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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Obama: Days of America Acting Alone Over; Sanctioning Iran?; CBO Corrects Obama

Aired September 23, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Thank you, Wolf.

We are the world, according to President Obama who tells the United Nations to step up and stand together. He also says the days of America acting alone have ended.

Also, Senate Democrats pushing health care legislation and pushing hard. Republicans say too hard and too quick. They want more time to make it right.

And a brazen border crashing -- police open fire on three vans packed with illegal immigrants trying to ram their way across the border.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; news, debate and analysis for Wednesday, September 23rd. Live from New York, Mr. Independent Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. President Obama applying his campaign catch phrase to create a new world order -- in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama challenged foreign leaders to step up and confront the wide array of global challenges -- nuclear weapons, terrorism, Mideast peace, and climate change, the list long. He called it a new era of engagement and freely admitted it's a move away from the go-it alone style of his predecessor.

President Obama also brought up the issue of his personal popularity, despite referring to "I" and to "me" almost 50 times during his speech. He insisted his presidency is not about me. Dan Lothian has our report.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is President Obama's global embrace. Urging world leaders to build new coalitions and bridge old divides.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero sum gain. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.

LOTHIAN: A new tone even as Mr. Obama made clear he will never apologize for defending U.S. interests. For leaders who still have doubts, the president offered up a progress report, after only nine months in office. OBAMA: In Iraq, we are responsibly ending a war. I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. I appointed a special envoy for Middle East peace. I prohibited without exception or equivocation the use of torture by the United States of America.

LOTHIAN: But the president says global challenges require a global response. This push comes as Mr. Obama is enjoying high marks from the European Union, plus Turkey for how he's dealt with issues abroad. In a poll conducted by the non-profit German Marshall Fund of the U.S., 77 percent of those questioned over two months this summer said they approve of his handling of international affairs. Only 19 percent backed former President Bush in 2008. But experts warn popularity alone won't translate into blind approval of everything the president wants from the global community.

JON ALTERMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Although there's a general sense of relief that there's a new tone, a NEW respectfulness coming out of the United States, a desire for the president to succeed, but not a felt need to help the president succeed.


LOTHIAN: The president said very little about Afghanistan in his speech today but behind the scenes, his administration continues to reassess its Afghan plan, but many overseas are questioning the U.S. strategy. That poll we just mentioned, nearly two-thirds of Europeans are pessimistic that the situation in Afghanistan will be stabilized. And the prevailing view in -- is that their troop numbers should be reduced or forces completely withdrawn.

DOBBS: And of course, this is the president who within a matter of -- a very short matter of time raised the number of troops, American troops, in Afghanistan. And is there any idea right now at all at the White House when he's going to make a decision about what to do about General McChrystal's recommendations and call for a new strategy?

LOTHIAN: We don't know at all. I mean the thinking is that it will come in a number of weeks. But as you point out, clearly, the president has put additional troops into Afghanistan. McChrystal saying that at least there is a need for more troops in order to win in Afghanistan. But that request, at least according to the White House, has not yet been made.

DOBBS: All right, thank you very much, Dan, as always -- Dan Lothian.

Well what a difference a few months make -- according to a new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC poll, now 46 percent of all independent voters in this country disapprove of the president's job performance. That's a hefty eight-point swing since just July. The numbers are troubling to the White House because it is the independents who helped Mr. Obama win the White House and gave Democrats control of both houses of Congress -- concerns about government spending, the economy and health care recommendations all cited by independents expressing disapproval of the president's job performance.

Usually, Fidel Castro does not have a lot of good things to say about American presidents. But the old communist liked what he heard at the United Nations yesterday and said President Obama is brave for calling out America and other rich nations to take responsibility for climate change. Castro said that, quote, "it would be only fair to recognize that no other American president would have had the courage to say what he said." Travel restrictions to Cuba have been relaxed, but the president hasn't lifted the 47-year long embargo of Cuba.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to speak at the General Assembly at just about any moment and we'll be bringing that for you live as soon as it begins. Hundreds of people are camped out outside the United Nations today, protesting the Iranian president, as he prepares to give his address to the General Assembly. Many of those demonstrators upset about his contested re-election, allegations of human rights abuses and election fraud.

