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LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK
Immigration Defeat; Senator Sessions Interview; General Pace Retires
Aired June 10, 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, LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK: Tonight, a stunning defeat for amnesty legislation in the Senate. Also a defeat for President Bush, the Democratic Senate leadership, corporate and socio-ethnic- centric special interests. The U.S. Senate killing legislation that would have given amnesty for as many as 20 million illegal aliens in this country.
Also, a dramatic shakeup in the military's top leadership. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace and his deputy. The defense secretary says it's time for them to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is an effort to do what I think is in the best long-term interests of the services and of the country, as well as the individuals involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: We'll have that special report from the Pentagon and much more, straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK - news, debate and opinion for Saturday, June 9th. Here now, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. The pro-illegal alien lobby's efforts to impose sweeping amnesty for illegal aliens has failed - for now, at least. But pro-amnesty senators say they're determined to continue to ignore the will of the people. They way they'll reintroduce their amnesty legislation as soon as possible.
They have the support of President Bush, the White House saying it is premature to declare the grand compromise dead, the legislation the centerpiece of the president's domestic agenda for his legacy and final years in office.
We begin our coverage now with Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CAPITOL HILL (voice- over): Last month, bipartisan bargainers announced their immigration deal with fanfare and optimism.
SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZONA: It represents the best opportunity that we have, in a bipartisan way, to do something about this problem. BASH: Now, standing at the same podium just a few weeks later ...
KYL: Yes, I am disappointed.
BASH: So, how did the grand bargain into the great collapse? The classic Washington blame game has begun.
Exasperated supporters say it was fear-mongering.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIFORNIA: I've listened to talk show hosts drumming up the opposition by using this word "amnesty" over and over and over again, and essentially raising the royal of Americans to the extent that, in my 15 years, I've never received more hate or more racist phone calls and threats.
BASH: But those against citizenship for illegal immigrants say their opposition was hardened by insulting statements from the president.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it. You can use it to frighten people.
BASH: Some Republicans and even Democrats blame Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, for trying to limit senators' ability to change the controversial bill.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, D-MASSACHUSETTS: I personally believe that, if we had taken more time, we would have had an opportunity of reaching a conclusion.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS: The Democrat majority leader squandered an opportunity. We were very close - I think within a matter of days - of being able to complete this bill.
BASH: Most Democrats accuse Republicans of stall tactics.
SEN. KEN SALAZAR, D-COLORADO: Yes, they kept asking for six more hours, or 12 more hours. It's been going on for two weeks. The fact is, there were some members on the Republican side that didn't want the bill.
BASH: Then there's this - blame everyone.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, R-PENNSYLVANIA: I think that Democrats were wrong. But the Republicans were "wronger," to use a word which doesn't exist.
BASH (on camera): Authors of the immigration compromise are vowing to press on, insisting the bill is not dead yet. In fact, President Bush will be here on Capitol Hill early next week to rally support.
But the reality is, the Senate schedule is jam-packed, and Democratic leadership aides say they just don't see how immigration is brought back to life.
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
DOBBS: The White House said President Bush was disappointed by the vote in the Senate. The defeat, of course, a political setback for the president and his so-called domestic agenda.
Meanwhile, President Bush has been focusing on foreign policy at the G8 summit meeting in Germany. One of the most contentious issues, the U.S. standpoint with Russia over missile defense.
Suzanne Malveaux reports from the northern German city of Rostock.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT, ROSTOCK, GERMANY: Emerging from their much anticipated showdown over missile defense, a surprise. Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, offered a proposal to end his heated standpoint with President Bush over U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe - considered a welcome step to repairing U.S.-Russian relations.
BUSH: He made some interesting suggestions.
MALVEAUX: The suggestion to cooperate with the United States in building the missile defense shield, but on Russia's terms.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT TO RUSSIA (voice of interpreter): This will create necessary grounds for common work.
MALVEAUX: While President Bush envisions putting a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland to confront potential missile launches from rogue states, Putin sees this set-up in his own back yard as a threat to Russia's security.
Instead, Putin wants to use an old, Soviet-built radar system already based in Azerbaijan, which it shares with that government. This would give Russia some involvement in detecting threats.
After Putin laid out his plan, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley huddled with the president's team. U.S. secretaries of defense and state will meet with their Russian counterparts to study the plan in the weeks ahead.
Putin suggested that, if he got his way, he would no longer have to consider aiming his arsenal at Europe.
PUTIN (voice of interpreter): This will make it possible for us not to change our stance on targeting our missiles.
