Return to Transcripts main page

LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Hunting Al Qaeda; Democrats Prepare For Presidential Debate in South Carolina

Aired July 23, 2007 - 18:00   ET

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


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, now evidence that powerful lobbyists, Congress, the federal government all failing to disclose the whole truth about the safety of our food imports, the evidence indicating the meat you buy, for example, isn't as fresh as it looks. We will have a special report.
Also tonight, new charges of a cover-up in the case of two former Border Patrol agents sent to prison for shooting and wounding an illegal alien drug smuggler who was then given immunity by the federal government to testify against those agents. Did the government of Mexico play a role in this case? We will have that story.

And the illegal alien opens borders lobby has a new excuse for the failure of the president's so-called comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate. La Raza is now blaming the collapse of that legislation on what it calls a wave of hate. We will have the full story for you.

All of that, all the day's news, much more, including a preview of tonight's upcoming presidential debate. We will be right back.

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

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. The White House today refusing to rule out U.S. strikes against terrorists in Pakistan, the White House, in fact, warning that, after a new intelligence estimate saying Pakistan is a safe haven for al Qaeda. Pakistan is also a base for radical Islamist insurgents fighting U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Six more NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan. A local official there saying four of those troops were American.

Jamie McIntyre has our report from the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, you know, the Bush administration likes to downplay the significance, the influence of Osama bin Laden, saying he's been marginalized by having to lay low, but the fact that he has not been captured has allowed al Qaeda affiliates to draw support and inspiration from him, something that is evident both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE (voice-over): The latest NATO deaths came when a U.S. convoy hit a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan. The past two days have been marked by heavy fighting in the south. NATO claims dozens of Taliban has been killed, among the dead from one clash, six Pakistanis.

It's more evidence that Pakistan is unable to seal its northwestern border and stop the tribal area of Waziristan from providing a safe haven for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. It's the same area of Pakistan where Osama bin Laden is believed to be holed up, protected by a large network of sympathizers. As frustrating as that is, the U.S. insists it has no plans to launch cross-border attacks.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think there has been this notion afoot, or at least an attempt or an inclination, somehow we're going to invade Pakistan. We always maintain the option of striking actionable targets. But we also realize that Pakistan is a sovereign government.

MCINTYRE: Pakistan is launching its own offensive into the largely ungoverned region, in response to escalating violence and a complete failure of a peace agreement brokered last year.

But, while the U.S. has offered military assistance, including firepower and intelligence-sharing, it doesn't have the one thing Pakistan says it really needs, any good fix on exactly where bin Laden is.

KHURSHID KASURI, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: Let the United States provide us with actionable intelligence, and you will find that Pakistan will never be lacking.

MCINTYRE: The U.S. realizes violating Pakistan's sovereignty would undercut President Pervez Musharraf's already shaky grip on power, and he's one of the best allies the U.S. has in the region. But that said, if bin Laden were in the crosshairs, President Bush told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last year he wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Even though the Pakistanis say that's their sovereign territory?

BUSH: Absolutely. We would take the action necessary to bring him to justice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: Lou, the reason neither the U.S., nor Pakistan can get that actionable intelligence is that bin Laden is surrounded by people to protect him -- who protect him, and he's smart enough not to show himself. But this latest Pakistani offensive could force him to move, and that might present a new opportunity to get a lead on his whereabouts -- Lou. DOBBS: Jamie, thank you -- Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

Insurgents in Iraq killed four more of our troops over the weekend, three soldiers, one Marine killed. Fifty-seven troops have been killed so far this month; 3,636 of our troops have been killed since the beginning of the war, 26,806 of our troops wounded, 12,020 of them seriously.

Insurgents today killed 16 Iraqis in car bomb attacks in Baghdad. Forty people were wounded in those attacks.

Tomorrow, U.S. officials will discuss the violence in Iraq with Iranian diplomats in Baghdad. This will be the second round of direct talks between the United States and Iran in recent weeks. The United States saying Iran is helping insurgents kill our troops in Iraq. Iran has also formed close tie with the Iraqi government.

Iraqi political leaders plan to hold a summit meeting Friday to break the political stalemate in Iraq. Prime Minister al-Maliki and other top officials will be at that meeting, which follows a White House report that said Iraq has met only eight of 18 so-called benchmarks for political, economic, and military reform.

New concerns tonight that terrorists in this country can infiltrate our airports following a television report that shows major security breaches at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Those failures raising concerns that security may be inadequate at airports all over the country.

Kathleen Koch has the report from something.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Security procedures at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport are under review, after CNN affiliate KNXV found contract guards, not TSA screeners, took over night security there once passenger flights ended.

The guards checked airport workers' I.D.s, but never screened them or their bags. A flight attendant goes through with no screening. So does a cart load of newspapers.

As a result, the Transportation Security Administration says it's put the airport security director on administrative leave. And it's now requiring TSA screeners at their posts 24/7.

KIP HAWLEY, DIRECTOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: You can't tell from looking at the tape whether there was a violation or not, and that's something that we will figure out. But it raises a question, and we wanted to answer the question right away and say, look, we're going to now screen 24/7 and we will sort out what exactly you saw.

