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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Obama's Muslim Outreach; Sotomayor Showdown; Nuke Secrets Blunder; Your Rights under Assault; Child Custody Battle; Outbreak Spreading; GM Transparency

Aired June 03, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Good evening, everybody.

President Obama taking his message of change you can believe in to the entire Muslim world -- President Obama trying to overcome decades of hostility toward the United States. The president's controversial tour the subject of our "Face-Off" debate here tonight.

Also a new showdown over your Second Amendment rights, a showdown that's likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Federal appellate courts in this country are now deeply divided over whether state and municipal governments can restrict gun rights.

And tens of thousands of Americans, many with incurable diseases are forced to travel to foreign countries, seeking treatments with no evidence of success but offering hope. Some doctors are being accused of peddling hope and we'll have that story for you here tonight.

We begin with the president's high profile tour of the Middle East -- President Obama tonight flying from Saudi Arabia to Egypt to deliver there a major speech on relations between America and Muslims. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president hopes to begin what he calls a new chapter of engagement with the Muslim world. In Saudi Arabia today, the president said he is seeking the advice of King Abdullah on how to tackle the Middle East problems. Ed Henry has our report from the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's royal welcome from King Abdullah, a red carpet, a massive gold necklace that is Saudi Arabia's highest honor. Everything it seemed but women in the Saudi delegation, a reminder that Mr. Obama's call for change in the Muslim world will not come overnight.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began. And to seek his majesty's counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East.

HENRY: Saudi Arabia is the birth place of Osama bin Laden who decided to mark the start of the president's trip with a threatening message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Obama proved that he's walking the same road of his predecessors to build enmity (ph) against Muslims and increase the number of fighters against the U.S.

HENRY: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs charged bin Laden is merely trying to upstage the president's long-awaited speech to the Muslim world Thursday.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think it's surprising that al Qaeda would want to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts and continued efforts to reach out, and have an open dialogue with the Muslim world.

HENRY: A message reinforced by officials throughout the Obama administration.

JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I think the timing is pretty self-evident and doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the timing on this one.

P.J. CROWLEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: There will be a contrast between the -- you know bin Laden's vision of intolerance and perpetual conflict and the president's message tomorrow offering a vision of peaceful tolerant, inclusive and interconnected world.

HENRY (on camera): In private top White House officials were even blunter claiming bin Laden is scared because the president's outreach coupled with his plans to close down the prison at Guantanamo Bay are pulling the terrorist chief recruitment tools off the table.

Ed Henry, CNN, Riyadh.


DOBBS: President Obama did surprise many with his suggestion that the United States is quote, "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world". He made the declaration in an interview with the French television network Kanal Pluce (ph). In fact, there are between five and seven million Muslims in the United States out of a population of more than 300 million. But for the record, there are more than 30 nations with a larger Muslim population than the United States including, among them, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and of course Saudi Arabia.

President Obama's already trying to open a dialogue with Iran, another large Muslim country, but so far Mr. Obama's efforts have been unsuccessful. Iran refuses to give up its nuclear ambitions even as the president says Iran might be entitled to a nuclear energy program. Iranian President Ahmadinejad is also refusing to back down from his declaration that the Holocaust is a myth. Ahmadinejad today repeated his declaration saying the Holocaust is, as he put it, a big deception.

In the United States, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich retreated from his assertion that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a racist. Gingrich made that declaration after learning Sotomayor suggested Latina women would make better judges than white males. As Dana Bash now reports, Gingrich isn't the only one softening his criticism of the president's choice to join the Supreme Court.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day two of her Senate courtesy calls, Sonia Sotomayor again keeping mum even as two of her loudest conservative critics changed their tune.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW: I can see a possibility of supporting this nomination if I can be convinced that she does have a sensibility toward life in a legal sense.

BASH: Rush Limbaugh now says there may be a quote, "silver lining in Sotomayor's nomination because she sided with abortion opponents in the past. Still he insists he is not retracting his charge Sotomayor is a racist, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is, saying on his Web site that his reaction was quote, "too strong and too direct. The sentiment struck me as racist and I said so."

