Return to Transcripts main page
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Bush to Address Border Security; Saddam Trial to Reconvene; Shopping Frenzy on Black Friday; Chinese Counterfeits Continuing Problem; Michael Brown Opens Consulting Firm; Ann Coulter: Dems Helping the Enemy; Soldiers Gets Chance To Go To Carnegie Mellon; Author of "Sleeping with Custer"
Aired November 25, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Ali.
Good evening everyone.
Tonight President Bush prepares for a two-day trip to our nation's broken borders. After coming home empty handed from the Far East, the White House hopes tough top on domestic security will boost the president's faltering agenda. Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter will be my guest.
At the mall this day, after Thanksgiving bargains and brawls. A shopping frenzy with some people literally getting carried away. We'll take you live to Black Friday USA.
Is it real or is it a Chinese counterfeit? The expensive gift you find under your tree this Christmas season may be a cheap Chinese knockoff instead. A special report on counterfeit Christmas.
Former FEMA director Michael Brown has a new job teaching people how not to be Michael Brown. The man better known as Brownie is planning his comeback.
We begin tonight with President Bush's new domestic push after a trip to the Far East that many call a major disappointment. President Bush is set to address our nation's growing border emergency. The White House hopes the president will gain political traction from a crisis that's become a top concern for voters.
Elaine Quijano is live at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, where the first family is spending the long Thanksgiving weekend -- Elaine.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Christine, no public events for President Bush today. He continues to spend time with his family at their Prairie Chapel Ranch nearby here in Crawford, Texas.
But come next week, the president will be turning his attention to the issues of border security and immigration. Now the president will be doing so at stops in Tucson, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas. The main message: that the president does take the issue of border security seriously.
A senior administration official says Mr. Bush seconds is expected to talk about additional resources and the use of technology in order to secure the border. He'll also try to frame the debate within the context of national security, as well as the economy.
At the same time the president is also expected to address enforcement, including returning illegal immigrants from Mexico to more interior parts of the country, rather than just to the other side of the border.
And finally, we can anticipate hearing the president reprise his call for a temporary worker program, an effort, as one official put it, to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows of society. But of course, that idea has run into strong opposition from conservatives from within the president's own party -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right, Elaine Quijano. Thank you very much, Elaine.
President Bush's focused next week on our nation's border crisis is long overdue. The president has an important opportunity now to finally prove he is serious about the illegal alien crisis and this growing national security threat.
Casey Wian reports.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last time President Bush proposed new measures to solve the nation's illegal immigration crisis the result was disastrous.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Out of common sense and fairness our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling.
WIAN: Even more illegal aliens rushed across the border, hoping to take advantage of the president's proposed amnesty program. It went nowhere, and after nearly two years of pressure from border security advocates and the public, the president is finally beginning to talk about controlling the border.
BUSH: Step one is to secure the border. Step two is to have reasonable immigration policies.
WIAN: Next week will be the first presidential visit to the border since 2002. We asked border security advocates what they want President Bush to say.
IRA MEHLMAN, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: I think what most Americans would like to hear from the president is that he is serious about border control. He's serious about dealing with illegal immigration. And he's not going to deal with it by simply re- labeling all the people who are here as guest workers.
WIAN: Jim Gilchrist helped found the Minuteman Project and is now running for Congress.
JIM GILCHRIST, MINUTEMAN PROJECT: I would like to hear the president say, "Ladies and gentlemen, Americans, I have -- I have increased the funding for the United States border patrol by 500 percent effective this morning. I have also increased the funding for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, effective this morning, by 500 percent. I want these two law enforcement agencies to be able to simply carry out the enforcement of the laws for which they are charged and to bring this nation back under the rule of law and preserve us as a secure and safe America."
WIAN: There's a growing movement led by WeNeedAFence.com to build a fence along the entire border with Mexico.
COLIN HANNA, WENEEDAFENCE.COM: I'd like to see him propose at least a three element immigration reform package. One of which would be real border security including a physical barrier. We like to call it a fence. A second element would be serious interior enforcement and the third element would be employer sanctions. I think then you'd have a balanced approach which would really make a major impact on what is a growing problem.
WIAN: Hanna says any proposal by the president that doesn't include a fence will have a 2,000-mile hole.
WIAN: It's unlikely that border security advocates will hear everything they want from the president, but it's clear the White House has heard their concerns and may for a change propose solutions that don't make the illegal immigration crisis worse -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right, Casey, Wian. Thank you, Casey.
Turning now to Iraq, the Pentagon today announced that a U.S. soldier died near Baghdad Thanksgiving Day. The soldier, who was not identified, was killed in an M-1 Abrams tank crash just south of the Iraqi capital. The soldier was assigned to Task Force Baghdad.
Two thousand one hundred and five U.S. troops have now died in Iraq since thing beginning of the war.
Also today a little known Sunni group took responsibility for Thursday's car bombing in Hilla, Iraq, that killed 11 people. The groups say the attack came as retaliation for the death of a Sunni tribal leader earlier in the week. Hilla is a town with a predominantly Shiite population.
And in Iraq's Anbar province tonight, resident say Iraqi insurgent groups are considering reaching out to Iraqi leaders and talking peace. Four groups are said to be ready to talk, but not Iraq's most feared terror organization, al Qaeda in Iraq.
