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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Democrats Collide; Corruption Bust; California's Mess

Aired July 23, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.

President Obama's effort to push his health care agenda through Congress suffering a major setback; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying there will be no vote by the president's deadline. We'll have complete coverage of what could be a pivotal point in the health care initiative and the presidency of Barack Obama.

Also tonight, the showdown over the arrest of a black Harvard professor is escalating after the president said police in Cambridge, Massachusetts acted stupidly. The police sergeant involved in the arrest says he followed procedure and has nothing to apologize for.

And the left-wing media launching an all-out attack against me because I simply called for transparency on the issue of the president's birth certificate and said the president is a U.S. citizen. A comment, by the way, that was not quoted by the left-wing media. We'll examine this controversy in our face-off debate here tonight.

First, a major setback for the president's health care plans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared there will be no senate vote on health care until the fall. Despite the president's urgent call for a vote by August 1st. Senator Reid says he wants a bill based on quality and thoughtfulness.

Meanwhile, house speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would take that legislation to the floor of the house when it is ready. She did not rule out keeping lawmakers at work over the August recess.

Dana bash is on Capitol Hill. Ed Henry is traveling with President Obama in Cleveland, Ohio. Candy Crowley is in our Washington, D.C. studios. First, Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The writing was already on the wall, but this made it official. The Senate will miss the president's deadline for a health care vote by next month.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: I think that it is better to have a product that is one that's based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than trying to jam something through.

BASH: why the delay? A big reason is disagreement among the president's fellow Democrats. In fact, inside this room just before that announcement, Democrats tried to hash out health care legislation had what sources described to CNN as a lively and contentious meeting. Democrats voicing objections and differing opinions to many aspects of what bipartisan negotiators had been working on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the most honest discussion of agreements and disagreements that I've been a part of in the last three months.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D) FINANCE CHAIRMAN: It has given me a very good opportunity to learn from senators on the committee at what they what, what they don't want. What their real concerns are.

BASH: Concern and Democratic disagreement continues to delay a House vote as well. House Democratic leaders had their own testy meeting in this room.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D) MAJORITY WHIP: It might be one of the most contentious.

BASH: The Democratic divide here, conservative Democrats want to slow down saying their party's plan spends and taxes too much without sufficiently cutting medical costs. Liberal Democrats, including the members of the black caucus, disagree.

REP. GWEN MOORE (D) WISCONSIN: We are concerned about the efforts to delay and frustrate this process.

BASH: But unlike the Senate for now House leaders are determined to pass a bill by August recess.

CLYBURN: We leave here without doing this, nobody is going to interpret our going home as listening to people. All of you are going to report that we went home to take a vacation in August without having done it. That's the headline.


BASH: And behind those doors -- those closed doors -- six senate negotiators are working to try to craft another headline, and that is a bipartisan deal on health care reform, but, Lou, it is still unclear if even they can do that by the time Congress leaves for August recess because they say that they are working, that they are making progress, but they told the Democratic leader they are not going to be rushed -- Lou.

DOBBS: They are not going to be rushed. This all coming less than 24 hours after the President of the United States was insisting that they meet his deadline. This is straight-forwardly a rebuke to the president on that issue certainly.

BASH: There's no question that they are not giving the president what he wants, but they say that they are trying to give him what he needs, which is enough votes to pass the priority.

What Democrats and Republicans alike will tell you who are working in that room -- and they are working as we speak, Lou --they will tell you they are trying to find some way to craft something that will actually get the 60 votes needed to pass the senate. Never mind the differences and disagreements among the president's own party Democrats in the House.

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

The president today said he's okay with the delay in the health care legislation as long as lawmakers are working out tough problems. President Obama, however, said change cannot come soon enough for the American people.

Ed Henry is traveling with President Obama and reports now from Cleveland. Ed -- the president's reaction to the setback from Senator Reid.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, he is trying to shake it off, put the best face on what is clearly a blow. But we've just gotten some new information that tomorrow morning the president is going to be meeting at the White House with Max Baucus, the chairman of that Senate Finance Committee where Dana is reporting from, where those late night negotiations are going on, as well as the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Clearly, these Democratic leaders are trying to huddle behind closed doors tomorrow to figure out where they go from here because Democratic leaders did, in fact as you pointed out, push back on the president. He was the one demanding this deadline of August to at least get some of this cleared through both the House and Senate saying that was the best weapon against what he called inertia in Washington.

Instead, now the president today trying to say, "Look, I'm okay with you pushing it back somewhat," but he was trying to stand firm in saying he still wants to wrap all this up in the fall. and in a packed town hall crowd here in a suburb of Cleveland, he urged people to put pressure and heat on Congress.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no problem if I think people are really working through these difficult issues in making sure that we get it right. But I don't want to delay just because of politics.

And I have to tell you sometimes delays in Washington occur because people just don't want to do anything that they think might be controversial.


