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War on Middle Class; Bolivian Government Nationalizes Energy Assets

Aired May 2, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, gasoline prices are soaring across the nation. The war on the middle class is escalating, and neither the White House nor the Congress appear to have immediate solutions.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Tuesday, May 2nd.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Tonight, lawmakers on Capitol Hill appear to be powerless in the face of rising anger about soaring gasoline prices. The Republican leadership is deeply split as oil prices rise and gasoline prices continue to rise as well.

A Senate Republican proposal to give drivers a $100 check to offset those higher gasoline prices is losing support tonight on Capitol Hill. But no one in the White House nor the Congress seems to have any solutions as to what is part of an outright war on our middle class.

Dana Bash reports on the lawmakers' failures to tackle our energy crisis effectively, and Bill Schneider reports on a Bush presidency that is looking weaker and looking as though the second term of Bush's presidency may be devoid of policy successes.

We turn first to Dana Bash -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, last week, Senate Republican leaders thought they could win praise from consumers by trying to put $100 in their pockets to help pay for soaring gas prices. Well, that appears to have had the opposite effect, and now the proposal seems all but dead.


BASH (voice-over): Just five days after Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist proposed a $100 rebate as one answer to high gas prices, Senate Republicans are already planning to drop the idea after it fell like a brick with the public and within their own party.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I think it's a silly idea. In a word. And I think most people recognize that it's not a serious response to what is a real crisis. BASH: Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn says his constituents have been calling, complaining the $100 rebate is nothing more than an election year gimmick.

CORNYN: It may be a tank and a half worth of gas in an SUV in Texas.

BASH: And across the capital, House Majority Leader John Boehner called the rebate "insulting". The idea, designed to calm public outrage over gas prices, only further inflamed it. Across the country, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, blogs all calling a $100 rebate pointless. Democrats were quick to jump on the GOP misfire.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: The hundred dollar rebate was dead before it was offered. It was ridiculous.

BASH: Senator Rick Santorum, one of the only Republicans standing by the rebate, points out it was just one of several proposals in a multi-part plan.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: It wasn't intended to do anything to increase the supply or reduce demand. It was a way of trying to provide some help, some temporary help at a time of gas price spikes this summer -- this summer driving season.

BASH: But GOP leadership aides concede to CNN it was a mistake, rushed out amid the election year frenzy, especially after Democrats proposed suspending the gas tax.

As Senate Republicans scrambled to regroup, House Speaker Dennis Hastert put out word he was meeting with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to press the oil executive about soaring gas prices. Afterwards, Tillerson told CNN he can't do much and consumers must conserve.

REX TILLERSON, EXXONMOBIL CEO: There's not anything that can be done that's going to change this situation overnight. It's all about supply and demand fundamentals. And the only thing that can be done is people need to try to use energy efficiently.


BASH: Tillerson did say that ExxonMobil is investing $20 billion over the next five years to address the lack of energy supply, but he did stress several times that "demand," he thinks, is the biggest problem -- Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much.

Dana Bash.

President Bush is paying a heavy political price for his failure to control gasoline prices and to succeed in a host of other policy areas. Two new polls by CBS News and "USA Today"-Gallup poll show the president's approval ratings have fallen to the lowest levels of his presidency. Bill Schneider reports.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): Most Americans now live in suburbs. Their whole way of life is based on affordable gas. Take that away, and the middle class feels threatened and angry.

President Bush's job approval is down to 33 percent in the latest CBS News poll. His approval rating on gas prices, 17 percent, his worst issue. Is that fair?

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: What we need to do here, instead of pointing fingers and demagoguing the issue, is to understand economics and appreciate where the real problem is.

SCHNEIDER: Which is where?

KYL: Why has crude oil price gone up? Because the demand has exceeded the supply.

SCHNEIDER: So what's the solution?

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: We need to increase domestic supply, supply right here at home.

SCHNEIDER: Talking about supply and demand gets you an "A" in economics and an "F" in politics, because Americans do not see the sudden rise in gas prices as some kind of natural disaster, like a hurricane.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Isn't it curious as you drive around your hometown that all the prices on all the pumps seem to go up at the same time and come down at the same time?

SCHNEIDER: The public's instinctive reaction is that somebody's up to no good. They see evidence of that.

SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN (D), NEW MEXICO: Consumers are confused and angry as to why these prices are occurring now. Their anger is stoked by reports of the high salaries and retirement packages being handed out to executives.

SCHNEIDER: Somebody's to blame. Democrats seem to get that. Republicans don't.

