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Lou Dobbs Tonight

U.S. Military May Be Wearing Thin; President Bush Goes To NSA And Defends Wiretaps; Dot Commies; Dorgan Discusses Free Trade; Congressman Bob Beauprez Says His Top Priority Is To Secure Ports Borders; Role Of Religious Groups In Immigration Crisis

Aired January 25, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Who's lying? It's either the Bush administration or it's the author of a Pentagon-commissioned report on the state of our Army. That report declaring there are simply not enough troops to sustain both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that troop withdrawals in Iraq are in fact being driven by the strain on our troops.

Jamie McIntyre has the story from the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A bold argument about the size of the U.S. Army, but these two new reports have given fresh urgency to the issue, and they both suggest that the Pentagon is in denial.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): The two reports sound a similar alarm, that the constant rotation of battled-weary troops into deadly war zones, combined with the problems attracting new recruits, are a recipe for a broken Army that won't be able to respond to future threats.

In one report commissioned by the Pentagon, a chapter entitled "The Thin Green Line" argues the Army is over-stretched and undersized. The author, a retired military officer, concludes the Army is "in a race against time" and "could face a catastrophic decline" in recruitment and reenlistment.

A second report released by Democrats on Capitol Hill echoed the theme, noting that every available Army combat brigade has served in Iraq or Afghanistan for at least one one-year tour, and many are on their second or third deployments.

WILLIAM PERRY, FMR. DEFENSE SECRETARY: All Americans can be proud of their service and dedication. But the strain, if not relieved, can have highly corrosive and long-term effects on the military.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I just can't imagine someone looking at the United States armed forces and suggesting that they're close to breaking. That's just not the case.

MCINTYRE: At a Pentagon news conference, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the dire warnings as either out of date or misdirected and blamed part of the problem on the organizational structure he inherited from the Clinton administration.

RUMSFELD: I mean, these are the people, basically, who did that report who were here in the '90s. And what we're doing is trying to adjust what was left us to fit the 21st century.

MCINTYRE: Both reports recommended a permanent increase in the size of the U.S. Army, something the Pentagon insists may not be needed if enough desk jobs could be converted to combat roles.


MCINTYRE: Lou, the debate is not so much over how the Army's doing now. Big bonuses are boosting enlistment and retention is at an all-time high. But the concern is whether the short-term fix as being implied now will simply bloom into a full-blown crisis later on.

And when I asked Rumsfeld about that, if that could happen, he simply said candidly he didn't know. "Time will tell," he said.

DOBBS: This is -- I'm certain the defense secretary did not mean to be cavalier in response to your question. But the suggestion without reading the reports that they were outdated and simply not accurate is peculiar.

MCINTYRE: Well, you know, if you actually do read the full report -- and I have read a lot of it -- it's of course much more nuance. It does acknowledge, for instance, that the Army has a plan that will relieve the stress on the troops in the long term, but it says there's a lot of things that could go wrong with that plan if there is another major war or if the Iraqi forces aren't able it take over in Iraq as planned. That could essentially derail the plan.

So he's not talking about necessarily the thin green line being snapped today. But he's saying that there's a high risk it could happen in the short term.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon.

In Iraq, insurgents have killed an American Marine in Al Anbar province. The Marine was killed by small arms fire in the town of Karma, to the west of Baghdad. Our Marines are leading the fight against insurgents and terrorists in Al Anbar province, one of the most violent regions in Iraq -- 2,236 of our troops have now been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war.

President Bush today focused on the war against radical Islamist terrorists in this country. President Bush went to the headquarters of the intelligence agency carrying out warrantless wiretaps on some Americans. At the National Security Agency, President Bush declared those wiretaps are saving American lives, as well as protecting our civil liberties.

Dana Bash reports from the White House -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this trip to the NSA today was just the latest in an attempt by this White House to really make this controversial program, a potential political liability, into a political plus. And as part of the trip today -- you see him there shaking hands -- he gave thanks to the men and women carrying out this secret program at the NSA and used his argument over and over again. We've heard it for why he believes it should continue, but he also evoked last week's Osama bin Laden tape to help make his case.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I understand there's some in America who say, well, this can't be true, there aren't still people willing to attack. All I would ask them to do is listen to the words of Osama bin Laden and take them seriously.

When he says he's going to hurt the American people again or try to, he means it. I take it seriously. And the people of NSA take it seriously. And most of the American people take it seriously as well.


BASH: Now, the president sounded some familiar themes today, but he seemed to hit especially hard on some of the arguments they're making here at the White House to combat criticism that they are simply hurting people's civil liberties. He said that it is targeted, this program, it applies only to the international communications.

