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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Bellwether GOP Primary Focuses on Illegal Aliens; Amnesty Opponents Target Massachusetts and Arizona; Widespread Problems With Electronic Voting Machines; Republicans step Up Barrage on "New York Times"; Tom Tancredo Interview
Aired June 27, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, there is rising anger across much of this country at the White House and the U.S. Senate plan to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. The president's pro- amnesty agenda tonight is facing a critical test in a primary election in Utah that could set a trend for the entire nation. We'll have complete coverage for you tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Tuesday, June 27th.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
A primary election in Utah today could help determine the outcome of the congressional battle over illegal immigration and border security. A five-term Republican congressman who supports the president's pro-amnesty agenda is fighting for his political life in that Utah election. And as voters go to the polls, the most comprehensive study yet of e-voting machines shows those machines are a real danger to the integrity of our elections.
Peter Viles tonight reports from Provo, Utah, on a primary election that reflects the deep national divisions over illegal immigration and border security.
Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington tonight on a new and unusual campaign against the Senate's leading supporters of amnesty for illegal aliens.
And Kitty Pilgrim reports on the troubling new evidence that e- voting machines threaten the future of our democracy.
We turn first to Peter Viles -- Peter.
PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the stakes in this campaign unusually high for the Bush White House because if Congressman Chris Cannon is defeated at the polls today, the message will be clear. And the message will be that standing with the president on immigration is a huge political liability.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cannon, you ready? VILES (voice over): Ready or not, Utah Congressman Chris Cannon is fighting for his political life tonight.
REP. CHRIS CANNON (R), UTAH: There's some very angry people. And they're going to vote. And they're going to vote anger.
VILES: The anger nearly a thousand miles from the Mexican border is over illegal immigration. And political newcomer John Jacob is listening to it.
JOHN JACOB, REPUBLICAN PRIMARY CANDIDATE: I talked to a lot of voters, asked them what their most important issue was. The first was immigration.
VILES: Jacob's agenda is clear: secure the border, don't send mixed messages with amnesty or guest worker programs.
JACOB: If you have someone who steals a car and you penalize them, do you give them the car after they stole the car? That's what they're talking about doing. And we can't do that. If we do it, we'll have 60 million illegal immigrants, not 12.
VILES: Cannon supports the president's drive for a guest worker program, arguing illegal labor has helped the American economy.
CANNON: You need to have tools for business so they know who they're hiring, and you also need to have some kind of program that allows people here with the proper penalties and maybe leaving the country to work and continue making the American economy the great -- the greatest economy in the history of mankind.
VILES: If voters in Utah, where the powerful Mormon Church welcomes illegal aliens, toss out a congressman over the issue, it will send political shock waves across the country, which is why Cannon is getting last-minute money from businesses that benefit from cheap labor and why Team America is running these ads against him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman Chris Cannon says he's tough on illegal immigration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he's never supported amnesty for illegal aliens.
DAVID MACKELBY, POLITICAL ANALYST: If they can defeat Chris Cannon, who has been a leader of the immigration reform movement within Congress, it will send a signal throughout all of Washington, House and Senate, and I think perhaps derail the president's initiative.
VILES: Which is why the president is campaigning for Cannon.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm asking you to vote for Chris Cannon on Tuesday, June 27th.
VILES: The president putting his political capital, or what is left of it, on the line here in Utah. The Cannon campaign hoping that those messages from the president, also from his wife, will boost turnout here. The consensus from both campaigns is that if we have a low turnout today, that benefits John Jacob, the challenger, because the perception is that his voters are more motivated and more likely to turn out to vote today -- Lou.
DOBBS: Pete, what are the early indications on turnout so far in Utah?
VILES: Well, I spoke to both campaigns today. The Cannon campaign says it's spotty, it's OK in some places and a little less than they expected in others.
The Jacob campaign says it's a little lower than expected across the board. And again, that is perceived to be good for Jacob.
Generally, statewide today they're expecting about 12 percent more in this district but only, say, 15 to 18 percent here in this district. So we are expecting a low turnout.
DOBBS: Pete, thank you very much.
Peter Viles reporting from Provo, Utah.
We'll have a special report on the outcome of this closely watched primary and the national implications tomorrow here 6:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
Opponents of the Senate's pro-amnesty legislation using new and unusual tactics trying to stop that legislation from becoming law. They are calling upon tourists to boycott Massachusetts and Arizona, the home states of the bill's co-sponsors, Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator John McCain.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's peak season at Cape Cod and Nantucket. Tourists are flocking to the Massachusetts vacation spots. But a coalition of groups is calling on vacation- goers to say no to the Bay State and to bypass Arizona, the Grand Canyon State.
The states have something in common, two senators who sponsored legislation that would put illegal aliens on the path to citizenship, Ted Kennedy and John McCain.
