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Lou Dobbs Tonight
China Spies on the U.S., Republican Party Struggles to Single Out Likable Candidate; Tornadoes Tear through the South
Aired February 06, 2008 - ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.
Tonight the deadliest tornado disaster in a quarter century, tornadoes have killed at least 54 people across the south. We'll have live reports tonight from the worst affected communities, the stories of the survivors and whether more severe storms are imminent. We'll have all of that, all the day's news, an assessment of who won what in yesterday's super, Super Tuesday primary straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Wednesday, February 6th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. Survivors of the worst tornado disaster in 24 years tonight are trying to salvage what they can from their devastated communities and homes. Tornadoes barrel through Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama. At least 54 people were killed in those storms, rescuers are searching for more victims tonight.
Meteorologists say as many as 40 tornadoes touched down in those storms. Most communities received warning several days ago that severe weather was possible, but some communities nonetheless were caught by surprise and were unable to sound their warning sirens before those tornadoes struck. Thirty people are known to have died in Tennessee, 13 people killed in Arkansas, seven others in Kentucky, another four people died in Alabama. Rusty Dornin reports now from one of the worst hit communities, Lafayette, Tennessee -- Rusty.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, no matter how many times I cover these stories, you're still -- it's mind boggling to see the force and the fury that happens. Of course people's homes are not the only thing hit. This is the local veterinary hospital, almost completely destroyed. The monster twister that came through here was almost a half mile wide. And for many people they never knew it was coming.
DORNIN (voice-over): Tammy Oldham can't even get through the debris of what's left in her house. Just before the storm hit she thought the worst had passed her by.
TAMMY OLDHAM, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Laid down, the next thing I know there was a big roar like a train like everybody talks about. We got into a closet in our bedroom and covered up and I held on to my daughter, she has got eight stitches in her eye and we held on to each other until we it passed. The roof just went plumb off our head.
DORNIN: In Oldham's neighborhood alone, seven people were killed. Here in Lafayette, Tennessee, the tornado caught a swath more than a half mile wide. Dozens of twisters tore through five southern states leaving people stunned in the devastation. Casey Wilson's family was salvaging what they could from the splintered mess that was once their home.
(on camera): You heard it coming?
CASEY WILSON, TORNADO SURVIVOR: No, yeah, one of my friends text me on the phone and she said that it was Ruttontone Church (ph) and I got up and my mom and dad in their bedroom (INAUDIBLE) and it's completely gone and they run in here and as soon as we laid down, it hit and it took everything we had.
DORNIN (voice-over): Police and National Guard quickly road blocked the damaged areas and FEMA crews inspected house after house. Rescue crews in many areas searched the debris for more victims. Everywhere, those who survived were giving thanks they made it through the night.
(on camera): So many people still shocked saying what if. What if the Wilson family had not come into their closet to hide? What if they had stayed in their bed?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is one of my exam rooms. There is...
DORNIN (voice-over): For Macon County (ph) vet Lorraine Purchis, the prospect of rebuilding her veterinary hospital is overwhelming.
DR. LORRAINE PURCHIS, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Shock, disbelief, thankfulness that it wasn't (INAUDIBLE) any worse than it is. It could have been worse. It's just stuff. And really glad that I have the people that I have that came to my rescue today and helped as much as they helped.
DORNIN: That was the word from so many people we talked to Lou, just the fact that the entire community came out to help people and Lorraine Purchis' clients, the people who had brought their pets there for them to take care of their pets, kept telling her, you've got to rebuild, but of course right now that just seems so daunting -- Lou.
DOBBS: Rusty, thank you very much, Rusty Dornin from Lafayette, Tennessee.
Survivors said those tornadoes struck their communities with little or no warning in many case and in each case with incredible force. Many of the residents said they have never seen such tornadoes before. Some of the survivors described what they experienced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(WIND BLOWING) JAMES BASKIN, TORNADO SURVIVOR: It was storming. You know it was windy. People were outside, but you know it didn't look like it was just storming. I wasn't you know really that bad. And like I said it just, it just, it just came. I mean it just you know, it wasn't that severe. It was like about a split second of hail and I'm like, uh-oh, and by the time we saw the hail that was it. It hit us (INAUDIBLE) and picked us up and threw us. I mean it was instant.
DWIGHT JOHNSON, WITNESSED TORNADO: It was amazing. I had never seen a tornado before and I was just you know sitting there staring at it because I said that's amazing. I have never seen a real tornado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
JOHNSON: But I could see the tail waving and whipping back. And then like I say it just all of a sudden disappeared. Within minutes, I could hear a train sound coming.
BEN POWELL, IN MALL DURING TORNADO: Lights went out. And then all of a sudden it looked like dust was flying through, but it was glass. And then this in the middle where the jewelry stores are, one of those little sign things just came flying by and people were running and screaming, and there was just -- there was about a handful of us out in the middle that were laying on the ground, obviously for our life, but we were screaming get in the store because people were running. It just didn't make sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a tornado due west of us...