HENRY: There was also a subtle shift in the president's sales pitch today as well. You probably heard it last night at the news conference, talking a lot about insurance reform instead of health care reform. White House aides say that's because the president has heard this criticism from people who currently have insurance wondering what is in it for them, basically saying that the focus has been too much on the 46 million or 47 million who are uninsured right now.

People who have insurance coverage are wondering if they are going to face higher taxes to pay for bringing in more people to be covered, but wondering what's exactly going to happen. Do they have to move out of their current plans?

The president is trying to reassure those people who have insurance coverage that he's trying to strengthen and stabilize their own coverage -- Lou.

DOBBS: Straight-forwardly, it seems the response on the part of the Senate and the House to public opinion has turned decidedly against the president on the issue of health care legislation. Is that correct? And, of course, those in the House and many in the Senate facing election far sooner than does President Obama.

HENRY: Look, lawmakers on Capitol Hill in both parties read the polls closely as the people in the Democratic or Republican White House do. They want to see what public opinion is. That clearly has an impact.

On the other hand, though, the president is correct when he's saying that he's making some progress. Clearly, not as much progress as he wanted because the deadline has now been thrown out the window.

But the fact of the matter is, as Dana was reporting, the lawmakers have not gone home. They are still working away; the president trying to push them along. He hasn't gotten where he wants to, ultimately, but they have not shut the door on reform either -- Lou.

DOBBS: Do I take it from what you just said that his success in all this, this progress that you were talking about, is that the Senate and the House have not yet left town?

HENRY: Well, the fact is that a bill, the progress they cite is the fact that the bill has gone through the House committee and the Energy and Commerce has gone through the Senate House Committee. It has not gone through the Senate Finance Committee. That would be real progress and they have not gotten that yet.

DOBBS: All right. Thanks as always, Ed Henry, traveling with the president.

One of the biggest obstacles to the president's health care plan is a group of conservative Democrats known as the Blue Dogs. In last night's primetime news conference, President Obama tried to convince those very Democrats and other skeptics to support his health care plan.

Candy Crowley joins us now from Washington. What do you make of today's setback for the president on health care? CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it says a couple things. First of all, we should just say that it was inevitable. You watched over the past couple of weeks and saw the kind resistance he was getting. And Congress just doesn't move at warp speed, as we all know. That's one thing.

But the other thing is, why is it taking -- it is not that the process is slowing this down, it is the conservative Democrats and sometimes moderate Democrats and Republicans that are slowing it down because they have real policy differences here that they are looking at.

Primarily, they are looking at the cost of this and nobody likes some of the ways that they are coming up with it. Is there going be a surtax on the rich and how do you define rich? Are we going to tax benefits? The president doesn't want to do that.

Everybody talks about cost savings, you know, because that's a favorite thing for people to talk about is to take out all of the waste.

There are huge problems here. And I take away from this that the president is going to have to do some wheeling and dealing. That's how things get done on Capitol Hill. He needs to go to his confidantes on Capitol Hill and say, "Listen, what is it going to take to get 60 votes? What do I have to give them? What's the minimum I have to give on to get this bill through the senate?

DOBBS: There is good old-fashioned political horse trading, but, again, as I was speaking with Ed Henry, Candy, we are looking at a decided shift in public opinion on this and $24 trillion is the latest estimate on the cost of the bailouts; $2 trillion in budget deficit alone for this fiscal year. There is a great anxiety that extends across the aisle on what is happening here to the federal budget.

CROWLEY: Yes, there absolutely is. And I think that -- I know that these Congressmen and senators are hearing just that from many of their constituents saying, "Listen, this is just too expensive." And as Ed was talking about, what's going to happen to my health insurance," since more people have health insurance than don't.

They are getting enormous amounts of pushback. If you note, the polling has gone down. Let me give you two different views. The White House says the polling has gone down for approval of the president and his handling of health care because there's so much bad information out there put out by the Republicans. And the Republicans will say the polling has gone down because the more people learn about these plans the more they dislike it. Take your choice.

DOBBS: Not a particularly good choice either way you cut it for the president and the deadline he had set.

All right. Thank you very much, Candy Crowley, as always.

We'll have much more on this confrontation on the issue of health care legislation. We'll have a face-off debate on the president's health care agenda between two leading members of Congress. Stay with us for that.

Also, new controversy after the president stepped in to a confrontation and controversy over the arrest of a black Harvard professor.

The FBI is arresting mayors, lawmakers and rabbis in the largest corruption bust of its kind.


WEYSAN DUN, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: This case is not about politics, it is certainly not about religion. It is about crime, corruption; it is about arrogance. It is about a shocking betrayal of the public trust.


DOBBS: And we'll report on the latest in a series of corruption scandals among elected officials.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the offensive over his budget cuts with a 2-foot knife.


DOBBS: A sweeping federal corruption investigation today resulting in the arrest of elected officials, rabbis. The mayors of three New Jersey cities, two state legislators and several rabbis among the more than 40 people arrested. The charges range from money laundering to trafficking and human body parts.

