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Lou Dobbs Tonight

LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for November 9, 2007, CNN

Aired November 09, 2007 -   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.
Tonight opposition to Governor Eliot Spitzer's outrageous proposal to give away New York drivers' licenses to illegal aliens is intensifying. Many lawmakers in Congress are simply furious with Prince Eliot's refusal to accept the will of the people. We'll have a special report.

Also, the housing crisis is worsening for middle-class families already reeling from soaring mortgage costs. Some families who have lost their homes now victims of greedy loan collectors and financial institutions. We'll have that report.

And the Bush administration, now trumpeting what it claims is progress in the war on drugs. But some members of Congress and local law enforcement say those claims are motivated by politics. Imagine that?

And I'll be joined by three of the country's best and brightest political analysts and strategists. They'll tell us whether President Bush is the worst president ever, or whether this Congress really deserves its standing in the polls, that is, the lowest in history -- all of that, all the day's news and much more, straight ahead, here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Friday, November 9. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. The military regime in Pakistan today, intensifying a crackdown against political opponents of Musharraf, defying U.S. demands for an end to military rule. Opposition leaders saying the military has now arrested as many as 5,000 opponents, police and troops stopping anti-government protesters from holding a huge rally. Police also preventing opposition leader Benazir Bhutto from attending that rally; in fact, surrounding her house with razor wire and concrete barriers.

Dan Rivers has our report on the opposition protesters who confronted riot police.



DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They vowed to confront the authorities and confront them they did. Stones held at police lines, tear gas fired back. Although these clashes in Rawalpindi look fierce, it appeared there were far fewer supporters of Benazir Bhutto than expected, a few hundred at most. Not the tens of thousands hoped for by the former prime minister.

It's unclear if her supporters were intimidated or she couldn't muster the support she wished for. We watched as one Pakistan people's party supporter approached the police. They talked for a while. The crowd kept well back behind police barricades. Then, this -- the man chalked Benazir Bhutto's name and is suddenly set upon, officers showing little restraint as they march him away.

(on camera): The security forces are very well prepared here. This is a line of riot police stopping people getting into the center of Rawalpindi. You can see down there barricades have been put up and beyond there are a crowd. There have been clashes here earlier on. At the moment things are calm, but the authorities have a very tight grip on the city.

(voice-over): These scenes will be a bitter blow to Benazir Bhutto and her supporters. This was supposed to be the day Benazir supporters brought General Musharraf to his knees. In the end it is the Army and the general who remain firmly in control of this country.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Rawalpindi.


DOBBS: Defense Secretary Robert Gates today said he is concerned that the unrest in Pakistan could undermine the war against radical Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan. Some former Bush administration officials are also saying they're concerned about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, among those officials, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.


JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.S. AMB. TO UNITED NATIONS: It is important people understand this is not a choice between democracy and Benazir Bhutto on one side and martial law and Pervez Musharraf on the other. This is a choice right now between secure command and control over Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal on the one hand and chaos on the other. If we have chaos, we could have a radical Islamist regime in charge of those weapons.


DOBBS: Pakistan is believed to have at least 50 nuclear warheads, some estimates much higher, to more than 100 warheads.

The Bush administration tonight failing to convince President Musharraf to restore democracy quickly in his country, if it is, indeed, described accurately as democracy. Musharraf apparently saying he can crack down on his opponents and still receive billions of dollars in anti-terrorism aid from the United States.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from near the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Suzanne? SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the Bush administration is being very, very cautious about what it says publicly, because the concern here is it doesn't want to appear too close to Benazir Bhutto or President Pervez Musharraf. The fear is that if either one of these leaders appears too cozy or too aligned with the Bush administration, it could ultimately hurt their credibility.

Both of these leaders perhaps even on opposite sides need to have the support of the Pakistani people. They need to stand with them, because the ultimate goal here is for some sort of power-sharing arrangement between these two leaders backed by the Bush administration, but certainly not too close to the administration.


GORDON JOHNDROE, DEP. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: We, therefore, to continue to call for an early end to the state of emergency and the release of political party members and peaceful protesters who have been detained. We also continue to call on all sides to refrain from any violence and to work together to put Pakistan back on the path to democracy.


MALVEAUX: So, Lou, it's very notable in the statement that they did not mention Pervez Musharraf by name nor Benazir Bhutto and when you listen carefully, they say an early end to the state of emergency. They don't say an immediate end right now. What they're trying to do is essentially give Pervez Musharraf a little bit of breathing space to back up a little. President Bush talked with him two days ago. They feel they got what they could in this kind of this commitment at least, what he says is a commitment to these February elections, but they fear if they push him too hard, too fast that this whole thing is going to fall apart. Lou?