The sentiment he's referring to Sotomayor's suggestion a wise Latina woman could use her experience to reach a better conclusion than a white male. Gingrich now says the word "racist" should not have applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable. Gingrich acknowledge he's been criticized but CNN is told that privately he was getting pummeled by fellow Republicans for going too far. GOP senators told us they were surprised by his reversal and relieved.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I'm very glad he backed off. I think that's unusual that commentators do that. And I think it was very good that he did. I think that will help us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gingrich this morning retracted his comment calling you a racist.

BASH: Sotomayor ignored at least three attempts by reporters to ask about Gingrich. One time a Senate aide intervened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newt Gingrich has retracted his statement...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't answer any questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going to have (INAUDIBLE) sink this ship.


BASH: Meanwhile Sotomayor's Democratic supporters are now circulating this speech from 1994 where she gave some similar comments to those that are causing such controversy. Now she did not make racial remarks, but she did make clear that she thinks a woman can make a better decision -- reach a better conclusion than a man.

Now Lou, Democrats are saying that they sent this up to Congress when she was approved as a circuit court judge. Republicans didn't complain then. But a GOP aide I talked to responded saying all this does is prove that the White House claim is false when they say that she has a poor choice of words now in the controversial comments that everybody is talking about.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much -- Dana Bash from Capitol Hill.

Well outrage on Capitol Hill tonight after a startling blunder that revealed some of this country's most sensitive nuclear secrets on the Web. The Federal Reserve -- the federal government mistakenly publishing highly confidential information about hundreds of civilian nuclear sites in this country -- there are concerns that the information would be of help to terrorists obtaining nuclear material. Louise Schiavone reports on the blunder.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Obama administration and members of Congress want to know how this 267 page document titled, quote, "The List of Sites, Locations, Facilities and Activities Declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency" could be viewed by anyone with Internet access.

REP. MICHAEL ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: By the way, now it's also in the hands of foreign intelligent services. You can -- you know you can pretty much bet on that. I mean that is why this is so disturbing.

SCHIAVONE: The Federation of American Scientists was surprised to spot it, replete with detailed information, including floor plans, on the government printing office Web site as of May 22nd and moved on to post it on their own Web site. Scientists familiar with the subject matter say information about the location of dozens of nuclear related sites is generally available with lots of research and in that sense it may not be catastrophic, but it does belie a worrisome sloppiness about nuclear security.

STEVEN AFTERGOOD, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: That is the one thing that is troubling about this whole episode. When the president says in early May that this is a sensitive document that should not be released and two weeks later it winds up on a government Web site, that's a problem.

SCHIAVONE: The Government Printing Office tells CNN there was nothing unusual about the way the document was transmitted to them and, quote, "upon being informed about the potential sensitive nature of the attachment in this document, the Public Printer of the United States removed it from GPO's Web site pending further review", end quote.

At the National Nuclear Security Administration a spokesman tells CNN that quote, "no information of direct national security significance would be compromised", end quote, by the document and quote, "we are looking into what happened in this instance and will take appropriate actions including ensuring that this will not happen again."

REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN: Do we wish it wasn't up there? Yes. And that's why it's confidential, sensitive.


SCHIAVONE: Lou, at many levels in Washington now, there's agreement that government has to examine how it communicates sensitive information so that material of this nature is not exposed for the entire world to see.

DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone from Washington.

An American father being prevented from seeing his son by a court in Brazil and the Supreme Court intervening in a new fight over your Second Amendment rights.


DOBBS: Supporters of our Second Amendment rights are preparing for a fight in the Supreme Court. An appellate court yesterday upheld Chicago's law that restricts gun ownership. Attorneys say they will appeal. Appellant courts are divided on this issue across the country and the Supreme Court is likely to decide whether Second Amendment rights extend to state and local governments. Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ban on most handguns in the cities of Chicago and Oak Park (ph), Illinois, stands. Ordinances put into effect eight years ago in an effort to combat extraordinary levels of gun violence, violence that continues with seven people shot dead in Chicago over the weekend. The National Rifle Association and others had legally challenged the ordinances as unconstitutional.

It only took the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago a week to say no -- the court finding that states and municipalities can regulate and ban guns if they choose. The judge wrote that the Supreme Court in three cases back in the late 1800's found that the Second Amendment allowing citizens to keep and bear arms did not apply at the state and local level and then they took a shot at the Ninth Circuit in April. That court came to the opposite conclusion saying Second Amendment rights do apply.

