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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Bush Blasts Dems; Missile Showdown: U.S. Versus Russia; Dangerous Imports?

Aired April 23, 2007 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid facing off over the conduct of this war in Iraq and possible troop withdrawals.
We'll have live reports for you from the White House and Capitol Hill.

Also tonight, the United States and Russia on a collision course over U.S. missile defense in Europe. Could this be the beginning of a new Cold War?

We'll have that report.

And rank-and-file Border Patrol agents have had a belly full of Border Patrol chief David Aguilar and the Bush administration's amnesty agenda. Leaders of those agents unanimously passing a historic no-confidence resolution.

We'll have all of those stories, all the day's news, and much more straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Monday, April 23rd.

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

President Bush today blasted Democrats for demanding the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and for recommending troop withdrawals from Iraq. President Bush declared he has even more confidence in Alberto Gonzales than a week ago. And President Bush said politicians in Washington shouldn't tell generals how to do their jobs.

Senate majority leader Senator Harry Reid today accused the president of being in a state of denial over Iraq. Senator Reid said the Congress will show President Bush the way forward on Iraq.

Ed Henry reports on the president's political offensive against the Democratic leadership.

Dana Bash reports on the senator's determination to force the president to withdraw combat troops.

And Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon tonight on another major strategic challenge, Russia's opposition to any U.S. missile defenses in Europe.

We turn first to Ed Henry -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, you mentioned that Senator Reid called the president and said basically in this speech -- called him out and said that he's in a state of denial. Just in the last 10 minutes, the White House has put out this two-page attack sheet. Basically headline, "Reid vs. Reid: A State of Confusion," ripping his speech to shreds. It's a sign of a White House that is digging in deeper not just on Iraq, but also on Alberto Gonzales.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY (voice over): The president said he gained more confidence in his attorney general after testimony in which Alberto Gonzales used some variation of...

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I do not recall...

HENRY: ... 64 times.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.

HENRY: The president came to that conclusion despite traveling in Ohio during Gonzales's testimony.

(on camera): Did the president actually see the testimony?

DANA PERINO, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He got regular updates from us while we were on the road.

HENRY (voice over): But after sitting through the testimony, Republican Arlen Specter said it was very, very damaging to Gonzales' credibility.

BUSH: Some senators didn't like his explanation, but he answered as honestly as he could.

HENRY: The president was similarly unmoved by increased senatorial pressure on Iraq, digging in deeper on his surge policy.

BUSH: There's been some progress. There's been some horrific bombings, of course, but there's also a decline in sectarian violence.

HENRY: In the Oval Office with General David Petraeus, Mr. Bush ducked a question on Majority Leader Harry Reid's charge that he's in denial about the war.

BUSH: I believe strongly that politicians in Washington shouldn't be telling generals how to do their job. And I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake.

HENRY: While the president stuck to that familiar refrain, spokeswoman Dana Perino fired back at the senator. PERINO: He's also in denial that a surrender date he thinks is a good idea. It is not a good idea. It is defeat. It is a death sentence for the millions of Iraqis who voted for a constitution.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Now, Dana Perino was also asked whether or not the president's personal friendship with Alberto Gonzales will cloud his judgment here, will prevent him from taking an objective look at the situation. She insisted it will not.

But Democrats tonight certainly charging that the president has dug in too deep here. And just as they charged with Donald Rumsfeld that the president stuck with him too long, they think he's doing the same with the attorney general -- Lou.

DOBBS: Ed, thank you very much.

Ed Henry from the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Reid, as Ed just reported, declared the president is in a state of denial over Iraq. Senator Reid said Congress will defy the president's veto threat and pass legislation calling for the withdrawal of all our combat troops from Iraq by April of next year.

Dana Bash reports from Capitol Hill -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, as we speak, House and Senate negotiators are finalizing the language of that emergency spending bill that will fund the war in Iraq but only with the requirement that U.S. troops start coming home in October and completing that withdrawal of combat troops by this time next year. Now, the Senate majority leader laid out that plan that they hope to send to the president for a promised veto by week's end, as he delivered a blistering speech about Mr. Bush's war policy, mocking him for suggesting there's progress in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: In describing his escalation of American troops, what he calls a surge, he further said, "So far the operation is meeting expectations." The White House transcript says the president made those remarks in the state of Michigan. I believe he made them in the state of denial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, Reid's new attack did not include his controversial comments last week that when it comes to the military mission in Iraq, the war is lost. I sat down with the Senate majority leader after that speech. He was careful not to once again utter that phrase, "the war is lost," but I gave him several chances to take it back, and he declined.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REID: General Petraeus has said the war cannot be won militarily. He said that. And President Bush is doing nothing economically, he's doing nothing diplomatically, he's not doing even the minimal requested by the Iraq Study Group.

