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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Reid's Retreat; NAACP and Burris; It's the Economy; Cheap Science; Border Drug Violence

Aired January 7, 2009 - 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: Wolf, thank you.
Tonight, a stunning retreat by the Senate majority leader on allowing Roland Burris to be seated in the Senate as the junior senator from Illinois.

And tonight, compelling evidence that corporate America has been simply plain wrong in asserting that there is a shortage of scientists and engineers in this country. It turns out that corporate America, what else, may have been simply trying to force down labor costs.

And, tonight, the Vatican, at it again, trying to ram a pro- amnesty, open-borders agenda down the throats of the American people. And among my guests tonight, political commentator, conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter, author of the controversial new bestseller "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America."

All of that, all the day's news and a great deal more, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Wednesday, January 7th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today abruptly retreated on the issue of whether or not to seat Roland Burris in the Senate. Senator Reid cleared the way in principle for Burris to become the junior senator from Illinois after a barrage of criticism and insistence by Senator Reid that he would not permit such a thing.

Burris himself declared he will have the opportunity to join the Senate as he put it very shortly. Burris insists he did not make a deal with Senator Reid in order to serve in the Senate until 2010. Dana Bash has our report from Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One look at their smiles and it was clear, Democratic leaders wanted to calm the controversy over keeping Roland Burris out of the Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're happy to have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Burris.

BASH: Forty-five minutes later, Democratic leaders announced they were changing course, laying out a path that would allow Burris to become senator.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: There's going to come a time when the entire Senate is going to have to act on this and that day, I hope, would come sooner rather than later.

BASH: Even entertaining the idea of seating Burris is a dramatic reversal. Just last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "anyone appointed by Governor Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus."

President-elect Obama had backed Senate Democrats in not seating Burris, but CNN is told on Monday Obama urged Reid to find a, quote, "amicable resolution" and today softened his public position, too.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: If he gets seated, then I'm going to work with Roland Burris.

BASH: A senior Democratic source admits to CNN Rod Blagojevich called their bluff by appointing Burris and all the hype, images of a rain-soaked fellow Democrat turned away from the Senate was incredibly problematic. So were accusations of racism, which Democratic leaders raised unsolicited.

REID: So a lot of people tried to make this a racial issue but Roland Burris has not and will not.

BASH: Reid said Burris could be seated with conditions. Burris makes the case his appointment wasn't tainted when he testifies at Governor Blagojevich's impeachment hearings and a court forces the Illinois secretary of state to sign Burris' certificate of appointment. Then the Senate Rules Committee would investigate and the full Senate would vote.

ROLAND BURRIS (D), SENATE APPOINTEE: So I'm very pleased this afternoon. I'm happy.

BASH: Burris always insisted he become a senator, but now says it will happen shortly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And today the Congressional Black Caucus overcame some internal division about what to do about Burris and they publicly called for him to be seated, but the process that was laid out by Democratic leaders today according to Democratic sources, that could take as long as a month, and privately some Democratic sources are telling me, Lou, that they are hoping that by that time Rod Blagojevich will either have been impeached or otherwise he will be out of office so that they don't have to deal with seating this man who Blagojevich has appointed -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, Reid's and Durbin's reversal on this issue is simply a statement that they're going to follow the law, but to carry out this nonsense with investigations and Rules Committee hearings and all of this nonsense -- the law has been met here and by the letter, throughout the process, by the sitting governor of the state of Illinois, and Roland Burris is, without question, the legal authorized appointee by that governor. What is going on there?

BASH: Well, we heard Harry Reid make the point that there is a rule that goes back to the 1800s in the Senate that says that any senator must be certified by the secretary of state. That is what they're sort of hanging this on.

DOBBS: Yes.

BASH: But it was really interesting, today, Lou, the secretary of state in Illinois, Jesse White (ph), he actually also criticized the Senate, even though he didn't sign that piece of paper. He said the Senate should allow Roland Burris I should say to come in, so...

DOBBS: Well certainly he could...

BASH: ... we're getting it from all sides.

DOBBS: Certainly he could contribute to the efficiency of this process by getting that signed. But on the other hand, this Senate leadership and the form of its majority leader, Harry Reid -- I mean it's an embarrassment that -- today saying that Roland Burris wasn't bringing up the issue of race, even though others were.

The issue here is what is the Senate leadership doing and what it is doing is an insult to law and the rule of law in this country. Irrespective of their wishes and this taking another month is a further insult to Roland Burris.

BASH: Well, I think Roland Burris looked like a happy man today, because he came out of that meeting thinking that perhaps he was going to get what he wants. So we'll see what happens in the state of Illinois in the next couple of days.

