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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Battle Over Licenses For Illegals in New York Intensifies; Interview With Laura Ingraham

Aired October 17, 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: President Bush issues a dire warning about the world's failure to stop Iran's nuclear weapon's program. President Bush today saying Iran's defiance left unchecked could lead to World War III. We will have complete coverage.
Also tonight, what is being called the nation's toughest local crackdown on illegal immigration. One county in Virginia showing the federal government and other communities around the country how to stand up to socio-ethnocentric special interests and corporate America. We will have the report.

And Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York apparently determined to ram his proposals to give away illegal alien driver's licenses down the throats of voters and lawmakers. Spitzer is using what he calls steamroller tactics. We will have the report.

And I will have a few words for the governor and "The New York Times" about honesty and responsibility in politics and journalism.

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 Wednesday, October 17.

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

President Bush today said a world war could break out if Iran refuses to stop its nuclear weapons program, President Bush, using his strongest language so far on the issue, said Iran would be a dangerous threat to the entire world if it were to succeed in achieving a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has just ended his visit to Iran. The visit a clear signal that Russia and Iran are moving closer to a full-scale alliance.

Ed Henry reports now from the White House -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, more tough talk on Iran, but the president's silence on another nuclear issue, Syria, is downright deafening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HENRY (voice-over): In the starkest terms yet, President Bush warned of dire consequences if the nuclear ambitions of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are not squelched.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. And I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.

HENRY: That came as Russian President Vladimir Putin, after meeting with Iran's president, admonished the U.S. not to take military action against Tehran and contradicted Mr. Bush, insisting, Iran does not want to build nuclear weapons.

BUSH: If those are, in fact, his comments, I look forward to having him clarify those.

HENRY: When asked about Putin's plan to keep power by becoming prime minister, the president took a shot at his ally.

BUSH: When I saw him in Australia, I tried to, you know, get it out of him, who's going to be his successor, what he intends to do, and he was wily. He wouldn't tip his hand.

HENRY: Mr. Bush was far less candid about serious nuclear ambitions, for the second straight press conference shutting down all questions about Israel's strike against an alleged nuclear site in Syria.

QUESTION: Can I ask you whether...

BUSH: You can ask me another question.

HENRY: The point is whether Israel has now set a precedent to eventually launch an attack against Iranian nuclear sites, echoes of 1981, when Israel used self-defense to justify a strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor.

BUSH: I don't remember what I was doing in 1980 -- let's see, I was living in Midland, Texas. I don't remember my reaction....

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: (AUDIO GAP) Israelis and Palestinians are facing what she called a moment of opportunity. At a meeting with the Israeli foreign minister, Rice called upon Arab countries to support a proposed peace conference, but there are many indications that difficult negotiations remain, as they have for decades -- Palestinian leaders accusing Israel of slowing preparations for them the meeting, among other things.

The Bush administration tonight facing an escalating crisis with Turkey. The Turkish parliament today ignored U.S. concerns and voted to give approval to a Turkish military incursion into Iraq; 60,000 Turkish troops are now deployed along the border with Iraq. The Turkish military apparently planning that incursion against Kurdish rebel bases.

Members of Congress tonight withdrawing their support from the resolution calling the mass killing of Armenians by Turks in World War I genocide. Forty House members today sent a letter to House Speaker Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi urging her not to hold a vote on the genocide resolution, among those House members, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

Dana Bash reports from Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is backing away from her pledge to hold a controversial vote labeling mass Armenian killings nearly a century ago genocide.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Whether it will come up or not and what the action will be remains to be seen.

BASH: That just three days after making this vow.

PELOSI: I said if it passed the committee that we would bring it to the floor.

BASH: It did. So, why the reversal? A rebellion among Pelosi's own Democrats, many withdrawing their support in the face of warnings from Turkey, a crucial Mideast ally, that passing the Armenian resolution would damage relations.

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I must have had 25, 30 members, Democrats, come to me yesterday and say, you know, very agitated about this coming to the floor right now. They have gotten the message. So, I would say, if it were to run today, it wouldn't pass.

BASH: Democrat John Murtha, one of the House speaker's closest advisers on national security, has long opposed the Armenian resolution and says Pelosi miscalculated.

MURTHA: She feels morally committed to this issue. It's just that it's impractical at this point to go forward with it.