Anbar province borders Syria. It is the area of Iraq where the insurgency is the strongest. Marines have launched major offenses to rout out insurgents there this year.
Iraq tonight is bracing for another key security test when the trial of Saddam Hussein resumes Monday. The first witnesses are expected to be called. Saddam's very life hangs in the balance and perhaps even the future of Iraq. Some say this trial should have been moved. Barbara Starr reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): as Saddam Hussein's trial resumes, with massive security precautions, there are questions about whether it should even be held in Iraq at all. Some analysts say the trial should have been at the international criminal court at The Hague so it would have been a truly international effort.
THOMAS P.R. BARNETT, AUTHOR, "BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION": Ultimately what we're trying to justify here and what we're trying to create or build is a case law for the advanced countries of the world to come together and decide under what conditions a politically bankrupt regime in the world needs to be taken down and its leaders processed for war crimes.
STARR: But the decision to try Saddam inside Iraq was part of an effort to show him to the Iraqi people as a deposed dictator, charged with crimes against humanity. And equally important, show that the new Iraqi judicial system could handle the challenge.
COL. DOUGLAS MACGREGOR (RET.), AUTHOR, "TRANSFORMATION UNDER FIRE": Ideally one would like to see justice administered by the people who suffered most at his hands that would be the people inside Iraq.
STARR: Security for the trial will remain a paramount concern as witnesses are set to begin testifying. Two of Saddam's lawyers already have been murdered, another wounded in targeted assassinations.
STARR: The new session on Monday will focus on testimony that Saddam ordered the murder of 148 men back in 1982 after an assassination attempt on him -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right. Thank you, Barbara. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
The United Nations and Syria today announced a breakthrough in the Rafik Hariri assassination probe. Syria agreed to let U.N. investigators question five top officials in that investigation.
The breakthrough came when Syria received assurances that its sovereignty and the rights of its officials would be respected.
The U.N. has implicated Syria and Lebanese security official of helping plot Hariri's murder. But Syria denies any involvement.
Rafik Hariri was a former Lebanese prime minister killed in a bombing in February. He was a leading opponent of the Syrian occupation to Lebanon. In Cleveland, Ohio, today, federal authorities arrested an Islamic religious leader on terror charges. Officials say Imam Fawaz Damra resided in the United States illegally, lied about his ties to terrorist groups.
They say he's been actively involved in supporting terrorists and their organizations. And U.S. immigration officials say they will begin deportation proceedings against him immediately.
Imam Damra is the spiritual leader of Ohio's largest mosque.
Still ahead tonight, the bargain hunters who shopped till they literally dropped. Black Friday turns into black and blue Friday. A post Thanksgiving shopping smackdown next.
Plus fears of a counterfeit Christmas. Cheap Chinese knockoffs could be under your tree without you even knowing about it.
And conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter will be my guest on the president's post-Thanksgiving political challenge.
ROMANS: Shoppers once again this year lined up by the thousands as the official holiday shopping season began. The frenzy -- and it was a frenzy -- to pick up the best bargains turned violent in at least one community.
At this Wal-Mart in Orlando, Florida, a man was wrestled to the ground after he allegedly cut in line trying to buy a discounted laptop computer. Store security had to break up the fight.
At another Wal-Mart, this one in Michigan, a few shoppers were trampled as the doors opened for business. Some fellow shoppers tried to rescue those on the ground but most ran around them.
And checking out at the registers became a challenge for others as people shouted and shoved their way to the very front of the line. You may wonder if it's really worth all of that chaos.
Joining us for more on that is Mary Snow, who's been in middle of the shopping mania today at Macy's flagship store here in midtown, Manhattan. Mary, hopefully, a little more manners today where you are. How's it going?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Christine, we didn't witness any brawls, but certainly there were bargains. Bargains to the tune, the fact that Macy's counted 1,000 people waiting in line when it opens its door this is morning at 6 a.m.
You know stores like Macy's face such stiff competition with discounters with the likes of Wal-Mart, saying it would match competitors' prices that many stores like Macy's offered incentives. Macy's, for the first time, offered $1 million in gift cards for early shoppers. Retailers overall are worried about consumers having to spend a lot of money at the gas pumps and also home heating bills, so that's why they've been going along with all these incentives to try to attract consumers.
Now with the bargains, though, come the backlash, and the buy nothing movement. The self-proclaimed Church of Stop Shopping took its crusades to the streets of New York here today. Its message is that consumerism has gotten out of hand. But judging by the crowds, Christine, that message today fell on deaf ears.
ROMANS: All right. Mary Snow in midtown, Manhattan. Thank you very much, Mary.
So that brings us to our poll tonight. We want you to tell us would you knock someone to the ground for, A, a $400 laptop; B, a flat screen TV; c, an Xbox 360; D, all of the above; or E, none of the above. Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll bring you the results later in the broadcast.
Many of the gifts given this holiday season will not be from many of the popular U.S. retailers, even though they may appear to be made in the USA. Billions of dollars worth of counterfeit goods from China continue to flood into this country.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On New York's Canal Street rows of designer handbags, from Louis Vuitton to Kate Spade. They're knockoffs, fakes, counterfeit goods that may end up as holiday gifts, but they are hurting the U.S. economy.