JOHN CLARK, AMERICA IMMIGRATION CONTROL: There's a simple outrage that these senators are doing this, and they're doing it against the will of the American people. This boycott will be successful because this is the way the American people are going to vent their anger at these politicians.
SYLVESTER: Arizona's tourism industry rakes in $55 billion annually. Massachusetts, $20 billion. At a news conference, the senators seem unfazed by the boycott threat.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think our tourist industry will do just fine.
SYLVESTER: The Minuteman Project, American Immigration Control, and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform boasts 300,000 subscribers and members. The groups are hoping to tap into the outrage of many more Americans fed up with illegal immigration.
But critics question if the boycott will have the unintended consequence of hurting small businesses. To that, the boycott's organizer says it's temporary pain for a long-term gain.
BARRY WEINSTEIN, BOYCOTT ORGANIZER: I'm certainly concerned for the well-being of the mom-and-pop operation. These two senators should also be concerned for them. And rather than allow a boycott to go forward against their states, they should retire.
SYLVESTER: Senator Kennedy does not appear to be ready to hang it up after 44 years in Congress, and Senator McCain is weighing a run for the White House.
SYLVESTER: The coalition partners want this to be more than a symbolic boycott. They're hoping to put enough pressure to get the senators to drop their bill or, at the very least, to strengthen the resolve of House members whose legislation does not include amnesty provisions -- Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, this boycott, in point of fact, neither senator can reverse the legislation that has been passed. As we've demonstrated here, this is terrible, wrong-headed legislation that should never have been passed. But there's no way that the two senators could reverse themselves here.
SYLVESTER: I think what they're doing -- trying to do, at least, is to send a very powerful message. If they can at least have some kind of impact on the tourist numbers, that they can point out and say this is something that the people clearly don't want. They clearly don't want an amnesty.
So I think what they're trying to do is more send a message, even though they say that it's not supposed to be just symbolic.
DOBBS: If that is the case, I don't think I can let this go without expressing my personal opinion. A boycott that harms those who are in no way affected by their -- by the senators' sponsorship of this legislation is in my mind just simply wrong.
We thank you for the report, as always, Lisa. Great reporting.
Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
The Bush White House tonight strongly defended its plan for the guest worker program, a plan that critics call amnesty. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez insists that what he calls comprehensive immigration reform is the only solution to our illegal immigration crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS GUTIERREZ, COMMERCE SECRETARY: The president's comprehensive reform is realistic, it's practical. It is not amnesty. And that's the problem with this discussion, is that you can very easily go into a one-liner and shut off the discussion and call it amnesty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Gutierrez has said illegal aliens are making a real contribution to our economy. Gutierrez apparently does not realize or acknowledge that illegal aliens have only a marginal impact on our economy and they simply contribute to the profits of the illegal employers who are hiring them illegally and the taxpayers who carry the expense for social and health services. The benefit is not to the economy but to the illegal employers.
A convenient omission. Not the first time by a spokesman for this administration.
More evidence tonight that an increasing number of elections in this country can be outright stolen. And no one would ever know. It's incredible.
Most Americans will be casting their ballots on electronic voting machines this November, but a new report has found widespread problems with these machines, problems that are placing our democracy at risk.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This year, the majority of the country will be using electronic voting machines. But a new report says the three main types can be hacked.
REP. RUSH HOLT (D), NEW JERSEY: All three voting systems have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities which pose a real danger to the integrity of national and state elections.
REP. TOM DAVIS (R), VIRGINIA: Several years ago I realized that new machines purchased by Fairfax County, where I live, were vulnerable to electronic problems and would make it impossible to conduct an effective recount.
PILGRIM: The NYU Brennan Center report took more than a year to study the issue and found 120 potential threats to e-voting systems. Experts found an attacker could tamper with the software before Election Day or even on the day of the election with a commonly used handheld PDA device, like a Palm Pilot. That kind of wireless attack, a so-called "Trojan horse," impersonates the benign program already in the machine.
The report reads, "... an attacker aware of a vulnerability in the voting system's software... could simply show up at the polling station and beam her Trojan horse into the machine, using a wireless enabled personal digital assistant."
Some scientists say the e-voting machine vendors have not put in routine safeguards found in other interactive computer products.
DAN WALLACH, RICE UNIVERSITY: Gaming systems like your Microsoft Xbox 360 or Sony Playstation 3, or what have you, are engineered to resist a wide variety of tampering attacks because they want to make sure that every game that you're playing is legitimate and, you know, not pirated. That level of engineering is entirely absent from voting machines.
PILGRIM: The study recommends paper records for each voting machine, as well as random audits to check the systems.
PILGRIM: Now, the report gives examples of three types of voting systems they studied and includes a list of the main manufacturers. Listing machines that are routinely used in elections around the country -- Lou.
DOBBS: I keep asking this. Where are the companies that manufacture these machines? Why aren't they on this broadcast telling us and you at home how great these machines are, how all of these concerns are misplaced as we move toward November? Where is that reassurance?
