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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Mideast on the Brink; Looting Rampage in Gaza; U.S. Response to Hamas
Aired June 15, 2007 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, President Bush and pro-amnesty senators trying to ram their so-called grand bargain illegal immigration legislation through the Senate and down the throats of the American people. The pro-illegal alien lobby once again ignoring the will of the American people.
We'll have complete coverage.
Also, a startling new example tonight of the dangers to our working men and women. The dangers of so-called free trade. Communist China is exploiting a loophole in NAFTA.
We'll be telling you about where they want to build a massive new automobile plant to export to the United States duty free. We'll have that story.
And worrying concerns that communist China is also supplying weapons to the terrorists killing our troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
We'll have a special report.
All of that, all the day's news, much more straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Friday, June 15th.
Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
There's chaos in Gaza tonight after the Hamas victory over forces loyal to the Palestinian president. Palestinians in Gaza went on a rampage of looting, ransacking buildings once used by the president's security forces. There were also outbreaks of violence on the West Bank as Fatah gunmen attacked Hamas supporters.
Ben Wedeman has our report from the West Bank city of Nablus -- Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the fighting has subsided in Gaza as Hamas has consolidated its control. But in the West Bank, fires are beginning to break out. (voice over): Fatah gunmen ransack Hamas' media office in Nablus. Destruction, the theme of the day. Fatah answers Hamas' rampage in Gaza with its own.
In the streets below, Fatah fighters warn this is only the beginning. "We'll continue to do this until Hamas has been destroyed," says gunman Abu Askandar (ph). "This is the law here, delivered through the barrel of a gun." Blind rage smashing everything associated with Hamas.
(on camera): This is a taste of the mayhem to come. Fatah is now taking revenge on Hamas, destroying everything it can, burning their offices, killing their members.
In Nablus, killed, 31-year-old Anis Salus (ph). Relatives say he was grabbed as he left a mosque Thursday, bundled into a car and driven away.
Mourners accuse Fatah of behind the killing. Specifically, they blame Mohammed Dahlan (ph), who was Fatah's strongman in Gaza before it was overrun by Hamas.
"No one is investigating how he was killed," Anis' (ph) father tells me. "No one is investigating anything."
A few hope the carnage will end soon. "God willing, this was the last killing, says Nablus resident Abu Mohammed al-Halibi (ph) at the funeral, "and we'll be brothers again."
With anger on both sides, it doesn't look like the bloody conflict between Hamas and Fatah will be so easily buried.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Nablus, on the West Bank.
DOBBS: Hamas gunmen in Gaza tonight are struggling to restore order after what has been a day of chaos. Looters ransacking a compound used by Palestinian President Abbas. Hamas officials have ordered police officers to return to duty.
Atika Shubert reports now from Jerusalem on the chaos raging in Gaza.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hamas in charge. Photos show Hamas gunmen inside the Gaza residence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Posing at his desk, making a mock phone call, saying, according to Reuters, "Hello, Condoleezza Rice. You have to deal with me now."
But perhaps this is the most poignant photo for Palestinians, Hamas gunmen trampling on the portraits, not just of President Abbas, but of the late and revered Yasser Arafat, father of the Palestinian national movement. Hamas is in charge of Gaza, but can it govern? Even as mask gunmen trumpeted their authority to the media, looters had taken over the streets of Gaza, stripping down the empty homes of Fatah leaders.
Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh insists that he is still prime minister of the Palestinian government. But Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has dissolved the Hamas-led government and installed an emergency cabinet under the leadership of former finance minister Salam Fayyad.
So, who is in charge? It depends on where you're at.
In Gaza, Islamic militant group Hamas is the undisputed power. In the West Bank, the Western-backed Fatah is still in control. The dream of a united Palestinian state torn in two.
(on camera): This is not just about a fight for power. It's also about what kind of a state Palestinians want, the Islamic militancy of Hamas in Gaza, or the weakened secular authority of Fatah in the West Bank? A stark choice for those who hoped for a united Palestinian state.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Jerusalem.
DOBBS: The United States and other Western nations today expressing full support for Palestinian President Abbas. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Palestinian people must have an opportunity to return to peace. Officials kept President Bush fully briefed on the situation in Gaza as the president traveled to Kansas.
Suzanne Malveaux, traveling with the president, has our report from Wichita -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the Bush administration realizes this is a crisis situation. That is why they're trying to bolster the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and diminish Hamas. U.S. officials saying it was the right move to dissolve the government and to replace the prime minister.
