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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Six Coal Miners Trapped; Presidents Bush, Karzai Meet

Aired August 6, 2007 - 18:00   ET

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


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, a new scandal at the United Nations, a scandal exposing gaping holes in our visa system. A United Nations employee facing charges tonight. He used his privileged position to help illegal aliens enter this country. We'll have that special report.
Also, one of the Senate's most powerful republicans, Senator Arlen Specter, joins us here tonight. Coming up with new legislation for illegal immigration and border security, Senator Spector wants the federal government to give green cards, not citizenship, to illegal aliens. We'll be talking about that among other things here tonight.

And Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Edwards, joins us for our special segment, Time for Answers. Edwards has a bold plan to protect American workers from the damaging effects of so- called free trade. All of that, all the day's news and much more, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. News, debate, and opinion for Monday, August 6th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. We begin tonight with a desperate search for six miners trapped in a coal mine in Utah. The rescue operation began this morning after the mine's roof collapsed. The cave in, in Emery County, Utah, so severe that officials there initially believed it had been a small earthquake. Mine officials say they know where those trapped miners are located. Rescue teams are now, they say, within 1,700 feet of those trapped miners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY: We're going four ways to get access. By helicopters from the top of the mountain, by horizontal drilling that will be slow. We have got that coming. By continuous miner units actually starting to clean this up here. And by rescue teams that I -- and Mr. Derra (ph) dispatched this morning with about 20 of our men and two rescue teams going through here, breaking these seals and trying to get access. So all we've just got to do is drill across here into that chamber.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: Chad Myers is following this rapidly-developing story. Chad, what is the latest?

CHAD MYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the latest is that the earthquake, the epicenter, has moved a little bit and that means it's a little bit deeper than it was earlier today. So what does that mean? Well, it was right below the mine itself. And I know you see that mine entrance and then you see where the earthquake is and you say, wait that's three miles apart. Well, guess what? The mine is bigger than three miles from start to finish. In fact, first thing we did this morning is we pulled up the mine. We pulled up the permit to figure out how far the permit and how far the diggers could go. How far the miners could go to the west and could that location there actually be right on top of or under where the mine is. And the answer is yes. Absolutely. The earthquake occurred inside where the mines were workers, where those miners were working, which now we think it was a mine tremor. It's going down, not up.

The shaking, we actually talked to some of the seismologists at the University of Utah; some of the initial shaking said the earth went down initially. And that's why we think that it was a mine tremor and that the mine tremor caused the seismographs, the helicorders to shake and that's the shaking we felt. That's the shaking we saw. Not so much that an earthquake happened and the mine collapsed. The shaking was actually from the collapsing mine itself. Here's the permit area. That's where they went in. Here's the permit. They're moving all the way through here, digging out where the coal is, leaving what's called pillars, leaving pillars of coal to hold up really literally the roof of this mine. And that is as far to the west as they could dig and that earthquake location is right inside the permit.

Lou.

DOBBS: Chad, I know you've been talking with seismologists and experts throughout the day. Is it really possible that the mine collapse could have been so violent as to register as strongly as it did on the seismic scale?

MYERS: Yes, a 3.0 to a 4.0 is a typical mine tremor. There are many of them here in Utah. And there are other places in the country where these -- they take -- think of like a checkerboard, Lou. You've got red squares and you've got black squares. And what they do when they mine, they take out all the red squares and leave the black squares as pillars. That holds up the roof. Well then when they're done doing this mine, and they want to get rid of it and come out of the mine, they take the black squares out then, too, and they let it fall and let it fall in. Well, this one probably fell in a little bit too violently. So the lives of six miners on the line up for most rescuers tonight.

DOBBS: Absolutely. And as we've just reported, the rescue operation, about 1,700 feet from these miners. Better than a quarter of a mile away still. And the condition of those miners trapped inside the chamber, as you heard the CEO of the mining company say, they're nearing the chamber, but simply do not have any information on the condition of the minors and of course we will have the -- Chad, we want to thank you again. And we're going to have latest developments, of course, on this operation as we get them.

In Minneapolis today, new efforts to search for victims of last week's bridge collapse disaster there. Navy divers have joined that operation. They're investigating, diving, looking at those wrecked cars, searching the debris submerged in the Mississippi River, looking for victims. Five people were killed in that disaster that we know of. Eight people are still missing. Meanwhile, a helicopter with special camera equipment made low sweeps over the area. Investigators will use those images to try to determine in part the cause of the disaster.

