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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Geithner Nomination Confirmed; Stimulating the Economy; Dire States; Change the Constitution; Nuclear Backlash
Aired January 26, 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: All right, Wolf, thank you. Tonight, breaking news, Timothy Geithner has been confirmed as Treasury secretary. Just moments from now, Vice President Biden is expected to swear in Secretary Geithner. We will have that for you live just as soon as it happens.
President Obama tonight calling for extraordinary action to tackle a worsening recession, but are the president and his surrogates talking down our economy, trying to sell a stimulus package, also tonight, cutting through the blather and partisanship in Washington about the stimulus package. We'll examine charges that the almost $1 trillion plan is full of welfare and pork.
And tonight, two lawmakers, Congressman Dan Lipinski and Congressman Don Manzullo are defying corporate America and special interest trying to protect American workers. They'll be among our guests here tonight, all of that, all the day's news and much more straight ahead.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; news, debate and opinion for Monday, January 26th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. President Obama today appealed to Congress to support his almost $1 trillion stimulus package. The president declaring these were extraordinary times, as he put it, the call for swift and extraordinary action. The president's appeal intended to win over skeptics who say the stimulus package is full of projects that are simply welfare from family planning services to grants to the national endowment for the arts. Ed Henry has our report from the White House -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Lou, at this hour, the president has rushed over to the Treasury Department for the swearing in of his new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. As you noted, he was confirmed this evening by the Senate 60-34, despite his failure to pay taxes several years ago. He has since rectified that, of course, but even a top Democrat, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia saying he could not vote for Tim Geithner in good conscious because of that tax issue.
Still, the White House this evening elated that they finally have this key member of their economic team in place. It couldn't come at a better time for them. This was the bleakest day for the economy since Barack Obama took office. Tens of thousands of jobs slashed from Caterpillar to Home Depot so the pressure is on the president now just two days before a critical House vote on his 825 economic -- $825 billion stimulus plan.
He has a growing number of Republicans coming out against it now. The latest, John McCain, his former rival, saying there's not enough tax cuts, way too much spending in the plan. But the president today insisted it's the right blend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't afford distractions, and we cannot afford delays. And that is why I look forward to signing an American recovery and reinvestment plan that will put millions of Americans to work. These are extraordinary times, and it calls for swift and extraordinary action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: So the president is going to be heading to Capitol Hill tomorrow to meet with House and Senate Republicans in separate meetings. He's not meeting with Democrats, just Republicans, to try to win them over, White House aides saying that he's willing to hear Republicans out on what changes they want to make to this plan.
Nevertheless, both Democrats on the Hill and White House officials here say that they are confident they have the votes between Democratic votes and a handful of Republican votes in both chambers in both the House and Senate to get this stimulus plan passed. But the point is that Barack Obama did not want his first big initiative to be a party line vote.
He wanted this to be much more bipartisan. That's why he's heading to the Hill, hoping he can try to convince at least some of these Republicans to come on board, Lou.
DOBBS: This is a repetition for the Democratic Congress. That is passing within a matter of days, a $700 billion, arguably $850 billion, of legislation and the Wall Street bailout under President Bush, now under President Obama to do so before there's even an analysis or a reading of the legislation they'll pass for a measure of some $1 trillion? Could there -- that just has to even by White House standards, wanting this bill put through, they have to be worried about the perception that that is irresponsible in the extreme on the part of Congress.
HENRY: They certainly are concerned about that. White House officials have been telling me the last 24 hours that they plan to get this bill online at some point so the American people can see it, but as you note, the clock is ticking. It's already Monday evening here. The president is going to the Hill on Tuesday.
We're expecting a House vote on Wednesday. So this plan has to come together. It has to get out to the American people if they are going to see it before this Wednesday vote. As you know last week, the president pledged he'd have again, once again, the most open, transparent administration ever. And I can tell you White House officials insist this will eventually be online. We haven't seen it yet, Lou. DOBBS: And this -- we should also take note that this Congress led by Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid also pledged that they would be responsible stewards replacing the Republicans in 2006. This will be the second time in which they've moved through almost $2 trillion in a process that is anything but appropriate and prudent -- Ed, thanks.
Let me turn to one other thing very quickly, Ed, because that left wing liberal group, they want to call themselves a watchdog group, but they are hardly that. Media Matters taking issue with your reporting here Friday night. Where does all of that stand?
HENRY: Well they're upset that we used -- mentioned the CBO analysis, the Congressional Budget Office that found early last week that less than half of the spending projects in here, in the stimulus bill, would actually stimulate the economy in the first two years of Barack Obama's administration. As we've noted, that's only part of essentially the bill that they analyzed.
