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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Salmonella Outbreak Hard to Figure Out; San Francisco Mayor Switches Stance on Illegal Immigration

Aired July 07, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Miles.
Tonight, a stunning reversal by San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom and his outrageous efforts to shield criminal illegal immigrant drug dealers and, oh, he wants to be governor of California. We'll have that special report for you.

And tonight the latest developments on the massive salmonella outbreak that the FDA simply can't figure out. It may be linked, of all places, Mexico. We'll have new details for you that you won't see anywhere else.

And tonight Senators Obama and McCain intensifying their efforts to pander to ethnocentric special interest groups. We'll be examining the role of group and identity politics in presidential campaign.

We'll have all of that, a great deal more. All the day's news with an independent perspective, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Monday, July 7. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. Senators McCain and Obama today presenting competing plans to fix our broken economy. McCain putting job creation at the top his agenda, saying policies such as so-called free trade are essential to the future prosperity of all Americans. Senator Obama strongly criticized the senator's plan, saying McCain would continue the policies of the Bush administration. Obama repeated his call for a second stimulus package and middle-class tax cut. We have extensive coverage from the presidential campaign trail and we begin with Lisa Sylvester in Washington -- Lisa?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, $4.00 a gallon gas, rising food prices, Americans worried about their jobs and their homes, all reasons why the economy is taking center stage.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): Senator John McCain at a town hall meeting in Colorado.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The choice in this election is stark and simple. Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't.

SYLVESTER: Senator Barack Obama accusing McCain of running for President Bush's third term.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain's policies are essentially a repeat, a regurgitation, of what we've been hearing from the Republican Party over the last two decades.

SYLVESTER: Both candidates are taking a page right from their party's line on economics. McCain is advocating supply-side economics. Cut corporate taxes, cut government regulation of small businesses, make permanent the income tax cuts and push for new free trade agreements. John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, a pro- labor, nonprofit group, says this model may be good for corporate shareholders, but it's not for American workers. More than 400,000 jobs have been lost since December.

JOHN IRONS, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: We see the job growth has been very weak compared to past recoveries as well. So, I think the record is in in some sense in that this has not been a successful economic policy.

SYLVESTER: Obama's economic plan includes shifting the tax burden by raising taxes on those making over $250,000. Giving a 10 percent mortgage tax credit for middle-class families, proposing another round of stimulus checks, offering universal health care and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. But Republican strategists say Obama's list is long on promises, short on resources.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There's no plan for how we're going to pay for it. Ultimately we know it comes down to tax increases and increased deficits and there's no way around that. So, as we look at these two candidates, Barack Obama's got a very lofty job of trying to explain to the American voter where that money's going to come from.


SYLVESTER (on camera): Both candidates spent a large part of their speeches bashing and blaming the other, which is why many voters walk away still wondering where are the real solutions -- Lou?

DOBBS: Well, it's -- it is fascinating to see this -- I think we used to call it fuzzy math, didn't we? Some years ago.

SYLVESTER: We did see that term fuzzy math and we're back there again.

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

Senator McCain also emphasizing his commitment to border security, again. His most recent statement on the issue in Mexico City last week. McCain said the American people want border security first, before what he calls comprehensive immigration reform. McCain, speaking in Mexico, downplayed what many say is his continued support of amnesty for between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens in this country. Well, our worsening economy, though, is the number one issue for most Americans. A new CNN/Opinion Research poll showing an overwhelming majority of voters now believe our economy is in recession. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll says 75 percent of voters believe the economy to be in recession. This poll also showing most voters believe a recession will last longer than a year. Thirty percent say one to two years. Twenty three percent, even longer.

Well, one of the main features of Senator McCain's economic plan, a proposal to balance the federal budget. McCain says he can achieve the goal by cutting what he calls wasteful government spending. He insists he will not raise taxes. Bill Schneider has our report on Senator McCain's efforts to sell his plan to independent voters.


MCCAIN: American workers and families pay their bills and balance their budgets, and I'll demand the same thing of our government, which you're not getting now.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John McCain will balance the budget by the end of his first term. That's what McCain's new economic plan says. We know two things about balancing the budget. One, voters think it's important. They agree with Ross Perot. Two, voters think other things are more important, like not raising taxes and not cutting spending on popular programs.

So, how is McCain proposing to balance the budget? Not by raising taxes. McCain wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Most voters think that's a fine idea. McCain says he will enforce spending restraint.

MCCAIN: I'll veto every single bill with wasteful, pork-barrel spending on it. You can count on it.

SCHNEIDER: His plan proposes a one-year freeze in domestic spending. At a time of recession, that may be difficult. He proposes entitlement reforms like personal Social Security accounts. Voters are skeptical of that. His plan talks about reducing the growth in Medicare spending. That's already meeting with resistance.