KOCH: Hawley says nearly 20 U.S. airports use contract guards in the overnight hours and that it's an acceptable practice. And despite the crackdown in Phoenix, the government does not require the screening of all airport employees or their bags. They do have to show I.D.s and undergo fingerprinting and an FBI background check. Still, some lawmakers have concerns about the practice.

REP. NITA LOWEY (D), NEW YORK: Meticulously screening passengers, but giving workers open access doesn't make any sense to me. It's like a security system in a home and leaving the back door open.

KOCH: The TSA does conduct random screenings of airport workers. It stepped them up in March, after an Orlando Airport worker was charged with using his I.D. to smuggle weapons and marijuana into the airport and on to a plane.

The TSA, though, says trying to screen all 800,000 airport workers around the country would grind air travel to a halt.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOCH: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport insists that it has not violated any federal security regulations. Still, it says that it is cooperating with the TSA's request to have government screeners in place 24/7. And the city itself of Phoenix says it is increasing police presence at all airport checkpoints -- Lou.

DOBBS: Kathleen, thank you very much -- Kathleen Koch from Washington.

The Bush administration under fire tonight for its refusal to release critical information in the case of imprisoned former Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean.

The two former agents are serving lengthy sentences in prison for shooting an illegal alien drug smuggler, who was then given immunity by the Justice Department to testify against them. Last week, a Judiciary -- Senate Judiciary Committee hearing led to the call by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator John Cornyn, Democrat and Republican, seeking a commutation of their sentence by President Bush.

Now a public interest group, Judicial Watch, is suing the federal government, Judiciary Watch demanding to know the role that the government of Mexico played in the prosecution of the two agents.

Lisa Sylvester reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Judiciary Watch filed Freedom of Information requests in January with three federal agencies, Justice, Homeland Security, and State Departments. The public watchdog group wants to know why the government went through extraordinary lengths to track down and give drug smuggler Aldrete- Davila blanket immunity, who in the U.S. government authorized that immunity, and what role, if any, did the Mexican government play in the prosecution of the border agents? CHRIS FARRELL, JUDICIARY WATCH: We have monitored the case of the prosecution of the agents Ramos and Compean. And we really felt compelled that there was more to the story, that not everything was getting out into the public. And we did some analysis and determined that there had to be records that existed of communications between our government and the Mexican government concerning the prosecution itself, any deals that were brokered with the drug smuggler.

KOCH: When the federal agencies failed to produce those documents, Judicial Watch sued. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon heard both sides.

A government lawyer says the Department of Justice is not required to produce the documents, citing the privacy of Davila -- quote -- "We don't believe there's sufficient public interest that outweighs privacy interests."

But critics, including congressional lawmakers and the National Border Patrol Council, accuse the federal government of stonewalling and double-talk.

T.J. BONNER, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: The president and this administration have been resisting all efforts to get to the bottom of this. What are they trying to hide? There's a lot there.

KOCH: CNN requested interviews with the three agencies, but they declined our requests, citing their policies not to discuss pending litigation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOCH: Now, the judge has given both sides until Friday to submit any additional information on the case and that he's expected to make a decision soon thereafter.

Now, interestingly, while the Justice Department is citing privacy concerns, the State Department is taking a completely different approach. Late Friday, they submitted six pages of documents. They said they believe they have met their FOIA obligation. Judicial Watch took a look at those documents and said it answered none of their questions. And they say it was a bunch of baloney -- Lou.

DOBBS: A bunch of baloney. It has been the attitude of this government, the arrogance of this government, from the U.S. attorney's prosecution of these two agents, to the point that it's just inexplicable why this administration has gone to such lengths to carry out such an outrageous miscarriage of justice.

How soon do we believe that there will be a ruling in this case, and that the absurd response, the privacy interest of a confessed drug dealer who is not a citizen of the United States trumps the public's right to know? Do you think -- I mean, my God. I cannot imagine any federal judge holding with that reasoning.

SYLVESTER: That's exactly the argument that the Justice Department is making. They said that, because he testified in a criminal proceeding, that he essentially has protection under the privacy clause of the FOIA request.

And, as for when we expect the ruling, it's anybody's guess at this point, when the judge will decide. It could be a week or two or it could be a month or two -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much -- Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

Now tonight's poll: Do you agree with Judicial Watch that there's more to this story than the U.S. government has told us in the case of Ramos and Compean, yes or no? Please cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. That's our question of the night. We will have the results for you here later in the broadcast.

We will also have the results of our weekend poll, where we asked: Do you believe America needs to declare a countrywide time-out and have a national group hug, and just think about our future for at least a few weeks quietly and without interference from politicians? Sixty-three percent of you responded that you agree it is time for that countrywide time-out.

Up next here, the illegal alien lobby refuses to admit defeat in its efforts to impose amnesty on American citizens, to admit that the will of the people has to be honored by this elected government. They have a new reason for defeat: hateful. We will have the special report.

Also, a rising number of citizens in this country and Europe have had a bellyful of so-called free trade policies. They have got a lot of empirical evidence on their side. We will also have that report.