Those protests not confined to the streets, by the way. The Canadian government is citing a moral compass as its reason that its representatives will be boycotting Ahmadinejad's United Nations speech tonight. We should point out that Dr. Fernandez Reyna, the president of the Dominican Republic is giving his speech right now, expected to last some 15 to 20 minutes. That's the typical expectations. We'll see whether he and of course Ahmadinejad himself live up to that 15 to 20-minute time frame.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today signaled his country could now be ready to support international sanctions against Iran should it not drop its nuclear plans -- after a meeting with President Obama Medvedev said that sanctions may be inevitable -- joining us now senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Candy, this is a major step, if indeed it turns out to be -- well, actionable, it would be a major step for the Russians and the relationship between Russia and the United States, would it not?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It would, indeed. You know, I was talking to a foreign policy expert when the Russian president said what he said about sanctions. And the full quote was "sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases are inevitable." And I asked the foreign policy expert what he thought, he burst out laughing and he said it's so Delphic. It's so Russian.

But the fact of the matter is he saw it as huge progress because as we know, Russia has a close relationship with Iran. Many presidents have pushed Russia for help with Iran to back it off its nuclear ambitions and have not succeeded. So this is major for the president, he needed it. And we remember that it also comes on the heels of the president dumping the missile shield, the European missile shield, which Russia didn't want to have carried out, so this may be a tit for tat, but it is -- it is huge if Russia, indeed, at some point would join in sanctions.

DOBBS: If they would indeed join in sanctions and while always it is denied that a quid pro quo was the basis for any change in foreign policy, it would be -- it looks clearly to be that again, if it turns out to be actionable on the part of the Russians?

CROWLEY: It does and I think that the administration would have very little problem with that. Now it argued on the merits when it said look we're dumping the missile shield program because we need one more, and we need to concentrate more on Iran. But nonetheless, I mean it obviously is something that pleased the Russians that they had so often complained to the U.S. about.

So it is -- even if the U.S. didn't intend it as an olive branch. They certainly knew it would be an olive branch to the Russians. And the Russians certainly knew that perhaps it would have to give something back. But I should add, the Russian president didn't actually say they'd join in. He just sort of said, well, sometimes, they're necessary, so it's sort of a leap from that to OK, we join in, but it's a lot bigger leap to even say what he said today.

DOBBS: Occasionally, it appears the Russians aren't the only ones capable of being Delphic. Candy, let me ask you -- the president is taking on -- obviously an ambitious international agenda here. This has immense potential to enhance his standing, should he succeed. Is there also an immense risk, should he fail?

CROWLEY: Sure, there's a huge risk. And I think you saw it in some of that polling from Europe that you were looking at. And that is, here is a president who goes on this huge international stage. And by the way, we've heard him say this before on other -- in other international venues, saying I'm not George Bush -- these weren't his -- an exact quote obviously, but that's the message...


CROWLEY: I am about reaching out. I am about having everyone participate and we're all going to collaborate in these things. And we need you all to step up. If they don't step out, if that outreach hand that he talked about in his inauguration, that he talked about during his campaign is met with nothing that becomes a rejection of this kind of foreign policy. I mean if you say to the Germans and if you say to the French, we want to be partners. We want to bring you in on all of this. And then the Germans and the French don't pony up troops for Afghanistan what does that say?

DOBBS: As it appears they are not, by the way?


CROWLEY: It does appear they are not. So I mean there are many, many things that could go wrong, but there are many things that could go right. And again, when I was talking around today on the phone, a number of foreign policy experts said to me, you know, there are so many balls in the air out there in terms of foreign policy. And some of these things may well work and that's where the president will be focusing his time. Now will it work in Middle East peace, who knows? But there's a huge risk that he comes up empty handed, but he does have three more years in his term. DOBBS: And he would certainly not be the first president to come up empty handed in the Middle East.


DOBBS: Thank you very much, Candy -- Candy Crowley.


DOBBS: Well blaming the Media, another White House official now saying talk radio and cable news, the reason nothing is being accomplished in the nation's capital. We'll be examining that.