Deborah Feyerick with our report.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): it began as an investigation into international money-laundering allegedly by a handful of prominent New Jersey rabbis with ties to Israel. It turned into a far-reaching probe of public corruption in New Jersey as nearly 30 politicians and public officials, Democrats and Republicans, were rounded up in what prosecutors call the largest sweep of its kind.

DUN: This case is not about politics, it is certainly not about religion. It is about crime, corruption, it is about arrogance. It is about a shocking betrayal of the public trust.

FEYERICK: The two cases are linked by a single cooperating witness posing as a real estate developer, but, in fact, working for the government says New Jersey's top prosecutor.

RALPH MARRA, JR., ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY: "I don't donate, I invest." The C.W. would say in meetings, in parking lots, at restaurants, luncheonettes, diners, offices, basement boiler rooms and bathrooms. And the politicians willingly put themselves up for sale.

FEYERICK: Prosecutors say public officials including mayors, deputy mayors, councilmen and a New Jersey assemblyman brazenly took envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for political favors.

One of the most damaging statements allegedly made, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III who allegedly took $25,000 in bribes telling the phony developer he would become a priority while, quote, "The people who were against us the whole way, they get ground into powder."

Prosecutor Ed Kahrer has been working the case for ten years.

ED KAHRER, FBI PUBLIC CORRUPTION DIVISION: Corruption is not only pervasive, it has become ingrained in New Jersey's political culture.

FEYERICK: New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine criticized the corruption while asking one of his staff to step down after he was investigated but not charged.

GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: This morning I asked for the resignation of Commissioner Joe Doria and he has agreed to resign.

FEYERICK (on camera): Prosecutors say the same cooperating witness who had allegedly been paying public officials bribes had earlier infiltrated the money-laundering organization which involved rabbis allegedly taking fees for laundering millions of dollars to their charitable organization.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Newark, New Jersey.


DOBBS: New Jersey, of course, is not the only state where elected officials are corrupt. In recent years there have been several high-profile examples of politicians behaving very badly.

Brooke Baldwin with our report.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mayors busted, assemblymen busted; as prosecutors in New Jersey named 44 suspects in a wide- ranging corruption investigation.

MARRA: For these defendants, corruption was a way of life.

BALDWIN: Americans elect our leaders to lead. But time and time again, according to one watchdog group that promotes ethics in government our lawmakers act as though they are above the law.

TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: Who think that getting a job with the public trust is like winning the lottery and use it to line their own pockets as opposed to protect the taxpayer.

BALDWIN: There is disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich accused of trying to sell Obama's senate seat. Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick tangled in text messages pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. And former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, $90,000 in cash was found in his freezer. He's pled not guilty to charges of racketeering and bribery.

It is not just corruption. Last month married South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford got caught and confessed to an affair with a woman in Argentina. Presidential hopeful John Edwards admitted to cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. Senator Larry Craig who pled guilty to disorderly conduct after an embarrassing encounter in a Minneapolis airport and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer engaging in hooker hanky-panky.

Psychiatrist Dr. Lorenzo Norris says many of these men, and they are all men, possess an unhealthy dose of narcissism.

DR. LORENZO NORRIS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: If you take that mix, a person that is vulnerable, and you mix them with a lot of power, all right, power which is isolating, which prevents them from feeling the shame and guilt which may have already kept them within bounds, then you get a recipe for what we are seeing right now.


BALDWIN: And as long as there are people in positions of power, Dr. Norris says corruption, sex and politics, Lou, will go hand in hand.

DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much, Brooke.

I'll have a few thoughts about political corruption and other issues. Please 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 in New York. Go to to get the local listings in your area. And please follow me on LouDobbsNews on

Still ahead, Democrats delay the president's health care initiative. What it means for the Obama presidency. The subject of our face-off debate tonight.

And California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joking about budget cuts, knife in hand?

His critics say it is no laughing matter, however. We'll have the report.

And the racial firestorm after the arrest of a prominent Harvard scholar. Was it racial profiling or was it appropriate police procedure?


DOBBS: Some good news for you tonight on the economy. The National Association of Realtors says home sales rising for a third straight month; the first time that has happened in five years. Home sales of 3.6 percent in the month of June -- that is higher than economists had expected. And home sales were up in all four regions of the country. That good news led to a rally today. The Dow Jones Industrials jumping nearly 200 points closing above 9,000 for the first time since January.

Turning to California and its budget mess, lawmakers there scheduled to vote on a plan to close the state's massive $26 billion budget deficit. The plan includes proposed cuts to programs including education and public safety.

Governor Schwarzenegger doesn't seem too concerned. In fact, he's been joking a bit about it and that doesn't please some people in California.

Casey Wian with our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger posted this video on his Twitter page Wednesday posing with a large hunting knife. It's a clear reference to the $15 billion in cuts to education, health care, welfare and other state services the governor and legislative leaders agreed to this week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are talking about budget cuts, you are waving a knife, some people think it is insensitive to joke around about stuff like that.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, there's other people in the state to have a little bit of a sense of humor. You know, that's me. You know, you send a governor to Sacramento not El Stiffo, like some of the past were or you sent someone a little more entertaining and has a little bit more fun with the whole thing.

