Return to Transcripts main page
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Eliot Spitzer's Fall from Grace; SAVE Act Cracks Down on Illegal Immigration; Bill Gates Wants More Foreign Workers; Outsourcing Global Aviation; Ferraro Resigns Over Race Remarks
Aired March 12, 2008 - 19:00 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, Governor Eliot Spitzer has resigned in disgrace. The scandal over sex and prostitutes escalating, there are first details tonight about the woman at the center of this scandal.
We'll have that and a new battle over race and politics on the presidential campaign trail. All today's news and much more straight ahead, here tonight.
Good evening, everybody. Governor Eliot Spitzer today resigned after days of intense pressure to do so and threats of impeachment. Tonight, "The New York Times" is reporting the woman at the center of his scandal is 22-years-old. We'll have more on that in a moment.
Spitzer today said he's deeply sorry he didn't live up to public's expectations and he refused to admit to any links with prostitutes in his statement, and he took no questions from reporters. We have complete coverage of the scandal.
We begin tonight with Mary Snow in Albany -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, as you just mentioned, "The New York Times," is now identifying the woman it says who is at the center of the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. "The New York Times" has identified her as 22-year-old Ashley Alexandra Dupre and CNN cannot independently confirm her identity.
"The New York Times" says that she has been in court testifying against the prostitution ring. This all comes as lawmakers here in Albany are still reeling in shock.
SNOW (voice-over): With his wife Silda by his side, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, the man once known as "Mr. Clean," addressed his fall from grace.
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: In the past few days, I've begun to atone for my private failings with my wife, Silda, my children, and my entire family. The remorse I feel will always be with me.
SNOW: Spitzer did not specifically address accusations he spent thousands of dollars on a high-end prostitution ring for several months.
SPITZER: To every New Yorker and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.
SNOW: And he offered his resignation after 14 months as governor.
SPITZER: I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been. There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work. I am resigning from the office of governor. At Lieutenant Governor Paterson's request, the resignation will take effective Monday, March 17, a date that he believes will permit an orderly transition.
SNOW: David Paterson was home at the time of the announcement. He released a statement saying, "Like all New Yorkers, I am saddened by what we have learned over the past several days. My heart goes out to him and his family at this difficult and painful time."
The 53-year-old former state senator from Harlem will become the state's first African-American governor. Paterson received praise from Democrat and Republican lawmakers, including Joe Bruno. The senate Republican Leader now becomes the lieutenant governor. Bruno is well known in New York politics. He and Spitzer were fierce political enemies.
JOE BRUNO (R), NEW YORK SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: As for Eliot Spitzer, my heart goes out to his wife and to his family at this time. He must deal with his own problems in his own way, but it is now time for us and all New Yorkers to move forward.
SNOW: And Lou, David Paterson is now expected to be officially sworn in at noon time on Monday -- Lou.
DOBBS: Mary, thank you very much. Mary Snow from New York's capital of Albany.
Well federal prosecutors today insisted they didn't make a deal with Spitzer before he resigned as governor. But the prosecutors are stepping up their investigation, in fact, into Spitzer's links with prostitutes and his financial transactions. Independent legal analysts are saying that Spitzer could eventually be charged with money laundering among other crimes.
Kelli Arena has our report.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's out of a job, but not out of trouble. Sources close to the investigation say Eliot Spitzer's legal team is talking with prosecutors. But the U.S. attorney handling the case went out of his way to say no deal has been struck. That doesn't mean there won't be one.
RICHARD SMITH, FORMER JUSTICE DEPT. OFFICIAL: He still has literature because of the fact he has resigned. He's no longer a sitting public official and that should be considered.
ARENA: Legal experts say Spitzer's lawyers will use his resignation to argue he's already suffered enough and that if prosecutors go after him, they should also go after the other nine clients of the Emperors Club referred to in court papers.
But investigators allegedly caught Spitzer on tape with a federal wiretap and new details are emerging all the time. Sources say FBI agents in Washington put Spitzer under surveillance at the Mayflower Hotel at least twice this year to try to confirm that he met with a hooker.
ROSCOE HOWARD, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It's a little hard to argue or present a defense that smacks of, I didn't know or I didn't understand.
ARENA: Especially when sources say that Spitzer used that call girl service at least eight times in the past several months. Now sources expect a grand jury to soon hear evidence related to that prostitution ring. As for Spitzer, the government is still focusing not on prostitution, but he may have done to hide his money trail, Lou.
DOBBS: OK, Kelli, thank you very much - Kelli Arena from Washington.