Turning to the war against radical Islamist terrorism, the White House tonight is seeking powers to monitor communications by suspected terrorists worldwide. President Bush says a new law that will temporarily expand the administration's ability to monitor those terrorist suspects without a court order doesn't go far enough. Ed Henry has our report from the White House.

Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, some Democrats are lashing out at this controversy, but their own leaders have already signed off on this dramatic expansion of presidential power. So there's not too much they can do at this point. It basically allows the Bush Administration to eavesdrop on an American citizen without a warrant if the American citizen is involved in an international phone call or an email as long as they're not the target of it, as long as the target of the surveillance is reasonably believed to be overseas and part of foreign intelligence. So the American is not the target, but maybe along for the ride, they could be surveilled upon. Now these changes passed in the middle of the night practically over the weekend right before Congress ran out of town for their August break, as you know. So the White House was able to get this passed.

And Democrats are privately admitting that they were concerned that if they did not give the president this tool in the war on terror and that god forbid there was a terror attack this summer while Congress was on its break, Democrats would take a political hit and would actually take the heat and the blame for not giving the president the tools he needed. One top Democratic strategist vowed, though, today that Democrats will revisit all of this in September when they return from their recess. But of course we've heard that already on Iraq policy as well when Democrats could not change that. That they'll come back in September. And the problem for Democrats right now is their own liberal base is getting very angry about all this, saying and wondering why they elected Democrats when they're not doing a lot of oversight right now and essentially charging the Democrats are giving the president more power at a time when his political standing is pretty low, Lou.

DOBBS: And then the president met with the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, today. They put on something of a show of unity. Just how united are they in reality in their efforts and strategy to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere?

HENRY: Well, they're united, but the problem is that Mr. Karzai today, what was really striking, is that he was not as candid as he was yesterday on CNN's "LATE EDITION" when he acknowledged that in fact security in his own country has deteriorated over the last couple of years. Instead today, standing next to Mr. Bush at Camp David, Mr. Karzai insisted that the Taliban is not a threat to his government in Afghanistan and he twice said that the Taliban has actually been defeated. That is not true, obviously. Because the U.S. is still battling the Taliban right now. This war in Afghanistan is still going, almost six years after it began. More than 20,000 U.S. troops still fighting in Afghanistan. So clearly the Taliban has not been defeated, Lou.

DOBBS: Remarkable statements and with President Bush standing right across from him on the opposite podium talking about the ruthlessness, the brutality of the Taliban. A stark inconsistency and contradiction between the two men. Ed Henry, thank you very much.

HENRY: Thank you.

DOBBS: Insurgents in Iraq have killed ten more of our troops, nine of our soldiers, one of our Marines. Sixteen of our troops have been killed so far this month. 3,674 of our troops killed since the war began. 27,104 of our troops wounded. 12,180 of them seriously. A new opinion poll says a rising number of Americans now believe the surge is having some success in Iraq. The USA Today Gallup pole showing that 31 percent of those surveyed now believe the surge is making the situation better in Iraq, nearly 10 percent higher than a month ago. Meanwhile, the number of people who say the surge is not making much difference has fallen by 10 percent, down to 41 percent. Seven top military officers tonight are at the center of a new controversy over the role of religion in the U.S. military. Those officers took part in a promotional video for a Christian group. The defense department's inspector general is recommending the officers face corrective action. Barbara Starr has our report from the Pentagon.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seven military officers including four generals engaged in misconduct three years ago when they appeared in a 12-minute video endorsing a Christian evangelical group. That finding came from the pentagon's own inspector general after investigating a promotional film made by a group called Christian Embassy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christian Embassy really gives us a tremendous opportunity here in the Pentagon as leaders that carry a lot of responsibility on our shoulders on a daily basis to stop and reflect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see a brother in the lord who -- these fellowship groups. And I immediately feel like I'm being held accountable because we're the aroma of Jesus Christ.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: There is religion here at the Pentagon. This is the multi-faith chapel. Here, all religions are represented. In fact, in just a few minutes, military members of the Islamic community will be here to offer their private daily prayers. But no one of any faith while on active duty in uniform goes out and actively seeks converts. There have been religious missteps by the military before. In 2003, Army Lieutenant General William Boykin was criticized for appearing before church groups saying President Bush was appointed by God. In 2005, at the Air Force Academy, some cadets and faculty were found to have engaged in promoting certain religions. Mikey Weinstein is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which asks for the IG investigation.