Robert Gibbs did point out late last week that this is still a work in progress. That the CBO took just a snapshot in time and the bill is still changing. He insists that the White House Budget Office here has looked at it and 75 percent of this will be stimulative, but if you follow Robert Gibbs...
DOBBS: How does he know? How does he know?
HENRY: Right. This is still a work in progress as he himself says. What's most interesting when you take a step back is for the last eight years I've been covering, at least for part of it, the Bush White House. The CBO is always held up by Democrats as a gold standard of nonpartisan analysis. Now that the CBO has analyzed an Obama initiative and has not come out completely favorable, it's interesting to see liberals now attacking the CBO and essentially saying that you can't trust them. What's most -- more interesting is that the former head of the CBO is now the president's White House budget director, Peter Orszag (ph), so obviously President Obama thought the CBO was good enough that he picked their chief to be his new White House budget director -- Lou.
DOBBS: Indeed he did. And with the OMB attacking the CBO, and some of the most ridiculous counterclaims on the part of the Media Matters, that left wing -- I mean, frankly, they are so silly, it's beyond belief. But to try to conflate the Office of Management and Budget numbers as somehow superior with the Congressional Budget Office is an absurdity. Peter Orszag (ph) having to -- well, his head must be spinning as he tries to change roles here now as a member of the administration. As usual, your reporting was outstanding. As usual, Media Matters is what it is, a partisan bunch of hacks trying to play games. We thank you very much.
HENRY: Thanks, Lou.
DOBBS: We're standing by right now to bring you the swearing-in ceremony for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. As we just reported, it's expected to begin at any moment. President Obama says this latest wave of job cuts today means the United States cannot afford any delay in his stimulus package. And apparently none is contemplated by this administration nor the leadership of Congress.
Corporate America today announcing plans to cut more than 60,000 jobs. The biggest job cuts include 26,000 expected from the pending merger of Pfizer and its drug company rival Wyeth, which it's buying, and 20,000 more jobs at Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment. Thousands of jobs also being cut at Home Depot, Sprint Nextel, John Deere, General Motors and Texas Instruments.
As we reported, President Obama tonight struggling to win bipartisan support for a massive so-called economic stimulus package that many Republicans say includes projects designed to satisfy liberal lawmakers and left wing special interests, in effect, welfare and more pork. Ines Ferre has a report you'll only see right here.
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama says the economic stimulus bill has no earmarks. But it's filled with spending for projects that critics say won't stimulate the economy.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: It has an awful lot of wasteful spending and slow moving spending that won't create jobs and won't help preserve jobs in America.
FERRE: House Minority Leader John Boehner, for example, has attacked a provision that helps states expand family planning services, other spending receiving scrutiny, $50 million for the national endowment for the arts to help arts groups and 140 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for climate data modeling, $6 billion to construct, renovate and improve energy efficiency at federal buildings, and 200 million to renovate the National Mall. Most of the money is geared towards government agencies who in turn will use it to create jobs, but taxpayer groups say the bill lacks specifics to ensure that lasting jobs are created.
THOMAS SCHATZ, CITIZENS AGAINST GOVT. WASTE: There's no setting of priorities. There's no clear evidence which programs will work better than others. And members of Congress will be calling federal agencies directing them where to spend the money, and that's when all of the pork will appear on the back end of this legislation.
FERRE: The legislation states that none of the money can be used for building casinos, aquariums, zoos, golf courses or swimming pools. But critics are quick to point out that many provisions give federal agencies plenty of flexibility in how they spend the money.
FERRE: And the House is expected to vote on the bill this week. Even if it passes, Republican senators are saying they will continue fighting it, arguing the bill has too much spending and few guarantees to create jobs -- Lou.
DOBBS: Yes, in point of fact, zero guarantees and no -- no metric whatsoever to judge its success or its progress. This is a repeat of precisely what we saw in the Bush administration and hopefully it won't have the same effect. Remarkable, thank you very much, Ines Ferre.
Well we'll have much more on the president's struggle to sell that stimulus package ahead.
Also tonight, outrage after Senator Russ Feingold proposed a constitutional amendment to tell states how to fill vacant seats in the U.S. Senate.
And rising opposition in Congress to a deal that would make it easier for Iran to get U.S. nuclear technology and members of Congress seem willing to reward irresponsible state governments that run up huge budget deficits, a special report coming up next.
We will be back just as soon as the newly confirmed Treasury secretary and Vice President Joe Biden set to administer the oath of office arrive there on the stage. We'll be right back with that. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Congress is preparing to commit your tax dollars to state governments that have run up huge budget deficits, so if you live in a fiscally responsible state such as Texas, for example, that has no budget deficit, prepare to pay for well good old New York and California, they are on the verge of collapse in California as Casey Wian now reports.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In December, then President-elect Obama promised the nation's governors relief from escalating budget deficits and slumping state economies.
