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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Deadly Outbreak; Ending tax Breaks; Discrimination Lawsuit; Supreme Court Justice Battle; Outrage over ACORN

Aired May 04, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening everybody.

Gunmen kidnap a 3-year-old boy in a violent home invasion in California; this case raising new concerns about the rising number of kidnappings and home invasions in this country. We'll have the very latest on our special report.

And Ernie Allen (ph), the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is among my guests. And I'll also have some thoughts about why this is happening and what must be done.

Also tonight, President Obama confronting corporate America and special interests on the issue of overseas tax shelters and loopholes. President Obama saying the federal government must not give tax breaks to companies that export jobs to cheap overseas labor markets, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who himself had issues with the tax code will be leading the crackdown himself.

We'll be reporting on the spread of the swine flu in the United States and health officials remain concerned about a possible second wave of swine flu.

We begin tonight with the global swine flu outbreak, the number of swine flu cases in the United States and the world continues to rise. The Centers for Disease Control says there are now 286 confirmed cases. The swine flu has now spread to 36 states.

But the source of the outbreak, Mexico, now says the outbreak is not spreading. The Mexican government has eased some restrictions, and the government has decided to reopen schools and universities. But the World Health Organization, which has been on the defensive over charges from some critics that it overreacted, is now suggesting the swine flu could return with, as it termed it, a "vengeance in the months ahead." Jeanne Meserve has our report.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was back to class at St. Francis Preparatory School in New York Monday, an outbreak of H1N1 flu had shuttered the school for an entire week.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: We can't guarantee that there will not be any more H1N1 cases particularly in the school but we think that very unlikely. MESERVE: Mexico, which has seen the largest number of cases, lowered its health alert level. Authorities said the outbreak appeared to be slowing. But on the same day flu fears shut down an additional 100 U.S. schools and six new states reported confirmed cases.

DR. KEIJI FAKUDA, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The way these things occurred is that we expect that you will have peaks of activities in some places and then you will have valleys of activity in other places.

MESERVE: Scientists are watching with particular interest the spread of H1N1 to the southern hemisphere, which is entering winter, prime flu season and could act as a laboratory.

DR. RICHARD BESSER, CDC: Does this become a predominant strain while there are other strains circulating? What happens in terms of resistance? What happens in terms of subtle changes in the virus, and what impact could that have here on a vaccine strategy?

MESERVE: Meanwhile, researchers continue to peer into microscopes and pour over data to learn more about the disease, particularly why it appears to hit the young harder than seasonal influenza.

(on camera): Some are criticizing the federal government for overreacting to an outbreak which at this point has killed only one person in the U.S., but officials say it is impossible to predict how this new disease will evolve and they say it's critical to maintain alertness and surveillance here and all across the globe.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


DOBBS: Communist China today strongly defended its tough measures against citizens of Mexico in China as the government of China tries to stop the spread of swine flu. Officials in Hong Kong imposed a week-long quarantine on a hotel where China's first swine flu patient was staying.

Three hundred fifty hotel guests and staff are inside that building. The patient is a Mexican citizen. China's also rounded up more than 70 Mexican citizens in other Chinese cities for compulsory medical treatment. Mexico blasted the government of communist China, calling its actions discriminatory.

Vice President Joe Biden is trying to demonstrate that it is not dangerous to travel in the nation's railways during the swine flu outbreak. Last week, Vice President Biden said Americans should stay away from confined spaces, subways, planes, because of the risk of infection.

Vice President Biden traveled on a train from Washington to Delaware Friday, and today the vice president declared that government money for railroads is one of the best investments this country can make. President Obama today focused on the economy and announced a sweeping crackdown on offshore tax shelters used by American companies.

President Obama said the existing tax code gives an unfair advantage to companies that create jobs overseas and not in this country. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce immediately protested, claiming that the president's plan is unfair. Jill Dougherty reports from the White House.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's only fair, President Obama says, tax laws should not reward companies that invest overseas instead of investing in America.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today I'm announcing a set of proposals to crack down on illegal overseas tax evasion, close loopholes and make it more profitable for companies to create jobs here in the United States.

DOUGHERTY: Mr. Obama says what he calls a broken tax system rewards companies for moving jobs offshore and transferring profits to overseas tax havens.

OBAMA: It's a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India than if you create one in Buffalo, New York.