MALVEAUX: With the chill falling now between these two, the talk of Cold War was replaced with talk of a summer trip.
BUSH: I told Vladimir that we're looking forward to having him up to my folks' place in Maine, in the beginning of July.
MALVEAUX (on camera): But Mr. Bush's next stop on this trip is Poland, the site where he wants to put those missile interceptors - an idea that Putin is dead set against.
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Rostock, Germany.
DOBBS: G8 leaders demanded that Iran give up its nuclear weapons program - again. But Iran is likely to continue to ignore the demand, just as it has every previous warning.
Iran is also refusing to end the supply of weapons to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. The deliveries include bombs that penetrate the most heavily armored U.S. vehicles. U.S. officials say the weapons are being supplied by Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
One of the military commanders responsible for strategy in this war is Joint Chiefs chairman, General Peter Pace. He is being retired.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he's decided not to ask Congress to renew the general's appointment.
Barbara Starr reports from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, THE PENTAGON (voice- over): In the face of overwhelming public opposition to the Iraq war, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made clear he's not willing to take the heat from Congress, so he's recommending to President Bush that General Peter Pace not be re-nominated as chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, the senior military adviser to the president.
ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The focus of his confirmation process would have been on the past rather than the future. And further, that there was the very real prospect the process would be quite contentious.
STARR: For the last two weeks, both Democratic and Republican senators warned Gates, a confirmation hearing would turn into a referendum on the conduct of the war.
GATES: I wish that that were not the case. I wish it were not necessary to make a decision like this. But I think it's a realistic appraisal of where we are.
STARR: Pace gave no hint of what was in the works, just a day before the secretary's announcement.
GEN. PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: But I will serve the nation as long as the nation wants me to serve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Has there been any decision? PACE: You're asking the wrong guy.
STARR: Military and congressional sources agree, Pace would have likely been confirmed. But the political debate about the war and the rising death toll for U.S. troops now casts a long shadow.
Admiral Michael Mullen will be nominated now as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and take office just as the military's assessment of the war is expected.
STARR (on camera): General Pace will serve out his term until the end of September. And, of course, there's no guarantee that Admiral Mullens' confirmation hearing won't also turn into a contentious review of the conduct of the war - Lou.
DOBBS: Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.
Coming up next, the Senate kills legislation that would have given amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Is the amnesty battle over? I'll be talking with Senator Jeff Sessions.
Also, bureaucratic bungling forcing the federal government to suspend a program that would protect this country from terrorism.
And gang violence soaring, but many federal, state and local officials - many are refusing to acknowledge one of the main causes of the violence. That special report and a great deal more still ahead. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The Bush administration temporarily suspending a major border protection initiative. The federal government has decided to end a new requirement that U.S. citizens must use passports to fly to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean.
The U.S. State Department says this is a suspension, it's temporary and it's necessary, because it's simply overwhelmed by a massive backlog of passport applications.
Christine Romans reports on your government at work.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice-over): The Bush administration has temporarily grounded a plan meant to improve border security.
TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We came to a conclusion in this instance that we did have an inability in some cases to meet the commitment that we had made to our customers, to the American people, to be able to produce passports in a fixed period of time that we'd given to everyone, in approximately 10 to 12 weeks. ROMANS: More than two years after Congress passed a law to require passports for air travelers coming into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, the Bush administration is suspending until September 30th a plan meant to bolster border security.
The Department of Homeland Security says, "due to longer than expected processing times for passport applications in the face of record-breaking demand."
CASEY: What we've done here today is simply take a temporary fix to what is a short-term problem, what was an unexpected problem.
ROMANS: Travelers will be able to fly, provided they have a government-issued ID and a receipt from the State Department proving they have applied for a passport.
This rule, called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, part of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reform enacted to protect the country from the failures that led to 9/11. Both the 9/11 Commission and Congress urged strengthening of travel documents to keep terrorists from crossing our borders.
REP. TOM PRICE, R-GEORGIA: The program itself is wise, to make certain that we as Americans and legal residents have secure and safe ID to leave the country and to get back.
ROMANS: But his office has been flooded with hundreds of complaints from angry travelers, furious with the bureaucratic delays.
ROMANS (on camera): The numbers of Americans applying for passports for Western Hemisphere air travel simply overwhelmed the State Department. A system already strained now faces a January 2008 start date for passport requirements at land border crossings, as well.
DHS says travel document security remains a top priority of the government, Lou.
DOBBS: Ha. A top priority. Like every other top priority, it seems this government is bollixing it up.
Why in the world could they not have anticipated the load of applications?
