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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Senator Obama Tries to Look Presidential; Is McCain Being Rejected by the Media?; Has the FDA Found the Source of the Salmonella Outbreak?; San Francisco City Officials Protect a Suspected Illegal Alien Gang Member; Where is Help for the Homeowners?

Aired July 21, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Wolf.
Tonight Senator Obama trying to look presidential in Iraq with the help of his liberal media friends who many say are outright biased against Senator McCain.

And tonight troubling new developments in the scandal over San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's sanctuary policy. San Francisco city officials protecting a suspected illegal alien gang member who is accused of a triple homicide.

And tonight, the FDA finds salmonella bacteria on jalapeno peppers from Mexico but still hasn't identified the source of our nationwide salmonella outbreak. We'll have all of that, all the day's news, and I'll be talking with T. Boone Pickens about energy independence and much more from an independent perspective straight ahead here tonight.

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

DOBBS: Good evening, everyone.

Senator Obama today visited Iraq on a so-called fact-findings mission cheered on by a (INAUDIBLE) traveling press corp. The senator met with the commander of all of our troops in the Middle East, General David Petraeus. But Obama has already made up his mind on Iraq.

He wants to with draw all our combat brigades in 16 months regardless of conditions on the ground. Obama giving the same message to the Iraqi prime minister, al-Maliki in a meeting designed to demonstrate the senator's so-called credentials as commander in chief. Obama, however, didn't have any time to hold a news conference giving reporters only the briefest of comments, in Baghdad.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have had a wonderful visit so far. And excellent conversations and but we have several more meetings over the next two days and at that point I'll give you a general assessment.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DOBBS: No Obama news conference in Afghanistan either where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai perhaps because his campaign is tightly controlling media access to the senator now. Only carefully orchestrated photo-ops with troops and foreign leaders and staged interviews with network correspondents and anchors. All three broadcast network anchors will be joining Obama for the remainder of his trip in the Middle East and Europe.

Obama will even have a presidential style aircraft. This Boeing 757 for the remainder of his tour, newly painted with his campaign logo and, of course, the slogan, "change we can believe in" plastered across the side of it. One reporter who won't be on the aircraft, however, is a correspondent for the "New Yorker" magazine.

You may recall the "New Yorker" recently published a controversial cartoon cover of Obama and his wife. No direct connection suggested. Voters have no doubt that the media is biased in favor of Senator Obama, however. A recent Rasmussen poll shows nearly 50 percent of voters say the media will try to help Obama win this election.

Only 14 percent say the media is trying to help McCain. The poll also found 57 percent of voters believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far, compared with 21 percent who believe the same of Senator McCain. Even during the primary campaign, going all the way back to January, 41 percent of voters said Obama was receiving the preferential treatment. Only two percent thought McCain was receiving preferential treatment.

Well Senator McCain tonight is facing new difficulties presenting his point of view in the media, specifically the ultra liberal "New York Times". "The Times" editorial board has rejected an op-ed article written by Senator McCain about his policy on Iraq, all of this despite the fact that "The New York Times" published an op-ed on Iraq by Senator Obama a week ago.

Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" has our report.


HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, CNN RELIABLE SOURCES: The McCain campaign submitted an op-ed piece on Friday, hoping for the newspaper equivalent of equal time. McCain's article criticized Obama's for pushing the same old proposal for a 16-month withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Saying quote, "any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons."

"Times" opinion editor, David Shipley (ph), who as it happens worked in the Clinton White House, turned down the piece about two hours later saying it contained nothing new. Shipley (ph) wrote, "It would be a terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate in concrete terms how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory with troops' levels, timetables, and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate.

It's fairly common for opinion editors to ask contributor for more details, but for "The Times" liberal opinion page to oppose a stringent list of conditions on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, days after publishing a similar piece on the subject by the presumptive Democratic nominee is rather unusual.

A couple of campaign cycles ago, that would have been the end of it, but the McCain camp gave the rejected article and the e-mails to the "Drudge Report", which gave it a big a splash online. A McCain spokesman says his Iraq position, quote, "will not change based on politics or the demands of "The New York Times"."


KURTZ: And one irony of the Internet age, the rejected piece is already drawing for more attention from the controversy whipped up my Matt Drudge (ph) than if "The New York Times" had gone ahead and published it. Now "The Times" put out a statement this afternoon saying it is standard procedure on our op-ed page and that of other newspapers to go back and forth with an author on his or her submission. We look forward to publishing Senator McCain's views in our paper just as we have in the past. "The Times" noting that this published seven pieces by John McCain since 1996 and that the paper endorsed Senator McCain in the Republican presidential primaries. Lou?

