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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Tornado Levels Kansas Town; National Guard Stretched Too Thin?; War on the Middle Class

Aired May 7, 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, a community in shock after a giant tornado has killed 10 people. The tornado leveled nearly every building in the town of Greensburg, Kansas.
We'll have a live report.

Also, troubling charges tonight to the National Guard's response to that disaster, slowed by the strain of the war in Iraq and the deployment of the Kansas National Guard.

We'll have a special report.

And religious groups again interfering in our national debate, establishing an agenda on illegal immigration and border security. Evangelical groups joining the Catholic Church and demanding amnesty for illegal aliens, and suggesting that there might be a choice between Jesus Christ and me.

Among my guests here tonight, one of the country's leading campaigners against substance abuse and addiction, Joseph Califano. His new book, "High Society".

And I'll have a few words tonight as well about the CBS "60 Minutes" report last night on my reporting and my perspective.

All of that and all of the day's news, much more, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Monday, May 7th.

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

A remarkable story of survival today after one of the most destructive tornadoes in a decade. Rescue workers found a survivor live in the rubble of Greensburg, Kansas. Ten people were killed in the town, two were killed in other communities in Kansas. And as more rescue crews arrive in Greensburg, Kansas, the governor, Kathleen Sebelius, said National Guard troops from her state are short of vital equipment because of demands from the war in Iraq.

Don Lemon reports on the rescue operation in Greensburg. We'll also have eyewitness accounts of what happened in that town as the tornado struck. And Jamie McIntyre tonight reporting from the Pentagon on how stretched the National Guard is.

We turn first to Don Lemon in Greensburg -- Don.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Lou, you mentioned those 10 people, 10 people dead in all of this. Two of those bodies found just today. One blown into a lake, the other amid rubble just like this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON (voice over): This is all that's left of Greensburg, Kansas. Residents returned today to see the damage and to find one another.

REV. GENE MCINTOSH, FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: But the emotions are real close to the surface. You know, and when we see somebody, it's just tears to say, you know, brother, you're alive, you're OK.

LEMON: Everything in the tornado's path ravaged. The search and rescue mission is still under way.

SGT. RON KNOEFEL, KANSAS HIGHWAY PATROL: Last night, late evening, we did recover someone alive. So we are very, very happy with that. We still have optimism that we're going to find more people alive.

LEMON: From those returning, remarkable stories of survival.

FAYE HARGADINE, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I was trapped in this corner. And I was curled up. And it took a while to get my legs back under me and everything.

And then I saw light out in the street, and I stood up and began yelling. The windows in my porch were broke out. And so the neighbor lady came with a light and pulled me out of the window.

LEMON: Even for life-long residents, Greensburg is no longer a familiar place.

GENE BRADLEY, TORNADO SURVIVOR: You couldn't find our way. We -- our children lived in the house about four blocks from us. And we walked over there. And you couldn't tell where you were at.

LEMON: The president has declared Greensburg a disaster area. More than 90 percent of the buildings are destroyed.

(on camera): This is all just devastation happening here.

Pan down here. This is the name of the street. This is Illinois Street. Main Street here. That's how they see the names of their streets, because all of the street signs are gone.

(voice over): And already, just three days after this massive tornado tore this town apart, there is the resolve to start over. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are a very resilient people.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And you see that shot of the American flag there, where we're standing now. It just happens to be, Lou, a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. And it's also a senior citizens hall.

This is real lives, real people we're talking about here. And just moments ago, we got handed a list of the dead by the police here. Obviously won't read it, but it includes a 79-year-old person, a 51- year-old, 48, 77, and a 57-year-old.

Again, as I said, a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. Just to tell you, these people fought in war, and some of them, at least 10, possibly people who fought in war, have lost their lives here. This is a devastation -- Lou.

DOBBS: Those scenes of that town, the devastation, it is incredible that 10 people died, that so many survived that.

LEMON: Yes. And so many survived.

And just to let you know, this is still a search and rescue mission here. And when you think about a town, you know, 90 to 95 percent gone, 1.7-mile-wide tornado, 200-mile-an-hour winds, you know, it's surprising that more people didn't lose their lives. The people who live here in Tornado Alley, Lou, realize they have got to seek shelter when these storms are coming through, and I would imagine that exactly what many of them did.

DOBBS: Don, thank you very much.

Don Lemon from Greensburg, Kansas.

The tornado was the most powerful in the classification system used by the National Weather Service, one of a series of tornadoes that swept across Kansas leaving a massive trail of destruction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear that? Oh, no! Those are structures! Oh, no!

No! Wow!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our sirens went off for a good 20 minutes before the electricity went out. And we heard it coming.

So we were in the basement under the pool table. Taylor (ph) was in the room with her cat.