DOBBS: Well, Dan Rivers reporting from Rawalpindi that in point of fact Musharraf has exactly what he wants and Benazir Bhutto is under house arrest and that the people of Pakistan, as they are described, are not expecting a democratic conclusion to this episode. Why is the administration, lacking as it does any leverage whatsoever, or influence in Pakistan, interfering in what could -- I think accurately be called a domestic and internal political question?

MALVEAUX: Lou, quietly what the Bush administration is doing is reaching out to those in Benazir Bhutto's camp. They are also reaching out to Pervez Musharraf's camp. How they are going to do this or how adequate they are going to be in actually getting these two sides together remains a question. It is really their only hope here is to try to get these two leaders together. They've invested the political capital in doing so. But it certainly is an open question whether or not that is going to happen. Lou?

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Suzanne. Suzanne Malveaux with the president at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. President Bush's new attorney general, Judge Michael Mukasey, sworn in -- sworn in, in Washington today. The Senate voted to confirm Judge Mukasey last night, a vote of 53-40, the lowest number of yes votes for an attorney general in more than half a century. Many Democrats remained opposed to the judge because he refused to say that a harsh interrogation technique called waterboarding is torture.

Some House Democrats tonight questioning their leadership's new strategy to challenge the president's conduct of the war in Iraq again. The Democratic Party's leadership wants to restrict funds now available for the war, a familiar strategy, a worn strategy and one that has been completely and singular unsuccessful as the Democratic leadership again tries to position itself to force a withdrawal of most American troops by December of 2008. Anti-war Democrats want an immediate withdrawal of American troops. Other Democrats, however, say their leadership's proposal goes too far because it suggests Democrats do not support our troops or perhaps it makes such a suggestion.

In Iraq, insurgents killing another of our troops; a soldier killed by a roadside bomb. Thirteen of our troops, one Defense Department civilian killed in Iraq this month; 3,858 of our troops killed since the war began; 28,451 troops wounded; 12,770 of them seriously.

Coming up here next -- rising outrage in Congress over Governor Eliot Spitzer's outrageous proposal to give away drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. Bill Tucker will have our report. Bill?

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, from Albany to Washington, D.C., the issue and the opposition is growing. I'll have more, coming up -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Bill.

And new doubts about the Bush administration's strategy against drug trafficking and White House claims of success in the so-called war on drugs. We'll have that report.

And Democratic members of Congress breaking promises to end pork barrel spending. They're breaking those promises for both parties. We'll have the story and a lot more. Stay with us.


DOBBS: I've been the strongest critic of New York's Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to give drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. In fact, the strongest critic of the governor himself. Members of Congress today voicing their opposition to the governor's outrageous plan to give those drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. But the Democratic leadership in the House may prevent any debate on that issue from taking place. It seems there's a lot of nervousness about declaring clearly positions on the issue of illegal immigration in the Democratic Party. Bill Tucker has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TUCKER (voice-over): New York Governor Eliot Spitzer illegal aliens and drivers' licenses it has gone far beyond New York State. There is already one resolution on the floor of the House of Representatives condemning the governor's plan to allow illegal aliens to obtain drivers' licenses. A similar resolution is about to be introduced in the Senate, a bill to make it illegal to give illegal aliens licenses will be introduced in the House next week. Amazing how a popular issue could move politicians.

REP. PETE KING (R), NEW YORK: When you see 75, 80 percent of the American people being against these drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, it emerged on the national scene and it was a realization by members of Congress that there was a real federal...

TUCKER: James (ph) bill to be introduced next week would amend real I.D. and prohibit states from issuing drivers' licenses of any kind to illegal aliens. Another Republican in the House has introduced a resolution with 51 co-sponsors, three of whom are Democrats, saying it is bad policy.

REP. TOM LATHAM (R), IOWA: We're very hopeful that on both sides of the aisle will push leadership to be able to bring this vote to the floor, bring the resolution up, so that we can have a good debate if nothing else and see where the chips fall.

TUCKER: Don't hold your breath.

DAVID WASSERMAN, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: I don't think that a debate on the floor of the House is going to see the light of day if Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and other members of the Democratic leadership have their way.

TUCKER: Because, he says, they don't want to alienate special interest groups that usually favor the party. The hint that front- runner Senator Clinton took over her non-support support of Governor Spitzer on the issue has the party leadership believing in don't ask and certainly don't tell. It's not a view necessarily shared by the Democratic rank and file.


TUCKER: In the Senate, Republicans Norm Coleman and Judd Gregg will introduce a resolution condemning states granting licenses to illegal aliens, but so far, no Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors over in the Senate, Lou.

DOBBS: Well that's absolutely consonant with what's going in presidential politics as well.

TUCKER: Right.

DOBBS: All of the Democrats supporting, running for president, supporting comprehensive immigration reform or amnesty. We're going to see, and I think it's entirely appropriate, that illegal immigration and border security is moving to the forefront, of issues that will be debated by these candidates for their party's nomination and a clear declaration.