VOICE OF MATT TAYLOR, UNION UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I wasn't able to make it into the doorway before I was being sucked towards the door and the lights went out and I was being sucked toward the door, so I tried to grab a gum ball machine. And the gum ball machine came loose and about the time I was sucked to the door, the whole building just collapsed on top of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Some of the survivors describing their incredible survival. The storms devastated entire neighborhoods in the city of Atkins in Arkansas. At least three people were killed there. Dan Lothian now has the very latest for us from Atkins -- Dan.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, here in Atkins, four people were killed and emergency management officials tell us that there were multiple injuries. They also tell us that at least 70 to 80 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Some people lost everything.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): On this street in Atkins nothing was spared. The tornado crushed homes, flipped cars and wrapped trees in sheet metal. This is the aftermath. Imagine what it was like as the tornado passed overhead. Blake Martin saw it coming.
BLAKE MARTIN, TORNADO SURVIVOR: You could see the tornado taking out a house over there.
LOTHIAN: So he ran to his grandmother's house along with his friend.
MARTIN: We all ran to the bathroom and I was the last one in and as soon as I shut the door, pretty much my house was like ripping apart.
LOTHIAN: Three generations of the Martin family live on this property. All three of their homes here were destroyed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see it on the news every day and you never think it's going to happen to you.
LOTHIAN: But it did. And it also happened to the Atkins (ph) family across the street. Six family members including a 4-month-old baby and a disabled teenager huddled in the bathroom, which stayed in tact as the house blew apart.
CAROL BROCK, TORNADO SURVIVOR: And they survived. No one was injured.
LOTHIAN: Volunteers swooped in to help clean up and assist the victims, many of whom were picking through the rubble, searching for pictures, clothing, furniture, a devastating loss, but the Martin family unsure if they'll rebuild says not everything was taken by the tornado.
MARK MARTIN, TORNADO SURVIVOR: That's really all I'm all worried about is my family. This stuff we can replace.
LOTHIAN: Governor Mike Beebe (ph) toured the area and he promised to provide the resources to help victims. He also pointed out something that others here have also been saying that based on the devastation, he's amazed that more people weren't killed. Lou?
DOBBS: Dan, thank you. Dan Lothian reporting from Atkins, Arkansas, one of the harder hit communities.
President Bush today promised that the federal government will help those communities recover from this disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just called the governors of the affected states. I wanted them to know that this government will help them. But more importantly I wanted them to be able to tell the people in their states that the American people hold them up -- hold those who suffered up in prayer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Tonight the White House saying President Bush will be going Tennessee Friday to assess the damage himself. Later in the broadcast I'll be talking with one of the country's leading authorities on tornadoes and extreme weather, Greg Carbin, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as you see in those reports and in that videotape, this disaster unusual and extraordinarily powerful. We'll have much more on the tornado disaster here tonight on a special program at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, "Killer Storms", the very latest from the scene of the disaster, the stories of survival and much more, that at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.
A very different type of severe weather today hitting parts of the plains and Midwest, a massive winter storm caused chaos across the region. Highways blocked, schools and businesses closed, hundreds of flights were grounded. As much as a foot of snow fell in some areas. In southern Wisconsin the National Weather Service said 18 inches of snow fall is to be expected.
Coming up next here, the White House has a new plan to help corporate elites, this time in big agriculture. Casey Wian will have our story -- Casey.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the Bush administration has a new proposal to encourage farmers to hire legal immigrants instead of illegal aliens. We'll have details coming up -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well it sounds like it might be progress. We'll look forward to your report, Casey.
Senators Clinton and Obama they are preparing for a long presidential campaign after Super Tuesday. The battle for the Democratic nomination could go on for months. We'll have complete coverage.
We'll have the latest on the Republican presidential race. And we'll determine whether or not Senator John McCain can unite a divided party and how long will he be the front-runner. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Senate Republicans tonight have blocked the Democrats' efforts to add more than $40 billion to the House version of the economic stimulus package. The 58 to 41 vote fell short, just short of the 60 votes the Democrats needed to bring that legislation to a final vote. That leaves the bill in limbo. And the partisan battle will likely continue. Earlier today the Treasury secretary repeated his warnings to Democrats not to add more spending to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended his party's actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: Would prefer the House bill would like to see that enacted quickly. That's number one. Number two, I am increasingly concerned that in the Senate the bazaar is open, the special interests are coming to the trough.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm offended by that coming to the trough. Does he think 21.5 million Americans are coming to the trough? Does he think that 250,000 injured veterans who are disabled are coming to the trough. Does he think the home builders who are in a state of decline, they need help are coming to the trough. So I think Paulson has been hanging around the White House too long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Well Senator Reid, just a few thoughts for you, partner. How about just getting the package through your body, moving it to the president for a signature, save the rhetoric and the nonsense, you can deal with the issues you raised later legislatively. Why not get that relief into this economy for hardworking Americans right now. And save us please the partisan posing. Senator Reid will through parliamentary maneuvers be allowed to bring that measure back for a revote. The Democrats now saying they will have a signed bill by the middle of February and by the way, Senator Reid, this will be one of the few times I suggest to you that you listen to anything that Secretary Paulson has to say, but listen indeed.
