LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
White House Promises Cooperation in Leak Investigation; Jobless in America
Aired October 1, 2003 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Wednesday, October 1. Here now, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
Tonight, the White House is promising full cooperation with the Justice Department's criminal investigation into who leaked the name of a senior CIA officer. It is a leak that some say could have put that officer's personal safety at risk. But the promise of cooperation does not mean the White House is willing to discuss the scandal and its political implications in public.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan today repeatedly brushed off questions from reporters during his daily press briefing.
White House correspondent Dana Bash has the report -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, President Bush also was asked by a reporter at a meeting here the Pakistani prime minister about the issue. The president did not respond. But, as you said, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked repeatedly during his briefing about the issue. And he was very careful to keep his answers within the confines of the investigation.
He was asked about the ethical implications, the political implications. He made very clear he believes the issue here is the leaking of classified information and wouldn't go beyond that. But he also said, as the president said yesterday, that the president expects everybody at the White House to comply with investigation and to give over any information that they have to the Justice Department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has directed the White House to cooperate fully. That message was sent as soon as he learned of the investigation. He made it clear to White House counsel. And White House counsel made it clear to senior staff the other day. That was at the president's direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And McClellan, earlier in the day, indicated that perhaps that could include a polygraph test. He was asked whether or not that would be a possible thing that the president would want to enforce if any White House staffer was asked to take one. He made it very clear that the president says full cooperation. He means full cooperation. Later, though, he called that question a hypothetical one. And, Lou, so far, nobody that we know of has come forward with any documents that they found in their e-mail or their phone logs that are relating to Ambassador Wilson or his wife. But they say here at the White House that they are going to talk to anybody attention Justice Department who asks. No one has done that yet.
Now, Democrats are saying that complying with the Justice Department investigation is simply not enough. They renewed their call earlier today for a special counsel. And Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle sent a letter to the president just a short while ago, listing some demands for an internal investigation.
He said, among other things, that he wants the White House to compile a list of senior officials with access to classified information and also insists -- called on the White House to insist senior officials sign a statement denying responsibility for the leak. Now, there is no official reaction here at the White House to this letter yet. But White House officials have been saying more and more privately that they believe that the Democrats are trying to politicize that.
In terms of publicly accusing Democrats of that, they are letting their friends on Capitol Hill and elsewhere do that -- Lou.
DOBBS: Dana, at this point, has there been, to your knowledge, any request for a specific document or any information from the White House or a request for an interview by the FBI or the Justice Department?
BASH: Well, they're making clear here at the White House that any internal investigation is simply not happening. They are making it clear that the Justice Department is the one that is going to carry out this investigation.
But in answer to that question, it is no. At the Justice Department, officials there say they're still trying to get their feet on the ground with this investigation, still trying to figure out the who, what and where they even need to ask, officials here at the White House. So, as far as we know, nobody has been contacted here at the White House by anybody at the Justice Department. It may be a while before it happens.
DOBBS: Dana Bash, reporting from the White House, thank you.
A short time ago here on CNN, Robert Novak vigorously defended his decision to reveal the CIA officer's identity in his newspaper column.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I did feel that the idea that this was some kind of a carefully arranged plot to destroy this woman and her husband, as far as I'm concerned, was nonsense. It didn't happen that way. And this kind of scandal that has perpetrated in Washington is Washington at its worst. (END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Robert Novak also said a CIA source told him, the officer was an analyst, not a covert agent running undercover operations.
But other sources tell CNN the officer did run agents. Another unanswered question at this point is whether or not the release of her identity has jeopardized her personal safety or the safety of other people working with the CIA.
National security correspondent David Ensor joins me now.
David, what do we know about this officer now, about her past, her job and exposure at the CIA?
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, U.S. intelligence officials tell me, Lou, that they would not have filed a crimes report -- that's the report that went from the CIA to the Justice Department about this leak -- if there had been -- if this had not been a violation of the law, in their view.
And the reason it's a violation of the law that is she does work for the Directorate of Operations. That is the part of the CIA that has spies. And she did work overseas for many years as a spy. She's now still in the Directorate of Operations. She still comes under the list of people for whom it is a violation of federal law for U.S. officials to describe their identity.
So there is a problem here, according to U.S. officials. Now, Mr. Novak has said that he used the word "operative" in his column, but did not understand that that is a term of art in the intelligence world. That means a member -- an official in the Operations Directorate, not somebody from the Directorate of Intelligence, which is the analysts. She's not an analyst -- Lou.
DOBBS: David, to what extent, as far as we know, has this leak endangered the safety of this CIA officer or the safety of her sources or other CIA personnel?
ENSOR: Well, CIA officials are not talking about that.
