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LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK
Obama's Immigration Stance; NAFTA and Free Trade; Bill Gates on Capitol Hill
Aired March 15, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight: Senator Obama misrepresenting my position on illegal immigration again. And he continues to pander to socioethnocentric special interests groups, also to senator's record straight and mine as well, here tonight.
And Microsoft founder Bill Gates: He went to Capitol Hill. Again, demonstrating why he's no friend of working men and women in this country, why he's no friend of the facts either.
We'll have that story, all of the news, much more, straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK: News, debate and opinion. From Washington, D.C.: Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. President Bush, strongly defending his economic policies as our economy slows. The president admitting that this country is now going through what he called a tough time, and he said he is, however, confident that there will be a rebound. The president is also lashing out at critics of his so- called free trade policies.
White House correspondent Ed Henry has our report. Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the economy clearly not just issue number one in the presidential campaign, also the top issue at the White House. The president is realizing that if there is a recession it could have a devastating effect on his legacy. Also, it could really damage the presidential campaign of hips friend, Republican Senator John McCain.
The president saw how his own father lost his reelection in 1992 because of a recession. So, the president is trying to show that the government is taking action in a speech this week. He touted the economic stimulus plan that will eventually reach 130 million homes, but those rebate checks are not going out until May.
So, in the short term consumers are not going to feel a lot of relief. So, the president is walking a very fine line even in the face of rising oil and food prices, also, sinking consumer confidence. The president was trying to insist that he's very optimistic, even as he acknowledged there's some real problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: There will be ups and downs. And after 52 consecutive months of job growth, which is a record, our economy obviously is going through a tough time. It's going through a tough time in the housing market and it's going through a tough time in the financial market.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, the president claimed, one way to help improve the economy would be for Congress to pass the Columbian-American Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Bush was lashing out at what he called protectionist thought, nativist thought as well based on some of the criticism of this trade pact.
But right now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives is saying she's not going to bring up this trade pact unless there's also another piece of legislation guaranteeing that American workers' rights will be protected by this trade pact and other trade pacts that are clearly headed for a collision course, Lou.
DOBBS: A collision course indeed. Ed Henry, thank you very much.
Our Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre now joins me. Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, you know, everybody has a boss and those bosses tend to want to hear anything that sounds like criticism in private. If you do it in public, it can be a career ender and that's what's happened to Admiral "Fox" Fallon.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): Even as Pentagon sources say Admiral "Fox" Fallon was encouraged to step aside for appearing out of step with President Bush, the White House denied it was quashing dissent from its senior military commanders.
DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Bush has always fostered an environment of robust and healthy debate. He's had many people, provide thoughts that may have dissented from his own views.
MCINTYRE: In fact, Admiral Fallon is far from the only senior advisor who has counseled war with Iran now would be folly. Count among the reluctant warriors, Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen and their civilian boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
But Fallon's problem is he seemed to go one step too far. At times, appearing to rule out the military option altogether. In his last television interview before his fall from grace, Fallon told CNN's Barbara Starr, he would support the use of force against Iran if diplomacy failed but sounded less than enthusiastic.
ADM. WILLIAM FALLON, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: The U.S. policy would be what it is. The president will decide at the hour of the day what he wants to do base on the advice he receives from chain in command. MCINTYRE: Bush administration critics like former Pentagon official Lawrence Korb worried that the best military advice is being ignored.
LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: The President Bush keeps saying, well, I listen to my generals. What he's saying is, I only listen to the generals that agree with me.
MCINTYRE: But the White House says while private criticism is welcome, public dissent is not.
PERINO: When it comes to foreign policy, it's critical that an administration speak with one voice. And if there's a perception that they're not with one voice and that becomes a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: And this is not just about Iran. Admiral Fallon is also preparing his recommendations on what should happen in Iraq, whether there should be a continued drawdown of U.S. troops. That recommendation will still go to President Bush.
But, Lou, the question is: Will anyone pay attention to it after he's gone?
DOBBS: And it's also troubling that this is going on. It's unseemly at best, perhaps, very bad policy and administration on the part of both Secretary Gates and President Bush.
What is the reaction in the Pentagon there, quietly away from the cameras and microphones?
MCINTYRE: Well, you know, as is often the case in Washington, you need to have sort of a network of friends and supporters if you're going to survive something like this. And Admiral Fallon's personality rubbed few people the wrong way. So, when he got in hot water with some people at the White House, he didn't have a large number of people rallying around him. That said, it was his decision to step aside, and I think he's comfortable with that.
DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much. Let's hope that the future is comfortable for all of us. We're going to need more talent than what has been visible for a number of years in that Pentagon. It is a shame to see someone of Admiral Fallon's talent departs.
