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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Changing the Tone; Geithner under Fire; China and North Korea Standoff

Aired March 12, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Just in time, Wolf. Thank you very much.

Tonight, President Obama and his treasury secretary, well, economists give them failing grades for their handling of the economy. The Obama administration says it's doing nothing wrong; it just has a P.R. problem.

Also the death of free speech in American's colleges and universities, best-selling author David Horowitz joins me with his important new book, "One Party Classroom." He'll also reveal his dirty dozen of the worst colleges in America when it comes to your First Amendment rights, or more specifically, those of your children.

And billions of your tax dollars are going to the destruction and the rebuilding of sports stadiums all over the country. Tonight, we're reporting on the growing scandal of the use of public money for private profit in sports.

Also the markets rally for a third straight day. Tonight I'll be joined by three of the country's best economic thinkers to tell us where the market and our economy are headed; all of that, all the day's news and a lot more, straight ahead.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Thursday, March 12th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. President Obama today launched a new effort to sell his economic policies. This time, President Obama sounded upbeat, but he didn't speak at a town hall or rally somewhere. He talked with a room full of CEOs.

On Capitol Hill Treasury Secretary Geithner defended his blueprint to fix the economy. Geithner faced rising opposition to the administration's new $3.5 trillion federal budget and how the bank bailout money is being spent raised a lot of hackles. We begin with Ed Henry reporting from the White House.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president on a mission to convince business leaders he believes in the power of the free market.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I'm amused sometimes when I read sort of this talk of, well, you know, the Obama administration wants to get government in everybody's business. I don't. I want you guys to do your thing.

HENRY: Mr. Obama said he simply wants the government to right the ship and then get out of the way. But he continued to push for vast increases in federal spending for his education, energy, and health care initiatives.

OBAMA: Putting off these investments for another four years or eight years or 12 years or 20 years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. It would be exactly what Washington has done for decades and it will make our recovery more fragile and our future less secure.

HENRY: Sensitive to criticism, he had talked the economy down, the president expressed confidence about a turnaround. But some business executives are still upset about this comment last month.

OBAMA: You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime. There's got to be some accountability and some responsibility.

HENRY: The president was referring to companies receiving federal bailout money. But hotel chief Bill Marriott says it had a chilling effect on all business travel and conventions.

BILL MARRIOTT, CEO, MARRIOTT INTL.: And these meetings are being canceled across the nation and it's a very, very serious thing. And a lot of it is due to the rhetoric coming out of Washington.

HENRY: Democratic sources say the president has privately expressed regret about how his comments were interpreted and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs offered this clarification.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president, despite what some people heard, I think was very clear about the delineations between families or even businesses traveling versus the need to ensure that appropriate protections are in place for taxpayer assistance.

HENRY: Music to the ears of Las Vegas mayor, Oscar Goodman.

MAYOR OSCAR GOODMAN (D), LAS VEGAS: Well, it certainly went a long way to rectifying what we considered to be a wrong.


HENRY: Now this weekend, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will do a rare interview with CBS' "60 Minutes". This comes after a media unveiling by Timothy Geithner, the treasury secretary this week and also tomorrow here in Washington there's going to be the first major speech by the chief economic adviser here at the White House, Lawrence Summers, so it's a clear sign this White House realize they need to get out there more and explain their policies to the American people, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, if these are what you call policies, I mean then we're in real trouble, because this -- there are no details on any of this. Treasury Secretary Geithner saying really very little that's regulatory (ph), as a matter of fact, a very muddled explanation of his asset purchase program. It made no sense, no more sense than that of Republican Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson months preceding him.

You know why not -- this administration just simply say, there is a place in corporate America for private, corporate aviation. It's an important business tool and the president supports American corporate aviation manufacturers, corporate aircraft manufacturers, supports business travel. Why not, as I have been saying here for months, Ed, why doesn't this president start talking positively about recovery and put away all of the nonsense?

HENRY: They believe he has at least started that in recent weeks, in terms of talking more positively. As you heard in the piece, he was more upbeat today in speaking to those CEOs. But you're certainly right. There's a lot of criticism out there, a lot of confusion still specifically about Treasury Secretary Geithner, what is the next phase of this bank bailout plan, what are the details?

I think the White House would argue, however, on a lot of their other policies like the housing reform plan, they have laid out a lot of detail there. They've laid out a lot of detail on the recovery plan. You saw the stimulus plan they passed. Not everyone liked the details, but they laid that out there. So there's obviously this is a work in progress, Lou.

