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Public Mourning for Ronald Reagan Begins; Bush Mending Fences Over Iraq

Aired June 7, 2004 - 18:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Monday, June 7. Here now for an hour of Lou's debate and opinion is Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.

We have begun a week of public mourning for Ronald Reagan. The national ceremonies began when the former president's body arrived at his presidential library in Simi Valley, California, accompanied by Nancy Reagan and other members of his family.

Later, thousands of Californians lined up to pay their final respects to the man who was their governor between 1967 and 1975.

David Mattingly joins us now from Simi Valley -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the line of people filing past former President Ronald Reagan's casket at this hour appears to have no end. We will go inside the library right now with a live picture to show you what's going on, as people by the bus load continue to come in, most of them in silence. They are united in their sorrow and respect for our 40th president.

Earlier today, the Reagan family accompanied the former president's casket in procession from the funeral home in Santa Monica. Then here at the Reagan library, there was a brief ceremony as the casket was set for public viewing.

Some sad moments to report, however, watching Nancy Reagan and the Reagan children. At one point, the former first lady gently touching the flag shrouding her husband's casket. Then she and her daughter, Patti Davis, embracing in a moment of grief.

Now people of all ages today expressing a sense of loss here as well, wanting to be a part of this event.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to come out here and just be part of history here and say good-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's just like an all-American guy, you know. I don't think they make them like that anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been a Reagan supporter since he age of 12. I went to visit his governor mansion. I sat in his chair when he was governor, I ate his jelly beans, and I've been a fan ever since. And he's the first president I ever voted for and the best president we've ever had.


MATTINGLY: Forty-five thousand to 60,000 people expected to file past in here, expressing their grief and sharing their thoughts with each other as they come here to view the casket of former president Ronald Reagan -- Lou.

DOBBS: David.

President Reagan's body will remain at the presidential library until Wednesday morning. His casket will be then flown to Washington for national ceremonies. Ronald Reagan's body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol for two days. Friday, a public funeral will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington. Afterwards, Ronald Reagan's body will be flown back to California for a private funeral service.

President Bush will travel to Washington for Ronald Reagan's funeral after attending the G-8 summit in Georgia this week. The main topic at the summit is likely to be Iraq. Today, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the United Nations Security Council could vote on a resolution on Iraq within days.

White House Correspondent Dana Bash reports from Savannah, Georgia -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the president will give a eulogy on Friday morning at the memorial service for President Reagan at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and, at this point, the White House says the president is not going to leave the summit here in Georgia before it ends on Thursday.

And we are told now that the vice president will be at the Capitol on Wednesday to be part of ceremonies there. He will be part of the arrival ceremony in the Rotunda, and he will give remarks and lay a wreathe, we're told.

Now, in terms of the summit, the president did spend much of today down out of public view preparing for the days ahead. He's hoping to pick back up where he left off over the weekend, when in Europe, meeting with allies there, trying to repair relations over Iraq.

Now the ultimate fence-mending symbol, of course, is a new U.N. Resolution to try to bless the way forward on Iraq, and Bush officials today were optimistic that that could happen in the next few days, primarily because of positive words that President Bush heard from Jacques Chirac while in France. Those were public positive words. We're also told by a senior administration official that Mr. Chirac gave some private assurances that the U.N. Resolution could pass unanimously.

But, Lou, the other major agenda item here at the summit will be to talk about a U.S. initiative to bring about reforms, political reforms, economic and social reforms in the Middle East, and leaders from Yemen, Bahrain, and Jordan will be here.

Some of the Arab leaders, like from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, declined to come. They said that they would not accept the invitation, and there is some skepticism in the Arab world that this initiative that the U.S. is pressing for here is simply a way to try to impose American values on them.

But U.S. officials are saying that that is simply not the case and their ultimate goal is to send a message that it is time for change in the Middle East, and they're hoping that having European leaders, U.S. leaders and some Arab leaders here together will help send that message -- Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you.

