions that are being made by this important segment of workers. So, this tries to strikes the right balance. And I think it's a very good effort to put together a bipartisan broad based coalition of support. This is business, it's labor, it's the Catholic Conference of Bishops, it's all kinds of groups coming together saying we finally need to talk about a solution to this problem.
DOBBS: The only problem with that broad sweeping group of folks you just mentioned is that from business to labor, they're part of the problem when it come to illegal immigration in this country, and the fact they've chosen to work together on creating a so-called solution, a reform plan, is really -- it doesn't warm my heart, to be honest with you, Janet.
MURGUIA: Well, what groups -- who do you want to endorse this? Who are you looking for to endorse this? This is a broad section coalition. Who do you think we need to add on this?
DOBBS: Well, here's who I'd like to see sort of represented kind of at the beginning.
DOBBS: And that's every U.S. citizen in the country.
DOBBS: First, look at the national interest.
DOBBS: When we start talking about that, that means a few folks come together to talk about, first, as a condition precedent to any immigration reform plan, because you and I both know -- and I think we can honestly agree here tonight -- that immigration reform can't take place without border security, without control, not operation, not operative control, but true control.
MURGUIA: Right. Well, this bill -- this proposal leads with border and security enforcement. We recognize we're living in a new world, post-9/11, that there are going to have to be issues we address when would we talk about workers meeting the needs of this country -- has to have met. We're talking about matching willing employers with willing workers. We're talking about whole new approach when it comes to technology and coordination among our agencies, as was recognized in intelligence reform bill. So I think we're trying to address those issues.
DOBBS: Well, I know you are, Janet. I'm not in any way questioning your good faith here. What I'm saying is that, as a condition precedent, absolute border security. Then secondly, a straightforward statement about who is running our immigration policy in this country and where we're going to bridge to legal immigration. How large will it be? Who are the people that we're going to invite into this country? We know who has come here uninvited but it is time for the American people to be represented in Washington. Frankly, not by business, not by labor, but by the officials we've elected, to say what are the skills that we need? Who are the people we need to bring to maintain the diversity of this most diverse society on earth?
MURGUIA: Well, you've got Senator John...
DOBBS: And not have -- not have our immigration policies torn asunder and, frankly, directed by President Vicente Fox who is running U.S. immigration policy because he is -- he is encouraging Mexican citizens, right now, at the rate of hundreds of thousands a year, to cross to our country.
MURGUIA: Lou, this proposal's being brought by Senator John McCain and Senator Ted Kennedy, again, two individuals who have been leaders on different sides of the spectrum at times, but who have come together in an effort, more importantly, to provide a solution to this problem.
DOBBS: All right, let's...
MURGUIA: We need to be about solutions on a comprehensive level.
DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more. I couldn't agree with you more. Again...
MURGUIA: So, this isn't just about certain segments. It's about leaders in the Congress coming together and we need to now build support for this. And so, I hope that you'll look at this and see if you can't put your endorsement behind it.
DOBBS: Well, we'll certainly take a look and we'll see -- to the degree that I'm one citizen, I'll be delighted to. On the other hand...
MURGUIA: We'll start -- one -- one citizen at a time and you can put your mark of approval on this and we'll get going.
DOBBS: Sound goods to me. Janet, just one question -- how many of the -- whether one takes the estimate 10 million or 20 million illegal aliens -- do Senators McCain and Kennedy think should receive U.S. citizenship?
MURGUIA: You know, I think they want to deal with this based on what the needs in the country are, and nobody has a great solution for, how do you deal with the folks who are here? But we're trying to make sure that there's a common sense approach, and this is the most common sense approach we've seen put on the table. If other people have good ideas, put them on the table. Let's quit talking about the problem. Let's talk about how we're going to solve it.
This has broad coalition support and it's bipartisan, and I hope that it can be the real center of discussion as we solve this problem.
DOBBS: Janet Murguia, I feel better that you are in the discussion. I know that the result will be a far brighter and better one. Thanks for being here tonight.
MURGUIA: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up here in just a few minutes, "ANDERSON COOPER 360." That means, Anderson, here to tell us all about it. Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Lou, thanks very much.
Yes, about six minutes from now, the House passed a bill for more embryonic stem cell research. The president says he's going to veto it. We're covering all the angles. We'll talk to the White House and one of the bill's co-sponsors.
Plus, good news out of Iraq. Is the most wanted terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi wounded? We'll try to separate the facts from the fiction.
And a police raid on a massage parlor specializing in hanky-panky sends shockwaves through a Texas town. You won't believe who the clients were. That and more at the top of the hour. Lou?
DOBBS: Did you really say hanky-panky?
COOPER: I did say hanky-panky. I'm kind of old school.
DOBBS: I will tune in for that alone. Thanks very much. I mean, just for the old-school language, I'm talking about.
Still ahead, the results of tonight's poll, a preview of what is ahead tomorrow. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight -- the question, do you think the FBI should have subpoena power? Sixty-nine percent say no; 31 percent say yes.
Taking a look now at some of your thoughts.
Mike Reid in Cerritos, California: "This morning I saw two L.A. Unified School District busses parked at Wal-Mart. I suspect it was a Career Day field trip!"
Tracey Sturges in Juno Beach, Florida: "Please help me understand how our president can appear on national television and say he does not approve of destroying a life to save a life in regard to stem cell research, yet he approves of the war in Iraq."
David Whitmire in Watkinsville, Georgia: "If Vicente Fox had made this racist comment when he worked for Coke, I think Coke would have fired him, and he would just become another `willing worker.'"
Deanna Miranda in Shell Beach, California: "Vicente Fox is so ignorant. His racial slur against blacks was horrible, but his comments that illegal Mexicans have the `dignity, willingness, and capabilities to work' begs the questions: Dignity or desperate? And if willing and capable, why isn't he providing them with work?"
And Marco Bello from Bakersfield, California: "I've heard Lou Dobbs as well as other well-educated Americans use the word `America' to refer tot he United States of America. Residents of the United States have assumed control of the continental term `America.' I'm surprised that respected politicians (including the president of the USA) and journalists repetitively use the word `America' to refer to the USA. In fact, using the term `America' to refer to this country should be considered `politically incorrect.'"
Marco, I consider most things in this country labeled as politically incorrect to be utter nonsense. Your suggestion that Americans no longer refer to themselves as Americans is just absurd. People in other countries may refer to themselves as they wish and lots of Americans have fought for their right to do so.
We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com, and each of you whose e-mail is read here receive as copy of my book, "Exporting America," and you can receive our email newsletter, signing up at LouDobbs.com.
Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Conservative columnist and commentator Ann Coulter will be our guest, and Kitty Kelly, the best-selling author of "The Family," the real story of the Bush dynasty, is our guest as well. And, a tale of two cities. Two cities that have seen drastically different effects from so-called free trade agreements. In particular, we're focusing on the impact of the NAFTA agreement. We'll have that special report for you. Please be with us. Thanks the for being here tonight. Good night from New York. ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts right now. Anderson?
COOPER: Lou, thanks very much.
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