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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Evangelical Fatwa; Bush Fires Back; Connecticut Sues Government; Broken Borders Leave America Vulnerable; Lions in the Heartland?
Aired August 23, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, surrendering America. The United States is making it difficult for our newest immigrants to assimilate into our society by not requiring any English at all. We'll have that special report.
Also tonight, the Bush administration announces new fuel efficiency standards for cars that critics say will do nothing to help Americans with today's rising high cost of gasoline. Americans are asking themselves if Washington has any idea of how to bring down soaring energy costs.
And scientists who want to reintroduce massive wild mammals back to our Great Plains. Should animals that once roamed America -- more than 10,000 years ago, in fact -- be allowed to return, or at least their descendants? We'll have that proposal and a debate on the re- wilding of America.
We begin tonight with what could be called an evangelical fatwa from religious broadcaster and former U.S. presidential candidate Pat Robertson. Robertson, a Christian conservative, is calling upon the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Robertson, like many in the country, says Chavez has become a threat to the United States. But Robertson's call to kill Chavez is being denounced in some quarters as another hateful statement from a controversial public figure.
Will American religious leaders condemn this outrageous statement? We'll hear tonight from Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
But first, Lucia Newman reports tonight from Havana, Cuba, where Hugo Chavez was visiting today. And Kitty Pilgrims reports on Robertson's history of outrageous pronouncements.
Kitty Pilgrim begins our coverage. Kitty?
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Government and religious figures today came out with a firestorm of reaction, and here is the comment that sparked the furor.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAT ROBERTSON, "THE 700 CLUB": We have the ability to take him out. And I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
PILGRIM (voice over): Today, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld reacted.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Certainly it's against the law. Our department doesn't do that type of thing. He's a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.
PILGRIM: The State Department was quick to say his remarks don't represent the views of the United States.
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: These comments are inappropriate. They do not represent the policy of the United States. And I would add that any accusations or any idea that we're planning to take hostile action against Venezuela or the Venezuelan government, any ideas in that regard are totally without fact and baseless.
PILGRIM: This is not the first time the State Department has had to react to Robertson, who zinged the State Department itself in 2003, saying - quote -- "Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up."
RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: I think the very idea, though, is despicable.
PILGRIM: Porter Bibb has been researching Robertson for years, with the thought of writing a book.
PORTER BIBB, MEDIATECH CAPITAL PARTNERS: He mixes politics, religion and business. He's an exceptionally diverse and very powerful man whose daily television program reaches over a million viewers every day.
PILGRIM: Some of Robertson's other statements have drawn public outcry, such as this at the 1992 Republican convention: "Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
PILGRIM: Well, today some Christian leaders were in the tough position of trying to reconcile the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," with Robertson's comments. Lou.
DOBBS: There is a further, it seems to me, controversy brewing here. And that is that the Bush administration, the United States government, is not outright condemning these comments. He certainly has the right as an American to say whatever he wishes, but this government has a responsibility to say this is beyond the pale.
PILGRIM: Everyone kept distancing themselves, very delicately saying he's a private citizen.
DOBBS: And he is also an important part of the president's electoral base. Kitty Pilgrim. Thank you.
The Venezuelan government tonight, however, wasting no time in strongly condemning Pat Robertson's call to kill their president, urging the Bush administration to condemn Robertson's statements as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARDO ALVAREZ HERRERA, VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: The United States must not permit its citizen to use its territory and air waves to incite terrorism abroad and the murder of a democratically elected president. Venezuela demands that the U.S. abides by the international and domestic law and respect our country and its president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: And as I said, the Bush administration so far has failed to strongly condemn Pat Robertson's words calling for the killing of Venezuelan President Chavez.
Hugo Chavez's radical nationalist regime, without question, fueled by billions in oil profits, is gaining power and influence in Latin America, and working against U.S. interests, thwarting U.S. efforts, in fact, to control the illegal drug crisis in this hemisphere. And it is helping prop up the communist regime of Cuba's Fidel Castro. The United States has been concerned about Chavez's growing power for some time.
Lucia Newman is live tonight in Havana. Lucia?
LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVAN BUREAU CHIEF: Lou, good evening.
Well, President Chavez was just here. He left a short while ago after spending four days here in Cuba, side by side with President Fidel Castro. But before he left, he was asked at the airport about what he thought about Pat Robertson's comment, and unlike his vice president back in Caracas, he tried to downplay it.
He said that he was in Cuba to talk about life, not about death. Let's hear what else he had to say in response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I don't know who that person is. I don't know him. And as far as his opinion of me goes, I couldn't care less.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWMAN: Now, President Chavez actually did something he'd never done before, before leaving for Jamaica. He offered an olive branch to the American people. In fact, he said he would use some of that enormous petrol and oil money that he has to sell oil to the Americans, to the underprivileged Americans, bypassing the middle man, he said -- that is, the U.S. oil companies -- to save them money.
