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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Plunging Polls; Battle in Baghdad; Bush Choreography; Milk Monopoly; Hospital Horrors; Fighting Meth; No More Saudi Oil?; Seminole Reversal

Aired August 24, 2005 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, an American health emergency. More than one million serious medical mistakes are being made in our hospitals each and every year, and the U.S. government still can't find a way to make our hospitals safer. It is now up to you to ask your doctors whether they are practicing even the most basic acts of personal hygiene.

Also tonight, big business dairy interests driving up the price of your milk and trying to drive out many of this nation's small dairy farmers. We'll have that special report on America's growing milk monopoly and why the price of milk is set to rise even higher.

And politically correct confusion hitting new outrageous heights tonight. Why the Florida State Seminoles can keep their name and mascot that were deemed offensive just two weeks ago, while other college teams cannot.

We begin tonight with disturbing new poll numbers for the White House as President Bush tries for the second time this week to rebuild American support for the war in Iraq. New poll numbers tonight show an alarming drop in support for the president from the American people. President Bush now sees his lowest approval ratings ever, just 40 percent.

With the president's approval rating in freefall, the president said in his strongest language yet that his administration will stay the course in Iraq. The president told the Idaho National Guard today, "We will stay, we will fight, and we will win."

But today's speech comes amid a new wave of violence in Baghdad and the deployment of more American troops in Iraq. A deadly two-hour street battle between radical Islamist terrorists and U.S. and Iraqi troops on the eve of yet another Iraqi constitutional deadline.

Meanwhile, a growing military debate at home for the Bush administration. A commission appointed by the White House and Congress has rejected calls to close two large naval bases and deliver devastating news to other American communities.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider begins our coverage tonight with the latest dismal poll ratings for the Bush White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): Down. That's the word for President Bush's poll ratings. The latest number comes from the Harris Poll.

When Bush got reelected last November, 50 percent of Americans said he was doing an excellent or pretty good job. The president's ratings slipped to 48 percent in February, 45 in June. And now? Forty, the lowest point ever for this president.

Iraq. That's the big issue on people's minds.

In June, when the Harris Poll asked people to name the most important issues facing the country, 24 percent said Iraq. Now, 41 percent say Iraq. That's twice the number who say the economy and four times the number who say gas prices.

Mounting death toll in Iraq. Mounting criticism. But it's not just the losses. It's also a loss of confidence in the policy.

Does the public think the U.S. is making progress in its efforts to establish security and democracy in Iraq, or losing ground? Losing ground, said 50 percent in a "Newsweek" poll taken earlier this month, compared with 40 percent who said the U.S. is making progress.

KEN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The U.S. military needs to take a much greater, more active role in protecting the Iraqi people.

SCHNEIDER: What about protecting the American people? By better than 2 to 1, Americans do not believe the Iraqi war has made them safer from terrorism. A conclusion many reached after they saw what happened in London last month.


SCHNEIDER: The Harris Poll also shows ratings for Vice President Dick Cheney down since June. Donald Rumsfeld, down. Republicans in Congress, down. Democrats in Congress? Them too, down.

Anyone up? Yes. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She's up in the polls -- Lou.

DOBBS: And Bill, as to Condoleezza Rice being up in the polls, she has been the most active secretary of state in her first months in office, putting on a remarkable display of energy and focus. That's not unexpected, one would think. What is unexpected here is the open- ended response to questions about the issues that -- facing the U.S. government.

What is your read?

SCHNEIDER: My read is that the question that was asked by the Harris Poll is, "What do you think the most important issues that the government of United States should take care of?" And there, clearly, Iraq rises very high.

If you had asked people a slightly different question, what is of greatest concern to you personally, I think gasoline prices might have rated much higher.

DOBBS: Gasoline prices, indeed, on a day in which crude oil reached a new record high, over $67 a barrel. And certainly that is weighing on the minds of all Americans.

Bill Schneider. Thank you.


DOBBS: When President Bush was reelected last year by the smallest margin ever for a sitting president, the president said he had earned political capital and he planned to spend it. So far, President Bush has earned little return on the political capital that he has invested so far in his second term.

The day after he was reelected, President Bush said he was investing that political capital it in Social Security reform and revamping the tax code. Nothing has been accomplished on either of those issues.

President Bush did recently sign the massive energy and transportation bills, both laden with pork barrel spending. In fact, he has yet to veto any massive spending bill, or any bill, for that matter, during his entire presidency.

President Bush has promoted these bills and Social Security reform in a series of staged events that are highly, tightly controlled by the White House. Ordinary Americans cannot simply show up and hear their president speak. The White House hands out tickets to select audience, saying it is for security reasons.

And over the past month, for example, President Bush has spoken to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the National Boy Scout Jamboree, and an invitation-only group of seniors in Atlanta.