And new charges that the meat industry and powerful lobbyists are misleading you about the safety of your food. I know you're shocked. We will have the special report.

And we're just about 45 minutes away from the beginning of the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate, a groundbreaking debate, if you will, where you, the people, ask the questions.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: A new poll shows large majorities of people in developed nations are simply fed up with globalization and so-called free trade policies, many people responding they believe that trade liberalization, as "The Financial Times" defines it, with countries such as communist China is hurting middle-class Americans and middle classes in -- throughout Europe as well.

The U.S. trade deficit with China shows just how many products are now manufactured by Chinese workers. Last year, the United States imported more than $230 billion more from China than it exported.

Christine Romans reports on the effect of the trade deficit on this nation's middle class.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A majority of citizens in the U.S., U.K. and Europe are finding globalization a dirty word. An FT/Harris poll finds a popular backlash against globalization and against the leaders of the world's biggest companies.

An overwhelming majority says globalization has a negative effect. Fewer than 5 percent surveyed have great admiration for the heads of large companies. Globalization, instead, has become synonymous with rising inequality, outsourcing, and collapsing job security for the middle class.

Labor economist Peter Morici:

PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Globalization isn't treating people equally. In the process, it's weakening the very fiber of our economy. Folks can't afford to educate their children properly anymore. They can't afford to give them proper health care. Down the road, that leads to a labor force that isn't as well-equipped for the future.

ROMANS: Morici says American trade policy with communist China in particular endangers true capitalism by rewarding one-party rule, suppression of the media, subsidized factories, and currency manipulation.

But economist Rajeev Dhawan believes the backlash is because the benefits of globalization are hidden.

RAJEEV DHAWAN, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: An accountant sitting in Atlanta now has competition from anybody that can do the basic stuff, whether they are in Manila, Moscow, anywhere. They don't even have to speak English. I think the trouble is that people can really see the costs very quickly of globalization, but not the benefits. The benefits are all spread out.

ROMANS: Benefits, he says, like low interest rates, lower prices at Wal-Mart, and cheaper prices for outsourced technology services.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: But the fears of rising inequality among the richest nations puts policy-makers and business leaders on notice. A majority of citizens clearly do not believe that their leaders are pursuing trade policies that are fair to workers, citizens, and voters -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, certainly -- certainly, the issue of distribution of wealth and the -- and the sharing of wealth and income has become far more disproportionate than at any time since the Great Depression. It's a remarkable part of the story and much of the impetus for what the "Financial Times" poll revealed there.

ROMANS: That's right. DOBBS: I love the fact that CEOs, only 5 percent are admired, putting their ratings just actually below that of Congress at 14 percent.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: Twenty-nine -- you know, President Bush is soon going to be able to brag that he has the highest approval ratings among all of the principal institutions in the country, assuming that -- I better not say that.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: He will have bragging rights.

Thank you very much, Christine Romans.

A new bipartisan effort tonight to help American workers who lose their jobs to cheap overseas labor markets. The new legislation is sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus and Republican Senator Olympia Snowe.

It would expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to give federal aid to service workers whose jobs are outsourced.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Ric in California said: "Lou, you are on target this week again. I never thought I would say this, but, today, a do-nothing Congress would actually be a step in the right direction."

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: James in Montana: "Lou, there is no shortage of workers in this country, as the president says. There is a shortage of competent leadership."

And Charles in New York: "Lou, everything that I am looking to buy today is made in China or other foreign countries. So, how can there be a shortage in labor in this country?"

We will have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.

Coming up, we will be taking a look at the largest Hispanic group in the nation pushing its amnesty agenda by vowing to fight what it calls now a wave of hate in the United States. We will have that special report.

And up next, the federal government once again not telling you what's in your food. We will tell you why they're not and why the meat in your supermarket may not be nearly as fresh as you might be led to believe.

Stay with us for all of that and more.

And, remember, the YouTube/CNN Democratic presidential debate is coming up in just about 40 minutes here on CNN.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Coming up that top of the hour here on CNN, a totally new kind of presidential debate. You, the American people, will be asking the questions on the CNN/YouTube debate for the Democrats seeking the presidential nomination of their party.

Joining me live now, as the candidates are gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, the moderator of tonight's debate, Anderson Cooper. He's got a quick preview for us -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Lou, I guess I should say the excitement is building. The hall is pretty much filled. All of the invited guests are here. The cadets are here. The candidates are here milling around somewhere, getting made up.

The only question we're not sure about, is this whole thing really going to work? This has never been tried before. We're keeping our fingers crossed. We got about 3,000 videos. We were up until about 3:00 a.m. last night, because the final videos on the West Coast, on the 12:00 midnight on the West Coast, was the final videos, as it was the deadline.

We got some great ones at the last minute that we're actually including tonight. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

DOBBS: Those last-minute contributions always work out.

You are talking about not knowing how it's going to work out. We know it will be great.

The idea of these questions, how -- how many are you actually going to be able to use, Anderson?

COOPER: We're not sure. We have got anywhere from 50 to 60 that we have narrowed it down to, that -- you know, I would love to get at least -- if we could get 50 in, that would be amazing.