PROF. JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV.: There's not question there's not just a split between these circuits, but that split really goes to the very definition of judging and precedent. The Seventh Circuit is essentially accusing the Ninth Circuit of exceeding its authority of finding a clever way to get around Supreme Court precedent.

TUCKER: The Seventh Circuit gave a nod to a ruling from New York's Second Circuit earlier this year to which the Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor was a party, saying the logic agreed with their own. The Seventh Circuit dismissed the Supreme Court's ruling in the Heller (ph) case last year which gave individuals the right to own guns in Washington, D.C. as a ruling restricted to areas with sole federal jurisdiction not states or local municipalities. The opinion disappointed advocates of Second Amendment rights.

RICHARD GARDINER, SECOND AMENDMENT ATTORNEY: I think that the Seventh Circuit opinion just not only misconstrued what Heller (ph) said, that misconstrued and misapplied what the Supreme Court has said itself in other cases about what the role of the Court of Appeals is.

TUCKER: This is a decision by a conservative court -- all of the judges appointed by Republican presidents.


TUCKER: Now an appeal to the Supreme Court has already been filed. The divide between the courts is profound. Part of the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling replied on the long deeply held tradition of gun ownership and the right to be free of tyranny and spoke pretty passionately about it.

The Seventh Circuit answered with the argument that federalism is just as deeply held tradition and that the freedom of the states to set their own rules is rooted in the rights of the states to govern their own affairs. It really all comes down to this, Lou. Is the right to keep and bear arms a fundamental bill -- fundamental right within the Bill of Rights?

DOBBS: And if it isn't that will be a fascinating decision that would be profound, one would think in its reverberation through our society. Bill, thank you very much. Bill Tucker.

We'd like to know what you think about all of this. Our poll question is do you believe that the guarantees of the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms are a fundamental right of freedom and therefore should be granted to every American in every state? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We want to know what you think about all of this.

The Brazilian Supreme Court tonight preventing a reunion between an American father and his son. David Goldman's (ph) wife took their son to Brazil in 2004 and never returned to the United States. He has been fighting to bring his son home ever since. Deborah Feyerick has our story.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For five years David Goldman has prayed for the day he would bring his son Sean (ph) home from Brazil. The day came and went and once again David Goldman returns to America alone.

DAVID GOLDMAN, FATHER: I don't know how many times I've been here now, 10, 11, and always under the guise that I'm going to bring my son home and something happens. So until the wheels are up, I don't expect it and it's tragic.

FEYERICK: Goldman's wife took their child on vacation to her native Brazil in 2004 never intending to return to New Jersey.

GOLDMAN: They didn't pack...

FEYERICK (on camera): They took nothing, they really took nothing.


FEYERICK (voice-over): She divorced Goldman and remarried. When she died last year during child birth, Goldman thought he would be reunited with his son. Instead a Brazilian family court awarded custody to Sean's (ph) step dad.

GOLDMAN: They're sending this message that anyone can take any child from anywhere, come to Brazil and if they can hide enough or stall enough or keep the child here long enough then they're entitled to that child. That's unacceptable.

FEYERICK: After years of legal motions and appeals Goldman won or at least he thought he did. Hours before he was to be reunited with his son, the Brazilian Supreme Court agreed to hear a new claim that Sean (ph) now 9 would be hurt psychologically if abruptly taken from the place where he's lived almost five years.

PHILIP CROWLEY, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: We are disappointed by the decision but U.S. Embassy officials continue to work with the family.

FEYERICK: Goldman says his son who attends private school and lives in a sprawling home is likely being brainwashed by his wife's family.

GOLDMAN: He's in an unhealthy environment here and it's very, very, very sad. And the worst is he's my son, I'm his dad, and I can't help him. The legal system here right now is preventing me from helping my child. His home is with his father who is me, in New Jersey.


FEYERICK: Now a lawyer for the family in Brazil says Sean (ph) is quote, "happy where he is and (INAUDIBLE) he wishes to stay in Brazil and of all things it's a political party that brought the claim challenging the international abduction law under which Sean (ph) should rightfully come back to America -- Lou.

DOBBS: The U.S. government has been unwilling to take up this case and stands absolutely impotent in presenting its case to Brazil and Brazil, which one thinks is a more advanced society is absolutely resistant?