DOBBS: And I know you'll keep us up to date minute by minute.

BASH: I sure will...

DOBBS: Thanks, Dana Bash.

The NAACP today declared its support for Roland Burris. The NAACP's chairman, Julian Bond, telling CNN that he believes Burris will be seated in the Senate. Our Louise Schiavone has the exclusive report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, the Senate's rejection of Roland Burris this week was all too familiar. Here is Julian Bond sitting out his own swearing in to Georgia's legislature in 1966.

JULIAN BOND, NAACP CHAIRMAN: In 1966, I endorsed a statement opposing the war in Vietnam. The members the Georgia House where I was expected to be seated objected to this and said that I couldn't believe in the statement and take the oath of office, be a legislator. I had won the election, I was old enough and I lived in Georgia, but they disagreed and they voted to put me out.

SCHIAVONE: With a full-out campaign by Martin Luther King, Jr....

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Julian Bond will be back in that state legislature...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SCHIAVONE: And the authority of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling, Bond ultimately took his seat and is somewhat incredulous that similar images are still alive four decades later. Senate Democratic leaders say long standing procedure not racism accounts for the standoff.

REID: Roland Burris, one of the first things he said to us, hey, this is nothing that's racial, I understand that. So a lot of people tried to make this a racial issue, but Roland Burris has not.

SCHIAVONE: The charge that the Illinois governor wanted to sell the Senate seat made Democratic leaders suspicious of the Burris appointment. But Bond suggests...

BOND: Well you have to ask yourself what were they thinking or were they thinking at all, when the whole Democratic Caucus and the Senate, including then-Senator Obama say "let's not seat this guy." Didn't one of them say this is going to look bad?

SCHIAVONE: The NAACP says the Burris appointment is legitimate and he should be seated. The Congressional Black Caucus has said (INAUDIBLE).

REP. DONALD PAYNE (D), NEW JERSEY: Many times when decisions are made without it being thought through clearly, you tend to find yourself in a very embarrassing and difficult position.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHIAVONE: Lou, as you've already discussed, the question could move soon to the Senate Rules Committee where the chairman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has already said she believes Roland Burris should be seated. And Lou, since we had an opportunity to sit down with Julian Bond, we asked the head of the NAACP this question.

Lou Dobbs has called for Governor Paterson to appoint either an Hispanic or African-American to the Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to expand the diversity of the Senate. What do you think of that idea?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOND: It's an excellent idea. I wouldn't presume to tell Governor Paterson to pick John or Mary or Sue or anybody else. But you cannot have a Senate of the United States with this miniscule -- if Burris is seated this miniscule black representation. Here 100 people representing the whole country, one of them is black? There's something wrong with that picture. So that's a good idea. I don't agree with everything Lou Dobbs says, but I agree with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIAVONE: So there you have that, Lou, from the head of the NAACP, Senator -- Julian Bond.

DOBBS: Well, if I may return the compliment, I don't agree with everything that Julian Bond says, but I agree with him on this. Thank you very much, Louise Schiavone from Washington.

The president-elect today praised Roland Burris, calling him a fine public servant. President-elect Obama also focused on his economic agenda. The president-elect saying reforming huge government entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare would be a central part of his program. Jessica Yellin has the story from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the economy, no happy talk from the incoming president.

OBAMA: We have an economic situation that is dire.

YELLIN: He's trying to build public support for a stimulus that could cost as much as $800 billion. But don't worry about waste. He promises discipline.

OBAMA: We must scour this budget line by line, eliminating what we don't need or what doesn't work.

YELLIN: Today, he named a spending watchdog, Nancy Killefer (ph) will take the new role of chief performance officer. She'll decide which programs are worth funding over the long term. But the stimulus is a different story. To work that money has to go out the door fast. Even supporters say that leads to waste.

REBECCA BLANK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: You know, whenever you try to spend a lot of money fast, you know, some of it is going to be spent in ways that you might not put it there if you were being a little bit more thoughtful and taking a little bit more time.

YELLIN: Possible examples from this list of ready to go projects compiled by the nation's mayors -- a $20 million minor league baseball museum, a $4.8 million polar bear exhibit, $500,000 for environmentally friendly golf courses in Dayton, Ohio. The mayors insist projects like these will jump-start the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must invest where we get the greatest return.

YELLIN: And some economists say a little bit of waste is worth it if it gets the economy back on its feet. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the objective is money spent in the economy that's going to create demand and buy services from businesses and stimulate consumer spending, it probably matters a little less that those are the most thoughtful projects.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YELLIN: Now Lou, to be clear, the projects I listed have not been approved for funding. In fact multiple Obama aides tell me that they're still working with Congress to devise a general oversight plan to help determine which projects actually get funded.