We'll have more on this scandal later here. Spitzer's chief Republican rival is New York state Senate majority leader, Republican Majority Leader Joe Bruno. He'll be among our guests. And he will be assuming some of the responsibilities of lieutenant governor come this Monday with the resignation of Governor Spitzer.
That resignation means Senator Clinton also will lose one super delegate. Spitzer was one of the superdelegates who could determine the outcome of the Democratic presidential contest at the convention. Spitzer, like the rest of the New York delegation, an outspoken supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton.
In presidential politics, a leading Clinton supporter today resigned from her campaign as the fight over race and politics escalates. Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro quit her finance position with the Clinton campaign after Senator Obama blasted her for making comments about his race and its role in his candidacy. Ferraro and Obama doing well in the campaign -- said Obama is doing well in the campaign because he is black.
Suzanne Malveaux with the Clinton campaign, has our report -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Lou, Senator Clinton is addressing the black press of America. She's soon going to be taking some questions as well. But early in the afternoon, I spoke with Geraldine Ferraro, who says she has no regrets, no apologies for her comments. She sent a letter to Hillary Clinton in part saying: "Dear Hillary, I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself, and you can continue to speak for yourself about what's at stake in this campaign. The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won't let that happen."
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Red-hot racial politics thrust once again into the fight between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
GERALDINE FERRARO (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every time somebody opens their mouth, Bill Clinton, racist. Governor Rendell, racist. Gerry Ferraro. All of us have records of anything but racists.
MALVEAUX: But the former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, who's a big-time fundraiser for the Clinton campaign, is in the middle of the racial controversy. It began with comments she made to a California newspaper, saying "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was woman, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Barack Obama dismissed Ferraro's comments as absurd.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Her comments were ridiculous. The notion that it is of great advantage to me to be an African-American named Barack Obama in pursuit of the presidency I think is not a view that has been commonly shared.
MALVEAUX: Obama's campaign immediately called on Clinton to repudiate Ferraro's racial remarks, which the senator did.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't agree with that. And I think it's important that we try to stay focused on the issues that matter to the American people. And both of us have had supporters and staff members who have gone over the line and we have to rein them in.
MALVEAUX: Ferraro says there's no need, because she's the victim from people attacking her because she's white. She accuses the Obama campaign of twisting her comments as racist.
FERRARO: The spin on the words has been that somehow I was addressing his qualifications. I was not. I was celebrating the fact that the black community has come out with a pride in a candidacy and has shown itself at the polls.
MALVEAUX: Well Lou, for some political observers, that was a hard explanation to swallow. And either way, it was becoming a distraction for the Clinton campaign. It was an unwelcome development for the Obama campaign, which as been trying to downplay the aspect of race -- Lou. DOBBS: Suzanne, when I talked with Geraldine Ferraro this afternoon, she also pointed out that this was a comment made in a speech and it was the Obama campaign that in point of fact picked up the comment and escalated it and broadcast it out. She really blames the Obama campaign for promulgating the comment and blowing it up for their own political purposes.
MALVEAUX: She absolutely did. When I had the conversation with her, she said that she felt basically that they were trying to hurt the Clinton campaign by going after her. The larger context here obviously, Lou, is the fact that just last week, Samantha Power, an Obama adviser called Clinton a monster. A lot of pressure for her to step down.
In fact, she did step down. So while on the one hand there were some people who were offended by those remarks, I think there was also a heightened sensitivity about holding those accountable, those supporters from both sides.
DOBBS: Heightened sensitivity or heightened political aggressiveness, I think we could certainly say on the part of both campaigns.
Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much -- Suzanne Malveaux.
Another prominent African-American politician, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick tonight is also lashing out at his critics. He's accusing them of using racial slurs. Kilpatrick said his opponents and the media in Detroit are behaving like a lynch mob, as he put it, in a scandal over his relationship with a former chief of staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK (D), DETROIT: In the past 30 days, I've been called a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) more than any time in my entire life. In the past three days, I've received more death threats than I have in my entire administration.
I've heard these words before. But I have never heard people say them about my wife and children. I have to say this because it's very personal to me. I don't believe that a Nielsen rating is worth the life of my children or your children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Mayor Kilpatrick is fighting for his political future, lashing out and positioning himself as a victim in an investigation in which he has been charged with lying under oath and costing two Detroit police officers their careers when he accused them of simply investigating him. And he denied having the affair, while in point of fact, having an affair justice had been charged with his chief of staff.
This scandal broke when the "Detroit News" broke the story and the "Free Press" released text messages between Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. Well turning to events overseas, the war in Iraq, the rising number of American casualties. Insurgents killed four more of our troops over the past 24 hours. Three of our troops were killed in a single rocket attack south of Baghdad. Twelve of our troops have been killed in Iraq over the past three days.
