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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Clinton, Obama Go Negative in Final Push for Votes; North American Union?

Aired April 21, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.
Tonight -- Senators Clinton and Obama go negative in their final push for votes in Pennsylvania. Some say those attacks could cause long-term damage to the Democratic Party and their ultimate nominee. We'll have complete coverage.

Also tonight -- the so-called three amigos, President Bush, President Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada, they're holding a summit meeting in New Orleans. Are they trying to create a North American union without consent of either Congress or the American people? We'll have that special report.

And stunning new evidence tonight of the potentially devastating consequences of the federal government's open border policies, we'll have that special report from Los Angeles, all of that and all the day's news and much more, coming up straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Monday, April 21. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. A final frenzy of campaigning today in Pennsylvania, Senators Clinton and Obama tonight holding final rallies before tomorrow's critical primary election. The primary, the biggest remaining contest before the Democratic Convention. Both senators have launched a new wave of negative ads to win over uncommitted voters.

The candidates are using a much nastier and negative tone in these attacks and that's raising concerns in some quarters of the Democratic Party that the nominee may face bitter divisions within the party. We have extensive coverage tonight and we begin with Suzanne Malveaux on the campaign trail in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, we're just southeast of Pittsburgh and we're waiting for a town hall rally, a meeting if you will with Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. The crowd very much excited. Obama as well as Clinton have spent millions of dollars in Pennsylvania. They have rolled out celebrities; they've crisscrossed the state. That is because tomorrow could really be a game changer. It could set the whole tone for the races to come.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on board the train (INAUDIBLE)! MALVEAUX (voice-over): Pulling out all the stops Barack Obama went from whistle stop tour to wooing working families over waffles and sausage.


MALVEAUX: Less than a mile away Hillary Clinton was fighting for the same voters, emphasizing her local ties.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My grandfather went to work in the Scranton lace mills when he was 11 years old.

MALVEAUX: After tens of millions of dollars and six weeks of baby kissing, bowling, beer, and bickering. It's game time. And everyone wants to know -- who's going to win.

H. CLINTON: What's important today and tomorrow is that we turn out the vote.

OBAMA: You and I together, we won't just win Pennsylvania, we'll win this nomination.

MALVEAUX: With voting just hours away, both campaigns have stepped up their attacks, going after each other on health care, trade, and personal strength.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry Truman said it best; if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Who do you think has what it takes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newspapers call Hillary Clinton's negative attacks the old politics.

MALVEAUX: Obama would like to end the race here. But he's already conceded he believes Clinton will win Pennsylvania, by a narrow margin.

OBAMA: I'm not predicting a win. I'm predicting it's going to be close, and that, you know, we've -- are going to do a lot better than people expect.

MALVEAUX: Clinton who had enjoyed a 20-point lead over Obama when they first started competing for the state is trying to lower expectations. A spokesman said the goal tomorrow is to come out with a "W," as in a win, whether it's one vote or 100,000.


MALVEAUX: And, Lou, although Obama really reserved today for talking about policy issues, issues he says that are important to the voters, he did not criticize Clinton today, but his spokesperson Bill Burton did take issue with an ad that was released today by the Clinton campaign, invoking Osama bin Laden. They call this, they say, this is the politics of fear and that it is being used to score political points. We'll see how all this plays with the voters tomorrow. Lou?

DOBBS: Indeed we will. Thank you very much, Suzanne. Suzanne Malveaux.

While the Pennsylvania election, the first primary, between Senators Clinton and Obama in six weeks, the latest opinion poll shows Senator Clinton has a lead over Senator Obama in Pennsylvania, but that the lead has narrowed over recent weeks. Joining me now from Philadelphia, Candy Crowley who is with the Clinton campaign.

Candy, can Senator Clinton win this primary and can she win it by a convincing margin?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, she can. I mean, let's just look at the demographics. This state compared to the national average is older. It is whiter. It is more female, and it has more union households.

All of those are demographics that Hillary Clinton has done very well in. I mean, this is her kind of state in Pennsylvania. They have known that all along. You add to that the fact that she has roots here. And you look at that big number of undecideds that will -- I think it is seven or eight percent that really swaying one way or the other could turn this election.

And Hillary Clinton mostly has been the one that has picked up those undecided votes in the last 48 hours. So she obviously could win big here.

DOBBS: And Senator Obama's outspending Senator Clinton on advertising by a margin of 2-1. Is she in any way, can you see any way in which she a being obviously, at least disadvantaged by that spending margin?

CROWLEY: Well, I'll tell you that they've tried to turn that around on Obama. And it's, you know, become the underdog which they think connects very well to working-class people, who had hard economic times recently and over time in Pennsylvania. So, it's always been, well, I'm being outspent 2-1.

My opponent thinks he can buy this race. They've fund-raised off of it. I mean obviously money helps you in a campaign. But they have done their best to kind of turn that around. And they are also kind of pre-spending the results, saying listen if Barack Obama can't beat Hillary Clinton outspending her 2-1 in Pennsylvania, well then where can he win? They are going to use the electable argument if he loses here citing all the money that he is spending, so they've worked very hard in the Clinton campaign to kind of turn this on its head.