MIKEY WEINSTEIN, FOUNDER OF MILITARY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOUNDATION: They were absolutely proselytized and that was all that they were doing. I told you, our researchers have now found that numbers of them had led Christian Embassy bible studies. They were well aware what this was about.

STARR: You know Lou, one of the reasons this is so sensitive and so controversial is top commanders know that al Qaeda and other fundamentalist Islamic groups often make the claim that U.S. military is in, if you will, a crusade against those in the - those of the Islamic faith. So there are still many, many questions now about just how much control, how much influence, this Christian Embassy group and other groups have inside the Pentagon walls.

Lou.

DOBBS: Well Barbara, surely this is more a matter of maintaining the military's values than being concerned in any way with the sensitivity of members of al Qaeda.

STARR: Well, there is no question. There are very specific rules, very specific codes of conduct about what a person in uniform may do in the exercise of their religious freedom and what crosses over the line into proselytizing. But for very top commanders, this video that we're talking about has been seen in the Islamic world and it is something that simply is adding more fuel to the fire in the war on terror, Lou.

DOBBS: Barbara, thank you very much. Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.

Coming up here next, chaos and confusion in our food safety system, if you can call it that. American consumers are at risk. We'll have a special report on that risk and serious evidence of more risks and threats to our Democracy from e-voting. We'll have the very latest on the search for the six miners trapped in the Utah coal mine. All of that and more coming right up. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The state government of California has decided to restrict electronic voting after voting machines there were found vulnerable to fraud. As Casey Wian now reports, election officials are scrambling to implement new voting procedures before the 2008 primary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Waiting until the last possible moment, midnight Friday, California Secretary of State, Deborah Bowen, severely restricted the use of electronic voting machines during the February 2008 primary election.

DEBORAH BOWEN, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: We have to assure that our voting systems are secure, accurate, and reliable. And they shouldn't be used solely because we've already funded them. The studies that have been done since certification by the independent testing authorities of some of these systems has found a significant number of flaws and particularly security vulnerabilities in the systems.

WIAN: The potential for manipulating vote counts was exposed last week when teams of hackers working for the University of California found major security flaws were found in all three e-voting systems they that they tested. The locks on some machines could be bypassed with a screwdriver. Others were disabled with undisclosed ordinary objects. In response, the secretary of state decertified the electronic voting machines used in 42 of California's 58 counties. Then recertified them with conditions. Those include limiting e- voting to one machine per polling place to accommodate disabled voters and requiring a manual recount of every electronic ballot cast. Officials in 20 counties heavily dependent on e-voting, predict confusion on Election Day with results delayed for days.

STEPHEN WEIR, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA ELECTION OFFICIALS: The voters when they don't hear the results start to worry about what can go on. And by the way, there's ample evidence across this country in our history of elections being stolen by paper. And so we ought to be just as concerned about paper-based systems as we are about the theoretical vulnerabilities of the electronic voting systems.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Two of the voting machine manufacturers responded with statements, Diebold saying we are disappointed that Secretary Bowen has taken action to severely limit the options available to local election officials and voters in California. Hart InterCivic called the state's test highly improbable in a real-world election. Both vowed to work with California to address voting fraud concerns. California's secretary of state actually downplayed the impact of her decision, saying 75 percent of the votes cast here are paper ballots. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein plans a hearing next month on e-voting fraud. She's one of a dozen senators sponsoring a bill that would require all state e-voting systems to have a paper trail.

Lou.

DOBBS: Not only is the situation with e-voting systems troubling, concerning, and in many ways so reckless after 2004 and our experiences, but there are also concerns in California and a number of other states about the validity of the registration system there as well and considerable concern about the fraud that could be in play here in the registration of voters. WIAN: Yes. It's absolutely an amazing mess. The secretary of state of California, Deborah Bowen, ran on a platform to clean up this mess. A lot of people disagree with what she's done. But you can't argue with the fact that she is taking action, Lou.

DOBBS: There is no question. And responsible action on behalf of the integrity of the voting system, which obviously is the sense of our democracy. Casey Wian from Los Angeles, thank you, sir.

WIAN: OK.

DOBBS: California, of course, isn't the only state with e-voting problems. The state of Florida has found serious flaws as well in one of its electronic voting systems. Researchers at Florida State University discovered glitches in Diebold's electronic voting software. This is the same system found vulnerable to computer hacking in California. Researchers say hackers were able to switch votes to other candidates. Florida election officials say the company must correct those problems by the 17th of this month in order to remain certified for e-voting in the state of Florida.

