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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Senator McCain Delivers Populist Message; Iraqi Troops Reluctant to Move Forward; President Bush Pushes for Free Trade in Colombia; Olympic Backlash; Many Americans Outraged by Vodka ad; Your Credit Exposed; More Foreign Workers Push to Expand H-1B Visa Program; Hundreds Rally Against Texas Superhighway
Aired April 7, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: It is that easy, Wolf, come on. Tonight, drug cartels from Mexico invading southeastern Arizona, drug traffickers know they're unlikely to ever face prosecution. Congressman John Culberson is furious. He's our guest.
And seething anger tonight over an Absolut Vodka ad in Mexico showing much of the United States under the control of Mexico. It seems that Absolut Vodka thinks that was something of an ideal period for Mexico. We'll have that special report.
And rising protests across the world against communist China, new calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, outrage over communist China's gross violations of human rights, its occupation of Tibet. We'll have all of that, all the day's news and a lot more straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Monday, April 7. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. Senator John McCain tonight aggressively trying to sell what is a populist (ph) message to voters. Senator McCain presenting himself as a champion of working men and women who have been devastated by our foreclosure crisis, but Senator McCain's Democratic rivals also now selling themselves as populous.
Senator Hillary Clinton is struggling to stay on message, however. Senator Clinton has fired her chief political strategist Mark Penn (ph) who was a high powered lobbyist and remains so in point of fact. Penn (ph) is trying to help the government of Colombia win passage of a free trade agreement that Senator Clinton opposes. We have extensive coverage of what is a populist (ph) development in this presidential campaign.
And we begin tonight with Mary Snow who's with the McCain campaign in Kansas City, Missouri. Mary?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, Senator McCain is trying to turn the Democrats' infighting to his advantage. Sources inside the campaign say he raised $15 million last month and the McCain camp is also touting support from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as McCain tries to bolster his image on the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SNOW (voice-over): Facing criticism he's not doing enough to help homeowners facing foreclosure, Senator John McCain sounded a populist (ph) theme. He took aim this weekend at two companies at the heart of the mortgage meltdown, Bear Stearns and Countrywide Financial calling excessive executive pay outrageous and unconscionable. In Kansas City he aimed his most stinging criticism at his Democratic rivals over Iraq, telling fellow veterans a quick exit is reckless.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interest and the future of the Middle East is the height of irresponsibility, it is a failure of leadership.
SNOW: Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have said that McCain wants to continue the failed policies of the Bush administration. McCain isn't setting a timetable for U.S. troops to withdraw, but he says the goal of Iraq standing on its own may be sooner than many imagined. And he says from June of last year until his trip to Iraq last month, violence has decreased, thanks to the surge.
MCCAIN: We are no longer staring into the abyss of defeat and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success.
SNOW: McCain's call to keep troops in Iraq comes as two-thirds of Americans polled say they oppose the war. McCain came under fire from liberal talk show host Ed Schultz who last week called McCain a warmonger and is refusing to apologize.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST OF "ED SCHULTZ SHOW": His policies fit the description. Warmonger is a label. It is not a personal shot at John McCain.
SNOW: In response McCain said people are free to say what they want, but as he makes his case for keeping troops in Iraq, he's tapped his own personal feelings about his military service.
MCCAIN: I hold my position on Iraq not because I am indifferent to the suffering caused by this war, but because I detest war.
SNOW (on camera): And it's the war, say political observers, that is key to McCain's campaign. Lou?
DOBBS: Thank you very much. Mary Snow with the McCain campaign.
In Iraq, 10 more of our troops have been killed over the past two days; seven of our troops killed in Baghdad; 11 of our troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month, while 4,023 of our troops have been killed since the war began; 29,628 of our troops wounded; 13,264 of them seriously. Some of the heaviest fighting in Iraq has been in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. As Nic Robertson now reports from Sadr City, many Iraqi troops are reluctant to take the offensive, even when they are supported by our troops.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As gun fire erupts, American soldiers take cover.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on the ground or...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the rooftop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the rooftop? OK.
ROBERTSON: Captain Logan Veath must find the gunman and stop the attack.
CAPT. LOGAN VEATH, U.S. ARMY: We have got one or two shooters located. They PID them or positively identified where they're at. They're being signaled on the rooftops by a couple of guys with flags.
ROBERTSON: U.S. forces can control barely one-fifth of Sadr City because of Iraqi government restrictions.
(on camera): About 800 yards, about half a mile up the road here is the vast majority of Sadr City where U.S. troops are only allowed to go on very rare occasions. It's become, they say, an effective safe haven for the militias from where they are able to plan and prepare their attacks.