Senators Clinton and Obama today took a break from the presidential campaign. They wanted to vote on the stimulus legislation. The competition between the two Democratic contenders shows no signs of cooling off and the next battle, well it may be over money. Senator Clinton loaning her campaign $5 million. A spokesman saying it illustrates the senator's commitment to her efforts and intent of winning this race. Candy Crowley has our report.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They've been at it for a year, raised more than $200 million, competed in more than 30 contests. Nothing is settled, not even what they think happened last night.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I were writing this story, what I would be Senator Obama came in as a challenger who, two weeks ago, I think nobody thought would come out of February 5 standing.
CROWLEY: Turning the campaign dynamic on its head, Clinton advisers say she's actually the insurgent now. That he with the backing of some big party names is the establishment candidate, making her wins in California and Massachusetts sweet.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had a great night last night with victories across the country, and ending up once again with a total of more votes and more delegates.
CROWLEY: She may have more delegates, but he won more states.
OBAMA: We're turning out to be a scrappy little team.
CROWLEY: But there is no longer a David and Goliath story here. These are two powerhouses and today is the first day of the rest of their campaign, tougher and more expensive than anyone thought it would be. H. CLINTON: I loaned the campaign $5 million from my money. That's where I got the money. I loaned it because I believe very strongly in this campaign.
CROWLEY: She is digging in for the long haul, eying big states with lots of delegates offering the friendlier terrains of older more traditional working class Democrats, Ohio, Texas in March, Pennsylvania in late April. But between now and then, there are some Obama-looking states that threaten to slow her movement in Nebraska, Washington State and Maine there are caucuses, a forum he has excelled in. And both campaigns think upcoming primaries in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia also look like Obama-friendly turf.
CROWLEY: A final note on the Clinton campaign coffers, a spokesman there says that indeed some senior staffers have agreed voluntarily not to take any pay this month. That's actually never a good sign, though not a fatal one.
DOBBS: So these campaigns are starting to show some stress financially...
DOBBS: ... despite all the money that has been raised.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely.
DOBBS: At what point do we start using the word obscene in talking about this level of spending in American presidential politics.
CROWLEY: Six months ago I think.
DOBBS: That would have been about right.
DOBBS: And the idea, I mean are these candidates so tired, so stressed that they're becoming delusional. Senator Clinton suggesting that Obama is the establishment candidate, senator Obama suggesting that it was Hillary with the momentum two weeks ago.
I mean what in the world is going on here, Candy?
CROWLEY: A spin, it's all about spin you know that. If you're the underdog it makes that victory look even greater. If you're the insurgent it means you're really up against a lot of stuff and that you won makes you tough. You know that.
DOBBS: Well at some point here I think we're getting pretty close to that point which spin becomes twirl. And these people are twirling. Thanks very much, Candy. Appreciate it -- Candy Crowley who has put in a very long and terrific night of reporting on this and we thank you.
Senator John McCain today took full advantage of his role as the Republican front-runners. The senator called on his conservative critics to quote, "calm down" and support his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Dana Bash has our report from the always calming Phoenix, Arizona.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a night that delivered more than half the delegates he needs to be the Republican nominee, John McCain decided to act like he already is.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will unite the party behind our conservative principles and move forward and win the General Election in November.
BASH: With that victory also came a flash of classic McCain defiance aimed at GOP critics blasting him as too liberal to be the Republican (INAUDIBLE).
MCCAIN: But I do hope that at some point we would just calm down a little bit and see if there's areas that we can agree on for the good of the party and for the good of the country.
BASH: Because of his record on issues like taxes and immigration, distrust among some conservatives runs deep to conservatives who say they just won't vote for John McCain and assist from the candidate who is surprisingly swept the south.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no way that they can call themselves conservatives and do that, you know some people need to switch to decaf.
BASH: Still, Huckabee buoyed by his Super Tuesday wins says he is staying in the race, so is Mitt Romney.
(on camera): Although privately Romney aides admit Super Tuesday was a big disappointment. Their public line is that they won nearly as many states as McCain and that the big contests coming up like Ohio and Texas are tailor-made for Romney's economic message, but McCain officials say they've been crunching the number too and it's virtually impossible they say for Romney to catch up now.
Dana Bash, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.
DOBBS: That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. The question is are you pleased that the presidential primary contest defying many expectations over the past several months remains tonight undecided for both political parties? Yes or no, please cast your vote at loudobbs.com. we'll have the results here later. Up next, a new federal plan to combat illegal alien workers favoring legal foreign workers, not American labor. We'll have that report.