FEYERICK: You have two levels going on here. You have the court system, which are fighting each other, totally different laws. You also have diplomatic efforts that are trying to go on. The State Department trying to do what it can working with Brazilian officials, but again the courts trump.

DOBBS: I take it that the family in Brazil is extremely wealthy. FEYERICK: They are.

DOBBS: And I suspect that that may have some part in all of this.

FEYERICK: Absolutely.

DOBBS: That happens actually in both countries as I recall. Thank you very much -- Deborah Feyerick.

Well a spike in swine flu cases putting the World Health Organization at the ready to announce a global pandemic and a raging fire at a condominium complex in Texas.


DOBBS: The World Health Organization is nearing declaring a pandemic as the swine flu continues to spread rapidly globally. Doctors are now reporting a spike in cases and deaths. In New York City there are more cases than anywhere else in the United States. Hospitals in New York are now on high alert. Kitty Pilgrim has our report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, there's a spike in the numbers of people seeking medical help for swine flu.

DR. GABE WILSON, ST. LUKE'S ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL: In terms in volume, we're seeing several hundred more patients every day than we normally would at this time of season.

PILGRIM: The majority of those patients are children. Dr. Andrew Glyptis is an infectious disease specialist and says it's the rapid spread of infection that makes this influenza particularly disturbing.

ANDREW GLYPTIS, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: We have been hit by a strain that our general population has not seen before. Therefore more individuals in our population are susceptible to acquiring the infection. Because more individuals are susceptible you're going to have more individuals becoming severely ill.

PILGRIM: The World health organization says the swine flu has spread to 66 countries. The United States and Mexico rank among the hardest hit countries. Airports are trying to quell the new outbreaks with extra measures. In Hong Kong, temperature scanners are used to detect travelers who may have the disease.

A New Zealand cruise ship with one confirmed case and possibly others will face quarantine after docking. The World Health Organization is on the verge of moving to a phase six declaring a global pandemic because of the surge of cases around the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PILGRIM: Now doctors at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital confirmed what we've been reporting here for awhile and we have been hearing from many families we spoke to with the season for the standard influenza over they're now assuming that any cases they see are the new swine flu strain. So doctors are confirming that outbreak numbers are virtually meaningless as most people are not tested specifically for swine flu when they experience influenza symptoms -- Lou.

DOBBS: And again the World Health Organization about to declare, saying that they are nearing declaring this to be their highest level of alert going to six, which would be the highest ever which indicates a global pandemic. Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

Other stories we're following -- the Obama administration making it easier for illegal aliens to fight deportation from the United States. The Obama White House reversed a rule that had been put in place during the final days of the Bush administration. Illegal immigrants can now appeal deportation orders if they feel they had bad lawyers the first time around.

On Capitol Hill today Nancy Reagan unveiled a new seven-foot statue honoring her late husband, President Ronald Reagan. Mrs. Reagan called the statue a wonderful likeness. The statue contains pieces of the Berlin Wall to symbolize President Reagan's legacy. Mr. Reagan, the nation's 40th president. He died in 2004 at the age of 93 after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

New Hampshire tonight becomes the sixth state to legalize same- sex marriage. Governor John Lynch (ph) signed a revised gay marriage bill this evening. It includes a revision specifying that churches and religious groups will not be forced to officiate gay marriages. The other states that have legalized gay marriage are Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa.

In Galveston, Texas, firefighters say they have contained a massive fire at a condominium complex. Every firefighter in Galveston battled the fire that spread quickly across the 164-unit complex. It burned uncontrolled for hours. The Galveston Fire Department now says all occupants were evacuated from the building safely and no serious injuries have been reported.

General Motors rolling out a new advertising campaign promoting transparency when the company is planning to be apparently anything but transparent and in our "Face-Off" debate tonight what some might call President Obama's mission impossible. His efforts to present the United States as a role model to the Muslim world.


ANNOUNCER: Here again, Mr. Independent, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: President Obama under fire tonight from Venezuela's anti American President Hugo Chavez. Chavez saying President Obama is taking the United States down the road to socialism and saying Obama's handling of General Motors could make him and Cuba's Fidel Castro look relatively conservative. Chavez said, quote, "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right."

A recent opinion column in Russia's Pravda (ph) said because of the president's policies, quote, "the American dissent to Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed."