A United Nations vote in favor of the proposed Iraq resolution would be a major diplomatic victory for the United States and Britain. Washington and London have been working hard to overcome the objections of countries like France, a leading opponent of war against Saddam Hussein.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The United States and Britain today submitted a new draft resolution to the U.N.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I really do expect that we're going to have a resolution in the next few days, and, in fact, President Chirac said as much, and Chancellor Schroeder recently said the same thing.

PILGRIM: Traveling in Ecuador, Secretary of State Colin Powell pushing hard, saying he hoped for an agreement today.

President Bush appeared with French President Jacques Chirac this weekend in a conciliatory event in Normandy.

PHILIP GORDON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The United States has been keen to get something done, and the Europeans have not wanted to stand in the way and look like they're encouraging failure in Iraq. So the two sides finally seem to be coming together.

PILGRIM: U.N. Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi made this plea to get an agreement.

LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, U.N. ENVOY: Iraq needs the patient, strong and sustained support of this body, the Security Council, and that of the United Nations as a whole.

PILGRIM: Still unsettled, what is the relationship between the new Iraqi government and U.S.-led forces? France and Germany want an amendment to say the Iraqi government can veto major military operations of the multinational force. The United States and Britain are against an Iraqi veto over any military action.


PILGRIM: Now the new draft talks about the Iraqis' consent for the presence of U.S.-led forces after June 30. The United States was willing to compromise by talking about a date of departure for the troops, but what the United States is unlikely to agree to is an Iraqi veto of power over U.S. military action -- Lou.

DOBBS: But the deal looks like it could happen within a matter of days?

PILGRIM: It looks imminent. Everyone we speak to says imminent.

DOBBS: Good. Kitty, thank you very much.

The new Iraqi government today announced an ambitious plan to disarm 100,000 Iraqi gunmen loyal to political parties, but the deal does not include supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr Who launched an uprising two months ago.

Meanwhile, an explosion damaged a mosque in the City of Kufa, one of al-Sadr's strongholds.

Guy Raz reports.


GUY RAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A familiar scene in Kufa, smoke rising from the city center, but, this time, a self- inflicted wound. A weapon stash used by the Mehdi Militia of Muqtada al-Sadr ignited and set off a chain reaction, killing three people and damaging one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines.

Militants holed up inside the mosque blamed U.S. forces for the explosion saying an American rocket hit the area. Military officials denied it.

LT. COL. ROBERT WHITE, U.S. ARMY: We have not fired an artillery round in over two-and-a-half weeks in this city. I haven't had coalition forces close to that mosque within about two, two-and-a-half kilometers for over 72 hours now.

RAZ: Indeed, U.S. forces have respected an agreement to stay out of Najaf and Kufa.

(on camera): U.S. forces haven't deployed any of these tanks to Najaf or Kufa over the past 72 hours.

Now, over the last several weeks, this base here has come under regular mortar attack from militants hiding at the Kufa mosque just a mile up the road. Senior military officers have long suspected militants were keeping weapons and artillery inside that mosque. After today's explosion, one senior officer said "They reaped what they sowed."

(voice-over): Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister Designate Iyad Allawi announced plan to disband nine major militias still operating in Iraq. As of now, Allawi said, all armed forces outside state control are illegal. Those that have chosen violence and lawlessness over transition and reintegration, he added, will be dealt with harshly.

Last week's fighting suggests al-Sadr's militia won't agree to disband. Today on, it becomes an illegal organization under Iraqi law.

Guy Raz, CNN, in Najaf, Southern Iraq.


DOBBS: In Afghanistan, a bomb attack today killed an American soldier and wounded two others. That bomb exploded beneath the soldier's humvee north of Kandahar.

In a separate incident in the same area, U.S. aircraft bombed suspected Taliban members hiding in caves. There is no word tonight on the number of Taliban casualties. No Americans were hurt in that engagement.

The United States and South Korea are now discussing a much bigger cut in U.S. forces in Korea than had been expected. Military officials said the number of troops could be cut by a third, from 30,000 to about 25,000. As we reported here last week, the Pentagon is also planning big troop reductions in Europe.

Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre with the report -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, for more than a decade, the U.S. troop strength in South Korea has stood at 37,000 troops. But in negotiations that have begun today, the U.S. is talking to the South Korean government about cutting that number by 12,500 down to a number of just about 25,000 troops.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): Already the U.S. has told the South Korean government that 3,600 men of the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division are going to be pulled out of Korea and sent to Iraq, and sources say it's unlikely those troops will ever return to the Korean peninsula.

But the U.S. insists the real linemen will actually increase the U.S. military capability on the peninsula, and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers, traveling in Germany where the U.S. is also cutting back its troop strength, says that this is all part of a U.S. global realignment.

GEN. RICHARD MYERS, JOIN CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Any realignment of our troops is in the context of a larger global posture look that the United States is taking, and I would add that it's not just the United States that's looking at this. I think German armed forces are looking at how they are postured as well.

This is probably overdue in some cases. I mean, we're making some changes in Korea, we'll be making changes in the rest of the Pacific, we'll make changes in Europe, but none without consultations with the governments involved.


MCINTYRE: So the U.S. is not only cutting the number of troops, but moving them back. The American troops away from the DMZ, the border between North and South Korea in a realignment that the U.S. claims will increase its ability to respond in the event of a North Korean invasion to the South.

These troops are often considered a tripwire, but the U.S. military says using U.S. troops as a tripwire really isn't the best military use, and that combining new precision weaponry and new tactics, they can actually be more effective deployed to bases farther south.

The U.S. insists two things, though: One, it won't make any changes in South Korea without the agreement of the South Korean government; and, two, that the capability of the U.S. military will actually increase and therefore, so will the deterrent against North Korea -- Lou.

DOBBS: Why would the agreement, Jamie, of the South Koreans be necessary for the withdrawal of American troops?

MCINTYRE: Well, the U.S. has worked, of course, closely with the South Korean government, which provides the bulk of the troops in South Korea for the defense of South Korea, and that's a combined U.S.-South Korean command.

So they want to make any changes and make sure that the South Korean government is perfectly comfortable, that they don't believe that either their security is being compromised, there's any lessening of commitment, or that they're sending the wrong signal to North Korea that the U.S. is not as committed as it has been to the South.

And, of course the South Korean peninsula is the one place where the U.S. military is absolutely committed to the defense of South Korea by treaty so that, if there's an invasion, the U.S. will automatically be at war.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you.

Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon.

Still ahead, remembering Ronald Reagan, his life, his legacy. I'll be joined by one of his close friends, Congressman David Dreier.

Homeland Insecurity. A leading senator says our railroads are perilously vulnerable to terrorist attack. I'll be joined by Senator Richard Shelby.

And an incredible decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has opened our highways to tens of thousands of Mexican trucks. We'll have a special report for you coming right up.


DOBBS: My next guest, a close friend of President Reagan and Nancy Reagan. Congressman David Dreier was elected to Congress in 1980, part of the Reagan revolution, and he joins us tonight from Washington.

Mr. Chairman, good to have you with us.

REP. DAVID DREIER (R), CALIFORNIA: Always good to be with you, Lou.

DOBBS: The support of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in 1978 didn't help you win an election, but to what degree do you think he helped you in 1980?

DREIER: You know, sitting in this chair yesterday, for the first time it came out of my mouth. I said that I'm actually happy that I lost in 1978 because it allowed me to be elected the day Ronald Reagan was elected president.

I first met him in 1971 when I was a freshman in college at Claremont McKenna College, and I will tell you that -- and you know this, Lou, very well -- there was always a great sense of exhilaration whenever you were in Ronald Reagan's presence, whether it was at a political rally or sitting in the Oval Office, or at any other gathering, and that enthusiasm that he had and that extraordinarily optimistic viewpoint that he had towards virtually everything was something that was contagious.

It spread to me in a big way. I will say that I had loads of experiences, and one of the things that I remember first -- well, you're right that -- Mrs. Reagan did an event for me, and President Reagan did -- Ronald Reagan did then in 1978, and I did nearly lose that '78 election. But when we did win in 1980, and we had a rally in Claremont just a few days before the election, I had the thrill of introducing him at that rally.