And is the nation's tornado warning system effective to alert those in harm's way? We'll speak with a leading meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here on the broadcast next. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: The Bush administration has come up with several revisions to the nation's farm worker visa program. That's right, despite all the nonsense you've heard, this country does have a guest worker program and it works. The new efforts however by the Bush administration is really aimed at persuading farmers to switch from illegal alien workers, migrant workers to legal migrant labor, but it does nothing to encourage the hiring of American workers. Casey Wian has our story.
WIAN (voice-over): As many as 80,000 of the nation's 1.2 million agricultural workers are illegal aliens. Even though the federal government already offers an unlimited number of legal temporary farm worker visas, but the H-2A program is used by about two percent of the nation's farmer, who hire only about 50,000 legal immigrant workers last year.
ELAINE CHAO, LABOR SECRETARY: Farmers report that the H-2A program is burdensome, it is inefficient, it is bureaucratic and it is just riddled with delays. Many farmers who have tried to use this program have had such bad experiences that they stopped using it altogether.
WIAN: So the Bush administration is proposing changes to encourage more farmers and workers to enroll. They include reducing from six months to three months, the time a worker must wait to reenter the United States under a H-2A visa and allowing workers to more easily move from one farm job to another.
CHUCK CONNER, DEP. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY: The changes we are proposing today will go I believe a long way toward ensuring that America's farmers will have a stable, a legal work force.
WIAN: Homeland Security also wants to crack down on recruiters who charge immigrants fees to receive visas, increase fines for employers who fail to notify the government when visa holders leave their jobs and deny visas to applicants from nations that refuse to accept their own citizens ordered deported from the United States. The department says the days when farmers could pressure immigration officials to ease enforcement at harvest time are over.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: One plea that we do not listen to is the plea to relax enforcement so people can go back to hiring undocumented workers. WIAN: Reaction to the proposal is mixed.
JASPER HEMPEL, WESTERN GROWERS ASSN.: We think this is a very strong step forward, at least a recognition that the existing program doesn't work for us.
WIAN: But the president of the United Farm Workers says quote, "the result will surely be lower wages and make working conditions even worse for all farm workers."
WIAN: The Bush administration says an expanded H-2A visa program will impact wages of farm workers, some will be higher, others will be lower. Proposed changes are now subject to a 60-day public comment period -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well let's get a head start on that public comment, if I may.
WIAN: I thought you might.
DOBBS: You know balderdash would be a word that comes to mind. It would be the kindest and perhaps the most permissible word I could use to this administration. You know what year is this? This is 2008, seven years of this administration, this labor secretary and these fools in this administration are just waking up to the fact that they have an ineffective, dysfunctional, inoperative citizenship and immigration service and Department of Labor. I mean what in the world is going on with -- how soon can we get rid of this administration? I wonder is there a way to accelerate it? These are idiots.
WIAN: Well in all fairness, Lou, the problems with this H-2A visa program go back 20 years. It has never worked properly, so plenty of administrations before this one have failed to get it right, Lou.
DOBBS: OK, I will take that bipartisan perspective, that longer view and admit to you, and so pledge here this is not the only administration of idiots that this country has had over the course of the last 20 years. But the reality is that this is the administration that keeps talking about a guest worker program. We have got one, we have got several, in fact we got have eight guest worker programs. The fact this one doesn't work has been known for a very long time, as you say.
And you know bless the little Western Growers Association hearts, you know the fact is if they had paid decent wages and follow the law and work with this administration and make things happen say seven years ago, we would not even be having this discussion. Agricultural and businesses all across the country have told this government, this federal government to go to hell and this government has basically applauded them doing so. That's one of the reasons we're where we are.
WIAN: They continue to make the argument that they can't find enough American workers for these jobs and so they need this kind of a program and they need it expanded, Lou.
DOBBS: Well you know what, be that as it may, the United Farm Workers, the audacity of them to suggest that there might be a problem in terms of salaries as a result of this program, Caesar Chavez -- I covered Caesar Chavez 30-some odd years ago, and for him to witness his Farm Workers Union, which worked mightily to raise wages of farm workers in this country, to see what they're doing with their lobbying efforts in terms of illegal immigration and the visa programs, the guest worker programs, they have no better standing in this disaster than this pathetic Bush administration. Casey Wian, thanks for bringing us up to date, I think. Casey, thanks a lot.
Well I mentioned we already have several guest workers program, in fact more than 625,000 visas for foreign temporary workers were issued by the federal government in 2006 alone. That's the last time we -- last April which we have statistics. Let's be clear again. The citizenship and immigration service in this country is a disaster. The immigration lawyers work for corporations and not the interest of the nation nor the common good. In most cases, they're not even taking care of the employers who seek legitimately interested foreign workers. It's pathetic. It's a disastrous system. We have much to do.