DOBBS: Well surely not even the augustly liberal "New York Times" believes going back to 1996 is even remotely equal to the arrogant and just absolutely presumptuous statement of David Shipley (ph), the editor, to the McCain campaign. I mean that is about as arrogant as it gets.

KURTZ: Well you know it certainly wouldn't be unusual for an editor to say we like the piece, but we'd like a little bit more on this or that. But to give a laundry list of things that you have to include including the word timetables, which Senator McCain especially and particularly rejects with regard to Iraq...

DOBBS: Right.

KURTZ: ... days after publishing an Obama piece that wasn't all that detailed either certainly raises the question of imbalance.

DOBBS: Yes and I get to say this because I'm the advocacy journalist here, Howard. "The New York Times" is just play plain belly-up biased and that's straightforward. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Howard Kurtz, as always...

KURTZ: Thank you.

DOBBS: ... terrific reporting. Howard Kurtz the anchor of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES", "Washington Post" columnist.

Well we want to hear your opinion tonight. I shared mine and Howard Kurtz his. Our question is, do you believe the national media is biased in favor of Senator Barack Obama. Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later.

Well Senator McCain tonight is fighting to overcome what many say is the liberal media's uncompromising pro Obama bias. Senator McCain today reminding voters that Obama opposed the strategy, the now successful strategy against the insurgents in Iraq.

The senator also strongly criticized Senator Obama's plan to withdraw all our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months. Dana Bash has our report.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was a surge that is winning this war. He opposed it.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John McCain's message, Barack Obama may have the spotlight but I'm the one who should get the credit.

MCCAIN: When you win wars, troops come home. And we are winning. And the fact is if we had done what Senator Obama wanted to do, we would have lost and we would have faced a wider war.

BASH: What McCain aids are trying to protect is one of the few areas he beats Obama big time, ability to become commander in chief. The latest "Washington Post" poll gives McCain a 24-point lead on that issue and some Republicans are quite alarmed at the Iraqi prime minister's weekend comments that appeared to support Obama's 16-month withdrawal deadline which McCain opposes.

(on camera): Does it trouble you that seems to undercut the message that you have against Barack Obama?

MCCAIN: That doesn't in the slightest undercut the fact that it's based on conditions on the ground.

BASH (voice-over): McCain pointed to the U.S. military commander for political backup, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, who said this Sunday about Obama's withdraw plan.

ADMIRAL MICHAEL MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I think the consequences could be very dangerous in that regard.

MCCAIN: I hope we'll pay attention to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, particularly someone who has no military experience whatsoever.


BASH: That line there from Senator McCain suggesting saying, point blank, that Barack Obama has no military experience is no accident because with the White House and the Iraqi government suggesting more and more that a timeline for withdrawal or more importantly that troops could be coming home soon is a possibility. What McCain is trying to do is make this very much a debate between him and Barack Obama and who will be best to be commander in chief. Who do the American people want sitting in the oval office to safely bring those troops home, not to mention, Lou, deal with other hot spots around the globe. Lou.

DOBBS: Certainly all of that is true and it is incumbent upon us to establish and provide our viewers some individually reliable empirical validation as which statement is true. Did Obama oppose the surge strategy sponsored by Senator McCain or did he not?

BASH: He did. That is accurate.

DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much. Dana Bash from Kennebunkport, Maine, it's sort of back to the future, talking about Kennebunkport, Maine and seeing former President Bush there. Thank you very much, Dana.

BASH: Today was very much a back to the future day, Lou.

DOBBS: All right, thank you Dana Bash for bringing us up to date.

The Republican National Committee has stopped its clock on the number of days since Obama's last visit to Iraq now that the senator is in Baghdad. The clock showing Obama's last trip to Iraq was just over 925 days ago, but the clock has stopped with his arrival. Now the Republican National Committee has a new clock showing how long it's been since Senator McCain challenged Obama to a series of those town hall meetings.

And tonight we're starting a clock of our own. That clock will show just how long it's been since I challenged both of these presidential candidates to prohibit members of their administrations, whichever one is successful, from serving as lobbyist for a period of at least five years. Well let's put that up so you can see it. There it is. There's the clock.

As you can see in just a few moments, it will be exactly, it will be exactly 47 days since I issued that challenge to the two senators. So far neither Senator McCain nor Senator Obama has declared that they will accept my challenge. We will continue our clock. And we will keep you up to date on their progress or their lack of it toward an ethical resolution of that challenge.

Up next here, San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsome (ph) is under fire again, this time for his outrageous policy of giving sanctuary to illegal aliens and one in particular who now charged with a triple homicide.