(voice-over): But there's one more problem here. U.S. troops must let Iraqi soldiers take the lead in fighting the militias. Captain Veath must convince his Iraqi counterpart to go after the gunman and it's not going well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, he told me he has little forces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little forces?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, little forces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got as many people on the ground as I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no reason that you cannot do this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ROBERTSON: The gunmen are still shooting, the Iraqi captain, reluctant to lead. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We will provide support...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... but we need you to action it.
ROBERTSON: Just when it's all agreed...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now is not the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, it is to move out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to get your forces...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... over to the mosque and to isolate it.
ROBERTSON: They discover the Iraqi troops have gone to lunch. Fortified with food, they head off around the corner to take on the gunman.
ROBERTSON: The shooting intensifies, Captain Veath follows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, men. (INAUDIBLE)
ROBERTSON: Ready for backup.
ROBERTSON: Breaking into a store for cover. He loses contact with the Iraqi captain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hearing a lot of volume of fire. I got to figure out what's going on, if they're taking it or if they're giving or receiving -- over.
ROBERTSON: Ten minutes later, the Iraqi troops return. Three soldiers are injured. They say they killed one of the gunmen. As we leave, the shooting intensifies again. The battle for control of Sadr City a long way from being over.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Sadr City, Iraq.
DOBBS: Well Senators Obama and Clinton are expected to strongly challenge the Bush administration's management of this war. General David Petraeus gives testimony tomorrow to Congress. Both of the candidates will be on Capitol Hill. They'll be there to question General Petraeus and our ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. Both Obama and Clinton are demanding a quick withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.
Senator Clinton tonight is facing new questions about her economic policies and her campaign strategy after Senator Clinton forced her chief campaign strategist to quit for supporting free trade policies that she opposes. Meanwhile, President Bush called upon Congress to vote for a free trade agreement with Colombia over the next 90 days. Candy Crowley has our report.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Please be seated.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush can bank on two loud no's when the Colombian free trade deal hits Capitol Hill. If you're campaigning for the working class vote in Pennsylvania and speaking before the AFL-CIO to boot, no is the only answer.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections we have insisted being included in these kinds of agreements.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have got to have new trade policies before we have new trade deals and that includes no trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continue in that country.
CROWLEY: Many Americans blame job losses on free trade agreements. The argument is that without tariffs other countries would lower wages and less stringent environmental laws undersell U.S. manufacturers eventually putting them out of business. Over the weekend, the issue pushed a top Clinton official out of a job.
Senior campaign strategist Mark Penn, also a top executive in a P.R. firm, stepped down after it was revealed he met with Colombian officials to talk about promoting the Colombian trade deal Hillary Clinton opposes. Penn said he was representing the P.R. firm and apologized. But Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (ph), a strong Clinton supporter suggested Penn should be fired, as did several union leaders, and by Sunday Penn was out as senior strategist, though he remains with the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any comment about Mark Penn?
CROWLEY: The candidate has been all smiles and no talk about Penn, but a source claims she was furious with him about the meeting. In truth, this was a demotion waiting to happen. Penn has been the source of friction inside the campaign where some blame him for a strategy that has left the once front running Clinton struggling to stay in the race.
CROWLEY: The Clinton campaign is hoping that Penn's demotion, if you will, will quiet the critics, but the fact is he is still very much a part of the campaign, he is an adviser now, not in charge, but nonetheless giving strategic advice. He was in on the morning meetings. His firm will also continue to do polling and be in charge of direct mailing. Lou?
DOBBS: Just a couple of quick questions, if I may. Isn't there anyone in that campaign concerned about a conflict of interest? Is there anyone at Burst and Marsteller (ph) worried about a conflict? They're paying this man to run a P.R. firm and at the same time he's running strategy. He's being paid $11 million for his counsel that arguably would be worth considerably less than that.
CROWLEY: This has been a problem from the beginning, as I say, this was just laying in wait for something to happen. Obviously the Clinton campaign was fully aware that Penn was not going to give up his company when he came to the Clinton campaign. And everyone thought at the time this is just a disaster waiting to happen.
Because when you have a P.R. firm as big as that one and you're running a campaign, there are going to be issues and there are going to be projects that are going to conflict with your client. That's exactly what happened. The truth is they didn't force him to give up his P.R. firm before he came to the campaign.
DOBBS: Well, is there anyone on the campaign trail, anyone -- anyone of conscience in any one of these campaigns that is about to say to any one of these candidates, you have hired a bunch of lobbyists and don't you think that you ought to be puking over the very fact that you have done that, whether it's Senator Obama, Senator McCain or Senator Clinton?
CROWLEY: Well no one's put it quite that way, Lou, I will say that, but...
DOBBS: Let's put it that way and see if we can get somebody to pick up on the language.
CROWLEY: The subject of lobbying as you know comes up a lot and Barack Obama, for instance, will say, well, I don't take lobbying money. But he does in fact have lobbyists that do work for him, she obviously does as well. So this is the sort of thing, as you know, that just drives people crazy about Washington because it looks like such an incestuous pond of people who are kind of crossing over on the issues, whatever suits them at the time, wherever the money is.