Her husband, Ambassador Wilson, has said that he does not believe that his wife's life is in any sort of danger. But other U.S. officials have said that, given that she worked overseas as -- undercover, collecting intelligence and sources over the years, some of those sources may have been compromised. Some of the tracks of information that were coming into CIA based on her work over the years may now be shut off.
It's even possible that other people's lives might have been endangered by this exposure. So is it a serious matter, at least potentially. But we don't know of any specific damage that has been done.
DOBBS: David, the fact that the CIA requested this investigation on the part of the Justice Department, are you hearing from any of your sources in the national security and intelligence community that there is some disappointment that President Bush, the White House staff itself, has not more vigorously stepped up and said, we're going to get to the bottom of it ourselves as well, rather than simply the statement, we will cooperate fully?
ENSOR: I haven't heard any of that, no.
And officials do point out that the submission of this crimes report is a pretty routine matter. They do it something like 50 times a year, whenever there's a possible suspected leak. No, I haven't heard any complaints. They say that the amount of time it took for there to be a decision to go to a formal investigation was about average. And they're just going to wait and see what happens.
Now, there are people in the intelligence community, though, who believe this is an important matter, this case and any other case where a clandestine official is outed, in effect. They think it's a very serious matter. There shouldn't be so much of this going on.
DOBBS: David Ensor, national security correspondent, thank you very much.
Later in the show, I'll be talking about the political fallout from this leak and what it could mean for the president. We'll be talking with the chairman of the Republican Party, Ed Gillespie.
National security is also, of course, a critical issue now at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A team of military security and intelligence specialists today arrived there to investigate possible espionage and treason. U.S. Southern Command sent the team out, after the arrest of a third person who worked with al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at the base.
Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has that story -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, this headquarters assessment team is going to be working with what's called Joint Task Force Guantanamo to go over the security procedures.
One of the key questions in this whole affair is, how was it that these people who have been arrested were able, apparently, to fairly easily download classified material from secure systems into their laptop computers? This assessment team is looking at the procedures governing the vast amount of classified intelligence data that's been generated and collected at Guantanamo Bay over the past 20 months, part of the interrogation of Taliban and al Qaeda suspects there.
And one key thing is, whatever they find, whatever shortcomings they find, they will make immediate corrections. This is not something where they'll be issuing a report some months down the road -- Lou.
DOBBS: Jamie, thank you.
Turning to an issue that we first reported on this show on September 19, the issue of whether wounded troops should be paying for food that they eat in the hospital while recovering from wounds received in combat or in accidents while in theater, the Pentagon has announced a major change in that policy. What is the change?
MCINTYRE: Well, there was a lot of outrage about this after you reported this two weeks ago, Lou.
And there was a lot of work in Congress. There was a quick change to the law, which takes effect today. And under that change, the Pentagon will no longer charge wounded active-duty military personnel in hospitals for the meals that they have while they're there. To be precise, they were only being asked to reimburse the government for the allowance that they get in their pay to cover the meals that they didn't have to buy in the hospital.
But even the Pentagon admitted that that seemed like adding insult to injury, and that also is the case that some troops in combat also are able to get the allowance and the meals as well. This brings both of them into parity. And, as one Pentagon official here said, nobody here wanted to nickel-and-dime the troops that are putting their lives on the line -- Lou.
DOBBS: And it's nice to see action taken quickly.
Jamie McIntyre, thank you very much, our senior Pentagon correspondent.
Another American soldier today was killed in Iraq. She died when terrorists exploded a roadside bomb near a military convoy in Tikrit. Three other Americans were wounded. Her death is not included in the latest casualty figures from Central Command. Those numbers were issued last night. Central Command reports 313 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war, 194 of them killed in action, 119 in accidents. Another 1,702 Americans have been wounded, most of those in combat.
It was not U.S. troops, but rather Iraqi police who today broke up a demonstration in Baghdad. Police officers opened fire after demonstrators attacked a police station. Several officers were injured. Two police cars were set afire. There is no word on civilian casualties. The demonstrators said the police demanded bribes when people arrived to fill out job applications.
Coming up next: "The Great American Giveaway." Tonight, we focus on health care, billions of dollars in precious American resources being handed out to illegal aliens. Casey Wian will report.
And the woman who is leading so-called freedom ride of immigrant workers and illegal aliens will be our guest.
And jobless in America: millions of Americans desperate for work, thousands of layoffs, more on the way. Peter Viles has that story.
And the White House battles scandal, all-time-low approval ratings for the president and a growing Democratic field for the 2004 election. The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie, is our guest.
Please stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight in our series of special reports "The Great American Giveaway," we focus on health care. Millions of illegal aliens in this country are entitled under federal law to receive care from hospitals. And the enormous cost to providing that care is affecting health care for legal residents, and, in some cases, forcing hospitals to close.
Casey Wian reports from Los Angeles.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. hospitals spend $1.4 billion a year on emergency health care for illegal aliens.