PILGRIM: We called three manufacturers today. Diebold did not return our calls. ES&S did return with a reply. They said they put in paper trails, they put in very secure systems. So they're defending it. And Sequoia said they were not targeted exclusively in this report, so they just basically backed away.
DOBBS: And the American people are supposed to take these as reassurances that everything is just fine and that our democracy is not at risk? I mean, this is as feeble a reaction as I've ever heard from a group of companies or any organization that is circling under direct assault on the very essence of their product.
PILGRIM: And this is a very comprehensive report. They should have something a little bit more to say about this report because it took more than a year and it was a very wide panel. So they should have something to say about it.
DOBBS: Or inversely, the American people should be thinking about what we want to say about these e-voting machines. This is -- the level of concern here is so high that something has to be done.
PILGRIM: The more we get into it, the worse it seems.
DOBBS: Oh, gosh. All right.
Kitty, thank you. Appreciate it.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Straightforwardly, do you believe that e-voting machines should be disallowed until their integrity can be assured? Yes or no?
Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results coming up here later.
Also ahead, Congressman Tom Tancredo is among our guests tonight. He'll be here to discuss border security, illegal immigration, and his brand new book, "In Mortal Danger."
And then, the White House blasts press reports on a secret program to track terrorist finance. Is the Bush administration really concerned about national security or is it attacking a familiar target? We'll be discussing that.
And the administration champions so-called free trade, of course, even when it destroys American jobs and industries. But are those so- called free trade deals unconstitutional? A special report has the answer coming up here later.
And three of the country's top radio talk show hosts join me. We'll be talking troop withdrawals, a constitutional amendment on flag burning, the future of comprehensive immigration reform, and a great deal more from their listeners as well.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Insurgents have killed five more of our troops in Iraq. Two Marines and two soldiers were killed in Al Anbar Province west of Baghdad. Another soldier was killed in Baghdad.
2,527 of our troops have now been killed in Iraq, 18,696 of our troops have been wounded, 8,560 seriously wounded.
A new opinion poll shows Americans are sharply divided over whether to set a deadline for the withdrawal of our troops. "The Washington Post"-ABC News poll shows 51 percent of voters oppose a deadline, 47 percent support one.
A poll also shows that the question of which party is better able to deal with the war, 47 percent favor Democrats, 41 percent favor Republicans. A smaller advantage for the Democrats on the issue than a month ago. Turning to another national security issue, the battle between Republicans and the "New York Times" over the newspaper's reporting on government efforts to track suspected terrorists. The White House and leading Republicans today accused the "New York Times" of endangering lives.
Ed Henry reports from the White House.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Republicans stepped up their barrage on the "New York Times" for publishing details of a once-secret program tracking the banking transactions of terrorists.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: If another attack occurs because of this information going out and giving the terrorists at least a leg up in regards to what they know and not know and changing their method of operations, if that attack comes the people who have written these stories and the people who have made their decisions should look in the mirror.
HENRY (voice over): From the president on down, Republicans have been reading from the same script.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The disclosure of this program is disgraceful.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that is a disgrace.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Disgraceful and illegal.
HENRY: They're teeing off on media reports questioning the legality of a Bush administration program that uses an international database to review the banking transactions of thousands of Americans. The story was also reported by the "Los Angeles times" and "Wall Street Journal," but the attacks have focused on "The New York Times."
The chance to beat up on a newspaper with a liberal reputation is too good to resist for an administration struggling to keep its conservative base happy.
CHENEY: The "New York Times" has now made it more difficult for us to prevent attacks in the future. Publishing this highly classified information about our sources and methods for collecting intelligence will enable the terrorists to look for ways to defeat our efforts.
HENRY: But White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was less certain than the vice president when pressed Tuesday on what evidence there is the leak has compromised terror probes.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: None of those things have had time to proceed. So we really don't have any basis right now for knowing exactly how it's influenced things.
HENRY: Snow did charge the "New York Times" endangered lives by bucking a tradition of media organizations agreeing to keep government secrets at a time of war. But "Times" executive editor Bill Keller defended the decision to publish, writing, "I think it would be arrogant for us to pre-empt the work of Congress and the courts by deciding these programs are perfectly legal and abuse-proof based entirely on the word of the government."
HENRY: But unlike the NSA domestic surveillance program, very few Democrats have raised questions about this banking program. Republicans feel like they're on solid legal ground, which is why they're firing away at "The Times." If they can score some political points with conservatives along the way, so much the better -- Lou.
DOBBS: Ed, thank you.
Ed Henry, from the White House.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran will not be benefiting from direct negotiations with the United States on the nuclear standoff. The White House, however, for its part, said the ayatollah's comments were ambiguous and different factions in the Iranian government may figure out how to respond to the international proposals despite Khamenei's objections.