DOBBS: Yeah and here's the reality, and I think we can just raise our right-hand side and say each one of these candidates has lobbyists working for them in very senior positions, it's disgusting, it ought to stop, and it belies everything they say for them to employ these lobbyists in such prominent roles.
CROWLEY: Well come on up to a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania, Lou.
DOBBS: I'll tell you what, I've got a great idea. You know what? That is a great idea. You think anyone one of these candidates would invite me?
CROWLEY: I think you can just come, they're open to the public.
DOBBS: We'll do that. We'll do that. Thanks a lot Candy. Have fun. Candy Crowley.
Still ahead here, outrage over an advertisement in Mexico that shows much of the United States under the control of Mexico. They seem to be somewhat nostalgic for that in Mexico, at least according to Absolut Vodka. Casey Wian will have the report on just how much they're drinking of their own product. Casey?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Lou, Absolut Vodka is now apologizing for that ad that shows Mexican territory extending into the United States as far north as the Washington State border. We'll have details coming up.
DOBBS: Look forward to it and Casey, I thought that was just a little fringe element in this country, (INAUDIBLE). You mean there's some kind of like national interest in this subject in Mexico itself?
WIAN: A lot of folks have been saying that this is a fantasy and there's no such ideas, (INAUDIBLE) among many Mexicans, but it's there.
DOBBS: I'll bet you the (INAUDIBLE) senators about to attack Absolut Vodka with gusto or whatever it is they do. All right, Casey Wian look forward to it.
Rising anger and protests as well against communist China and new calls tonight for a boycott of the opening ceremonies of these Beijing Olympics and you won't believe how little corporate America is doing to protect your financial information or perhaps you will. We'll have that special report, and a great deal more. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Senator Clinton today calling for President Bush to boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing. A statement from the senator saying the recent clashes in Tibet and other human rights issues warrant the United States taking a stand. Senator Clinton said President Bush should not attend the opening ceremonies, in her words, absent major changes by the Chinese government.
The Olympic torch relay today canceled shortly after it started in Paris because of protests against communist China's human rights record. Demonstrators abroad and here in the United States are on the increase as the Olympic torch makes its way through 23 cities en route to Beijing. Protesters, demonstrators demanding to know why the International Olympic Committee awarded those games to Beijing in the first place. Good question as Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A banner to protest China's human rights record unfurled atop the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday. Three protesters climbed the bridge. The Olympic torch arrives Wednesday in San Francisco.
In Paris, almost half of the torch relay was canceled. After 10 miles, the torch was driven by bus to its final destination. The root chaotic and twice authorities extinguished the torch itself reigniting it from a small lantern in the bus, which carried the original flame from Greece.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
PILGRIM: The International Olympic Committee bearing criticism for picking China as the venue for the 2008 Summer Games, IOC President Jacques Rogue (ph) grim faced and declining to respond to journalists in France.
In London, the 31-mile route fraught with clashes, 36 people arrested on Saturday. Many demonstrators chanting free Tibet. The 130-day journey will go through 23 cities and throughout China in advance of the August 8 opening ceremony.
From the very start of the lighting ceremony in Greece, protesters have denounced China's oppression of human rights, it's crackdown on Tibet and Chinese support of the Sudanese government for its role in the atrocities of Darfur. World leaders are under increasing pressure to boycott the games or at least the opening ceremony rather than appear to condone China's repressive communist regime.
PILGRIM: And President Bush has long planned on attending the ceremonies in Beijing. His spokeswoman last month said it should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics. Chinese press have called the protests an obvious act of defying the Olympic spirit. Lou?
DOBBS: The Bush White House thinks it's about sports and so this would -- you shouldn't worry about little things like people being killed, their rights violated or an entire nation being oppressed?
PILGRIM: Well President Bush spoke to...
DOBBS: That's quite a statement.
PILGRIM: ... President Hu (ph) on the phone, but I think that many think that a broader statement should be made.
DOBBS: Well, entirely possible. All right, Kitty, thank you -- Kitty Pilgrim.
That leads us to the subject of tonight's poll. We'll find out what you think. Do you believe world leaders should boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing to protest the gross violations of human rights in China? Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results upcoming. We'll forward them straight I assure you to President George W. Bush and of course to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business roundtable immediately.
Outrage over a vodka ad in Mexico that depicts much of the United States as a part of Mexico, the ad for Absolut Vodka shows California, Texas -- I don't know why I'm saying this to you when we could just simply show you a map, but there it is -- and other states as still belonging to Mexico. Some activist groups claim the land is rightfully part of Mexico even now. But a number of consumers in this country apparently were offended by the ad.