DOBBS: Candy, than you very much, Candy Crowley from Philadelphia with the Clinton campaign.

Senator Obama's campaign as Candy just reported is being driven by a huge cash advantage. Senator Obama began the month with $42 million in cash, nearly five times more than Senator Clinton when she had $9 million of cash and 10 million in debt. Jessica Yellin now reports on the advertising war between these two senators.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Clinton ad takes aim at Obama's squeaky clean image.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've seen the ad.

OBAMA: I don't take money from oil companies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No candidate does. It's been against the law for 100 years. But Barack Obama accepted $200,000 from executives and employees of oil companies.

YELLIN: True, but not the whole story. It's illegal for corporations to contribute to presidential candidates. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of late March, Barack Obama has accepted more than $222,000 from oil and gas company employees.

What the ad doesn't tell you, Senator Clinton has raked in even more, at least $309,000 from oil and gas interests. And she takes contributions from PACS, groups that bundle donations. Obama doesn't.

OBAMA: She's essentially saying, yeah, I'm bad, but he's just as bad. What kind of argument is that?

YELLIN: Obama's gone negative, too, with this ad attacking Clinton's health care plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton's attacking, but what's she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can't afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don't. Barack Obama believes it's not that people don't want health care. It's that they can't afford it.

YELLIN: Partly true. Clinton would require everyone get health care coverage. Obama wouldn't. Now, she'd have to enforce that somehow, possibly with a fine. But she says, if you can't afford the health coverage, the government will help you pay.

H. CLINTON: The last thing we need is to have somebody spending as much money as he has downgrading universal health care.

YELLIN: You can't turn on a television in Pennsylvania without seeing these political ads.

LARRY EICHEL, "PHILADELPHIA ENQUIRER": I think when you have so many commercials like that sometimes the impact of any individual spot is pretty negligible.


YELLIN: And, Lou, it is ad saturation here in Pennsylvania. Just to give you a sense in the last two weeks alone, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton's political ads have aired almost 11,000 times. Obama's almost twice as often as Clinton's. Lou, it is record breaking.

DOBBS: It is record breaking and this was supposed to be about the politics of change, and what you're saying is both candidates are lying about the other's position on these issues.

YELLIN: Well, it's not unusual that in a political season we see ads that tell a harsher story about the opponent than they do about their own candidate, so, yes, they are partial truths in each of these.

DOBBS: Yeah, you know, why don't we say it this way? And this is -- and really, I'm curious about it. They are distorting the record and the intent and the position of the other candidates, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. That's the reality, right?

YELLIN: You could say that, Lou. You could also say that they're each making the strongest case for themselves. But, yes, there are clear distortions in both ads and, you know, we're doing our best job, the best job we can to point them out when we find them.

DOBBS: And truly our journalists become victims of striving for objectivity because the reality is they have done just exactly that, they've distorted one another's position and I get to be straightforward and if you will less than objective and say straight out, these senators are distorting each other's position and records. That's liberating, isn't it? Thank you very much, Jessica, great job of reporting. Jessica Yellin in the most objective of fashions. Thank you.

Senator McCain tonight is trying to win the support of Democrats who are frustrated by the negative tone of the Democratic race, Senator McCain today campaigning in western Alabama, a strongly Democratic area. McCain trying to show voters he is now a populist who's capable of representing all Americans. Can you imagine? Dana Bash has our report.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Standing in front of Selma, Alabama's famous bridge, a tribute to civil rights leaders beaten for marching on it four decades ago.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people who tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge weren't a mob. They weren't a threat. They were patriots.

BASH: The first visit in memory from a Republican presidential candidate, John McCain's whole point in coming.

MCCAIN: There must be no forgotten places in America where there have been ignored for long years by the sins of indifference and injustice!

BASH: McCain aides chose the bridge backdrop to symbolize this Republican's intention to reach out to the black community, 70 percent of Selma is black, but almost all the audience was white, imagery telling a different story than scripted.

(on camera): You're here talking about civil rights obviously, in a predominantly black town. But it's hard not to notice that many of the people here in the crowd are white. Is that an illustration of the challenge that you have?

MCCAIN: I am aware of the challenges, and I am aware of the -- of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me. But I'm going to be the president of all the people and I will work for all the people.

BASH (voice-over): Empty Selma storefronts illustrate economic hardship and high unemployment. McCain said his conservative principles will help.

MCCAIN: It's time for change, the right kind of change, change that trusts in the strength of free people and free markets.

BASH: One of the few black voters who came to see McCain said she wasn't swayed.

JANNIE VENTER (D), SELMA, ALABAMA CITY COUNCIL: I mean I don't have anything against him. I'm just -- he's a Republican, I'm a Democrat. That is just like water and oil. It just doesn't mix.