Then we were able to spend Christmas with them, actually, after we had been elected, before the inauguration. And, I mean, it was a small gathering at the home of Charles and Mary Jane Wick, and I remember just this extraordinary feeling that we were going to change the country and change the world for the better, and that's exactly what happened.

DOBBS: You know, Congressman, as you recount your thoughts upon entering public service in 1980, and, obviously, the election of President Reagan, much of the country thought of Ronald Reagan as a B movie actor, former California governor who was an arch-John Birch society-style conservative, and many people were scared to death of him, despite all of the reasons that they elected him. DREIER: Yes. I mean, it was amazing. There were some people who felt that way then. But, you know, he had been actually very balanced as governor of California.

DOBBS: Sure.

DREIER: But the impact that he had, Lou, was just incredible.

I was thinking over the weekend, 15 years ago this weekend, I got to, along with Senator Richard Lugar, lead a team to the inauguration of the first transition from one democratically elected government to another in El Salvador, from Jose Napoleon Duarte to Alfredo Christiani.

I came back and went to the -- and walked in the capital rotunda to the last body to lay in state. My predecessor, chairman of the House Rules Committee, Claude Pepper, was lying in state, and then I got on a plane and flew to be part of an election observer team in Krakow, Poland, and the solidarity activists were there. On the television screen came these pictures of tanks rolling through Tianamen Square, and they thought at that point that General Jaruzelski was manufacturing this to prevent people from voting.

So that was 15 years ago this weekend that we had all of those experiences, and they all relate very closely to Ronald Reagan, and that was part of his very, very positive vision where he knew exactly where he wanted to take the country, and he wanted political pluralism to thrive throughout the world.

DOBBS: An important part of the message that he carried throughout was less government is better -- if not better government, certainly better for the country, but he also -- and many people don't realize this -- in 1980, during the campaign, was already talking about the Soviet Union ending up on the ash heap of history. He truly believed that for years, didn't he?

DREIER: You know what else? Yes, he did. And you know what else he said on November 6 of 1979? The day that he announced his candidacy for president, he -- and I've got to tell you this, my friend, Lou. He envisaged an accord, hemisphericwide trade that has culminated so far with the passage of the Northern American Free Trade Agreement, and now a U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

But he believed in cutting taxes and he knew that a tariff was a tax. He wanted the free flow of goods, services, ideas and capital to take place, and, as you know, we've seen a great deal of success. John F. Kennedy cut taxes in 1961. We saw great economic growth take place. Twenty years later, Ronald Reagan did it in 1981. And in 2001, George W. Bush started it, and you know we've created a million jobs since the first of the year, in part due to the trade vision that Ronald Reagan put forward.

DOBBS: Well, let's not forget all of the taxes that Ronald Reagan had to raise as well, nor the -- since you introduced the partisanship...

DREIER: There was a...

DOBBS: Let's go through --

DREIER: No, no. Nothing -- I'm not talking about partisanship. It was done in a bipartisan way, Lou. It was done with Democrats and Republicans.

DOBBS: It was done in a bipartisan way, and as you mentioned his free trade initiative, he was also the one who put quotas on foreign cars that led to...

DREIER: No, he didn't.

DOBBS: Oh, yes, he did.

DREIER: No, no, no. He didn't. He...

DOBBS: Check the record. Check the record, as they say, Congressman Dreier. Precisely...

DREIER: Lou, he threatened the imposition. He threatened the imposition of quotas, and I know that led to some investment here, but the Japanese...

DOBBS: I think you guys --

DREIER: ... desperately needed to change their economy.

DOBBS: Well, we were going to talk about Reagan, but we're talking about trade and policy. So...

DREIER: We're talking about Reagan's policies that were successful and continue to be successful today. That's what we're doing, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, I would hope that we would look at those honestly and clearly as we do all policies and assess them, and I think that considering that the number of jobs that were created and the employment rate that was brought under control, double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, all of that brought under control is a remarkable achievement by any standard. But I suppose we should always be able to look with a clear eye at accomplishments and some perhaps failures and missteps as well.