RICK POLLACK, AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION: Under federal law, hospitals are required to screen and provide medical stabilization services to any human being that walks through our emergency room door.
WIAN: Even so, the federal government doesn't pay the costs resulting from its failure to enforce the nation's immigration laws. It's one reason a third of U.S. hospitals lose money.
The problem is most critical in border states, where hundreds of illegal aliens are injured each year trying to evade the Border Patrol. Local hospitals and taxpayers are stuck with the bill.
REP. JIM KOLBE (R), ARIZONA: We have one federal law that requires treatment. And then we have another federal law which says the Immigration Service is responsible for keeping these people out of the country. But they deliberately -- they go out of their way to not take injured people into custody, so that they can't be billed for the cost. Now, that's just plain unfair.
WIAN: Kolbe is sponsoring a bill that would compensation of nearly $300 million a year for states, local governments and hospitals. But that wouldn't cover the annual illegal alien health care bills for Los Angeles County alone, now estimated at $350 million.
Unlike other counties, which restrict coverage to emergency room visits, Los Angeles offers illegal aliens a wide range of free health care.
Mike Antonovich can't persuade his fellow county supervisors to stop the practice.
MICHAEL ANTONOVICH, LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: You will never be able to afford illegal immigration, because the more incentives you provide, the more illegals come. And, as a result, you're going to bankrupt the system. WIAN: Already, the illegal alien financial burden has led L.A. County to close 16 health clinics and one hospital so far.
WIAN: Other areas have lost trauma centers and obstetricians. And emergency room waiting times in even nonborder states are growing, as E.R.s have become the de facto family doctors for many illegal aliens -- Lou.
DOBBS: Nowhere in the country, Casey, is the issue of illegal aliens a bigger story than in Southern California. But politicians there are scared to death of this issue, are they not?
The illegal immigrant lobby, as some people call it, is a very powerful force here. And Supervisor Antonovich, who we had in our piece, said that he couldn't even get anyone on the county board of supervisors to second his motion to crack down on some of these benefits given to illegal aliens.
DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much -- Casey Wian reporting from Los Angeles.
Tomorrow here on "The Great American Giveaway": education. We look at how much immigrants and illegal aliens benefit from this nation's educational system. That's tomorrow night.
As we reported last week, hundreds of immigrants and illegal aliens are traveling the country in a campaign for more rights. The Freedom Riders, as they call themselves, claim that millions of illegal aliens are treated unjustly and should be granted amnesty.
I talked today with Maria Elena Durazo. She is the vice president of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, who leads the Freedom Ride.
I asked her why she believes laws of this country should protect those who have broken immigration laws.
MARIA ELENA DURAZO, NATIONAL CHAIR, IMMIGRANT WORKERS FREEDOM RIDE: First of all, the laws, the American policies, immigration policies and laws are broken. They need to be fixed. They don't fit anybody's needs, and they're just wrong in the way that human beings are treated.
And so we need to fix them. We need to change them to meet the needs both of the workers and of this country.
DOBBS: And, specifically, how?
DURAZO: Well, for example, workers who are here now who have been working here, they've been contributing to this economy. Who works in the fields? Who works in the hotels and the restaurants? Who works cleaning the janitorial buildings? Who works in health care?
In industry after industry? Who works in the construction, building our homes and building our office buildings? It's immigrants, and immigrants from all over the world.
DOBBS: Maria Elena, you said immigrants. In many cases, we're talking -- and at least seven million, according to most reports, illegal aliens in this country are certainly amongst those you're talking about. How are we to make a distinction for those who immigrate to this country, follow the laws, abide by the quotas and proceed across our borders lawfully, and those who break the immigration laws?
DURAZO: Well, first of all, the immigration laws don't work right now. The immigration policies, as they are right now, are old and antiquated. They don't fit the needs and they don't allow workers to come into this country in a way that they should be allowed to come into this country.
DOBBS: Maria Elena, in 1986, as you know, this country put forward amnesty for illegal aliens and tried to rationalize its immigration laws. The result was a flood of illegal aliens into this country. Again, the numbers somewhere between seven and 10 million illegal aliens.
Where does this end?
DURAZO: Well, I don't know that it ends. This country was founded and built over and over and over through the contributions from immigrants from all over the world. And that was from the very beginning.
Now, are we going to -- what are we going to do with the immigrants who are here now? Are we just going to say that they continue to stay in the shadows of this economy, that they don't have any rights?
That's not good for American workers. That's not good for native-born workers to have -- working side by side with people who don't have rights. Employers -- many employers, the unscrupulous employers take full advantage of that. They're the ones who force immigrants to take lower wages.
Immigrants don't want lower wages. They want a better life, and they're willing to work hard for it. And we have to recognize that.