BASH: They may not like McCain's gospel much here, but he got a taste of theirs.



BASH: And McCain spoke vividly here about the bloody beating of John Lewis, who 43 years ago marched on that bridge behind me as a civil rights leader. Now, of course, he is a Democratic congressman and he supports Barack Obama now. And, Lou, Congressman Lewis put out a statement saying he didn't know that Senator McCain would be talking so extensively about him and his experience here in Selma.

He said though he is gratified that he decided to talk about the struggle for voting rights, but he also made clear that he believes that it is more profound than partisan politics. Lou?

DOBBS: He made it clear that what?

BASH: That he believes that the whole discussion of civil rights is more profound than partisan politics.

DOBBS: I would certainly hope so. I think that -- I'm sitting here thinking, as best I possibly can, Dana, about the last time a Republican was at Selma, has there ever been a Republican presidential candidate, when would be the last time?

BASH: We don't think that there has been one here in Selma, Lou. We've actually been asking around. We asked the City Hall here. We asked a lot of the locals and they say that they simply cannot remember one, that leads to us believe there simply hasn't been one. That is a big reason why John McCain came here. That's the point he was trying to make.

DOBBS: Well, it's one he succeeded in making, don't you think? This is really remarkable because he didn't really require the presence of civil rights leaders. He was paying his respects to those who were engaged in an important civil rights battle, and I -- I have to say, it's one of the most original -- the original, if you will, decision that I've seen taken in this campaign. How about you?

BASH: Well, he's going to have a long week of these kinds of moves, so it should be interesting.


DOBBS: No, no, I understand. I understand. But can you think of a more -- and this is not -- it doesn't require you to step outside your role as an objective journalist, but I can't think of a more original decision taken by one of these candidates for the life of me.

BASH: It is certainly different. I've covered the Republican White House, the Bush White House, for several years. I never took a trip down here, and clearly, that is exactly the point, as I mentioned, that the McCain campaign is trying to make. They are trying to carve out his own brand of politics, one that is separate from what historically has been the Republican brand and certainly one that is also the Democratic brand. We'll see if he succeeds. But he certainly is trying, I should point out.

DOBBS: Well and terrific reporting, Dana, thank you, a remarkable story.

BASH: Thank you.

DOBBS: Dana Bash from Selma, Alabama. That's right, I said Selma, Alabama, referring to a Republican presidential candidate.

Well, we'll have much more on the Pennsylvania primary election ahead here.

Also -- President Bush holding a summit meeting with Mexican and Canadian leaders in New Orleans. Now, this is going to sound a little more Republican to you. They are there pushing for a North American Union. Bill Tucker will have our report from New Orleans. Bill?

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, we know they're meeting but we don't know exactly what they are talking about or what they might be agreeing to. And that has a lot of people just plain angry. We'll be back with the report, Lou.

DOBBS: Yeah, part of the story is we've got three heads of state and no one knows what the heck they're talking about.

TUCKER: Exactly.

DOBBS: I don't think that's going to please too many people in Canada or perhaps even Mexico. It sure won't please that many people in the United States of America.

And you won't believe the harsh impact of our federal government's open-border policies on one of this country's biggest cities. We'll have that special report and a great deal more straight ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: President Bush is in New Orleans tonight. He's there in a summit meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Those three leaders are expected to talk about NAFTA, so-called free trade among the three nations. Ed Henry is traveling with the president tonight, and he is, of course, in New Orleans with him.

Ed, tell us all about it.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, as host, the president got to choose the city. He chose New Orleans because he wanted to highlight it as a comeback city and, in fact, today he appeared with President Calderon, reopening the Mexican Consulate here that had been closed for some six years.

Then the two leaders emerged from a closed-door meeting to talk of trade, both saying that it's time basically for the U.S. Congress to stop stalling the Colombian trade deal. But also Mr. Bush used this as an occasion to stand up and defend NAFTA, which as you know is under assault right now on the presidential campaign trail for not living up to its hype.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you and I grew up, in our respective countries, the border region of Mexico and the United States was very poor. And today when you go down there, there's prosperity on both sides of the border. A lot of that has to do with trade. Our trade has tripled, and our economies have grown, and this has been a very positive aspect for both our countries.


HENRY: While selling trade, Mr. Bush will not be issuing a new push for comprehensive immigration reform. Officials saying they realize that basically there's no point in pushing something that is hopelessly stalled on Capitol Hill. Also they don't want to push it at a time when John McCain, the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, is trying to woo conservatives. President Calderon, however, decided to bring up what he called comprehensive immigration reform, saying he realizes the presidential election year, so it's not going to happen this year, but he said he hopes the U.S. government deals with it next year by bringing, quote, "respect and responsibility to the process". Lou?

DOBBS: Did President Calderon talk about in any way taking responsibility for the people that he is effectively ushering out of his country because they're too poorly educated, they lack the skills, and are simply so impoverished that they have to flee the country and that -- did he take any responsibility as he put it himself?

