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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Town Hall Meetings Continue; North American Summit; War Threat; Made in the U.S.; Netherlands Health Care; Town Hall Outrage;

Aired August 10, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Wolf, thank you. Good evening, everybody.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer launching a scathing attack against town hall protesters critical of President Obama's health care plan. They are accusing those protesters of being, quote, "un-American", the sort of language we haven't heard from members of Congress in decades.

Also, President Obama holding a summit in Mexico with President Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada. President Obama pushing for even closer ties with the two countries, ignoring what many say is the rising threat to our sovereignty.

And leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez warning of a possible war with Colombia, one of this country's closest allies -- we'll have a special report on the Venezuelan leader's threats and his aggressive military buildup with Russian weapons.

But first two top Democrats harshly criticizing Americans who oppose the Democratic Party's health care agenda. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer said town hall protesters are, quote, "un- American". They said those protesters are misrepresenting what Democrats now like to call the health insurance reform legislation.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are continuing to hold town hall meetings trying to convince skeptical Americans to support the president's health care plans. Among those is Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri -- Brianna Keilar traveling with the senator has our report.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Poplar Bluff (ph) in southeastern Missouri, it is rural communities like this one where Democrats are trying to win the health care debate. And as Senator Claire McCaskill is well aware, it is a tough crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is more about taking power and control than it is about health care.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because health care is only...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's only -- it's only the first step to socialism.

KEILAR: While McCaskill's town hall meeting in Poplar Bluff (ph) threatened to boil over at times...


KEILAR: ... 50 miles southeast in Kennett, another smaller meeting was downright civil. One audience member, a critic of Democrats' health care reform efforts, asked McCaskill what she makes of the recent rowdiness at health care events. She was empathetic.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I think it was a huge mistake for anyone to suggest that anybody who is opposed to the health care plan is manufactured. I -- it is not manufactured. Now I think both sides are organizing but that's what we do in a democracy.

KEILAR: As McCaskill tried to disarm critics of the Democrats' proposal for a government run insurance plan that she supports, she was also quick to rebuff conservative claims that it would limit care for seniors and fund abortions.

MCCASKILL: There is nothing in the bill that mandates any kind of abortion coverage. That's just simply not true.

BLITZER: Or that it is a government takeover of health care.

MCCASKILL: I can tell you Congress is not going to pass a single payer plan.

KEILAR: And McCaskill pointed a finger at insurance companies.

MCCASKILL: In 2007 they made 12.9 billion in profits. So we have got to do something about health insurance reform. If you get really sick and lose your job, they have the right to say we're not going to give you insurance.


KEILAR: And that's a key talking point for Democrats. Painting the insurance companies as the bad guys here. This is something that Democratic leaders in the House and Senate really urged congressional Democrats to hit hard on during this critical month for health care reform while they're away from Washington.

And meantime, Lou, we also want to tell you that Senator McCaskill is supposed to have another event near St. Louis tomorrow, a town hall event. It was supposed to happen at a high school and citing security concerns that high school decided to cancel that event, Lou.

DOBBS: It's the second time that Senator McCaskill has had an event canceled by the school that was going to be hosting the event. It is important to point out that Senator McCaskill has declared she's going to have these town hall meetings despite what many in her party and her leadership are saying no matter what. She is -- as they say, she is not only talking the talk, she's walking the walk when it comes to representation, isn't she?

KEILAR: Well I have to tell you that today when you were in this room, just a few feet from me here in Poplar Bluff (ph), you really got the sense that this group, this audience was kind of skating on a razor's edge and it could boil over at any moment, Lou, but Senator McCaskill, towards the end of this debate, here this meeting, she said this is what she loves about being a lawmaker. This is why she signed up and this is the democratic process and she said she's going to keep on doing it.

DOBBS: All right. Brianna, thank you very much -- Brianna Keilar. As Brianna just reported, protesters across the country refuse to be intimidated by the Democratic Party. They are continuing to challenge the president's health care agenda. We have new video to show you tonight.

The first is of a protester who pushed his son in a wheelchair to the front of a meeting in Romulus (ph), Michigan and then blasted Congressman John Dingell. The second video is of Congressman David Scott, yelling at a doctor who he mistakenly believed was an activist, a Republican activist in Douglasville (ph), Georgia. Listen, please.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a question for this young man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a right to be...


