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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Questions Arise about Obama-Blagojevich Connection; Chertoff Faces Own Immigration Controversey; Interview with Jim DeMint

Aired December 11, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, say it quickly after me. Thank you, Wolf.
Tonight, President-elect Obama tries to move beyond the Blagojevich corruption scandal. The questions persist about the president-elect's connections to the governor. We'll have complete coverage of that and a few examples of evasion by the president-elect.

Also tonight, how can the Department of Homeland Security keep illegal aliens out of the United States if it can't keep them out of the home of the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? We'll have that report.

And tonight, outrageous comments from a senator who claims a bailout for the auto industry could roll into to riots into our streets. Senator Jim DeMint joins us tonight.

And Julie Myers, a former head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, joins me here as well.

Join us for all of that, all the day's news and much more from an independent perspective straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. News, debate and opinion for Thursday, December 11th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. President-elect Obama today tried to conduct business as usual but was dogged by questions about the Blagojevich scandal.

Tonight, there are new questions about the involvement of the Obama team. The scandal is also raising questions about the governor's association with the SEIU, one of this country's largest unions, a union that helped bankroll Obama's White House campaign and win. We have extensive coverage tonight and we begin with Jessica Yellin.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President-elect Obama left no room for doubt on this.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: What I'm absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any deal-making around my Senate seat. That I'm absolutely certain of.

YELLIN: And he emphasized what he said the day the scandal broke.

OBAMA: I had no contact with the governor's office. I did not speak to the governor about these issues. That I know for certain.

YELLIN: But he left plenty of questions unanswered. The biggest of all, did anyone on his team have contact with the governor's office about the vacant Senate seat? And if they were aware of the governor's scheming, what did they do about it?

The president-elect kicked that can down the road.

OBAMA: I've asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor's office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days.

YELLIN: He also left open the possibility that someone on his team had contact with federal authorities, carefully choosing when to say I or we.

OBAMA: I have not been contacted by any federal officials. And we have not been interviewed by them.

YELLIN: Saying he's appalled by the charges, the president-elect renewed his call for Blagojevich to resign.

The two men seemed cordial when they met at a governors' event nine days ago. But that was before Mr. Obama was aware of the other names Blagojevich had for him.

OBAMA: We were not, I think, perceived by the governor's office as amenable to any deal-making. And you know I won't quote back some of the things that were said about me. So this is a family program, I know.


YELLIN: Now, Lou, a transition aide tells me that there's no formal inquiry going on inside transition headquarters to find out who may have had contact. They say instead this is a small universe of people who may have been involved, and so they are not sending out a blast e-mail. They're just talking to people and they will let the public know what they find out, as Obama says, in the next few days -- Lou?

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Jessica. Jessica Yellin reporting.

The corruption scandal tonight is raising concerns about the influence of special interest groups and the president-elect's political appointment process. One of those groups is the Service Employees International Union. It is, of course, one of the country's largest labor organizations.

The union has a long history of trying to influence public policy and was the largest single donor to the Obama campaign. As Drew Griffin now reports, it's now linked to the Blagojevich scandal.


OBAMA: I was as appalled...

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT (voice-over): We already knew President-elect Obama was appalled. We already knew he wants Governor Blagojevich to resign.

That hanging cloud is what he or his team or anyone representing him knew about the deals that at least the governor allegedly thought he was cooking up with the president-elect's administration.

JAY STEWART, BETTER GOVT. ASSN. OF CHICAGO: The president-elect has a lot of serious issues to deal with. He really shouldn't be dealing with this, but you know Illinois politics is like a black whole. It keeps sucking you back in.

GRIFFIN: Sucking him in is the deal mentioned deep into the government's 78-page complaint against the governor. Specifically, the deal to put candidate number 1, believed to be Valerie Jarrett, in the vacant U.S. Senate seat.

She is one of Obama's closest confidants, money raiser, and now White House staffer, who was considered a frontrunner for the seat before suddenly pulling out.

The complaint outlines how Blagojevich and his chief of staff were allegedly cooking up what they called a three-way deal that would leverage the president-elect's desire to have Senate candidate 1 appointed.

Prosecutors say candidate 1 would become senator. Blagojevich would resign to become a high-paid leader of a political action group affiliated with a labor union called SEIU, and the president would then help SEIU by supporting its political agenda. Convoluted? Complicated? And simply not true according to the president-elect. At least as far as he is aware.

OBAMA: What I want to do is to gather all the facts about any staff contacts that may -- that may have taken place between the transition office and the governor's office.