DOBBS: A work in progress and the progress is being further limited by the fact that Timothy Geithner still has not put in his 17 top deputies at Treasury, correct?

HENRY: Absolutely. There are a lot of vacant jobs there. That's put a lot more pressure and strain on the man at the top, obviously. But it's obviously the administration's responsibility to get these nominees out there, get them up to Capitol Hill, and give this treasury secretary some help over there.

There are other departments that need more help as well, but that's probably the most glaring one of all, because of the sheer number of people, they don't have there number one, and number two. The fact that the financial crisis is right at the secretary's doorstep, he obviously needs some help, Lou.

DOBBS: Absolutely and one wonders when President Obama will run out of patience with his new treasury secretary and tell him to get it done. Appreciate it -- Ed Henry from the White House.

The president's budget ran into a buzz saw today on Capitol Hill. Republicans and Democrats blasting Treasury Secretary Geithner as he testified before the Senate Budget Committee. Dana Bash has our report.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The treasury secretary came to defend President Obama's budget. This is how he was greeted. SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), BUDGET CHAIRMAN: When I look at this budget, I see the debt doubling again. And that gives me great concern.

BASH: And that's a Democrat, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who also ripped into the president's $600 plus billion request to start reforming health care.

CONRAD: Some of us have real pause about the notion of putting substantially more money into the health care system when we've already got a bloated system.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: The soaring cost of health care is hurting families, businesses, and our long-term budget prospects.

BASH: Timothy Geithner responded that government spending on everything from health care to energy is critical to improving the economy, despite the debt and deficit. Republicans did not buy it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And reducing debt and deficit to a sustainable level is at the core of accomplishing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely the core.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... under this budget.

BASH: One GOP senator accused him of sounding like the president's political strategist, not treasury secretary.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: You need to get out of the campaign mode. I know you have responsibilities to the administration. But this sounds a lot like David Axelrod to me rather than a fundamental appraisal.

BASH: Geithner also took a bipartisan beating about continuing to bail out insurance giant, AIG.

SEN. JIM BUNNING (R), KENTUCKY: I don't understand how one company is worth propping up $180 billion worth of taxpayer's money.

BASH: And gave a blunt and dire answer to a critical question.

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Does the government have adequate legal authority to prevent future AIG's?



BASH: Pretty alarming answer there. No, the government does not have the ability right now to prevent another huge company from putting the whole financial institution, all of them really at risk, like AIG has. But Lou, Timothy Geithner did announce that he would offer some what he called concrete steps to address those issues in the next couple of weeks. Lou?

DOBBS: It seems like we hear from the treasury secretary every week or two and each time we hear him, he says he'll have further details in a week or two. At what point are we actually going to hear, do we suspect some real statement of concrete details about what the plans of this administration are?

BASH: I think those were some of the questions that Timothy Geithner got in that hearing room today, Lou. But on this specific issue of how is the government going to make sure, put plans in place to make sure that another company is not allowed to do what AIG did to the entire financial institution, to our, really to our economy, his answer was that he is working on it and that he is going to have something before he has to testify the next time and that is at the House about March 26th. He said he hopes to have some specific proposals there, but...


DOBBS: I hope at that meeting he will also acknowledge it's not a matter of legal authority, in point of fact, it's a matter of sound judgment, which hopefully this administration will bring to bear between Mr. Geithner and Mr. Summers at the Economic Council. By the way, at that hearing today, was there any mention of either trade policy changes that the Obama administration would make to restore health to this economy and vigor, any ideas about incentives for small business, manufacturing incentives to restore greater vibrancy to this economy?

BASH: I don't believe there was, actually. There was a lot of focus on banks and whether or not he should, could, or would nationalize the banks, a lot of focus on AIG, a lot of focus on toxic assets and things like that. But on those issues, trade and small businesses specifically I didn't hear it.

DOBBS: All right, thank you very much. Appreciate it...

BASH: Thanks Lou.

DOBBS: Dana Bash from Capitol Hill.

"The Wall Street Journal's" latest economic forecasting survey gives both the president and his treasury secretary failing grades. "The Wall Street Journal's" panel of economists says the president's economic policies earn a rating of 59 percent. Treasury Secretary Geithner does even worse, 51 percent. Delays in the bank rescue amongst the principal reasons for those poor grades.

Coming up next, a guilty plea and Bernie Madoff heads off to jail. What's a fair sentence for the biggest Ponzi scheme and swindler in history?