Jamie, thank you. Jamie McIntyre.
On Capitol Hill, the three presidential candidates showed up at their day jobs for a change, to cast votes on earmarks, what you and I call pork. In a rare moment of unity and clarity, all three presidential candidates supported a ban on earmarks for one whole year. But most senators put their own interests first and voted the legislation down. The proposal was defeated in the Senate, 71 to 29.
Dana Bash has our report from Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Instead of attending a fundraiser for much-needed campaign cash, John McCain made a rare appearance at his day job in the Senate. Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton returned to the Capitol, too, after long absences.
What lured the presidential candidates to the Senate? A legislation to ban the controversial practice of earmarks for one year. All three candidates support it, but for McCain, railing on earmarks is a signature issue.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In 24 years as a member of the United States Congress, I have never asked for nor received a single earmark pork barrel project for my state. Senator Clinton had gotten $342 million worth of earmark pork barrel projects. The senator from Illinois, because he's junior, had only gotten about $92 million.
BASH: McCain hopes to appeal to independent voters fed up with Washington by making earmarks a major dividing line with Democrats.
MCCAIN: And in both cases, it's hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' dollars that are absolutely outrageously wasted.
BASH: Obama did suddenly comply with one McCain demand, revealing for the fist time what earmarks he sought in 2005 and 2006, his first two years in the Senate. And on his way to Washington, Obama renewed his attack on McCain for wanting to make the Bush tax cuts he initially opposed permanent.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are all steps that John McCain rightly said were irresponsible when they first came up.
BASH: But for all the campaign discord, pleasantries back in the club of the Senate. McCain and Clinton saying hello and this, knowing the press was watching, Obama engaged Clinton and the two sat for several minutes of one-on-one conversation, making sure to smile, lest anyone use this to rekindle talk of a so-called "dream ticket," across the Capitol, the House speaker warned, no way.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: Take it from me -- that won't be the ticket.
BASH (on camera): That isn't the first time Nancy Pelosi has said she doesn't think a Clinton-Obama is going to happen. Now, she wouldn't give a reason for her analysis, but the reality is, the highest range ranking Democrat, somebody who is a sophisticated politician wouldn't say that if she didn't have one.
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
DOBBS: Still ahead: Corporate and business elites are demanding the right to import even more cheap labor from overseas. Louise Schiavone will have our report. Louise.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, an American multi billionaire technology giant wants Washington to give him the green light to hire more workers from other countries. Lou.
DOBBS: The poor baby. We're going to be hearing more about that. I'm looking forward to your report, Louise.
Also: A surprising admission by the secretary of the Air Force as the Pentagon struggles to defend its decision to buy European tanker aircraft over Boeing aircraft. We'll have that report.
And: Senator Obama making outrageous and accurate comments about my views on illegal immigration while pandering to ethnocentric interest groups. Well, I'll be setting the record straight and I'm going to show him how to really pander if you really want to, senator.
We'll be right back.
DOBBS: On Capitol Hill last Wednesday: Microsoft's Bill Gates claimed that American companies need more foreign worker visas, even though Indian companies are the largest users of those H1B visas in this country. They do so because they are in the United States outsourcing domestically.
Gates then went on to criticize U.S. immigration policy in Congress, Gates saying the failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform was in his words, forcing companies such as Microsoft to locate jobs outside the United States.
How many jobs? Well, fewer than a thousand in which he hires H1B visa workers. But fawning members of Congress? We're going to show you.
Actually, Louise Schiavone is going to show you in this report.
SCHIAVONE (voice-over): In a town where money talks, the man Forbes magazine ranks as the world's third richest person arrived on Capitol Hill to a hero's welcome.
REP. BRIAN BAIRD, (D) WASHINGTON: And a committee that is so proud of what you have done and what you're doing for the future.
REP. STEVEN ROTHMAN, (D) NEW JERSEY: You are a role model for anybody who's done reasonably well and for the rest us as well.
REP. BART GORDON, (D) TENNESSEE: I notice that you are a billionaire and I'm not.
SCHIAVONE: With no other witnesses to contest his testimony, Bill Gates told Congress that Microsoft and companies like his could be even more successful if the United States would only let more foreign workers in.
BILL GATES, MICROSOFT CHAIRMAN: The importance of being able to retain and hire these top world top engineers is super important.
SCHIAVONE: Standing in the way, the current annual limit of 65,000 in the H1B visa program for highly-skilled individuals sought by employers like Microsoft.
GATES: U.S. companies face a severe shortfall of scientists and engineers with expertise to develop the next generation of breakthroughs.