There's no telling. As you know, Lou, keeping these candidates to a minute or 30 seconds is no easy task, getting them off their stump speeches.

DOBBS: Use a hammer, Anderson. Use the hammer.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I will try. I will try.

DOBBS: Well, we wish you a lot of luck. And I have got to believe those candidates are a little nervous thinking about the questions, the possibilities of those questions that you will be bringing to them.

COOPER: I think that's a good thing.

DOBBS: Yes, absolutely. Go get them, brother -- Anderson Cooper coming up at the top of the hour.

The federal government tonight is once again being accused of failing to protect this nation's food supplies. There are rising concerns over the use of carbon monoxide to keep meat looking fresh, and for a long time.

As Kitty Pilgrim reports, it is a common practice in the meat industry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Red, fresh meat, or is it? Congressional hearings pointed to the pitfalls of treating meat with carbon monoxide.

REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN: Treating meat with carbon monoxide allows the meat to keep its freshly-ground red color, even though the meat may have spoiled.

I have a picture on the screen, and there's two packages of ground left that were out at room temperature for 27 hours. You can see the one which was treated with carbon monoxide looks fresh and red, while the other meat has turned brown and quite nasty-looking.

PILGRIM: Congressman Stupak and Congressman Ed Markey have introduced legislation that would require meat treated with carbon monoxide to be labeled, so the consumer would know.

According to the industry, two-thirds of all meat and chicken is no longer cut by a butcher in front of customers or in back of the supermarket case. Now prepackaged, case-ready meat is prepared off site at large distributors, and then shipped to supermarkets.

The carbon monoxide treatment keeps meat looking fresh in that process. Food experts say a pound of ground beef cut by a butcher goes brown in four to five days. But meat treated with carbon monoxide by a meat packer can stay looking fresh for weeks. It's the same with imported seafood. Congressman Stupak says his subcommittee tested seafood from China and Vietnam treated with carbon monoxide; 20 percent turned out to be bad and was refused.

MARION NESTLE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: It's a problem, because consumers aren't informed about how meat is treated. The meat is being treated with chemicals, so that it's going to look like it's fresher than it is. I think consumers have a right to know how fresh their meat is.

PILGRIM: Industry representatives of large meat packers say the additive is harmless and it's easy to tell when the product goes bad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, the FDA has declared the meat treated with carbon monoxide is safe, so the use of carbon monoxide is not banned in the United States.

But, three years ago, the European Parliament's Environmental Committee outlawed this process, because consumers could be misled about the freshness of the meat.

Makes sense, doesn't it, Lou?

DOBBS: Yes, it makes sense. And it's interesting that the United States is in the position of following the Europeans on a practice to benefit consumers, to protect consumers, because this government has had such an outstanding record in inspecting imported food, inspecting food.

As you have been reporting, it's mind-boggling the breakdown on all of the protections for the American consumer in this country. It's a national disgrace.

PILGRIM: Well, the congressmen are calling this a completely deceptive process. And they -- they're probably right.

DOBBS: Congressman Stupak, his reaction to that nasty-looking hamburger, I thought he was very kind. It looked a lot more than nasty to me.

PILGRIM: It was a bit of a shock, actually, the pictures.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much for that outstanding report -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Health officials in California are warning about a type of candy imported from Mexico that contains high levels of lead. De La Rosa Pulparindo candy comes packaged in bright red 10-ounce boxes. The boxes are marked with bold black letters. The distributor of the candy is voluntarily taking the candy off store shelves.

Coming up next, the illegal alien open borders lobby finds a new excuse to ignore the will of the people. Imagine that. We will have that special report.

Also, corporate America fighting new efforts by states to enforce U.S. immigration laws. Somebody has to do it, don't they? We will have that story.

And extreme weather sweeping across the United States and Europe, leaving a trail of destruction. We will have the latest video, the latest reports on what is turning out to be an unusual cycle of weather around the world.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: At the top of the hour, a totally new kind of presidential debate here on CNN. The countdown continues for the CNN/YouTube presidential debate, coming to you tonight live from the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina That's coming up here on CNN at the top of the hour.

Tonight, firefighters and rescue workers are struggling with wildfires and floods in the West. There's a new volcanic eruption in Hawaii. And across the Atlantic in England, record flooding.

Wildfires are raging tonight across Utah, Nevada and Idaho. Two massive wildfires merged along the Nevada/Idaho border creating a giant blaze, covering now almost 900 square miles. Flames are threatening 8,000 homes and the Mountain Home Air Force Base training range in Idaho.

Rivers in Texas are hitting flood crest after a major deluge. Heavy storms dumping 17 inches of rain on the hardest hit area, just about 50 miles West of San Antonio.

Mudslides, deep as six feet, hitting around the town of Alpine in Colorado. The Colorado Red Cross reporting the mud slides forced at least 125 people from their homes, damaging more than 30 houses.

In Hawaii, for the first time in 15 years, lava is pouring out of a mile long fissure to the east of a crater on the Kilauea Volcano. Red hot lava sends off flames and lights up the sky as it moves towards the sea.