Fourteen of our troops killed so far this month -- 3,987 of our troops killed since the war began, 29,395 troops wounded, 13,138 of them seriously. The latest casualties come as military commanders are now considering withdrawal of our combat brigades from Iraq. The number of combat brigades in Iraq is due to fall to 15 from 20 to by July.
Up next here, senators grilling a top Pentagon official about the outsourcing of our national security, our defense and
American jobs. Christine Romans will have our report -- Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, a surprising admission by the secretary of the Air Force today as the Pentagon struggles to defend its decision to buy European tanker aircraft, Lou.
DOBBS: Thanks, Christine, we look forward to your report.
And Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Capitol Hill today and again demonstrating why he's no friend of our middle class. Why he's also no friend of the facts. We'll have that story.
And violence along our border with Mexico is simply out of control. The government of Mexico losing its war against drug cartels, as we lose our war against drugs in this country. We'll have the latest for you live from our border with Mexico.
Stay with us. We're coming right back.
DOBBS: On Capitol Hill today, Microsoft's Bill Gates claimed that American firms need more foreign worker visas even though Indian firms are the largest users of H1B visas. They do that for domestic outsourcing, you might know. And Gates even criticized U.S. immigration policy in Congress itself. Gates said the failure to pass immigration reform has in his words, "forced companies such as Microsoft to locate jobs outside the United States."
But fawning members of Congress showed little desire to challenge Gates to hire more American workers. They didn't really want to disturb a genius at work.
Louise Schiavone has our report.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a town where money talks, the man "Forbes" magazine ranks as the world's third richest person, arrived on Capitol Hill to a hero's welcome.
REP. BRIAN BAIRD (D), WASHINGTON: You are on a committee that is so proud of what you have done and what you're doing for the future.
REP. STEVEN ROTHMAN (D), NEW JERSEY: You a role model for anybody who has done reasonably well and for the rest of us as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I noticed that you are a billionaire, and I'm not.
SCHIAVONE: With no other witnesses to contest his testimony, Bill Gates told Congress that Microsoft and companies like his could be even more successful if the United States would only let more foreign workers in.
BILL GATES, MICROSOFT CHAIRMAN: The importance of being able to retain and hire these top engineers, world top engineers is super important.
SCHIAVONE: Standing in the way, the current annual limit of 65,000 in the H1B visa program for highly-skilled individuals sought by employers like Microsoft.
GATES: U.S. companies face a severe short fall of scientists and engineers with expertise to develop the next generation of breakthroughs.
SCHIAVONE: Representing the rank and file, the Programmers Guild charges that's not Microsoft's main concern.
KIM BERRY, PROGRAMMERS GUILD: The biggest problem we have with the global economy isn't our skills, it's our wages. So yes, when we say this is necessary to increase global competitiveness, it means this is a way of lowering American wages.
SCHIAVONE: Meanwhile, thousands of H1B visas are going to Indian based outsourcing companies, like Infosys Technologies, nailing down close to 5,000. Wipro Technologies with 2,500. Satyam Computer Services with 1,400. Microsoft received 959 H1Bs last year.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, the net results say critics, a downward pressure on U.S. wages, fueling a sense of frustration among American workers while American know how and prosperity is shipped offshore -- Lou.
DOBBS: But unfortunately Bill Gates didn't mention that. And I hope everyone watching this broadcast watched those congressmen fawning over a billionaire who is making misstatement after misstatement, clucking like little hens.
It's just amazing to me to watch public servants, elected to represent their constituents, without a single challenge to the accuracy, the perspective, the reality of working people in the country.
The man's company brought in 900 and some odd H1B visa workers. Indian outsourcing companies in this country, for domestic outsourcing, taking the preponderance of those.
I mean, does Bill Gates really think that everyone in that room is utterly stupid? Well, we are talking about the U.S. Congress, so I don't want to press that too far. Louise, that was purely a rhetorical question and I think thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone from Washington.
The secretary of the Air Force today admitted that this nation's industrial base is in decay. And incredibly he made the stunning admission while defending the Air Force decision to award a $35 million contract to EADS, a European consortium that produces the Airbus.
Christine Romans has our report.
ROMANS (voice-over): A standing ovation for the men and women of the Air Force. But tough questions for Air Force brass, who hired European company EADS to build 179 aerial refueling tankers. Why would the Air Force spend $35 billion in taxpayer dollars to a company being sued by the U.S. government for unfair trade subsidies?
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: We have a contract going to a company that we do as a country have a case against because of those illegal subsidies.
