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Lou Dobbs Tonight

U.S. Condemns Iran; Obama Takes on Immigration; Lobbying Still Going on; Health Care Battle; NASA's Future

Aired June 19, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.

Tonight the U.S. government is sending the strongest message yet to Iran over the week-long political uprising. Both houses of Congress have now voted to condemn the government of Iran hours after its supreme leader warned the population of a bloody crackdown against the demonstrators.

Also, tonight, Democrats in Congress have introduced draft health care reform legislation, which they say would give coverage to nearly every American. Top Democrats say they are ready for a fight to push that legislation through. They are asking the president for help.

And in our "Face Off" debate tonight, America's toughest sheriff, Joe Arpaio and the Reverend Al Sharpton, they join us live from Phoenix. They will debate the issue of racial profiling and enforcement of immigration law.

And has the Obama administration fumbled on key issues like health care reform and regulation of Wall Street? We'll be talking about that and a great deal more with the best political analysts in the country.

First, we begin with new development surrounding the political unrest in Iran. Iran's top leader today said the election there was not rigged and he warned of a bloody crackdown against those protesting the result. Iran also blamed the United States for meddling in its affairs.

In response, Congress today voted to condemn Iran, sending the strongest message yet from Washington to the Iranians, but at the White House there was a more moderate response, President Obama again reluctant to speak out more forcefully. Dan Lothian has our report from the White House.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After giving Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a strong vote of confidence, Iran supreme leader delivers a tongue lashing to the Obama administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They should feel a little embarrassed.

LOTHIAN: A defiant and self righteous rant that gets the attention of the president. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very concerned based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made.

LOTHIAN: But the White House is staying on message.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are not going to be used as political foils and political footballs in a debate that's happening by Iranians in Iran.

LOTHIAN: But the administration's muted response unwilling to condemn the elections and support the demonstrators has not gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MINORITY WHIP: We are here because when America hears the call for freedom, we ought to answer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The resolution is agreed to.

LOTHIAN: A unanimous sentiment in a 405-1 vote, House members passed a nonbinding resolution. Condemning the violence and supporting all Iranians who lawmakers say embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. Up next, the Senate -- a similar resolution has been introduced by the president's chief campaign rival.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's unfortunate in a way that this resolution is required since the administration does not want to, quote "meddle".

LOTHIAN: But Iran analyst Afshin Molavi says the president's decision to not meddle is the right strategy.

AFSHIN MOLAVI, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: He needs to be on the record of standing with the Iranian people, but that does not mean he should aggressively insert himself into the political debate in Iran or aggressively insert himself into the battle between the regime and protestors because that could potentially backfire.

LOTHIAN: A delicate balance he says for an administration trying to wean Iran from its nuclear program.

(on camera): The administration says that it welcomes the resolution. Officials saying that when you look at the broader theme, it mirrors the White House position of respecting the will of the Iranian people.

Dan Lothian, CNN, the White House.


DOBBS: Rising tensions tonight as the U.S. military continues to track a North Korean ship that could be carrying nuclear material. The Kang Nam (ph) is reportedly headed south in the Yellow Sea off the coast of China. The destroyer, "USS John McCain" is now shadowing the freighter. U.S. Navy aircraft are also tracking the ship. The United States could interdict that ship, but would only board and inspect the cargo with the permission of the North Korean government. U.S. anti missile systems are now in place around Hawaii. North Korea apparently prepared to launch a ballistic missile in that direction, possibly on the Fourth of July -- that according to Japanese media reports.

President Obama today said he is committed to comprehensive immigration reform. The president said millions of illegal aliens already in this country should have a chance to become citizens. But the president offered no timetable. Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast reiterated his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform that would put millions of illegal aliens on a path to citizenship.

OBAMA: For those who wish to become citizens, we should require them to pay a penalty and pay taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line behind those who played by the rules. That is the fair, practical and promising way forward.

SYLVESTER: But there is a political reality that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs later acknowledged. Getting a comprehensive immigration reform bill through Congress this year won't be easy.

GIBBS: We know the votes aren't there right now.

SYLVESTER: The president has been walking a fine line trying to appease Hispanic groups who backed him in the election and wanted amnesty while at the same time, talking tough on enforcement, hoping to win over public opinion and congressional support.

The Obama administration, for example, changed the focus of worksite enforcement raids away from targeting illegal workers and instead on the employers who break immigration law. The administration announced a program that cracks down on criminal illegal aliens, but later postponed implementation of an employment verification system known as E-Verify for federal contractors.