Also, fuzzy math -- nothing new there -- the Congressional Budget Office, however, says again the president's representation of health care numbers simply don't add up. Who's misrepresenting what here? And what is the rush?

Democrats trying to ram a health care bill through, but they're leaving out a key consideration -- time to read the bill and some idea perhaps of what it might cost. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Senate Democrats working hard tonight to try to push a health care bill through committee. But Republicans say they want time to actually read the bill. They're recommending Democrats do the same. And they're demanding to know why the Democrats are in such a rush with such important legislation -- Dana Bash with our report from Capitol Hill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I want to know what the final...

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What could possibly get the normally subdued Olympia Snowe this fired up?

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: I want to do my job and our job is to sit here and do it as long as it takes.

BASH: The Republican senator, just about the only one Democrats hope to lure on health care, is siding with her GOP colleagues in their bid to slow things down.

SNOWE: People in this country are rightfully worried as to whether or not we can possibly get this right.

BASH: Republicans spent two hours pushing for a guarantee that they get three days to read the official health care legislation and know its cost before the final committee vote.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I've heard a lot of discussion at town hall meetings and elsewhere. People mad about Congress voting on things that we haven't even read.

BASH: The Democratic finance chairman called it a delaying tactic.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), MONTANA: The fact of this amendment will be this, that after we have completed action on the bill here, we have to wait another two to three weeks before we can vote on it.

BASH: Democrats eventually defeated Republicans on that issue and GOP senators turned to another flash point, arguing nearly $500 billion in savings in cuts in Medicare to pay for reform would reduce senior's benefits.

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: What senior wouldn't be concerned that cutting over $210 billion, by cutting payments to hospitals and nursing homes and home health and Hospice might not adversely affect their care.

BASH: The chairman insisted his plan help seniors by lowering overall health care costs and blocked several GOP attempts to stop cuts in Medicare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a debatable motion, Mr. Chairman?


BASH: But Republicans showed no sign of letting up, seizing on testimony from the Congressional Budget Office that seniors in managed care plans, Medicare Advantage, could lose benefits.

DOUG ELMENDORF, DIR., CBO: It will be a reduction of roughly 2.7 million people or 20 percent of the enrollment that we project under current law.


BASH: And that seems to contradict repeated assurances from President Obama and even Vice President Biden just today that seniors would not see cuts in their Medicare benefits. And Lou, that is getting some Democrats pretty worried, particularly the Democrats that the finance chairman needs to pass this, they're very worried that this could really hurt them with seniors back home.

DOBBS: One wonders how it could not. So if the chairman, Senator Baucus in effect here Dana -- not in effect, straightforwardly overruling the issue of providing committee members with a reliable cost number for the legislation he's asking them to vote for and approve. He is denying them time to read the legislation, because they'll have time after they pass it to read it, which is one of the more interesting ways in which to look at this sort of thing. Then we have the issue of seniors who are straightforwardly by the mathematics provided by the senator's proposal the Baucus/Obama initiative here would cut about a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare.


DOBBS: I mean and now we have also the Congressional Budget Office today weighing in and saying that the president has been wrong on efficiency, on being deficit neutral, on the effectiveness of preventive care and its cost. And now saying that indeed 2.7 million Americans by their estimate will leave Medicare Advantage, thereby enforcing precisely what Humana and other health care companies have been saying to seniors that this legislation threatens their care. What's going on?

BASH: And that landed with a big thud in this room, when it happened -- it actually happened late last night, Lou. And look, what we're going to see in the next couple of days are Democrats, particularly, one Democrat, the senator from Florida, trying to restore some of those cuts to Medicare -- in particular, on the Medicare Advantage program.

And if I'm clear -- if he's going to succeed in doing that, because that's going to cost some money and the whole goal of the Democratic chairman here is to keep the cost down. So if he is successful perhaps he will be, you know, a guaranteed vote. If he's not, you know, this could be a sign that perhaps this is in trouble with regard to getting those Democratic votes. It's 13-10. That's the ratio of this committee, 13-10. So Senator Max Baucus can't afford to lose more than a couple of Democrats if he wants to pass this.