Not that I have fun with making the cuts, they sadden me, but fun with the job itself.

WIAN: On Twitter Schwarzenegger also thanked the constituents who sent ideas about novel ways to close California's $26 billion budget deficit. One example having the former action hero governor autograph surplus automobiles being sold by the state.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Why don't you sign the car since you are a celebrity governor; sign the cars and sell them for more money. That's exactly what we are going to do.

WIAN: But others including officials from 188 California cities are in no joking mood. They're threatening to sue the state for what they contend is the budget deals illegal diversion of nearly $4.7 billion in money from cities and counties.

CHRIS MCKENZIE, LEAGUE OF CALIFORNIA CITIES: It is amazing that they think they can break the law like this and get away with it. They will have to do what every city council in this state has done, and that is balance their budget with their funds.

WIAN: For three weeks California has avoided doing that by issuing 180,000 IOUs, taxpayers, vendors, and state contractors worth nearly $800 million.


WIAN: State lawmakers are voting on the budget deal tonight and it is expected to be a contentious process, in part because the agreement leaves so many questions unanswered. Among them the agreement to cut spending in prisons by $1 billion; presumably that will require the release of tens of thousands of prisoners early, but a vote on that has been put off for several weeks -- Lou.

DOBBS: And the press there in California is worried about a governor with a 2-foot knife? It seems like they might focus on something more substantive.

WIAN: The press reports out here have been focused on the substantive, Lou, and the fact that a lot of these budget reduction measures are entirely speculative, the sale of state assets, the governor is hoping to get $1 billion by selling off various state properties. Local reporters have found out that that's not likely to happen. There are several things with the budget that...

DOBBS: And still no matter what happens, they still have to borrow billions of dollars.

WIAN: Absolutely.

DOBBS: Amazing. All right. Thank you. Casey Wian.

Up next, the left-wing liberal media blasting me again because I want the president to live up to his promise of transparency on his birth certificate. By the way, I believe the president is a citizen, but for some reason the left wing media felt it inconvenient to report that part of the story.

Also, tonight, the president's health care agenda has stalled. Some democrats, including the leader of the Senate, stopping the legislative initiative before the deadline called for by the president. That's the subject of our face-off debate.

And the showdown over the arrest of a black Harvard professor is escalating. The police sergeant involved gives his account of what happened after criticism from the President of the United States.


DOBBS: Controversy over the president's criticism of Cambridge, Massachusetts police in the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. Gates, an African-American was arrested last Thursday. Cambridge police were summoned to his home by a neighbor who had reported a break-in by two black men.

Police sergeant James Crowley said that Gates became disruptive and abusive. And then he was arrested. Gates claims he's the victim of racial profiling by those police.

President Obama in his news conference last night said the Cambridge police acted -- this is his word -- "stupidly."

Joining me now with more, CNN's Soledad O'Brien; good to have you with us.


DOBBS: And Candy Crowley.

Thank you very much for coming back here, Candy, to talk about this.

Let me start, if I may, with just the president's comment in the midst of a presidential news conference last night. I say in the midst -- at the end of it, the president.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.


DOBBS: All right.

Soledad, was the president out of line?

O'BRIEN: I don't know if he was out of line. But I do think that the two people involved, Henry Louis Gates and the police officer, are actually very consistent in their statements. They agree. There's no contradiction in what they are talking about. Basically, they say the same thing.

So, whether it is stupid or not, whether the president is out of line, is certainly not for me to say, but I think what you see is, the police officer says, he gets there, and he doesn't know what's going on. So, he starts to investigate.

But, then, at some point, he establishes, in fact, that the person he is dealing with is the homeowner. And he then -- third part -- gets angry because the person is belligerent. He describes him as being uncooperative. And, so, he arrests him.

The two of them are very consistent in their stories. So, now, whether you want to define that as stupid or not, I can't -- I can't say. But I -- I would say it is a pretty interesting thing to see the police officer really admitting that he was arrested because he was uncooperative in his own home.

DOBBS: Candy, your thoughts?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think if you would ask the White House at this point, they would rather that particular sentence in what was a very lengthy response to the Gates case, they would take it out. Here is why. It is being seized upon as making a judgment about a case that many people feel we will never really know what went on inside the house. Now, Soledad is saying they have consistent stories, but, nonetheless, even the mayor this morning said, well, we are trying to figure out exactly what happened.

We know that the head of the police in Cambridge said the department was deflated hearing this. So, it was not something that you hear a president say, making a judgment like that. It is not -- and it certainly was pretty harsh.

Now, if he -- again, he went on to say, I don't know the facts of the case, and I'm a little biased because I'm a personal friend of Gates. So, there -- there was that. And then he went on to say, the police acted stupidly. And it was -- has been seized upon by critics saying he shouldn't have said it.

DOBBS: Did the president play into stereotypes? And was that an unfortunate choice that he made?

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure those are stereotypes.