Now, on the other hand, he's been far from conciliatory during his visit here to Cuba towards the U.S. administration.
In fact, on Sunday, Lou, he said -- and I'm quoting him -- "It's the Americans who are the destabilizers. It is Mr. Warlord" -- referring to President George Bush -- "who is the real destabilizer not only of Latin America, but of the world."
And so the war of words continues -- Lou.
DOBBS: Words, indeed. Lucia, did President Chavez say how he would get that oil to -- what was the word -- how did he describe those he was going to get the oil, the energy to?
NEWMAN: Yes. It was the underprivileged Americans, people without enough money who couldn't afford to pay the high oil prices that the American oil companies were charging at the gas stations. That's what he said.
But he didn't give too many details. In fact, I had the impression he almost thought of it today as he was leaving Cuba. Lou.
DOBBS: Well, of course, Lucia, we'll depend upon you to bring about greater details on Hugo Chavez's generous offer to America. Thank you very much.
DOBBS: Lucia Newman reporting from Havana.
Later here, I'll be joined by Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Ted Haggard. Reverend Haggard is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. They'll be here to give us their thoughts on Robertson's call for the assassination of Chavez.
Turning now to Iraq, the Pentagon today announced the deaths of four more American troops. A U.S. soldier was killed today in a suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi town of Baquba. A roadside bomb Monday killed a Marine during combat operations near Falluja. Also yesterday, a soldier was killed by a rocket attack in southern Baghdad, and a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine near the town of Al Karma, west of Baghdad.
Pentagon officials today said they are reviewing the latest Army investigation into the death of Pat Tillman. The NFL football star, who joined the Army after September 11, was killed in Afghanistan last year by friendly fire. This new review comes at the request of Tillman's family, who said earlier investigations have failed to punish Tillman's commanding officers.
As the U.S. death toll mounts in Iraq, President Bush today fired back at his critics and defended his administration's Iraq war policy. And the president refused once again to meet with antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq.
CNN White House Correspondent Dana Bash is with the president in Boise, Idaho.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The president gave no hint he'll meet again with Cindy Sheehan, but did offer a sharp rebuttal to her "bring the troops home now" message.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake. I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq, but the Middle East, would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States.
BASH: But Bush aides concede her Crawford vigil garnered much more attention than they anticipated among an increasingly anxious public, and they're trying to beat it back.
BUSH: I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of families I have met with.
BASH: Protesters from Sheehan's antiwar group continue to follow the president here in Idaho. Melanie House lost her husband in Iraq.
MELANIE HOUSE, HUSBAND KILLED IN IRAQ: I just really want to know why, why my husband had to die, for what reason. I really want the truth from President Bush.
BASH: Another key challenge for the White House, amid all the violence they had been able to hold public support for Iraq by touting clear progress toward democracy, like elections. The political story line now, missed deadlines and delays as differing factions search for consensus on a constitution.
ANA MARIA ARUMI, POLLSTER: Will the constitution itself actually create stability? I think that the public has a fair amount of doubt on those -- on those regards.
BASH: The president pointed to America's own history and said it's not easy.
BUSH: First of all, the fact that they're even writing a constitution is -- is actually different from living under the iron hand of a dictator.
BASH: And he challenged Iraq's Sunnis, the minority group yet to sign off on a draft constitution, to make a choice.
BUSH: Do they want to live in a society that's free, or do they want to live in violence? (END VIDEOTAPE)
BASH: Now, the president may not meet with Cindy Sheehan again, but he does have more than two hours on his schedule Wednesday here in Idaho to meet with families from around the country whose loved ones were killed in action. Lou.
DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much. Dana Bash from Boise, Idaho.
Communist China tonight is releasing alarming new video of its massive ongoing joint military exercises with Russia. These exercises dubbed somewhat ironically "Peace Mission 2005" involve nearly 10,000 troops from Russia and communist China. In new joint military exercises these former military rivals staged a mock assault on a northern Chinese beach.
These amphibious exercises intended to show off the massive military buildup now under way in communist China and China's new military cooperation with Russia. China also says it wants to send a message to the world that it is ready to deal with regional extremism and a separatist threat, as it terms it, from Taiwan.
Coming up next, surrendering America. Why the United States is aiding and abetting illegal aliens who have no interest in assimilating into our society and culture. And one of the nation's most respected anti-terrorism officials will be here. He says to win the war against radical Islamists the United States must first secure our own borders.
DOBBS: At least 12 million households in this country do not speak English. They are what the Census Bureau calls linguistically isolated. And our government is only making it easier for immigrants to live here comfortably without ever learning the English language.