Scott Stanzel, White House spokesman, aboard Air Force One, telling us -- and I'm quoting here -- "President Abbas, we believe, has exercised his lawful authority as president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the people, and we support his decisions to try to end this violence."
Earlier today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called her counterparts from the European Union, United Nations, as well as Russia, to try to figure out a way to help the Abbas government, including the possibility of lifting the embargo against the Palestinian authority.
The big question, however, is what happens to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza effectively under the control of Hamas? U.S. officials say they're not going to abandon them, but their fate is far from certain, as well as the fate of the Middle East peace process.
On Tuesday, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will discuss that at the White House -- Lou.
DOBBS: Suzanne Malveaux reporting.
The United States appears to be powerless to influence events in Gaza after the Hamas victory. Officials say any U.S. military action is out of the question. It remains unclear tonight how much help the United States would give the Palestinian government.
Jamie McIntyre has our report from Washington.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Could U.S. troops end up as part of a peacekeeping force in Gaza, or would the U.S. consider sending supplies or ammunition to the Fatah faction it backs?
In Brussels, Defense Secretary Robert Gates pretty much ruled those out.
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: A little out of touch here, but to the best of my knowledge, the answer to both questions is no.
MCINTYRE: While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have pretty much exhausted the supply of U.S. ground troops, that's not really the problem. It's more that anything the U.S. does to aid the moderate secular Fatah government of Mahmoud Abbas against the militant Islamic Hamas could be counterproductive.
FAWAZ GERGES, MIDEAST ANALYST: The more the Bush administration stays out of it, the better for regional stability, and also for American vital interest in that part of the world.
MCINTYRE: So far, everything the U.S. has tried has had unintended consequences. The U.S. encouraged the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the subsequent Palestinian elections, never anticipating it would bring Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group, to power.
It then engineered a boycott that simply increased local support of Hamas and fueled anti-American and Israeli sentiment. Even the delivery of non-lethal aid to forces loyal to Abbas just seemed to embolden Hamas to seize Gaza.
So what can the U.S. do about the possibility of a militant Islamic semi-state on the border with Israel? Not much. In fact, the Israelis have no good military options either.
SHIBLEY TELHAMI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: And if they reoccupy Gaza, they may weaken the current Hamas leadership as they did in the past, but it doesn't resolve the problem. Back to square one.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE: At the State Department, a spokesman acknowledged Mahmoud Abbas has lost control of Gaza and says the U.S. is now looking for ways to support president Abbas' new government without doing more harm than good -- Lou.
DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.
Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon.
Insurgents in Iraq have killed four more of our troops. Another soldier and an airman died in noncombat incidents. The airman was the pilot of the Air Force F-16 fighter jet that crashed northwest of Baghdad. That aircraft based at Balad Air Base.
Forty-three of our troops have been killed so far this month, 3,520 of our troops killed since the war began. 25,950 of our troops wounded, 11,667 of them seriously.
Coming up here next, disturbing new concerns that communist China is delivering weapons to terrorists who are trying to kill our troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
We'll have that special report.
And President Bush, pro-amnesty senators and socioethnic centric interest groups stepping up their aggressive campaign for, what else, amnesty.
All of that and more when we continue.
DOBBS: The president's efforts to revive his so-called grand compromise at any cost may have paid off. The bill's key supporters in the Senate agreeing to make another push to move the amnesty legislation ahead as early as next week.
Andrea Koppel reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, new hope an immigration deal could be within reach.
BUSH: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
KOPPEL: And a new appeal from President Bush.
BUSH: Thank you for making comprehensive immigration reform your top priority. I share that priority.
KOPPEL: And from some of the bill's biggest Republican and Democratic boosters.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This is in our national interests. This represents the best opportunity to make a difference for our country. And failure is not an option.
SEN. MEL MARTINEZ (R), FLORIDA: The battle is long and the battle is hard. But I know that with your spirit and with your faith, that we will continue and we will prevail and persevere.
KOPPEL: The breakthrough, just one week after immigration reform seemed to hit a dead end, came after President Bush made a rare visit to Capitol Hill this week to meet with Republicans and after Mr. Bush pledged to support over $4 billion for border security, a key demand of conservatives.
BUSH: Our responsibilities are straightforward. We've got to enforce the border, the basic duty of a sovereign nation.
KOPPEL: But on the Washington Mall, organizers of a weekend anti-immigration rally, like Michelle de la Cruz of Phoenix, are digging in.