They're calling for a boycott of Absolut. Casey Wian has our report.
WIAN (voice-over): The marketing campaign is called "In An Absolut World", and many Americans are absolutely outraged by one ad showing the entire southwestern United States belonging to Mexico. The ad appeared in the Mexican celebrity lifestyle magazine "Quien" owned by CNN's parent company, Time Warner and on billboards in Mexico.
The image shows Mexico's approximate borders before the Mexican- American War. Though the United States won and paid Mexico for what became the American Southwest, some Mexicans say it rightfully belongs to them.
PROF. GEORGE GRAYSON, COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY: That's an extremely prevalent idea, 58 percent of Mexicans say that they have every right to return to the Southwest of the United States and that they don't need documents. It's really stolen territory.
WIAN: The ad sparked outrage on the Internet, people who called Absolut to complain heard this recorded message.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, RECORDED RESPONSE FROM ABSOLUT SPIRITS: This particular ad which ran in Mexico and has run its course was based upon historical perspective and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was it meant to offend or disparage nor does it advocate an altering of borders nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment nor does it reflect immigration issues. Instead it harkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal.
WIAN: On Saturday Absolut, a Swedish company now being acquired by Pernod Ricard of France, apologized and said it would no longer run the ads. Still a poll on the "Los Angeles Times" Web site found nearly two-thirds of the respondents said the ad was an affront to Americans and they would boycott the product.
WIAN: Now Lou, earlier today I was printing a copy of the "Los Angeles Times" blog on the Absolut controversy. And I mistakenly printed all of the reader comments. I was shocked to find this stack of paper, 316 pages, literally thousands of mostly angry responses. Campaign may have been successful in selling vodka in Mexico, but clearly it backfired here in the United States, Lou.
DOBBS: Yeah, I mean this is crazy. I love the Absolut Vodka though, suggesting that they were not and I think all of us should feel a lot better knowing Absolut Vodka doesn't intend to change any of our borders through that ad. That was very reassuring and the suggestion, the acknowledgement, I guess that Mexicans are feeling somewhat like the 1830s were more ideal times. I wonder if that's really true.
WIAN: Absolutely it's true. This ad was put together...
DOBBS: You said absolutely true. Were you making a pun?
WIAN: No, not intentionally, Lou. But the advertising company that put this together was based in Mexico City. That's who put this particular ad together. And this idea that the American Southwest was stolen from Mexico is still part of many textbooks in Mexican schools and a lot of people as the surveys have shown in Mexico believe that this is rightfully their land.
DOBBS: And would you like to just share with our audience how many times this broadcast, you and I and other journalists associated with us here have been criticized for even suggesting the idea that Ricanista (ph) was even a marginal concept at the fringe of the left- wing radical nut jobs who are excited about this issue?
WIAN: I couldn't come close to counting the number of times we have been criticized but it's often and this idea, though, despite the protestations of people like the Southern Poverty Law Center is alive and well on both sides of the border, Lou.
DOBBS: Yeah, one thing we have got no shortage of, the left, the right, the extremes in this are both in Mexico and here. In Mexico, obviously the -- as the professor pointed out -- this holds great credence with a lot of Mexican citizens. Thank you very much sir, appreciate it -- Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
And still ahead here big business putting millions of Americans' credit information at risk. We'll have that report.
And the Bush administration's new plan to bring even more cheap foreign labor into this country, yes, it's true. We'll have the story here next. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Credit card fraud losses in this country are reaching into the billions of dollars. Millions of Americans increasingly at risk of credit card fraud. Consumer groups now say big business simply isn't doing enough to protect consumers and their private information. Louise Schiavone has our report.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hacked, billions of dollars worth of charges on a wide variety of credit cards every year, the experts say, if you have a charge card, you are exposed.
STEPHEN SPOONAMORE, CYBRINTH CORPORATION: If we extrapolate Great Britain's number, which is 543 million pounds or approximately a billion dollars in losses last year, their proportional use of credit cards is about the same as the U.S. That would place the U.S. number at three to $4 billion in credit card fraud last year.
SCHIAVONE: The most recent case in point, Hannaford Grocery and Pharmacies (ph) in the Northeast and its corporate siblings, Sweet Bay supermarkets in Florida, 4.2 million in credit and debit cards used at Hannaford (ph) compromised. Close to 2,000 fraud cases resulting by the time it was revealed in mid-March.
JEANNINE KENNEY, CONSUMERS UNION: This information came out too late for many consumers who would have liked to have been informed as soon as Hannaford (ph) knew about a breach that clearly put many of them at risk because this did result in actual fraud.
SCHIAVONE: The cause, Hannaford systems were infiltrated by malicious software, The Associated Press reports resulting unauthorized charges in such far-flung places as Mexico, Italy, and Bulgaria. A Hannaford spokesperson told LOU DOBBS TONIGHT quote, "Hannaford has been actively working with leading data security experts and law enforcement authorities. We continue to work with credit and debit card issuers to ensure that those customers who have been affected are protected", end quote.