Maybe people think because Republicans get more money from business. Maybe because the president and vice president are oil men. Whatever. But when the public is asked which party is more likely to see to it that gas prices are low, they pick the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by better than two to one.


SCHNEIDER: Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster. Gas prices are an unnatural disaster, which is why the issue of gas prices has a much sharper political edge -- Lou.

DOBBS: Bill, thank you very much.

Bill Schneider from Washington.

Those soaring gasoline prices are forcing drivers out of SUVs. Ford Motor Company today reported sales of SUVs and minivans plummeted last month and sales of lighter, fuel-efficient cars rose. GM and Chrysler also reporting lower sales of those fuel-hungry SUVs and pickup trucks.

Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, who admits high gasoline prices constitute a crisis, today failed to convince Saudi Arabia to sell additional oil at a discounted price. One reason may be that communist China beat the United States to Saudi Arabia and is trying to buy large quantities of Saudi oil.

Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Saudi Arabia last month to raise China's oil supplies. China the world's second larger oil consumer afternoon the United States.

Leftist governments in Latin America are seizing control of vital energy resources. Venezuela has expelled two foreign oil companies and sharply raised taxes on others. Now Bolivian President Evo Morales has ordered his army to occupy the country's oil refineries and natural gas fields. Morales is telling foreign oil companies that they must work with Bolivia's state-owned energy company or be forced to leave.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The sign says "Nationalized Property of the People of Bolivia." Evo Morales, the leftist president of Bolivia, ordered foreign energy companies out of the country in six months if they don't sell their oil to the Bolivian government.

PRES. EVO MORALES, BOLIVIA (through translator): It is the end of the looting of our natural resources by multinational oil companies.

PILGRIM: All across Latin America, leftist-leaning governments are squeezing foreign investors. Bonding together, Bolivia's Morales met in Cuba last weekend with Fidel Castro and Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, to work out oil deals. Venezuela's Chavez is talking about demanding more cash from foreign investors. ExxonMobil has half ownership in Venezuela's Cerro Negro oil project and says they are watching developments carefully.

DAVID WYSS, STANDARD & POORS: It's a sign that other countries are following the lead of President Chavez down in Venezuela that they don't quite see why Americans should get all those big, nice, hefty profits now that oil prices are high. PILGRIM: In addition to Venezuela, Ecuador just approved new oil taxes on foreign investors and has elections in October. Peru's lead candidate is running on a nationalistic platform, and Brazil's leftist president, Lula, faces elections this year.

CHRISTOPHER GARMAN, EURASIA GROUP: We have seen the election of some leftist administrations that are starting to squeeze the terms for foreign investors, and in Bolivia's case, an outright nationalization. I would say Bolivia is an extreme case, but we do see a slight deterioration of conditions for foreign investors in other Andean countries.

PILGRIM: Mexico's oil industry has been state run for years, and one of the leading candidates in upcoming elections there Lopez Obrador, favors keeping it that way.


PILGRIM: In some cases, countries simply nationalize the oil industry, or they let the foreign companies stay, but then heavily tax them and increase the royalties, which the companies will eventually be forced to pass on to their consumer. Now, Lou, these countries are trying to protect their own interests at the expense of U.S. interests.

DOBBS: And the United states, its strategy and response?

PILGRIM: There was -- they're keeping their eye on it. That was from the State Department today.

DOBBS: The good old U.S. State Department.

Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

Still ahead here, the illegal alien lobby says you haven't seen anything yet, announcing new plans for more protests nationwide. Are left-wing radical groups trying to hijack the pro-amnesty agenda? We'll have a special report for you.

And among my guests tonight, one of the pro-amnesty movement's top organizers who says her goal is nothing less than "a new America."

And three of the country's top radio talk show hosts join us here tonight. Mark Simone here in New York, Stephanie Miller in Los Angeles, Martha Zoller from Atlanta.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The illegal alien lobby is planning massive new protests after yesterday's boycotts and demonstrations all around the country. As many as one million people took part in yesterday's protests and boycott, demanding amnesty for all illegal aliens in the United States.

Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Organizers of the May Day economic boycott now have a big problem on their hands. What next? The Associated Press estimates just over a million people participated in the marches. Despite that turnout, organizers don't have any firm plans for follow-up actions.

JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, MARCH 25TH COALITION: It could be a walk all the way up to Washington, with a million or two million people. It could be another boycott. It could be a series of meetings with organizations, human rights organizations throughout the planet.

WIAN: Some organizers want to wait to see if Congress passes an immigration reform bill that fits their unconditional amnesty agenda. Others want to march on Washington, D.C. , as soon as May 19th, when the Senate is likely to be debating immigration reform and border security.

