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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Presidential Candidates Hit Campaign Trail After New Hampshire Primary

Aired January 09, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Wolf.
Tonight presidential candidates hitting the campaign trail after the New Hampshire primary. The candidates say they're ready for what will be a long fight, but will any of the candidates, Republican or Democrat, move beyond rhetoric and discuss the serious challenges facing this country? We'll have 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 Wednesday, January 9. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. We begin tonight with news that nine of our troops have been killed in Iraq over the past 48 hours. Six of our soldiers were killed today on an explosion north of Baghdad. Three were killed in a separate attack yesterday northwest of the Iraqi capital. The soldiers were killed as thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops began an offensive against al Qaeda in northern Iraq. Jamie McIntyre has our report from the Pentagon. Jamie?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, in recent weeks the trends in Iraq have looked pretty positive, but today showed that on the battlefield, something that looks peaceful can turn deadly dangerous in the blink of an eye.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): It was a booby trapped house in Iraq's Diyala Province, much like this one bombed by a U.S. F-16 a few days ago, that inflicted a heavy toll on the U.S., then the trap was discovered in time and the house destroyed. But in the latest incident, the U.S. wasn't so lucky. Six soldiers were killed, four wounded. Rigging houses with high explosives is not a new tactic, but it's just part of the deadly arsenal that al Qaeda is using to fight back against the recent successes of the U.S. and its Iraqi citizen allies.

MAJ. GEN. MARK HERTLING, MULTI-NATIONAL DIVISION NORTH: There has been a marked increase in AQI activity in Diyala Province in the form of high profile spectacular events.

MCINTYRE: This latest high profile attack has put the U.S. death toll right back on the fast track. After only 23 Americans were killed in all of last month, already 17 have died this month with more than 20 days to go. But as this video shot from an unmanned predator spy plane seems to show, al Qaeda is using murder and intimidation to target so-called CLCs, concerned local citizens who have been the biggest reason behind a drop in violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you're about to see on the film are three individuals pulling another individual from the trunk of a car in the middle of an open field. And then throwing him into a ditch and assassinating him.

MCINTYRE: The U.S. military hopes the brutality will be al Qaeda's Achilles heel. That it will backfire as it did last year when Iraqis turned against al Qaeda in Anbar Province and other areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That, in fact, is what's generated the concern local citizens in the first place, and it's sort of a reverse counter- intuitive logic. They're trying to intimidate people that join them by killing them. It's causing more people to go against them.


MCINTYRE: Whenever violence flares in Iraq, the U.S. military has the same explanation, they're attacking our success. Military commanders also say that the recent events give some justification for tempering their recent optimism with a healthy dose of caution. Lou?

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you, Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates may send as many as 3,000 of our Marines to Afghanistan as early as April. The United States now has 26,000 troops in Afghanistan, over the past year it was the deadliest for our troops in Afghanistan since the war began more than six years ago. The Pentagon repeatedly asking NATO to provide reinforcements to our troops in order to fight the terrorists, but most NATO nations are refusing to participate in major combat operations.

Rising tensions in the Persian Gulf as well, President Bush today declared there will be quote, "serious consequences if Iran attacks our war ships." President Bush did not elaborate. The president issued the warning at a news conference in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The warning followed a confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz Sunday between three of our warships and five Iranian speedboats. The Iranian boats moved toward our warships and turned away only at the very last moment as those warships prepared to open fire.

Turning now to the presidential campaign, Senator Hillary Clinton is preparing for her next big battle -- this one will come in South Carolina -- after her comeback victory in New Hampshire. Senator Clinton defied many of the experts' predictions that she would lose in New Hampshire and defeated her principal rival Senator Barack Obama. Dan Lothian reports tonight from Columbia, South Carolina, on the Democrats' next contest January 26th.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The leading Democrat candidates locked in a tense battle to win over South Carolina voters. At Hillary Clinton headquarters in Columbia, volunteers are working the phones and blasting neighborhoods with signs.

KELLY ADAMS, S.C. CLINTON CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR: We are ready. New Hampshire, of course, gave us the springboard to take us right into January the 26th.

LOTHIAN: A few blocks away, they are burning up the phones, too, for Senator Barack Obama, working to get out their message of change to anyone who will listen.

RICK WADE, SR. ADVISER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: People are just fired up. They're ready to make this state the next win.

LOTHIAN: And part of the winning equation is wooing African Americans who make up 50 percent of the state's Democratic primary voters.

TODD SHAW, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: If a Democratic candidate is going to make headway in the Deep South, and this being a bellwether Deep South state, you need the black vote to do that.

LOTHIAN: And who wins? Blacks here have been divided, loyalty to the Clintons, longtime allies of the black community, versus Obama, a relative unknown. At this Columbia barbershop, Damon Hardy says he's supporting Obama. But as he gave me a much-needed haircut explained why some blacks are still waffling.