DOUGHERTY: Eighty-three of the 100 largest companies in the U.S. take advantage of these laws, according to the Government Accountability Office. The president also wants to target individual wealthy Americans who avoid taxes by hiding their money in overseas bank accounts.

His proposals he claims will help raise $210 billion over the next 10 years. To enforce the new laws, the White House wants to hire almost 800 more IRS agents. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce counters the president's plan is, in reality, a huge tax hike.

MARTY REGALIA, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: It will make our companies less competitive, make it harder for us to create jobs here, and make it more advantageous for foreigners to buy our companies and operate them as foreign multi nationalists.


DOUGHERTY: Now the administration claims that some of these companies are paying as little as two percent income tax on their foreign profits, thanks to these tax loopholes. Now some of the critics say the administration really should just simply cut corporate tax rates, period, but there's no indication the president agrees with that -- back to you, Lou.

DOBBS: Jill, thank you very much -- Jill Dougherty from the White House. Corporate America's supporters in Congress wasting no time in criticizing President Obama's decision -- Republican lawmakers such as Congressman Louie Gohmert said American consumers will have to pay for higher prices to make up for the loss of American company's tax breaks.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: You know there's an insidious tax out there, insidious because we tell the American people that they're not going to have to pay it. We're going to put it on the greedy corporations. Well how do you think a corporation stays in business if it doesn't pass that on to the people, and they don't realize, they think somebody else is paying, yet it comes right back to their feet.


DOBBS: Congressman Gohmert said corporate taxes in the United States were much higher than overseas.

Still ahead, a young boy is kidnapped from his home, adding to a shocking rise in kidnappings along the border states. What's behind the dramatic increase in these cases? We'll have a special report for you.

And rising concerns that gender and diversity, not qualifications or experience, will be the most important factors in selecting who will be the next justice of the Supreme Court. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: The Supreme Court will soon decide a racial discrimination case filed by white and Latino firefighters again the city of New Haven, Connecticut. New York State recently settling a workplace discrimination case of its own -- this lawsuit was filed against Governor David Paterson and occurred when he was a state senator. Paterson was accused of then firing a white photographer and replacing him with a black one. Ines Ferre has our report.


INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York taxpayers will dole out $300,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit, the suit dates back to 2003, after then State Senator David Paterson became the first non-white legislative leader in the state's history. Joseph Mariello (ph), a white photographer shown here in this "New York Post" story claims Paterson's deputy chief of staff, Jack McPatton (ph), told him Democratic senators wanted to replace him with a quote, "minority photographer -- a black photographer."

He added allegedly "you've got to remember who Senator Paterson is. Senator Paterson is black." In his deposition McPatton (ph) denied saying that. The New York State Senate minority said Mariello (ph) had a record of tardiness but provided no evidence. Paterson denied Mariello's (ph) claims. GOV. DAVID PATERSON (D), NEW YORK: I did not choose to keep this individual out of race. I was really just trying to put a team around me that I knew.

FERRE: In written testimony the governor said, "Given my visual impairment I did not know for certain the race of either." Mariello (ph) had served in the job since 1989 under three different senators. Employment lawyer Gary Phelan (ph) wasn't involved with the case but suggests the size of the settlement is important.

GARY PHELAN, EMPLOYMENT LAWYER: A $300,000 settlement is certainly not insignificant. They would not have paid a settlement like $300,000 unless they thought they had real exposure to losing a trial and losing more than $300,000.

FERRE: Phelan expects to see an increase in these kinds of cases over the next few years, pointing to the case brought by 19 white and one Latino firefighter after they were denied promotion. That case was heard by the Supreme Court last month.


FERRE: And the trial was to have begun this week, but last week Governor Paterson said the state settled the case in part under the advice of the attorney general, Andrew Cuomo's office. Over the weekend Cuomo's office said it had not advised the state to settle for $300,000 and Paterson's office has since then back pedaled saying Cuomo's office said a settlement should be considered but that it should not pay $300,000.

DOBBS: That's quite a distinct and different choice of language, isn't it?


DOBBS: Ines thank you very much -- Ines Ferre.