ROMANS: They were caught by surprise. Last year I think there were 12 million passport applications. This year they're expecting 18 million. They're going to have to hire some more people to get it within the next quarter.
They want to get back to 10 to 12 weeks for your passport to be ...
DOBBS: For crying out loud. ROMANS: Ten to 12 weeks is what they're trying to get back to.
DOBBS: Three months to get a passport.
ROMANS: That's right.
DOBBS: Our government at work. Thank you very much, Christine.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
DOBBS: Christine Romans.
The mayor of Los Angeles - well, he has a sanctuary city that does not permit local law enforcement to work with federal immigration or to question suspects on their immigration status. But he'd like a lot of help from the federal government, nonetheless.
Casey Wian now reports the mayor's request is coming for all that federal help after federal officials have already begun arresting and indicting dozens of illegal alien gang members without the good mayor's help.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, LOS ANGELES (voice-over): ICE agents have arrested 124 illegal alien gang members in Los Angeles during the past 90 days. They're looking for 20 others, including Gerber Oliva-Diaz. He's been deported seven times and has a rap sheet including murder, kidnapping and grand theft auto.
ROBERT SCHOCH, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, ICE: The foreign national gang members that we are targeting are not poster children for the American Dream. ICE will not allow these individuals to continue to break immigration and customs laws and threaten the safety of our communities.
WIAN: Los Angeles is tiring of its reputation as a criminal illegal alien sanctuary. The city attorney is now cooperating with ICE to identify illegal aliens who violate anti-gang injunctions.
L.A.'s mayor and police chief pleaded with the Senate this week for more federal funds to fight gangs.
WILLIAM BRATTON, CHIEF, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: We cannot just fight a war on terrorism. We need to fight a war that's closer to home that's taking 16,000 lives every year.
WIAN: Meanwhile, the Justice Department Tuesday charged three leaders of the violent cross-border gang, MS-13, in a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy, including allegations two of them ordered murders in the United States from their El Salvador jail cells.
ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: MS-13 is an extremely violent gang, composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members also running criminal operations in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and throughout the United States.
WIAN: ICE recently conducted a threat assessment survey that found gang memberships surging in most U.S. cities. And membership of violent transnational gangs is comprised largely of foreign-born nationals. Yet some officials continue to downplay the role open borders play in gang proliferation.
PATRICK WORD, NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF GANG INVESTIGATIONS: Too often the public has been confused, linking the immigration issue as the major cause of the gang issue in this country. It is simply a cause, but not the cause of the gang problem.
WIAN: The U.S. now has 800,000 gang members and just 708,000 state and local police officers.
WIAN (on camera): In Los Angeles, the policy known as Special Order 40, which forbids police officers from questioning criminal suspects about their immigration status, remains in effect. Still, federal officials welcome the city's cooperation in at least deporting illegal alien gang members, Lou.
DOBBS: You know, they're in violation of the law. Why in the world doesn't the federal government just come down and kick Mayor Villaraigosa right in the rear end?
WIAN: That would be quite a spectacle. A lot of folks from Los Angeles would like to see that.
DOBBS: Well, speaking metaphorically, of course.
WIAN: The federal government has allowed cities to continue with their sanctuary policies for a long time.
The number of cities with sanctuary policies is growing. The number of cities without (ph), you know, taking strong stands on illegal immigration is also growing, as well.
It's just another sign of the federal government's abdication of its responsibility on this issue, Lou.
DOBBS: Just a refusal to enforce U.S. immigration law - a host of laws, as well as - despite the fact we're six years beyond September 11th, just about.
You know, I - it's inconceivable that we don't have border and port security, and that these are even issues that must be contended with by anyone at this point.
Thank you very much, Casey Wian, from Los Angeles.
The presidential candidates turning away from the issues to focus on the money. We'll tell you who the frontrunner is in the race for that.
And did Vice President Cheney abuse the powers of his office over the warrantless wiretap program? We'll have that report.
And I'll be talking with Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the strongest critics of the so-called grand bargain on so-called comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Now that voters have had another good look at the presidential candidates as they debate, those candidates are back on the campaign trail this weekend. They're looking for money as well as votes.
And one big question now is, will the Republicans be able to catch up with the Democrats in the race for money?
Bill Schneider has our report.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WASHINGTON (voice-over): Round two of the fund-raising battle ends in three weeks. We're now in the spin cycle.
The campaigns are leaking documents and spreading rumors to try to spin expectations, for themselves and for their competitors.