DAMON HARDY, OWNER, BLAC BOC'S: They want Obama to win, but they don't want their vote to be wasted on someone who they don't think is going to win. They don't really think Obama has a chance. So they're voting Hillary Clinton because of her experience.

LOTHIAN (on camera): You think that's going to change though when people start seeing that white people are voting for him?

HARDY: That's going to change a lot.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): In all this, the white Democratic vote which makes up most of the other 50 percent can't be ignored.

LEROY CHAPMAN, POLITICAL EDITOR, THE STATE: You see something with younger white voters, and older, more established high-income white voters favor Obama. Clinton does well, of course, among women.

LOTHIAN: And Senator John Edwards seems to be resonating with working class voters, who have suffered in the hard-hit textile industry. At a campaign stop in Clemson, he used his roots to bolster his appeal.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was born here. I know what your lives are like. I do not have to read this in a book. I know it firsthand.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LOTHIAN: Senator Edwards has another campaign stop scheduled here for later tonight. Senator Obama is expected to come to South Carolina tomorrow and the Clinton campaign says she will be coming to South Carolina sometime soon. Clearly these candidates understand the importance of South Carolina, and they have a lot of ground support already here. Lou?

DOBBS: Dan, the Obama campaign, and many of the labor organizations surrounding this campaign for both Clinton and Obama have said that South Carolina can be the place where Obama really takes off. Is that still the view in South Carolina?

LOTHIAN: That really has been the view leading up to the past few weeks or so. But, you know, everyone has been talking about these polls that we've been looking at here in South Carolina, where Hillary Clinton was ahead by quite a bit, and then Obama started catching up and pulled ahead. But after what happened in New Hampshire, it really is sort of up for grabs. People are saying don't watch the polls anymore. They still believe that Obama is still doing well here and will do well here, but as we saw yesterday, you never know.

DOBBS: Dan, thank you very much and Dan, nice haircut.

LOTHIAN: Thank you.

DOBBS: In the Republican race, the next major battle, the state of Michigan. That comes next Tuesday. That primary expected to be a close contest between Senator McCain, the winner, of course, in New Hampshire, and Mitt Romney who came in second; Romney trying to avoid a third defeat after Iowa and New Hampshire. Romney today flew to Michigan to energize his supporters and to win over undecided voters; Senator McCain also moving into Michigan today. Senator McCain declaring he's confident of victory, but he acknowledged the rising importance of our illegal immigration and border security crisis in this campaign.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will continue to send a message that we have to secure the borders. The borders will be secured first. And then we will have the border state governors certify those borders are secured. We will address the issue of the 12 million in a humane and compassionate fashion.


DOBBS: Well, we should note that Senator McCain has repeatedly tried to use his position in the Senate to impose amnesty legislation on the people. He changed his mind over the course of the past year, illegal immigration of course a critical issue in the Democratic as well as Republican contest.

Senator Barack Obama today won the endorsements of two powerful unions in the state of Nevada, 10 days before the Nevada caucuses. The unions, the culinary workers and the service employers international of course are strong supporters of, you guessed it, amnesty for illegal aliens. Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The culinary workers of Nevada, 60,000 members strong, put their endorsement on the senator from Illinois for president. That stamp of approval was quickly seconded by the Service Employee International Union of Nevada, some 17,500 strong in the state. That support could be a big boost in the state's January 19th caucuses. But both unions actively support the type of comprehensive immigration reform that was defeated in Congress last year.

The Nevada chapter of the SEIU even stating quote, "we think that immigration is a broken system and one of the reasons we are excited to endorse Senator Obama is that he understands Americans' are ready for a change. We are excited for him to be in the White House to start making those changes."

Perhaps Senator Obama warmed their hearts in mid-December, when he responded to a question on immigration with this comment.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not going to be able to solve the problem if we're just shouting about it, you know, like Lou Dobbs and folks on television.

TUCKER: Senator Clinton even mocks the seriousness of the issue.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are even some commentators who are doing extremely well for themselves by making this a very hot issue, but ask yourself, does all that hot air solve anything?

TUCKER: The dismissive and derisive nature of the comments is not limited to the Democrats. Senator McCain's chief political strategists seemed to mock the opposition in defeat of McCain's amnesty plan saying that quote, "even Lou Dobbs' throat got sore screaming for so long."


TUCKER: The candidates seem to have forgotten that the Senate's idea of comprehensive immigration reform and amnesty inspired bipartisan outrage from voters. Now, surely the candidates can't believe that the voters are full of just so much hot air, can they, Lou?

DOBBS: I have to tell you very disappointing to me was Senator McCain's adviser making that crack after Senator McCain -- I have credited on this broadcast with listening to the American people and understanding that this is going to have to be border security first. It doesn't matter what Senator Barack Obama says. It doesn't matter what Senator Clinton says.