Now one proposal is that they could require every project go through an approval process by the federal agencies, not by local politicians. Bottom line, Obama's team is insistent that the money will not be handed out based on whose congressional district each project is in. We'll have to wait and see -- Lou.

DOBBS: But you know oddly here, the role of Congress is one of oversight and it seems to be a diminishment of that responsibility, as well as role. Is there likely to be some pushback from Capitol Hill?

YELLIN: You can bet there will be, yes. I think the Obama team is laying out a marker now and it sets the stage for future negotiation. Congress will certainly flex its muscle.

DOBBS: And I love this idea of a chief performance officer. My gosh. I thought that was supposed to be the president of the United States.

YELLIN: He's getting a little help, fodder for future shows I think, Lou.

DOBBS: You, I think, have made a correct inference. Thank you very much -- and a correct report. We appreciate it, Jessica Yellin, as always.

A bleak new estimate of the huge budget deficit facing this country, not only the new Obama administration, even before the president-elect can implement any part of the stimulus package. The plan would make the deficit even larger. The Congressional Budget Office today reporting that the 2009 federal budget deficit could hit a record $1.2 trillion.

Nearly three times the size of the record of $450 billion deficit of last year. Well President-elect Obama today had the ultimate power lunch with President Bush, three former presidents, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton and Jimmy Carter. It was the first such meeting since 1981.

After this meeting today, they all had lunch and among the topics discussed, we're told reliably, the recession and the war in Gaza. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today declared the United States does support a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza. Rice telling the United Nations she now backs a cease-fire plan that has been proposed by both France and Egypt. But Secretary Rice said any cease-fire must not allow a return to what she called the status quo, meaning it must end Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. Those attacks taking place over the previous three years. And this, a reversal on the part of the United States government, which had insisted on a three conditional elements for a cease-fire.

Efforts to implement the three-hour truce in Gaza today failed. That truce broke down just minutes after it was due to go into effect. Israel resumed air and artillery strikes against suspected Hamas positions in Gaza. Hamas fired more rockets into southern Israel. Nearly 700 Palestinians have been killed over the past 12 days. Ten Israelis have also been killed.

Up next here, the always provocative commentator and conservative writer Ann Coulter on her explosive new best-seller, "Guilty," all about what she calls outright liberal bias in the media. And we'll be talking about some of those liberal victims.

Also, corporate America's aggressive campaign to drive down the wages of American scientists and engineers. That's not what they've been telling everybody. We'll tell you the truth, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: New evidence tonight there are enough American scientists in this country to fill job openings in science and engineering and in science and engineering companies, despite many industry claims to the absolute contrary. Those companies actively discourage American workers by keeping wages lower than they would otherwise be without foreign workers being imported. They keep wages low by exploiting visa rules and bringing cheap foreign workers into this country. Bill Tucker has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This fact from the National Science Foundation highlights a serious problem. "The number of foreign post-docs has increased by 52 percent since 1996, whereas the number of U.S. citizen and permanent resident post-docs has grown by nine percent."

The conventional wisdom is that that data shows a shortage of scientists and a dire need to bring in as many foreign scientists on H-1B visas as we can. Science professionals see it very differently. Beryl Benderly writes a monthly column for science careers on science labor force issues.

BERYL LIEFF BENDERLY, SCIENCE CAREERS COLUMNIST: There is no shortage of people. There are thousands of people who cannot find careers as scientists after they've been through years of training.

TUCKER: Studies from the Urban Institute, the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation all agree, the United States produces more scientists annually than science jobs. There is no shortage reflected in the pay they receive either. Ellis Research Services (ph), which has been doing wage studies in the science and engineering fields for 20 years, has consistently found pay for scientists to be in line with or lower than the average for all fields.

RON HIRA, ROCHESTER INST. OF TECHNOLOGY: There's no premium to these careers, and at the same time, what's happened is that there's been an increase in the risk to those workers, right, as employers cut, for example, benefits, as employers start to look to move work overseas, and a lot of science positions are vulnerable to being moved overseas.

TUCKER: In other words, there's a disincentive for choosing a career in science.

PROF. NORM MATLOFF, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: The first thing the Obama people should do is take a hard look. Ignore the PR and take a hard look at what's really going on in terms of wages and job opportunities and science today.

TUCKER: There are winners. Just not the scientists.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER: A typical post-doc in their early 30s, after years of school, earning a PhD will earn about 35,000, maybe $40,000 a year in a research position. Helping keep those wages low, the fact that research institutions have unlimited access to H-1B visas. And according to Ron Hira, some 60 percent of post-docs are foreign students, Lou, here on guest worker visas.