It sounds just like -- just like they tell you it sounds like -- loud, like a train coming. Your ears -- yes, your head pounds, your walls shake. It's every bit as scary as you think it's going to be. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard the sirens go off. We were down in the basement and just huddled in the hallway, through the bathroom and the offices down there. And listened to the house being lifted away above us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were people walking down the highway just in shock, you know, not even knowing really what had happened, with injuries and, you know, dogs limping around. Before we got to Greensburg, there were, you know, a herd of cows on the highway that were severely injured. So it wasn't a pleasant site to see at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: It took less than 20 minutes for that tornado to destroy the community of Greensburg. The storm unleashed winds of more than 200 miles an hour, the same storm system that was responsible for those tornadoes causing serious flooding across Kansas and other states.

In Topeka, rescue workers evacuated at least 300 people from their homes because of flash flooding and rising water levels.

In Red Oak, Iowa, nearly 1,600 residents there advised to leave their homes as rising floodwaters threatened their community. Meteorologists are now forecasting more heavy rains, particularly in Missouri, over the next few days.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, a Democrat, told CNN the war in Iraq has slowed the state's response to the disaster. The governor said the Kansas National Guard is missing vital equipment that should be available for handling such disasters. But military officials insist the National Guard has plenty of trucks and Humvees available for Kansas.

Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no! The structures! Oh, no!

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When a major disaster like the Kansas tornado strikes, state officials are often quick to blame the Iraq war for any delays in emergency response.

GOV. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (D), KANSAS: With regard to our first responders, they don't have the equipment they need to come in, and it will just make it that much slower.

MCINTYRE: It's no secret the war in Iraq has left the National Guard underequipped and badly strained. The guard's top general admitted as much to Congress last month.

LT. GEN. STEVEN BLUM, CHIEF, NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU: The National Guard today, I'm sorry to say, is not a fully ready force. MCINTYRE: A January Government Accountability Office report found shortages of trucks, generators, radios, chemical protective gear, and engineering equipment. Before the war, National Guard units typically had 65 to 75 percent of their needed equipment on hand. Now it's between 30 and 40 percent, a shortfall that will take some $40 billion to make up.

BLUM: Can we do the job? Yes, we can. But the lack of equipment makes it take longer to do that job, and lost time translates into lost lives. And those lost lives are American lives.

SEBELIUS: So here in Kansas, about 50 percent of our trucks are gone. We need trucks. We're missing Humvees, we're missing all kinds of equipment that could help us respond to this kind of emergency.

MCINTYRE: But as bad as it is, the Army insists the devastation in Kansas isn't overly straining the Guard's admittedly limited resources. There are still thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles available. In fact, of the state's more than 7,600 Guard troops, only around 10 percent are deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. And Kansas has not asked for any reinforcements or extra equipment from neighboring states.

MAJ. GEN. TODD BUNTING, KANSAS GUARD ADJUTANT GENERAL: I think we got here in good shape. But we have limited resources. So, if we had another big storm right now, we'd be hard pressed to cover that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: The real concern is, what happens if there's a much larger crisis, a bigger storm, or even something catastrophic like a terrorist nuclear device? But for now, the Army says that if the governor of Kansas needs more backhoes, or Black Hawk helicopters, or bulldozers, all she needs to do is ask for them. They have enough to send them in -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jamie, when the governor says she doesn't have enough equipment, that her National Guardsmen are short of equipment, that seems like a straightforward statement.

Is the governor correct?

MCINTYRE: There's no dispute that Guard units all across the country are short of equipment. And that unit in Kansas is among them. But what the Army has done is come up with a plan to sort of fill the gap while they're working on that problem. And they point out that if, again, they were short of something today, they've got plenty they can send in for today.

Again, the bigger problem is the long-term problem.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Jamie.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

The military reporting another 17 of our troops have been killed in Iraq. Ten of them killed yesterday. All but one of them in combat.

Twenty-six of our troops have been killed so far this month in Iraq, 3,377 of our troops since the beginning of the war have been killed. 25, 090 of our troops wounded, 11,215 of them seriously.

Among the wounded, a senior U.S. officer who was hit in the leg by a sniper's bullet in Baghdad last week. Colonel Billy Ferris (ph), commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne evacuated from Iraq for additional medical treatment.

Suicide bombers in Ramadi and al Anbar province today killed 13 people in two attacks. The first explosion was in a market. Eight people killed in that attack. The second bombing 15 minutes later at a police checkpoint, killing five people.

Coming up here next, the Bush administration's efforts to create what amounts to a North American union facing rising opposition not only in this country, but also from Canada.

We'll have that report.

And working -- working men and women in this country already reeling from the war on the middle class facing a new threat to their standard of living.

We'll have that story.