OBAMA: This administration does not intend to delay in getting you the help that we need.
WIAN: Now Congress is finalizing the $825 billion American Recovery and Investment Act that's expected to provide two to $300 billion to states. Most of that money will go toward infrastructure, education and Medicaid. Some of it, however, will be used to shrink budget deficits in states like California, which faces a $42 billion shortfall by 2010. It's expecting $11 billion in deficit reduction aid from federal taxpayers.
BRIAN RIEDL, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The federal bailout is not fair because a lot of these states have spent irresponsibly and grown their budgets on average seven percent annually over the last 15 years. These states need to rein in their own budgets rather than going to the federal ATM. WIAN: California is days away from issuing IOUs instead of tax refund checks. Officials here and in other states with massive deficits say federal bailout dollars are needed.
JEAN ROSS, CALIFORNIA BUDGET PROJECT: We are a nation. California certainly is the largest state in the nation. And if our economy isn't strong, we can't buy the goods and services that are produced throughout the U.S.
WIAN: California will receive at least $63 billion in presently identifiable funding in the federal legislation, according to the Center for American Progress, a think thank founded by John Podesta, the man who ran Barack Obama's transition. But on a per capita basis, California only ranks 24th in anticipated benefits among the states.
Alaska, Rhode Island and New York are all set to receive more than $2,000 per state resident. Utah, Virginia and Colorado are expected to receive less than $1,500 per person. While every state is lobbying for a bigger piece, much of the federal money will be allocated according to predetermined factors, including population, school-age population, Medicare spending and poverty rates.
WIAN: The conservative Heritage Foundation says rewarding states that have run up big budget deficits will only encourage them to continue spending above their means in the future -- Lou.
DOBBS: I wonder if that rule applies as well to the national government.
WIAN: It would be nice if it did, Lou, if there was some fiscal constraint in government anywhere.
DOBBS: Well it's going to be interesting to see where all of this leads. Appreciate it. Thank you very much, Casey Wian.
The governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich went on a Manhattan tour today and his impeachment trial also started today without him. Of course, Blagojevich is boycotting the trial because (INAUDIBLE) unconstitutional, claims his right to call witnesses has been denied. A member of the committee that put the Senate trial rules together calls his allegations absurd and said the governor has every right to submit witness statements in front and support of his case. The governor's attorney quit last week and Governor Blagojevich is a guest tonight on our "LARRY KING LIVE" show, 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is trying to change the Constitution to put an end to gubernatorial appointments for vacant Senate seats, but critics say that the nation facing a significant economic challenge, a constitutional amendment is neither urgent nor necessary. Lisa Sylvester has our report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the controversy that's formed around Caroline Kennedy, both raised questions on whether governors should be allowed to make appointments to fill vacant Senate seats. Forty-six states allow the governor to name someone, but four states -- Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Oregon -- require special elections with no interim appointment. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is proposing a constitutional amendment that would have other states follow their lead.
VOICE OF SEN. RUSSELL FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: It seems to me that there is no reason not to do what we've always done in Wisconsin, which is to have special elections for the Senate just as is required for all House races in America. All House races have to get by special election.
SYLVESTER: Not happy with the way the appointments are going? Conservative author Phyllis Schlafley says let state voters fix the problems in their states rather than change the Constitution.
PHYLLIS SCHLAFLEY, CONSERVATIVE AUTHOR: I think it's a distraction from the real issues that we have to face today, and I hope that the states will continue to have the power to decide it the way they want to decide it. Whether it's an appointment by the governor or whether an election is called immediately.
SYLVESTER: Changing the Constitution is no easy task.
NEIL RICHARDS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: You need to have two- thirds of each House of Congress and then it gets sent out to the states. And you either have to have the state legislators or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters or three-fourths in line with the Constitution of those states in order to -- for the amendment to take effect.
SYLVESTER: Since 1789, there have been more than 10,000 constitutional amendments proposed from giving 16-year-olds the right to vote to providing for moments of silence in public schools.
SYLVESTER: But of those thousands of amendments introduced, the Constitution has only been changed 27 times since 1789 -- Lou.
DOBBS: All right, Lisa, thank you. Lisa Sylvester.
New York's new Senate appointee, Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand is under fire from many of New York's media elite, most of that criticism in the liberal media centering around Gillibrand's support of the Second Amendment. The "New York Daily News" amongst others branding her gun fan Kirsten Gillibrand, "The New York Times" criticizing her quote, "extreme opposition to reasonable gun control laws", and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said she opposed quote, "keeping illegal guns out of the hands of criminals", end quote -- for the record, all of those folks supporting Caroline Kennedy one way or the other. Gillibrand, by the way, says she will support legislation proposing extensive background checks, but take a look at Saturday's "Daily News" front page published by Mayor Bloomberg's buddy Mort Zuckerman (ph). The "Daily News" calls her part of a "ship of fools" blasting her inexperience. The top of the page applauds Caroline Kennedy's bravery but no mention of her, well, inexperience.