BASH: Turkey has hired several high-powered lobbyists, like former Congressman Bob Livingston, who's working with the administration to convince lawmakers to oppose the legislation. Several Democrats switching their position say they now believe Turkey's threat to prevent the U.S. from basing military options there is real.

Democrat Allen Boyd was lobbied personally by the U.S. commander in Iraq.

REP. ALLEN BOYD (D), FLORIDA: He and Ambassador Crocker are the top two people we have on the ground over there in that area. And, so, I think it's incumbent upon us to take their counsel when they give it to us in that way.

BASH: Because Turkey is a key staging area for Iraq, more Democrats worry the Armenian resolution would jeopardize their goal of bringing troops home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything that impedes or takes away from that objective, in my opinion, should be put on the shelf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: We're told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will likely not bring the Armenian resolution to a vote on the House floor, if she knows it won't pass. Congressman Rahm Emanuel, the only member of the Democratic leadership who opposes this measure, flatly told CNN -- quote -- "The votes are not there" -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Dana Bash from Capitol Hill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to give up in another battle as well with the president on the issue of children's health insurance. Congresswoman Pelosi today said Democrats will continue to demand expansion of the so-called SCHIP program, even if Congress fails to override the president's veto. President Bush says the Democratic plan is too expensive and will not help the neediest children.

Coming up here next, Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York using every tactic possible to crush opposition to his proposal to give away driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

Bill Tucker will have the report for us tonight -- Bill.

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, Spitzer earned a reputation for being a pugnacious attorney general and he hasn't gotten any nicer now that he's living in the governor's mansion -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

And I will have a few thoughts of my own about, well, journalism and politics, a few thoughts for "The New York Times," as well as the good governor.

All of that and a great deal more coming up here, including one county in Virginia refusing to be intimidated by socio-ethnocentric special interests, and corporate America standing up against illegal immigration. We will have that special report.

We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Well, if you're concerned about this country's open borders and absolutely unlimited illegal immigration, it turns out, despite what the White House is saying, the congressional leadership is saying, and, of course, corporate America and socio-ethnic interests are saying, it turns out you're in good company. And the lie is ending.

It is now clear that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to giving driver's licenses, for example, to illegal aliens. A brand-new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll just released shows 76 percent of all Americans oppose that idea. Less than a quarter support it.

The issue is back in the national spotlight because of New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer, a man I have called, as "The New York Times" reported, facetiously, a genius, because he wants to give away driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

Governor Spitzer is ignoring public opinion in his own state showing fierce opposition as well, to the plan. He's also ignoring a rising revolt within his own party.

But, as Bill Tucker now reports, there are charges tonight that Governor Spitzer is retaliating against his opponent, and, in turn, hurting the very people he is responsible to represent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER (voice-over): New York State funds health care to the economically disadvantaged and the uninsured, but now comes word that the governor has cut more than $400,000 worth of state health care in education funding to the district of one of the governor's staunchest opponents of his plan to give illegal aliens driver's licenses.

Almost one quarter of that was for funding for a free medical clinic for children. The cuts were no accident, says Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.

JAMES TEDISCO (R), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: He wants me to back off my position of keeping this a secure state by not coming out in opposition to giving illegal aliens driver's licenses. And, if I don't, he reaches around me and goes into my assembly district and takes money away from kids who don't have health insurances.

TUCKER: The governor's office says the cuts were not retaliatory. A spokesman notes that ample discretionary funds were available to the assemblyman for the projects, but that he chose not to fund the projects.

Going against Spitzer is tough. He's already threatened the Senate majority leader with an IRS investigation for getting in his way. He's threatening to sue the county clerks for not implementing his policy.

It's a style that Spitzer, himself, admits is akin to a steamroller. Ironically, almost as a reminder of what is at stake surrounding this driver's license dispute, a major identify fraud ring was busted in the New York City borough of queens on Wednesday; 41 people have been charged with supplying fraudulent government identity documents such as resident alien cards, Social Security cards and driver's licenses.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TUCKER: Now, the point that was made repeatedly today at the announcement of the indictments, driver's licenses are source documents from which, Lou, fraudulent identities can be built.

DOBBS: And often are. We have had huge arrests just in the last couple of days here in New York on more document fraud, identify fraud, and, of course, for the purpose of perpetuating illegal immigration in this country.

This governor, he's described himself as a steamroller?

TUCKER: Oh, yes. And, well, in a family-friendly way, he said, I'm an F'ing steamroller, and I will roll over you and anybody else that gets in my way.