Christine Romans has the story.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Mauro Mujica emigrated to this country 40 years ago from Chile. He's a built a life here and a successful career as an architect.
MAURO MUJICA, CHAIRMAN, US ENGLISH: I think the country is just going completely crazy.
ROMANS: He wants English to be America's official language.
MUJICA: We are losing the cohesiveness of this country. We are not assimilating the immigrants. We are doing the opposite. We are trying to change the Americans to become like the immigrants.
ROMANS: He says for the first time in American history, English is optional. You don't need English to get a GED, open a bank account, get a mortgage, vote, or get a driver's license. In fact, of the 27 states where English is the official language, many still certify drivers in other languages.
And federal law requires doctors to provide services in whatever language a patient wants. Mujica says this multilingualism is creating a new underclass.
MUJICA: I know that we immigrants have to learn English, period. We come here to work, and you cannot get a decent job in this country unless you know English.
ROMANS: New arrivals are often stunned by how easy it is to live for years in this country and never speak English.
MARIANNA HERNANDEZ, ENGLISH STUDENT: I don't understand why -- how they can live in Chicago or in the United States and only speak in Spanish.
ROMANS: Immigrant advocacy groups say education, not legislation, is the answer.
CHUNG-WHA HONG, NY IMMIGRATION COALITION: If you want to be really welcoming of immigrants and really be proactive about how do we make them a closer part of our community, that we're going to have to come out with better programs to reach those immigrants who need to learn English.
ROMANS: In the meantime, here in Dallas, the responsibility may fall on Americans to learn the languages of the people who are coming here. The school board is considering making its 100 principals learn Spanish, giving them three years to comply.
Mauro Mujica says that is exactly what's wrong in America.
MUJICA: Well, I think in three years they've got plenty of time to teach English to the students instead of having the administrators learn Spanish.
ROMANS: Many agree that English education is the answer, but English language advocates fear that the government is undermining language training by just making it so easy to do absolutely anything in this country without speaking English. There's no incentive to get out of the linguistic enclave and learn English.
DOBBS: There's no country more hospitable to immigrants than the United States, no more diverse a society. What in the world is the impetus behind say, for example, the state of Alabama offering its driver's license in 16 languages, which hardly prepares a new arrival in this country, whether legal or illegal, to be assimilated?
ROMANS: And in Alabama, only 3.9 percent of the population doesn't speak English. So what's the point? Why not spend the energy to teach people how to speak English? Or, you know, why make it so easy across the board?
DOBBS: The idiocy in Texas requiring principals to learn Spanish to accommodate students rather than providing an opportunity -- I mean, that -- when will we know the outcome of that madness?
ROMANS: Thursday. There will be a school board meeting on that Thursday, and that should be a fierce and interesting -- interesting battle, because the proponents say that they want the parents to be involved in the education of the students. Well, to do that, you have to be able to speak Spanish.
DOBBS: Or they have to learn to speak English. This is America, right?
DOBBS: I just wanted to check.
ROMANS: It is. It still is.
DOBBS: Absolutely. Christine Romans. Thank you.
We want to hear from you, your thoughts on tonight's poll. The question is, do you believe all state driver's tests should be administered in English, yes or no? Cast your vote at LOUDOBBS.com. We'll have the results coming up here later tonight.
Tonight's quote of the day comes from a resident of Norton, Ohio, where the city council has just declared English as its official language. Resident George Tomko, dismissing those who criticize that decision, said, "I think it is to honor Americans rather than to degrade others."
We know it is to honor America. We couldn't agree more.
Political correctness tonight has reached an entire -- an entire new level of absurdity. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has just weighed in to the NCAA mascot efforts to PC the country, inspired by those efforts to ban Native American mascots in college sports, sort of.
PETA is now standing up in defense of game cocks. PETA this week sent a letter to the NCAA asking that the University of South Carolina Game Cocks change their mascot. In the letter, PETA equates cock fighting to spousal abuse, bank robbery, and drunk driving, which, like cock fighting, are also illegal.
The University of South Carolina, for its part, says it has no intention of changing its mascot. The NCAA did not respond to our calls in time for this broadcast. I'm sure they will, of course, be responding soon and clarify the entire matter.
Then there's a whole lot more we can talk about with the original decision by the NCAA to take on sports mascots in the name of political correctness. Way to go, Myles Brand.
Still ahead here, why critics say the Bush administration's new fuel efficiency plan is not the answer to a growing crisis facing our middle class. And homeland insecurity? One of the nation's top counterterrorism experts is warning that terrorists will take advantage of the gaping holes in security at our borders. He's our guest here next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Gasoline prices in this country have surged more than 30 cents a gallon over just the past month. AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.61 now, up from $2.29 a month ago. A year ago, the national average was $1.88 a gallon.