And in England, the worst flooding in 60 years turning ancient cities into islands and submerging cars, roads and farm. Military helicopters have had to rescue more than 100 people. Torrential rains have plagued Britain for a month now. More rain is in the forecast.

In Miami tonight, the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group, La Raza, is blaming racism for the collapse of the Senate's so-called grand compromise on immigration policy.

Senator Barack Obama agrees. He told La Raza's annual meeting yesterday that the immigration debate was both ugly and racist in a way we haven't seen since the struggle for civil rights.

Senator Hillary Clinton told the same Hispanic audience that she's been trying to understand where "all the venom and incredible anxiety came from."

Bill Tucker reports now on the reaction of Americans who are voicing their concerns about the illegal alien lobby's amnesty agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): La Raza says the defeat of recent immigration legislation is due to racism, the result of "a great wave of hate."

La Raza contends there is no legitimate reason it didn't pass.

CAROL SWAIN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: I think it's irresponsible for any group that purports to be an interest group to mislead its own constituents. There were many Hispanics that were as dissatisfied with the immigration bill as other segments of the American public. The Senate bill that died needed to die because it was poor legislation.

TUCKER: It's not the first time this year that the race card has been used in the immigration debate. Back in March, while speaking at a La Raza meeting in South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham raised the issue while promising immigration reform.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We're not going to run people down. We're not going to scapegoat people. We're going to tell the bigots to shut up.

TUCKER: So instead of it being a discussion about low-skilled workers of all colors and backgrounds who are hurt by uncontrolled immigration and the flooding of labor markets, it's racism -- or maybe it's about power.

PETE NUNEZ, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Anybody who wants to limit immigration -- legal or illegal -- runs afoul of La Raza's basic political goal, and that is more power for them.

TUCKER: And for special interests, power becomes more important than the national interest.

FRANK MORRIS, DIVERSITY ALLIANCE: La Raza doesn't really want a national dialogue with this. When you really want to fan the emotions and when you really want to eliminate debate, you throw negative labels.

TUCKER: And instead of the debate being about the issue, it becomes about the label.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

TUCKER: And the one label that La Raza seems determined to avoid, Lou, is the "illegal" immigration label.

DOBBS: It's really remarkable. And to hear Senator Clinton and Senator Obama buy straight into a wave of hate as the reason, you know, it is -- I think this is something I would really like people to think about and to consider -- and I'll consider along with you. La Raza is an ethnocentric organization. It is -- it's not in any way representative of interests beyond one race.

Why is that not racism by definition?

And how dare a socio-ethnic centric group even begin to suggest that a problem that is by its very definition predominantly Latino -- that is, most illegal aliens entering this country are Hispanic -- I cannot even imagine the thinking that took them to that place, other than the ones in your report, which obviously are self-serving to La Raza --

TUCKER: Right.

DOBBS: -- and to the corporate interests -- the special interests that are behind all of us. The other part of the question that I think that we have to ask is when these immigration laws were reformed in 1965, they were changed. I don't know if we can say that they were really reformed. The idea was to move away from nation of origin immigration policy -- in 1965.

The fact is that what these groups like La Raza, the Chamber of Commerce, this administration, the Democratic leadership in Congress, are trying to do is to go back to the nation of origin legislation.

Most of the illegal aliens are from Latin America. And predominantly among those, from Mexico.

So, in other words, these groups that are talking about a wave of hate and talking about racism are, in fact, the ones reverting us 40 years back in history to those old nation of origin parameters for immigration policy.

It is, frankly, it is a reason for despair that we would see this happen.

Any explanation from La Raza on why they'd raise such a -- just an insult to all of us?

TUCKER: No, no. We did call them today. We did not get our calls returned. It could be because they're in the middle of their convention. But they did not get back to us, because we were wondering the same thing.

DOBBS: That's -- it's incredibly important. It's one of the things that I'll be talking with the know La Raza's director, the president of La Raza, Janet Murguia. We'll -- we have just learned -- will be joining us here this Wednesday.

And tonight, the business lobby in the State of Arizona is fighting for the right to hire illegal aliens against the wishes of the people in that state. That puts Arizona's business elite on a direct collision course with local law enforcement and the state government -- all trying to stop the impact of illegal immigration.

And we'll have that report now from Casey Wian -- Casey.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: OK. Raise your right hand and repeat after me, I -- your name.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Monday deputized more than five dozen Immigration & Customs Enforcement officers. The idea is to allow federal ICE agents to also enforce local laws, giving them another tool in the effort to apprehend criminal illegal aliens.

Previously, ICE trained 160 of Arpaio's deputies to help enforce federal immigration law. ARPAIO: We're one of the top states in the nation for illegal immigration. We have about a half a million floating around. Someone has to do something. And I have the gun and badge, so I'm going to do what I have to do.

WIAN: Over the weekend, Arpaio also launched a telephone hotline for citizens to support suspected immigration law violations. It has already logged 155 calls.

That effort has drawn criticism from Arizona's pro-illegal alien lobby. So has a law signed this month by Governor Janet Napolitano. Starting next January 1st, companies that knowingly hire illegal aliens could lose their license to do business in Arizona.