In the missile standoff with North Korea, a top U.S. senator today saying North Korea has not yet completed preparations to test that ballistic missile with a range to reach the United States. The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner, said North Korea must remove what he called certain infrastructure before North Korea can actually launch that missile.
A leading congressional committee today voted overwhelmingly to support the president's plan to transfer civilian nuclear technology to India. The House International Relations Committee voted 37-5 to send legislation supporting that deal to the full House. In March, the president called the nuclear deal historic. He also declared the United States looks forward to eating Indian mangoes in trade.
Still ahead, Congressman Tom Tancredo joins us to talk about border security, illegal immigration, and the title of his new book, "In Mortal Danger."
And so-called free trade agreements giving unfair advantage to cheap foreign labor markets and foreign companies. Are these agreements even constitutional? Our special report coming up next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The United States' so-called free trade agenda has resulted in the loss of millions of American jobs and a growing record trade deficit and record trade debt. The so-called free trade agreements also grant foreign companies rights and privileges that are denied American companies. And tonight, there are new questions, profound questions, about whether many of these agreements in fact violate the U.S. Constitution.
Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This woman is the U.S. trade representative. She's negotiating free trade agreements that affect every American and our sovereignty.
LORI WALLACH, PUBLIC CITIZEN TRADE WATCH: The WTO ruled against our most basic dolphin protection. So that label you see on your tuna fish can that you're feeding your kids tuna fish sandwiches no longer means the dolphins are safe.
Your clean air, your kids got asthma? The WTO ruled against the regulations under the Clean Air Act, and in 1997 the U.S. weakened our domestic Clean Air Act.
Or we were just told by the WTO we can't ban gambling by Internet.
TUCKER: And free trade agreements are the holy grail of the Bush administration. There is the free trade agreement of the Americas, the U.S.-Oman free trade agreement, Ecuador, Panama, the UAE, and more. The result of all our collective free trade agreements is a trade deficit totaling $3.5 trillion from 1994, the year NAFTA went into effect, through the end of last year.
In addition to the staggering deficit, these agreements raise troubling constitutional questions. They establish courts or tribunals outside of the U.S. judicial system which supercede U.S. law. The agreements are done under fast track authority, meaning Congress surrendered their constitutional authority and obligation to the executive branch.
REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: I think we are in violation, many of our treaties, of Article I Section 8, which provides to the Congress of the United States the ability to monitor all trade and to regulate all trade and commerce between ourselves and other countries.
TUCKER: Abdication of congressional authority has allowed trade negotiators to grant foreign companies a privilege not granted to American companies. Foreign companies can sue state and federal governments for compensation because of laws they say cause them financial harm.
TUCKER: These issues have not gone unnoticed. The Conference of State Supreme Court Chief Justices has repeatedly written trade negotiators expressing their concerns. Those concerns, though, have gone unheeded by the negotiators, the administration, and by Congress -- Lou.
DOBBS: This free trade Congress, this free trade administration carrying out -- and by the way, we should be very clear. There is no question whatsoever that these trade -- these agreements make subservient the U.S. Constitution and our judicial system, period.
DOBBS: And there's no debate about that. The only question is whether, as we showed there in your report, we, the people, will have any influence over the restoration of a demand that our Constitution be heeded.
Bill Tucker, thank you. Appreciate it.
Taking a look now at your thoughts.
Marie in Montana, "Hey, Lou, was I asleep when they repealed the laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, et cetera? How can these employers blatantly advertise jobs and refuse to accept and consider the applications of U.S. citizens?"
Excellent question. That's what we're asking.
And Ed in Michigan, "Dear Lou, I sure hope the new president of Mexico will work as hard for the United States as our president works for Mexico. No amnesty."
And Carlos in Ohio, "Lou, if things keep going as they are, the USA will be just like Mexico, only the super rich, the dirt poor and no middle class."
Gary in Connecticut, "Dear Lou, you can't reform the Congress if you can't control it. And you can't control Congress without electing representatives who will listen to their constituents instead of special interests. So turn out in November and make them listen."
Send us your thoughts at LouDobbs.com. More of your thoughts are coming up here later.
Next, Congressman Tom Tancredo, he's led the fight for tougher border security. And he joins us to talk about comprehensive immigration reform and his new book on the battle for America's border and security, "In Mortal Danger."
And after Senate Republicans reject raising the minimum wage, the Democrats vow to block a different pay raise. Politics at its best, coming right up.
And three popular talk show radio hosts join me. We'll be talking illegal immigration, border security, the war in Iraq, the Senate's debate on flag burning, and other burning issues.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The House begins a series of hearings on the illegal immigration and border security crisis of this country tomorrow. Congressman Tom Tancredo sees these hearings as a victory and says they probably spell the end of the Senate's amnesty plan.
Congressman Tancredo has a new book, "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security." Congressman Tancredo is chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, joining us tonight from Washington, D.C.
Tom, good to have you here.
REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), COLORADO: It's a pleasure, as always, Lou.