The Secret Service tells LOU DOBBS TONIGHT quote, "we are involved in the investigation and it's ongoing." The Hannaford case follows closely the hack of credit card information at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores affecting tens of millions of accounts.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, analysts say American businesses have yet to meet the higher standards of fraud prevention already embraced in most of Europe. One source puts fraud related losses by MasterCard holders last year at close to $2 billion. Both MasterCard and Visa say they're committed to the highest standards of consumer protection, but neither would quantify for us what their fraud costs have been -- Lou.
DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much, a troubling story -- Louise Schiavone from Washington.
Time now for some of your thoughts, Jeannie in Michigan said, "I live in Michigan and I'm an American citizen, I think. High prices, high taxes, no jobs and my vote doesn't count."
Mike in Florida, "Outraged isn't a strong enough word to describe my feelings concerning the 65,000 H-1B visas. If ignorance and deception were crimes, most of the Bush administration would be locked up by now."
Dick in Missouri, "I'm livid. I served 29 years in the U.S. Air Force defending this country, the country we love not to see this happen. Give our people the jobs. Can't wait for the next election." We'll have more of your thoughts here later and each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book "Independents Day." And please join me on the radio each afternoon Monday through Friday for the Lou Dobbs Show. Go to LouDobbs.com to find local listings for the Lou Dobbs Show on the radio.
Up next, stunning new comments by Bill Gates praising communist China, criticizing, of course, the United States.
And drug cartel violence alone the border of Mexico. It's out of control. I'll be joined by a congressman who's trying to do something about it. Congressman John Culberson of Texas joins me.
And presidential candidates all trying to position themselves seemingly now as populists. I'll be joined by three of the smartest political analysts anywhere to see how that's working for them.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, he's been calling for more foreign workers in this country for some time. Now Bill Gates says the United States is in decline and that a wealthy China in his words is a very good thing. Gates told the meeting of the Inter American Devilment Bank in Miami, "If you care about the human condition, then a richer China is better." But Gates then said, "Economic and social advances in the rest of the world would erode U.S. dominance and he thinks that's a good thing."
Businesses looking to hire cheap labor today celebrated a victory handed to them by the Bush administration, of course. The Department of Homeland Security is now changing the rules to extend visa states to technology students. The extended stays will allow foreign students a better chance of being hired here at a time when more and more Americans are out of work. It will give as a matter of fact them more than two years to find work.
Bill Tucker has our report.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Microsoft's Bill Gates wasn't shy making his wishes known to congress last month.
BILL GATES, MICROSOFT CHAIRMAN: There are a number of steps that congress and the white house should take to address this problem including extending the period that foreign students can work here after graduation.
TUCKER: He got his wish. The Department of Homeland Security has now announced new rules that allow foreign students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math to stay and work for 2 1/2 years after graduation. It's a move that angered Senator Charles Grassley who calls it "Corporate America's latest attempt to get around the H-1B program." Critics of the program argue that such policies undercut American graduates in those fields.
PAUL ALAMEDA, AFL-CIO: The projection is the growth in this industry is about 120,000 jobs per year and this is in the high tech meaning math and science degrees. And we're graduating in excess of 300,000 with bachelors, masters and PhD's from United States universities.
TUCKER: Despite there been apparent oversupply, corporate America continues to lobby to expand the H-1B program. And one former programmer who now campaigns against the program, fears it's only a matter of time before Gates gets his other wish, that caps on the H-1B visas are abolished.
JOHN MIANO, ATTORNEY: We have created a system in Washington you know of lobbyists and firmly entrenched politicians who in general are not working in the interests of the American peek.
TUCKER: There are now two bills in congress that would more than double the size of the H-1B program. They were introduced the day after Gates testified last month.
TUCKER: Now there was a 60 day period of public comment on the new rule extending foreign students' stay. The comments can be submitted at this email address, firstname.lastname@example.org in your subject line.
DOBBS: We'll put it on the website.
TUCKER: You're going to put it up on the website.
DOBBS: You bet.
TUCKER: All right. Look at it because you need the subject line in there.
DOBBS: I noticed it wasn't on the screen.
TUCKER: Well, no, that's fair, we should help people, if they want to submit these comments be able to put them in.
I want to make one other point, Lou, here. This optional practical training time, OPT is what it's called, has no wage provisions, no protection and no protection for U.S. students.
DOBBS: Who introduced this legislation right after Gates went in and testified?
TUCKER: Representative Gates out of Arizona.
DOBBS: Representative who?
TUCKER: Giffords out of Arizona and Lamar Smith out of Texas.