GRIFFIN: Valerie Jarrett did not respond to CNN's request for an interview. The Service Employees International Union sent only a statement saying, "We have no reason to believe that SEIU or any SEIU official was involved in any wrong doing."

Mr. Obama answered just four questions. According to "Chicago Tribune" columnist John Kass, the Chicago cloud remains.

JOHN KASS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Are you telling me that he wasn't interested in who's going to be in the Senate, replace him in the United States Senate? Are you telling me that the Chicago machine didn't have a vested interest in making sure that the United States Senate stayed in their control?

It's the high priests of journalism that basically were in the tank for Obama for so long have just found out that this is Chicago and this is not Camelot.


GRIFFIN: As for the SEIU, Lou, there is at least a dozen references to the union in the U.S. attorney's complaint, and at several points, the SEIU official allegedly is discussing these kind of deals with Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris.

The Service Employees International Union today told us they can't comment further, a request by the U.S. attorney's office -- Lou?

DOBBS: And that is an answer, unfortunately, we're going to hear from a lot of corners not being able to comment on an ongoing investigation, of course, which in most cases is nothing more than a blind, if you will, rather than reality itself.

Thank you so much, Drew Griffin. We appreciate it. A lot more to come.

Well, this scandal in Illinois has distracted the nation's attention from the government's failure to adequately address our economic crisis. The new federal programs to address the crisis have absolutely done so little to help families trying to save their homes that, in many corners, it is simply considered an abject failure.

Kitty Pilgrim reports tonight on why the government is unwilling or unable to help desperate homeowners.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The government's $300 billion Hope for Homeowners program, beginning October 1st, was supposed to help more than 400,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Today, officials at Housing and Urban Development admitted the program has helped only about 100 people so far. Housing advocacy groups say it's a terrible program.

JOHN TAYLOR, NATL. COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT COAL: It's a colossal failure. When you're done paying the loan, you actually have to give the government an additional 50 percent of all the equity that's, that's accumulated in that house at that point.

All the equity growth, you know, hopefully, you know, the house becomes worth more, you know. You actually have to take 50 percent of that out on top of already having paid a premium for the loan.

PILGRIM: Borrowers also have to pay an upfront premium of three percent on the original mortgage amount and an annual premium of 1.5 percent every year for the loan.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in a speech last week said because banks have to write down some of the original mortgage to get government insurance on the new mortgage, they haven't done it. Bank participation is completely voluntary. BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Some lenders have expressed concerns about its complexity and cost including the requirement, in many cases, to undertake substantial principal writedowns. As a result, participation has thus far been low.

PILGRIM: Bernanke proposed a series of new incentives to make it more attractive for banks to offer the loans.

KATHLEEN DAY, CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE LENDING: It is emblematic of what has been wrong with the -- the government's approach for well over a year now. Literally, every few weeks for over a year they have to go back to the drawing board.


PILGRIM: Now Bernanke has said the government could share the losses with banks if the borrower defaulted on the new loan and could potentially pay $1,000 for every loan modification. In short, he proposes giving the banks more government money to help stop the foreclosures, Lou.

DOBBS: Yes, there is nothing consistent at all about what the Federal Reserve or the treasury is doing here. What is, what is going on? Why is 100 people out of a program designed, we were told at the time, to help 400,000?

PILGRIM: Remember at the time we questioned 400,000. We said that won't even be the tip of the iceberg of the number that need it.

DOBBS: Exactly. Exactly.

PILGRIM: And now you have 100.

DOBBS: And what I find amazing is the chairman of the Federal Reserve looks people straight in the eye with a straight face.

PILGRIM: And says it's not working.

DOBBS: It's incredible. This country -- we have a few questions to answer. Thank you very much, Kitty. Kitty Pilgrim.

Well, Congresswoman Maxine Waters is one of us who's absolutely fed up that nothing is being done to help homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes. She'll be our guest here later.

New indications at this hour that a Senate compromise could be near on the auto industry bailout that looks as though it were dying. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has just ended up discussions on a Republican proposal to succeed. The legislation will, quote, "overwhelmingly pass the Senate."

That proposal would give the automakers a $14 billion loan with strict -- strict restructuring provisions. We'll keep you posted through this hour.

And up next, one lawmaker says there will be riots in the streets if the auto industry receives that bailout. Senator Jim DeMint joins us.

And you might find this hard to believe, but the company that claims the home of the secretary of homeland security -- well, hired illegal aliens and they were in the home of the secretary for four years. We'll have that report.