SCHIAVONE: Representing the rank and file, the Programmers Guild charges, that's not Microsoft's main concern.
KIM BERRY, PROGRAMMERS GUILD: The biggest problem we have with the global economy isn't our skills. It's our wages. So, yes, when we say this is necessary to increase global competitiveness, it means, this is the way of lowering American wages.
SCHIAVONE: Meanwhile, thousands of H1B visas are going to Indian-based outsourcing firms, like Infosys Technologies nailing down close to 5,000, Wipro Technologies with 2,500, Satyam Computer Services with 1,400. Microsoft received 959 H1Bs last year.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, senior Senate Republican Charles Grassley is pressing for visa reforms requiring employers to search for American workers first before they scour the globe often for cheaper labor. Lou.
DOBBS: Louise, it is disgusting to watch U.S. congressmen literally just -- there's no other word for it -- sucking up to a man because he happens to be extraordinarily wealthy, sitting in front of them in the halls of Congress. Well, actually, in the Congressional chamber.
SCHIAVONE: If only we each had had $53 billion, we would all get that kind of representation.
DOBBS: Well, it's -- the shame is that he misrepresented the facts and certainly didn't represent the workers. Microsoft has fewer than a thousand H1B visa workers, correct?
SCHIAVONE: Yes, that's right.
DOBBS: And what many people don't realize is those H1B visas go primarily -- the largest companies using them are Indian companies in this country bringing in Indian workers to outsource jobs domestically in this country.
SCHIAVONE: Indian officials call that the outsourcing visa. They know what it is.
DOBBS: And they're honest and smart enough to speak straightforwardly and honestly. I mean, I give them great credit. I respect them for doing so.
And the other part of that, when he talks about the Olympics, most of those H1B visas that are being used are coming in under the category called L1, under the H1B visas, which is a lesser skill, not a higher skill.
SCHIAVONE: Some of these workers are very highly skilled, but for the most part, we are not talking about the brain trust. We're talking about people who make -- will wind up making less than Americans.
DOBBS: In similar work. Louise, thank you very much. Louise Schiavone, appreciate it.
New concerns tonight: About the decline of American manufacturing, and the outsourcing of our jobs, and national security.
The secretary of the Air Force this week admitted, that this nation's industrial base is in decay and incredibly, he made the admission while defending the U.S. Air Force's decision to award a $35 billion to $40 billion contract to the European consortium that builds the Airbus.
Christine Romans has our report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A standing ovation for the men and women of the Air Force. But tough questions for Air Force brass who hired European company EADS to build 179 aerial refueling tankers. Why would the Air Force spend $35 billion in taxpayer dollars to accompany being sued by the U.S. government for unfair trade subsidies?
SEN. PATTY MURRAY, (D) WASHINGTON: We have a contract going to a company that we do as a country have a case against because of those illegal subsidies.
MICHAEL WYNNE, AIR FORCE SECRETARAY: We believe we accurately followed the laws and arrived at decisions selecting the better of two very qualified competitors.
ROMANS: The Air Force chose a tanker based on the Airbus A330, much of it to be built overseas and assembled in Alabama. The mid- sized Boeing offering based on the 767 was rejected. Boeing says 85 percent of its plane would be American made. Boeing and some lawmakers contend the larger Airbus tanker will require larger hangars and longer runways.
MARK MCGRAW, BOEING AERIAL TANKER PROGRAM: And the fuel used, the repair cost, the impact on the Air Force's infrastructure -- think hangars now, was much less on our product. And that was going to save the Air Force and the U.S. taxpayer billions of dollars.
ROMANS: Northrop Grumman is EADS American partner and says 48,000 American jobs will be created by the tanker deal and called concerns about outsourcing hype and misinformation.
PAUL MEYER, NORTHGROP GRUMMAN TANKER PROGRAM: This will provide a significant boom in the southeast. We have 230 suppliers, all U.S. based. So we're not sure the hype of losing 40,000-plus jobs that don't even exist today in the Boeing camp, much less on our ours.
ROMANS: As for the Air Force, officials again and again said the contract was awarded legally. But Senator Patty Murray of Washington questioned whether complicated procurement and trade laws were undermining American economic and national security. When pressed, the Air Force secretary admitted concern about the fragile manufacturing base in this country.
MURRAY: I'm asking you if you think the current procurement process reflects the needs of the defense, of our defense?
WYNNE: I think right now I worry about the industrial base of the future. I think we started to decay our industrial base in 1990 and I think our market doesn't support a large industrial base right now.
ROMANS: Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
DOBBS: Still ahead here: New efforts to stifle the national debate on illegal immigration and border security, amnesty advocates, watchdogs have become advocates, the government of Mexico joining up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, socioethnocentric interest groups. They're trying to stifle this debate at any cost. They don't care how much blood they spill, metaphorically.