MICHAEL WYNNE, AIR FORCE SECRETARY: We believe we accurately followed the laws and arrived at a decision selecting the better of two very qualified competitors.
ROMANS: The Air Force chose a tanker based on the Airbus A330, much of it to be built overseas, then assembled in Atlanta. The mid- sized Boeing offering based on a 757 was rejected. Boeing says 85 percent of its claim would be American made. Boeing and some lawmakers contend the larger Airbus tanker would require larger hangars and longer runways.
MARK MCGRAW, BOEING AERIAL TANKER PROGRAM: The fuel used, the repair cost, the impact on the Air Force's infrastructure -- think hangars now, was much less on our product. That was going save the Air Force and the U.S taxpayer billions of dollars.
ROMANS: Northrop Grumman is EADS American partner and says 48,000 American jobs will be created by the tanker deal and called concerns about outsourcing hype and misinformation.
PAUL MEYER, NORTHROP GRUMMAN: This will provide a significant boom in the southeast. We have 230 suppliers, all U.S. based. So we're not sure the hype of losing 40-plus thousand jobs that don't even exist today in the Boeing camp, much less on ours.
ROMANS: As for the Air Force, officials again and again said the contract was awarded legally. But Senator Patty Murray of Washington questioned whether complicated procurement and trade laws were undermining American economic and national security. When pressed, the Air Force secretary admitted concern about the fragile manufacturing base in this country.
MURRAY: I'm asking if you think the current procurement process reflects the needs of the defense, of our defense?
WYNNE: I think right now I worry about the industrial base of the future. I think we started industrial base in 1990 and I think our market doesn't support a large industrial base right now.
ROMANS: Air Force Secretary Wynne went through a long list of important military equipment already made by foreign companies. Northrop Grumman says it's already starting working on this contract, but they expect a stop work order anytime now, as the Air Force and the Government Accountability Office process Boeing's formal appeal of this decision. So we haven't heard the last of it.
DOBBS: We haven't heard the last of it, I certainly hope because to hear the Air Force secretary sit there and talk about 1990, the industrial base started decaying and this market can't support a defense manufacturing capability. Is anyone in that committee saying to that man, you're a complete fool?
ROMANS: There's actually great reverence for him today, Lou, because they basically acknowledged that the laws and the trade rules are so complicated, that he's trying to get the best equipment to the men and women on the ground as quickly as he possibly can and he says he's following the law to the letter.
DOBBS: He's following the law to the letter, is he? Well let me just if I may share with you, and with you, just wait there for a second, this from a viewer in California who wrote in with what I think is a powerful, compelling suggestion for the United States Air Force tanker deal.
This isn't going to please Northrop Grumman. It's not going to please Boeing air craft, but it just may please taxpayers. It just might please your sense of fair play, your sense of innovation, American know how and inventiveness.
A fellow by the name of Ralph Ricks (ph) is an aviation buff and wrote in to suggest to me that the U.S. Air Force instead of all this, buy used Boeing 767s and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s with thousands of hours left on their air frames and engines and convert them into tankers, which he believes could be done for a pittance by comparison to the $35 to $40 billion that is at play in this deal.
And obviously rather than outsourcing American national security and jobs to a foreign company. I want to say, Ralph, great idea. I hope more Americans will write into this broadcast to help us try to make sense for the people, the humble servants who serve us all in elected office in Washington, D.C. because brother, they need the help. Christine, what about that idea? I mean that just makes too much sense, doesn't it?
ROMANS: Well maybe they'll take that up in one of the many hearings we're expecting Lou on this, as we go forward.
DOBBS: For those that hold this Air Force secretary in reverence, I say why are they not dealing with these issues? We have seen the light helicopters for the army go to a foreign contractor, the president helicopters go to a foreign company.
We're watching tanker air craft. Now what is it next, jet fighters, cruise missiles? I mean, this is disgusting what's going on and I hold - this is just absurd what he's doing. And for this little club in Washington, sitting there to say we really think you're a terrific fellow, you're doing just hunky-dory while thousands of jobs are at risk here.
ROMANS: I heard again and again today, Lou, that global aviation is an industry that has been outsourced, is an industry where even Boeing gets parts from all over the world.
DOBBS: Especially Boeing because they're the most successful.
ROMANS: Absolutely and that this is simply the way it is. You get the parts from a lot of different places, you put it together.
DOBBS: Do you know how dumb this country is getting in terms of its business elites? They can't imagine a world in which they change direction. They can't imagine learning from their mistakes.
And this country is facing a country in innovation, because we are off shoring our production. We are -- as the secretary of the Air Force noted, we are a country with an industrial base that is utter decline. Hopefully, somebody will come to their senses in that town. Maybe soon, why don't we hope for it all.