HENRY: He did not appear to take any responsibility in his own remarks. Interesting President Bush also raised the issue of drug smuggling across the border and that's another issue obviously the Mexican government is going to have to deal with, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, we say that they're going to have to deal with it. But Mexico remains the largest source of methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States and that president you're reporting on has allowed that trade to go with his blessings because he's refused to secure that border. Thank you very much, Ed Henry.

Protesters tonight are gathered there in New Orleans. They're voicing outrage over the so-called security and prosperity partnership of North America known as well the North American Union. Critics say these three leaders are negotiating that agreement in secret. Bill Tucker has our report from New Orleans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will exercise our Second Amendment, against any and all who will...

TUCKER (voice-over): There is some unease in some quarters over what the administration calls the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the SPP. The meetings between the United States, Canada and Mexico are not secret. The discussions are. And there's anger over it, some, labor leaders.

DAVE COLES, ENERGY & PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA: This is about corporate rule, not corporate America, corporate world taking over the responsibilities that belong to the legislatures and the parliaments and the governments of our country.

GARY BEEVERS, UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA: This is all being done behind closed doors with no transparency whatsoever and it shouldn't be secret in this country. It shouldn't be secret in Canada, and it shouldn't be secret in Mexico.

TUCKER: But it is. Even the human rights group, Amnesty International sent an open letter to the leaders saying, quote, "the secrecy and lack of accountability that has marked the development of SPP leave insufficient room for informed involvement of civil society".

The Bush administration denies any secrecy about the talks that it says are to address common security concerns and facilitate trade and travel. On its Web site,, it dismisses criticism that there is no oversight of SPP by Congress, as, quote, "a myth". Some in Congress find that laughable.

REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: There have been no hearings on the SPP negotiations and transactions. In fact, I signed a letter with parliamentarians from Canada, Mexico and the United States, asking that these discussions not proceed forward until the legislative bodies of all three countries are informed as to what's going on. TUCKER: Kaptur and more than a dozen other representatives sent a letter to President Bush asking that the talks be stopped. Some in Canada agree. Maude Barlow heads a public advocacy group.

MAUDE BARLOW, COUNCIL OF CANADIANS: This is profoundly anti- Democratic. Decisions are being made at these committees almost as if it's sort of a treaty outside of any democratic process around areas that will affect all of our lives. So, we are here. We're not going away and we think that...


TUCKER: And these are extensive talks, Lou. They are wide ranging, covering anything from environmental concerns to labor conditions, to regulatory issues. Critics say all of this secrecy amounts to what they call a full assault on the sovereignty of the United States. Lou?

DOBBS: As well as the sovereignty of Canada and Mexico, for that matter.


DOBBS: You know, I just can't think of how in the world this administration could rationalize these meetings, take one more shot if you will, here, Bill, and tell us what this White House of ours -- I'll use the term loosely -- is saying.

TUCKER: It's not a secret. We have a Web site. You can go and see what we're talking about.


DOBBS: Let me try this again.

TUCKER: There's no need...


DOBBS: Let me try this again.


DOBBS: What are they saying is being discussed...

TUCKER: Trade issues, facilitating the trade in the movement of people back and forth between the borders, Lou. That's the official word on what's being discussed.

DOBBS: And that's the sum total of what they will divulge?

TUCKER: That's about -- puts it all together in one nice little package, Lou.

DOBBS: That's incredible. And to think that, you know, this is what's great. This country has come to a point where we're accepting this kind of nonsense from this kind of administration sitting in the White House that belongs to the American people after all, or at least it used to. Thank you very much, Bill Tucker, from New Orleans.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur will be here later. We'll be discussing the North American Summit, and the negotiations and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which is to lead to, of course, the North American Union. This is also the subject of our poll tonight.

Are you outraged that talks that could lead to a North American Union are being held in secrecy by the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada? Yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later.

Up next -- a troubling new report tonight on the very real consequences of our government's open borders policies.

And the final frenzy in Pennsylvania, Senator Hillary Clinton clinging to a lead in the final hours before the all-important vote. We'll talk about that, and a great deal more, with three of the best political analysts in the country.

Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: Academic and political elites refuse to make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants as they analyze what is happening in this country, security of our borders, and, of course, immigration policy. Now, there's a compelling new study that also fails to differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants, but does demonstrate that we are not successfully integrating immigrants into our society. Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than three million Los Angeles county residents, a third of the population, are immigrants. And according to the Nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, government policies have failed to integrate these L.A. newcomers into American society. And that could foreshadow what happens throughout the United States.

For example, 46 percent of L.A.'s workforce is foreign born, while more than one in five immigrants live in poverty. Forty percent of Los Angeles school students and a third of adults are English language learners, amazingly four out of every five elementary schoolchildren still learning English were born in the U.S. The study blasts the federal government for failing to develop a national policy on integrating immigrants.