And the Second Amendment is under fire. We'll be reporting on that as a family man faces prison after his gun was illegally, illegally, determined to be a simple machine gun. What's going on? Where's the NRA? We'll find out.
We'll be right back.
DOBBS: One of our basic freedoms, the right to keep and to bear arms. It's under fire tonight. An army reservist was convicted in federal court for, quote, "transferring a machine gun," end quote, after his semiautomatic 20-year-old AR-15 rifle malfunctioned on a shooting range.
Now, the husband and father of three is a convicted felon, facing prison. Bill Tucker has our report.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In July of 2006, David Olofson's life dramatically changed. A raid under the command of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was carried out in his home in Berlin, Wisconsin by the local police, the Sheriff's Department, and the ATF.
DAVID OLOFSON, CONVICTED GUN OWNER: They used tools to pry, you know, hydraulic tools, to pry apart the door frame, kicked the door in, you know, the SWAT team was fully armed with body armor.
TUCKER: Olofson's computers, gun manuals and gun collection were all seized. No illegal weapons were found. But Olofson was charged with a felony. Prior to this, Olofson had no criminal record.
He's an army veteran, honorably discharged. He was up until his arrest serving in the Army Reserves. He's a husband and the father of three young children. Olofson's problems began when he lent a rifle to a young man, Robert Croniki (ph) to be used on a local firing range.
(on camera): Croniki (ph) brought here to the Berlin Conservation Gun Club. He fired at least 800 rounds on several different occasions before the two multiple burst rounds that the ATF said made the gun a machine gun.
(voice-over): This past January 8th, Olofson was convicted on the charge of transferring a machine gun in violation of federal law and he now awaits sentencing.
Federal law defines any gun which fires more than one bullet with one pull of the trigger as a machine gun. That conviction ended his military career and could land him in prison.
Nationally, gun owners are alarmed because the gun in question is not or has not been until now considered a machine gun. It is an AR- 15 semiautomatic rifle. Olofson's was made by Olympic Arms SGW.
While no one keeps exact statistics on the gun, the National Rifle Association says tens of thousands of AR-15s are legally owned in the U.S. Gun owners are now wondering, if their gun misfires, will they go to jail? And are their Second Amendment rights in jeopardy?
Olofson's defense lawyers are adding laws (ph) to explain the government's logic.
BRIAN FAHL, FEDERAL DEFENDER SVCS. OF WISC.: A lot of what the government was attempting to prove and their theory of the case, you know, just seemed to contradict common sense. You know, if something malfunctions, you get it fixed. You don't charge and prosecute somebody as a felon.
TUCKER: But they did. And that's exactly why David Olofson found himself in federal court.
TUCKER: What we can tell you is why the government brought its full weight to bear on a man living in a town of 5,500 people in the middle of Wisconsin. We did ask for an explanation, but the U.S. attorney in Milwaukee declined comment as did the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because they said, the case is still pending.
Lou, Olofson is awaiting sentencing.
DOBBS: Olofson has a reputation of being a kind of classic, eccentric perhaps in some ways.
DOBBS: But the idea that they would bring the full weight of the federal government, you and I all, respect what the ATF does.
DOBBS: Those agents work hard day in and day out. But to come down on a man who has served his country with distinction, who is a man who's working in the community, a father of three, this makes no sense.
And where in the world is the National Rifle Association? Where is this man's congressman?
This man deserves -- I'll tell you, we took this on, this story on. It's one fellow sitting in Wisconsin, but if this going to happen to him, what concerns us on this broadcast is, it can happen to anybody.
TUCKER: Exactly. As far as the NRA goes, Lou, I did have extensive conversations with them. They watched the case from afar. They did not enter the case because, as they told me, they weren't invited and they don't go into cases unless they are specifically invited into them.
DOBBS: Well, you would think that the United States Congress, his congressman, would weigh in, his senator would weigh in, that there would have to be an advocacy group in his behalf. It looks to me like his mayor would be involved in this, his community. Because this is not the way this country works.
TUCKER: This is not a guy with, again, not a guy with a criminal record. This is a guy living in his community. I mean, he hasn't been a problem in his community, so to speak.
DOBBS: O, man. Well, somebody, wake up. Let's take care of one another. Take care of our own, 300 million of us. We need all the help we can get. Let's at least take care of each other in this country.
Bill Tucker, thank you very much. We will look forward to your continued reporting on this subject and on this man who's been, in my best judgment, done wrong.