MIKE SOLA, PROTESTER: I'm his father and I want to talk to you face-to-face.





REP. DAVID SCOTT (D), GEORGIA: I'm listening to my constituents, OK? These are people who live in the 13th Congressional District, who vote in this district. That's who I've got to respond to. OK? Right. All right, that's everybody with different opinions. So what you've got to understand is those of you who are here, who have taken and came and hijacked this event that we are dealing with here, this is not a health care event.

You made the choice to come here. Not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting. OK? Then do that. Do that! But don't, don't come and take advantage of what these individuals have done. You want a meeting with me on health care -- I'll give it to you.


DOBBS: Well Congressman Scott acknowledging that he was talking with a doctor who is one of his constituents, told CNN today he feels he didn't do anything improper in that town hall meeting. There is outrage tonight after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer described town hall protesters as, quote, "un- American".

Many Americans say those protesters are simply exercising their constitutional right to free speech. But in an op-ed in "USA Today," Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Hoyer said, quote, "it is now evident that an ugly campaign is under way, drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."

We'll have much more on those town hall protests and whether they're really un-American or are they American as it gets? And where are the Republicans in all of this? A new poll shows many Americans support the protesters who are opposing the president's health care plan at town hall meetings.

The Rasmussen Reports poll shows 41 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of those demonstrators; 35 percent an unfavorable view. Meanwhile, another Rasmussen Reports poll shows a majority of Americans, 51 percent, now fear the federal government more than they fear private insurance companies on health care decisions.

President Obama today acknowledging there is what he called a vigorous debate on health care. He made those remarks at a summit with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada, in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. One of the top issues in the summit, the global swine flu outbreak.

The outbreak began in Mexico in the spring and there are concerns that it could significantly worsen this fall. President Obama said, quote, "this challenge transcends borders and so must our response." President Obama also indicating he believes borders are less important in North America in the 21st century.

The president saying, quote, "North America's defined not simply by our borders, but by our bonds." To many, his remarks suggest the president wants even closer ties. Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The meeting between leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada is part of the North American security and prosperity partnership. It is billed as an opportunity, quote, "to collaborate on shared opportunities and collectively address our common challenges." It is also controversial. Among those who fear it is a precursor to a European style North American union. The partnership's Web site calls that a myth. The three amigos own words do suggest a desire for closer ties. PRES. FELIPE CALDERON, MEXICO (through translator): We believe in a North American region that is united, that is prosperous and wealthy, that is able to build a better future for the forthcoming generations.

STEPHEN HARPER, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Given the integrated nature of our economies, we did talk at some length about the importance of working together on a North American approach to climate change.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Indeed in the 21st century, North America is defined not simply by our borders, but by our bonds.

WIAN: Those bonds have been frayed by issues such as border security, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, human rights and trade. Especially thorny a dispute over a requirement under the North American Free Trade Agreement that the United States allow Mexican trucks greater access to U.S. highways.

The U.S. Congress ended a pilot program to meet that obligation in March, citing safety concerns. The Mexican government retaliated by imposing $2.4 billion in tariffs on 90 U.S. products, ranging from potatoes, to toothpaste, to Christmas trees. That despite the fact that since Calderon took office in December 2006, the United States trade deficit with Mexico totals more than $162 billion.

Another dispute involves U.S. aid for Mexico's fight against drug cartels. The U.S. is withholding some of that money until Mexico demonstrates that its army is not abusing human rights.


WIAN: Mexico and Canada are also at odds over a Canadian decision to require visas of Mexican travelers because it says too many Mexicans are making bogus claims of political asylum in Canada. All of those disputes would seem to run counter to talk that a North American Union is imminent. Lou?

DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much -- Casey Wian.

Well at that summit the president declared he remains committed to fixing what he called our broken immigration system. The president said he expects to see draft legislation on so-called comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this year. He says he'll take action next year. The president blasted critics of his immigration policies.


OBAMA: There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable.


DOBBS: Well, the president's concern about what he calls demagogues apparently not slowing down in any way his confidence that he will get that done by next year.