Christine, thanks -- Christine Romans.
Time now for the poll. The question is: Do you believe the Air Force should reserve its decision to outsource American jobs and national security and award the tanker contract to Boeing?
Yes or no, cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later in this broadcast.
And you can tell Congress how outraged you are about this deal, the U.S. Air Force choosing to ship American jobs and our national security overseas, go to our newly designed Web site, LouDobbs.com. You'll find links there to the Web sites of the two biggest opponents of this deal in Congress, Congressman Todd Tiahrt in the House and Senator Patty Murray in the Senate.
Up next, New York Senator majority leader, Republican Joe Bruno - Governor Eliot Spitzer's chief Republican rival. Well, more than rival, they were enemies. Bruno to assume some of the duties of lieutenant governor, but not the title, when Spitzer steps down. That happens Monday. He joins me here next. And new efforts to curb Mexican drug cartel violence, violence that has spilled over to our side of the border. That special report and a great deal more coming right up.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials meeting to find a way to control escalating Mexican drug cartel violence on our borders. At least 300 people have been killed by cartel violence in Mexico just this year and the violence is spreading to our side of the border.
Casey Wian has our report from California at the U.S./Mexico border.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Attorneys general from six southwestern states and 20 of their counter parts from Mexico agreed to cooperate and try to fight cross border drug trafficking organizations.
TERRY GODDARD, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL: This has been a serious practical discussion about what steps we can take together to go after organized criminals that in the past have been able to use the international border in the past as a refuge.
WIAN: They've vowed to share information and jointly investigate truck and human trafficking as well as money laundering. Mexico estimates $10 billion in cold hard cash from drug and weapons sales crosses the border from the United States each year. The U.S. State Department estimates that since 2003 as much as $22 billion may have been wired from Mexico to the U.S. by drug trafficking organizations.
Mexico's attorney general attended the three day meeting and again requested U.S. help...
EDUARDO MEDINA MORA, MEXICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: The U.S. is the number one consumer in the world for the drugs that are produced or cross through Mexico. There's no way with can break the relationship between consumption in the U.S. and tolerance to consumption in the U.S. and violence in Mexico.
WIAN: Some recent victims include police commissioner Ricardo Rodriguez, gunned down by men with assault rifles while having his shoes shined on Friday. A day earlier, three mutilated bodies were dumped outside of the attorney general's office there. The violence is decimating Mexico's tourism industry.
Baja, California alone had nearly two million fewer foreign visitors last year. Just last week, Tijuana police seized more than 100 weapons, including gold and ivory plated assault rifles like these, 50,000 rounds of ammunition and half a ton of marijuana.
WIAN: Also last week, right across the border from where I am standing, Mexican federal troops fought a seven-hour gun battle with suspected drug cartel members hiding in a wealthy neighborhood home. 30,000 Mexican federal troops have been battling the drug cartels for over a year and Lou, they seem to have barely made a dent in the drug violence.
DOBBS: And we watch this kind of a conference as they put it. Let's be honest. This has been going on for over three decades. These governments have been working to stop drug trafficking they say for more than 30 years. This is P.R., this is more nonsense, there's no commitment to stopping the flow of drugs, illegal aliens or anything else that wants to cross the border.
WIAN: That's true, Lou. One of the most consistent complaints you hear from U.S. law enforcement officials all along the border, in private conversations not in press conferences like we heard today, is that they need more cooperation from Mexican authorities in solving some of these crimes.
U.S. criminals are allowed to hide in Mexico. Mexican criminals are allowed to hide in the United States and it's all because the border is so wide open -- Lou.
DOBBS: Absolutely and perhaps that reality will sink in on a few people before millions of Americans who die or whose lives are ruined by addiction.
Thank you, Casey Wian, from the border.
Let's look at some of your thoughts. Thousands of you e-mailing us about Barack Obama's misrepresentation of my position on illegal immigration.
Paul in Illinois said: "Barack Obama owes Lou Dobbs an apology for the misquotes and false innuendoes regarding illegal immigrants. I am hoping that moderate independents who will decide this election in November can see the truth."
Andrew in Ohio: "Barack Obama is my choice for president of the United States. I don't agree with everything you say Lou but I also don't agree with everything Obama says and in this case I have to go with you. Obama's position on illegal immigration has always been my least liked thing about him."
And Phyllis in California: "Lou I don't always agree with what you say, but you're a man who is up front about what you believe. That I respect. I'm an independent voter and I want to see what kind of man Obama really is. If he makes a mistake, will he step up to the plate?"