DOBBS: I'm not sure I quite understand this. You're telling us that a person with a doctorate in this country, roughly 30 years of age, late 30s...

TUCKER: Right.

DOBBS: ... early 30s -- I mean late 20s, early 30s is making just about the same as the median household income in this country?

TUCKER: They're making about 35 or $40,000 a year, after all of those years of schooling...

DOBBS: That's incredible.

TUCKER: ... which really is below what a Bachelor...

DOBBS: So let me ask a question.

TUCKER: ... make.

DOBBS: Why would it not occur to geniuses like Bill Gates, who's had the tamari to stand in front of Congress and demand an infinite number of H-1B visas, why would it not occur to such a genius as Bill Gates and others in corporate America and in academia to perhaps offer greater pay for higher education in corporate America? TUCKER: Well I can't speak for them, but they're the ones who benefit from the lower wages, Lou, so I would imagine they're acting as they would say in their own self-interest.

DOBBS: Well a horrible -- a horrible construction of self- interest, denying an incentive for people to move into those jobs and give them a living wage, outrageous.

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: And I really would love to hear from the Chamber of Commerce -- the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable. We invite you to come here and demonstrate to us the error of our ways because you've been among those, Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and Bill Gates, I want to invite you too, Bill, because you and I have known each other a long time and you know I'm a straight shooter and I know that you can be when you're wrestled to the ground.

So why don't you come here and we'll talk about what's really going on, and how the American interest and American middle class workers can best be served. Because it looks like, frankly, folks, you're doing the nation a great disservice by distorting what is happening in this country for higher education, graduates, particular post-docs in corporate America.

Well there are right now 23 guest worker programs. By the way, I know you're one of those people, I'll bet you, who like me has listened to the president say we've got to have a guest worker program. Well, let me repeat that number. We keep trying to keep -- to figure out how many there are. And the number right now is just 23 guest worker programs.

So, Mr. President, I know you only got a couple of weeks left, a little less than that, but I want you to hear me loud and clear. As you've been going around the country saying this nonsense, there are 23 guest worker programs, folks. Foreign workers enter here under an alphabet soup of different visas in those guest worker programs.

In addition to the H visas there are also the E, the G, the I, the O, the P and there's an R-visa as well. There's also a visa for workers covered under NAFTA. In total, almost 810,000 foreign worker visas were issued in 2007. H-visas accounting for more than 400,000 of those workers and eight of the top 20 companies requesting H-1B visas last year -- are you ready -- those American companies looking for that skilled talent that Bill Gates talked about and the Chamber of Commerce wants, well, eight of the top 20 -- that's right, they were based in India. They were outsourcing jobs. Just thought we'd bring that to your attention as well, Mr. Gates.

A major scandal at one of the big Indian outsourcing companies today. The chairman of Satyam Computer Services was forced to admit that Satyam has been falsifying its books for years. The company's balance sheet inflated the amount of cash the company held by just $1 billion in the quarter ending last September. The company overstated its operating profits by just a factor of 11, 11 times their actual profit. Satyam is third on the list of companies, by the way, receiving those good old H-1B visas. You got to love it.

Well, last night, we brought you the story about the Vatican's criticism of U.S. immigration policy. We'd like to know what you think tonight. Here is the poll question. If the Vatican seriously objects to the U.S. border fence, should the Catholic Church tear down the wall that surrounds the Vatican? Do you think that would be intellectually and morally consistent?

Yes or no? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later in the broadcast. And we'll have a special report later in the broadcast.

Up next, provocative author, conservative columnist and writer Ann Coulter joins me here. We'll be talking about her brand-new book, "Guilty". And attacks by Mexico's drug cartels worsening and growing more brazen. We'll have a special report on the latest attack on a television station in Monterrey. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: A Chicago real estate magnate appears to be the latest high-profile suicide as a result of our global economic crisis. The crisis has claimed the lives of investors in this country and in Europe. Steven Good (ph) found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday. German billionaire Adolf Merckle jumped in front of a train near his home (INAUDIBLE) family.

Merckle's death is the fourth such investor suicide in less than three months. The CEO of an investment firm committed suicide in London last September. A French investor lost more than $1.4 billion with Bernard Madoff, killed himself in New York just two days before Christmas.

Mexico's drug -- deadly drug violence expected to intensify. That warning coming from intelligence experts in both Mexico and this country. Drug cartels have already killed at least 14 people since the beginning of this new year. Last night, drug gangs attacked a television news station in Monterrey, once considered safe from the drug cartels. All of this coming as the effects of Mexico's drug wars continue to spread. Casey Wian has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Masked gunmen attacked a television station in Monterrey, Mexico, during its nightly newscast Tuesday with bullets and a grenade.