Still ahead, much more on the health care showdown. Some Democrats are losing their tempers at town hall meetings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting. You want a meeting with me on health care -- I'll give it to you.


DOBBS: Well there was a Democrat, but where are the Republicans? Where are the Republicans? We'll examine those town hall protests and whether they are quote/unquote "un-American" as top Democratic leadership asserts in our "Face Off" debate right here tonight.

And leftist Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez at it again. He's warning of war with Colombia.


DOBBS: New claims by Venezuela's anti-American President Hugo Chavez that American troops in Colombia are threatening Venezuela. Chavez told his military that the threat from Colombia and the United States is growing. And he urged his armed forces to be prepared for an attack -- Ines Ferre with our report.



INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says a Colombian military vessel crossed into Venezuela while on the Oronoco (ph) River. Even though Colombia denied it Chavez says his country will strike if attacked.

PRES. HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (through translator): The scenario for an attack against Venezuela is being created and we would be obliged if there is a military attack against Venezuela, there would be no alternative but to respond militarily as well.

FERRE: Chavez says a recent agreement that increases U.S. presence at seven Colombian military bases is a threat to his nation. Other Latin American countries have also expressed concern over the deal. Colombia and the U.S. say it is part of their war on drugs. Colombia will be a new U.S. hub for fighting drugs in Latin America.

ROBERT WOOD, STATE DEPT. DEPUTY SPOKESMAN: We said very clearly this should be viewed as nothing more than that. Narcotics trafficking, as you know is a very, very big concern, not only for the United States government, but other governments in the region and around the world.

FERRE: But Chavez isn't convinced. Last week he said Venezuela would buy dozens of Russian tanks to boost its arsenal. Since 2005 Caracas (ph) has signed at least a dozen contracts valued at over $4 billion of Russian weapons. This Latin American expert says Chavez's recent focus on Colombia is part of his bigger plan.

PETER HAKIM, INTER. AMERICAN DIALOGUE: This is very much related to his broader project of sort of disrupting inter-American relations of trying to find ways of keeping the United States off balance in the region, of bolstering his own influence within the region, his own power within his own country. This is all part of Hugo Chavez's I guess very long running show.

FERRE: Hakim adds Chavez may also be diverting attention from accusations that Caracas (ph) is supporting Colombian leftist rebels, a claim Venezuela denies.


FERRE: And over the past decade, the U.S. has provided Colombia with more than $5 billion, mostly in military aid to combat cocaine trafficking and leftist spark rebels. Now when asked about what the U.S. would do if Venezuela picks a fight, the State Department said, quote, "that's just speculation" -- Lou.

DOBBS: All right, Ines, thank you very much -- Ines Ferre.

We have about 250 of our troops in Colombia at the moment. U.S. law limits the number of military and civilian military contractors in Colombia to a maximum of 1,400. They work with the Colombian government, mostly in its battle against drug traffickers.

There is rising opposition in the Senate to a plan by the House lawmakers to spend more than half a billion dollars on new corporate style executive jets. The House of Representatives wants to buy eight Gulfstream and Boeing aircraft to upgrade the fleet of government jets and that would cost the tax payers $550 million, plus operating expenses. The plan was included as part of a defense funding Bill, but the Pentagon says it doesn't need half of those jets. A bipartisan group of senators now says it will oppose funding for the jet aircraft when the legislation is taken up in September.

Still ahead here, angry confrontations over health care -- real or manufactured -- the subject of tonight's "Face Off" debate. And comparing other countries' health care to our own, we continue our series of reports. Tonight a plan considered one of the very best in Europe, a report you will only see here.

And after years of outsourcing jobs overseas, General Electric taking a leadership role creating jobs in this country. We'll tell you why General Electric has had a change of mind and heart.


DOBBS: After years of the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable maintaining an absolute stranglehold on business leadership in this country, one CEO is taking a leadership role and assuring that American jobs will be moving from cheap overseas labor markets back to this country. General Electric creating hundreds of new jobs in this country and GE's CEO Jeffrey Immelt (ph) says it is time the United States return to its manufacturing roots. Brooke Baldwin has our report.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More jobs like these are coming home to America. In Louisville, Kentucky, 420 employees will build energy efficient water heaters. In Sconectity (ph), New York, 350 workers will make the next generation of locomotive batteries. It is all part of General Electric's push to rebuild America's manufacturing base.