Well let's take a look at some of your thoughts. Thousands of you e-mailed in about my interview with La Raza's CEO, Janet Murguia, who was claiming that night that my calls for an end to illegal immigration amount, in the judgment of her organization, to hate speech.
Melody in Oregon said, "Lou, Ms. Murguia talks a lot about the consequences of hate speech but completely ignores the consequences of illegal immigration."
I couldn't have put it better myself. The fact is, illegal immigration is a fact, the hate speech is just simply opposition to illegal immigration, a bizarre construction on the part of La Raza and other similar organizations.
Jeff in California said, "I guess it's only free speech when it supports Open Borders. When someone rationally demands the enforcement of the law it's hate speech. Keep up the fight! It's admirable that at least you give the socio-ethnocentirc special interests a voice on your show."
And we continue, and we intend to continue, to do so.
But Mike in New York disagrees with my position. "Fire Lou now. Boycott CNN. Stop using the dehumanizing term illegal alien. Stop the racist hate-mongering."
Luckily, we didn't hear too much of that. But I thought I would share that one with you. The viewers, overwhelmingly, and I appreciate it, supporting my views on this and the idea that trying to create nonsense here is really a distraction from a public debate on illegal immigration and border security that we must have and must continue in this country, unfettered by the ignorance and stupidity of either the left or the right, and particularly the radical left, or the radical right.
We'll have more of your thoughts here, later in the broadcast. Each of you who has e-mailed already receives a copy of my new book, "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit." The book that corporate America, the Democratic and Republican parties, Janet Murguia, the Southern Poverty Law Center, -- any number of organizations wouldn't want you to read, because they're really not about free speech. They're about an agenda.
Coming up next, increasing evidence that communist China is spying on this country. Anyone paying attention? It's what we've been reporting on this broadcast now for years. The United States has issued now a blunt warning to NATO. We'll have that special report, and we'll have more on the devastation caused by the deadly storms that hit southern states. We'll be talking with one of the country's leading meteorologist about what we can expect. Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, today gave NATO a blunt warning about the conduct of the war in Afghanistan. Secretary Gates told the NATO nations to send more of their troops to Afghanistan, or face the risk that the NATO alliance would fall apart. Barbara Starr has our report from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, is telling Congress, NATO is in trouble.
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I worry about the alliance evolving into a two-tiered alliance, in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect people's security and others who are not.
STARR: Gates wants NATO countries to dig deeper and send more troops.
GATES: I made specific requests of specific kinds of units, and in some cases named units, and where they needed to go. I have not gotten any responses yet.
STARR: Gates' ire is directed at Germany, France, Italy and Turkey, all are reluctant to send more forces into combat. NATO's top Afghanistan commander agrees.
GEN. DAN MCNEILL, U.S. ARMY: Yet we have, in trying to operate in an counter-insurgency environment, only a fraction of the force that the coalition has in Iraq. So, there's no question, it's an under-resourced force.
STARR: Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, left Andrews Air Force base outside Washington just a short time ago to fly to Europe tonight to meet with NATO ministers, starting tomorrow, to talk about all of this one more time.
Lou, he says he's going to nag NATO until they send more troops. And CNN's Jamie McIntyre is flying with the secretary. He is on that plane and will be filing reports once they land in Europe -- Lou.
DOBBS: Those updates on nagging, I look forward to from Jamie. But, realistically, this is not going to be too effective an approach by Secretary Gates, for whom I have great respect. But the reality is, this is the final year of this administration. And NATO has basically told the United States to go to hell from jump street, have they not?
STARR: Well, look at it this way. There is -- there are, by everyone's measure, not enough troops fighting in Afghanistan and no real incentive, as you say, for NATO, in the last year of the Bush administration, to send more.
So what's happening? Well, the U.S. is sending 3,200 additional Marines to Afghanistan for a seven-month tour. And what Gates is telling NATO is, once that seven-month tour is up, they need to send more troops, that he won't be sending more U.S. boys into combat. We'll see what happens.
DOBBS: Well, it's too late for this administration, as so many issues are in the too late stage. But -- Barbara Starr, thank you very much. And, if you will, take note of these facts that might be of interest to the next president of the United States, no matter who that might be, Democrat, Republican or perhaps independent.
In point of fact, nearly two decades after the Cold War, the United States still has 85,000 troops -- 85,000 American troops still based in Europe. Those troops continue to help defend Europe, even as most European nations, as Barbara Starr just reported, refuse to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq with a proper and requested level of troops.
Most American troops, most of our troops in Europe, are based in Germany. In fact almost 60,00 of them. Another 10,000 more our troops are in Italy, another 10,000 are deployed in Great Britain. Those forces include four army combat brigades and significant air and naval forces.
The Pentagon, tonight, was unable to, after we asked, to tell us just how much the United States government spends in maintaining those forces in Europe. So I have just one little suggestion to the NATO nations, one little suggestion to whoever wants to be president of the United States, lets all grow up. Lets watch this nation mature and that of the European Union. Let's bring our troops home, now.