MICHELLE DALLACROCE, FOUNDER, MOTHERS AGAINST ILLEGAL ALIENS: The illegals don't even listen to us now. I mean, the illegals are dictating our laws to us now. Do we really think, do they -- does our Congress and this president think that we're that stupid?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KOPPEL: Now, neither side in this debate is predicting that the bill will pass. That said, Lou, Majority Leader Reid is saying that he plans to bring things up on the floor once they finish up the energy bill some time in the middle of next week -- Lou.
DOBBS: Andrea, thank you very much.
Andrea Koppel from Capitol Hill.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight.
Do you believe news organizations are correctly describing the Bush-Kennedy amnesty legislation as "reform"? Yes or no?
We'd love to hear from you. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. The results upcoming in the broadcast.
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, today out trying to drum up support for his president's bill. Chertoff was promoting a pilot program to verify if someone is able to work in this country legally. But critics say the system has a rather significant flaws, and it is just one more unworkable part of what is an unworkable piece of legislation.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff received a tutorial on a voluntary pilot program that checks the legal status of workers in the United States. Chertoff says 92 percent of the time, the employee is cleared on the spot.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We're creating a possibility for people to come into this country and work, doing it the right way, getting identified and paying their taxes.
SYLVESTER: The pilot program would become mandatory for all employers under the Senate legislation. But the employment verification system has its flaws. A Government Accountability report found that an illegal alien who uses someone else's name and Social Security number would still be granted work authorization.
Critics say to close this loophole and have the program expanded to some six million employers will take time.
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: For somebody with a straight face to put into a law that, oh, we'll have all this done in 18 months, don't worry, when we haven't done it in 18 years, and -- I mean, how absolutely stupid do these senators think the American public is?
SYLVESTER: The Senate bill's critics are dismissing other parts of the Senate proposal as unworkable.
Among the questions, how to keep track when guest workers come and leave? How effective are the 24-hour background checks for millions of illegal workers? And will the bill actually reduce illegal immigration?
The group NumbersUSA points to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that says the Senate bill won't make much of a dent in the numbers.
ROY BECK, NUMBERSUSA: The grand bargain is, you give amnesty, you reward with permanent residence and permanent jobs to 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in exchange for not having illegal immigration in the future. This bill, at most, will reduce it perhaps by 20, 25 percent. That's not good enough for a grand bargain.
SYLVESTER: Bush administration officials are trying to reframe the Senate bill as a national and border security bill. But critics, including NumbersUSA, say if that's truly the goal, then why not just pass a bill that steps up security without putting illegal aliens on the path to citizenship or implementing a guest worker program? And that, Lou, will be a central question in next week's debate -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Lisa.
Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
Another effort to secure or borders is being pushed back. The House of Representatives today delayed new passport rules for 17 months. Those rules would require U.S. citizens traveling back to this country by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to show their passports. Members of Congress voted to delay that, however, after being inundated with complaints from their constituents because the State Department cannot begin to keep up with applications for new passports. Some people waiting as long as four months for those passport renewals.
Just last week, the rules for air travelers were also set back because of exactly the same complaints.
Time now for some of your thoughts.
Sal in Arizona said, "President Bush thinks he can bribe us with this new version of amnesty? No thanks. I was waiting for him to start his speech by saying, 'I got an offer you can't refuse.' The president needs to let this immigration bill rest in peace."
Earl in Ohio, "All the Democrats better think of the votes they will lose if they pass this bill. As a long time Democrat, they will lose my vote forever."
Albert in Georgia, "Lou, All my life I was under the illusion that I was an American and a Catholic. Now I'm told I'm neither because I don't support amnesty for illegal immigrants. Thank you, President Bush and Cardinal Mahony, for setting me straight."
We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts to loudobbs.com. More of your thoughts upcoming here.
Next, a new threat from communist China. Chinese weapons and military supplies in the hands of America's enemies.
We'll have that report.
And California's Governor Schwarzenegger telling immigrants to stop watching Spanish television and start learning English.
We'll have a report for you on the reaction to the governor's remarks.
And Dunkin' Donuts setting an example for corporate America. They're going to court to make certain that their franchises aren't hiring illegal aliens. How about that?
Stay with us.
DOBBS: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today hearing from critics and supporters about his controversial remarks about speaking English, telling a group of Hispanic journalists that immigrants, both legal and illegal, should turn off their Spanish television programs and learn English.
Casey Wian has our report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Is this what's preventing Spanish-speaking immigrants from learning English? California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says so.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: You've got to turn off the Spanish television set. It's that simple. You've got to learn English.
You've got to listen -- I know this sounds odd and it's politically not the correct thing to say. But -- here I'm getting myself into trouble. But I know -- I know that when I came to this country, I did not -- I very rarely spoke German to anyone.