We have to build a consensus and that's the way in which it's done in this democracy. Assuming we can still call this a democracy, even though the will of the people is more ignored than respected by these elected officials. Thank you very much, Bill Tucker.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports giving drivers' licenses to illegal aliens? Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later.

Bush administration officials are now claiming progress in the war on drugs. Those officials say there's less cocaine and methamphetamines available in American cities. But some law enforcement officers question that claim. And some members of Congress question the White House's political motives. Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the streets of 37 U.S. cities, the price of cocaine is up an average of 44 percent in the first nine months of this year according to the DEA. Methamphetamine prices have risen 73 percent. During a visit to Bogota (ph) this week, U.S. drug enforcement officials announced cocaine and meth supplies are down because of cooperation from the governments of Mexico and Colombia.

KAREN TANDY, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMIN.: This stems from an unprecedented, historic alliance of our three countries at this table.

JUAN MANUUEL SANTOS, COLOMBIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The good news is that the numbers that have been given here of the substantial rise in the price of cocaine in different North American cities and the diminishing of the purity was the piece of news that we were waiting for, for a very long time.

WIAN: In September, Colombian police arrested 147 suspected members of a paramilitary drug-smuggling operation. They were alleged working for a captured drug lord who is awaiting extradition to the United States. And last week Mexico seized a record 26 tons of cocaine stashed aboard a ship arriving from Colombia. The previous record was an 11-ton shipment discovered earlier in the month. But narcotics officers in Houston, a major transit point for drugs and one of the cities cited by the DEA, says they've seen no shortage. And one congressman is far from convinced.

REP. JOHN CULBERSON (R), TEXAS: This DEA report in my opinion is not about decreasing the supply of drugs. This DEA report is an attempt by the White House to justify giving billions of dollars in our hard-earned tax dollars to Mexico, which I'm convinced the corrupt Mexican government will promptly steal.

WIAN: The White House is pursuing a $1.4 billion aid package to help Mexico battle drug cartels. The Office of National Drug Control Policy stands by its report and denies playing politics. SCOTT BURNS, OFFICE OF NATL DRUG CONTROL POLICY: Drug use is down in the United States, 25 percent since 2001. Marijuana use among young people, cocaine use, methamphetamine use, all down, and it is because of unprecedented cooperation with Mexico. So, to say that this has something to do with something else on a day when we should celebrate good news is unfortunate.


WIAN: White House drug czar John Walters says the cocaine and methamphetamine supply report quote, "is not yet victory, but it is a sign that we are on the right track and that we must continue." Lou?

DOBBS: Well any progress in the war on drugs is welcome news. Mexico remains the principal source of methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and heroin. What are the border patrol -- what is DEA saying about that trafficking across from Mexico? Do we have independent corroboration of what we're being -- what is being reported by the government?

WIAN: No, we don't, Lou. In fact, the local law enforcement folks that we've spoken to and that other media have spoken to say they have not seen any significant decrease in the supply of drugs and the drugs in border cities like Houston, El Paso, remain -- remains very strong, drugs are still easy to get on the streets. So, they're questioning the DEA's report.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Casey Wian reporting from Los Angeles.

Let's take a look now at some of your thoughts.

Adrienne in New York said, "Lou, I've been a registered Democrat for 44 years, but thanks to my New York senator, Hillary Clinton, and her abysmal voting record for illegals instead of representing legal Americans, I am now a proud independent since July."

Colby in California said, "Today I got a phone call from the Republican Party asking for donations. I told them that I was a Lou Dobbs independent. Thanks, Lou. It sure felt good." Doesn't it?

And Judy in Colorado, "I have become an independent and would gladly vote for an independent party that is for the people!"

We'll have more of your thoughts here in this broadcast. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my new book, "Independents Day: Awakening the America Spirit".

Up next, mortgage companies hitting homeowners already in jeopardy of losing their homes with outrageous, undisclosed and often illegal fees. We'll have that special report and tell you what your government is doing about it. Let me tell you now what your government is doing about it. Nothing.

And billions of taxpayer dollars for Congress' pet projects. It's business as a usual in Washington. Imagine that. That report and a great deal more coming right up. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The House of Representatives gave overwhelming approval this week to a massive defense-spending bill; the $471 billion legislation includes almost none of the $196 billion the president had requested for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it does include billions of dollars in earmarks, the pet projects, the pork projects of your representatives in Congress. I love reform, don't you? This is a much better Congress. Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tucked in the defense spending conference report are more than 2,000 pet projects. Totaling nearly $5 billion that includes $3 million for a program called First Tee (ph) that would teach kids on military facilities the art of golf.

REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: I did not realize, until I came to the floor, that somehow a 9-iron was a vital part of our national defense apparatus.

SYLVESTER: One GOP aide quipped, only Congress could send money to the wrong green zone. But Representative James Clyburn made no apologies for his earmark.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC), HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: Their children will be -- will have the opportunity to participate in a nationwide character-building program, which happens to use, as one of its core components, the game of golf.