Business elites are suing to overturn the voter approved measure, claiming their constitutional rights are being violated.

JULIE PACE, ATTORNEY FOR BUSINESS GROUPS: And we want to get through the constitutional issues so as the lawyers, we can give advice as to clients and employers as to how to comply with the law.

WIAN: One of their complaints is a shortage of workers.

Arizona's unemployment rate is just 3.4 percent.

MAC MAGRUDER, MCDONALD'S FRANCHISEE: When brown folks lose their jobs and when leave, white folks lose their jobs. And that's what the unintended consequences of this are.

WIAN: McDonald's franchisee Mac Magruder is leading one of the anti-immigration law enforcement groups, called Wake Up Arizona. Also involved in the effort are the former owner of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks and the state's construction industry.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WIAN: Governor Napolitano says she signed the nation's toughest employer sanction law because Congress has failed to address the issue and because illegal immigration in Arizona, as she says, is the result of employer demand for cheap, undocumented labor -- Lou.

DOBBS: So help me out here. First of all, I'm not sure I understood what the gentleman was saying, Wake Up Arizona, about brown employees and white employees

What was that about?

WIAN: Well, I think what he's saying is if they are not allowed they provide jobs for all these low paid illegal aliens that businesses are going to fold in Arizona, and that's going to cost white folks jobs, as well. I'm not sure why he decided he needed to inject race into this debate --

DOBBS: Yes.

WIAN: -- but he did -- Lou. DOBBS: Well, it's a very popular approach in this debate for people who have really run out of any intelligent arguments for really, really miserable public policy and attempts to foist so-called public policy on the nation. The fact that Arizona is actually

enforcing immigration laws is obviously inspirational to communities all over the country. We're seeing more and more of it.

The other part I'm trying to understand is how those business groups figure they have a constitutional right to hire illegal aliens and -- without any accountability. I mean what -- what basis do they have a right to do so?

There are laws against it.

WIAN: I think it's because they're used to having it so easy for so long. If you read their lawsuit trying to overturn this law, they show all the hoops that the federal government has to go through to enforce laws against employers who hire illegal aliens. And the State of Arizona wants to cut through all of that red tape. And the businesses just don't like it -- Lou.

DOBBS: They don't like it. Well, the little darlings and the big darlings, as represented by the Chamber of Commerce, they're just going to have a -- just having themselves a hissy fit, aren't they?

It sort of feels good.

WIAN: That's one way to put it.

DOBBS: It's my way, partner.

It feels good to be in America these days, cutting through the nonsense and actually getting something done, fixing a problem.

Washington, pay attention to Arizona. They seem to want to fix problems instead of talk them to death and perpetuate them.

Casey Wian, thank you very much.

Up next here, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins me.

He'll have the latest on who's gaining, who's falling behind, who's doing what.

And the Democratic presidential candidates themselves gathering for the CNN/YouTube historical debate here on CNN, which begins in just about 19 minutes.

Stay with us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The eight Democratic presidential candidates facing off in the CNN/YouTube debate at the top of the hour here on CNN.

Right now, Senator Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner in the campaign, holding a double digit lead over Senator Barack Obama.

Senator Obama leads in the other race, however -- fundraising -- as Bill Schneider now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: (voice-over): The Democratic race has been pretty stable all year, according to the national polls.

Hillary Clinton has maintained a steady lead.

Barack Obama has stayed at number two.

John Edwards trails at number three.

All of the other candidates in single digits.

The Clinton campaign has been trying to surround its candidate with the aura of inevitability. She's going to be nominated, better get on the bandwagon now.

Other candidates have to challenge that assumption. Some have criticized Clinton as too cautious and calculating, especially on Iraq.

JOHN EDWARDS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton and Senator Obama did not say anything about how they were going to vote until -- until they appeared on the floor of the Senate.

SCHNEIDER: But Senator Clinton has made sure not to leave any daylight between herself and her rivals on the war.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: If the president won't end this war before he leaves office, then I will.

SCHNEIDER: Obama has discovered another way to challenge Clinton's inevitability -- cash. Democrats really have two frontrunners, not one -- Obama in fundraising, Clinton in the polls.

Then there's the issue of her electability. Clinton gets high negative ratings from Independents and Republicans. But Democrats still believe she has a better chance than Obama or any of the other candidates of beating the Republican.

This debate may change things because it could attract a younger audience, and young voters are more likely to support Obama. The debate is co-sponsored by YouTube and the younger you are, the more likely you are to follow news about the election on the Internet, whereas the older you are, the more likely you watched one of the earlier debates.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

SCHNEIDER: This debate could expand the audience of young people who don't tune into politics very much, but they do log on -- Lou.

DOBBS: All right, Bill Schneider.

Thank you very much.

Three of the country's best political analysts join me here for more on our debate tonight here on CNN.

The day's top political stories.

Stay with us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the very best political analysts in the country -- Republican strategist, former political director -- White House political director, Ed Rollins; New York "Daily News" columnist Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Goodwin; and Democratic strategist, Democratic National Committeeman Robert Zimmerman.

Robert, let's start with you.

This is your night. We're going to have the CNN/YouTube presidential debates in just a short while.

