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Anti-Bush Demonstrators Wreak Havoc in Argentina; Poor Youths Riot in France; Congressional Leaders Challenge Birthright Citizenship

Aired November 4, 2005 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Lou is standing by in New York -- Lou.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Wolf, thank you.

Good evening, everybody.

Tonight more than a thousand anarchists fought police protecting President Bush and other leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Argentina. We'll have live reports from Mar del Plata.

Also tonight, President Bush is facing the worst poll ratings of his presidency and unprecedented doubts about his personal integrity. We'll be analyzing the president's struggle to restore his image.

As well, election day less than a week away. And political advertising reaching a new low, even by the already nasty low standards of political campaigns nationwide. We'll have that special report.

An outrage in Congress over the abuse of our Constitution by illegal aliens. A rising number of lawmakers want to end so-called birthright citizenship for babies who are born to illegal aliens.

And the State Department tonight is warning Americans in France to stay away from riots and immigrant areas in parts of Paris. The rioting has now spread outside Paris for the first time after eight days of rioting. We'll have a live report.

We begin with a major outbreak of violence in Argentina by anarchists and protesters demonstrating against President Bush and other leaders at the Summit of the Americas. More than a thousand protesters fighting hundreds of heavily armed riot police. Those rioters threw rocks, gasoline bombs at the police. The police responded with volleys of tear gas.

Alec Miran was caught up in the violence and reports now from Mar del Plata in northern Argentina.

Alec, just how bad is the violence at this hour?

ALEC MIRAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, it's calm now. Really calm. The people of Mar del Plata have come out on the streets. They're looking around, somewhat befuddled. They can't believe what's happened to their lovely city. And indeed, it is a lovely city. The situation is that at about 2 p.m. this afternoon, our time, we got a -- we got word, word came out that there was going to be a confrontation. The demonstrators made it very clear they wanted coverage of this. They wanted people to see it.

We went down to a checkpoint. There are several checkpoints where the police have set up barriers to protect the summit leaders. This one was five, maybe six blocks from the Hermitage Hotel where the -- where the summit leaders are meeting.

As the demonstrators approached, they sang songs, were fairly calm for awhile. Then they started lobbing percussion fireworks toward the police, over the heads of police. The police didn't respond. Then they burned a couple of -- I don't think they were real American flags. I think they were paper American flags that I saw. And a man on a megaphone was instructing them what to do.

Then some of these protesters, it was a small portion of the overall group, joined arms and advanced on the police line. And that we have seen over the years covering these things, Lou, is that that's a no-no. That will set the police off. They advanced toward the police line, hit the barrier, which is an eight-foot tall wire fence, probably.

The police who are on the other side in large numbers, huge numbers, clashed back. They ran into the fence with their shields and their batons and kept the fence from falling over. At that point, they set off huge volumes of tear gas, probably 20 30, 40 canisters right into the block which in the heart of Mar del Plata.

The demonstrators -- the violent demonstrators scattered and immediately started doing two things, Wolf -- Lou, sorry. They started breaking windows of banks, candy stores, large plate glass windows. They either used batons that all of them carried or they picked up rocks that they found on the street or probably brought with them. And then others started throwing Molotov cocktails. Then there were slingshots and rocks thrown. And it was -- it was an extremely ugly situation.

The police finally charged out from behind the barricades and pushed the demonstrators back up this main avenue, and now the demonstrators have dispersed. Not clear if this is a permanent situation or whether they're going to regroup as night falls here in Mar del Plata, Lou.

DOBBS: Alec, a terrific job of reporting from the streets of Mar del Plata on this protest, this demonstration. We know that some of these people, at least according to a number of accounts, are anarchists, the anti-globalization protesters.

Do we have any clear sense, because you suggest that they wanted to perform before our cameras, certainly, and that's not unusual, do we have a clear sense of who the protesters are, particularly what they wanted to demonstrate?

MIRAN: Well, at about like I say, we covered an earlier. We covered an earlier demonstration that was a peaceful march for about 40 blocks, led by Diego Maradona, the soccer star, to the soccer stadium where Hugo Chavez gave an energetic speech.

Then the people from the stadium were joined by the anarchist group. We don't believe the anarchists were necessarily at the stadium. We think they joined up.

At about 2 p.m. Lucia Newman, our course our Latin -- chief Latin American correspondent, got word that this group which is called the Picateros (ph), which is a word that's unique to Argentina. It doesn't exist anywhere else in Latin America. And when you say Picateros (ph) here, it immediately threw fear into Lucia. She said these are the bad guys. These are the ones who cause problems. They're itching for a fight.