New indications today, possibly sharp differences of opinion, in the Pentagon over the timing of troop withdrawals from Iraq. Last month, President Bush suggested the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, would determine whether there should be a "pause," as he put it, in troop withdrawals.
Today, Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that General Petraeus is not the only one giving the president advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GATES: It's clear that General Petraeus' view will have a -- a very strong impact on this. But I think that there -- the president will need to hear other points of view as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: And it sounds like Secretary Gates is going to make certain that the he does. The number of troops in Iraq, by the way, is expected to decline to 135,000 by this July, from 160,000 at the height of the surge strategy. Secretary Gates has publicly expressed the hope that those withdrawals can continue after that. But General Petraeus wants a "pause" before any additional troop cuts.
As the debate over troop withdrawals intensifies, insurgents have killed three more of our troops in Iraq. Insurgents have killed three more of our own in Iraq. Two Navy SEALs were killed during an assault on an enemy position. A soldier died of his wounds after a roadside bomb attack.
Five our of troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month, 40 were killed last month -- 3,949 our troops have been killed since this war began, 29,092 of our troops wounded, 13,0130 of them seriously.
There's new evidence tonight of the increased espionage threat posed by communist China. The threat comes from spies to enter the United States to work or to study. And there is a massive new threat posed by computer hackers who are trying to penetrate secure and sensitive computer systems throughout the U.S. government and throughout our economy.
Louise Schiavone has the report.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a new cold war and it's thriving, say government experts, and a multipronged assault from China is at the forefront.
REP. RANDY FORBES (R), CHINA CAUCUS: They'll use ordinary citizens, they'll use tourists. (AUDIO GAP) They probably have 2,000 to 3,000 front corporations in the United States right now that are simply here to get information. Again, it's information about industrial situations and also about military weapons.
SCHIAVONE: Justice Department official, Jay Patrick (ph), recently told Congress, "Of great concern recently is the substantial and growing national security threat posed by illegal foreign acquisition of restricted U.S. military technology." Technology acquired through spies who enter the U.S. for work or study through poorly policed exports and through massive Internet assaults.
PETER BROOKS, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Many people who are look at cyberspace operations believe that the Chinese are developing what is called an army of hackers to gain access to a country's economic and military secrets.
SCHIAVONE: Observers say, to a certain extent, the U.S. has itself to blame for aggressive business marketing and for failing to produce new generations of engineers.
WILLIAM HAWKINS, U.S. BUS. & INDUSTRY COUNCIL: American companies are looking to sell technology to China. They don't have to steal it if they can buy it.
SCHIAVONE: In its most recent assessment, the congressionally appointed U.S. China Commission states, "China's espionage activities are the single greatest threat to U.S. technology and strain the U.S. counterintelligence establishment.
SCHIAVONE: Meanwhile, Lou, in a newly released estimate of the security threat posed by China, the director of national intelligence warned that China's threat to the U.S. cyberinfrastructure is profound, and that China's potential to U.S. space systems appears to be growing -- Lou.
DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much. Louise Schiavone, from Washington.
Well up next here, financial trouble for the Clinton campaign? Senator Clinton using her own money to give her campaign a much needed cash infusion? We'll have the story.
And we'll have much more on the deadly tornadoes that ripped through parts of the south. Stay with us, we're coming right back.
DOBBS: Those horrific, deadly storms and tornadoes that hit the southern states last night, are grim reminders of the need for the best, accurate and timely weather forecast possible. There were warnings issued last night, but many of the residents said they weren't able to move quickly enough to find shelter. Greg Tarbin -- Carbin, is the meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration joining us tonight from Norman, Oklahoma.
Greg, thanks for being here. These were the -- reportedly, these tornadoes, the worst we've seen in more than two decades in this country. What were the conditions that created that reality?
GREG CARBIN, NOAA METEOROLOGIST: Essentially, Lou, we had a winter type storm system, very a powerful winter storm, which is ongoing, and dumping heavy amounts of snow across the Great Lakes. We had that environment co-existing with the springtime air mass across much of the south. And the combination of the two brought about the violent weather.
DOBBS: There's some confusion tonight, because some people were saying they had plenty of time, that they had warnings that there were weather watches in place, suggesting that there could be deadly, violent storms. What happened in terms of the warnings? Were they adequate in your judgment? Tell us what you think?
CARBIN: From our perspective, I believe the system worked almost flawlessly. Now unfortunately, in these situations, it's very, very, unusual to see a violent tornado not create havoc and, unfortunately, fatalities.
We had advertised the threat for a potential outbreak six days in advance in some of our forecasts. These forecasts, as we approached the event, became more dire in their predictions. Yesterday afternoon, we issued what are called particularly dangerous situation severe and tornado watches across the area of concern. And then, from that point on, the warnings come down when you actually see the storms on radar.