DOBBS: Well, is he correct to infer that if Olympia Snowe, one of the most liberal Republicans in the United States Senate is this agitated and this animated over not having time to actually know what is going on in this legislation and to have some sense of the cost, one would think that there would be some Democrats as well concerned?

BASH: Absolutely. There would be. You know what Senator Baucus did is he passed what he hoped would be kind of a compromise, which simply said that he would give the senators time to -- enough time to digest information, at least initial, preliminary cost numbers from the Congressional Budget Office before they vote on that. But as you heard very clearly and very surprisingly, in terms of her tone and how agitated she was, Senator Snowe, who of course is a very key member of this committee, probably one of the most powerful senators in the Senate right now, she said (INAUDIBLE) that's not enough for me.

DOBBS: Yeah. All right, Dana, as always, thank you very much -- Dana Bash covering this Medicare -- this health care legislation -- obviously very carefully there, Senator Max Baucus' finance committee leading the way for the Obama administration. Thank you very much, Dana.

Lawmakers and some of this country's insurers today incensed about what they see as a White House attempt to control information about possible Medicare cuts. The White House yesterday in fact warned insurers and health care companies they could face legal action if they spread what the White House calls misinformation about the health care bill. Kitty Pilgrim has our report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reassuring words from the president that Medicare benefits would not be cut.

OBAMA: So don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut.

PILGRIM: That's not quite how the head of the Congressional Budget Office sees it. Director Douglas Elmendorf testified the proposed Senate bill would cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans by more than $100 billion over 10 years. Medicare Advantage is a private plan that covers more than 10 million people. A trade group for 300,000 small insurers is concerned by the CBO testimony.

CHARLES SYMINGTON, INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS: If you cut too deeply, then that could push folks off the role. It's not only a matter of pushing folks off the Medicare Advantage roles, even those remaining beneficiaries, they may experience some negative impacts to their coverage's.

PILGRIM: The White House says Medicare Advantage plans will still be paid more than traditional Medicare plans, but the cuts will encourage efficiency. Insurers are angry because the night before the bill markup, the government Medicaid office instructed them to cease sending what it called misleading and confusing information about the bill to clients.

"We are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings", it said, and threatened compliance and enforcement actions. "We believe that such communications are potentially contrary to federal regulations", the Medicaid office said. Insurers are describing the instruction as a gag order. One trade group estimates it went to 200 Medicare health plan companies.

ROBERT ZIRKELBACH, AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS: Health plans across the country are now being forced to stop communicating with seniors at a time when members of Congress are considering legislation that will drastically impact the coverage that these very seniors rely on.

PILGRIM: Humana, the fourth largest health insurer, which received the memo issued this statement. "We also believe Medicare Advantage members deserve to know the impact that the funding cuts of the magnitude being discussed would have on benefits and premiums."


PILGRIM: Humana said they that they had complied with the memo. They had taken the information about the proposed legislation off of their Web site. In committee today, Senator Kyl was wondering why proposed legislation to seniors would be considered a problem by the government agency. Lou?

DOBBS: Well and why would any White House be effectively trying to curtail First Amendment rights of any corporation?

PILGRIM: That was (INAUDIBLE) great discussion (INAUDIBLE).

DOBBS: And as we've just documented here, the five major corrections by the Congressional Budget Office for misrepresentation and the contradictions have all been directed at the administration and the president for his statements, rather than Humana or any other health care company in this national dialogue, which apparently some people would like to constrain. Kitty, thank you very much.

Well it is certainly not the first time the Congressional Budget Office has corrected the president. The CBO disputed a promise by the president about the impact of his health care plan and the deficit.


OBAMA: I said I won't sign a bill that adds to the deficit or the national debt.


DOBBS: While in fact, the CBO, the non-partisan CBO said health care legislation would actually raise the federal budget deficit by $239 billion over 10 years. Then there's the estimate of the cost itself.


OBAMA: It's been estimated to cost somewhere between let's say 800 billion...


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

DOBBS: That number of course also disputed. And at the General Assembly, as you see there, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is about to address the U.N. General Assembly, just days ago, speaking in Iran. Let's listen in.

PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (through translator): ... and Prophet Mohammed and his pure household and his noble companions. Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam Al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.

President, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I thank Almighty God for granting me, once again, the opportunity to address this important international forum. I wish at the outset to begin by congratulating you for having assumed the presidency of the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly and wish every success in your efforts.

I also extend my thanks to his Excellency Mr. Miguel d'Escoto, president of the 63rd session of the General Assembly for his excellent stewardship and work during his term. Dear colleagues, over the past four years I have spoken about the main challenges facing our world.

I have discussed the risks and underlying causes of these challenges and the need for world powers to review their outlook and work out new mechanisms to address the pressing international problems before us. I have talked about the two conflicting outlooks prevailing in our world. One that is based on the dominance -- predominance of its materialistic interest who is spreading in equality and oppression, poverty and deprivation, aggression, occupation and deception and tends to bring the entire world under its control and impose its will on other nations. This outlook has produced nothing but frustration, disappointment, and a dark future for the entire humanity.

The other outlook is the one that espouses with belief and the oneness of the Almighty God follows the teaching of his messengers, respects human dignity and seeks to build a secure world for all members of the human community, in which everybody can equally enjoy the blessings of sustainable peace and spirituality.

This latter is an outlook that respects all human beings, nations and valuable cultures. In defiance of all types of discrimination in the world and commits itself into a constant fight to promote equality for all, before the law, on the basis of justice and paternity, laying a solid foundation to guarantee equal access for all human beings in their quest to excel in knowledge and in science.

I have laid emphasis time and again on the need to make fundamental changes in the current outlook on the world and mankind in order to be able to create a brighter tomorrow. Friends and colleagues, today I wish to share with you a few points about the changes that should take place.

First, clearly the continuation of the current circumstances in the world is impossible. Current inequitable and unfavorable conditions run counter to the very nature of human kind and move in a direction which contravenes the truth and the goal behind the creation of the world. It is no longer possible to inject thousands of billions of dollars of unreal wealth to the world economy simply by printing worthless paper assets or transferring inflation, as well as social and economic problems to others through creating severe budget deficits.

The engine of unbridled capitalism with its unfair system of thought has reached the end of the road and is unable to move. The era of capitalist thinking and the imposition of one's thoughts on the international community intended to dominate the world in the name of globalization and the age of setting up empires is over. It is no longer possible to humiliate nations and impose double standards on the world community.

It is necessary to de-legitimatize and reject any approach which views the realization of the interests of certain powers as the only measurement of democracy and uses despicable forms of intimidation and deceit in the name of freedom or democratic practice and approaches that allow dictators to be portrayed as Democrats lack legitimacy and should be rejected. The time has come to an end for those who define democracy and freedom and set standards while they themselves are the first who violated fundamental principles. They can no longer be both in fact the judge and the executor. And challenge real democratically established government.

So, I'd like to say again, that the time has passed for a group of people to believe that they alone can define concepts such as democracy and freedom. And hold up the criteria for these definitions, while simultaneously violating the very principles to which they aspire.

Governments can continue which are based on the rule of people. The wakening of nations and the expansion of freedom worldwide will no longer allow others to continue their hypocrisy and vicious attitudes. Because of these reasons, most nations, including the people of the United States, are waiting for real and profound changes. They have welcomed and will continue to welcome changes.

How can one imagine that they the inhumane policies in Palestine may continue? To force the entire population of a country out of their homeland for more than 60 years by resorting to force coercion, to attack them with all types of arms and at times even prohibited weapons, to deny them their legitimate right to self-defend.

While much to the surprise of the international community, calling the occupiers peace lovers, and portraying victims as terrorists, how can the crime of the occupiers against defenseless women and children, and the destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments. And at the same time, the oppressed men and women be subjected to the heaviest economic blockade which denies their basic needs, food, water and medicine and leads to genocide. They are not allowed to rebuild their homes even, which were destroyed during the 22-day barbaric attacks carried out by the Zionist regime as winter was approaching, whereas their supporters deceitfully continued their rhetoric in defense of human lives, in order to put others under pressure.