The CEOs of Chrysler and General Motors today defended decisions to slash dealerships across the country. GM CEO Fritz Henderson told the Senate committee that these are tough times for everyone in the GM family. Chrysler's president, James Press, said poor performing dealerships cost us customers. If they don't sell cars, we don't either.

Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (ph) said the companies were abandoning their dealers and that is, quote, "plain wrong". American taxpayers as majority shareholders in General Motors assured that the new GM will be more transparent. But General Motors which has access to tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money has no intention of keeping anyone better informed apparently. Brooke Baldwin has our report.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new GM rolling out a reinvented ad campaign promoting a message of transparency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's be completely honest. No company wants to go through this.

BALDWIN: Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the American taxpayer helped bail them out to the tune of $50 billion.

RAY YOUNG, CFO, GM: We're very confident we're going to regain the confidence of the American public.

BALDWIN: But there are new questions about how transparent GM will be with the American public. According to General Motors, when the car company emerges from bankruptcy in the next 60 to 90 days it will be a privately held company. Therefore, GM says it plans to release less financial information to the public. Thing is the public, as in the American taxpayer, is now a majority shareholder, so doesn't the public have a right to that information? The conservative Heritage Foundation thinks so.

JAMES CATTUSO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The administration should require that information to be disclosed and as far as I can tell there is nothing presenting them from disclosing that. Certainly GM will provide the information to the Obama administration. It is up to the administration to, in turn, disclose that to the public.

BALDWIN: It is expected that the U.S. government will take a 60 percent stake in the new GM. United Auto Workers will get 17.5 percent. Canadian government a 12 percent piece while GM bond holders will retain 10 percent. Four different stakeholders, four different outlooks.

PROF. JOHN COFFEE, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: It is a little nervous making to think of what was the largest American industrial corporation, being run in a totally private fashion, with a group of shareholders that have nothing in common.

BALDWIN: Coffee says while GM has the right to keep certain information private, shareholders also have a right to basic disclosure of business projections, models and goals.


BALDWIN: Again, those shareholders, you and me, 300 million Americans who, at the direction of the Obama administration, have invested $50 billion in that company. You can believe they want to ensure that the money they invested will be money well spent -- Lou.

DOBBS: And as they say, we'll see.

BALDWIN: We will see.

DOBBS: Brooke, thanks. Brooke Baldwin.

A reminder to vote in our poll. The question is do you believe the guarantees of the second amendment to keep and bear arms are a fundamental right of freedom and therefore should be guaranteed to every American in each and every state? Cast your vote at We'll have the results in just a few minutes.

President Obama in the Middle East trying to promote a new dialogue with the Muslim world. That's the subject of our face-off debate.

And rising concerns about doctors overseas trying to sell terminally ill Americans treatments that aren't proven to work and trying to solve hope.


DOBBS: President Obama, to give a major speech from Egypt tomorrow, trying to improve relations between the United States and the Muslim world. And that is the subject of our face-off debate tonight. Joining me now are Aaron David Miller, a Woodrow Wilson Center public policy scholar. He's advised six secretaries of state. Good to have you with us.


DOBBS: He said the president's speech will be effective, if the company, by deeds.

Also here Danielle Pletka from the American Enterprise Institute said the president should not be giving the speech in Egypt a country run by an aging autocrat. Danielle, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Let me begin, if I may, Aaron, you said so long as there are deeds accompanying this speech he ought to have it. What do you mean?

MILLER: The president is the persuader in chief. This guy is extremely effective. He's got a great intellectual and physical persona and he projects it. He does it at home. Our great presidents, Wilson, Jack Kennedy, to some degree Ronald Reagan all talked about American values abroad. I have no problems giving the speech in an effort to reframe the issues and commit America to protecting its interests, obstructing its enemies and supporting its friends.

The problem here is in the Middle East you only have two speeds. You have long and you have longer. And the president needs to understand that that he's got to see the world the way it is, not the way he may want it to be. The source of anger at America these days is very deep and frankly, it's not going to be fixed by a speech. We need action. Here in lies the real problem. I'm not sure the administration has a strategy.

DOBBS: Danielle, you object to the speech at all from Egypt?