And religious groups stepping up their efforts to advance their agendas. This time on amnesty and open borders.

What in the world are religious leaders thinking about politics and separation of church and state, if at all?

We'll have that report, a great deal more still ahead.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Gasoline prices are rising sharply as we head into the year's peak driving season, and Americans want to know why prices are soaring. Prices, in fact, for gasoline have never been higher. And as Kitty Pilgrim reports, when the oil companies tell you the reason, it defies credibility.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Every spring gas prices leap as oil companies shut down refineries for spring maintenance. That shutdown cuts supply and drives up gas prices. This year, about 85 cents.

TYSON SLOCUM, PUBLIC CITIZEN: The oil industry doesn't have a whole lot of incentive to expand capacity at their existing infrastructure because they're making record profits. You know, there's a direct connection between record prices that consumers are paying at the pump and the record profits that the oil companies are making.

PILGRIM: One solution would be build more refineries which could cover the spring maintenance period, but a new refinery has not been built in this country for more than 30 years. Still, refiners deny they're intentionally driving up profits.

CHARLES DREVNA, NATIONAL PETROCHEM & REFINERS ASSN.: The marketplace sets the price of gasoline, not the refiners. But to suggest that any refiner or any individual refiner or a combination of refiners have conspired to keep refineries shut down in order for some economic gain is just patently false.

PILGRIM: But, in 1999, oil refiners made 19 cents on every gallon of gas. And by 2005, that margin had jumped to 49 cents.

And according to calculations by Public Citizen, since 2001, the big five oil companies which control more than half of all refining have made $435 billion in profits. But hard-working American families have had to pay up every spring.

PETER BEUTEL, CAMERON HANOVER: The increase in gasoline prices have served as a massive regressive tax that has just crippled the middle class and has hurt people that are below the middle class as well. But those who have to drive long distances every day, they are getting killed.

PILGRIM: Beutel estimates the higher gas prices have cost the American family about $120 a month so far this year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, this spring, gas price is an annual event. In 22 of the last 23 years, prices have risen some time after March 15th and go up until about mid-May.

Now, one year it didn't happen, the year the U.S. invaded Iraq in March. The market anticipated that, so the move came earlier. Well, 20 years of a track record of doing it this way, oil companies make record profits the way it is now -- Lou.

DOBBS: So, Kitty, let me see if I've got this right. And by the way, I misspoke. I said defies credibility. I meant defies credulity earlier. And speaking of defying credulity, if this is a seasonal practice, when do you suppose seasonally we will wise up?

PILGRIM: Yes. Well, it doesn't -- it's not in their interest to wise up -- Lou.

DOBBS: In point of fact, it's not in the interest of a lot of people. In point of fact, local, sate, federal government all making about 50 cents a gallon in taxes. You know, everybody is happy except for everybody who is driving 40 percent further now than 25 years ago, with longer commute times. And, you know, at this rate, the price of gasoline in that family budget is going to reach somewhere near $3,000 a year for each car.

PILGRIM: It certainly is. And it's real money. It's money out of pocket.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much.

Most Americans say gasoline will reach $4 a gallon some time this year. A new poll today showing that 79 percent of us believe it's likely gasoline will hit four bucks this year. And what about the thought of $5-a-gallon gasoline? Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed think it's possible this year.

And when asked if they thought gasoline prices were reasonable compared to other products they buy, 81 percent of Americans said they were unreasonable.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Charles in California said, "Where in our Constitution does it protect illegal immigration? The next time someone from the ACLU, for example, says something is unconstitutional, why don't you ask them which amendment is being violated and how."

James in Iowa, "Lou, great interview on '60 Minutes'. Where did this 'fair and balanced' thing come from? If we follow this, some of the famous muckrakers of the past would not have brought investigative journalism to play to keep our country honest. You march in a great tradition, and I welcome being with you each evening."

And I thank you for that.

Wes in Georgia said, "Caught your '60 Minutes' piece last night. Great. Keep giving them hell."

Guaranteed.

We'll have more of your thoughts here later.

Coming up next, a plan that would do away with border restrictions and create a North American union among the United States, Canada, and Mexico without the approval of Congress or certainly American voters. And there's a new line of resistance being drawn just north of our northern border.

And the nation's religious leaders interfering in national politics, putting aside separation of church and state. They have an agenda. It's called amnesty.

We'll have the latest for you.

Stay with us. It gets better and better and better.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: There are rising concerns in Canada about the SPP, the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership which some think is directly the foundation for something called the North American Union. The Bush administration is pretty excited about that, saying the initiative is meant to increase security and prosperity for all of North America. Opponents, however, say the initiative is nothing less than a plan to create a North American Union that would eliminate sovereignty for all three nations.