Activists are also considering marches on two later dates heavy with symbolism, the Fourth of July and Columbus Day. And some are already claiming victory, saying the boycotts have effectively killed the House border security bill sponsored by Congressman James Sensenbrenner.

CHUNG-WHA HONG, NY IMMIGRATION COALITION: There's been a big shift in the debate. We are not -- we are no longer talking about immigration reform within a criminalization framework as Sensenbrenner did.

WIAN: One boycott leader even says border security activists are now running scared. That may be false vibrato, because amnesty opponents, including the Minuteman Project, are about to lead a nationwide protest of their own starting Wednesday in Los Angeles.

They plan a 13-city, cross-country caravan to the Capitol, including a stop in President Bush's hometown of Crawford, Texas, for a rally this Saturday. They are demanding strict enforcement of immigration laws.

One slogan heard often at Monday's "Great American Boycott" is, "Today we march, tomorrow we vote." Clearly, protesters want more than amnesty. They are demanding what they call the whole enchilada, citizenship for illegal aliens.


WIAN: For now, march organizers are regrouping, saying the next move is up to Congress and President Bush -- Lou.

DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much.

Casey Wian, here in New York.

Good to have you here. WIAN: Thanks.

DOBBS: That brings us to our poll question tonight. The question, do you believe these boycotts and demonstrations will create support for illegal alien amnesty or do you believe it will create a greater demand for border security?

Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up here later in the broadcast.

Tonight, political groups with radical leftist agendas are infiltrating the illegal alien amnesty movement and in some cases taking leadership rolls. It is no accident that illegal aliens and their supporters chose May 1st to try their largely unsuccessful plan to shut down several U.S. cities with their boycott.

Lisa Sylvester reports.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There are the symbols, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, and May 1st, a day traditionally set aside to celebrate communist workers. The slogans, "Destroy all borders," and signs, including this one that proclaims, "You stole our border."

The marches have become more than a push for citizenship for illegal aliens. They've become a rallying point for extreme left groups.

One of the primary sponsors of the boycott is Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism, or A.N.S.W.E.R. The organization backs Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and supports ending the blockade against Cuba.

The organizations want amnesty for all, and many openly embrace the reconquista movement, Mexico taking over the southwestern United States.

ANNA MARIA RAMIREZ, A.N.S.W.E.R.: We are not going to accept anything less than legalization for all undocumented workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to stand up and make a statement. We need to do what the American people did when they pulled away from the America -- from the British crown.

SYLVESTER: The groups are becoming more militant, and as these pictures from San Diego show, more intimidating. This demonstrator shows little respect for U.S. authority.

While most of the protests were peaceful, a news crew with CNN affiliate XETV was surrounded by protesters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you see what they are doing to the truck? They are jumping on the trucks, and they are shaking the trucks.

SYLVESTER: Rather than asking for rights, the groups are demanding them.

MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: When illegal immigrants march in the streets demanding that we comply with their wishes, the public is going to recoil from that.

SYLVESTER: A lesson in democracy: mob rule does not work. Laws are made on Capitol Hill, not on the streets of America.


SYLVESTER: In yesterday's boycott, risks alienating not only the general public, but also members of Congress. Some lawmakers say, if anything, these marches have only strengthened their resolve for more border control -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester, from Washington.

Mexico's left-wing presidential candidate says he will push for blanket amnesty for all illegal aliens in the United States if he is elected president of Mexico. Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador's statement suggest that Mexico will continue to interfere in U.S. affairs. If he is elected president, that could escalate. Obrador says the illegal alien crisis will be the number one issue on his agenda with Washington should he be elected.

All three candidates running just about even at this point.

Coming up next, new threats from Iran as it escalates its war of words and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. A report tonight from Tehran.

And I'll be talking with Emma Lozano. She wants more than amnesty for illegal aliens in this country. She wants citizenship for everyone, from Canada to Panama.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Insurgents have killed four more of our troops in Iraq. Three soldiers were killed in two separate roadside bomb attacks in Baghdad. And one of our Marines was killed in combat in Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

Now 2,405 of our troops have been killed in Iraq, 17,874 of our troops haven wounded, 8,194 of them so serious wounded they couldn't return to duty.

Iran today made a new outrageous threat in its nuclear confrontation with the rest of the world. A top Iranian military commander threatened to attack Israel if the United States were to attack Iran. The United States, Europe, Russia and communist China have now met in Paris to consider measures to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, but Russia and China are still refusing to support sanctions against Iran.