PLETKA: I think the president is missing an opportunity. First of all, I think it's a shame that the White House has billed this as a speech to the Muslim world. Because frankly I have no idea what the Muslim world is. I think it's a term of phrase the president has embraced. He used it before when he spoke to Turkey. It's close to meaningless. There's more than a billion Muslims. They're a very diverse community. We don't talk about the Christian world. We don't talk about the Jewish world. Why reduce these people and their aspirations, their nationality and their identity to the Muslim world. That's part one.

Part Two of the problem from my standpoint is that if you want to make a step forward in the Arab world or in the Middle East and include Iran why speak from Cairo where you have an 80-plus-year-old dictator who is trying to pass out power to his son. Who engaged in some of the worst human rights violations of the last two years? Why not pick somewhere like Lebanon where there's elections that hold freedom in the balance in the coming week? Why not make those choices?

DOBBS: Aaron, Danielle raises an interesting point. Why not use that venue to make a statement of reinforcement for those few countries in the Arab world at least that are moving ahead?

MILLER: I think she does raise a good point. In the divided dysfunctional Arab world, there's a political center of gravity. Egypt and Cairo, nation that has a full treaty of peace with Israel, good relations with the United States not as good as they used to be and influence in the Arab world is very appropriate. Particularly, if the president as I suspect he may is going to use this speech to talk in large part about Arab Israeli peace. We'll need Egyptians, authoritarian or not. Danielle knows you can go from one Arab capital to the other. You're not going to find any Jeffersonian Democrats anywhere.

DOBBS: Among 22 Arab nations, that's not likely to happen in the Middle East. That also raises one other question and is the one democracy in the Middle East, why is the president -- let me ask it this way. Is there a significant downside? Is there a significant risk to the president, not spending some time at least in the state of Israel? Danielle, you first, if you will.

PLETKA: I worry about the president spending time in Israel. I think he's paying attention in Israel. Frankly he's paying way too much attention in Israel. He is going back to the age-old habit that we've had in American foreign policy, completely bipartisan I should add, of viewing the Middle East through the prism of the Arab Israeli peace process. We have national security priorities in the Middle East, and unfortunately they do not relate to what the president may not talk about tomorrow. That's the Israeli Palestinian peace process. They relate to Iranian nuclear program. They relate to Syria's aspirations for nuclear weapons. They relate terrorist groups. They relate to support for Islamist extremists like al Qaeda. Those are the kinds of things he should be focusing on. I have no problem with a nice speech. But a nice speech has to have a goal and I'm really interested in our national security, and less in the peace process.

DOBBS: An interesting take. Aaron, the downside here in not going to Israel, is there any?

MILLER: No, because I think the U.S. Israeli relationship, although I suspect in coming months it may reflect a good deal more balance. We have a special relationship with the Israelis. This trip is meet and greet the Arabs. The fact is he doesn't need to go to Israel in this trip. There's no expectation.

My real concern here is that the president not raise the bar so high that expectations for this man already dangerously high, end up being so high that he can't deliver on the impossible entrapment of problems that today constitute this region of the world. These are long movies and I suspect they'll be there, we'll be watching even after Barack Obama leaves the White House.

DOBBS: One important element of the Middle East has not even been broached by the White House and that of course underlies everything that's happening in the Middle East in terms of U.S. interest and U.S. foreign policy and that is oil itself. No mention in reporting from Saudi Arabia today or tonight of any discussions between the president and the king on the issue of oil, oil production, and future quotas and prices. Does that surprise either of you?

PLETKA: Well, I think it's an interesting point, Lou. If we look at predictions that I was hearing today that oil may well go back to $90 a barrel, I can assure you that the thing that is going to bring it down is not peace between the Arabs and Israelis, it's dealing with the menace of all of the Arabs perceive as growing belligerent Iran who is probably going to reelect Ahmadinejad next week. DOBBS: Aaron?

MILLER: No good news on the oil question. The president may argue for price stability and increasing Saudi production but I don't think he's going to have much luck there.

DOBBS: I'm going to ask you both as we conclude here, to give us your best guess, because it will be nothing more than that but two of the most foreign guesses possible. What's the principle point that President Obama will try to communicate to Muslims who hear his speech? Danielle?

PLETKA: Well, I don't know what the president is going to say. I'm afraid he's going to focus disproportionately on the Arab-Israeli peace process to the detriment of other issues, which I understand he's not going to refer to as Islamist extremism. Not sufficiently on Iran, not sufficiently on nuclear weapons, those are my real concern.

