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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Gunmen In Police Uniforms Kidnap Up To 100 Iraqis; Poll Shows Large Majority Of Voters Want democrats To Have More Influence Than President Bush; Farmers Branch, Texas Passed Measures Aimed At Cracking Down On Illegal Immigration; Fraud Ring Arranging Sham Marriages Broken Up; Senate Democrats Today Unveiled New Leadership Team; Sherrod Brown Interview; Recount Continues in Florida's Jennings/Buchanan Race
Aired November 14, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, leaders of the auto industry tell President Bush what we've been saying on this broadcast for some time: it's time to fix our faith-based so-called free trade policies.
We'll have that special report.
And the newly elected senator from the state of Ohio, Sherrod Brown, joins us.
And will Congress give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who have crossed our borders? La Raza's Janet Murguia, Team America's Bay Buchanan join us for a debate and discussion on the issue.
All of that and a great deal more, straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Tuesday, November 14th.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
Iraq tonight appears to be plunging even deeper into anarchy and chaos as the United States struggles to come up with a new strategy. Dozens of gunmen dressed in Iraqi police uniforms today kidnapped as many as 100 government employees in Baghdad. Reports in the last few minutes say most of these kidnapped victims have now been released.
The abductions raise new questions about the loyalty of the Iraqi security police and the ability of the Iraqi government to control its security forces. The kidnappings also indicate that the U.S. strategy to stop sectarian violence in Baghdad has failed.
Michael Ware reports from Baghdad on today's mass abduction in the Iraqi capital.
Jamie McIntyre tonight reporting from the Pentagon on the U.S. military's struggle to stop the Iraqi police service from breaking apart.
And Bill Schneider reports from here in New York on voter demands that the new Congress live up to its promises on Iraq and a host of other issues.
We turn first to Michael Ware -- Michael.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, in the hours that have followed this stunning kidnap operation conducted under the very noses of the tens of thousands of American and Iraqi troops in the capital, Baghdad, a number of Iraqi police commanders responsible for this part of the city are now being interrogated. And perhaps, some might say, for good reason.
WARE (voice-over): Iraqi security forces move into to seal off a Baghdad university building, but like so much in Iraq, it's too little too late. Just a short time earlier, about 80 gunmen in similar army or police uniforms had also set up a cordon before pouring inside this four-story research institute claiming to be on official business, segregating men from women, and within 20 minutes, escaping in a convoy of more than 20 vehicles, taking the men hostage. The exact number unknown.
Police saying as many as 60. A government minister saying it's up to 100. The only ones left behind, the distraught women.
This sophisticated raid executed at 10:00 a.m., just after rush hour, was audacious. So many gunmen, so many hostages, possibly the largest mass kidnapping of the war. All within the heart of the capital, with more than 60,000 American and Iraqi troops on the streets.
The breathtaking scale of the kidnapping a counterpoint to the previous day's visit by America's top commander in the region, General John Abizaid. Preparing to brief Congress, the general's quick trip was designed to show U.S. support through Iraq's ailing government. And according to Iraqi officials, to press for rehabilitation of the country's security forces.
Need for that rehabilitation illustrated by the next morning's kidnappings. A clear sign of either the government's inability to control its own forces or its weakness in the face of an unwavering and robust insurgency, that in the first 13 days of November has already claimed the lives of more than 30 American servicemen.
Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.
DOBBS: And over just the last few minutes, the Iraqi Interior Ministry has confirmed that most of those kidnapped victims have now been released. The ministry also saying that none of the victims have been killed, none tortured. Officials did not say who was responsible for those abductions.
Insurgents today launched a series of bomb attacks in Baghdad. At least 14 people were killed in those attacks, dozens of other Iraqis wounded. Police found the bodies as well of 40 Iraqis throughout the Iraqi capital today, all apparently the victim of sectarian murder.
Meanwhile, our troops killed 11 insurgents in the city of Ramadi and Al Anbar province. There are no reports of any American casualties.
The Iraqi police service tonight appears to be deeply divided. Many officers seem loyal to radical Islamist terrorist groups rather than the Iraqi government. And this is a huge setback for U.S. strategy. Earlier this year, American military commanders said 2006 is the year of the police.
Jamie McIntyre joins us now from the Pentagon.
Jamie, has the United States and the Iraqi government simply lost control of those police forces?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this latest incident today in which it appeared that people in Iraqi police uniforms were responsible for this mass kidnapping just underscores the problem that they're having. It's not clear exactly who was responsible, but the suspicion is that these were Shia militia operating within the Iraqi police force. And the fact that all or perhaps most of the victims have now been released doesn't mean that there might still be some people held who are of the Sunni minority.
This is just another indication that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi president, has not been able to disarm the militias, not been able to end the infiltration of the Iraqi police from Shia groups. And it's that kind of a divide within the security forces that is undermining any attempt to end the fighting between Sunni and Shia factions in Iraq today.