DOBBS: Lamar Smith out of Texas did that? TUCKER: Yes.
DOBBS: Lamar, you're smarter than this. This is amazing to me. This is selling out the country. This man is on -- I mean what is he thinking about? You can't imagine. He knows that seven out of the top ten companies applying for H-1B visas are Indian companies in this country for the specific purpose of bringing in cheap labor to which American corporations can outsource jobs, middle class jobs. He knows this. And he sat there with a straight face and testified before congress.
TUCKER: And said give me more. And they did.
DOBBS: Bill Gates, come on down, let's talk about this. I mean you really -- I'm afraid I'm not going to be quite in awe of you like those slobbering congressmen were there day who sat there and were in so in awe of your billionaire self. It's ridiculous, this country has got to start standing up for something and when we allow a guy who's the third richest in the world, he's basically ordering up legislation.
TUCKER: And in defiance of every piece of study that's been done in the last year, Lou, that says we are producing enough kids in math, science and technology degrees.
DOBBS: Let me be clear. I want us to graduate far more students in mathematics, far more students in natural sciences. I'm with anybody on that one. But this business is just ridiculous and for these congressmen to be going along with it; Congressman Giffords, Congressman Smith, please come down and explain how in the world a U.S. congressman can just fall in line at the beck and call of a billionaire from Bellevue. The information will be on our website. We appreciate it.
Thank you, Bill.
The battle over that proposed NAFTA superhighway, the Trans Texas corridor, is intensifying and thousands of opponents protested and demonstrated over the weekend rallying on the steps of the capital in Austin. The Trans Texas corridor, the proposed superhighway that would cross from the Texas Mexico border to the Oklahoma state line and then beyond, critics say the highway threatens the sovereignty of this country as well as individual property rights. It's a crazy deal.
Coming up here next, Congressman John Culberson says many of the drug traffickers being apprehended in this country are going scot- free.
And a top Clinton advisor demoted, disclosures he was promoting a free trade deal that Senator Clinton opposes. It's just politics. Three of the countries best at politics join me here next.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Drug traffickers invading the Tucson, Arizona area. It is exactly that, an invasion. And it can be linked as well to simply a lack of enforcement by the U.S. attorneys' office in Tucson.
Congressman John Culberson of Texas is a strong advocate for border security. He says some of the smugglers arrested in Tucson may never go to jail. Congressman Culberson joins me now from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, good to have you here.
REP. JOHN CULBERSON (R), TEXAS: Lou, always good to be with you.
DOBBS: What is going on here that apparently in this sector of the Arizona border with Mexico, that the U.S. attorney is not prosecuting drug loads under 500 pounds?
CULBERSON: Lou, I did discover personally from visiting Tucson that the policy in the Tucson sector, the busiest on our border is that the U.S. attorney will not prosecute any smuggler carrying a load of dope less than a quarter ton. If you are arrested in Tucson by the border patrol carrying less than a quarter ton of dope, odds are you'll be home for dinner. There's a 99.6 percent release rate. No one essentially is being prosecuted in Tucson.
DOBBS: What percent?
CULBERSON: 99.6 percent release rate on all arrests by the border patrol in the Tucson sector and it's going to stop. I am on the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Justice, Lou, and I am going to get them the resources and the support they need. That prosecution rate has got to be -- we need essentially Lou, a zero tolerance, prosecution rate from Brownsville to San Diego.
DOBBS: It looks like you've got a zero prosecution rate.
CULBERSON: We do. The prosecution rate in Tucson is at zero, essentially. It's everyone other than violent criminals are being turned lose and what that does to the border patrol morale, the criminals are laughing at us in Tucson.
DOBBS: Let's be real honest, Congressman, the fact is if every drug trafficker, every human smuggler in Mexico isn't laughing at the United States government, they would just be demonstrating a lack of a sense of humor, wouldn't they really?
CULBERSON: It's just unacceptable. It's dangerous for the officers; it's dangerous for this nation. The criminals are laughing at us and I'm done. I'm fed up with it and I'm working on a personal mission, Lou. I want you to know I have read "Charlie Wilson's War" and from the Appropriations Committee if Charlie Wilson can help beat the Russians; I am personally committed to seeing a zero tolerance policy rolled out from Brownsville to San Diego. And I can tell you that I've already got it done in Laredo. It's being done in Del Rio. They're arresting everybody. They're prosecuting everybody. DOBBS: Let me tell you what the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Arizona, Diane Humetewa says, she says her office is at full capacity, and goes on to say, "Arizona is not Texas and Tucson is not Del Rio. The Tucson U.S. attorney's office handles one of the highest criminal case loads in the nation; however, it is simply false that we do not charge defendants."