I think that it is indeed a fact that it is a touchstone for people of color that their interactions with police often become hostile, that there's an expectation sometimes that you can be a black person and maybe this is not your home, that there may have been a different scenario if professor Gates had been white.

So, I think what people have seized upon is that experience. I have heard in my reporting for "Black in America" and now the second part we're doing, "Black in America 2," consistent stories. It's not only the house. Sometimes, who's car is this? Is this your BMW? Let me see your I.D. Why are you in this neighborhood? Do you believe here? Who -- are you the nanny of this kid?

DOBBS: Is -- is a president cast in a different, however, position for the office he holds?

O'BRIEN: I can't answer that because I don't -- you know, I don't cover the president.

And I'm sure, as Candy says, "stupidly," just because of the fact that everyone is talking about that word, probably, if you are dealing with press for the president, you think, hmm, wouldn't it be better if people were talking about health care today?

I can say that...

DOBBS: Perhaps not, as well...



O'BRIEN: Possibly so. But I can say that he addressed an issue that people of color feel very strongly about, that they have a different treatment by officers. And the fact that this white police officer is an expert at race relations and seems kind of baffled that the black guy would be angry with the white police officer in his house, I think that that's kind of an interesting element, too.

All of these are, again, in the police officer's own words, coming off the police report.

DOBBS: And what do you find baffling from the perspective of the white police sergeant?

O'BRIEN: Well, he's an expert in racial profiling, so this is something that he has done and studied for five years.

DOBBS: But I mean given the circumstances.

O'BRIEN: Well -- well, I think he was basically following police procedure. What's going on? I'm getting a report.

DOBBS: Right.

O'BRIEN: He says he was surprised that the person he was dealing with was not grateful that he was there.

I think here's a person, an officer, who is not necessarily thinking of what professor Gates is seeing, which is a white police officer has come into my home and is trying to figure out...

DOBBS: With -- with black officers with him.


O'BRIEN: This white police officer was by himself at first. He came in. In fact, one of the reasons that he was concerned, he said, was, he was alone. He had no backup. So, he didn't know what was going on.

So, he wanted to follow police procedure and make sure there was nothing happening. So -- but he, as the guy who is the expert in racial profiling, he said, you know, he was behaving irrationally, professor Gates, and he said, you know, I have the sense he should be grateful I was there.

And I think he seemed, I would describe that as a little baffled, a little baffled that, why is professor Gates not grateful that I'm here to help him out?

Professor Gates is clearly angry, furious, however you want to describe it.

DOBBS: Was he react -- was he reacting on the basis of racial stereotypes?

O'BRIEN: Was professor Gates? DOBBS: Correct.

O'BRIEN: I mean, again, I cannot possibly answer that question, because I was not there. I will say, I would understand why a black man would be angry in his own home.

DOBBS: Right.

O'BRIEN: Candy, your thoughts?

C. CROWLEY: Well, what was interesting to me, listening to the president, is that he did talk about the thing Soledad is talking about now. He said, listen, I don't know if this was racial profiling. What I do know is that racial profiling exists, that it does happen. And -- and -- and this is something we as a country need to look at and to try to correct.

Again, I think his words, if he had not said that the police department acted stupidly after admitting he didn't know really what the facts were, I don't think this -- this would be the cause for criticism.


We -- we -- we should point out that, aboard Air Force One today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did try to, and if I may use one of your expressions there in Washington, D.C., Candy, tried to walk back the...


DOBBS: ... the president from -- from where he took the -- took the administration.

Let's see what Robert Gibbs had to say: "Let me be clear. He" -- the president of the United States -- "was not calling the officer stupid. Cooler heads on all sides should have prevailed."

That clearly, I think, substantiates your perspective on it, Candy.

This is what, Candy -- Candy, what Sergeant Crowley said today. These were his comments. Let's listen in.


SERGEANT JAMES CROWLEY, CAMBRIDGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: He is the president of the United States, and I support the president to a point, I guess. I think it's disappointing that he waded into what is -- should be a local issue.


DOBBS: It is -- it's interesting, because both professor -- professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley initially said, you know, that both the city and Harvard, the professor and the sergeant had resolved things, and they were not going to move further.

O'BRIEN: But here's the thing. He said, you know, it is a local issue.

And I think the point is, it is not a local issue. Racial profiling, as an issue as a whole -- whether or not it has happened this in case, I don't know -- but, as an issue, racial profiling is a national issue. It's a major problem. I mean, that is what the president was pointing out in his press conference last night.

O'BRIEN: When he said he...

DOBBS: Well, actually, what he did was -- had he done that, that would have been one thing, had he said, you know, racial profiling is a national issue.

But he went to the issue of the circumstances involving his friend.


O'BRIEN: But I think what the police officer is saying, where, hey, this is local, and I'm saying, the reason people are reacting the way they are is that it is not a local issue. It is a national issue.

It is a thing that any person of color can relate to, the fact that there's an interaction between a white police officer and a person of color. And a person who's an expert in racial profiling or race relations should be aware of that.