JON DUDAS, UNDER SECRETARY OF COMMERCE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES: Counterfeiting is a tremendous problem. Estimated U.S. losses are $250 billion a year. It also affects jobs. Up to 750,000 jobs a year lost.
SYLVESTER: The phony products, including clothes from The Gap, video games and watches, come mainly from China.
This La Coste shirt retails in the United States for $65 and up. The Chinese version, $7.
Before you think you're getting a holiday bargain, consider the safety risk, especially with toys.
DUDAS: Found exploding cell phone batteries. There was a case in Texas where the U.L., Underwriters Laboratory, label was counterfeited. And the electrical cords to which they were attached burst into flames.
SYLVESTER: U.S. business leaders have been urging the federal government to pressure China to enforce intellectual property rights laws. The president of the Motion Picture Association of America at a congressional hearing this week.
DAN GLICKMAN, MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA: We estimate the piracy rate exceeds 90 percent. That is, over 90 percent of the DVDs sold in China are fake.
SYLVESTER: Last month the Bush administration requested through the World Trade Organization that China submit in writing what changes it's making to its legal system to deal with the growing problem. If China fails to act, the federal government may bring a formal case.
Senator Tom Coburn believes Congress needs to take a tough stand against China.
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: We have the right to place countervailing duties on China if they are undermining our national security. And when you totally ignore our intellectual properties, you in the long run undermine our national security.
SYLVESTER: Republican Senator Tom Coburn supports an amendment, sponsored by senators Graham and Schumer, that would slap an across the board tariff on good coming in from China. He says it would level the playing field and get China's attention. So maybe the political will finally will be there to enforce intellectual property rights laws -- Christine.
ROMANS: A purse or a watch is one thing. But isn't there also a growing problem with counterfeit phony drugs, pharmaceuticals, as well?
SYLVESTER: That is true, Christine. In fact, just about anything that can be reengineered is being copied in China, including, as you mentioned, prescription medicine.
A new report by the U.S. Center for Medicines in the Public Interest expects counterfeit pharmaceuticals to increase 92 percent over the next five years. Pretty amazing stuff, Christine.
ROMANS: Incredible. All right. Lisa Sylvester. Thank you, Lisa.
The United States may soon make it more difficult for Chinese and other foreign nationals to conduct high level research in this country. According to "The Financial Times," the new rules are aimed at preventing espionage, especially from China.
Intelligence officials worry that China could be using some of its more than 150,000 students in the U.S. to spy on behalf of Beijing. The new rules are being opposed by some universities, which say they would no longer be able to attract the brightest minds in the world.
Just ahead, former FEMA director Michael Brown launches a new company. We'll tell you why his new career path my surprise you. And later I'll be talking with conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter. She says the Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
ROMANS: Former FEMA director Michael Brown, forced to resign after the botched federal response to Hurricane Katrina, is planning his comeback. Brown is opening a consulting firm to advise clients on, you guessed it, emergency response planning.
Joe Johns reports.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was the face of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, blamed for many failures, perhaps even vilified, but Michael Brown was always defiant of his critics and willing to pass the buck.
MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR: My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional.
JOHNS: Now a published report says he wants to cash in on his experience. He's setting himself up as a consultant with offices in Washington, D.C. And the Denver area, according to "The Rocky Mountain News," which quotes him as saying, "Look, Hurricane Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there's an incredible need for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness is. So if I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses -- because that goes straight to the bottom line -- then I hope I can help the country in some way."
In a way, the former FEMA director is just doing what comes naturally for specialized top level former employees of the government. Former FEMA directors James Lee Witt and Joe Albaugh both basically did the same thing.
People we spoke with in the preparedness consultant business wouldn't go on camera today but did say Michael Brown's record could certainly set him apart from the others, especially because he was raked over the coals by members of Congress.
REP. JOHN DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: Mr. Brown was regrettably an administrator or an officer or the head of an Arabian Horse Association, hardly qualifying him to address the kind of problems he's looking at now.
JOHNS: Still experts say a guy like Brown might make money as an emergency preparedness consultant because he knows the system and the people in power in Washington right now. Private companies might want to hire him to help them deal with the federal bureaucracy that he recently left.
(END VIDEOTAPE) JOHNS: That is the very same federal bureaucracy that Michael Brown has been critical of recently. We tried to reach him on the phone to talk about this new career move. So far unsuccessful -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right, Joe Johns. Thanks very much, Joe.
Coming up, Ann Coulter's always candid commentary on the war, Democrats, immigration crisis and a great deal more, next.
And the battle over Wal-Mart. Two new documentaries with very different views on the world's largest retailer. We'll hear from the film makers coming up.
ROMANS: Congress is in recess next week, but at home and in the nation's capital the battle over the withdrawal of our troops in Iraq continues. Congressman John Murtha set off a firestorm last week with his call to bring the troops home.
My next guest says she's tired of the Democratic Party calling in old war veterans to do its dirty work. Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter joins me now.
Welcome to the program.
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "HOW TO TALK TO A LIBERAL (IF YOU MUST)": Thank you. Good to be here.