Let's take a look at some of your thoughts now. Ron in Texas wrote in to say, "Dear Lou, my wife and are fed up with elected officials. We are now registered as independents." Congratulations to you both. And Mary in Ohio, "Lou, we are quickly becoming a dependent nation, dependent on other countries to provide us with most of our basic needs, food, clothing, tools, machinery, cars. If dependency is bad for an individual, how much more so for a country?" And Maryanne in California, "Hey Lou, please do not stop at the VHS. Let's restructure the entire government before they can complete the giveaway. Keep up the good work." We'll sure try. And Al in Pennsylvania, "I was unaware we had a Homeland Security Department with the borders being so wide open." That's a reasonable oversight on your part. Many of us wonder about it ourselves.

And still ahead here tonight, poisonous food and defective products coming to this country by the boat loads and almost none of it is inspected by our federal government. Our government at work. And now some of our lawmakers have a plan to help fight the war on the middle class by keeping jobs right here in this country. How about that? Is this the beginning of an awakening? Let's hope so. We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: This year alone, the Food and Drug Administration has rejected more than 1,200 food exports from China into this country. And over the past year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that China has generated two thirds of the 200 federal product recalls over the past year. But many defective products, spoiled or contaminated, poisonous food shipments, simply go undetected. That's because a number of government agencies barely look at the boat loads of imports coming into our country. Kitty Pilgrim reports on your government at work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The average American eats more than 200 pounds of imported food a year. Less than one percent of that is inspected. The average American home is filled with all kinds of goods from China, electronics, toys, TVs, other manufactured goods. Two thirds of all defective products found this year are imported, the largest number from China. Chinese food imports have tripled in the last decade. Almost none of that is inspected. The FDA at current levels has only enough man power to inspect an estimated 40 of 361 ports.

CHRIS WALDROP, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: The FDA has been drastically under-funded for the past five years or so. And as a result, the agency is crippled and is now having -- we're now having to play catch-up.

PILGRIM: More than 12 federal agencies inspect food operating under 35 different statutes and the rules often conflict.

JANELL MAYO DUNCAN, CONSUMERS UNION: Many of the agencies, and there are probably far too many agencies who share responsibility for this area, they don't have enough funding.

PILGRIM: Overall, USDA spending fell by $3 billion in 2007 and a 2006 report found only 15 percent of meat and poultry products were physically inspected. The Consumer Products Safety Commission is at all time low on staff at about 400 inspectors, about half of what they had in the 1980s.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D) ILLINOIS: Well unfortunately, we've cut back on the resources of the Consumers Products Safety Commission. When consumers across America walk into a store, they trust that whatever is on the shelf is safe. Unfortunately, we don't have enough cops on the beat.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: They also don't have the power to recall products. They have to negotiate that with manufacturers. Now, one study found the FDA conducts about a third of the food inspections that it conducted just three years ago. The staff has been cut by about 500 jobs in the last six years and that makes little sense when we're facing growing volume of food imports, Lou.

DOBBS: That's incredible, Kitty, the idea that this administration would permit this. More than permit it. I mean, this is their plan, their proposal, their approach.

PILGRIM: What is inconceivable is some of these commissioners like the FDA commissioner defend the cuts when they had to close seven out of 13 labs.

DOBBS: Well, they are political appointees, after all, and one thing that's important in this administration has been demonstrated to the satisfaction I believe of just about everyone, whether Republican or Democrat, is that politics counts, if you're running an agency or department when you're in this government. Kitty, thank you very much. The American consumer doesn't count, but the politics certainly do.

Coming up here next, a new scandal at the United Nations. A new threat to our border security. We'll have that report.

And also Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Edwards, a bold plan to protect Americans from so-called free trade. He's our guest here tonight.

And rescue workers tonight searching for six trapped miners. They're drilling deep into a Utah mountain. We'll have the very latest for you. We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Rescue workers tonight, as we've been reporting, say they're using every means known to mankind to get to and rescue those six trapped miners in that coal mine in Utah. The miners were trapped in the mine in Emery County when the roof of the mine collapsed. Rescue workers are now, we're told, within 1,700 feet of the chamber in which those trapped miners are believed to be. But fallen rock and debris have blocked the path of the rescuers. We will have a live report for you from the scene here later in the broadcast and be bringing you all the very latest developments.