MARK PRESTON, POLITICAL EDITOR: Campaigns are trying to either lower the expectations for their own candidates, or trying to increase the expectations for their opponents. And by doing so, that will help them when the numbers become public.
SCHNEIDER: In the first quarter, the big news was the eye- popping totals raised by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The fact that Obama raised nearly as much money as Clinton gave his campaign a burst of momentum.
In the Republican race, the big surprise was that Mitt Romney was the frontrunner, and that John McCain lagged.
In round two, Romney needs to sustain his momentum and McCain needs to show he's turned things around.
There are different ways to score this fight. After round one, Obama boasted a much larger number of individual contributions than Clinton.
PRESTON: The various campaigns will talk about how many donors gave to their campaign. It shows how wide their support is across the country.
SCHNEIDER: There's even a score where smaller is better. In round one, the average contribution to the Obama campaign was smaller than that of his competitors. That's better, because you can go back to small contributors and ask them for more money. The Edwards Web site mentions that the candidate's birthday is June 10th, or 6-10. So, it asks for contributions as small as $6.10 - more later.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): In round one, Democrats out-raised Republicans by more than $25 million. That was demoralizing for Republicans, who are determined to show stronger numbers in round two - Lou.
DOBBS: Bill Schneider reporting from Washington. Thank you.
We have a clearer picture now of Vice President Cheney's role in pressuring the Justice Department to approve a secret surveillance program, the so-called warrantless wiretap program.
It's a vivid portrait of how power is exercised in the nation's capital.
Kelli Arena has the report.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON (voice-over): Democrats say his fingerprints are all over it.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-NEW YORK: It hardly comes as a surprise that the vice president was involved, when you look at the record of this administration.
ARENA: Following his dramatic testimony last month, former deputy attorney general, James Comey, is fueling speculation it may have been Vice President Cheney who turned the screws in 2004 on a very sick, then-attorney general, John Ashcroft - that after Justice officials told the White House its classified terror program wasn't legal.
SCHUMER: The vice president ought to come clean and answer the questions. What did he do? How much effort did he take?
ARENA: In new written testimony, Comey says he told Cheney on a Tuesday that he was refusing to certify the program. On Wednesday, then-White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, and chief of staff Andy Card, were sent to lean on Ashcroft as he lay in a hospital bed.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was very upset. I was angry. I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man.
ARENA: The vice president won't comment. Andrew Card won't comment. Neither will Gonzales.
GONZALES: I am not going to comment on Mr. Comey's testimony or talk about the program. ARENA: Apparently, the vice president just couldn't let it rest. Comey said that Cheney later opposed a promotion for one of his deputies, Patrick Philbin, who was involved in the dispute.
ARENA (on camera): Congressional leaders have asked the Justice Department for more details on that controversial surveillance program. Now, Justice already missed one deadline imposed by Congress and has yet to respond - Lou.
DOBBS: Kelli Arena from Washington, thank you.
President Bush's nominee to be surgeon general is now under some criticism. Dr. James Holsinger is a former Kentucky health secretary, former Veterans Affairs official.
But in 1991, he wrote a paper for the United Methodist Church, in which he said gay sex is unnatural. Gay rights leaders, two Democratic presidential candidates now questioning whether he should be the nation's top doctor.
Up next here, I'll be talking with Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the key opponents of the comprehensive immigration reform proposal that the president and the Democratic leadership of the Senate wanted so badly.
What's next, now that amnesty legislation is dead?
Also, highlights from the heated Senate debate over immigration reform, and three of the nation's top political analysts join me to weigh in on the president's defeat in that battle and his latest excursions into Europe.
Stay with us.
RICK SANCHEZ, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: I'm Rick Sanchez, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Let's try and bring you up-to-date on what's going on.
First of all, there's a safety concern for the space shuttle Atlantis. It is set to arrive at the International Space Station tomorrow. NASA engineers are evaluating a four-inch hole on the shuttle's thermal protection system. You see it right there.
Also, a tragic accident in Hialeah, Florida, today. A 17-year- old boy kept his life, but lost his arm after a cement truck flipped on its side. The teen's father was driving the truck when he lost control. The boy was pinned inside. A surgeon had to amputate the teen's arm on the expressway to try and free him.
Tyson Foods is recalling 40,000 pounds of ground beef. The meat was shipped to a dozen Wal-Mart stores across the south and southwest. Samples suggest the meat might be contaminated with E. coli. The meat recall applies to Wal-Mart stores in Alabama, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
Twenty-nine people killed in attacks across Iraq today. Five of the dead, Iraqi police officers, the apparent targets in several Baghdad attacks and car bombings. Elsewhere in the capital, police found 24 bullet-ridden bodies. So far this month, 230 bodies have been found dumped in Baghdad.