Not that I didn't like Austria. My heart was always in Austria. But I wanted to as quickly as possible learn the English language.
WIAN: Schwarzenegger has never been afraid to speak his mind. But even for a former action hero, it took guts to tell an audience of Hispanic journalists that non-English-speaking Latinos should turn off the Spanish TV.
Rafael Olmeda, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, told The Associated Press, "Most people I've spoken to walked away believing that he was trying to say that we must learn English to succeed in American society. Most of our members would agree with that statement."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
WIAN: Univision, the dominant Spanish-language network in the United States, released this statement: "Spanish-language media plays the essential roles of providing the Hispanic community with the news and information they need and care about, and keeping them connected to their cultural heritage."
A 2005 Pew Hispanic Center study found 73 percent of foreign-born Hispanics in the United States do not speak English very well, versus 54 percent of other foreign-born immigrants.
One panelist on stage with Governor Schwarzenegger offered this explanation...
PILAR MARRERO, LA OPINION: They're busy working. They don't have time to learn.
WIAN: Busy working, apparently at jobs English-speaking Americans won't do.
WIAN: Governor Schwarzenegger says turning off Spanish language TV is not the only answer. He also supports after school programs to teach English to students who don't speak the language -- Lou.
DOBBS: All right. Casey, thanks very much.
Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
Dunkin' Donuts is intensifying the company's efforts to make certain its franchises do not hire illegal aliens. Dunkin' Donuts is suing two of its franchises in New Jersey for deliberately hiring illegal aliens.
The company wants to terminate those franchise agreements. The New Jersey "Star-Ledger" reporting the stores in question knowingly accepted false documents, false Social Security numbers, and paid employees in cash. Dunkin' Donuts would not comment on the pending suit, but did say, "As of June 1, 2006, Dunkin' Brands has required all franchisees to use the Basic Pilot Program to ensure that new hires are legally authorized to work."
The company went on to say, "We believe this is the right thing to do for our franchisees."
Basic Pilot, by the way, is a voluntary program by the Department of Homeland Security that allows corporations to verify employees are eligible to work. Dunkin' Donuts also seeking to sever ties with franchises in Boston, Atlanta, and Florida, for their hiring of illegal immigrants.
Dunkin' Donuts has more than 50,000 locations in the United States. And if I may add a footnote, Dunkin' Donuts setting an example corporate America should be following.
Sanctuary cities may soon be thinking twice about their pro- illegal immigration position and their violation of U.S. law. An amendment that would cut homeland security funding for those sanctuary cities from New York to Los Angeles today passed in the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support. That amendment proposed by Congressman Tom Tancredo, a presidential hopeful, would prevent sanctuary cities from receiving federal funds for first responders and other programs.
Up next here tonight, communist China aggressively building up its military, giving weapons to terrorists trying to kill our troops. Oh, yes, they're also exporting toxic products to this country as well.
We're paying for the privilege.
And Beijing using our addiction to so-called free trade to attack our automobile industry and destroy American jobs.
We'll be telling you about how they're going about that in a new innovative approach next.
And President Bush facing rising opposition to his policies at home, abroad. His poll numbers sagging. He is starting to sound like a lame duck.
We'll be joined by Republican strategist Ed Rollins, Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: New concerns tonight that communist China is providing assistance to terrorists killing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Beijing may well be supplying weapons to terrorists through Iran. This, just the latest example of communist China's increasingly dangerous challenge to American interests around the world and an absence of a U.S. strategic response. Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iran has long been an arms customer of China's. In 2005, the Bush administration sanctions six Chinese companies for selling missile parts and chemical arms material to Iran. China's weaponry helped supply the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon who last year fired an advanced Chinese missile against an Israeli battleship.
RICK FISHER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: China has sold a wide variety of advanced weapons to Iran. Iran has taken many of these weapons to include advanced anti-ship missiles and given them to Hezbollah.
PILGRIM: Now Defense Secretary Gates this week said there is quote, "fairly substantial flow of arms into Afghanistan from Iran."
Analysts say it's not a stretch to imagine some of that could have originated in China. The Chinese had a strong relationship with the Taliban before the U.S. invasion.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": This most serious issue is Iraq and Afghanistan. And the reports are that China's supplying rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, components for roadside bombs, all sorts of things. And so this is quite serious because American soldiers are being killed.