Also partisan blather preventing Congress from passing a housing rescue bill to help our struggling middle-class homeowners. And the Food and Drug Administration now says it has made what it calls a significant break in the nationwide salmonella outbreak. Oh, really? We'll have the latest for you. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: The Food and Drug Administration tonight says it has found salmonella Saintpaul (ph) on a jalapeno pepper from Mexico. But now nearly three months since the beginning of this outbreak of salmonella, the FDA still has not identified the source of the bacteria. So far, more than 1,200 people across the country and Washington, D.C., have been sickened. But those numbers could be much higher, 30 to 40,000 people could have been sickened by the salmonella outbreak. Louise Schiavone has the latest.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Discovered, salmonella Saint Paul, not on a tomato but on an important jalapeno pepper.

VOICE OF DR. DAVID ACHESON, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: We are asking consumers to avoid eating fresh jalapeno peppers and food products made with fresh jalapeno peppers until further notice.

SCHIAVONE: The pepper came from a farm in Mexico. FDA investigators picked it out of a supply of jalapenos in a distribution center at the border in McAllen (ph), Texas. That's where as LOU DOBBS TONIGHT was the first to report almost three weeks ago...

DOBBS: Disturbing evidence tonight...

SCHIAVONE: ... FDA inspectors decided to sample specialty pepper imports. The FDA says it is not ready to blame the Mexican farm for the bacteria.

ACHESON: Our investigation has focused on the entire production chain from the farms, the distribution centers, the packing houses and we've been testing water, soil, work surfaces, packing boxes and many other areas to determine not only where the contamination originated but how it might have spread throughout the food supply to American consumers.

SCHIAVONE: Twelve hundred fifty-one cases of salmonella Saint Paul have been recorded in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. At least 229 people were hospitalized and there were two associated deaths. As the outbreak and the investigation both continue, tomato farmers are trying to pick up the pieces.

TOM NASSIF, WESTERN GROWERS ASSOC.: We are asking for the Congress to tell us what is possible in order to reimburse those people who are so innocent in all of this and who have been so terribly damaged.


SCHIAVONE: Lou, specialty pepper growers are now wondering how long it will take the government to clear their crops. The FDA says that all growers in the U.S. will be affected and one big North Carolina grower told me that having spent $10,000 an acre to plant his crop of specialty peppers, he could lose half a million dollars. Lou?

DOBBS: And when Tom Nassif with the Western Growers Association talks about talking to Congress about reimbursing those who have been hurt, one has the feeling he's not talking about the at least 1,200 people sickened and two people who have died or the 30 to 40,000 people that may -- who may have been sickened in this outbreak. This is really an outrageous situation, one in which the FDA, this Congress and this president bear immense responsibility.

SCHIAVONE: The investigation from beginning to end has really been a mystery in terms of their methods. The CDC uses what they call epidemiology which is really questionnaires and they ask people, what did you eat, where did you eat it, so on and so forth. And if you look at -- if you just take a closer glance at some of these questionnaires, nowhere do you see questions you know round, red, Roma, plum, nothing like that.

What kinds of answers were they getting and this is what the growers want to know. Let's have some transparency. What were people who got sick telling you? What did they tell you? Let's hear it all. Not just that there were tomatoes in the meal because that all happened as people were starting to eat tomatoes because they were coming on to the market fresh. What else were they eating and now they are talking about jalapeno peppers and now they're talking about a jalapeno pepper that was imported from Mexico.

DOBBS: And we should point out again, at this point, as far as we know, based on the lack of transparency, the FDA is talking about exactly one pepper, one jalapeno pepper with salmonella Saint Paul strain bacteria on it and that's it.

SCHIAVONE: You know and they know that. And that's what they say. They have these briefings and they say, so far, we have one pepper. And we don't know whether it came from the farm or it was in the warehouse or the truck or what.

DOBBS: Well, the FDA, this president, this Congress could do the American people a great service having done them a great injury. And that is right now begin trace-backs, put in country of origin labeling and start it right now and stop this nonsense about cross border commerce having to be protected at all costs, because right now the cost is simply outrageously too high. Thank you very much Louise Schiavone from Washington.

Turning now to our illegal immigration crisis, San Francisco's long standing illegal alien sanctuary policy has now apparently led to tragedy for one family. Prosecutors say a father and his two sons were killed by a suspected illegal alien gang member who had been shielded from deportation by the city of San Francisco. Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tony Bologna (ph) and his two sons, Michael and Matthew, were gunned down last month in their car on this San Francisco street, apparently after a brief traffic dispute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This here could have been avoided. WIAN: That's because the alleged killer, 21-year-old Salvadorian national Edwin Ramos (ph) should have been deported more than four years ago. Prosecutors say he's an illegal alien MS13 (ph) gang member with a long criminal history. But San Francisco's former policy of protecting juvenile felons from deportation by federal authorities kept Ramos on the streets. Now the wife and mother of his alleged victims is distraught.