He was responding to Assemblyman Tedisco earlier this year. Different topic, but Tedisco is accusing him of being a bully, basically.

DOBBS: Well, he sounds like he's accusing himself. And you said family-friendly. That's because you used that expression, rather than the governor's.

TUCKER: Yes. The governor didn't censor it.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: Well, let me give the governor a description that he might consider for himself. How about spoiled rich kid brat who is treating New York residents as if he thinks they're his rich father's tenants, instead of citizens? I wonder what the governor would think of that.

And the governor, by the way -- I want to repeat here, Bill, we have invited Governor Spitzer to come on this broadcast and discuss and debate this issue. The man doesn't have the backbone. He may be what he calls a steamroller, but I think he's a weak-kneed, spineless steamroller, who is absolutely acting against the interests of his citizens and ignoring, ignoring the will of New York State citizens.

It's absolutely an outrage.

Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

Well, later on this broadcast, we will hear from two New York State officials, one Republican and one Democrat, who have been ordered to give driver's licenses away to illegal aliens. I will also have a few thoughts about what "The New York Times" today reported as my crusade against the governor's plan to give away illegal alien driver's licenses.

And I will set the record straight on just a few thoughts from both Albany, the governor's thoughts, and, of course, some of the reporting of "The New York Times" -- a little irony there.

And another CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll just released finding more than half of all Americans say police in their communities should -- should be allowed to arrest illegal aliens solely for breaking immigration laws.

Prince William County in Virginia is one such community already demanding and taking action. It voted today for one of the country's toughest crackdowns on illegal immigration. Its decision could have implications for local communities, towns and cities all across the nation.

As Lisa Sylvester now reports, the open borders, amnesty lobby is fighting this new effort with protests, boycotts and, of course, a federal lawsuit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pro-amnesty groups have staged protests in Prince William County, Virginia, to keep the county from cutting services to illegal aliens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's unfair. I pay taxes like anybody else. My family pay taxes. Everybody pay taxes.

SYLVESTER: But in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, after 12 hours of public comment, the county board of supervisors unanimously voted to move forward with the plan, one of the toughest in the nation.

It denies services, including tax relief and mortgage and rental assistance, to illegal aliens, prevents them from obtaining business licenses, and allows local police to check the immigration status of anyone accused of breaking the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most important thing about what this does is, it allows us to apprehend, arrest and place into deportation illegal immigrants who commit crimes inside of our community.

SYLVESTER: Many Virginia lawmakers say they're hearing from angry constituents, like Jack Bray (ph), who are fed up with picking up the tab of illegal immigration, overcrowded schools, jails and hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The taxpayers are the victims. Residents of Virginia are the victims.

SYLVESTER: On the state level, the Virginia Crime Commission's task force on illegal immigration voted to order local judges to deny bail to illegal aliens charged with a state or federal crime and to step up reporting of criminal illegal aliens to federal immigration authorities.

But the task force voted down a proposal to build what would have been a first, a state jail facility to house illegal aliens awaiting deportation.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SYLVESTER: Other communities are following Prince William County's lead. Two other counties, Loudoun and Culpeper, have introduced similar legislation cracking down on illegal immigration. But these new measures are likely to face legal challenges. A lawsuit has already been filed against Prince William County -- Lou.

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

As local communities across the country are taking action that the federal government, under the direction, of course, of the Bush White House and the Bush administration, refuses to enforce U.S. immigration laws or, of course, despite what is now a six-year war against terror, to secure our borders, our ports.

Time now to look at some of your thoughts.

Joan in Florida said: "Gosh, Lou, we have three presidential candidates that are overspending their campaign funds? Sounds to me like they're certainly qualified to run the country, certainly by current and recent past standards."

Karen in Michigan: "Thanks for keeping border agents Ramos and Compean in the headlines. Maybe the president doesn't wake up sick to his stomach at what has happened, but I do. What this country has become nauseates me."

And Ron in West Virginia: "Lou, you should not accuse Congress of acting like idiots. In my opinion, I don't believe they're acting."

You have a very profound point, and I exceed to your better judgment.

We will have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast. Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com.

Up next, what role did the Internet company Yahoo! play in the jailing of a political prisoner in communist China and what are the charges against the top official of Yahoo!? Will have that special report.

We will have more on the battle over the effort by the governor of New York to give away driver's licenses to illegal aliens. And I will be joined by two New York State officials who refuse to give illegal aliens driver's licenses. We will hear from them.