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 book "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit." And we'd love to hear from you also on my new radio show, the Lou Dobbs Show every afternoon a new three hour program. Go to loudobbs.com or loudobbsradio.com for local listings.
Up next here, more and more lawmakers have had a bellyful of ethnocentric special interests. Two congressmen leading a bipartisan effort to crack down on illegal immigration join me.
Also, the issue of race and politics taking center stage on the campaign trail. Three of the best and brightest political analysts anywhere join me.
And new shock waves tonight from Governor Spitzer's resignation over that prosecution scandal. Spitzer's biggest political enemy, New York senate majority leader, Republican Joe Bruno, is among our guests next.
DOBBS: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer today resigning in the scandal over the governor's meetings with prostitutes as it's being delicately phrased. Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will be sworn in as governor this Monday.
And Senator Joe Bruno is New York's Senate majority leader, Republican majority leader and one of Spitzer's of course biggest political enemies who will assume some of the duties of the Lieutenant Governor come Monday, joining me from Albany.
Senator, good to have you with us. Let me ask you, is that capital in absolute disarray or is it becoming more orderly?
JOE BRUNO (R), NY SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well today we're kind of moving forward thanks to the governor being more decisive in terms of his own life. It's been up for grabs here since Monday afternoon. People just sort of in a chaotic frame of mind, disbelief, shock, you name it.
But you know we've tried to move forward and we are trying to relate to what's important to the people of the state. Let's get a budget done. We passed a budget resolution today. The assembly did theirs. We're going to try to go forward and govern.
DOBBS: The public, certainly New York media is calling for a house cleaning in Albany. You were, obviously, Governor Spitzer's biggest political enemy. What are the next steps toward trying to achieve political maturity in the town?
BRUNO: Well, David Paterson is a colleague. We serve together in the senate. He is minority I as majority leader. We get along just great. I look forward to kind of partnering with him. I think you'll see a different tone.
As you know, Eliot Spitzer sort of governed with intimidation, overly aggressive, threatening. David is an entirely different kind of person. He understands that we have to get results. You get results in this state by partnering, by getting together. That's where I am. I look forward to the future in a positive way.
And I hope that Eliot Spitzer takes his own advice, that he's going to heal himself, heal what's going on with his family, and I really hope he does that and wish him well in that regard.
DOBBS: And as to your own problems in terms of the FBI investigation, the ethics investigation?
BRUNO: Nothing new. Lou, I've not been accused of anything ever. When they're doing whatever it is that they think is appropriate, we've been totally cooperative. It's old stuff, nothing new, and I expect to go on with my life.
DOBBS: I failed to point out to our viewers, this in point of fact this is stemming from trooper-gate, another scandal of the Spitzer short term as governor of New York State as you two continue to battle. That part of the battle obviously decided. Thank you very much.
BRUNO: That was unfortunate in the way he handled the state police in terms of doing things that are not appropriate. That's kind of an ongoing condition in the state.
DOBBS: Let's hope the conditions improve and improve markedly for all the folks in New York.
Joe Bruno, Senate majority leader, thanks for being was.
BRUNO: Thank you.
DOBBS: Up next here, more on Eliot Spitzer's resignation. Three of the best political analysts try to explain what's going on in national politics, state politics, our political life in this country.
Congressman Brian Bilbray and Congressman Heath Shuler join us to talk about their bipartisan effort to bring more to illegal immigration laws and improving border security. Some people are interested in that in the nation's capital.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: The SAVE Act is a bipartisan effort to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws and borders. It's making its way through the House despite Democratic leadership efforts to stall it out in committee.
A discharged petition has been filed and if a majority of house members sign on, that bill will go toot floor regardless of efforts to block it. The SAVE Act introduced by Congressman Heath Shuler and Congressman Bilbray, joining us tonight.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us. The discharge position, 163 signatures already. Do you think you're going to be able to overcome leadership obstacles to get it voted on? REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: First of all, this is the only way to overcome leadership obstacles. We've tagged this operation offensive line in honor of the quarterback here that we're blocking for but it's a great start. I've been around in congress since '95 and I've never seen a discharge be able to get so much support so quickly. It's a compliment to our quarterback Heath Shuler.
DOBBS: Congressman Bilbray is a Republican. You're a Democrat. How much trouble are you in with Nancy Pelosi, the speaker?
REP. HEATH SHULER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I think the speaker she knew when I was asked to run for office that I would do what's right for the people of west North Carolina and what's right for our country. And put the political politics aside and working with across the aisle what it's going to take to turn the country around.
DOBBS: You have 163 signatures. You need about --
SHULER: Two hundred and seventeen.