And we'll tell you also how you can get an English speaker when you call up the help desk. Stay with us.


DOBBS: We have been reporting here for years and years on the federal government's refusal to enforce this nation's immigration laws. But this next story is hard for even us to believe. Illegal aliens working in the home of Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and for years. Jeanne Meserve has our report.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Chertoff is responsible for keeping illegal aliens out of the country, but it turns out he might not have been able to keep them out of his house.

The company that cleaned his home for three years has been fined almost $23,000 for filing faulty paperwork on some of its employees. And an investigation showed some workers were using fraudulent documents.

A Homeland Security officials says the owner, James Reid, quote, "was fully aware that he was employing unauthorized workers," even though Chertoff and his wife had been, quote, "extremely blunt and clear" that Reed was not to hire them or send them to the Chertoff property."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (INAUDIBLE) is I didn't fill out the document that I received. (INAUDIBLE)

MESERVE: James Reid admits his paperwork was out of order but claims he looked at his employees' documentation, provided it to the government, and never knowingly hired illegal aliens.

It is an employer's responsibility to check the legal status of its workers, but Reid did not participate in E-Verify, a voluntary federal program advocated by Chertoff, that lets businesses check employees electronically.

Reid says he did, however, give his employees' paperwork to the Secret Service every time they went to the Chertoff home. If there was a problem with his workers' legal status, he says the Secret Service should have caught it.

JAMES REID, CONSISTENT CLEANING SERVICES: The problem here is the Secret Service failed to do their job and they're going to use me as a scapegoat. MESERVE: The Secret Service says it does security checks, not immigration checks. That is the job of another DHS agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

When ICE did eventually questioned Reid, he says he was shocked to find out ICE didn't know he was working for Chertoff.

REID: So here we are, we got the head, Secret Service, the arm, ICE the other arm, and one arm doesn't know what the head's doing. You put all three of these together and we let them communicate, maybe somebody's going to know something. You know? Maybe they can figure something out in this country.


MESERVE: There is no indication that Michael Chertoff knew unauthorized workers might be working in his house and it's not clear that any actually were. The investigation was inconclusive on that point. And although Reid has not been charged with hiring illegal aliens, publicity about the case has cut his business by 70 percent.

We don't know, Lou, who is cleaning for the Chertoffs now, but it's probably a safe bet that their immigration has been checked and double checked. Back to you.

DOBBS: I would, I would assume that you are correct. But to be clear, the Secret Service does the vetting on anyone entering the secretary's home, do they not?

MESERVE: They do, and they vetted them each and every time that they went in. But the Secret Service says we're in the security business. We do criminal checks. Security checks. It is not in our lane to do immigration checks. That's the responsibility of the employer, says the Department of Homeland Security.

DOBBS: Now I don't know if you can answer this question, but may I pose this? If the Secret Service is in the security business, you would think they would have a Social Security number, and that they would be able to verify the legality of the person entering a department secretary's home, for crying out loud.

MESERVE: Well, apparently not all those dots were connected, Lou. I can't tell you specifically why or why not, but clearly they weren't.

DOBBS: And you know what? This is where we end up on so many of these questions surrounding illegal immigration and border security in this country. Jeanne, thank you very much for -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

MESERVE: Lou, I just want to make one other point...

DOBBS: Sure. Sure.

MESERVE: ... that we're not absolutely sure that the workers who actually went to Chertoff's house were illegals. They may, in fact, have been legal workers. In fact, the owner of the company says if, I thought these people were illegal, I certainly wouldn't have been bringing them to Chertoff's house and giving their documentation to the Secret Service. So it's very muddy here.

DOBBS: Very muddy indeed, and you know we -- again, we're used to that being the result as well.

Thank you very much, Jeanne Meserve. Terrific report.

Well, E-Verify, we want to point out, is a proven success. In fact, more than 69,000 employers use the program to determine that their new hires are, in fact, authorized to work in the United States and are here legally.

So far this year, employers have used E-Verify to check more than 4 million potential employees and, as Secretary Chertoff himself says, 99.5 percent of qualified employees are cleared automatically and accurately.

Dell Computer is beginning a new program. It wants to start charging customers who want to speak with a customer service representative in North America who speaks English. Now, Dell, like many other American companies, outsources its customer service operations to India and the Philippines and other cheap overseas labor markets.

Now speaking to an American speaking agent, as they put it, will cost you $12.95 a month if you're a Dell account customer. It will also cost you $99 a year if you buy a new computer, so that's a relative bargain.

Dell says it's providing this new customer service option because of several calls from several customers who said they couldn't understand a word the support agents were saying.