And I will have a few thoughts about what "The New York Times" calls my crusade against the governor's wild-eyed, outrageous and irresponsible proposal.

Stay with us. We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The government of communist China tonight vigorously defending China's quality of production. But, even as China continues to defend the quality of its exports, more than a million more Chinese-made children's products are being recalled in the United States.

The Dunkin' Donuts coffee chain pulling a million so-called glow stick toys from its shops because they pose a choking hazard.

And the Ohio-based Huffy Corporation is recalling more than 20,000 Howler- and Highland-model bicycles, those bikes sold in Kmart stores from May through July of this year.

A complete list of the children's products being recalled can be found on our Web site, loudobbs.com.

Internet company Yahoo!'s role in communist China is controversial and under congressional scrutiny tonight. Two executives from Yahoo! have been called to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. That committee chairman says Yahoo! gave false information to Congress about its role in the jailing of a political prisoner now being held in communist China.

And, as Casey Wian reports, this may not be the only case in which Yahoo! has been involved.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congress and President Bush honored the Dalai Lama Wednesday with the Congressional Medal of Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At a moment in world history when nothing is as short a supply as moral authority, this humble Buddhist monk has an inexhaustible supply.

WIAN: While U.S. lawmakers are defying warnings by communist China to shun the exiled Tibetan leader, some major U.S. Internet companies have cooperated with Chinese efforts to stifle dissent.

Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked Yahoo! chairman Jerry Yang to appear at a hearing and explain how the Internet company gave false information to Congress about its role in a human rights case in China that sent a journalist to jail for a decade.

The journalist, Shi Tao, is in prison for posting material on the Internet about a Chinese crackdown on dissidents planning to celebrate the anniversary of Tiananmen Square. According to the committee, Yahoo! followed the orders of the Chinese government and helped identify Shi Tao.

Last year, a Yahoo! executive testified before Congress that it knew nothing about the nature of the Chinese investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Information has now surfaced that clearly shows that they knew what the Chinese government was looking for, the sharing of so-called state secrets, which was just the propaganda memo, and that they had personally identifying information that clearly would have fingered Shi Tao. WIAN: The Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco human rights group, says it uncovered three other similar cases of Yahoo! cooperation with Chinese authorities investigating dissidents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt that there is an everyday occurrence, where the American companies who are doing business in China on the Internet have to interact with the Chinese police. Sometimes, it's about censorship and sometimes it's about surveillance.

WIAN: Yahoo! released a statement saying: "The committee's decision to single out Yahoo! and accuse the company of making misstatements is grossly unfair and mischaracterizes the nature and intent of our past testimony."

The Shi Tao case dates to 2004. Since then, Yahoo! has sold majority ownership of the Chinese division involved.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Shi Tao and another Chinese journalist serving 10 years in prison are suing Yahoo! for turning them into Chinese authorities. Yahoo! recently filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing it has no place in American courts -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Casey Wian.

Coming up next, I will be talking with popular radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. We will be talking about her important new book with my favorite title of the year, "Power to the People."

Also, a new warning about the national crisis over our scarce water supplies and a drought that has captured half of the country.

And we will have more on Governor Spitzer's efforts to give away driver's licenses to illegal aliens and his efforts to, of course, crush opposition to his proposal. Three officials who refuse to be bullied by the governor join us.

And I will have a few thoughts about the good governor, his proposal and "The New York Times." I guess it's sort of his house organ, as it were.

Stay with us. We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: As many of, you know, for the past several weeks on this broadcast, we've been reporting extensively on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give away driver's licenses to illegal aliens. The governor's outrageous proposal and his imperious way of attempt to implement it has generated opposition and criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

And, apparently, our continuing coverage of this controversy has annoyed that bastion of pro-illegal alien activists and open border liberals, the so preciously liberal "New York Times".

Here is today's headline: "Lou Dobbs Crusades Against" -- if you can see it, that headline -- "Crusades Against Spitzer's Drivers' License Plan for Illegal Immigrants."

That's the headline in today's paper. A nice headline. And, of course, we welcome press coverage always of our crusade against anything that is outrageous against the American way, truth, justice -- you know, people like Governor Eliot Spitzer and policies like this that he came up with regarding illegal aliens with legal state issued identification against the will of legal citizens of the State of New York.