So I stick with General Petraeus. I have no doubt that the war cannot be won militarily, and that's what I said last Thursday. And I stick with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, Republicans pounced on Reid's comments as insulting to troops, but some Democrats privately were not happy, saying that it was politically damaging. To that, Lou, Reid said, "I'm not much of a message guy" -- Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much.

Dana Bash.

It's hard to find anyone in Washington who is not much of a message guy, as the senator put it.

Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Thank you.

DOBBS: Insurgents have killed seven more of our troops in Iraq. Six soldiers were killed in separate incidents in the Baghdad area Saturday. The seventh killed today 50 miles north of the Iraqi capital.

Seventy-six of our troops have been killed so far this month, 3,323 of our troops killed since the beginning of the war. 24,764 of our troops have been wounded, 11,064 of them seriously.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has just returned from Iraq today, went to Moscow to discuss the escalating showdown over U.S. missile defenses. Secretary Gates said Russia could share some U.S. missile defense technology, but Russia refused to accept that offer and repeated its opposition to any U.S. missile defense in Europe.

Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Robert Gates is on a courting call in Moscow, proposing to Russian president Vladimir Putin a marriage of convenience in the form of unprecedented cooperation on the missile shield the U.S. wants to install partly in Russia's back yard.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We invite Russia to join our defensive endeavor as a partner.

MCINTYRE: But Gates found himself in the role of rejected suitor, with his Russian counterpart still playing hard to get.

ANATOLY SERDYUKOV, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The Russian position with respect to this the issue remains unchanged. We do believe that the deployment of this strategic elements of the -- of the ballistic missile defenses is a destabilizing factor.

MCINTYRE: The U.S. argues by stationing 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, as well as a targeting radar in the Czech Republic, it can better protect not only America, but its allies, too, including Russia, from missiles fired from Iran or North Korea. However, Russia seems to think the U.S. is the bigger threat.

Still, after his talks, Gates expressed cautious optimism.

GATES: I think we're beginning to get down to be specific issues of concern to Russia. And I believe the experts can both clear up any misunderstandings, as well as address the Russians' concerns.

MCINTYRE: It's not just missile defense that has strained relations between Washington and Moscow. Russia's is also at odds with the U.S. on dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions. But Secretary Gates insists it's not the Cold War part two.

GATES: The days of the Cold War are over, and no one should seek a return to them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: Secretary Gates says the U.S. is prepared to go well beyond previous offers of cooperation, inviting Russia to inspect a U.S. missile base in Alaska and a radar installation in California.

Ultimately, the U.S. would like to co-locate some missile radars with Russia and share a wide range of data. But Lou, given this be latest rebuff, that day seems like it will be a long time coming.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin has died. He was 76.

Yeltsin won international recognition as he defied Kremlin hard- liners and rallied support against a coup attempt against his government in '91. His defiance led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Russia's first democracy.

Still ahead here, new concerns about the safety of imported food supplies, pet food and now even our vitamins.

We'll have a special report.

Also, corporate America says it must import highly-skilled technology workers from overseas, but it turns out many of those workers aren't highly skilled at all.

And imagine not just one, but two President Clintons in the White House.

We'll have that story and more straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: New disclosed documents show the FDA knew for years of the potential contamination of spinach and peanut butter but was too overwhelmed to conduct follow-up investigations. Documents show the FDA knew about potential E. coli contamination of spinach and other grains as far as back as 1995. Tainted greens killed three people and sickened 200 others in 26 states.

An FDA report shows inspectors first investigated complaints of salmonella contamination in a ConAgra plant in Georgia in 2005. Salmonella found in two of the company's peanut butter brands sickened 400 people across the country.

And tomorrow, a House committee holds a hearing on the record number of FDA recalls, including the recent pet food recalls.

U.S. food makers more than doubled their business with countries such as China and Mexico over the past five years, but as we have reported, for example, in the pet food scare, some of those ingredients come from China, and they can be very dangerous, even deadly.