Well more bad news for Governor Paterson. His approval ratings are at a record low. A new Merris (ph) poll finds only 19 percent of all voters think the governor is doing a good job. That's down seven percentage points from March. In fact, the majority of New Yorkers, 51 percent are so dissatisfied with Governor Paterson they'd rather have disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer back in office. Spitzer resigned last March in a sex scandal.

In the battle over the next Supreme Court justice, President Obama today began calling senators who will play a key role in the confirmation process. President Obama wants a replacement for retiring Justice David Souter to be seated by early October.

There are rising concerns tonight that the president will choose a candidate who, above all else, meets liberal demands for more diversity on the Supreme Court, rather than the highest standards. Lisa Sylvester has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the talk show circuit.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Women are underrepresented on the court. We don't have a Hispanic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should have more women. We should have more minorities.

SYLVESTER: In the White House briefing room.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In the context of diversity, gender and ethnicity, how important are those?

SYLVESTER: The topic of race, gender and the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Politicians are not shy about it. Forget that the justice is supposed to be color or gender blind. They want a woman, a minority, maybe both, but coincidentally the debate comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing several affirmative action cases.

In one, a lawsuit filed by a group of New Haven firefighters, 19 white and one Latino, who were passed over for promotion. In another case, whether the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are still pertinent in 2009.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: This is sort of one of the great American debates, you know, what we do about the legacy of discrimination in the country. Do we continue trying to address it or do we say that we are close enough to equal now that we need to just not consider it anymore.

SYLVESTER: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (ph) is the only woman on the court. There has never been an Hispanic or Asian-American. And while political insiders and pundits are looking to the president to round out the high court with more diversity, here's White House spokesman Robert Gibbs' response.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president obviously is obviously going to take the time to look at all of those that are qualified, to find the most qualified person in his estimation, whether it's a he or a she.


SYLVESTER: But Gibbs then went on to say that while the president will not only look at diversity of experience, he will also look at diversity of background and that includes not only race and gender but no doubtedly (ph) the person's position on the issue of abortion and that could prove to be the most contentious issue -- Lou.

DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much -- Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

The Supreme Court today stepped into the legal fight over Janet Jackson's so-called wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl. That malfunction occurred during the halftime show, which was broadcast live by CBS. The Federal Communications Commission imposed a fine of more than half a million-dollars on CBS, but last year a federal appellate court threw out the fine and today the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the appellate court to re-examine its ruling in light of the FCC's so-called zero tolerance policy on expletives. That's only taken about five years.

Up next, new concerns about the rise in kidnappings in communities along our border with Mexico -- we'll have a special report. And an investigation into what caused a Dallas Cowboys' practice facility to collapse. A Cowboys' employee paralyzed. We'll have that story and a great deal more straight ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The economy tonight showing some signs of improvement, pending home sales rising for a second straight month. The National Association of Realtors said pending sales jumped three percent in March. And construction spending up for the first time in six months -- according to the Commerce Department spending rising .3 percent in March -- a decline had been expected by most economists.

And a better than expected news on housing led to a stock market rally today -- the Dow Jones Industrials up 214 points, closing above 8400 for the first time since January. The S&P 500 rose more than three percent on the day; the Nasdaq up more than two percent.

Bank stocks today rallying ahead of the government's so-called stress tests; those are due out later this week. For weeks now newspaper headlines have see-sawed between hope and gloom for the nation's banks on this stress test so-called. Two weeks ago the headlines were ominous.

"The Wall Street Journal" had this: "Stress test flash a lot more red." On the same day "The New York Times" headline was, "Sobering numbers ahead of stress test results." Then the results were postponed. "The Times" reported it like this: "Release of bank test results to be delayed." And over the weekend a split -- "The Wall Street Journal" saying quote, "investors may be fearful of bank stocks," while "The New York Times" said quote, "Bank tests may bring hope more than fear."

The so-called stress tests are meant to determine which banks may need more government bailout money in case of a worsening recession. Some of the other stories we're following tonight -- in Manhattan two people were injured during a movie shoot when a Ferrari slammed into a restaurant. A chase scene involving that Ferrari and a Mercedes was being filmed in Times Square.

The driver of the Ferrari you see here was swerving around cars trying to catch the Mercedes. He made too sharp a turn, jumped the curve, knocked down a light post and a newsstand before slamming into a restaurant where two people were hit, but police say their injuries are not life-threatening -- that scene being shot for the Nicolas Cage (ph) film "The Sorcerers Apprentice" (ph).