DOBBS: Not deal with the issue of radical Islamist terrorism at all?

PLETKA: He's going to, according to the White House not going to refer to it as Islamist extremism but merely refer to it as extremism.

DOBBS: Aaron?

MILLER: I think the themes are clear. I have no idea what's in this speech. One is respect. The United States is not at war with Muslims and Arabs but radicals who speak terror and violence. Reciprocity, yes, America respects the world. We have interests and our values need to be respected too. Finally America will try, although extremely difficult, to deal with some of the more difficult conflicts in this region. I think Danielle is right. There will be disproportionate, although I argue it ought to be that way, disproportionate degree of focus on the Arab Israeli issue.

DOBBS: Aaron David Miller, thank you very much. Danielle Pletka, thanks so much.

MILLER: Thanks, Lou.

DOBBS: An extraordinary end to a robbery in New York City. We'll tell what happened and what we can learn from it and rising concerns over doctors selling hope instead of cures.


DOBBS: Following up on a story we brought you last night. Terminally ill patients across this country, many taking desperate measures trying to find cures and they're paying tens of thousands of dollars for questionable treatments, treatments not approved in the United States nor with any evidence that they work. And the doctor that they are trusting with their money and lives in this case is a self-proclaimed stem cell expert but he has no formal medical straining in stem cells. Drew Griffin from the CNN special investigations unit has our exclusive report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT (voice-over): We met in a hotel room in Tampa. Later this day, 80 year old Dr. Burton Feinerman would fly to Peru to meet three Americans he said is treated with stem cells. The patients he says are terminally ill.

(on-camera): Are you curing these diseases?

DR. BURTON FEINERMAN, STEMCELLREGENMED.COM: I never use the word "cure" with people. Number one our work is only over the past few years.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): He doesn't use words like cure on his website. He uses the word "treatment" and "hope" and offers pictures and stories of those he said he has helped. The work is done in Lima, Peru because the treatment is not approved in the United States. The idea is tantalizingly simple. Take healthy embryonic or even umbilical cord stem cells, inject them in a diseased body where they repair the damage. Scientist studies have yet to prove that works. Only some progress is laboratory animals. The FDA has only just approved a single clinical trial. But that hasn't stopped Dr. Feinerman from charging patients with cancer to muscular dystrophy, between $8,000 to 25 thousand to see if simple injections can work.

(on-camera): Isn't what you're doing it experimenting on these people?

FEINERMAN: Yes, and people are fully aware that --

GRIFFIN: Charging them large amounts of money to do those experiments?

FEINERMAN: The object of money is large. And -- but it basically -- is pretty coast to my cost.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): In an e-mail after this interview, Dr. Feinerman said, "We are not selling snake oil but our scientific approach to diseases that are not available in the USA." He admits his background in stem cell research is limited.

FEINERMAN: I myself trained at the Mayo Clinic and had been in medical practice for over 50 years. So we also have --

GRIFFIN (on-camera): But you've never trained in stem cell research.


GRIFFIN: You've gone to international conferences. Self-taught.

FEINERMAN: That's true.

GRIFFIN: Now you're basically taking people from the United States to other countries because the procedures can't legally be done here? FEINERMAN: That is right. But again, the person -- I am the organizer, so to speak. I'm the person who does an enormous amount of reading, and visiting, and discovering, and putting protocols together that appear to work in other countries.

GRIFFIN: But aren't you in the end just peddling hope, peddling hope with no real proven cures?

FEINERMAN: I take offense to the word "peddling." And I want to -- I feel that we're not just offering hope and holding their hand. We're offering a realistic -- what we feel is a scientific medical treatment.


GRIFFIN: Lou, thousands of Americans are seeking that kind of treatment. They are desperate people, in many cases dying people, willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on these unproven treatments overseas -- Lou?

DOBBS: Drew Griffin.

We received, as you might guess, quite a few e-mails and telephone calls from viewers who want to share their stories about their travels overseas seeking unproven medical treatments. One story we heard involves a clinic in the Dominican Republic where doctors are charging $65,000 for what is a three-day procedure. We'll be following up with that report shortly.