MICHAEL FIX, MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE: Are we putting too much at risk by letting market forces take their course? What we have to do is start to invest more. We've had a great return on a very small investment so far historically and the question is can we afford to spend so little as we go forward with these fairly significant numbers of newcomers and of people who don't speak English particularly well given the demands of the economy.

WIAN: The study also found integration barriers are even larger for families headed by what it called unauthorized parents. One group advocating reduced immigration to the United States criticized the study for blurring the lines between legal and illegal immigrants, but agreed with its main conclusion.

RICK OLTMAN, CALIFORNIANS FOR POP. STABILIZATION: One of the comments that referred to integration of immigrants as an afterthought. In fact, that's not accurate. There's no thought to integrating any of these immigrants. It's simply to grab the cheap labor as quickly as you possibly can to maximize your profit. We agree immigrants should be integrated into the society and welcomed.

WIAN: The study made no recommendations on what to do with illegal immigrants in the United States, variously estimated at anywhere between 12 million to 20 million people.


WIAN: But it does make the familiar argument that demographic trends will require more immigrant labor in the future in the United States to remain economically competitive.


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Why no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants?

WIAN: Well, they did make -- the study did make a distinction in part by saying that illegal immigrants have a much more difficult time integrating into American society than legal --

DOBBS: Well, if they acknowledge that there is such a thing as an illegal immigrant, why in the world, and if there is somewhere between 12 million and 20 million of them, you would think that the least -- the least challenged intellect in academia would understand it would be important to deal with a number of them and the services that would be required and the potential that they would represent.

WIAN: Yeah, we asked them why they didn't take a position. They mentioned the failure of comprehensive immigration reform as they called it, why they didn't take a position on that. They said that they didn't want to get involved in that kind of a political issue. They wanted to just basically put out the framework, the issues that are there out, the numbers and the scope and the size of this problem so policy makers can actually make rational, informed decisions.

DOBBS: They can't even begin to until they understand the dimension of the problem.

WIAN: Yeah, and I think that this report actually lays it out quite starkly. For example, it says that, to teach English to all of the immigrants, both legal and illegal, in the United States, to get them up to acceptable level of English proficiency would take 600 million man-hours of teaching, Lou, so that really shows the staggering size of this problem.

DOBBS: Yes, it does. But it doesn't demonstrate to the degree to which the social services are being provided are adequate for those who are here legally as opposed to those services that would be wanting for those who are here illegally.

You don't have to take one side of an argument to be concerned by both aspects of that discussion and the parameters of the problem.

But, you know, there's so much political correctness and hidebound orthodoxy that has captured academia in this country, we're probably very good to have this beginning to this rudimentary beginning to a study.

Thank you very much, Casey, Casey Wian.

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

Susan in Texas said, "Dear Lou, count me in as a new independent voter. I have called myself a Democrat for 33 years but I can no longer belong to the Democratic Party after this primary! The pitiful way they have been trying to push Hillary Clinton out before the process is over is disgusting."

Mike in Arizona said, "Dear Lou, that freshman senator from Illinois clearly just doesn't get it. I'm a 40 year old, hard working, gun toting, Jesus loving American. He needs to go back to the Senate, serve his constituency and learn more about the American people before he attempts to represent all of us to the world."

We'll have more of your thoughts here later on the broadcast. They get better and better.

And please join me on the radio each Monday through Friday afternoon, for the LOU DOBBS SHOW. Go to to find local listings for THE LOU DOBBS SHOW on the radio.

And coming up here next, troubling charges of the dangerous conspiracy, endangering the lives of law enforcement officers in this country and rising outrage over the Bush administration's efforts to create a North American union, cramming it down the throats of the American people and our congress. A leading congressional critic is Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.

And I'll be joined here in the studio by these three gentlemen, some of the best political strategists in the nation. We'll be talking about the primary tomorrow.

And by the way, what is going on with this administration in its waning days, or should I say its lame months? Stay with us. We'll continue in one moment.


DOBBS: Joining me now, three of my favorite political analysts, Republican strategist, former campaign chairman for Mike Huckabee, Ed Rollins. Also, white house political director, under Ronald Reagan, New York "Daily News" columnist, Errol Louis and Democratic strategists superdelegate supporting Hillary Clinton, Robert Zimmerman; all three, of course, contributors to this broadcast.

Ed, I know that a lot of people may be shocked, but Senators Obama and Clinton have definitively, without equivocation, gone negative in Pennsylvania. Are you shocked?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Why would I be shocked? That's part of the game. You're down to very few voters that haven't made up their mind yet. They're more inclined to think less of the opponent than they are something positive saying about yourself. I think the critical thing here is that Hillary's argument is that he can't win. His argument countered back is I can win and she's the one with all the baggage.

DOBBS: Well, she's got some of the -- she's got a little advantage, I think, certainly on baggage. But are you surprised that Obama went this negative at this point?