ROMANS: Maybe he is an old war veteran, but even a lot of the Republicans like him. They say that he was always a hawk. They trust him on defense issues.
COULTER: Yes, I'm not only tired of the Democrats. I'm tired of anyone to the left of Jeanne Schmidt at this point.
I mean, one sort of surprising thing, I mean, is you can win a bar bet on this. There are far more veterans in Congress who are Republicans than Democrats. I mean, you don't have that impression at all.
You would think that every veteran, because you always hear chicken hawk, chicken hawk, which is sort of an odd complaint. I mean, are they saying that only people who served or are active in the military now should -- should be able to have a say in the war? Because if so I'd sign onto that immediately.
ROMANS: What about the legitimacy of the debate? The debate about talking about time lines. It was not very long ago we were saying time lines weren't very nice. Wasn't nice to our guys there. Was only helpful to terrorists.
COULTER: Right. Well, I think this is -- I think this is a monumental development, this vote last Friday. I mean whether, of course, on principle you have a right to say timetables, war isn't going well, bring the troops home. Americans are against it.
Yes, in principle you have a right to say that. But there's no question. It's simply a fact that that is going to encourage the enemy and will demoralize our side.
Now we know from the vote last Friday the Democrats don't even believe it. They voted -- in the vote in the House was 403-3 against withdrawing the troops. So why do they keep saying it's not going well, bring the troops home, Americans have turned against it? I mean, you're down to the only rationale being that they want to demoralize our side and encourage the enemy.
ROMANS: Let me switch gears from Iraq for a moment, talk about the rest of the president's agenda. You have got Alito.
ROMANS: You are a champion, a fan of Alito. What do you think -- will he get the nomination? Will he be confirmed, and will -- will he make real changes that the right would like?
COULTER: Well, there's a limit to how much changing he can do. I mean, for example, the one issue, the only one the Democrats care about, Roe v. Wade, even if both Roberts and Alito vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, that's still just four votes. We don't know how Roberts is going to vote. Right now, it's only Scalia and Thomas. So it's going to be awhile before that happens.
But I do think, with the nomination hearing of Alito, we're going to see the Democrats tell the NARAL ladies to take a back seat. I don't think you're going to get a majority of the Senate, certainly, probably not even a majority of Democrats voting against Alito, which is going to upset the abortion -- pro-abortion fanatics.
ROMANS: You were not a fan of the Miers -- the Miers nomination. Why did the White House nominate Miers in the first place? And why did they nominate Alito right away?
COULTER: Why they nominated Miers, I would like a full bipartisan with subpoena power investigation of why they nominated Miers. No, I have no idea. Though I did say I wouldn't talk about it once he corrected the mistake.
ROMANS: He corrected the mistake.
COULTER: And he corrected it.
ROMANS: Do you think there was a little bit of -- I don't know, a lot of other things going on, maybe a White House leak case that maybe they were off their game?
COULTER: I do think -- I do think it's probably time for me to apologize for my attacks on Karl Rove. I mean, I think what you saw in that month was Karl Rove being taken out of the equation, because he was under criminal investigation. It's a serious matter even if there was never an indictment of him. I imagine that was rather distracting. So he at least has the excuse for not being responsible for Miers and perhaps I have been...
ROMANS: Is that an official apology?
ROMANS: We'll make you get down on your knees for that.
But which brings me to the CIA, Bob Woodward, Scooter Libby. Bob Woodward coming out this week and saying, "Listen, you know, I had a conversation, too." What does that do to the Libby case?
COULTER: I think it's a bombshell. It is huge. And I try to avoid talking too much about this case, because so much of it we don't know. Grand jury as we know from all the nonsense before we finally got this one little indictment of Scooter Libby.
But I don't think it helps the case against Libby. I think it hurts it significantly in two ways. One way is Libby's defense is the big perjury case he is claims he heard about Valerie Plame from Tim Russert. Tim Russert says he heard about it from Libby.
Part of what Libby said was, "Reporters all knew this. I wasn't revealing this to anyone. It was chatter among the reporters."
Well, now we at least know it's true one major reporter in Washington knew at the "Washington Post," and he was telling other reporters at the "Washington Post." That supports Libby to that extent.
And the other thing I think it shows is there is something to this argument which I assume Libby will make about old memories. You forget who told you what. There's so much confusion about who told Woodward what and who he told and what they said and how they responded. I think it helps Libby a lot.
ROMANS: Let me ask you quickly about the president's approval ratings, or his disapproval ratings, I guess, depending on which number you want to look at for a figure.
COULTER: I've heard they're not good.
ROMANS: Yes, they're not good. W at about his agenda, his strategy? I mean, he has got, you know, a couple more years left here, and he's got an agenda that includes, he says, border security and immigration reform. You know, can he get it done?
COULTER: I think probably the reason his numbers aren't so high is that he hasn't dealt with the border. So, yes, I think he can get a lot of popular things done if he does things people want like keep fighting the war on terrorism, pursue the course in Iraq, and actually shore up the border, you know, and maybe another tax cut. I'm sure he can get support for that.
ROMANS: Yes, I don't know. The border issue, though, I mean, there are some people even within his party who say that it's just -- at this point, it's just talk.