SYLVESTER: Taxpayer money also went to other earmarks in the labor health and human services spending conference report. One million dollars to create a library honoring former Senator Tom Daschle to hold his official papers, $350,000 for an art center in Iowa, and $50,000 for an ice center in Utah. But wait a minute; didn't the Democrats promise to clean up these earmarks when they took over Congress?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: You cannot advance the people's agenda unless you drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C.

SYLVESTER: In a statement Democrats brushed aside criticism that they're not living up to their pledge. Quote, "Democrats have provided transparency, cut down earmarks by almost 50 percent, and required tough disclosure of earmarks, things Republicans could have done when in powerful but willfully ignored or looked the other way." "Taxpayers for Common Sense" says Congress is disclosing more about earmarks, but the number of earmarks is still about the same.

RYAN ALEXANDER, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: As we go through the bill, there are going to be some projects. We found over $1 billion of projects in the defense bill so far that meet the definition of earmark but aren't being labeled as earmark.


SYLVESTER: And two dozen of the earmarks in the defense spending conference report were air dropped in during the conference committee, including Clyburn's golf earmark. That means neither the House nor the Senate had them in their original bills and they were never scrutinized before lawmakers were asked to vote on them. Lou?

DOBBS: Well, thanks goodness for groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Center for Public Integrity, all of these watchdog groups putting effectively the lie to these claims from the Democratic leadership that the earmarks are declining when they are staying the same, but I will say, we've got to give credit for transparency, we can watch how that sausage is being made in Washington, no matter how disturbing a process it is to observe.

SYLVESTER: Yes, Lou, and now we have a front-row seat, too.

DOBBS: All right, thank you very much, Lisa. Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

Next week we're broadcasting live from across the country as part of our "Independents Day" tour. We'll be reporting on the biggest issues facing Americans today. And we'll be examining what political parties are doing about that and what the role in presidential politics is in reaching some sort of national consensus on the issues that well strangely our political candidates, our political parties, our presidential candidate seem to want to avoid. Join us all next week at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. on the West Coast for this broadcast.

Up next, Senator Clinton's stumble on drivers' licenses for illegal aliens and the American public fed up with Washington, the president, the Congress and both political parties. Aren't we all? But we'll be talking about that and a great deal more with our panel of political analysts and strategists.

And tonight, if facing foreclosure weren't tough enough many mortgage companies are hitting those homeowners with undisclosed, outrageous and often illegal charges. We'll have that special report. Stay with us.


DOBBS: As you know, I get more than a little angry about the war on the middle-class in this country. And the number of home foreclosures is now expected to reach two million next year. Tonight, there is growing evidence that some homeowners in this country are in danger of losing their homes because they are being wrongfully charged unnecessary, excessive and sometimes illegal fees by loan collectors, mortgage companies and financial institutions. Christine Romans has our report.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Natalie Caruso is desperately trying to save her house. NATALIE CARUSO, HOMEOWNER: Every month I call up and say, OK, everything's fine now, right? And they say, oh, no you owe us $300 more, $600 more, $400 more. And I said this can't be, something is wrong.

ROMANS: Her loan was sold again and again. She said one loan processor was processing her checks, but not crediting her for insurance payments. Then, slapping her with late fees and fines. She is now in bankruptcy protection, battling HomEq Servicing of Sacramento, California over thousands of dollars of fees. HomEq does not comment on individual cases.

But a recent study suggests Natalie Caruso is part of a growing number of homeowners swamped with fees.

KATHERINE PORTER, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA: Poor mortgage servicing can be the difference between a family being able to climb their way out of trouble and save their house and being tipped over to the brink and surrendering their house in a very painful and expensive foreclosure.

ROMANS: University of Iowa's Katherine Porter studied more than 1,700 bankruptcy cases and found unnecessary and in some cases illegal fees had been added to almost half the loans. Most fees are less than $200, like a $35 charge to send a fax. But in court documents, Porter found fees of $5,000 and $8,000 listed simply as other.

PORTER: One of the most chilling findings in my study was that mortgage servicing is not just a one bad apple story. All of the major mortgage servicers have the same, consistent problems. And there's no way for a consumer to really avoid being trapped in this potential risk for being overcharged.

ROMANS: For now, this mother of three says she and her husband's dream of remodeling their home is on hold.

CARUSO: You just are so upset and you're so nervous about losing it, you're like, I don't want to put my blood in it anymore.

ROMANS: Carrying on with daily life, never far from the pile of paperwork that is their struggle to save their house.


ROMANS: Now that there's less money to be made in writing new mortgages, the money is to be made in servicing existing loans. And when those loans go into default, that's where the real money is. There are fees to send an e-mail, fees for the mortgage servicer to drive by the house each month to see if it's occupied. Fees every time the homeowner wants to know what its balance is. All told, dozens of fees that adds up to thousands of dollars when a homeowner is batting foreclosure and bankruptcy, Lou.