JEFFREY IMMELT, CHMN. AND CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: We very much believe that the U.S. has to be an export-oriented country.

BALDWIN: GE's chief executive just outside of Detroit in June announcing the company's plan to build a $100 million, 1,110 employee research center there. Even though GE still has business interest overseas, Immelt issued a U.S. based corporate call to arms.

Quote, "We should set a national goal to create high value-added jobs and have manufacturing jobs be no less than 20 percent of total employment, about twice what it is today. And we should commit ourselves to compete and win with American exports."

Since the recession began, the U.S. has hemorrhaged two million manufacturing jobs and 5.5 million in the last decade. In Louisville's Appliance Park, workers will be building heaters, heaters currently made in China.

JAMES CAMPBELL, CEO, GE CONSUMER AND INDUSTRIAL: Clearly there has been a trend over the last few years to outsource many products as we know. But if you really take a hard look at your operations, if it is a union facility, work closely with the union, or the workers, I think you'll find when everybody works together as a team, you really can make it happen.

BALDWIN: It is a modest move considering this plant once employed 23,000. But economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland says it is a start.

PROF. PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: If you can bring hot water heaters back to America, you certainly can make cars, trucks, boats, planes, anything else here.


BALDWIN: Want to let you know we did reach out to the Business Roundtable and to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to get their take on the direction of manufacturing jobs here in this country, they did not return our phone calls. On the other hand, the National Association of U.S. Manufacturers says GE's move is a good thing and hopefully a sign of more American jobs to come. Lou?

DOBBS: Brooke, thank you very much -- Brooke Baldwin -- quite a development. BALDWIN: Positive news.

DOBBS: Appreciate it. Absolutely. And I guess that's why it is being ignored elsewhere. I'll have plenty of thoughts about keeping jobs in America and General Electric's decision to take a leadership role without getting approval from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

You can hear those thoughts tomorrow on "The Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio Monday through Friday 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 Radio in New York. Around the country go to to get the local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio. And you can follow me on loudobbsnews on

Up next, President Obama using a Bush era tactic to bypass legislation. A tactic of course that he once strongly criticized. Town hall protesters refusing to be silenced in the battle over health care.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It reads like something that was brought up in the early 1930's in Germany.



DOBBS: We'll have a lot more on what top Democrats are calling these protests. And we'll have a special report you won't see anywhere else on television tonight on the Dutch -- the Dutch health care system. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: As Congress and President Obama consider the overhaul of the nation's health care system, we're asking and answering the questions that many in Washington aren't considering, including how satisfied are Americans with the health care system we now have and is there any correlation between satisfaction and life expectancy? Eighty-three percent of Americans are satisfied with the quality of the health care they receive.

Life expectancy at this -- in this country is 78.1 years. That is actually below the average of 79 years in other developed nations. In Denmark, 90 percent are satisfied with their publicly funded system. Life expectancy there just barely, however, more than that in the United States, 78.4 years.

In Germany, 55 percent there are not satisfied with their health care system, but their life expectancy is 79.8 years. Fifty-seven percent of people in the United Kingdom believe their system needs an overhaul and their life expectancy, 78.9 years. In Canada, 70 percent like their system, life expectancy, 80.7 years.

Eighty-four percent of the French satisfied with their health care system, life expectancy, 81 years. Fewer than half of the people in the Netherlands believe their health care system needs fundamental change. That system in fact ranks at the top of a European survey on health care satisfaction. The life expectancy in the Netherlands is 80 years and people in the Netherlands have to buy health insurance because it is the law. Kitty Pilgrim has our report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Dutch reformed their health care system in 2006 and now every person is required by law to purchase health insurance from one of a dozen or so companies. David Helms of a non-profit health policy and research center has studied health systems in the Netherlands, the UK and Germany.

DAVID HELMS, CEO, ACADEMY HEALTH: They clearly have put in place a structure that permits competition among providers. They're opening up a system that was more controlled by government to more competition among the providers.