Here's what happened today, though. Senator Feingold introducing a resolution to censure the president.

And here's what Senator -- Senate majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, had to say.

Let's all listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The American people already know that President Bush is the worst president we've ever had. And I'm not sure we need a censure motion to confirm that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: A split in the Democratic Party on the -- on the very day of these debates?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, you know, when Senator Russ Feingold first introduced the idea, people were running away from him on the floor of the Senate. Now at least there's a recognition -- some consider -- there's consideration for it. Bottom line is President Bush was censured in 2006 and the Democrats have got to focus on doing the people's business. History will write this president's record.

DOBBS: As we watch the candidates coming out there in Charleston -- there's Senator Chris Dodd there, moving up there.

Michael Goodwin -- and there is Senator Edwards. And I'm going to try to quit introducing these folks. Just a reflex here.

Go ahead, Michael.

MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK "DAILY NEWS": Well, I think that Harry Reid was wise try to duck the issue, because the last thing that the Senate Democrats need right now is to get tied up in another meaningless vote that goes nowhere. And that's what's dragging their approval ratings so low, is that they're not really doing anything that the public wants. They're just fighting with Bush and getting nowhere.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There are few other presidents who will be compared to Bush as being the worst president. I don't think there's anyone who is ever going to be compared to be as the worst majority leader as Harry Reid.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: Whoa!

ZIMMERMAN: We'll take exception to that.

DOBBS: Well, you can't take that, Robert, sitting down.

ZIMMERMAN: I am not going to take that.

First of all, I think Harry Reid -- when you have a majority of 51, virtually everyone is a leader in the Senate. He has --

ROLLINS: You don't want the majority anymore?

You want to give it up --

ZIMMERMAN: No. He is --

ROLLINS: -- (INAUDIBLE) to that.

ZIMMERMAN: He has handled that majority --

DOBBS: You know what?

ZIMMERMAN: He's --

(LAUGHTER)

Assume that's a serious question.

(LAUGHTER)

ZIMMERMAN: Actually I think -- I wonder some days if he doesn't want to give it up.

But the bottom line is the country is better for his leadership and I think efforts to change our direction --

ROLLINS: Are we talking about --

ZIMMERMAN: -- in Iraq is better for his leadership.

GOODWIN: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. But the country doesn't think so. The country has given him, what, a 15 percent approval rating.

DOBBS: Fourteen, actually.

GOODWIN: Fourteen.

ZIMMERMAN: I think he's had --

GOODWIN: I exaggerated.

ZIMMERMAN: But I think he's had the correct -- you know something?

He's paying a price for Republicans being obstructive an virtually --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

ZIMMERMAN: -- every major Democratic initiative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So -- wait, wait (INAUDIBLE).

ZIMMERMAN: The bottom line, though, Mike, is the Democrats ultimately are playing --

DOBBS: All right --

ZIMMERMAN: -- an important role in terms of changing the direction in Iraq.

DOBBS: (INAUDIBLE)?

GOODWIN: Go ahead, Ed.

DOBBS: And --

(LAUGHTER)

GOODWIN: I was trying to give Ed a chance to speak. That's all right.

ROLLINS: I said all I need to say. We'll get to see the Democrats tonight and it's good that you're introducing them, because half of them, people don't even remember who they are.

DOBBS: Are we -- whoa. Now I've got to go back to you.

ZIMMERMAN: Ed --

DOBBS: This is starting to get strong here tonight.

ZIMMERMAN: Ed, pay close attention. Every poll shows Democrats are better positioned, as you know, for this coming election than the Republicans. Now you've got Senator Brownback attacking Governor Romney --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Always (INAUDIBLE) --

ZIMMERMAN: -- for comments about the Boy Scouts, you know?

DOBBS: Well, you've also got an interesting situation happening with Senator Clinton, your candidate, as we know, Mr. Zimmerman, doing extremely well across the board. We also have the situation where Senator Barack Obama and Senator Clinton, before the La Raza convention down in Miami, basically supporting La Raza's statement that a wave of hate is the reason that the comprehensive immigration reform legislation failed.

I mean, that is mind-boggling and not the -- I would think -- the smartest approach to establishing leadership qualities when you start throwing those words around this country. ZIMMERMAN: Well, I wasn't there for the comments, so I can't speak to them --

DOBBS: Well, you -- it's the same thing as being there.

ZIMMERMAN: But --

DOBBS: I'm telling you about it.

ZIMMERMAN: OK. Let's -- that's always --

(LAUGHTER)

ZIMMERMAN: -- I take that -- I take that to heart.

But, you know, but sometimes -- I think we have to be realistic, though. I think Senator Clinton has shown real leadership in fighting for (INAUDIBLE) --

DOBBS: OK. All right then --

ZIMMERMAN: -- as has Senator Barack Obama.

DOBBS: Did I -- if you want to -- if you want to take that approach, then let me ask you this.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes?

Absolutely.

DOBBS: Do you think they were right to join with La Raza in saying that a wave of hate is the reason that this Senate --

ZIMMERMAN: Of course you know very well that I don't agree with that position. And I opposed the immigration bill because I thought it was a bad piece of legislation.