DOBBS: You represent the AFL-CIO. The number of union members from all over the country who have written into us complaining about illegal aliens taking jobs and work that they feel should be theirs. How does the AFL-CIO, how does organized labor respond to those complaints?
DURAZO: Look, we understand there's frustration when someone loses a job or doesn't have a job. But I tell you from my experience, is that workers see that they're better off when workers that they're with side by side have the same rights as they do. All workers recognize.
And we have on this trip that we just took, we have black and white citizens, native-born workers who are saying, we want all workers to have the same rights, and we're all better off. We don't want two distinct classes or people being treated differently. That hurts them. And I've heard that over and over in the hotel and restaurant industry, is that they want all workers to have the same jobs, because that's the only way that we can negotiate better wages.
DOBBS: You've run the hotel and the restaurant union for some time. What do you say to people who say, with some evidence on their side, that illegal immigration, illegal aliens in this country, continue to depress wages in this country for citizens? How do you respond to that?
DURAZO: There is no truth to that. Immigrant workers want higher wages, they want better working conditions. And, in fact, the reason that the AFL-CIO unanimously at a convention and at the executive council level have stood unconditionally on the side of undocumented immigrants, is because we have seen immigrants take enormous risks to change the working conditions of all workers. And they have been out there making sacrifices.
They risk getting deported. They risk getting fired. Why? Because we want and they want the same things that American-born workers want, and that is a good standard of living.
DOBBS: Maria Elena Durazo, we thank you very much for being with us.
DURAZO: Thank you.
DOBBS: And that brings us to the topic of tonight's poll. The question: Should illegal aliens be afforded the same rights as U.S. citizens, yes, or no? Cast your vote at CNN.com/Lou. We'll have the results later in the show.
Tonight's thought is on freedom in America. "We have confused the free with the free and easy," so said then-Ambassador Adlai Stevenson.
Coming up next: The economy may be picking up, but, so far, jobs are not a part of this recovery. Peter Viles reports. Jan Hopkins looks at what this bleak job markets mean for political candidates, some of whom -- who would be president.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The summertime tax cuts appear to have arrived in time to boost consumer spending, just as planned. However, there is absolutely no evidence of job growth. In fact, the consensus among economists is that another 30,000 jobs were lost last month.
Peter Viles joins us now with more on the jobless recovery -- Pete.
PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, there is something historic going on in this economy. Economists are expecting 4 percent to 5 percent growth in the third quarter, and yet they don't think we'll have a single new job to show for it. That would make eight straight quarters of a growing economy with jobs lost in each of those quarters.
VILES (voice-over): The job cuts keep coming, Ford, Chrysler, Verizon all looking to cut jobs.
RICHARD YAMARONE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, ARGUS RESEARCH: You haven't heard one story in the last 10 months, 12 months, of any company saying, hey, we have intentions of hiring. We're going to be hiring. No company has said that.
VILES: The numbers are not pretty: 8.9 million Americans unemployed. Another five million say they want to work, but are not counted as unemployed because they're not actively looking for work; 503,000 of that group are counted as -- quote -- "discouraged," not working and not looking because they believe no jobs are available.
The job losses by industry continue to add up: 459,000 jobs lost in the information sector, 232,000 lost in computer systems design, 423,000 lost in wholesale trade. Behind those numbers, ruthless corporate cost-cutting, rising worker productivity, and a wild card that was never a factor in previous downturns, global outsourcing.
WILLIAM DUDLEY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GOLDMAN SACHS: People moving jobs to China, and now people on the services side moving jobs to India. One thing we don't have a good handle on yet is how much of this is secular, how long is it going to last, how powerful is it going to be, and is this going to be a problem for the job creation process.
VILES: I hate to sound like a broken record, but most economists continue to believe that there will be job growth later this year and it will come in time to keep this recovery alive. But, again, we are now going into the third year of economic growth with job losses -- Lou.
DOBBS: Concerning at the very least.
VILES: It sure is.
DOBBS: Pete, thanks -- Peter Viles.
The tremendous loss of jobs in this country is certain to become a major political issue in the presidential campaign. The Democratic presidential candidates already are taking on President Bush for the number of jobs lost during his administration.
Jan Hopkins joins us now with more on the politics of jobs -- Jan.
JAN HOPKINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the voters consistently tell the pollsters that jobs and the economy are their top concerns. And now the candidates are starting to get the message. In the last recession, Bill Clinton won with his emphasis on, it's the economy, stupid. This time around, the theme is becoming jobs, jobs, jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... and help the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOPKINS (voice-over): Yes, you heard it in the last recession from then-President George Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G.H.W. BUSH: Jobs, jobs, jobs. And that's the priority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOPKINS: During his term, 2.6 million jobs were created, but voters weren't satisfied. The first President Bush lost his job the second time around.