As Kitty Pilgrim reports, now there are new concerns about Chinese ingredients in much of what is in the human food supply, the food we consume, including vitamin supplements.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A bottle of vitamin C. You won't find the word "China" anywhere on the label. The capsules may be manufactured in the USA, but the ingredients of over 80 percent of vitamin C consumed in this country come from China.

And it's not just vitamin pills. One hundred million dollars worth of Chinese vitamin C is added to a variety of products, from soups to beverages.

The Food and Drug Administration does not test dietary supplements before they go to market. The FDA says, "... a firm is responsible for determining the dietary supplements it manufacturers or distributes are safe..." "... there are no provision in the law for FDA to approve dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer."

The FDA today telling CNN they only investigate if there is a problem.

PROF. SANFORD MILLER, CENTER FOR FOOD NUTRITION & AGRICULTURE POLICY: We have no way of knowing whether they use municipal water, whether they use municipal water that's contaminated with heavy metals, and stuff like that. And the stuff shows up here and it gets into circulation and is used without being checked. PILGRIM: In addition to the safety issue, U.S. manufacturers claim China has cornered the market on vitamin C and now colludes to drive up the prices. U.S. lawsuits claim only four companies in China control production.

WILLIAM ISAACSON, ATTORNEY: We're all paying higher prices because these Chinese companies have formed a cartel.

PILGRIM: Those lawsuits claim China raised prices from $2.80 a kilogram to $10, making vitamins for U.S. consumers much more expensive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, U.S. manufacturers of vitamin pills have the obligation to make sure the vitamin C they import and put in their products are safe, but there are voluntary guidelines for testing. They're not mandatory guidelines. And no government agency will step in to check the product unless there is a problem reported -- Lou.

DOBBS: Unbelievable. You've got to be kidding.

PILGRIM: I actually was quite shocked once we started to wade into this.

DOBBS: You're shocked? Imagine how millions of us feel.

The idea that the government doesn't do a darn thing is -- I mean, that's -- what in the world are they thinking about?

PILGRIM: The food safety experts that we spoke to said they're overwhelmed, they just can't...

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: They're overwhelmed, the poor babies. Unbelievable.

Kitty, thank very much.

Kitty Pilgrim.

Well, another company is recalling pet foods made with a Chinese ingredient tainted with a deadly chemical. Royal Canin USA is recalling some of its dry dog and cat foods made with rice protein concentrate. This rice protein concentrate is laced with melamine, and earlier testing found wheat gluten found in pet food was contaminated with that same toxic chemical.

The FDA says 16 pets were killed by tainted food. No one takes that suggestion seriously in terms of the number of fatalities.

More information on the deadly pet food recall can be found on our Web site, loudobbs.com.

The government created H1-B visas to attract, they said, the best and the brightest workers from abroad. But as Bill Tucker now reports, the criteria for importing that cheap foreign labor is completely -- this is your government at work -- random.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The H1-B visa might just as we'll be called the program of the completely random. With twice as many applications as visas, the Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn't look for the brightest and the best. It simply awards the visas by random drawing.

TODD TOLLEFSON, WASHTECH: Bill Gates testified in front of the Senate last month saying that we need the Einsteins of the world to come over here. If it's a random process, how do we know we're going to get the Einsteins?

TUCKER: And according to a new study titled "Low Salaries for Low Skills," we aren't getting all Einsteins. More than half of the applications are in the lowest skill range, and only five percent are in the highest skill range.

The lowest skilled jobs are described in the visa application as "... beginning level employees who have a basic understanding of the occupation." If this is a visa for the brightest and the best, shouldn't the statistics be reversed, with more than half being in the highest skilled category?

When it comes to salary, 84 percent of H1-B visa workers earned wages that were below the median U.S. wage. And wages for H1-B tech workers averaged $12,000 less than U.S. workers in the same occupation and location.

JOHN MIANO, IMMIGRATION STUDY AUTHOR: The H1-B program is not doing what it's supposed to be doing, and that is to bring in the world's best and brightest to the United States. And what the report says is that we need to change the eligibility requirements to clearly -- more clearly define who should be getting these visas.

TUCKER: So, given the observed abuse of the H1-B visa program, why doesn't the government change its criteria for awarding the visas?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER: Well, according to a spokesman for the agency in charge of approving the applications, the random drawing is the fairest way to make sure every application is treated equally.

Now, Lou, when we asked the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services why they don't say maybe cull through the applications, sort them on priorities in terms of qualification, salary, the response was, well, the program's not set up to work that way.