PILGRIM: According to Amnesty International, Beijing doesn't publish information about arms sales. But Chinese weapons are turning up in many of the world's worst conflicts. Earlier this month, Amnesty International accused China of breaking a UN arms embargo on Sudan, supplying that government with strike aircraft and parts. Chinese small arms have ended up in the hands of the notorious Janjaweed militia.
Chinese proliferation is also a worry. Chinese designs of nuclear weapons were found to have been passed by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan to Libya.
PILGRIM (on camera): China's massive military buildup has raised concern in Washington. The extent of that buildup is known. What is unclear is how -- what China is doing in secret and how much military equipment China is selling to U.S. adversaries such as Iran and other rogue regimes.
DOBBS: And the larger question, why the United States is not publicly articulating a response and demands of China as they have begun to do in the case of Iran.
PILGRIM: We haven't seen any real strenuous words. In the spring, some State Department officials spoke out about Iran.
DOBBS: The State Department never says anything straight nor well. This is a sad excuse for a State Department. Let's just hope that somebody wakes up down in Foggy Bottom and perhaps 1600 Pennsylvania before it's too late. Kitty Pilgrim, thank you very much.
Communist China is also, well, now exploiting a gapping loophole in that wonderful trade arrangement called NAFTA. Are you ready? One of China's largest car makers is about to build an assembly plant in Tijuana, Mexico, the purpose? To build and export vehicles into the United States. And it will be duty-free.
Bill Tucker is here now with more on this amazing story. Bill, this is just more of the same. This administration has to be filled with the greatest aggregation of complete mindless bureaucrats in the history of this government.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this should be a big, giant wakeup call, a shot across the bow, because this is a $300 million investment in an assembly plant to build sport utility vehicles and trucks down in Mexico, Lou.
Now Zhongxing will be the first Chinese automaker to build an assembly plant down there. It will be right across the U.S./Mexico border with Tijuana with an annual production of 150,000 vehicles beginning in 2009, roughly 37,000 of those will be exported to the United States.
And as you mentioned, they will come in tariff-free. Trade economist Peter Marichi (ph) at the University of Maryland points out that Mexico is in, quote, an excellent export platform for the Chinese because they can - exploit, excuse me, a number of free trade agreements. Under NAFTA, Zhongxing will gain access not only to the U.S. market but to Mexico's other trade agreement markets, those vehicles can be shipped duty free to Central America, South America and Europe.
So far the company says it has agreements for dealerships in seven states, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Florida, Ohio, Colorado. Trade economist Alan Tonelson says we have no one to blame but ourselves, Lou.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN TONELSON, U.S. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRIAL COUNCIL: Our China trade policy has so inept we've enabled China to earn the kind of money that can finance the establishment of manufacturing operations in Mexico and elsewhere around the world to service the U.S. market. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER: Now, in building the plant in Mexico, China gets around a trade barrier explicitly in place to protect the U.S. truck market. If the trucks were exported from China, they would face a 25 percent tariff. But built in Mexico, they face none.
Zhongxing is promising, Lou, that its vehicles will be cheaper than similar models made by U.S. and international automakers. I think probably they will be, Lou.
DOBBS: This -- I don't know what any of the labor organizations think -- the car makers think. It's just absolutely mystifying how stupid the U.S. Trade Representative's office is, how stupid U.S. policy is. And the great thing about this, Bill, the great thing about this is, these idiots that have driven all of the money and investment and jobs to China over the last 15 years, just about, have done so at the expense of Mexico, which under the terms of NAFTA, we were to bring our capital and invest in Mexico.
So now we have a middleman and that middleman is China, which is doing the appropriate thing that the United States should have been pursuing for more than a decade. This is -- this government -- I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with what they purport to be, a government. It's incredible. How soon does the plank go up?
TUCKER: They expect to begin importing or exporting vehicles to the United States in 2009.
DOBBS: So they've got to get to work on the plant right away.
DOBBS: Absolutely. We wouldn't want any delay on any further brilliant moves by this administration. Unbelievable. Bill Tucker, thank you.
An update now on a warning that we reported to you on Colgate, about counterfeit Colgate toothpaste that contains toxic chemicals.
Colgate Palmolive and the Food and Drug Administration now both say that chemical, which is used in anti-freeze, poses a relatively low health risk to consumers, whatever that means. Still, both agree the chemical doesn't belong in the toothpaste and if ingested, you could be poisoned. Whatever that means.