During Bill Clinton's eight years in office, the economy created 22 million jobs. The current President Bush has lost as many jobs as his father created. He's betting his two tax cuts will soon turn things around.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're committed to helping those who got a job keep a job and committed to those who are looking for work to find a job.
HOPKINS: Now there are 10 Democrats who want the president's job. They have different ideas about how to get out of the job slump.
Congressman Dick Gephardt thinks his health care plan will put more people to work than the Bush tax cuts. Senator Kerry believes the future is in research.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to increase our commitment to science in America, to venture capital, to the kinds of incentives that draw capital to the creation of jobs.
HOPKINS: Governor Dean believes jobs will be saved when we take another look at trade. HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to go back and revise every single trade agreement that we have to include labor standards, environmental standards and human right standards.
HOPKINS: Senator Graham thinks we need to invest in America.
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we can afford to rebuild the bridges, the roads, the schools and electric system of Iraq, we can afford to invest in rebuilding America.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, CNBC ANCHOR: Senator Graham, thank you.
HOPKINS: President Hoover was the only president before this one who went to the voters having lost jobs during his term. After the election, Hoover had lost his job -- Lou.
DOBBS: Politics for the next year certainly will be about a job, job, job.
HOPKINS: That's right.
DOBBS: Jan, thanks. Jan Hopkins.
The government today took action to drastically cut back the number of controversial work visas that allow foreign workers to come to this country and take American jobs. But those workers are still flooding in.
Kitty Pilgrim joins us now with the story -- Kitty.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this is absolutely the most contentious issue in the high-tech sector and it is about jobs. But it's also about a job market that has undergone tremendous change.
PILGRIM (voice-over): Today in the high-tech world there is an important deadline -- there is some reduction in the number of workers allowed to be brought in on the H-1B visa. But for many workers, it's no celebration. Unemployment in the industry is fairly epidemic.
MICHAEL TEITELBAUM, SLOAN FOUNDATION: We are now seeing remarkably high unemployment rates in the range of 6 to 7 percent in some of the key occupations. These are occupations that historically have had very low unemployment rates.
PILGRIM: The number of foreign workers brought in to do computer jobs has been booming through the H-1B visa program, from 65,000 to 115,000 to 195,000 and now back to 65,000 a year.
Another visa, the L-1, has been bringing in thousands of foreign workers allowing them to transfer within a company to come here. The thinking, for bringing in so many workers was, there was a labor shortage in high-tech in the '90s. But Silicon Valley and other high- tech areas have unemployment areas well above the national average.
ERIC WEINSTEIN, STATIVARIUS CAPITAL MGMT: Not only is it keeping kids out of the field, but you currently see a vast glut of high-tech talent and highly educated scientists going into other fields. The U.S. scientific and engineering enterprise is hemorrhaging talent into other areas at a time when it claims that it can't find workers to fill jobs.
PILGRIM: One of the biggest problems is these visas last for years. So a worker brought in for a short term program can end up staying years longer than is necessary. It's not exactly a solution for a more flexible labor force -- Lou.
DOBBS: And an issue that just simply has to be dealt with.
PILGRIM: I would say so.
DOBBS: Kitty, thanks. Kitty Pilgrim.
Coming up here next, the latest polls show strong support for the recall of Governor Davis and a clear front-runner in the race to replace him. But how accurate are those polls? Two leading experts "Face Off" tonight on the value or the lack of value in public opinion surveys and polls.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Support for Governor Gray Davis is falling with time running out before the election. According to a new "Los Angeles Times" poll, 56 percent of California voters now say they want to recall their governor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, is securing his lead to take over Davis' job. Schwarzenegger had support from 40 percent of likely voters in that poll, a big jump from last month's 25 percent. Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante is in second place, 32 percent.
Schwarzenegger meanwhile today outlined a plan for his first 100 days in office. His first move -- to repeal the state's car tax. Also on the agenda, to repeal a law that allows illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses.
Arnold Schwarzenegger certainly embraced the latest poll numbers, as you might suspect. But some say polls can't be counted on for an accurate view of the issues or public opinion.
And that brings us to the subject of tonight's "Face Off," the accuracy of polling.
Frank Newport is the editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll. He says polling is by far the most accurate way to gauge what people feel and think. Matthew Felling, meanwhile, says polls give an inaccurate view of reality.
Gentleman, good to have you here.
MATTHEW FELLING, MEDIA DIRECTOR, STATISTICAL ASSESSMENT SERVICE: Thank you.
DOBBS: Frank, there -- one of the interesting things in California, your poll, the CNN Gallup Poll, "USA Today" poll, showed Schwarzenegger with a commanding lead.
And then immediately candidates said the poll is misleading and they waited for validation from "The L.A. Times" poll which was forthcoming. Do you feel validated and was it necessary to be validated?
FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Well, it's good to have numerous polls. George Gallup said that going all the way back to 1936.
Polls are accurate. They are good. It's not unusual, as you know, for the candidate who looks bad in a poll to shoot the messenger. We've been hearing that since way back in 1936 when George Gallup said Franklin Roosevelt was going to win and everybody else said he wouldn't. But it's good to have numerous polls. It's great. The more the merrier.
DOBBS: Matt, "The L.A. Times" poll, the CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll. A lot of media built into that, isn't there?
FELLING: Oh, there's a lot media and it just kind of seems -- you start to wonder if it's not gash garbage in and garbage out and if these things aren't just building a momentum in and of themselves.
The problem with polls are legion. We have the pollsters, current company excluded of course Sometimes you can be a little bit mischievous.
The people who are participating in these polls are, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people?" You have people who have 10 minutes at night to walk away from the dinner table. You have people who will participate in these polls -- in these polls. And in a world where we have caller I.D., and in a world where we have cell phones, which are pretty much screening things, screening out calls to begin with, it makes you wonder, Aren't we kind of preselecting the people who are participating in these because we don't want them to be -- we want it to be a very accurate assessment of the typical American.
But I don't know how typical the person is who has 10 minutes to spare at the dinner table or how typical that person is. I mean....
NEWPORT: We do.
FELLING: OK. NEWPORT: You're not a scientist. We are. We stud this for a living. We've been doing that since, as I mentioned, the '30s, the '40s. And we're professionals, we're statisticians, we're mathematic experts. We look at the data. We hook how you sample. We take into account these alleged problems with caller I.D. and people not answering and say it's not really introducing bias, that's the scientific evidence. And it works.
Most preelection polls accurately predict what happens and the people -- as you asked, "Who are these people?" -- they're us. In a democracy, these are the citizens of the country and that's the whole foundation upon which this country was built, is there's great wisdom in the collective views of those of us who reside in the country.
And I'm glad we have polling between elections to be able to assess that wisdom. I'd rather listen to the people of the country a lot of times than pundits or other so-called experts. And that's what polling's all about.
FELLING: True. But without getting anecdotal -- I mean, the 2000 election was seen as the polls were erring on either side right beforehand and they chalked it up to these caller I.D. issues and they chalked it up to those sorts of things.
NEWPORT: But that's wrong. That's totally erroneous.
The -- you look at polls in the 2002 election. They were accurate. Gallup/CNN/"USA Today" very clearly predicted the movement to the Republicans the day before the election. Most state polls were accurate and right on.
You go back to 2000, when a lot of people talked about the exit polls. But when you really look at a pre-election polls, almost all of them were within a few points of 48-48 popular vote, which is what exactly what we ended up with between Gore and Bush.
So any time you look at the elections and look at the polls that came before them, it's a great validation of the accuracy of polling. In effect, that's why George Gallup, Lou, started doing pre-election polling way back when. He said, we need this to convince the skeptical public that polling works and it does.
DOBBS: 2000 was a as a journalist who has covered a number of these over years. That was perhaps, the most accurate reading of the public pulse that I've seen by pollsters. In 1996, we saw Dole actually surging to the lead in a lot of polls, it was completely flip-flopped earlier. Almost looks like an adjustment. I know that's the cynical view. It's the cynical view.
NEWPORT: I'm not sure it's an accurate view either. When you really look at the '96 polls they were quite accurate as well.
DOBBS: We go to 1992, George Bush was closing, had come within about 5 percent in point of fact, those polls were very much off, showing Clinton with a huge lead. I mean, so I see 2000 as being really one to mark up for pollsters. But what is the value of polling to the populous?
NEWPORT: I think polling is tremendously valuable. In a society with 280 million people, when we have elections, but we have them only periodically, we've got the wisdom of the people out there, that we can now access scientifically.
It helps guide decisions, it helped us know where the public stands. It helps us keep demagogues and other ideologue from telling us they know where the public stands on key issues of the day. Polling keeps us on the straight and narrow. These are what the people think. This is scientific. It's a great thing to throw into the mix in a Democracy.
FELLING: Well, Dr. Newport, we understand that you come from a polling background and you're going to defend them to the death. At the same time, there are people who use polls to drive an agenda, to forward a certain world view. We saw a, not to get too anecdotal on this, but we saw a New York "Times" magazine cover piece earlier this year saying, in an America, where 51 percent of Americans believe that primates should have the exact same rights as human children..., that was the hook, the reason that they went forward with writing the story all about animal rights. When in fact, the poll was completely skewed and it was funded by an animal rights group.
NEWPORT: That's the topic for the next session here, Lou, which is journalism. That's bad journalism if journalists took poll results and didn't report them. I'm all in favor of very good reporting of polls. That's not polling's fault.