DOBBS: At the risk of repeating myself, unbelievable. At what point will Americans decide that this government simply is out of control and isn't working?

Agency after agency, department after department, and to watch what is happening with the H1-B visa and to listen to Bill Gates, as I have commented more than a few times here, make those outrageously, ill-informed remarks about the H1-B visa program -- and seven-tenths of those, we should point out, of the ones that are coming into technology, seven-tenths of them, 70 percent of them, going to Indian companies for low-skilled, low-paid workers.

I mean, it's just -- it's nuts. At what the point is somebody in Congress -- this is supposed to be a different Congress than the Republican Congress. They're not supposed to be in the pockets of corporate America. Is anybody about to wake up?

TUCKER: One would hope so. Grassley and Durbin in the Senate have a reform of the H1-B legislation. Pascrell in House has similar legislation he's about to introduce. But I've got to tell you, Lou, there are a lot of people who think that reform is just preceding a giant increase in the program.

DOBBS: Right. It's unbelievable.

And this idiotic amnesty legislation would bring in 400,000 more guest workers into this country, no telling how many others. If the American people don't awaken to the stupidity that is passing for leadership in Washington, D.C., right now, I don't know what in the world will be required. Or if anything will be required at some point, because it will simply be too late.

Bill, thank you very much.

Bill Tucker.

Coming up here next, a vote of no confidence for the head of the nation's Border Patrol. We'll tell you who's dissatisfied with his performance. And believe me, it's not just me.

And it could be a two for one deal if voters decide to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. Where have we heard that before?

We'll have a special report coming up next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is in a dead heat tonight. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Senator Barack Obama tied with Senator Hillary Clinton, with 32 percent of the vote. Senator Obama has been gaining ground on Senator Clinton over the past four weeks, and Senator Clinton's remarks at Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention in New York last Friday night prompted Internet bloggers today to say she added a distinctly southern drawl to her remarks. One blogger posting an edited audio version on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: When I walk into the Oval Office in January, 2009, I'm afraid I'm going to lift up the rug and I'm going to see so much stuff under there. This is going to be cleaning up the government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: And with Senator Clinton and Senator Obama locked tight in the race for the Democratic nomination, the candidates need every bit of help they can muster. And for Hillary Clinton, that help is certainly close at hand.

Bill Schneider reports now on how voters feel about a two-for-one deal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): What will Bill Clinton do if Hillary Clinton becomes president?

H. CLINTON: People ask me all the time, well, if you are elected, can you make him secretary of state?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

H. CLINTON: And I -- I tell them that I think that is -- since President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, I think that's illegal.

SCHNEIDER: We have never had a president married to a former president before. Is that a problem? Voters expect a president to be his or her own person. The Clintons seem to be aware of the problem.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She will be the president. She will make the decisions. But if I can help, I will.

SCHNEIDER: Do voters want the former president to help? Apparently, they do. By 2-1, according to this month's CNN poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, voters believe Bill Clinton would be an asset, not a liability, if his wife becomes president. But what would he do?

H. CLINTON: But I sure can make him ambassador to the world, because we have a lot of work to do to get our country back in the standing it should be.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SCHNEIDER: On Saturday, Senator Clinton said, "I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton."

Why do we need a cheerleader? Because friendship with other countries is as crucial in the war on terror as it used to be in the Cold War. The Clintons want to have it both ways. The former president will be there.

B. CLINTON: I have had a lot of experience, and I can help her.

SCHNEIDER: But he won't be there on running things.

B. CLINTON: I would like to continue my foundation work around the world. But I want to be there for her.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: The rest of the world may miss Bill Clinton, but do Americans? Increasingly, they do. As President Bush's numbers have gone down, Bill Clinton's numbers have gone up, to the point where a majority of Americans now say they miss him -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

Bill Schneider from Washington.

Up next here, defiance and contempt for our immigration laws? What's new? How far, however, can the mayor of San Francisco go to support illegal immigration?

We'll have that report.

And an historic revolt by Border Patrol agents and their leadership against their own chief as the Bush administration pushes its open borders amnesty agenda at all costs.

And gasoline prices are soaring. Could gas prices rise to as much as $4 a gallon?

We'll have that story next. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Gasoline prices are on the rise. The price of a gallon is already more than $4 a gallon in San Francisco.