JOAQUIN LOPEZ-DORIGA, TELEVISA JOURNALIST (through translator): All of us at Televisa condemn this attack, the violence, the intimidation and the intent to keep quiet. The freedom of expression that belongs not just to journalists but all Mexican people.

WIAN: No one was hurt. The attackers left a note reading "stop reporting only about us, also report about the narco officials. This is a warning." The City Council in El Paso, Texas Tuesday night unanimously passed a resolution supporting measures to stop violence in neighboring Juarez, Mexico but it also included a controversial amendment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to say something that's politically very difficult for anyone to say, which is, one, has the drug war been successful? Two, if not, should we continue it? And three, given that, should we look at legalizing, regulating, controlling, taxing, drugs and narcotics in the United States?

WIAN: But El Paso Mayor John Cook vetoed the entire proposal, saying the drug legalization amendment undermines the credibility of the entire resolution. In his words, "it is not realistic to believe that the United States Congress will seriously consider any broad- based debate on the legalization of narcotics. That position is not consistent with community standards, both nationally and locally."

Rusty Fleming, author of "Narco Warfare in the 21st Century" is meeting with El Paso city leaders Thursday.

RUSTY FLEMING, "NARCO WARFARE IN THE 21ST CENTURY": There's no solution outside of securing our southwest border. That is first and foremost. The next thing is we need to tighten security of southbound traffic. That is the traffic that goes from the U.S. into Mexico because that's where the guns and the cash are going.

WIAN: Guns and cash fueling the violence that's increasingly threatening the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Drug cartels were responsible for more than 1,600 murders in Juarez last year alone. To put that into perspective, the U.S. murder rate is about five and a half per 100,000 residents. In Juarez there are 117 murders for every 100,000 people, Lou.

DOBBS: It's incredible. The people of Mexico are undergoing a nightmare that is getting so little attention from this government. Hopefully that will change. And the resistance to securing that border is utterly irrational. It's extraordinary, what is being tolerated there by this government, by this administration. Hopefully that will change. Any indication that there will be change, Casey?

WIAN: There doesn't seem to be, Lou. You know, the vote by the city council in El Paso to advocate the possible legalization of drugs speaks to the desperation that some of these local governments are feeling with the failure of the federal government in the United States and Mexico to control this drug war.

DOBBS: You know, people are getting a little too cute by half, sitting there talking about whether or not there should be a continuation of the war on drugs. Obviously, the members of that council really should have -- they should have their brains carefully checked, as well as their hearts. I mean, to tolerate what has been a failure to secure that border and to permit Mexico to remain the principal source of methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine and marijuana into this country, and then have some local yokel sitting there talking about, well, should we really think about trying to stop this while we've got a bunch of national yokels in Washington, D.C. who refuse to look honestly at this administration and respond honestly and responsibly for the benefit, the welfare, the safety, of the American public. It's extraordinary. Legalize drugs and end the war, that was the intimation on the part of the city councilman, against drugs -- that sounds like utter cowardice, and fear.

WIAN: And the mayor who vetoed that resolution says it doesn't have a chance of passing.

DOBBS: He's got to be a little embarrassed that he has a council that would even think and act that way. Congratulations to the mayor for having political courage. Extraordinary. Thank you very much, appreciate it, Casey Wian.

2008 was, at the best an extremely violent year in Mexico. More than 5,300 people were killed in the drug cartel wars last year. That's more than double the number of drug-related deaths in 2007. Tonight, the family of a victim of Mexican drug cartel violence, an apparent victim is speaking out. U.S. anti-kidnapping consultant Felix Batista was himself kidnapped in Mexico last month. His wife and his family kept their silence. But now they're appealing to those kidnappers to release him. John Zarrella has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vanished. Imagine how you would feel if the person you loved simply disappeared.

JACKIE BATISTA, SISTER: Words cannot describe the pain that we are going through in not knowing where he is or what has happened to him.

ZARRELLA: After taking a phone call, Felix Batista walked out of a restaurant in the city of Satio, Mexico, on December 10th. According to Mexican authority, security camera video shows him voluntarily getting in a car. And that was it, gone.

LOURDES BATISTA, WIFE: And since then, we have learned nothing of him.

ZARRELLA: But of all people, Batista is the last person you would ever expect to be kidnapped. He's an internationally respected U.S. anti-kidnapping consultant. He was in Mexico taking part in a seminar on how not to get kidnapped. In an interview last summer with TVS, Batista himself gave a grim assessment of how kidnappings go in Mexico.

