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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Opposition Grows to Licenses For Illegals in New York; Arnold Schwarzenegger and Illegal Immigration
Aired October 15, 2007 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, blistering new criticism of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give away driver's license to illegal aliens. This governor is a genius.
An overwhelming majority of New York voters oppose the governor, but he refuses to back down. I will be talking with a top New York State lawmaker who is fighting to kill that plan. He's among our guests here tonight.
Also, the governor of California apparently can't decide whether illegal immigration is a good idea for California or not. Arnold Schwarzenegger, we will have some help for you and a special report.
And the Food and Drug Administration says it doesn't have enough money to protect American consumers from dangerous food imports, among other things. But, incredibly, the Food and Drug Administration does have enough money to pay its own officials millions of dollars in bonuses. For what? We will have that report.
And we will be joined as well tonight by Fouad Ajami, one of the world's leading authorities on the Middle East, here to tell us why the genocide of Armenians nearly a century ago is taking up the time of the U.S. Congress in the 21st century. Please join us for all of that, all the day's news and a great deal more at the top of the hour.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Monday, October 15.
Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
The White House tonight is calling upon Turkey to show restraint as it put it as Turkey moves closer to a military advance into northern Iraq. Turkey has massed 60,000 of its troops on the border and is threatening to attack Kurdish rebels in Iraq. The United States is now apparently relying upon diplomacy alone to stop any Turkish incursion.
The Bush administration will not say what, if anything, the United States would do if Turkey were to defy the United States and send troops in to northern Iraq.
Barbara Starr has our report from the Pentagon -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, at this hour, growing worries here at the Pentagon about deteriorating military relations with Turkey.
STARR (voice-over): Turkish artillery shells set the hillside on fire in northern Iraq. Across the border, Turkish villagers run as troops battle Kurdish rebels who launched cross-border attacks from inside Iraq. The U.S. military fears a deteriorating situation between Turkey, a vital NATO ally, and the largely peaceful northern Iraqi Kurdish area, home to those rebels.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let Iraq fall apart and have a Kurdish separatist movement in the north, allow a Kurdish independent state in the north, you really will have problems between Turkey and the Kurds in the north.
STARR: U.S. military intelligence shows 60,000 Turkish troops on the border. U.S. commanders hope the Turks won't invade northern Iraq to chase down the Kurdish rebels, but the U.S. also hopes the Kurds don't plan retaliation.
In the event of all-out war, the U.S. military just wants to stay out of it. Senior Pentagon officials say the only plan is to try to convince both sides to cool off. There are even more worries. If Congress proceeds with a resolution condemning as genocide Turkish killings of Armenians in World War I, Turkey still threatens to cut vital U.S. access to its airspace and border crossings.
ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Seventy percent of the air cargo of American air cargo going into Iraq goes through Turkey.
STARR: The Pentagon is urgently studying alternatives to Turkish access, but all other options involve longer shipping routes. That means delays and rising costs.
STARR: And, Lou, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has now telephoned his Turkish military counterpart, as well as members of Congress, trying to explain the consequences of all of this. This is a border war possibility that the U.S. military doesn't want to see happen -- Lou.
DOBBS: Doesn't want it see happen, but, apparently, has no plans to forestall nor does the Bush administration diplomatically appear prepared to exert enough influence to stop the threat.
STARR: You bet. Make no mistake about it, Lou. This is a problem that everybody on the U.S. side simply hopes, frankly, will go away. They're trying to just make it not happen through the sheer weight of diplomacy. So far tensions are still pretty high.
DOBBS: Barbara Starr from the Pentagon, thank you.
In the war in Iraq, the U.S. military today reported the deaths of two more of our troops, one in combat, the other in a non-combat- related incident; 22 of our troops have been killed so far this month in Iraq, 3,829 of our troops killed since the war began, 28,171 of our troops wounded, 12,622 of them seriously.
The White House today urged Turkey to show restraint as tensions continue to rise along the border with Iraq. A National Security Council spokesman warned Turkey not to take any action that could, as they put it, destabilize Iraq.
Elaine Quijano has that report for us from the White House -- Elaine.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, Lou, officials here at the White House obviously do not want to see Turkish troops spilling over the border into Iraq, especially at a critical time when the United States is fighting its own battles inside of Iraq.
Now, Turkey, of course, plays a vital role, as we just heard, as a key U.S. ally in that region. President Bush today did not make any mention of this issue during a stop in Arkansas. But officials here continue to say that this is a national security concern for the United States. In a statement, a White House National Security Council spokesman said -- quote -- "We all have an interest in a stable Iraq and a desire to see the PKK brought to justice, but we urge the Turks to continue their discussions with us and the Iraqis and to show restraint from any potentially destabilizing actions."