When they arrived at the choke point with the police, they had signs, very strong anti-Bush signs. Some of them had anti-free trade slogans. They all, like I said, carried sticks. They had masks. They had lemons, which people use to sometimes delete the effects of tear gas. So they were ready. They were picking a fight and they got it.

DOBBS: And at this hour, as Alec Miran reports. Alec, thank you very much from Mar del Plata. As Alec Miran reports, at this hour it is calm, and as best we can determine the rioters, the demonstrators, the protesters never got within -- any closer to where the president was than about four blocks.

So the president is -- as well as are all the other leaders, the 34 leaders of the Americas who are meeting at the summit in Mar del Plata.

That rioting did nothing today to disrupt the summit. The president and those other leaders held their first day of meetings, and the White House press corps, however, far more interested in the president's troubles at home and his plummeting poll numbers.

Dana Bash is traveling with President Bush and reports now from Mar del Plata -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, you're right. The president did not see or probably hear any of those rioters. And, as a matter of fact, as we speak he is in a session with the 33 other leaders.

He is very much trying to focus on the agenda despite the rioting, the violence that has broken out earlier today, and despite the fact that back home people are not necessarily focusing on what's going on here but what's going on with his presidency in crisis.


BASH (voice-over): On the sidelines of the Latin American summit the president played dodge ball with the White House press corps.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to discuss the investigation until it's completed.

BASH: That to whether Karl Rove told the truth or if Mr. Bush owes Americans an apology for a White House claim that the now indicted Scooter Libby was not involved in a CIA leak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there going to be staff changes?

BUSH: Again you're trying to get me to comment on the investigation, which I'm not going to do.

BASH: OK. What about whether talk of whether Rove will stay in his job?

BUSH: The investigation on Karl, as you know, is not complete.

BASH: Fifty-five hundred miles from home this was the first time the president fielded questions since Libby's indictment. He responded but refused to give answers.

Mr. Bush is in Argentina to meet with world leaders about trade, jobs and Democratic reforms, an agenda in many ways overshadowed by struggles back home.

A new pair of polls show an already sinking public approval at new record lows, especially where he used to fare well, integrity. A "Washington Post" poll shows only 40 percent of Americans describe the president as honest and trustworthy, a 13-point plummet since May of last year.

Sometimes pomp and symmetry provide a respite, not here. Angry anti-Bush demonstrators marched the streets of this small seaside resort, portraying the U.S. president, among other things, as Adolph Hitler.

And little more than a mile from the official summit, an anti- summit. Tens of thousands packed this stadium, egged on by Mr. Bush's Latin American nemesis, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Meanwhile, a meeting with his host, Argentina's president, turned quite awkward. Despite Mr. Bush's praise for the country's progress toward Democratic ideals, the Argentine leader refused to allow reporters questions at an event the White House billed as a press conference.


BASH: And before they walked away from reporters, Lou, the president made a comment that he understands how difficult it is for the president, to the host of this country, to host not only the other leaders but especially him, perhaps not knowing how appropriate, even prescient, that comment was earlier today, Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, a quick question, if I may. Did the White House, did the State Department, have any sense at all of what to expect down there? BASH: Well, certainly they absolutely expected protests, massive protests. You know, it wasn't a secret that -- that they were planning to come out here in the thousands. They filled, as I reported, a stadium not too far from here and it was -- it was -- the leader of Venezuela spoke there.

So they absolutely knew that this was a possibility for these protests, mostly quite peaceful, to break out into violence.


BASH: The Secret Service does what they can to try to stop that, but they have to rely in large part on the local police.

DOBBS: Dana Bash from Mar del Plata. Thank you, Dana.

We'll have our report from our congressional correspondent here.

One of the president's strongest critics in Latin America, of course, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela tonight declared that the United States' hopes for a free trade area of the Americas are, quote, "dead." Chavez is at the summit, of course, and is taking every possible opportunity to criticize President Bush.


HUGO CHAVEZ, PRESIDENT, VENEZUELA (through translator): Free trade agreement of the Americas, go to hell.


DOBBS: For his part, President Bush says there are far more important issues at the summit than Chavez, and he says he will be courteous to Chavez when he meets with him.


BUSH: I will, of course, be polite. That's what the American people expect their president to do is be a polite person and I will, if I run across him, I will do just that.


DOBBS: The White House says President Chavez should do much more to combat poverty in his country at a time when, of course, Venezuela is enjoying record high oil prices.

And the United States, for its part, is tonight warning Americans in France to avoid areas, suburbs of Paris where rioters and police have been fighting pitched street battles for more than a week now.