Extremely dry weather is hampering efforts to bring wildfires out west under control as well. Montana is under a state of emergency tonight as firefighters there battle several massive wildfires throughout the state. A powerful blaze scorched about 18,000 acres west of the town of Seeley Lake. 200 homes were evacuated. More than 120 members of the state's National Guard have been called up to help fight those fires. And those fires are moving near those homes that have been evacuated.

Record heat from the west is moving across the nation. Temperatures are expected to soar to the high 90s and low 100s in the west, Midwest, and southeast. So far, 2007 has been warmer and drier than average and last year, one of the hottest years on record.

The United Nations at the center of another scandal tonight. A New York employee of the U.N. faces charges he helped foreigners enter the United States illegally. The charges are the latest in a long list of scandals for the United Nations including the Oil for Food program, a program that originally began as humanitarian -- to aid Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

United Nations employees have been accused in sex scandals around the world. And as Christine Romans now reports, immigration fraud is just the latest in a series of corruption events at the institution already under considerable criticism.

Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the United Nations headquarters in New York might seem unlikely location for an illegal alien smuggling and trafficking operation, but that's what the U.S. attorney charges. It sounds like a bad paperback novel. A Russian translator at the U.N. using his U.N. stationery and his office to smuggle people into the country from Uzbekistan. It's a scheme officials say has been operating since at least April 2005.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): According to the criminal complaint, Vyacheslav Manokhin ran a visa fraud ring from his office. He used fraudulent letters to help people get visas to attend conferences that were bogus or legitimate meetings they had no intention of attending. Also arrested, Vladimir Derevianko, who a law enforcement source says submitted the fraudulent paperwork to immigration authorities. The criminal complaint says he's a New Jersey resident with a pending application to become a lawful, permanent resident. Already in custody is Kamiljan Tursunov, a citizen of Uzbekistan who entered the United States purportedly to attend conferences and did not, in fact, do so.

According to the complaint, he paid $15,000 for fraudulent U.N. paperwork to get a visa. Other beneficiaries of the alleged scheme were not identified by name.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, (R) TN: We do know that they did not come legally and they did not come for what was the stated reason and then we don't know what they're going to do, how they're spending their time when they get here. If they've taken an alias once they're on U.S. soils.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (on camera): Congresswoman Blackburn calls this case is called nothing more than high-class smuggling. And she says it's another reason for both more oversight of the U.N. and for better enforcement of our visa laws. Law enforcement officials are not saying where the other people are who allegedly paid for the U.N. paperwork or whether they will be arrested. Only, Lou, that an investigation is ongoing.

DOBBS: Well, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, if they don't know where they are, it's understandable in point of fact. ICE has so few agents to look after what's happening in this country. I hate to say it. But it's entirely understandable they wouldn't know where those people are. We have no system in this country. I don't believe most Americans realize. We don't know what happens to most visa holders when they enter the country, we don't know when they leave. We don't know where they are. It's an insane system. And then you add fraud to it and it's a wonderful little spectacle.

ROMANS: Congresswoman Blackburn says as long as you get that entry paperwork into the country, it's almost like a golden ticket after that.

DOBBS: Absolutely. Thank you very much, Christine Romans.

Not a day goes by without tough talk from one presidential candidate or another to prove their prowess fighting terrorism. As Zain Verjee now reports, the State Department says some of that posturing may actually be harming American interests.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: It's going to be a long campaign season.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here we go again. In the heat of presidential campaigns, diplomacy doesn't matter. Tough talk that grabs headlines does. Democratic Senator Barack Obama says he wouldn't hesitate to use military force in Pakistan.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.

VERJEE: Senator Hillary Clinton says she won't rule out the option of using nuclear weapons against terrorists in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Republican Tom Tancredo has threatened to target the holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina to deter any nuclear attack on U.S. soil. The State Department blasted Tancredo's strategy as quote, "crazy."

MCCORMACK: The remarks are simply outrageous.

VERJEE: Tancredo may not mind running against the Washington establishment.

REP. TOM TANCREDO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah. The State Department, boy, when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say.

VERJEE: The U.S. is trying to convince many in the Muslim world that the war on terror is not a war on Islam.

QUESTION: Would you prefer they shut up, though, when it comes to sensitive issues?

MCCORMACK: This is the democracy. There's a thing called free speech. But there's also -- there's also a thing called the executive branch. We have responsibility for what U.S. government policy is.

VERJEE (on camera): The State Department spokesman also says it's important for people abroad who just hear the headlines and not the details of the campaign to be aware that it's not the U.S. government's position. Zain Verjee, CNN, at the State Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: Our poll question tonight. Will a presidential candidate's position on ending outsourcing of middle class American jobs and illegal immigration influence your vote? Yes or no? Cast your vote, please, at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later in the broadcast.