Colgate says it's pulling the fake products from discount stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland wherever it can, the retailers should have some hand in that as well. If labeled made in South Africa by the way, it's a fake, we're told. Earlier this month, the FDA warned consumers to avoid toothpaste labeled made in China because it contained the same chemical. If it says made in China or made in South Africa, I guess you should be worried about that. Any store that would put that junk on their shelves doesn't deserve your business so maybe we should be taking note of that. We'll put that on the Web site to show you which retailers have been stocking that merchandise, I guess is the way I'll put it in a kind way.
A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe news organizations are correctly describing the Bush/Kennedy amnesty legislation as you will note so many of them do as reform, uncritically, untested but they love the word? Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. The results upcoming in a moment.
Up next, two of the nation's best political analysts join me with their thoughts on the president's effort to revive amnesty. And we'll assess as well, I'm sure, the president's foreign policy, his domestic policy and what is ahead for both political parties as we approach 2008.
And we'll have this week's hero, Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy Bishop. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: Joining me now with more on the president's plunging poll numbers, Congress' plunging poll numbers, Republican strategist, former White House political director Ed Rollins, Democratic national committeeman, Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman. Good to have you both here. What an exciting time it is for both of you! Your Democratically-led Congress is plunging in the numbers and your Republican president is -- it's hard to believe this, but his approval rating is sinking even further.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He's loved in Albania, though.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMCORATIC STRATEGIST: And we have a national consensus merging on both the Congress and the president.
DOBBS: It is indeed. And we have a consensus of about 80 percent of all Americans think this country is head td -- headed in the wrong direction.
ROLLINS: Those numbers are astronomical. The wrong track number - historically it's been driven by catastrophe or economic issues and what have you and it's a total lack of confidence now.
And the interesting thing, Lou, is usually when a president goes on a foreign trip, he gets a four, five, sometimes as much as a 10- point bump. This president can't do anything to move his numbers. He's stuck.
DOBBS: I don't know how many previous presidential trips have taken them to Albania for a warm reception, though. This perhaps didn't have the full heft of previous ...
ROLLINS: But equally as important, I think you're now starting to see Republicans moving away from this president. And that's -- that's when it's really serious. ZIMMERMAN: I think it's an interesting point. The Pew Research Center's poll show that 44 percent of e evangelical Republicans disapprove of president bush's records and performance. And that's a dramatic turnaround from where they were a few years ago in the 80 percent range.
DOBBS: This president now coming back to say he's going to revive this moribund sham amnesty legislation. What in the world is this guy thinking?
ROLLINS: For whatever reason, he sees this as his legacy piece of legislation. He's talked about it for six years now. And I think the legacy will be that he's going to destroy his party, he's not going to seal the borders and he's certainly going to let a lot of illegals have a path to come here.
ZIMMERMAN: It's very interesting to note, I think there is a consensus that's emerged in this country that they're over this administration. "Newsweek" had a poll that reflected 75 percent, I think it was, of America wanted to see this administration come to an end. The fact that he's lost credibility ...
DOBBS: Are you still keeping track of the days, Ed Rollins.
ZIMMERMAN: We all are keeping track of the days. It's a bipartisan agreement.
ROLLINS: Still a long time.
ZIMMERMAN: But the point is there's a consensus emerging that this administration neither has the credibility nor the integrity to lead.
DOBBS: That leaves us with the Democratic leadership in the Congress. I love your talking points there.
ZIMMERMAN: Those aren't talking points.
DOBBS: But seriously, we're talking about a lower approval rating for the Democratically-led Congress now than this president who hasn't been successful in foreign policy or domestic policy or anything since he got a tax cut.
ZIMMERMAN: Let's put that in perspective for a moment.
DOBBS: Please do.
ZIMMERMAN: In the short term there's no question. Democrats are being hurt, primarily because they don't have 60 votes to override a presidential veto.
DOBBS: Oh, come on.
ZIMMERMAN: That's exactly what it's about. The House Democrats have passed ... DOBBS: Harry Reid is standing up there with George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy saying they're going to ram -- these people are acting as arrogantly as anyone could imagine incompetents could act.
ROLLINS: The ultimate act of arrogance, not to cut Robert off, the ultimate act of arrogance is to criticize Peter Pace who just lost his job at the Pentagon, to criticize Petraeus, who's got the job of trying to make some progress here.
When you start criticizing the military generals and the troops are next, and I think to a certain extent you're going to find a lot of people unhappy with Democrats.
ZIMMERMAN: Ed, that's called accountability and it's long overdue to see our national public leadership, or civilian leadership step up and hold our military accountable. So I think in fact it's not just a plus for Democrats, I think it's an important step for our country in terms of holding this administration accountable for this failed strategy in Iraq.