DOBBS: Let's start out within your book. You warn of the dangers of our porous southern border and terrorism. You say, "Numerous media reports have featured intelligence official warnings of a connection between MS-13 and al Qaeda. In July, 2004, a report surfaced of this to secure entry routes into the United States. The Fed will not comment." There is the subject of our discussion. Why isn't anybody paying more attention to this.
TANCREDO: Well, because, Lou, if we started paying a lot of attention to the fact that the borders are porous and that across those borders are coming people who are not just looking for the job that no other American will take, then maybe you'll have to start doing something about the border, like, for instance, a fence or some sort of barrier or some sort of military action that really and truly impedes the flow of illegal immigration.
So the better route, the safer route is to just shut up about it and not say anything and pretend like it doesn't happen. But it happens. And it happens all too often. You've got Mexican military providing access to drug dealers coming into the United States.
You've got a group I name in my book there, it's called the Maderras (ph). And the Maderras are actually -- they're volunteers, in a way. They're civilians but they allow them to dress in uniforms and act in some official capacities. Mostly they're shaking people down.
But you've got them on the border doing their thing. It's an invasion on our southern border but, of course, to try to stop it means you also stop the flow of cheap labor.
DOBBS: Absolutely. You also write in detail about the Mexican- based drug cartels infiltrating local governments. In Los Angeles in the early '90s saying, and I quote, and if we can show our audience, "Once established in their community, these cartel-financed business owners ran for city council and other local offices. Over time they were able to buy votes and influence in an effort to take over the management of the town. They wanted to create a comfort zone from which they can operate without interference from local law enforcement." Now, that's a remarkable charge. Is it one that you think is isolated or widespread?
TANCREDO: Well, there's more than one city -- I will tell you that -- that we have this information about, mostly in and around Los Angeles. I can't say how much farther it is than that. I don't know. But we have information. We got it from a very reliable source who is, by now -- at the present time, he's retired.
He is now willing to talk and go public with this, but he was the head of the gang unit for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. That's who first brought us this information. He is -- I think his credentials are impeccable, and this is what he's told us.
DOBBS: Congressman, as you can respect, having the names of those cities and having those sources would be very helpful, for example, to this broadcast to corroborate those suggestions.
TANCREDO: Provide them all for you, buddy.
DOBBS: OK. You've got a deal. The idea of illegal immigration hearings beginning, you consider this a victory. You've been fighting this battle for a long time. Today in Utah, as you know, Congressman Cannon, a supporter of the president's amnesty program, running for his political life.
TANCREDO: No, no, Lou. No, no. He's not. Haven't you heard? He's never supported amnesty.
DOBBS: The fact of the matter is he is running for his political life ...
DOBBS: ...irrespective of the interpretation. And the idea that this could have implications, what is your best judgment about the outcome of that election and the future of so-called comprehensive immigration reform?
TANCREDO: Right. Well, I certainly don't know what's going to happen tonight in terms of the way it will go, Cannon or not, but I'll tell you this. It will be close. And if it's close, which I think it will be, and/or Mr. Cannon loses, the earthquake around here will be felt around the nation, not just in Washington, D.C.
It will spread out everywhere, because this is another example of the fact that voters have really had it. I mean, we had an election in California not too long ago with Mr. Bilbray. You remember that. One issue and one issue only decided that election.
Mr. Bilbray was losing until three days before the election when his opponent said something like don't worry, you don't need papers in order to vote. And they made a big deal out of it. And thank goodness they could because Bilbray won.
When it turns out on one issue that somebody either has a close race that shouldn't -- the president of the United States, Lou, is right now making calls for Mr. Cannon. That's how worried they are about this. So we're going to win one way or the other. We're going to get a better vote out of that district than we've had in the past one way or the other.
DOBBS: Congressman Tancredo, we thank you for being here. The book is "In Mortal Danger." It has just come out, and it is an important book on border security and America's security written by Tom Tancredo, who is at the forefront of the debate on illegal immigration and border security. We thank you for being here.
TANCREDO: It's been a pleasure.
DOBBS: And we wish you all the best of luck with this important book.
TANCREDO: Thank you very much, Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you.
Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee will join me here tomorrow. We'll be talking about the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and importantly, the Judiciary Committee's investigation of President Bush and his use of presidential signings.
Another brazen attack in the bloody drug wars waging in Mexico. Gunmen assassinated the senior police official in the popular tourist resort of Cancun. The officer and his bodyguard were gunned down in their car on a busy avenue.
Drug traffickers have murdered dozens of police officials and civilians in gruesome wars all along Mexico's northern border. Just last week drug traffickers beheaded four people in Rosarito Beach, just south of San Diego, three of them police officers, that just south of Tijuana.
Coming up next here, we'll have a report on an asteroid that scientists say will pass uncomfortably close to planet earth. We'll tell you when.
And troop withdrawals from Iraq, flag burning in America, two of the issues being debated on Capitol Hill. We'll debate them here with three of the country's most popular radio talk show hosts, next.