Aneesh Raman reports form Tehran.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the United States and its allies met in Paris to discuss what to do about Iran's nuclear program, Iran announced it had raised the level of enriched uranium from 3.5 percent, which was announced some weeks ago, to now 4.8 percent. It seems a sign, perhaps, that Iran is trying to be transparent about what it has maintained is a peaceful civilian nuclear program, that 4.8 percent is still far below the level of enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear weapon. That is something Iran has denied is its intent from the start, something as well, though, that has raised concerns from the West, and especially the United States.

Meantime, in an interview published in an Iranian newspaper, the country's foreign minister said Russia and China had officially given notice to Iran that in principle they do not agree with sanctions or any military action that could take place against a country because of its nuclear program. So, as the diplomatic dialogue continues between the U.N. member states about what potential action could come from the U.N. Security Council, Iran maintains its defiance, is plugging ahead in its nuclear program.

It seems attempting to be transparent, and warning all along that if the matter is sent to the U.N. Security Council, it will cease cooperation with the IAEA.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, in the Iranian capital, Tehran.


DOBBS: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, today said the United states and other nations could introduce sanctions against Iran without United Nations support. Bolton said the United States could ask other countries or groups of countries to impose sanctions if the United Nations does not, as he put it, fulfill its responsibilities.

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss Iran's nuclear defiance and the United Nations' response.

Taking a look now at some of your thoughts.

Doug in New Jersey: "I'm really offended by illegal immigrants saying they want a path to citizenship. There is one. It's called legal immigration."

And Edward in Connecticut said, "I wish people would tell it like it is. Immigrants do not do jobs that Americans will not do. Instead, illegal aliens do jobs that American business owners do not want to pay Americans to do."

Ann in Michigan, "Lou, I take exception to the 'Day Without Immigrants' tagline. My parents and I immigrated to this country 13 years ago. It took 10 years for our visas to be approved. It took another seven for my brother's application to be approved. Although it was a lengthy and tiresome process, we followed the rule of law. This 'Day Without Immigrants' demonstration and all it stands for is an insult to those of us who have immigrated legally."

Send us your thoughts at We'll have more of your thoughts later here in the broadcast.

Nearly two-thirds of the people in a new survey can't find Iraq on a map. And three-quarters can't find Israel.

"National Geographic" conducted the survey of 18 to 24-year-olds. Fewer than half of them can find India on a map, although their jobs may be headed there.

They were asked to identify the most heavily-fortified border in the world. That, of course, between North Korea and South Korea. But nearly a third said it's the border between the United States and Mexico.

How wrong can you be?

Still ahead, I'll be talking with an illegal alien amnesty supporter and organizers of yesterday's demonstrations and boycotts who says yesterday's demonstrations the beginning of a new civil rights movement, in her view.

And three of the country's most popular radio talk show hosts join me to tell us what their listeners are saying about rising gasoline prices, illegal immigration demonstrations and boycotts, and the president's plummeting poll ratings, and more.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The U.S. Senate took a step forward on port security today. The Homeland Security Committee approved a measure that would screen all cargo containers for radioactive and dangerous materials. The port security legislation requires containers to be screened overseas before being shipped to the United States. But the legislation does not set a deadline for implementation of the plan.

The House is set to vote on similar legislation later this week. Right now, the Homeland Security Department, the United States screening less than five percent of containers and inspecting them, those containers, entering our ports in the United States.

Tonight, Mexican President Vicente Fox has said that he is ready to sign a bill into law that will decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin in Mexico. A spokesperson for President Fox defended his measure today as the right approach toward fighting Mexico's drug crisis.

Mexico says law enforcement officials will be able now to focus more of their attention on the apprehension of drug traffickers. The United States fears that more illegal drugs will enter our country when this new Mexican law takes effect.

My next guest helped organize pro-illegal amnesty protests and demonstrations in Chicago, planning another march on Washington for the month of October. And she says her goal is "a new America, one that treats all of the inhabitants of our continent as equal citizens," end quote. Emma Lozano is president of Centro Sin Fronteras and she joins us tonight from Chicago. Good to have you with us.

EMMA LOZANO, CENTRO SIN FRONTERAS: Thank you, Lou, I'm happy to be here.

DOBBS: I'm glad to have you here. Let's start first with the boycotts and the demonstrations. I was talking with Congressman Gutierrez yesterday, he alleged out of more city pride, if you will, that Chicago's demonstrations were even larger than Los Angeles'. And they were large, they were impressive. But the boycott did not seem to take hold. Are you at all disappointed by that? Because a number of organizers said that they wanted to shut down cities all over the country.