Coming up at the top of the hour, Campbell Brown -- Campbell?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there, Lou. Thanks very much.

On the eve of President Obama's big speech to the Muslim world, we are asking can he really win over the hearts and minds in the Middle East?

Plus, we got one on one with former Secretary of state James Baker. Tonight Lou he's taking issue with the way some fellow Republicans are slamming the president's Muslim outreach.

And now that we have an African-American president and a Latina Supreme Court nominee, our great debate considers the question is affirmative action racist. It's all coming up at the top of the hour -- Lou?

DOBBS: Thanks Campbell.

A would-be robber, charging into a convenience store, looking for money, instead he found religion.


DOBBS: Tonight a story of confrontation and compassion. A would-be robber rushed into a convenience store in New York City demanding money. The story owner, behind the counter not only stopped that robbery, but then, well, Mary Snow has the story.


MOHAMMED SOHAIL, ROBBERY VICTIM: He said, give me your money.

SNOW (on-camera): Mohammad Sohail had to think quickly when a masked man with a baseball bat burst into a store one recent night demanding money. He's gotten pretty close to you.

SOHAIL: Yes, he come right over to me.

SNOW: Did you think that bat was going to hit you in the head?

SOHAIL: I had the gun and I taking it right there.

SNOW (voice-over): So he grabbed his rifle and ordered the man to get down. With his unloaded gun in hand, he didn't expect what came next.

SOHAIL: It was like a little kid crying. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. He said I'm unemployed, I have no money and I can't feed my family.

SNOW: Sohail said he gave the man $40, some bread and asked him to promise not to rob anyone else. And then another surprise.

SOHAIL: He said you are a very nice guy. You are a very gentle person. He said I want to be Muslim just like you. I said you want to be Muslim? I said OK. Put your hand up.

SNOW: Sohail had him recite an Islamic oath, making up a name for the robber by combining Pakistani presidents because he had just been watching the news. He said he then went to get some milk to go with the bread and when he returned, the man had fled. Now his phone rings nonstop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just calling from Denver, Colorado and I just wanted to say thank you, I think that was great what you did.

SOHAIL: Thank you very much.

SNOW: Police say they are investigating the foiled robbery on New York's Long Island, but Sohail says even if the man is found he does not intend to press charges.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


DOBBS: I love the fact that the story owner, whispers with cameras rolling, it's empty. The story owner has -- he said everyone is having a hard time in this economy. The would-be robber would be even welcome back in his story, provided he doesn't come along with a mask and a bat.

Tonight's poll results, 91 percent said the guarantees of the second amendment to keep and to bear arms are a fundamental right of freedom and therefore should be guaranteed to every American in every state.

Time now for some of your thoughts. Glen in Louisiana said: "Lou, please tell Bob Lutz as a Hummer owner I'm outraged they would sell the brand to a Chinese company."

Valerie in Pennsylvania: "I'm sure the Obama administration and Congress are working in the best interest of someone when they delay E-verify. I just wonder who?"

Ann in Oregon: "Why would a good employer and a savvy Congress delay E-verify? What's wrong with this picture?"

Michael in Pennsylvania: "Obama and his Democrats don't care about the American people. The E-verify program is 99.6 percent effective. He talks about supporting Americans and this country. Tell him to prove it."

Henry in California: "Lou we have two things that work in this country and President Obama wants to get rid of both, E-verify and Sheriff Joe Arpaio."

Joe in Delaware: "Hi Lou. I am a regular viewer of your show. Thanks for alerting the public about the E-verify program. I hope the politics will see the light and save the E-verify program. Keep up the outstanding work, Lou." We'll sure try.

And M.L. in New York said: "E-verify is so necessary, the Obama administration needs to under the consensus of the American people."

Rick in Missouri: "Hi, Lou, perhaps our president should be more concerned how Americans perceive their own government before how the rest of the world views us."

Christi in California: "Lou, many of our leaders seem to use the term "rule of law" when it benefits their purpose. However when it comes to illegal immigration the same leaders never use rule of law. We need jobs and E-verify should have been made mandatory for all employers a very long time ago."

Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book "Independence Day."

And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for the Lou Dobbs Show, 2 to 4 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 radio in New York and all across this great country of ours grow to to get your local listings.

Thank you for being with us. Good night from New York. Here now, Campbell Brown.