It probably comes as no surprise that a new Gallup poll finds more Americans have a negative opinion of the oil and gas industry in this country. More negative than any other business.
President Bush says the massive energy bill he signed two weeks ago will do little, if anything, to bring about the relief from those high gasoline prices. Instead, the White House today proposed new gasoline mileage standards for SUVs, minivans and trucks. The hitch, the changes will only raise gas mileage by two miles a gallon, and that won't happen for another six years.
Casey Wian has the report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta must have burned up a lot of fuel shuttling between Atlanta and Los Angeles Tuesday, holding two separate press conferences on the Bush administration's latest plan to reduce gasoline consumption.
NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The cost of filling up is hitting many family budgets very hard. That is why I'm here today to announce a new plan that will improve gas mileage for over half of the vehicles sold in America and save drivers as much as 10 billion gallons of gas once these regulations are implemented.
WIAN: That may sound like a lot, but it's only 6 percent of annual U.S. gasoline consumption. Today, the SUVs and light trucks automakers sell must average 21 miles per gallon, compared with 27.5 for cars. It's called the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard.
Under the new White House plan, minivans, for example, would have to average just 2.3 more miles per gallon by 2011.
BRENDAN BELL, SIERRA CLUB: This is really a minuscule increase, and the Bush administration is basically saying, by 2011, we want to have our SUVs and pickup trucks average 24 miles per gallon. You know, almost 100 years ago the Ford Model T got 25 miles per gallon. We can do so much better.
WIAN: CAFE standards were enacted in the 1970s in response to the Arab oil embargo. In 1975, the average car got 15 miles per gallon. By 1988, that jumped 73 percent, to 26 miles per gallon. But since then, average fuel efficiency has actually dropped slightly.
WIAN (on camera): One reason, SUVs like this Ford Expedition, which gets 14 miles per gallon in the city became hot sellers. In the 1970s, SUVs only accounted for about 10 percent of the new passenger cars sold in America. Today, they're more than half.
WIAN (voice over): Also, automakers have been using technology, not to boost fuel efficiency, but to improve performance. Cars are safer and heavier, which means they guzzle more gas. The White House plan proposes dividing SUVs and light trucks into six new categories based on size, with the smallest having to meet the strictest fuel efficiency standards.
WIAN: Now, all of this could change because the Transportation Department will take public comments until November before issuing its final ruling. Lou.
DOBBS: Cutting through all of the government verbiage and jargon, if you will, what is the impact over the next five years?
WIAN: Very little impact. Environmentalists say the technology is there to require 40-mile-per-gallon CAFE standards. And the administration is just not willing to take that step.
DOBBS: And so why are they -- why is Norm Mineta -- why is he so excited?
WIAN: Hard to say. He says this is a significant part of the Bush administration's energy plan, which a lot of people have criticized for not doing enough to relieve high gas prices. Lou.
DOBBS: Well, the important thing is that the major oil companies got about $9 billion worth of incentives as a result of that legislation. We can wait for the CAFE standards, I suppose, is the view.
Thank you very much. Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
Coming up next here, a prominent Christian leader calls on the United States to break one of the Ten Commandants and kill a foreign leader. We'll be talking with another evangelical leader and the Reverend Jesse Jackson here next.
And then, one state takes on the White House over the controversial No Child Left Behind. Connecticut's attorney general will be my guest. He's here to tell us why his state can't afford the tough new standards for education.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: As we reported earlier here, Pat Robertson's made comments calling upon the United States to assassinate the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. I'm joined now by Reverend Ted Haggard. He's the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and he joins us to discuss this.
Let me -- let me ask you first, Reverend Haggard, the fact is that these comments were stunning in every regard, outrageous coming from a Christian leader, weren't they, by any definition?
REV. TED HAGGARD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS: Oh, yes, but I think you have to understand the context of it. You know his program has one section of it that's a Christian exhortation, and then another section where he's a political pundit. And I think what he was saying was, we have a looming problem down south, and there are several bad options there. And he's saying maybe the least of the bad options is to do something about the dictator.
DOBBS: You know, Jesse Jackson is joining us tonight. And Reverend Jackson is in Chicago. What are your reactions?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Well, it's morally reprehensible. There was an immoral recommendation and suggestion. And, of course, the FCC must weigh in on, is this appropriate to be said on the airwaves. The FCC went to moral outrage about Janet Jackson and her breasts. What about Pat Robertson and this recommendation of assassination?
The politics of this, the administration must not be silent, because that's such a strong relationship between the administration and Pat Robertson, and it is such a destabilizing suggestion the administration must speak, and quickly and unequivocally.