That rioting has spread for the first time to communities outside Paris after more than a week of violence. Police officers in Paris have come under fire. Rioters are torching businesses, and cars, and trucks. And police unions want the French army to be called up to help put down the unrest. The worst violence has been in the huge projects around Paris that house immigrants from Muslim countries and Africa. Rioting has also flared in other major cities such as Rouen, Dijon and Marseilles.

France's Muslim population is now five million people, the largest population of Muslims in Europe.

Chris Burns has our report from Paris -- Chris.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, there's more trouble tonight: more cars being torched, more buildings being torched, other incidents being reported in the area north of Paris. These are suburbs north of Paris. Night and day from what you see behind me, the beautiful streets of downtown Paris. It is completely different up there.

We took a ride up there during the day when things were a bit safer. We went up to areas where there are just nothing but grayish housing blocks, high rise housing blocks where immigrant families, very poor immigrant families stay, where the general unemployment rate is 20 percent but among the youth it's some 50 or more percent. And there is that frustration. Nothing else to do, but if they find some reason to engage in violence, that's what they do.

And that's what sparked it about a week ago. There were two youths who were running away from police. They were immigrant family youths. They electrocuted themselves in a power station as they were hiding from police, and that touched it off.

For the past nine days now, this is the ninth night of rioting. And it is not only in the area north of Paris, but it is also tonight happening in Lille, which is in northern France, Toulouse now for the first time, in the southwest of France, and in Houen (ph), again in Normandy.

So it is continuing tonight, even though there were more meetings today by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, not only with his interior ministry, Mr. Sarkozy, but also with about a dozen youths from those -- some of those hard hit areas, talking it out for about two and a half hours, trying to get to the bottom of what is causing this violence and how to stop it -- Lou.

DOBBS: Chris, as you say, the violence is spreading to outlying cities in France, now well beyond Paris. The fact is that France has been open to immigrants from northern Africa, most obviously Muslim. What is the focal point now in terms of solving this? Is this an organized insurgency? Is it simply -- it's far too much to expect this as a coincidence in any way.

BURNS: Well, this has been sort of bubbling up for the past few years. I reported here for a number of years before going to Germany. And this is really what you see every once in awhile. There is an incident of some kind that touches it off. And the youths go crazy. There's a lot of pent-up frustration.

Up to now it does not appear that it is a generally organized kind of action. In fact, when you talk to community leaders that we talked to today, they are very frustrated, because they would like to control this. They are reaching out to youth, but these seem to be very uncontrollable elements that are beyond the reach of community leaders, beyond the reach of religious leaders, even, Lou.

DOBBS: Chris Burns, thank you very much. Chris Burns reporting from France tonight going through a ninth straight night of rioting that appears to be spreading throughout the country.

Still ahead here, outrage in our Congress over illegal aliens who are abusing our Constitution in order to assure their babies are American citizens who can then sponsor them for citizenship.

Also tonight a suspected new outbreak of the deadly bird flu in Asia and rising fears about the spread of the virus around the world. We'll have that special report and a great deal more still ahead right here.


DOBBS: Tonight the fight is on in Congress over so called anchor babies. Some 200,000 anchor babies are born to illegal aliens in this country each year. These babies instantly become U.S. citizens, and illegal alien parents of anchor babies can become U.S. citizens as well, with the sponsorship of those babies as they grow up.

Many in Congress, now an increasing number, say these birthright citizen protections simply have to end. Christine Romans reports.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Capitol Hill doubts whether babies born in this country to people here illegally should be given automatic citizenship.

REP. DANIEL LUNGREN (R), CALIFORNIA: There is growing sentiment among Republicans and I think among other members of Congress, that this ought to be seriously looked at. Do we give people automatic citizenship merely because their mother was able to come here illegally and have the child while they were in our country?

ROMANS: Congressman Duncan Hunter is the latest in a half dozen proposals to end birth right citizenship. Many say authors of the 14th Amendment never meant to grant citizenship to every person who happened to be born on U.S. soil.

Written in 1868 to give citizenship to freed slaves, the 14th Amendment reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States."

But legal scholars zero in on these six words "and subject to the jurisdiction there off."

JOHN EASTMAN, CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: It's that second clause that undermines the claim of birthright citizenship. You had to be subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States, which means you didn't owe allegiance to any other nation through your parents.

ROMANS: That analysis is resonating among some House Republicans who see birthright citizenship as a powerful draw for illegal aliens.

ROY BECK, NUMBERS USA: Birthright citizenship tells you that if you can get into a country and have a baby there, there's a good chance you'll never have to leave. That's a tremendous enticement to law breaking around the world. And most advanced countries just know that they cannot keep that up.


ROMANS: Beck says the very idea of a guest worker program becomes unworkable if birth right citizenship is allowed.