The American people are not going to tolerate anything other than border security and port security before anyone even begins to touch immigration reform. That's been made extremely clear. And for Senator McCain's adviser to make that inside identification crack suggests either the senator has an idiot for an adviser, or this adviser is betraying a belief held by the senator that he's not expressing. It would be interesting to hear which. Thank you very much, Bill Tucker.

Still ahead here we'll have much more on the political battles that lie ahead in this campaign.

Also rising outrage at greed and fraud in the housing crisis, Christine Romans will have that report for us -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, a growing middle class outcry against the lenders at the heart of the sub prime mortgage crisis. Across the country, the lenders who wrote disastrous sub prime loans are being criticized by investors, politicians and distressed homeowners -- Lou.

DOBBS: Christine, look forward to it. Thank you.

Also new evidence of Mexican military incursions into the United States, tonight our special report on Mexico's continued threat and assault on this nation's sovereignty.

And a Supreme Court battle over a voter identification law that could have sweeping implications for not only this presidential election, but the future of the nation, advocates of both sides of this argument before the Supreme Court join us here tonight.

Stay with us. We'll have all of that, a great deal more straight ahead.


DOBBS: We have just received word The Associated Press reporting that Governor Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, who ran a distant fourth in last night's election in New Hampshire, is dropping out from the Democratic presidential primary; again Associated Press reporting that Governor Bill Richardson is withdrawing from the Democratic presidential primary.

We have not received any further word from the Richardson campaign. Nor do we know whether the governor would be endorsing any of his other rivals in the contest for the presidential nomination in the political party. But, of course, a Clinton administration official with close connections to both President Clinton and Senator Clinton, most analysts expect that he would be endorsing Senator Clinton.

Turning now to our border with Mexico, there is new evidence tonight concerning Mexican military incursions across that border into this country. We've reported here on many of the incidents over the past. Tonight we report just how serious and how widespread those threats are. As Casey Wian now reports some of the armed Mexican military and police officers crossing that border are smuggling everything from drugs to illegal aliens.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In July 2006, border patrol agents observed a Mexican police vehicle escort five people to a gate on the all-American canal near Calexico, California, on the U.S. side of the border. The five illegal aliens were apprehended by U.S. authorities while the police vehicle returned across the border. It's just one of 20 incidents involving armed Mexican military or law enforcement officers illegally crossing our southern border in 2006, according to documents obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch, under the Freedom of Information Act.

CHRIS FARRELL, JUDICIAL WATCH: There's been a history of incursions by both Mexican military and police officers into the United States Often armed. And that these incursions are intentional. That the Mexican military and police are entering the United States for purposes other than pursuing bad guys.

WIAN: The Department of Homeland Security document reports 253 incursions by Mexican military or police between 1996 and 2006, including incidents of Mexican military helicopters entering U.S. air space. Not counted as an incursion but rather a Mexican military encounter is this January 2006 incident in Hudspeth County, Texas, which we previously reported.

Now for the first time we have video of the high-speed pursuit that preceded the encounter. Texas public safety officers chased a Cadillac Escalade and two other vehicles near the Rio Grande. One of the vehicles escaped across the border. Another became stuck in the river.

Whereas these photos show, men in fatigues unloaded bales of marijuana under the protection of a Humvee armed with a 50 caliber machine gun. The Escalade's driver escaped but the SUV was seized and it contained nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana. At the time Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said this.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I think to create the image of somehow there is a deliberate effort by the Mexican military to cross the border would be really to traffic in, you know, kind of scare tactics. I don't think that we have any serious problem with official incursions.

WIAN: Some border patrol agents have told CNN the threat from well-armed Mexican military and police officers working with smugglers is both real and serious.


WIAN: Neither the Mexican embassy nor the Department of Homeland Security returned our calls, seeking comment on Mexican military incursions. Judicial Watch says it hopes to have details of more recent incursions within a few weeks -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well good for Judicial Watch and for taking the initiative. And my god, what in the world is this secretary of Homeland of Security thinking, Michael Chertoff sounds like a precious deluded naive fool saying things like that about the border and Mexico. I mean, what is he thinking about?

WIAN: I have no idea what he's thinking about, Lou, but it does not square with the reality that is evidenced on the border by these documents and by what we hear from border patrol agents and what we've been hearing for years. It's really dangerous down there. And the Mexican military in many cases just does not respect the United States border.

DOBBS: And the Department of Homeland Security is operating more like a diplomatic arm than a law enforcement or national defense agency. It is a disgrace the way it has been managed, the way it is organized and the way it is functioning. And an absolute insult to the men and women who are serving the nation in uniform protecting our borders, working in customs, border enforcement, I mean, my gosh, it's just a disgrace. And if Congress is to take up anything in this New Year, it ought to be how these fools have managed and mismanaged this department. Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian.