And an FBI raid on a government office just vacated by a new Obama administration official. We'll tell you about more trouble for the Obama administration appointees. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Breaking news out of Washington and more bad news for the Obama administration and its record of appointments -- FBI agents raiding a government office in Washington, the former office of a new appointee to the Obama administration. The FBI raid focusing on the office of the District of Columbia's chief technology officer, officer, two people were arrested by the FBI. They are charged with corruption.

One of those arrested is a D.C. government employee. Prosecutors say they found $70,000 of cash in his home. Last week President Obama named D.C.'s Chief of Technology Vivek Kundra as his chief information officer. He was appointed to lead the effort to coordinate federal computer systems. A law enforcement officer tells CNN that Kundra is not the target of this investigation that led to the arrest.

The White House won't say whether it knew about that investigation when Kundra was appointed. We'll be updating on this developing story as details become further available through this hour.

Bernard Madoff, he's in jail tonight after pleading guilty to swindling his clients in a $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Madoff expressed some remorse as he admitted to stealing from the nearly 5,000 victims. Madoff also admitted he never invested his client's money.

Madoff told the judge, and I'm quoting here, "instead, those funds were deposited in a bank account at Chase Manhattan Bank. When clients wished to receive the profits they believe they had earned, I used the money in the Chase Manhattan Bank account." That's probably one of the simplest swindles you could ever imagine. The 70-year-old Madoff faces 150 years in prison. He's scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Turning now to rising tensions between the United States and both communist China and North Korea -- North Korea says it is weeks away from launching a satellite. The U.S. military, however, suspects that is a cover story for a test of a missile that could reach the U.S. West Coast and there is the naval confrontation between the United States and communist China and it's escalating tonight.

Chris Lawrence has more for us from the Pentagon. Chris, what are U.S. officials saying about this so-called satellite launch first by North Korea?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, U.S. military officials believe it's a long range missile and that firing it violates a U.N. Security Council resolution. Now, North Korea says it will make its launch the first week of April but calls it a satellite. U.S. military officials tell me there's really not much difference in that if North Korea successfully launches this satellite, they have successfully demonstrated everything that is necessary for an ICBM.

Now right now there are American-guided missile destroyers in the area. They're participating in annual joint exercises with the South Korean military. One of the senior weapons testers for the United States says he's not absolutely sure that the U.S. could shoot down a missile, but obviously if one happened to be fired in this direction, they wouldn't wait for more tests.

They would go ahead and try to shoot it down. North Korea says any attempt to intercept its launch would be looked at as a hostile act and they would retaliate.

DOBBS: So, Chris, are we saying here that the United States will attempt to shoot that down if it believes it is not simply a quote/unquote "satellite launch"?

LAWRENCE: They -- the wording I'm hearing is that if -- they will quickly assess whether or not it is a threat. The direction in which it is heading, its capabilities, if that is determined to be a threat, then that is what could occur.

DOBBS: All right, Chris. Let's turn to the other issue and also a critically important one. The United States tonight has sent one of its most powerful destroyers into the South China Sea to protect the Impeccable (ph), the unarmed surveillance ship that was in that confrontation with communist China earlier this week. What is the United States trying to do here? What message is it sending? What is the situation there?

LAWRENCE: Lou, think of it like a bigger brother coming in to look after his smaller sibling. What the U.S. is doing, basically, is sending a message that, no, they will not cede that area, that they will reserve their right to operate in what they believe to be international waters, that they will not cede their authority to operate and project U.S. naval presence in that area.

Now at the same time, what I'm hearing from a lot of officials here in the Pentagon is that they are not looking to raise tensions with China, but in fact lower them, that this destroyer ship, although it is armed, it is a combat ship, its primary focus in going there is to watch the situation, to try to keep an eye on the Impeccable (ph) while, quote, "the situation begins to cool down."

They say they do not anticipate another confrontation, but if one were to occur the destroyer's first response would be to try to communicate with the Chinese ship and diffuse any kind of situation through diplomacy.

DOBBS: So this warship is on a peace mission? Is that right? I mean that is...


DOBBS: I have to say even by Pentagon standards that sounds frankly ludicrous.

LAWRENCE: Well, what we're hearing and the way they're framing it, Lou, is that it is used as deterrents...

DOBBS: Well deter makes sense. (CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: But I mean for the Pentagon to try to say you know that that is not straightforwardly a warning that the United States is going to back it up, as you reported, you know it's a peculiar thing for the officials there in the Pentagon to be saying it seems.