In Irving, Texas, 12 people were injured when a Dallas Cowboys practice facility collapsed because of strong winds. Three people remain hospitalized and one of them is the team's 33-year-old scouting assistant. He's been paralyzed from the waist down. About 70 people, including 27 players were at the facility when the storm hit. None of the players were injured.

In Troy (ph), New York, police arrested a man who broke out of jail 29 years ago. Robert Henry (ph) escaped from a Tennessee jail in 1980. There he was serving a 15-year prison term for robbery. He says he traveled extensively before he settled down in Troy (ph) and his wife had no idea about his past. Henry now faces extradition back to Tennessee.

Up next here, kidnapping in America, a 3-year-old boy has been snatched from his home. Investigators are adding yet another victim to a disturbing increase in the number of kidnappings along our border states, and more evidence that you're being misled by the left wing group ACORN, and its involvement in voter fraud. That story is next.


DOBBS: New evidence tonight that the left wing group ACORN, a group with links to President Obama, has not been telling the truth about charges it's involved in election fraud and investigations. ACORN's CEO Bertha Lewis in fact strongly denied that ACORN was under investigation anywhere when she appeared on this broadcast last month.


DOBBS: What do you suppose would be said about ACORN? You're being investigated in 13 states, for crying out loud.


BERTHA LEWIS, CEO, ACORN: I'm glad you brought that up.


LEWIS: That's not true.


LEWIS: Check the facts. It's not true. You can get on the phone right now, call the Department of Justice.

DOBBS: I didn't say anything about the Justice Department.

LEWIS: You call any -- ACORN is not being investigated anywhere in any state. You don't have your facts correct.


DOBBS: Well, Ms. Lewis, your assertion is completely false, as you knew at the time. ACORN's voter registration efforts are being investigated by federal, state and local authorities in eight states. Tonight, one of those states, Nevada, is accusing ACORN of illegally paying its canvassers to sign up new voters. But there is no investigation in Philadelphia even though the Election Commission there says voter fraud by ACORN has been rampant. Drew Griffin of our Special Investigations Unit has our report.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was back in October when we walked into Philadelphia Deputy Commissioner Fred Voigt's office and he showed us and told us in no uncertain terms that ACORN, the liberal activist group which openly supported Barack Obama, was turning in thousands of voter registration forms that he labeled fraud.

(on camera): Is ACORN a group that has been problematic in its organizing of these voter registration drives?


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Voigt told us 8,000 applications turned in by ACORN had problems including 1,500 that he thought were without a doubt forgeries. At the time ACORN called the charges political and said the group was being held accountable for the actions of a few.

FRED VOIGT, PHILADELPHIA DEP. CITY COMMISSIONER: You just looked at them, and it was all in the same hand, and you could see some where they used a phone book, including the apostrophe. You know, some of them...

GRIFFIN (on camera): Went down in the phone book and just copied it verbatim right out?

VOIGT: Kitchen petition...

GRIFFIN: Kitchen petition...


GRIFFIN: Sit around the kitchen...


GRIFFIN: ... fill out the petition.

VOIGT: Fill out the petition, yes. That happens.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Voigt, a Democrat, sent all 1,500 of those suspect registrations to the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia for possible investigation. It has been six months. What happened -- nothing. When we called the U.S. Attorney's Office, we were given no comment and told we should really be calling the local district attorney in Philadelphia.

The DA's office told us there was insufficient credible evidence that a crime had been committed. Voigt said no one from the DA or the U.S. attorney ever called him about any of his alleged evidence of fraud. If that sounds like officials in Philadelphia may be looking the other way, it appears your elected officials in Washington may be doing the same thing.

In March, a House subcommittee looking into lessons learned from the 2008 election, heard from a Republican lawyer from Pennsylvania, accusing ACORN of a multitude of violations. In response, Democratic Congressman John Conyers, a fierce partisan who defended ACORN during the presidential campaign, surprised fellow members when he called the accusations a pretty serious matter. Conyers asked New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler to conduct a subcommittee hearing on ACORN. Here is what happened next.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Let me just say that I would certainly consider a hearing on ACORN, if I ever hear any credible allegations.

REP. JOHN CONYERS (D), MICHIGAN: Whoa. Wait a minute. This is a member of the bar here that got a successful partial injunction against ACORN.