HAGGARD: Yeah, Lou, Lou...
DOBBS: Go ahead.
HAGGARD: ... if I could comment on that just a little bit.
HAGGARD: Number one, the First Amendment is wonderful. People have free speech privileges. He wasn't writing a memo to the White House recommending a public policy decision. He was not recommending something to the State Department. He was not exposing himself sexually on the platform the way Janet Jackson did. Instead, he was having a political discussion, where they were randomly working with some ideas. For Jesse Jackson to exaggerate it this way is just as appalling as what Pat Robertson said, I think.
JACKSON: Well, you know, last week, Mr. Rumsfeld was all down through Latin America suggesting that Chavez was a pariah and a destabilizing force. It's like he was saying, let's get rid of this guy. Pat Robertson said, therefore let us assassinate him. That's the kind of tag team of sorts, and it must be addressed and it cannot be taken lightly. HAGGARD: Well, and that's exactly what we're doing. We're addressing it. We're not taking it lightly. Nobody is taking it seriously as a policy issue. So the system is working. Everything is fine. Nobody's going to assassinate this man. But we do realize he is a major problem.
DOBBS: Well, let me ask you both something, and let's -- the politics, and it's a little different here, Pat Robertson is obviously a prominent Christen conservative, also a prominent member of the president's base, his electoral base. But if we can, let's set that aside just for a minute. And Reverend Haggard, you first introduced this idea of a dichotomy, so let's follow the bifurcation a bit.
HAGGARD: All right.
DOBBS: Let's talk about the man as a minister of God. And all that I could think of, frankly, Reverend, when I heard the comments today was, I wait and -- I have criticized Muslim leaders in this country for not being stronger in their outrage against the fatwas, whether they be against Salman Rushdie or whether they be against the United States. And there has been what I consider an unacceptable, unconscionable lack of outrage on the part of the broader Muslim community against the radical Islamists.
Do you not think we run the same risk of having a prominent Christian leader, who is not strongly condemned for those remarks? It's his right to say whatever he wants. But isn't it the responsibility of the Christian leadership, the evangelical leadership in particular, to condemn these remarks in the harshest terms?
HAGGARD: Oh, I agree. I think the Christian leadership would say, we're supportive of the rule of law. And Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford both issued executive orders saying that the United States government -- it is illegal, it's forbidden for the United States government to ever assassinate a foreign leader for political reasons. And so, Pat Robertson was wrong in recommending this. He was wrong in saying it. But he was not wrong in being able to just openly discuss it the way political pundits do all the time.
Now, if you take his words as from a -- from a religious Christian leader, as a recommendation, then we have a problem. But I don't think that's what he did.
And so -- so you have to sort through that just a little bit, but there -- I think what he was saying was, if our choice is a major war or the some way to deal with this military dictator, then we need to deal with the military dictator rather than have another Islam on our hands. JACKSON: That is a false -- that is a false dichotomy. That got us in trouble in Iraq. Rather than a plan of containment, therefore let us pre-empt the strike and let us kill them. We're trapped in that mess today.
The same school of thought never took a position against apartheid in our own country, chose Butulese (ph) over Mandela in South Africa. Pat Robertson chose to embrace Mobutu in the Congo. This is a consistent school of narrow thought. You cannot separate one's religion really from one's politics. Out of one's theology flows one's politics and one's sense of law and people. That's a false dichotomy.
HAGGARD: I think what he was saying, though, he was saying we want the lesser of the evils. And I'm not defending what he was saying. I'm opposed to it. And Reverend Jackson, I agree with you 100 percent, you can't really separate a person's faith position from their political position. Pat Robertson has to be held responsible for this.
However, I don't think we ought to treat it as if he was saying to the president of the United States, this is what Christians say you ought to do. That's what he was not doing that.
DOBBS: To be clear, to be clear, Reverend Haggard, you, as the head of the evangelical organization, you condemn what he said?
HAGGARD: Yes, sir. No question about it.
DOBBS: Jesse Jackson, you condemn what he said?
JACKSON: Of course. It's morally reprehensible, and it's illegal and dangerous.
HAGGARD: It's not illegal. What he said was not illegal. What he recommended was illegal.
JACKSON: If the FCC can be outraged about Janet Jackson, it cannot be silent on Pat Robertson using the airwaves in this way. It's very dangerous. The FCC must speak out, and so must the Bush administration.
HAGGARD: Janet Jackson was dancing risquely with Justin Timberlake, and Justin Timberlake ripped her clothes off and exposed her breast. That's a different thing.
DOBBS: Gentlemen, Gentlemen, to hear men of God...
DOBBS: ... you know, I think we'll try to elevate the rest of the discourse in at least our best possible efforts. Thank you very much, Reverend Jackson, Reverend Haggard, thank you.