DOBBS: This news just into CNN. The Senate has just rejected a measure to amend the Constitution of the United States to prohibit desecrating the American flag. The measure was rejected by a vote of 66-34, one vote short of the two-thirds need to approve the measure to amend the Constitution. The Senate rejected that constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning, one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
The nation is also deeply divided over the course of the war in Iraq, deeply divided and frustrated with Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, the war in Iraq, of course, and despite that, the president's approval ratings improving somewhat.
Joining me now to tell us what their listeners are saying about all of the above, Laura Flanders of Air America Radio here in New York, Lionel of WOR in New York. Good to see you both. From Washington, D.C., Joe Madison, WOL.
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi.
DOBBS: Good to have you with us.
MADISON: Thank you.
DOBBS: Let me start with you, Joe, because the news is breaking in the nation's capital. One vote short of the two-thirds need to amend the Constitution on the desecration?
MADISON: Well, my audience, and since that's why we're here, I'm certain will welcome this news. The thing I mentioned when this whole debate started is that there's just too many issues out here for us to me having the Senate fast-tracking this debate, number one.
Number two, where is all of this flag burning happening? Usually laws or bills get introduced because there's a major, major problem. Look, we don't see Americans in the streets burning flags now. So this is nothing more than a political issue, a feel good issue. Quite candidly, if they were going to have an amendment, they should say let's not have bikinis made of flags, let's not have ties made of flags. It's ridiculous.
DOBBS: You know, to be honest with you, I'm one of those people it offends. Certainly I resent anyone burning the flag.
MADISON: I do, too.
DOBBS: I respect their right to express themselves. But you know, it really does -- and I see singers, entertainers, various people with shirts that have the American flag. And that to me just doesn't quite sit right either. But I don't want a constitutional amendment, for crying out loud. Lionel?
MADISON: Well, absolutely not.
LIONEL, WOR NEW YORK: Remember, a couple of things. First of all, the answer is very simple. There should be a legislative statute passed that makes all flags mandatorily be made of asbestos.
Now, that and I'm sure somebody else has thought of this. Now, if you recall the notion -- this is what bothers me. You're right about that, Lou. Remember during the famous areola flash of Janet Jackson, the wardrobe malfunction? Preceding her was Kid Rock, who had a flag around him. And after he was done, he spun it around and threw it out to the audience. Nobody cared about that.
There is a United States code provision called the flag code. But why this whole notion is insidious is let's assume you have a boy scout here, two boy scouts. Both of them burning it. You stop one and say, "What are you doing?" "I'm retiring the flag and this is what I'm doing." Great.
The second boy scout says...
DOBBS: ... As is required by the flag code.
LIONEL: Right, as suggested. It's not mandatory, but still. The second one says, "I'm doing this because I hate my country." "OK, you No. 2, you're arrested because of your thought, because of your intention. We're going to arrest you because of your attention."
LAURA FLANDERS, AIR AMERICA RADIO: Your crime of aspiration. I mean, this is -- what get me is we have Baghdad burning, the Gulf Coast sinking and they're talking about the flag. And this is when you see the flag burning. It reminds people to burn the flag. And if we're going to talk about flag burning, what about that picture in today's paper of Bush signing the flag? Isn't that desecration?
LIONEL: That's desecration.
DOBBS: By the way, I quite agree with you. But moving to those issues now that we've gotten by this issue.
DOBBS: Thank you, U.S. Senate. The fact of the matter is that the "Los Angeles Times," "New York Times," "Wall Street Journal" reporting a secret program to watch the finances of suspected terrorists. What's your position?
FLANDERS: Look, we knew they were going to look at the money. They said George W. Bush, that he is going to trace the money the minute 9/11 happened. So there's no surprises there. They didn't want anyone to public the Pentagon Papers either.
This is an opportunity for the president to swipe at the media. It's the media's job. It is written in the Constitution that they are to scrutinize government and let the people decide. They didn't get the word from Treasury that any lives were at stake. They got the word that there was debate in the government itself and the public needed to know about it.
MADISON: I think that there's two things. One is that I'm interested in why they're just jumping the "New York Times" when the conservative "Wall Street Journal" obviously did the same thing.
And number two, it isn't the people in the United States that are angry about this, quite candidly, it's really a lot of the Europeans, a lot of the Asians. They are the ones that are very upset who we are playing to, Lou, who we are exporting our businesses to, and one thing I want to say about the flag, they ought to make it in the United States.
DOBBS: Don't even start with that. LIONEL: Lou, there are three points here that are interesting. Number one, the White House spin is amazing. This is also red meat time, red issue time, red meat issue, if you will. Flag burning, gay marriage, the "New York Times," the dreaded liberal "New York Times."
Second of all, they said this is terrific. Now the Belgian consortium is going to fall out of favor with us and not give over their records when in fact they were subpoenaed and not one court, not one court oversaw a subpoena.