We would like to welcome "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal" to coverage of a story we've been reporting here for years, the deadly drug cartel violence in Mexico, its devastating impact on the citizens of Mexico and the threat along our southern border. Today's "Wall Street Journal" reporting this story. "Drug gangs have Mexico on the ropes. Law enforcement south of the border is badly outgunned."
This weekend's "New York Times" also discovered the issue reporting on the cities of Juarez and El Paso, in an article entitled "Two sides of a border, one violent, one peaceful", "The New York Times" reporting on drug cartel violence in Juarez and its proximity to El Paso, Texas, making much of the peaceful aspect of El Paso, neglecting to point out the number of residents in El Paso who happen to be drug cartel members.
Well viewers of this broadcast are well aware of the drug cartel wars raging on our southern border in northern Mexico. But again, we welcome two members of the main stream media to this very important story. We hope your coverage will now pick up.
This is also the subject of our poll tonight. Are you surprised the main stream media is finally reporting on the devastating drug cartel violence in Mexico and its threat to America? We'd like to hear from you. Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here upcoming.
As we reported, the Senate tonight confirming Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary despite some questions about overdue taxes and his role in the huge bailout of Wall Street that appears to have been an absolute flop. We're waiting right now for the swearing-in ceremony for Timothy Geithner.
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to swear in the new Treasury secretary and we are told that President Obama is expected to make a statement -- our Ed Henry reporting at the White House that, in fact, the president had left the White House to attend that swearing-in ceremony. We will be going to it just as soon as the new Treasury secretary and the vice president and the president arrive.
Still ahead, your tax dollars could be used to help foreign workers in cheap labor markets all around the world. Two lawmakers tell us why they want a "buy American" provision in any -- any economic stimulus package.
And new efforts to block an agreement that would help Iran with its nuclear aspirations, we'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: A backlash building in Congress tonight against a nuclear agreement between the United States and the United Arab Emirates; the Bush administration signing that agreement in its final days. Many lawmakers, however, say the deal would make it easier for Iran to obtain American nuclear technology -- Kitty Pilgrim with our report.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush signed it and President Obama is stuck with it on his desk, an agreement to trade U.S. nuclear technology to the United Arab Emirates. If President Obama sends it to Congress, lawmakers would have only 90 days to act to block it. Congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen wants the deal put under a lot more scrutiny because of the UAE's close trading relationship with Iran.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FOREIGN AFFAIRS CMTE.: To be signing off on this nuclear deal as if this is our best buddy and we've got nothing to fear, I think it's a decision that we will regret five or even 10 years down the read. It's something that worries me and it should worry the American public.
PILGRIM: The UAE ambassador today gave us this statement about the UAE relationship with Iran. "The UAE government has actively endorsed and upheld all U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran. Furthermore, the UAE has taken strong action to enhance and enforce its export control laws to prevent the transshipment of sensitive materials. This has included the interdiction and seizure of numerous shipments over the past year." But some in Congress want considerably more debate before they are comfortable with those assurances.
REP. JEFF FORTENBERRY (R), NEBRASKA: We should have strong bilateral relations and the UAE is a good trading partner with the United States. However, this is not a shipment of soybeans. It is highly sensitive nuclear material and technology.
PILGRIM: Congressional critics do not like the fact that nuclear cooperation deals are not fully debated before they are signed.
REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: What we're working on is to try to change that law so that in cases like this, where there's a past history of transshipment, of not complying with nuclear safeguards that Congress actually has to physically assert and vote that approval.
PILGRIM: Now nuclear nonproliferation expert David Albright (ph) told us this evening this agreement should be examined much more thoroughly. He thinks security in the ports of the UAE is still a big concern. The UAE says it has taken strong action to tighten up its export control laws -- Lou.
DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much -- Kitty Pilgrim.
As we reported, we're standing by to bring you the swearing-in ceremony for the new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who will be a very busy man in that post. The ceremony is expected to begin at the Treasury Department, we're told, at any moment. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to swear in the new Treasury secretary.
President Obama also, we are told is on his way from the White House to attend. We'll be taking you there live. And let's take a look now at some of your thoughts.
Cathie in Illinois said: "It's wishful thinking, I know, but I would like just some integrity in government, especially when it involves our banking system. For those who have forgotten what integrity is, it's the quality of being honest and morally upright."