HAGGARD: Thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you.
DOBBS: Still ahead, border insecurity -- why one of the country's top counterterrorism officials says the government isn't serious about keeping terrorists out of the United States. He's my guest here next. And a proposal to roll back the clock just 13,000 years and to repopulate our Great Plains with the descendants of woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers. We'll tell you how and whether we should, next.
DOBBS: This week, Connecticut became the first state in the union to sue the federal government over the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. The lawsuit claims the White House has failed to provide states with enough money to pay for the federally mandated program. The Department of Education is blasting the lawsuit. The department saying -- quote -- "the funds have been provided for testing, but Connecticut apparently wants to keep those funds without using them as intended. In other words, their actions would leave half of Connecticut students behind." End quote.
I'm joined now by Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, from Hartford. Mr. Attorney General, your reaction to the Education Department's statement?
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: My reaction to the Education Department's statement is that unfortunately, it's setting a very bad example for our young people, by failing to tell the truth, and also defying the law.
The truth is, the federal government has not provided the money necessary for all of this testing, and other mandates that have not been fully funded by the federal government. And a lot of the question here is, well, why is this unfunded mandate different from a lot of other unfunded mandates imposed by the federal government or by the states?
DOBBS: Will that be -- will that be resolved -- Mr. Blumenthal, by your lawsuit...
BLUMENTHAL: Yes, it will be.
DOBBS: ... as to whether or not this would be, in point of fact, classified legally as an unfunded mandate?
BLUMENTHAL: At the crux of our case is the fact that federal government needs to either give up the unfunded mandates, or give us the money. And we will show in court how these mandates have not been funded, either in Connecticut or at the local level. And we're talking, Lou, about tens of millions of dollars, more than $50 million, that the state will pay to cover these mandates, and hundreds of millions of dollars at the local level.
DOBBS: One of the great concerns, obviously, the state of Connecticut does not have a distinguished record in terms of providing education for its students -- the gaps between white students and minority students in particular ranking among the five worst states in the union. All of this focus -- and as we report on this broadcast, I think as you're aware...
BLUMENTHAL: I know.
DOBBS: ... we're very concerned. And we are reporting those concerns about the quality of education, which is descending to levels unimaginable in the world's only superpower. Is this lawsuit, is the resolution of this No Child Left Behind as a mandate, funded or otherwise, is it going to advance the interest of students in your state?
BLUMENTHAL: Lou, at the heart of this lawsuit is an effort to achieve the goals -- they are very laudable goals -- of No Child Left Behind. The federal government is failing in implementing them. In fact, the state of Connecticut has a gap, unfortunately, between the highest performing and the lowest performing students, principally because our higher performing students are way above the national average. Our lower performing students are about at the national average. So in fact, we are trying to close that gap. We are making progress. We know we have to do it.
But why take the resources away from the classrooms and divert them from education, making our children victims, when, in fact, the federal government wants us to spend those same resources on testing, on other mandates that are unfunded? It has an obligation under the law to fund those mandates.
DOBBS: Well, the lawsuit proceeds. And Attorney General Richard Blumehthal, it's good having you here. Thank you.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question is, do you believe all state driver's tests should be administered in this country in the English language? Yes or no? Cast your vote at LOUDOBBS.com. We'll have the results coming up here in a matter of minutes.
At the top of the hour here on CNN, "ANDERSON COOPER 360." Heidi Collins joins us now to tell us what's up. Heidi?
HEIDI COLLINS, GUEST HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Hi, Lou. Thanks a lot. Next on 360, the storm over Patrick Robertson -- Pat Robertson, that is -- calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. What he said, why he said it, and why this might be exactly what Chavez wants.
Also, we'll tell you the latest on Olivia Newton-John's missing boyfriend. He disappeared on a fishing trip nearly two months ago. Some think he fell overboard, but others are now saying they saw him leave the boat when it docked. More questions than answers, Lou, on this one. We'll try to get it all straight next on 360.
DOBBS: Thanks, Heidi.
James Kallstrom is one of the country's most respected counterterrorism officials. He says America still isn't waging a proper war against radical Islamist terrorists, and he says a critical part of our counterterrorism should be to substantially improve security on our nation's broken borders.
James Kallstrom is the senior adviser to New York State Governor Pataki on counterterrorism, former FBI assistant director. Let me ask you, at this point, we have heard Michael Chertoff weigh in on the issue. He is talking about reviewing everything. What needs to be done to convince you, at least, that this administration, this Homeland Security Department is serious about counterterrorism?
JAMES KALLSTROM, NYS COUNTER-TERRORISM ADVISER: Well, Chertoff's a good man, and I've known him for a long, long time. I think the fact that he spoke out today, I don't know exactly what he said, but I think that's really good news.