Also: We're going to be following up next week with Ramos and Compean speaking to people who have been done wrong. Border Patrol agents: Ramos and Compean remain in prison. Their appeal: still no decision. We'll find out what's going on. Join us for that Monday. Up next here: Open border advocates and the government of Mexico among those trying to stifle our national debate on illegal immigration and border security.
Do you know how long it took us on this broadcast to start that national dialogue?
We're not going to back off because of a bunch of, well, conspiratorial interests on the left and the right. We're going to keep testing that First Amendment thing.
And: Congressman Barney Frank, one of the smartest men in Congress, he's got has a plan to help the struggling middle class. We'll be talking with him.
And: President Bush defending so-called free trade. He says he's tired of talk of isolationism and protectionism.
Say what? Who's talking protectionism? Who's talking isolationism?
Mr. President, get a grip.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
LOU DOBBS, CNN, HOST: Well, new efforts tonight to stifle the national debate on illegal immigration and border security. From the ACLU to the government of Mexico, the open borders lobby is demanding an end to immigration law enforcement and free speech. This is at the very least a vast left-wing and right-wing conspiracy. Casey Wian has our report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding that Congress crack down on raids, deportations and other alleged violations of civil liberties by U.S. immigration and customs enforcement. It's the latest efforts by supporters of expanded rights for illegal aliens to stop immigration law enforcement in the United States which they claim is a response to their street demonstrations.
EMMA LOZANO, PUEBLO SIN FRONTERAS: Our historic and record- breaking marches were answered by Bush with an aggressive and very public campaign of hate, terror, degrading the human dignity and separating our families through humiliating public raids and deportations. WIAN: The ACLU claims I.C.E. has conducted drag net-style raids of homes and businesses to sweep for immigrants, separated parents from their children and held them without due process in immigration detention facilities. In fact, I.C.E. says their enforcement actions only target (agrace) violators of immigration law, illegal aliens who committed other crimes and fugitives. Agents routinely release illegal aliens on humanitarian grounds such as child care. Still, religious groups and the Mexican government have joined the chorus equating immigration law enforcement or the discussion of the topic with hate and prejudice.
PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON, MEXICO: Due to generations (inaudible) by the decisions we take today, we work together to provide organized and humane migration, if we continue to allow hundreds to die each year?
WIAN: While Mexico's president recently spoke of working together to solve the illegal immigration crisis, he also told the "New York Times" so-called anti-immigrant rhetoric by U.S. politicians and talk show hosts "has started an atmosphere full of prejudice." Even U.S. presidential candidates are chiming in.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So when I hear Rush Limbaugh or, you know, Lou Dobbs or some of these people talking about how we need to send them all back, we're not going to send them all back.
WIAN: Apparently Senator Obama is not aware that "Lou Dobbs Tonight" has never advocated mass deportations. As to the ACLU, it first agreed to discuss its claims on camera with CNN. But after being told the interview would be used for "Lou Dobbs Tonight," the ACLU changed its mind, saying something came up. The group denied that it had anything to do with this broadcast. Lou.
DOBBS: Well, let's give them something to think about -- the ACLU's comments here and criticism of immigration customs enforcement are simply outrageous. So that's where we can start the negotiations of whether or not they can come on. The fact is that the ACLU is no longer a civil rights organization. It is joining other organizations that have historically been a watchdog group, have been, you know, committed to a higher standard of public service. They're nothing more than advocacy groups themselves. Now, you heard Senator Obama. I'd like you, if you would, to listen again to what Senator Obama said today attacking me. I want to point out this isn't the first time the senator has attacked me. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When I hear Rush Limbaugh or you know, Lou Dobbs, or some of these people talking about how we need to send them all back, we're not going to send them all back. Fist of all, this is a country of immigrants. Second of all, as a practical matter, we would end up having to use all of our law enforcement resources to round people up, detain them, separate families, it's not a realistic solution. We're not going to be able to solve the problem if we're just shouting about it, you know, like Lou Dobbs and folks on television.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBSS: Well, Senator Obama, a couple of things. One is, you say you can't possibly deport folks. Well, let's look at the record because in the 1970s, more than 10 million illegal aliens were actually deported during that period of time. So it is within our capacity. And as a man who's running on an aspirational agenda and campaign, you might consider what the possibilities are for this country rather than its limitations. This country can do whatever it sets its mind to doing. The other thing is, I'm just curious about who in the world you think you're kidding. You can pander -- you're a world-class panderer, most of the presidential candidates are. But I have to say, you didn't, in my opinion, do a very good job.
