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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
A Senior Vatican Official Describes Treatment of Saddam Cow- like; Should California's Allow Illegal Aliens Right to Vote?
Aired December 16, 2003 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight: U.S. troops in Iraq round up dozens of suspected insurgents after the capture of Saddam Hussein. And U.S. troops put on a show of force in areas still loyal to the former dictator.
One of the Vatican's most senior officials has launched an astonishing attack against the United States. He says U.S. troops treated Saddam Hussein like a cow. Delia Gallagher reports from Rome.
In "Broken Borders" tonight: It just gets better. Not only do illegal aliens want driver's licenses in California, some now want them to have the right to vote in this country. Casey Wian reports on the political movement in California to give illegal aliens the vote.
One hundred years after the first manned flight, I talk with the world's greatest test pilot and legendary fighter ace, General Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Tuesday, December 16. Here now, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening. U.S. troops today arrested more than 70 suspected insurgents in Iraq in a massive operation in one of Iraq's most violent towns. The Army said those arrested today include an Iraqi they believe has been financing attacks against U.S. troops and Iraqis. The operation took place in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, a town where U.S. troops killed 54 insurgents who had ambushed them last month.
President Bush today said Saddam Hussein deserves the ultimate penalty for the crimes that he committed in Iraq. In an interview with ABC News, the president called Saddam Hussein a torturer, a murderer and a disgusting tyrant who deserves the ultimate justice. The president said Saddam Hussein's fate will be decided by the Iraqi people.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today said the CIA will lead the interrogation of Saddam Hussein. In Iraq, protests against the capture of Saddam continued today. In one town, U.S. troops exchanged fire with Saddam loyalists. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a pro-Saddam Hussein rally in Aramadi (ph), a gun battle breaks out. In Fallujah, a train carrying supplies to U.S. forces is attacked, the Iraqi people still absorbing what it means for their former leader to be in captivity. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has asked the Central Intelligence Agency to oversee what could be years of questioning of Saddam Hussein. CIA Director George Tenet will be in charge.
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: He and his people will be the regulator over the interrogations -- who will do it, the questions that'll get posed, the management of the information that flows from those interrogations.
STARR: If they find Saddam Hussein was directing the insurgency that has killed dozens of U.S. troops, Rumsfeld held open the possibility the U.S. may take a role in Saddam Hussein's prosecution.
And Lou, Secretary Rumsfeld says now Saddam Hussein is a man resigned, in the secretary's words, to his fate. And one other detail, everyone will remember seeing that picture of a medical doctor taking a swab from Saddam Hussein, a bit of saliva for a DNA test. Well, today the test came back, and it is confirmed the man the U.S. is holding is Saddam Hussein -- Lou.
DOBBS: Barbara, thank you very much. Barbara Starr reporting from the Pentagon.
And that picture of the doctor collecting saliva from Saddam Hussein setting off something of a controversy. A startling statement from the Vatican today. The head of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace blasted the United States for showing that video of Saddam Hussein in custody and treating Saddam like a cow, he said. Cardinal Martino (ph) said he felt pity on the ousted dictator.
Joining me now from Rome, Delia Gallagher, manager editor of "Inside the Vatican" magazine. Delia, just who does this cardinal think he is? And what purpose could his comments possibly serve?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Lou, let me tell you, those comments were made this morning at a press conference, when the cardinal was asked whether, having seen the picture of Saddam, he now felt that the war had been worth it. And he said, They could have spared us the picture of Saddam being treated like a cow, and that he felt a sense of compassion for this man in his tragedy.
And I think, to put this in perspective, we need to remember that the cardinal is not speaking in any sort of official Vatican statement or official Vatican position, as regards to this picture. He is known to journalists here. He's a journalist favorite, really, because he's known for making these sort of off-the-cuff very colorful remarks. He's been here for a year as the head of the Council for Justice and Peace, which is sort of a policy-making council. He's not the secretary of state. He's not the foreign minister. And he was at the U.N. for 16 years before that. So he feels himself in a particular position to speak out.
Now, let me tell you something, Lou, to put this in some more perspective. The cardinal before the war was very outspoken, again saying some of those kind of off-the-cuff remarks that we heard today, and during the war was, in a sense, silent. We didn't hear any more from him, as if somebody had sort of tapped him on the shoulder and said, Tone it down. And I think that there will be some people in the Vatican this evening who will not be very pleased to hear the cardinal's statement.
So to put it in perspective, I would say it's not the Vatican attacking the U.S. for showing that picture. It was Cardinal Martino's personal response to that picture.