DREIER: You're absolutely right, but I argue that a lot of those accomplishments came about because of that vigorous pursuit of the free trade agenda.

DOBBS: Well, good for you. And we have one congressman's opinion in on that, and I, out of respect to Ronald Reagan, will defer mine.

Thank you, Congressman Dreier, for being with us.

DREIER: Finally, finally. Thanks, Lou.

DOBBS: Have a good evening.

DREIER: You too.

DOBBS: Tonight's thought is from president's second State of the Union address on January 25, 1983. "Our country is a special place because we Americans have always been sustained through good times and bad by a noble vision, a vision not only of what the world around us is today, but what we as a free people can make it be tomorrow."

Coming up next here, much more on the legacy of President Ronald Reagan, including your thoughts. And we'll talk with the editor of a new book on Thomas Jefferson, who says there are many similarities between the two presidents.

And our special report tonight, Homeland Insecurity. New concerns tonight that our nation's railroads and subways could be vulnerable to terrorist attack. We'll have a special report. And our guest is Senate Banking Committee Chairman Senator Richard Shelby. That's next.

And the Supreme Court clears the way for Mexican trucks to drive freely in the United States. Those stories, much more still ahead.


ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Here now for more news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: This week, we begin a series of special reports on the efforts to prevent another terrorist attack against this country: Homeland Insecurity.

Tonight, many are saying our passenger rail lines, railroads, subways and commuter lines are at risk.

Peter Viles reports.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Madrid, 10 bombs, 191 killed in a rush-hour terrorist attack. Could it happen in New York or Washington? Senator Richard Shelby warns the nation's trains and subways are "perilously vulnerable" to terrorist attack.

To board an airplane, you pass through government security. There is no such safeguard in train or subway travel. William Morange is head of security for New York's MTA which carries seven million riders every week day.

(on camera): Why not search everybody or at least try to search everybody?

WILLIAM MORANGE, NEW YORK METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY: Well, first of all, this is America. I mean, everybody's used to their freedom. This is a vast, large system. People like to get back and forth to work. This is their main form of transportation. VILES (voice-over): Most experts agree, screening rail passengers isn't practical. It's too expensive, too inconvenient, and too time-consuming.

BRIAN JENKINS, RAND INSTITUTE: A 30-minute delay to get through a security portal at a cost of several dollars a passenger per ride will, in a sense, kill public transportation.

VILES: Absent screening, rail systems are using trained dogs, more police, and training their staff and asking passengers to be alert.

BILL MILLAR, AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSOCIATION: You take an approach that trains employees to look for behaviors that are unusual. It helps the public who ride the systems who ride every day understand their role in this, which is to identify packages, for example, that someone might have left behind and then to report that to the system employees.

VILES: There have been pilot programs to screen passengers and check luggage at two Amtrak stations. One began today at Union Station in Washington. But Amtrak carries less than 1 percent of rail passengers in this country.


VILES: Money is an issue here. Rail officials complain that $11 billion in federal money has been spent on air travel security, less than $100 million protecting railroads. And remember, railroads move five times as many people -- Lou.

DOBBS: Railroads move five times as many people as?

VILES: As airlines.

DOBBS: Incredible. We thank you.

VILES: Sure.

DOBBS: Peter Viles.

My next guest calling for a massive increase in government spending on security for our transit systems. Senator Richard Shelby is the chairman of the Banking Committee. He wants to provide more than $5 billion over the next three years to the effort, and he joins us tonight from Washington, D.C.

Senator, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: The money -- at this time, we have spent billions organizing the Homeland Security Department's security. Why in the world has this -- if it is as necessary as the facts suggest, why hasn't this money already been provided and the security implemented? SHELBY: Well, first of all, Lou, I think you have to remember we're moving about 14 million people a day in the public transportation systems in this country, and we don't have enough security. Perhaps we'll never have fierce security at these because the cost would be prohibitive, but we can do a lot to improve security, and we have begun.