Now, there's some disagreement on the best way to challenge what is now been more than a hundred years of practice in this country, but more and more congressman now say they are willing at least to try to legislate this, if not go ahead and try to amend the actual Constitution, Lou.

DOBBS: We've been reporting on these issues, Christine, for several years. There does seem to be a groundswell in Congress now to look at border security and to start examining some of these bizarre twists in -- in our law that are being exploited by those who want to abuse citizenship rights.

ROMANS: And some of the House Republicans are saying they're finding some consensus on this particular part of immigration reform. They're a little leery of actually trying to amend the Constitution. They think that maybe they might have a better chance of selling it if they can -- if they can legislate it instead.

DOBBS: Christine Romans, thank you.

We'd like to know what you think about this issue. Our poll question tonight, "do you find it absurd that babies born to illegal aliens in this country are granted all the rights and privileges of citizenship?" Yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results later in the broadcast.

Also coming up, I'll be talking with two documentary producers and film makers who have shot shocking footage of illegal aliens crossing into this country from Mexico. We'll have an inside look tonight at the documentary, "The Month of October," coming up here next.

And Democrats stepping up their attacks against Republicans as the president's poll numbers plummet, we'll have a live report from our congressional correspondent and we'll be joined by three of the country's best legal and political analysts.

And we're going back to Argentina, live coverage. More riots have taken place just six blocks now from the summit that President Bush attends.

And shameful new political attack ads. Issues important to voters are being completely ignored by politicians who are spending their money and their efforts to stay in the gutter. We'll have the story.


DOBBS: Democrats today tried to use the latest presidential poll numbers to intensify their assault on the Bush White House. Congressional Democrats focusing on Iraq and the CIA leak case. Republicans charging the Democrats are simply engaging in partisan politics and ignoring the real issues facing the country.

Ed Henry reports -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, in fact you're right, Democrats trying to keep the heat on the White House, buoyed by this "Washington Post" poll suggesting the president's popularity has reached a new roll. Disapproval rating of 60 percent.

In particularly, 51 percent registered disapproval of the president's handling of the war on terror, usually his bedrock even in hard times. And 59 percent of Americans say Karl Rove should resign because of his role in the CIA leak case.

As a result, Democrats know Rove is vulnerable. Today, several senior House Democrats like John Dingell, John Murtha, fired off a letter to the White House associate director for security to find out if Rove is still eligible for security clearance.

And Senator Jay Rockefeller, top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, pounded again once again today at Senate Republicans, demanding they do a thorough job of wrapping up this investigation of whether the White House twisted intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.


SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (R), WEST VIRGINIA: At its core this is really about accountability, the accountability of the Congress, the accountability of the White House, the accountability that we all owe to the American people over something that involves war and dying and injuries.


HENRY: Now Rockefeller's Republican counterpart on the intelligence committee, the chairman, Pat Roberts, had a sharp response. He said if Democrats spend as much time doing their work as they spend on press conferences, this investigation might actually be done by now.

Roberts said the real test will come Tuesday when his committee meets to wrap up this investigation. He says the Democrats are just playing politics here. Meanwhile, though, another political headache for the Republicans. Congressman Bob Ney has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department to turn over documents in the criminal investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That's significant. This is the first time this investigation of influence peddling by Abramoff has directly touched the Hill.

Ney is an Ohio congressman. Questions have been raised about an expensive golf trip he took with the lobbyist to Scotland amid allegations Ney was helping some of Abramoff's clients.

Interesting to note former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, took a similar golf trip to Scotland with Abramoff, and Republicans are probably very nervous about this whole probe and whether it's going to spill over into the 2006 election.

Congressman Ney has repeatedly maintained there had was no wrongdoing. He put out a statement saying, quote, "We will cooperate fully with any inquiry" -- Lou.

DOBBS: We Henry, thank you.

Coming up next here we'll take you back live to Mar del Plata, Argentina, where violent protests have broken out at the Summit of the Americas.

And then the Bush comeback campaign a week old. How's he doing? We'll tell you. Three of the country's best political journalists will be with me.

And political attack ads. Just when you thought they couldn't get any worse and their politics couldn't get any lower, we'll have a report that will remind you that this shameful practice is certainly not out of style.

And this may, just may, look like a military exercise, and it's not Iraq. This is at our own border, our southern border. Shocking new footage from the front line of the border wars as our illegal alien crisis intensifies. Stay with us.


DOBBS: From terrorism to illegal aliens and the collapse of our nation's manufacturing sector, our nation faces crucial challenges in the years ahead. But you would not know that from watching this year's crop of political attack ads.

Our nation's candidates believe they can get away with slamming political opponents instead of talking responsibly about issues facing all struggling Americans.