CULBERSON: Well, no wonder they have the highest crossings in the nation, they are not prosecuting anybody. The word got out to all the illegals and the smugglers to come to Tucson, it's open country and you can just come on in. Her excuse is just not acceptable to me, Lou. I'm going to get her the resources. There is no excuse for a .4 percent prosecution rate. If they were at 10 percent prosecution, maybe 15 percent, maybe I might listen to them about lack of resources. This is a blanket policy, turn everybody loose and it's going to stop.
DOBBS: All right. You also talked with Attorney General Michael Mukasey about the border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean who are still in prison, still awaiting a decision from the appellate court, what did he have to say?
CULBERSON: Unfortunately, the attorney general would not answer my question directly. I asked him twice to please recommend to the president pardon donning Ramos and Compean for the same reason that Scooter Libby was pardoned. The sentence didn't fit the crime. These guys have suffered enough but the attorney general would not answer the question so America need to keep writing letters and phone calls to get Ramos and Compean out.
DOBBS: Can I make another proposal, a separate proposal, say to the U.S. attorney general that he should really conduct an investigation as to why this administration, this U.S. Justice Department went after these two agents instead of the drug smugglers, what about that idea?
CULBERSON: Absolutely, Lou, and justify why we are arresting border patrol agents, throwing them in jail for ten or 12 years and releasing every single criminal and illegal that crosses in the Tucson sector. Why is Tucson wide open and our border patrol agents are thrown in jail. It's not acceptable. And I'm not going to rest until that border is secure with a zero tolerance from Brownsville to San Diego. I've done it in Laredo and Brownsville is next and we'll do it sector by sector.
DOBBS: Congressman Culberson, thanks for being here. Thank you, Congressman.
CULBERSON: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up at the top of the hour, the Election Center with Campbell Brown.
Campbell, tell us all about it.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, Lou. Well the Iraq war dominates the presidential race right now. A top U.S. general is coming to Washington to report to congress. All three presidential candidates will be there. Tonight we're going to get a reality check from our correspondents on the ground in Iraq and also look at the political posturing and there is plenty of it.
Also, Hillary Clinton's top strategist loses his job over a free trade issue. We'll talk about that as well. Join me at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: Thank you, Campbell.
And a reminder to vote in our poll; our poll question tonight, do you believe world leaders should boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing to protest the gross violations of human rights in China and of course Tibet. Yes or no? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. Did I mention Darfur as well. We'll bring you the results here in just a few moments.
Up next, is Senator John McCain reinventing himself as a champion of the middle class? Is this the year for populism?
And another shake-up in the Clinton political campaign. Three of the best political analysts join me here next.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Joining me now three of the best political analysts in the country, Republican strategist, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT contributor, Ed Rollins, and also former campaign manager for Governor Mike Huckabee and a few other things along the course of time. And Keith Richburg, New York bureau chief, "Washington Post," Democratic strategist and LOU DOBBS TONIGHT contributor, Hank Sheinkopf.
Gentlemen, thanks for being here.
Let's go to Condoleezza Rice being rumored, Ed as the vice presidential candidate for John McCain. Did you sense a great deal of excitement on John McCain's part when he heard that?
ED ROLLINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I didn't sense a great deal of excitement anywhere other than the State Department that maybe he should go out and campaign a little bit and get out of there. Condi Rice is not a serious political candidate and I think --
DOBBS: Somebody's pushing her, obviously.
ROLINS: Well maybe herself, but I think at the end of the day, if John McCain wants to destroy any chance he has of being president, put Condi Rice on the ticket.
DOBBS: Do you think it's just too much of a connection to the Bush administration?
ROLLINS: Well, I think it's too much of a connection. I think she was a failure as the national security advisor, she's not been an outstanding secretary of state. No one knows how she stands on domestic issues, I it's too cute by half.
KEITH RICHBURG, WASHINGTON POST: I wouldn't disagree with any of that. I would say that you know we have got this long time before the Pennsylvania primary until the 22nd, which is just a void and you're getting a lot of speculation and that's just in that category.
DOBBS: The idea that Senator Clinton today had to -- it's sort of an interesting demote Mark Penn because he was pushing through his PR firm a free trade agreement that Senator Clinton fully, to his knowledge, was opposing. I mean is that the way it's done now? You hire somebody from a PR firm, he or she works two jobs an they work both sides of the fence and it's just presidential politics as usual?
HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: If this were politics as usual, Mark Penn would be still gainfully employed in the same role he had at the Clinton campaign. In fact, the Clinton campaign did the appropriate thing and got rid of him. That's what they did to be sure no one could accuse them of playing both sides of the coin.
DOBBS: Just to be clear, they didn't get rid of him exactly. They demoted him from strategist. He's still there to do whatever one does for $11 million.
ROLLINS: Seriously, the absurdity of this is we have all these revolving doors. We have these lobbyists and people who are trying to do multiple jobs. I've run campaigns. Hank's run campaigns. It's a full-time job, it's 18, 19 hours a day. You guys should have undivided attention on your candidate and your campaign. And these people who have other responsibilities are basically cheating both their clients and the candidate most of all.