Well, that brings us to the subject of tonight's poll: Now that you can pay $12.95 a month to Dell to receive technical support from an American, how much would you pay for any kind of support from an American politician?

Just a couple numbers: $12.95, $99.95, forget it, I've already paid too much.

We'd like to hear from you. Cast your votes at

We'll be back with the results here later.

Well, last night, Jon Stewart had a little fun at my expense on "The Daily Show" over my pronunciation or mispronunciation of Governor Blagojevich. Here...


DOBBS: Rod -- Blagojevich.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Yes. Lou Dobbs can't say a foreign sounding name. What a surprise.



DOBBS: Jon Stewart, (INAUDIBLE), it's fair play. It turns out I'm not the only one who has occasional trouble with names. Here's what Jon Stewart called U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.


STEWART: Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzpatrick summed up the obvious.


DOBBS: Well, Jon, we all make mistakes, don't we?

Up next, rioting in the streets over an auto bailout? One U.S. state senator predicts precisely that. I'll be joined next by Senator DeMint.

And state governors predicting financial Armageddon if drastic action isn't taken to address our economic crisis. That special report is next.


DOBBS: In the midst of this economic crisis, most state governments are facing budget deficits this year and next. And as they slash both jobs and services, some governors are pleading with the federal government for what else? A bailout.

Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is blunt about the economic and fiscal crisis facing his state.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: If we don't put aside our ideological differences and negotiate and solve this problem, we're heading towards a financial Armageddon.

WIAN: The state's deficit has swollen to nearly $15 billion and growing by $1 billion a month. By the end of December, the governor expects to cancel $5 billion worth of school and road projects, eliminating 200,000 jobs.

Forty-three states are facing similar financial problems according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It predicts by the 2010 fiscal year, state budget shortfalls will exceed $100 billion.

Dozens of states are already cutting money from schools and from low-income and elderly healthcare programs. 20 states have either laid off workers or plan to.

GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: We're cutting through the fat and, frankly, I think we're dangerously into the bone.

GOV. JIM DOYLE (D), WISCONSIN: I could cut the workforce of the state of Wisconsin and deliver no services in half and we still wouldn't be dealing with the full scope of the deficit that we now face.

WIAN: At a congressional hearing Thursday, governors pleaded for federal action.

GOV. JIM DOUGLAS (R), VERMONT: I think it's quite clear that our nation is at a crossroads at this very difficult time. Folks who are losing their jobs, their homes, and even their hope are looking to their leaders for help.

WIAN: Governors want federal leaders to help by approving money to rebuild state infrastructure, as well as assistance paying for Medicaid, education and other federally mandated programs.

Near the end of the last recession, Congress approved a $20 billion bailout for state government. This time governors are seeking nearly 10 times that amount.


WIAN: Most of the lawmakers agree that Congress should help the states but many ex-pressed reservations about throwing money at the problem and allowing state governments to become bloated without helping the economy. No action seems likely before the end of the year, Lou.

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

Up next, trillions of dollars for the financial services industry and the government still isn't helping our middle class save their homes from foreclosure. That doesn't sit too well here or in parts of Washington, D.C. Amongst the people complaining, Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She's outraged. She'll join us.

And will approval of a bailout for the auto companies lead to riots in this country? Senator Jim DeMint says yes. He'll joint me next. Stay with us.


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. News, debate and opinion for Thursday, December 11th. Here again, Mr. Independent, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Welcome back. Opposition to the auto industry bailout has taken a turn. Senator Jim DeMint, a strong opponent of the auto industry bailout warning today the deal could lead to rioting by workers in other industries not receiving federal help. Senator Jim DeMint joins us now. Good to have you with us, Senator.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Hey, Lou. Good to be back.

DOBBS: Was that hyperbole or do you actually believe that that might be a real reaction?

DEMINT: Well, I was looking for a word to describe how angry people are when they call our office. And we've certainly seen protesters in parts of the country who are frustrated that some have been bailed out and they've lost their jobs.

But people will get angry. Obviously, we don't want them to riot. But what's going on up here is just throwing money at the wall and people are very frustrated with us.

DOBBS: You know, Senator, I -- I've been saying on this broadcast now for some time, I understand some frustration, but the calls for -- for Rick Wagoner, the chairman of -- the CEO of GM, to be -- to leave his post, hearing after hearing and speech after speech by senators and congressman opposing this, it's $14 billion, we know it's the first installment.

But you guys checked off on trillions of dollars in one vote. I mean it's unbelievable what the American people are witnessing there in the nation's capital.