LAWRENCE: That is true, but then when you look at it, too, a lot of people feel that China is capable of seeing that as a signal. Not as a signal of hostile intent, but as a signal that the U.S. is not going to back down, that they will stay in that area and exercise their right, but not necessarily seeing it as an escalation.

DOBBS: All right. As always, Chris, thank you. And it's always good to hear from Chris Lawrence, particularly as an old Navy hand. Good to have you...


LAWRENCE: Old being the key word.

DOBBS: There you go. No, old is all relative, right, partner? Thanks a lot, Chris. Appreciate it.

LAWRENCE: You're welcome.

DOBBS: A confrontation with space junk today creating some tension 200 miles above the earth. The International Space Station had to be evacuated. A piece of space debris was heading toward the space station when the crew of two American astronauts and one cosmonaut had to rush into the Russian Soyuz escape capsule. They did so to avoid being hit by that debris.

They had sufficient warning. The space junk, about five inches long we're told, was traveling at 20,000 miles an hour, 20 times faster than a speeding bullet, more than big enough and fast enough to cause catastrophic damage to the station. The object came within three miles of the station. That is certainly a near miss in space terms.

The crew returned to the station just after spending just about 10 minutes in that capsule. NASA says that chunk of metal came from a satellite rocket motor that had been used on an earlier mission. The International Space Station has had to dodge a possible collision eight times in the past eight years that it's been occupied, so good to -- a happy ending to a dramatic story today.

Well, from drama in space to one under the sea. Shocking new video seen for the first time ever here tonight showing a diver's hand-to-fin combat with a 12-foot shark. Craig Clasen was being filmed last June as part of a feature on spear fishing. He was hunting yellow fin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico when 1,000 pound tiger shark attacked.

Clasen tried to kill it fast with a spear gun, but instead they battled for nearly two hours. Incredibly, he won that battle, eventually killing the shark with a knife.

Up next here, we'll tell you who's behind a controversial billboard promoting sex, great sex.

And Jon Stewart versus Jim Cramer, it's a cable war smack down. Who's saying what, how, now? We'll be right back.


DOBBS: I don't often cave in to crass commercial promotionalism on the part of cable news shows, certainly other ones, but "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart has a warm place in my heart and so does CNBC's Jim Cramer. And they're in a cable grudge match, my goodness. They're battling over CNBC's coverage of Wall Street, before, of course, the meltdown of some of the nation's biggest financial institutions and the loss of trillions upon trillions of dollars in the market.

Well, Jon Stewart says CNBC and Cramer served as nothing but cheerleaders for Wall Street, offering bad advice for investors. And on the "Today" show, Cramer shot back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A comedian -- a comedian's attacking me, wow!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He runs a variety show.


DOBBS: Oh, a variety show, well Stewart returned the favor. He had a rebuttal at the top of his show that evening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And variety show -- what -- make it sound like I'm some kind of buffoon, just flapping my arms with crazy buttons and wacky sound effects.




DOBBS: There's more to look forward to, believe it or not, Cramer's scheduled to be Jon Stewart's guest on "The Daily Show" tonight. This is just a personal piece of advice, Jim. I don't think you should have done that.

An evangelical church in rural Alabama is stirring up controversy with a billboard that promotes sex. Well, not just any kind of sex, but great sex. The Daystar Church in Good Hope, Alabama, has posted billboards with the phrase "Great Sex: God's Way" on local highways. The church says God wants good sex as a part of every marriage and marriage as a condition for all kinds of sex.

From eye-opening billboards to a hair-raising car chase in California caught on video. A female burglary suspect was pursued by the California Highway Patrol last night, weaving through heavy traffic from Van Nuys to San Clemente, after an hour and a half, police performed what they call a pit maneuver -- in other words hitting the suspect's car at a high speed to spin it around. After a standoff, police then rushed the car, tasered and arrested the suspect. We're told there were no serious injuries. We're also not told why they were chasing.

Up next, will Mexico's out of control drug violence force the United States to put our troops on the border, say bring them home from Germany and South Korea and Japan and put them on the border?

The explosive new book from best selling author David Horowitz is next. Horowitz says free speech is dead on our college campuses. He's my guest here next. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Radical liberal ideology is overtaking college campuses all across the country. Students are being told what to think and what to say by liberal faculty members while free speech and conservative opinions are being stifled, so says David Horowitz. He's the co-author of the new provocative book on the subject, "One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America's top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine our Democracy." David Horowitz joins us tonight from Los Angeles -- David, great to have you with us.