Well Mexico has sent hundreds of more police officers to the city of Tijuana; that after a wave of drug cartel killings there and as we've reported more than 2,500 murders in Mexico last year. An additional 500 officers are now in Tijuana, just across the border from the city of San Diego. More than two and a half thousand people, as I said, including police officers, have been killed by the drug cartels over the past year.

Up next here, middle class nightmare, our special report on the greed and the fraud that has forced millions of people to the point that they may lose their homes and how the Supreme Court could affect the presidential election this year, all of that and much more straight ahead.

Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: Lenders at the center of this country's mortgage crisis are under fire from investors, politicians, and of course homeowners. The city of Baltimore filed a federal lawsuit charging Wells Fargo with creating a mortgage crisis in its communities. As Christine Romans reports now, some politicians there feel the crisis will only worsen this year.


ROMANS (voice-over): A growing middle class outcry against the lenders at the heart of the sub prime mortgage crisis.

JOHN TAYLOR, NAT'L COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT COAL.: What happened is the infectious greed and malfeasance of the industry. That's what really changed. They began to offer products that they knew at closing, that is the lender or the broker knew this person's not going to be able to afford this in a few years.

ROMANS: The city of Baltimore has sued Wells Fargo, claiming Wells Fargo targeted minority neighborhoods for bad loans with impossible terms. Baltimore claims Wells Fargo is responsible for millions of dollars in lost tax revenues, added police and fire costs, court administrative costs and social programs needed to maintain stable and healthy neighborhoods. Wells Fargo says race was never a factor.

Quote, "We do not tolerate illegal discrimination against or unfair treatment of any consumer. Our loan pricing is based on credit risk. We are committed to serving all customers fairly, our continued growth depends on it."

In New York, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is going after appraisers who he says colluded with lenders to inflate appraisal values of homes. A widespread practice, he says. Meanwhile, Countrywide Financial admits delinquencies and foreclosures in its portfolio of loans soared last month and yesterday was forced to issue a denial of bankruptcy rumors.

Yet the trouble for the lenders and for millions of homeowners may be just beginning. A study for the U.S. Conference of Mayors projects at least 1.4 million more foreclosures this year.


ROMANS: And many say more like two million. That same report projects homeowners will see property values decline by $1.2 trillion this year. That hurts homeowners and their neighbors as property values fall, tax revenues decline, Lou, and services suffer in a lot of these towns and communities.

DOBBS: It hurts us all. And part of this is pure economics. That is absent contrivance and fraud and cyclical (ph). But the reality is that the housing bubble in this country is bursting and with every bubble there is fraud, and this is certainly an instance in which there is massive fraud amongst the financial institutions. And without question, some of the appraisers, some of the lenders, the brokers, all with great complicity, and of course, individual responsibility on the part of many of these homeowners who simply acted negligently in their own interests.

ROMANS: And sorting out all those different flavors of fraud, and the people who truly need to be helped and the people who were just either unsophisticated or trying to gain in the system, that's going to take some time.

DOBBS: I think we also have to have a set of leaders in this country, and I would urge the presidential candidates, both parties, to consider speaking out on this issue. Because we're going to need real leadership to deal with the moral issues here, the ethical issues, as well as the legal. We are a nation that has to look to a malaise within itself, that allows this kind of greed and corruption and fraud, and absolute lack of responsibility, individual responsibility in many cases.

ROMANS: It's interesting, Baltimore taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, and saying we're going to sue Wells Fargo for the costs that we're going to incur. DOBBS: And if this becomes a nationwide trend, as it well might, if Baltimore succeeds here, we're going to see a nationwide trend. Of course, I can expect the Bush administration and I think you should prepare yourself, the Bush administration would be talking about, well, we've got to stop these lawsuits, because it will diminish our international competitiveness or some nonsense of that sort -- Christine thank you, Christine Romans.

Time for some of your thoughts; Marvin in Texas said, "Keep up the good work and don't run -- for president. You might get elected and we need you here." The thought scares me, too.

Jerry in Nevada, "As much as I would like to see you run for president, I think you would accomplish more staying outside of the political arena and helping to bring attention to all of the inadequacies of the present government. Besides, do you really want the aggravation?" The answer is absolutely not.

And Jack in Florida, "Lou, I became an Independent when I saw the Clintons turn the White House into a house of ill repute and Bush turn the country over to corporations, lobbyists, and illegal aliens. Need I say more? Please help save what is left of our country." We all need to get involved in that enterprise.

And Carol in California, "I received my new Independent registration card in the mail this week. I did it." We thank you. We're proud of you. We hope millions of our fellow citizens join us in this. Congratulations to you.

We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my new book, "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit", one that corporate America, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Michael Chertoff and a host of other son-of-a-guns don't want you to read. Do it anyway.