Democrats today say essentially -- they said that it's besides the point. But Lou, they tried to it, it seemed, hone in on what their argument is and from their perspective, politically, perhaps, should be in the future that from their perspective, it may not necessarily be that this program is bad, but that it is done and has been done without a warrant and without the approval of Congress.

So many Democrats on Capitol Hill asking today, why did didn't the president simply come to us beforehand, before he did this, and ask for permission? Because, they say, history shows that perhaps he would have gotten it.

This, of course, is going to be the subject, Lou, of hearings in just less than two weeks in the Senate Judiciary Committee. And the chairman, the Republican chairman of that committee, sent a letter today to the attorney general, who will be testifying, making it pretty clear that he's going to have some tough questions. He listed 15 things he wanted just in the attorney general's opening statement alone.

DOBBS: Dana, as to the question being asked, why didn't the president, what is the White House saying about why the president didn't simply go in the spirit of a nation at war and reach out to the Democrats?

BASH: Well, here's what they're saying. They're saying that pretty early on, the White House realized that they thought they needed this -- this process to go -- to have a process they said that is quicker than going through the FISA courts, that they believe that they have the legal underpinning to do it because of the resolution that they passed in Congress, a wartime resolution. And...

DOBBS: No, I understand why they did what they did.

BASH: Right. This is the argument...

DOBBS: I'm trying to understand why they didn't do what they didn't do.

BASH: The argument that they're making is that they didn't need to because they felt like it was fast and they felt like they had the actual legal authority to do that. But the question still is, why is it, then, that the White House actually -- they're saying now, Lou, that they went back to Congress just a little while ago, maybe a few months ago, and said, well, actually, maybe we should do this through the legal -- through the legislative process.

And they're saying at the White House that -- the bipartisan leadership said, well, now that the program is in process, it's so secret, we shouldn't do that because it will risk making it public.

So, there are so many unanswered questions. What you just asked is one of them, for sure. And it's one of the things that we know that the senators on the Judiciary Committee want to ask this White House. Certainly we have been asking for several months. Unclear whether we will all get the answers.

DOBBS: Thank you, Dana.

Dana Bash from the White House.

The nation most considered to be the epicenter of radical Islamist terrorism, of course, is Iran. Iran is now turning to its friends in communist China to forestall U.S. and European Union efforts to block Iran's emergence as a nuclear power. Tomorrow, Iran's top nuclear negotiator goes to Beijing after a visit to Moscow.

The Iranian official appears to have convinced the Kremlin at least that the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program should not be referred to the U.N. Security Council.

There is outrage tonight over Google's obvious decision to put profits before democratic values and its business dealings in communist China. Google has set up a separate search engine for China which launched today. And thanks to Google, communist officials can censor search results from the Internet.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One hundred million Internet users in China, but when Chinese international searchers use Google, it's censored., the Chinese version, conforms to communist Chinese government controls. On so-called sensitive topics, a notice at the bottom of the page reads, "Local regulations prevent us from showing all the results."

Google justifies the censorship by saying it has to abide by Chinese law to operate in the quickly-growing Chinese economy. Intellectual property lawyer Frank Pasquale (ph) says reform from within China is impossible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their only option is either to be there or to be entirely out of the market. It seems it's very hard for them to sort of resist in any sort of halfway measure or try to get any sort of reforms there.

PILGRIM: But Congressman Chris Smith is outraged.

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Don't enable evil. Don't become complicit. Don't become part of it.

Realize with whom you are dealing with. And the profits and the power of making some additional money is not worth it. Human rights should trump profits.

PILGRIM: While Google is going along with Chinese law, it's resisting a U.S. Justice Department subpoena to hand over information about child Internet porn sites in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's such a disconnect in saying to the U.S. government, we will not be a good corporate citizen to try to protect children from obscenity. And again, working hand in glove with a Chinese repressive government to stifle dissent at any kind of articulation of democracy and freedom.

PILGRIM: Congressman Tim Ryan today issued a statement saying, "American citizens and lawmakers have every right to demand that U.S. companies advance freedom rather than oppression.


PILGRIM: Now, the congressman goes on to add that Americans were told that globalization and free trade would make countries like China more democratic. But recent decisions by Microsoft, Yahoo!, now Google show otherwise.

Now, Lou, Congress is scheduled to hold hearings on this matter on February 16.

DOBBS: This is, I think, probably as good an example as there is of a very confused leadership at Google over what is right and wrong and to which nation they happen to be chartered in.

PILGRIM: They respond by saying they balance their commitment.

DOBBS: They balance their commitment. They have no commitment as best I can tell. Certainly to anything that I would consider of value. Thank you very much.

Kitty Pilgrim.

Still ahead, the U.S. border fence. We'll tell you who's comparing it to the Berlin Wall.

Also, a brazen drug running operation across our border from Mexico. The Mexican government says it's troops weren't involved. Our pictures will tell you a very different true story.