The Pentagon today announced it is sending an additional 1,500 U.S. troops to Iraq to strengthen security before Iraq's constitutional vote and government elections. Those troops will come from two battalions of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

As more of our troops head to Iraq, a shocking wave of violent attacks hit Baghdad today. Radical Islamist terrorists launched a fierce, sustained attack against U.S. and Iraqi military personnel. All of this on the eve of an important vote in the Iraqi constitution.

Aneesh Raman reports from Baghdad.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A brazen attack, highly sophisticated, with deadly coordination. Upwards of 40 insurgents engaging Iraqi police and U.S. military in a near two-hour standoff, using an arsenal of weapons, say U.S. military, from car bombs to rocket-propelled grenades to machine guns. These, the scenes in western Baghdad, where urban warfare in broad daylight once again claimed the lives of police and the innocent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Civilians were hurt, no Americans, no coalition forces. Those were the ones who were hit, the Iraqi people.

RAMAN: Most disturbing in this attack, say Iraqi forces, the unnerving confidence shown by insurgents, underlying a vast security void, showcasing Iraq's continued reality, one the prime minister sees as having global significance.

(on camera): The insurgency clearly continues. Do you have a sense of when we will see a cut in the violence in Iraq?

IBRAHIM AL-JAAFARI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER: The violence in Iraq is a part of something we are facing and fighting against terrorism and a state of all human beings all over the world. So they have to put in their minds they have to support us, because we are facing, instead of them.

RAMAN: The timing is noteworthy, amid a week of politics with enormous stakes. Intense negotiations between the Shia-Kurd coalition and the Sunnis continue, attempting compromise on a travel constitution. Hours left to do what could not be done in months.

And such is the bind for Iraqi leaders. Any delay in the political process, which they now seem intent on avoiding, gives, they fear, increased rationale for the insurgency. But alienating Sunni politicians, which is now at risk of taking place, does the same thing, isolating a community that, by most accounts, makes up a majority of Iraq's domestic insurgents.

(on camera): Thursday's being described as the final moment for any change to the proposed constitution. At day's end, so ends the drafting process and begins what promised to be a fierce public debate over how the new Iraq should live and how to best bring stability to the country.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Baghdad.


DOBBS: For the second time this week, President Bush spoke of his administration's commitment to what is becoming increasingly an unpopular war.

Dana Bash reports.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Knowing full well the antiwar movement is gaining attention with the leadership of one military mother, the president introduced the country to another.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And here in Idaho, a mom named Tammy Pruett... BASH: Tammy's husband and one son are just back from Iraq. Four other sons are still serving.

The White House invited the Pruetts and choreographed this moment with the family CNN first profiled more than a year ago. The president's goal? Show support among military families, appeal to patriotism.

BUSH: America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruitts (ph).


BASH: Setting aside past concerns about privacy or looking too political, the White House led reporters to Tammy Pruett. She said this of Cindy Sheehan.

TAMMY PRUETT, MOTHER OF U.S. SOLDIERS IN IRAQ: The way that she's chosen to mourn, it wouldn't be the way that we would do it. But we respect her right.

BASH: In an arena packed with nearly 10,000 servicemen and families, the president once again took on critics, demanding to pull out of Iraq now and said retreat would embolden the terrorists.

BUSH: So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror.

BASH: The president's challenge goes well beyond the antiwar protesters following him around the country. The latest CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup poll shows an all-time high, 57 percent of Americans, feel less safe because of the war in Iraq.

BUSH: We can honker down, retreating behind a false sense of security. Or we can bring the war to the terrorists, striking them before they could kill more of our people.

BASH: Following the speech, Mr. Bush met privately with families of 19 troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among them was Donna Row (ph), whose husband was killed in Iraq nearly a year ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think my husband would want to say, "Thank you very much, sir, for the opportunity to serve your country."

BASH: A Bush supporter, this was her second meeting with him, something denied Cindy Sheehan. Row (ph) says the Idaho governor invited her because her husband was born here.

(on camera): The large and supportive crowd here was reminiscent of the Bush reelection campaign, perhaps appropriate as he finds himself in an urgent fight to stop sliding support for the war and his performance as president.

Dana Bash, CNN, Nampa, Idaho.

(END VIDEOTAPE) DOBBS: We'd like to know what you think about President Bush's preference for speaking to ticketed, even captive audiences. Do you believe the president of the United states should, within reason, and where possible, speak to large, open groups as opposed to small, captive audiences, yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later in the broadcast.

A commission appointed by President Bush and Congress took the unprecedented action today of rejecting Pentagon requests to close down two large New England naval bases. That commission is deciding the fate this week of literally hundreds of military installations throughout the country.

David Ensor reports from the Pentagon.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There are winners and losers all over the country. The winners so far include New England.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did it, we did it, we did it! That's all I kept thinking.