These were millions of administrative subpoenas. This is -- there's a word for it, Lou, but I can't say it. This is what this is all about. It's a diversion. And can you imagine right now, al Qaeda saying "Ahmed, did you hear the news? They're tracking our money? What next?" I mean, come on.
FLANDERS: Joe had a very important point. This has to do with U.S. relations with the world, which we need to know about, because Lionel's right that there's been reluctance on behalf of some of our allies to come forward with information. But a lot of our allies are furious with our reluctance to come up with information. The public needs to know that we may not be pursuing this war on terror the best way.
MADISON: And we should have a healthy distrust for government.
LIONEL: Here, here.
MADISON: We really should.
DOBBS: Joe, you want us to distrust this government?
LIONEL: Especially this one.
MADISON: Look, I've read my American history. Jefferson had a healthy distrust. They all had a healthy distrust.
DOBBS: By the way, you know, we've got to go back to one thing, which seems to always get lost when everyone's so eager to amend the U.S. Constitution.
DOBBS: Well, that's one of them. But the fact is the country has a Constitution because of that skepticism and that distrust that we're all supposed to reserve.
LIONEL: Why isn't there a law that says you can't burn a facsimile of the Constitution? That would make more sense to me.
DOBBS: Before we go too far distracted by the distraction, let's go to the issue of reconciliation. In Iraq, the idea of which amnesty could be granted to those who kill some of our troops in Iraq. Your reaction?
FLANDERS: Look, we need to come to an agreement that we need to bring the troops home, that we'll reduce the violence there. It is interesting to see in the polls increasing number of Americans coming around to the Democratic point of view. The amnesty we'll deal with later.
DOBBS: And working in a little partisanship there, that was deftly done, Laura, thank you very much. We'll be back with our panel in just a moment. We'll have more of your thoughts on sending the National Guard to the border as well, and a host of other issues. Stay with us, we'll be right back.
DOBBS: Coming up at the top of the hour here on CNN, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Lou. And it's happening now. As you know, the Senate has just voted on a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. It failed once again by one vote. We're going to take a closer look at what happened.
Also, the cost of war. Just how much is being spent in Iraq? We're crunching the billions.
Plus prosecuting the press. Did some newspapers jeopardize national security by publishing details of a top secret program? I'll speak with one senator who is now calling for a formal investigation.
And disaster evacuations. Is the nation's capital ready for the next big one? This city has been crippled by rain. We're going to take a closer look at what might happen if something more serious were to strike. All that, Lou, coming up at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf, looking forward to it.
Back with our panel now. Let's go to the issue of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe, saying that he won't send any more National Guard troops to the border. What do you make of it?
MADISON: Well I'm surprised he sent the ones that he did. I think there's a couple things. One is that even though I understand the Pentagon said we'll pay for them, the question is when does the check arrive? Number two, he's got to run for re-election. The president of the United States does not have to run for re-election.
And he's caught between a voting base of Hispanics and immigrants and also he's caught with farmers, what I call plantation owners, who are looking for slave labor. He's got a difficult road to hoe. So I think what he's done is sort of split the baby on this one. He's already sent some, I'm not going to send anymore. It's a Solomon type thing.
FLANDERS: Arnold is doing what Arnold always does, which is look out for Arnold. He's trying to present himself as having some distance from the president at a time when the presidential poll numbers -- OK, they are up two points to 38 or something. But in his state, he needs to win by showing a distance from the White House. And that's what this is about.
DOBBS: What in the world are the Democrats doing, though, with what should be a huge political advantage?
LIONEL: What are they not doing? And by the way, can we get a paramedic on the set for Lou?
I'll tell you what, what really gets me about this whole thing. Here's Arnold Schwarzenegger. They're going to take his -- I'm not really a big Arnold fan, but they're going to take his limited...
DOBBS: I thought you were.
DOBBS: You gave every indication of being.
LIONEL: But you take his limited National Guard troops, and say, by the way, Arnold, can you -- would you mind spreading them out and also to Mexico and Arizona? And by the way, we may send you a check? How about this, Mr. President, if you're watching, why don't you put the $300 billion that are just being thrown into Iraq, and why don't you beef up the border? Why don't we hire some more border agents and immigration people? Am I missing the point here?
DOBBS: Let's try again, because apparently my question wasn't clear.
FLANDERS: Try again.
DOBBS: The Democratic Party manages to turn the Senate floor into its own caucus. Is not making inroads. We've just seen in the latest...
FLANDERS: That's not true, Lou. Look at the numbers on Iraq withdrawal. They're absolutely making inroads. You have 10 percent increase in....
LIONEL: Democrats aren't doing that. That's ...
FLANDERS: Who has put that on the table? It was Jack Murtha. It was Democrats, one after the other. Maybe the Bush crew were cutting deals in the back room. It was Democrats who were standing up in public and saying we needed ...