Remember all the talk in the 1990s about a peace dividend with the end of the Cold War? McCain's plan talks about savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations, a victory dividend!

Balancing the budget involves many tough choices. But it helps McCain position himself as a candidate of change.

MCCAIN: The Congress and this administration have failed to meet their responsibilities to manage the government. Government -- government -- government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER (on camera): The last eight years. Now, wouldn't that be the period when George W. Bush was president? Why, yes, it would. Lou?

DOBBS: Oh, man. The idea that you can balance this budge in four years without raising taxes, that Senator Obama for his part says he can manage to do something with taxes by taxing the top one percent of the country.

Is there any point at which the independent-minded national press corps will say, you are not going to wait for your numbers, here's the real deal, and neither one of you could possibly achieve the what you're promising the voters will?

SCHNEIDER: We're hearing a lot of fact checking on exactly that right now, that both these plans are a little bit fantastic. In fact, the one thing we do know is that there's one way to balance the budget. It worked in the 1990s. Two words: economic growth.

DOBBS: Economic growth and how about this, responsible government spending?

SCHNEIDER: That, too.

DOBBS: All right, thanks a lot, Bill Schneider. Appreciate it.

Senator McCain's plan to balance the budget will do little or nothing to deal with one of the biggest challenges we face. The question, how to reduce our national and trade debts. Our national debt has now skyrocketed to more than $9 trillion. Because of those irresponsible fiscal policies conducted by both parties over the past decade.

Meanwhile, this nation's trade debt has soared to more than $6 trillion because of the mindless commitment of both Republican and Democratic administrations and congresses to so-called free-trade policies. Our national political and economic leaders have literally squandered our wealth and working men and women and their families are suffering the consequences and paying the price.

Turning to another major issue on the presidential campaign trail now, the war in Iraq. More than five years after the first "Mission Accomplished" banner during a speech by the president on an aircraft carrier, the Iraqi government is apparently declaring as well "mission accomplished." Iraqi Prime Minister al Maliki is now demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.

The Bush administration and Senator McCain both oppose firm timetables. Senator Obama has his own schedule for withdrawal. He says he will pull our combat brigades out of Iraq in 16 months, regardless of security conditions in Iraq.

Up next - LOU DOBBS TONIGHT has learned new details about the FDA investigation into the nationwide salmonella outbreak that may be linked at its source to Mexico. And San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, reversing course on his controversial illegal alien policy, encountering scathing criticism from this broadcast and others, and he wants to be governor of the state of California. Imagine that. We'll have details here next. And a great deal more. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Almost 1,000 people in 40 states have now become ill from the expanding salmonella outbreak. Health officials say they still have no idea about the source of the outbreak. But as we have been reporting on this story from the outset, no one believes the FDA has no suspicions, and almost no one can imagine that the FDA is so impotent and irresponsible.

Louise Schiavone has pressed federal officials for weeks to admit the source of this outbreak was not necessarily tomatoes. She reported as well that the outbreak could have emerged south of the border in Mexico. Now, the federal government is intercepting shipments of some food products at the border so they can be inspected before they reach our food supply. Louise Schiavone has the latest on a failed FDA.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Food and Drug administration tells LOU DOBBS TONIGHT that it has stepped up testing of cilantro, jalapeno peppers and serrano peppers grown both in Mexico and domestically. Tennessee epidemiologist Dr. Timothy Jones says those involved in the investigation are extremely frustrated with the still-expanding outbreak.

DR. TIMOTHY JONES, TENNESSEE HEALTH DEPT.: With the data that are coming in, it's becoming less and less clear to me whether there's any specific product. Statistically more things are popping up and they are unable to cross anything off the list, which I guess would make me now hesitant to bet on anything.

SCHIAVONE: The latest CDC report from Friday says 943 cases across 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada have been recorded. At least 130 have been hospitalized. But in Texas, the ground zero of this outbreak, where the CDC reported 356 official cases of salmonella saintpaul last week, the state health department reports recorded cases are up to 381. And new questionnaires for new victims are being formulated to try to determine if other ingredients were mixed in with tomatoes as they might commonly be in Mexican cuisine such as salsa.

The head of the Fresh Produce Association of America tells CNN that word went out this past weekend that FDA inspectors soon would be stopping more shipments of specialty peppers and cilantro for testing. At one major U.S. producer and distributor, who asked not to be identified, told LOU DOBBS TONIGHT that some of the shipments of specialty products were stopped for testing at the border in McAllen, Texas. Also that FDA inspectors had arrived at one of their distribution points inside the U.S. this morning to take samples of jalapeno peppers and cilantro.