And, the unfortunate aspect is that these storms were moving very, very, quickly once they form and people did not have, necessarily, the right shelter when faced with that threat.
DOBBS: To the degree that we can understand what happened with those warnings, and that is, you have said that these tornadoes were amongst the most violent weather events in our history in this country. We know that the warnings did go out. Do we have any way to judge, however, -- because we're talking about storms that were, in some cases, a half mile wide in their devastation -- any way to judge what happened after you sent out those warnings.
Local radio stations, local news organizations, television stations, how were they -- how was the word, those warnings, spread throughout the communities?
CARBIN: It's a team effort. It's a team effort that starts with the National Weather Service, and its forecasts going out several days, to the actual watches, which in yesterday's event, the watches were out, in many cases, several hours prior to the tornadoes occurring, and then the local National Weather Service offices in those states sending out the last minute warnings, saying, take cover now.
And that information is disseminated across a wide spectrum. The media is involved in this team effort, emergency management community is involved, and then ultimately the public has to know how to respond. And the weather service has a tremendous job in educating the public on how to respond. Unfortunately, sometimes, you just -- you can't find a safe place when faced with a violent tornado.
DOBBS: Especially with the power of these storms, apparently, as they hit -- the devastation is just extraordinary. Greg Carbin, we thank you very much for being with us.
CARBIN: Your welcome.
DOBBS: From NOAA. We appreciate it.
Up next here, Senator Obama has the momentum, Senator Clinton pumping more money into her campaign. We'll examine whether that's true, whether there is more money, whether there is more momentum.
And, he doesn't have the support of many conservatives, so can Senator McCain really be the Republican nominee? Well, we'll find out. Three of the best political analysts join me here next. Stay with us, we're coming right back.
DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the best political analysts here in New York. Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, "New York Daily News," Michael Goodwin, and New York bureau chief, "Washington Post," Keith Richburg, and in Washington, Jonathan Martin, senior political reporter, Politico.com.
Gentleman, thank you very much. This election, the Republican candidate, frontrunner, appears to be Senator McCain.
Keith -- it's split about as evenly as you could get it, is it not, in the Democratic camp?
KEITH RICHBURG, THE WASHINGTON POST: That's what was so fascinating, both -- there's a muddle on both sides here. And the funny thing is, on the Republican side, the muddle is because voters just don't seem to really be satisfied with any of these candidates, including their frontrunner.
Now, McCain is way out in front but -- because of the delegates, but that's because of the winner take all system there. But you've got a sense that he has a little bit of a trouble there, because he has not been able to really win these Republican red states, Georgia, Alabama, some of these -- Utah, some of these places even where Romney won.
DOBBS: Lets take a look at what we now believe is the delegate count. And I suspect that each of your news organizations would have a different news count -- I mean delegate count as we go. But let's put the CNN, Lou Dobbs -- count.
On the Republican side, Senator McCain with 680, Romney with 270, Huckabee with 176 -- 1,191. We will agree on this, 1,191 delegates required to win the nomination. Is McCain's lead unsurmountable?
MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Virtually yes, because of the delegates remaining, Romney would have to win almost all of them to get to 1,191. And Huckabee almost can't get there this way. So, I think it's a process of elimination, kind of a demolition derby, and McCain has survived this far.
I think there's no way he doesn't become the nominee. The question is, does Romney fight on and create a bitter division, or does the party kind of come together behind him now?
DOBBS: Those are big words, and I've been watching what you've been writing, Jonathan Martin in Politico.com. No way, two big words. And I know you believe -- you're in absolute agreement with Michael Goodwin on this.
JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO.COM: Michael is -- probably right about the fact that --
DOBBS: Michael Goodwin is a genius.
MARTIN: It's difficult -- absolutely -- it's difficult to see a path, Lou, where Romney could now come back. Let me just add two more points to what Michael said -- two are obstacles in Romney's path. First of all, a lot of these states coming up do not deliver their delegates in a winner take all format. They're going to be split up, they're going to be apportioned. So even if Romney was to come back, fight furiously back, and wins some of these states, he would not probably win every single delegate there to be had.
Secondly, McCain, as we've seen, has done very well in these states that have so-called open primaries where Democrats, independents, can participate and a lot of the key states coming up, including places like Virginia and Wisconsin, have these open primaries. So, two other tough, tough obstacles in Romney's path.
DOBBS: My guess is that Senator Clinton would not agree with what I'm about to say, but I think it appears that the Democratic process is a much more, shall I say, Democratic process. And that the Republicans would do well to consider that -- going to the proportional delegate distribution.
Lets take a look at what the Democrats have here. These are -- we have -- if we could put up that full screen please. For the Democratic total delegates. Can we get that?
OK. We have 823 for -- just updated, 823 for Senator Clinton and 741 for Senator Obama. This looks like it's going to go on in perpetuity, or at least until the convention.