Gasoline prices have gone up 8 cents over just the past two weeks, up 69 cents so far this year. Experts say an extremely active hurricane season and any conflict with Iran could push prices up to $4 all across the country by summer.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide is now $2.87. Drivers in Minneapolis pay the least, $2.65 a gallon. The price of gas is more than $4 a gallon at one station, as I said, in San Francisco.

Parts of California and Texas are cleaning up after wild weather over the weekend. Hail the size of golf balls pummeling Randall County, Texas late Saturday, followed by a tornado that devastated the panhandle town of Cactus, Texas. And 20,000 customers in that region are without power; 14 people were hurt.

And a spring winter storm brought snow to the Sierra Mountains in California. That storm dumping as much as a foot and a half of snow over the area.

The Coast Guard today unloading 20 tons of cocaine seized off Panama. The drugs carried off the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for destruction. The Coast Guard saying it is the largest bust ever made at sea. Street value estimated at $600 million. Those drugs seized in mid-March.

No amnesty for illegal aliens is the cry now being heard at rallies in the nation's capital this week. Those rallies organized by radio talk show hosts are protesting Washington's pro-amnesty, open borders agenda. At the events, the crowd demanding action to keep our nation's borders secure and calling for English to be made the official language of this nation.

Among those expected to attend the continuing rallies, the wives of imprisoned former Border Patrol Agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. The former agents are serving lengthy prison sentences after the drug dealer was given immunity to testify against them.

And a lack of support for those two agents is just one of several reasons rank-and-file Border Patrol agents today declared they no longer have confidence in their leadership, in the head of the Border Patrol in particular.

In an outrageous decision made by an elected official, San Francisco's mayor says city employees will no longer help federal agents to enforce the nation's immigration laws. Lisa Sylvester reports on the frustrations that led the Border Patrol agents to go public with their complaints against their chief David Aguilar. Casey Wian reports on San Francisco, one of the nation's so-called sanctuary cities. Now going a step further to protect illegal aliens and circumvent federal law.

But first, Lisa Sylvester -- Lisa.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, many Border Patrol agents say they're being tasked with a job to protect the U.S. borders, but when they try to do their jobs, they are being punished. There is a real perception higher ups do not have their back and that Chief David Aguilar is not on the same page as many of the rank-and- file agents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar has the president's backing, touring the Mexican border with him this month, but many rank-and-file Border agents have written him off as a leader who merely rubber stamps the Bush administration's policies.

One area of disagreement, a proposal to give millions of illegal aliens legal status. Many agents object to anything resembling amnesty.

T.J. BONNER, NAT'L. BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: We want leaders, not bobble-head dolls who nod their assent to whatever the administration tells them to do. It's a sense of the rank and file, that if the president of the United States told the chief of the Border Patrol to declare that the earth was flat, he would do that.

SYLVESTER: The National Border Patrol Council, which represents 11,000 agents unanimously voted for a no confidence resolution, expressing their displeasure with Aguilar. Morale has plummeted since Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were sent to prison after shooting a suspect trying to smuggle more than 700 pounds of marijuana into the United States. At least 90 members of Congress support a pardon for the agents.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R) CALIFORNIA: I think that giving Ramos and Compean basically murder sentences for these slight wounding of a drug dealer has a generally demoralizing effect on lots of would-be border patrolmen who say that could be me.

SYLVESTER: The Department of Homeland Security responded to the no confidence vote saying, "Secretary Chertoff has complete confidence in Chief Aguilar and believes very strongly that he's demonstrating important leadership and effectiveness at a critical time."

"Under Chief Aguilar's tenure, we have ended catch and release at the border, and we are doubling the size of the Border Patrol."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: This no confidence vote, this is the first of its kind. The Border Patrol Council would like Border Chief David Aguilar ousted, but members recognize the vote is largely symbolic. In fact, T.J. Bonner said knowing the administration, what they'll probably see is a promotion for Mr. Aguilar -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, we have only to guess what awaits Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

The mayor of San Francisco today flaunting his city's defiance of federal immigration law. As Casey Wian now reports, the Mayor Gavin Newsom says he's proud that San Francisco remains a sanctuary city for illegal aliens.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is forbidding his department heads, or anyone associated with the city, from cooperating with federal immigration officials conducting work site raids or roundups of fugitive illegal aliens.

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO, CA.: We're a sanctuary city. We don't cooperate with the federal government as relates to these raids. We work to raise awareness that we are a sanctuary city.