DOBBS: Let's -- you know it's no secret that college campuses are almost by definition liberal, but you say they're trying now, deliberately, to undermine our democracy. What do you mean?

HOROWITZ: These are radicals.

Well, the heart of a democratic education is that students get to hear both sides of the issue and get to make up their own minds. In totalitarian countries, teachers tell students what to think.

But what we have here are courses -- for example, the University of California -- described by the professor in the university catalog, the goal of this seminar is to learn how to organize a revolution and then it explains that it's an anti-capitalist revolution. So instead of examining whether revolutions are a good idea generally, instead of examining -- well, this teacher isn't even qualified as an economist to teach about our economic system -- students are being schooled in how to attack and overthrow the American system. And I estimate there are a good 10,000 to 20,000 courses like this on campuses today based on what we --

DOBBS: Did you find any courses where they were suggesting a conservative revolution -- any countervailing influence? HOROWITZ: No, Lou. I've written previously a book called "The Professors," which is about the fact that there's 99 percent or 90 percent of all faculty in the liberal arts schools are on the left. There's an effective blacklist in the university so that conservatives -- either they're not hired or they're discouraged as students because conservative students get harassed all the time by these radicals.

DOBBS: We've recently covered the case of a student at Central Connecticut State University, argued in a class -- by the way, it was a class assignment -- he and a fellow classmate arguing that students should be able to carry concealed weapons on campus given the context of the Virginia Tech massacre.

His teacher decided that that was uncomfortable for her. She called the police and asked that he be questioned. You know, I mean, we're getting to a level of absurdity in this country.

HOROWITZ: That's a calculated harassment of that student. That is to intimidate students from raising issues that their professors disagree with.

DOBBS: Well, there's no question about it. And I think probably people would be surprised at what you call your dirty dozen, the universities and colleges that are the worst offenders.

Let's, if we can, we're going to put that up: Duke University, University of Colorado, Columbia, Penn State, Texas, Arizona -- Arizona State, a lot happening in Arizona, Temple, Miami, a lot happening in Pennsylvania as well, University of Missouri, University of Southern California --


DOBBS: Yes, Miami U. My gosh.

HOROWITZ: Right. And that's -- Miami U is 60 percent, 70 percent of the student body are conservatives.

DOBBS: Really? That's a headline in and of itself.

HOROWITZ: Well, that's true. But they're all -- they couldn't name one conservative professor. I spoke there. So I --

DOBBS: You say the worst university is the -- the worst is the University of California in Santa Cruz.

HOROWITZ: Well, that's where that course came from. It has the department of feminist studies. It doesn't even pretend that they're women studies. Because no women studies departments or women studies there --

DOBBS: Are we getting a lot of courses on like men's studies?

HOROWITZ: There are none. But these courses aren't even studies of women; they are recruitment for radical feminism. The department was architected by a well-known American communist Bettina Aptheker. DOBBS: David, we appreciate you being here as always. Good to talk with you. We wish you the best.

The book is "One-Party Classroom: How radical professors at America's top colleges indoctrinate students and undermine our democracy." David Horowitz thanks for being here.

HOROWITZ: Thank you.

DOBBS: Up next, the president defending his economic plan as his own party raises questions about its effectiveness.

And federal troops, could they be deployed to our southern border over the rising threat from Mexico's drug cartels? We'll find out next.

We'll be right back.


DOBBS: More calls tonight to deploy our National Guard troops back to the border. The Obama administration says it is actually thinking about that move at some time in the -- apparently not near future. Border state lawmakers want action now. They say the violence as a result of Mexico's warring drug cartels is a threat to this country's security.

Casey Wian has our report from the U.S./Mexican border near San Diego.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With mounting evidence that Mexican drug cartel violence is threatening the United States, a dozen Republican lawmakers have written President Barack Obama to request that the National Guard be redeployed to the U.S./Mexico border. Then-President George W. Bush sent the National Guard to the border from 2006 through last year to give the border patrol time to hire 6,000 additional agents.

President Obama told reporters Wednesday, quote, "We're going to examine whether and if National Guard deployments would make sense and in what circumstances they would make sense as part of this overall review of our border situation."

VICE ADM. ROGER RUFE (RET) DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: As the president said yesterday, we're very much -- we very much do not want to militarize our border. That's essentially a last resort, but we're planning for it if it becomes necessary.

WIAN: Some border state lawmakers officers say there's no time to wait.