Now, at the same time, the Bush administration is not backing down in its opposition to that House resolution that Barbara mentioned, which would essentially call as genocide the Turkish killings of those Armenians during World War I. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she plans to call that for a vote soon, not sure exactly when.
But Bush aides, Lou, say that there are other ways to address the issue, they say, not with this House resolution.
DOBBS: Elaine, thank you.
We are going to put this entire issue of Armenia and Turkey, the passions that surround an issue that is almost a century old and explain to at least our elected officials in Washington why they're acting like a bunch of idiots, once again, in both the White House and the U.S. Congress.
Elaine Quijano from the White House, thank you very much.
With all the pressing problems that the United States faces, why is the mass murderer of Armenians during World War I over 90 years ago a critical issue on Capitol Hill garnering the attention of congressional leadership? You can thank the Armenian Caucus for that. It is a group of 159 House lawmakers who've banded together to protect the interest of Armenians everywhere.
The caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations for its part has just 71 members. The power of the Armenian Caucus is out of all proportion to Armenia's size and economic power. Turkey is 26 times larger than Armenia. Turkey's population of 71 million of course dwarfs that of Armenia, which has a population of three million, and Turkey produces nearly 38 times more goods and services than Armenia.
And as to the caucuses, there are hundreds, of course, of caucuses in our Congress for just about every country, every special interest group and, in many cases, just utter nonsense.
And from the Oral Health Caucus to the Bite Caucus, to the Swaziland Caucus, rest assured that none of those caucuses care much about the greater welfare and benefit of all the American people. By the way, and we have checked, there is no caucus for working men and women in and their families from United States, more than 250 million people who can't quite garner the attention that Armenia and Turkey have managed to garner over the course of the past several weeks.
Well, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today focused on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and her efforts to organize a peace conference. Rice today met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Secretary Rice said it's time for the Palestinians to have their own state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States sees the establishment of a Palestinian state, a two-state solution as absolutely essential to the future of not just Palestinians and Israelis, but also to the Middle East and, indeed, to American interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Secretary Rice said this is the most serious effort to end the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in years, but the peace talks face powerful opposition from a number of quarters, including the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in June, and, of course, not to be underestimated would be the influence of host of other factions as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is launching his own diplomatic offensive in the Middle East. Putin tomorrow travels to Iran to discuss rising tensions over Iran's nuclear weapons program and world outrage. Putin today told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he wants to negotiate a peaceful end to that crisis. Putin's visit to Tehran appears designed to undercut U.S. policy towards Iran or at least blunt it.
The United States and other Western nations are demanding tough new sanctions to end Iran's nuclear defiance. Russia opposes any such new sanctions.
Coming up next here, outrage over hefty bonuses for government agency officials who failed to do their jobs and to protect American consumers from dangerous food imports.
Lisa Sylvester will have that report for us -- Lisa.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the Food and Drug Administration does not have enough inspectors to ensure your food safety. It does not have the resources to do effective testing, yet it has found money to give its senior managers generous cash bonuses -- Lou.
DOBBS: Who knew that government officials not doing their jobs were entitled to bonuses? Great work if you can get it. We look forward to the report, Lisa.
Lisa Sylvester will have that for us from Washington.
Also, a new bipartisan criticism of Governor Spitzer's plan to give away New York driver's licenses to illegal aliens. We will have that special report. I will be talking with a top New York State lawmaker who is working to stop the good governor.
And Governor Schwarzenegger in California, he is trying to appease both the pro-amnesty lobby and the opens border lobby and the border security advocates. He's doing quite a job of it, too. We will tell you about that in our special report and a great deal more coming right up.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is, again, sending mixed messages, if you will, on the issue of illegal immigration. Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law that forbids landlords from checking whether tenants are in this country illegally.
Yet, as Casey Wian now reports the governor vetoed another legislative initiative that would have provided financial aid to illegal alien college students.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The state with more illegal aliens than any other apparently can't decide if they're welcome or not. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signalled no Saturday by vetoing the California DREAM Act, which would have provided financial aid to illegal alien college students. The governor said it would be not be prudent to place additional strain on the general fund to accord the new benefit of providing state subsidized financial aid to students without lawful immigration status.
But three days earlier Schwarzenegger approved a law protecting illegal aliens by making California the first state to forbid landlords from asking tenants or prospective tenants about their immigration status.
MALCOLM BENNETT, PRESIDENT, APT. ASSN. OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: It takes the burden off of landlords. We feel that it's not our duty and responsibility to check the legal status of people into the country.
WIAN: The bill also forbids cities from requiring landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. That's what Escondido, California, tried to do last year before legal challenges ended the effort. Still, Escondido leaders are outraged by the new law which takes effect January 1.