PILGRIM: The Dutch government makes sure that industry is regulated and fair. Professor Alain Enthoven of Stanford offered the managed competition model the Dutch have embraced.

PROF. ALAN ENTHOVEN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: One of the things the Dutch do that we should do is have standardized coverage contracts so there is no tricky exclusion, no confusion.

PILGRIM: Though the system is based on private insurers, the government makes certain that no one is refused coverage based on age, gender or pre-existing conditions. University of Texas professor Pauline Rosenau has written extensively on the Dutch health care system.

PROF. PAULINE ROSENAU, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Basic health insurance policy that the government, first of all, has an entire department that tells the insurance companies what they have to cover and then sees to it and checks up that they are covering those things.

PILGRIM: 6.5 percent of income goes to health insurance in the Netherlands. Those who cannot afford that have their insurance cost subsidized by the government. The government, through an insurance pool, also compensates insurance companies for signing up people with poor health records or pre-existing conditions. All of this costs less than U.S. health care. The Dutch spend $3,527 a person on health care while the U.S. spends $7,290. It is 9.8 percent of GDP in the Netherlands versus 16 percent in the U.S. there are considerably more doctors per capita in the Netherlands, one for 256, versus 1 for 416 in the United States. A chief strength is the network of family doctors who are deeply familiar with their patients. The commonwealth fund reports in a recent survey 100 percent of people in the Netherlands have a regular doctor. The ultimate selling point, the average Dutch life expectancy is 80 years versus 78 in the United States.


PILGRIM: Now many academics say there is much in the Dutch system that would work here in the United States that is not perfect. The regulated private system does have many benefits and does move away from the current employer based health care model. Senator Ron Widen of Oregon and Republican Robert Bennett of Utah proposed a health care plan that does incorporate many of the features of the Dutch system. Lou?

LOUD DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Kitty. One of the things we're seeing here, we have gone through six nations, looking at the comparisons, we're going to continue that, probably we'll look at 25 systems before this is concluded, this series of special reports. One of the things that must be fascinating to folks is to see that there are nations, I think most Americans think they have the highest life expectancy in the world. I think most Americans, and I'm saying this without any knowledge of any polling on it, I think they also believe that ours is the best and is not as far eschewed in terms of the cost as it obviously is right now.

PILGRIM: Yes. When you do the cost comparisons it interesting to see. It is enlightening to see what works and what doesn't. You have test models out there globally, you can really actually look.

DOBBS: And oddly must have, the national media not focusing upon them and oddly enough neither the Democrats nor the Republicans focusing on them or trying to speak in the public debate about the merits and the deficiencies of each. We have the experience of all of these countries to draw upon, and our legislators and this administration and the administrations before it seemed absolutely intent on ignoring that.

PILGRIM: A lot of lessons to be learned. A lot of information out there and it should be used.

DOBBS: We're going to continue to shed light on all of this and look forward to your doing so tomorrow evening. Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

Tonight we're looking at the personal income tax rates in those countries with those health care systems, public health care systems that we have examined. Five of those six countries have a higher income tax rate than we have in this country. The maximum personal income tax rate in the United States currently is 35 percent. Canada's tax rate is actually below ours, 29 percent. In France, the rate is 40 percent. The United Kingdom tax rate reaching a maximum of 40 percent. The highest tax rate is in Germany, is in Germany, is 45 percent. And the Netherlands income tax rate is 52 percent. And in Denmark, the tax rate there, 59 percent. We'll continue our look at health care systems of other country, public health care systems. Tomorrow we examine the state of health care in Switzerland. The health care debate in this country enflaming passions of both sides, of course. That divide can clearly be seen at these town hall meetings all across the country. Each side claiming the outrage of the other is manufactured. Democratic leaders in congress and the white house in fact trying to marginalize protesters and the Democratic leadership in congress actually calling those protesters un-American. That's a subject of our face-off debate tonight.

Joining me now, Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager of health care for America now. Good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Tony Perkins, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Let's begin if we may, by just looking at -- Tony, let me begin with you. You posted a series of congressional town hall meetings on your website, you provided some questions for people to ask. Is that a fair charge to say that that's manufactured, that's organized from the top down?