As Christine Romans now reports, grassroots opposition is rising in Canada.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In Ottawa, author and activist Maude Barlow has unrestrained contempt for the Security and Prosperity Partnership. She's concerned about a grab for Canada's natural resources and a watering down of its regulations and benefits by the biggest corporations doing business in North America. And that's just for starters.

MAUDE BARLOW, THE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS: If Canadians and Americans and Mexicans, ordinary people, saw what these guys are talking about, including one trade bloc, one security perimeter, one -- you know, everybody agreeing with George Bush's foreign policy, and don't ask any questions -- you know, lowest common denominator environmental standards, I don't think they would go for it.

ROMANS: Her group, the Council of Canadians, has published a citizens guide called "Integrate This," denouncing the deep integration agenda between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The stated goal established by presidents Bush, Fox and Prime Minister Paul Martin is integration by 2010. Harmonizing regulations for a safer, more prosperous North America.

But Barlow recently testified before a parliamentary trade committee that the SPP "... is quite literally about eliminating Canada's ability to determine independent regulatory standards, environmental protections, energy security, foreign, military, immigration and other policies."

Among the Canadians left, a growing fear that big business is drafting government policy behind closed doors.

BRUCE CAMPBELL, CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES: This is a vast initiative. It's an umbrella for a whole bunch of initiatives. There's 20 working groups and initiatives totaling about 300. And very little is known really about the nitty-gritty of these. We have a superficial knowledge, but I think we need -- we need to know more.

ROMANS: He's hoping all three legislative bodies will insist on oversight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: It's just emerging as an issue now before Canada's lawmakers, driven by progressives and Canadian nationalists. In the U.S., the (INAUDIBLE) opposition is dominated by border control advocates. Strange bedfellows, they both agree, but both are wondering why more people aren't raising questions. Canadian immigration opponents promise plenty of noise as the next trilateral meeting of leaders approaches in Canada this time -- Lou.

DOBBS: The new -- the new world order that this president's father talked about with such great enthusiasm seems to be high on the agenda in this administration. It's remarkable to me, the arrogance, the idea of just simply throwing away the nation's sovereignty. But they're trying to do so in many ways.

Christine, how did you like "60 Minutes" last night?

ROMANS: I thought it was interesting.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

Last night on "60 Minutes," Leslie Stahl profiled me and this broadcast. And I thought it was a terrific job. My compliments to all at "60 Minutes" who worked on it.

I think they were fair. And as you would expect on "60 Minutes," they did take a couple of shots.

This fellow -- there he is, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, he told "60 Minutes" what he thought about my advocacy journalism. He said -- and we quote -- "The impression you get, pretty strongly I think, day after day" -- day after day -- "is that sort of all 11 million illegal aliens are bringing leprosy, they're bringing crime, they're bringing all these terrible things to the United States."

"But that does not sort of give one the go-ahead to say that, you know, 'These are a group of rapists and disease-carrying people who are coming to, you know, essentially destroy the culture of this country.' You know, I think that's a long leap."

Well, Mr. Potok, that is not only taking a leap. You just took a plunge from the facts.

First of all, I've never said anything remotely resembling what you suggested. And of the numbers of reports, the hundreds and hundreds of reports we've done on the issue of illegal immigration on this broadcast over the past four and a half years, well, I decided to find out, and I asked our staff to compute how many of them dealt with disease or other illnesses and illegal aliens.

By the way, the number, Mr. Potok, is three. That's three over a period of four and a half years. What happened to your "day in and day out"?

And by the way, Mr. Potok, three of our reports covered rape or sexual predators in the context of illegal immigration in this country.

And there was a question about some of your comments, Christine. Following one of your reports, I told Leslie Stahl, we don't make up numbers, and I will tell everybody here again tonight, I stand 100 percent behind what you said.

ROMANS: That's right, Lou. We don't make up numbers here. This is what we reported.

We reported, "It's interesting, because the woman in our piece told us that there were about 900 cases of leprosy for 40 years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years. Leprosy in this country."

I was quoting Dr. Madeline Cosman, a respected medical lawyer and medical historian writing in the "Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons".

She said, "Hansen's disease" -- that's the other modern name, I guess, for leprosy -- "Hansen's disease was so rare in the America that in 40 years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three years, America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy" -- Lou.

DOBBS: It's remarkable that this -- whatever confusion, or confoundment over 7,000 cases, they actually keep a registry of cases of leprosy. And the fact that it rose was because -- one assumes -- because we don't know for sure -- but two basic influences -- unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country primarily from South Asia, and secondly, far better reporting.

ROMANS: That's what Dr. Cosman told us -- Lou.

DOBBS: And, you know, in talking with a number of people, it's also very clear, no one knows but nearly everyone suspects there are far more cases of that. It's also, I think, interesting, and I think important to say, one of the reasons we screen people coming into this country is to deal with communicable diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis. The fact is, if we would just screen successfully, all of those diseases can be treated effectively, efficiently and relatively quickly.