WIAN: Newsom also told a Catholic immigrant rights group Sunday he will work to increase funding for city programs that is benefit illegal aliens. And he promised to consider the wishes of day laborers before taking any action on that issue. The mayor appears to be responding to pressure from church leaders who advocate amnesty for illegal aliens.

NATE BACON, DEACON, ST. PETER'S PARISH: We need to have a major assurance on the part of the city that there's going to be protection for them and that the sanctuary means something. WIAN: San Francisco has been an illegal alien sanctuary city since 1989. But the mayor's comments are a clearest escalation of the city's open defiance of federal immigration law.

TOM FITTON, JUDICIAL WATCH: Mayor Newsom has shown contempt for the law. Federal law prohibits any official from prohibiting anyone in government, certainly police officers or other government officials from cooperating with the feds on immigration matters.

WIAN: Yet, San Francisco's police department under orders from city officials refuses to cooperate with ICE on immigration law violations. San Francisco is not alone. Dozens of U.S. cities have sanctuary laws, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Immigration and Customs Enforcement say the sanctuary laws will not stop agents from conducting work-site enforcement raids nor rounding up fugitive illegal aliens, because generally local police are not involved in those operations, Lou.

DOBBS: Generally not. But the fact is to hear the mayor of a major American city, and as you point out, there are others, to basically tell the federal government go to hell, we're going to do what we want, without any sort of possibility of a consequence, I mean, that's really, really amazing.

WIAN: Yeah, it sure is, Lou. It's gone a step farther than a lot of cities when he said he's trying to promote the idea that San Francisco is a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. It's almost as if he's inviting more to come to the city. What's really behind his message, he says the immigrant community is in fear of these work-site enforcement raids.

DOBBS: The immigrant community?

WIAN: Not the illegal alien community. They stick to the story that legal immigrants are afraid of being deported.

DOBBS: They might as well work for Herman Gehring I mean, they're running so much propaganda, trying to confuse the debate, the national dialogue, by talking about immigrants rather than illegal aliens and legal immigrants. It's mindless beyond belief.

What's really mindless is we tolerate this nonsense. I can't imagine what the odds on the bet would be that the federal government doesn't go to the mayor, the city council, of any one of these sanctuary cities, and say we're just about to bring action for you for obstruction of justice. We have nothing in the code that says you will be punished a specific way, but in every instance, it looks like that's precisely what they're doing, doesn't it?

WIAN: It sure does. It looks like the federal government is almost giving these sanctuary policies its stamp of approval, Lou.

DOBBS: You don't think? Thank you very much. Casey Wian. That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. The question is: do you believe that federal aid should be cut off to sanctuary cities that protect illegal aliens in America in violation of U.S. immigration law? Yes or no, cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later in the broadcast.

Up next, we'll hear from the editor of an important new book on the immigration book in America. It's time for answers. We're offering two minutes of uninterrupted air time to presidential candidates to address each substantive issue facing this nation.

Tonight we'll be joined by Congressman Ron Paul running for president. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: With demonstrations in Washington this week, opposition to amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, and to corporate America's call for open borders, all of this being brought to the front door of Congress with a different perspective. Joining me now with far more on this critical issue is Professor Carol Swain; she's professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University and Professor Swain is also the author of an important new book "Debating Immigration."

Professor, good to have you with us.

PROF. CAROL SWAIN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Thank you.

Among the things you say in the book, you talk about neglected voices and issues in the national discussion. What do you mean by neglected voices?

SWAIN: Well, one of the things that I've noticed about the immigration debate is that the views of some Protestant Christians that have reservations, they're concerned about the impact that immigration is having on native workers, Americans that they see members of their congregation that too often these individuals have been silenced by name calling. So there is a viewpoint that I believe is a biblical Christian viewpoint that is not part of the discussion. That's in the book.

DOBBS: That's one of the chapters --

SWAIN: That's one of the --

DOBBS: That's addressed? The viewpoint, if you will, a Protestant view as well as a Catholic view.

SWAIN: Yes.

DOBBS: Which is typically the religious view that dominates the illegal immigration debate and dialogue in this country. You also say that African-Americans are not being adequately represented in this debate.

SWAIN: Yes, how many African-American leaders have you seen come out and address the impact that high levels of illegal immigration is having in the communities when it comes to jobs, when it comes to education, when it comes to health care? And often, these low skilled, low-wage workers, they compete, you know, in the same sectors for jobs. And so one the things I try to do in the volume is to bring that perspective forward. As well as the fact that the public has expressed views for a long time that are not being represented by politicians.