DOBBS: And those foreclosures, homeowners, millions of them losing their homes this year and next, well over two million homeowners. And this administration, we want to point out, wants to send a letter to tell homeowners, whose homes are being foreclosed, that there might be some help.

When you see that woman with that pile of paperwork -- and how many of us really, my gosh, we're inundated with this junk, I mean, and then to look at those fees. What in the world is the Federal Reserve doing? What in the world is -- are these regulators doing with these criminal institutions?

ROMANS: Natalie Caruso has meticulous records. She has all the records here. But how many other people, and she's met them in bankruptcy court, who don't have the same records that she has, who are struggling, fighting against big, big corporations, who are saying, you owe this much money. You owe $60,000 than you thought. There is an office in the Justice Department, Lou, that has started to take a look at this.

DOBBS: Oh, good, the Justice Department is swinging in action! I can't wait.

ROMANS: There is a Justice Department office that is a trustee for the bankruptcy court that has started to step in against some of these companies.

DOBBS: Think about that. It's a trustee for the bankruptcy court. These financial institutions, I talk all of the time about corporate America finding a conscience and we're watching these companies do this to people who are on the verge of bankruptcy, facing tough financial times, taking their homes away.

We have idiots in this government, in this administration primarily, and, of course, on Wall Street, trying to put together $75 billion, $100 billion funds for financial institutions, the elitist pigs, while the people who are suffering are getting no support at all from their government. What in the world -- is there a way for these people to get any kind of help?

ROMANS: According to Katherine Porter right now, even the bankruptcy judges are very, very concerned because the lawyers are bumping up against just a brick wall in court.

DOBBS: Well, I'll tell you what we are going to do in this broadcast. Nancy Pelosi, President Bush, Senator Harry Reid, I have no respect, frankly, for their effectiveness in any of their roles.

But we're going to every day requesting that they begin to focus on a populace response to this. And maybe instead of putting $75 billion to $100 billion in front of those financial institutions, maybe they give that money to those homeowners in foreclosure and nearing foreclosure and we'll try a trickle-up theory in this country for a change. Who owns this company, HomEq, that won't comment on what they have been doing?

ROMANS: Barclays Capital owns it.

DOBBS: Owned by Barclays bank. And we're going to call Barclays bank beginning Monday. And Barclays and every other financial institution and ask them how their CEOs, their boards of directors can continue to sleep at night. I mean, this is disgusting.

ROMANS: We'll keep following it, Lou, I promise.

DOBBS: Great. Thank you very much, Christine.

Coming up next, Senator Clinton, she continues to waffle, to wobble on the issue of illegal immigration, drivers for illegal aliens. Will her waffling damage her ultimate campaign? We'll find out. Bernard Kerik, a former top aide of Rudy Giuliani, facing corruption charges, and that is a problem for Rudy Giuliani.

And a rising number of Americans have had a belly full of Congress and the president. That's a growing number, I believe. Is it time for a new independent political party? Three top political analysts and strategists join me, a Republican and a Democrat and an objective journalist. I'll have some very bad news for the White House, for Congress, most of the presidential candidates, the corporate elites, social ethnocentric special interests and everybody else that is opposed to the common good and the national interests of this country. It's going to be fun. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: I'm joined now by three of the best political analysts and strategists in the country and also my favorite, Ed Rollins, Republican strategist, former White House political director, Michael Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, "New York Daily News." Democratic strategist and Democratic National Committeeman and supporter of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.


DOBBS: Robert Zimmerman, good to have you all. Wait a minute, are you spreading that support around?

ZIMMERMAN: For Senate and for House.

DOBBS: For Senate and House, I thought we had a major story here.

ZIMMERMAN: Major announcement, she's going to run for the Senate again and not for the presidency?

DOBBS: Well let's turn to Senator Clinton. She has taken a very big hit for the waffling, wobbling response. Our own Candy Crowley tried to give the senator all of the time she needed to get a straightforward answer. The result was not pleasant.

ZIMMERMAN: Look, Lou, good evening.

DOBBS: Good evening.

ZIMMERMAN: First of all, she has stated her position. She's going to have to be able to articulate it in the debate. Ultimately her position is not different from any of the other Democrats, except for Chris Dodd. And I think realistically this is not going to be --

DOBBS: On driver's license.

ZIMMERMAN: On the driver's license issue, that's correct.

MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: I'm not sure what her position is. I saw that segment.

DOBBS: I saw trying to be --

ZIMMERMAN: She had a very clear --

GOODWIN: Yes or no? Is she for it?

ZIMMERMAN: I'll give you the answer the way she answered it. I'm not her spokesperson. You know something, in her defense, she's absolutely correct about the fact the federal government has failed to provide any leadership and I think that's a fair comment.

DOBBS: We've heard that speech.