Demonstrators in Rome showing their disdain for U.S. President Bush and U.S. policy. Today, the streets of Rome became a battleground between police and demonstrators. Authorities say they had to use tear gas to break up the protestors. President Bush was visiting with Pope Benedict XVI and new Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi.
I'm Rick Sanchez. If news breaks, I'll break in and bring it to you right away. Right now, let's take you back to Lou.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK - news, debate and opinion. Here again, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: At least for now, there will be no amnesty for illegal aliens, no guest worker program for corporate America.
Late Thursday, opponents in the Senate succeeded in killing the president's so-called comprehensive immigration reform compromise. The legislation fell 15 votes short of succeeding in a procedural test in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid says the issue is now off the table. He blames the president for the failure. The White House is urging Reid to reconsider.
I'm joined by one of those opponents of the immigration reform proposal, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama joins us. Senator, first of all, thank you for being here.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R) AL: Thank you.
DOBBS: And it was an extraordinary moment watching the majority leader, if you will, question you with some bigger and challenge you on the floor of the Senate. How was that, how did you feel as that was going on?
SESSIONS: Well, I don't know that Senator Reid did. I had some exchanges with a number of senators, you know, if people really wanted this bill, and they wanted to do something good for America, but the bill was not good. It was a political compromise in a 100 different points. It had no clarity. It would not have worked effectively. It would have been like 1986 and we would not have been proud of it and the American people, as they learned more about it from your program and others, they began to like it less, and so I think the message has begun to be heard in Washington.
DOBBS: Well, senator, if I may say, you handled yourself on the floor as millions of us were watching, with great equanimity, eloquence as you expressed your objections and with a fair sense of humor and forbearance, I thought, as some challenged you. Let's, if we may, I'd like to hear what Senator Kennedy had to say following the failure of the legislation and get your reaction to that. All of us can listen as the senator had this to say about the future of the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED KENNEDY, (D) MA: I'm reminded of the 1967 Boston Red Sox team. The impossible dream team that was behind for a good part of the season, but came roaring back, and grabbed victory out of the jaws of defeat, and that is what we intend to do with the immigration bill. We are not giving up. We are not giving in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Senator Sessions, why aren't they giving up? Why aren't they giving in on this approach?
SESSIONS: I don't know. It's almost like the "Bridge over the River Kwai." The guy wants to preserve that bridge. This is not a good peace of legislation. It really needs to be re-drafted. They came at it with some new principles that sounded good, but when everything got compromised out, it just didn't meet those ideals.
We really need a bill with clarity, that has bright lines. Yes, you can do this, no, you cannot do that. And also, meets the principles that American people think are important in a bill of this kind, and I think we need to start over. I believe they could have carried this to a vote within a day or two. I think for, I don't see why then they would bring it back up, but I will say this. I think the supporters of this bill may be, at this very moment, talking to senators who were not favorable, trying to find out how they can bring them on board to get their votes and maybe if they can get enough of them, they might bring it back up. I certainly think they would like to.
DOBBS: Senator, what is it that escapes the leadership of the United States Senate about this syllogism that I've been saying for some time, millions of Americans know it to, I mean, they understand basic priorities. They're a lot smarter than the Senate is giving them credit for. Smarter than this White House is giving them credit for 37 we must secure our borders and our ports until we can control immigration. And until we can control immigration, how in the world can we reform it?
SESSIONS: Well, I couldn't agree with you more. The instincts and the heart of the American people have been right on this issue for 40 years. It's the politicians and the government officials that have not listened to them, and I think their voice is growing louder, and I think maybe their voice, I hope, will begin to be heard. It's a good voice. They don't hate immigrants, but they're angry at us, because we haven't created a system that validates and furthers our good national values.
DOBBS: Senator, you pointed out from the floor of the Senate as did your colleague, Senator Lamar Alexander, a number of Democratic senators as well, that the public simply does not trust our elected officials, whether they're in the White House or the Senate or the Congress, to enforce the law. And how in the world can we trust this Congress to do anything that is in the interest of either the nation or the American citizens?
SESSIONS: That's the real problem. That's the fundamental problem. And I think it has occurred because we haven't enforced the laws in the past. So time and time again, we have said we're going to fix this problem. We're going to do better on immigration. We just passed this bill or that bill, but when the years go by, we are still arresting 1 million people every year, coming in our country illegally. What kind of broken system is that? And maybe 500,000 getting by.