DEMINT: It is. And I voted against that first bailout and all the so-called bailout packages this year. And we've committed as you said, over $7 trillion of money we don't have and Americans are just wondering where is this money going to come from, who are we going to charge it to? And if we continue to bail out one industry and pick winners and losers, the frustration among the American people is going to continue to grow.

DOBBS: That frustration may well grow, but let me ask you, senator, if we continue to watch our manufacturing base erode in this country, as you know, manufacturing employment in this country is now down to 1942 levels, General Motors and Ford are all we've got left of American automobile companies. We're talking three million employees directly and indirectly affected by the auto industry. I mean, what is the solution for those folks?

DEMINT: Well, we don't want them to go away. I drive American cars and I want to make sure that they're still here. But just propping them up with a loan for a few months and not forcing them to do the restructuring that they have to do in order to succeed is not really helping anyone. I'm afraid it's going to actually do the industry in if we prop them up. Now, under Chapter 11, I mean no one likes that idea, but that is put there so people can restructure under protection of the law and change their debt structure, change their union contracts. But the government has done a lot of this to them, Lou. I mean the state of Michigan forces people to join unions and we are hurting in our manufacturing base.

DOBBS: What about the Republican administration that's leaving office? What they've done with trade deals, the business practices pushed and prodded by the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican Party in many corners, also the Democratic Party in the previous administration, pushing outsourcing, outsourcing of production. I mean, for crying out loud, is there any point which anybody steps back and says this free market nonsense has got to end and this government is the total solution has got to end, that the solution has to be found pragmatically, rationally, empirically at the center in this country.

DEMINT: Well, you make a lot of good points. And other good points are we got one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It's almost impossible for our companies that produce here to ship around the world and be competitive. So we've got to look at our internal cost structure, lower our corporate tax rate. And then I think Americans can be competitive with anyone in the world. We're already exporting at levels that we haven't seen in years. So we can make better products and compete if we can just get the cost of taxes and unions and other things off the backs of our manufacturers.

DOBBS: How about this one? How about we make sure that we're not forcing American middle class working man and woman, senator, to compete directly against the cheapest labor in the world. Why doesn't somebody talk about that?

DEMINT: Right. We don't want them competing with the cheapest labor in the world, but the labor costs internationally are going down. And it's really productivity and efficiency and technology. We've got a lot of that if we would just take the burden of government off of our manufacturers.

DOBBS: Senator Demint, we appreciate you being with us.

DEMINT: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, the Bank of America, one of the banks that received billions of dollars from the taxpayer bailout fund, of course, tonight, well it's cutting tens of thousands of jobs over the next few years. The Bank of America today announcing it will lay off 35,000 employees over the next three years, the Federal government giving Bank of America $15 billion of bailout funding. Bank of America will become the largest financial services firm when it merges with Merrill Lynch, a failed brokerage, of course. Merrill Lynch received $10 billion from the bailout fund and was propped up and ushered into the arms of Bank of America. Well, that isn't probably too interesting to 35,000 people who will lose their jobs as a result.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is highly critical of the man appointed to oversee the taxpayer bailout or Wall Street bailout, Neil Kashkari (ph) and she's also critical of the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Barney Frank. Congresswoman Waters also a Democrat, is critical as well of the government's handling of the housing market crisis and she's introduced her own legislation aimed at helping homeowners. Congresswoman Waters joins us tonight from Los Angeles. Congresswoman Waters, good to have you with us.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA) MEMBER, FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: Thank you. I'm delighted to be with you, Lou. DOBBS: Congresswoman, this is -- we just heard Senator Demint and he reflects a certain review. You've been critical of Barney Frank, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee and others. Why in the world and Kitty Pilgrim just reported here on this broadcast, the Help Now program designed to help 400,000 homeowners in this country, out of a million who have been foreclosed upon over the past year, 100 people have been helped, Congresswoman. I mean, have your colleagues lost their minds down there?

WATERS: Well, let me just say this, I am not critical of Barney Frank. He's a great chairman. He has worked hard. He's bent over backwards trying to make everything work. I just think that given everything that we have done, everything that he's tried to work out, the Treasury, headed by Paulson, is refusing to help the homeowners. We gave that bailout, $700 billion, in order to help homeowners. We want to do these loan modifications.

DOBBS: Wait, wait, wait, Congresswoman, that legislation wasn't designed for homeowners. No ma'am. That was the Toxic -- Troubled Asset Recovery Program. As a matter of fact, Hank Paulson, when he came up there and told you all that the world was going to end, that we're going to be in a meltdown, he wasn't even thinking about providing equity to institutions. He was all about toxic assets, remember?