And it's one of the biggest problems now facing the new Iraqi government, and by connection, the U.S. military, as they attempt to find a solution, a way ahead here in the months ahead -- Lou.
DOBBS: Michael Ware reporting from Baghdad that two Iraqi police commanders are being interrogated, held for questioning. This is very similar, resonant of what U.S. military commanders have been saying about the Iraqi military. And that is, that there is no national impulse to its organization, but rather it is both sectarian and ethnic, rather than national. That seems to be the case, at least in these most recent events in Baghdad.
MCINTYRE: Well, you know, there's a -- there's a problem with the Iraqi military having divided loyalty, sometimes local loyalties over a national loyalty. But within the police, which are run by the Interior Ministry, it's even a deeper problem of infiltration by these militias. And it shows that Nouri al-Maliki is either unwilling or perhaps realistically unable to move against those militias, given the power he has now. And with that being the case, that is just a prescription for continued civil unrest, perhaps a low-level civil war that could erupt into a high-level civil war.
DOBBS: I don't know that we could call what is happening in Iraq right now a low-level civil war with almost unbridled sectarian violence, Jamie.
MCINTYRE: Well, as bad as it is, there are many experts say it could be a lot worse, with large groups moving against each other, forming up into areas that have heavy weapons. That kind of thing. Right now we're still seeing the kind of civil war in which the factions are fighting with the weapons of terror.
DOBBS: And at this point, no strategic solution from the U.S. military or the U.S. government, and certainly not from the Iraqi government.
Jamie McIntyre, thank you.
Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon tonight.
As Iraq moves closer to what could be an all-out civil war, Iran is becoming even more defiant in its nuclear confrontation with the United States and the rest of the world. The Iranian president today said Iran will talk to the United States, but only under certain conditions and only if Washington, as Ahmadinejad put it, corrects its behavior.
The White House said Iran, not the United States, is the one to adjust its behavior. The White House declared the Iranian president must suspend Iran's nuclear program, play a constructive role in the Middle East, and stop meddling in Iraq. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad said that Iran is nearing a full nuclear capability.
A new opinion poll says voters expect the Democrats to deliver on their promises in the campaign and election on Iraq and other issues. The "USA Today"-Gallup poll shows a large majority of voters want the Democrats to have more influence in this country than the president himself.
Bill Schneider reports.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In other countries, it would be called a vote of no confidence in the government. At least one Republican heard the message.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That we Republicans who have lost our way, that we came to Washington to change government and government changed us.
SCHNEIDER: A "USA Today"-Gallup poll taken after the election shows President Bush's job approval at just 33 percent, 62 percent disapprove, no confidence. But does the public have confidence in the Democrats? Apparently they do.
By nearly two to one, the public says they want the Democrats in Congress to have more influence over the direction of the country than President Bush. Voters expect Democrats to deliver. But can they?
On the one hand... SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: We have nine new Democrats in the Senate. And so we're excited.
SCHNEIDER: On the other hand...
REID: When you have a majority of one you shouldn't be gloating.
SCHNEIDER: Mr. Bush is still president.
BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND SENATOR-ELECT: Marylanders were concerned about a change in Washington and they wanted someone who stood up to President Bush and was willing to challenge his leadership.
SCHNEIDER: House Democrats intend to do that on the minimum wage, embryonic stem cell research, prescription drug prices, and homeland security. President Bush may veto some of those measures. Democrats don't have the numbers to override a veto without Republican support.
Despite President Bush's dire warnings, people don't think congressional Democrats will do anything to weaken national security. President Bush also warned...
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Democrats are going to raise your taxes. No, I know they don't want you to know it.
SCHNEIDER: Guess what? People know it, but they voted for the Democrats anyway. Which means they must really want change.
(on camera): In the "USA Today"-Gallup poll, the number of people who call themselves Republicans is sharply down. But the number of Democrats hardly changed. More people are calling themselves Independents. They're waiting to see what the Democrats deliver.
Bill Schneider, CNN, New York.
DOBBS: Straight ahead here, a bitter leadership battle among Senate Republicans after their election defeat. A surprise candidate could win the contest.
We'll have that report.
Also tonight, a new example of one community doing what the federal government refuses to do, to tackle both illegal immigration and border security.
And the Vatican blasting plans to build a fence along part of our southern border. Another attempt by organized religion to enter politics, influence our national debate. And by the way, they did so from behind a wall.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: America's small towns, and cities alike, are once again being forced to take the lead in protecting this nation from illegal immigration. A Texas town telling landlords don't rent to illegal aliens, and a county worker putting a stop to an illegal marriage immigration scam.
Bill Tucker tonight reports on efforts in Farmers Branch, Texas, to stop the financial burden created by illegal immigration in that community.
Louise Schiavone reports on a green card marriage scheme in Arlington, Virginia. Thousands of people involved in this scam uncovered by an alert county clerk.
We begin tonight with Bill Tucker -- Bill.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the city of Farmers Branch, Texas, passed a series of measures aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. The measures passed unanimously but not quietly.