Louise Schiavone reports.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a sharply polarized political world, nasty advertising is par for the course, like this ad against the latest Supreme Court nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Bush's presidency is in trouble and he'll do anything to save it. Even giving the radical right-wing the power to choose who sits on the Supreme Court.

SCHIAVONE: In Virginia, Republican Jerry Kilgore's campaign invoked Adolf Hitler's name in his gubernatorial run against death- penalty opponent Tim Kaine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tim Kaine says that Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty. This was the worse mass murder in modern times.

SCHIAVONE: In New York, Democratic mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer, painted incumbent opponent Michael Bloomberg as a Bush Republican.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one thing for certain. I'll love you until I die.

SCHIAVONE: Suggesting the ultra-wealthy Bloomberg gave $7 million to the GOP. The money went to the national convention host committee in his own city. Political veterans are dismayed by the tone.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This is a symptom of the bitter partisanship that exists in Washington between the two parties. It is so bitter and so angry and then it's reinforced by all these advertising and commercials and attacks.

SCHIAVONE: The average voters we spoke to don't seem to like it either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't like it, I don't appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does turn me off. I don't even like to read the papers about them anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's gotten bad the last ten years, but it's been consistently this way for a while.

SCHIAVONE: Imagine slamming an opponent with words from his ex- wife. Low blow? Not for New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester. He ran this ad with no spoken words, just a quote from opponent John Corzine's ex-wife, who had said Corzine quote, let his family down and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too.

SCHIAVONE: Corzine was not to be outdone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doug Forrester, getting rich at the taxpayers' expense.

PROFESSOR LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: The ads are getting nastier and nastier by the cycle. And I really do think that it tends to create scar tissue in many people. And this scar tissue builds up over time and we almost don't notice it anymore. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHIAVONE (on camera): Lou, where will it all end? Perhaps in the next generation of leaders, when Americans have finally had enough of all the meanness and simply grow out of it. Lou?

DOBBS: Louise, thank you. I hope we don't have to wait for the next generation. Louise Schiavone from Washington, thank you.

The Vermont state Supreme Court today ruled that Howard Dean can keep 93 boxes of his Vermont gubernatorial records sealed for the next ten years.

Vermont's high court said that Dean's request to keep those sensitive documents secret is legal. This is the same Howard Dean, by the way, that has bashed the Bush administration for its secrecy during an interview with the Internet site, back in 2003.

Howard Dean criticized the Bush administration for what he called secrecy in awarding oil contracts in Iraq. Dean said quote, what troubles me is that this incident seems to be part of a broader atmosphere of secrecy that the White House appears to be fostering.

The president of the United States ought to go the extra mile to maintain the public trust. I believe that this atmosphere of secrecy significantly undermines that trust.

Well, we called the Democratic National Committee, as we often do, for a comment. We must have hit a nerve. Their response was not exactly on point, but we will give you their response. Quote, today Governor Dean's handling of government records and information was unanimously validated by the Vermont Supreme Court. On the other hand, for the first time 130 years, a grand jury indicted a senior White House aid for handling of its sensitive national security information.

Now we can't, for the life of us, figure out what that has to do with the question. Nonetheless, we wanted to share it with you. Dean will respect the rule of law and will continue to speak out against the Buck administration's continued disregard for it.

We're all relieved to know that Howard Dean will continue to do so, where there was not much doubt, frankly. The statement of course completely sidesteps the issue of secrecy, hypocrisy and frankly, what I think is a broader sentiment in America that government papers should not be sealed from the public.

This nasty political climate evident on Capitol Hill and just about everywhere else this week. Senate Democrats trying to show up the Republicans. The battle was over prewar intelligence in Iraq in the Senate and it only hints at what could be an all-out war over the president's new nominee for the Supreme Court.

Joining me now to discuss all of this, what has been a very busy week. TIME Magazine's Joe Klein, columnist extraordinaire Jeffrey Toobin and our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Yes, Bill, you're going to get an extraordinaire as well.

Good to have you with us.

Joe Klein, a terrific column in TIME magazine on the permanent campaign laying squarely in terms of reasoning and evidence that the concept of the permanent campaign in Washington is responsible for much of the nonsense that we're all suffering through.

JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, TIME MAGAZINE: The really remarkable thing in this case is that the Bush administration has been trying to spin a war, rather than actually fighting it.

I have been told by intelligence sources in the last 48 hours that the number of attacks against coalition troops in Iraqi forces, by the insurgency, is now over 100 a day. That's nearly double what it was six months ago.

The insurgency has almost doubled in size in six months and we're not hearing any discussion of that. We're not hearing any changes in strategy to meet that. The administration just is trying to pass by it in terms of...