DOBBS: It's one of the things we have focused on, on this broadcast, as you know, Professor. The idea in this country, I mean when we hear a report like Governor (sic) Gavin Newsom in San Francisco declaring that his country -- it's almost a country, a separate nation -- that his city will be a sanctuary city in violation of federal law. When poll after poll shows that Americans by a large majority support strong border security, and we're all ignored in this country it seems by a ruling elite. I mean, there is a consequence for this at some point, isn't there?

SWAIN: I hope the consequence will be that the American people will arm themselves and hold their politicians accountable because right now, the politicians are beholding to big business and to the lobbyists, and they're not representing the views of the American people. And that's something that has to change.

DOBBS: Right. As you pull together all of these competing and conflicting views for this important book "Debating Immigration," what was -- did it come out pretty much the way you thought, or were there some surprises?

SWAIN: I don't think there were surprises. One of the things I've done in this collection is to bring together a number of views. There are people that support expanding immigration as well as those that say wait a minute, this is having a negative impact on certain sectors of American society, especially the low-wage, low-skilled workers that are being harmed and there are not enough voices, in my opinion, that are speaking out on behalf of these people.

DOBBS: Professor Carol Swain, we thank you for being here. We really appreciate it. The book is "Debating Immigration." It will be on book shelves beginning next Monday. It's a very important read. Everyone from Peter Bromolo to Nathan Glazier, disparate competing voices, and importantly voices that are heard.

SWAIN: Thank you so much.

DOBBS: Important new book. Thank you very much, Professor Carol Swain.

A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe federal aid should be cut off to sanctuary cities that protect illegal aliens in this country? Yes or no, cast your vote at loudobbs.com. The results coming up here in just a few moments.

Up next, we've offered all the presidential candidates two minutes of uninterrupted air time to specifically discuss critical issues facing America. Congressman Ron Paul is the first to accept our invitation. Two minutes uninterrupted on each substantive issue. We begin tonight with free trade. He joins us here next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: I strongly believe that most of us want to hear what presidential candidates have to say on the issues and their specific position. And what we're doing is offering a special series on this broadcast. We call it "2008: Time For Answers". And we're giving all the presidential candidates two minutes of uninterrupted airtime to address each critical issue facing this country.

Republican Congressman Ron Paul, of Texas, joins us tonight. He is the first candidate to accept my offer. And Congressman Ron Paul joins us tonight from Capitol Hill. We're delighted to have you here.

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. It's good to be with you.

DOBBS: Fire at will. The subject is so-called free trade.

PAUL: Free trade. I'm for free trade. Although I'm not for the type of system that we have today because I don't believe it's my concept of free trade. I do not believe that the Congress should ever have the authority to pass this authority to the president. And on things like on fast track and then president devises agreements that serve the interests of the special interests.

So, I positively opposed to this transfer of power just as I am opposed to the Congress transferring power to the president to declare war. So you can be for trade. I follow the admonition of the Founders. They think we're a lot better off if we trade with countries, rather than fight with them.

We fought with Vietnam through the '60s. It did go well. We left. Now we trade with them. I think we do better trading. Where our problem gets into are these managed trade agreements under the WTO and under NAFTA and the plan for a North American Union. These are the kind of movements I think are very detrimental to national sovereignty. I don't think it helps our workers.

And in combination with our monetary policy we are now exporting our jobs due to a flawed trade policy and actually a flawed foreign policy because we have allowed too much power to gravitate to the executive branch, and the Congress won't live up to their responsibilities. The Congress is supposed to be protecting us, protecting and guarding against our liberties.

At the same time, here we are once again in an undeclared war overseas, that's going on endlessly trying to enforce U.N. resolutions, which is very disruptive to our economy. It causes huge deficits. That is more disruptive to our trade policies, as well.

Do I not believe we can solve all our trade problems unless we eventually look at monetary policy. Because when we have the privilege of printing the reserve currency of the world, we abuse this, we print the money and no wonder the jobs go overseas because they take our dollars. That is coming to an end because this war and our financial obligations has nearly bankrupt this country. I think we're in for big trouble.

DOBBS: Congressman, you did it. I mean that's two minutes uninterrupted. We appreciate it. Let me ask you a couple of follow-up questions if I may.

PAUL: OK.