TUCKER (voice-over): Hundreds showed up. The city council chamber of Farmers Branch, Texas, packed Monday night. While it was orderly inside, passions were loud outside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rule of law! Rule of law!
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: USA! USA!
TUCKER: And tempers ran hot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a lot of people here today fighting for justice and fighting against hatred. Hatred...
GERALD COLGROVE, ORDINANCE OPPONENT: I have no objection to them being here. I just want them to follow the law and to do what's right, and that's become legal citizens.
TUCKER: Despite the promises of an expensive court challenge, the City Council of Farmers Branch approved three separate actions unanimously.
The city signed an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to train its police and immigration enforcement. English is now the official language of the city. And as of January 12th, landlords will face fines up to $500 if they rent to illegal aliens.
TIM O'HARE, DEPUTY MAYOR: And this ordinance will benefit every single person that lives in this city now or may live in this city in the future, regardless of race, color, creed or national origin, so long as they are here in this country legally.
TUCKER: Advocates for illegal aliens quickly promised a legal fight.
DOMINGO GARCIA, LULAC: This is un-American, un-Christian, un- Texan, and we're going to fight it and we're going to go to the courts, and we're going to win.
TUCKER: About two dozen cities nationally have drafted similar ordinances.
TUCKER: And all of those cities say they have adopted or are considering adopting their ordinances reluctantly. They say they've been pushed to do so, Lou, because the federal government has failed to enforce immigration law and pushed the burden, the social cost, like schools and healthcare, on to them.
DOBBS: On to the taxpayer, while the illegal employers of those folks continue to get the benefits, not paying their fair share of taxes. Not investing in their communities. And leaving the burden squarely, as you say, on those communities.
It's outrageous. And the fact there's not more outrage in this country than there already is -- and there's plenty. But, I mean, it's indescribable to -- the situation in which a federal government refuses to enforce laws passed in this country. It's just pure ignorance.
Bill Tucker, thank you.
New victims in Mexico's out-of-control drug wars tonight. The bodies of six policemen were found in a remote part of southwestern Mexico. Those police officers were ambushed.
It is part of an escalating drug war. Drug gangs fighting for control of the drug trade into the United States. Mexico, by the way, the leading source of major drugs into the United States.
And that violence, of course, moving north to our border. Just last month, a gun battle between Mexican troops and troops of the drug cartels broke out on the streets of Nuevo Laredo again, just across the Rio Grande, from Laredo, Texas.
A senior Vatican official today condemned the building of a fence on our border with Mexico as an inhuman program. Cardinal Renato Martino (ph) made his comments following Pope Benedict's message calling for nations to help immigrants integrate.
Also at the Vatican, a group of bishops from the Americas condemned that fence plan as unlikely to resolve immigration issues between the United States and Mexico. Apparently, though, the Vatican has a little problem with hypocrisy and a certain sense of irony. Those statements flowing from the Vatican, which, of course, is protected by its own wall. The Vatican's wall was built to keep intruders out of the city to protect the pope. Parts of the wall were built as far back as the ninth century, but the bulk of that wall was completed in the last century.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe, as the Vatican asserts in its statement from within its walled city, that building a fence on the U.S. border with Mexico is inhuman? Yes or no?
Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the votes here later in the broadcast and move them off to the Vatican as quickly as possible.
A fraud ring that arranged sham marriages for illegal aliens just outside our nation's capital has been broken up. Illegal aliens from the West African nation of Ghana could be on their way to jail or back to Africa following the breakup of that ring thanks to the vigilance of a single county worker.
Louise Schiavone reports. .
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Romance seems to be in constant bloom at this courthouse in northern Virginia. Five thousand marriage licenses emerge from this one office every year. So the clerks know what newlyweds act like. And a steady stream of couples involving West African males and women from Washington, D.C., didn't fit the mold.
DAVID BELL, CLERK OF THE COURT, ARLINGTON COUNTY: My marriage license clerk noticed that they showed little signs of affection toward one another.
SCHIAVONE: For circuit court clerk David Bell and his deputies that was a big tip-off.
BELL: It became obvious to all of us that some sort of fraud was being involved here.
SCHIAVONE: Several couples would often appear at the same time, usually with the same escort. Ultimately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities pressed charges of marriage and immigration fraud against 22 people, including suspects accused of making thousands of dollars arranging phony marriages and the illegal aliens involved in them.
It's just one of several hundred federal investigations of marriage fraud currently under way across the nation, Says ICE spokesman Dean Boyd, "It an extremely lucrative business for the ringleaders. And they generally don't know or care who they're helping. The beneficiaries of these fraud schemes could be illegal aliens, criminals, or even terrorists." STEVEN CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: Getting a marriage visa is attractive to terrorists because it allows you to stay in the United States permanently, your application is expedited, you can more quickly become a citizen down the road. You can work at any job, travel to and from the United States.