WATERS: Yes, but those --

DOBBS: He wasn't talking about homeowners. As a matter of fact, it wasn't until two weeks ago that this Treasury secretary came to Capitol Hill to say that they were so good as to -- just to consider the welfare of homeowners. I mean the man has been an arrogant...

WATERS: But the thing about it is, those toxic assets, those nonperforming assets was the mortgages. That's what we were talking about. The nonperforming toxic assets were the mortgages they were supposed to buy up.

DOBBS: We're hearing -- we've heard so much nonsense from this Treasury secretary over the course of this fiasco. Real people are hurting. And we still have not seen action by this democratically led Congress, neither in the House nor the Senate. And frankly, with a million foreclosures, you could have written checks to every one of those people foreclosed upon over the course of the past year and spent only $200 billion, you could have spent only $200 billion.

WATERS: The first thing, this administration's program. Mr. Paulson was appointed by this president. The first thing that Barack Obama is going to do is to deal with modifications of these loans and stop these foreclosures and help to shore up these communities where the houses have been devalued because there are so many boarded up houses, the value of the housing is being lost across the board. And he has said, this is what he would like to see done with this bailout money. This administration is not doing it.

DOBBS: That's great. That's fine. But that Democratic Congress, Congresswoman, went along -- WATERS: We voted --

DOBBS: I'm sorry?

WATERS: We voted for this bailout and the top of the agenda was to buy the nonperforming paper of these banks.

DOBBS: I'm just saying to you Congresswoman, there are real people hurting here. Why in the world is Congress going along as business as usual? This needs to be stopped and real people helped right now.

WATERS: I agree with that and that's what I'm fighting so hard about. That's what so many of us are fighting about. We have a Treasury secretary who has decided to take the money and go in a different direction and give the money to all of these banks.

DOBBS: Where is your chairman, Barney Frank? Where is Chris Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman? We've heard the cat calls and the criticism and all of this noise. You've got legislation you want to see introduced.

WATERS: Yes, I have. I've introduced legislation and that's the legislation that would adopt the program that Chairwoman Sheila Bair is using with those people who were in the Indymac closeout. She has shown that you can do loan modifications, you can keep people in their homes. Many of these loans that were done were predatory to begin with. The interest rates were too high and so you can reduce those interest rates. You can reduce that capital and people can afford to stay in those homes and that's what I'm pushing in my new legislation.

DOBBS: And good for you. And the Congresswoman was referring to is Sheila Bair, the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation who --

WATERS: That's right. She's done a fabulous job.

DOBBS: ... billion dollars and has been the clearest and most intelligent and compassionate voice in Washington, DC, whether we're talking about the Senate or the House or the White House, she's been remarkable.

WATERS: And she's getting resistance from the Treasury secretary.

DOBBS: They're fighting her every step of the way, fighting her every step of the way.

WATERS: They're fighting her every step of the way and I'm going to try and adopt that program in the legislation that I put forth.

DOBBS: Good luck Congresswoman. We wish you the best.

WATERS: Thank you.

DOBBS: Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Up next, more of our troops headed to Afghanistan. One of the country's most respected former military commanders joins me. General David Grange is here next. And has increased enforcement made our borders more secure? I'll be talking with the former head of immigration and customs enforcement, Julie Myers joins us here next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Julie Myers is the former head of immigration and customs enforcement. During her tenure, ICE took an aggressive approach to enforcement, more than 250,000 illegal aliens deported last year. Myers left them and after the November election, she founded her own company to advise business on immigration issues and she joins us here tonight. Good to have you with us, Julie.


DOBBS: First, I would like to just turn straight away, I -- when I heard today, as I looked at the wires and watched the account of the story that secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, had illegal aliens working at his home, I have to say, I've seen and reported a lot here, but that had to take the cake. What was your reaction?

MYERS: Well, it was outrageous that this man, Mr. Reed, lied to the Chertoffs and he told them, we're handling the immigration thing. The Chertoffs believed him. And When Michael Chertoff found out that there were illegal aliens working at the firm, he promptly terminated him. The good news story is the firm was fined and it was fined so much that this man is out there complaining and trying to paint himself as the victim.

DOBBS: I've noticed one thing about border security and immigration issues in this country, everybody is a victim as a matter of last resort. But one thing that's very troubling is that for the Department of Homeland Security and this doesn't pertain per se to ICE, but to think that security, in this case the Secret Service letting people entering the secretary of Homeland Security's home, had not been absolutely thoroughly and absolutely vetted, has got to be troublesome and concerning to everyone.