NADLER: The chairman makes a good point and we will certainly consider it.


GRIFFIN: Lou, they didn't apparently consider it very long. Congressman Nadler's office tells us there will be no hearing on ACORN. When we asked why, we were told Congressman Conyers changed his mind. When we looked for a statement there, this is what we got from Congressman Conyers' office.

"Based on my review of the information regarding the complaints against ACORN, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears unwarranted at this time." That's just about a month after he called the whole affair "pretty serious." Lou?

DOBBS: Obviously Congressman Conyers is not the only fierce partisan on that committee -- a stunning reversal and no further explanation.

GRIFFIN: Nope, we actually asked for an interview. We asked for an explanation of this very statement which says really nothing at all, what kind of evidence they reviewed that changed his mind. This is all we got in return, Lou.

DOBBS: Drew, thank you very much and ACORN is -- well I think we would have to say an interesting and unique organization that deserves a lot more attention, if not investigation on the part of all of us. Thank you very much, drew griffin.

Despite the controversy, A.C.O.R.N. could still apply for a share of billions of dollars of the president's so-called stimulus package. House minority leader Congressman John Boehner said that money is a tax-pair funded bonanza for A.C.O.R.N. Senator David Vitter described the cash as a "political payoff for A.C.O.R.N." Most of that money is free for the rehabilitation of old housing. For now, A.C.O.R.N. says it has no plans to apply for such funds, but is A.C.O.R.N. the same organization that also said it wasn't under investigation anywhere? Tens of thousands of people taking to the streets last Friday to protest this nation's immigration policies, specifically those policies against illegal immigration. There were more than 35 mayday marches across 2 is states. The Mexican flag, we know, was flown in at least 11 of those rallies, sparking criticism all across the country, even some supporters of so-called comprehensive immigration reform don't believe carrying the Mexican flag will help the cause of those who are seeking amnesty for illegal aliens.


PROF. MIGUEL PEREZ, LEHMAN COLLEGE: You do not march with a foreign flag and give the opinions that you're invading this country that you want to become a part of.


DOBBS: Miguel Perez went on to say those rallies confuse the issue. Carrying the Mexican flag is simply the wrong approach, as he put it, "it is anti-American."

We should also point out the national liberal media, if I may fail to note, the number of rallies in which the Mexican flag was displayed prominently. The "New York Times" did make note of one small rally in Los Angeles in which a Mexican flag was carried but it was in the 11th paragraph of the one story that it did carry a reference to the Mexican flag. We could not find a single other presence in the national media to the presence of the Mexican flags on May 1st.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of an illegal alien convicted of using false social security numbers. The court said an individual using a false identity cannot be charged unless prosecutors can prove that the individual knew in advance that the identity belonged to a real person. We'd like to know what you think about all of this. Our poll question tonight -- do you feel better knowing that it is now legal for an illegal alien to steal your identity if he or she doesn't know it's yours? Yes or no? We'd like to hear from you. Cast your votes at and we'll have the results later.

The courts ruled differently in the case of a Wisconsin gun owner, David Olofson remains in prison for something he didn't know that his malfunctioning rifle would be classified as a machine gun by federal authorities. Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Olofson will remain in the federal penitentiary where he's been for 10 months. He must complete his 10 to 30 month sentence for illegally transferring a machine gun. Olofson lent his AR15 rifle to a neighbor to shoot on a target range, the semiautomatic gun fired a couple of multi round bursts after firing hundreds of rounds of single shots. Instead of simply seizing the gun or ordering its repair Olofson was put on trial, convicted and given a jail sentence. The judge at his trial said he had shown he was ignoring the law and had considerable knowledge of machine guns. The seventh circuit court heard his appeal in January and now has affirmed his conviction. It's a ruling that gun rights advocates call chilling.

DAVID KOPEL, INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTE: The taking away if the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco Firearms wants to enforce the gun laws against you with the utmost stringency the courts are not going to provide any protection.

TUCKER: Part of Olofson's appeal rested on the argument that his gun malfunctioned, therefore it didn't fit the definition of a machine gun but the jury following the judge's instructions convicted Olofson.

PROF. MICHAEL O'HEAR, MARQUETTE UNIV. LAW SCHOOL: There is a very high degree of deference to jury decisions.