COULTER: Yes, I'm one of them.
ROMANS: Really? So we'll have to see if that talk really works into real immigration reform, thoughtful immigration reform. All right. Ann Coulter, we're out of time, but thank you so much for joining us.
COULTER: Thank you. Nice to see you again.
ROMANS: As shoppers flock to Wal-Mart and other big box retailers this holiday season, Wal-Mart's business practices the subject of two strikingly different documentaries. One film is called "Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price." It says Wal-Mart is a predatory retailer destroying American communities. Lou talked to the producer and director of the film, Robert Greenwald.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: The motivation for this film, you ran into somebody and what happened?
ROBERT GREENWALD, DIRECTOR, "HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE": It was a neighbor of mine who had just been hired. He got a job at Wal-Mart, and I congratulated him saying that's great, you'll be able to get health care benefits.
And he said well, no. And he explained. And I don't remember the precise words, but he basically said, it's too expensive and it's too difficult.
But, then he said to me, totally sweetly, but those nice managers are helping me fill out forms, so I can get state aid. And I said wait a minute, the state -- California, this is -- is going to pay for your health care, and you're working at Wal-Mart, a corporation that made $10 billion in profit?
DOBBS: How prevalent is that?
GREENWALD: Very, very prevalent. We have managers in the movie, between them 46 years working at Wal-Mart,. They tell story after story of doing it. This is systemic. This is not the rotten apple theory that Wal-Mart would try to convince us.
DOBBS: Let me read to you the Wal-Mart statement. We asked them for a statement in celebration of your appearance here this evening.
They said, "Mr. Greenwald's video is a one-sided, propaganda piece designed to advance a narrow special interest agenda. In the trailer alone, Greenwald makes three major errors in only three minutes.
"The fact is Wal-Mart saves working families hundreds and even thousands of dollars every year. We believe the positive experiences of the 100 million Americans who shop our stores every week speak volumes more than this video." How do you react?
GREENWALD: Well, it's pretty great that they can call a film that they haven't seen propaganda.
Number one, they've not seen it.
Number two, I asked Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, to be in the film. I asked him twice. He refused twice. Then I said I would publish all of his text on the ...
DOBBS: You and I, by the way, are in good company.
We have asked Lee Scott to join us on this broadcast. I have had -- as a matter of fact, I've had dinner with the man. But, he has never agreed to be on this broadcast.
GREENWALD: Well, maybe he'll have dinner with me if he won't be in the movie.
DOBBS: Well, I'd much prefer, candidly, that he be on the broadcast.
GREENWALD: But what we did, after he refused to be in the film, and he doesn't know this yet, and maybe tonight will be the time he'll find out, we used clips of Lee Scott, so he's become our narrator for the movie.
DOBBS: Well, as you look at this, I mean, what is your reaction to Wal-Mart? Because Wal-Mart, of course, talks about the fact that they have the lowest prices, they are baffo (ph). How do you respond to that?
GREENWALD: I spent a year, sevens day a week, literally, working on this film. And the stories I've heard, the personal stories, are really quite devastating.
It goes against everything that I believe, and I believe most Americans believe and care about. They're destroying families. They're destroying communities. They're destroying jobs.
They have a very serious problem because they have two huge groups that they're alienating: workers, and then families all around the country.
DOBBS: Now, the alienation, what bothers me, in point of fact here, is that Wal-Mart will not come on this broadcast and discuss these issues that we raise, which our particular focus and point of fact is on the well-being of the community, the well-being of the middle class of this country.
And there are some serious issues in terms of the Chinese products that they -- they're the third largest export market for China. What is the cultural -- what makes this culturally possible for Wal-Mart to succeed with the strategy that it employs? GREENWALD: Well, I think it's a culture that's based-- I mean, there's two issues. One is they do have a very good and efficient distribution system, but there's a culture sadly that says it's OK to get every nickel out of everybody. And at a certain point when you care about your country, you ask a question, when is it greed?
DOBBS: That's a question we're asking too.
GREENWALD: $100 billion the family has, the Walton family. $100 billion.
DOBBS: When is it greed is the question that is being asked all too often in this country daily.
Robert, we thank you very much for being here. We look forward to the film.
GREENWALD: Thank you.
ROMANS: Well, when we come back, we'll hear a very different perspective on the Wal-Mart debate. The director of a new documentary will explain why he says Wal-Mart works.
And heroes tonight. One of the servicemen we featured in our weekly tribute, he found a hero of his own. We'll talk with a former Army specialist and the man who changed his life.
ROMANS: Right before the break, we gave you the negative side of the Wal-Mart debate. Now a completely different take on the Wal-Mart business model. Lou talked to the director of the new documentary "Why Wal-Mart Works And Why That Makes Some People Crazy."
DOBBS: Joining me now the director of "Why Wal-Mart Works," Ron Galloway.
Ron, good to have you here.
RON GALLOWAY, DIRECTOR, "WHY WAL-MART WORKS": Good to see you, Lou.
DOBBS: Wal-Mart's got to be excited. One fellow steps up to defend the world's largest retailer.
GALLOWAY: If they're excited they're not showing it because they have announced publicly through the AP that they're not carrying my film. Now, they cooperated with me in a limited sense in giving me access to the stores, but that's where my cooperation with them stopped.