LOZANO: I was not disappointed. It took a tremendous amount of courage for people to come out and mobilize and really demand their rights. And it was a beautiful march, and it was unison in the demand. And what we were saying is that we wanted an immediate moratorium on the recent deportations while the senate and the congress are debating this issue.

Even the president said that at this time what we need is to do a more humane way to deal with the people that are already here, and a way to get legalization for them and then ways to bring in the workers that we need to work in the fields to bring in the produce that we actually need to do that type of job. So I was extremely pleased with the mobilizations yesterday. It was very upbeat, not one arrest. It was very peaceful. And everybody really had a wonderful time.

DOBBS: Well, Emma, I do want to -- and I think it's -- as you know, I'm extremely critical of the idea of amnesty without border security.

LOZANO: Oh, I know.

DOBBS: And I think it's ludicrous to talk about the reforming immigration without the ability to control immigration. But I want to extend to you and to all the other organizers of the demonstrations across the country, not the boycotts or attempted boycotts, but the organizers of these demonstrations, my compliments certainly, because to have that many people in the streets for whatever the reason, whatever the purpose, it's remarkable to see that kind of conduct.

I think there were two arrests nationwide. I'm not counting exactly. And the incidents were minor at the worst. And so I think you deserve great credit for that. But let's move to the issue.

LOZANO: Thank you very much, Lou.

DOBBS: Let's move to the issue.

LOZANO: Uh-huh. That's what I want to do.

DOBBS: Let's move to the issue of something you've said recently, and I would like to quote and you share that quote with our viewers. You said it makes absolutely no sense to go after these working people, referring to deportations and arrests of illegal immigrants in this country, and it makes no sense to go after these working people in the name of homeland security when they know they had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 or any other type of terrorist activity in the country.

As you well know, the reason ICE and other agencies have gone after certain people is because of long investigations, exploitation of illegal labor in the number of a pallet company recently. Why would you connect that to 9/11 and terrorism? They violated our immigration laws. Don't you think they should be enforced?

LOZANO: OK, well, some laws need to be enforced and some laws just need to be changed. First of all, let's talk about amnesty, Lou. Amnesty, that's what you're saying. But who really got amnesty in this case? Wasn't it the corporations after NAFTA and the free-trade agreement?

All the corporations get amnesty. They can go all over the world and set up shop and exploit the workers in all the underdeveloped countries, leave us here with less industrial jobs, make our country in a service network, and then the people in those countries that are making now seven cents an hour can't even put a gallon of milk or a piece of bread on their table? To have to come to another country in order to get a decent job in the United States.

So, and who else got amnesty, Lou? Wasn't it Social Security? Social Security that got all the money from these people paying into Social Security? Some people reaching their golden years --

DOBBS: You were doing fine there for a little while, but you've moved in an area --

LOZANO: And Texas, the I-10 number, the 10 numbers. You know, you can actually pay taxes if you're undocumented in this country. So the IRS got amnesty --

DOBBS: Emma, I have to -- I can't let you just simply go unchallenged on that statement. The highest estimates of, as a result of illegal alien contributions to Social Security, about $7 billion. The cost of health services, social services, all of the services that are provided to illegal labor that is being exploited, by illegal employers amounts to a minimum of $50 billion a year. So, I think the argument that the taxes are paid is not a winning one, frankly.

LOZANO: Undocumented -- undocumented immigrants do not get paid through any of these health services you're talking about, unless they are insured from the place that they work from. So that, number one, is a myth. And I take issue when you call our children, our babies, anchor babies. They are not objects. It's through holy matrimony and they are angels.


DOBBS: Listen to me -- listen --

LOZANO: We do not have babies to hold ourselves here.

DOBBS: You are sitting here talking about you take exception to calling a baby an anchor baby when those babies are used as the basis for illegal immigration of their parents for relatives? Please. That kind of sanctimonious defense of unlawful activity is not acceptable.

LOZANO: You're talking about amnesty to the corporations that move across the country, take jobs away, and --

DOBBS: Emma, I want to go back to your idea --

LOZANO: And don't want to let the workers come over here and look for a job.

DOBBS: I guess you and I can say both how offended we are. I'm offended by, frankly, the idea that illegal aliens who have broken laws, acquired fraudulent documentation, who do not pay their share of taxes, as do the 280 million legal citizens of this country, I'm offended by that and asserting rights over those who are trying to get into the country legally and are enduring a difficult, frustrating, long process, and I do not --

LOZANO: I was prepared for that.