Many of you wrote in about one of the president's economic advisers, informally, at least, Robert Reich who said he didn't want stimulus spending to benefit just quote, "white male construction workers", end quote.
Al in New Jersey said: "Lou, as for the comments of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, the majority of construction workers working right now are illegal aliens. The people that Congress listens to are out of touch." A bit of an overstatement by some considerable measure I think there.
Janna in Georgia: "I watched you for the first time this past week. You are now someone I'll watch as often as I can. So far you appear to be objective on many issues. Thank you."
And we love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts to loudobbs.com because I should point out you're not going to see me objective or neutral very often, so enjoy it while you can.
Up next, Treasury Secretary Geithner's swearing-in, also President Obama calling for extraordinary action, but is the president talking down our economy? We'll be joined by three top political analysts and troubling new examples of greed and excess among Wall Street moguls. That's right. You'll only hear details of this on this broadcast I promise. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: As we reported, we'll be bringing you the swearing-in ceremony as we look there at the cash room at the Treasury Department; the swearing-in of the new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He was sworn in late this afternoon. The ceremony is expected to begin there at the Treasury Department any moment.
Vice President Joe Biden, as we've said, is expected to be swearing-in the new Treasury Secretary with President Barack Obama in attendance. And, in fact, we're also told that President Obama is now expected to make a statement. This is a day in which he has a lot to talk about, both his new -- his new Treasury Secretary and the President.
Sixty-eight thousand jobs; those layoffs were announced today in one day -- one of the worst days for employment notices in a very long time.
Also, a day in which we have learned that -- from the White House, the Obama White House, that they believe that there is even more urgency attached to the economic stimulus package, and at least are saying they're expecting a vote in the House of Representatives by Wednesday.
Obviously, they are standing up. The new Treasury Secretary arriving there, as I said in the cash room at the Treasury Department. The applause for President, for Joe Biden, as they enter the room. Timothy Geithner to the President's left.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, have a seat.
A short time ago, the United States Senate voted to confirm Timothy Geithner as our next Secretary of the Treasury. That deserves some applause.
I want to thank the Democratic and Republican Senators for their show of confidence in Tim. And I want to thank Tim and Carol for their willingness to serve their country at a time when that service is desperately needed.
Now I came here tonight because at this moment of challenge and crisis, Tim's work and the work of the entire Treasury Department must begin at once. We cannot lose a day because every day the economic picture is darkening here and across the globe.
Just today, we learned that seven major corporations will be laying-off thousands more workers. This comes on top of the 2.5 million jobs we lost last year. And it will take a Secretary of the Treasury who understands this challenge and all its complexities to help lead us forward.
When Alexander Hamilton was sworn in as our first Treasury Secretary, his task was to weave together the disparate debts in economies of various states into one American system of credit and capital markets.
More than two centuries later, that system is now in serious jeopardy. It has been badly weakened by an era of irresponsibility; the series of imprudent and dangerous decisions on Wall Street and an unrelenting quest for profit with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny and too little accountability. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets and our government.
And that era must end right now. And I believe it can. The very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it is not beyond our ability to solve.
Our problems are rooted in past mistakes, not our capacity for future greatness. It will take time, perhaps many years, but we can rebuild that lost trust and confidence. We can restore opportunity and prosperity. And I'm confident that Tim, along with Larry Summers and Peter Orszag and the rest of our economic team can help us get there.
In the coming weeks and months, we will work together to stabilize our financial system and restart the flow of credit that families and businesses depend on to get a loan. Make a payroll or buy a home. But we'll do it in a way that protects the American taxpayer. That includes the highest level of transparency and oversight so that the American people can hold us accountable for results.
Together, with both parties in Congress, we will launch a recovery and reinvestment plan that saves or creates more than three million jobs while investing in priorities like health care, education and energy that will make us strong in the future. And I will be working with the entire economic team and Tim to reform and modernize our outdated financial regulations so that a crisis like this cannot happen again. We'll put in place new common sense rules of the road and we will be vigilant in ensuring they are not bent or broken any longer.
So congratulations, Tim. You've got your work cut out for you as I think everybody knows. But you also have my full confidence, my deepest trust, my unyielding belief that we can rise to achieve what is required of us at this moment. Our work will not be easy, and it will not be quick, but we will embrace it so that we can carry on the legacy of boundless opportunity and unmatched prosperity that has defined this nation since our earlier days.
And before I step aside from the podium to all the wonderful staff at Treasury who have been laboring long and hard over the last several months and years, but particularly the last several months, I want to thank you for your dedication and your service. You've been doing yeoman's work at a time when the country needs you.
And I hope with Tim at the helm that that work will result in jobs and businesses reopening and the kinds of economic opportunity that the American people deserve.