DOBBS: I understand that you're an entrepreneur. You're a man who's taken by the logistics side of Wal-Mart. And we're not going to get into logistics here, if you don't mind.
GALLOWAY: Oh, please.
DOBBS: We'll stipulate that Wal-Mart is brilliant ...
DOBBS: ... in its operations, its logistical operations, certainly. But at the same time, you're defending a company.
GALLOWAY: Occasionally, lately I feel like I'm out here defending the indefensible. Wal-Mart on a logistics level works great. At the store level they work great.
At the executive level and the middle it's almost like watching Inspector Clouseau sometimes. I'm stuck in the awkward position of defending a corporation at a time when a lot of strange things seem to be happening in that corporation.
DOBBS: Strange things and here is the third largest export market for China. They're sucking cheap imports into this country, driving businesses ...
GALLOWAY: No, you're right.
DOBBS: And by the way, I want to say hi to the Wal-Mart war room.
Ron, wave into the camera. Wave into the camera. The Wal-Mart war room is here to protect the institution, that's understandable. We just want to be sure we say hi.
GALLOWAY: The China issue is interesting on a couple of fronts. One, it's obviously good for the American consumer. They get lower prices. It's good for the Chinese worker who maybe comes in from the country earning $40 a month and gets a pay raise to $120. Now, what you're about to say the American worker. There's been no solution for them because of these Chinese imports.
DOBBS: And because of those imports, because of a trade policy that is absolutely mindless on the part of this country, Wal-Mart, other institutions exploiting it. I'm glad to hear you say you have some qualms here.
GALLOWAY: I mean, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I think Wal-Mart recognized early on, earlier than most on, the advantages of doing business with China, but it has severe repercussions for some here at home. However, it does drive lower prices to consumers.
DOBBS: And that it does indeed and wages. We can get into that the next time.
DOBBS: Ron, Galloway, good luck with your documentary. We thank you for being here.
GALLOWAY: Thank you, sir.
DOBBS: We'll talk more, I'm sure, about this, as you defend this little company called Wal-Mart. Thank you, Ron Galloway.
ROMANS: Two views on Wal-Mart, two new films. That was Lou talking to Ron Galloway, the director of "Why Wal-Mart Works," a film that made its debut last week.
OK, a reminder now to vote in tonight's poll on the holiday shopping frenzy across the country today. Listen carefully. Would you knock someone to the ground for: A, a $400 laptop, B, a flat- screen TV, C, an Xbox 360, D, all of the above, or E, none of the above. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll bring you the results in just a few minutes.
Just ahead, we'll revisit one of our heroes, a soldier whose life was changed forever in Iraq. But now thanks to a guardian angel, he's fulfilling another one of his dreams.
And later, a firsthand account from the front lines. Former CNN reporter Walt Rodgers reflects with his time in Iraq with the army's 7th Cavalry.
ROMANS: In "Heroes" tonight we're following up on a story we first brought you more than a year ago. Back then Army Specialist Carl Covington could barely walk. A roadside bomb attack in Iraq nearly destroyed both of his legs.
Today, Covington is studying to be an architect. After someone who saw his story on our broadcast decided to help change his life forever. Bill Tucker has the story.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carl Covington walks the campus at Carnegie Mellon University almost effortlessly on his way to a first year architecture class. Now medically retired, the army specialist just stopped using a cane in April. Not many of his fellow classmates are even aware that his right knee was shattered and left calf is missing, after a roadside bomb exploded while he was doing a tour in Iraq.
SPEC. CARL COVINGTON, U.S. ARMY (RET): Sometimes you get the urges that you feel like you are a regular person. But once you get out there, your body gives you a check. Nope, you're not doing this today.
TUCKER: He's here, thanks to Carnegie Mellon professor and long- time architect Arthur Lubetz, who just happened to be watching LOU DOBBS TONIGHT when we profiled Covington, who mentioned he wanted to be an architect.
ARTHUR LUBETZ, PROFESSOR, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY: When I saw him, I was taken by the fact that he had been through a lot, you know, a lot of operations and had both of his legs destroyed somewhat, and he wasn't going to let that bother him. He wasn't going to let it change the course of his life.
TUCKER: The architect was so taken by Covington that he tracked him down in California where he was recuperating at home and asked him if he would like to study at Carnegie Mellon.
COVINGTON: It was like a dream come true. I didn't know what to say. It's like somebody just gave me a million dollars and said, "be really interested in pursuing your dream. I'll make it happen for you."
TUCKER: The school agreed to take him on as a special student. He gets mentored and is advised and is on a six, rather than a five- year program.
COVINGTON: Every day is a challenge, not only because I'm older than anybody else, but I have my learning scale is at a totally different level than theirs. I'm not used to doing mathematics and reading and writing papers. I'm used to going to work every day, getting a job done.
TUCKER: Iraq is never far from his mind.
COVINGTON: I think about Iraq a lot. Mostly every day when I wake up and look at myself in the mirror and I look at all the scars I have on my body. Then when I get e-mails from my friends who are about to go back over there in a couple of months. So, I feel I hold a duty to them to succeed here, because I represent all of them in a way.