In an otherwise fair report, the "New York Times" did mention today that we incorrectly reported that illegal aliens will "need only a foreign passport to obtain a driver's license."

Well, actually, we did once say that out of -- I believe it was 10 instances -- in an interview. None of our correspondents ever mentioned anything like that in any of the dozen or so reports we aired. But in one interview segment, the "Times" fairly interpreted that we gave the impression that a foreign passport would be all that would be required to obtain a driver's license. I apologize for that.

However, in every other report or interview, we did make it crystal clear that a passport and other supporting identification would be needed, for example, for residents. But the "New York Times" itself, we should point out, reported -- and in all fairness -- this what the "New York Times" said: "Under the new rules, the Department of Motor Vehicles will accept a current foreign passport as proof or identity without, also requiring a valid year-long visa or other evidence of legal immigration."

The "Times" did pretty much just what they accused us of having done. And the "Times" reporter, Nicholas Confessore, also criticized this broadcast for saying Governor Spitzer's policy was implemented by executive order. We did report that twice and we stand corrected. It was not an executive order. But it turns out to have been a -- what is called by the governor's office an administrative policy change. What it amounts to is a direct order by the governor that doesn't require the approval of the state government.

The point is, it was a unilateral decision by the governor to change policy and order state agencies to implement this outrageous, outrageous proposal to give away driver's licenses.

Now, we should point out again, in fairness, the "New York Times" did the same thing we did -- in point of fact, reporting it exactly the same way that we did. And, actually, Nicholas Confessore -- the reporter -- is the one who wrote it: "The State Association of County Clerks voted Thursday to condemn Eliot Spitzer's executive order allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses."

That's what I call pretty thin gruel, if we're to be criticized for that, something the "New York Times" did, and did more than once. The principal issue here is while the "New York Times" plays semantics with wording, the governor of New York is irresponsibly, blatantly, outrageously disregarding security interests and the well- being of the citizens he's sworn to protect. And if the "New York Times" isn't used to our ongoing and thorough reporting, we invite them to stay with us night after night, as we enlighten them on an issue they have decided in favor of the pro-illegal alien lobby and open borders advocates. We thank them for their attention.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight -- do you believe the mainstream media is failing to report the facts of illegal immigration and the impact of this administration's failure to secure our ports and borders, yes or no?

Please cast your vote at loudobbs.com.

We will have the results for you later in the broadcast.

Well, the controversy over the Spitzer plan continues to grow. The governor is standing by his decision as more and more people criticize him and opposed that proposal -- and not only in the State of New York. The results of a new CNN national poll just released show that Americans nationwide are overwhelmingly opposed to granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Seventy-six percent -- more than three quarters of all Americans polled -- do not want driver's licenses in the hands of illegal aliens.

By the way, in New York, the most recent poll, a Siena poll, showed that New York residents opposed that idea by a 72 percent rate.

Joining me now, Raymond Martinez, former New York State motor vehicle commissioner; Oneida county clerk Sandy DePerno, a Democrat; and New York State Republican Assemblyman David Townsend.

We thank you all for being here and we appreciate your time.

Let me turn first, if I may, to just the basic issue here, and that is that opinion poll that shows 76 percent nationwide opposing it, 72 percent in New York in the most recent poll.

I would just like to ask Sandy DePerno, county clerk, as I said, in Oneida County, what your reaction is and what the reaction has been there.

SANDY DEPERNO, ONEIDA COUNTY CLERK: I've had -- ever since this hit the papers, I have had numbers -- just numerous phone calls, e- mails, letters from my constituents telling me to please persuade the governor to rescind this executive order. My constituents are just outraged by it.

DOBBS: And Assemblyman Townsend, your reaction and the reaction of your constituents.

DAVID TOWNSEND (R), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: Well, Lou, my constituents' reaction is basically the same. But I think you're missing an important point here. And it was brought up in a hearing we had today in Syracuse --

DOBBS: Right.

TOWNSEND: ...with county clerks from Oneida County, as well as representatives...

DOBBS: I was about to get to that. Go to it. Go to it.

TOWNSEND: ...district attorneys' offices and police agencies. And one thing that nobody seems to have zeroed in on is the people that are illegal and registered to get a driver's license will fill out a Motor Voter registration form. And as long as they check a box that says they're a legal resident...

DOBBS: Right.

THOMPSON: ...or a citizen of New York and sign it, they will be eligible to vote in the elections. And I think this the impetus behind this whole program is to register approximately 500,000 illegal aliens in New York so that they can vote in next year's presidential election.