SCHIAVONE: The state of Virginia is especially attractive because there are no blood tests and no waiting period.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, federal authorities are focusing on the big operators who can make tens of thousands of dollars on a single arrangement, from setup to phony love letters, to paperwork to housing. But even they acknowledge plenty of sham marriages, perhaps most of them, continue to fall through the legal cracks -- Lou.
DOBBS: Louise, thank you.
Louise Schiavone from Washington tonight.
Seven-year-old Saul Arellano, a pawn in the battle over illegal immigration, appeared before Mexico's Congress today. Arellano's mother, an illegal alien, has taken refuge in a Chicago church in an effort to avoid her deportation from the United States over the past three months. She has been deported before.
The boy is an American citizen. And immigration advocates and the boy's mother apparently see no problem in using her 7-year-old son as an outright political pawn.
Mexican lawmakers responded to the boy's entreaties, today passing a resolution asking the United States not to deport his mother.
Up next here, the critical problem of illegal immigration. We'll hear two views on whether the administration and the new Congress will take effective steps to seal our broken borders and to end our illegal immigration crisis.
And healthcare costs and trade issues on the agenda as the leaders of a failing U.S. auto industry meet with the president of the United States.
We'll have that report.
And the new Congress is in town. They're beginning to set an agenda. We'll be talking with the new junior senator from the state of Ohio. Democrat Sherrod Brown will be talking about his take on jobs for middle class Americans, the war in Iraq, and what the future holds for a new way of doing business on Capitol Hill.
Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Senate Democrats today unveiled their new leadership team a week after their election victory. Senator Harry Reid will once again be the Democrat's leader. Senate Republicans are also debating their leadership.
Dana Bash reports from Capitol Hill.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT voice-over): Meet the leadership of the Senate's new Democratic majority. All smiles after being elected to their posts with no challenges and no surprises.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), DEMOCRATIC LEADER: We must do everything we can to move the country forward.
BASH: But there could be a surprise inside the Senate's Republican ranks. Four years after his own GOP colleagues forced him out as majority leader, Trent Lott is plotting a comeback, running to become the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.
In 2002, Lott was pushed aside for comments seen as racially insensitive praising the late Strom Thurmond, a former segregationist.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of him and if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all of these problems over all these years either.
BASH: Lott's fate was sealed by the president.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country.
BASH: Since then, Lott has toiled with the rank and file, looking out for his home state of Mississippi and lobbying an occasional bomb like here at GOP supporters of campaign finance reform.
LOTT: Some of it is outrageous. I mean, now we're going to say you can't have a meal for more than 20 bucks? Where are you going, McDonald's?
BASH: Now Lott wants back in the Republican leadership working the phones inside his office, making the case that he can help redirect a party that's lost its way.
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: We need the experience Senator Lott brings to the United States Senate.
BASH: Supporters like Senator Richard Burr say what's past is past. The new GOP minority needs someone like Lott who knows how to outmaneuver Democrats.
BURR: While having been the former leader of the Senate, having been in the majority, the minority, I think he has a perspective on how the Senate needs to operate.
BASH: Lott's spokeswoman says he is closing in on victory, but he's up against Tennessee's Lamar Alexander who has been working it for months and insists he's going to win.
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: I think our Republican Party, after the drumming we took, needs first, unified leadership. And second, we need some new faces and some fresh thinking and I hope that's what I offer the caucus.
BASH: Alexander says he would make Pennsylvania Avenue a two-way street, meaning he would try to stand up more to the president.
Lou, there was a time when tough talk like that and rough relations with the Bush White House, like in the case of Trent Lott, would have been a disqualifier in a Republican leadership race, but now it's considered a plus -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, Dana, there has to be some considerable feeling there in the Senate that Trent Lott then, by that definition, would be the ideal leader because he has a lot of payback to offer the White House after the president effectively harpooned him.
BASH: You know, I've been talking to several Republican senators as I bump into them in the hall. Obviously an unscientific poll, as we say, but I have not talked to one who has said that they don't think that Trent Lott is a good -- a good candidate. Not just for that reason, but primarily they really think that they need somebody who gets it, who knows the Senate floor, who knows how to maneuver it. And that's why they think he's the man.
But it's going to be a secret ballot. It's going to happen tomorrow. We'll see what happens.
DOBBS: Well, on this broadcast we're fans, as you know, of unscientific polls. Thank you very much.
DOBBS: Appreciate it.
Time now for some of your thoughts.
John in Minnesota, "The elections are over, so the government doesn't have to work again until next election. They did all the lying to get voted in, now it's resting time until next election."
"Lou, I do hope our new congressional leaders aren't stupid enough to believe that the vote for change was a vote for amnesty for illegal aliens."
Phyllis in Texas, "Regarding the Farmers Branch stance on illegal aliens, I think they have a commonsense approach to controlling the influx of illegals into their town. English should not only be the language of Farmers Branch but of the United States. And it's high time we voted to make it the national language."