ED GALLO, ESCONDIDO CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: The federal government is not doing what it's supposed to do, and so it is up to the local jurisdictions to kind of take the ball and run with it and try to do something to protect the citizens of their community. The governor by signing this has kind of circumvented our efforts from the local level to protect the citizens of Escondido.
WIAN: Like the governor, Escondido the City Councilman Sam Abed is a legal immigrant.
SAM ABED, ESCONDIDO CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: If they want to come to America, they need to embrace our culture and respect the sovereignty of the United States of America and respect the sovereignty of our city.
WIAN: Governor Schwarzenegger sided with every California Republican lawmaker on the illegal alien financial aid bill, but he went against the unanimous vote of his fellow Republicans by signing the landlord bill.
WIAN: There are still ways for California landlords to avoid renting to illegal aliens. For example, tenants can be excluded if they provide a mismatched Social Security number or other false identification -- Lou.
DOBBS: And voter registration, you have got the Catholic Church there in the Los Angeles Diocese trying to come up with a million new registrations. How's that going in the relationship to the illegal immigration issue?
WIAN: Well, it's clear that Governor Schwarzenegger is trying cater to the Latino vote. He apparently believes that the Latino vote supports illegal immigration. He's been all over the map on this issue, trying to appease his own party and appease the Hispanic vote. It doesn't seem like he's making anybody very happy, though, Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
Well, Texas border town mayors are renewing their threat to sue the federal government to stop that border fence. It's another effort to block the federal government's belated efforts to secure our southern border with Mexico, and as we have reported here, a federal judge has blocked the construction of part of that fence in Arizona over environmental concerns. Environmental concerns where 25 million pounds of trash have been dropped along that border with Mexico and Arizona.
Time now for some of your thoughts.
Maria in California said: "I seriously am I thinking about leaving this state, California, because I'm so sick of the governor pandering to illegal aliens. But I need to find a state that worries about U.S. citizens first, and I just don't think that one is available."
You may well be right. Perhaps Oklahoma.
Xelan in California said: "Who cares if the federal judge wants to deny those no matches. Just send them out anyway. It's not like we have to worry about the federal government enforcing the law."
I wouldn't try that with the Internal Revenue Service.
And Nicole in Michigan: "Dear, Lou, thank you for recognizing the plight of Michigan's middle class. Our jobs have been exported. Companies abandon us. And now the Democrats have turned their backs on us."
We will have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.
New security restrictions finally going into effect tomorrow at one of our nation's ports. Port workers in Wilmington, Delaware, will begin enrollment for transportation worker identity cards, or TWIC. They have to have an acronym. It's about the government.
Bush administration officials say TWICs, as they are known, will make our ports safer, by allowing only authorized workers into secure areas. But as we reported here last week, there are no machines to read those cards, which makes them just about worthless as a factor in security. The House Homeland Security committee will hold hearings on those TWICs later this week.
Coming up next, the firestorm of protests is rising over the governor of New York's proposal to give away driver's licenses to illegal aliens. It's not just among lawmakers but New York voters as well.
And the FDA says it doesn't have the money to protect you from dangerous food imports. So, why, why are FDA top officials receiving hefty bonuses? It couldn't be for performance, could it?
Stay with us. We will have that story and a great deal more. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Well, we have got a surprising development for all the dummy diplomats in the Bush administration, the big thinkers there and, of course, at the Chamber of Commerce, the Democratic Party. Communist China will never have a Western-style democracy, according to top Chinese leadership.
A top Chinese official said China will pursue political reform, but the nation will never copy the Western model of democracy. China's president said the Communist Party has fallen short of expectations on the part of his people, but he lashed out at corrupted, wasteful officials and then spoke of this beginning of the communist party's 17 congress. That congress is held every five years just to test political attitudes, the will of the people, of course, and to decide future communist Chinese policy.
Mattel is the world's largest toy brand, still, and it's reporting significantly lower profits and sales after the recall of millions of Chinese-made toys over the summer. Mattel also says tests on its Chinese-made toys have delayed shipments worldwide, which means some of the most popular toys may not be available for the busy holiday season.
Year-end holiday sales account for about two-thirds of Mattel's annual toy sales.
Outrage and disbelief tonight over the latest scandal at the embattled Food and Drug Administration. Last week, we told you about FDA officials saying they don't have enough money and inspectors to do their jobs, that is, protect American consumers. They can't screen more than 1 percent of all the food that's imported into the United States now.
But, as Lisa Sylvester reports on another case of the best government money can buy, there is apparently enough money to pay rather hefty bonuses for the top brass at the incompetent FDA.
SYLVESTER (voice-over): The Food and Drug Administration has been failing to keep dangerous food imports out of the United States, according to congressional lawmakers. Despite the low marks, FDA top officials have awarded themselves generous bonuses.