RICHBURG: It's a draw. And -- it's, in many ways, it's because it's the exact opposite of the Republicans. They don't like a lot of their candidates, they have misgivings. On the Democratic side you see a lot energy, you see a lot of turnout, you see money coming in. They like both of these candidates and they just can't make up their minds. And they want this process to go on a little bit longer. And they're going to try to figure it out as they go through the Potomac primaries and then to Texas, and then to Ohio.
DOBBS: Now, let me throw something out on the Republican side. You suggest that the Democrats are enthusiastic and effusive about their candidates, and the Republicans are just sort of disgusted with the three remaining.
GOODWIN: They like them, they don't love them. They're going to make do with John McCain because he's --
DOBBS: Making do, arithmetically, it's possible that we would not see John McCain, even though he won't, arithmetically, it might be unlikely that Romney or Huckabee could overcome. It's still arithmetically possible because of the way we're going into these next primaries that John McCain will be quite some distance from locking up the nomination.
What makes you so sure, as we sit here tonight, Michael, that he's going to prevail in the convention that's brokered?
GOODWIN: Well, I believe what happens from this stage going on very quickly, is kind of the pressure from the party elders who say look, our only chance to win in November is to have a unified party. And since you and Mitt Romney --
DOBBS: Do you to think anybody is going to believe that tripe?
GOODWIN: Sure. Sure. That's the job of party elders.
DOBBS: They may be elderly but they should be bringing some wisdom. It's laughable to think that the discussion was earlier that all the Democratic candidates should step away, the Clintons were concerned about bruising up Senator Obama that with the first African- American candidate to have the opportunity, she'll step out of his way graciously and proceed. Bull.
GOODWIN: Except -- except I think, though, that when things are even, or before the voting begins, that's one thing. But once you've had the Super Tuesday and you've gone through effectively 30 states, then I think it's a different argument.
MARTIN: Let me add one thing too on the Republican side. Keep in mind, the Huckabee factor, that's one of Romney's chief obstacles as well. As long as Huckabee is still in the race, he's denying Romney that one-on-one race that he so badly craves with McCain and splitting up conservative votes.
DOBBS: Well when we come back, we're going find out what that special relationship is between Mike Huckabee and John McCain. We'll be back with our panel in a moment.
DOBBS: We're back again with Michael Goodwin, Keith Richburg, Jonathan Martin.
Keith, what is this special relationship between McCain and Huckabee? What's the deal?
RICHBURG: They're best buddies. And I think now Huckabee really wants to be vice president. He knows he can't get the nomination, he can block Romney and then he's going to be in real good position to bargain for something, if not vice presidency, then something with McCain later on down the road. And McCain needs him to get those social conservatives on his side.
DOBBS: And on the Democratic side, Michael, the -- Obama and Clinton so close. Are we looking at the -- now the Democratic ticket?
GOODWIN: Well, a lot of people want that and I think as it moves forward it's going to be hard to resist that. The question is, who is going to be at the top of that ticket. I would make one more point Lou, too, on the Democrats. The delegate total that you mentioned includes the super-delegates that each of them have reported.
GOODWIN: That's the difference between them right now. Hillary Clinton has about an 85 or 90 delegate margin. That's her whole margin. And I think what the Clinton people are saying today is, they don't believe either side can win enough delegates to -- the primary, the remaining primary states -- to get a majority --
DOBBS: So we're going to have brokered convention?
GOODWIN: It's going to be the super-delegates who are going to throw this.
DOBBS: A lot of people are getting kind of fussy about. But Jonathan Martin, I'm one of those people who is excited about the fact that we don't have a decision, that the process is going on and just maybe, these candidates are going to have to cut away from the nonsense and their proposals that they can't fund and actually talk about the issues the American people care about.
MARTIN: Well, Lou, I'm with you because I'm a political junkie. So, bring on the convention. It's going to be a heck of a show out in Denver this summer. But look, I think that a lot of Democrats would love on Obama-Clinton ticket or a Clinton-Obama ticket. The problem is, I'm pretty skeptical that that's going to happen.
I don't think Clinton would want to be VP and I'm not sure Obama would want to be either. But for a lot of Democrats, there's going to be increasing nervousness as the calendar takes way to March, April and May if this race is still going on. They're in a strong place now, taking on the GOP -- a wounded GOP this fall. But as long as they're still bickering and fighting internally, it ain't helping the cause.
DOBBS: Well, as an independent populous, Jonathan, I've got to say, I'm rather enjoying this.
Thank you very much, Jonathan Martin, Politico.com. And Michael Goodwin, "New York Daily News" and Keith Richburg, "Washington Post." Good to have you here.
Tonight's poll -- 80 percent of you replying that you are pleased that the presidential primary contest remains undecided for the both political parties. The process goes on, the people are served. Thanks for being with us. Join us here tomorrow. Good night from New York. Killer Storms with Rick Sanchez begins right now -- Rick.
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