SCHIAVONE (on camera): As LOU DOBBS TONIGHT reported last week, once products are stopped for inspection at the border, they are tested for traces of contaminants, including in this case salmonella saintpaul. These goods are not OKed for sale in the United States, until that testing is complete and the outcome satisfactory. The hope is that by expanding the list of products tested, the cause of this major outbreak will finally be determined -- Lou?

DOBBS: Is there any reason in the world for anyone watching this broadcast to believe that the FDA has even the remotest of clues as to what is happening to our food supply?

SCHIAVONE: There's no reason to believe that the FDA knows, because they will tell you, point-blank, that they do not know. The Centers for Disease Control does not know. There is no answer to this question.

And as this outbreak continues, state health officials are telling me that they are very frustrated. They're very concerned. We're looking at approximately 1,000 recorded cases, Lou. Now, the Centers for Disease Control said a couple of weeks ago that for every one of those cases, there are 30 that are not reported. So, we're talking about an anticipated 30,000 people who have been affected by this. This is not the kind of thing that federal health officials want to see keep going on.

DOBBS: Well, it would seem, then, that they would bring some competence to bear, some sense of responsibility, some leadership. It would also seem that the produce growers associations, the Tomato Growers Association, would be insisting on inspections by the FDA rather than fighting that, because they're watching themselves lose hundreds of millions of dollars because of the ignorance on the part of the associations that absolutely fought against regulation, and the FDA, which has simply been gutted by this administration. Is there any reaction from those groups?

SCHIAVONE: Well, the tomato growers that we've spoken to all along have been saying to us they invite the Food and Drug Administration, they invite inspectors, they invite auditors to please come and check out their products. OK them. Because they are getting bludgeoned financially. We're talking about losses over $100 million, some people put this at $250 million. The season has just been a real loss for a lot of these tomato growers.

DOBBS: You know, my heart goes out to these tomato growers and to everyone else now involved in this. But at the same time it's important to remember these were the same associations fighting inspections and fighting regulations before this outbreak. And it's time for this country to understand that there are -- there are responsibilities for government, and this is certainly one of them. A price that's being paid by as many, as you point out, 30,000 Americans who have been taken ill and by a produce industry that is simply being devastated. Thank you very much, Louise, for your outstanding reporting, as always. Louise Schiavone from Washington.

In San Francisco tonight, a stunning reversal of a policy that was designed to protect illegal aliens from deportation. That city's two decade-long sanctuary status has simply backfired. It has blown up after the controversial escape of eight criminal illegal alien drug dealers. Those dealers had been sent to a group home, instead of being deported. And one cannot help but wonder, did it have anything to do with the mayor of San Francisco's political ambitions? Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mayor Gavin Newsom has repeatedly trumpeted San Francisco's policy of not cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement.

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO: We are a sanctuary city, we don't cooperate with the federal government as relates to these raids.

WIAN: Now the mayor has changed his tune after pressure from the feds and other local officials in California. They discovered that for nearly 20 years, San Francisco has been shielding illegal alien drug dealers claiming to be juveniles from federal immigration authorities.

JOSEPH RUSSONIELLO, U.S. ATTORNEY, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: It's obviously neither naivete or arrogance, you know, compounded by incompetent to do something like that.

WIAN: In May, a San Francisco probation officer was detained by immigration agents at Houston's international airport. He was escorting two Honduran illegal aliens on a city-funded flight home. Then last month, eight illegal aliens from Honduras, all convicted of dealing drugs in San Francisco, escaped from a Southern California juvenile home. Since 2005, the city has spent more than $2 million housing 162 illegal alien juvenile offenders or flying them to their native countries.

RICK OLTMAN, CALIFORNIANS FOR POPULATION STABILIZATION: They've used taxpayer dollars to shield drug traffickers from federal prosecution. This is, in fact, the logical extension of the sanctuary city gone wild. It had to happen some place. San Francisco was as good a place as it happened. I hope that other cities around the country are watching this mess.

WIAN: Last week Newsom reversed the policy, saying in a statement, "Let me be clear. I will not allow our sanctuary city status to be used to shield criminal behavior by anyone. I have directed my administration to work in cooperation with the federal government on all felony cases."


WIAN (on camera): An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official says the agency has had a, quote, "constructive meeting" with San Francisco about changing the city's procedures for dealing with illegal alien felons who claim to be juveniles -- Lou?

DOBBS: Well, the biggest juvenile of all in my opinion is Gavin Newsom, the mayor of the city. He looks like a complete and utter political twit sitting there saying that he won't cooperate with federal authorities because of his sanctuary status, as he put it. This is absolutely an absurdity.

WIAN: Yeah, it's interesting, Lou. In another part of his statement, If I can read it to you.