And then, Detroit automakers, wrong turns by management, unions, and policymakers. And this country's middle class is paying the price for stupidity and the big lie. A special report ahead.

And god and politics. The general secretary of the National Council of Churches says religious leaders have every right to oppose tough border security legislation. He's our guest here tonight.


DOBBS: Tonight, U.S. lawmakers say it is time to stop Mexican military incursions into this country once and for all. They're now demanding action after this week's brazen drug-running operation across the Rio Grande that appears to have had the support of Mexican troops.

Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Could these be the pictures that finally push the U.S. federal government to secure our nation's borders? Drug smugglers caught red-handed inside the United States, accompanied by what appear to be machinegun-toting members of the Mexican military. It happened Monday in Hudspeth County, Texas, where U.S. law enforcement officers engaged in a real-life Mexican standoff.

RICK GLANCEY, TEXAS BORDER SHERIFF'S COALITION: There are some in Mexico that may pretend to be members of the military, may try to engage by trickery, if you will, by the (INAUDIBLE). The bottom line is, is this still occurred, there's pictures to prove it occurred, and this is something that should, you know, open the eyes of Washington, D.C. and Mexico City.

WIAN: These pictures show a military Humvee trying to free an SUV stuck in the Rio Grande, then standing by as several people unload its cargo of drugs.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is an incident that is under investigation, the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection. We've also been in contact with the governor in New Mexico (ph) and asked for a thorough investigation in response from Mexico. WIAN: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff just last week said Mexican military incursions are not a serious problem. However, his department's own documents show it happened more than 200 times over the past decade.

Now a growing number of officials are demanding answers and more action, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Arizona Senator John Kyl, and the State Department.

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Every government around the world should expect the United States is going to take whatever steps it deems necessary to protect its own borders.

WIAN: Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo called for the immediate deployment of U.S. troops to the border. Meanwhile, the Mexican government continues to deny the incursions involve Mexican soldiers.

CARLOS DE ICAZA, MEXICAN AMBASSADOR: We don't have any information or any evidence that can substance it, the fact that are there Mexican military persons. We reject the notion that there were Mexican military persons.

WIAN: The Mexican government says it is cooperating with U.S. requests for an investigation.


WIAN: What U.S. officials really want is more cooperation from Mexico in stopping these incidents from taking place. No matter who soldiers are working for, the Mexican government, Mexican drug cartels, or both, they're usually better armed than U.S. Border Patrol. And they're attacking not only our nation's borders, but our sovereignty as well -- Lou.

DOBBS: Two hundred incursions by the Mexican military into this country. The secretary of Homeland Security is calling for an investigation of what? Why does he have to talk it Mexico to find out what's going on when U.S. law enforcement and people who actually work for him are telling him what's going on?

WIAN: Well, there seems to be a policy in the White House, in the Bush administration, to not offend the Mexican government, which obviously has not taken strong enough action to stop these incursions from taking place.

DOBBS: Right.

WIAN: But it seems that that may be changing. We have seen a little bit stronger statements in the last few days from folks in the Bush administration -- Lou.

DOBBS: Yes. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, is a brave, tough man. He's talking about operational security for the border in five years and tolerating this and indifferent to it.

And Governor Perry calling for action. He's the one who just a week ago said a border fence is a silly idea, I believe.

WIAN: Well, this -- this new evidence of more Mexican military incursions and the potential involvement of the Mexican military and drug running across our borders has, I think, forced a lot of folks to change their opinion on this matter -- Lou.

DOBBS: One would hope. It's remarkable how the United States government and the politicians running it seem to think the American people are abject idiots.

Thank you very much. Casey Wian.

Mexican President Vicente Fox is among those who apparently think Americans are idiots. He is blasting plans for that border fence that could stop Mexican military incursions into this country.

For example, President Fox today warned that the proposed 700- mile fence is destined to fall, just, as he said, just like the Berlin Wall. President Fox says he's confident that the U.S. Senate will block plans to build it.

Also tonight, officials may have discovered another massive tunnel on the U.S.-Mexican border. They say a deep underground shaft on the Mexican side of the border could be a tunnel opening. They're now looking for an opening on the U.S. side, there is San Diego.

We have some of our best people on this project, it's pretty clear.

And Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today announced his opposition to borders -- to Mexico's new border map program. Under this program, Mexico hands out maps to its citizens showing the easiest way to cross into this country illegally.

The Homeland Security secretary says, "It's a bad idea to encourage migrants" -- his word -- "to undertake this highly dangerous and ultimately futile effort. This effort will entice more people to cross," says he.

Tonight, even government of Vicente Fox is distancing himself, believe it or not, from the border map initiative.

Also tonight, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Some members of our nation's liberal elite have apparently become so blinded by their hatred for President Bush and his administration that they're willing to travel to Venezuela, throw their support to any opponent of the United States, even this Venezuelan strongman.