Mark Krikorian is with the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors tighter immigration restrictions. Krikorian says the administration for now has been playing to both groups -- those who wanted amnesty this year and those who want tougher enforcement.

MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: The president has got some time. I can't guess whether he's got six months or a year that he can keep kicking the can down the road before he starts paying a political price from one side or another, but at some point his time runs out.

SYLVESTER (on camera): Hispanic groups want to vote this year on immigration reform because next year with the midterm elections, it's seen as too difficult politically. But these advocates of comprehensive immigration reform are having a hard time pinning down the Obama administration. A key White House meeting on immigration has been delayed twice, now rescheduled for next week.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.


DOBBS: The president's immigration initiative will be the topic of our "Face Off" debate Monday evening. Will President Obama succeed where President Bush failed in pushing through comprehensive immigration reform. Join us for that debate Monday evening.

And this just in to CNN -- Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor has resigned from an all-women's club after her participation in that club was questioned. Sotomayor said she resigned from the elite Belizean Club (ph) earlier today. Judge Sotomayor said she is convinced the club did not practice invidious discrimination, as she put it, but she didn't want questions to distract from her qualifications and record. Again, Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor has resigned her membership from an elite all-women's club.

President Obama continues to stand by his ban on lobbyists, but that edict (ph) doesn't seem to be affecting the rest of the Democratic Party. As we hear now from Louise Schiavone, lobbying is alive, prospering and very well in Washington, D.C.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama lit up the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's (ph) ballroom for a congressional campaign fund raising event.

OBAMA: And right now we need the help of this Congress to finally pass reforms that bring down the crushing cost of health care.

SCHIAVONE: But the president's stand against lobbyist campaign contributions dimmed the evening's fund raising hopes. A speed bump overcome the following morning at the same hotel when absent the president, lobbyists were invited at $5,000 a plate to an issues briefing with the top Democrats in Congress. The White House offers no explanation for the disparity between Mr. Obama's stand on lobbyist money and the one taken by most lawmakers.

GIBBS: People know where the president stands...

SCHIAVONE: Still, says this analyst...

ELLEN MILLER, SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION: I think it is an uncomfortable place for him to be. And I think -- you know I think he was right absolutely to understand and to create at least you know the impression that he was -- that the party was not going to beholden -- that his campaign was not going to be beholden some lobbyist money.

SCHIAVONE: Figures from the nonpartisan Center for Response of Politics show the president stands alone on the question. For example, the health care industry sector in the first quarter of this year alone has donated $10.4 million in campaign contributions, 63 percent to Democrats, 37 percent to Republicans.

SHEILA KRUMHOLZ, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: Lobbyists are still a very you know critical lynch pin in the system. They are marching up to Capitol Hill every day. They are attending the fund- raisers every night. Fund-raisers are going on every day of the week with them in mind.

SCHIAVONE: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told us quote, "all of our fundraising is done within the bounds of the law and is completely transparent", said the House Democrats Committee, "Democrats enacted the strongest ethics and lobbying reform in history. Our fundraising is fully transparent."


SCHIAVONE: House and Senate Republican Campaign Committees say their standards are the same as the Democrats. While reform advocates say there would be a lot less mystery if lobbyists were simply required to report officially who they met, what they talked about and what they paid. Lou?

DOBBS: And they do not.

SCHIAVONE: That's right.

DOBBS: And we should point out that over $3 billion was spent on lobbying last year and it is very likely that that amount will be exceeded this year. Louise, thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone.

There is a major food recall to tell you about tonight. We'll have all of the information you need.

Also health care reform, of course, one of the president's most ambitious initiatives has run into serious obstacles on capital hill -- we'll have the latest.

And Sheriff Joe Arpaio under attack by the Reverend Al Sharpton -- tonight they "Face Off" in our debate on the enforcement of immigration law and racial profiling.


DOBBS: Democrats in the House today unveiled a health care reform plan that they say would cover all the nation's so-called uninsured people, some 47 million is the number they used. However, they didn't offer specifics on how they would pay for that number. President Obama has vowed that health care reform will not wait another year. But his initiative is running into serious obstacles in Congress. Bill Schneider has our report.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Thought health care reform would be easy with a Democratic president and Congress? Think again.

GIBBS: This is going to be a long process. Again, it's not going to be solved in a matter of weeks.