ZIMMERAN: It's more than a speech. It's a real policy and now we're seeing the Congress fortunately advocate declaring driver's licenses illegal.

DOBBS: Absolutely and that is a Democratic initiative that I expect we'll see a vote on that very quickly in the House.

ZIMMERMAN: I think Republicans are going to drag that one out for a long time.

DOBBS: Those darned Republicans. Well, let me ask you, what the heck is going on with Fred Thompson? Is he trying to be president? Is she really running? What's going on?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think Mike Huckabee had the best line, he said yesterday with the screenwriters strike there aren't any good lines for Fred Thompson to be saying anymore.


ROLLINS: It's the campaign that has obviously not met any expectations. No one in modern history has ever stepped into a second-place run, where 20 percent of the electorate wanted to see something out of Fred and unfortunately he's not giving anything to turn them on.

DOBBS: Is this purposeful? Is there an arcane strategy?

ROLLINS: I've known Fred nor a long time and I admire him. I like him. I've just been terribly disappointed and I think a lot of other people, too, about his campaign.

DOBBS: Maybe you can help us out about that Pat Robertson thing endorsing Rudy Giuliani.

ROLLINS: I think that was yesterday's story. I think Bernie Kerik is today's story.

DOBBS: There's one thing we have to agree on. I get to ask the questions. Can we stipulate that? It may be yesterday's story, but it's a fascinating event.

ROLLINS: Here's the story. There are a whole bunch of these religious leaders of the past, going back 20 years, who like -- got to be like business leaders. They liked having their pictures in the White House and what have you. And I think to a certain extent Pat Robertson is in that group. There's another group of young Evangelicals who aren't very satisfied with this establishment and they want to believe in a principle, and I think Pat Robertson --

DOBBS: You're starting to sound so much like Robert Zimmerman. You're scaring me. I think this race is progressing. We're starting to see a partisan escalation here.

ZIMMERMAN: Quite to the contrary. Pat Robertson and Rudy Giuliani prove they have one thing in common, a core belief in absolutely no values at all. This was nothing more than a straight business deal between two political operatives. And in my faith, that's called unprecedented chutzpah.

DOBBS: That's an article of faith? Michael Goodwin.

GOODWIN: I'm not sure what to say.

DOBBS: Since no one wants to talk about any of the damage- control issues from a partisan perspective, let's move to the center. Ed has insisted that I bring up Bernard Kerik, indicted for tax evasion and a few other issues. Does this really stick to Rudy Giuliani?

GOODWIN: Well, people are going to try to make it stick. I don't think it's going to have long-term resonance. It will always be out there, but I think it's been discounted already. There's nothing new. Kerik's reputation, I think, has been in the toilet for a long time. We have a new burst of the news. But I think come January, February, Iowa, New Hampshire, I'm not sure how much it will hurt.

ROLLINS: I disagree, Michael. And part of the problem may be you've covered city hall for so long, by the standards of New York, he's another dirty cop. Unfortunately, he's a dirty cop who happens to be police commissioner. And he's only there not by his competence, but by his loyalty.

And where I think there's a real factor here, as I've said over and over, there's no third term for Bush. And one of the things people didn't like is Bush's cronyism, whether it's his buddy Brownie at FEMA or Gonzales, and this is a perfect example of a guy who got his jobs by being a crony, not a competent cop and now you see a dishonest cop.

ZIMMERMAN: And you see a man who was dishonest on the job, under Giuliani's watch during his administration. This is the time now when the public starts focusing on the candidates and they are being introduced by Rudy Giuliani, the so-called law and order candidate for president, to have one of the top confidants nothing more than a thug and a crook.

GOODWIN: I would just say, Lou, if I could, in the two big events of the week in Giuliani's campaign, the endorsement of Robertson and the Kerik indictment, I think in the Republican primary, the endorsement of Robertson will probably be more of a plus than Kerik will be a negative in the primary.

DOBBS: We're going to be back with our distinguished panel in just one moment. Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: We're back with our panel, but first, Bob Zimmerman, I've got some bad news for your candidate. I've got some bad news for corporate America, the Chamber of Commerce, the business roundtable, all of the socioethnocentric elitists.

ZIMMERMAN: I'm bracing myself, Lou.

DOBBS: The question tonight in our poll was would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens?

Look there, Bob Zimmerman, does that say 97 percent running against Hillary Clinton and all of the Democratic candidates except for Senator Chris Dodd?

ZIMMERMAN: That's what it says. But the question, Lou, is, will that be the defining issue in this election and that's an important question.

DOBBS: OK I think that is an important question. What do you think?

ROLLINS: I think it's going to be a factor. I think there's a total underestimation of the immigration issue. I still think it's out there.

DOBBS: By the way, a recent poll just showing that, a poll this week.

ROLLINS: I think this is going to just grow and grow as time goes on because there's not going to be anything done in the Congress.

DOBBS: Well explaining -- go ahead.