TUCKER: And Lubetz feels a duty, as well.
LUBETZ: I'm surprised that some other people didn't think to make the same offer to him and I'm surprised that more people aren't offering to help a lot of these young kids that are -- I mean, no matter what your view of the war, these kids had nothing to do with it. It seems to me that they deserve some -- at least a hand to get through life.
TUCKER: Bill Tucker, CNN.
ROMANS: Joining me now from Pittsburgh is Carl Covington and here in New York, Carnegie Mellon professor Arthur Lubetz. Thank you both for joining me here tonight.
Professor, I want to start with you first, because you said it was this young man's positive attitude that really struck you when you saw our story. It must have struck you so deeply to get on the phone, to track him down, and to try to help him get this architecture education underway.
LUBETZ: Well, I really was impressed by the fact that he was -- he didn't seem to have -- want to let this bother him. It wasn't going to interrupt his life or what he wanted to do, and it reminded me of some of the problems that I had, where I just decided I was just going to go forward, also.
ROMANS: It was a really specific goal he had. He said he wanted to study architecture. That must have struck you, as a long-time architect.
LUBETZ: Yes, it did. He has a very self-assuredness that impressed me, too. Not arrogance, but self-assuredness. And you have to be self-assured to be an architect because when you put a building together, it's not for today, it's for the future.
Frank Lloyd Wright said that an architect has to be a prophet. He has to see 10 years in advance. And in order to do that, you have to be pretty self-assured about what you're doing.
ROMANS: Carl, how did it make you feel when you were out in California, and you were recovering from these massive injuries from a roadside bomb, trying to figure out what to do next, and you get this call saying, "oh, that dream of architecture? You know, there's someone here who wants to help you follow it."
COVINGTON: I really couldn't believe it. It was this -- it was like someone answered my prayers. I was finally able to do what I wanted to do when I first joined the army, that was go to college.
ROMANS: Give me a little sense of what it is like for you now. How classes are going, how you're making the transition? You're on a six-year program and you've got special tutoring so that you can make the transition from the military back into academics.
COVINGTON: I love it because it lets me -- it's just self- assuring that I'm going to be successful, that I'm not doing this on my own. I have my family, and I have my friends here in Pittsburgh and back in California helping me out.
And that I'm actually going to be able to do my dream, become an architect, create stuff. I'm actually going to be able to do everything that I want to do when I signed that dotted line four and a half years ago when I joined the army.
ROMANS: Something that the professor said in the piece, Carl, is that he's surprised that more people don't do this. Most people -- most people don't, frankly. I mean this is a pretty singular gentlemen here who helped you out in a singular university, frankly, for doing the same.
Give me a sense, I guess this day after Thanksgiving about your gratitude. Anything you want to say to him?
COVINGTON: Well, I say thanks to him every time I talk to him. You're right, no -- people really don't like hand out dreams to people anymore. And I'm really surprised at that, too. But when he did to me, I jumped on it. And I'm eternally grateful and that's one of the main things I was on Thanksgiving, was eternally grateful that Art gave me the opportunity to go to Carnegie Mellon.
LUBETZ: I'd like to make one thing clear. You know, I didn't do this myself. The head of the school, Laura Lee, I talked to her the day after I saw this on television, and she was very much in favor of this. And...
ROMANS: A team effort.
LUBETZ: There are a lot of people at Carnegie Mellon that came on board to do this.
ROMANS: All right.
LUBETZ: And I'm really happy that it happened, because everybody loves him.
ROMANS: Carl Covington, thank you so much for joining us. Arthur Lubetz, thank you, both of you. Best of luck to you. What a great story.
Still ahead, a moving firsthand account of the war in Iraq from a distinguished veteran journalist who is on the front lines with the 7th Cavalry.
ROMANS: When U.S. troops first moved into Iraq, one of the most compelling images from the television coverage was CNN's Walt Rodgers, embedded with the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry. Two and a half years later, he's written a book about his experience on the front lines. I asked Walt why he's decided to write "Sleeping With Custer."
WALTER RODGERS, AUTHOR, "SLEEPING WITH CUSTER": Because there were some very fine American soldiers, who in the initial stages of this war fought brilliantly, and I thought their story should be told.
Someone had to tell it, and because I had the privilege of serving with those soldiers as an embedded reporter, there was so much to tell during the war that we couldn't tell and particularly during the more intense moments of firefights and ambushes. We just couldn't force that stuff through the window and on the air, that I wanted to write their experience down.
ROMANS: Talk about the intensity of that experience. You say in the beginning they were cautious of you as an embed. It was kind of a new thing. And then you had to kind of win their trust.
RODGERS: The soldiers were wonderful. And this was Apache troop, U.S. Army 7th Cavalry. They were wary of us as all soldiers, military people generally are, and rightfully so, of reporters. So they didn't have much to do with us. For the first 72 hours of the fighting on the way to Baghdad, they didn't pay any attention to us.
But their folks were watching CNN back at home and messaging them, and getting the satellite phone calls to them. And they said, hey, we saw you on television. So then they would be curious at us.
But by the end of the war, after we went through so much firefights and engagements with the 7th Cavalry soldiers, they sort of adopted us as their mascot, and they looked back, those crazy guys are still behind us. And then they start, you know, protecting us, and anybody come after our vehicle, they would knock them out with their tanks and Bradleys.