ERROL LOUIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: No, not at all. Not at all. People go negative in the closing hours of the campaign as we've seen when there is a shrinking pool of undecided voters and when you're really kind of grabbing for in this case the spread. I don't think that there's any doubt that Hillary Clinton will win this state possibly by double digits but if they keep her to single digits, the Obama campaign is going to tout it as a victory.

So, you do whatever you have to. And the kitchen sink does not get thrown from one side of the fence. It gets tossed back and forth, so they're going at it tooth and nail.

DOBBS: Was I mis -- was I naive? I assumed that when Senator Obama said that this was the politics of change that we wouldn't see this sort of untoward behavior.

LOUIS: Well, you know, they -- he got backed into a corner I mean at a minimum. You know, when -- when you start seeing ads saying is this --

DOBBS: Our principles will hold until they are no longer operative.

LOUIS: When you start seeing ads saying if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen, that's a level of, you know, throwing down the gauntlet that --

DOBBS: How dare your candidate say such nasty things?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Long before they were in corners, Errol, they were going at each other. Here's the news flash, he's not that negative. You look at attacks that Bill Bradley leveled against Al Gore, in that contest as short as it was, that was negative. And Jerry Brown's attacks against Bill Clinton, that was negative. DOBBS: Wait a minute, wait a minute, I got to get this straight. You're postulating it isn't negative because there were more negative campaigns.

ZIMMERMAN: I'm saying it's not that negative. It's healthy.

DOBBS: It's a healthy negative.

ZIMMERMAN: I'm not comfortable with that. Is it over the top on both sides, sure it is at times.

ROLLINS: It's a warm-up act for the fall and this is going to be a very close election again and as my former candidate used to say, if you don't want to see blood, particularly your own, buy a ticket and sit up in the stands. It's a blood sport. And especially when it's close and we're into a very close race.

DOBBS: Well, these poll of polls say we're looking at somewhere around 7 percent in the poll of polls. Is Hillary Clinton going to be able to meet that level?

ZIMMERMAN: My personal prediction?

DOBBS: Yeah.

ZIMMERMAN: And you've got both sides spinning and playing games with it? My personal prediction is she'll exceed that level.

DOBBS: Errol?

LOUIS: That last number on your screen, 7 percent unsure, I think she gets most of those unsure votes and that takes her up into the 55 percent, 56 percent range. I think she's going to -- I think she's going to do well.

ROLLINS: I don't know. This is the margin of error when you're 5, 6 points ahead. I think it may turn out to be a lot closer. There's a lot of enthusiasm running for Barack and who can turn out the vote is the real key here.

ZIMMERMAN: I think the real thing to watch tomorrow tonight is not who wins which is, of course, the most important, but where the votes come from, the level of turnout. If it's in central Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg and Hershey, those are critical swing states to win in November. Who wins and the turnout there will be very critical as it will be in the western part of the state.

DOBBS: We got the pre-spin from the Clinton camp.

Now let's talk about Indiana. She has got to win. Irrespective of what happens in Pennsylvania, she has to win Indiana. Right?

ZIMMERMAN: Barack Obama calls the tie breaker and I agree with him.

LOUIS: It's clear that he's going to probably win. He's been up by double digits in North Carolina for a while. That leaves Indianans a one of the toss-up states. The last poll that I saw, had Clinton up by only two points. So they really are neck in neck.

ROLLINS: The exception of North Carolina, which everyone concedes at this point to Obama. She's got to win everything else. Otherwise there's no sense in putting the numbers together.

DOBBS: All right. Let's go to the pope. He was in town for just almost six days. Managed to get everybody going on the issue of illegal immigration, who has a position on that issue, your response?

ZIMMERMAN: Look, I have a very strong position on the proposed immigration reform, which I was opposed to. I took on a lot of my Democrats in opposing it, but the pope's comments to me rose above that. It wasn't about the issue of illegal immigration. He was speaking from a religious and moral center and I truly believed his presence here really was inspirational. I was very inspired by what he said and about --

DOBBS: Were you inspired as well by Senator McCain who today went to Selma, Alabama, and as I was talking with Dana Bash, our correspondent there, I can't think of another Republican president or candidate for president who has ever gone to Selma, Alabama, or who has recognized with the sincerity that that visit represents ever.

ZIMMERMAN: Hey, look, I give him credit for going there. I also think it's smart politics and maybe if he goes to enough of these places he'll stop telling us how well the economy is doing for Americans. Maybe he'll reverse his position on minimum wage.

DOBBS: This is more powerful than I thought, Robert Zimmerman having to get out the spin chart.

LOUIS: They didn't go there in the hope of getting black votes in a way that Republicans have traditionally never been able to do in that area. I think what you do see, though, is maybe an appeal, sort of a cross-appeal to independents, to younger voters, to people who want to sort of put behind them the Republican southern strategy and the Willie Horton ads of the past. He's trying to sort of put together a coalition and that's an unlikely place to go looking for it, but he made a statement that --

DOBBS: It's unlikely. You know what at the same time this ought to create, it would seem to me, if he continues his approach, I want to ask both of you this, all three of you, in point of fact. I mean, this should create great discomfort for the Democratic Party, because it does a couple things at once. It highlights the fact that the black vote in this country is an annuity for the Democratic Party. It also represents a -- a bridge for once there was only a chasm that is between Republican candidates and black America and the issue of civil rights. What's your reaction?