ENSOR: Connecticut is celebrating the commission's 7-1 vote to reject a Pentagon proposal to close the submarine base at New London, Connecticut, which employs almost 8,500 people with another estimated 23,000 jobs dependent on the base.

Maine is celebrating a similar vote to keep open the Portsmouth Shipyard.

ANTHONY PRINCIPI, BRAC CHAIRMAN: I strongly support maintaing the shipyard. It's a national resource, and it would be a tragedy for this nation to lose it, because once we lose this one as well, we will not get it back.

ENSOR: The decisions came despite Pentagon arguments that with the U.S. sub fleet down from 90 to about 40, the piers will go unused. One commissioner agreed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You find yourself in a position you've just got a lot of parking space you're not going to use.

ENSOR: The need to cut excess capacity, though, to save nearly $49 billion over 20 years, and to realign the base structure for post- Cold War threats, those arguments did carry the day on most of the Pentagon's base closing proposals. Fort Monroe, Virginia, will go, says the commission; as will forts Gillem and McPherson in Georgia; Army Garrison Selfridge in Michigan; and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where local businessmen like Sal Montorana (ph) are in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bad day. Yes, today's a bad day. Yes, no question about it.

ENSOR: Saved from the axe, though, the Army's Red River Depot in Texas, which repairs Humvees and Bradleys. Yet to come, decisions on sweeping proposals to strip aircraft from many National Guard facilities, and to close Ellsworth Air Force base in South Dakota, with nearly 4,000 personnel.


ENSOR: The commission has until September 8 to make its recommendations to the president, who has two weeks to make changes if he wants to. And then Congress must make its changes within 45 days, or else these base closings, as decided by the commission, become law -- Lou.

DOBBS: It is anticipated that there will be a mighty fight in Congress in resisting many of these closings. Thank you very much. David Ensor. Appreciate it.

Still ahead, hospital horrors. Why 100,000 Americans die each year in our nation's hospitals as a result of careless medical mistakes. We'll have that special report.

And later, culture in decline. Why a new video game encourages kids to beat up other students and even their teachers.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: One leading cause of death in this country has nothing to do with any disease or illness, but rather to do with medical mistakes. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because of errors such as medication mix-ups and infections from unsanitary conditions in medical facilities. Now the World Health Organization is taking notice, launching a new campaign to reduce deadly medical mistakes.

Christine Romans has our report.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Deadly infections, surgical mishaps, mixed-up medications, such medical mistakes are the eighth leading cause of death in this country. Hundreds of people die every day in the United States due to medical mistakes.

A 1999 Institute of Medicine report found up to 98,000 die each year. Experts had hoped to cut that number at least in half by now.

SUSAN SHERIDAN, CONSUMERS ADVANCING PATIENT SAFETY: To err is human, but to not learn from it I think is totally unacceptable. And so for some reason, we've had this -- the healthcare system has low expectations of themselves at times, and that we tolerate a certain number of medical errors. And I think we can't think that way.

ROMANS: Karen Timmons helps set hospital standards in this country and is working with the World Health Organization to improve patient safety.

KAREN TIMMONS, JOINT COMMISSION INTERNATIONAL: I think it's very important that Americans and citizens everywhere understand that healthcare is a risky area. They need to be part of the solution. And patients, families, when an individual member of the family is admitted to hospital, they need to be part of the team that is providing the care.

ROMANS: With so many new procedures, the risk of infection has skyrocketed. Health experts say patients must ask their doctors and nurses to wash their hands.

Safety experts want to prevent medication mix-ups which hurt 1.3 million people a year. They also want to develop proper procedures for inserting tubes in the nose and throat, and preventing surgeries on the wrong body parts. Also important, creating a new culture where doctors, nurses and pharmacists feel free to admit mistakes, rather than hide them for fear of litigation.

JANET CORRIGAN, NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR QUALITY HEALTHCARE: One of the best ways to minimize malpractice is to design safety into their healthcare delivery system. And by doing so, they will reduce the number of medical errors and the likelihood that they will be the target of a malpractice lawsuit.


ROMANS: The president recently signed into law a confidential reporting structure for doctors to report mistakes. Now, safety experts hope that doctors comply and that hospitals can finally start learning from these tens of thousands of deadly mistakes -- Lou.

DOBBS: Christine, thank you very much. An alarming report if ever there were one. Thank you.

An astoundingly unhygienic hospital condition in Virginia has forced more than 100 people there to test for HIV and hepatitis. The former patients of (INAUDIBLE) hospital all had colonoscopies performed in early July. The problem? The hospital says the scopes used in those procedures may not have been properly disinfected.

The hospital calls the risk to patients extremely remote. The patients involved are being offered blood tests and a follow-up test within six months.

Tonight, another disturbing example of our culture in decline. A new video game to be released this fall encourages children who have been bullied to become bullies themselves. Controversy has now erupted over the game and whether it should be sold at all.