DANIELLE BOLOGNA, WIDOW AND MOTHER OF VICTIMS: I don't think anybody should have to go through what I'm going through. You might be able to bury one person, but I've buried three and those men were my life.

WIAN: At a court hearing Monday, Ramos did not enter a plea to three counts of murder. One of his attorneys says the charges won't stick.

JOSEPH O'SULLIVAN, RAMOS' ATTORNEY: I feel comfortable he's never been convicted of this shooting. The act seems so inconsistent with his demeanor, his past, the way he comports himself. And just what he told me.

WIAN: Two weeks ago, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom reversed the city's sanctuary policy for juvenile illegal aliens convicted of felonies. The city says it has turned over at least 10 juvenile offenders to Immigration and Customs Enforcement since then.


WIAN: Now San Francisco city officials say they are not entirely responsible for Ramos avoided deportation. San Francisco sheriff's deputies said it notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Ramos was in custody on an unrelated gun charge in March and ICE declined to place Ramos on an immigration hold.

However, according to ICE, they were not notified by San Francisco until two hours after Ramos was released. As for Mayor Newsom, a spokesman says the juvenile felony sanctuary policy was in place before he was elected and as soon he learned of the policy, the mayor overturned it. Lou.

DOBBS: Well that doesn't quite square with, does it, with Mayor Newsom's rather arrogant and presumptuous defense of sanctuary? I'm sorry. I thought the city of San Francisco was advertising the fact that it was a sanctuary city and very proudly so.

WIAN: And they still are, Lou. They've actually forbidden their city employees from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement because there was so much outcry about this particular instance, not this particular case, but the particular policy of shielding convicted felons from Immigration and Customs Enforcement they decided to overturn that policy. But sanctuary is still very much the law of the land in San Francisco.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. It's hard to square any of that up with Mayor Newsom's sudden discovery of one of those elements of that policy, isn't it?

WIAN: It sure is, Lou.

DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian.

Well, San Francisco is one of dozens of sanctuary cities across this country that proudly refuse to enforce U.S. immigration laws. Some of the other major cities with sanctuary policies include Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Denver, Dallas. In all, there are 70 sanctuary cities and towns across the country.

Coming up next the search for alternative energy sources, I'll be talking with legendary oil man T. Boone Pickens. He has a plan to help the country break its dependency on foreign oil. He joins me here next.

And why Congress is holding up legislation to help our middle class fighting foreclosure. We'll have that special report and a great deal more. Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: Coming up next, leadership on our energy crisis and a proposal to shed our energy dependence not from a political leader or certainly not Al Gore, from a fellow named T. Boone Pickens. I'll be talking with him. You don't want to miss it.


DOBBS: Well the House and Senate this week still working on emergency relief for homeowners facing foreclosure. Congress has been debating this legislation since -- are you ready -- since March and over that period of time, nearly a million homes have been foreclosed. And as Kitty Pilgrim now reports, millions more homeowners face foreclosure now.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The housing relief legislation is dragging on another week. It's been stuck in Congress now for five months. Every day they delay, another 8,000 homeowners are foreclosed on.

ALAN BLINDER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think the thing to say is the problem is getting worse. It's worse now than when the bill should have passed back in March or April and any further delay is just letting the problem fester.

PILGRIM: The current bill in the House calls for $300 billion of federal housing authority loan guarantees to help distressed homeowners but that program is voluntary for banks. The worry is banks will only submit their worst mortgages for federal help, the ones that were going to fail any way because homeowners are so far behind.

Also included in the legislation basic insurance measures to provide back-up to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if they need federal intervention, the bill also calls for stronger oversight of those institutions. President Bush is threatening to veto the bill if it includes a controversial $4 billion in grants to states to buy out foreclosed properties.

Today, the White House saying that money would be in the form of community development block grants, which would then be spent on already foreclosed properties which does nothing to help homeowners but helps lenders. Some economists agree.

DAVID JOHN, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: You're going to see an awful lot of sweetheart deals and/or an awful lot of pure and confidence in trying to administer something like this. It's not what cities and states do.

PILGRIM: The bill may pass in the House as early as Wednesday and then goes to the Senate after that.


PILGRIM: Now, the Congressional estimate is this legislation could help some four to 500,000 people. Secretary Paulson had said many of today's foreclosures are not preventable, putting the number for this year at about two and a half million. Some banking estimates put it at six million over the next few years. Lou.