You can read my latest column as well on It is entitled "Pundits Take it in the Teeth" on the surprising results of the New Hampshire primary last night. Why so many in the national media had it so wrong and I'm so delighted that they did. That's on

Up next here, the latest on reports that Governor Bill Richardson has decided to drop out of the Democratic presidential race. Also Senator Clinton's comeback victory in New Hampshire, a surprise to almost every political commentator, analyst, pollster, pundit and news organization including this one, Independent voters propelling Senator McCain to victory. We'll tell you how that happened with three leading political analysts.

We'll be talking about the impact of Independent voters, not only in New Hampshire, not only in Iowa and Wyoming, but nationwide. And we'll be confronting the issues created by a Supreme Court battle over voter identification and election fraud. Advocates of both sides of the argument in the Supreme Court join us here next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: The Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in a case that could have sweeping implications for this presidential election. At issue, an Indiana state law that would require voters, indeed does require voters, to show photo identification.

Opponents argue the law will disenfranchise poor and minority voters. Proponents however argue the need to prevent voter fraud far outweighs the inconvenience to any small group of voters.

Joining me now from Washington D.C., Tom Fisher is the solicitor general of Indiana who argued today that Indiana's case has its merits before the Supreme Court. And Ted Shaw, director council, president of the NAACP legal defense fund, filing suit against that law, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and arguing, of course, against this law.

Ted, good to have you with us. Tom, thank you very much. Tom, let me ask you this. Do you believe the state of Indiana will prevail based on the appearance before the Supreme Court today?

TOM FISHER, INDIANA SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, we feel very good about the way things went today. And we think we presented very strong arguments in support of our voter I.D. law. So our position, I think, all along has been that this is merely a reasonable way to protect the right to vote. And we think that the court heard that message loud and clear today.

DOBBS: Ted Shaw, you said the law is anti-democratic. Why so?

TED SHAW, COUNSEL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: It's anti- democratic because what it does is fence the most vulnerable people out of the political process. It makes it more difficult, rather, for them to vote.

This is a solution in search of a problem. There is no evidence that Indiana can point to of in-person voter fraud. So this was adopted on strict party lines. And the effect of it is going to be minorities, the poorest, the elderly, people who basically are those -- similar to those left who were behind by the Katrina floodwaters are going to be left behind in this political process.

This is the most sacred right, the right to vote. We are to be moving toward making it easier for people to participate, who are citizens in the political process, not fencing them out.

DOBBS: Tom, your response to that?

FISHER: Well, the only study that's been done in the wake of this law has shown that there's been no dramatic, or any downturn, any significant downturn at all with respect to voter participation with the administration of this law. And indeed, some groups have had turnout that's increased.

So we don't think there's any evidence of that. Indeed, in this case, there's no injured voters unable to vote as a result of this law that are part of the case. DOBBS: So let's -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

SHAW: I give you one example. There's an 85-year-old African- American woman by the name of Thelma Hunter (ph) who lives in Indiana. And once this law was passed, she went to try to get her birth certificate from Tennessee and Tennessee authorities said they couldn't find it. It wasn't on record. This is a woman who voted in every election and can't vote now. So this is a real effect on real people.

DOBBS: Right.

FISHER: Lou, if I may. That's not true that she can't vote. The legislature created accommodations just for these kinds of situations. In Indiana, if you're 65-year-old or older, you can vote absentee automatically and you don't need photo identification.

SHAW: Well I'm not talking about absentee ballots. I'm talking about people who want to vote at the polls, who want to go to the poll. That's what this is about.

DOBBS: That it would be an accommodation to this woman, you would have to agree. It may not be the perfect accommodation or the one you would prefer, but it is an accommodation.

SHAW: This is a woman who wants to do what she's always done as an American citizen.

DOBBS: No sir, I understand - but you're saying, you would agree -- I take the point, but it would be an accommodation whether perfect or preferable, but nonetheless an accommodation.

SHAW: Well it may or may not be an accommodation that works for her.

DOBBS: So let's go to the other part of this issue and that is Tom, what Ted suggested is that this is a cure without a disease. This law is coming into place here against -- to protect against, what, grievance or breach of a law that you've experienced in the state of Indiana?

FISHER: Well I think that since the 2000 elections in particular, society as a whole has become more sensitive to the needs to modernize elections. We've seen around the country, reported incidences of fraud.

In Indiana we've seen will voter fraud particularly in the absentee context. And when you have that kind of dynamic going on socially and then you look and you see that there's an obvious gap in security measures with respect to voting at the polls, it's reasonable to take the step that the state has done here, which is to reassure voters that elections are secure by requiring the most common form of identification in America, the one that's universally accepted.