DOBBS: Well, one of the original county clerks sitting next to you there, Sandy DePerno, is focused on that issue, certainly. Do you -- the county -- you're among 13 county clerks who stated right at the outset that you would defy the governor's proposal.

Are you as concerned as the assemblyman about the issue of voter fraud?

DEPERNO: Of course, we are. We ducktail with our board of elections on the county level. And, yes, that is a major concern with all of the county clerks.

DOBBS: And Ray Martinez, former head of the motor vehicles commission, you fought hard, worked hard to make New York's driver's license an important, secure document.

What is your reaction to what the governor is trying to do and the issues that both the county clerks, as Sandy DePerno and Assemblyman Townsend have raised here?

RAYMOND MARTINEZ, FORMER NEW YORK STATE MOTOR VEHICLES COMMISSIONER: It's inexplicable, Lou. The governor has acted in an arrogant and an irresponsible fashion. I commend both the assemblyman and the county clerk's association for taking a stand on this.

This -- this is really an irresponsible action. It compromises the safety and security of New Yorkers and, in truth, beyond the borders of New York State. The -- we're talking about possibly adding a half a million to perhaps 700,000 illegal aliens with questionable documentation. And the governor is counting on technology -- on technologies that we've used. They're known quantities, but they're not a panacea.

DOBBS: All right, is it your judgment that to do this -- that, first, as a number of his critics have said, that the governor is violating, basically, the law -- and certainly the intent of The Real I.D. law -- and will make it easier for law breakers of all sorts -- including terrorists -- to take advantage of New York State's driver's licenses and the documents that can flow from that?

MARTINEZ: There's no question about it, Lou.

New York has been a leader for the last seven years in document security for the driver license. We were uniquely impacted by 9/11. We've taken this seriously. Law enforcement knows that. New York, of all states, should not be taking a back seat here. And we do not want to be a weak link state.

The governor points that while eight other states do it -- these are eight other states that are either unable or unwilling...

DOBBS: Right.

MARTINEZ: ...to protect the sanctity of their photo identification documents. It's absolutely wrong.

DOBBS: Let me ask you, David Townsend, you and Sandy DePerno, coming out of that hearing today -- 13 clerks have said categorically they're not going to do anything to support the governor in this order. More than 30 county clerks have said that they think this is absolutely outrageous.

What -- Assemblyman, what are you doing to protect elected county clerks such as Sandy DePerno and others, and Frank Merola and others here who are standing up for their constituents and what they see as the law of the State of New York?

THOMPSON: We have drafted legislation. We'll be introducing it so it can hopefully come to the floor on the 23rd when we go back into session, to indemnify the county clerks from any lawsuit brought against them by the governor. We saw what happened to Minority Leader Jim Tedisco. And this governor is just bent on crushing anybody that doesn't believe the way he does. And we, as legislators, are not going our taxpayers have to pay for lawsuits to protect our county clerks from upholding the law and defying the governor's order to break the law.

DOBBS: Sandy DePerno, you're a Democrat.

What is your reaction to a governor of your own party saying, as we've reported here, that he's going to employ these steamroller tactics and he doesn't care whether he rolls over a fellow Democrat or another elected official?

He's going it have his way on an issue that a majority -- a vast majority of the citizens of New York oppose.

DEPERNO: Well, I'm just shocked and appalled. And, like I said today at the hearing, he should start acting like the governor and worry about the constituents of New York State and stop acting like an attorney general. He's the governor now. His job is to protect the constituents of New York State from terrorist attack and put in security measures. And this plan is not a secure plan.

DOBBS: Well, as I said earlier, I don't believe this governor is acting like an attorney general. He's acting like a willful rich kid brat who thinks that the citizens of New York are that rich father's tenants rather than citizens who are to be respected and to be represented.

I want to thank you all for being...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's living off campaign promises.

DOBBS: Well, I don't -- I -- I just think it's outrageous. He's beyond the pale.

I do thank you all very much for being here.

We appreciate your time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

DOBBS: Coming up next, popular radio host, author Laura Ingraham joins me.

She says it's time for the American people to put this country back on track. I love the title of her book. It's my favorite -- "Power to the People."

And a drug-resistant super bug that could be killing thousands of Americans each year. We'll have the latest for you.

And will basic government services be there when you need them?

Are they there now?