DOBBS: Henry Paulson, does he think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were they preventable? Was Bear Stearns preventable, any number of other banks, investment and commercial banks preventable? I mean what does this man sit around thinking about? He's an absolute -- it's incomprehensible what he is trying to do here.

PILGRIM: The sad fact about this legislation, Lou, is that even if they enact it next week, it's going to take months and months and months to kick in, to train the people, to administer these programs...

DOBBS: Because these are blithering buffoons (ph), they have no sense of urgency even though two and a half million Americans are facing crisis and foreclosure. There is no urgency. There is no emergency. And some idiot wants to put forward $4 billion? I don't often agree with this administration but in a foreclosure, in a homeowner rescue plan to put in $4 billion, to pick up property that's already been foreclosed upon, it's unbelievable.

PILGRIM: The economists we talked to today said it would be a big mistake because it would really lead to a lot of corruption and it would benefit...

DOBBS: Oh no, I can't imagine corruption in the housing industry in this country, unimaginable. Kitty, thanks very much -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Well as Kitty just reported, millions of middle-class American families are fighting to save their homes. Last month alone, one out of every 500 households received a notice of default or repossession. And for the second straight month more than a quarter million households received foreclosure filings. Nevada is still the hardest hit, foreclosure filings they're up 85 percent over the past year. California had the second highest foreclosure rate; Arizona, Florida and Michigan also in the top five.

Well, time now for some of your thoughts on the salmonella outbreak. In this case, W.B. in Las Vegas said: "CNN Headline Monday, the FDA has found salmonella bacteria on a jalapeno imported from Mexico. Sources in the industry tell CNN. You called it, Lou. The FDA under the Bush administration has to be the most incompetent agency in the history of this country."

And Don in Montana writes: "Lou, $250 million in damages to U.S. tomato growers? Who's going to pay this bill? Does the FDA realize what they have done to these citizens? I think that the whole FDA needs to be replaced by some competent people." Oh, if we could only find them.

And Debbie in Nevada writes: "Do you think possibly the Food and Drug Administration doesn't want to find the source of the outbreak since they don't want to admit the food is from Mexico? I think you pose an intriguing question."

We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the forecast. Up next, a stunning court decision in the infamous wardrobe malfunction case from 2004's Super Bowl. Imagine that. More than four years of courtroom drama to get to a resolution.

And that isn't even the headline.

And breaking America's dependency on foreign oil. Just whose idea is that? Not a politician's or an officeholder's or a lawmaker's. Oil man T. Boone Pickens with a plan and a man who puts his money where his plan is. We'll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion. Here again, "Mr. Independent," Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: And what a great time it is to be an independent. Welcome back. Americans tonight say there's considerable media bias in favor of Senator Obama. You cannot fool all of the people all of the time obviously. A new Rasmussen poll finds Americans believe by a margin of more than three to one that journalists will try to help Barack Obama more than they will try to help John McCain.

San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom sanctuary city illegal alien policy tonight has apparently led to tragedy for a San Francisco family. A suspected illegal alien gang member with a long criminal history stands accused tonight of committing a triple homicide. That gang member also protected from deportation by San Francisco's juvenile sanctuary policy.

And the Food and Drug Administration tonight announcing it's found salmonella Saint Paul, that is a strain of the bacteria, on one jalapeno pepper imported from Mexico. The contaminated pepper was found at a distribution center in McAllen, Texas. FDA investigators do not know where the pepper was contaminated.

A federal appellate court today, you won't believe this one, overturned a half a million fine against CBS for Janet Jackson's rather well-known wardrobe malfunction as it was called at the Super Bowl in 2004. A three-judge panel of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it doesn't get much fancier than that, held that the FCC fine was arbitrary and capricious.

Joining me now, our senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin. I suspect there are times like this, Jeffrey, when you'd like to be analyzing almost anything but law.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm the senior wardrobe analyst tonight, yes.

DOBBS: How could this take case four years, for crying out loud, first of all?

TOOBIN: Well, what happened was, the FCC said, this was indecency, in violation of the FCC rules. And what the court of appeals said today was, you changed the rules on CBS, that earlier these isolated or fleeting obscenities, views of nudity, had not been penalized so the fact that you've penalized CBS for doing this was changing the standard against the rule, after the fact, and that's why they overturned the finding.

DOBBS: Four years to say what sounds like a very simple, straightforward, reasonable and commonsense explanation.

TOOBIN: Four years and 102 pages in today's opinion and, by the way, FCC could appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. So four and half years doesn't necessarily mean that we're at the end either.

DOBBS: I doubt that the FCC, having as it does a lame duck president who seems to be losing interest faster than the others of us are losing interest in him, probably will let it go, don't you?