Today, antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan has become the latest friend of Chavez. She is, believe it or not, attending the world socialist forum in Caracas this week, and she says of Chavez, "I admire him for his resolve against my government and its meddling."

Earlier, Harry Belafonte said of Chavez, "No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George Bush, says, millions of American people support your revolution."

Actor Danny Glover, who accompanied Belafonte, couldn't resist putting his two cents in. Glover saying of the U.S., "One of the main purveyors of violence in this world has been this country. We must stand vigilant against Bush in these times."

And still ahead here, a conflict of interest. It's not just a Capitol Hill problem anymore. A special report on this nation's growing culture of corruption.

And Labor Secretary Elaine Cho. For her, Detroit's demise is all about a skills gap. For others, she's an emblem of a skills gap.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Ford this week announced its shutting down 14 North America plants, laying off as many as 30,000 more of its workers. But Labor Secretary Elaine Chao doesn't seem bothered about it all.

Secretary Chao is now in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum, where she said there are plenty of jobs for laid-off Ford workers to move into. The Labor secretary says the only thing U.S. workers are suffering from is "a skills gap."

Secretary Chao said, "While these jobs may be going away, there are new jobs that are being created. And therefore, the retraining and training of new workers coming into the workforce is of paramount importance."

You know, I've heard all of this talk about a so-called skills gap in this country, principally from Labor Secretary Chao, the Bush administration, and corporate CEOs. But in point of fact, this country has the most highly skilled workforce on earth. And U.S. manufacturers who complain of a skills gap in nearly every instance are simply using code words for an opportunity to look for cheap labor, to cut wages and benefits, to outsource jobs, and to hire more of that cheap foreign labor.

That brings us to our poll question tonight.

Who do you believe is demonstrating the greatest skills gap, American labor or the Labor secretary? Cast your vote at We'll have the results later here in the broadcast.

Taking a look now at some of your thoughts.

Joe in Atlanta, Georgia, said, "Lou, it makes no sense to me to wiretap Americans without a warrant and at the same refuse to secure our borders. Hell, terrorists don't need to phone into this country. They can just walk in."

And Linda in fort Pierce, Florida, "Don't you think that an armed standoff with Mexican military at the very least demands our president activate the National Guard to arm our borders? I do." And Jeff in Richmond, Virginia, "Lou, I believe the printing of maps showing the illegal immigrants how to safely arrive in our country is a great idea. I would suggest printing maps to the president's ranch in Texas so they can become guest workers and assist in clearing brush."

And Nancy Lindsay in Silver Springs, Maryland, "Won't these maps put out by these insane people really help the Americans know where to look for the illegals?

Now, that's a very good point.

And Tony in Minnesota, "Lou, our friends south of the border need a new president. And each night I pray, lord, please, please, can't we give them ours?"

We love hearing your thoughts. Send them to us, please, at

Still ahead here, don't blame the American autoworker for the destruction of the American automobile industry.

Tonight, we'll show you how so-called free trade with China and Japan is a big lie. It amounts to an all-out assault on our middle class workers. We'll have that special report.

And Senator Byron Dorgan will be our guest. He says America's trade failures are destroying this nation's superpower status. He's our guest next.

And the U.S. culture of corruption, how this country's most successful professionals are violating their professional ethics often at your expense.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Coming right up, Senator Byron Dorgan joins me to talk about our nation's so-called free trade agreements that have decimated the American automobile industry.

But first, let's take a look at the hour's top news stories.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is challenging a new report that the U.S. Army is stretched to the breaking point. The report commissioned by the Pentagon says this country does not have enough troops to fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Secretary Rumsfeld says, "The force is not broken."

In northern Florida tonight, a deadly head-on crash between a school bus, a semi truck. Earlier reports saying seven people were killed in the accident. Three other people are said to be in critical condition. The accident took place west of Jacksonville.

And former president Gerald Ford was released from the hospital in southern California. He entered the hospital a week and a half ago suffering from pneumonia.

Turning now to what has been a devastating week for America's working class after Ford Motor said it plans to cut as many as 30,000 jobs. The once proud American autoworkers and automakers, Ford and GM, are finding themselves in a struggle to simply survive.

Part of that struggle is certainly the fault of bad management. And part of it the result of trade policies that have simply failed the American people.

Bill Tucker has the story.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): General Motors was once the reigning king of automakers. It owned better than 40 percent of the American auto market in 1980. Today, it doesn't even have 26 percent of the domestic market. And its cutting 30,000 jobs from its 142,000 U.S. payroll.

Ford has lost market share as well. Chrysler, once American- owned, is today owned by German carmaker DaimlerChrysler.