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: I don't think any American was taken back by Mexico sending troops to the border to try to secure their side. I don't see any reason why any American or Mexican should feel any differently about America defending our side of the border and securing our responsibility to our neighbors to make sure our side of the border is not being used by the cartel.

WIAN: Mexico has often bristled at U.S. efforts to boost security and at statements by U.S. officials that Mexico has lost control of much of its territory to drug cartels.

FERNANDO GOMEZ MONT, MEXICAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): If the United States were not the largest drug market in the world, we would not have this problem. If they were to take their obligation to enforce their own laws that prohibit the exportation of U.S. firearms to Mexico more seriously, the tenor of the battle would be completely different.

WIAN: With so much focus on disagreements, a joint strategy to deal with the drug cartel violence is proving elusive.


WIAN: A spokeswoman for homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano says she will respond directly to the lawmakers who are requesting National Guard troops on the border. As I'm sure you'll remember, Lou, as governor of Arizona, Napolitano often pleaded with President Bush for that exact same thing -- Lou.

DOBBS: Yes, but at the same time, she was adamantly pro-amnesty, pro-illegal alien. I mean, she plays a political game and she's continuing that it appears in national office. This matter of militarizing the border -- we have troops in Okinawa, Japan, Germany, South Korea. Any preference there about militarizing entire nations with our presence, if that's the way one militarizes?

WIAN: Especially when there's a clear direct military threat across -- and nonmilitary drug cartel threat -- across our border with Mexico. Not only do we have increasing evidence of cartel violence all along the border in the United States, you occasionally have evidence that the Mexican military has crossed over on to our side of the border.

So it seems this would be good use of --

DOBBS: Did any of those lawmakers say, about militarizing the border, did any of them say, should we continue to accept the collateral damage to our nation's youth of destroyed and devastated lives as a result of the fact that Mexico remains the principal source of methamphetamines, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine? Why doesn't anybody ask that question?

WIAN: I'm not sure, Lou. But it's clearly a concern by many Republican lawmakers who say that the department of homeland security and the Obama administration's position that we're going to evaluate border security operations and sort of take a wait and see attitude and wait until the border patrol is overwhelmed, wait until local law enforcement is overwhelmed and say that's a real bad strategy. That we need to be proactive and get troops on the border now before the situation gets out of control. DOBBS: I've got a proposition that I'll reiterate for the Obama administration. Here's the deal. If you want to bring home troops, bring them home from Korea, from Germany, Okinawa, Japan, around the world; bring them home from Iraq, bring them home from as many as we possibly can from Afghanistan. Bring them here to secure the border and you'll also at the same time be fighting the most imminent threat to this country's public security and safety. That is by stopping drug trafficking, the flow of illegal aliens and terrorists across that border, potentially.

There's a thought for you in which everything would come together. One comprehensive approach, Mr. President; just a thought for you.

Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe we should bring our troops home from around the world to protect America or should we continue to allow the wide open flow of illicit drugs, illegal aliens and perhaps terrorists across our borders and through our ports? Let me see. Which should it be? Cast your votes at We'll have the results here later in the broadcast.

Up next, skeptical lawmakers from both parties grilling the treasury secretary over the administration's economic recovery plans? I'll be joined by three of the country's best economic thinkers here next.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Joining me now with more on where this economy is headed is -- actually, joining us is Professor Peter Morici of the Robert H. Smith School. I keep saying, Peter, that I'm not going to repeat that. You're from the University of Maryland from now on. Mike Holland, chairman of the Holland Balanced Fund, thanks for keeping it simple for me Mike. And Amity Shlaes, senior fellow on economic history at the Council of Foreign Relations; also the author of "The Forgotten Man: a new history of the Great Depression." Great to have you with us, Amity.

"The Wall Street Journal" today, as you all know, giving the Obama administration, the president and Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary failing grades. Would you argue with those grades, Amity?

AMITY SHLAES, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: I wouldn't take economists too seriously. Those are economists they are charting. Remember that, Lou.

DOBBS: That was just for you, Peter Morici.

SHLAES: But the other factor is that there's a lot of uncertainty being generated by the administration. It's not just that they're not spending or they are but it's very unclear where they're headed. And that is real and that is of concern.

One reason Mr. Geithner was picked was he represented continuity, remember that? He was supposed to hit the ground running. So if there's not continuity in action there --


SHLAES: If there's not continuity in action, that's problematic.

DOBBS: What do you think, Mike?