ROMANS: And that's why we raised the questions in the first place, asking some tough questions about this. And, you know, 7,000 cases, active cases of leprosy, by no means is 11 million, as Mark Potok suggested.

DOBBS: But you can't say that to people so interested in the truth, as Mr. Potok obviously isn't.

Thank you very much.

Christine Romans.

Coming up here next, another religious group all but declares that God wants amnesty for as many as 20 million illegal aliens. Holy mackerel. Is the separation of church and state dead in this country?

We'll have that special report.

And outrage after a pro-amnesty group gives illegal aliens instructions on how to circumvent our immigration laws.

We'll have that story. And one of the country's leading campaigners against addiction and substance abuse, Joseph Califano, joins us with his new book, "High Society: How Substance Abuses Ravages America and What to Do About It.".

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The nation's religious leaders tonight bypassing the notion of separation of church and state. In fact they're lobbying Washington and lobbying hard for amnesty for illegal aliens, both on the pulpit and by direct mail.

Lisa Sylvester reports now on the campaign by the Catholic Church and other Christian churches to influence if not direct the Senate debate on amnesty legislation. Casey Wian reports on a renewed call for amnesty from Cardinal Roger Mahony and the mayor of Los Angeles.

We turn first to Lisa Sylvester in Washington. Lisa?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This week the Senate is taking up the immigration debate. Among the largest lobbying groups, Catholic and other Christian churches. They are planning on sending out 200,000 letters and running a new ad campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER (voice-over): This ad reads, "When Jesus said suffer the little children this is not what he had in mind." A picture of a young girl with authorities. It's meant to pull at the heartstrings and part of a new campaign by Christian groups to convince lawmakers to pass an amnesty bill for millions of illegal aliens.

REV. JIM WALLIS, SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE: If given the choice on this issue between Jesus and Lou Dobbs. I choose my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

SYLVESTER: The group is arming itself with scripture, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

REV. SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ, NATIONAL HISPANIC CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: At the end of the day how we deal with the immigrant is a diagnostic of the spiritual health of our nation.

SYLVESTER: But not all Christians agreed. One author who has written on the Bible and immigration says Christians are call today treat foreigners with respect but they are not require to give citizenship or create a guest worker program.

JIM EDWARDS, NUMBERSUSA: On some matters the Bible is perfectly clear. "Thou shalt not commit murder." That is pretty clear. But there is not a scripture verse that says "Thou shall be 59,000 H1B visas.

SYLVESTER: Jim Edwards says according to scripture, a nation's first obligation is to its own people, not the citizens of other countries. That point is also made by the Center for Immigration Studies, that U.S. church groups are overlooking the impact on American citizens.

STEVEN CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: They don't seem to realize the plight of those Americans who face the competition for scarce public resources like health care and education. Those Americans harmed by illegal immigration seem not to be on their radar at all.

SYLVESTER: And while the Bible calls on Christians to treat others humanely, it also calls on them to respect the rule of law.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER (on camera): Church leaders may be pushing for amnesty but a Zogby poll from last year asks the members of the Christian faith if they supported a get tough approach to illegal immigration. That is, securing the border and doing employment checks. Seventy- five percent of Protestants responded that was a good or very good idea. Seventy-seven percent of born-again Christians also agreed and 66 percent of Catholics also backed tougher enforcement measures.

So Lou, it appears that there's a bit of a disconnect between church leaders and church goers on this issue. Lou?

DOBBS: And there's just as large, if not a larger disconnect between our political elites and American citizens on the same issue. Did you, by any chance ask why in the world this reverend would suggest that this is a choice between Jesus Christ and Lou Dobbs?

SYLVESTER: I think he was trying make the point that it's one or the other. But clearly he was being a little facetious.

DOBBS: I hope so. Because -- When these folks start talking -- suggesting that God tells them not to worry about border security and not to worry about illegal immigration, and -- you know, I start worrying a little bit about the secular interests of this country. Any discussion about separation of church and state for crying out loud?

SYLVESTER: That line does seem to be very blurred on this issue. Now the church feels like it's essentially their mandate to protect the poor but it is clearly written in scripture that it is also the mandate of Christians to respect the rule of law. Romans 13.

DOBBS: Well, I am impressed with the citation, I couldn't have done as well but I appreciate you doing so.

Lisa Sylvester, thank you very much.

In Los Angeles, renewed calls tonight for amnesty for illegal aliens. Cardinal Roger Mahony and the mayor of Los Angeles making the push at a special mass held yesterday. The mass came after last week's violent confrontation between police and some demonstrators.