It is unacceptable that a small minority should dominate the politics, economy and culture of vast parts of the world through a complicated network. And establish a new form, in fact, of slavery. And harm the reputation of other nations, even European nations and the United States to sustain its racist ambition. It is not acceptable that some who are several thousands of kilometers away from the middle east should send in troops for military intervention and for spreading war, bloodshed, aggression, terror and intimidation in the middle east. In our region, while blaming the protest of nations within the region that are concerned about their fate and their national security, as a move against peace and as interference in others' affairs.

Such perspectives are baffling, look at the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is no longer possible to bring the country under military occupation in the name of fighting terrorism or drug trafficking while the production of illicit drugs has multiplied. Terrorism has widened its dimension and has tightened its grips. Thousands of people have been killed, injured or displaced. Infrastructure has been destroyed and regional security has been seriously jeopardized. And those who created the disaster situation continue to blame others.

How can you speak of friendship and solidarity with other nations while you expand your military bases in different parts of the world, including in Latin America? This situation cannot continue. It is all the more impossible to advance expansionist and inhuman policies on the basis of materialistic logic. The logic of coercion, and intimidation will produce dire consequences, exacerbating the present global problems.

It is not acceptable that the military budget of some governments exceeds far larger those of the entire countries of the world. There are those who export billions of dollars of arms annually. Stockpile economical and biological weapons, as well as nuclear weapons. Establish military bases or have military presence in other countries, while accusing others of militarism and mobilize all their resources in the world to impede the scientific and technological progress of other nations under the pretext of countering arms proliferation. It is not acceptable that the united nations and the security council whose decision should represent all nations in government through applying Democratic measures of decision making, popular methods of decision making, be dominated by few government who seek to serve their own interests. Principally, in a world where culture, ideas and public opinion should be the only determining factor, the continuation of the present situation is impossible and fundamental changes seem to be unavoidable. We seek to establish a new system, a new world system.

Second, any change must be structural, theoretical and practical, involving all domains of life. Outdated mechanisms which themselves were instrumental in and the root cause for present problems in human societies can never be used to bring change. And create our desired world. Liberalism and capitalism, specially of the nature that seeks to dominate the world, and alienates human beings from heavenly and moral values will never be happiness for humanity because they are the main source of all misfortune, wars poverty, and deprivation.

We have all seen the inequitable economic structures controlled by certain political interest groups were used to plunder national wealth of countries, simply for the benefit of a group of corrupt businesses. Present structures, therefore, are incapable of reforming the challenges before us. The political and economic structures created after World War II that were based on the intentions to dominate the world, in brief, fail to promote justice and lasting security. Rulers whose hearts do not beat for the love of human kind and who sacrifice the spirit of justice in their minds never can offer the promise of peace and friendship to humanity.

By the grace of god, Marxism is gone. It is now history. And the unhindered expansion of capitalism, too, will certainly have the same fate. Because based on the divine traditions referred to as a principle in the Holy Koran, the wrong is like a bubble on the surface of the water, and it will disappear. There remains only that which can be used forever, towards the interest of human society. We must be there for all to remain vigilant to promote the colonialism and you the pretext of slogan for change or any new format. The world needs to undergo fundamental changes. And all must engage collectively to make them happen in their right way. And through such effort, no one and no government would consider itself an exception to change or superior to others. And try to enclose its will on others by proclaiming world leadership. Third, all problems that exist in our world today emanate from the fact that rulers have distanced themselves from human values, morality and the teachings of divine messengers. Regrettably, in the current state of internationalism, insatiable greed has taken the place of love, sacrifice, dignity and justice. The belief in the one god has been replaced with self-belief. Some have taken the place of god and insist to impose their values and wishes on others. Lives have taken the place of honesty. Hypocrisy has replaced integrity, and selfishness has taken the place of sacrifice. Deception and interaction is called foresight these days and statesmanship. Noting the wealth of other nations as, quote, development effort. Occupation is introduced to as gift between freedom and democracy. And defenseless nations are subjected to repression in the name of defending human rights.

Friends and colleagues, the resolution of global problems and the administration of justice and the maintenance of peace will only be materialized through collective determination and cooperation of all nations and states. The time to polarize the world on the premise of hegemony or domination of a few governments is over. Today, we must rise together through collective commitment against the present challenges. We must take change seriously and help others through collective work to return to basic moral and human values.