So with that, let's get Tim sworn in.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Please raise your right hand. I, Timothy F. Geithner.
TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I Timothy F. Geithner.
BIDEN: Do solemnly swear.
GEITHNER: Do solemnly swear.
BIDEN: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
GEITHNER: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
BIDEN: Against all enemies foreign and domestic.
GEITHNER: Against all enemies foreign and domestic.
BIDEN: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
GEITHNER: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
BIDEN: That I take this obligation freely.
GEITHNER: That I take this obligation freely.
BIDEN: Without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
GEITHNER: Without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
BIDEN: And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.
GEITHNER: And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.
BIDEN: On which I am about to enter.
GEITHNER: On which I am about to enter.
BIDEN: So help me God.
GEITHNER: So help me God.
GEITHNER: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. Vice President and thanks to my many friends and colleagues for being here tonight.
My wife Carol stood beside me as I took this oath of office as she has twice before in this building. I want to thank her for her extraordinary grace and support. She has this remarkable capacity for calm wisdom and empathy.
Our children Alisa and Benjamin are back at school in New York studying for their midterm exams. I hope they are studying. I miss them very much, and I am very proud of them.
My terrific family is represented here tonight by my father Peter Geithner and my brother David. My parents gave me, among many wonderful things, they gave me the important gift of showing me the world as a child. They took us to live in Zambia and Rhodesia and then to India and to Thailand. And from those places, I saw America through the eyes of others. And it was that experience seeing the extraordinary influence of America on the world that led me to work in government. I first walked into this building about 20 years ago. And I had at Treasury the wonderful experience of working with smart and dedicated people serving their country, with the shared goal of making government more effective in an environment where our obligation was to debate the merits to do what was right, not what was easy or expedient, drawing on the best ideas and expertise in the nation.
Treasury's tradition is to defend the integrity of policy, to respect the constraints imposed by limited resources and to limit government intervention to where it is essential to protect our financial system and to improve the lives of the American people.
That tradition is critically important today because it is the source of the credibility that makes it possible for governments to do what is necessary to resolve a crisis. In the world we confront today, Treasury has to be and Treasury will be a source of bold initiative.
We are at a moment of maximum challenge for our economy and for our country. And our agenda, Mr. President, is to move quickly to help you do what the country asked you to do. To launch the programs that will bring economic recovery sooner to make our economy more productive and more just in the opportunities it provides our citizens.
To restore trust in our financial system with fundamental reform. To make our tax system better at rewarding work and investment, to restore confidence in America's economic leadership around the world. I pledge all of my ability to help me meet that challenge and to restore to all Americans the promise of a better future.
I want to thank Larry Summers who has taught me so much about economic policy, a little bit about math, even some things about people. I am fortunate he is willing to work alongside me as we confront the nation's challenges.
Mr. President, I am deeply grateful for your trust and confidence. We will work our hearts out for you. Thank you for giving me this great privilege of working for you. I am eager to get to work.
(END LIVE FEED IN PROGRESS)
DOBBS: Timothy Geithner now the new Treasury Secretary having taken the oath of office and offered, I think, some gracious obligatory comments.
I'm not so certain that one of his lines will not be well considered by the national media in which he referred to the Treasury tradition as to defending integrity of policy, to respect the constraints imposed by limited resources and to limit government intervention where it is essential to protect our financial traditions.
I mean, it is -- let's bring in White House -- Senior White House correspondent Ed Henry.
The President made a trek over to Treasury from where you stand now. Obviously, he is anxious to get his treasury secretary on board and working.
HENRY: He is Lou. You're absolutely right. He wanted to get this team in place. He, in fact, wanted to have him sworn in last Tuesday on inaugural day. That obviously, did not happen because of those tax issues. And it's very interesting to see that other key members of this cabinet like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got overwhelming votes in the Senate. More than 90 votes in this case.
Tim Geithner only got 60 votes. And among the no votes was a Democrat, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. A very senior veteran Democrat, obviously in that chamber and among the things he said, he cited that tax issue saying, quote, "this matter seriously undermines Mr. Geithner's credibility with the nation's top tax enforcement officer. Mr. Geithner showed poor judgment in waiting so long to pay these taxes and then did so only after paying them became a political necessity."
And that is interesting coming from this very senior Democrat. And it's going to be interesting to see how much credibility Tim Geithner has as treasury secretary because of this less than overwhelming vote in his favor. He still won. The White House is still elated that he's now confirmed.
But you have to wonder. He is walking into a monumental challenge. You mentioned about trying to keep government limited. Let's face it. His predecessor Henry Paulson certainly expanded government big time with that TARP situation; the $700 billion.