TOOBIN: I expect that they will, but it's possible that they might.

DOBBS: The idea that this is indecency, the idea that it took four years and Lord knows how much money, what is the impact on viewer at home who is treated to all sorts of salacious programming on his or her TV set every night, every day in every way?

TOOBIN: If I may offer some qualified defense of the regulators here - the regulators, the people who have to say what's indecent and then the courts have to evaluate that.

DOBBS: You have to defend a lot of people. You have to defend the regulators, you have to defend the courts. You've got to - OK.

TOOBIN: We only have 20 minutes left. But the problem of defining indecency, of defining obscenity, of defining inappropriate conduct is very hard when it comes to free speech. One of the most interesting cases that the court had related to "Schindler's List" because there was nudity in "Schindler's List" and the FCC got complaints.

DOBBS: It was movie, for crying out loud. Do they take note of that difference?

TOOBIN: But they also said, given the context, it wasn't exactly salacious nudity, that would not be penalized by the FCC. But those are the kinds of distinctions that are hard to draw.

DOBBS: Especially if you don't have the commonsense that God gave a gnat. I mean, four years ...

TOOBIN: That's a problem with the legal system ...

DOBBS: Why do we keep saying cluck, cluck that's the problem with the legal system? How about, let's get this thing fixed? How about - Whatever happened to swift justice here?

TOOBIN: That got left several years ago in most cases. Look, when you have a system where one out of eight residents in the District of Columbia is an attorney, they push ...

DOBBS: That is a big problem right there.

TOOBIN: That is a big problem. And they push against each other.

DOBBS: With the ratio being one out of two at this desk.

TOOBIN: But that -- lawyers are famous for creating more work for themselves and they got four and a half -- $500,000 in fines were at issue in this case but you can be sure the legal fees were way, way more than that.

Jeffrey, thank you very much for bringing to bear commonsense, good judgment to the legal systems, as always. Even if it won't reciprocate. Thank you, Jeffrey Toobin.

Up next here, a bold plan to solve this nation's dependency on foreign oil and it comes from one of the country's most respected oil men, T. Boone Pickens. We'll be talking about that and a great deal more.

New evidence tonight that we can enforce our immigration laws. All we have to do is do it. We'll have that report next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Let's be clear, President Bush has put the pressure on Congress to drill or not to drill off shore. There are vast deposits of natural gas lying offshore and throughout this country and it's a potentially important alternative to foreign oil and other energy sources as well. The Energy Department now reports that with the current technology that the United States has access to 1,744 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That's a lot. And Americans consume roughly 23 trillion cubic feet each and every year. At that rate, we have enough natural gas to satisfy the demand for the next 75 years. Conceivably, more natural gas could become available with technological advances and discovery.

One man who is calling for Congress to stop its partisan fighting and work together on offshore drilling is oil man T. Boone Pickens. He recently unveiled his Pickens plan aimed at reducing our dependency on foreign oil. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The First Billion is the Hardest." The book will be published in September. T. Boone Pickens joins us now from our bureau in Washington, DC. Boone, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: I've got to say this first, I've got to be clear. You and I have known each other for nearly 30 years. And throughout that time, whatever you were involved in, you were always at the forefront. You are coming our right now -- I've got to give you credit. You are talking straightforward about what to do and how to fix a problem while not another single elected official, another business association, because most businessman now are represented by the Chamber of Commerce or the Business Roundtable and haven't got the guts or the vision, apparently, to talk for themselves. I want to compliment you for doing so, if I may.

PICKENS: Thanks, Lou. The problem is unbelievable for this country. We are in a crisis mode and let me give it to you right quick. We're spending $700 billion a year on foreign oil, 700 billion. We're going to break the country in less than 10 years and we're now importing almost 70 percent of all the oil we use.

DOBBS: Seventy percent. And back when the first OPEC oil embargo began, back in 1973, OPEC won. What was it, about 20 percent?

PICKENS: Twenty percent. 1991 it was 42 percent. And I said then, we're going to be 60 percent at the end of the century. We were at 60 percent -- I was told I was a fool. I didn't know what I was talking about. I can tell you now, you're almost 70 and you're going to be importing in ten years from now. So we've got to do something about it and we can, Lou. The solution for it is natural gas. Natural gas can replace foreign oil.

DOBBS: Now, your plan is to have natural gas move into transportation, correct?

PICKENS: That's correct. It already is. There are 8 million vehicles around the world on natural gas and only 142,000 of them are in the United States. Can you believe, I mean, with our leadership, did not take us in the right direction. But not trying to place blame, it's really our problem. Yours, mine, and the rest of the people in America.