DOBBS: All right. Color me blissfully really naive, but why in the world, as all three of these campaigns do, Clinton, Obama and McCain, do they have lobbyists in senior campaign roles? I mean -- doesn't -- why?
ROLLINS: Because they don't know anybody outside anymore. It's all become about Washington, it's all become -- these are the people that are around them all the time. It's been going on for 30 years, the in and out, and I it's absurd and this country has changed dramatically and these people haven't got a clue about what's going on around the country.
RICHBURG: One thing that's surprising to me is that the chief strategist who presided over this strategy that was pretty much a failure and let her fall in this deep hole in terms of delegates behind Barack Obama, why was he there that long? DOBBS: I would agree with you, but my question is, why are the American people tolerating and the political parties, people who, my friends who pride themselves on being an absolute faithful Republican or a faithful Democrat, these people are living in a fantasy land. These three candidates are branding organizations, that's all they are. I mean if they're sitting there with all of these lobbyists in tow driving these campaigns there's no differentiation amongst these candidates. Is there any real differentiation, Keith?
RICHBURG: You know it's tough. They've all got some lobbyist skeletons in their closets although you know they're all trying to ...
SHEINKOPF: I don't think the lobbyists are the issue. I think the issue long term is that we have created a permanent political class which was not the intention of any of this at all. That political class is both in government, outside government, in campaigns, in the lobby, on K Street and there is no separation between as Ed said before between what goes on in the campaigns and what goes on in those venues. That is the difference because we have no place else to put those people because we have created an industry where none existed. When I started there were 50 to 75 of us I think max and we went around the country and we were lucky to get hired. It was like being with the Brooklyn Dodgers compared to what the guys make today.
You would agree with that, wouldn't you?
ROLLINS: Absolutely. You and I started at the same period of time.
The other part of it is the campaigns now go on forever because these people need to keep them on forever. You hire your pollster, you make your pollster your strategist, he says you have no name I.D. You have to get a TV guy. Start running TV a year before you need him he's paying attention and that's why these campaigns are costing millions and millions of dollars more than they should and they go on much longer than they should.
RICHBURG: And they get paid regardless of the results.
DOBBS: Are you talking about the candidates?
RICHBURG: Well, the candidates pay these people and look, Hillary Clinton's still go it to pay him.
DOBBS: Let's talk about the quality of these candidates too and the roles that have changed not only the folks who are driving these campaigns but the candidates themselves, there's a very -- I'm curious to get your views on a very big change, I sense in both the quality and the natures of these candidates.
We'll be right back with our panel. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Well, we're back now with Ed Rollins, Keith Richburg. Here's the other thing that occurs to me. As we were watching Obama has raised almost a quarter of a billion dollars already, you got three candidates in Clinton, McCain and Obama and they don't strike me as being the usual candidates. I mean the Clintons raised 109 - made $109 million after leaving the white house and not put together a dime, a stitch in the previous time. Obama has never made any money and you know that it's sort of on the same flight path, let's put it that way, in terms of his own income. Whether that's good or bad it's a difference. We used to have candidates of achievement, of accomplishment, who were part of a professional political class. This doesn't feel right.
ROLLINS: And once again, they were outsiders who came to Washington. They were governors who came. Historically governors have had a better chance of winning the presidency and it turned out to be pretty good. In this particular case and no disrespect to John McCain, I mean his whole life he's been in government, obviously a courageous career in the military with 25 years in Washington.
He didn't really live in Arizona. He went back there only to get a congressional seat. Barack Obama, who's been in the Senate for four years. Hillary is a professional who basically set out as part of her husband's team to be first lady and then first lady and now senator in government. I mean they're really part of the establishment class and the bottom line is this country out there is desperate for change and how can change come about ...
RICHBURG: It's breathtaking what is happening to the so-called elites if you can call them that. They seriously make me ill to look at.
We are creating two classes. This is occurring in society at large. The number of people are earning above $100,000 and are declining in number and this is in relation to where we're going in the future.
One thing that's interesting, if Obama is doing very well now drawing these young people in, there could be at least a generational change going on because he is so much younger than the other two and is drawing more young people in the process. We'd have to see if that makes a difference in the overall if he brings out this generational change.
It will be tested this week. You'll see them side by side with general petraeus doing the questioning and see who is really equipped to be commander in chief and I think the next couple days will be very important to that.
DOBBS: You really think you'll see something?
RICHBURG: Well, if you don't, then I think it will be a very disappointing week for both parties.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Appreciate it. Tonight's poll: The result, 87 percent say world leaders should boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing to protest the gross violation of human rights by China.
Thanks for being with us tonight.
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