ROLLINS: All I can tell you, Robert, is you've sat on this show for weeks and weeks and talked about how you have an alternative plan, Democrats have an alternative plan whatever. And at the end of the day, to attack Pace who has been chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who advises the president, advises the Congress, advises the secretary of defense, without any charge, just saying he's incompetent and to basically to say they've been misled. Where have they been misled? They have been trip after trip they've gone over there ...
ZIMMERMAN: Ed, they've been misled with this talk of a surge, with this program of a surge that's been a failed strategy. Even the president's own war czar, Lieutenant General Loot (ph) has made that point. The surge has been by every measure according to reports filed in Congress, ineffective in terms of curbing the violence.
ROLLINS: So let's blame our troops.
DOBBS: Let me throw this out for your consideration, gentlemen. Not only is this country financing an unprecedented military buildup on the part of communist China, now reports emerging that China is supporting with weaponry and arms terrorists in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is building up its presence, strategically in the Middle East. Is there a vulnerability for the Democratic candidates for presidents talking about withdrawal when you're looking straightforwardly at an effort for China to move into the region?
ZIMMERMAN: What they're talking about changing the mission. And that's a very important distinction to note. And it is significant because Democrats cannot.
DOBBS: So the withdrawal deadlines were just what, rhetoric? ZIMMERMAN: Withdrawal deadlines were talking about refocusing the war on terror in Afghanistan. Refocusing our efforts to stabilize Iraq. And Democrats cannot be on the defensive.
DOBBS: Managing the war better, not necessarily bringing the troops home.
ZIMMERMAN: No one is saying pull out the troops out immediately. That's not on the table.
ROLLINS: Week after week, as I keep saying, they keep talking about an alternative plan. Obviously Afghanistan is very important. Afghanistan is also part of the funding of this thing. The leadership of the military is still fighting in Afghanistan. We're fighting two very critical places in the world. And all I can tell you is that your party has repeatedly lost elections, presidential elections because people think you're weak on national security.
At a time when the world is more unsafe than ever before, if this is what you think waving the white flag and -- dropping your guns and running is the right strategy to basically make the country feel good and criticizing the military leadership, have at it.
ZIMMERMAN: George Bush has attacked the patriotism of every Democrat that's stood up in opposition to him. And a "Wall Street Journal" NBC poll clearly it showed 49 to 36 percent the public felt more in common with Democratic positions and Democratic issues. And in the generic match up ...
DOBBS: Then there's no concern.
ROLLINS: No ...
DOBBS: I want to turn to, if we may, the immigration bill is going to be the dominant news of -- hopefully we won't have unforeseen developments next week. But here is what your candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton had to say this morning at that Hispanic breakfast, if we could hear that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I applaud the president, I applaud Senator Kennedy, I applaud Republicans and Democrats alike who have come together around an issue that we know is drawing attacks from all directions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Wow! She's supporting the president. She's supporting Ted Kennedy. She's now behind the comprehensive immigration legislation ...
ZIMMERMAN: Well, I'm not a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton but I don't think she endorsed the legislation in that ...
DOBBS: You tell me what the heck that meant, then. ZIMMERMAN: I think what she's trying to say and what I think both parties are saying is they applaud the effort. I don't.
DOBBS: Applaud the effort. If you applaud the effort, that's not an endorsement?
ZIMMERMAN: Let me tell you something. The effort in this legislation as it exists is totally unacceptable. There are many Democrats on the left ...
DOBBS: Does Senator Clinton know that?
ZIMMERMAN: We'll see what she does when the vote comes. But the point is ...
DOBBS: Don't you think it would be great if your candidate, all of the presidential candidates, both parties, took this issue on and debated it in front of the American people for the next year and a half and truly dealt with the issue, instead of this ...
ZIMMERMAN: That's where it's going to be end up being resolved, in the national debate. I don't believe there will be legislation put through Congress and signed by the president. And I think Democrats are missing an important opportunity to be strong, to demonstrate their advocacy of border and national port security.
DOBBS: What about this quote from the president saying the basic duty, border security is the basic duty of a sovereign nation. Here with a year and a half left in office, he's discovered what he should have been doing?
ROLLINS: He's failed miserably then because the borders are more porous than they've ever been. And certainly under his watch - he is not spending the money that's been appropriated by the Congress.
DOBBS: Is there a chance in the world that 2008 will produce a leader who talks straight, honestly and takes seriously their responsibilities of leadership in this country?
ZIMMERMAN: I don't underestimate the American people ...
DOBBS: I'm not talking about the American people. I'm asking you about the candidates.