DOBBS: And then, senator, the various groups suggesting that a handful of restrictions, as "The New York Times," stalled this bill for getting that fully 50 U.S. senators voted against this ending of debate on this legislation.
How does it make you feel when people talk about restrictionism and when this country's bringing in more than 2 million people a year lawfully each and every year?
SESSIONS: People made up their mind. You're correct. People have opposed this bill, but the establishment is out there saying that they believe in it, they want it to happen emotionally. They haven't studied the bill. They don't know what's in the bill. They just think it sounds good to be for it. And they've oftentimes attacked those of us who pointed out defects and flaws in the bill and sometimes unfairly.
DOBBS: Senator, thank you very much for being here and, again, my compliments on what I thought were eloquent comments from the floor.
SESSIONS: Thank you.
DOBBS: And a great analysis of the issues of, certainly were not coming from many other quarters. Thank you, Senator Jeff Sessions.
SESSIONS: Thank you.
DOBBS: And coming up next here, some of the best moments from the passionate debate over the immigration legislation and I'll welcome three of the nation's best political analysts to tell us what the political impact is of the bill's defeat on the president, on the Democratic leadership of the Senate, the presidential candidates, and a couple of people and elements that are not often considered. How about American citizens? What is the impact on them and what is the impact in terms of the future of this nation? Stay with us.
DOBBS: Senators spent almost two weeks of debate on what was a terrible piece of legislation. It produced a surprising number, however, of eloquent speeches on the floor of the Senate on the national interest, the common good, and the rights of American citizens, and even the responsibility of our government to represent foremost the working men and women of this country and their families. No one was more eloquent than Senator Bernie Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VT: And now madam president, in the midst of all of that, we have this immigration bill, a bill that would allow employers to hire hundreds of thousands, if not millions of workers from other countries, in both low-skilled jobs, and high- skilled jobs.
Madam president, it is important to note, and this point has not been made often enough, but it is important to note that, many of the same corporate groups who supported NAFTA, who supported PNTR with China, and other disastrous trade agreements, that these same businesses, who fought against an increase in the minimum wage, these same companies are supporting this legislation.
Let's understand that, and let us ask why that is the case, why are companies who oppose the minimum wage, who oppose the rights of workers to form unions, who oppose anything that makes sense for the American middle class, why are they supporting this legislation?
High tech companies who have sent hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas, they think this legislation is good. Why? Why do they think it's good legislation?
Well, if you listen to them, they will tell you two things. First, in terms of low-skilled jobs, they say they need foreign workers to do the jobs that Americans just won't do, and in terms of high-skilled jobs, they say that they just can't find enough Americans who are smart enough, who are skilled enough, who are well-educated enough to be engineers, to be scientists, to be mathematicians, et cetera, et cetera, and then, madam president, this is what really gets me, they tell us that they need more H1B visas, because Americans are just not smart enough to be computer professionals, engineers, university professors.
Now, madam president, if Americans won't take low-skilled jobs that pay poverty-level wages, and presumably if they're not smart enough to do high-skilled jobs, I think the question we have to ask is what kind of jobs are going to be available for the American people? We can't do low-skilled jobs, we can't do high-skilled jobs. Hey, what's there for us?
And I happen to think that the Congress should be spending a lot more time discussing this issue, and making it easier for us to create decent-paying jobs for American workers, instead of allowing corporate interests to drive wages down, by importing more and more people into this country to do the work that Americans should be doing, and conversely, exporting and outsourcing a lot of decent jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP) DOBBS: And what you're about to see and hear are the voices of four senators who made a difference. They are not as "The New York Times" said border restrictionists. These are men and women dedicated to the national interest and the common good, and reason, rather than rhetoric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JIM WEBB, (D) VA: My amendment would achieve three critically important goals. It would create a fair and workable path to legalization for those who have truly put down roots in America. It protects the legitimate interests of all working Americans, and it accords honor and dignity to the concept of true American justice.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) MO: We can stop the hiring of illegal immigrants in this country if we prosecute the people who are hiring them in this country. Because other business owners will stop hiring illegal immigrants if they see businesses being held accountable. This administration has not been interested, has not been interested in enforcing the law against employers.
SEN. BYRON DORGAN, (D) ND: It's not surprising to me that people who are living poverty and n other countries making a pittance for a long day's work would like to come to the United States and find a job and improve their life and make a better life for them and their family. That's not surprising to me.