Casey Wian has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The two most powerful political figures in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Cardinal Roger Mahony spoke at a Catholic mass of reconciliation Sunday.

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, LOS ANGELES: I come today with heavy heart.

WIAN: The idea was heal the city after the May Day march for illegal alien rights erupted into a violent confrontation with police.

VILLARAIGOSA: Reconciliation is difficult. So we pray for peace. At this time, but understand that there is no peace without justice.

WIAN: For Angelinos, words to that effect. "No justice, no peace," bring back memories of 1992 riots. The pro-amnesty marches were not in that category but they are dividing the city and it's clear which side Cardinal Mahony was taking. He was a supporter of the march that ended in allegations of police misconduct.

ROGER CARDINAL MAHONY, ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES: All of us living in this community have been put here by God. All of us in the march and rally last Monday, reaching out to those more newly arrived, welcoming them, giving them the opportunity to not only work here, but to share in legal residency here as well.

WIAN: The cardinal's renewed push came with this warning left open for interpretation.

MAHONY: Anything that tears down one group of people or one person, anything that is a negative in our community, disqualifies us from being part of the eternal city.

WIAN: Los Angeles County is now home to more than a million illegal aliens and cardinal and the mayor are clearly working to make sure all of them can stay.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN (on camera): Residents of MacArthur Park, the area where that clash between police and illegal alien supporters occurred, want to change its name. According to the "Los Angeles Time" a group will petition the City Council tomorrow to recognize the area as Historic Central America Town. If adopted, Central America Town would join several other Los Angeles enclaves named for their immigrant communities, Lou.

DOBBS: The good cardinal is really pressing hard. He obviously sees no division between church and state. Why does this persist?

WIAN: We tried to get some clarification from the cardinal and his comments that seemed to suggest if you don't support amnesty, that you're not going to be welcome in the -- what was it? The eternal city. And also his suggestion that everyone who is in Los Angeles was put here by God which seemed to include illegal aliens. The cardinal's spokesperson was traveling and not able to get back to us in time for air, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, I think that the good cardinal should check out Lisa Sylvester's citation of Romans. There's something to me -- I'll put it this way -- inappropriate about con founding, confusing and conflating religion and secular issues such as politics and the law of the land.

This is, to me, inexplicable and very troubling. I suspect a lot of other folks, as matter of fact, given those surveys about the disconnect between the membership of the Protestant churches and the membership of the Catholic churches both, I think a lot of people have to be deeply troubled.

Thank you very much, Casey Wian reporting from Los Angeles.

What do you think about the church, whichever church, injecting itself into the national political arena? Please share your opinion in our poll tonight.

The question is, Do you believe America's traditional separation of church and state suggests that organized religion should not be driving political agendas? Yes or no? Please cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later.

The Los Angeles Police Department now says 60 officers from an elite unit are being taken off the street pending an investigation. Those officers were said to be involved in the clash with demonstrators during a May 1st rally.

The Los Angeles police chief calling the actions of the officers indefensible. Officers trying to disperse the crowd at the rally firing rubber bullets and swinging batons at demonstrators. A number of people were hurt in the melee. Some officers and some rally organizers say anarchist groups who were not part of the rally actually sparked the violence. Up to a dozen officers were also injured with stones and other debris thrown at them.

An illegal alien amnesty group tonight is distributing an audacious new guide for illegal aliens in this country. The guide instructs illegal aliens not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities if they are arrested or detained during job site raids. Casa of Maryland published the illustrated booklet. Among the advice offered by the guide, "Don't provide government officials with information about your immigration status or where you were born. Don't say anything or say only, 'I need to speak to my lawyer.'"

The guide has a cutout "Know your Rights" card which advises holders to remain silent. We called the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement folks about this, and they told us, "No one is above the law and we will continue to aggressively and professionally protect public safety and national security by enforcing the nation's immigration and customs laws." Casa of Maryland wouldn't return our phone calls or our e-mails.

Up next, more and more religious organizations are involving themselves in this nation's immigration politics. They are all but saying God wants amnesty. I'll be talking with three of the country's best political minds about what is happening to separation of church and state. What's happening to church and what's happening to state. And startling new statistics on the number of adults now addicted to drugs. Joseph Califano joins us to talk about his new book, "High Society."

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Joseph Califano is a long-time campaigner, a committed campaigner against substance abuse and addiction in this country. The president and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The author of a very important new book "High Society: How Substance Abuse ravages America and What to do About It."

Joseph Califano joins me now. Joe, good to have you here. Today is your publication date. I think it is absolutely terrific. A wonderful book, a wonderful thing to do.

JOSEPH CALIFANO, NATIONAL CENTER ON ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Thank you, Lou. It's very important. Because we are the high society. I mean, four percent of the world's cop lags. We consume two thirds of the world's illegal drugs.