TUCKER: The court did not accept Olofson's argument that he did not know he had a machine gun. On the same day the Supreme Court threw out an illegal immigrant's conviction for identity theft saying the government had not proved that the man knew the documents he received were false.

KRIS KOBACH, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It is interesting that the two opinions come down on the same day. The Supreme Court said in the case of the immigration identity theft statute, knowingly means knowingly and you have to know you stole a specific person's identity.

TUCKER: The question for gun owner's now, if their gun malfunctions will they, too, be put in jail?


TUCKER: Now it is not clear if this case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Olofson's lawyers were unavailable for comment. They were informing Olofson of the decision and spending the day with Olofson's family, also unavailable for comment.

DOBBS: His wife and three children. He's been in prison now how long?

TUCKER: Ten months.

DOBBS: And the rapper, T.I.? Where is he?

TUCKER: He's still out and about, as they say, walking around, and in that case, Lou, he knew he was buying or wanted to buy a machine gun. There's been no dispute about that fact.

DOBBS: Quite a legal system we've got for ourselves here. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Bill Tucker.

It strikes me that somehow we should be doing a little better than this.

TUCKER: I think so.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. The Associated Press today citing the left wing advocacy group Media Matters in an article that criticized my reporting of the swine flu outbreak. The self-described media watchdog claimed I referred to the swine flu outbreak as Mexican flu and point of fact, I never called it Mexican flu and point of fact, I called it swine flu and I reported last week that others were, amongst other things, in a fit of paroxysm of political correctness calling it Mexican flu, among other things.


DOBBS: Launching an official protest against an Israeli official who called the swine flu outbreak Mexican flu. Israel's deputy health minister said he changed the name of the flu because the reference to swine is offensive to Israel's Jewish and Muslim citizens.


DOBBS: You won't often hear Israel taking up the cause of Muslims, but there it was. As I say in a fit of political correctness, the associated press, I am delighted and grateful to say to you, tonight has issued a correction of its story, writing, "In a May 2nd story about swine flu comments and the immigration debate, the Associated Press mischaracterized a comment by CNN's Lou Dobbs." The story said, "Dobbs called the current epidemic Mexican flu. While Dobbs used that language he was making light of those who were suggesting the name should be changed to something other than swine flu." Associated Press, I thank you for your professionalism, and your courtesy. And your correctness.

Still ahead here, the latest assault on your right to bear arms as if we need another. A threat to a law that protects gun owners' privacy and a dramatic rise in kidnappings and communities along our border with Mexico. We'll have that special report next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Police in California tonight are searching for a toddler kidnapped from his San Bernardino home by gunmen. Cities, towns all along our border with Mexico are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of kidnappings. Arizona's Maricopa County is reporting a more than 300 percent increase in kidnapping for ransom cases over the past five years. That increase is more evidence of the consequences of a border that is out of control, wide open to drug traffics and human smugglers. Louise Schiavone has our report.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The phenomenon of home invasions and kidnapping son the rise in American communities not far from the Mexican border. Phoenix reported 368 abductions last year and has been nicknamed kidnapping capital of America. Also last year, 337 home invasions.

SGT. TOMMY THOMPSON, PHOENIX POLICE: The home invasions we have absolutely they're very shocking. They're of a concern to us. They involve violence. These people are armed when they kick in a door. Oftentimes they come to the door dressed as police officers.

SCHIAVONE: In these cases Phoenix police say only in the rarest instance is a child taken but children's advocates say the trend is worrisome.

ERNIE ALLEN, NATL. CTR. FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: It is not a common thing but I think candidly we have to say that it's an increasing phenomenon. We know that there are growing numbers of kidnappings, particularly in the border region. It's really troubling.

SCHIAVONE: The frequency of kidnapping in Latin America has made kidnapping insurance popular in that region but now in Arizona' Maricopa County which includes Phoenix the district attorney established a task force focused solely on the kidnapping problem. This advocate for tougher border control says it's a border security issue.

JANICE KEPHART, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: We have not heard about kidnappings and from Maricopa County to be dealing with this as a local problem when this is a manifestation of a national problem is really quite inexcusable on the part of the federal government.


SCHIAVONE: Lou, the Justice Department says about 58,000 youngsters are abducted by non-family members in the U.S. every year -- Lou?