SCHNEIDER: This week, the Congressional Budget Office came up with a startling $1.6 trillion price tag for the Senate plan and said it would still leave many people out. Critics were emboldened.

MCCAIN: And I suggest we not move forward until we have some provision as to how we are going to pay for it.

SCHNEIDER: Moderate congressional Democrats want to make concessions to get Republican support.

REP. JIM COOPER (D), TENNESSEE: We are here to discuss the target we should be aiming at, which is bipartisanship.

SCHNEIDER: The one senator who has the knowledge and experience to lead the cause is on the sidelines. Senator Kennedy's close friend, Senator Dodd is filling in.

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: And I'm just still a believer that we can do this.

SCHNEIDER: How? What's needed is a greater sense of public urgency, otherwise...

SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: For those of us who were here in 1994, this is really -- this just is deja vu all over again.

SCHNEIDER: In 1993, most Americans said the nation's health care system needed to be completely rebuilt. By the time the debate ended in 1994, fewer than 40 percent felt that way and now just 41 percent. Democrats are trying to build more urgency.

OBAMA: If we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of GM.

SCHNEIDER: They begun a campaign to rally grassroots support and supporters are running TV ads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLITICAL AD: Including a public health care option to lower costs and keep insurance companies honest.

SCHNEIDER: Because as the president has acknowledged...

OBAMA: As clear as it is that our system badly needs reform, reform is not inevitable.


SCHNEIDER: As the Democrats discovered back in 1994, even if you have one party in control of the White House and Congress, it is easy to stop things from happening, unless you have that overwhelming sense of public urgency. Lou? DOBBS: And one would hope correct public policy. One of the issues that there is I suppose some greater examination here tonight, Bill, and the suggestion that there are 47 million Americans uninsured. That number continues to rattle around in the national media, yet it is discredited almost everywhere reliably.

SCHNEIDER: Well I can't testify to the accurate number because there's a debate over exactly how do you count the people who are insured. A lot of them are not citizens. Some of them are illegal aliens. Some of them are -- a lot of them of course are children and they're not insured. It's very difficult to count those people and there are lots of estimates. What happens is a number comes out in some source and it suddenly acquires the image of fact, but no one is really sure.

DOBBS: And why we in the national media fail to point out that that number is uncertain as it can be...


DOBBS: ... and projections piled on top of estimates. But we are doing that here tonight on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT because that's our challenge to try to keep the record as straight as possible.


SCHNEIDER: There are lots of fuzzy numbers here in Washington.

DOBBS: Yes and lots of other things as well. Thank you very much -- Bill Schneider.

Well to hear my thoughts on all of this, on proposed health care reform and changes to the health care system and the challenges facing President Obama, join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for "The Lou Dobbs Show" 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 Radio in New York. Go to to get your local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" in your area.

Up next, a new food recall tonight because of E.coli contamination. We'll have the very latest for you, all of the information you need to assure the safety of your food.

Also tonight, a Minnesota woman fined almost $2 million for downloading 24 songs and aggressive law enforcement or racial profiling in Maricopa County, Arizona. That is the subject of tonight's "Face Off" debate. Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Reverend Al Sharpton join me here next.


DOBBS: Nestle tonight recalling refrigerated cookie dough because of E.coli contamination. The Food and Drug Administration says 66 people in 28 states have been sickened since March after they ate raw Nestle's Toll House cookie dough products. The recall includes chocolate chip, gingerbread, sugar, peanut butter and other flavors of dough. It does not include products such as ice cream that include the dough as an ingredient. The FDA says if you have any Nestle Toll House raw cookie dough products, you should throw them away.

Other stories we are following tonight -- the House of Representatives unanimously voted to impeach Federal Judge Samuel Kent (ph) today for sexual assault and obstruction of justice. The judge from Texas is serving 33 months in jail for sexually assaulting two court employees. Last month, the judge was asked to resign or face impeachment. Kent (ph) did submit his resignation, but it was dated a year from now. Today's vote to impeach Kent (ph) is the first such vote in two decades. The impeachment now goes to the Senate for trial.

The feud surrounding the Miss USA contest escalating tonight -- threats of a lawsuit. Former Miss California Carrie Prejean says she will sue the pageant's executive director unless he retracts his statements about why she was fired. An attorney for Prejean claims he set her up to be dethroned because of her opposition to gay marriage. She also says he caused her emotional distress by claiming she didn't uphold the responsibilities of her title.