Adam in North Carolina, "I find it refreshing that towns like Farmers Branch, Texas, are making English their primary language. If we as Americans were in another country, I would think that country would want us to adapt to their language. Let's get down to basics. The law is the law. Don't hire illegal aliens, and if you do as an employer, be prepared for the consequences."
Terry in Indiana: "Lou, good for Farmers Branch, Texas. I hope the council there is ready for a fight. Not from the illegals, but from our spineless Congress."
Send us your thoughts to LouDobbs.com. More of your thoughts coming up here later. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my new book, "War on the Middle Class."
Up next, the leaders of the nation's ailing auto makers tell the president the Asian onslaught is one of the reasons they're having to cut thousands of good-paying jobs. We'll have that story.
And we'll hear from Senator-elect Sherrod Brown, who says international trade agreements have decimated manufacturing in his home state of Ohio. We'll be talking about trade and a lot of other issues.
Also ahead, two guests who have different views on the chances of the new Democratic Congress next year doing anything about illegal immigration and border security.
And one person in this freshman class photo doesn't belong there. We'll tell you who. Stay with us for all of that and a great deal more, straight ahead.
DOBBS: Detroit went to Washington today, the auto industry meeting with the president. Those auto industry leaders worried about their health care costs and so-called free trade policies embraced by the man they were talking with. Christine Romans reports.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A White House photo op after an hour-long meeting with the big three. Executives say they found the president sympathetic to the plight of American car makers.
ALAN MULALLY, CEO, FORD: We talked about the importance of the auto industry in the United States, the jobs that it creates, our competitiveness around the world.
ROMANS: Fact is, the American auto makers are not creating jobs. A quarter of a million auto factory jobs have disappeared since 2000. Enough jobs lost in Michigan alone to fill Tiger Stadium two and a half times. A demise execs blame on everything from high health care costs to high steel prices to unfair competition from Japan.
Yet critics say above all, foreign competitors are building better cars that customers want. The big three business model, one expert says, is to cut costs, hope they get lucky and their competitors don't.
GARY CHAISON, CLARK UNIVERSITY: They're finding out in a very painful way that cutting costs is not a business plan. That you can't sell cars because you have fewer plants making them.
ROMANS: University of Maryland professor Peter Morici says auto makers can't blame Japan for their problems, while they are outsourcing as fast as they can to China.
PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: The big three don't work for the American worker. They only work for themselves. General Motors and Ford are quickly outsourcing factories to China to take advantage of Chinese subsidies, Chinese protection, China's undervalued currency. They really speak out of two sides of their mouth.
ROMANS: No mention before the cameras of decades of mismanagement, no mention of failed restructurings, massive job cuts, and desperate attempts to unload pension obligations.
From the president, a familiar message to our trading partners.
BUSH: Treat us the way we treat you. Our markets are open for your products, and we expect your markets to be open for ours, including our automobiles.
ROMANS: But no promises.
ROMANS: Critics say a White House summit on this now is a little late, after years of one-sided trade policies, short-sighted management and generous union contracts negotiated by executives looking only quarter to quarter all along the way.
DOBBS: And looking out for themselves. Detroit may be -- the big three, as they are called, even with the new ownership of Chrysler -- of Daimler -- I mean, they may be the greatest concentration of some of the most short-sighted, incompetent executives in one town in the country's history. It's ridiculous. And sitting there talking with a man who's done nothing but facilitate these faith-based economic policies like so-called free trade -- I mean, this is the height of absurdity.
Christine Romans, thank you very much, although it does aggravate me to the bone.
The president will be heading off to the Vietnam discussions tonight. He's going there without Congress, however, having granted that country most favored trade status. The House of Representatives failed to pass that measure last night, and it's not certain when that measure will be taken up again.
Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch says quote -- "This was a great week for America's middle class. Even with the old Congress voting in lame duck session, President Bush even lost what was supposed to be an easy vote on a Vietnam trade deal when 60-some GOP joined Democrats to vote no."
Joining me now, a newly elected senator who's made opposition to so-called free trade policies an important part of his political platform -- I can say platform -- Congressman Sherrod Brown, soon to become Senator Brown of Ohio in this new Congress. He's the author of the book, "The Myths of Free Trade."
Mr. Congressman, Mr. Senator-elect, it is good to see you.
SEN.-ELECT SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Thanks. Great to be back. Thank you for always speaking out. When you went to Kansas City back in October, all that you were doing all over the country, thank you.
DOBBS: Well, congratulations to you. And it's remarkable, the number of candidates who took up the issue of trade, the destruction of our manufacturing base, the outsourcing of jobs, as you have been focusing on for some time.
BROWN: Well, all over the country, this new class of 10 freshmen, nine Democrats, one Republican, almost all of us talked about trade policy and how it's failed the middle class. And it's sort of the last people to seem to know, to understand this have been some of the journalists covering it -- you excepted, of course -- and the White House and the auto makers that were visiting the White House today. As you pointed out, they just still don't seem to get why this trade policy isn't working and why the American people are upset with it.