CHRIS WALDROP, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: A lot of those bonuses are going to the top officials and it's not really going to the people that are on the ground that are doing the work every single day, protecting the American public.
SYLVESTER: According to congressional records, FDA annual retention bonuses ballooned from $2.7 million in 2002 to more than $8 million in 2006.
One employee alone, Margaret Glavin, the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, received a cash bonus of more than $48,000 in 2005 and then another cash bonus topping $44,000 in 2006. This is in addition to her annual salary of more than $150,000 a year. Glavin did not return CNN's call for comment.
The hefty cash bonuses have been handed out as the FDA has been strapped for cash, with an imported food inspection rate of less than 1 percent.
WENONAH HAUTER, FOOD AND WATER WATCH: I think that people would be pretty shocked to know that this is how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. We need more inspection. We need more testing. And the agency says that they don't have the money to do this, but, yet, they have the money to do bonuses. SYLVESTER: The agency has requested more funding in next year's budget, but during a hearing last week, Representative Bart Stupak, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the FDA, demanded accountability.
DR. DAVID ACHESON, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR FOOD PROTECTION, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: We have made requests through the 2008 budget process for an increase in...
REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN: And how much was that increase?
ACHESON: I think it was about $10 million or thereabouts.
STUPAK: And what was the $10 million going to be targeted for? Hopefully not bonuses.
SYLVESTER: The FDA justifies the bonuses saying it must compete with the private sector. A spokeswoman tells CNN -- quote -- "They could make a lot more money in the private sector. One of the ways to recruit and retain them is to offer them bonuses."
SYLVESTER: Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the bonuses handed out and Senator Byron Dorgan has asked for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a similar review -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, good for Senator Dorgan. Good for Congressman Stupak.
I mean, this is amazing. The FDA, one of the most incompetently led agencies in the entire federal government, these Bush administration appointees who basically have been told by their bosses in the White House, don't do your job, roll back your budgets, don't bother business. For God sake, we don't want to interfere with commerce, at the expensive of profits, and put people lives' well- being first.
And then the Bush administration gives them bonuses for staying there to screw up what's left of a federal government. It's a beautiful story.
SYLVESTER: You know, Lou, there was a year, in 2006, in fact, in which Congress appropriated about $10 million for food safety. The bonuses that year equaled close to $10 million that year as well.
DOBBS: I will make you a bet most people in the United States did not know that we were paying federal officials bonuses on one of the most absurd ideas as if they are to compete with a private sector. Whatever happened to the notion of public service in this country? I mean, this is just disgusting from top to bottom. And it does start at the top. Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester. Outstanding reporting.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe there is any way in the world that any top FDA official actually earned a performance bonus? We would love to hear from you on it, yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We will have the results coming up here later.
Up next, Senator Hillary Clinton taking no chances in her campaign for president. She's trying to reinforce her appeal to women voters. We will tell you how she's doing.
And 12 House Republicans say you can have this job. Actually, they're saying it stronger than that. We will tell you what that could mean for the congressional elections and the control of Congress by which party.
And Governor Eliot Spitzer, he refuses to back down. He thinks it is a great idea to give away New York state driver's licenses to illegal aliens. He has got a lot of great ideas. He will be talking about some of them with our top state lawmaker, our guest here tonight, who says the governor's plan is reckless and irresponsible.
And, by the way, Governor Spitzer, if you're listening, you're still welcome.
We have been inviting the governor for, what, for two weeks now here? He somehow doesn't want to talk about the situation. And, as a result, New York voters have just about had a bellyful of the good governor.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Today, New York State senators blasted Governor Eliot Spitzer's controversial proposal to give away drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. The governor's plan has set off a firestorm of protest among a rising number of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers. And an overwhelming majority of New York's voters say the governor is way off base.
Just one of their fears is that terrorists will have easier access to a state-issued I.D.
Kitty Pilgrim reports now how angry senators ridiculed the governor's plan at today's hearing.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The New York Department of Motor Vehicles today embraced the philosophy that issuing drivers' licenses to illegal aliens will turn them into model residents of the state.
DAVID SWARTS, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES: They will have to study our laws, pass a drivers' test that will not only make them informed drivers, but safe drivers.
PILGRIM: But that is not how many state senators feel about the governor's executive order.
TOM LIBOUS (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: There seems to be a bit of arrogance here in jamming down the public's throat that this good for you.
PILGRIM: Governor Eliot Spitzer says this measure will reduce premium costs associated with uninsured motorists by 34 percent, saving New York drivers $120 million every year. But there was no one present at the hearing who could back that number up or explain how this would work.
WILLIAM LARKIN, JR. (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: The one that really cracks me is the one that Senator Seward asked you about, the $120 million. I'm ashamed that somebody is not here personally telling us how you would save $120 million. I don't believe it.