DOBBS: And I'm offended by the sense of entitlement and the chutzpah that would suggest that somehow illegal aliens deserve greater treatment than those applying lawfully to this country. We can sit here and talk about what offends us, but let's talk about something that you said. Which is you believe that people should be citizens from Canada to Panama on this continent. Is that what you said?

LOZANO: Lou, let's talk a little bit about what you just said, about people paying taxes.

DOBBS: No, let's talk about what I asked.

LOZANO: Undocumented immigrants pay taxes and they cannot collect their income taxes at the end of the year, so that money is there.

DOBBS: We can either have a dialogue or we can have a --

LOZANO: I believe, Lou, that anyone who comes to work in this country, contributes to the economy, and pays taxes deserves to become a citizen. And I also know, and you should know, that back in the 1930's, two million Mexicans were deported, 1.2 million of them were born in the United States of America.

DOBBS: Emma please, this is not -- LOZANO: And the country makes mistakes. And I agree with you in regards to the 56 percent of public opinion that is really not happy with the way the president is dealing with this.

DOBBS: I really let you go on much too long. And I appreciate it. But we've been out of time for about two minutes. I do appreciate your time. I hope you appreciate the time we've devoted.

LOZANO: But at least I got public opinion on my side. Because 77 percent of the United States of America is in favor of legalization.

DOBBS: I will declare you the winner in a minute if we can conclude this. You are the winner and we appreciate you being here. Emma Lozano of Centro Sin Fronteras. We thank you very much.

LOZANO: Thank a lot, Lou, that what's a gas, I was a little nervous, but I really appreciate it.

DOBBS: Well you did very well. Thank you very much. Not a single sign of in nervousness.

Still ahead here, three of this nation's most popular radio talk show hosts join me to discuss what their listeners are saying about the failed illegal alien boycott, the successful illegal alien demonstrations, and a great deal more. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, President Bush and Congress are failing to come up with a plan, an immediate resolution, that would help middle-class Americans, working men and women all across the country, with rising, soaring gasoline prices in many parts of the country. And poll numbers out today show the president continues to lose support among the American public.

Three of the country's most popular talk show hosts join me here tonight to talk about this nation's energy crisis, a political crisis at the White House and illegal alien demonstrations and the prospects for amnesty.

Joining me here in New York, WABC Radio's Mark Simone, good to half you here, Mark. And from Los Angeles, nationally syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller. Stephanie, thanks for joining us. And from Atlanta, Martha Zoller from WDUN Radio. Good to have you with us, Martha.

Let's begin with these poll ratings. The president does not seem to be able to find a bottom, Stephanie, in his approval rating.

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, we are in a little bit of a political limbo, Lou. How low can he go? I particularly enjoyed hearing Rush Limbaugh a couple of weeks ago talking about how the CBS poll that had him at 34 percent couldn't possibly right, because "You know my friends, it's very liberal, CBS, that's wrong, clearly." And clearly it was wrong, it was far too high. I believe your poll has him at 32.

DOBBS: Martha, your thoughts?

MARTHA ZOLLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I tell you, one thing we did, we elected a president that said he was going to do what he thought was right and not necessarily go by the polls and that's what we have.

But he loves being mis-underestimated and I think there's still time. He's not going to get back to 50 percent, because he's taking on tough issues. But what I think Democrats have to remember, polls are great, that he's not on the ballet ever again and the thing that the Democrats really have going against them, is they are not coming out with policies, they are still talking about George Bush and mission accomplished and that sort of thing.

DOBBS: Do you agree with that Mark?

MARK SIMONE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you know, he's low in the polls, but we've seen a lot of presidents go lower. Carter went lower, Reagan went lower, Bush went lower -- Bush Sr. And you notice how when he's low, they keep taking polls every day. When he was up at 75 percent, it was once every couple of months and now its every hour they keep taking polls.

DOBBS: It must seem that way to those who are anxiously watching those polls. But, Stephanie, the connection here on polls. This president and his staff seem to not connected based on their responses at least to this point. To public policy, success or failure and approval rating. Do you sense any likelihood that will change?

MILLER: Yes. I think Mark is right. It's clearly that they are polling too often. That's the problem. It wouldn't be any of his disastrous policies or unbelievable incompetence. It means be that they're just asking people too much.

DOBBS: Mark, I'm going to have to turn to you.

SIMONE: What could have changed between last week and this week? Gas prices are still high. Obviously the polls won't go up until gas prices come down.

DOBBS: Well let's turn to those demonstrations. Martha, this president wants a guest worker program, wants amnesty. It is the second lowest issue for his polling. Fewer Americans approve of that -- of his handling of energy policy than do immigration, but by only two percent. What do you think he should do here?