MIKE HOLLAND, HOLLAND BALANCED FUND: In contrast to what Amity just said, Lou, I think the stock market and the bond market votes every day and they're not Republican, they're not Democrat, they're not libertarian. They have been voting down 20 percent since this whole fiasco started. There's nothing there yet.

He hasn't hired a staff. There's no plan. We keep getting told there's going to be a plan. There's nothing there. The markets are just saying since there's nothing there, we're going down.

The last couple of days --

DOBBS: Today the market was up.

HOLLAND: The last three days. There's some inkling that we're getting somewhere closer to the details -- the details particularly for the banks.

DOBBS: It's hard to believe those nonpartisan voters in the bond and stock markets would put so much faith in the promise of details.

HOLLAND: A little short-sighted perhaps.

DOBBS: Peter Morici, your thoughts as one of those -- I think you just got a failing grade from Amity, but what are your thoughts on those grades?

PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Geithner gets a failing grade. The president, I give him a C minus because he's in the program for a long time. He's got a rich donor, I can't throw him out.

But the reality is they haven't done a very good job so far of putting forward a program to stimulate the economy that generates a lot of jobs to deal with the bleeding of jobs abroad, the outsourcing problem. It seems as though trade policy has been put on the back burner. The issue of China; we saw Hillary Clinton representing America over there on bended knees, thanking them for loaning us their money. Things of that nature.

The real problems in the economy, trade and the banks, not being addressed. While he doesn't have deputies over at treasury, he should still have ideas of his own. They're absent, failing grade.

HOLLAND: How does he get a C minus, Peter? MORICI: The president gets a C minus.

HOLLAND: Yes, how?

MORICI: Geithner gets an "F." The president gets a C minus because he managed to get his bill through Congress.

DOBBS: C minus to get through a legislation -- so you give a C minus for completing the assignment, but --

MORICI: I can't throw him out of the program.

DOBBS: -- but it's one that you don't think works.

MORICI: Well, it's one that isn't going to work very well.


DOBBS: Wait a minute, Amity, I'm starting to agree with you about these economists now.

HOLLAND: I wish I had taken his class, I would have better grades.

DOBBS: Well, it turns out that we're going to have an opportunity to grade a lot of folks over time. And the bond market and equity markets are doing so.

What is, sort of, I think beginning to be even more troubling is the fact that Geithner has not put forward those 17 principled deputies under him; as a matter of fact, another deputy withdrawing today.

I mean, what is going on here? I'm so sick -- I don't know about you, Amity, you wrote a book that's pretty relevant -- but I'm so tired of hearing about the new deal globally, the new deal in America. Does anybody have an original idea here?

SHLAES: Well, I think now there's second thoughts about the new deal and that may be one factor in the market's return -- beginning of a rally. Is, wow, the stimulus is done, do we really want to do another one? There will be another one, but do we want it? Probably not. Maybe it's not a good idea.

Maybe we shouldn't raise all those taxes. Some Democrats are saying that now. There's a little bit of reality check going on. The new deal felt good, but it was -- we shouldn't have new deal nostalgia, it's kind of new deal narcissism because it didn't work that well.


DOBBS: It's pretty demonstrable that what's going on in this economy today is so different from the era 70 years ago. We're talking about a derivatives market that no one can actually define the borders of or the amount. AIG with $160 billion of taxpayer money and one fool after another parades up to Capitol Hill and can't explain from this administration or the previous what the heck they're doing.

HOLLAND: Peter, I was just going to say the Lehman by contrast took down the world's financial markets.

DOBBS: Right.

HOLLAND: And they let that happen.

DOBBS: Right.

HOLLAND: And yet AIG, it doesn't look as if we're any closer to solving that problem than we were $180 billion ago.

DOBBS: Right. Peter?

MORICI: Well, you know, when you write life insurance, you have to have collateral to back it up. You have to have assets. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company has money to back up its policies.

You had people writing credit default swaps on basically mortgage-backed securities without any assets to back it up. There's a basic regulatory flow that needs to be fixed. I haven't heard anything from these guys about that. We're talking about the borderless derivatives market.

But if you require the derivatives dealers ---

DOBBS: They haven't even talked about regulating the hedge funds, for crying out loud.

MORICI: They don't want to regulate anything.

DOBBS: I want to ask real quickly. We have about a minute left.

Are we near a bottom here? Are we ready for recovery?

SHLAES: We're ready for a small recovery and then maybe a slowdown again.