JAMES SEWARD (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: It's quite a further leap of faith, in my mind, that they're going to fill out extensive papers for an insurance company, as well in terms of getting vehicles insured.
PILGRIM: In a contentious hearing, state senators decried the governor's plan, saying it could put New York State drivers' licenses into the hands of terrorists, who would only have to show a foreign passport for their identity document.
MARTIN GOLDEN (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: When you have countries like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia -- countries issuing passports, I just love to see how you're going to verify those passports, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will work very closely with the International Standards, which, by the way, the United...
GOLDEN: They will send us every terrorist that they can possibly send and you'll verify them and give them a license.
PILGRIM: A recent poll found 72 percent of New York voters oppose the plan. So do many local legislators.
JAMES WRIGHT (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: I also spend a great deal of time on local government and I don't ever remember a policy of this nature being implemented through DMV in the manner that it's being implemented, nor the resistance that you're seeing at the local level to that.
PILGRIM: An estimated 500,000 people will be newly eligible for licenses under the governor's plan.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PILGRIM: Now, the governor called it a common sense change. But it might be more related to political common sense for the governor and fulfills a campaign promise Mr. Spitzer made last year -- a change that was supported by illegal alien advocates and labor unions -- Lou.
DOBBS: Labor unions -- labor unions supporting those hardworking Americans. Labor unions in this country are going to have a lot to answer for. They've lost almost all of their political relevance. They're having a very hard time. They were once one of the most important countervailing influences to dominant corporate power and they get lined up with this kind of nonsense.
This governor should be apologizing. Those labor unions should be apologizing. Even those socio-ethnic centric interest groups should be apologizing to the entire citizenship of New York.
Thank you very much, Kitty.
This is just ridiculous.
New York media reporting the overwhelming opposition to the governor's spurious proposal to give away those drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. We thought it might be instructive for everybody to look at a few headlines.
From WCBS Television in New York: "New Yorkers Oppose Spitzer License Plan."
"Crain's New York Business" writes: "New Yorkers Object To Spitzer License Plan."
But here, let's take a look at the "New York Times." Now, the paper of record is really pro-open borders. It's pro-amnesty. It is pro -- by the way, you can't get them to say illegal alien in the "New York Times." Goodness, no. At best they are migrants, not even do they deign to say documented.
We found nothing, by the way, in the "New York Times" about these latest poll numbers or the fierce opposition to Governor Spitzer's plan except this story a week ago: "Licenses for Immigrants" -- immigrants, not illegal aliens or illegal immigrants -- "Find Support from Some Terrorism and Security Experts" who, like Mr. Spitzer, regard it as a way of bringing a hidden population into the open.
Good job, "New York Times".
Good lord, it's enough to make your stomach turn over.
New York State Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco has given Governor Spitzer an October 31st deadline to stop this plan or face legal action. He's also introduced a bill to prevent the governor from suing county clerks who are refusing to comply with the governor's absurd proposal.
Assemblyman Tedisco joins me now.
Good to have you here.
JAMES TEDISCO (R), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER: Lou, it's good to be here. I wish we were here under different circumstances, but this is really impacting the security of this city, this state and this nation. Less common sense and really nonsense by the governor.
DOBBS: What is going on with this governor?
Seventy-two percent in this latest poll oppose this. He's got the usual list of suspects supporting his idiocy, like the "New York Times". But being opposed in nearly every quarter. Your group, the assembly, is likely to decide the fate of this proposal.
TEDISCO: Yes, it really defies logic. It's dangerous. It's misguided. It's reckless. And basically what he's trying to do unilaterally, almost secretively and selectively, is take the one universal form of identification that you and I and every citizen in this nation uses -- our driver's license -- to get into the secure areas of our life, give that to illegal aliens. And it's...
DOBBS: Democrats in this state are lining up against this governor...
TEDISCO: Oh, by...
DOBBS: ...one of their own. It is not a partisan issue.
DOBBS: This is just -- what is this?
TEDISCO: Well, it's not only about illegal aliens, Lou. It's about illegal Eliot, because he thinks he's a king -- or he thinks he's a dictator. He thinks he can say to the legislature, look, you might have passed a law in 1995, Section 502, which says -- and mandates -- "the commissioner shall be mandated to get a Social Security number from anybody who wants a driver's license."
He says I can unilaterally overturn it...
TEDISCO: ...and I can take those (INAUDIBLE)...
DOBBS: Maybe he's in...
TEDISCO: ...words out.
DOBBS: Maybe he is lining up with George Bush under the imperious governorship, he thinks it works so well for George W. Bush.
DOBBS: Yes. Well, it's working just about the same. But the idea that this governor would take up this approach, who is he paying off here?
TEDISCO: Well... DOBBS: You know, as we've been reporting, he's paying off those campaign pledges.