PERKINS: I wish we could manufacture the type of energy that is being seen out there across America. I can't even get my air conditioner set at the right temperature. This is organic. Americans are -- they had enough. They're frustrated with the spending. And now they're talking about government taking over health care. What we're simply doing is giving some direction, letting people know where the meetings are, and the questions they ask. We read the legislation. We give them the key points. And we let them do the rest. And quite frankly, Lou, they're doing a great job of it.

DOBBS: Do you actual organizer, coordinators of any kind in that's town hall meetings?

PERKINS: No. We are -- we're putting the information out there across the country in our network of supporters, letting them know where the meetings are, receipting them know where their congressmen and senators stand. But we don't have, unlike others in this debate on the other side, we don't have paid people on the ground, busing people in.

DOBBS: All right Richard. Let me ask you this. Your organization sent out a memo that instruct your supporters, quote, when the other side gets too loud and if we could, I would like to see this on a full screen, please, when the other side gets too loud, we should shut them down with chants that counter their message like health care can't wait and health care delayed is health care denied. And threat people to chant at key points when the other side gets most disruptive. With instructions like that, aren't you behaving precisely in the manner that speaker Pelosi and majority leader Hoyer called un-American?

KIRSCH: Just the opposite. We just said, what you read, when the other side gets disruptive. We would like civil meetings, meetings in which there is no violence. We're seeing the other side hanging congressmen in effigy, drawing devil horns on a congressman, bringing swastikas and frankly --

DOBBS: When you mention the swastika, that's inflammatory and understandably you want to do that. Would you like to describe the swastikas that have been present at one of those meetings, just out of curiosity?

KIRSCH: What a swastika sign looks like.

DOBBS: A pure swastika, wasn't anything else associated with it?

KIRSCH: I'm not sure exactly what it looked like, but those are the kind of things we saw and we're still seeing people basically inciting being violence. We don't want that. We want civil discourse. That's what we're looking for. That's an American discussion to have real town meeting, real discussion, to listen, not of lies, not of distortion. The other side is disrupting and being violent, and threatening people, we need to make it clear that our voice is heard.

PERKINS: That's just not true. While there may be some individuals and we would -- we are very clear, Lou, in the correspondence we have with people that we should be respectful of those in office and we do want to have a dialogue. What we have suggested is return it back to the issue of the legislation. The black and white legislation. That's what has people so upset, Lou. It is not -- the other side wants to talk about health care now. Okay, let's talk about health care now. Let's talk about what's in hr-3 200. Let's talk about the concerns people have about denying them care, delaying that care. Let's talk about taxpayer funded abortion. Let's talk about the government taking over health care. That's what's in the bill. That's why so many Democratic congressmen are not having town hall meetings. They're afraid to face their constituents.

DOBBS: Richard Kirsch?

KIRSCH: That's exactly what I mean, lie and distortions about the bill. It is not government takeover of health care, it is stopping insurance companies from delaying care and denying care. The report you had on, Lou, about the Netherlands where the government basically said or the Dutch about regulating insurance companies so they have rules, they have to provide decent benefits so they can't deny and delay, that's what we're talking about.

PERKINS: With the tax rate of 52 percent.

KIRSCH: We have a country in which every 30 seconds someone goes bankrupt from health care in which health care premiums are rising three times as fast as wages, in which we can't afford the health care insurance, the health insurance companies $690 million of salaries to their CEOs. We have to fix that and provide good health care to this country.

PERKINS: You're absolutely right. And we agree that health care should be accessible and afford ob able to every American. We're saying that government takeover of health care is not the solution. And that's why Americans are responding the way they r they don't want the health care with the empathy of the IRS or the efficiency of FEMA.

KIRSCH: There is no government takeover of anything of this legislation. PERKINS: That's exactly what it is. The government, through its exchanges, defines what the benefits are, they will control what benefits people have.

KIRSCH: And that's the point to be sure that people actually have good benefits.

PERKINS: People don't want the government to --

KIRSCH: They actually do --

DOBBS: I have to say thank you very much for being with us, Richard and thank you Tony. Gentlemen, we appreciate it.