And I would like it if we could say to them, you know what? Come on, join us. We can't do -- just think for a moment if we decided, we have a new immigration law in this country, and that new immigration law says you know what? This country is wide open. You want to join us from anywhere, anytime, anyplace, come on. Come and live with us. Come and work with us. Come and be a part of our country right now, no restrictions. Come and stay, come and work.
We'd be overrun. Millions and millions and millions of people would try to find their way to this wonderful country of ours, because we've created an economy that lifted standards and broadened the middle class. So we can't do that. We instead have a process of legal immigration that allows about 1.5 million people a year to come into this country.
SESSIONS: There are a lot of problems with the legislation itself, and there were a lot of problems that the American people had with it. The bottom line is the American people did not have confidence that we were moving a piece of legislation that would effectively accomplish what all these great remarks you've heard earlier promised it would do.
And you know, I don't think there's any other person in this body that is has personally prosecuted an immigration case, but this senator, I have done that years ago. I just say I'm familiar with the process, I'm familiar with the system and the difficulties, how overwhelming -- overwhelmed it has been, and why it is not working, and they were expecting us to fix it, and in my opinion, after studying the bill at great length, analyzing it in detail, I don't believe it would have worked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Still ahead, a major shakeup at the Pentagon. The grand compromise on immigration grandly defeated, three of the best political minds will be here to talk about it and what it means for all of those folks in office and who seek higher office. Stay with us.
DOBBS: I'm joined by three of the country's best analysts. Joining us here in New York, Democratic strategist, Hank Sheinkopf, Errol Louis, columnist, "New York Daily News" and Diana West, columnist, "Washington Times."
Thank you all for being here. Errol, let me begin with you. This defeat for the administration, for the democratic leadership of the Senate, what does it mean?
ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": It also spells leadership for the Republican leadership frankly, because this was a bill, an issue immigration that Republicans couldn't handle when they were in the majority, Democrats saw Republicans help sink it with help from some of the left wing of the Democratic Party so we've got a Beltway failure that I think everyone's going to have to own a piece of. It's really unclear to me why Senator Reid even brought this bill forward, if he didn't know we had the votes. That's Politics 101. You don't hold the vote until you know you're going to win the vote and yet they kind of let it out of the bag and now they're going to try and recover maybe tinker with it some more.
DOBBS: I don't know what they're going to try to do now.
LOUIS: I think it's dead as a door nail although technically it's just been pulled off the floor and could come back.
DOBBS: Right. Hank?
HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There is no lock on the majority. The voter also remember everything that goes on. They're not stupid. They are going to move back and forth as they see fit. Those for whom this was a very important issue they will not forget and they'll come back at those who did not make something happening.
DOBBS: And interestingly, only one Republican, Diana West, thought this was a wonderful idea, and that was one Senator John McCain. What does it mean for him?
DIANA WEST, "WASHINGTON TIMES": I thought you were going to say George W. Bush, but ...
DOBBS: I was talking about the president candidates. I wasn't clear.
WEST: In terms of the Republican presidential nomination, I think it means McCain is over because this, I would say this may have been a Beltway failure but this was an outside the Beltway triumph. I think the only reason we didn't see this thing go forward had to do with, I don't like to use the term surge because we think of that in other connotations but the surge of phone calls, messages, e-mails, upset coming at these members from their home states, and frankly, that shows me we're in a very powerless state of democracy, when people have to pull their senators back from the brink of a very messy, disastrous kind of unwieldy bill.
DOBBS: Errol, the idea that this is a defeat for the Republicans, as well as the Democrats, I'm not sure that holds up, because you've got nine out of 10 Republicans ...
WEST: No, just McCain.
DOBBS: Right, nine out of 10 republican presidential candidates saying they're opposing this thing, Errol.
LOUIS: Let me be clear, there are two Republicans in particular, George Bush and John McCain who have been ...
DOBBS: That's a done deal electorally.
LOUIS: But when you analyze some of the actual votes, how this bill went down to defeat. You had Jim DeMint of South Carolina flip flopping on the vote and doing all kinds of procedural things.
DOBBS: If you can figure what Senator DeMint was doing, you're better than I am.
LOUIS: What he was doing all along, anything that will weaken this bill, I'll do. That doesn't speak of national leadership, it doesn't speak of consistency or principle. What it speaks to is this kind of gamesmanship which is what doomed the bill from the beginning and which is the reason why we can't solve this very important issue.
DOBBS: Which issue are you calling important, border security, port security, the rights and interests American citizens, or focusing on the needs and the desires of 12 to 20 million people that cross the border illegally, many whom committed document fraud, overstayed visas or committed identity theft. Which one are you speaking of?