Since when do governors being elected have obligations to non- citizens?
TEDISCO: It seems to be more politics than public safety on his part. And I know you've talked about it and this is the reality. We're a Motor Voter state. The one thing you need when you walk into the Board of Elections to register to vote is, guess what? A driver's license and a number. I'd hate to see there be that level of voter fraud in here and the impact on our security.
DOBBS: You know, well, let me just say it out loud for everybody to hear. In California, in New York State and other states across the country right now, this the plan, folks. It is about voter fraud. It is about registering non-citizens. And it is about turning 2008 into something it should never become. And mark my words.
And what we're going to do, Lou...
DOBBS: James Tedisco, thank you very much.
TEDISCO: ...and I think you talked about it before...
DOBBS: Very quickly.
TEDISCO: We're going to sue the governor November 1st if he doesn't roll back his policy. We've got to protect the best interests of the people in New York State.
DOBBS: And you've got to take care of those county clerks, as well, who are standing up against this nonsense.
DOBBS: Appreciate it.
TEDISCO: Thanks for having me, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up next, Turkey threatening Iraq and Congress threatening Turkey over something that happened nearly a century ago. We'll be talking with one of the world's leading experts on the Middle East about that and what it could mean to the U.S. interests in the region and Iraq itself.
And why are Republicans losing so many -- so many of its members who want no part of Congress any more?
What will that exodus mean for Congress?
What in the world will it mean for the direction of the country? What will it mean for the Democratic Party?
Stay with us.
We'll be right back.
DOBBS: The steamrolling Clinton campaign rolling on, turning its attention to women voters. As one political reporter put it, "Senator Clinton is openly embracing the woman question."
What in the world does that mean?
DOBBS: She's embracing their votes, of course. She appeared on "The View" this morning and will attend a woman's conference later in the week. I'm getting just pretty excited now.
Just to play down any potential backlash, Senator Clinton told "The Washington Post": "Well, I'm appealing to men, too."
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney -- now we're really going to get excited -- found himself the target of sharp words from his colleagues on and off the campaign trail. Senator McCain taking a shot at the former governor, saying: "As we all know, when he ran for office in Massachusetts, being a Republican wasn't much of a priority."
Disgraced Republican Senator Larry Craig told "The Today Show" that Romney not only threw him under the bus, but he backed up and ran over me again. Romney called Craig's behavior disgraceful, called for his resignation when news broke of Craig's arrest in a men's room sex sting operation. Senator Craig hasn't resigned. In fact, he's appealing a judge's ruling that let his guilty plea stand. It's just a mess.
Well, let me turn...
DOBBS: ...with all of that said, Candy Crowley, let me ask you this.
What in the world is going on with those Republicans?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would say, first of all, not only do they not have a settled race, but they're in sort of an identity crisis here. I mean they are so talking like Democrats, they're using the same language -- the Republican wing of the Republican Party.
Remember the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party?
DOBBS: I do, indeed. (INAUDIBLE). CROWLEY: (LAUGHTER)
So there is this huge sort of struggle for what is a Republican, what do we stand for?
And you see that in someone like Rudy Giuliani versus Mitt Romney.
GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a race to be Ronald Reagan.
DOBBS: Senior political analyst Gloria Borger, let me ask you this.
What does it mean, Senator Clinton is embracing the women's vote?
I mean give me a break.
BORGER: It means she needs women -- well, it means she needs women to win. Call it -- somebody once called it the waitress voters. She...
DOBBS: The waitress voters?
BORGER: The waitress -- she's trying to appeal to working class women because she believes that those voters could be the margin of difference for her
DOBBS: Just waitresses?
BORGER: Working class women. Working class women.
DOBBS: Now we've got a working class.
BORGER: Not elite women...
DOBBS: Don't we have...
BORGER: ...working class women.
DOBBS: You don't like that?
BORGER: Elite women don't like her.
DOBBS: Elite women don't like her?
CROWLEY: They like Barack.
BORGER: They like Barack?
CROWLEY: The more...
DOBBS: Well, you know why?
DOBBS: Because he's ponderous and he's dull and everybody wants to call him charismatic.
DOBBS: Right, Bill Schneider, senior political analyst?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well...
SCHNEIDER: Gloria is right. I mean there is a class difference here. Better educated, wealthier Democrats tend to like Obama more. Although Hillary Clinton is really doing well among all Democrats, all women. She's marching toward this nomination and is expected to get it.
And what's interesting is usually the Republican nomination is an orderly succession and the Democrats have a free-for-all. This year, it's backwards -- the Republicans are having a free-for-all and the Democrats look like an orderly succession.
What's that about?