Even as Ford and GM lost ground, Japanese automakers doubled their share of the U.S. market. Toyota expected to be the number one car maker in the world by the end of this year.

The United States has failed to protect its auto industry graining free, unfettered access by foreign automakers to our market. In fact, insisting that the Japanese build assembly plants here. A good idea horribly executed.

DAVE ZOIA, WARD'S AUTOMOTIVE: What happened was, it allowed the Japanese to actually increase what they were selling here. They started focusing on bigger vehicles that really hit the big three where their -- right in their wheel house.

TUCKER: The Japanese now have nine assembly plants in America. American automakers have none in Japan. And those implants are fueling a massive explosion in auto parts imports, up nearly 84 percent from 1997 to 2004. Engine imports rose 75 percent. Transmissions soared 169 percent.

PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Washington hasn't been willing to play hardball with Beijing, Tokyo, or Seoul to the advantage the American automobile worker. And the American automobile worker has had a box with Asian autoworkers with one arm tied behind their backs. It really hasn't been a level playing field.


TUCKER: And the playing field is still not level. Next year, China will begin importing the Geely, with a 2.5 percent tariff. American autos exported to China face a much higher tariff, Lou, 25 percent. DOBBS: And we should be clear, it's not simply the American automobile industry that these idiots who are supporting the big lie of free trade. It is without question, four administrations that have been involved.

It is the fact that we are willing in this country to turn over the wealth of the world's richest consumer market without any reciprocity or any mutuality. And fools talk about protectionism when what sense and reason would require is simply mutuality, real free trade.

TUCKER: We have done this to ourselves.

DOBBS: Absolutely in every case. Bill Tucker, thank you.

My next guest has been an outspoken critic of U.S. trade policies, and the outsourcing of American jobs. Senator Byron Dorgan says our trade negotiators have failed us and our workers and this country miserably. He also says this country's status as a superpower will simply disappear if this government does not change its course on trade.

Senator Byron Dorgan joins us tonight from Capitol Hill. Senator, good to have you here. Let's begin.


DOBBS: Let's begin with Ford, the carmakers. Ford eliminating 30,000 jobs. Ford, GM market share dramatically lower. To what extent can that be placed at ridiculously incompetent management and unfair trade policies?

DORGAN: Well, there's probably some of each but let me just talk about the trade policy for a moment. And let me just say that our trade strategy is unbelievably ignorant. It refuses to stand up for our country's interest and refuses to stand up for the interest of American workers.

You mentioned that the Chinese are going to start sending over cars called Geely and the cars called Chery probably next year. You know, our negotiators negotiated an agreement with China, with whom we have a huge deficit. They said, by the way, when you ship Chinese cars over here, we'll charge a 2.5 percent tariff and when we ship American cars to be sold in China, you can charge a tariff 10 times higher than that.

That is unbelievable to me. And with respect to Korea, for example, Lou, you know, Korea shipped us in the last year 700,000 cars. Do you know how many American cars we were able to sell in Korea? Thirty-nine hundred. And you know why? Korea won't allow foreign cars in. They don't want foreign cars. Ninety-nine percent of the cars driven ...

DOBBS: Well, wait a minute, I'm confused, Senator. Wait a minute. We've -- this administration, the Clinton administration before, it was telling this is free trade. And you're shocking me. DORGAN: Yes, this is not free trade at all. This is giving away the store and not standing up or caring about the working people in this country. We're tearing this country apart by decimating the middle class, good jobs that pay well with benefits. Those are the jobs that were described the other night as being gone, 30,000 with Ford, 30,000 GM.

DOBBS: Senator, you tell me this, if you would. How is it that this big lie of free trade when it is nothing more than turning over the richest, the wealth and all that's been accomplished in this country over the past 100 years in terms of a work force, highly skilled, all of the environmental protection that we've built, all of the safety standards -- I mean, what in the world, how can our U.S. Senate, our U.S. House of Representatives, and a White House tolerate this kind of lying?

Because that's it. It's not spin. It's not posturing. It's not couching. We're being lied to and millions of Americans and their families are paying a painful, painful, lasting price.

DORGAN: Well, I agree with you. I mean, this is about the corporate agenda in America. Big corporations, more powerful than ever. They want to access cheap labor overseas, they want to sell the product back in this country, run their earnings through the Cayman Islands to stop paying taxes. And who are the victims here?

The victims are the American workers, number one, and our economy, number two, because we're selling part of America every day. Two billion dollars a day we're importing more than we're exporting. So $2 billion a day, every day of the year, we're selling part of America. It's unbelievable to me.

DOBBS: It's unbelievable. And at the same time, these same U.S. multinationals, their businesses associations -- whether it's the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, a host of others lobbying Congress, the Senate and the House -- are sitting there writing legislation.