Now, this problem is decades old. This is nothing new. And after 9/11, to still have, you know, people coming across these borders by the thousands...
KALLSTROM: And the percentage -- and the percentage of them other than from Mexico rising is very concerning to people that are trying to do everything humanly possible to stop the next event.
DOBBS: You've worked with the Border Patrol. You've worked with the Customs people, immigration people.
DOBBS: These are hard-working and hard-pressed people.
KALLSTROM: Yeah. Good, good people. It's not the people.
DOBBS: It's not the people.
KALLSTROM: No, it's not the people.
DOBBS: And the mission should be clear. It's not. The resources should be available. It's not. And the fact is, 3 million illegal aliens crossed our border last year, any one of which -- any one of whom could have been a terrorist.
KALLSTROM: That's right. It's never been the INS. They just were understaffed, undermanned. No technology, no prison space to put people. This goes back decades and decades, Lou.
DOBBS: And the Bush administration this year, waging a global war on terror, decides to put 200 extra Border Patrol agents into service. I mean, that's an absurdity, isn't it?
KALLSTROM: Yeah. I don't understand that. I don't know where that advice is coming from. But I mean, obviously, in the state of New York here, under Governor Pataki's leadership, we're doing everything humanly possible to take all the assets of the state and state local police, and to, you know, be better eyes and ears for the FBI -- who, by the way, behind the scenes, without a lot of fanfare, has really, really done a good job in this state, stepped up to the plate, to engage the 70,000 cops in this state who are patrolling our streets and neighborhoods on a daily basis. DOBBS: And the FBI itself, the manpower hasn't changed dramatically since September 11, and the mission is broader, and certainly the responsibility far more profound.
KALLSTROM: It needs to be dramatically increased.
DOBBS: How much?
KALLSTROM: Well, I've said 100 percent. But I think over a period of time, I think a substantial increase. Thirteen, 14,000 agents -- NYPD, a little bit of a different mission, but 37,000 cops. I mean, that's the whole United States plus all the legal attaches around the world, and all the investigations where we send agents out of the United States. So it's a very, very small force, and it takes in this war against radical fundamentalism, which is not going to go away, it's a movement, it takes a lot of resources to keep track of the people that you think, as they did in London, you know, what is that event that takes them from being soccer kids, or they come in over the border to do some act of terrorism? It takes a lot of staff to really stay up on that.
DOBBS: How close are we to being able to do even as well as the British in identifying potential terrorists within our borders, setting aside the issue of border security right now, as critical as that is?
KALLSTROM: Well, setting aside border security and fictitious ID, which is another scandal...
KALLSTROM: ... I think the FBI, with the help of state and local police, has really done a good job with the resources they have. But we just need more resources, Lou.
DOBBS: Jim Kallstrom, we thank you for being here.
KALLSTROM: Thank you.
DOBBS: Appreciate it.
Coming up next, re-wilding America. That's right. Should elephants, cheetahs, lions be roaming free in the midst of our nation? Re-wilding our Great Plains. Two scientists, different views about this fascinating and emerging debate. Join me here next. Please stay with us.
DOBBS: It's not often that academia puts forward a proposal that is riveting, compelling and controversial all at the same time, but that's happened, and the debate is emerging over a Cornell University plan -- which some call innovative, some call outrageous -- a plan to repopulate our Great Plains with wild animals closely related to those that now roam Africa. Ancestors of cheetahs and lions and elephants existed in North America some 13,000 years ago. Cornell University researchers say their plan is a proactive approach to conservation. They also say it would offer eco-tourism and land management jobs to the struggling rural regions of the Great Plains.
Supporting the argument, professional Harry Greene. He is professional of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell. On the other side, Eric Dinerstein. He's chief scientist at the World Wild Life Fund who says the approach is right, the cast of characters, he says, is wrong. And Harry, why do you think we need to, if you will, re-wild America?
HARRY GREENE, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Well, the reason we're pushing this -- and it's really a very exploratory thing. It will be done in a very staged way with scientific research beforehand -- but we're pushing it because we know that the biggest change in the last 13,000 years in North America, was the loss of these big creatures.
We haven't lost other plants. We haven't lost most other small animals. What we lost is these big ones and we want to see them restore the ecosystems.
DOBBS: I mean -- I guess one of the thundering images, if you will, is a herd of elephants roaming near Des Moines or Duluth and I'm not sure that people are ready with -- ready for that image, as fascinated as we all are with these noble and beautiful animals.
GREENE: Absolutely. But you know, what we're really talking about is putting these things in places like bisons and grizzlies now roam. We're not talking about driving a truck up to Topeka and turning loose a lot of wild animals where they could threaten people.