Up next, another broken promise. President Obama using a Bush era tactic, he said he wouldn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a coordinated campaign by the Republican Party and the insurance industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In spite of the loud, shrill voices trying to interrupt counsel hall meetings --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is clearly being orchestrated and these folks have instructions.

DOBBS: Democrats even calling town hall protesters un-American. Where are the Republicans in all of this? And a powerful typhoon topping a hotel in Taiwan. Hundreds upon hundreds injured. We'll have the very latest.


DOBBS: Joining me tonight from Washington, Republican strategist Rich Galen and here in New York, columnist for "The New York Daily News," CNN contributor Errol Lewis, democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hank Sheinkopf. Great to have you all here.

The health care debacle, house Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer wrote in an op-ed today says drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. What do you think? Un-American, those are words that -- I mean, that's an expression we don't often hear.

HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is like red baiting. It's another way to stifle some kind of dissent. Are there people being paid to create disturbances, sure. Are there people, average Americans creating their own disturbs, absolutely. Are people concerned, you bet? But to label the entire movement opposed to this kind of health care or we don't know what it is as being construed by others is not appropriate nor right.

ERROL LOUIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: This is the mirror image of the deionization that was going on and has been going on throughout the campaign last year. When you try to write your opponent out of the mainstream, make them beyond the pale and say that they're not just wrong, but they're wrong headed, that they're not part of the debate, they shouldn't be part of the debate, Pelosi, by sort of stooping to that tactic, I think, really sort of loses whatever high ground they might have had. Some of the disruptions that really were appalling, I think, are going to start to look like six of one, half a dozen of the other.

DOBBS: Rich?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't understand why the white house and now the Democrats in the house have taken this tack. As a political hack, I just don't understand it. They're just -- they keep raising the level of the gas flame under this thing and that's right, they just got to keep making it hotter and hotter. I don't understand it. I thought that actually what Dingell did yesterday for the most part was the right way to handle it. He let everybody blow off steam, he's 83 years old, he's heard it all, seen it all and let everybody have their say and then he talked about what he wanted to talk about and off they went. I think that's the right approach. I don't understand why the white house and at least the house has decided that they want to go to war with frankly -- these are protesters protesting, you know, these are the folks there in the '60s, now in the '60s, now all in our 60s.

DOBBS: As you say, Rich, we encounter Congressman Hoyer, Congresswoman Pelosi, President Obama, Robert Gibbs, his spokesperson, here is senator Claire McCaskill out there, this woman is encouraging these town hall meetings, taking on all comers and any part of the state of Missouri, I think that's exemplary, what is the big deal here?

SHEINKOPF: I have to agree with you, Lou. Democracy is an endless meeting when you discussion and some heat and noise. Sometimes you have democracy. When you have hidden gathers and people don't have discussions, that's not democracy. What that is congratulating politicians for doing things that they may not, should not and probably might not have done had someone been looking, different issue.

DOBBS: An entirely different take, Errol, this president has had demanded as of last Friday the house and the senate pass something that is unshaped, unmarked, and unscored. And wanted that to be policy for six of the nation's of the economy, for all of Americans, and against that, we also have now the leadership and the house saying you're un-American to oppose it. My god what's going on?

LOUIS: The un-American part was, you know, to shout people down, to stop the conversation is un-American which I would agree with. I think the president is doing what he --

DOBBS: Un-American?

LOUIS: Absolutely. To shut down a debate, that's just wrong. It is just wrong. But what the president --

DOBBS: You agree with what Pelosi and Hoyer said?

LOUIS: The words in the article were to shut down debate, to use those kind of disruptive tactics to try and stop the debate from going forward is wrong. It is just wrong. You call it un-American, you call it whatever you want. It needs to be denounced you can't have people tarred and feathered in effigy outside of their office. That's not the way to conduct this debate. You can't have union guys beating up somebody in the parking lot at a town hall meeting. It just isn't going to fly.

DOBBS: Is that un-American?

LOUIS: Yeah. Wrong. Un-American, absolutely.

DOBBS: We're going to be back --

LOUIS: Unacceptable.

DOBBS: We're going to be back with a number of questions for our panel and get their viewpoints. First, Brooke Baldwin with an update on other stories tonight.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, divers have found the wreckage of that plane involved in a midair collision over the Hudson River. And they say one of the two missing bodies is inside. The plane collided with a sight-seeing helicopter on Saturday afternoon, killing nine people.