In Minneapolis tonight a woman has been ordered to pay nearly $2 million for illegally downloading 24 songs. Jammie Thomas-Rasset (ph) was originally accused by the Recording Industry Association of America of sharing more than 1,700 songs. But she was ultimately found guilty of 24. She was fined $80,000 for each downloaded song.

And the new iPhone today went on sale. Compared to the last two launches that caused near frenzy, today's launch of the iPhone 3GS was -- GS was just relatively low key. The iPhone faces competition now from other companies trying to mimic some of its features and success. Perhaps a sign of the times, Apple projects half a million sales this weekend alone. That's about half the number sold at the last iPhone launch.

NASA celebrating the success of its first moon mission in a decade. NASA launched an Atlas-5 rocket yesterday from Cape Canaveral. That rocket carries equipment that will find a landing spot for the next manned mission to the moon. This is part of the effort to return humans to the moon by the year 2020. But the future of the space agency itself is far from certain. Ines Ferre has our report.


INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retired astronaut Charles Weldon (ph) has an impressive resume as nominee for administrator of NASA. A retired Marine Corps commander, Weldon (ph) has flown in space four times, logged 680 hours of space travel, and piloted the mission that put the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit 19 years ago.

LOUIS FRIEDMAN, EXECUTIVE DIR., THE PLANETARY SOCIETY: And his service to NASA has been extraordinary, both administratively at headquarters and as a pilot and a shuttle astronaut, so I think it will inspire the whole world and he is certainly dedicated to space exploration.

FERRE: But the man seen by some as a perfect fit faces an agency far different than the one that put Neil Armstrong (ph) on the moon 40 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one small step for man.

FERRE: A the time of the lunar landing, NASA's budge was about four percent of the federal budget. Today it's roughly one-half of a percent or $18 billion. The Obama administration recently ordered a review of its manned space program. That could mean ditching plans for a lunar landing by 2020. Part of a project with a price tag estimated at $100 billion.

ROGER LAUNIUS, NATIONAL AIR & SPACE MUSEUM: There will be a serious reconsideration of a decision to go back to the moon. And, it may well be that that will end up being pushed off into some indefinite future down the road.

FERRE: NASA's current shuttle fleet is scheduled to be retired next year. There's a five-year gap before a new set of launch vehicles known as constellation would take astronauts to the international space station again and eventually the moon. Until then, America will rely on Russia to carry American astronauts to the international space station.

FRIEDMAN: The human space-like program is not about science, it's not about national security. It's about America's position in the world.

FERRE: A difficult mission with resources and support in question even for the most talented of candidates.


FERRE: And there's no set date yet for Weldon's confirmation hearing. If confirmed, he would become the first African-American ever picked to serve as NASA administrator. As for the manned space program review, recommendations by an independent board are due at the White House by late August. Lou?

DOBBS: And General Weldon (ph) an outstanding individual in every respect with his military service and an amazing career as an astronaut. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Well coming up here next, President Obama facing resistance on several of his key policies. Also ahead Sheriff Joe Arpaio debates in tonight's "Face Off" with the Reverend Al Sharpton. We'll be discussing racial profiling and enforcement of immigration law, next.


DOBBS: The sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona tonight defending himself against charges of racial profiling. Sheriff Joe Arpaio says a Justice Department investigation of his department was launched out of political motivation. Reverend Al Sharpton has called for the sheriff's resignation.

Both men join us tonight from Phoenix and will debate in our "Face Off". Thank you for being with us. Let's begin first, Reverend Sharpton, you have accused the sheriff of racial profiling, of unleashing a quote "reign of terror in the community", cracking down on illegal immigrants. Now you two met today, discussed some of the facts. Do you still hold the same views?

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well I mean we had a very frank and blunt meeting and very civil. He had written a letter in which he aired some of his disagreements with me. I have been very public with mine. But beyond I think the name calling and posturing the substantive issues was what I wanted to discuss.

I came in this morning and -- along with Supervisor Wilcox (ph) and others -- met with hundreds of people here at Pilgrim Rest Church (ph). The problem is, Lou Dobbs, is that there is a real pattern that has been raised of Latinos and African-Americans that have said that they have been harassed and raided and it is not equal on the other side. And this is what I discussed with the sheriff. He was blunt in his defending of his department, and we agreed to disagree on the results.

DOBBS: Sheriff Arpaio, you agreed to disagree. Did you find any area of agreement after your meeting?