DOBBS: In the defense of this one hour of broadcast, we reported here last night, as a matter of fact, we led with the story on the IEDs, which are responsible for 60 percent of the deaths of our troops in Iraq.

The fact that the Pentagon has finally acknowledged it's got to do something, it hasn't got a clue. Jamie McIntyre reporting that the first reflex was to assign a three-star general to the issue rather than a one star.

General David Grange, our military affairs consultant, joined with me in saying that's just pathetic. We've got young men and women dying over there and when you talk about spinning a war, it makes everyone's teeth grate.

I'm sorry, go ahead.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I was going to say, isn't this week a lesson in that you can't spin everything? October was the month.

DOBBS: I would hope that lesson would at least begin to settle.

TOOBIN: October was a month where more than 90 of our service members were killed over there. That number trumps all spin and I don't know anyone who thinks that the situation is going to get better any time soon.

DOBBS: My God, when we reported on 2,000 American deaths last week, the general in charge of public affairs said that anyone reporting that number was really pursuing an agenda. I said on this program, I said, we're honoring men and women who have given their lives for this country.

KLEIN: The civilian leadership of the Pentagon reports some numbers. They are doing body counts again. But one number you will not hear them report is the one that I just mentioned here. The number of attacks per day, which is the single most important indicator of how severe this problem is. They won't report it.

DOBBS: Bill Schneider, you're reporting these poll numbers. We're looking at anything from 35-to-39 percent approval rating. Some polls disapproval of this presidency right now reaching to 60 percent.

The glib Washington press has already been talking about the comeback kid as they did with Clinton after the impeachment proceedings. The fact is, this is about a lot more than as Joe Klein points out, spin, isn't it?

BILL SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Of course. There's a reality out there and the public seems to be perfectly aware of it. They are aware of those terrible attacks going on in Iraq.

They read about them every day. They know they're happening, they see them happening. A general just tried to spin that by saying, well there was an election in Iraq last month and casualties always go up, attacks always go up at the time of election. You have to expect that.

Americans do not expect that. They don't see progress in Iraq and sentiment about the Iraq war has become more and more negative. It seemed to be pushed over the edge by the indictment last week of Scooter Libby because that convinced Americans, something very bad was happening at the White House when they were trying to discredit critics of the war.

DOBBS: We're going to return to that issue, the politics, the legality as well of the proceedings, the legal proceedings rather than their legality.

I want to interrupt, gentlemen, first, Lucia Newman with the president.

Our Latin American bureau chief now in Mar del Plata with the president.

Lucia, what can you tell us right now about the protests, the demonstrations, and what's being seeking to be achieved there?

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN LATIN AMERICAN BUREAU CHIEF: Well, right now, Lou, the protests have died down. The streets are quiet once again, but as we pointed out in the past, there are thousands of people who came here to protest President Bush's presence here in Argentina.

They came from as far away as other Latin American countries, Buenos Aires and other cities in this country. They're not going home right away. We are not sure what tomorrow will hold. Now, the president himself and the other regional heads of state will be attending a gala dinner very soon. They won't be able to change clothes or anything. They're going black tie because this whole affair has run absolutely behind schedule. They have been trying to iron out a whole array of issues. First and foremost, how to reduce poverty and unemployment in the region. The U.S. President of course, pushing for free trade as the solution. Many of us Latin neighbors, however, are saying it's not as easy as all that, and they want a lot of concessions in the United States and from the U.S. Congress, Lou.

DOBBS: Lucia Newman, thank you very much. Reporting from Mar del Plata where the president is attending the Summit of the Americas.

I want to return to the issue of spin here and the issue of prewar intelligence. The idea that there's some impact on poll ratings because you make really bad policy decisions and conduct an administration poorly, do you think that's what we're seeing demonstrated, or is it a failure to spin adequately what are ...

TOOBIN: Well, I think the substance, again, is what matters, but what is remarkable when you come to this issue of prewar intelligence, here you have President Bush at this press conference today refusing to answer questions at all. Dick Cheney is essentially not a public figure anymore.

I mean he doesn't answer questions ever as far as I can tell. And here you have an issue that is very serious, the grounds on which we went to war. And you have the president and vice president not answering questions about it. That's rather remarkable to me.

DOBBS: Go ahead, Joe.

KLEIN: At the heart of this Libby case is the month of June, 2003. That was the month that Cheney's office said Scooter Libby practically went berserk trying to smear Ambassador Wilson. It was also the month that the CIA first briefed the president on the fact that we had a full blown insurgency in Iraq.