ZOLLER: Well, I think clearly -- there is a disconnect between the president and the American people on the immigration issue, because if you poll, since we're talking about polls, about 85 percent of the people want to go with border security first.

Then after we have demonstrated we can walk and chew gum at the same time, that we will go and debate whether we need temporary worker or guest worker program, about 85 percent. I would submit that that is Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives.

This is not a liberal or conservative issue. This is an across- the-board issue and I think the president has had a disconnect. However, what's got to happen is a fairness issue. That's what my callers are saying. What they're outraged about is the unfairness of giving amnesty, which is what any kind of guest worker program would be, to people and let them go ahead of the line to the people that have been waiting. That's the way they see it. That's not the way the president is saying it, but that's the way they see it.

DOBBS: The demonstrations in Los Angeles, reportedly the largest, Stephanie, in the country. Do you believe that those will have a significant impact? Are your viewers anxious about those demonstrations? Are they reacting negatively to those demonstrations?

MILLER: Well Lou, let me say, as a woman, size does matter. And I think that the size of the demonstrations out here, I think -- I think it does say something.

And may I just say that the president was right about one thing. He is a uniter and not a divider in the sense that we all agree he's doing a spectacularly bad job on border security.

However, I think that, you know, it's also entertaining to watch this edition of Republicans eating their own, as he's trying to, you know, keep the Hispanic vote and suck up to his big-business buddies.

DOBBS: It is a neat trick. And it's also a neat trick to watch the Democrats, as you put it, sucking up to the -- to the illegal alien lobby and organizations, while not proposing a real solution in border security. That's a balancing act of its own as well, isn't it?

ZOLLER: Lou, the last three elections in my area, in the southeast, immigration has been the No. 1 issue and no candidate on either party has addressed it.

Now I will give the president credit. He brought it out into the open to be discussed in January of 2004. But politicians still don't get it. And they are going to get a message one way or the other in November. There's still time for conservatives to step up and do what they do best, which is get ideas and implement policy. But there's a long time until that's going to happen.

DOBBS: We're going to be back with Mark Simone and Stephanie Miller and Martha Zoller here in just a moment. But first we want to take a quick look at some more of your thoughts.

Garry in Texas saying: It was not a day without immigrants. My family is an immigrant family and we all went to work today. Oh yeah, we're legal immigrants.

Tom in Washington: While illegal immigrants may be protesting in the streets, the legal citizens will get their chance in November. Watch out!

And Dorothy in Texas: Lou, in my opinion, these illegal immigrants we keep referring to should instead be called citizens of Mexico. That should give them the same rights as any other non- citizen.

Dwight in Tennessee: If the point of yesterday was to wake the people up, it worked for me. I e-mailed my congressman that I would not vote for anyone who supported amnesty.

And Robert in Colorado: Perhaps our elected representatives should seriously contemplate the value of the neglected and law- abiding majority.

We'll have more of your thoughts in just a few minutes. A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question is: do you believe those boycotts and demonstrations will create support for illegal alien amnesty or will it create a greater demand for border security, in your opinion? Cast your vote at We'll have those results coming right up. We'll be back with our panel right after this break. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Coming up at the top of the hour here on CNN, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, what do you have for us?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. Republicans back-pedaling on a gas rebate. Democrats continuing their offensive on oil prices and the chairman of ExxonMobil speaks out.

Plus, 10 states make a move to clamp down on your fuel-guzzling SUVs. We're covering all sides of the pain at the pump.

Plus, the former Secretary of State Madeline Albright -- we'll find out why she says the war in Iraq may be the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history. She's here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Also, nuclear war of words -- if the U.S. takes action against Iran, Iran now threatens to attack Israel, and Israel is promising to hit right back. We're going to take you inside Iran, a story you'll see only here on CNN.

And funeral protest outrage. The ACLU comes to the defense of an extreme group that demonstrates at the burials of fallen soldiers. It's a war over freedom of speech.

All that, Lou, coming up right at the top of the hour.

DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf. We're back now here in New York.

Mark Simone of WABC Radio, from Los Angeles, national-syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller, from Atlanta, Martha Zoller. We thank you all for being here.

And, Mark, what are your viewers saying about these demonstrations and the attempted boycott?

SIMONE: They are absolutely furious. We had people talking yesterday about how they wanted to go out and spend as much money as they could just to have yesterday be a great day in the economy. I would say the idea of having an illegal alien Fourth of July kind of event -- are we going to do this every year?