JOE ARPAIO, SHERIFF MARICOPA COUNTY: Yes, we both go after animal cruelty.

But we had a nice meeting, but nothing will change. The Justice Department can go after me, the Congress, local politicians, a few of them. Nothing will change. I told the reverend that. He understands it. He has his agenda. I'm enforcing the laws, and I feel very comfortable with the way we operate.

DOBBS: How do you respond to that, Al Sharpton?

SHARPTON: The fact of the matter is this. If we have only a segment of the community in this county that is being arrested, that's being stopped. And I asked whether there was data on the race of those, he said they don't have that data.

And he raised something about the legislation, which I think is a legitimate point, because I don't understand why, if we are going after people who are here illegally and taking jobs, something everybody would be concerned about, why aren't we going after the employers?

It's almost as if they are protected, where you only get the guys that are coming here seeking ways of making a living rather than those benefiting from it.

DOBBS: Sheriff, your response?

ARPAIO: He was with Mary Rose Wilcox that just took $1.4 million away that the legislature gave us to go after the employers. The employer sanction laws -- we have been very successful in following the state laws. We have state laws here that we are enforcing. So I agree with the reverend.

But also not just to go after the employers, go after those that are working here and are here illegally. That's the difference, I believe, we have.

DOBBS: That is one difference. The other is, and you have introduced it, Reverend Sharpton, and that is no statistics, no data on those arrested by race or ethnicity either by the sheriff's department, the Department of Public Safety, or any other, as far as I know, law enforcement agency.

And certainly, the question then arises, how do you know and what is the basis of your assertion that there's racial profiling?

SHARPTON: The basis is hundreds of people coming forth raising the question, people that testified before congressional committees, people that have made this to the Justice Department.

I don't think the Justice Department would be just looking into this if they had not felt there was enough reason for them to make the inquiry.

And I think that in many ways, if you don't have the data, how do you say that is not so, unless you say, look at all these people. African-Americans, you had a dentist come forward saying my wife is a lawyer, I'm a dentist. Why am I a suspect? Why have I been pulled over so many times?

You have Latinos that are citizens -- we are not talking illegal people. We are talking about people that are born here, that are legal, that are citizens that feel like they have been harassed. That is a civil rights concern.

ARPAIO: Wait a minute. He's just listening to a small group of people. One or two testified in congress. Even the Justice Department and Congress said we read about these allegations in the newspapers.

And I want to Justice Department investigated. We are asking the Justice Department to investigate themselves. This is all politics, and the reverend fell right into the trap.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, I think that's a new curve I haven't heard, to ask the Justice Department to investigate the Justice Department.

ARPAIO: That's right.

SHARPTON: While the Justice Department investigates the Justice Department, somebody needs to explain while many of these citizens are saying this, if there's no data there, then how does the sheriff defend himself?

And then how do we collectively look at how the immigration laws should protect citizens? You have an indigenous community of Indians who say their town has been raided. These people are either having a mass hallucination in this county, or we have a problem that we need to get beyond the name calling and try to protect people's civil rights.

ARPAIO: We haven't invaded any Indian reservations. You are go on and on.

SHARPTON: I said a community.

ARPAIO: No, that's garbage, and you know it, Al. We discussed that. We go into white neighborhoods.

I have been accused of everything. It is all garbage. And I'm going to tell you something, it's all going to come out in the wash. Believe me. Stay tuned.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this. You have been -- your department, Sheriff Arpaio, has been part of the 287-G program, one of the few programs in the country, in fact, in what's been a controversial program. But the U.S. Justice Department had to review your department, had to review the execution of that program. What was their finding?

ARPAIO: That was Homeland Security -- nothing.

I just met the new head of ICE in my office today from Washington. We have no problems how we are conducting the 287-G.

And that's what it is about. They want us to stop utilizing that agreement we have, 160 officers, 160, that are well-trained. We should be commended that our people are well-trained.

DOBBS: What -- Reverend Sharpton, the 287-G program, highly controversial in this debate over illegal immigration in this country.

Has Homeland Security or has any other agency that has done, that has been worked with and interacted with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, is there any indication to support the allegations made by the people with whom you spoke today?

SHARPTON: I think that's why the Justice Department is looking into that. I think that clearly when you have people coming forward and making statements, and there is more than one, there is a responsibility of government to review.

The sheriff just said he wants an investigation. Clearly, if he can give the evidence, then he would warrant that just like the citizens in this county have the right to raise that.