DOBBS: And that's dumbfounding, because, as you know, the idea that 30 consecutive years of trade deficits run by this country would somehow elude the attention and the interest of our public policy makers and our elected officials is utterly mind-boggling.
BROWN: We had -- when I ran for Congress 14 years ago, we had a trade deficit in this country of $38 billion, $38 billion. This year, it will exceed $800 billion, perhaps $250 billion up close to that number with China alone. And the solution of a lot of our policy makers is let's do more of the same, and maybe it will have a different outcome. I mean, it just is an incredible response from too many people in Washington.
DOBBS: This new Congress, let's talk about at least what -- there's enough to focus on on this old Congress. But let's move ahead to this new Congress. Do you believe that fast track authority will again be granted to the president of the United States?
BROWN: No, I'm certain if the president brings fast track, which pretty much says give all the power to the executive branch and there can be no amendments, so the executive branch, the president, the U.S. trade representative negotiates trade agreements, and Congress votes up or down, and they never have labor and environmental standards -- they are never fair trade, they're free trade policies. And Congress isn't going to stand for that this time.
It wasn't just the new members elected. As you saw from the Vietnam vote last night, it was a bunch of members of both parties that listened to the election results and decided, you know, I think the public kind of isn't for these agreements.
DOBBS: And the public is awakening, it seems to me. You'll have a better sense of that certainly in the state of Ohio. I know you went out into some of those rural counties and you talked straight as you could with those folks who have been traditionally, let's say red voters -- I hate the terminology -- Republican voters. Your message got through.
BROWN: Yes, it's a message about the middle class, as this show is all about all the time. It's a message about fair trade and, you know, in small towns and big cities -- I grew up in a town of 50,000, Mansfield, Ohio, 60 miles north of Columbus. It's a town that's lost a huge amount of manufacturing.
So this whole trade issue, it's Republicans and Democrats alike that agree, and it's small town and non-union people as union workers. They're not just union workers. They're people who work with their hands and communities that are getting devastated by these trade agreements, as you know, Lou.
DOBBS: I can't remember who it was, somebody attacking me for wanting more jobs in this country, in the national media, saying that I was concerned about union jobs. And, yes, I do think there should be some countervailing influence to corporate America's overwhelming economic power. But I'm concerned about any job in this country for working men and women. Do you feel the same way?
BROWN: Yes, and as I said, in small towns, in big cities, and it's Republican and Democratic workers and it's exactly right. It's union workers, it's non-union workers. The small town -- small town Ohio and places like Gallipolis, and Marietta and Jackson, places that have 500 workers non-union, they're getting squeezed and hurt by these trade agreements just as much.
DOBBS: Let's get quickly to the tough issue, I think, for a lot of Democrats. That's illegal immigration. Do you think that this new Congress -- unless this old one puts it through, do you think the new Congress will be receptive to the idea of amnesty that the president has been calling for before securing our borders and our ports?
BROWN: Well, I'm encouraged that the new Congress is going to work bipartisanly with the president on a lot of issues. And I don't know that I agree with you in terms of calling that amnesty.
DOBBS: Well, that's why I brought it up.
BROWN: Yes, but I think that this Congress -- I mean, I do think that this Congress, with -- I've met with a lot of Republican senators in the last few days, and they understand that we both have to be bipartisan, whether it's minimum wage, whether it's trade agreements, whether it's immigration.
DOBBS: You guys scare me when you get bipartisan because...
BROWN: Well, but I think -- I understand that. But I do think we've got to deliver for the American people.
DOBBS: When you guys agree on too much, I get really, really nervous.
BROWN: No, I can understand that.
DOBBS: How about this, are you ready to secure the borders and the ports?
BROWN: Oh, absolutely. Part of immigration is we secure the borders first, and we need to enforce employer sanctions...
DOBBS: It's part of border security and it's part of the war on terror and it's part of the war on drugs. I think we can get a lot of -- that's what I call comprehensive, Senator-Elect.
BROWN: And it's -- yes, I do too. I think it's border security. I think it's employer -- enforcing labor laws against employers and it's fixing the North American Free Trade Agreement that has made more people try to get into the United States as a result of what NAFTA has done, as you've pointed out on your show so many times.
DOBBS: Congressman Sherrod Brown, Senator-Elect Sherrod Brown, good to have you here.
BROWN: Thank you very much.
DOBBS: Still ahead, the new Democratic Congress may offer the president his best chance ever to advance his amnesty agenda, and I'll be joined by two people with very different views on the issue.
And more than 50 House freshmen decorating the steps of Capitol Hill. But come January, one of them won't be there. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight, as we reported earlier, small towns across the country are taking a stand, fighting illegal immigration on their own because the federal government has simply abandoned its responsibility, failing to enforce our immigration laws, failing, for that matter, to secure our borders.
Joining me now to discuss the issue, Janet Murguia. She's the president and the chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza. Janet, good to have you with us.
JANET MURGUIA, PRESIDENT, LA RAZA: Thank you. DOBBS: And in Washington, D.C., Bay Buchanan, chairman of Team America Political Action Committee, fighting against illegal immigration, trying to fight for border security. And it's good to have you with us as well, Bay.