LOUIS: It's three or four, maybe five or six, it's still where you've got guest worker issues. You've got the amnesty issue, you've got the border security issue. And they are locked together. That's what makes this so tough.
SHEINKOPF: Rudy Giuliani is the winner based upon what occurred in this failure really and I'll tell you why.
DOBBS: Hold that. We've got a perfect tease for breaking for commercial here. Hank Sheinkopf going to tell us the answer to that riddle when we come back. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Well as we broke for commercial, Hank Sheinkopf was about to tell us why the big winner in the collapse of the amnesty legislation is Rudy Giuliani.
SHEINKOPF: Because the big loser is John McCain and if you watched them the other night I'm sure you did on that debate, McCain said everything's fine, Rudy said wait a second that's how they do things in Washington and not fine. And Rudy's smart enough to understand the more he separates himself from the usual gang of Republicans the less likely it's going to be that he's going to be attacked, number one, Rudy, and the second thing is he becomes stronger on national security and terror-related activity just because of being there.
DOBBS: Well, how do you interpret or evaluate the fellow who is not running yet and that is Fred Thompson. Because he was strongest and earliest, well not ahead of Duncan Hunter or Tom Tancredo but certainly otherwise, on opposing this legislation.
LOUIS: Yeah, he's like the conservative dream. He's rapidly, I think, becoming at least on paper, and you know, it will all go downhill or much of it will go downhill, the bloom will come off the rose after he actually announces next month.
But for right now he's right in step with where the fat middle of Republican voters want to go and you've got so many big fundraisers, big donors, important state leaders who have not selected anybody yet that Fred Thompson is trying to hit a home run on the 4th of July, when we he announces.
DOBBS: Diana, is George W. Bush now officially irrelevant? He goes to the G-8 meeting. His legislation, he's not even there to make a call and does not choose to make a call, apparently, on to support his immigration initiative. He has no domestic agenda. What in the world, what is left for George W. Bush besides Iraq?
WEST: I don't know what's left for George W. Bush. I think he is now beginning to seem like a president without a party, and I would say that in some ways looking toward the presidential race, that this whole issue, I think, rebounds well for Republicans generally, or conservatives, just because we now have really begun to understand the issues at stake, these things were crystallized early on. Amnesty does not fly. We have to do something about this problem.
DOBBS: If it's a problem for John McCain, what in the world is it for those Democratic presidential candidates?
WEST: That's what I think, yes, exactly.
DOBBS: Hank Sheinkopf, they're sitting there embracing this with such vitality, that it's amazing.
SHEINKOPF: They will embrace it, because they're not the party of George Bush, and the person who will be ultimately blamed will be George Bush and the Republicans. So there's no good news for Republicans ... WEST: Yes but George Bush ...
SHEINKOPF: There's no good news here for republicans. The aroma of the Bush administration is going to ...
DOBBS: Is there any bad news for Democrats, Hank?
SHEINKOPF: There's always bad news for Democrats, like do something, OK? Do something because the voters are just not going to give you another run unless you do something and you do something significant.
WEST: I think that this has really separated the conservatives from George Bush. I mean we've been seeing that evolve over the past few weeks, but I think it's a rupture, especially going into this presidential race.
LOUIS: Something to keep in mind is that the Democrats had their own problem. They had a left-wing flank, the Catholic bishops, La Raza, some of the other groups pushing them to kill this bill for entirely different reasons. That is a significant political factor in all of this stuff and it will rear its head again.
DOBBS: It really demonstrates the sense of entitlement that exists among a group of people who are advocating, whether it be the Catholic bishops or the La Raza, Maldef (ph), Lou Laca (ph), a host of others, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business roundtable, the very idea that they think they should be able to take up the time, the interest and the focus of the United States Senate, to focus on people who are here unlawfully, who have committed various crimes in many cases, whether it be document fraud, identity theft, et cetera, I mean, this is a country turned topsy-turvy when its Senate permits that.
SHEINKOPF: This is about interest group politics more than anything else, it's about the failure of people, you agree with no matter which side you're on, for a moment, the failure of individuals to be profiles in courage, because we are living in the era of politics by poll and politics by money.
DOBBS: Poll said don't touch this thing because it will be the will of the people. We watched at last count 45 U.S. senators ignored the will have the people, perhaps more, depending on the reasons they voted against cloture. Diana West, Errol Louis, Hank Sheinkopf, thank you very much.
WEST: Thank you.
DOBBS: And we thank you for joining us. Please join us again here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching. Enjoy your weekend. Good night from New York.
Coming up next, RAW POLITICS with Tom Foreman.
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