Congress is finally doing something to stop at least part of the war on our middle class. Lawmakers introducing a bill called the Patriot Employers Act. Fighting plant closing and the outsourcing of millions of jobs to places like communist China.

As Bill Tucker now reports, the legislation rewards companies who keep decent jobs right where they belong. Here in the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America has lost more than 3 million jobs over the last six years as its manufacturing base has been shifted out of this country. Companies move the jobs because of a combination of reasons. They were chasing cheap foreign labor, there were tax incentives to do so. The Patriot Corporations Act would reward companies with tax credits for keeping their businesses here.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OH: It's time that your government took the side of the middle class, took the side of working families, took the side of those particularly small companies, but companies of any size that play by the rules and are loyal to their -- to their community, to their customers, to their nation.

TUCKER: The bill's primary sponsors are Senators Dick Durbin, Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama. On the House side Representative Jan Schakowsky is taking the lead. The bill would reward companies with at least 90 percent of their production in the United States who perform at least 50 percent of their research and development here. Limit management compensation to 100 times the lowest-paid workers. Provide health care insurance for all of its workers and hire American workers.

The idea of tax incentives to follow the law may sound crazy, but with the deck stacked in favor of multinational corporations to take work offshore, some business groups say it may be time that the cards are reshuffled.

DAVID MARLETT, PROAMERICA COMPANIES: Certainly it would be nice that our government wouldn't have to give tax incentives for us to follow the law and be pro American and to be good patriots, but when our government is working against us, then maybe a counterbalancing act is unfortunately necessary.

TUCKER: The bill also calls for companies to support our men and women in the military and pay the difference between their regular salary and their military pay.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER (on camera): Now, so far, there are no Republicans signed on in support of this act. Either in the House or in the Senate, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, it's a great idea. I hope we still have enough companies left in this country that some can qualify because Senator Brown is exactly right. Senator Durbin and all of the others who have been looking at this issue. What we've allowed to happen to American manufacturing and to permit corporate America to pursue these business practices of outsourcing, it's insane. It's devastating to the interest of the nation. TUCKER: It is. And what's interesting about this act is that it's an attempt by the Congress the first time I can remember to do something and create an incentive to keep the business here.

DOBBS: And also, one thing. And I want to make this really clear. You said not a single Republican had signed on to this legislation.

TUCKER: Right.

DOBBS: If the Republican Party does not understand that its interests go well beyond corporate America and that the -- that the majority of this country, the middle class, working men and women of this country, who are all but unrepresented in Washington, don't find representation in both political parties, one of them will fail like they cannot even imagine in next year's elections. Bill Tucker, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Up next, we'll be talking with Senator Arlen Specter about his plan to give amnesty or if you prefer, a green card, to millions of illegal aliens. The senator says that is not amnesty.

And up next, Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Edwards, what he says he'll do to protect American workers and we say it's about time. We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: This broadcast offered to give presidential candidates for their party's nomination two minutes of uninterrupted air time to talk about the critical issues facing this country because the choices we face next year are critically important. We call the series time for answers. And today, Senator John Edwards on a campaign swing through Iowa addressed trade policies. The former senator from North Carolina joining us from Cedar Rapids.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EDWARDS: What I laid out today was a new, smart trade policy for America, what I'll do as president of the United States.

There are three basic components of it. The first is negotiating trade agreements for the first criteria to be, is it good for middle class working families in America? Is it good for American jobs? And as a result of the trade agreement, will there be shared prosperity?

And basically, the components of any trade deal will be that it's required to be good for middle class families. The second, that it have real environmental standards that are enforceable in the text of the agreement. Real labor standards that are enforceable in the text of the agreement. And controls that prevent the manipulation of currency by those that we're entering into trade agreements with.

So those are the basic components of the first section, trade deals that are good for America and good for American workers and have those requirements in them. The second part is to make sure that our trade deals and those requirements are, in fact, being enforced, which they have not been done under this president. And I want to move the responsibility for enforcement to the toughest prosecutors that are in the government, which are the high-level people in the Justice Department. So that actual responsibility for enforcement of these provisions -- because they don't mean anything if they just sit on a piece of paper and aren't enforced -- will go to the Justice Department. The Justice Department will have that responsibility.