DOBBS: You're exactly right. And the cost of conversion to natural gas for large vehicles, those dinosaurs or the gas guzzlers are the ones in many cases that are most readily convertible to natural gas, are they not?

PICKENS: I'm not interested in passenger car near as much as I am in heavy duty equipment. The government should move quickly to mandating that all new vehicles that be purchased by the government would be natural gas vehicles. General Motors has 19 different vehicles they make but none in the United States. All of them out of the country. South America and Europe.

DOBBS: Right.

PICKENS: But here's what is interesting. Gazprom last week, the biggest company in the world, Russia, they announced that they were going to put natural gas fueling stations all over Europe. Now, that's interesting because it tells you that we're behind again. We're behind again. Here we are. We have natural gas, which is cleaner, cheaper, abundant and domestic.

DOBBS: And let's be clear about this, too, Gazprom, the Russian oil and energy company, is not doing it out of the goodness of its heart, it's driving profits but at the same time creating greater dependency in Europe, Western and Eastern Europe on Russian energy because of the pipelines that move from Russia into Europe. So there's a strategic plan behind what they are doing as well. There is no strategy in this country whatsoever, even as a consumption economy we don't have a plan.

PICKENS: We have not had a plan in 40 years, Lou. What I want to do is to fold in the great resource we have in the central part of this country, which is wind. And then you have resource from Texas west to California. You've got solar. Those two resources have to be developed. So when you develop the wind, you can then remove natural gas from power generation and put it into a transportation fuel market. We can do that and is it easy? Almost easy. There have to be some things, some hurdles to clear. But when you take that natural gas out of power generation and put it into transportation fuel, that's 22 percent of that 23 trillion. That amount, you put into transportation would reduce our imports by 38 percent.

DOBBS: I'm going to round it off to 40 percent. That's an immense impact immediately. It's about $300 billion that you would save a year.

PICKENS: That's right.

DOBBS: More on the out years as we move into the next decade. Where you estimate, we could be transferring as much as $10 trillion in wealth from this country to primarily to the Middle East and to other oil-producing nations unless we change directions and do so quickly.

PICKENS: OK. Quickly. You said 38 percent ...

DOBBS: Right. PICKENS: ... of the oil we import comes from the Mid-East and Africa. The two most unstable areas. And if we did this, we can do it in five to 10 years, and we could get away from that dependency of 38 percent.

DOBBS: Now, I want to point out, Boone Pickens is not only offering a plan and solution and strategy, he's also investing his money in wind power while others are talking about it. And posturing and playing some ideological and partisan games. Boone Pickens, as always, it's a great pleasure to talk with you. Thanks for looking out for the country. We appreciate it.

PICKENS: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Boone Pickens, a remarkable fellow.

Former Vice President Al Gore is continuing his campaign against offshore oil drilling. Gore is making some outrageous comparisons to the invasion of Iraq. Speaking at the Netroots Nation Convention in Texas over the weekend, the former vice president said, quote, "Proposing to get a slight increase in oil drilling for fuel to be sold to China 10 to 15 years from now as a solution to our rising gasoline prices makes as much sense as responding to an attack from Afghanistan by invading some other country."

Now that was a curious construction. And a reminder to vote in our poll tonight.

The question is do you believe that the national media is biased in favor of Senator Barack Obama? We'd love to hear from you. Cast your vote at We'll have the results here in just a few moments. A reminder to join me on the radio for "The Lou Dobbs Show."

Tomorrow my guests include veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins, Steven Greenhouse of the "New York Times" on the Labor Department and the cheap labor department it represents.

And Dr. Deborah Kenny on urban education in America. All of that and a great deal more on "The Lou Dobbs Show." Go to to get your local listing for the show and please join us.

Up next here, despite what you may have read in this mainstream media, the federal program that's designed to help employers hire legal workers is actually having some success. Imagine that.

By the way, stay tuned, "New York Times", you're going to find this informative.

And free trade advocates in Geneva Switzerland, trying to ram an immigration agenda down our throats with trade policy. Ooh. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: An increasing number of states and private employers tonight are making use of the federal government's e-verify system which allows employers to make certain the workers they hire are legally allowed to work in this country. But business special interests, mainstream media and ethnocentric organizations trying to spread a lie about e-verify and employer sanction laws. By the way, the propaganda reached all the way to the "New York Times" editorial pages today.

That editorial said, "States have passed overly punitive laws to revoke the licenses of businesses caught hiring the undocumented and forcing employers to participate in e-verify, the deeply flawed federal system for checking workers' documents."

My, my, my, I love it when the "New York Times" comforts those poor besieged corporations and business employers. Without the "Times" to protect them, whatever would they do?