BAY BUCHANAN, CHAIR, TEAM AMERICA PAC: Thanks very much, Lou. It's always a pleasure.
DOBBS: Let me start with the very -- the Farmers Branch, Texas issue. There, the city council following much of the Hazleton ordinance saying, we've had it, we don't want people renting to illegal aliens, this nonsense has got to end. LULAC principally fighting there against that ordinance. Why is there this resistance to the idea that illegal aliens should not have the rights of citizenship?
MURGUIA: Well, I think what you're seeing in these localities is a frustration with the lack of a comprehensive solution to this. And I think that's what's happening and we can't solve this problem locality by locality. Everyone is frustrated.
DOBBS: When do you think the idiots in Washington, D.C. will figure that out?
MURGUIA: I think there is a renewed interest in coming together now and making sure that we can find a consensus on solving this problem.
DOBBS: Bay Buchanan.
BUCHANAN: There is a consensus across the country, Lou. It's quite clear why those townships are taking action, also, some states taking tough action and that's because they have had it. The people in those districts have said, look, Washington's doing nothing. It's up to you all to do something. They've taken some tough action.
The key here is Washington has failed the people of this country. They know it. They want their borders secured. They want their laws enforced. It's a simple thing. It's the constitutional responsibility of the people here in this town and they have failed Washington. And I believe that's the principal reason -- one of the principal reasons -- why you saw so many people frustrated and angry on Election Day.
DOBBS: Well, I'm frustrated and I'm a little angry about something, and that's the Vatican holding forth on U.S. policy. I've about had a bellyful of bishops, cardinals and the Vatican telling the United States what it can or cannot or should or should not do, and I don't care what religion it is.
But let me just tell you, the fact the Vatican called a fence along that border an inhuman program, I'm going to ask you both to react because I know you have got some strong feelings on religion and illegal immigration and border security.
The fact that this Vatican has the temerity to say that, while not saying a word about the corrupt and incompetent government of Mexico that impoverishes 50 percent of its people and putting that fence on its agenda rather than the impoverishment and the abuse of the Mexican people to me is disgusting. Your response?
MURGUIA: Well, I think the Vatican has weighed in historically on a lot of social justice issues, and I think they are looking at this issue of immigration from a sense of human rights.
DOBBS: Why in the world aren't they looking at the poverty of 50 million people?
MURGUIA: From human rights. They're looking at it from a human rights standpoint, as they have done for many years. And the Catholic...
DOBBS: What about the human rights of 50 million Mexicans who have impoverished by a corrupt government?
MURGUIA: Well, but we're talking about the issue as it affects the United States here today as well.
DOBBS: Those people are being shipped by the Mexican government to the United States.
MURGUIA: Obviously, but in terms of weighing in on a solution, they're saying a fence won't work, a fence is the wrong message, but we want to make...
DOBBS: Well, thank you very much, Vatican, we really appreciate your thoughts -- Bay.
BUCHANAN: Yes, it's not the business of the Vatican unless, of course, they want to send some of that precious art of theirs over here to help pay for that 10 percent of the Mexicans that we are now taking care of, and the next 10 percent that they want us to take care of.
That fence is there -- should be there because it's in the interest of Americans, and that is what the job of our government is, to take care of this country, its problems, its concerns. And this America is very clear; they want that border secure or you wouldn't have seen Hillary Clinton voting for a fence.
MURGUIA: Can I just -- you know, I think the elections really reflected a repudiation of the fact that the messages were sent around immigration that were demonizing immigrants...
DOBBS: It was demonizing immigrants -- wait.
MURGUIA: ...that were tending to look at this issue in a way where it was...
BUCHANAN: That's hogwash.
DOBBS: Wait a second. I can't let you do that. Demonizing immigrants. MURGUIA: Well, look at the candidates who ran on the hard rhetoric against immigrants. It was hard rhetoric that Randy Graf -- you know, on the border. It was...
BUCHANAN: Yes, Janet...
MURGUIA: ...just let me just finish.
MURGUIA: J.D. Hayworth also on the border. You could go to Hostettler in Indiana.
DOBBS: You've got to go all the way to Hostettler, what about Kyl in Arizona?
BUCHANAN: Let's introduce a little honest in the debate.
MURGUIA: Kyl is another example, but his rhetoric was different than I think what we saw with Randy Graf and with J.D. Hayworth. And I would argue that people who want to create a wedge issue around this, who aren't looking for a comprehensive solution are going to have a backlash. We saw that in this election.
BUCHANAN: Janet, we need to introduce a little honesty into this debate, Lou. The key here is Randy Graf, she's mentioned a couple of times. His opponent basically took Randy's position on immigration, ran tough on immigration, she demographically was better positioned because she was a social liberal. And then she took Randy's position.