DOBBS: That's insane. Absolutely insane.

CALIFANO: That's the fact. We 15,000 Americans abusing prescription drugs. We have -- the low point in drug use in this country was 1992. We are up from that point. It was 12 million people in 1992 using illegal drugs. It's almost 20 million people today. It was 1.1 million teenagers. It's 2.6 million teenagers today.

DOBBS: Drugs and alcohol, as you point out -- I mean, our youth. We are literally eating our young with drugs, with alcohol and the way in which we're seemingly unable to find successful and effective treatment for millions of people.

CALIFANO: Right. And it's all about our kids, Lou. I mean, we're putting our kids in the situation -- you talk about how marijuana has come into this country. Ten percent of America's teenagers, 5 million 12 to 17 -- I'm sorry, 20 percent, 5 million can buy marijuana within an hour, 40 percent can buy it within a day.

You ask kids if drugs are used and sold in your high school. Most high school students say yes. And almost 30 percent of middle school students say yes. So we are not protecting our kids.

DOBBS: We are not protecting our kids. We have had a 30 year war on drugs yet our southern border is principal source of methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and heroin. We don't seem to even be remotely able to deal with the supply of drugs within the country. What are we to do?

CALIFANO: I think we ought to work on demand -- I do think we have to give foreign, keeping drugs out the kind of priority we give to keeping biological weapons out. Keeping nuclear weapons out. These drugs are killing millions of Americans over the years.

DOBBS: They are truly weapons of mass destruction.

CALIFANO: They are weapons of mass destruction.

And number two, parents are very important. Parents -- if there's asbestos in the school, parents raise hell, the won't send the kids to school until the asbestos is out of it.

Our high schools are riddled with drugs. When parents are as angry about drugs in schools as they are about asbestos in school, we will get the drugs out of our schools.

DOBBS: Joe Califano gives us a good chart of the future and our current issues of addiction and substance abuse in this country with some good solutions. The book is "High Society," an important read for everyone concerned about this national crisis. Joe Califano, as always, good to have you here, much luck with the book.

CALIFANO: Thank you, Lou. Thank you very much.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe that America's traditional separation of church and state suggest that organized religion should not be driving secular political agendas? Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here in just a few moments.

Up next, president's approval rating falling to a record low. I'll be joined by three of the country's best political minds here next. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: I'm joined now by three of the best political analysts, strategists in the country. From Washington, DC, Ed Rollins, former White House political director, Republican strategist. Here in New York, Errol Louis, columnist, "New York Daily News," editorial board member. Hank Sheinkopf, Democratic strategist.

Let's start with these poll numbers. Let me turn to you, first, Hank, because I suspect you'll see some light in them. Twenty eight percent approval rating?

HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, CNN's numbers were higher. So I suggest that he spent a lot more time for CNN. Not so good. OK. I wouldn't buy a house if I were them. I wouldn't plan to stay in Washington. I think the Republican Congress is in real trouble if this continues. Real trouble. They're going to lose more seats.

DOBBS: Only Jimmy Carter, Errol Louis, has seen this kind of depth in the poll.

ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": That's right. And you've got numbers are very high on dissatisfaction, 71 percent dissatisfaction. That actually crosses both parties but the party in power, I think, is going to take the biggest hit.

DOBBS: What do you think, Ed?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, these numbers are starting to cement. And the problem is it's not only just the war which obviously got the president in trouble initially. It's now a question of competence and I think people don't think Republicans, particularly this administration, are competent.

Equally as important, we've got 18 months to go and I don't see anything that's going to move his numbers back up. We're down to Carter numbers. Obviously that finished Carter off. We're almost down to Nixon numbers of Watergate. Three or four more points and obviously he was a president driven from office. This president has to gut it out but I don't think his numbers are going back up.

DOBBS: With the numbers not going back up. Iraq continues to go the way it has. There's no sign of progress. It is violent. Each of the generals involved acknowledging that.

Is this the determinant here? Is there no hope for resurrecting these numbers without demonstrable success in Iraq?

SHEINKOPF: Iraq is a large part of it. But something Ed said a moment ago we talked about on this program, the notion of competence or lack thereafter. The whole thing, as we've said this program, we talked about it, is out of control and average Americans say, "What is going on?"

It's no longer just the war. But it's everything else. It's the stench of corruption, it's a Congress that doesn't seem to be doing anything. The dissatisfaction on both parties is very indicative that the voters are ready for a bolt of some kind.

DOBBS: And the debates that have been held, Republican and Democrat on the cable networks to this point, seems to show -- not an overwhelming interest, but very high interest for this early in the presidential season.