DOBBS: I know that Ted wants to interject here but I just quickly, as you see on the screen, CNN has confirmed that Governor Bill Richardson, who last night in New Hampshire received just about a little over 4 percent of the Democratic primary vote in the race for the presidential nomination, just about 2 percent in Iowa, has decided to drop out of the race. We'll have further details on that here throughout the evening as they become available to us.

Ted Shaw, your response?

SHAW: Well I think it's telling that what we've just heard is that the Indiana legislature addressed in-person voting for -- which doesn't exist. They haven't found and they couldn't point to one example of that. But what we just heard about was absentee ballot voting fraud, which was not part of the legislation. It's clear that this was passed, again, on strict party lines, with the intention of having an effect in the political process. Some people are going to be fenced out.

DOBBS: Also, can I not ask you both, if I may, and I would like to ask both of you gentlemen something here. The reality is that we do want to secure our voting system. We want our electoral process that has great integrity. Most states do not have that, I think you would agree. We had a very difficult time in this country regulating elections in any form.

But we are a nation that is quickly changing in terms of the number of people who are creating create demands on volunteers. They're usually older citizens who are volunteering their time. We have very little in the way of safeguards for voter integrity in this country.

Is this the way we're going to resolve, voter identification? Without providing some sort of strength to our electoral local boards, our precinct wards and so forth? Tom, let me ask you to answer that question first.

FISHER: Well, I think in Indiana we've taken an approach that addresses the issue of voter security on a number of fronts. Not only have we instituted voter identification at the polls, but we've also restricted who can cast an absentee ballot, who can handle an absentee ballot. We've updated technology with respect to voting machines. There is a pilot center for voting centers. So this is a multi-part problem and photo identification is one very important part of that.

DOBBS: Ted, you get the last word here.

SHAW: You know, when you talk about the 2000 election and the concerns about 2004, the problem there was people's votes --

DOBBS: I've moved on. I'm concerned about 2008.

SHAW: As are we. But the problem there was that people who had the right to vote, their votes weren't counted. This is a step that makes it more likely that some people who are American citizens will not be able to exercise this most sacred right. I don't think that Indiana made a good policy choice, and it's going to have an effect on the most vulnerable people, poor, minorities, the elderly.

DOBBS: How concerned are you about that very issue, Tom Fisher?

FISHER: Well I think that the legislature went out of its way to make accommodations for groups that some might perceive to be vulnerable to this. If you are an indigent, you can still vote without identification. If you have a religious objection, the same thing. If you are disabled, if you are elderly, you can vote absentee without identification. So the legislature was sensitive to these issues.

DOBBS: All right, I thank you both for being here. We look forward to obviously this very important case. Ted Shaw, thank you very much. Tom Fisher, thank you.

And in our poll tonight, the question is, do you believe it is an infringement of any constitutional right to require voters to show absolute identification before they are permitted to vote in any election? Yes or no. We want to hear from you on this. Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later and we'll share that with the solicitor general and Ted Shaw after the broadcast.

Up next, voters one, pundits absolutely nothing. Why so many in the national media got is so wrong in New Hampshire. Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman joins us next to talk about that, and how well his candidate did and Governor Richardson's decision to leave the presidential contest.

Later, the candidates fan out across the country, reaching out to the 99.5 percent of the voters who haven't had any part of this process yet. The voters who will get to vote in a primary caucus soon. We'll hear from three of the sharpest political minds in the business. Stay with us, we're coming right back.


DOBBS: Many of our political commentators and pollsters took it in the teeth last night, utterly failing to predict Senator Clinton's victory over Senator Obama in New Hampshire. One of Senator Clinton's top supporters is Democratic national committeeman Robert Zimmerman who joins me now. Robert, as I said, a Democratic national committeeman. And I think we can say a Senator Clinton enthusiast. You've got to feel pretty good about her comeback.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: It was a great night last night. First of all, it was a great night for Hillary Clinton. But just as important, it was a great night for the voters in America because they stood up to every pundit, every Dr. Phil political analyst.

DOBBS: Dr. Phil political analyst?

ZIMMERMAN: If I hear one more psychological study of this campaign.

DOBBS: Oh, I liked - obviously I liked Howard Fineman in "Newsweek." He was telling Senator Clinton how to revamp her campaign, what an idiot she was. And -- and he was not alone in that nonsense. But I mean, my god, the arrogance of the pundits, and the --

ZIMMERMAN: None of who acknowledge they're even wrong. That's the great thing about being a political pundit. No one's keeping score.

DOBBS: But their arrogance it seems to me, Mr. Zimmerman, was exceeded only by the victors in Iowa and New Hampshire. I mean Obama looked like he was -- like he had just been anointed when he left Iowa. And the language the man used following, he was pretty full of himself. And now we have Senator Clinton who had been acting for months as if she was anointed. We saw her kind of become a little human. So it's kind of interesting.