DOBBS: This is quite an alarming case, an alarming increase in kidnappings and the response. Do we have any idea at this hour as to what authorities think happened to this young boy who was kidnapped today?

SCHIAVONE: I can tell you that having just gotten off the phone with the people in San Bernardino County, the sheriff's office, this is all they are willing to say. This 3-year-old child was home with four of his siblings, with his mother, two men burst into the home, tied everybody up except this child and took off. There's one published report from the west coast that's online that says one of the men who took the child said that they were taking the child to Mexico, where they were going to murder him. I asked the San Bernardino sheriffs to please confirm or deny that. They would not deny it. They would not say any more than that, because they say they don't want to share the actual details of this, but there's been no request for ransom, and right now, they say they don't have any clues as to where this child is at this moment.

DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much. Louise Schiavone reporting.

Joining me with more on this alarming increase in kidnappings for ransom in this country, kidnappings and home invasions is Ernie Allen, president and the CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Good to have you with us.


DOBBS: As we've just heard Louise Schiavone report, these are chilling, chilling developments in this case. What more do you know about this case, Briant Rodriguez?

ALLEN: There's nothing more I can add. We're concerned about the safety of the little boy. The San Bernardino police are on top of the case, an amber alert issued in California, saturating the area with photos, trying to generate leads and information that hopefully can bring him back to his family.

DOBBS: Let's put up the home page to your website right now, if we could, for the national center for missing and exploited children and the best way to get to that website is what, Ernie?

ALLEN: Is to go to

DOBBS:, and we're going to put that up on our website at a link to you, and we'll be referencing it. What do we know about the case at this point? Do we have any, beyond what we have just reported, is there any further information out there that people need to know right now or is it as Louise reported, going to be held fairly tightly for awhile?

ALLEN: Well, it's certainly going to be held tightly by the San Bernardino police, because the last thing they want to do is to put this trial in greater risk. We know that generally, these home invasion-type crimes typically have an economic motive. These are drug gangs or other kinds of gangs that are targeting families, going in for robbery purposes to try to extort money from the family. Certainly what the San Bernardino police are doing in this case is working the case in parallel tracks. They're looking at people closest to the family. Parents have indicated that they did not know these offenders, but they're going to do everything they can to move very quickly, because time is the enemy.

DOBBS: And you say that this case has all of the markings of a drug cartel kidnapping. This is something we're seeing more and more of and yet the federal government is not responding -- local law enforcement is overwhelmed. The city of Phoenix is simply being pushed aside for these drug cartels right now, aren't they?

ALLEN: Well, they are, and we applaud the leadership of the district attorney there in Maricopa County, who is really going after this aggressively. Very few of these victims so far have been children, but there have been hundreds of these cases in which adults have been taken for ransom or kidnapped for a variety of reasons, and you know, we don't know that this is drug cartel involvement in the San Bernardino case, but we do know that the home invasion, the brazen kind of violent taking of both parents and kids is growing in this country, and we really need to be vigilant.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Ernie Allen, we appreciate it. Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Again, it is

Coming up at the top of hour, "NO BIAS, NO BULL" Roland Martin in for Campbell Brown.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Lou. Are we any closer to the end of this recession in there have been promising signs today but are they pointing to a real turn-around in the economy? Ali Velshi will be here to tell us what's really going on.

Plus, do you expect the boss to be watching when you're at work you? You don't expect the boss to watch the at home especially when you're on the web with your own computer. That's what happened to two restaurant employees who got fired for complaining online. Is it an invasion of privacy or did they get what they deserved? We'll get into all of that the top of the hour, Lou, and I like the pink tie.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, I appreciate it. Vice versa.

Former presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards tonight is under federal investigation. Investigators want to know now whether Edwards' political committee acted improperly when it paid more than $100,000 to a filmmaker with whom Edwards was having an affair. Rielle Hunter was hired to make videos of Edwards on the campaign trail. Edwards later admitted to the affair with Hunter, last year, months after dropping his presidential bid.

Up next here, a law protecting gun owners' privacy rights could be diluted by the Obama administration. Congressman Todd Tiahrt doesn't think that law should be changed. He'll be my guest here next. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: The Tiahrt amendment prevents the release of law enforcement DA to the public. It protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners in fact. It's been in force for five years now and law enforcement organizations support it. Now the Obama administration seems to want to weaken it. And it could further erode the second amendment rights to keep and bear arms. Joining me is Congressman Todd Tiahrt.