LOUIS: I tell what, there's a high interest in having more candidates getting into the race. Very high level of dissatisfaction. The numbers change radically when you ask Republicans if they want Fred Thompson in the race or if you ask Democrats if they want Al Gore in the race.

People are not really happy with the field that they've got. They're not happy with the direction the country is going. And we don't do ourselves any favor when we have a presidential debate in which we ask, by a show of hands, how many candidates don't believe in science? Three people raised their hands. No further follow-up. That's just where they left it. That's just where they left it on that evolution question.

DOBBS: Maybe there's a reason to leave it at that. When you hear that. I mean, it's overwhelming.

Ed, are we going to see a lot more candidates based on Errol's analysis of dissatisfaction?

ROLLINS: I think there is a couple more who may jump in. Obviously Fred Thompson on our side is looking at it very hard. Newt Gingrich has been flirting with it for a period of time. And obviously Al Gore is still a potential Democrat. All three have very high stakes in the sense of getting in.

You have got to be able to show you can raise money more than anything else. And I think that the longer they wait the more difficult it is. The only other thing that I want to say, is I think the country almost wishes we have a parliamentary system so we can move past this administration that is basically being ruled as a fail and start again.

Which is why I think there's a lot of interest and a lot of people looking hard at who may be the future president.

DOBBS: We're also seeing -- it was fascinating tonight, I think for me certainly, I'll speak only for myself, Lisa Sylvester's report, in which we're seeing a huge disconnect, just as -- Protestant churches. Evangelicals are pushing forward an amnesty agenda, one of them even saying, this reverend saying for him it was a choice between Lou Dobbs and Jesus Christ.

I mean, the disconnect between membership in the churches and the leadership and the disconnect between the American people and the political elites in this country, Errol, where are we headed on this?

LOUIS: If it makes you feel any better, Jim Wallis, who made the comment and the Sojourners Community, they are not exactly a mainstream formation. They've been sort of trying to push a more liberal interpretation.

DOBBS: Well, I'm used to opposition to my point of view here. But I'm not used to people elevating it to quite that level.

LOUIS: Well, I think. As I've said on this program, I don't know if the stakes are quite that high. The people who care about it, care about it a lot. And you, of course, are an example of that. But that's not necessarily true for most of the voters in America.

ROLLINS: But Jesus said, "Render under Caesar the things that are Caesar's." There is not a single one of these ministers, whether it's the cardinal in L.A. or one of these ministers who don't have strict rules in their church.

Some Protestant can't walk up and receive communion in Cardinal Mahony's church. He has rules. This country has rules. And we have immigration rules and the immigration rules are basically to make sure that this country protects its own borders and limits the numbers of people who come in from the outside.

DOBBS: Hank Sheinkopf, you get the last word on church and state and what seems like a very ambitious sectarian agenda on the issue of illegal immigration.

SHEINKOPF: The churches are in it and others will raise their voices for one reason. Because the politicians aren't doing anything and nature abhors a vacuum. And you'll see more people not of the political norm getting into it for that reason.

DOBBS: Will we see the elites win on this, despite -- whether they be in the church or they be in politics? Voters say they don't want anything to do with comprehensive immigration reform. The church members say they don't want anything to do with amnesty. Who wins?

SHEINKOPF: The politicians are going to have to do something. If they don't, the voters may very well make their decision for them.

DOBBS: OK.

Hank Sheinkopf, Errol Louis and Ed Rollins, all the way down there in Washington, DC.

ROLLINS: Thank you very much.

DOBBS: Thanks for being here. Coming up at the top of the hour, THE SITUATION ROOM and my colleague Wolf Blitzer.

Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much, Lou. Gas prices spiking and a senator demanding to know why. Is there anything improper going on? We're taking a closer look.

And he was against the war in Iraq from the very beginning. But what does the U.S. do now?

The former commander of U.S. military forces in the Middle East, retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni will be here in THE SITUATION ROOM and the president elect of France speaks a language many Americans understand. Can he put a friendlier face on U.S. relations with Europe?

All that coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Lou?

DOBBS: French fries are back, Wolf.

Wolf, what did you think of that "60 Minutes" profile of me?

BLITZER: I thought it was very flattering. I thought it was very nice. I learned something about -- Even though I've known you for years and years and years, I actually learned something about you. I thought Lesley Stahl did a fine job. DOBBS: Terrific reporter. Terrific journalist. Thank you very much.

As are you, Wolf Blitzer. We look forward to the show.

Coming up next the results of our poll, stay with us. We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: And the results of our poll tonight -- 93 percent of you say that America's traditional separation of church and state suggests organized religion should not be driving political agendas.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow when among our guests will be Congressman Lamar Smith calling for the Senate to reject amnesty for illegal aliens.

For all of us, good night from New York. Thanks for being with us. THE SITUATION ROOM begins now with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?

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