ZIMMERMAN: Well, you know, I think the truth of the matter is, one of the great lessons of New Hampshire is that this is going to be a process that's going to be decided by the voters and not by the pundits.

And I think to Hillary Clinton's credit, she showed tremendous growth because she moved from running a general election campaign into running a campaign for the Democratic nomination. And one of the most impressive aspects of last night was the exit -- one of the exit poll questions about who shares your concerns, who can best speak to your issues. And that's when Hillary Clinton scored very well.

DOBBS: But the exit polls show Senator Obama did better among the Democrats and she did better among Independents.

ZIMMERMAN: Well, you know, it's interesting. We'll see how that plays out because I think ultimately, especially with the economy becoming a much greater issue in this campaign, it's a core Democratic issue.

DOBBS: There is some irony in that Senator Clinton, on the comeback trail in New Hampshire, and it's the economy stupid, this is a little bit of a re-run in some ways of 1992.

ZIMMERMAN: I've seen that movie once before. I only hope it has the same ending. The truth is, these candidates, Hillary Clinton included, they've got to be demonstrating how they're going to change the economy going forward. And the real debate which is long overdue in this democratic nomination is what the records of these candidates are and how they're going to propose change.

DOBBS: If I hear change again, Robert Zimmerman, I tell you. These people talk about change and don't say anything about what the change will be. I'm getting a little tired of it.

Let me go to the other issue that I'm really tired of and that's the consortium on pollsters on these exit polls, news media, the "Associated Press," not even putting illegal immigration in the questions for Democratic voters.

Talk about arrogance of the national news media, that's it. And secondly, the idea that the Democratic candidates are going to ignore illegal immigration? We had your candidate call me out, your candidate's husband call me out on an issue of illegal immigration, trying to slam amnesty down my throat.

ZIMMERMAN: And John McCain called you out.

DOBBS: No, no, John McCain's adviser got a little -- I hope he was wrong, because if he wasn't, John McCain is not being honest with the American people.

ZIMMERMAN: My point to you is when you've got both parties going after you, you're doing something right. Let me call them out in my party if they're not going to address this issue. And if they want -- as I said, focus on you, I think they're truly underestimating that Lou Dobbs voter and how important that voter is going to be in the primary process in the general election. Because border security, which Hillary Clinton has been a strong advocate of, is going to be a very defining issue.

DOBBS: Well I think you're right and so many other critical important issues and we in the national media have got to get serious about putting these issues in front of them. Now I just annoyed everyone in this craft. But you and I can live with that, right?

ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely.

DOBBS: Robert Zimmerman, good to see you, congratulations.

Up next here, Senator Barack Obama vows to fight to the end after last night's loss to Senator Clinton. We'll be talking about that.

And just how far can Senator McCain's win in New Hampshire carry him? We'll be talking about that as well with three of the best political analysts in the country. Stay with us. We're right back.


DOBBS: Well it turns out I've got to bring us up to date on something. It may be that I've made a very big mistake. We are being told that Governor Bill Richardson, we cannot now confirm that he has indeed decided to leave the Democratic presidential primary. We had initially reported that based on the confirmation from one quarter of our political unit. Another quarter of our political unit now says that is not necessarily so. So what I'm going to do is apologize for getting out in front of a story without complete confirmation. "Associated Press" continues to report that Governor Richardson is leaving the Democratic primary. But we here at CNN have yet to, to our satisfaction, to confirm that fully. That's where we are. If I've confused the issue, I apologize profoundly.

Joining me now to help straight me and the rest of the country out, two of the best political analysts in the country. Here in New York, Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf; Pulitzer Price winning columnist Michael Goodwin of the "New York Daily News."

Good grief guys. What can you tell me about Governor Bill Richardson?

MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Well, he's the comic relief of the Democratic campaign. So when he leaves that job will be open. He has to go sooner or later. He's not getting any traction. And it was only a matter of time. So if you're not right now, Lou, you'll be right tomorrow or the day after or the day after.

DOBBS: That's what they call cold comfort.

HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Another way to think about it is, you have given him more sustained attention in the last few moments than he's received throughout this entire campaign. Thank you, Lou. He'll be sending you baskets of fruit.

DOBBS: At the same time, he is also an interesting fellow as well as a candidate, with whom I disagree on a host of issues. But we want to do him right, certainly, in this. And I hope that my colleagues will be letting me know immediately as soon as we have confirmation from his camp if I'm communicating well with my producers at this moment.

Let's turn to Senator Clinton. I can't believe we're now talking about a five-day period of comeback here for Senator Clinton, but that's precisely what we witnessed last night. This is how profound in your judgment for her, her chances now going forward?