DOBBS: Delia, let's put it in some context, though. The cardinal, Cardinal Martino, was amongst the most outspoken and representing the Vatican when he was going against the U.S. policy of going to war against Saddam Hussein. The Vatican certainly has the capacity to control him, and the question becomes -- and this is the question I'd like you to answer -- is why would the Vatican put up with this kind of embarrassment. And what can we expect to be the result?
GALLAGHER: Well, exactly. I think that's what I'm trying to say, that the cardinal is somebody who is quite outspoken, is not a diplomat, obviously. And...
DOBBS: Delia, you just said he worked for the United Nations for 17 years. I don't think we can have it both ways.
GALLAGHER: He was the Vatican representative, but he's not a diplomat in the sense that he works in the secretariat of state, you understand. And so I think that the important point to understand is that at the Vatican, there will definitely be some consternation about the cardinal's remarks.
DOBBS: What do you expect to happen to the cardinal, as a result? Because, as I said, no matter how neatly we contrive to posture the good cardinal, he is there in an official capacity, and the Vatican would have to in some way disavow his remarks, or otherwise, it would have to be inferred, would it not, broadly within the Catholic church, as well as the broader public, that he was speaking for the Vatican.
GALLAGHER: Well, I think you're right. There might be some disavowal, but it won't be in such terms. You know how the Vatican generally speaks in rather muted tones. And that's why this cardinal's comments have caused such an uproar. And I think, as we saw before with the war, when he started to speak out in that way, he was silenced. He was told to calm down those comments. But it all happened behind the scenes, so I doubt that we will see any really public statement regarding this particular comment.
But you will notice -- those of us who watch the Vatican closely can notice small management, let us say, tactics to keep the cardinal in his place as the head of Justice and Peace, and as you say rightly, as a representative of the Vatican but not particularly involved in Vatican diplomacy. And so he himself must learn -- as I say, he's been here for a year. He has to get back into the way the Vatican does their diplomacy, which is with much more understated statements.
DOBBS: One could hope, Delia, that the response by the Vatican will be every bit as mute as the rather straightforward language offered up by the cardinal. Delia Gallagher reporting from Rome. We thank you very much.
Coming up next, Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate committee on intelligence. We'll be talking about what intelligence has been gained in Iraq after the capture of Saddam, the likelihood of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the architect of the September 11 attacks, and the search for weapons of mass destruction. Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee joins us.
And in "Broken Borders" tonight, an incredible call for illegal aliens to have the right to vote in California. Casey Wian will have the report.
And a deadly flu outbreak. The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, joins us tonight. We'll be talking about what his department is doing to combat this especially dangerous strain of flu and about calls for hearings on the reasons for a shortage of flu vaccine. Stay with us.
DOBBS: As we reported, U.S. troops in Iraq today arrested more than 70 suspected insurgents. That operation took place in Samarra, located about 60 miles north of Baghdad, a town where U.S. troops killed 54 insurgents who had ambushed American convoys last month.
(voice-over): Troops in Samarra say they captured not only a leader of an insurgent cell but also a large number of the cell's members. The raids in Samarra come one day after U.S. troops killed 11 insurgents in the town. Those insurgents were killed when they attacked a U.S. patrol. There were no American casualties.
About 25 miles away, large numbers of American troops were patrolling Tikrit today after the capture of Saddam Hussein, found hiding beneath a nearby farmhouse. Three soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb today, but the Army says their injuries are not life- threatening.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, on a morale-boosting visit to troops in Iraq today, said the attacks against U.S. forces will continue.
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I think there are obviously still some elements in this country that don't want a free Iraq.
DOBBS: Saddam loyalists also attacked a U.S. supply train in Fallujah today, another part of the so-called "Sunni triangle" north and west of Baghdad. But Iraqis in most other parts of the country continue to celebrate the capture of Saddam Hussein, the dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens.
My guest tonight credits the capture of Saddam Hussein to a shift in strategy in American intelligence in Iraq. Senator Pat Roberts is the chairman of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joining us tonight from Washington, D.C.
Mr. Chairman, good to have you here.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's good to be here. Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: The obvious successes that are flowing rather quickly from the capture of Saddam and the documents associated with that capture -- how profound do you expect them to be from here on?
ROBERTS: Well, I hope they're very profound. What we've done is seen a real ramp-up in our intelligence capability. We have more analysts. We have better human intelligence. And when we had that analyzed product, it goes to who we call the enablers in the field, right to the military, right to the commanders. We have what's called real-time analysis. That really was the reason we were able to have 600 troops immediately on the ground, in regards to the search for the high-value target that turned out to be Saddam Hussein.
I hope that kind of capability is extended so that we can do a better job of detecting and deterring some of these individual cell terrorist attacks. I know the intelligence community has gotten a lot of brickbrats here as of late, and some deserved and some not. But in this particular case, they did a stunning job. And I think with a real joint effort, we can continue that and, hopefully, see some more successes.
DOBBS: Senator Roberts, has -- have you and your committee been briefed on what the U.S. is going to do from here -- that is, al Douri, al Tikriti, the two principal outstanding members of the regime, a suggestion as to who is actually directing what the Pentagon calls a far more sophisticated series of attacks, coordinated attacks against a U.S. troops?
ROBERTS: Well, they're a very top priority, and if we use the same methods that were successful with Saddam, why, perhaps that will be successful. Then this morning, there was an unconfirmed report that al Douri actually had turned himself in. With the document exploitation of the material that Saddam had, I think those nooses are getting very tight around those two individuals' throats.
DOBBS: It's certainly early in the process. Already, valuable intelligence has been gathered from the capture of Saddam. But do we have any indication -- more importantly do you have any indication in your committee that there is any reason to think that the intelligence so far gathered is going to lead to an answer to the issue of where are the weapons of mass destruction?
ROBERTS: Well, there's been some discussion as to whether or not the document exploitation would deal with that. I don't know that for sure. I don't know the specifics yet. We had a briefing by the Defense Department on the operation that led to the discovery and the capture of Saddam. We were not really briefed because we had to really go into the document exploitation. But having said that, you know, Dr. Kay does continue his work. He's to report back to the Congress in January. We will make that part of our inquiry report that I hope to finish up in January and February on the reliability and the accuracy of the intelligence prior to going to war.
DOBBS: And reports in, specifically, "The Telegraph," the U.K. -- the United Kingdom newspaper, that there has been suggestions by members of the Iraqi governing council that they have evidence that there is bona fide empirical evidence of a relationship between Mohammed Atta, the architect of the September 11 attacks, and Abu Nidal, who committed suicide, ostensibly, in Baghdad at the beginning of the year -- have you any further information on that? Can you verify any part of that?
ROBERTS: I think the key word that you used, Lou, was empirical. We have been aware of that story. I'm not going to say it's an old story, but it's a story we've been aware of. That is part of our inquiry. This is a new development. We want to make sure that we have access to that commentary and to the reports. I can't really get into any more specifics, except to say that we are following that up.
DOBBS: And what do you expect to be the next step, Senator Roberts, improved intelligence, a new approach that worked, at least in the case of Saddam Hussein? Where do you expect to see the successes going forward? How soon do you expect the U.S. military and the Central Intelligence Agency to achieve those successes?
ROBERTS: Well, I think they achieved a great deal by really casting the net a little bit wider and really being the cop on the beat. You know, a politician -- pardon me, a public servant -- likes to say that they go to the grass roots. This is going to the -- you know, this is going to the grass weeds. And what they did is talk to the tribal clans and the families of the clans and the families of the families. And they really got down to some very hard work.
It was totally transparent. It was a joint effort by the Agency, by the DIA, by the military, and it was an outstanding effort. If we can apply that same kind of intelligence effort with more analysts, again to the individual cells by the foreign jihadists, I think we'll be successful.
Now, on the other side of it, you've got, you know, the Ba'ath Party loyalists and all the loyalists to Saddam and the Fedayeen and the Sunni extremists. So it's sort of bifurcated into those two areas. I hope that the folks that are still backing Saddam or who were thinking he might come back would see that's a dead-end street and those kind of attacks would lessen. What we do with the individual cells, that's going to be up to a much better intelligence effort, and what we saw today that you've just reported on, which was very strong offensive measure by our military.
DOBBS: Senator Pat Roberts, we thank you for being with us here.
ROBERTS: Always a pleasure, Lou. Thank you.
DOBBS: Senator Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Coming up next, "Broken Borders" tonight, a call by some for the granting of the right to vote in this country, specifically in California -- the right to vote for illegal aliens. Casey Wian will have the story. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Last week's boycott by illegal alien advocacy groups in southern California was driven by, of course, the repeal of a law granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Now a new UCLA-funded study goes even further, calling for voting rights for illegal aliens, and that caught our attention despite all of the other distractions in this country. Casey Wian has the story from Los Angeles.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center has released a study laying out a road map for securing voting rights for non-citizens, including illegal aliens. Voting rights attorney and UCLA law school lecturer Joaquin Avila wrote the paper.
JOAQUIN AVILA, UCLA LAW SCHOOL: Either you lessen the restrictions on the citizenship process, or you make some changes on the requirements for voting. But the important thing is, is that we have a growing segment in our society that contributes to the economy, pays taxes, is subject to the military, and yet is not able to participate effectively in the political process. There's something wrong with that.
WIAN: Avila points out that non-citizens are the majority in a dozen California cities and more than a quarter of the population in 85. He calls the law preventing them from voting "political apartheid." Opponents of expanded rights for illegal aliens are fighting back.
RON PRINCE, SAVE OUR STATE: People who are here illegally do not have a constitutional right to vote in our elections. They would like to have them. And since we are rolling over, as it were, giving up the sovereignty of our border, the integrity of our border, giving up our claim on national security in order to make it easy for illegals to come here, why not give up the protection of our voting rights?
WIAN: Prince is one of the original backers of California's Proposition 187, which sought to deny government benefits to illegal aliens. Voters approved it in 1994, but court challengers and former governor Gray Davis kept it from becoming law. Now supporters are gathering signatures for a similar measure for next fall's election. It would amend the state constitution and require government workers to verify the legal status of those applying for government benefits or a driver's license. It would also invalidate the Metricula Consular (ph) Mexican ID cards many government agencies and banks now accept.
The updated version of Proposition 187 makes no mention of schools because federal law requires public education regardless of immigration status. Supporters hope that will allow the measure to survive court challenges. The state's legislative analyst estimate it would save taxpayers more than $100 million a year -- Lou.
DOBBS: Casey, thank you. I mean, that is a stunning report. And it has the imprimatur of UCLA, one of the nation's most respected universities, calling for voting rights for illegal aliens?
WIAN: Well, a UCLA spokeswoman called me after my interview with Mr. Avila today, trying, it seemed, to distance the university from this study. She said it's not a UCLA report. And I asked her, Well, isn't the UCLA Chicano research organization funded by the university, and she said, Yes, partially, also by the University of California. It has obviously troubled some people at UCLA.
It didn't make much -- many waves here in the local media, in part because so much attention was being focused on the boycott last week that you mentioned. Only a couple of newspapers, none of the big newspapers in the state even covered the story when the study was released late last week, Lou.
DOBBS: Not to put too fine a point on it, Casey, but when you have boycotts by illegal immigrant advocacy groups calling for driver's licenses, which is by any -- by any reasonable standard, a privilege that is granted to U.S. citizens, and now calling for voting rights without citizenship -- what is emboldening these people to think that this is even rational? And what in the world are the state officials of the state of California doing?
WIAN: Well, I think what it demonstrates is the increasing polarization of people in California over the issue of illegal aliens. As we mentioned in our report, we have people trying to bring back a new version of Proposition 187, which would deny most social services to illegal aliens. That was very controversial here. A lot of people thought it was gone for good.
Yet you've also seen some evidence of politicians knuckling under to the will of illegal alien advocacy groups. Just witness Governor Gray Davis -- former governor Gray Davis's flip-flop on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Many people saw that as a clear pandering to the Latino vote. Ultimately, it did not work for him, and as we know, he was recalled. Governor Schwarzenegger was quoted in one of the papers that did cover this issue as saying he does not favor voting rights for non-citizens, Lou.
DOBBS: And he made it clear that he would see that SB-60, as it was called, permitting illegal aliens to have driver's licenses, would be repealed. It's remarkable, this story. That's why we're following it here day in and day out because it's critically important. Along with Proposition 187, Casey, perhaps someone in California might think about also another component in this, and that would be severe, heavy penalties against companies and businesses that hire illegal aliens because they are certainly, as we have learned here, a big part of the problem. Casey Wian...
WIAN: We haven't seen a proposal yet, but we might some day, Lou.
DOBBS: OK. Casey Wian, as always, thank you, sir. Outstanding.
We want to hear from you on this issue in tonight's poll. The question: Do you believe illegal aliens should have voting rights in this country? Yes or no. It's that simple. Cast your vote at cnn.com/lou. We'll have the results for you later in the broadcast.
Coming up next: How the capture of Saddam Hussein could shape -- influence, at least -- the 2004 presidential race for president and the -- for the president, and of course, his Democratic contenders. Three top political journalists join us to talk about that and a great deal more. Please stay with us.
DOBBS: Saddam Hussein's capture is not only a monumental event in the war in Iraq but it also represents a huge boost for the political fortunes of the president and it has his Democratic rivals scrambling. The capture over shadowed an announcement by Senator John Breaux, that he would retire. And we're going to be talking about those developments and others.
We're joined by Roger Simon of "U.S. News and World Report."
Karen Tumulty of "Time" Magazine.
And here in New York, Alexis Simendinger of the "National Journal."
Thank you all for very here. Lets start, does this basically, Alexis, end the issue of Iraq for President Bush.
ALEXIS SIMENDINGER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Absolutely not. But you know what, what was positive for the president this week, Lou, I think it gave his job approval numbers a bump up. It definitely was a symbol that the United States Government and the military are going in the right direction. It totally overpowered what Howard Dean was hoping to say and launch in a big speech this week. And it made Dean a big target for the rest of the candidates. So it was good news for Bush, bad news for the Democrats.
DOBBS: Karen, is Dean in trouble on this issue now?
KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME MAGAZINE": Well, the fact is that what is going to matter more than anything is what the situation looks like on the ground next October. If, in fact, you know, it looks as though both the number of casualties has gone down and the United States has an exit strategy out of Iraq, President Bush is likely to be practically invincible on this issue. So I think this is as Alexis said it's a bump in the polls. By next October it's going to feel like a distant memory.
DOBBS: And is a distant memory, going to November 2004, let me kind of telescope back, if I may, Karen. And right now, would you say that Dean is in some trouble on this issue?
TUMULTY: Oh, I think I would. And in part because as Alexis said he's finding himself under intense fire from the rest of the Democratic field including these ads he's been subjected to this week that come from some sort of Democratic front group that we can't even tell who is giving them the money to fund these ads.
DOBBS: Roger, do you know who is funding that?
ROGER SIMON, "U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT": I don't, but I must say that I have to disagree slightly. I don't think this is going to derail Howard Dean's road to the nomination. Peter Hart (UNINTELLIGIBLE) school yesterday did a focus group among Democratic voters and independent voters who are the voters that count in the primary campaigns, the Democratic primaries, they couldn't careless about the capture of Saddam Hussein. They couldn't careless about Bush's Iraq policy. They want to know about jobs and the economy. And while they -- it didn't shake their support for Howard Dean. That support was not huge, but it was at least their number one choice.
DOBBS: And the importance of the economy in this race, we have seen the economy, it's exploding by any definition, yet, Alexis jobs are not being created. Few -- something like 350,000 jobs over the course of the past four months. Not enough. How important will it be in your judgment?
SIMENDINGER: You know if you have the biggest megaphone, and that's at the White House, the president this week tried to use his news conference to say how well the economy is doing. The stock market is going up. But as you point out, for instance, candidate Lieberman, Joe Lieberman is trying to say this race is about security but it has to do with your economic security. So he's trying to use his speech as a centrist to talk about the Clinton years and where he's trying to go. So, he's trying to draw the voters right back to the subject that you are talking about.
DOBBS: In point of fact, Lieberman has stepped in some ways beyond Gephardt, has he not, Karen, Roger, on this issue?
Saying he wants to see made in America on products and he wants American jobs.
TUMULTY: Well, as we've talked about before on this show, to listen to the Democratic field, these days, on issues like trade, you would think that it was 1988 and not 2003. But they are all being forced at this point to define themselves on the economy and Howard Dean himself has a speech coming up on Thursday. And there's, by the way, a big debate going on in his campaign on how specific he should be getting. Because there's a feeling he has got to start telling people what he stands for and not just what he's against.
DOBBS: Well, he started talking on a midnight flight, Roger, about reregulating every industry that's been deregulated since 1978. That resonated with a number of people.
Is there any reason you would think he would get more specific and more emphatic about the call?
SIMON: I think he will. I think he's trying to know he's not just some anti-bush lefty who hates the war, that's the basis for his campaign. He make as point over and over again he had a conservative fiscal record in Vermont. That he is really not on the fringe of his party. And that he is willing to take on whatever issues are in the mainstream of the Democratic party.
DOBBS: Who is -- in your best estimate, and Alexis I'll start with you, but I'm asking, if I may, all of you, who in your judgment is the best -- is best contender right now against Dean?
SIMENDINGER: Gee, I think I'll wiggle off of that one. We're really all trying to watch really closely what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire. Of course, and if you paid any attention to what Senator Kerry is doing, they are hoping they can actually be contenders in Iowa and move into New Hampshire. It's obviously stacked in that top tier of the four of Dean and Gephardt and Kerry and Lieberman at this point.
DOBBS: You're not ready to name a front runner among those in second place?
SIMENDINGER: Oh, no, reporting the news is better than predicting it.
DOBBS: Karen, can I entice you?
TUMULTY: The only thing I would say, if, in fact, Dean can pull off a victory in Iowa and New Hampshire, as the primaries head south and west, I keep my eye on Wes Clark who is going to be the only other person in the field who has a significant amount of money and he's also at least looking at the polls right now doing fairly well in New Hampshire. So he may be getting a little bump off of that, too.
DOBBS: And Roger.
SIMON: Lou, I think you put your finger on the problem for the Democratic contenders who are not named Howard Dean. Our reluctance to name a clear cut second place person is there is no clear cut person in second place, there's to many of them. Karen is absolutely right when she talks about Clark and money. Money mean as lot in politics. It's not just symbolic. It buys you things like commercials and the ability to travel where you want. But aside from his money, there is is -- the field has too many contenders that are alternatives to Dean rather than just one person that the party can get around which is why Dean looks so good at the moment.
BLITZER: Well, The fact dean is looking so give now gives Terry McAuliffe the chairman of the Democratic National Committee something more to complain about than simply the number of candidates in the field.
Roger we thank you. Karen, thank you. Alexis, thank you for being the select New York seat. We appreciate it. Thank you all.
BLITZER: Tonight's quote is from a Democratic presidential candidate who today talked about fair trade. And we quote -- "I'm going to stand up for you when foreign competitors don't play by the rules. The motto of my administration is going to be made in America and sold abroad, that from Senator Joseph Lieberman.
Coming up next, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, we'll be talking about the flu. Some ideas about holding hearings why we don't have enough vaccine in this country to combat it. Stay with us.
DOBBS: My guest tonight announced the bush administration will ask for $150 million from Congress for manufacturing incentives to speed up production of flu vaccine. This is the Centers for Disease Control list, 27 states categorized as being affected with, quote, "widespread flu activity."
Joining me now from Washington to talk about the latest in the fight against this country's flu epidemic, the secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson. Mr. Secretary good to have you here.
TOMMY THOMPSON, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: It's always a pleasure, Lou.
DOBBS: Mr. Secretary, this flu is unrelenting. It is obviously affecting Americans in all 50 states, 27 states now widely affected.
How bad is it going to get?
THOMPSON: I think you're going to see it tapering off a little bit in the western states where it got hit really early this year, for a flu season. But you notice, that most of the states are on the western side and the eastern side of the United States hasn't been hit as hard yet. So we're anticipating that states up and down the coast is going to be hit fairly hard yet. So we still think that where we're living right now in New York and Washington, D.C.
Is going to be an area that is still going to be hit quite hard.
DOBBS: So effectively just moving from the west to the east.
THOMPSON: That is correct.
DOBBS: You still expect the flu to peek in January as it typically does in those regions?
THOMPSON: This one started earlier, we're anticipating, yes, it should peek by the end of December or early part of January, but you notice that in the western side of the country, that has been hit hard already and the eastern side hasn't. So, that may be delayed a couple of weeks probably until the end of January, maybe early February.
DOBBS: Turning to vaccine, will the eastern part of the United States have sufficient flu vaccine over the next few weeks?
THOMPSON: We hope. You know, that we're doing every we possibly can, Lou, to make sure that it's available. As you know, we purchased 250,000 doses last week. And I purchased 375,000 doses yesterday from Chiron. And we got approximately 3 million doses of flu mist available for those individuals ages 6 to 49. And so we got those purchased and got a very good price on both of them. And we're deploying those out into the states that are asking for some help.
DOBBS: And you know, of all the money, I've got to ask this of you, Secretary Thompson, of all the money this government spends, $11 trillion economy, the flu season by every estimate I have seen costs the American economy about $70 billion, the lives that are lost the tremendous -- the pain for too many people of going through the flu, why in the world are we worrying about the cost of vaccine in the world's only superpower.
THOMPSON: I don't think we are. I think the problem has been is that we have not invested in coming up with the new kind of manufacturing capabilities for developing vaccines. We're still producing vaccines a way that has been produced for years and clearly went back clear into the late '40s and early '50s. And that the -- that's by impregnating an egg with the virus and then letting it grow and then it becomes a vaccine. And that is a system that is outmoded. And what we're trying to do, Lou, is trying to convince companies to be transferred over to a new cell culture which is going to be much faster, more efficient and better capable of coming up with a vaccine when we need the surge capacity like we do this year.
I think, as you know, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has called for a hearing to find out why we didn't have a sufficient amount of vaccine.
He's also suggested that we need a better alert system, suggesting the Internet as the vehicle for that.
Do his proposals attract you in any way?
THOMPSON: Well, first, Lou, we're very much on top of the flu each year. We take the viruses and collect them in four areas, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan and the United States in January. And we make a determination with the World Health Organization at that point what the flu virus is going to be for the succeeding years. Then you have to grow the vaccine in eggs for four months and it's a very labor intensive and a very laborious kind of process. What we're trying to do in the Department of Health and Human Services is come up with some extra dollars and we requested it and this year's budget as well as next year's budget to make sure that we can get manufacturers to go from the egg production into a cell culture. And this is the way of the future and this is what we should be doing. In regards to the vaccine, there's only three manufacturers left to produce flu vaccine because it's not something that they can make much money on. And last year they produced 95 million doses and only 83 million doses were used and 12 million were destroyed and they lost money. And so this year they decided they would only produce 87 million, which they felt was the correct amount. As a result of the flu vaccine coming -- the flu coming earlier we didn't have quite enough.
DOBBS: You're going to underwrite them next year. It's an election year.
DOBBS: You don't want anybody to have the flu and not make it to the polls do you?
THOMPSON: Well, that's true. We want to try some new things. The department has requested money prior to this kind of flu outbreak. We think that's the way to go, Lou.
DOBBS: Secretary Thompson, we thank you very much.
THOMPSON: Always a pleasure, Lou.
DOBBS: Let's turn now and look at some of "Your Thoughts" on "Broken Borders" from Beulah, North Dakota. "What is wrong with the United States citizens in California? These illegal immigrants are not U.S. citizens. Illegal immigrants have no right to driver's licenses or any other programs which are set up for U.S. taxpayers. I'm getting very tired of working hard to have illegal immigrants get privileges which should only be for U.S. citizens." Kevin Herrmann.
From Green Allen, Virginia. "I have no issue with immigration, but I do strongly oppose giving anyone here illegally the privilege of driving or voting. I would be happy to give them a ride back to their own country." Dave Vaughn.
From Greendale, Wisconsin. "Lou, am I the only one concerned about security issues raised by bank and other financial institutions moving my personal and financial information offshore. I really don't want a back office operation in Kuala Lumpur accessing my social security number, life insurance policy info and bank account numbers, not mention my mother's maiden name and other password identifiers! Do you think the back office for Tom Ridge's bank is somewhere in India." Ginger Stuckemeyer.
From Ivrine, California, "What if all the millions of teenagers could not wait until they were 16 and decided to drive on the freeway anyway. By the Senator's Cedillo's logic we should give them all driver's licenses for safety's sake. We need safety on the highway and we can enforce that by cracking down people driving without a license and fine then, not by giving them the privilege to drive before they qualify and earn the right to do so." C. Wong.
From Perdido Key, Florida. "Mr. Dobbs, thank you so much for being diligent about the outsources of jobs, majority rights versus minority rule, illegal aliens and many more subjects. I'm retired and appalled at what my children and their children will face in this country. Merry Christmas and keep up the good work." Sandra Fox.
From Pennsylvania, "Dear Lou I am not a Christian and I do not celebrate Christmas, but for the record I wish everyone would just quit being so politically correct about the holiday. Why should it be offensive that someone wish you a Merry Christmas if you don't celebrate it? They are just trying to be nice, take it to the spirit it was intended." Erica Bruns.
From Tucson, Arizona, "The central principle of a democracy is ruled by the majority. Our founding fathers added the provision for respecting the rights of the minority, that does not include the right to trump the will of the majority by running to court over policy battles lost to the majority. Not everyone is a victim. Ken Boedeker.
And from Ottawa, Canada, "Merry Christmas and happy New Years to Lou Dobbs and everyone in the USA. Please don't report me to the ACLU." Wayne Silver.
Send us your thoughts at email@example.com.
A reminder to vote in our poll. The question tonight, do you believe illegal aliens should have voting rights in this country, yes or no.
Cast your votes at cnn.com/lou. We'll have the results later in the broadcast.
Now and update on our list of companies confirmed by our staff to be exporting jobs overseas to cheap foreign labor markets. "Exporting American" These are the companies sending those jobs overseas or choosing to employ foreign labor instead of American workers. We work to confirm these companies each day. We continue to work on it, on the thousands of companies that you have e-mailed us that are "Exporting America."
These are the companies we confirmed today. Andrew Corporation, a wire and cable manufacturing company based in Oakland Park, Illinois. Discover, Gateway, Johnson and Johnson, Perot Systems, Portal Software and Regent Group, a health care provider in the northwest based in Portland, Oregon.
Please keep sending us the names of the companies you know to be exporting those jobs to cheap foreign labor markets. We will continue to update the list. Send them to us as firstname.lastname@example.org. Those companies that we confirm each day will be reported each evening right here.
Coming up next, working for us, some exceptional Americans going out of their way to help others in this country. Tonight we introduce you to a doctor who is giving his time for workers struggling after they lost those jobs to cheap overseas foreign labor. That story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DOBBS: Now "Working For Us." As we told you last week, we highlight on this broadcast those men and women in this country who work to help fellow citizens. Dr. Kenny Tokunboh is doing just that.
He's an internal medicine and pediatrics doctor in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Dr. Tokunboh runs a private practice just down the street from the Pillowtex factory that was closed this summer, driven out of business by cheap imports. 5,000 workers there in North Carolina lost their jobs and every Thursday, Dr. Tokunboh gives up his entire day to treat laid off Pillowtex workers and their families and he does so free of charge.
DR. KENNY TOKUNBOH, "WORKING FOR US": They are people who are down and out on their luck. They have nowhere else to go. They are people who have life threatening problems.
DOBBS: We want to hear from you about any suggestions of those you know working for us. That is people in your community working to take care of all the rest of us. E-mail us at loudobbs@CNN.com.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrials rose to the highest level in more than a year and a half today. The Dow up 107 points, almost. The Nasdaq rose 6, more than, the S&P 500 up 7.09. However, tonight I have a troubling report on foreign investment in our markets. Christine Romans is here and has the story for us.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Foreign investment in U.S. assets was sharply curtailed in this country in the third quarter. Take a look at this. Foreign purchases of U.S. securities other than treasury bonds tumbled 88 percent in the third quarter.
Overseas investors bought 9 percent fewer treasury bonds and 14 percent fewer corporate bonds than they did in the prior quarter. And foreigners were outright selling U.S. stocks. Three and a half billion dollars worth compared with $21 billion in purchases in the prior quarter. Now, Lou, dollar denominated investments become less attractive, of course, when the U.S. currency continues to slide and with interest rates at 4-5 year lows, you can see that this starts to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
DOBBS: I think I'm getting the hang of that. That's all right. Well, you know, that's troubling. Is there a sense that this is a long-term issue? Is this simply an interim adjustment?
ROMANS: We watched in August and September and people said if it happens for the full quarter we're going to start to be concerned and now we've got a big quarter. We'll have to see if it happens in the fourth quarter again.
DOBBS: And the New York Stock Exchange being sued? Suggestions that it's a corrupt system?
ROMANS: We've seen the specialist systems sued before, but this is a first. This is a suit of the New York Stock Exchange. The nation's largest pension fund has sued the NYSE for aiding and abetting the specialists. Calpers says the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) system is rife with self-dealing and the Stock Exchange not only looked the other way but it perpetuated the fraud. The California pension fund suing for $150 million in scalped profits. And California officials, Lou, say they are taking action because the SEC did too little, too late.
DOBBS: Is this an invitation to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
ROMANS: We'll see. He has said he's got his eyes on this, too.
DOBBS: OK. Christine Romans, thank you.
Now for the latest on a remarkable study of the red planet, two powerful rovers are on their way to Mars, both moving at about a million miles a day, more than 41,000 miles an hour. The "Spirit" which is still more than 22 million miles from Mars, will land or is scheduled to land, at least, and we hope it does on the third of January. "
Opportunity" is the other. It is now more than 47 million miles from Mars. It will land on the 24th of January. These two golf card- sized rovers are identical. They will search, however, for evidence of water in different parts of the planet. The European Space Agency also has a mission on the way to Mars. It's the Mars Express. That mission is scheduled to drop a lander on the martian surface on Christmas day and we wish the Mars Express great luck as well.
Coming up next, the results of our poll and at a time when much of corporate America seems to be outsourcing U.S. jobs overseas, we'll tell you about one American company rewarding its workers with a very special Christmas present. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Our poll tonight. Do you believe illegal aliens should have voting rights in this country? Six percent said yes, 94 percent said no. I wonder what UCLA will make of that vote. They might save a little money on studies in the future.
Finally, one American company is rewarding its employees with a special bonus this holiday season. SAS Shoemakers is giving all of its employees $1,000 for every year they've been with the company. Now SAS is a privately held company, so private that when we asked company employees (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they wouldn't tell us. But to all of them, congratulations and merry Christmas.
That's our show for tonight. Thanks for being with us. For all of us here, good night from New York.
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