Then there was four propositions statewide in Arizona, all of them passed, tough on immigration, all passed over 70 percent. The people in Arizona made their voice very, very clear. They want tough immigration, they want a secure border, they want the laws enforced.
DOBBS: Let me ask you both something. Bay is right, the candidate, in this sense, only this sense, it's only the position I'll take a side on, and that is that Randy Graf's opponent effectively adopted a very strong border security position.
But let me say this. Why can't Bay Buchanan, Team America, Janet Murguia, La Raza go to the president of the United States and to the Congress and say, look, we've thought about this and we think all of the rhetoric and all of the nonsense is just getting more than just a little old.
The issues are common to all of us, irrespective of our ethnicity, our race, whatever. It's about America. Why not say, let's first secure that border and secure those ports and within six months of the securing of those borders and ports, we will take up the issue of immigration reform? How about that idea? Could you do it?
MURGUIA: If that means a comprehensive solution, yes.
DOBBS: Comprehensive how? MURGUIA: Because comprehensive includes enforcement, Lou. I think where we're having the disagreement is you're saying enforcement only.
DOBBS: No, I'm not saying enforcement only.
MURGUIA: Yes, you are.
DOBBS: No, no, you know better than that. I have never said that. What I have said is very simply -- now you've said that and I didn't say that, Janet. I've not misconstrued your statements. What I have said is you cannot reform immigration law in this country if you cannot control immigration. And what I have said, you cannot control immigration if you cannot control our borders and our ports.
BUCHANAN: And what's real clear, Lou, is that basically the Congress passed the fence bill and the president signed it. We've got to take a look. Are these guys serious? Are they going to secure our border or not because we can't trust them right now. We want our borders secure, we want our laws enforced. Then once that's done, accomplished, then we can come and talk about something else.
DOBBS: Can you both come together on that basis?
MURGUIA: Look, these elections repudiated the politics of division and fear around this issue. They did. And I think you'll -- you saw a backlash among Hispanic voters. We went from 44 percent supporting Bush...
DOBBS: ... What happened to all those Hispanic voters in Arizona who voted for...
MURGUIA: ... to 27 percent. Look at the national...
DOBBS: I'm looking at the national average.
MURGUIA: ... if you want to see -- if you want to continue down this path.
DOBBS: Are you saying Hispanics focused on only this one issue?
MURGUIA: I'm saying it was a motivator for them, they care about every issue. But we need a comprehensive solution. We have a chance next year to do it.
BUCHANAN: You know, what we want is honesty and we want our government to do their job. First, do the job that they are told to do and that is enforce the laws of the land.
MURGUIA: We're all for honesty, Bay.
DOBBS: We've got a pledge of honesty. Janet, Bay, we've got a pledge of honesty. That's the basis on which we're going to build for the next discussion. Thank you both.
MURGUIA: We need to be about honesty and honesty we can support comprehensive solution.
DOBBS: Janet Murguia.
BUCHANAN: Honesty is the fence. We'll believe it when we see it.
DOBBS: Janet Murguia, Bay Buchanan, thanks you both. We've got that foundation for honesty. That will be the basis of our next discussion. That's where we've got to start, not finish. Thank you both so much.
Coming up next here, both showed up, only one stays. We'll have a report on the still undecided, hotly contested Florida House race. Lots of irony to go around. We'll share it with you next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight we've got it all, a recount in the state of Florida, a tight race, lost electronic votes and no paper trail whatsoever. Doesn't get better than that, does it? Kitty Pilgrim has the story -- Kitty?
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this race was supposedly won by 373 votes, but 18,000 people supposedly voted in Florida and didn't pick a congressional choice. That's according to the electronic machines. Now that's strange. Sometimes people do leave a category blank when they vote, but 18,000 votes? Ten times higher than normal.
The Democrat Christine Jennings wants a recount. And the Republican Vern Buchanan says he won. Now both Buchanan and Jennings showed up on Capitol Hill for the class photo pictures. Somebody here has to go home. The state canvassing commission has to complete their machine recounts by tomorrow. By Saturday 5 p.m., they have submit final tallies. If that's contested, it will go to court. And Lou, the ultimate irony here is 55 percent of the voters voted for an amendment for a paper trail.
DOBBS: We think it was 55 percent. Let's put the capper on this piece of irony. Whose vacated seat is it they're voting for?
PILGRIM: Katherine Harris.
DOBBS: Katherine Harris, secretary of state formerly on the state of Florida. Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.
Still ahead. The results of our poll. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The results of our poll, Vatican get ready, 93 percent of you say building a fence on the U.S. border with Mexico is not inhuman, as a Vatican statement from the walled city insisted. Time now for one last e-mail.
Tony in North Carolina: "I wonder if the Democrats are in a favor of a phased redeployment of illegal aliens?"
Well, one more.
Frank in Florida: "This is America, not Mexico. English is our language. We have laws everyone follows, except for our elected officials. Farmers Branch has got it right, right as rain. Hope others follow their lead."
We thank you for joining us tonight. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my new book "War on the Middle Class." Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
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