We'll have a special report on the sorry state of this nation's water supply -- a frightening, frightening void in public investment and a very troubling issue for the next generation of America.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Schools are closed in Bedford County, Virginia after the death of a teenager there from a drug-resistant staph infection. Seventeen-year-old Ashton Bonds died Monday after being diagnosed with MRSA -- a strain of staph bacteria, a so-called super bug, that does not respond to penicillin or related drugs. Schools in Bedford County, Virginia reopen tomorrow.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona is now warning of the dangers of a rare amoeba following the death of a teenage swimmer there. Doctors say 14- year-old Aaron Evans was infected with a microscopic amoeba while swimming at the Colorado River Reservoir last month. That amoeba attacking the teenager's brain. The amoeba is blamed for six deaths in this country this year.

And the drought that parched the Southeast and Southwestern sections of the country are spreading to the Mid-Atlantic Region now. The National Climate Data Center reports drought conditions existing now in more than 40 percent of the contiguous United Nations. Most of the Southeast is now in what is described as an exceptional drought. Atlanta's Lake Lanier, a key source of that city's drinking water, the metropolitan district's drinking water, is now dangerously lower and the experts say that it is going to move lower and that without rain, Lake Lanier could basically run almost dry over the course of the next 90 days.

This severe drought is raising concerns about the nation's water supply, of course. An alarming new study says our water system is in urgent need of repair and that there has been hardly any public investment in the infrastructure. According to that report, federal funding has dwindled to $1 billion -- half what it once was.

Kitty Pilgrim has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The country's water is visible and vital. But water pipes -- in the ground, in the basement -- are out of sight. And that critical infrastructure must be maintained.

Some in Congress point out the federal government has cut funding and states are finding it hard to make up the difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-eight percent of the funding was supplied by the federal government in 1978. Now, maybe we don't want to return to those glorious days of yesteryear, but last year it was 3 percent of the funding. It undercuts the potential partnership that we have.

PILGRIM: According to the environmental advocacy group, Food and Water Watch, of the one-and-a-half million miles of water pipes and wastewater pipes in this country, some 72,000 miles of those are at least 80 years old.

WENONAH HAUTER, FOOD AND WATER WATCH: In the next 20 years, there is a $300 to $400 billion deficit. And if we don't do something, we're going to see major, major problems. It could be cholera, dysentery outbreaks. We will be taken back to being a Third World country.

PILGRIM: The American Society of Civil Engineers gives a D minus to the nation's 54,000 drinking water systems, writing in their most recent 2005 report card: "America faces a shortfall of $11 billion annually to replace aging facilities and comply with safe drinking water regulations."

Floods and hurricanes put additional stress on the systems. Food and Water Watch says half the country's waterways are suffering from pollution and don't meet federal standards.

In 2006, there were 25,000 beach closings because of sewage spillage into the ocean.

As for who's in the worst shape, Food and Water Watch says it's California that needs $10 billion investment over the next five years. And New York has only half the money it needs.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, this is something that Americans care very much about. But the government doesn't appear to be listening. Eighty-six percent of Americans in a recent poll support federal funding for water infrastructure -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, all one can say, both political parties, this Congress, this administration and the previous, is that they have driven this government into an abyss of dysfunctional, absolute irresponsibility. It's mind boggling.

PILGRIM: The system is really on the verge of collapse in some places and really needs to be repaired immediately.

DOBBS: And at the same time, we're looking at a failure to invest -- public investment -- whether at the state, local or federal level. There is a void of leadership in this country and a sense of denial on the part of the American people that simply has to be overcome.

Kitty, thank you very much.

Kitty Pilgrim.

Coming up next -- controversial, opinionated, outspoken syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham.

She joins me to talk about her provocative, important new book with my favorite new title of the year "Power To the People".

Stay with us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Next, we're going to talk with one of my favorite radio talk show hosts and authors, Laura Ingraham. But, first, coming up at the top of the hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" and Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf, what have you got?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Thanks very much, Lou.

China outraged over a Congressional honor for Tibet's Dalai Lama. The actor, Richard Gere, is one of his biggest supporters, using his fame to focus on the exiled spiritual leader. Richard Gere joins us in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

Also, Saddam Hussein's jailer facing court-martial. We're going to show you what an American military commander is accused of doing for the enemy that could now send him to prison. An entire school district shut down over fears of a drug- resistant staph super bug, as it's called -- a bug that may be killing thousands of Americans each year.