DOBBS: Please.

WIAN: He says, "The San Francisco sanctuary city policy is not a shield for criminal behavior." In this case it clearly was. Further embarrassment to Gavin Newsom, who as you reported, is considering running for governor in California.


WIAN: A lot of these allegations came to light on the day he was announcing that exploratory bid. He's going to have a tough time convincing voters of this state to vote for him if this kind of information continues to be uncovered.

One -- I certainly -- it's my opinion that I mean, I can't even imagine the City of San Francisco can support such an obvious -- obviously irresponsible and immature person as Gavin Newsom as its mayor. I mean, this is ridiculous. It also begs the question as to why federal authorities haven't prosecuted him for absolutely flaunting federal law with his so-called -- and I love the precious little remark from a year ago, talking about the city's sanctuary status. I mean, good grief. The U.S. attorney -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

WIAN: I was going to say that federal authorities have been investigating this situation since they uncovered this case where a city official working for the Juvenile Probation Department was escorting, without federal permission, these two illegal alien criminals back home to Honduras. They detained that person, they started investigating this, and that's the reason why San Francisco, instead of deporting these folks themselves, started turning them over to these group homes, often not in San Francisco, in other jurisdictions where, of course, those local officials are now absolutely outraged, because these folks escaped from these low- security facilities and then go on to commit crimes in their communities.

DOBBS: San Bernardino County coming to mind.

WIAN: Yes. Absolutely.

DOBBS: And the idea that this mayor, this -- a man I referred to as a little darling because he's so doggone precious, Gavin Newsom, thinking somehow that an illegal alien is somehow free of responsibility for paying off human smugglers, that drug dealers are somehow free of responsibility for breaking our laws and devastating lives throughout this country. It is incomprehensible that a community and a city as wonderful as San Francisco could support that kind of just utterly intellectually fraudulent and irresponsible action on the part of any public official. It's extraordinary.

WIAN: Even in San Francisco they're questioning this policy, this decision, the "San Francisco Chronicle," the hometown paper there, is the one who broke the story first, Lou.

DOBBS: Our congratulations and commendation to "The Chronicle" nor outstanding journalism. Thank you, appreciate your terrific reporting as always, Casey. Casey Wian.

Well, Gavin Newsom finally forced to set things straight concerning the absurd sanctuary policy. Newsom has, of course, launched a number of attacks against me as well for opposing San Francisco's sanctuary city status and because he doesn't like the fact apparently that I support the rule of law. Listen to what the mayor, the precious darling, had to say about me, a short while back ...


NEWSOM: We have been very concerned in the last year and a half or two years with the renewed vigor by the federal government and ICE to adopt more aggressive strategies for immigration raids. We are very concerned about a lot of the language, the incendiary language, that has been used in the last number of years, both in Congress and on right-wing radio and on cable TV, where careers are literally being saved and salvaged like Lou Dobbs.


DOBBS: Well, obviously, it's Mayor Newsom who is focused on his career, and it is a career that apparently needs some salvaging because he is so irresponsible and immature as to carry out intelligent and principled public policy. So, the man I can't really refer to with any other expression other than little darling. I can use other language, but he just strikes me as a little darling, Mayor Newsom does, he, in my judgment, owes the folks of San Francisco, all of us, an apology for his immaturity, his irresponsibility and for just being such a precious fraud. It doesn't really work, Mayor Newsom. You can forget about it. It worked for a while in San Francisco, but I believe your time is up.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight and the question: "Do you believe Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco should publicly apologize for endangering the safety of U.S. citizens by shielding criminal ill illegal aliens?" Yes or no? Cast your vote at, we'll have the results later in the broadcast.

Up next two lawmakers join me discuss the presidential candidates to court the Hispanic vote and to pander to ethnocentric special interest groups.

This Bud is for, well, an American icon, Anheuser-Busch locked into a hostile takeover attempt by a foreign buyer. Who will win? Why -- why this high-stakes battle? We'll have that report and a great deal more. We're coming right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well, presidential contenders McCain and Obama tomorrow are set to deliver speeches at the League of United Latin Americans Citizens conference. They are there obviously to court the Hispanic vote.

Joining me now is Congressman Henry Cuellar of Texas, he's a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Jeff Frederick of the Virginia General Assembly, chairman of the Republican Party of the state of Virginia. Good to have you both with us and to talk about this issue.

And I want to point out, because I think it's really important and I think the audience of this broadcast will consider it important. Congressman Cuellar just returning from Afghanistan, there to be with our troops, and I just want to say thank you for doing that and commend you for doing so.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR, (D) TX: Thank you. It was a good way to spend July the 4th with our troops.