MYERS: Let's get a couple things clear. First, from the report of the accounts, there's no evidence that actually illegal aliens were working in the Chertoff home, only that this firm hired illegal aliens. So he could have sent in legal workers to the Chertoff's home and the second thing is, after this incident, the Secret Service did look to see how they could strengthen their protocol and (INAUDIBLE). So they definitely looked to remedy this, but there's no evidence that those illegal workers were in the Chertoff's home.

DOBBS: Naturally, I've got to say this. There's also no evidence that they were legal. But we take your point and that's absolutely worth asserting. Let's turn to immigration in this country. I've said for some time that the only rational actor in this entire immigration crisis, illegal immigration crisis, is the illegal alien, trying to benefit himself, herself and better their lives. But illegal employer is acting against the national interests, acting against the law in every respect. How can we get to the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flaunting U.S. law?

MYERS: Well, we have to keep up the pressure on enforcement. You know, our laws don't have strict liability. So it's not enough just to show that illegal aliens are working in a particular place. You have to prove that an employer knowingly hired them. But because of this increased enforcement, because of the debarment (ph) and the other actions that we're taking, including the Social Security (INAUDIBLE) rule, we're seeing employers all over the country start complying on their own. And I think that's really good news, because that does provide disincentives for aliens to come to this country. If they can't find a job, they're not going to stay here and that's good news for the Americans as legal permanent residents who want a job here.

DOBBS: I've got to ask you this. What is the solution? You're now in the private sector, you're a civilian. And you're going to be people like me, as a civilian, you can put forward ideas. You're in the business of counseling on immigration, border security issues. What is your counsel? What is the way to a solution to this illegal immigration crisis and border security crisis in this country?

MYERS: Well, I really think you have to have a comprehensive approach. And I think the approach that Secretary Chertoff was making is starting to show some progress, as evidenced by the Hispanic Pew report, Pew Hispanic report and other reports. We're actually seeing illegal immigrant go down. But you have to keep up the pressure. Illegal aliens and advocacy groups do not like enforcement and they're pushing very hard to stop. So I hope very much that the Obama administration will keep the pressure on the employers. And I think for employers, they need more solutions. They need more help. So to help them be sure that the people that they're hiring are legal I think is a very valuable thing and a service that I hope to provide.

DOBBS: And we appreciate you being with us. Julie Myers, thank you so much. Your company is INC Solutions. You can go there Julie, thank you and the best of luck.

MYERS: Thanks so much, Lou.

DOBBS: Up at the top of the hour here, Campbell Brown, "NO BIAS, NO BULL." Campbell, what have you got?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there Lou. Well, our "NO BIAS, NO BULL" viewers know that Barack Obama has been under tremendous pressure to be more open, more transparent about the Blagojevich affair. Today, he seemed to get the message and was a lot more forthcoming with reporters, answering their questions today. Also, despite the scandal swirling around Illinois' governor, this actually may not be an open and shut case according to some legal experts. We're going to talk about that, look at potential holes in the case.

And Lou, have we got a deal for you. Cut rate electronics for sale by a former presidential campaign. We're going to tell you about the fire sale going on at the RNC these days. Lou.

DOBBS: All right, bargains galore. Thank you very much, Campbell.

BROWN: You bet.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in tonight's poll now that you can pay $12.95 to Dell Computer to receive technical support from an American speaking English. How much would you pay for any kind of support from an American politician, $12.95, $99.95 or forget it, I've already paid too much? Cast your vote at We'll have the results up here in a few moments. And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Friday for the Lou Dobbs Show. Among tomorrow's guest, Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Service Committee. We'll be talking about the auto bailout and this economy and a lot of other things as well. Go to to get your local listings for the show on the radio.

Up next, more troops are heading to Afghanistan. One of the country's most respected military analysts joins me next, General David Grange.

And "Planet in Peril," CNN's award-winning documentary returns tonight. Anderson Cooper will be with me next.


DOBBS: Coming up tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, CNN's latest installment of the award-winning documentary series "Planet in Peril." Anderson Cooper joins us now to tell us what we can look forward to. Anderson, first of all, great to see you. What can we expect?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What we're looking at is we've spent the last year traveling around to conflict zones where we're seeing conflicts over natural resources. The human population is going to rise about 50 percent over the next 40 years and there's already conflicts over dwindling resources and that's only going to increase and that's not just us saying it. It's the U.S. national, director of the U.S. national intelligence saying that. So we wanted to look at those conflict zones, in Nigeria where there's fights over oil and fights over animals in Rwanda.