What was the White House's reaction? At that point it was to spin. It was to send 1,200 intelligence officers to look for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction while General Sanchez, who was our commander on the ground, had only 27 intelligence officers to figure out who the enemy was. This has been outrageous, and the public doesn't know about it.

DOBBS: Bill Schneider, does the public know about it?

SCHNEIDER: Well, let me tell you, the two most shocking poll figures and they are more or less the same. In our CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans endorse the view that the Bush administration deliberately misled the American people about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Deliberately.

In the ABC News/"Washington Post" poll released just this week, 55 percent endorsed the view that the Bush administration intentionally misled the American people to go to war in Iraq. DOBBS: But that's not -- the poll numbers can turn out to be mirrors reflecting mirrors abused. The facts are quite incontrovertible. And no one wants to deal with these in terms of the other part of the spin here, that is Harry Reid invoking Rule 21 and shutting down the Senate to finish phase two of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence.

The fact is -- the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the President Bill Clinton and his administration all said there were weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations, British intelligence, French intelligence -- there was not an intelligence agency in the years leading up to 2003 saying they didn't have weapons of mass destruction.

KLEIN: No, you know, I don't think they deliberately misled us on that. Everybody though ...

DOBBS: Well, talk to Harry Reid, because he seems to be wanting to create a new spin around this and waste more time instead of dealing with substantive issues. I know it's important to get to the truth, I just wish I believed this was the way to get there.

KLEIN: Well, I wish there was some kind of consistent position from the Democratic Party pressing the administration on things like making sure the troops have sufficient armor and so on. There are so many problems that we have there that Democrats have been refusing to address because they are spinning, too. They believe that the public will think it's unpatriotic to raise the legitimate problems that exist with our effort in Iraq right now.

TOOBIN: One short point.

DOBBS: Sure.

TOOBIN: I mean, the Supreme Court nomination this week was pretty close to a home run. I mean, trading Harriet Miers for Samuel Alito was a big trade up both politically and substantively.

DOBBS: But, again, the spin is well underway on both ends of the spectrum trying to either vilify or canonize him. Bill Schneider you get the last word here.

SCHNEIDER: Spin doesn't really convince many people. What it does is it arms partisans on both sides. And because the spin has accelerated, you are getting much harsher partisan warfare.

KLEIN: I think he's right.

DOBBS: And higher level of nausea on the part of all us to react to it. Joe, thank you very much for being here. Jeff, Bill, thank you.

Just ahead, a new documentary captures dramatic footage of illegal aliens crossing our border in broad daylight. The producers of "The Month of October" on border security and our illegal immigration crisis join me next. And then "Heroes," our weekly salute to our men and women in uniform. This American soldier fought back from near death after the Humvee he was driving was blown apart in Iraq. His story is straight ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Yesterday on this broadcast, we talked with Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He's out with a bold new plan to stop illegal aliens from entering this country, calling for a fence. The Congressman wants the United States to build a double fence across our entire 2,000 mile border with Mexico to prevent illegal entry.

Tonight, disturbing new footage from a not yet released documentary shows the extent of illegal alien problems and why fences on our broken border with Mexico are essential. The fact of the matter is, the documentary is called "The Month of October."

J.T. Rockwell (ph) provided security for the film and the film director Chris Burgard join me now from Los Angeles. Gentlemen, it looks like you spent a little time on that border. How long were you there?

CHRIS BURGARD, "THE MONTH OF OCTOBER" DIRECTOR: For me, about two and a half months doing the southern border four times, the northern border and J.T., five weeks.

J.T. ROCKWELL: Five weeks.

DOBBS: Now, what did you find when you went there? What were first your expectations? And what did you find?

BURGARD: What we found was -- I was expecting to maybe see places where people were sneaking across one or two at a time or perhaps more of a, you know, political issue but what we found was ranch upon ranch and family upon families that are living like I didn't think Americans would ever live in this country in fear, having to take guns to go to their outbuildings to feed their horses, not being able to leave their house even for relatives' funerals. Everyone we talked to -- ranchers that we were with, basically, told us that there's a war going on down there and the Americans are losing.

ROCKWELL: And then fences with razor wire around it, they looked like they were in prison, you know, and these are people in America.

DOBBS: So you didn't expect to see what you found, obviously. The fact is, on this broadcast for several years, we've been reporting the fact that three million illegal aliens crossed our borders last year. We've been reporting on the inaction of this government. Did you find any sense on the part of those who live along that border that they are hopeful that the federal government will actually take action?

BURGARD: Absolutely not. They feel completely abandoned down there. And I can understand why. And, you know, you ask them, you know, did you call the government when the paramilitary came through your property with the drugs and the AK-47s? And they are like, well, we can call border patrol but, you know, they are spread pretty thin down here. It's a thin green line.