GOODWIN: I think too, what's interesting is that the licenses, the license issue has crystallized a lot of the opposition. It was kind of free floating around. There wasn't this much opposition to the comprehensive bill to it, but this issue, I think that's a good representative, 80 percent in New York, 75 percent nationally, I think.

DOBBS: Seventy-seven percent nationally according to "The Washington Times"/Rasmussen poll, 76 percent in New York.

GOODWIN: You didn't have those numbers for another bill.

ZIMMERMAN: This was long overdue.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

ZIMMERMAN: And one of the most important aspects of what we're facing right now.

DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more.

ZIMMERMAN: Is in fact having a national debate in the presidential campaign.

DOBBS: This is where consensus should be born. It's a national issue, it should be in a national campaign for president.

ZIMMERMAN: When Michael Chertoff, the secretary for homeland defense said even though he doesn't approve of driver's license for illegal immigrants, states have the rights to afford them, that reflect also the hypocrisy, the complete incompetence of our federal policy dealing with them.

DOBBS: That's what I have been saying and documenting on this broadcast and to my colleagues for four years.

ROLLINS: And the good news is Robert's candidate is on both sides of the issue.

GOODWIN: She's going to take a position any day now, any day now.

DOBBS: Taking both sides, you know, I'm an independent populist. I happen to believe deeply and profoundly in our fundamental national values in this country. It's very simple, individual liberty, quality of opportunity, quality of rights, educational opportunity, economic opportunity. Judge Mukasey has just been confirmed in the Democratically-led Senate after two weeks of discussion about whether or not water boarding is torture. Does anyone at this table think that water boarding is not torture?

ZIMMERMAN: I think it's terrible.

ROLLINS: Of course it's torture.

ZIMMERMAN: I think it's torture.

DOBBS: Why should there be a discussion in America about torture and why, if the Democratic Party opposed Judge Mukasey as they oppose the war -- and just remember, it was this week a year ago the Democrats took control of the House and the Senate.

Nothing new but rhetoric on the war in Iraq.

ZIMMERMAN: Quite the contrary. DOBBS: Nothing new on Mukasey.

ZIMMERMAN: Quite to the contrary and when it comes to the war in Iraq and I know these two gentlemen are so worried about flip flopping. And you can look at Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani if you like. But the point here is the only party --

DOBBS: Wait a minute, I think we should stipulate. He's right about that, right?


DOBBS: Both Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have flip-flopped on a number of issues.

ZIMMERMAN: But when it is to the war in Iraq, the only party that has articulated an alternative to the Bush strategy is the Democratic leadership in Congress and the Democratic presidential candidates. The Republicans are running with the Bush mission of staying the course, supporting the surge, which has by every measure not giving the Iraqi government --

ROLLINS: I watched a bunch of debates. I haven't seen any Democrats stand up there in the last two months basically saying, elect me, I'm going to get these troops home tomorrow.

ZIMMERMAN: Every one of them got up there and said, we are going to have a responsible phased redeployment because we can't seriously just pull the troops out in one day.

ROLLINS: Well, what are we talking about? Who says that we're not saying we shouldn't have a response.

ZIMMERMAN: Every one of the Republican candidates who says we're supporting George Bush and that means supporting a war with no end.

DOBBS: Well, I think you're going to get the last word if you speak long enough.

GOODWIN: The last piece of legislation that Nancy Pelosi and the House is pushing now is fascinating, because she basically will fund the war for four months, if Bush agrees to start withdrawing troops.

As part of that, she says there's no end in sight to this nightmare, something to that effect. In fact, all the generals who the Democrats have been citing all along as opposing Bush are saying things are getting a lot better. The statistics would seem to indicate --

ZIMMERMAN: Our military is performing brilliantly. The Iraqi government is not.

GOODWIN: Could I finish? And so I think if we're going to say that we have to listen to the generals and take their advice seriously, the Democrats have to start paying attention to what the generals are saying. DOBBS: And therein lies an interesting, if you will, trap, potentially in this presidential campaign, and that is the progress or the failure in the war in Iraq, which could be pivotal.

GOODWIN: And it could come at the end. And so it could change the election quickly.

DOBBS: It's -- well, one thing after a president and a Congress that have tolerated a war that has now lasted longer than that of World War II without either success or a victory, such a turn is highly unlikely. Hoped for, prayed for, but unlikely.

Gentlemen, thank you very much, as always. Appreciate it. Thank you, Michael. Robert, thank you. You can go back and flip up on this Ed Rollins, fellow.

ROLLINS: I'm bigger.

ZIMMERMAN: He's the Golden Gloves winner, I back off.

DOBBS: No no, he's a five-time winner.

ROLLINS: I'm a battle man. If I win --

DOBBS: All right. Coming up at the top of the hour -- gentlemen, thank you very much.

"OUT IN THE OPEN" with Rick Sanchez. Rick?