But the "New York Times" and the ethnocentric special interest groups say the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is all wrong. They know it. They are lying. The laws and the e-verify program works. Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arizona was first. Passing a law that requires all businesses check new hires to make sure they can legally work in the United States using what's known as the e-verify system. Business groups had predicted it would be a disaster and small companies would go under. But now, six and a half months after the law took effect, even the Arizona Chamber of Commerce says it's not so bad after all.

ANN SEIDEN, ARIZONA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The sense here in Arizona is that for the most part, employers are experiencing fewer problems with e-verify than some had anticipated.

SYLVESTER: Now other states are eyeing Arizona as a model to weed out the illegal work force. Mississippi has a similar law that took effect this month. Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Oklahoma are among a handful of states requiring use of the e- verify system in some cases.

RANDY PULLEN, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: I think there's been a turn in the mind of the business community as well as I think it's been demonstrated that e-verify does work.

SYLVESTER: But not all are applauding the employment verification program. The Cato Institute says it will increase identity theft.

JIM HARPER, CATO INSTITUTE: I suspect if more states will adopt the e verify requirement, but as e-verify screws down more tightly on the illegal immigrants, they will make it much harder on the American citizen.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SYLVESTER (on camera): But Randy Pullen with the Arizona Republican office says to the contrary, in his state of Arizona, illegal aliens who are screened in e-verify and not approved are simply leaving and that's helping American workers who now don't have to compete with cheap illegal labor. Lou?

DOBBS: The Cato Institute, amongst others, left sort of flapping its lips because they simply, they are a libertarian organization, they don't want any kind of government regulation or intrusion whatsoever. They would want no one to get between an illegal employer and its profits, even on the backs of illegal aliens and illegal employees. Terrific reporting, Lisa.

This is really a watershed moment where even the Chamber of Commerce in Arizona has to admit, e-verify works, yet at the same time, as we reported here, the "New York Times" has the temerity to suggest it's a deeply flawed system. It's 99.5 percent accurate. It's stunning to think that the "New York Times" would continue to act as it does on this issue of illegal immigration.

SYLVESTER: Yes. The example is clear with Arizona. This e- verify system works and businesses there are actually accepting the program even though it is a new regulation.

DOBBS: Editorial pages are really quite interesting. They don't like Senator John McCain either, apparently. I'm sure that's just a misperception. Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester. From Washington. Up next, free traders meeting in Europe want to set our immigration policy. You think that's amazing. But think about this. Those same free traders, without government intervention to bail them out. It's complicated and we'll have the story. Next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: An outrageous effort tonight, trying to bring in more foreign labor at the expense of middle class workers. Free trade advocates in Geneva telling America to change our policy and raise the number of temporary workers allowed into our country. Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Trade agreements and immigration policy wouldn't seem to have much in common. But workers and jobs are apparently becoming just commodities to be traded. The latest round of trade within the World Trade Organization known as the Doha (ph) Round, India is pressing the United States to create a new guest worker visa for highly skilled workers, effectively skirting the cap on the H-1B Visa.

It is a demand that relatively few people outside of trade negotiators are aware of and one expert in outsourcing is horrified.

RON HIRA, ROCHESTER INST. OF TECHNOLOGY: I just find it amazing and unbelieveable that -- that we have this opaque and un-Democratic process set up. TUCKER (voice over): U.S. trade negotiators refused to discuss the details of any negotiations at this point. If a new type of visa were created, it wouldn't be the first created by a trade agreement. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement created the T-N (ph) visa, allowing workers from Canada and Mexico to work in the United States indefinitely.

And in virtually every trade agreement since, there has been a provision allowing guest workers into the United States under what's known as trade and services. According to one group that lobbies for a more restricted immigration policy, such provisions benefit foreign companies that provide outsourcing services.

JESSICA VAUGHAN, CTR. FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: We're giving concessions to companies, so that they can establish a trade foothold in the United States. not to hire Americans and benefit our economy, but to bring in workers from abroad

TUCKER: Sixty-eight hundred guest worker visas were part of the free trade agreement with Singapore and Chile.


TUCKER (on camera): But those visas never made it into the final trade agreement (INAUDIBLE) because of a number of senators who were angry at the visas being included in the trade agreement, prompting a warning from several senators, Lou, against the inclusion of high skilled visas in trade agreements in the future.

DOBBS: They need to take the Doha Round and square it off.


DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much. Bill Tucker

Well, our poll results tonight: 73 percent of you say the national media is biased in favor of Senator Barack Obama. Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, we thank you for watching. Good night from New York.

"THE ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown begins right now -- Campbell?