And the idea of people waving signs in foreign languages, telling us what to do -- you said the word before, chutzpah. I mean, people come here, they're using ever service. They are driving, they're working -- I mean, they're using our hospitals and our schools, every benefit of citizenship except jury duty.

DOBBS: And your listeners, Martha?

ZOLLER: Our listeners are very unhappy about this, but in our area in the Southeast, and I think you saw it throughout, there wasn't as big of a turnout as there had been, and I think a lot of folks realized that business needed to go on as usual. And especially in the Southeast you have a lot more people working side by side.

It's a little different economy, but I will tell you, they are very unhappy about this. They want to see the laws of our land, either follow them or change them. Don't demand it.

DOBBS: I want to, if I could, please, ask us to roll a clip from the White House correspondents dinner this weekend. Some years ago, Don Imus had a -- he was just besieged because he was very tough in the minds of many on President Bill Clinton. I want to just show you what Stephen Colbert -- just a sample of what he did at the White House press correspondent dinner.


STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will.


DOBBS: Colbert, who is obviously one of the funniest people in entertainment, is -- on Saturday night, many people said that he went far too far. I wanted to ask you, Stephanie, what you thought with what many called an unrelenting attack on President Bush?

MILLER: Lou, let me take a moment to say, go, Stephen, it's your birthday, it's your birthday! I thought he was great. I thought he was great. If that's not speaking truth to power, I don't know what is, and I thought -- I thought it was fabulous.

DOBBS: You did? And there was -- in the dinner, there was a strained reaction amongst the press. It was interesting. Mark?

SIMONE: Well, first of all, that arrogant phrase that people use, truth to power, it's your idea of truth, not necessarily the real truth. And I don't understand that character at all. He looked exactly like Keith Olbermann, sounds exactly like him, talks like him, but it's supposed to be a takeoff on O'Reilly. I still can't figure the character out. And, you know, the idea of these things is you got to singe, not burn. This guy just was a flame thrower with that material.

DOBBS: Do you think it's a reflection that the liberal still has -- the media has a liberal bias, Martha, that Colbert was not more heavily criticized, say, than Imus years ago with Bill Clinton?

ZOLLER: Well, certainly there is a liberal bias, and he is picking on George Bush, who the media doesn't like versus Imus, who was picking on Clinton, who the media loved, OK? And so, you really see a little bit of a bias.

What came to mind after seeing "United 93" this weekend is 9/11 was a Tuesday, so that was -- and he probably didn't even think about a that, but for me, having lost friends in the World Trade Towers that was the first thing I thought of.

DOBBS: Well, we appreciate it, Martha Zoller, Stephanie Miller in Los Angeles, and Mark Simone.

MILLER: Boy, Lou, thank God they never made any jokes about Bill Clinton, that's true.

DOBBS: I think that was the point, Stephanie. And we thank you for being here. Mark Simone, good to see you.

SIMONE: Thanks.

DOBBS: We hope you all come back soon.

Still ahead here, the results of our poll, and more on your thoughts on illegal alien amnesty demonstrations and boycotts. And we'll have a preview of what's coming up tomorrow. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Now, the results of our poll tonight. Ninety-five percent of you responded saying you believed the boycotts and demonstrations will create a greater demand for border security rather than amnesty.

Taking a look at more of your thoughts now, Julian in Manitoba, Canada: "The protests today tell us one thing. The United States has allowed itself to become as dependent on cheap labor as it has become on oil."

George in Arkansas: "Dear Comrade Lou, Lenin stated that communism will destroy America from within. What he forgot to state is that the Congress will help you in the destruction of America. Love your show and I wish that you would run for first among equals. Happy United Socialist Day, your faithful comrade."

And Eileen in Florida: "Dear Lou, let's call it what it really is, a day without illegal immigrants. I am fed up with the deliberate blurring of this distinction. You can call a horse a pig, it doesn't make it one." Emma in Ohio: "Lou, can you imagine what would happen if all those illegal immigrants who marched today were marching against Vicente Fox and asking for his impeachment. That might benefit both our countries."

Andy in Texas: "Let's just say it straight out. Mexico has failed its people. This definitely is not an immigration issue. It is a Mexican issue."

And Harald in Arizona: "As an American veteran I am furious that undocumented aliens who are here illegally working in America have the audacity and impudence to protest and demonstrate for rights that are not available to them. They reject American values, do not want to learn English and now our national anthem in Spanish. What next?"

We appreciate hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at And each of you who does so receives a copy of my book "Exporting America." And we appreciate those thoughts so keep them coming.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Among my guests, Edward Juarez of the International Immigrants Foundation. He says aliens are playing an important role in the history of this nation.

For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.


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