DOBBS: Those gorillas, those are - which gorillas are these?

COOPER Those are the gorillas in Rwanda. There's only 729 gorillas left on the planet and they all live on a mountain, stream of mountains between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

DOBBS: I don't know if we have video of this, but you swam with great white sharks.

COOPER: Yes. The shark population is being decimated.

DOBBS: You're out of your cotton-picking mind. You know that.

COOPER: Yes, it was a little extreme. As a diver, you'll appreciate this. I was going to go in the water and the water had been chummed with blood to attract the sharks and they're swimming around already and I said to this man (INAUDIBLE) who is an expert in this and has been doing this for years with great whites, I said, you know, what do you recommend? Do you have any suggestions and he said, project confidence.

DOBBS: Project confidence?

COOPER: I'm not sure how you do that through scuba equipment.

DOBBS: I can tell you this. Just being on the boat looking at the great white, I couldn't project confidence. I mean, that is --

COOPER They're unbelievable animals. It's extraordinary. You go off the coast of South Africa and they all congregate there. You can watch them reach out of the water and grab seals. You can do these cage dives where they actually come right up to the cage.

DOBBS: I'd do that. Anderson, we look forward to it. Thanks.

COOPER: Thanks.

DOBBS: Anderson Cooper and again, it's "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines." That's coming up at 9:00 Eastern time tonight here on CNN. You can get more information at

Additional troops are headed to Afghanistan. Military analyst General David Grange joins us next to tell us what that means for all of us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says three additional combat brigades will be deployed to Afghanistan by next summer. Secretary Gates is tonight in Kandahar (ph). He's meeting with troops and senior commanders. Gates says the first of those troops are expected to be in Afghanistan next month. Joining me now from Chicago for more on these deployments, our military analyst Brigadier General David Grange. Great to have you with us, general.


DOBBS: What do you make of this? The commanding general there, McCarnan (ph) has requested four additional brigades. Will these troops be arriving in time to suit him?

GRANGE: Well, if you're a trooper on one of those outposts between Afghanistan and Pakistan, you probably would think not. However, at this time of year, I think there's an advantage for the U.S. and NATO forces to hold their own until the summer. They'd like to have them earlier. Obviously he needs them or he wouldn't ask for them. But the military is basically just too small to support all of the commitments. And that's as soon as he's going to get them.

DOBBS: Those combat brigades, what else do they need? As far as we understand to achieve the -- the results desired in Afghanistan? GRANGE: Well, we've had the opportunity to talk to a lot other foundations, think tanks, officers, sergeants that have come back from the war zones. Really what's needed is the private and non-profit sector to get businesses involved, others to start to win the -- at the ground level, the local level, the trust and confidence of the local people, not just GIs with weapons. You need that combination to be successful. And really we need that surge. That's what needs to be pushed right after the first of the year to get that organized and get it over there.

DOBBS: And there's going to be, I'm sure, a great debate over whether or not first the -- whether or not these troops are in fact needed, defining the mission as to success. And the debate as to whether or not and how soon we can start moving out of Afghanistan. What is -- what are your thoughts on each of those?

GRANGE: Well, first of all, I think if we -- NATO would provide some more resources -- I mean, they do provide valuable support troops, some combat troops. You know, the United States is pulling the load, carrying the big rucksack on the combat troopers over there. And we just cannot fill all these requirements. So NATO stepping up to the plate would help immensely. The other is to just put the, again that informational support in there, the money in there, in order to get this thing going so the local people start to support the central government. Right now they're removed from the central government. They don't care what the central government says. So that has to be done to be successful.

DOBBS: And success will take how long?

GRANGE: Success is going to take a few more years. I don't think anything is going to happen soon. It's one of those situations because of Pakistan with the influences from the sanctuaries, it will take some time. If we want to win, you have to stay and you have put the resources there.

DOBBS: All right. General Dave Grange, as always Dave, thank you very much.

Let's turn to our poll now. Now that you can pay $12.95 to Dell to get or receive technical support from an English-speaking American, in our poll we asked you, how much would you pay for any kind support from an American politician? 97 percent of you said forget it, I've already paid too much.

Time now for some of your thoughts, many of you writing in about the Illinois governor scandal.

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Thanks for being with us tonight. Join us here tomorrow.

Campbell Brown, "NO BIAS, NO BULL" starts right now.