GOODWIN: Well, I think it's meaningful, Lou, in the sense that women were such a big part of her victory. In Iowa, Obama actually defeated her among women, according to the exit polls. And last night, she waltzed in by I think 13 or 14 percentage points. Now when you look at the Democratic Party makeup in both Ohio and New Hampshire, women make up 56 or 57 percent of the Democrats who vote. That's an enormous advantage to her going in. If she can capitalize on that going forward -- it really is the mommy party. You've got Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.

DOBBS: The mommy party?

GOODWIN: The parties are very different.

DOBBS: The Republican Party is the daddy party?

GOODWIN: Absolutely. Just the opposite. Just in terms of who votes, the Democrats have about 56 percent women . The Republicans have about 56 percent men. So you really have different constituencies. So Hillary's got an advantage.

SHEINKOPF: We have a new definition of who is the authentic candidate. You know, we throw this word around in this contest, pretty significant. Last week Senator Obama was the -- he was the authentic candidate. Senator Clinton, her tears, her outward emotion, the bashing she took unnecessarily and unfairly by the press corps for showing those emotions proved her to be the authentic candidate. And she's going into places now where authenticity will matter.

DOBBS: And that place being? SHEINKOPF: That place being South Carolina and Nevada.

DOBBS: Where authenticity is more revered than New Hampshire and Iowa?

SHEINKOPF: Nevada, more diverse, and more opportunity for failure.

DOBBS: And I would suggest to you that we will explore more of this as we continue here. We're going to take a quick break. I would like to point out on this broadcast, we did not in any way criticize Senator Clinton for those tears or that moment of sincerity and very natural voice leading up to those tears. As a matter of fact, we kind of gave her credit for it.

Coming up at the top of the hour, another authentic great American, Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, tell us all about it.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. Instead of looking back at Iowa and New Hampshire, what we're going to do, we're going to spend the next hour looking ahead. We're going to take all of our viewers to the new battle grounds for both parties. We're also analyzing what the voters tell us they want to hear from the candidates down the road. And we'll get insiders' views about how the candidates are tweaking their messages right now. Please join us for an "America Votes" special. That's coming up right at the top of the hour. Lou?

DOBBS: Looking forward to it, Wolf. Thank you. We'll have more with our panel here next. Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: We're back with Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, "Daily News" columnist Michael Goodwin. Let me say Hank, when we talked about what's going to happen next, suggestions of Romney is on the edge here, with serious money issues. Do you buy into that?

SHEINKOPF: I buy into the argument that Romney needs to get a "W" up on the board real quick or he won't be here and that John McCain has created an environment where he's much more feasible to be the nominee than he was. No question about that.

GOODWIN: Seems to me that the Republican race is not settled down yet. It's not a two-person race, it's not even a three-person rails. It's got a ways to go. And I won't be surprised if we don't see a few more upsets in some of these states.

DOBBS: Thompson has to do well, one would presume in South Carolina. I don't know what well is by the tea leaf reading metric here. But does he have to win in South Carolina to go on? Second place?

GOODWIN: It would seem so. He's almost daring the voters to retire him. He says I'm drawing a line in South Carolina. OK. I don't know why he's in the race. He doesn't seem to care very much about it or the issues.

DOBBS: How good a job is the national news media doing in holding these candidates? I'm taken by the fact that a number of reporters covering Obama in particular have been just literally taken by him and have crossed an objective line that exists.

SHEINKOPF: The book was written a long time ago, it's hard to get a lead that's different from everybody else's when you're involved with the same people at the same time doing that job. I've got to say, the national press corps does the best they can. But in the Obama issue, falling in love with love is falling in love with make believe. And that's not good when it comes to covering a presidential candidate.

DOBBS: What do you think, Michael?

GOODWIN: It is very hard when you're traveling with a candidate. You're reacting in many ways to the emotions of the crowd. It's very hard to separate. Some ways reporters are damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they just write a kind of detached that doesn't capture the emotion, that's no good either.

DOBBS: How does this work itself out in both Michigan and South Carolina, real quickly?

GOODWIN: Well, I think the Republicans, however they work out their own squabbles, are in big trouble nationally because both of these first two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, are swing states. Many more Democrats have voted in both of them. And so the Republicans --

DOBBS: As they have typically done in both caucuses.

GOODWIN: Right. But the Republicans have won each of those states in one of the last elections. So now the Democrats are really chinning up for the general election.

SHEINKOPF: The Democrats much better position, Republicans have trouble. But you know what? It ain't over yet.

DOBBS: And that should be the message for all of us in this. And thank goodness, because there's a lot of work to be done to kind of refine what's going on here. Democracy is messy stuff. But it's a hoot and it works. Thanks, Hank Sheinkopf, Michael Goodwin - thank you.

Well our poll, 93 percent of you do not believe it is an infringement of any constitutional right to require voters to show absolute identification before they are allowed to vote in any election. We thank you for voting. We thank you for being with us tonight and ask you to join us tomorrow. Good night from New York.

CNN's election coverage special begins right now with my colleague Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?