CROWLEY: On the women thing, when you are out on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton, she will say I'm not -- I'm not running as a woman. I'm running, you know, as the best qualified candidate and that's what I believe. But then she always tells this story about a 90-year-old woman who said I was born before women had the right to vote and I'm not going to die until I see a woman as president.
Look, most voters are women. But what they're eyeing right now is the general campaign.
DOBBS: Is she supporting Senator Clinton?
How long does she want to live?
CROWLEY: Yes, she is, a matter of fact.
CROWLEY: You know, but I mean, they're looking at the general campaign and...
DOBBS: Isn't it a terrible darned thing in this country when we are watching the political parties -- which I consider, as everybody here knows, I think -- I consider them just to be opposite wings of the same pathetic bird. You've got a ridiculous process underway. But when you've got both parties triangulating, dissecting and slicing and dicing this society down into working class women, we are -- we are captive of group politics, identity politics and this nonsense. I mean it's disgusting to me.
BORGER: Well, it's just (INAUDIBLE)... DOBBS: What...
DOBBS: ...that we're a classless society.
BORGER: It's just the way to win elections, because you're paying consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars, who look at these polls and say this how you win. This is how you win the State of New York...
DOBBS: Bill Schneider, how about we tell these consultants to go to hell?
SCHNEIDER: That would be a good idea, because, let me tell you something about the way elections work. They don't work by slicing and dicing the voters into little pieces. They work by finding a theme that the overwhelming majority of voters can respond to.
SCHNEIDER: When Reagan was elected in 1980, he was elected on theme of leadership. When Clinton was elected in 1992, by the very small margin, he projected empathy against the president, George Bush -- the first President Bush, who looked indifferent...
BORGER: But, Bill...
SCHNEIDER: ...who didn't seem to share people's concerns.
If you can find a unifying theme that appeals across the whole electorate, you've won.
BORGER: But the whole critique of Karl Rove, Bill, has been that he sliced and diced the electorate so he could get conservative voters that hadn't been discovered before to vote for George W. Bush.
DOBBS: For what appears...
SCHNEIDER: It worked once. It worked twice. It doesn't work any more. It did not work in 2006.
DOBBS: Candy, you get the last word. Sort this mess out.
CROWLEY: Well, you know, look, the fact of the matter is you're going to see this sort of niche campaigning in a primary. I mean that's just how it is. There are primary voters and they know who they are and they go after them.
You see a sort of broadening of that when they get into the general election. But they know where their groups are and they go there for the votes. And the idea is, you know, the guy who wins is the guy who turns his voters out.
DOBBS: Well, I hope that over the course of... CROWLEY: Or gal.
DOBBS: Or gal.
DOBBS: You've got it.
I hope we have an opportunity to focus on some folks who matter, like the American people, who right now are not being represented in Washington, D.C. folks. And it doesn't look like they're getting very good representation, at least to me, on the campaign trail, especially by the elitist nonsense pushers like -- well never mind.
Gloria Borger, thank you very much for being here.
DOBBS: Candy Crowley, thank you very much.
Bill Schneider, as always, sir, thank you.
Up next, why is Congress focusing on the genocide of Armenians nearly a century ago?
Yes, it was genocide. Sorry, Turkey.
But why now?
What is this Congress doing?
What is this administration doing?
I'll be talking with Middle East authority, Fouad Ajami, next.
Stay with us.
We'll be right back.
DOBBS: In just a moment, I'm going to be talking with Professor Fouad Ajami about what in the world this Congress is doing with Armenia, genocide, Turkey and a hundred year old, almost, proposition instead of dealing with extent issues.
Dealing always with extent issues is my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.
He's coming up at the top of the hour with "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf, tell us all about it.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": And Professor Ajami, Lou, as you know, a very, very smart guy.
Coming up at the top of the hour...
DOBBS: I think I'll talk to him.
BLITZER: ...the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, planning an historic trip to Iran. We're going to show you why some in Washington are deeply worried Mr. Putin may be making trouble.
Also, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, interviewing Cuba's Fidel Castro live on the air. It's the first time Cubans have heard from Castro in more than a year. You're going to find out what he said.
And Israel -- get this -- facing a growing problem -- neo-Nazis inside the Jewish state. We have details of arrests, including one teen who is Jewish himself.
All that, Lou, coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
DOBBS: Just perfect, neo-Nazis inside Israel.
Thank you very much, Wolf.
We look forward to the report.
Joining me now is one of the world's leading authorities on Islam and the Middle East, Professor Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, author of "The Foreigner's Gift".
Good to have you here.
FOUAD AJAMI, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Thank you very much, Lou.
DOBBS: This a bizarre situation in which Turkey is withdrawing its ambassador to the United States over Congress looking at the issue of declaring genocide during World War I on the part of Turkey, more than 90 years ago.
What sense does any of this make to you?