And then third, before any trade agreement is presented to the Congress, as president, we will do, in my administration, evaluation of the impact it's going to have not just on the American economy at large and not statistics, but on communities and jobs. And we will identify where those places are so that everybody who's considering this trade deal, including me as president, will know what impact they're going to have. And then we'll go in to those communities and prepare in advance for the -- for the -- what we know is coming to help them with job training and to help them with economic diversification.

DOBBS: What -- what steps can you take, if elected president, to actually ensure that the middle class of this country is foremost in any trade agreement instead of multinational corporations, as has been the case?

EDWARDS: Well, we will start with some simple just process things. No. 1, these big multinational corporations have huge presence through Washington lobbyists, which you know as well as I do, and most of Americans do, are the insiders that rig this game against the American people.

One of the things that I've proposed is that all presidential candidates -- in fact, all candidates, Democratic or Republican, agree starting today that we're not taking any money from these people. Now, I haven't done it in the past, but I'd like to see all of us do it and make a statement that we're going to give the government back to the country.

But on substance, getting past that, on substance, these -- these trade agreements have to have real standards in them. And we have to evaluate not only whether the standards are enforceable against the countries that we're entering into the trade agreements with, but also what impact they're going to have on American communities.

DOBBS: Alan Blinder, the well-respected former Fed official and Princeton economist saying 40 million American middle class jobs are at risk after all the millions that we've already lost to the outsourcing of jobs. What can you do and what do you propose to do about ending that corporate practice?

EDWARDS: Well, Alan Blinder and Joseph Stiglitz are actually people that we have consulted with in the course of figuring out the -- not only this policy, but also the tax reform policy that I proposed a few weeks ago. And the basic idea is this -- we should get rid of all provisions in our tax code that actually provide incentives for American companies to take jobs off seas. That is an accelerant to the already bad trade policy. So I think you want to do both those things in combination.

DOBBS: The free trade at all costs lobby, the establishment elites of corporate America primarily, they're going to call you an absolute populist, protectionist, retrograde economic isolationist. And I imagine those are some of the kinder terms you're going to be hearing as the result of your proposals today. Your reaction?

EDWARDS: It's just not true. America is going to trade. The jobs that we've lost, most of them are not coming back. That's the truth. And it is absolutely true that America has to have the most educated, most innovative workforce on the planet. That's the way we compete. But it also is required that we have a trade policy that makes sense for American families, not just for big multinational corporations. And the way these measurements have been made about the impact of trade policy, almost the entire information about the good of -- good effects are focused on the profits of multinational corporations and not on the impact they've had on middle class families.

DOBBS: Senator Edwards, we thank you for being with us today.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: And of course, our offer remains open to all of the candidates for their party's presidential nomination to join us to speak freely, uninterrupted, for two minutes. A little question-and- answer afterwards as we approach the important choices of 2008.

A reminder to vote in our poll tonight. Will the presidential candidates' position on ending outsourcing and illegal immigration influence your vote? We'd like to hear from you on this. Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here in just a few moments.

Up next on this broadcast, the American people killed comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate. Now some senators are trying to resurrect it.

Next, I'll be talking with one of the chief advocates for resurrecting Senate legislation on illegal immigration and border security. Senator Arlen Specter joins us. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Senate Republicans last week introduced new immigration enforcement legislation. Among the many provisions in the legislation are plans to hire 14,000 new Border Patrol agents to secure our borders. The bill would also increase penalties against employers who knowingly higher illegal aliens. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican - Senator Specter is co-sponsor of the new legislation and joins us tonight. We thank you for being here.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (R) PA: Nice to be with you, Lou. Thank you.

DOBBS: Senator Specter, let me ask you if I may, you heard the people -- you're back in your home state. Y'all heard the American people basically react through their e-mails, phone calls, their messages to you that, you know, they're not too thrilled with what you folks have done for two years running. Why do you want to resurrect even the effort right now?

SPECTER: Well, because it's very important. It affects the broken borders. And that's why I've joined with Senator Kyl and other Republicans to put additional Border Patrol, more employer verification with tough penalties. We've had a big problem. There are some 1,400 proposals floating around. And some 140 have been passed by the State of Arizona and municipalities. It's a national issue.

DOBBS: It is a national issue. It's also an issue of national security. The two issues of border security and illegal immigration crisis are melded in the minds of this president and many in Washington. But most Americans, I think, if you look poll after poll, senator, they're having a hard time understanding when it's a matter simply of national security that six years under a Republican Congress, a Republican White House, leading a global war on terror, that our borders have not been secured. That our ports have not been secured.