DOBBS: Yes?

So how responsible is it for any presidential candidate to buy into that kind of nonsense?

ZIMMERMAN: I don't agree with that statement but I wouldn't judge her candidacy by that statement either. I --

DOBBS: Well, at some point we've got to judge these people.

ZIMMERMAN: And I judge her based upon her leadership on border and port secretary, based upon her leadership in standing up to the free trade agreements that have been very unproductive to working families --

GOODWIN: Well, interestingly, I mean I interviewed Hillary on the question of immigration a while ago now. But she -- you know, at the time, she sported a fence. She voted for the fence.

ZIMMERMAN: Right.

GOODWIN: That's the one thing that La Raza has always opposed. That's the thing they've always cited as like the Berlin Wall.

DOBBS: So what do we make of that?

ROLLINS: Well, I think it's just pandering.

ROLLINS: It's typical Democrat --

DOBBS: I love it. We can just write this down. In American politics, just pandering.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: Just kidding.

ROLLINS: It's routine pandering.

ROLLINS: Just pander bear (INAUDIBLE). Just --

(LAUGHTER)

ROLLINS: The truth of the matter is Democrats are always about special interest politics. And -- and whether it works or doesn't work --

DOBBS: Unlike those Republicans --

ROLLINS: -- we'll see in the end -- DOBBS: -- who are about great cosmic national interest issues, like the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers --

ROLLINS: Well, those are -- those are big issues. Those are big issues.

(LAUGHTER)

GOODWIN: Lower -- lower taxes.

DOBBS: We're going to be right back with this panel, as the Republicans and Democrats and the calm, cool voice of reason represented by Michael Goodwin, who seems to be favoring one side here tonight, will continue with their analysis.

We'll be right back with more of our panel as your Democratic presidential candidates put themselves on display before that CNN/YouTube presidential debate audience in Charleston, South Carolina, coming up in just about five minutes here on CNN.

We'll be right back with our panel in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: We're back with our panel of experts.

Ed, your thoughts on tonight's CNN/YouTube presidential debate?

ROLLINS: You know, the danger here is people are starting to talk about debate fatigue. And I think the Democrats -- someone has to break out of this pack besides Hillary. Otherwise, we're just going to go through a whole bunch of these things. Right today she's got the frontrunner's place and nobody else has done well in the debate.

GOODWIN: Yes, I think Obama has done OK in both debates or three -- or however, many there were. But I think he can do better. And I think tonight would be a good time because South Carolina and the black vote. It should be a good audience for him. But he's trailing there.

DOBBS: He's trailing -- he's trailing badly, in point of fact.

GOODWIN: Yes, in South Carolina.

DOBBS: Surprisingly --

GOODWIN: Yes.

DOBBS: -- because this -- South Carolina was a key part of the strategy here for Senator Obama.

GOODWIN: Right.

DOBBS: Of course, we're a ways away still.

GOODWIN: Right. But there's some --

DOBBS: It's early days.

GOODWIN: I think there's pressure on him to do well.

DOBBS: Any pressure on the frontrunner?

We know the pressure on everybody else, the so-called second tier candidates. The frontrunner, your candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton --

ZIMMERMAN: Well, I don't accept the definition that she's the frontrunner. But the biggest pressure --

DOBBS: Oh. Well, let's put it this way, she's leading in all of the polls, and by significant margins --

(LAUGHTER)

ZIMMERMAN: But we also know how quickly --

DOBBS: -- particularly in South Carolina.

ZIMMERMAN: -- those can turn --

DOBBS: Oh, it is.

ZIMMERMAN: -- as the process historically --

DOBBS: She probably would rather not be the frontrunner. I --

ZIMMERMAN: Well, let me just --

DOBBS: I want to take away the insult from your -- I did not mean to insult your candidate.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes. This -- the point is this, that, realistically, her biggest challenge is the expectation. And I think what's particularly exciting about this forum tonight is that it's going to engage, really, a national audience in a very innovative and very, very new approach of creating a direct dialogue.

DOBBS: Yes.

Well, you know, one thing I wonder here, as you look at the candidates there, and that is the idea -- are all of these other candidates simply because her lead is so strong, going to have to attack her very strongly tonight simply to try to dent her position?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, it's kind of ironic, this -- this taking place in South Carolina, because South Carolina is really the critical race, the critical place for John Edwards and Barack Obama.

GOODWIN: No. No, I don't think they're going to attack her. That's too risky. There's more to lose than to gain. ROLLINS: Someone has to break out of this pack and the only way they're going to do it is to challenge her. Biden or someone like that needs to do that.

DOBBS: Right.

Senator Clinton, of course, thinks she's broken out and will stay there.

We thank you very much.

We appreciate seeing you all.

ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.

DOBBS: The results of tonight's poll, 98 percent of you agree with Judicial Watch that there is more to the story than the U.S. government has told us in the case of Ramos and Compean.

We thank you for being with us here tonight.

Please join us tomorrow.

For all of us, we thank you for watching.

Good night from New York.

CNN's special YouTube presidential debate begins right now.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com