This administration now has to figure out how to spend the remaining dollars there $350 billion. A lot of talk in this town about maybe future bailouts, on top of that plus the $825 billion stimulus package you've been talking about. A monumental challenge ahead for Timothy Geithner.
DOBBS: Yes, I think as the scoring goes, we can put down $350 billion of the TARP money, the Wall Street bailout for President Bush and Hank Paulson, plus $150 billion in pork to get it all passed. Now comes President Obama, his new treasury secretary. They'll have the second $350 billion of that Wall Street bailout money. It looks like, without too much resistance.
They can count on another $825 billion at least come Wednesday. At least the first vote in the House, so he's making -- he and Geithner may look -- may make Bush and Paulson look like pikers (ph). What do you think Ed?
HENRY: Well, they certainly could if you think about the amount of debt that is piling up right now for the United States. And that's, obviously, going to be the medium to long-term challenge. Right now it seems like this administration is intently focused on what it can do in the short term. As you mentioned at the top of the show, those tens of thousands of jobs lost just today alone; companies like Caterpillar, Home Depot. It's been easy for Democrats to beat up on former President Bush.
But now, Barack Obama owns this economy, and this was the bleakest day since he's been sworn in for that economy and so they seem intently focused on the short-term, trying to turn this around, trying to stop this recession. But there's a medium to long-term issue as you point out in terms of the debt that's piling up. As U.S. government tries to spend its way out of this mess -- Lou.
DOBBS: Ed, thank you. Ed Henry, our senior White House correspondent.
Well, starting tonight, we'll be following every budget proposal, every stimulus package, every piece of legislation in this Congress that has to do with spending right here on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." We'll be going through every measure line by line. We'll tell you what's really going on in Washington and how it's affecting working men and women and their families.
Up next, we'll have much more on the confirmation of the treasury secretary. I'll be talking with three of the best political analysts right after this. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: Joining me now are three of the best political analysts all CNN contributors: Republican strategist Ed Rollins; Syndicated columnist, Miguel Perez; Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Daily News" columnist, Michael Goodwin.
Gentlemen thanks for being here.
Ed, that was quite a performance there. It appears that Barack Obama will never again let Joe Biden take the lead in anyone of these ceremonies.
ED ROLLINS, GOP STRATEGIST: Well hopefully he'll never let him speak again. He could be the last man speaking in the room according to Tim today.
This is a very critical appointment. Obviously, a third of the Congress -- the Senate didn't support him. And I think to a certain extent, he doesn't get to walk away from the responsibility he had as Chairman of the New York Fed. He was very involved in some of those early spending. But my big worry here is they still don't have a plan to sell to the American public because it's not clear yet.
They keep talking about four million new jobs. No one has shown me whether the job is a real distribution of taking federal money, a lot of it putting back in the state.
DOBBS: I know you're a bipartisan kind of guy.
ROLLINS: I am. DOBBS: We had a Republican President and a Republican Treasury Secretary who pulled the very same stunt back in September.
ROLLINS: And that's why they are not there -- that's why the Republicans got voted out. And at the end of the day, that was totally irresponsible.
And would argue that this man has had more time and it's more critical at this point in time because the expectations are higher. And if we fail on this one, I'm not sure the public will basically want more.
DOBBS: What do you think, Michael?
MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: And I was struck by something else Geithner said there, the notion of returning trust to government.
DOBBS: What is it?
GOODWIN: And it's very for Geithner --
DOBBS: And the President by the way.
GOODWIN: Right, right.
DOBBS: Again I think that is a very important of his --
GOODWIN: And for Geithner of course was his tax problems and also as I had said he was Chairman of the New York Fed, very much involved, and everything that's happened so far as well as overseeing the banks in New York. So returning trust in government is going to be very hard for Geithner. So that's why --
DOBBS: And we should point out one thing real quickly about the Presidency of the New York Fed. It is not the same as being the President in any of the other 11 districts. The New York Fed is the center of operations for our Central Bank, for the Federal Reserve.
Geithner was at the very epicenter involved in the most -- well, in the most intricate aspects of policy, making critical decisions. So he also is, as Ed said, at the outset and carries great responsibility.
GOODWIN: Right, and so I think for Geithner himself to lead the charge in restoring confidence in the financial system, he's got to earn that because he doesn't start with that. I mean, 34 votes against him in the Senate is quite a bit of opposition for a job like this in an emergency like this.
DOBBS: At this point, Miguel, we have a lot of people talking about the economic package, stimulus package that's a third tax cut, the third infrastructure, and a third all sorts of wealth redistribution. Do you really think that this is going to go through?
MIGUEL PEREZ, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The new White House Press Secretary couldn't even explain it today. I was watching him this afternoon in his press conferences. And he kept saying, well, you know, look -- the basis of the problem, Lou, has been all along at least -- I'm not an economist.