ZIMMERMAN: I'm talking about the American people. The reason we've always in times of great crisis ...
DOBBS: Come on. I'm asking you a straightforward question, Robert. Do you think we're going to get it?
ZIMMERMAN: I think we have (inaudible) credible in both parties.
DOBBS: The American people, I have great faith in. It's the people we seem to be ending up with running for the highest office ...
ROLLINS: Only if you give up your day job. DOBBS: That was evil and terrible and bad and we're going away from it.
ZIMMERMAN: He's much more (inaudible) than he shows.
DOBBS: Oh my gosh. Ed Rollins, thank you very much.
ROLLINS: I'll run your campaign.
DOBBS: Robert Zimmerman, thank you very much. Be sure, by the way, Senator Clinton is on the phone, I understand.
ZIMMERMAN: I'm looking forward to it.
DOBBS: Just ahead, "Heroes" tonight, we bring you the story of a brave airman who served with distinction in Afghanistan and not just once. Stay with us.
DOBBS: And now "Heroes," our weekly tribute to the men and women who serve this nation in uniform around the world. Tonight the story of Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy Bishop, who has taken on some of the most dangerous mission in Afghanistan. Philippa Holland has his story.
STAFF SERGEANT TIMOTHY BISHOP, U.S. AIR FORCE: It's dangerous, it's a very dangerous job.
PHILIPPA HOLLAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy Bishop served two tours in Afghanistan.
BISHOP: You rely on your training, you rely on what you've been taught and you have confidence not only in your abilities but the pilots above you.
HOLLAND: His mission, calling in air strikes from the front lines.
BISHOP: You might be out there with 12 guys, but when you are able to call aircraft on station, you just multiply that force tremendously.
HOLLAND: Following in his father's footsteps, Bishop joined the Air Force in 2000. Two years later, he found himself in the mountains of Afghanistan.
BISHOP: It was exciting. The thought of everybody at that time was upset and they wanted to take action against the people responsible for 9/11. So I was very excited to go.
HOLLAND: Three years later, Bishop was back in Afghanistan, this time on a mission with Army Special Forces to root out the enemy. His team was ambushed. More Special Forces came in for backup. The firefight lasted for 48 hours.
BISHOP: While we were out there, repeatedly had the A-10s coming in. The enemy was trying to hide in the trees. So they didn't think the aircraft could see them, but I could see them.
HOLLAND: Bishop planned, requested and controlled 120 close air support missions while in Afghanistan. Valor, courage and commitment to mission under the most extreme circumstances are the reasons Bishop was awarded three Bronze Stars and named one of the 12 outstanding airmen of 2006.
BISHOP: To me, a medal is a medal. What really is important to me is the opinions of the people I work with on the ground. And having guys on my team come up and say, we thank you for what you did out there, we couldn't have done what we did without you.
HOLLAND: Philippa Holland, CNN.
DOBBS: And earlier this week, Timothy Bishop learned he had been promoted to technical sergeant now serving in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, looking forward to his next deployment.
Coming up at the top of the hour, THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Lou. Some critics say the Democrats haven't been strong enough in opposing the president on Iraq. It's an issue hanging over the presidential campaign.
I'll ask Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards what his party should be doing right now.
Also we'll hear from one of his rivals for the nomination. Senator Barack Obama recently gave a very candid interview about how racial issues would influence him if he wins the election. We'll bring it to you and I'll talk to CNN contributor Roland Martin who talked with Obama.
And it was a very emotional day at ethics trial for the prosecutor of the Duke University lacrosse case, Mike Nifong breaks down on the stand and then he drops a bombshell. All that, Lou, coming up right here in THE SITUATION.
DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf. Still ahead, the results of our poll and more of your thoughts. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: The result of our poll tonight. Ninety-five percent of you say you do not believe news organizations are correctly describing the Bush/Kennedy amnesty legislation when they report it as reform.
Time now for some more of your thoughts. Kelly in Illinois. "Hi, Lou. I just want you to know I sent my two worthless senators, Durbin and Obama in Illinois, your top five dumbest things in the immigration bill list. Thanks for all of your hard work."
Those are, by the way, on the Web site at loudobbs.com.
Michael in California. "The degree of arrogance President Bush in the White House and Capitol Hill today is I believe, unprecedented."
And Robert in Colorado, "Shame on our president, congressmen and senators for thinking American citizens are so stupid. Their plan for immigration is a slap in the face to anyone with a brain."
We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, we thank you for watching. Have a great weekend. Good night from New York. THE SITUATION ROOM begins now with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
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