DOBBS: Senator, how likely is it -- how much support do you have right now for this legislation?

SHELBY: I think there's strong support. It came out of the banking committee, which has jurisdiction of transit programs unanimously, both Senate -- the Senate Democrats and the Senate Republicans support it. So I think we've got a good start here. It's true that there will be some holes in this kind of security in the future. But anything we can do to make it less likely that we will have a mishap like they had in Madrid, so be it. I think it's good for the traveling public. It's good for the American people.

DOBBS: And how soon do you think this legislation can be passed?

SHELBY: Well, we'll pass the legislation hopefully sometime next week. Because this week has basically been put on hold because of the death of President Reagan.

DOBBS: Sure. Let's turn to Iraq, if we may because this is also within, obviously, the jurisdiction of your committee. The hundreds of millions of dollars that have been discovered in Iraq last year. Now it turns out that much of that money originated in New York and how in the world could this amount of cash have left the United States and ended up in Iraq without our knowing it?

SHELBY: Lou, that's an excellent question. And I think you're referring to the UBS, Union Bank of Switzerland deal as an agent of the Federal Reserve in New York to distribute American cash overseas. They violated our sanctions rule. They cheated. They got caught. They got fined $100 million which is a stiff fine by the Federal Reserve. We had hearings on it. What we're hoping that we can continue to do the oversight on it. Because if they did this, what else would they do, I don't know. I've asked the question, could they possibly be involved in other kinds of money laundering, or terrorist financing. That's something we don't know. I'm certainly not accusing them of that, but the question remains, we ought to look under every rock in this kind of situation.

DOBBS: Well, looking under every rock, these are big rocks, expensive rocks. $4 billion to $5 billion in transfers to Libya, Iran, Cuba, the former Yugoslavia, from a vault at the Zurich airport. We're a little late in this fight against radical Islamist terrorism for this kind of thing to be happening, to be detected subsequently, and very little being done about it.

SHELBY: Well, I agree with you. I had the hearing with the Federal Reserve Council there. We raised these questions, and we'll continue to raise them because there was too much lack of oversight and diligence on the part of the Federal Reserve here. And also, if you want to shift down to Washington to the Riggs Bank situation where they were fined $25 million for not complying with the -- with certain bank rules dealing with possible financing of withdrawal of cash and we don't know what happened to it.

DOBBS: Well, Senator Shelby, thank you.

SHELBY: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: We appreciate you being here, and we appreciate your vigilance and duty on this important issue. Senator Richard Shelby.

SHELBY: Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead here tonight, it's an open road now for Mexican trucks in this country. The U.S. Supreme Court has settled a dispute over the North American Free Trade Agreement. Gas them up. They're on the way. We'll have a report.

And a moment in the sun for Venus. One of the most remarkable astronomical events in more than 100 years is only hours. We'll have a special report.

And the legacy of President Ronald Reagan and similarities between President Reagan and President Jefferson. We'll be talking to the author of a highly-acclaimed new book on Thomas Jefferson. Next.


DOBBS: My next guest says President Reagan's love of freedom and small government has parallels with the vision of another president, Thomas Jefferson. Eric Petersen is the editor of a new book on Thomas Jefferson, "Light and Liberty, Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness." The book is a collection of essays taken from Jefferson's speeches and his writings. Eric Peterson joins us here in New York. Good to have you here.

The first question is, you really see strong parallels between Reagan and Jefferson?

ERIC PETERSEN, EDITOR, "LIGHT AND LIBERTY": Surely I do. Thomas Jefferson's vision, of course, is the vision that we cherish as Americans and indeed, that vision that's admired about America by people around the world. It's the vision of self-government, equality, the rights of man, the pursuit of happiness and so forth. And Thomas Jefferson was the champion of liberty. President Reagan loved and admired the principles of freedom that we have and enjoy in this country. He also admired Jefferson's principles of small limited government and he was a great optimist as was Thomas Jefferson.