But all the economists are telling us that this started with the housing market.
DOBBS: The free market.
PEREZ: The housing market and with the foreclosure situation that most -- a lot of Americans are facing. And none of these TARP or whatever other bailout is dealing with the situation; he could not explain today what part or how much of that $350 billion TARP money is really going to the housing problem.
DOBBS: Almost 16 months ago I was calling for a trickle-up approach to the housing crisis. Imagine that. And we still have not seen a response by this government, the new government of Barack Obama and neither certainly the old one.
We're going to be right back with our panel.
But first, just coming up at the top of the hour, Campbell Brown, "NO BIAS, NO BULL," Campbell, what are you working on?
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there, Lou.
Coming up in just a few minutes on a day when companies have announced more than 70,000 layoffs.
We're looking into why a company that we taxpayers have bailed out to the tune of $45 billion is buying a brand new multimillion dollar luxury jet for its top executives.
Also tonight, Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich is everywhere today, everywhere except his impeachment trial. And "NO BIAS, NO BULL" look at that.
Plus, we also to talk about the first case we know of where a coach is facing reckless homicide charges after one of his players died of a heat stroke. We'll talk about that as well -- Lou?
DOBBS: Thank you, Campbell.
And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Friday for "THE LOU DOBBS SHOW." Go to Lou Dobbsradio.com to get the local listings for the Lou Dobbs shows in your area. Join me in New York, WOR 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
We'll be back with our political panel in one moment, stay with us.
DOBBS: We're back with Ed Rollins, Miguel Perez, and Michael Goodwin. Ed, we are looking at an unending stream of money here. Promise upon promise the states are going to get money. The cities are going to get money. I don't know --
ROLLINS: I don't see where we'll create the jobs. I mean, I think the bottom line is what we are, is we're taking federal money and giving it to states that haven't been responsible.
But again, in that as Michael will say raise taxes to begin with. And all of a sudden, they're going to have these expectations that the federal government will always be there to bail them out. And they're not living within their means, they're not being responsible. And the states that we're responsible are basically will pay a penalty because they won't get any federal bailout.
So I think it's a very bad formula. If we're going to spend our money, on which I'm happy to do that to get the economy moving forward, we got to do something to create jobs and small businesses are not even include in this package.
DOBBS: Nor the housing industry.
ROLLINS: And the housing industry and the banks --
DOBBS: Or the homeowners.
DOBBS: Don't worry about those people. They are just the ones who play -- who pay taxes, they are the ones -- the middle class, the foundation of the country, the backbone of country.
We're watching a massive wealth redistribution program, don't you think?
PEREZ: Yes, look, the President is talking about transparency and oversight. That has to happen now, before Wednesday, before day after tomorrow, before they vote on this thing. This is the problem.
The problem is they're rushing into this whole thing. And it just doesn't make any sense. We're throwing money out the window like it was confetti at a ticker tape parade in New York City. It's absurd.
DOBBS: We can't afford ticker tape.
GOODWIN: And the stimulus's effect is going to be cut in half by the cities and the states raising taxes. So the Fed sends money to New York for example, both the Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and the Governor David Patterson are raising taxes.
Ergo, there goes the stimulation back into the government.
DOBBS: It is -- this is truly a Ponzi scheme of massive proportions this time. I mean, it's really is, this is real redistribution. And we've had -- one of the things -- listening to Nancy Pelosi saying yesterday that now contraception is an economic policy.
DOBBS: If these are the kind of comments that are going to inspire the confidence Timothy Geithner is speaking of, I mean, I don't know where we're headed.
ROLLINS: We're heading for a bigger debt, a bigger debt and that's a longer recession than we'd hoped for.
GOODWIN: I don't think Americans are that dumb.
DOBBS: Well, I've always said, not one of us is as smart as all of us. But we keep tracking -- trotting out these ones in Washington, D.C. that, well, make me feel very confident about my statements.
PEREZ: We are talking about restoring confidence and they're not going about it the right way.
DOBBS: Miguel, thank you very much. Michael, Ed thank you.
ROLLINS: Thank you.
DOBBS: Well, tonight's poll results, 83 percent of you are surprised that the main stream media is finally reporting on the devastating drug cartel violence in Mexico and its threat to America. Do you suppose the liberal national media could actually learn? We'll see.
Time now for some of your thoughts.
Larry in Ohio saying, "Citicorp gets a new jet with my bailout money? When are these clowns going to get it?"
Well, they got it. They got their new jet. We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts to Loudobbs.com.
Thanks for being with us, join us here tomorrow.
For all of us, thanks for watching. Good night from New York.
Campbell Brown, "NO BIAS, NO BULL" starts right now -- Campbell.