DOBBS: Absolutely. Outstanding that you close to do so. Let me start by asking you this first, LULAC, you are a member also of the Hispanic Caucus, as I said, Maldef, La Raza. These groups in total have a membership of a minute fraction of the total Hispanic American population. Why do they have apparently such influence?

CUELLAR: Well, first of all, as you know, the Hispanic population is one of the fastest-growing populations that we have. We do have different groups up that speak for the Hispanic community. Do they speak for everybody? The answer is, of course, not. But they have been leaders in many ways when it comes to education, health care, and some of the civil rights. So, again --

DOBBS: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Can I say this, Congressman?

CUELLAR: Yes, sir.

DOBBS: I'd like to know one single national initiative on health care, on any public policy that any one of these groups is responsible for putting in place.

CUELLAR: Well -- well, we talk about them speaking out for Hispanics. They have done a job, and especially when it comes to making sure that people get a good education, especially when the Hispanic population when you look at the dropout rates for Hispanics, it's something that they have spoken for.

DOBBS: Well, that's speaking for. But you said actually being involved. I have to tell you, we've spent some time trying to figure out what Lulac, La Raza, Maldef have actually accomplished in terms of public policy that would benefit the group of people that they purport to represent their interests. We can't find a single public policy in which they were either the leader or responsible for its concurrence -- its -- its reality.

CUELLAR: Yes, sir. Well, again, you know, I've -- I've worked with them. Sometimes --

DOBBS: I know.

CUELLAR: -- we disagreed. We've disagreed with them on some points when it came to redirecting, for example, on who should be the Hispanic representative for a certain area. But they have spoken out.

DOBBS: I understand.

CUELLAR: I've seen them on education issues before.

DOBBS: No, I understand, Congressman.

Mr. Fredericks, let me ask you, you are Hispanic-American. You -- I can't think of a single policy, public policy, that any one of these groups has made one whit's difference, and they sit there and say that they represent, quote-unquote, Hispanic Americans.

JEFF FREDERICK (R), VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Well I'm the member -- I'm a one-person member of the Hispanic caucus of the Virginia assembly, the first and only Latino elected to the --

DOBBS: I didn't realize that.

JEFF FREDERICK: In our 400-year history. And the fact is I've never really been associated with these groups. My mother from Colombia, I know a lot of people that are from South America, Latin America, and I don't know anyone who's a member or part of these groups or who participates in these activities.

So, frankly, you know, of all the people that I know, of all the Latinos, you know, from -- from Virginia to Florida and all around, not one of them are involved in these groups. And frankly, these groups just don't speak for the Latino community.

The Latino community, too many people unfortunately want to make it out to be this monolithic group. But that's kind of like saying, you know, somebody from Mexico being -- having the same views, cultural views, political views as somebody from Buenos Aires. It's like saying someone from New York City has the same views as from Houston, Texas. It's just completely absurd but these groups put forth that all these Latinos feel the same way about all these issues and it's just frankly not the case.

DOBBS: And I know Congressman Cuellar because the last time we talked, Congressman, you were straightforward about it, saying that Hispanic Americans in this country are far more diverse than some of these monolithic impulses on the part of say, La Raza, would indicate. But I have -- I have trouble understanding why there is a direct attachment to -- to these groups, by these two presidential candidates or any other ethnocentric group.

CUELLAR: Well, and I think, you know, those are the faces that they see when they look at the Hispanic community. You know, I agree with the Representative, that, you know, that the Hispanic community is not monolithic. Certainly it's not. It's a very diverse. There are liberals. There's moderates. There's conservative Hispanics like myself also. Jeff is a conservative Republican. I'm a conservative Democrat. But, again, those are the groups that are out there that have been around for many years. So, therefore, you know, most of, you know, most presidential candidates are going to be -- you know, one of them spoke to -- both of them spoke to a group a couple of weeks ago. This time it's Lulac and it's going out to court the Hispanic voters.

DOBBS: I guess what I'd ask you both is, because this is where folks get a little confused, I think, what is there that a Hispanic- American would want, because of his or her ethnicity, that any other American, irrespective of his or her ethnicity would want that would -- what would be the difference?

FREDERICK: Not much.

DOBBS: I can't understand.

FREDERICK: Not much. You know, every voter block, every group they want to have attention from the people --

DOBBS: Sure.

FREDERICK: -- who are either serving them in elected office or wanting to serve in an elected office. In the Latino community, they do have some -- some special interests that they -- that they advocate. You know, a lot of them have family overseas they like to, for example, maybe have our immigration policy a little bit more easier for them to come over, like my family. Not -- not obeying -- not disobeying the law, not violating the law, not cutting the line, but being --

DOBBS: By the way, I think every -- I think every American that's aware of immigration law would want the citizenship and immigration services completely overhauled because it's led by complete morons. It is, again, one of the most dysfunctional agencies in government.