DOBBS: It is one of the issues that concern all of us in this craft, and that is, the increased use of polling by news organizations and we will take that up on our next discussion. We thank you both for being here. Thank you, gentlemen.
A reminder now to vote in tonight's poll, "should illegal alien be afforded the same rights as U.S. citizens? Yes or no. Cast your vote at cnn.com/lou. And a reminder that our polling is highly scientific, unlike that of the show that precedes that by my colleague Wolf Blitzer which is unscientific in all respects. We'll bring you results later here.
Coming up next, balancing scandal, plunging approval ratings for the president, ten Democratic contenders for his job and the Republican party gearing up to win another four years. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is our guest next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Some Republicans are accusing the Democrats of playing politics in the growing scandal over the leak of a CIA operative's identity to a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, Robert Novak. The scandal has put the White House on the defensive at a time when the president's approval ratings have fallen to the lowest levels since he took office. I'm joined now, from Washington, by Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Good to have you with us.
ED GILLESPIE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me, Lou.
DOBBS: Your assessment of this situation with the White House now under investigation by the Justice Department for leaking the name of a CIA operative.
GILLESPIE: Well, Lou, if someone disclosed knowingly the name and revealed the identity of an undercover CIA operative, that would be a crime. And it is appropriate for the Department of Justice to look into this. We don't know this to be the case. But there are allegations or referrals like this made on a routine basis. Former CIA director Woolsey said last night that they average about one a week. This one obviously is of particular interest because it involves the possibility of an administration or even a White House official, that has been speculated, that may have been involved. But the DOJ should proceed and if there is anyone who is guilty of committing a crime here, obviously they should be prosecuted.
DOBBS: Robert Novak reported that, in fact, two Bush administration officials were involved in this report. Do you not think it would be appropriate for the White House to take on a vigorous investigation on its own part to root out whoever would be at the source of this revelation of the name of the CIA operative?
GILLESPIE: Lou, the White House Counsel has done the appropriate thing here in telling the White House staff that if you know anything about this, provide the information to the Department of Justice. White House staff aren't trained to investigate criminal actions or the possibility of criminal wrongdoing. The people at the Department of Justice are. And I think that that's the appropriate course that's being taken here and the president has made clear that he wants to see this resolved. And we need to get to the bottom of this. And he's exactly right in saying that.
DOBBS: The Justice Department took the decision to investigate on Friday, after being requested to do so by the CIA. The White House was told on Monday and by Tuesday Democrats were calling for a special investigator of this crime. Are the Democrats playing politics here, Mr. Gillespie?
GILLESPIE: Well, of course. The Democrats - I've seen Democrats on the floor of the Senate, on the floor of the House, I've seen Democrats say, a crime has been committed here. We don't know that to be the case. There should be - there has been charges bandied about, unnamed sources and this is the kind of thing the DOJ should look into. But these same Democrats, Lou, a few scant years ago were saying that the special counsels aren't necessary, let the Department of Justice do its job. And they're reversing themselves now to try to get political gain. Remember, this is a party that in 2002 thought that they were going to win back the House of Representatives and expand their majority in the Senate by running on allegations about Enron and Halliburton and Harken. And in fact, they lost control of the Senate and they lost seats in the House because the American people want to hear a positive agenda, want to know what you're going to do about the issues that matter to them. They don't want to hear this kind of stuff. But the Democrats haven't learned from that. They think that these allegations will carry them to the White House, the House and the Senate next election.
DOBBS: Let's talk about what the Republicans are going to do. What are the Republicans going to do about the exportation of American jobs overseas, the outsourcing to cheap labor in India, China and around the world? What are the Republicans going to do to create jobs despite the stimulus created by these two massive tax cuts, jobs aren't being created? What are the Republicans going to do?
GILLESPIE: Well, Lou, as you know, unemployment and job creation is a lagging indicator. We've done a lot in terms of creating jobs. There is more to be done. The president has moved forward with a job program specifically geared toward the manufacturing sector. But what we are seeing right now is that things that affect the manufacturing sector in a positive manner, things like durable goods orders being up and inventories being down, tend to indicate increased job - employment activity. And I think that we are going to see that that's going to fall behind these other statistics. Projections for growth, between 4, 5, 6 percent, the highest growth we've seen since 1999, are coming in. And once those begin to take effect, I do believe that the job market will grow.
DOBBS: And can we take that to mean that you hope like the Dickens it does?
GILLESPIE: Well, of course, Lou, and not just politically, by the way. Of course, I would like to see the economy grow. But look, any time someone wants a job and can't find one, we have to have government policies to fix that. The Democrats don't have government policies to fix that, by the way. Raising taxes on the American people will not help us create jobs in this country, believe me.
DOBBS: Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, thanks for being here. I think it's time for me to say after that rather partisan conclusion, Ed, a reminder to all our guests that we're beginning to embark on our almost nightly discussion with each of the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Tomorrow night we'll be talking with Senator Joe Lieberman. Ed Gillespie, thanks a lot for being with us.
GILLESPIE: Thank you, Lou, thank you.
DOBBS: One of the Republican Party's biggest supporter under fire today. Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark today urged ESPN to drop conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh from its NFL pregame show. Limbaugh this past weekend said the media wanted Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to succeed because he is black. Clark called the remarks hateful and ignorant, and said there can be no excuse for such comments. McNabb is a three-time pro all-star.
Meanwhile, he said he wasn't looking for an apology from Limbaugh. He said, it's too late for that. He said he was also bothered that Limbaugh's co-commentators, two of them black former players, did not challenge Limbaugh.
Limbaugh denied his criticism of McNabb was racist. Tonight's quote is in defense of Limbaugh's comments. And we quote -- "I said something they find disagreeable. I said something they not only agreed with, I said something that they preferred not to hear. And so, they have risen up here and they are demanding a head on their platter simply because I haven't said what they want to hear." That, of course from Rush Limbaugh, who is not a particularly gifted analyst of NFL talent, if I do say so myself.
Coming up next, your thoughts on "The Great American Giveaway" and the billions of dollars in health care spent on illegal aliens every year. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Results of our poll tonight. The question, should illegal aliens be afforded the same rights as U.S. citizens? Thirteen percent of you said yes, and overwhelming 87 percent said no.
On Wall Street today, stocks surged on some encouraging news on the economy. It was a full-blown rally, in fact. The Dow jumping 149 points. The Nasdaq rose 45, the S&P up a mere 22. Christine Romans with the market. Love to have a rally once in a while.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Investors putting money to work in the new quarter, Lou, and that rally took the Dow to the best performance since June 16, the best performance for the S&P since April. Data showed the manufacturing sector grew for the third straight month, and 80 percent of the Big Board volume today was at higher prices, that's taking breadth within reach of a five-year high. Only two sectors fell.
A notable loser, though, today, LaBranche, it's a specialist firm, trades on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, puts the buyers and the sellers together, tumbled to a three-year low. It warned earnings will be 80 percent below forecast because of a sharp drop in its trading activity. LaBranche, one of five specialists being investigated by the NYSE for its floor trading practices.
Lou, its stock is down 27 percent since Dick Grasso resigned as NYSE chairman two weeks ago. Grasso's ouster, seen by many critic of the specialist system as an entree for reform on the trading floor. LaBranche says, in this resolving environment it will strive to keep costs low and market quality high. One analyst today said permanent structural shifts are the New York Stock Exchange are hurting specialist earnings.
Also want to mention J.P. Morgan, $25 million settlement with FCC for IPO misconduct. This is IPO laddering, as if there wasn't IPO spinning. IPO laddering -- lots of...
DOBBS: Piggy backing.
ROMANS: Lots of different ways to, you know, creatively make some money.
DOBBS: Screw the investor, I think is the word -- the phrase you're looking for.
ROMANS: I'll let you say it.
DOBBS: Christine, thanks. Christine Romans.
Now, for a look at some of your thoughts. Many of you wrote about my interview last night with professor Jeremy Siegel. "Professor Siegel claimed it was good for our economy to ship our jobs overseas. Who's going to buy our homes and cars in the USA with all of our jobs gone? Will it be illegal immigrants who earn less than minimum wage?" That from Peter Romanenko of Waco, Texas.
"Lou, professor Siegel needs to visit with the 40 and 50 something who have been laid off or forced into early retirement. This might change his perspective. Keep up the good work, Lou. I'm glad we have you on our side." That from Pam Grossman.
Many of you wrote about our week-long series of special reports, "The Great American Giveaway." "Veterans have to wait six months or more to see a doctor. Illegals waltz right in. They use emergency rooms and pay nothing. What is wrong with this country?" Nothing that can't be fixed, in my opinion.
"At record unemployment levels, not to mention security, we need to tighten up our borders instead of protecting other countries." Jo Anne Miller, Tacoma, Washington.
"Lou, don't keep blaming 'greedy' corporations for the exportation of American jobs. Take a look at the American consumer. How many of these consumers scouring the mindless aisles of Wal-Mart looking for the best deal think about the 'deal' their fellow Chinese workers are getting in terms of wages and benefits? How much extra do you think American consumers are willing to pay for a 'made in America' label? Judging by the financial performance of Wal-Mart, I suspect very little." Andre Lukez of Gig Harbor, Washington.
We always love hearing from you. E-mail us at email@example.com.
That's our show for tonight. Tomorrow, in "The Great American Giveaway," how illegal aliens are benefiting from the American educational system. Our guests include Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Joe Lieberman. For all of us here, thanks for being here. Good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.
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