In Hollywood, Florida, beachgoers tried to rescue a mother whale and her calf. They became beached. Crowds of people jumped in to push the whales into deeper water but the mother whale did die and the calf had to be euthanized because it was too tongue to survi young to live on its own. Storm toppled buildings, triggered mud slides and dangerous flooding. Heavy rainfall washed out bridges and roads, limiting rescue efforts in some of the areas. Helicopters rescued to manage 100 villagers. Hundreds more may be missing. Those are the stories we're staying on top of.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Brooke.

Coming up, much more with our panel and Secretary of State Clinton making it very clear who's in charge at the state department.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state. I am.

DOBBS: We'll have much more on what sparked the secretary's response here next.


DOBBS: We're back with our panel. I'd like, if I may, this is Congressman David Scott responding to a doctor that just asked him about health care at one of his constituent meetings.

REP. DAVID SCOTT (D), GEORGIA: Not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting. You want a meeting with me on health care? I'll give it to you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is --

DOBBS: That's Congressman Scott yelling at the doctor there who happens to be a constituent who he mistaked for an Astroturf manipulator operative. Was he being un-American?

LOUIS: It was a perfectly good speech by the congressman of outrage. It was unfortunately wasted on somebody it didn't apply to. I want to be fair to the congressman, this was not a meeting about health care. He felt like people were popping up and trying to take him off the topic.

DOBBS: I just asked you. You just said it was un-American to do that. He just did it. Shut him down. It was shutting down the --

LOUIS: If you play more of it --

DOBBS: Could this be a little bit of a touchy game, doesn't it? This un-American stuff.

GALEN: It's not a phrase I would use. I would use wrong. That was at the end of the meeting. Congressman had covered everything he wanted to cover. That was at the end of the meeting. So it wasn't hijacking anything in the middle.

DOBBS: Hank, let's wrap it up with the president and Guadalajara, Mexico, saying this nation in the 21st century is not defined by its borders but we're not going to be doing health -- we're not going to be doing so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

SHEINKOPF: Tell that to the family of the border patrol agent killed on those borders. Drug trafficking increasing. Drug gangs in action. Get ready to hit the Mexican border. We could have the same kind of problems again.

DOBBS: Hank, thank you very much. Errol, thank you. Rich, thank you. We appreciate it.

GALEN: Nice to be with you.

DOBBS: Secretary of State Clinton today responding sharply to a mistranslated question as it turns out at a meeting in Congo. A translator asked what her husband, Bill Clinton thought about communist china's offer of aid to Congo.

CLINTON: You want to tell me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion, I will till you my opinion. I'm not going to be channeling my husband.

DOBBS: The questioner meant to ask or the translator mistranslated the question to mean President Obama as the reaction to the Chinese offer rather than President Clinton. It was straightened out by the secretary as you witnessed.

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


We're going to have the story of those 47 passengers who were stuck overnight on a parked airline. What was the airline thinking? Whatever happened to passengers' rights here? We're going to speak to one of the people trapped on the plane.

More on the town hall meetings turning into showdowns over the president's health care plan. A health care fact check for you tonight.

We all know working out is good for you, right? Does it actually help you lose weight? Is that a myth? We're going to have answers on that front as well.

DOBBS: I'll be focused intently. Campbell thanks. Campbell Brown.


DOBBS: Time for some of your thoughts.

Patricia in Nevada said, "Let's make a deal. Americans will consider the possibility of health care reform as soon as our government officials prove they can successfully run Medicare and social security."

Charlie in Florida said, "Lou, I've already e-mailed and called all of my representatives in Washington. I am shocked that people are not out on the streets protesting this health disaster bill."

Sandra in Massachusetts, "If we live in one of the richest countries in the world, how is it that we the people can't afford to live here?"

And Casey in Texas, "Hi, Lou. Thanks for looking out for the fair, honest hard working Americans." We try.

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts to Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book.

Join me on the radio 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. WOR 710 radio in New York. Go to to get the local listings. Follow me on "Lou Dobbs news" on We hope you do.

For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. Here's Campbell Brown.