DOBBS: You are going to get the last word here, Candy.

O'BRIEN: I love that.


O'BRIEN: Oh, Candy.


O'BRIEN: I thought Lou was giving it to me, Candy.


CROWLEY: Well, go ahead.


O'BRIEN: No, no, you guy.


DOBBS: On this issue, you are getting the last word, Candy.

And, you know, where are we with this?

C. CROWLEY: The president has given this story -- and we will use another Washington term -- more legs.

I think this story moves forward. I don't know if it only moves forward locally. But the president spoke about it again tonight in an interview with ABC, said that he didn't understand what the -- why this was such a weird thing to say, or what the uproar was about, essentially.

So, I think this goes on. I think it will be interesting, because I will bet you anything there will be poll about this and how people feel. It would be very interesting to see how that -- that comes out.

O'BRIEN: All right. Candy, thank you very much.

Soledad, the second part of your special report on "Black in America" coming up at the top of the hour.

What are we going the see tonight?

O'BRIEN: We have been focused on success and really deconstructing success, how -- how people are achieving. And we are looking at programs and -- and people's opportunities that are both replicable and scalable. What works? Where could you take it? How are they doing it? That's the focus of "Black in America 2."

DOBBS: Terrific. Success, that is what we want to hear.

O'BRIEN: Love to talk about that.


DOBBS: All right. Thanks very much.

CNN's special report "Black in America 2" coming up at the top of the hour, with Soledad O'Brien, right here on CNN, right after this broadcast.

Next here: a major setback for the president's health care plan; questions persisting as to why the president won't release his original birth certificate; and the mainstream liberal media attacking me on the issue? No, the left wing of the national liberal media attacking me. We will find out what happened to transparency, and the accuracy of record about the president's citizenship.


DOBBS: I think the president of the United States is a citizen. But what I don't understand is why he hasn't just produced it to get this -- this noise out of the way.

I believe Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States, folks. Don't you? But I do have a couple of little questions, like you. Why not just provide a copy of the birth certificate? That's entirely within the president's power to do so. Then, all of this nonsense goes away.

I don't know what the reality is. Do I believe he is a citizen? Yes, I do, absolutely, but I -- I would think it would be a nice thing to produce that birth certificate.


DOBBS: Isn't it interesting not a single outlet in the left-wing national media, just that little part of the national media, chose to include a single one of those quotes from me?

We will have much more on the issue of the president's birth certificate in our face-off debate -- next.


DOBBS: President Obama promised transparency and openness in his administration. Yet, he's chosen not to release his original birth certificate or a copy of it.

And a number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii says it can't release a paper copy of the president's original birth certificate because they say the state government discarded the original document when the health department records went electronic some eight years ago.

That explanation, however, has not satisfied some critic.

Joining me now, Roland Martin. He's CNN contributor, syndicated columnist. And joining us as well, Congressman Ted Poe.

Before we get started, I want to be clear where I stand, because the -- the left-wing media kind of forgot to leave out -- kind of left a few things out. It was inconvenient to their stories.

Just -- just one statement, very quickly, if you will. Play that.


DOBBS: I think the president of the United States is a citizen. But what I don't understand is why he hasn't just produced it to get this -- this noise out of the way.

I believe Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States, folks. Don't you? But I do have a couple of little questions, like you. Why not just provide a copy of the birth certificate? That's entirely within the president's power.


DOBBS: Why not? That's the question, Roland Martin. What's the answer?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first and foremost, he's produced the document he received from the state of Hawaii.

Now, you are saying, where's the original? According to the state of Hawaii, that is the document that establishes where he was born. So, what is the issue?

DOBBS: So, you don't think...


DOBBS: So, you don't think the president has a copy?

MARTIN: No, but what is the issue?

DOBBS: Well, the issue is...

MARTIN: I mean, he's the president. He's been certified. He's in office.

DOBBS: Well, he's a president. I mean, he's not like a -- I mean, you make it sound like he's been anointed something beyond that.

MARTIN: No, no, he's a president of the United States, the 44th.

DOBBS: Yes. Yes.

MARTIN: So, what -- what is the point? I mean, exactly where is the story in this? If he has presented a document, the state of Hawaii has confirmed that -- that he was indeed born there, what's the issue?

DOBBS: Ted Poe, Congressman, what's the -- what's the issue?

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Well, the president has not produced a birth certificate. He has produced what is a birth announcement from the state of Hawaii.

And this could all be settled if he would just produce the birth certify call. And that's why we have introduced legislation that, in future elections, that the president prove that he is a resident for 14 years, that he's over 35, and that he's a native-born American.

And that applies to everybody, and we get rid of all this controversy, and we move on down the road.

MARTIN: Congressman, it's nonsense.

First of all, you were a state judge in Texas. I was born and raised in Houston. I remember seeing your stories all the time. My dad, when I got him got a passport, he didn't have his original birth certificate. He went to the Houston Department of Health and got a copy of his birth certificate.