FREDERICK: But we're a country of immigrants. And our nation has been made strong because of immigrants. But immigrants that came here legally, who followed the rule of law, who did the right things, got in line, and followed the rules, obeyed our laws to get their piece of the American dream.

DOBBS: Congressman Cuellar, you get the last word on this.

CUELLAR: Well, I agree. You know my father was born in Mexico and he became a legal resident and he became a U.S. citizen. He did follow the law. I do agree we need to make some changes. We need an immigration reform but we have to make sure that we do it in a reasonable and --

DOBBS: Did you say border security first, Congressman?

CUELLAR: Yes, sir. In fact, the last time I was here, I told you it was border security, some sort of guest worker plan and the difficult part is whether I mean we like it or not, what do we do about the 11 million or 12 million undocumented aliens? Amnesty? No, I don't agree with amnesty, but we do have to address that issue.

DOBBS: Right. Congressman, thanks very much for being here.

CUELLAR: Thank you, sir.

DOBBS: Congressman Cuellar just back from visiting our troops in Afghanistan; again, thank you, Congressman. And Jeff Frederick, we very much thank you for being here. We look forward to talking with you both, soon.

FREDERICK: Thank you.

CUELLAR: Thank you.

DOBBS: Up next, rising anger on Capitol Hill over a European country's aggressive efforts to take over Budweiser. Watch out.

Also, corporate elites trying to block new laws targeting illegal employers of illegal aliens. I'll be talking with Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri. He signed one of those very important laws. He's our guest here next.

And a new threat to firefighters who are struggling to contain raging wildfires in California. We'll have a live report for you and a great deal more. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: One of America's iconic brands, under attack. St. Louis- based Anheuser-Busch fighting off what is at the very least an aggressive takeover attempt by European beer giant Inbev. Inbev, should it win this battle, would probably, some of the analysts tell us, create massive layoffs and cost cutting at Anheuser-Busch would be deep.

Carrie Lee has our report.


CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The battle over Bud is coming to a head. Actually, 13 heads. Anheuser-Busch's board has rejected Inbev's $46.3 billion takeover offer. But even before that vote, the Belgium beer giant had another strategy brewing. Get shareholders to ax Anheuser-Busch's 13 board members and put a new board in place that favors a deal, a deal that would end Bud's 156-year run as an American-owned company and hand over control of one of America's most iconic brands to a foreign competitor, makers of the popular Stella and Beck beers. BILL MCGINNIS, HOSTILE TAKEOVER CONSULTANT: I really do believe this could be the beginning of a trend. The weak dollar makes our assets very cheap overseas right now. And we've spent hundreds of years building some really phenomenal assets in this country and they're looking to bargain shop.

LEE: A senator from Bud's home state of Missouri is having none of it. He says, "I told Inbev that this Bud's not for you. Too many times before, St. Louis has been given promises from companies and in return, St. Louis workers have gotten pink slips."

Tens of thousands seem to agree. Websites claims more than 64,000 online signatures against the takeover.

So, now, it will be up to shareholders, who would get a premium to vote for the money or the American label. It's even become an issue on the campaign trail.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think that we can pass a law to prevent Budweiser's shareholders, Anheuser- Busch's shareholders from selling their company. That's part of the free market system. I do think it would be a shame if Bud is foreign owned.


LEE: Now, Anheuser Chief August Busch says that Inbev's offer is financially inadequate. He's been consistent on that. And he also says shareholders would be better off in the longer term with the company's own plan for growth. But his uncle Adolphus Busch is against the deal -- rather he supports the deal, according to the "Wall Street Journal," and he would actually be a member of Inbev's new board. So, not everyone in the Busch family is on the same side here.

DOBBS: So, Adolphus basically has the employment guarantee that the workers of Bud otherwise would not have.

LEE: That's correct. That's correct.

DOBBS: Not that he needs a job. I mean, this is really remarkable. I love Obama's position on this. A little of this, a little of that.

LEE: Right.

DOBBS: He's dancing pretty well. Where is McCain in the dance?

LEE: Exactly. And that's the interesting thing. We hear from Obama and not a peep out of McCain. Keep in mind that his wife, of course, a very large shareholder in Bud stock, also owns a distributorship. He's been a free trade advocate. He also has some financial gain and he also has the tradition of patriotism, though, to contend with as well. So a little bit of a tough fight to be with.

DOBBS: We've got to run him to ground. We've got to find out where he stands on this issue. It's good to hear that the dollar is so strong overseas. Oh, my gosh.