FELIX BATISTA, TV AZTECA (through translator): In Mexico there are problems with negotiations. Bad things happen to victims. They're killed raped or mutilated.

ZARRELLA: His family has been quiet, saying nothing, hoping to hear from him or whomever took him, but the silence remained deafening. Now they are going public.

BATISTA: Please let him go. Let him return to his family. He has never done anyone any harm. I beg you with all the strength in my heart to please have mercy.

ZARRELLA: During the past year, kidnappings and violence have risen dramatically in Mexico. But while his family believes there can be no other explanation, Mexican authorities say they really have no information or evidence that in fact, Batista was kidnapped.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: In that same interview that Batista gave last summer, he talked about how kidnappings in Mexico usually end pretty quickly, within a few days. He's been gone now nearly a month. And there are still questions out there. Who called him? What did they talk about? And why did he get in that car? -- Lou.

DOBBS: A tragic story. Unfortunately, one of literally thousands in Mexico. Any further thoughts from authorities? Any hope for the family?

ZARRELLA: Well, U.S. authorities won't talk at all as to what their involvement is. The FBI is said to be working with Mexican authorities. Again, they won't talk to us. The family literally had not said a word until now because they've been hoping against hope that someone would call them. They would get some sort of a ransom demand. The reason they went public, though, Lou, is because they are beginning, now, to run out of hope.

DOBBS: John, thank you very much. John Zarrella.

Well, time now for your thoughts.

John in New York wrote to say: "Dear Lou, thank you for your reporting. Keep the pressure on Washington. This entitlement group needs to be brought to task."

Rick in Arizona says: "Does anything the Democrats do surprise you? There's a new comedy channel. It's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." I thought that was already an established comedy channel.

Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com.

Up next, the Catholic Church can't shake off a blatant effort to support amnesty and open borders. Another example of Vatican interference in American affairs. We'll be talking about that.

And much of the media guilty of outright bias. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, author of the block bester best-seller "Guilty" will be here to talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Well, the inauguration of Barack Obama to be the nation's 44th president is now only 13 days away. Joining me now to talk about the Obama transition, a host of other issues, Ann Coulter, outspoken critic of the country's liberals, their nasty agenda, other things. Her new book is "Guilty, Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America." Great to have you back, Ann. ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "GUILTY": Great to be here.

DOBBS: I have to start with the dustup about the "Today" show banning you. Matt Drudge said they were being horrible to you. Then you appeared today magically.

COULTER: Thank you, Matt Drudge.

DOBBS: There you go. I suppose you have to thank Matt Lauer, too.

COULTER: Absolutely, I love him.

DOBBS: So it is all love and kisses now?

COULTER: Oh, it was fabulous.

DOBBS: So they've embraced your conservativism?

COULTER: No, he was feisty.

DOBBS: Good, we wouldn't want anything less in the morning.

COULTER: I'm so grateful to them for having me on. I think it was a fabulous interview and I hope it bumped their ratings up.

DOBBS: Good deal and I bet you're hoping too it boosts book sales.

COULTER: That's why --

DOBBS: The "Today Show," CBS, I think that's the order of the books on the marketplace, right?

COULTER: That is why we care when they seem to be pushing a political agenda and also why we want to be on their network.

DOBBS: That's the reason we want you here, because we want to drive book sales and to see you again and talk about those nasty liberals that you just skewer in your books --

COULTER: Thank you.

DOBBS: In almost every word. But I've got to ask you, this liberal bias in the media; I've never noticed such a thing. What makes you think there's such a thing?

COULTER: Well, I have about 200 pages in this book, maybe more, covering just that. I must say, this last campaigns the 2008 campaign, was a beautiful template. I was not planning on writing as much about the media or politics Bush since I was writing the book as the campaign was going on, walking through the kitchen you keep hearing about the Republican attack machine. I wish we had a Republican attack machine.

DOBBS: Well, the Republicans -- I mean, the Republicans do you feel like you are sort of a -- in a way --

COULTER: The only man in the party? Why, yes, I do.

DOBBS: Whatever one thinks of you, whether they're conservative or liberals, you're the, without question, the sharpest-tongued, sharpest-witted conservative out there.

COULTER: Thank you.

DOBBS: One has to admire the energy and effort you bring to your cause.

COULTER: Thank you.

DOBBS: As you look at this administration and conservatives across the board in this country, principally, you wonder what are you doing, wasting our time? They're unengaging, they're uninspiring, and they sit there and sort of take it --

COULTER: -- I want to tell you what I was thinking of calling this book but I don't think we can say it on air, about the Republicans.

DOBBS: Now you have everyone's imagination waging.