AJAMI: Well, I think Congress, you know, obviously, this is really a split between the executive and Congress.
The executive, if you take a look at the Pentagon, the Pentagon has historic relations with Turkey.
AJAMI: Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. Eight secretaries of state, including the two living legends, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, have weighed in against this proposal. But the Congress has -- feels the sense of moral obligation. And I think this issue has not really ever managed to go away. We've considered this question before -- to declare it a genocide or not to declare it a genocide. And I think that there is a tremendous...
DOBBS: Well, historians have declared it a genocide.
AJAMI: Yes. Absolutely. DOBBS: What in the world difference does it make what 435 elected officials who do -- who have the lowest approval rating in history for doing their jobs are doing about this issue?
DOBBS: I mean, frankly, I, you know, I don't support the idea of catering or kowtowing to Turkey at all and would resist that.
DOBBS: But to have Congress take up valuable time when we have so many issues that are so critical to the interests of the American people with this kind of academic exercise is preposterous.
AJAMI: Well, the democratic process is such. I mean there is, of course, Turkey has a lobby, as we've said, in the executive...
AJAMI: ...and the Armenians have people who sympathize with them. And the Turks have made this very complicated. The Turks themselves have dodged this question. They have...
AJAMI: You know, they have avoided every moral discussion of it. Insulting Turkishness is considered a crime in Turkey. Orhan Pamuk, their Nobel laureate, has been...
AJAMI: They filed charges against him when he spoke about the Armenians.
So I think, in part, it's the systematic Turkish...
DOBBS: It is an Islamist state. I mean there are a host of issues that one could take exception to about Turkey...
DOBBS: ...or, for that matter, just about any country on the face of the Earth...
DOBBS: ...and serious terms in Turkey.
But the idea that current policy will be affected and influenced by Congress reaching back. To suggest that this government in Turkey is responsible for what happened more than 90 years ago is pathetic blather.
AJAMI: Well, actually, this is really what the Turks have to -- I mean the Turks have a lot of running room. In part, this is a highly sophisticated society, Turkey. But it's...
AJAMI: But it refuses -- it refuses to revisit the past.
AJAMI: One sign of modernity is to be able to revise and critique your own history.
AJAMI: The Turks are unable to do so. And you are exactly right, Lou. I mean this not what the Turkish state did it. This is what Ottoman Turks did. This is what the young Turks did in the Great War.
AJAMI: And the Turks, they have it within their power to tell the Armenians it's time to talk about these great crimes. The Turks have refused to do so. There is something of a Turkish pride and a kind of nationalism which refuses to accept responsibility for past deeds.
DOBBS: And that is the purview of the United States Congress, in your judgment, when, at the same time, we are in Iraq?
We are making an absolute mess of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
And we are to be holding judgment over events of a century ago and put that with the same primacy as protecting the lives of American soldiers, confronting the issues of limited natural resources, dealing with the issues of the policies of this country?
AJAMI: Well, that's exactly what these eight former secretaries of state have put on the table, that there are other things pressing in the region.
But the Turks also have, in a way, squandered the right, if you will, to our sympathy because they have not been supportive of the American effort in Iraq from day one. From day one, they did not support this effort.
DOBBS: I'm neither a fan of the Turks...
DOBBS: ...nor the Armenians in this issue.
AJAMI: That's -- it's about American interests
DOBBS: It is about the American interests.
DOBBS: And my god, if this is the -- if this is the Congress' idea -- and the administration's bizarre notion of diplomacy... AJAMI: Right.
DOBBS: ...we need to come to grips, do you not agree, professor?
AJAMI: That's fundamentally it. But I think, also, we should not -- I mean our interests in the region should not be held hostage to Turkey's desires.
AJAMI: I mean it's not, you know, it's not...
DOBBS: Or anyone else's.
DOBBS: Thank you very much.
AJAMI: Thank you
DOBBS: As always, professor, we appreciate it.
Professor Fouad Ajami.
Kind of annoying, isn't it?
Coming up next, the results of our poll.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Well, our poll results -- 98 percent of you say there is no way in the world that any top FDA official actually earned a performance bonus, despite the fact that more than $8 million has been doled out.
How about that?
Time now for just a few more of your thoughts.
Robert in California saying: "Lou, I was wondering if some of those illegal drugs from Mexico are being used by the White House and Congress. How else would they come up with so many stupid ideas?"
In response to our report about a masonry company verifying all of its employees are legal, Chris in Indiana wrote: "I own a painting company and I'm going to make the same pledge to check to be sure all my workers are legal. My next change is my voter registration -- from Republican to Independent. Change feels good, doesn't it?"
And good for you. Thanks.
Thanks for being with us tonight.
Join us here tomorrow.
We thank you for watching.
Good night from New York.
"THE SITUATION ROOM" begins now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
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