DOBBS: A great optimist and something, too, of a yeoman farmer, I think it's fair to say in his case, a yeoman rancher. And the connection between Ronald Reagan and the land, particularly the west and Thomas Jefferson also obviously strong. What do you make of that connection?

PETERSEN: Well, Thomas Jefferson's vision, of course, is what created this country. The vision I just summarized. But also as president, he took the major steps that were necessary to create what he called a continental empire for liberty. Of course, that was the Louisiana Purchase, which was effectuated 200 years ago in 1803. And 200 years ago this year, he sent the Lewis and Clark expedition out to claim the other third and set an example and have the United States become a continental nation.

DOBBS: Thomas Jefferson presided over the greatest expansion of the United States of any president. The parallels today, you often hear people say that the United States, with 300 million people, cannot find leaders of the quality, the imminence, the character, capacity of our founding fathers. Of course, Thomas Jefferson obviously was one of the leading lights. What do you make of that construction and criticism?

PETERSEN: Thomas Jefferson had great faith in the people. Thomas Jefferson felt that if the people were educated, if knowledge was diffused, if power was given to people and exercised at the local level from the bottom up, that we would build a great country and a great example for the world.

DOBBS: Speaking of the world, the relationship between Thomas Jefferson, and the administration of the U.S. government and international relations, its foreign policy, the connections to the current day, do you see those as well?

PETERSEN: Yes. Thomas Jefferson lived, of course, under the constant wars of Britain and France. He was concerned, on the receiving end of the power, about how we might use our power one day when we were to acquire it. And he said, I hope our wisdom will grow with our power and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it shall be.

DOBBS: And Ronald Reagan, confronted today, you would imagine, given all that he is in his relationship to Thomas Jefferson, what do you think he would say of the concept of the way we're pursuing government now, pursuing our foreign policy against a threat that is unique in American history?

PETERSEN: It's a unique threat. And Thomas Jefferson faced a similar one when he was president, and that was the North African Barbary Pirates. And he didn't have an hesitancy in dispatching the Marines in taking care of that problem. But he was very concerned that we would -- our power my be subject to abuse. He was very concerned about the potential for war-making capacity. And he basically said that he abhorred war and viewed it as the greatest scourge of mankind. And if we went to war for every degree of injury, there would never be peace on earth. So he would be very cautious about how we project our power. He was into self-government. By that he meant the people deciding what they want to do without outside interference.

DOBBS: Eric Peterson, we thank you very much. The book is "Light and Liberty: Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness." Thank you for being here.

PETERSEN: Lou, thanks for having me.

DOBBS: Taking a look now at some of your thoughts on President Ronald Reagan.

William T. Langstaff, Wyckoff, New Jersey, wrote to say, "Dear Mr. Dobbs, we have lost a truly great president. President Reagan was the right man at the right time. He restored our confidence in our country. He brought us out of the stagflation of the 1970's. He brought strength back to our national defense.

M. Foster Rogers, of Anguilla, "We missed the truly great leaders when they are gone."

Gerald in Humphrey, Nevada, "Very rarely in human history is a man with such special gifts come to lead a nation. Even more rarely has such a man come to lead the world. Throughout the life he brought the world together and made it a better place. With his passing the world is together in his mourning this great man."

M.S. of Prattville, Alabama, "Reagan's greatest achievement, he made friends with our strongest enemies."

Well said. We appreciate hearing from you. Send us your e-mails at, and we'll share some more of "Your Thoughts" later in the broadcast.

A controversial decision today from the Supreme Court. The high court voted unanimously to open American roads to Mexican trucks as called for under the NAFTA agreement. American environmental and labor groups have fought against the expansion of Mexican trucking into this country for years. Those groups say it threatens American jobs, the safety of our roads, and the very air we breathe.

Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four and half million Mexican trucks cross the border every year. Up until now, the trucks have been forced to stay within 20 miles of the border. The Supreme Courts decisions paves the way for Mexican trucks to hit U.S. highways almost immediately. But critics say the Mexican trucks will bring in more than their cargo. They will also haul in toxic pollution.