COULTER: It's a funny title. One beautiful example of this and illustrating the theme of the book is in the last chapter. At the Republican National Convention, Sarah Palin gets up to give her -- the most important political speech in a decade, where she's being introduced to the nation, to Obama fund-raisers stand up and start screaming at her and storming the stage. Now, point one, how many newspapers reported that story? That's right, two local newspapers.

DOBBS: Is that right?

COULTER: No place else. Do you think it would have made news if a major McCain fund-raiser had stood up during Obama's speech at the conventions, started screaming and storming the stage? Moreover, this -- I mean, the stunning thing about the story is, if you can get the video, and you can only see it online, you see all these Republican men standing there, right next to these screaming banshees doing nothing. You have this 99-pound woman on stage trying to deliver the most important speech -- how about a punch to these screaming banshees?

DOBBS: I'm curious, do you think they are becoming the fem nest party? Because you, Governor Palin, prominent, with more energy, more -- let's put it this way, verve, than any of the candidates running for president, and any of the political strategists behind them.

COULTER: I do note at the end of the section, no wonder we needed a girl to run for vice president, with all these Republican men standing around doing nothing. And, of course, the two women -- the code pink, big Obama fund-raisers, who were taken out screaming, they complained they were victimized. Why do they have to drag two women out of there? It would be like somebody walking in here right now. It's your TV show. You don't have someone else coming in and screaming in the middle of your TV show.

DOBBS: We were supposed to do that, but we forgot. Butt it's awfully nice of you to be with us, Ann. The book is "Guilty," and may I?

COULTER: Yes.

DOBBS: The book is "Guilty," "Liberal Victims, Their Assault on America," is the subtitle. I like that. We are becoming a culture of victims, though, I think both left and right. I know you don't agree with half of that. But it's delightful for to be here, as always. Ann Coulter. "Guilty," another best-seller. You've just got people screaming group set people off. It's amazing.

Still ahead, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, he sets people off and he's reversed himself rather abruptly on his position of stopping Roland Burris from becoming the junior senator from Illinois.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the best political minds in the country. Republican strategist Ed Rollins. Ed served as white house political director under president Reagan and Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, also the chair of the Mike Hucakbee presidential campaign. As you can tell, I've got this thing all in order. Jeanne Cummings, she's the senior political correspondent, politico.com. She is often here simply to keep Ed Rollins in line and does so rather successfully. Great to have you with us, Jeanne.

Well, let's -- let's start with the idea that Senator Harry Reid has gotten so far over his skis that he can no longer control himself, let alone the Senate. What do you think Jeanne?

JEANNE CUMMINGS, POLITICO.COM: Oh, absolutely. This whole Illinois story has been so rich and so giving and so pleasurable for those of us who have watched it. It isn't just Harry Reid, it's every character in this -- this macabre play have overspoken or, you know, taken some strange illegal -- legal position and they've had to back off of in a matter of hours or days. So it's all of them, I think, have given themselves one big black eye. And best thing they do for themselves today was just try to bring it all to an end as fast as they can.

DOBBS: Yet Senator Reid, Hank, says, you know, we're going to have to investigate. We've got to get through the rules committee. We've got to do blah, blah blah, blah blah. The man is an utter and complete taxing irritating aggravating, just -- I can't -- I can't tell you how much I don't regard the man --

HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think we got that, Lou. I think we got that. Look --

DOBBS: How can a man do this? I mean this is -- whether you like Rod Blagojevich, the governor of Illinois, he is the governor of Illinois. Whether you like Burris, for crying out loud, he has been appointed by this governor. He deserves a seat. Right now, no games, no 30-day nonsense. I mean, what the heck are these people doing? What's your party doing, Hank?

SHEINKOPF: They're going to do nothing. They're going to seat Roland Burris and forget about the rest of it. I'll tell you why. On this program last week we said something very important, by the way, governor Blagojevich has not been convicted of anything --

DOBBS: He hasn't even been indicted.

SHEINKOPF: By the way, there are states rights issues involved here. It's patently absurd. The Democrats did not handle themselves well. Senator Reid, with the growing population of African-Americans in the state of Nevada should not be acting this way.

DOBBS: And then Harry Reid says Roland Burris didn't bring up race. As if it's an issue of Roland Burris, that Roland Burris is a nice guy is basically her and Durbin -- it's outrageous.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: My day was made this morning when he said that Politico -- one of the blogs, that he's going to be the leader until 2015. I thought there possibility Republicans come back if we focus our attention on Harry Reid and get him on as many TV shows as possible.

The other thing is he says I don't work for Barack Obama, which I thought was a wonderful thing to say to the new incumbent. Instead of saying I'm looking forward to the new incumbent, I'll work with him, he says I don't work for Barack Obama. Throwing that stupid gauntlet down shows what an idiot this guy is.