And there's a great distrust. I mean, you look at the approval ratings. You hear from your constituents. There's just a great distrust of this administration, this Congress, whether Democratically led or Republican led, that you all can do anything right.

SPECTER: Well, that distrust is well-founded. But I think that we have finally come up with the money to back up -- back up our words. And with respect to the 12 million who are undocumented, I'm floating an idea. I'm not introducing legislation. But floating an idea just to remove the fugitive status, not to deal with citizenship, but just to say that an unscrupulous employer can't hold the threat of reporting him over his head. And if fugitive status is removed, we can get them to register. Get them to hold a job. Pay back taxes. No citizenship, which is the guts of the amnesty worry.

DOBBS: Senator, I think that there's no question that's a marked improvement from a straightforward path as envisioned by Senate Bill 1639. It's certainly an improvement from that. My question is why is there no empirical discussion of the issues?

I mean, if we could put up something, we hear there's a labor shortage. The president talks about we can't have border security without a guest worker program. Has anybody said to the president of the United States, Mr. President, we have nine guest worker programs. Most of them are unlimited in the number of workers who can enter under the quest worker programs, that we bring in over 1,200,000 last year, legal residents. As you suggest you want to with 12 million, whatever the number may be.

What does that effectively buy us in fixing this -- this god- awful mess?

SPECTER: Well, Lou, seven Republican senators last week led by Senator Kyl and I joined him, have said that we've got to fix the broken borders. We have got to have tough employer verification and that comes first. And after we do that, we're going to try to establish credibility with the American people.

Look, the American people don't trust anybody in Washington. And regrettably, they've got good basis for doing so. So we have a very heavy burden of proof. And we're trying to meet it.

DOBBS: And, Senator Specter, I know your motivation, your -- your interests are -- are absolutely the best of reasons, the best of intentions. The difficulty that I think many Americans have right now is in the legislation that passed last week in the House. They passed the DREAM Legislation. The House of Representatives literally invalidated a 215-213 vote that would have stopped the -- through the amendment providing welfare to illegal aliens in this country and watched like a banana republic as the chair, Congressman McNulty (ph) in that instance, flipped it.

I mean, what in the world is going on? Why is there such urgency to represent the interest of illegal aliens in our nation's capital and not the interests of the American working man and woman? No one is -- I mean, no one seems to be talking about the folks who really build this country.

SPECTER: Well, I think it's wrong to nibble at the edges on a legislation which you have suggested. And that's why -- that's why the seven of us led by Senator Kyl want to fix the broken border and toughen employer verification to prove that we really mean business. Once we do that to establish credibility, then to come back and deal with the other parts of it.

DOBBS: Senator, do you think there is an appetite in the Senate at this point to resurrect such legislation and to move it ahead?

SPECTER: No, I do not think there is. But I think it's something to be talked about. That's why I didn't put in a bill. I just put in a suggested draft. And that's why I wrote an op-ed piece for the "Washington Post." I think this year is going to be too busy. But Lou, next January or February we're not going to have a whole lot to do before appropriations starts and I think we ought to set the stage. But we're finding states and local governments are acting on it and it's crazy quilt and it's a national issue. And that's why I don't think we ought to go to sleep on it. I think we ought to recognize the failures, our lack of credibility, and come up with something that makes sense.

And listen, Lou. No blowing smoke rings. You've got a big following. And a lot of people will understand and focus on the issue on your program. That's why -- that's why we're so anxious to put our best foot forward and let's start the discussion. And, listen, we're open for business. We're ready to have modifications and suggestions.

Well, senator, I know they'll be forthcoming and I know the American people will be glad to have their voices heard as always in Washington, DC. And you're one of the folks who certainly listens as well as leads. We thank you.

SPECTER: I'm on a tour through the states now, through counties, and had two town meetings today and heard a lot about immigration and I've learned some things, Lou. When I go back to Washington, I'm going to put them to use.

DOBBS: Well, they always say no one of us is smart as all of us in this democracy. Senator, we thank you very much. Senator Arlen Specter joining us ...

SPECTER: Good to be with you, Lou. Thank you.

DOBBS: ... from the fair in Huntington, Pennsylvania, tonight. Thank you, senator.

Coming up next, the results of our poll. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: In our poll, 97 percent of you saying a presidential candidate's position on ending outsourcing and ending illegal immigration will influence your vote.

We thank you for being with us tonight. For all of us, good night from New York.

THE SITUATION ROOM starts right now with Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne?

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