But again, I think the controversy around this bill is around how it is applied and whether it is fairly applied. None of us want to see people illegally manipulate this country. But we also don't want to see an unfair way we apply law to try and protect citizens by in fact undermining the very civil rights of the citizens we claim to protect. And I think that all of us should agree to that if we are in fact saying that we believe in a country that people have their civil rights.

DOBBS: Sheriff, your response. You also, as you call for an investigation by the Justice Department of the Justice Department, you had attached that to the intervention, if you will of four members of Congress, including Congressman John Conyers, Congressman Bobby Scott, Zoey Laughgrin, Jerry Madler, what is their relationship to, in your judgment, the Justice Department.

ARPAIO: They are all Democrats. I don't like to bring politics into this. They are all phony allegations. Sixty days it took the new administration to go after me. I have been with the Justice Department for 30 years. You don't do anything in 60 days.

Sixty days to go after this sheriff. Think of that. Even Reverend Sharpton admitted he can't get nothing done in 60 days.

SHARPTON: And I'm a Democrat. That why I don't know if it's political. But if it was Democrats, I'd like to get them to go after Sean Belle or something.

I think we have to deal with the problem. I think we have to be realistic that a lot of people are making a lot of complaints. And the sheriff--

ARPAIO: Not a lot.

SHARPTON: -- his guys. I understand that. But he needs to understand that people have a right to protect their civil rights.

ARPAIO: We investigate 210,000 people, 36,000 we proved are illegal. How many complaints do you have? Three or four for activists?


ARPAIO: Bring them to me. Bring them to me.

SHARPTON: There was a 19-year-old kid.


ARPAIO: This morning, you couldn't get in the place.

Sheriff, I think rather than our being in denial, there's a problem. And I think that if you try to deal with the problem by not trying to minimize the problem.

And let me say something to you. If it was four or five people's civil rights being violated, you, as a sheriff, ought to be concerned about that.

ARPAIO: Let them prove it. You have no proof. I told you that. I told you a couple of instances. SHARPTON: What I said to you is that I think the Justice Department has a responsibility to investigate any complaints that seem legitimate.

Four members of Congress are doing their job, not because they are Democrats, but because we live in a country where people are supposed to be protected by the law.

And I think the same way you call an investigation on your investigation, they have a right to people that don't know each other, that have no agenda, to say that they are suffering the same pattern around, have a right to ask the Justice Department to give them relief if they can't get it anywhere else.

ARPAIO: You're going to see the collusion between a couple people here and the Congress and the Justice Department. That will all come out.


DOBBS: Do you want to name names?

ARPAIO: Just stay tuned.


DOBBS: Thank you very much, sheriff, Reverend Sharpton. Thank you very much gentleman. Thank you both for being with us.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

DOBBS: Joining us here for our face off debate Monday, the issue, President Obama's new immigration reform initiative. Can the president succeed where the previous president failed in comprehensive immigration reform, or, as some call it, amnesty. Join us Monday evening for that debate in our face-off.

And follow me on Twitter at Lou Dobbs news. I'll have plenty to say about the sheriff's immigration enforcement, the reverend's charges, and President Obama's latest push for comprehensive immigration reform, or as some say, amnesty.

Coming up next here, Iran's supreme leader warns of a bloody crackdown against protestors in Iran.

And Democrats unveiling the health care reform plan. No mention, however, about what would pay for it, or would, for that matter, would have to pay what for it. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Joining me now, three of my favorite political analysts, all CNN contributors, Ed Rollins, Republican strategists, former White House political director, Errol Lewis, columnist, "New York Daily News," Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman.

Gentleman, good to have you with us. There is evidence of some hang up as of this afternoon in health care. In fact, an entreaty from the congressional leaders to the White House to get the president's direct in health care reform legislation. Are you concerned?


What the media refers to as a hang up, I call the democratic progress. And I think that the fact that we have this very open debate is dramatically different from 1003, where a health care plan was presented as a fait accompli for Congress to evaluate.

That that it's inclusive, that you have a bipartisan collation emerging in the Senate, where Senator Max Baucus is now working with Senator Grassley, is, I think, very, very promising.

So yes, the White House should be involved. But by and large, an important debate going on.

ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": It sounds to me like they are trying to put even more on the shoulders of the president, who has already begun to take to the road and to try to build some popular support for his program, which he was going to have to do it at some point.