Lisa Sylvester has the story.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The game us called "Bully." The kid who was bullied becomes the bully, taunting, beating up fellow students, and intimidating teachers. "Bully" is made by Rockstar Games, the same company behind the controversial game "Grand Theft Auto."

JACK THOMPSON, VIDEO GAME ACTIVIST: And what you are in effect doing is rehearsing your physical revenge and violence against those whom you have been victimized by. And then you, like Klebold and Harris in Columbine, become the ultimate bully.

SYLVESTER: In 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 classmates and a teacher at Columbine High before committing suicide. Activist Jack Thompson calls "Bully" a Columbine simulator. He has filed a lawsuit to prevent retailers from distributing the game, scheduled to be released October 5.

Studies have shown that violent video games increase aggressive behavior in teens. The American Psychological Association last week called for greater oversight of the industry.

JEFF MCINTYRE, AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSN.: The children no longer just passive witnesses to violence that may happen in the media, but now they're actually becoming involved in the scenarios, being rewarded.

SYLVESTER: Rockstar, in a statement, said, "Some of our critics are only promoting stereotypes about video games and spreading rumors about something they haven't seen. "Bully" is still a work in progress. When it's released, we hope that people will form their own opinions.

Those who oppose the game hope that day will never come. "Bully" is expected to be rated M for mature audiences. But because the video game industry is self-regulated, there is little that can be done to keep a retailer from selling any violent video game to a minor.


SYLVESTER: There is one exception. Illinois's governor signed a bill this summer that fines retail stores caught selling violent games to kids, but it is the only state that has such a law, and the industry is fighting that as well -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you. Lisa Sylvester.

Still ahead here tonight, judging Roberts. As the confirmation hearings approach, how interest groups are bracing for battle over Judge John Roberts' Supreme Court nomination and confirmation.

And milk monopoly in this country? Why some say one group is single-handedly driving America's dairy farmers out of business and milk prices through the roof.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts are now set to begin less than two weeks from today. Some opponents of Roberts today came out swinging, giving a preview of what promises to be a fierce debate in Congress.

Joe Johns reports.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Challenging the conventional wisdom that Judge Roberts is a shoe-in, People for the American Way, a key liberal group, made an announcement Wednesday that was no surprise.

RALPH NEAS, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY: I am here today to announce that People for the American Way will oppose the nomination of the Judge John Robbers to the Supreme Court.

JOHNS: The group made its decision after reviewing tens of thousands of recently released documents. Among the leading areas of concern: Memos written by Roberts during the Reagan administration that show he favored narrowing the reach of the Voting Rights Act. He also expressed skepticism about the right to privacy.

NEAS: But when you look at his judicial philosophy, you realize with all the likability and with all the legal skills, he truly is a wolf in sheep's clothing or maybe more accurately, an Antonin Scalia in sheep's clothing.

JOHNS: Right down the hall from this news conference at the National Press Club, a group of conservative women sharing their own starkly different views, defending Roberts; seeking to head off questions about his memos on women's rights.

LINDA CHAVEZ, CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: I knew Judge Roberts as a brilliant lawyer, as a very nice man and I can say he doesn't have a sexist bone in his body.

JOHNS: But on the critical issue of abortion rights, the only woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, issued a warning.

FEINSTEIN: It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe.


JOHNS: Feinstein is not likely to be alone in asking some tough questions. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, has now written two letters to Roberts. He seems to be interested in talking about what he views as a pervasive judicial activism on both the right and the left -- Lou.

DOBBS: Senator Specter, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is concerned about activism on the left and the right, but not in the case of Judge Roberts, correct?

JOHNS: He is interested in talking about what has gone on before on the Supreme Court, particularly with issues like states' rights. He views that as judicial activism, and he wants to find out if that's the kind of thing Judge Roberts would vote for, were he on the bench.

DOBBS: And how surprised would we be if we were to hear clear and unequivocal, unambiguous answers from Judge Roberts in this -- as this process is set to unfold in all its fury?

JOHNS: I think we'd be very surprised to hear clear and unequivocal answers. The trick in testifying before these committees, when you're trying to get to the Supreme Court, is to give a balanced approach and simply not say too much. In fact, we do know that Judge Roberts, in earlier days, has recommended that other nominees to the Supreme Court be very careful in what they say in these hearings -- Lou.

DOBBS: Very well. Joe, you will be a very busy fellow over the course of this period. Thank you very much.

Joe Johns reporting from Capitol Hill.

Coming up next, a Republican congressman says the White House's new plan to fight our fight our nation's meth crisis is simply public relations. He's my guest next.

And politically correct madness? The NCAA reverses its ban on Indian mascots, but for just one university. Other universities are trying to figure out what in the heck the NCAA is trying to do. We'll tell you about that next.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, the Justice Department is investigating the group that controls one-third of the dairy production in this country. The Dairy Farmers of America is a cooperative accused of building its control of the milk market into an outright monopoly. Its critics say the group has crippled American dairy farmers and created yet another trade deficit for this country in dairy products.

Bill Tucker reports from Allenport, Pennsylvania.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's just past dawn and the cows are being led into the milking barn on Hal Drick's farm. Drick, one of the fading breed, an independent milk producer. Pressure is mounting on him to sign with Dairy Marketing Services, a company associated with the Dairy Farmers of America, the nation's largest dairy co-op, with more than 14,000 member farms. Drick says if he doesn't sign, there will be nowhere he can sell his milk.

HAL DRICK, DAIRY FARMER: If things don't change from what they are now, it's going to be a pretty sad picture for the farmer.

TUCKER: In 1970, there were roughly 650,000 dairy farms. Today, those numbers have dwindled to less than 80,000. And since 1995, America has been a net importer of dairy products. Last year, we imported the equivalent of nearly five billion pounds of milk.

Dairy Farmers of America supports import programs, along with paying farmers, to kill domestic dairy livestock. Incredibly, DFA is a co-op, meaning that it is owned by its members. A growing number of farmers, including this group that we met with in Pennsylvania, say DFA is at odds with their interests.

JOHN BUNTING, DAIRY FARMER: They want to change the definition of fluid milk, and they want to change the definition to include milk protein concentrates, which are primarily an imported product from all over the world. So I don't think the DFA has either the consumer or the farmer in mind.

BILL HART, DAIRY FARMER: Your fuel's going up, your electric's going up. Everything else goes up for us, but we don't get any more for our milk than we did two months ago or whenever.

TUCKER: Which doesn't explain the disparity between what farmers are paid for their milk and the dramatically higher prices the consumers pay. The Justice Department has been investigating DFA for over a year. It won't comment on the investigation, nor will DFA, except to say they are cooperating.

RANDY MOONEY, DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA: We have asked our staff to fully cooperate with the Justice Department, provide them every bit of the information that they request and they want.

TUCKER (on camera): What's happening here in the farmland of America is strikingly similar to what we've seen in manufacturing, the small American business losing out to the cheaper foreign imports. This time, it is our nation's food supply that is at risk.

(voice-over): It comes down to this simple truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any nation that cannot feed itself is not free. Simple as that. If we want freedom in this country, we've got to have a food supply.

TUCKER: Bill Tucker, CNN, Elimsport, Pennsylvania.


DOBBS: A gallon of milk cost significantly more now than just a couple of years ago. The average retail price for a gallon of two percent milk, $2.79 two years ago; now, $3.17 a gallon. So far this year, the price of milk has risen to $3.21. By comparison, we found that a gallon a bottle of water that cost just half that. It's $1.60 a gallon. That's for water.

Turning now to a crisis that threatens the well-being of millions of us, and that is the exploding popularity of the highly addictive and highly dangerous drug known as meth. My next guest says the White House's new plan to fight the meth crisis is, in his words, embarrassing. Congressman Mark Souder represents one of the many states hard hit by meth abuse, Indiana. Joining us tonight from Boston, Congressman Souder. The White House announced a million dollars for anti-meth ads, $16 million in grants to treat addicts. It's raised meth-related research for $22 million over the past four years. This is insufficient in your judgment?

REP. MARK SOUDER (R) INDIANA: Absolutely. They need a comprehensive, total strategy, not piecemeal. Congress already passed earlier this summer $25 million in the national ad campaign, not one million. We need enforcement at the international level, at the border level. They said nothing about safe and drug-free schools and how we're improving the programs there. The treatment money was already in the budget and less than they had originally said they were going to use for us.

It's a good first step. I'm glad they're at least acknowledging meth's a problem. But the counties have said this is the number one drug problem in the United States and they're acting like it's a little designer drug thing that's just come up in a few areas. It's all over the nation.

DOBBS: Well, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, over the past three years, law enforcement has seized, on average, 45 toxic labs or dump sites each day across the United States. That sounds pretty impressive, Congressman.

SOUDER: Yes, we have two separate problems going. The mom and pop labs, so-called, where people cook it in their homes, and the super labs that are distributing through the typical drug organizations. Yesterday in Ohio, with Congressman Mike Turner from Ohio near Dayton, what we learned is in Ohio, it doubled two years ago. It doubled again last year. This year, it's doubling again.

And they're proposing little piecemeal proposals at grassroots level, through the high intensity drug task force areas, through the DEA drug task forces, through the meth hot spots programs. They're taking down the labs, but administration proposed to eliminate most of those programs. And there was nothing in their meth strategy last week said about how to keep taking down these labs.

DOBBS: Well, you've offered the meth abuse prevention act. Just exactly what will your legislation do that the Bush administration and, overall, the war on drugs has not done to this point?

SOUDER: Well, we're all working towards how to resolve this pseudoephedrine control question. It's been very difficult in Washington. But 37 states are moving legislation...

DOBBS: Pseudoephedrine, also the ingredient that's found in the...

SOUDER: How to get the -- the wholesale a level, and the international level. Now what we have also done in the past -- last two weeks of Congress is increased the national ad campaign, restored the funding for meth hot spots, restored the funding for the hide-a- program and are looking at how to do other prevention programs. What we believe is leadership should be coming to Congress and say, here's what we need the money, here's what we need to do, here's the legislation we need. And if they don't do it, we're going to fix it this fall.

DOBBS: And again, just to outline what the Congressman said, the National Association of Counties survey says meth abuse is the leading drug problem affecting local law enforcement agencies in this country.

Congressman, now, let me ask you overall. The drug problem in this country is tremendous, as you well know, not only meth, but a host of illegal drugs. Where is the war on drugs?

SOUDER: It's much like the struggle that we have against child abuse, against spouse abuse. It never ends. New people are tempted every day. You work with it. Seventy to 85 percent of all crime, including people who don't pay child support, who beat their wife, are related to drug and alcohol abuse. We just have to keep at it. Sometimes in our country it goes higher, other times it goes lower, and we need to constantly push at it. We get control of one area and then another one pops up. And in this case, we have seen meth move west to east. It's steadily moving steadily east and it is moving from the rural areas into the urban areas...

DOBBS: And most of it originating where?

SOUDER: And we have to stop this now.

DOBBS: Most of it originating where?

SOUDER: Most of it...

DOBBS: Where does it come from?

SOUDER: The pseudoephedrine, which is essential to the making of meth, is mostly coming from pseudo -- from labs in Mexico, is where it's processed. It's manufactured in China and India. That that comes into the mom and pop labs...

DOBBS: So in other words, one of the first considerations, Congressman, might be to control our borders and our ports. Is that correct?

SOUDER: I think it's fairly safe to say we don't have control of our borders and that needs to be major. We also need to be monitoring India and China. We can look at every grocery store and every pharmacy, but we got to get it at the international and border level, too.

DOBBS: You couldn't be more right. Congressman, we thank you for being here to share your views. Congressman Mark Souder.

SOUDER: Thank you very much.

DOBBS: Just ahead, I'll be joined by one Virginia delegate who says illegal aliens are an insult to the hard-working taxpayers of his home state. We'll tell you what he's proposing to stop the invasion.

And later, could triple digit oil prices be on the way? I'll be talking with an author of a compelling new book who says we ain't seen nothing yet. Those are his words. I'm just quoting. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Crude oil prices hitting another record today, closing above $67 a barrel. One reason for the spike in the crude oil prices, concerns about the latest storm and a record breaking hurricane season. Florida now bracing for Tropical Storm Katrina, which is barreling toward the Florida coast. That storm could reach hurricane strength before hitting land later this week. The National Hurricane Center says some 150 miles of Florida's coast are now under hurricane watch. Katrina, the 11th named storm of the season. Three of those storms have hit the United States so far. The powerful and destructive Hurricane Dennis, Tropical Storms Arlene and Cindy. Those storms caused an estimated $1 billion in damage.

Meanwhile, major floods are gripping large parts of Central Europe. Lakes and rivers are bursting in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, after several days of fierce rainfall. In Austria this 72- year-old woman was trapped inside her car by rushing flood waters. Rescue workers strapped cables on to the car and ultimately pulled her to safety. Problems of a very different nature in Western Europe, where forest fires are raging in both Portugal and Spain. Portugal is suffering the worst drought in its history, and all that dry brush fueling flames. Hundreds of firefighters are working in both countries to put the dangerous fires out. Half a million acres involved so far.

My next guest says in this country, the illegal alien crisis in his home state of Virginia is simply out of control. Delegate Jeff Frederick is calling upon the state's governor, Mark Warner, to declare a state of emergency similar to the recent declarations made by the governors of both New Mexico and Arizona. A spokesman for Governor Warner responded by saying quote, "In an election year, Mr. Frederick is trying to stir something up that is not an issue in Virginia." End quote. Adding that Virginia's not threatened by the border with North Carolina. Delegate Jeff Frederick joins me now from Washington. Delegate Frederick, your response to the comment from the governor's office.

JEFF FREDERICK (R), VIRGINIA DELEGATE: I think it's a little silly. I mean, the fact is, is that we need to utilize every tool available as a state, as a community, to deal with the illegal immigration issue. I mean, it's taxing our citizens. It's causing increased public service cost. It's taxing local law enforcement. It's increasing crime with the gangs and other violent crime. And it's intimidation of people at the local 7-11 when they try to drive up and buy a glass of milk or but a carton of milk when it gets swarmed of other people. You know, the governor has this tool at his disposal and should really use it. And I don't know why he's playing politics. You know, I get calls every day from people in my district, my constituents -- DOBBS: Mr. Frederick, I'm sure you do, but the fact is, I thought it was particularly clever of the spokesman, for the governor to say that Virginia is not threatened by the border with North Carolina. Was that at issue for the governor or for you?

FREDERICK: Again. It's silly. People are coming through Mexico or Canada or -- they're coming through a border state to get here, but they're landing somewhere once they get into the United States. And one of the places that they're landing is Virginia. And if the governor doesn't think that we have an illegal immigration problem, then the governor needs to talk to the people of Virginia, because he's not really listening.

DOBBS: Well who is listening, Mr. Frederick, Herndon recently approved a day laborer center at tax payer expense. It's effectively an accommodation incentive for illegal aliens in that town, your state. What are you going to do about it?

FREDERICK: I agree. Well you know, a local county supervisor in my district, actually, you know, somebody making an illegal immigrant day laborer center in our community, her top priority earlier this year. She's trying to spend $159 thousand of tax payer money to do the same thing. The problem is that she did a little straw poll among her colleagues on the board of supervisors and realized that nobody supports it. That if she brought this up for a vote, it would go down 7-1. And now she's backtracking. But this is an issue in our community. People drive by on the way to work every day, on Route 1, they drive by these day laborers standing out in front of the 7-11 and they see it. And they call me and they want to know who's going to do something about this. And this is just one thing, just one thing that we can do and there's no harm in the governor doing it.

DOBBS: It doesn't sound like, however, anyone should hold their breath waiting for Governor Warner. Delegate Frederick, we thank for being with us. Appreciate it.

FREDERICK: Thank you.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. The question, do you believe the president of the United States should be speaking to large open groups wherever possible, as opposed to small captive audiences? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results here in just a few minutes.

Christian Coalition leader Pat Robertson today said his comments about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were quote, "misinterpreted." Robertson claimed he never suggested that Chavez should be assassinated.


PAT ROBERTSON, CHRISTIAN COALITION LEADER: I didn't say assassination. I said our special forces should quote, take him out. And take him out can be a number of things, including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power, besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP. But that happens all the time.


DOBBS: Misinterpreted. Well we don't like to misinterpret or misreport here, I assure you, so we just wanted to check the tape. You just heard Robertson deny he ever suggested killing Chavez. Well, maybe Pat Robertson would like to explain what he said on Monday. This is what he said.


ROBERTSON: I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop.


DOBBS: Robertson later in the day finally just came out and apologized, saying, in a written statement quote, "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement." End quote.

More controversy tonight over an NCAA decision to ban what it calls hostile and abusive college mascots. We call it just politically correct nonsense on this broadcast. But the NCAA move, led by Dr. Miles Brand, caused mass confusion and outrage on college campuses and among thinking people just about everywhere. Because only some of the mascots they called offensive were actually banned, and only certain sports were forced to ban their mascots. Now the NCAA has made a new rule even more confusing, by allowing Florida State to keep its Seminole mascot. Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Florida State University has the blessing of both surviving groups of Seminoles to use their name for the university's sports teams. And to use a flaming, spear-throwing student in costume as its mascot. Now the NCAA says that's okay as well and has removed Seminoles from its list of banned mascots and team names, after Florida state threatened to sue. But the NCAA says its position on 17 other schools who use Native American names or mascots, hasn't changed. And they will still be prohibited from using them during any national championship competition.

RICHARD LAPCHICK, UNIV. OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: We're talking about perhaps the most depressed group of people in the history of our nation. People who were virtually exterminated in the early history of our country. It's not one of political correctness, but one that is right.

WIAN: Critics say the ruling is another example of hypocrisy by major college sports governing body. For example, the NCAA allows San Diego State teams to be Aztecs, because it couldn't find any organized tribe or group related to Aztecs. Of course they were wiped out by Spain. So apparently references to complete genocide are OK. But honoring tribes nearly exterminated is not.

NCAA President Miles Brand said in a statement this month it objects to institutions using racial, ethnic, national origin references in their inter-collegiate athletic programs. Why then are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish not being targeted. The NCAA says that's because it hasn't received complaints from Irish Americans.

BOB FORD, COLUMNIST: If the NCAA is gong to fairly apply it's supposed ethical concerns, I'd like to see what they had to say about the Mississippi Rebels too. Is there not an African American in this country that's not offended and affronted by the Mississippi Rebels.

WIAN: Even animals, such as South Carolina's Gamecocks, are deemed offensive by some. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says Gamecocks promote illegal cock fighting, and PETA is trying to force a name change, so far, unsuccessfully.

(on camera): Perhaps every university should adopt a name that's certain not to offend or inspire anyone. We can think of one example, the University of California at Santa Cruz. They're the Banana Slugs -- Lou.

DOBBS: Say that again?

WIAN: The Banana Slugs.

DOBBS: I'm offended. Please send a note off. Please, would you just send along a note. I'm offended that someone didn't think of that clever name sooner. That's great. Casey, is there any sense that the NCAA, faced with horrible graduation rates, the outright, in several sports, just the outright exploitation of so-called student athletes, all of the many issues that confront college athletics, taking on this idiotic issue, is there any sense that they're going to come to their senses?

WIAN: Well, they're expected to receive a lot more lawsuits from other universities who want to keep their names. And they're also going to receive petitions from universities who say they have approval from Native American organizations to keep those names. So a lot of people are expecting the NCAA to back off. As to the larger issues you mentioned, the NCAA critics say the organization has a long history of not tackling those tough issues -- Lou.

DOBBS: No. They wouldn't want to do that. That would be something that would be worthwhile for an association that purports to represent the interest of the sport and the academic institutions.

Dr. Miles Brand, by the way, we've invited here. He's welcome anytime to discuss this issue and to really get into the political correctness that academia in many quarters is trying to instill in this country. This is just one example. And thank you, Dr. Miles Brand again.

And always, Casey Wian, thank you.

WIAN: Sure. DOBBS: In looking for a quote of the day today, today, we found so many on this issue that we just couldn't choose just one. We thought three might be of particular interest to you on a topic the NCAA considers to be so important. NCAA executive committee member, Arthur Kirk said, quote, "I think we sharpened the definition of the criteria as far as rejecting the sovereignty of local tribes." But they haven't sharpened the focus on the sports involved, or a host of other issues.

An executive from the University of North Dakota disagreed. He said, quote, "we still don't know what criteria they're using." North Dakota's mascot, by the way, is the fighting Sioux.

And Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneer's linebacker and member of the Florida State University's board of trustees, said, quote, "why or who started this? I have no idea. But again, there's a lot bigger issues out there than team mascots that the NCAA needs to address." Derrick, you couldn't be more correct.

Coming up next here, the author of a controversial new book saying Saudi Arabia is engaged in massive oil cover-up. We will be discussing that here next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: A provocative new book suggests today skyrocketing crude oil prices may only hint at the real oil crisis yet to come. Saudi Arabia has long claimed the oil fields could meet the world's insatiable demand for oil, but according to my next guest, Matthew Simmons the author of "Twilight in the Desert," the Saudis aren't being truthful. After poring over more than 200 engineering papers, he says Saudi Arabia's giant oil fields are getting old and oil supplies are running out.

This is a huge development if you're absolutely accurate. What will be the impact?

MATTHEW SIMMONS, AUTHOR: Well, the biggest impact, whether the supply's going to decline or whether they stay where they are or a while, or whether they even grow slightly, is that the world built an economy on a presumption that Saudi Arabia's oil could grow to almost indefinite amounts and stay there for years at almost no cost. And the likelihood of that happening is very small.

DOBBS: Saudi Arabia, as you well know, better than certainly most, has 25 percent of the world's official reserves. Do you really believe that those are going to be threatened here both by depletion and by rising consumption?

SIMMONS: Well, first all, even the amount of reserves is a matter of some question. Back at the end of 1979, when the -- some of the top technicians in the world were counting proven reserves, they thought they had 110 billion, and then the number rose to 260 billion eight years later without discovering anymore fields. But the real issue is only a handful of fields have produced all the oil Saudi Arabia has ever produced. And they're all old. And they're all at risk of production collapse.

DOBBS: Bottom line, is the United States, in your judgment, prepared for the oil shock that you foresee so clearly?

SIMMONS: No. I don't think the U.S. is. I don't think the world is.

I think we have blissfully just assumed the Middle East had effectively boundless amount of oil, it could be produced at almost -- at the lowest achievable cost as long as there was stability in the Middle East.

DOBBS: What should we do?

SIMMONS: We need to start preparing for the fact that in all likelihood oil supply is reaching sustainable peak supply on a global basis and start radically preparing a different economy that is less oil intensive in its use, because we're not going to have anymore.

DOBBS: The book "Twilight in the Desert." Matthew Simmons, thanks for being here.

Turning now to the results of our poll. 94 percent of you say the president of the United States should be speaking to large open groups as opposed to small captive audiences when ever possible.

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 been imprisoned for 49 days -- 7 weeks -- for protecting her confidential sources in the White House CIA leak case.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joins me for an analysis of what's happening in Iraq. And what an appropriate exit strategy might do and look like, also the parallels to Vietnam.

And making Spanish mandatory for school principals in the United States? That's what the Dallas school board will vote on. They're voting on a controversial issue tomorrow. We'll have a special report for you. Please join us.

For all of us here, good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now. And Soledad O'Brien is sitting in for Anderson -- Soledad.