DOBBS: Two hundred and seventee, two hundred and eighteen. The idea that you can get that many signatures, do you think that assures passage?
BILBRAY: I think it ensures that we -- it looks very good. I think that the Congressman has put together a pretty team from the Democrat point of view. We have 49 Democrats now that have signed on. It puts the heat on the Republicans to start showing up and keeping the promises, too.
DOBBS: You're bucking your president, I should have pointed out as a Republican, while Heath Shuler is bucking the speaker and Democratic leadership. Why is there such resistance on the part of the Democratic leadership, the senate and the house and the Republican president and members of both parties to do what is best for the American people, which is secure the borders and ports and then begin the hard work of reforming immigration law.
This could have been done three years ago if these leaders, particularly the president and the Democratic leadership, had not insisted on trying to gain the American people.
SHULER: Well, I think it goes back to politics. Everybody wants the political advantage and when in the reality, they are not listening to the American people. Having bipartisan support on a piece of legislation, I've even asked for it to come up under a suspension bill which would actually have to have a supermajority in order to get to it pass. We feel we would have over 300 members of the house actually vote yes.
DOBBS: Then you hear the nonsense about bringing people out of the shadows. That's not what that about, this resistance to legislation to secure our borders and ports. This is about ignoring the American people's interest. We're glad you're advancing that interest and making sense. We really salute you and we wish you the best of luck Congressman Shuler and Congressman Bilbray.
BILBRAY: Thank you very much, Lou. And remember, everybody call in and ask are you on the discharge for the SAVE Act. You've got to ask your congressman that.
DOBBS: Here's what we'll do. We're going to have that on the Web site, loudobbs.com. By the end of this broadcast you'll be able to click on, go to our homepage and we'll have the link that you can go to determine whether your representative, your congressman, has signed onto that discharge petition. Let your voice be heard.
BILBRAY: Thank you very much.
DOBBS: Gentlemen, thank you very much.
BILBRAY: This is what it's all about being in a republic.
DOBBS: Absolutely. It would be nice to be able to save this republic. We appreciate your efforts to do so.
A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight, do you believe the air force should reverse the decision to outsource national security and American jobs and award the tanker contract instead to Boeing? Yes or no? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results in just a few moments.
Coming up here next, will Eliot Spitzer face criminal charges now that he's resigned as governor of New York?
Geraldine Ferraro quits the Clinton campaign after she made comments about the importance of race in Senator Obama's position in this campaign. Three of the best political analysts in the country join me to discuss that and a great deal more.
We're coming right back. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Legendary "New York Times" columnist, Bill Safire, a presidential speech writer, an author, he's updated the Safire's political dictionary. It's in a new paperback edition. Some of the terms we want to share with you that may be familiar to you including the word amnesty which Bill Safire describes as an attack word on attempts to compromise the immigration issue.
And bridge to nowhere is a symbol to derogate extravagant government spending on a project that would benefit relative few people. That's derived from the $200 million pork barrel project, bridge to nowhere project in Alaska.
Other new additions include slam dunk, axis of evil, just to name a few. Be sure to look up populist. I loved the definition of that. Bill Safire's political dictionary is out now and well worth your time. There it is. It's terrific.
I want to tell everybody watching the broadcast and the gentlemen joining me here, I had to go to a dictionary to look up a word in the table of contents. That's how demanding he is and how helpful the book is.
We're going to take a look at what's going on in politics. For that we're joined by Errol Lewis "New York Daily News" columnist and LOU DOBBS TONIGHT contributor, Keith Richburg New York bureau chief for the "Washington Post," and Miguel Perez, syndicated columnist and LOU DOBBS TONIGHT contributor.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us.
What in the world was Geraldine Ferraro thinking, in your view?
MIGUEL PEREZ, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: She was playing the race card.
DOBBS: She was?
PEREZ: Any time now, race has gotten to sensitive, anytime you bring up the subject you're playing the card.
DOBBS: You know what I like? She came back and said Barack Obama's camp is going after her because she's white and a woman. Now what?
PEREZ: Obama responded very well. If it was the other way around, if one of my people said look a woman, Hillary is not qualified and she's only getting this advantage as a woman, a lot of people would be offended.
DOBBS: Geraldine Ferraro also that said she was saying it in the context of history. She said she was not trying to negate his qualifications. She said that she also included in the comment the fact that in 1984, she would haven't been on the ticket if she weren't a woman.
ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": I couldn't make heads of tails of that. What I know for sure is in '84 she was added to the ticket which then went down to historic defeat losing 49 states. I mean including New York State and she even lost by ten points in her own congressional district in the middle of New York city. This is not somebody I think we should be looking to for advice about what works and what doesn't work in politics.