LIONEL: What is the Democratic message? What is your platform? FLANDERS: On this issue, they have been the leaders.
MADISON: On this Democratic issue, if the Democratic leaders look behind them, their supporters are so far behind them, they wouldn't be able to see them on this one. They're going to have to really get with it on this one, and they're missing the point. They're missing it.
DOBBS: I agree with you. And having raised the point that the Democrats are doing a lousy job here, the fact is that what was leaked ostensibly from General Casey's office on withdrawal plans was precisely what the Democrats were arguing over in their caucus that then spilled into two pieces of initiative on the Senate floor.
LIONEL: Cut and run. Cut and run, Lou. We'll stand down when they stand up. Whatever the heck that means.
FLANDERS: I think the cause -- nobody knows what the cause is. Meanwhile, you've got a White House...
DOBBS: So I guess what I'm really asking is when will the Democratic strategists get as smart as the Republican strategists?
MADISON: They better start learning how to play hard ball, or as I told you, Lou, when we play football, you couldn't play tackle and touch at the same time. Republicans are playing tackle; Democrats want to play touch.
LIONEL: I went to Catholic school.
FLANDERS: Democrats are listening to their base, and their base at this moment is divided. But they're going to get a message from Connecticut when Joe Lieberman is defeated by Ned Lamont that they're going to have to listen to, and that's when you'll see action. It comes from the bottom up. It always does.
MADISON: Always. You're right. You're right.
DOBBS: Thank you all. Appreciate you being here.
LIONEL: No, Lou, thank you.
DOBBS: No, no, thank you, Lionel. I appreciate it very much.
MADISON: Love you all.
DOBBS: And as we continue this...
LIONEL: What happened?
DOBBS: Lionel has got to be choking on a cup of tea here. I can barely talk.
LIONEL: Oh, that's tea?
DOBBS: A reminder to vote -- quit it, Lionel. A reminder to vote in our poll. Do you believe e-voting machines should be disallowed until their integrity can be insured -- assured?
LIONEL: Yes. Another great poll, Lou.
DOBBS: Yes or no. Cast your vote. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: An asteroid that could be as large as a half mile in diameter will be passing exceptionally close to planet Earth this coming Monday, July 3rd. According to space.com, there is no threat of a collision. The asteroid will pass the Earth just beyond the average distance of the moon from the Earth, about a quarter of a million miles. The asteroid will be the closest to the planet at about 12:25 a.m. Eastern time this coming Monday morning. It will be visible to an experienced eye through a telescope.
Meanwhile, the seven-person crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery today arrived at the Kennedy Space Center. The crew will begin final preparations for launch scheduled for this Saturday. Discovery's mission will be 13 days in length. The shuttle will deliver supplies to the International Space Station, and the astronauts had planned up to three space walks. This will be NASA's second space flight since the Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.
The results now of our poll: 98 percent of you say e-voting machines should be disallowed until their integrity can be assured.
Let's take a look at some of your thoughts.
Ken in Tennessee. "Lou, call me crazy. National Guard guarding the nation, what are we thinking?"
Karen in California: "Lou, I saw a bumper sticker this morning that read, 'our government is not a democracy. It's an auction.' Everyone seems to feel the same, but our government doesn't care."
Jonathan in Tennessee, "Lou, I have to say that I resent your guest, Mr. Navarrette's statement, that we, your viewers, are xenophobes and racists. Why is it when any concerned citizen declares their desire to secure our border, they're branded a racist? It is quite apparent that the pro-illegal crowd pulls out the "r" word whenever they're losing a debate."
And Tom in Pennsylvania: "The border issue is not a racial issue. It's a national issue."
And Gerald in Las Vegas: "How is it that when Mexico and Central American nations won't solve their problems, that citizens of the United States become xenophobes? Borders separate us for purpose of peace, just like a fence around our yards."
And Ricky in Texas said, "Lou, we have all heard of NAFTA and CAFTA. You left out AFTGA -- that's the American Free Trade Giveaway Agreement, where the United States government has a blue light special, giving everything in sight away for free at the expense of the middle class."
And Jim in New Mexico -- "Dear Lou, is there a difference between corporations outsourcing American jobs for cheap labor and in-sourcing cheap labor for American jobs?"
Clarence in California: "Dear Lou, with any luck, perhaps FEMA will be called to assist Washington, D.C. in recovering from the flooding. If FEMA is as successful as they were in New Orleans, they might manage to keep the politicians out of the city until after the November election."
We love hearing your thoughts. Send them to us at LouDobbs.com. Each of you whose email is read here receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America."
That's the broadcast for this evening. And we thank you for being with us. Please join us here tomorrow, when among my guests will be the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Arlen Specter. Senator Specter investigating whether President Bush is abusing his right to override Congress. We'll discuss that and comprehensive immigration reform with Senator Specter. We hope you'll be with us.
For all of us here, we thank you for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer.
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