It satisfied his passport, satisfied the State Department. So, how can you say that's legitimate; oh, but the president has not presented what the state of Hawaii said is an official document with their seal on it? POE: Because it is not a birth certificate. It's not even a copy of the birth certificate. It is a birth announcement.

It is like me sending out a birth announcement for one of my children...


MARTIN: No. What is in the newspaper is a birth announcement.


POE: And that's what it is.

MARTIN: That is an official document. What is in the newspaper is a birth announcement, Congressman. Come on.

DOBBS: Let -- let -- if I may interject...


DOBBS: ... do we have a -- could we just put up a copy of that certificate -- certificate of live birth?

What you are looking at there, which I believe is the copy that comes from or Annenberg, there's no reference there to the attending physician. There's no reference there to the hospital in which he was born. It is a certificate that refers to the fact that another certificate exists.

MARTIN: Is it an official state document?

DOBBS: I'm sorry?

MARTIN: Is it an official state document of the state of Hawaii?

DOBBS: Well, let me try this again, so I can be really clear about it. It is a document that says there's another document. It does not include that -- you are referring to your father's birth certificate.


DOBBS: A copy of his birth certificate would have the doctor, the hospital that he was born in, correct? And this is the -- and, by the way, this is just what people are concerned about.

MARTIN: No, no, whose people, first of all? You got 13 percent...


DOBBS: ... 600,000 people who have signed a petition.


MARTIN: Six hundred thousand.

Thirteen percent of Americans, 39 million, still think he is Muslim. And we have done everything, Lou, to debunk that as an absolute lie. So, it is irrelevant.


DOBBS: OK. If you want to make it irrelevant, that's fine.

POE: Well, I don't know why you are getting so...


DOBBS: Yes, go ahead, Congressman.

POE: Well, I don't know why you are getting so upset.


MARTIN: Because, Congressman, you probably -- because you probably have better things to do, Congressman, than this silly little law here.


POE: ... certificate for McCain. They were -- your side was...


MARTIN: No, no, no, no, Congressman. Congressman, let me correct you with something.


POE: And, so, he produced his birth certificate...


MARTIN: Congressman, I want to...


POE: ... territories of Arizona.

MARTIN: Congressman, Congressman, nice try.

But, first of all, I voted Republicans and Democrats. So, don't try the "your side."


MARTIN: I thought the left-wing people were nuts as well. I just want to correct you on that one.


POE: Why are you so upset? Produce the birth certificate. That's all you have got to do.

MARTIN: No, no, because it is silly. It is silly.


MARTIN: It's silly.


MARTIN: Are you losing sleep over this?

DOBBS: Look, Roland, look, Roland...


MARTIN: I mean, Lou, are you losing sleep over this?

DOBBS: Roland, here's what I would like you to do. I would like you to remember, if you would -- and I'm -- and I'm trying to be as nice as I can be, but you are yelling and you're getting awfully excited about something that, you know, doesn't require this level of...


MARTIN: Well, I think it is hilarious.

DOBBS: Then laugh. But don't -- please, don't...

MARTIN: But it's utterly hilarious, Lou.

DOBBS: The congressman might take your remarks a different way.

And I'm asking is that you just -- you know, relax just a bit.

And let's take a look at headlines from "The New York Times," if we may, from last year, when at -- at question was Senator John McCain's citizenship, and see if we can see a difference in the way in which they have approached this -- this issue.

This is "The New York Times." "A hint of new life to the McCain birth issue." "McCain's canal zone birth prompts queries about whether that rules him out" -- The New York Times," and, in July of last year, with an article. I mean, it goes on.

The issue of "Justices turn back on a challenge on Obama that has stopped squall of Internet-fueled rumors."

There's an obvious difference in tone here from "The New York Times" when talking about John McCain than there is when they were talking about Barack Obama.

MARTIN: And I don't care about the "New York Times" column. The issue there...



DOBBS: And that's why I bring it up.

MARTIN: Lou, your issue, though, is about a certificate. It's not about how the media is covering it.


DOBBS: No, no. No, no.

MARTIN: So, which one is it?

DOBBS: My -- my issue is this, OK? When this could be dispelled so quickly, and -- and simply by producing it, why not do it?


MARTIN: He has produced a document that is satisfactory, but it's not satisfactory to you.

So, Lou, he's not here to satisfy Lou Dobbs. He's the president of the United States. He probably has other things that's on his mind than satisfying Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Yes. And does that, then, what, just dismiss the concern?

MARTIN: No. He has presented a document that is legal. In the state of Hawaii, it is legal. It is a document. It's there.

Now, because you're not satisfied, OK. And, Lou, if this...


DOBBS: Don't worry about my -- don't worry about my satisfaction.


MARTIN: No, no.


MARTIN: Lou, you're the one who is still making this an issue.


DOBBS: No, no, please. Again, did you hear what I said?


DOBBS: I believe he's a citizen. MARTIN: OK. So, why even continue the story? Is it keeping you up at night? It is a non-issue. It is irrelevant. You say so many Americans care.


MARTIN: No, it is an irrelevant issue. It's been established. He's the president.