LEE: Well --

DOBBS: By the way, I think we probably should point out that Anheuser-Busch has just about half the market. With Inbev in here, I mean, they will be a dominant player.

By the way, the suggestion is as Senator Obama put it that we shouldn't have laws. Well, we always have, up until the last 20 years, of the madness created by free trade and the millions of jobs that have been lost. I hate what they call free trade. I prefer desperately fair trade.

Thank you very much, just to be fully disclosing of my position on it, as if somebody didn't know. Carrie Lee, thank you very much.

Still ahead -- firefighters racing to contain those wildfires raging out of control in the west. We'll have a report from the fire line here next.

And another state acting where the federal government has failed. Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri joins me on his state's new legislation that he signed today, cracking down on illegal immigration.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: A heat wave threatening California tonight, firefighters there are racing to contain hundreds of wildfires, literally hundreds of them. Nearly 20,000 firefighters have been working on more than 300 blazes across the state. Cooler weather did help out somewhat over the weekend. But temperatures are now expected to reach nearly 100 degrees through the rest of this week.

Kara Finnstrom reports from Goleta, California.


KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Firefighters on the march in Goleta, securing fire lines by extinguishing hot spots, cutting through thick brush and even fighting fire with fire.


FINNSTROM: All defensive maneuvers to protect homes while the cooler weather cooperates. Right now, the flames are moving into very rugged terrain, away from homes. Firefighters are hoping to help keep it that way.

ROBERT BERTOLINA, U.S. FOREST SERVICE: We're not letting our guard down, and we have constant patrols and people going back and forth to make sure that all the smokes are extinguished so these folks are safe here. FINNSTROM: Over the weekend, firefighters in an isolated canyon community use their own trucks and fire retardant to spray down their own homes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Resources are stretched to the limit, and there's just not enough people to guard every community and every house. So, we realized many years ago that we really needed to be able to have our own resources in order to protect the homes.

FINNSTROM: Some of the homeowners are also staying despite evacuation orders.

JAN ROHBACK (ph), RESIDENT: I lost my house 18 years ago and I'm not going on do it again.

FINNSTROM: Jan Rohback (ph) lived in the house he grew up in. It burnt to the ground during a wildfire that destroyed one-third of this community.

ROHBACK (ph): We built it back in 1991. So, I hope I don't have to put another one here.

MARY LYNN ROHBACK, RESIDENT: It's been really difficult. I came up with my daughter and my two grandkids and I was ready to leave with them. But then I just, I can't leave. For some reason, I've got my husband here and my son here and I just can't leave yet.


FINNSTROM: And the Rohbacks live in one of the handful of communities that are still under mandatory evacuations. Most of the people that live in the Goleta area have been have been allowed to return back to their homes.

Lou you can see we're coming to you live here from one of these areas, one of the canyons and hillsides that was just torched by this wildfire. Firefighters say they will be doing everything they can in the next few days to make sure the heat doesn't bring the destructive wildfires back near homes.

DOBBS: Kara, incredible pictures and incredible report. We thank you very much. More than 500,000 acres have burned there in California. Kara Finnstrom, thank you.

Well, a reminder to vote in our poll. The question is do you believe Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco should publicly apologize for endangering the safety of U.S. citizens by shielding criminal illegal aliens? Yes or no, cast your vote at We'll have the results in just a few minutes.

Up at the top of the hour, the "Election Center" with Campbell Brown.

Campbell, good to see you. What are you working on?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, Lou. Coming up in just a few minutes, something that we've all been waiting to hear. The three Americans held hostage in Colombia tell their stories for the first time. It's absolutely riveting.

Also in the "Election Center" tonight, John McCain rolls out his retooled campaign, but a lot of people are also asking whether both he and Barack Obama may have lost campaign and people asking whether both he and Barack Obama may have lost their edge or mojo, if you will, especially when it comes to what they're saying right now about the economy.

That's all coming up in the "Election Center," Lou.

DOBBS: Can't wait for the answer. Campbell, thanks a lot; Campbell Brown.

Up next I'll be talking with Missouri's governor, Matt Blunt. His state is the latest to crack down on illegal immigration.

We'll be right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well states such as Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Georgia and Missouri now have passed laws that are cracking down on employers that hire illegal aliens. Many business groups are trying to weaken those state laws, business groups that have held the federal government at bay in taking care of its responsibility.

Joining me now is Missouri's governor, Matt Blunt. Today, he signed into law his state's plan to crack down on illegal immigration.

Governor, good to have you here. Before that, I'd like to turn to the terrible flooding that your state has endured, along with a number of others in the Midwest. I know you've been out inspecting the damage. Give us an assessment.