LOUIS: Well, I think it's one of the great things that can happen, hopefully for the rest of the campaign. If you see -- if you see Barack Obama stumping for votes in Omaha, Nebraska, other kind of traditionally red, red, red states, what you're seeing is a change. And that's a good thing. This is sort of a book end to that.

ROLLINS: It doesn't matter. It's an honorable thing that John is doing to reach out to constituencies that we don't normally see in a Republican primary. He gets the news media to cover him. If he was still talking about the Republican politics, nobody would pay much attention to him. The interest and the race is in Pennsylvania, and he's not on the ballot there.

DOBBS: You are such a strategist, such an analyst, so rational.

ROLLINS: Plus I thought the pope saying illegals should be treated in a humane way is not saying that they should stay here. I think he's basically saying you shouldn't mistreat them when they are here. Send them home, but don't mistreat them.

DOBBS: You know, I could sign on with that.

ROLLINS: I think you could.

DOBBS: You get the last word.

ZIMMERMAN: OK. That's why Ed is one of the best strategists in the business. Obviously what John McCain did was important today, by going to Selma. But keep an eye on Pennsylvania. Look at where those middle-income, blue- and white-collar voters come from, where they are voting and the turn-out. Those are the swing voters that any Democrat needs to win in November.

DOBBS: All right, I think the stage is set. We're ready to go tomorrow. Can't wait. We're going to have to take all this in. I'm -- I like Pope Benedict XVI is what it just taught me here.

ROLLINS: What I'm saying I think he had a tremendous visit. He made people take a second look at him. He asked people to take a second look at the church. But I think people will take a second look at him.

DOBBS: By the way, I can close this out with one thing. He changed the minds of a lot of priests around the country I believe.

ROLLINS: I think so.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, gentlemen, appreciate it, as always. Robert Zimmerman, Errol Louis, Ed Rollins.

ROLLINS: Thank you.

DOBBS: Taking me to school tonight.

Up next, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, she wants to know what's going on behind the closed doors at the North American union summit. I changed the wording a little. She'll be my guest here.

And a defense contractor is accused of selling flash-bang grenades to the pentagon. We'll have a special report. You'll be so proud of this country. Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is calling on President Bush to halt negotiations of the so-called security and prosperity partnership until congress is told just what in the world this government is doing. Congresswoman Kaptur joins me tonight from her home district in Toledo, Ohio.

Congresswoman, as always, great to have you here.


DOBBS: Why is the administration not responding to you and to the calls from others to explain exactly what they're doing?

KAPTUR: Well, the executive branch really thinks that they can run everything and they like to ignore congress. This is another example on the trade-making front where the executive branch goes beyond its constitutionally authorized powers and doesn't want to inform the congress, which has the key trade-making authorities under the constitution.

This is kind of a follow-on to NAFTA, Lou, called the SPP, and that's what this meeting down in Louisiana's all about. I think it's the third meeting they've had in four years.

DOBBS: Right, right. And the idea that they would not be responsive to you, is your -- is the leadership of the house, Speaker Pelosi, in the senate, Senator Reid, are they responsive and demanding of their prerogatives on the issue of -- of this agreement, security and prosperity partnership, so-called, which is the foundation for a North American union?

KAPTUR: Well, you know what, they've been focusing on of late is Colombia, the free trade agreement with Colombia. The issue of mortgage foreclosures, the additional funds that are being asked for the war in Iraq. There are on lot of other issues that have come forward, and so this is kind of sliding by I think without a lot of attention.

DOBBS: Well, have you brought to it their attention?

KAPTUR: We are --

DOBBS: I'm sorry, go ahead.

KAPTUR: What I was going to say is that we are doing everything we can to bring it to their attention. The respective committees that should be holding hearings and are not, and I think just other issues have taken precedence.

DOBBS: Well, at this point it's pretty clear that we have a lame-duck president who is basically going to tell you people to go exactly where he's been telling you to go for some time and can do so without real consequence because he's only got another, what, about seven months in office. It seems your leadership should be more responsive to you on this issue. How concerned are you about this -- this North American union prospect?

KAPTUR: I'm very concerned about it because just this year, this past year, we had a $76 billion trade deficit with Mexico. We were told that after NAFTA passed, we would have more of our exports going down there. We've been exporting our jobs and importing goods from there. And unfortunately importing a lot of workers, who were thrown out of work down there and farmers when were thrown out of work on their land.

DOBBS: Right.

KAPTUR: So NAFTA's really hurt us a great deal as you know and the SPP we believe to be an expansion of that done on the executive side with no congressional oversight helping to push the continent toward this NAFTA highway, the superhighway that they want to bring up through Texas, through the center part of the country and Canada.