Messengers were sent by god to show the light of the truth to mankind. They came to make people aware of their individual and social obligations. Piety having faith in Allah and its judgment of human behavior and the next world, belief in the primacy justice in both lives, seeking one's happiness and well-being and security and the happiness, well being and security of others, respecting human kind, making efforts to expand love and compassion, against hostility were all on top of the teachings offered by the messengers of god. The divine messengers from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and the last prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon all of them. All of them came to eliminate war and ignorance, to eradicate poverty and uproot discrimination in order to spread happiness in the entire world. They are the best gifts that god almighty has granted to human beings. It's the belief in the czar, or in other words, awaiting patiently for the justice -- for justice to be returned to earth, will turn into a common goal and we join hands to achieve prosperity for all. Then there will be more real and increasing hope for reform.

Fourth, in my opinion, we have several important agendas before us. The secretary-general and the United Nations General Assembly can take the lead by undertaking necessary measures for the fulfillment of our shared goals on the basis of the following. One, restructuring the United Nations in order to transform this world body into an efficient and truly Democratic organization, capable of playing an impartial, equitable and effective role in international relations, reforming the structure of the Security Council, especially by abolishing the discriminatory privilege of the veto rights, restoring the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by organizing the referendum and free elections in Palestine, in order to prepare a conducive environment for all Palestinians, including, Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together in peace and harmony putting an end to all types of interference in the affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the middle east, all countries, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

My friends, as our great prophet said, a government may survive with blasphemy but never with oppression. Oppression, against Palestinians and the violation of their rights still continue. A new group of Palestinians who live in al Sharif were again forced out of their homes as the destruction of their residential homes continues by the occupiers. Bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not yet stopped. And the Guantanamo prison has not yet been shut down. And there are still secret prisons in Europe. The continuation of the present situation adds to hostilities and violence, oppression and military aggression must be stopped. Regrettably, official reports concerning the brutality of the Zionist regime in Gaza have not all been published. The secretary-general and the United Nations have crucial responsibilities in this respect. And the international community is impatiently waiting for the punishment of the oppressors and the murderers of the defenseless people of Gaza.

Two, reforming the economic structures and setting up a new international economic order based on human and moral values and obligations. A new course is needed, in fact, that would help promote justice and progress worldwide, by flourishing the potentials and talents of all nations, best bringing well-being for all and for future generations.

Three, reforming the international political relations based on the promotion of lasting peace and friendship, eradication of arms race and elimination of all nuclear chemical and biological weapons, to pave the way for all nations to have access to advance and peaceful technology for the advancement of human beings.

Four, reforming cultural structures. Respect for costs and traditions of all nations, fostering moral values and spirituality aimed at strengthening the institution of a warm family which is the back bone of all human society.

Five, worldwide efforts to protect the environment and full observance of the international agreements and arrangements to prevent the annihilation of nature's nonrenewable resources.

Fifth, our nation has successfully gone through a glorious and fully Democratic election opening a new chapter for our country, in the march towards national progress and enhanced international interaction. They entrusted me once more with a large majority with this heavy responsibility. And now, I want to declare that our great nation what has made great contributions to world civilization and the Islamic republic of Iran is one of the most Democratic and progressive governments in the world is ready to mobilize all of its cultural, political and economic ability to engage in a constructive process aimed at addressing international concerns and challenges and confronting those challenges that fade human society. Our country that builds culture has been a main victim of terrorism itself, blind form of terrorism, and the target of an all-out military aggression during the first decade of its revolution. All through the past 30 years, we have been subject to hostile attitudes of those who once supported, with all of their might, Saddam's military aggression, and his use of chemical weapons against us and then decided another day in time, to take military action in Iraq to get rid of the same man. Today, our nation seeks to create a world in which justice and compassion prevail.

We announce our commitment to participate in the process of building durable peace and security worldwide for all nations, based on justice, spirituality and human dignity, while being dedicated to strongly defending our legitimate and league rights to materialize these goal, our nation is prepared to warmly shake all of those hands which are honestly extended to us. No nation can claim to be free from the need to change and reform in this journey towards perfectness. We welcome real and humane changes and stand ready to actively engage in fundamental global reforms.