GOV. MATT BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: I wanted to show Secretary Chernoff some of the damage first hand. Certainly I appreciate his personal attention to it and the good news is the water is receding. It's been a really remarkable demonstration of the resilient spirit of Missourians as communities after communities pull together and working with the National Guard to literally, in some cases, save their homes and entire towns. But certainly in all cases, it's been really a noble effort to stave off even greater damage and again, Secretary Chertoff and FEMA and others have been very helpful as we begin the process now of recovering from that terrible flood.

DOBBS: Well all of us in this country wish you and all of your citizens there in Missouri and throughout the Midwest who have suffered this terrible tragic flooding, all the best in recovering and recovering soon.

BLUNT: Thank you.

DOBBS: Let's turn to the bill you did sign today. That legislation, how soon will it have an impact and what will the impact of this legislation be, Governor?

BLUNT: It all goes into effect, virtually all of it goes into effect August 28th of this year. Several provisions actually codify place and statute for the future, directives that I issued last August. For example, I directed that whenever anybody is arrested for a crime that could lead to jail, we'll verify their immigration status. Just since August, we've had over 250 instances in my state where we've apprehended illegal immigrants because of that check and we'll expand it beyond state law enforcement to all local law enforcement as well.

That's an example on something that will be, I think, a powerful tool as we move forward. There are a number of provisions in the bill. The most important thing really about this legislation is it's the sort of comprehensive reform that Americans have wanted from Washington. Washington has failed to provide leadership and that means states have to do more and certainly Missouri is in the vanguard of states tackling this issue.

DOBBS: Governor, I know that you have had widespread support in your state for this legislation. We did ask a democratic critic of the legislation, Democratic Representative Mike Talboy, a Latino member, as you know, of the Missouri House of Representatives. This is his statement today saying, "This bill doesn't address any problems related to immigration other than lenient penalties against those who are knowingly breaking the law with hiring practices. What this bill really accomplishes is a further perpetuation of unfair stereotypes of Latinos legally in Missouri." What's your reaction?

BLUNT: I think it's really misguided. It fails to really take into account what the law actually does, which is establish penalties for those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

It also fails to take into account the fact that we'll now require contractors with the government to include those who receive tax credits to use E-verify for all of their employees, which I think will have a powerful effect. We found it to be a good tool in state government.

This isn't about any ethnicity or nationality. This is about ensuring that we maintain the rule of law. We're a nation of immigrants. One of the reasons people flock here is because of the rule of law, an important part of the American component and has to be preserved.

DOBBS: Governor Matt Blunt, we know you're busy. We appreciate you taking time out to talk with us here. Thank you very much, Governor.

BLUNT: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Up next, we'll have the result of our poll tonight and some of your thoughts. Stay with us. We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Gasoline prices today hitting yet another all time high, $4.11 a gallon nationwide. It seems almost every day we report to you a new record high for gasoline. In response, Americans for the most part are driving less and some are telecommuting even more. Some cities, by the way, like Birmingham, Alabama and some states, such as Utah, are moving to a four-day workweek to save energy. In Michigan, the state that put the nation on wheels, home of the motor city, Governor Jennifer Granholm is saving gas. She is riding her bike to work twice a week. That's three miles to the state capital in Lansing.

And tonight's poll results, 95 percent of you say Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco should publicly apologize for endangering the safety of U.S. citizens by shielding criminal illegal aliens.

Time now for some of your thoughts. Troy in South Carolina said, "Lou, I think that the U.S. government knows the origins of the salmonella outbreak. They just don't want to offend the person or company or country that the products come from."

I think you're right.

And Tom in New York, "Lou, when I hear the argument that to enforce the laws that would protect our food supply is to violate free trade agreements, it makes my blood boil. Tell our elected officials they can keep their free trade."

I'll do that with pleasure. You can keep your free trade.

And Dave in Massachusetts, "What a poor excuse we have for a government. They cannot even tell the American people why they're getting sick from an unknown source. What a shame. Time to vote out all these bums that claim to represent the people."

And Charlie in New York. "Dear Mr. Dobbs, I love your show and hope that you will continue to speak out on the issues you target. Small businesses need more voices like yours so that we may get some relief in the future. You know how hard it is today to play by the rules and make a living."

And Juan in New York, "Lou, I have been watching your show religiously for approximately one year now. Since then, I have turned at least 10 colleagues and five family members into self-proclaiming independents, and I could not have done it without you. Thank you for everything you do."

And thank you and congratulations, and welcome to this independent nation. Doesn't it feel good to be an independent? We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts to Please join me on the radio Monday through Friday for "The Lou Dobbs Show." Tomorrow, my guests include the co-author of "Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis." And some states are making it harder for illegal aliens to attend college. William Dean, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action joins me. Go to to find your local listings for the "Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio. Thanks 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.