HOLLAND: In 1974 the news was every bit as bleak as it was now and we had the stock market go up. It doesn't mean the economy and all the problems you're talking about here are going to get better soon, they're not. The stock market is a different animal.

DOBBS: Peter, which is more important -- the stock market, the financial economy or the real economy in this country?

MORICI: Well, it's absolutely the real economy. The stock market may bounce a bit simply because it was so oversold, but the real economy is going to continue heading down until at least the fourth quarter. You haven't seen the worst of it.

We have lost more than 4 million jobs and we're likely to lose 6 million or perhaps 8 million jobs. The president will only give us back 3 million at best with this program. We are facing --

DOBBS: I'm glad I asked, Peter.

MORICI: Well, you asked and that's the truth.

DOBBS: Peter Morici, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

MORICI: Take care.

DOBBS: Amity Shlaes, thank you very much. Michael Holland, as always.

Up at the top of the hour: Campbell Brown, "NO BIAS, NO BULL" -- Campbell. How are you?


The man who pulled off one of the biggest swindle in Wall Street history spending his first night behind bars as you know. Bernie Madoff went directly to jail after pleading guilty and in a few minutes we'll talk to one of his victims who lost everything and find out if any of those stolen billions can every be recovered.

And speaking of Wall Street, some key signs tonight of good news about the economy. Our Ali Velshi is going to be along to explain that.

We are also going to ask two of the sharpest political observers -- Bill Bennett, James Carville -- for their take on how the president is handling all the challenges he's facing right now.

All at the top of the hour -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thanks Campbell.

Breaking news now on a story we have been reporting to you tonight about the FBI corruption investigation in Washington and arrests. Obama administration appointee Vivek Kundra is on leave from his job as of tonight after the FBI raided his former office in the Washington D.C. government.

Kundra has not been the target -- we are told, he's not the target of that raid and the arrest, but two other people are under arrest on corruption charges, including one of Kundra's former employees at the District of Columbia agency. The other arrested individual is Sushil Bansal, a D.C. government contractor and an Indian American who reportedly holds an H1b visa.

Again, Obama administration appointee, Vivek Kundra is now on leave from his job as of tonight after the FBI raided his former office in the Washington, D.C. government -- more bad news for the Obama administration appointees.

Up next, billions of dollars spent building new sports stadiums, often on taxpayer dollars. Private profit and public funding for professional sports -- anything for a fan. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Billions of dollars are being spent to tear down old sports arenas -- they're really not that old -- and to build brand new ones, usually right next door.

Here's the kicker, taxpayers are a big part of the game. Ines Ferre with our special report.


INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were fields of dreams where pros pitched, punted, pounded the boards and shot the puck. Sports arenas demolished, only so others could be built anew and play resumed. At the 2006 ground-breaking ceremony for the new Yankee Stadium where the first pitch will be thrown April 6, baseball commission Bud Selig said, quote, "The ballpark is a cathedral, a place for comfort."

The New York Yankees, New York Mets and footballs Dallas Cowboys all are about to begin play on new field that will include such amenities as giant video screens and better food; features likely to help reap higher revenues for the team's owners.

ROD FORT, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: What they're interested in generating revenue streams and keeping these revenue streams high. New facilities do that. Through the political process, if they can shorten the life of those arenas and stadiums and baseball parks, then it's in their best interest to do so.

FERRE: Sports management authority Rod Fort says that on average, baseball and football stadiums are 75 percent publicly- financed with the rest coming from private funding. The Yankee Stadium cost has risen from $800 million in 2005 to $1.5 billion. All but $225 million of which is being financed by public bonds.

The new Mets' ballpark, Citifield, cost at least $800 million. Citigroup has been criticized for shelling out $400 million for naming rights when it is taking in TARP emergency funds from the federal government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The taxpayers are getting the short end of the stick on a lot of things and stadiums are just another example.

FERRE: Most stadiums today are fairly new with few originals like Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field still around.


FERRE: And, Lou, with new stadiums come higher ticket prices, of course. Here at Citifield, some of the best season tickets can cost you up to $18,000 per seat. Now, of course, if you don't have that kind of money, you can buy day of, last tier tickets that would start at about $11 -- Lou.

DOBBS: Again, another example of public financing and private profits. All right, thank you very much, Ines Ferre.

Well, tonight's poll results, 97 percent of you said that we should bring our troops home from around the world to protect America.

Thanks for being with us tonight, Campbell Brown "NO BIAS, NO BULL" starts right now. And that's no bull -- Campbell.

BROWN: Thanks, Lou.