DOBBS: Harry Reid, the very best hope for the Republican Party.

ROLLINS: As an old boxer, sometimes we all take too many shots in the head, Harry was a boxer and I'm afraid he might have had a couple blows there that are starting to show early stages of dementia. But he gives us hope.

DOBBS: Unbelievable. Jeanne, as front and center as Barack Obama, the president-elect today, appointed a chief performance officer. A CPO, I mean, how delicious is that for you all in Washington?

CUMMINGS: Actually, we have seen this story before. And we'll see it finally we have a president who can make something of this. This appointee is supposed to go through the budget line by line and get rid of waste. Now, didn't we have reinventing government just like eight, 10, 12 years ago?

DOBBS: Well, I can top that.

CUMMINGS: President Bush had his own.

DOBBS: Peter Grace is in charge of the Grace Commission back during Ed Rollins administration.

CUMMINGS: And President Bush had his own project to do this too. We see this every single time with the new administration, it never seems to work. We'll see if Barack Obama can make it work.

DOBBS: You know --

ROLLINS: Call the director of the office of management and budget. It's responsibility to go through the budget line item by line item representing the president and executive branch. They're putting too many czars, too many counselors, too many layers in this white house.

DOBBS: And we're going to be back about whether or not there should be a czar appointed to oversee the czars. We'll be back with our panel in just a moment.

Up at the top of the hour, Campbell Brown, "NO BIAS, NO BULL."

Campbell, tell us all about it.

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there, Lou, it's been a big day for Barack Obama. Not only did he visit with president Bush and all three living former presidents. He's getting ready for one of the most important speeches any president-elect has ever had to give. We're going to take a "NO BIAS, NO BULL" look at the signals he needs to send in tomorrow's pretty major economic address, what can really make a difference in these troubled times.

Also, why Senate Democrats suddenly look ready now to accept Roland Burris. What happened?

Plus, we've got details of a government bailout request from the porn industry. We are not kidding --Lou?

DOBBS: I know you're not kidding. What an indelicate way to put it. Thank you very much, Campbell.

And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for the Lou Dobbs Show go to loudobbsradio.com to get the local listings in your area.

Up next, we'll be back with our panel. We'll solve the nation's issues one by one. We'll give one of them at least in the next segment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: We're back with our panel, Roland Burris issue seems to be resolved in his favor. Left is Governor David Patterson in New York and the press by many in the elites of the party for him to appoint Caroline Kennedy. I call for Governor Patterson to appoint a black or Hispanic to improve the diversity of the Senate. And Julian Bond was asked that question by Louise Schiavone today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN BOND, NAACP CHAIRMAN: I think it's an excellent idea. I wouldn't presume to tell Governor Patterson to pick John or Mary or Sue or anybody else, but you cannot have a senator of the united states with this minuscule if Burris is seated, this minuscule black representation. Here are 100 people representing the whole country, only one of them is black? There's something wrong with that picture. That's a good idea, I don't agree with everything Lou Dobbs says, but I agree with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: Jeanne, I have to point out I don't always agree with everything Julian Bond says, but I agree with him on this. What's your reaction? Is Caroline Kennedy despite everything going to get this appointment?

CUMMINGS: Well, I do think this process has gotten ahead of Governor Patterson. He could say he's looking at other candidates, but I think it gets very hard for him when Caroline Kennedy has gotten this far ahead of the game. I would definitely put the odds on her ending up at the seat.

ROLLINS: I respectfully disagree. I think if he gives in at this point to the Kennedy accolades, that he shows he's a weak governor and he'll be tested on many fronts. African-Americans, Hispanics, members of Congress, and I think there'd be better choices.

SHEINKOPF: You'll be out of the house.

DOBBS: You believe that Governor Patterson has the wherewithal to follow his own dictate?

SHIENKOPF: It ain't going to work upstate; it ain't going to work at all.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. We appreciate it. We'll be back with the results of our poll in just one moment. Stay with us. We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The mention of our colleague Sanjay Gupta as the new surgeon general by the Washington post to name a few members of its own to a possible Obama television cabinet. Among them Post columnist Tim Gunn, Angelina Jolie making it and Suze Orman and yours truly for the secretary of homeland security. That's intriguing, Anderson Cooper, Kelly Ripa and Oprah. Honorable mention going to Wolf Blitzer named to run the white house Situation Room.

Tonight's poll results, 91 percent say if the Vatican objects to the offense, the Catholic Church should tear down the walls surrounding the Vatican.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Good night from New York.

Campbell Brown "NO BIAS NO BULL" starts right now -- Campbell?