DOBBS: Chris, many people don't realize that the U.S. military does have a small number of troops on the border now in New Mexico, it's temporary. Do you have any sense ...

BURGARD: It's the Fourth Armored Calvary -- yes, sir, the Fourth Armored Cavalry, part of the Stryker Brigade. And they are sitting in the exact same places where the Minutemen were a few weeks ago.

DOBBS: Are they having any impact?

BURGARD: They shut it down. They shut it down.

ROCKWELL: They really shut it down.

BURGARD: Nobody is coming through that. In fact, it's this corridor right here. That helicopter is taking away some people they caught where we had just been riding with the rough riders before that, the day before that. There's a whole layup there. And that whole corridor now has been shut down by the Minutemen and by the U.S. military.

DOBBS: Chris, Jay, let me ask you both this, you have witnessed our border and what is happening there. You've witnessed firsthand the illegal alien crisis. Are you as a result, are you hopeful, do you have a sense of where this country is headed in terms of border security?

BURGARD: Mr. Dobbs, we're doing your show because our movie won't come out for six months to a year, and I feel so bad about the families we left behind down there that I'm hoping that you doing the show will embarrass the government into doing something to protect these people.

You have people like Pat King (ph) finding 10 dead bodies on her ranch. You have got Dr. Michael Vickers (ph) and his wife Linda with a woman raped and beaten to death 300 feet from their front door. How is this man supposed to go and be a veterinarian and leave his wife and children at home with this stuff going on? And no one is doing a darn thing about it.

DOBBS: I hope, Chris, Jay, that we, in point of fact, find some level of shame in this government who refuses to enforce our laws and continues to fund a Homeland Security Department that in my estimation is nothing more than a sham until it can establish border security. We thank you for being here tonight. We look forward to your documentary. We appreciate you being with us.

BURGARD: Thank you, sir.

ROCKWELL: Thank you. DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you find it absurd that babies born to illegal aliens in this country are granted all the rights and privileges of citizenship? Yes or no? Please cast your vote at We'll have the results coming right up.

Just ahead, our weekly salute to our men and women in uniform, our nation's "Heroes." Tonight, an Army sergeant's remarkable recovery after he was severely wounded in Iraq. His story is next here. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Now, our weekly salute to our men and women serving this nation in uniform. Tonight, Army Sergeant Juan Arredondo. He was stationed in Korea when he answered a call for volunteers to go to Iraq. Casey Wian has his story.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sergeant Juan Arredondo is rebuilding his body and his life.

SGT. JUAN ARREDONDO, U.S. ARMY: I was just physically demanding on myself all the time. Who'd do the most push-ups, sit-ups. And I could -- I can't do push-ups yet, but I can still do sit-ups. And I just started running recently.

WIAN: He planned a career in the Army until a bomb near Ramadi nearly killed him. Driving a humvee pulling security for a supply convoy, three IEDs exploded, sending metal flying.

ARREDONDO: Pretty big pieces just came through. Had my hand on the steering wheel, and it just came through and just cut it off completely.

WIAN: There were other injuries.

ARREDONDO: All the little pieces that came flying at me, just took a big chunk of my leg. I still had little bits and pieces in like little -- these little dark spots that are probably like little pieces of metal.

WIAN: Shrapnel tore into the back of his head and other arm, as well.

ARREDONDO: I just felt the life draining out of me. And I was just bleeding out real bad.

WIAN: Within days, he was here at the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, surprised to be alive.

Six months after the attack, the physical recovery is a daily struggle. At home, the reward of having cheated death is tempered by new concerns.

ARREDONDO: This whole time I've been in the military, Army has always had everything covered for me. I live in my own house, worry about the utilities and all the other bills.

WIAN: But with survival also comes perspective.

ARREDONDO: I appreciate life more, and my wife and my kids. I have them. And just this life in the United States, the United States is one of the greatest places on earth.

WIAN: Casey Wian, CNN, reporting.


DOBBS: And we appreciate Sergeant Arredondo and all the men and women in uniform like him.

Still ahead here, the results of our poll tonight. Please stay with us.


DOBBS: Now the results of our poll tonight. Again, an overwhelming response, 87 percent of you saying you do find it absurd that babies born to illegal aliens in this country are then granted all rights and privileges of citizenship.

We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here next week. The Iraq war correspondent, former CNN colleague and still friend, Walt Rodgers, will be with us to talk about his experience as an embed in the Iraq war. His new book, "Sleeping with Caster and the 7th Cavalry."

Please be with us.

For all of us here, have a very pleasant weekend. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins now with Wolf Blitzer.


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