I don't think that is a very encouraging sign, frankly, that they wanted their star player to sort of come out and try and sell goods something of a coalition for them.

It doesn't sound to me like they're going to do much more than wave a red flag in front of the same Republicans that fought him on the TARP, fought him on the budget, and are going to resort to 2012 politics.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You have an 850 page bill that nobody has read. And it's not like reading a book or an encyclopedia. It's about changing this law and this medical practice.

There's a $1.6 trillion short fall of the congressional budget office, which their financial entity says at a minimum over 10 years. It could $2 trillion or it could be $3 trillion for all we know.

I think they want the president involved because they want him to basically take some of this blame. I think this thing is going to break down. I think in a year from now or two years from now, we may have health care, but we are certain not going to have a biologist by this year.

ZIMMERMAN: Ed's point about not having it by August, I think it's absolutely valid. Buy I don't think it's about taking blame. I don't think it's about the system breaking down.

DOBBS: What's it about? ZIMMERMAN: It's recognizing that we have to create a reform, because whether we like to --

DOBBS: There's less support for health care reform in this country right now, today, than at the height of the efforts by the Clinton administration to push through the 1993 health security act that ended in failure.

That's a significant, significant head win for this administration, for any administration, and any congressional --

ZIMMERMAN: But there's a greater need than there was in 1993, than there was even in the '60s for health care reform. We both need it economically because of what the lack health insurance is doing to our economy.

DOBBS: We are listening to both parties frankly argue about whether 46.7 million people uninsured for health care.

ZIMMERMAN: We just know the number is growing, though.

DOBBS: We don't, actually. What we do know is that those are projections. They are estimates. They include all categories of people that simply cannot be measured.

And we need both parties to start talk honestly and forthrightly about what they are trying to accomplish here.

Secondly, as to the point, do we need it more now than we did then? That depends, are we talking about cost. We're talking about the level of care and the quality of care in the world's greatest health care system, accessibility, availability.

These are all issues that are morphed into some sort of sound bite for cable television, or perhaps even radio. But this is not a debate, yet, that has even begun in terms of the real data that's needed to make intelligent public policy.

LOUIS: One number that is known is 160 million people who get their health care through their employer. And employers are having a hard time across this country. And anything that you do that jeopardized those or gives them an option of dumping that health care.

I promise there will be tens and tens of millions of people who will be dumped from health care today and will have to provide it through some insurance company that they can't afford or some government entity, or what have you.

The problem today is this is a complex issue that can't be rush through. And you have to very honest with the American public today. This president's numbers are starting to get hurt because people are starting to worry about spending, the spending, the spending.

DOBBS: By the way, when you talk about his numbers being hurt. By my read, if it's an idea of hurt, it's a kind of hurt that nearly every president would have accepted. His numbers are about 60 percent approval. The question including health care policy, without question.

We're going to continue with our panel. We also want to discuss and get some insight into two issues facing this administration and the country, first on North Korea, and secondly on Iran, which apparently, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress today learned was not a democracy. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Iran -- the House of Representatives, the Congress voting today to condemn the treatment of -- by the Iranian government of demonstrators. An important vote?

ROLLINS: If you have nothing positive to contribute, it's best not to contribute at all. It was the joy of just casting. It's want the nonbinding resolution is all about. It's not a piece of legislation. It's a gimmick. It's a press release. Ultimately, it's irrelevant.

DOBBS: The president, a Democratic president, and this should be immaterial in talking about the leader of foreign policy, saying he doesn't want the U.S. government to meddle in the affairs of Iran, and a Democratically-led Congress in what apparently both political parties thought was some sort of democracy in Iraq.

This is a confounding, confusing moment, is it not?

LOUIS: It is, indeed. And I think what most people, most regular Americans who were not politicians think, that they're cheering, they're elated --

DOBBS: The best people.

LOUIS: The best people, they're cheering and are elated every time they see the pictures of the demonstrations, the pro-democracy demonstrations, and they're hoping this will be another Poland or another Berlin Wall coming down or another liberation moment for the planet.

And Congress seems to be way behind it, in a hurry, I guess, to get out for the weekend and do whatever it is they do on the weekend.

ROLLINS: They don't understand the country. And I'm not making any pretense I do. There are millions and millions of people who don't live in the city. When you look at the crowd that the grand poobah, or whatever he calls himself, the grand leader --

DOBBS: Ayatollah.