DOBBS: And Eric, why do you resist this idea?
ERIC DINERSTEIN, CHIEF SCIENTIST, WORLD WILDLIFE FUND: Well, for three reasons. First that if we're really interested in conserving the big mammals that survived the Pleistocene, there are two great places to do it, Africa and Asia. We've identified over 60 places where we can still conserve the species that were around four million years ago.
The second is that we are actually doing what Harry and his colleagues want to see. Something that's visionary and inspiring is World Wildlife Fund with the American Prairie Foundation, is working to bring back bison to the northern Great Plains in eastern Montana. So, we've got a chance to bring back these Pleistocene survivors right there. Let's start with the species we know best, the bison, the pronghorn, the elk and wolves and grizzlies some day before we take on something like elephants and other species like that, that have to be brought over and are probably best conserved in their native habitat in Africa and Asia.
DOBBS: You know, you're hearing, Harry, Eric really talks about the status quo with a little improvement. I assume that includes bringing back wolves and so forth because we have, for example, a deer population in this country completely running out of control; some suggesting they've reached the stage of vermin. Is part of your idea to actually restore a balance within the North American, if we can call it that, the North American ecology?
GREENE: That's exactly it and the wolves are a wonderful example. There've just been spectacular effects on Yellowstone with wolves just in the last 20 years in terms of shifting the importance of elk, positive effects on the return of beaver and so forth. And we know that these other big animals, especially things like lions, that would prey on wild horses, elephants that would convert brush to grasslands and so forth, we know those must have been major and we'd like to see very careful experiments aimed at trying this over again.
DOBBS: Look, let me ask you this: If everything went right, studies were there and this idea were embraced and I hear you talking really, I think, about creating large nature parking out of existing national parks and forests, is that correct, in the Plains area?
GREENE: Actually, we think it's much more likely this is going to happen, at least initially, on private lands
DOBBS: Private lands.
GREENE: And we're actually -- Yes. We're actually sort of playing into this idea of a buffalo commons; that there are already people talking about linking networks of reserves, private ranches, bison ranching and so forth so that bison could once again have a migratory lifestyle. And we're saying let's be even more imaginative. Let's see if we can do some experiments and perhaps even add a little more complexity to the whole thing.
DOBBS: Eric, your thoughts? Is this -- is there somewhere here for the Wildlife Fund to work with Harry, the good folks at Cornell and to move this ahead or are you absolutely resistant to the idea?
DINERSTEIN: Well, I -- Harry and I are old friends. I would love to see this group of scientists who we know well, work closely with us to restore bison and prairie dogs and pronghorn and elk and wolves and mountain lions in parts of the grasslands that we're actually doing right now.
So, I think this paper really helps shine a light on the importance of restoration of our fauna, but it shouldn't be at the expense of Africa and Asia. I think that the opportunity to conserve the large mammals there is probably really much better than we have right here in our own country right now.
DOBBS: Harry, are you running into the establishment here, the conservation establishment; Eric wanting to do it the way it's done and preserve the status quo or what do you judge the reaction to be?
GREENE: Well, actually, you know, we're perfectly fine with that kind of criticism. We meant this as something for a very candid, honest debate and discussion. What sort of surprised me is some of the reaction from people who've only read the news accounts and think we want to back a truck up and turn a bunch of things loose in a kind of a reckless manner. And that's not what we want to do. DOBBS: No. One would not think that you're reckless in any way. The idea is frankly -- and Eric, I'm not taking sides here, I just think it's a fascinating idea and it's something that we all ought to think about for the sake of the environment here.
Your work critically important. Harry has put forward an important proposal and frankly, one I personally just find fascinating. We'll be talking more about it and wish you both well. We thank you for being here tonight to share your views.
DINERSTEIN: Thank you.
GREENE: Thanks a lot.
DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight: 95 percent of you say all state driver's tests should be administered in English in this country -- 95 percent.
Still ahead here, we'll take a look ahead at tomorrow's broadcast. Stay with us.
DOBBS: As of tonight, Judith Miller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" reporter has spent 48 days in jail for protecting her confidential sources in the White House-CIA leak case and the investigation into that case, now taking considerably longer than that into Watergate.
Thanks for being with us here tonight. Please join us tomorrow. American dairy farmers being crippled by the very group that's supposed to represent them? Dairy farmers say it's a crisis that threatens them, consumers and our nation's milk supply. We'll have the special report for you.
And many Republicans are blasting the Bush White House for a new plan to design to fight meth use all around the country. Congressman Marc Souder of Indiana calls it an embarrassment. He'll be among our guests. Please join us. For all of his here, good night from New York.
ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts right now with Heidi Collins. Heidi?
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