Therefore, we emphasize that the only path to remain safe is to return to justice, and this is the greatest hope and opportunity in all ages and generations, without belief in god and commitment to the cause of justice and fight against injustices and discrimination, the world structure will not be corrected. Man is at the center of the universe. The man's unique feature is his humanity, the same feature which seeking justice, piety, love, knowledge, awareness and all other high values. These human values should be supported. And each and every fellow human should be given the opportunity to acquire them. Neglecting any of them is tantamount to the admission of humanity. These are all human elements that constitute the decency of religion including obedience to god, morality, justice, fighting oppression, and endeavors to establish just and good government.

The prophet Abraham called for the oneness of god against Namaruth. As Prophet Moses did the same against the pharaohs, and Jesus Christ and the prophet Muhammad, may peace be to them all, to their time, they were all threatened to death and were forced out of their homeland. Without resistance and objection, the injustices would not be removed from the face of earth.

And the last point that I'd like to make, dear friends and colleagues, the world is in a continuous state of change and evolution. The promised destiny for mankind is the establishment of humane pure life. And this will come when justice is pervasive across the globe. And every single human being will enjoy respect and dignity. That will be the time when the -- when nighttime passes tomorrow and spiritual perfectness will be open and the journey to god and the manifestation of god's divine names will come true. Mankind should excel to represent god's knowledge and wisdom, his compassion and benevolence, justice and fairness, his power and art, his kindness and forgiveness. These will come true under the rule of the perfect man, the last divine source on earth, peace be upon him. An offspring of the prophet of Islam who will re-engage, and Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, and other noble men and pious men will accompany him in the accomplishment of this grand universal mission. And this is the belief, awaiting patiently for the imam to return, waiting for patience for the rule of goodness and the governance which he promises which is the universal human notion and which is the source of the nation's home for the betterment of the world. They will come and with the help of righteousness and true believers will materialize freedom, perfection and security and tranquility, peace and beauty. They will come to put an end to war and aggression and present the entire knowledge to the world, as well as spirituality and friendships to the whole world. Yes, indeed. The bright future for mankind will come.

Friends, dear friends, in waiting for that brilliant time to come and in a collective commitment, let us make new contributions in paving the way and preparing the conditions for building that bright future. Long live love and spirituality. Long live peace and security. Long live justice and freedom. I thank you all.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, we're joined by our panel of experts. Let me turn first, your reaction, David, to the president's speech?

DAVID ANDELMAN, EDITOR, "WORLD POLICY JOURNAL": Well, look, he was pure Ahmadinejad, and pure Iran. There's no question about it. But he is talking not to the people there, he was talking to the middle east and the broad Muslim world. And that's who he addressed. And he addressed it pretty loudly. In the actual room with the empty chairs, that was critical.

DOBBS: Those empty chairs, Walter, the significance? Looked to me, as I looked at it, more than half of those chairs empty. We finally got the United Nations to put that picture up. We want to reiterate, that camera was controlled by the United Nations and that's important to take note of.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, HUDSON INSTITUTE: I don't think I've ever seen such a dramatic repudiation by the United Nations of a world leader. I don't think I've ever seen a walkout of this magnitude. It was extraordinary. It especially came from when he went from being anti-Israel to being an open, avowed and flagrant anti-Semite and talking about a small minority of people through their devious ... it's a speech Adolph Hitler could have given.

DOBBS: And the United Nations gave Ahmadinejad that platform.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we know, a global megaphone. Unfortunately, CNN broadcasting it with only 30 seconds to go commentary is going to leave people with that message unless we have another opportunity to comment on it.

DOBBS: We'd like to you come back tomorrow evening to do that this broadcast. Claudia, you get the final talk here.

CLAUDIA: Final thought is it is vital that people in the Middle East know that that chamber was empty. This was a hollow speech and an empty chamber by a man who shouldn't be speaking there at all.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. We'll see you tomorrow night. Thank you all.

Thank you for being with us. Next, Campbell Brown.