DOBBS: But what is interesting about what works in politics, Keith, she claims that the Obama campaign went after her and the comments for political advantage. The comments were made in a speech in California and the Obama campaign promulgated it for their own purposes.
KEITH RICHBURG, "WASHINGTON POST": Each side is looking for something that the other side says to beat up on them. What she said was stupid. DOBBS: Would you do that with a capital "S"?
RICHBURG: If Obama were a white man he would have beaten Hillary Clinton by now. But what she said was just outright silly.
DOBBS: Are you saying if he were white the advantage would have been greater?
LOUIS: Probably because he would be getting some of these white working class votes that he's not getting now.
DOBBS: Now we have it going. Anybody want to jump in there on that?
RICHBURG: I don't know if the what if games get us anywhere. But I mean I think what we know for sure is that Clinton, absent of a re-engineering of the rules, cannot catch him in delegates. That cannot happen.
DOBBS: Probably why she wants him on the ticket.
LOUIS: It was a very generous offer. He's ahead in money, delegates. He's closing the gap in superdelegates. He's won more states, won more votes.
DOBBS: What's your point?
LOUIS: I think the point is the Clinton camp and this flap is part of it, they're starting to flail a little bit. Unless they change and shake things up in some fundamental way --
DOBBS: Who was flailing at the end of last week? Samantha Power forced to resign after calling Hillary a monster.
PEREZ: It goes back to the personal, racial and whatever attacks that don't contribute anything to the dialogue we should be having in this country.
DOBBS: What's the dialogue?
PEREZ: Has anybody mentioned Iraq lately?
DOBBS: On the campaign trail?
PEREZ: I'm talking about them. They're avoiding the issue.
DOBBS: How about illegal immigration? How about the millions of people addicted in this country to controlled substances, does anybody want to talk about that? The failure of public education for an entire generation of Americans? No, we want these folks telling us how they voted or didn't vote.
LOUIS: The problem with the campaign, they agree on so much.
DOBBS: The problem with this campaign is the candidates. The candidates are not of a quality that should be demanded by a nation of 300 million people that call themselves a superpower.
LOUIS: We in the press have played along too much with it. There's one complaint, we stick to the horse race stuff. We're not even doing that well. There was a primary yesterday in Mississippi. It's worth talking about.
DOBBS: Let's talk about it, he won. He's got more delegates.
LOUIS: Rather than slicing and dicing it and saying, there's a big black vote. He did this. He did that.
DOBBS: He got 91 percent of the black vote.
LOUIS: This includes the gulf region.
DOBBS: Do we just dismiss it because we know they're not going to be able to pay for it or get it enact? Are we a cynical filter between the candidates and the people?
RICHBURG: There is an element of that, for example, just on healthcare to take one example. We all know that these plans they're putting out -- it's going to be negotiated with Congress. So it's irrelevant to sit there and debate the specifics of whose plan is better because, whatever emerges, if anything emerges, will be a compromise.
DOBBS: Why haven't we heard from a single one of these candidates, Errol Louis, on the tanker deal, giving that contract to a consortium that's being charged with illegal subsidies in the European Union before the WTO?
LOUIS: It's for much the same reason that many of the pollsters aren't even polling Democrats on what they think about all this stuff. There's this conspiracy of silence on these tough issues that enable both the candidates, the media, to just kind of skate past them and sort of move on to the next contest, move on to the next little flap -- this kind of rhetorical --
DOBBS: So what do we do? On this broadcast we're going to change all of that beginning tonight.
LOUIS: Well, I would recommend it. I think -- there's always substance in any given contest. There's something that those voters care about and it goes way beyond race and gender. And those local issues are what we've got to sort of get more into.
PEREZ: There are issues that they can talk about that we know that they are going to have the influence once they become president. There are other issues that are going to have to go through Congress and we should separate those, just like Keith was telling us.
There's a big, big difference between what they're saying about healthcare, which is going to have to go through Congress, and what they're saying, for example, about meeting with our enemies, which is -- a president can only do on his own.
DOBBS: Keith, I think we're going to leave it with have to leave it with Miguel's quote of you.
RICHBURG: I agree.
DOBBS: You get the last word by quotation.
Thanks very much. Keith Richburg, Errol Louis, thank you very much. Miguel Perez, thank you.
The results of our poll tonight: 92 percent of you say the Air Force should reverse its decision to outsource American jobs and national security and award instead that tanker contract to Boeing.
We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching.
Good night from New York. The "ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown begins now.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxantshop.com