And neither party -- neither party can stand up and say, we're not going to be simply the tools, the lackeys of corporate America. Why can't we find that kind of integrity in our representatives who should be representing the people?

DORGAN: Well, I mean, it is the corporate strategy but we've got some politicians that are like lap dogs here. Let me tell you something, we not only say to corporations, ship your jobs overseas. We say we will give you a tax break if you do it. And I've tried to shut that tax break down here in the United States Senate. I lose the votes. I can't -- I can't win the vote to shut down a tax break that now exists to ship American jobs overseas.

DOBBS: All right. Let me ask you this, Senator. You've taken strong positions on free trade. What in the world is it going to take? What can a man and a woman watching you on this broadcast, what can any of us do to turn this country around before it is simply too late? DORGAN: Well, you know, I still have some hope. I'm angry about all of this but I still have some hope. This is the country with the power of one. One person on one day casting one vote, the people can take this country back and also change public policy on trade and stand up for American workers and stand up for the American economy once again. It takes political action, Lou.

DOBBS: Senator Byron Dorgan, we thank you for being here.

DORGAN: Thank you.

DOBBS: Just ahead, conflict of interest. It's not just a Capitol Hill corruption problem. Our special report tonight on this nation's growing culture of corruption. Stay with us for that.

And he's running for governor of Colorado with a commitment to secure our borders and end illegal immigration. I'll be talking with Congressman Bob Beauprez here next.

And God and politics, the church and its controversial position on illegal immigration policy. I'll be joined by Reverend Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches, representing about 40 million churchgoers. He says our immigration policies should be based on friendship and they're opposing tough border security legislation. We'll find out why here next.


DOBBS: "The Journal of the American Medical Association" has just published an alarming new article about conflicts of interest in our medical community. The article saying the drug industry has such a powerful hold on our doctors that patient health care is actually at risk.

It's another example of how conflicts of interest are ingrained in virtually every segment of our society today. It's not just Capitol Hill.

Christine Romans has the story.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From your doctor's office to your lawmaker, to your stock broker, a culture of conflict, corruption, and influence that may be dangerous to your health.

David Rothman writes in "The Journal of the American Medical Association," "the cozy relationship between doctors and drug companies hurts patient care."

DAVID ROTHMAN, COLUMBIA UNIV. MEDICAL CENTER: Let a drug company or a device company give a gift to a doctor, and that doctor consciously or not is going to want to reciprocate. The data is pretty clear that doctor will reciprocate. ROMANS: Putting a business relationship ahead of the patient's. He wants to ban all dinners, gifts and classes given by drug companies that are promoting their products. After all, the nation's doctors, brokers, and legislators don't really need Super Bowl tickets, a free lunch or a trip on a corporate jet.

KIRK HANSON, ETHICS PROF., SANTA CLARA UNIV.: It's a very strange kind of entitlement culture that we've created amongst some of the elites in this country. Because I work so hard, because I am a member of the elite, I'm somehow entitled to a set of gifts, entitled to a certain standard of living.

ROMANS: But the widespread notion among many is that they are not influenced by gifts and cash and perks.

PROF. THOMAS DONALDSON, THE WHARTON SCHOOL: It is always somebody else's problems. We've done a number of studies on this. And, you know, if you ask me if I'm influenced by a gift, not me. But you, you could be influenced by a gift.

ROMANS: But gifts no matter how small buy access, and that is priceless. Amid the current lobbying scandal, more oversight or enforcement is not among the party's reform.

And in medicine, ethic's guidelines are voluntary and not enforced. Sanctions against doctors are rare.


ROMANS: The American Medical Association has guidelines against conflicts but says drug industry contacts are helpful for doctors. The authors of the critical article in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" though disagree. They're gravely concerned that doctors are being influenced, and they doubt that doctors will give up their perks.

As for Wall Street euphoria this week, Lou, because new ethics rules don't look like they are going to preclude anybody from giving or receiving Super Bowl tickets and hard to get sports events.

DOBBS: Yes, and, you know, at the same time, all of the focus on the part of Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill determined to clean up that corrupt cesspool on Capitol Hill, they're going to have those dinners taken away.

For crying out loud, no one thinks they are going to be influenced by a dinner. How about doing something about letting the lobbyist write the legislation?

ROMANS: Oh, yes. Absolutely. But it's that the dinner that opens the door for the relationship between the lobbyist and the lawmaker, and then the friendship grows. And then it's OK to write the legislation.

DOBBS: Friendship between lobbyists and lawmakers.

ROMANS: That's a funny kind of friendship.

DOBBS: It's sort of icky to think about.

ROMANS: They are friends who want something. Don't ever forget it, whether it is medicine, Wall Street or Capitol Hill. These friends want something.

DOBBS: You bet. And I want something too. I want to run them all out of town.

Christine Romans, thank you.