RICK SANCHEZ: You've got some tough guys over there, Lou.

DOBBS: You better believe it.

SANCHEZ: Listen, here's what's going on in Los Angeles. This is interesting, right? The police officers have decided that they're going to map the Muslim community from a demographic standpoint. Well there's people in the Muslim community who are outraged about it, and it just seems like all it is a demographic study. But still, they are mad. They are talking about profiling. We're going to be looking into that.

Also, here's a little candy for you. There's a high school principal who was picked up by the police. They stopped him because he was in a very bad area at the time. When he got out of the car -- I want you to know that he was wearing a skirt, leather and high heels. We're going to tell you what's going on with that.

But here's the big story. The big story, Lou -- as you smile at me.

DOBBS: I'm in utter shock, to be honest with you.

SANCHEZ: It's an amazing piece of video, and it's one of those that on Fridays we show to our viewers.

But of course the big one is - this is what you've been talking about. What's going on in the minds of the American people right now? The numbers are back. They are furious with their government. A little more furious with the Republicans than they are with the Democrats. But essentially, they're more furious at both. And it reminds me, remember the Howard Beale thing? Do you remember that? I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Do you remember that?

DOBBS: Yes, I do.

SANCHEZ: It was in the movie "Network."

DOBBS: Yes, it was.

SANCHEZ: I want you in the beginning.

DOBBS: Who was that? William Holden was in that.

SANCHEZ: Who was it?

DOBBS: Finch, Peter Finch.

SANCHEZ: Right, right.

DOBBS: And Faye Dunaway, who I remember dimly.

SANCHEZ: We're going to use that tonight. We're going to use that to make a case study for what's going on in this country right now with truly independent Americans, as you would say. So you got to stick around at the beginning.

DOBBS: Hey, I love that. Independent Americans, independence registering in record numbers. More people identifying themselves as independents than Republicans or Democrats. It's Independence Day, Rick Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: It's a treat! We got this for you! You stay right there.

DOBBS: All right, thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: All right, man.

DOBBS: Appreciate it.

A protest in Mexico did catch our attention. We thought you might want to see it. Dozens of naked Mexican farmers from Veracruz gathering to protest against their foreign government with strategically placed photos with the governor, Dante Delgado with strategically placed photos of the good governor. The farmers say Delgado's government stripped them of their farmland and violated their human rights in 1992 as the call for change in Mexico continues.

A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question is -- would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens? Cast your vote at We'll have the results here in just a few minutes. Just ahead, "Heroes." Tonight, the inspirational story of Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Gadson. His story when we continue. Stay with us.


DOBBS: And now our weekly tribute to the men and women who serve this nation in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan, around the world. Tonight, the remarkable story of Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Gadson. Barbara Starr has his story.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Gadson commanded hundreds of troops in Iraq, but his time in the war zone ended the day he was coming back from a memorial service for some of his soldiers.

LT. COL. GREGORY GADSON, U.S. ARMY: I remember a boom, a muffled boom, but I knew exactly what happened to me. And it was sort of a - I couldn't believe - one of the first things I said to myself is "I can't believe this just happened to us."

STARR: It was an IED.

GADSON: I just said, "God, I don't want to die in this country." And then that's sort of the last thing I remember as I was lying down on the ground.

STARR: Gadson's lower body took the brunt of the explosion.

GADSON: When I arrived here, I had both my legs. My legs were still on and in tact.

STARR: The same legs that helped make him a football star at West Point. He's number 98. But medical complications set in. Gadson told his doctors to amputate. He hoped prosthetics would let him walk again. Some days, Gadson confronts the darkest feelings.

GADSON: To me, the bad days, they're just - it's like you've been swallowed and can't pick yourself up emotionally. I mean it's juts like you've been beat down and you can't your head up. I know - I mean, there was one day I think I cried for about 24 hours.

STARR: He recently visited the New York Giants locker room to talk about what it means to just keep trying.

GADSON: Never fell apart.

STARR: Gadson says he gets inspiration from the younger wounded troops around him and insists he's no hero.

GADSON: I don't feel like a hero. I mean, I feel like I was doing my job. And the real heroes I think are the ones that don't make it back.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


DOBBS: A hero. Thank you, colonel.

Results of our poll tonight. Overwhelming, 97 percent of you responding that you would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Something for all of those presidential candidates to consider.

Time for some of your thoughts.

Jack in Arizona said: "We here in Tucson have given up on IHOP. We're waiting for the construction of Hillary's waffle house."

Ed in New Jersey: "Why not complete this insane fire sale on our nation's security and issue illegal aliens instant U.S. passports, voter registration cards and social security numbers to complement the driver's licenses?"

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at Those of you whose e-mails are read here receives a copy of my new book, "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit."

We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow. For all of us, we thank you for watching. Good night from New York. "OUT IN THE OPEN" with Rick Sanchez begins right now. Rick?