ROLLINS: Who has more power than the president of the United States or the Congress --

DOBBS: It's an authoritarian, Islamist government.

ROLLINS: Absolutely. And the bottom line is his group that he addressed today are older, more entrenched. They are the ones that originally led the revolution. The ones in the streets are young people.

DOBBS: The chief critic of the Obama administration's Iranian policy, John McCain. Ironically, the USS John McCain is steaming, if you will to the pacific to interdict ostensibly the North Korean ship carrying, allegedly, nuclear material and missiles, possibly.

This irony is a dangerous one indeed. What do you think of handling of this by the Obama administration at this point?

LOUIS: This becomes very, very important to remind the North Koreans that the last country that fired or damaged a ship in Hawaii was the Japanese. And that got us into a war and that ended a war, and ended them from many, many years as a major economic --

ZIMMERMAN: It's also important to remember the North Koreans tried this several years ago. It failed. Obviously we've got to take every measure to make sure it's not an acceptable tactic.

DOBBS: Last word.

ROLLINS: Brinksmanship. It's a return to what we saw for the last 40 years. This country knows how to do it. They're going to have to learn a lesson.

DOBBS: Thank you, gentlemen, appreciate it.

Up at the top of the hour, Campbell Brown -- Campbell?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there, Lou. Coming up tonight, President Obama ready to tell some jokes at the radio TV correspondent's dinner in Washington. We got a peek at some of them. You're going to have to watch.

That's actually happening in our hour. We're going to bring it to you live. Before that, though, we will talk about what's going on in Iran. Stern warnings from Iran's supreme leader to demonstrators, get off the streets or crackdown is coming.

With opposition forces mobilizing for this big rally tomorrow, we could see more blood on the streets. We will talk about that, Lou, when we come back.

DOBBS: Great, thank you very much, Campbell.

Next here, heroes. Tonight we honor Captain Sean McCaffrey, awarded a bronze star for his unwavering courage and leadership while serving in Iraq.


DOBBS: Time now for our weekly tribute to the men and women who serve this nation in uniform. Tonight, the story of Captain Sean McCaffrey, who braved enemy fire to save Iraqi soldiers from an air strike.

Lisa Sylvester has our report.


SYLVESTER: Captain Sean McCaffrey's special forces selection process was, in a word, thorough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very hard physically, but also mentally. They're looking for a specific soldier or NCO or officer to join the regimen. So I think that they tailor the training to look for the best of both, physically fit and also very mentally strong.

SYLVESTER: His training served him well on two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2007, specifically, you know, the surge is being enacted by General Petraeus. And a lot of people were skeptical if we were going to win in Iraq.

And we had made such huge progress during that time in 2007. You know, I was interested to go back in 2008 and see if the momentum that kept on and, you know, I think overall it exceed my wildest expectations.

SYLVESTER: In 2008, McCaffrey was stationed in Baghdad advising Iraqi generals. At night his unit conducted joint raids with Iraqi soldiers, hunting down wanted criminals. On July 19th, 2008, the unit had already captured two militiamen and were headed to investigate a weapons cache.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had been given some intelligence that there might be 25 to 30 people in the building. So you know, we used some caution when approaching the building.

As we approached and the Iraqis tried to gain entry into the building, basically all three floors of the building opened up fire on us. Immediately, as the situation was pretty intense, there was a lot of gunfire. They were throwing grenades at us, we were throwing back at them.

Fire was coming from all three floors of the building at the time. Based on the close proximity to our guys and the intensity to fire in that area, I decided we need to break contact and employ close air support and air force assets to try and, you know, overwhelm the enemy because there was so many of them.

SYLVESTER: The Iraqi interpreters fled for cover. McCaffrey moved out into direct fire and used his own Arabic language skills to round up the Iraqi soldiers and get them out of the way of the pending air strike.

The intense fire fight lasted 90 minutes. Captain McCaffrey's heroic actions, leadership, and courage earned him a bronze star for valor.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN.


DOBBS: McCaffrey credits his special forces training along with the courageous work of his comrades for success that night in Iraq.

And we want to say thank you to the captain and to each and every man and woman serving their nation in uniform.

We thank you for being with us tonight. For all of us, have a wonderful Father's Day. Good night from New York.

Now, Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Tonight, here are the questions we want answered. Will there be more blood on the streets of Iran? Massive demonstrations are planned as the Ayatollah warns protestors to back down or else. The great debate, is the president doing nothing to support reformers?