My next guest has been a dairy farmer, a banker. He's currently a member of Congress who hopes to be next governor of the state of Colorado. Congressman Bob Beauprez says his top priority is to secure our ports and our borders. He has strong backing from fellow Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Congressman Beauprez, good to have you with us.

Let's start with the issue of illegal immigration. I don't know where to start. I mean first of all, it shouldn't even be an issue. What are you going to do about it?

REP. BOB BEAUPREZ (R), COLORADO: Well, Lou, you know, you have been running some stories today that absolutely highlight how serious this problem is. And then Congress has been grappling with it for a long, long time. It's high-time we get our arms around it.

Look, we have always been a nation of immigrants, and immigration has defined who America is, but so, too, Lou, has rule of law. And if the United States of America, of all places on this planet, sends the message that no longer does the rule of law matter here, we have lost the essence of who we are.

DOBBS: Well, let me ask you something. Your colleague Congressman Tom Tancredo has been declared persona non grata at the White House, basically an enemy of the Republican Party by none other than Karl Rove, denied access to the White House. I mean, you're throwing your career away here aren't you in the Republican Party?

BEAUPREZ: Well, I don't think so. I certainly don't think so. I think what I'm talking is common sense. And to Tom's credit for a long, long time he's been the voice out there in the wilderness trying to highlight what I think everybody understands now is a very serious issue.

There's a great deal that Congress and the federal government should do. But let me say, too, Lou, that there is a great deal of states and governors should and must do. And frankly, my observation is that governors have been, until very recently, largely silent on this issue.

DOBBS: You supported CAFTA. You know, I don't think much of those so-called free trade agreements because they're basically killing the working man and women, our middle class in this country. Why in the world are you supporting CAFTA or did you?

BEAUPREZ: Well, no agreement. No piece of legislation's necessarily perfect, Lou. And not all trade agreements are equal.

Here's what I saw in this agreement that I think is very different. It did reduce a billion dollars of tariff on American goods. I think that's a good thing. But more than that, you remember, I remember 20, 25 years ago the state of affairs in central America. It was the...

DOBBS: Congressman, I'm sorry. We're out of time, partner. I take it that you're saying that CAFTA's going to solve all of those problems and that free trade, and so all these governments going to the left in South America, what's that all about?

BEAUPREZ: Well, what we've got is infant democracies beginning to take root. This is Ronald Reagan's vision coming true.

DOBBS: Congressman Beauprez, we thank you for being here. We'll be talking more in the weeks and months ahead.

BEAUPREZ: Thank you.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao today said American workers suffer from what she called a skills gap. Our question tonight is very simple, who do you believe demonstrated the greater skills gap, American labor or the labor secretary? Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up tonight.

Also, at the top the hour here, a very important broadcast, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with my friend, Wolf Blitzer--Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.

Just ahead, he was strapped to the gurney, thought he was going die but he was saved at the very last minute from the death penalty. We're live in Florida where a man's life has been spared at least for now. We'll find out why the United States Supreme Court stepped in.

And should the Bible be part of public school classes? Jack Cafferty has some answers on that. You are going to want to stick around and watch his segment. We call it "The Cafferty File."

And from millionaire to jailbird. Why one of America's most famous reality TV show contestants is now living behind bars. We're going to speak about that with the commissioner of the IRS. Mark Everson joins us live--Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Wolf.

Last night here, we told you about what we believe is a very worthy cause, an important cause, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Don Imus acquainted me with the fund and its work. It's building a brand new state of the world rehabilitation center in San Antonio, Texas, to help our most severely wounded men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They promised our military's men and women that this facility will be open in January of next year. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund needs to raise eight million dollars over the next six weeks in order to meet and fulfill that promise.

The Web site for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is or you can link to it through if you find that easier. And if you prefer you can call them directly. The number is 1-800-340-hero. As always, I would never ask you to support a cause that I don't myself. And I assure you I support it.

Just ahead, another look at e-mails, including your continued outrage at the government's failure to secure our borders and to make any sense on a host of areas.

And God and politics, Reverend Bob Edgar joins me. He is the head of the National Council of Churches representing just about 40 million churchgoers in this country. He's our guest. We will be talking about immigration policy and religion. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, we continue our look at the debate over God and politics. The role churches and religious organizations are playing in politics and in case our border security emergency and our illegal immigration cries. Joining me now, Reverend Bob Edgar, General Secretary the National Council of Churches. His organization made up of some hundred thousand congregations of roughly 45 million worshipers and you've taken a position against tough border security legislation.

REV. BOB EDGAR, GEN. SEC. NAT'L COUNCIL OF CHURCHES: Well, Lou, we have taken a position for a comprehensive immigration law. We think that it ought to be fair. It ought to be bipartisan and we think that Congress of the United States has to address the issues of our borders, but do it in a compassionate way. We take that from our biblical commitment to care.