Congressman, good to have you with us. It is no secret that this administration, as Eric Holder, the chief law enforcement officer in the land, the attorney general said they just want to do a few things with gun laws. What is your reaction?

REP. TODD TIAHRT (R), KANSAS: Well, I think that Eric Holder, our attorney general, was actually reading from gun control advocates' talking points referring to not only the Tiahrt amendment but other parts of the law protecting Americans and undercover officers.

DOBBS: The Tiahrt amendment is supported by law enforcement agencies. What is the rational for the Obama administration to want to deal with it, it didn't take them very long, did it?

TIAHRT: No, it didn't. You know, this is endorsed by the fraternal order of police, over 325,000 police officers belong to that organization. They want the Tiahrt amendment to stay in place to protect the undercover officers and themselves but the Obama administration simply has not read the amendment. The things they claim that it does -- it prohibits are actually encoded making sure they do occur. One to make sure that trace data is available to police departments and prosecutors. That is insured by the amendment. In fact, it's insured if we are finding American guns in Mexico, we can trace the records back to America internationally because of the Tiahrt amendment but in addition, the real important thing is protects those that protect us. Those police officers who risk their lives every day to make sure that the communities and families are safe so I think they're following the talking points of gun control groups.

DOBBS: The attorney general Eric Holder says he does not want to place anyone at risk by relaxing provisions of the restrictions under the Tiahrt amendment. Is there some compromise here? Is this something that can be compromised? What is your view?

TIAHRT: The amendment is pretty straightforward. It says that gun trace data can be shared between police departments and prosecutors. It's very clear on international -- where international cases are -- at hand but it is also very clear on how we protect the privacy of individuals in America, law-abiding citizens that choose to purchase a firearm and particularly important to those that are undercover police officers. There's an internet that's who's a and find police informants with their picture, contact information and what part of the country they have been informing in so what the police -- fraternal order of police and the ATF wanted to protect was undercover officers so there wasn't an undercover website pop up on the internet. It is straightforward. We didn't try to pull any pumps. We wanted to protect those that protect us and I believe that the attorney general Eric Holder is reading talking points from gun control groups because obviously he hasn't read the law.

DOBBS: Have you very much for being here, Congressman. Appreciate it.

TIAHRT: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: The amazing story of the jockey that won an upset victory in the Kentucky Derby. He wasn't supposed to do that but $100 for every two works out pretty well. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Well, it was certainly an exciting and historic Kentucky Derby with mine that bird winning at 50 to 1 odds. The 42-year-old Calvin Borel showing why he's called Bo-rail. He rode to the second biggest upset in derby win. Borel won the first derby in 2007 riding Street Sense. He built the reputation as a jockey riding lesser known, smaller horses and as well as racing super stars. He was going to ride a bigger, more famous horse in the derby Beethoven until that horse was injured in late March. The rest is now history and what history it is. In fact, it was a winning weekend for Borel. He also won the Kentucky Oaks with a favorite Rachel Alexandra on Friday. He's only the second jockey in 16 years to win both the Oaks and the Derby.

Well, tonight's poll results, 97 percent of you say you don't feel better knowing that it's legal for an illegal alien to steal your identity if he or she doesn't know it's you. Our Supreme Court at work.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Nancy in Minnesota: "Isn't it funny that the Avian Bird Flu can retain its name but Swine Flu is politically incorrect? Would the flu be here without the pig? I guess the birds don't have a very strong lobby." I guess not.

And Mike in Illinois: "Hey Lou. I have an idea. When Janet Napolitano resigns, let's get Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in there. I think he would get a lot more done in terms of homeland security."

Send us your thoughts to and each of you whose e- mail is read here receives a copy of my book, "Independents Day."

And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for the Lou Dobbs Show 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. every afternoon on WOR 710 radio in New York City. All around the country. Go to for the local times for the Lou Dobbs Show on the Radio where we get to share your opinion and mine. We hope you'll join us.

Thanks for being with us here tonight. Join us tomorrow. Thank you for watching. Good night from New York. "NO BIAS, NO BULL" starts right now.

MARTIN: Thanks so much, Lou.