You said, as I recall, you said that we can't send all of those folks back. And then you said you won't send all of those folks back. That isn't very good pandering. You know, Casey Wian, your still there. I mean, I'm sort of shocked that he would not -- if he's not going to pander, shouldn't Senator Obama, shouldn't he get really, you know, say he isn't going to send anyone back? Do you think that would be a little stronger than, we're not going to send everybody back?
WIAN: Yes. There's a lot of confusing things about this statement, Lou. First of all, it sounds like he's reading from the script written by some of these organizations that were in our report, the ACLU, MALDEF, La Raza. I mean, he's talking about fear mongering. He's talking about rounding up folks in mass numbers. He's talking about separating families. He's equating legal immigration with illegal immigration. These are all the tactics and the words that used by these open borders advocacy groups.
And it's also surprising in that he's the front-runner. You wouldn't think he would need to resort to this disinformation campaign, this pandering as you put it. Perhaps he is so worried about the Latino vote in the remaining states -- he did, you know, only get about a third of the Latino vote in Texas -- perhaps he's worried about that going forward, but it sure seems that by distorting the record of people like you and people like Rush Limbaugh who we were unable to contact today, but we did see some of the statements that he's made in the past about illegal immigration and he also has never, that we could find, called for mass deportations of people. So you really got to wonder what's going through Senator Obama's head here, Lou.
DOBBS: I want to say to Senator Obama right now, you owe me an apology because you've distorted my position. One, I have never talked about rounding folks up. I certainly have never called for deportation. And tell your advisors, if it's going to help you pander, Senator Obama, do me a favor, do yourself a favor, do it with some style. You know, don't just say you're not going to send everybody back, you know. That isn't quite good enough. Why don't you -- let me do this, may I? I'm going to raise the ante for you here. Senator Obama, I'm going to pander to that group and show you how it's done. I'm going to pander them, however, by telling them the truth. Folks, if you are Latino, if you're an illegal immigrant, take note - I have never called for you to be deported, and unlike Senator Obama who would not send you all back, I won't send any of you back. How's that? Do you think that would work? I think I just out pandered you, Senator Obama. I hope that you will issue that apology now that we've set the record straight here. What do you think, Casey Wian?
WIAN: I'm not going to hold my breath, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up next, help could be on the way for millions of American families facing foreclosure. Congressman Barney Frank joins us to tell us about his plan. All of that and more straight ahead. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Millions of middle class Americans and those who aspire to the middle class now face the prospect of losing their homes. The House Financial Service Committee is drafting legislation that would provide aid to many Americans who are facing the prospect of foreclosure. Congressman Barney Frank is the chairman of that committee. He joins us now. Good to have you with us.
CONG. BARNEY FRANK (D), FINANCIAL SERVICES CHAIRMAN: Thanks, Lou.
DOBBS: Is there a real likelihood that we're going to see the millions of Americans who face foreclosure receiving help as a result of your committee, your proposal?
FRANK: There are two problems we're facing. One is and I know you would appreciate this, Lou, because you've been very good on this issue -- we want to do what we can for the people who are the borrowers, who may have been a little imprudent but certainly not criminals and in some cases were deceived. But we don't want to be providing any financial help to the irresponsible lenders. So we're trying to find a way to keep people in their homes without rewarding people who made loans and bought loans that shouldn't have been made.
Secondly, we confronted a kind of a reflex in the Bush administration that says, leave everything to the market. Unfortunately, we did, and that's what we got, the sub prime crisis, in this case, in the market. So I think, finally the final reality of the serious crisis we face, the job losses have persuaded a lot of people that we have to move because -- let me just finish with this -- it's not simply the victims -- the victims aren't simply the people whose homes will be foreclosed. Even if you don't want to help them, if we don't do something about this, the whole economy continues to flounder.
DOBBS: If people don't understand at this point this is a very serious and pervasive issue, a crisis that you are contending with and that we're recall going to experience, I don't know what we can say. I do want to point out, if I may put it this full screen, the comments from 17 other house republicans to President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson, are urging them to oppose any kind of so-called tax bailout. "While our economy is facing an entirely different challenge today, the core of that sentiment remains the same. The American free market economy remains resilient."
I want to salute the resilient American economy but I want to say to every Congressman and I would hope that we could get through to everyone in that town, this is not about Mr. Market being happy. It's a little more complicated and the responsibilities of our elected officials far more profound.
FRANK: Absolutely. By the way, those republicans, those who were in the house at the time, are exactly the ones who oppose, are doing anything to do reasonable regulation to prevent this crisis from happening, who opposed putting in rules that would have stopped these mortgages from happening. And the other thing, when you asked about the likelihood, you said 17. That's about -- there are 200 house republicans. So they can't even muster a frankly significant number of their own. I'm a great free market supporter as you are, but those of us who understand the free market understand that it doesn't exist best with no regulation whatsoever.
And in fact, one of the problems that we have in the economy today is people are afraid to invest. They're afraid to invest because it seems so many things go bad.
DOBBS: Congressman Barney Frank, Mr. Chairman, we appreciate your being here. We wish you all the luck in the world. And you're doing a very effective job, if I may say so, in beginning to provide oversight over marketplace that has been desperately in need of it for some time.
FRANK: Well, Lou, it's not always people say may I. I'm glad you did. Of course you may.
DOBBS: Up next here, democrats reject a plan to redo the Florida primary. Will Florida voters put up with such nonsense?
And race once again an issue in the race for president. We'll have those reports and more when I'm joined by three of the best political analysts in the country.
DOBBS: Joining me know are the three best political analysts in the country, Roger Simon, chief political analyst of politico.com, Diana West, columnist for the "Washington Times," and joining us Chris Cillizza of the "Washington Post.com." Chris, did I get that right.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, WASHINGTONPOST.COM: You got it right. Way better than most of my teachers in grade school.
DOBBS: Well, I'm sure I should be referring to their standing but I got away with it. Chris, it's great to welcome you to the broadcast. Let me turn to you and say, the president now focusing on the economy, talking about tough times. What is the point of what he's doing here? It was a strange discussion I thought at the New York Economics Club.
CILLIZZA: You know, what I think you've seen Lou and I think you saw this through all the republican debates too with the exception of Mike Huckabee is most of the republicans, I would put Mitt Romney certainly in that category. But John McCain in that category less so, Rudy Giuliani, they would be asked about the state of the economy and they would say, well you know, I think things are going pretty darn well. I think we're headed in the right direction. And I think Mike Huckabee, smartly from a political perspective at least said, wait a minute, you know, the average person is feeling uneasy.
DOBBS: He really introduced on the republican side a populous strain into his discussion.
DOBBS: And I never thought I would see the day that a republican presidential candidate would be talking about concerns for the middle class, working man and woman. It was refreshing to me.
CILLIZZA: And I think you saw that message succeeded. You know, I think people looked at Mitt Romney and said, well this smiling guy, you know, he's happy. Well, everything isn't perfect. And I don't, you know, I don't feel a little bit ill at ease about my house, my job, how much money I'm going to make, sending my kids to school. I think Mike Huckabee smartly tapped into, as you said, a strain of populism that we don't often see in the republican primaries.
DOBBS: And proceeded to lose the nomination to --
CILLIZZA: Well, he came in second.
DOBBS: Of this president obviously ignoring that impulse and talking about everything as tough but never mentioning the word "recession." And here's a president trying to compete with sex and scandal in the democratic party and discussions of race and gender with economics, and you wonder why he even bothered.
DIANA WEST, "WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, it's a big issue. I think he should address it. I didn't quite get a sense of what his message really is. I would like to - I mean, I don't actually see differences between the two sides at this point in terms of what to do with -- he's talking about entitlements to fix the problems. The democrats talk about various entitlements to fix the problem.
DOBBS: The problem being the credit crisis, the foreclosure crisis, the housing crisis in this country. Exactly, exactly and in terms of when -- in terms of the housing crisis, this is the moment where you really need to help the market correct itself so housing prices go down. So that bad loans are bad loans and people take another step t trying to behave more responsibly. In the same vein, we see this notion that rules don't apply in terms of the Florida and Michigan primaries. They were not supposed to be seeded, according to the rules, now we're trying to figure out ways on how to seat them.
DOBBS: And it looks like Michigan has figured it. Roger Simon, Florida looks like it's hell bent on disenfranchising the voters of the state and the Democratic National Committee locked arm in arm for that purpose.
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO.COM: I'm not entirely sure either state has fully figured out. A redo, which is what they're talking about, is expensive, there are some legal barriers to it. It might not work, it might be challenged in court. And it's exactly what the democratic party said should not happen. Florida and Michigan are not going gently into this process. They are really still pugnacious over the fact that they want their votes to count.
DOBBS: I think they ought to be.
SIMON: But the only reason that the democratic party is even considering a redo is based on the premise, which I think is questionable, that ordinary democratic rank and file voters would be so angered by about 200 delegates not getting to go to Denver and party that they would not vote for the democratic nominee in November. They would either stay home or vote for John McCain instead. I'm not sure that's really true.
WEST: But it's childish.
DOBBS: The response or it's childish to keep them disenfranchised?
WEST: I think it's childish to expect that the rules can change for the state parties having made their decisions and they don't like this notion that they won't be seated. But why did they behave that way?
DOBBS: I guarantee you any American who's denied his or her right to vote through these party (imperyist) nonsensical proclamations by DNC or RNC chairmen, they ought to tell their parties to go to hell.
WEST: And the should.
DOBBS: And there should be retribution.
CILLIZZA: The other issue though, I think, Lou, just quickly.
CILLIZZA: It's Florida. I mean, that's what, you know, it's Michigan, too, but it's Florida.
DOBBS: It's expected.
CILLIZZA: This is the place where remember democrats cried foul, foul, foul, perhaps rightly so, in 2000, that the election had been stolen there. The symbolic idea that in that state, with the party that said, we need to count every vote, that people aren't going to be counted in some way, shape, or form, I think I agree with Roger generally but I do think it has some larger potential as a symbolic issue. DOBBS: We're going to be right back with our panel. Roger Simon is going to tell Chris what agreement substantially means to him. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
DOBBS: We're back with Chris Cillizza, and Diana West, and Roger Simon. Your turn, sir.
SIMON: Florida. Here is a state where people had trouble with a regular ballot. Butterfly ballots, chads. And to cure this, they're going to go to that one institution that all Americans have all faith in, the United States Postal Service. They're going to do a mail-in vote, which has taken Oregon ten years to perfect. They're going to do it in about ten weeks and think that's going to produce a result that's not going to be challenged in court I don't see it.
DOBBS: I don't either. I think the mail-in is absolutely absurd idea. Frankly, forgive me folks, in Oregon, I think it's a terrible capricious way to conduct a democracy. People haven't got time to get to a polling booth, there's something wrong in this society. Imagine that possibility. And the reality is, those folks in Florida, I've got to stick up for them. It was only Palm Beach county that had had problem with the butterfly ballot. Let's give the rest of the state a break.
Diane West, let's all listen to and I want to ask you this. This is what the President said Friday about one of his great concerns is we're looking at a housing crisis, a foreclosure crisis, a dollar crisis, and an economy that's in obvious slowdown. This the president's expression of concern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: I'm troubled by isolationism and protectionism. As a matter of fact, I dedicated part of my state of the union address a couple of years ago to this very theme. And what concerns me is that the United States of America will become fatigued when it comes to fighting off tyrants or say it's too hard to spread liberty. Or use the excuse that just because freedom hasn't flourished in some parts of the world therefore it's not worth trying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: What in the world is he talking about? Do you know a protectionist? Do you know what an isolationist in this day and age in this day and age?
WEST: I don't know what he's talking about, but I know what he's not talking about.
DOBBS: OK. Let's start there.
WEST: Well, that is the - well, I think what's at the root of all these problems that he is trying to address -- oil, energy, OPEC, strangulation of this economy of this country by being beholden to middle eastern oil and not doing a darn thing about it, whether in terms of doing the sword dance for the Saudis and coming up short or really --
DOBBS: One of those mental images that we all will treasure for a time.
WEST: A terrible thing. A terrible play but you know drilling in this country, we have the Chinese drilling off the coast of Florida. We can't go to Anwar. We can't develop alternative sources. That's the problem. He doesn't talk about that.
DOBBS: And "Popular Mechanics" in its current issue by the way. I think we should given them credit -- talking about the vast amounts of oil that is in the United States that is not being explored nor produced.
SIMON: I think what the president is really trying to address, the question that he wants to avoid and the republican party wants to avoid, is the question that Ronald Reagan posed -- are you better off than you were four years ago? Are you better off than you were eight years ago? And when the democrats hit that very hard in November, republicans, not just the republican presidential candidate, but all the members of the house, a third of the senate, think they're going to have to come up with an answer. And so you have the president spitting off into protectionism and fighting terrorism and all the rest.
DOBBS: You get the last word, Chris.
CILLIZZA: You know, just to echo Roger's sentiment, in 2006 --
DOBBS: Now he's echoing.
CILLIZZA: I've turned the tides. In 2006, you saw exactly that. You saw republicans unable to answer the question, are you better off than you were four and six years ago, tied as a rubber stamp in the democrat's words to President Bush and you saw big losses in the house and the senate. I would look presidential level is going to be tough, but I think that the house and the senate, you may even see more widespread reaction the fact that people don't have sense, other than the war in Iraq, which is unpopular, what is President Bush's legacy?
DOBBS: We should point out, for the first time, we are seeing in the most recent opinion polls, that more Americans, more than half now believe, that the United States will be successful in Iraq. Quite a turn over the past six months, and could also have impact and influence on the outcome of this election. Roger Simon, Chris Cillizza, and Diana West, thank you very much for being with us.
Thank you for being with us. Join us here tomorrow. From all of us, thanks for watching. Enjoy your weekend. Good night from Washington.
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