DOBBS: Let me ask you, what's not compassionate about building a 2000 mile long fence and stopping illegal immigration altogether and securing our borders against the crossing of terrorists at our border.

EDGAR: Two things, one it will not stop all the illegal immigrants that want to get into the country, and secondly, we already have examples along the De Galles where we have put up a fence. It simply forced them to go around, forcing more people out into the desert. And more people are dying because of that ...

DOBBS: Dying because of the fence or dying because of the conditions in Mexico, which the churches, the Catholic Church primarily has not seen fit to deal with, the corruption, the incompetence of the Mexican government in serving their own people, which is a greater cost?

EDGAR: Well, we think that the church ought to be compassionate on the Mexican side and on the U.S. side. We don't think that people ought to come across the border illegally. But if they do come across illegally, we need to be compassionate.

I went to the border country between De Galles and Tucson and I saw all of the efforts being made to save lives. More than 400 people died in the last year.

DOBBS: My hearts go out to them.

EDGAR: Dying in the desert.

DOBBS: And I think the Mexican government should be held directly responsible for failing those people and putting those lives in jeopardy, don't you?

Don't you think there should be an accounting by Vicente Fox and the corrupt fools in that government who will not take care of their own people.

EDGAR: I'm surprised that George Bush hasn't spent more time with Vicente Fox.

DOBBS: You're scaring me to death. Because Vicente Fox has been running him like a dog.

EDGAR: I think that the president has really overlooked an opportunity to talk about putting fair and equitable policies on the border. We think that the McCain-Kennedy Bill is a bipartisan effort. We think the Congress ought to be challenged to do this on a bipartisan way.

DOBBS: What about the Cornyn-Kyl legislation? Border security first, so that you can actually control whatever reforms you would make on immigration. I'm as interested as you are in humane solutions and reasonable solutions. What would be wrong with that?

EDGAR: Well, there's nothing wrong with that to be put into the mix. Maybe 400 bills that are dealing with immigration issues. What we need is a government, not a government of just one political party. But a government that listens to the compassionate voices of the religious community as well as a government that works in a bipartisan way to be able to address this very complicated issue.

It's not as simple as just simply one piece of legislation.

DOBBS: It is not as simple as that, as you correctly state. But the thing that makes it more complicated is the role of the church in all of this -- the Catholic Church, your organization, the Jewish committee, a broad number of groups.

Why isn't there concern -- why is it, if I may, concern for the security? The well-being of 300 million Americans who have about four percent of the goods being inspected at our ports. Our borders are wide open. Why would that not be your priority?

EDGAR: Well, it is a priority. But also as a faith community, Catholic, Jews, Protestants, care for the least of these of our brothers and sisters.

We have a sister organization, Church World Service, that provides help for Haitians and Cubans and other who flee their country and come to this country and we need to build some bridges and some healing and Church World Service and the National Council of Churches is committed. I believe in the separation of church and state but not the separation of people of faith and institutions of government.

DOBBS: And you have lived that serving in Congress. And I want to ask if I may, Dr. Bob, that you come back here and we'll talk some more.

EDGAR: Look forward to it.

DOBBS: Appreciate you being here. Still ahead, the results of our poll. We'll have some more of your thoughts on our illegal immigration crises, our border security crisis, including one viewer who argues for open borders as something of a misnomer. Should we change the language? Stay with us.


DOBBS: The results of our poll: 92 percent of you responding that the labor secretary demonstrating the greater skill's gap. Only eight percent saying American labor.

Taking a look now at more of your thoughts.

Paul Craig in Dubuque, Iowa. "I applaud the local law enforcement officers in Texan who encountered the drug traffickers at the Rio Grande River. At least there are a few people that are starting to do something about a major American problem, Let's build that fence along the Mexican border."

And John in Colorado Springs. "Lou, I have the solution to the Southern border immigration problem. We don't need a wall. We need a moat filled with small U.S. Coast Guard boats. This way we can treat the Mexican immigrants exactly the same way the U.S. government treats the Cuban immigrants. They send them back. A totally consistent policy?"

Bill in Montreal, Canada. "Lou, could you please drop the broken borders, plural, mantra, when we all know it's a broken border, singular."

We're going to think about that. Unfortunately, both borders are porous and we're going to think about it for at least a couple days. It's a good point, though. We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at

Each of you whose e-mail is read here, receives a copy of my book "Exporting America." Sign up for our email newsletter at

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow when our guests will include the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, on the widening fraud scandal at the United Nations. Allegations that the ambassador calls very disturbing.

We'll also be talking to three leading authorities on the rising geopolitical and military threat from China. We hope you'll be with us for that and a great deal more.

For all of us here, thanks for being with us. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer.