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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Obama Overrules the Military; McCain Targets Obama on Iraq; Battling Drug Cartel Violence; War on the Middle Class with a Reality Check in Washington

Aired July 22, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Thank you, Wolf.
Tonight Senator Obama overruling our top military commanders on the conduct of the war in Iraq with the full apparent support of the liberal media even though he has not quite yet been elected president and tonight a new campaign to highlight the drug cartel invasion of this country, an invasion the presidential candidates are ignoring.

And tonight, new evidence the Bush administration remains absolutely clueless about the state of our worsening economy and the crisis facing our middle class. All of that, all of the day's news and much more tonight from an independent perspective straight ahead.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Tuesday, July 22nd. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. Senator Obama today bluntly overruled our top military commander in the Middle East on the issue of troop withdrawals from Iraq. Obama ignoring the advice and counsel of General David Petraeus and insists he'll withdraw our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months regardless of conditions.

Obama declared he needs to consider security needs in Afghanistan; apparently forgetting that General Petraeus leads also leads our troops in that war. Senator McCain immediately pounced on Obama's statements, McCain saying Obama is prepared to lose the war in order to win a political campaign.

We have extensive coverage tonight and we begin with Candy Crowley reporting on Obama's overseas tour from Amman, Jordan.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barack Obama left Iraq as he went into it, convinced that a 16-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat troops is doable. Not everyone is on board including someone who told him so, Obama's chopper companion, General David Petraeus, commander of coalition forces.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that his concern has to do with wanting to retain as much flexibility as possible.

CROWLEY: Obama says it's not a matter of ignoring military brass on the ground but as commander in chief he would be prepared to overrule it.

OBAMA: I'm factoring in their advice but placing it in this broader strategic frame work that's required.

CROWLEY: Obama and his two fellow senators on the Iraq trip agreed that military and political progress has been made since the surge began but Obama hit repeatedly by McCain for opposing the surge balked at calling it a success.

OBAMA: I believe that the situation in Iraq is more secure than it was a year and a half ago. I think that the definition of success depends on how you look at it.

CROWLEY: Obama's first post-Iraq news coverage was held on a mountain top against the backdrop of Amman, Jordan where he met and dined with King Abdullah as he'll meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and European leaders. It's a trip designed to shine up his foreign policy credibility back home, a presidential style agenda though Obama has to be careful not to act as though he's already president. This is tricky.

OBAMA: There are a range of factors that I have to take into account as commander in chief or a potential commander in chief.

CROWLEY (on camera): From here Barack Obama flew to Israel. It will be perhaps the trickiest stop on this journey. In the past along the campaign trail Obama has said things that worry both Israelis and the Palestinians.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Amman, Jordan.


DOBBS: Senator Obama strongly opposed the surge strategy in Iraq. A strategy that by any standard has led to a tremendous decline in violence and casualties whatever Senator Obama now says. Obama found every reason possible today not to acknowledge the success of the surge and at one point even claimed the surge wasn't necessary.


OBAMA: With respect to the surge, we don't know what would have happened if the plan that I put forward in January of 2007 to put more pressure on the Iraqis to arrive at a political reconciliation to begin a phased withdraw, what would have happened had we pursued that strategy.


DOBBS: And now Senator Obama after suggesting that the surge was not necessary in Iraq believes a surge of our troops into Afghanistan is absolutely necessary. Senator Obama says he wants to deploy at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan, that's more than 7,000 additional troops, a surge. However, Obama has not explained how a strategy he opposed in Iraq will work in Afghanistan or why he at least so believes. The liberal media tonight continuing its outright cheerleading for Senator Obama and his policy to quickly withdraw our troops from Iraq against the advice of our military commanders. The liberal media tonight is happily accepting the Obama campaign's efforts to stage manage events on this trip and to restrict interviews to only a few network anchors and correspondents.

Obama's media entourage is traveling on Obama's newly painted Boeing 757 -- there it is -- a campaign plane that is plastered with his campaign slogan and the slogan we -- "a change we can believe in." There's the logo and there's the slogan. There is that little aircraft.

Well cable news organizations this morning were covering Senator Obama's news coverage in Amman from beginning to end. No such stream for Senator McCain in Rochester, New Hampshire, however. Cable news networks all carried some of McCain's town hall meeting but no one carried all of it. None stayed to the end.

This network, CNN, joined the town hall meeting in progress and was the first network to break away four minutes later. FOX News followed CNN's lead and returned to scheduled programming shortly afterward. MSNBC stayed with McCain until the end of his opening remarks breaking away when the question and answer session began.

Senator McCain is refusing to be deterred by the media failure to cover his campaign, nearly as extensively as Senator Obama's. McCain today stepping up his criticism in fact of Obama's policy on Iraq, declaring Obama wants to reverse all of the gains we've made in Iraq over the past year.

Dana Bash now with McCain campaign reporting from Rochester, New Hampshire.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're John McCain looking for a little love while Barack Obama has got the spotlight overseas, you come to New Hampshire...


BASH: ... the primary state that brought him back from the political dead.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Coming back to New Hampshire is also like coming home.


BASH: It was here McCain debuted his favorite line about supporting the then unpopular military surge in Iraq.

MCCAIN: I would rather lose a campaign than lose a war.

BASH: Now a plan his own words. MCCAIN: It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

BASH: McCain seized on Obama's comments while in Iraq that knowing what he knows now he still wouldn't have supported the troop surge.

MCCAIN: He's wrong then. He's wrong now. And he still fails to acknowledge -- he still fails to acknowledge that the surge succeeded. A remarkable, remarkable...

BASH: He got wild applause for insisting the U.S. must not follow Obama's 16-month withdrawal plan.

MCCAIN: He wants to reverse the gains we have made and set a date for withdrawal which would endanger our progress in Iraq.

BASH: But not everyone agreed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We entered the Iraq war illegally, immorally and against international law.

BASH: One voter reminded McCain among other things the Iraqi government now says it wants troops out.


BASH: He shushed hecklers in the crowd.

MCCAIN: Could we all be respectful of everybody's point of view?

BASH: She continued.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it time to end the occupation, Senator?

BASH: He made his case.

MCCAIN: This war was badly mishandled and we failed. I believe that a change in the strategy and the surge would succeed. And indeed it did.

BASH: Her turn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Respectfully I disagree with you completely.

MCCAIN: I figured that.



BASH: Now McCain's advisers are still looking for ways to try to steal attention from the Obama spotlight overseas. And one of the tactics that they're using is to tweak the media. The McCain campaign has a new Web ad, a new ad that's just running on its -- on the McCain campaign Web site and it's called quote, "Obama love", and it makes fun of the media and it shows some clips of reporters who are fawning over Obama. Lou?

DOBBS: Fawning over Obama, well they've got quite a list to choose from. I guess it's quite a long commercial.

BASH: It's a couple of minutes long. You will be happy to know that you make an appearance but I know you're not surprised to know you're not one of the ones that are fawning.

DOBBS: No, I'm not a bit surprised and I suspect no one in the audience of this broadcast is surprised. My guess is you weren't surprised either, Dana. Dana Bash, thank you very much.

Tonight's poll tonight, presidential candidate Barack Obama saying the surge in Iraq did not work today despite significantly reduced violence and deaths. Do you agree with Senator Obama? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later.

As Senator McCain criticized Obama on the issue of the surge, the last troops from the final surge brigade returned home. The military saying those troops left Iraq several days earlier than had been scheduled. They had been due to leave by the end of this month.

The end of the surge means 15 combat brigades are now in Iraq. That's down from a peak of 20 brigades just exactly one year ago. Almost 150,000 of our troops remain in Iraq which compares with a total of 170,000 troops at the peak of the surge.

Insurgents killed another of our troops in Iraq. The marine was killed in al Anbar province west of Baghdad. Nine of our troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month. Our causality rate in July has fallen to the lowest level of this entire war; 4,124 of our troops have been killed since the war began; 30,435 of our troops wounded; 13,507 of them seriously.

And insurgents have also killed one of our soldiers in Afghanistan; 18 of our troops have been killed there so far this month; twice as many as in Iraq.

Up next, a new warning about the violent drug cartel wars and the invasion of this country and the threat now to American lives. And the Bush administration demonstrating again it has no idea how to fix our weakening economy and to help our working men and women and their families. We'll have those reports and a great deal more straight ahead. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Arizona has launched a new effort to combat drug and illegal alien smuggling in the state, Maricopa County, Arizona already leading the fight against illegal immigration and drug cartel violence. Employers there are already cracking down on illegal immigration by using E-Verify. Now Maricopa County is asking its citizens to help them in fighting the war against the drug cartels and illegal alien smugglers. Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement authorities in Maricopa County, Arizona have discovered 163 drug and illegal alien smuggling drop houses this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together we can stop illegal immigration.

WIAN: The county is sponsoring an ad asking for the public's help identifying more houses where smugglers detain illegal aliens until their border crossing debt is paid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Illegal immigration is fueling Arizona's violent crime and drug problem. About 90 percent of illegal drugs come from south of border. Armed gangs involved in human smuggling have made Phoenix the kidnapping capital of America. Drop houses full of illegal immigrants have become centers of crime and violence. These drop houses can appear in any neighborhood. If you suspect a drop house is in your neighborhood, contact the sheriff's office or the county attorney's office.

WIAN: This TV and radio appeal was sparked by the suspected drug cartel related murder of a man in a Phoenix suburb last month by heavily armed gunmen dressed to resemble police.

ANDREW THOMAS, MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY: Everything about it suggests the influence of Mexican drug cartel tactics finally starting to materialize here in the United States. We just cannot allow that to happen and we all have to just draw a line in the sand and say that this will not happen in this country.

WIAN: The anti-illegal crusading sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, is arresting and identifying illegal aliens and turning them over to federal authorities despite protests and lawsuits by Latino advocacy groups, the American Civil Liberties Union, and some local politicians.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: We're going to keep doing it regardless of the politics, the bureaucrats, the activists, the opponents. We're going to keep doing our job.

WIAN: Immigration and Customs Enforcement is praising the job Arpaio is doing. ICE has deported a record 39,000 illegal aliens in Arizona so far this year. More than a third of them were either apprehended or identified by Arpaio's deputies.


Maricopa County is spending about 800,000 on its anti-drop house ad campaign. It's being funded with money seized from criminals. Lou?

DOBBS: This is a terrific story, one of cooperation, one of community involvement. At the same time the mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, is fighting Arpaio at every juncture hating the fact that he's enforcing the law. Some of the ethnocentric interest groups fighting him as well, the governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano fighting him as well.

I mean this is a mess as far as the state government and the mayor's city government there in Phoenix. This is disgusting how they're fighting federal law enforcement and Maricopa County, the Maricopa County attorney, good for him and good for all of them for fighting an establishment that's working against the enforcement of U.S. laws.

WIAN: Yeah, you mentioned Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. He's asked the federal government to investigate the efforts by Sheriff Joe Arpaio to arrest illegal immigrants and turn them over to ICE. Doesn't seem like that investigation is going to go too far because the federal agency ICE is praising Arpaio for helping them deport criminal illegal aliens, Lou.

DOBBS: The investigation without question should be both Janet Napolitano, the governor of the state, playing her political games with this very serious issue and Phil Gordon, the mayor of Phoenix. As a matter of fact, this broadcast -- you know let me say directly here I believe absolutely that there should be an investigation of what's going on in that state because it is an affront to the interest of the citizens of the state of Arizona.

Casey, thanks very much. I mean that's a wonderful story showing cooperation in the beginning of a community wide action to deal with a horrific issue. Some of the activists like the ACLU and various organizations, you know they want to forget that Mexico remains the primary source of methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and marijuana into this country destroying lots of lives as well as smuggling those illegal aliens into this country.

It's horrific. And something has to be done about it. And our congratulations to all of those in this country who are working so hard to do what they can to stop the impact of drug smuggling and illegal alien smuggling into this country.

Well the city of Hartford, Connecticut tonight is apparently considering the idea of becoming the newest city to give sanctuary to illegal aliens. Hartford City Councilman Luis Cotto (ph) is proposing a new ordinance in Hartford that would stop the Hartford Police Department from asking suspects about their immigration status.

Councilman Cotto (ph) said quote, "Hartford has real issues to deal with. Hartford does not have the luxury to have its police act as federal law enforcement officers." I guess he doesn't consider the war on drugs illegal smuggling to be serious issues or identity theft. This is quite a remarkable statement for a man to make who supposedly wants to work as a public servant. It looks like he wants to serve someone other than the citizens of Hartford.

Well up next here, thousands of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure each and every day, tonight new evidence that the Bush administration simply has no idea what to do about it. And an ominous warning about our energy crisis, one of the nation's most respected oilmen telling Congress we're paying for a war against ourselves, my guest here last night, Boone Pickens, telling Congress what he thought today. That's next. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Up next, the liberal media's love affair with Senator Obama intensifying. I'll be talking with three of the country's top radio talk show hosts about what independent-minded voters should be making of all this. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: We've been reporting for months on this broadcast about the Bush administration's failure to address adequately the housing crisis. As millions of middle class Americans have been hurt by foreclosures the White House has consistently denied the problem. As Kitty Pilgrim reports, this month alone, the administration has contradicted itself many times about the state and health of our economy.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attitudes seem to be changing at the Bush White House.

HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: Until the housing market stabilizes further, we should expect some continued stresses in our financial markets.

PILGRIM: That's quite a different story from the upbeat comments the Treasury secretary made earlier this month.

PAULSON: We have strong long-term economic fundamentals in the U.S. I think there's a very strong possibility that we will be growing at the end of the year.

PILGRIM: President Bush just last week predicting economic growth.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not an economist, but I do believe that we're growing.

PILGRIM: Most economists will readily admit the economy is not growing and many believe the mortgage crisis is going to become even worse. The Treasury secretary predicts 2.5 million foreclosures this year. Banks put the number at more than six million over the next few years.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), FINANCIAL SVCS. CHAIRMAN: Secretary Paulson is a man who spent his life in the private market and understands its strengths and its weaknesses and I think we have now a better understanding of the market which is, yes, it's a very powerful instrument for creating wealth, but it does not stand entirely alone and I think you've seen the Bush administration moving toward reality here.

PILGRIM: House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank has been trying for five months to have his housing bill signed into law. Paulson today called for quick passage of that bill but now includes federal help if needed for mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Congressional Budget Office today said that help could cost taxpayers $25 billion.


PILGRIM: The housing legislation is expected to pass in the House tomorrow with the provisions for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Congressional Budget Office says there's a 50 percent chance the government will have to step in to prop up those institutions by lending them money or buying stock. Lou?

DOBBS: And what about the $4 billion to give to states and block grants to buy foreclosed properties?

PILGRIM: The $4 billion block grant still in legislation, it is still part of it.

DOBBS: And put there by Barney Frank, correct?

PILGRIM: It is put there by Chris Dodd in the Senate and it is supported by Barney Frank in the House.

DOBBS: Well the -- it's quite a mess, quite a mess indeed. And I love the idea that all these free traders, free marketeers now got to have the government to bail them out. If I hear one of these ignorant, hypocritical, sanctimonious free traders ever talk about free markets again, they should be pillared. I mean they are absolutely -- this is an administration of jerks and cowards and fools. I mean it's unbelievable.

PILGRIM: It is inconceivable that it has taken this long to get this legislation together and...

DOBBS: We should just thank God that this country has had enough intelligent leaders that we have sufficient regulation at least still and the genius of a private economy to at least bail us out. And let's hope it's done soon. Thank you very much, Kitty -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Well meanwhile, home foreclosures are soaring across the country. A new report today showing California has been hit particularly hard. Foreclosures there hitting a new record high in the second quarter, the foreclosure rate in California up more than 33 percent from the first quarter, a staggering 261 percent higher than the same period a year ago. In California, more than 63,000 homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosures in just the past three months.

Let's take a look now at some of your thoughts. Ellie in Illinois said, "I saw Obama's coverage on television today. I am confused. Did I miss the election? Is Obama now the president? Has the country decided to ordain instead of elect?" No, no, not the country, just the national media.

Gail in California, "Lou, why are the taxpayers once more expected to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and while we're at it, why isn't Congress demanding that the operators of this group appear before them to explain the debacle?"

I think in part because they know that they are part of the reason for the debacle and that oversight has been lacking in this country for the past two decades while we gave the CEOs, permitted the CEOs of those two organizations to make literally fortunes for taking no risk and doing very little to protect the assets of that organization or those organizations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, talk about a joke.

Well Lou in New Mexico, he said "T. Boone Pickens' plan makes perfect sense to me. Let's use the resources we have available as soon as possible, finally some intelligence."

We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast. Up next, my guest last night, oilman T. Boone Pickens, went to Capitol Hill today. There he challenged Congress to free America of its dependency on foreign oil and the liberal media's infatuation with Senator Obama reaching new heights as Obama visits the Middle East and soon Europe. Three of my favorite radio talk show hosts join me. We'll be talking about that and more. Stay with us. We're coming right back.


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

DOBBS: Welcome back. In the news tonight, Senator Obama bluntly declaring against our military's advice on the conduct of the war in Iraq. Obama saying he will overrule the commander of our troops in the Middle East, General David Petraeus, and withdraw our combat troops in 16 months regardless of conditions on the ground in Iraq. A new advertising campaign tonight to highlight the violence by Mexican drug cartels in this country. An issue these presidential candidates have ignored.

The ad campaign comes after suspected drug cartel members stormed a house in phoenix, Arizona, killing a man in cold blood.

And Hurricane Dolly tonight is charging toward the border between Texas and Mexico in the Gulf. This Category 1 storm is expected to strengthen further as it approaches the coast. The hurricane warning is now in effect from Brownsville to Corpus Christi and northeastern Mexico.

My guest here last night, old man T. Boone Pickens today took his plan to free America of its dependency on foreign oil to Capitol Hill. Pickens urged Congress to act quickly to find alternative fuels and to adopt his plan. Among the questions now is will Congress stop its partisan bickering and find a solution to help our struggling middle class? Carrie Lee with our report.


CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens testified before Congress for the first time today telling a Senate committee that when it comes to the energy crisis ...

T. BOONE PICKENS, FOUNDER, BP CAPITAL: Our country is in a deep hole and it's time to stop digging.

LEE: Pickens is proposing his energy plan to the Homeland Security Committee. Wind power for electricity and natural gas for transportation instead of oil.

PICKENS: The danger stems from our overwhelming $700 billion dependency on foreign oil annually. If we continue to drift like we're drifting, you're going to be importing 80 percent of your oil and I promise you it will be over $300 a barrel.

LEE: The United States imports nearly 60 percent of its oil. Pickens says his plan will reduce that dependency by 38 percent. Gal Luft works with a Washington based think tank focuses on national security. He criticizes natural gas a substitute fuel.

GAL LUFT, INSTITUTE FOR ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL SECURITY: Shifting from oil to natural gas is like jumping from the frying pan to the fire. This is a spectacularly bad idea.

LEE: Luft agrees as do many lawmakers agree that the United States has a serious energy problem. But as Congress nears its August break, lawmakers are nowhere near a bipartisan plan. Last week House Republicans killed a Democratic bill to spur more drilling on lands already leased by oil companies and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who opposed to reversing the bans on drilling told CNN she has no plans to allow Republicans a vote to remove them.

Her stance is being tested as gas prices soar and over 70 percent of the American public supports offshore drilling.


LEE (on camera): Now, President Bush lifted a White House ban on offshore drilling last week and is putting pressure on Congress to do the same. The ban expires September 30 and Congress must vote in favor to this ban to keep in place. So Lou, when Congress resumes in September this will be high on their agenda. We'll see if they get anywhere with it.

DOBBS: I have already made the forecast, I'm going to repeat here tonight. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the Democratic leaders of the Senate and House, and Senator Barack Obama the presumptive candidate of the Democratic Party for president don't have the guts to renew that ban. It will not happen. There's a new reality and there is a new approach and the fellow talking about the frying pan and fire, he's living somewhere 10 years ago when there were no such realities facing working men and women in this country. These people have made some foolish choices politically. They won't be dumb enough to make that choice on September 30th again.

Thank you very much. Appreciate it Carrie Lee. Senator McCain's new campaign ad is pushing offshore drilling while blaming Senator Obama for soaring gasoline prices.


ANNOUNCER: Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump? One man knows we must now drill more in America and rescue our family budget.


DOBBS: Well, the ad has begun airing on cable channels in 11 battle ground states. The latest in a series of attack ads over the candidates' energy policies.

Earlier an Obama ad was accusing Senator McCain of being part of a problem as he put it of high gasoline prices. They're even on this score. Communist China tonight threatening ExxonMobil over an exploration deal being Exxon and Vietnam's state owned oil company.

China is threatening to block ExxonMobil from doing business in China if ExxonMobil doesn't pull out of that offshore deal to explore for oil off the coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea. According to reports, Communist China says it's a breach of Chinese sovereignty. In point of fact it is the Communist Chinese that is interfering in the sovereign affairs of Vietnam.

And this isn't the first time. Last year BP was forced to back out of a similar deal citing tensions between Vietnam and China without either the courage or stamina to get in the middle. Up next, the liberal media still fawning over Senator Obama. Three of the best radio talk show hosts in the country join me to talk about what they're thinking and what their listeners are thinking, what's going to happen next.

And new efforts to bring the killer of one of Border Patrol agents to justice. I'll be talking with Congressman Michael McCaul. Stay with us. I'll be right back.


DOBBS: Joining me now, three of my favorite radio talk show hosts. In Los Angeles, Doug McIntyre, KABC. In Detroit, Mildred Gaddis, WCHB, here in New York, John Gambling, WOR. Good to have you all here. Thanks for being with us. Let me turn to you Mildred. What the heck is Kwame Kilpatrick still doing as mayor of Detroit?

MIDRED GADDIS, WCHB IN DETROIT: Lou, everybody in Detroit is trying to find that out. It's just the city is in a state of paralysis and this one guy is holding the city hostage. And I tell you something. Nobody seems to be willing, not the governor or anybody to tell Kwame Kilpatrick he has to go. DOBBS: That's incredible. Let's turn now to Barack Obama on a tour. I love that 757 plane with "Change you can believe in."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want one of those, don't you?

DOBBS: I mean, I've never seen the likes of this, Mildred. What in the world is going on here?

GADDIS: Listen, Lou, you should have known when Iowa delivered the numbers that it did that this was going to be a different kind of campaign.

DOBBS: I should have known 30,000 people voting in Iowa in the middle of the winter that I see "Change we could believe in" sitting on a plane in Amman, Jordan.

GADDIS: Listen, you should have known this would be a bit different and that some folk were going to pay more attention than they normally would.

DOBBS: Well, Doug, what do you think?

DOUG MCINTYRE, KABC IN LOS ANGELES: Well, McCain will be towing a banner and crop dusting. I don't know. Get agricultural support or something.

DOBBS: The idea that ...

MCINTYRE: The irony is that the Middle Eastern trip was build as a congressional fact finding tour and not part of the campaign. Which is preposterous.

DOBBS: That's because he has Jack Reed from Rhode Island and Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska carrying his bags around. I don't know what in the heck is going on.

JOHN GAMBLING, WOR IN NEW YORK: What's going on is of course Barack Obama is looking for as much press as he can possibly get and he's doing a very good job at it. I think John McCain and his folks have a real uphill battle here because I don't see that this focus by the liberal media is going to change. Right through November.

DOBBS: They got Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson, they're in tow. You could not -- you could not script this kind of cult like response to a guy -- he's acting like he's already elected. The other day he said for the next eight to 10 years these are people I'll be talking with. I understood the eight. He threw an extra two in there. I can't figure out what that's about.

GADDIS: Listen, you guys have to -- whether you love this guy or despise him, he's attractive, energetic. You can understand what he says the first time he says it. You put the two together, one of the comedians, Conan O'Brien said the other evening that Barack Obama was getting bulked up and he said and John McCain is joining the mall walkers. This guy has ...

DOBBS: That's funny. You think this was funny?

MCINTYRE: John McCain had a very good week this week without having to actually do anything. Listen, part of Barack Obama's problem be on this trip to the middle east is that we did understand what he said. What he said essentially is I don't care what General David Petraeus had to say. I'm declaring that we're leaving in 16 months and he denies an obvious reality which is that the surge did work not only militarily but created an opportunity for Sunni and Shia to come together and to work on the beginnings of political reconciliation and what benefit -- it's like denying reality to just sit and insist that somehow the surge didn't work.

GADDIS: You know something? Everybody is talking about the surge worked. We don't really know that, whether or not the surge was the reason ...

MCINTYRE: Yes, we do.

GADDIS: No, we don't ...

DOBBS: Wait. We got room for all kinds of opinions here and I invite them. Let me tell you something, we're down to the number of American lives right now being lost in Iraq is the lowest it's been since the beginning of the war. It is working without question. Is it sustainable? None of us knows. Will it in fact turn out to be success? None of us knows. Right now the surge strategy is working.

Anything other than that is pure B.S. And Mildred, you know that.

GADDIS: Here's what I think we have to do, Lou. We have to see as you said this is sustainable and if it is going to continue. Now, as president of this country certainly the president has the final say and has the supreme power for decision making here. Barack Obama said that he will consider what Petraeus has to say but he will not -- his movements will not be dictated by what he says.

GAMBLING: But wait a minute. To what Doug was saying about denial of the surge actually doing anything, I think that's exactly the kind of position that many Americans are going what are you talking about? It did work. Why are you denying it? It's more political double speak and he's trying to hide something and not do something to gain votes. It's just what John McCain said.

MCINTYRE: It's very damaging, John, for what people like about Barack Obama. One of the things that energized people about Barack Obama is that he is different. He's willing to play the shades of gray in American culture and American politics but this is like he dug in a position. He wrote an op-ed piece in "The New York Times" before he even went over announcing policy so what facts will he find? He reached his conclusion before he went over there. He went over there for photo ops and when asked about it he said given the vote again he would vote against the surge again today when it is obvious that it did in fact have material reduction of the deaths of U.S. service men and women serving in Iraq. What national leader would vote against something that reduced the casualties of American service men in the time of war?

GADDIS: You know what? I think we're going to have to wait and see how long this thing lasts. Let's hope it certainly runs its course and continues to be positive but bottom line with all that is happening ...

DOBBS: Do you say you won't vote for Obama? I mean, what are we waiting for here? We know the surge is working.

GADDIS: You know what, Lou? I think we'll see with both candidates as we have thus far their posturing, they're talking, their consistent effort to gather more votes and say what they think will deliver more votes to them.

MCINTYRE: I'm saying Barack Obama hurt himself on this Middle Eastern trip by turning it into a photo-op with on the side of his plane. And denying what is obvious to everyone else. I think he hurt himself.

GADDIS: This week Obama is the winner.

GAMBLING: Let me say this. Barack Obama talked about change. That's the theme of his campaign. This double speak that he came out of Iraq with and the denial of the surge is exactly the same political stuff we've been putting up with now for 20 years and there's no change here whatsoever.

DOBBS: The good news is there's no media bias and that's what we can count on full accurate reporting. Thanks for being with us.

GAMBLING: Fair and balanced.

DOBBS: Thanks for being with us. Mildred Gaddis there in Detroit, thank you. John Gambling here in New York.

GAMBLING: Happy to be here, Lou.

DOBBS: Appreciate it, guys.

Top of the hour, ELECTION CENTER. Campbell Brown. Unbiased. No bull.

BROWN: You have to get it right.

DOBBS: Does that include Barack Obama?

BROWN: Yes. It includes everybody.

DOBBS: Good for you.

BROWN: We take no prisoners here. Coming up on ELECTION CENTER we are going to continue with your conversation talk about Barack Obama and John McCain's long range debate over the troop surge in Iraq timelines for troop withdraws. We'll get reality check from an author that spent a lot of time there. Also, one of our CNN correspondents started asking questions about the government's no fly list and then his name ended up on it. Tonight the latest development government inefficiency. It strikes yet again. We'll have all the details at the top of the hour.

DOBBS: Another incentive for reporters in this country not to ask questions. All right. We don't care about those incentives. We love asking questions no matter what. Looking forward to it, Campbell, thank you very much. A reminder to vote in our poll. Presidential candidate Barack Obama today said the surge in Iraq did not work despite significantly reduced violence and deaths.

Do you agree? Yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results here in just a moment. And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Friday for "The Lou Dobbs Show." Tomorrow's guests "New York Daily News" columnist Errol Louis, Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman, Jonathan Martin, on the liberal media's bias and favor of Senator Obama. And a great deal more.

And Jerome Percy joins me as well from World Net Daily on the escalating drug cartel violence and what it means for this country. Go to to get your local listings for the "Lou Dobbs Show." Just ahead now, outrage over our government's failure to extradite the suspected killer of a U.S. Border Patrol agent Luis Aguilar. Congressman Michael McCaul will join me. He is demanding an investigation. Later, President Bush once again pushing his faith based free trade agenda. A full report on the president's relentless efforts to pass the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. What's this about? We'll tell you next.


DOBBS: The suspected killer of Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar remains free. He was released from a Mexican prison last month. Suspected drug smuggler Jesus Navarro Montes arrested in January for Aguilar's murder. Montes trying to cross our border back into Mexico at the time of the murder, Mexican officials say that they released Montes because the United States did not ask for his extradition until he was already free. He was in prison five months. Now some in Congress are demanding answers from our government. Congressman Michael McCaul calling for an urgent hearing. Joining us tonight from Capitol Hill, congressman, good to have you here.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, (R) TX: Good evening, Lou.

DOBBS: You know, demanding hearings from certainly homeland security, what's the other committee. I'm sorry. That you ...

MCCAUL: The foreign affairs. Because when you have an extradition take place, you have basically the Justice Department and the State Department.

DOBBS: I guess I got a little hung up on the homeland security because Benny Thompson, the chairman of that committee, actually fighting the construction of the fence and security on our border. I wondered if there was any realistic hope in the world to do anything for the U.S. Border Patrol agent in the nation's interest. MCCAUL: Unfortunately we haven't had one bill.

DOBBS: That's just two years, though, congressman. You wouldn't expect too much, would you?

MCCAUL: I'm outraged on this particular case. You have a drug dealer that came into the United States, killed a Border Patrol agent in cold blood. Fled back to Mexico and now he's out at large. And there are a lot of questions that have been unanswered, including from the Justice Department and the State Department in terms of why weren't the extradition papers served on this individual before he was released by the Mexican authorities.

DOBBS: The question is, will the administration -- you've got a Democratic chairman of the Homeland Security Committee as well as foreign affairs. You've got a Republican president who will ignore you. Who would rather put our own border patrol man in jail than get the killer of one of our Border Patrol agents. I mean, you've got this just about as screwed up -- not you, but we -- have got it as screwed up as we can as government. Whether hope is there for the American people to see the law enforcement agents receive the support that they should have, the respect and the honor they should have? What is it going to take? Are we going to have to clean out both of these parties?

MCCAUL: We are demanding answers here, demanding accountability. I agree with you. No one is more frustrated that members of Congress like myself. I got a letter back from the Justice Department and their response to this case is that they view the killing of a law enforcement officer as a high priority for the Justice Department and we have been and fully committed to the case and the case has the attention of those at the highest level of the Department of Justice. Well, I'm not going to rest. I'm not going to rest assured.

DOBBS: Congressman, we appreciate everything you're doing. But there isn't a person listening to our voices or watching us who believes for a second that this government, this Justice Department, this Department of Homeland Security, has their interests as their number one priority.

MCCAUL: I met with the border sheriff's in Texas at their convention. They are listening. The Border Patrol agents are listening. Certainly the family of Border Patrol Agent Aguilar that was struck down in cold blood, they are listening. I think a lot of Americans are listening and I think we need to ratchet up the pressure and get to the bottom of what really happened here. Somebody screwed up in this case. Somebody really screwed up. And we need to find out what happened.

DOBBS: We also need to find out why Ramos and Compean, two former Border Patrol agents are still in prison and more than seven months has passed since their appellate hearings.

MCCAUL: We have certainly urged the president on many occasions to pardon them and to release them. It has been a frustrating exercise. This latest episode, though, of the brutal killing of a Border Patrol agent in the United States, we've got to get to the bottom of this case.

DOBBS: Congressman McCaul, we thank you for being here.

MCCAUL: Thank you.

DOBBS: We appreciate everything you're doing.

MCCAUL: Thank you.

DOBBS: Up next, President Bush trying to -- instead of focusing on these issues, he wants free trade agenda pushed through Congress. We'll have that story and more, monstrous idiocy when we come back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: President Bush has got nothing better to do than push a faith-based free trade agenda on the American people. The president is urging congress to pass the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. He says it will boost our economy and advance our national security.

The Colombian Trade Agreement is attached to legislation intended to help American workers who are being hurt by other free trade agreements. You've got to have a program to figure this mess out. Bill Tucker with that program.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 198th celebration of Colombia's independence became an occasion for President Bush to hard sell once again the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

BUSH: To demonstrate America's good faith. To stand by our strong friend. To send a clear signal that we appreciate our ally. The United States Congress must approve this free trade agreement.

TUCKER: As of yet, though, Congress is not scheduled to vote and appears unlikely to do so. Critics of the trade pact point out that while Colombia may in fact be a regional ally, the Colombian government appears an undesirable ally at best.

LORI WALLACH, GLOBAL TRADE WATCH: In the last several months in Colombia a huge scandal has erupted linking this government to right- wing paramilitaries who are assassinating teachers, journalists, labor unionists, Afro Colombian leaders.

TUCKER: While the government denies the accusations critics of the trade agreement ask what is in it for the United States? The Colombian economy is barely one percent of the total American economy, a very small market into which to sell products. Those critics say the point is the outsourcing of manufacturing.

ALAN TONELSON, U.S. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY COUNCIL: The object is to make it easier for multinational companies to put production in Colombia, sell it to the United States, and what the trade agreement does, it guarantees forever that the U.S. market will remain open to this Colombian production.

TUCKER: Ironically, in order to win approval, supporters of the agreement have attached the reform of a program to retrain American workers who lose their jobs as a result of free trade agreements.


TUCKER: Now President Bush today also passed the Panama Free Trade Agreement just as a group of American business leaders are about to begin a three-day trade mission to Panama.

Lou, as you know, the Panama FDA has come under harsh criticisms for the way it preserves the taxing status for U.S. corporations seeking to avoid taxes. They can incorporate down there as a shell company and get away with it.

DOBBS: This broadcast -- I think we should apologize, because we worry sometimes about these things, like tax havens and free trade zones for governments that are not exactly fully Democratic in their impulses. And Panama, for example, the fact that communist China owns basically both ends of the Panama Canal -- it would have some vested interest in the outcome. We should defer to really people -- very brilliant people, like President Bush, and their superior sense of judgment and understanding of our geopolitical economic realities.

Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

Tonight's poll results -- 63 percent of you do not agree with presidential candidate Barack Obama that the surge in Iraq did not work.

Well, that's quite a majority.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

K. in Virginia wrote to say: "You're the only one at CNN that seems to care about the issues. Thanks to you, I've been enlightened about the candidates and researched both of them. Sadly, this election seems to have turned into a popularity contest."

Oh, no, it's not that good. I assure you.

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at

We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow.

For all of us here, thank you for watching us. Good night from New York.

The "ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown begins right now -- Campbell.