DOBBS: All right. All right.

MARTIN: What is the big deal?

DOBBS: Is there a big deal here, Congressman Poe?

POE: Well, I don't know that it's a big deal, but the best way we can prevent anything from happening in the future is produce the birth certificate.

And, if you're going to -- if you have your child that wants to be in the little league, you have got to show up with the birth certificate. You have got to prove that he's a resident. And why can't the president do that? And that's all this legislation does, so that, in future elections, we don't have these disagreements, we don't have these problems.


POE: Just produce the birth certificate.


POE: The document from Hawaii is not a birth certificate.


POE: That's the bottom line.

MARTIN: This document...


POE: It's a legal document, but not the birth certificate.

MARTIN: Congressman, Congressman, this document couldn't pass by the little league in Hawaii?

I mean, I think, if you were still sitting on the bench, you would say this is another one of those irrelevant, useless lawsuits that we see every single day.

POE: I probably wouldn't say that.

MARTIN: You were a tough judge in justice. And you would probably say, come on, give me a break. Move on, guys. This is a waste of the court's time and Congress' time. DOBBS: So, you're not content to speak for yourself. You're going to speak for Congressman Poe as well.


MARTIN: You know what? As somebody who watched him every day, he was a tough judge.


DOBBS: Congressman, Congressman, you get the last word here.


POE: Well, without belaboring the point, in the future elections, you know, the president -- candidates -- now, this has come up. It came up with Romney. It came up with Goldwater. It came up with McCain. Now it's come up with Obama.

Let's just get over this by producing a birth certificate in future elections, prove the person was in the country eight -- 14 years, they're over 35, and we won't have these disagreements. And I think that's what we ought to do. That's...


DOBBS: Congressman Poe, by the way, is a co-sponsor of Congressman Posey's legislation to do precisely that, which he introduced back in March.

Thank you very much for being here.

MARTIN: I will bring my birth certificate in next week, Lou.

DOBBS: You don't need to, because...


DOBBS: ... some would suggest that would be absolutely irrelevant.


DOBBS: Congressman Poe, thank you very much.


DOBBS: Coming up: another deadline missed, as the president's health care plan has run into trouble in the Senate. A leading member of Congress joins us here next.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Another deadline missed, as the president's health care plan is now stalled in Congress.

And joining me now, a supporter of the president's plan, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

And it is great to have you with us.


DOBBS: Obviously, conflict and contention in the House of Representatives, an out -- an outright statement that ends any prospect of meeting a deadline in the Senate. How much trouble is the president's health care plan in?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I don't think it's in any -- in any trouble at all.

This is a really significant reform. We're trying to reform the health insurance industry, and make sure that we can cover everyone in America. And, you know, we are really being careful about the details and making sure that, when you lose your job, or if you change jobs, you can make sure that don't lose your health insurance.

We're making -- trying to make sure that you have comprehensive health care coverage, that you don't have to worry about being dropped for a preexisting condition or excluded for a preexisting condition.

We need to inject some stability and security into the health care system.

DOBBS: OK, Congresswoman, may I? May I?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And that's going to take us a...


DOBBS: I got the talking points. But here -- here's where we are.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: They're not talking points, Lou.

DOBBS: OK. Then they're not talking points,

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The reality is that Americans need health care.

DOBBS: Ma'am, may I? May I?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You absolutely may.

DOBBS: Thank you.

The polls show a complete, right now, reversal of fortunes, if you will, for health care as is proffered by the president. How is it that the House and the -- and the Senate can overcome what is clearly opposition now in the public to the president's handling of health care?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Lou, I reject your premise that there's been an outright reversal. There has been some slippage in -- in the polling, where they're -- it is not, you know, in the 60s or 70s that people support the specific legislation that they think we're considering.

But the majority of Americans -- it is still over 50 percent that support making sure that we can reform health care insurance, that we can make sure that everyone in America is covered, that we can make sure that they -- that small-business owners can continue to provide health insurance or provide it for their employees if they -- if they can't now.

Those are real issues, and real issues that affect our economy. And the only way, as President Obama said last night, that we...

DOBBS: All right, let me ask you this.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: ... can really get our economy back -- please, let me finish now, Lou -- is if we make sure we reform health care insurance, so that we can get the economy back on track and stop the bleeding, because we won't be able to fix the deficit without making sure that we can fix health care insurance.

DOBBS: How will you pay for it?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We're in the process of putting together legislation that will make sure that we can, through cost savings and -- and belt-tightening, we will wring a lot of the excess waste that is in the health insurance system right now, and we're going to...

DOBBS: We have got -- we have got a break.


DOBBS: I have got a hard out here.

I thank you very much.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you for having me.

DOBBS: And thank you very much.

We will be right back.


DOBBS: A reminder to join me on the radio, please, Monday through Fridays, for "The Lou Dobbs Show." And go to for -- for more on

Thanks for being with us here tonight. Join us tomorrow. Good night from New York.

Now "Black in America 2" with Soledad O'Brien.