DOBBS: First, let me ask you the question that is often asked of someone taking the position you have on free trade. I want to remind everybody who may be surprised as you speak about free trade you are a candidate for the Republican nomination. Are you a protectionist?

PAUL: No, not really. Only when it becomes national security reasons. But no, I think the more trade that we have, the better. I just don't like privileged trades. I don't like international managed trade. I don't like this NAFTA and WTO managed trade because I don't think the people are served. I think the special interests are served because they have the influence in these organizations.

DOBBS: Would you either rewrite or rescind NAFTA?

PAUL: I'd get rid of NAFTA and WTO, for that matter. I certainly don't want a North American Union and I'm sick of these plans for this highway coming through here that's going to go from Mexico to Canada. That's not my idea of national sovereignty.

DOBBS: The idea that the United States, as Bill Tucker reported tonight, H1B visas being used under the rubric of bringing in bright foreign workers into this country, in point of fact, as our research has demonstrated, more than half of those for low-skilled jobs. What would be your position there?

PAUL: That I would not have as much concern about. But I think it needs monitoring. My big concern are the illegals, I'm concerned about all the enticements we give for the illegals, automatic citizenship by being born here. And then just be here for a while and you get in front of the line. Free medical care, free education. No wonder they bring their families. So I would get rid of all the benefits to the illegals and deal with that and the legal entry, then it needs more monitoring, and looking into these H1B and different categories that we have.

DOBBS: Congressman Ron Paul, we will leave a discussion of illegal immigration to another time for greater examination. We thank for being here tonight.

PAUL: Thank you.

DOBBS: Congressman Ron Paul. Well, as the presidential campaign continues, we'll continue this special series on our broadcast. 2008, definitely it is time for answers. Giving all the presidential candidates who want to take us up on our offer two minutes of uninterrupted airtime to address each critical issue facing this country.

Up next at the top of the hour, "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Thanks, Lou.

The showdown between Congress and the president over Iraq nearing its climax. Outspoken is war critic and decorated veteran John Murtha has a message for the White House and the Iraqis. You'll want to see my interview with the Democratic congressman.

Also, a Democratic presidential candidate has his sights squarely set on the Vice President Dick Cheney. We'll have details of his plan to seek impeachment.

And we'll also look at the legal loophole that allowed the Virginia tech gunman to buy his weapons even after being judged mentally ill.

Plus, Karl Rove and the rock star. We'll show you what's behind a smackdown between the presidential advisor and singer Sheryl Crow and a high-profile dinner. All that coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Back to you, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.

Coming up next here, the results of our poll, should federal aid be cut off to sanctuary cities protecting illegal aliens? We'll have the results and some of your thoughts, here next. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Now the results of our poll: 95 percent of you responding that the federal aid should be cut off to sanctuary cities that protect illegal aliens in America. And 5 percent, of course, disagreeing. Time now for some of your thoughts.

William in Georgia, "Reid and his cohorts are so invested in our troops defeat that I'm changing my party affiliation. We only loose by listening to politicians who benefit politically from something less than victory."

Don in Wisconsin said, "Harry Reid and President Bush both have it wrong. We have experienced victory in Iraq. An evil dictator has been taken down, a constitution has been enacted and a democratically elected government is in place. Our purpose has been fulfilled. And it is time to leave. It is now up to Iraq and it's neighbors to assure regional stability."

John in Arizona says, "They surrendered our jobs to China, our borders to Mexico, our ports to the Middle East and now they want to surrender in Iraq. There isn't a whole lot left for Congress to surrender."

Specialist Joshua Riley, writing from Balad, Iraq. "Republican leaders are saying the news of the war being lost will hurt troop morale. This is not news to any of us. It is a fact most of us have accepted. Using troops as leverage in a political battle is un- American and unpatriotic."

Randy in Minnesota said, "For the past four years the administration has proven it does not have the competence to win in Iraq. Now the Democratic Congress has shown in four months they don't have the guts to get us out."

And James in New York, "It is amazing that we can build a wall between the Iraqi people, but it's inhumane to build one between the United States and Mexico."

Mark in Minnesota, "Gonzales should not only be fired or resign, he should be disbarred. Evading the questions of senators about our system of justice has been a politicized is the ultimate in arrogance and disdain for our legal system."

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow when among our guests will be Sheriff Rick Flores of Webb County, Texas meeting with Secretary Chertoff. The issue, border security. For all of us, thanks for watching. Good night from New York.

THE SITUATION ROOM begins right now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

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