DOBBS: The transatlantic corridor, right?

KAPTUR: There have been -- we were successful in passing an amendment in the house to prevent that from happening. They didn't pass it in the senate. And it passed by quite a wide margin, so, I think congress' focus, that particular vote, but the administration then keeps negotiating behind closed doors.

DOBBS: All right. Well, as soon as they can find someone not to negotiate with, say, Senator Harry Reid in the senate, perhaps it will be a more propitious outcome for all of us. Marcy Kaptur, congresswoman from Ohio, we thank you very much for being with us. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.

KAPTUR: Thank you. Thank you.

DOBBS: Up at the top of the hour, "THE ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown.

Campbell, what are you working on?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well Lou, the long wait for Pennsylvania is almost over. There are a ton of last-minute developments. Senator Barack Obama is having a rally and is pointedly now avoiding the question of whether he can win tomorrow.

CNN's Larry King is taping an interview with Senator Hillary Clinton and we'll have part of that as well.

And you've got to see what John McCain was up to today. Think gospel music. Yes, gospel music.

We'll see you at the top of the hour, Lou.

DOBBS: Hallelujah, Campbell. Thank you. Campbell Brown coming up. Next year a defense contractor accused of selling defective stun degrades to the FBI. We'll have that report.

And America's middle-class facing the very real prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline. Who is profiting and why?

We'll have that story and more.


DOBBS: Gasoline prices today hit yet another new record high, $3.50 a gallon. Middle-class families are increasingly concerned about those rising gasoline prices, working families across the country are. But some Wall Street speculators are profiting big from these rising prices.

Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The national average price of regular gasoline has jumped, feeling the pain? So are lots of other drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really affects you every time you go to the pump. You just close your eyes and pump the gas.

SYLVESTER: What's behind consumers getting walloped by higher gas prices? Increased demand from countries like India and China are driving gas prices up. But so are speculators on Wall Street.

TYSON SLOCUM, PUBLIC CITIZEN: There's a lot of unnecessary speculation that's making some hedge fund managers extremely wealthy, but that's obviously creating a lot of strain on individual households and on the American economy.

SYLVESTER: The consumer group Public Citizen estimates 20 percent of the current high gas price is due to speculation.

Back in 2000, congress lifted regulations on the energy trading market. Hedge funds placing bets on oil prices have since driven up the price of oil. That translates to higher prices at the pump.

MARK COOPER, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: Make no mistake about it, we are now in the midst of the greatest gasoline price run- up in the history of the nation.

SYLVESTER: The Hedge Fund Association, in a statement, defended the industry saying, "Hedge funds today estimated as a $1.2 trillion industry do not have the power to move the markets, including oil prices in the way people may believe. It's often easy for the media to lay blame at their doorstep. We would certainly refute any claim that the price of oil has been pushed higher by the activities of hedge funds."

But as gas prices have climbed, so have the paychecks of hedge fund managers, some making more than $2 billion last year.


SYLVESTER: In a survey by the Consumer Federation of America, 73 percent of Americans expressed great concern about rising gas prices. Now, there is pending legislation in congress that would restore regulatory oversight over energy trading and that could potentially bring prices down in the near term. Lou?

DOBBS: Yeah, there is no question that it is time now for people start looking at the role of government, absent leadership in Washington. Otherwise the consumers will -- in this country will simply be at the mercy of just about every interest there is, save their own. Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester.

We'll be right back with some of your thoughts and a great deal more. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Tonight's poll results -- 98 percent of you are outraged at talks that could lead to a North American union are being held in secrecy by the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Let's take a look at more of your thoughts now. Thousands of you emailing in about illegal alien drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila's guilty plea last week to four drug smuggling charges, and my interview with U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the man who led that prosecution. Davila is of course the illegal alien drug smuggler who testified against former Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean in exchange for immunity. The agents are serving 11- and 12-year sentences.

Paul in Colorado said, "Dear Lou, when it comes to the Ramos and Compean case, it's hard to tell who is lying more, Johnny Sutton or Aldrete Davila."

Marie in North Carolina, "I'm so outraged that these Border Patrol agents are still in jail. What is wrong with this country?"

Jimmy in Kentucky said, "Lou, be American, buy American. That is the only way the people will ever take back America. Everything is at stake. Be American, buy American."

And Linda in Florida, "Lou, I finally went to town hall today and became an independent woman. I feel I've been treated very badly by the Democratic Party. They're (inaudible) so little of my vote that they will no longer have it. Independence feels very good after 45 years of voting."

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at

And finally tonight, we want to welcome a new member of our family. Christine Romans and her husband Ed welcoming a brand new baby boy last Thursday. Finley Xavier (ph) arrived a healthy 9 pounds, 8 ounces. As you can see, he joins a very proud older brother, Billy. Christine and Billy and Fin all doing well, and we couldn't be happier for all of you. Congratulations.

Thank you for being with us tonight. Join us here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown begins right now -- Campbell.