ROMANS: It must have been remarkable to be broadcasting at this time too. Some of the most intense moments I suppose you couldn't broadcast because you were trying to stay alive.
RODGERS: That's absolutely true. There were times -- you can't do a broadcast at night. Because when we're going down a road and there are Iraqis trying to kill us on both sides of the road, and the RPGs and mortars and heavy machine guns are coming in, you have got 500 or 600 Iraqis charging on either side of the road, what you're basically trying to do is stay alive.
There's some wonderful stories in the book. I remember one night, we were in this terrible firefight, we were stalled, and so my cameraman, Charlie Miller and I, got outside the humvee and we were just standing there. And what we didn't realize was that there was an Iraqi stalking us about 30 yards away right in the ditch. And he was about to open up on us.
And there was a wonderful American soldier in the tank ahead of me, Mercutio Posey (ph), and he pulled out his -- he saw him coming, because he had night-vision goggles, and he swung his machine gun around and just cut the guy down, and literally saved our lives like that. Posey (ph) got a Bronze Star for the war, but I always thought he should get a Congressional Medal of Honor for saving my life.
ROMANS: Unbelievable. At the same time, critics now are drawing all these parallels with Vietnam, and critics are saying we, the United States, went to war on some -- maybe a faulty premise. What do you in hindsight think about the foundations for this war?
RODGERS: Well, we were told, as you said, there were weapons of mass destruction. It turns out there weren't any. We were told afterwards a new rationale, which came out of the administration, which was that this war was somehow linked to the 9/11 attacks and al Qaeda. Now, there's been not a scintilla of evidence for that.
I don't know what the ultimate reason will be for the war, but the parallels with Vietnam, if I could address that for a second...
RODGERS: ... don't overdraw on those. I covered Vietnam -- albeit from the States, I covered all the Senate hearings and the demonstrations on the street. I think the closest parallel to Vietnam is that we saw the intelligence skewed as a rationale for the war, the weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be not true.
ROMANS: And the idea of democracy is something completely foreign?
RODGERS: It is. It's -- remember, democracy didn't just evolve in the United States. It started (INAUDIBLE) with Magna Carta in the 13th century. And you can't just graft democracy as if it were a peach tree branch onto a pine tree. Democracy is a cultural thing. And I had Muslims tell me, look, we don't want your democracy. We have a perfect law as it is, the Sharia, Muslim law. We don't need Western cultural arrogance imposed on us.
So the jury is still out in Iraq certainly as to whether -- as to whether democracy will work there, or even if it is wanted. And if it is democracy, one of the crucial tenets of democracy is separation of church and state. No one is going that far, and so if you don't have separation of church and state in an Islamic country, is it a democracy?
ROMANS: Let's talk about the mistakes in war planning then, I guess, because in the beginning of March of 2003, the men and women you were with, in the desert, thought they were going to be greeted as liberators. And you have been back since, and that's not exactly what happened.
RODGERS: Well, that was because of the intelligence that these soldiers received from the Pentagon. I remember Clay Lyle (ph), the captain of Apache troop, standing on his tank the night that the invasion was launched, and he said, very clearly, and I hoped this was true, that the U.S. soldiers would be welcomed as liberators and that the Iraqi people would rise up.
Well, in part that was true. They certainly didn't fight to support Saddam Hussein. But they didn't welcome the Americans with open arms, and to be quite truthful, what the Iraqis did when the American troops came in, the first thing they did was start looting.
ROMANS: Is it a disservice to the American men and women who are there right now to be talking about timelines and withdrawal and when can we get out, given the sacrifice of over 2,000 people right now? I mean, where do you stand in your experience on that issue?
RODGERS: You know, I think probably President Bush is right on this. You cannot announce a timeline. But the question is, how did we find ourselves in a position where we had no exit strategy? But the president's right, there's a -- we're involved in something much greater than we originally perceived.
We didn't really see Iraq going in as the centerpiece, as the president now calls it, of the war on terror. But the United States is in there and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has said, the leader of the insurgents there, he says, we have the Americans where they want them. If they stay, we will bleed them to death. If they leave, we've defeated and humiliated them. How did we get ourselves into that position?
The president, I fear is right, you can't cut and run here, because this is just one theater in the greater war on terror.
ROMANS: And the perception of the United States in the meantime?
RODGERS: Sadly, I've been a foreign correspondent for 25 years, and I've never seen it so low. The Americans are probably the most hated people in the world now. People who come here now from third and fourth world countries as immigrants come only for the economic advantages, not because they believe in the 19th and early 20th century American ideal. We are disliked. Can't blame that all on the president, but it has gotten worse in this administration.
ROMANS: Walter Rodgers. The book is "Sleeping With Custer and the 7th Cavalry." Thank you so much for joining us. Walt Rodgers.
RODGERS: Thank you, Christine.
ROMANS: The results now of our poll tonight. Eighty-nine percent of you took the high road. You said you wouldn't knock anyone down for any of the above.
Thanks for being with us tonight. Good night from New York. Ali Velshi is in THE SITUATION ROOM. Hi, Ali.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com