All that, Lou, and a lot more, coming up, in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Wolf.

BLITZER: Nationally syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham -- controversial, opinionated, outspoken and smart as hell. The former television commentator's provocative new book is "Power To the People".

Laura Ingraham joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Laura, as I said to our audience just a moment ago, this is my favorite title of any book of the year, "Power To the People".

Now, you're supposed to be a big time conservative. I mean that sounds almost like a populist.

LAURA INGRAHAM, TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, Lou, I took the slogan back from the people who never really meant it when they used it back in the late '60s and early '70s. When they said "Power To the People," they meant power to the Marxists, power to the left-wing intellectuals and power to the anti-war movement. I actually mean the people -- you know, those really inconvenient voters out there who want our borders and forests.

DOBBS: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

Who want our borders and forests, want a better life for their children...

INGRAHAM: Sure.

DOBBS: ...want the American dream preserved -- all of which you discuss.

All right, let me ask you, you said that the country is off course in the book, and ask you focus on it. Tell our viewers what you mean by off course, because you make it sound like the entire nation is moving in the wrong direction.

INGRAHAM: Well, I've been in 29 cities, Lou, over the past month and I just got back for a few days. And I am telling you, without exaggeration, that there is disillusionment, upset, depression and frustration and anger out there, especially among conservatives, who feel like they worked really hard for a long time to help the Republican Party become a majority party.

And now a lot of them are asking themselves, well, what did that get me? You know, they support much of what the president does and sort of the war on terror. But whether it's on some of these free trade deals that a lot of people are starting to call into question...

DOBBS: Right.

INGRAHAM: ...or certainly on the border issue, people feel like the politicians are not being responsive. And then on the popular culture, they don't even recognize the popular culture they see. It certainly doesn't look like their values.

DOBBS: But, let me ask -- a quote from the book here on comprehensive immigration reform, the defeat of it. A quote. Laura writes: "I have never witnessed our political leaders acting" -- and you wrote it much better than I am saying it...

INGRAHAM: (LAUGHTER).

DOBBS: "I have never witnessed our political leaders acting in such a blatant disregard of their constituents. Ultimately, the common sense of Americans won out over the arrogance of leaders in both parties, amnesty defeated, at least for now."

How do we explain the political leaders in both parties and the ideological extremes of conservativism and liberalism -- to whatever degree they're relevant in this -- at this time -- have simply been divided from people?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think that we just need to keep reminding people that just because the elites say something -- whether it's "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, a college professor, the Chamber of Commerce or some Latino activist group -- just because they say something, that doesn't mean it's so. And the people still have an enormous amount of influence over the process, over politics, over the culture around them.

And "Power To the People," Lou, is about taking responsibility for what's happening around us, re-engaging politics, as we did during that fight. And, boy, did we send a message to Washington. People all across this country did. And they were really energized by that. So I want it build on that.

DOBBS: And you're encouraging people, as well, to engage on one of -- one of the issues that I agree with you is so critically important. That's public education. And, really, reminding people there is no -- no substitute for democratic participation, participatory democracy, irrespective of your partisanship.

INGRAHAM: Well, I think what's happened is that we've gotten very used to a few people dictating the terms of education in this country -- a few interest groups. And we have to remind people that American virtues will not survive if they're not defended, protected and celebrated.

And so there is a lot of great stuff out there to celebrate and to publicize. And our young people need to know more about our Medal of Honor recipients, for instance, Lou, than they do about the latest head shaving incident in Hollywood or which bad girl is on, you know, on probation now or in rehab.

And that's what the book is about -- really lifting us up. And it's -- there's a -- it's blueprint for change. And so I'm pretty proud of it.

DOBBS: And a wonderful blueprint it is. A great read and an important book by a superb writer. And a personal book. And I think that adds depth and texture and appeal, as well. And, as I said, you had me at the title -- "Power To the People."

Well, actually, Laura had me at the byline, as well.

Laura Ingraham, nice work.

Thanks for being here.

As always, a pleasure.

INGRAHAM: Lou, great to be here.

DOBBS: Coming up next, the results of our poll.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Ninety-seven percent of you say the media is failing -- the national media failing to report the facts of illegal immigration and the impact of this administration's failure to secure our ports and borders.

Thanks for being with us tonight.

Join us here tomorrow.

November 5th, we start at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Please be with us from now until then.

Good night from New York.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" begins now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

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