BILL BECKER, LOCAL AIR POLLUTION CONTROL OFFICIALS ASSN.: The Mexican trucks are dirtier. They emit nitrogen oxides and fine particulate. Fine particulate leads to literally 10s of thousands premature mortality in this country.

SYLVESTER: The North American Free Trade Agreement opened for cross-border trade. But safety and environmental lawsuits kept Mexican trucks from carrying goods into the United States. Instead cargo had to be transferred between U.S. and Mexican carriers at the border. The trucking industry applauded the high court's decision, saying it will mean more efficiency, which will translate to lower prices for consumers.

MARTIN ROJAS, AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS: As much as we have with the Canadian operation, you know, it's an issue of who's more competitive. Let the market decide. And we're willing to take that challenge.

SYLVESTER: But safety watchdog groups worry trucking companies will try to skirt the rules. Allowing drivers to work a full shift in Mexico, cross the border and start the clock all over again in the United States.

JOAN CLAYBROOK, PUBLIC CITIZEN: It may be more efficient for the trucking industry and for those who ship goods. It's going to be a lot more dangerous for the U.S.

SYLVESTER: Then there's the issue of jobs. Critics say allowing Mexican truck drivers to carry cargo in means shipping American jobs out.


SYLVESTER: States including California, Arizona and Illinois have been fighting to keep Mexican trucks out of the country for yet another reason.

They say it will make it more difficult to comply with the Clean Air Act -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, does this end the issue as -- there's effectively no, if you will, appeal from this judgment?

SYLVESTER: Not at this point. It would essentially take the environmental protection agency stepping in. Of course, that's the Bush administration, so that's something that's not likely to happen.

DOBBS: Lisa Sylvester reporting from Washington.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Should the United States study the environmental impact of Mexican trucks crossing our border, yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results later in the broadcast.

Don't mess with Texas. It's a slowing an you've heard before. But what you may not know, the slogan's real message is, don't litter. And now the Texas Transportation Department wants its slogan back. State officials want people to know it's a litter prevention message and not macho message. The slogan was created in 1986, it's known, of course, around the world. It's on everything from T-shirts to bumper stickers. And in the past year, the transportation department has sent 23 letters warning those commercial merchandisers to stop using that slogan. It was only registered as a trademark in 2000. "Don't Mess With Texas."

Coming up next, we'll have your thoughts on the quality of some of the jobs created in this economy. And an event that hasn't happened in 122 years. Venus, the moon the sun. The extraordinary spectacle in space. All that and more.


DOBBS: Tomorrow morning people around the world will be watching when Venus crosses between the earth and the sun for the first time in more than a century. The event will look like an eclipse, a very small eclipse. And astronomers expect it to last six hours, of which we will see some part.

Space correspondent Miles O'Brien with the report.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Our sun may be a natural-born star. But for at least six hours, it will share top billing with the number two rock in our celestial hit parade -- Venus.

KELLY BEATTY, SKY & TELESCOPE: For the first time in 122 years, earth and Venus will be in a direct line with the sun. So from our perspective, Venus will be crawling across the sun's face, directly in front of it looking like a little circular black dot, like a large sun spot.

O'BRIEN: You weren't around the last time Venus and the sun line danced like this. But fortunately astronomer David Peck Todd was. It was 1882 when he captured the transit from his perch in California. Safe to say the planetary paparazzi will be poised and prevalent this time. Sky and Telescopes Kelly Beatty, most excited about the last 20 minutes of the six-hour event.

BEATTY: There's something called the black drop, where Venus and the sun's edge seem to merge into a kind of a teardrop shape, and we're really looking forward to seeing that.

O'BRIEN: After months of Mars mania, a lot of scientists will be happy to focus on our neighbor on the other side of the street. The reclusive one we don't know so well. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect. Many astrobiologists think when the sun was young and cooler Venus was a lot like Earth. But when the sun cranked up the thermostat, literally all hell broke loose here. The oceans boiled away and acid clouds enshrouded the planet sending temperatures past 900 Fahrenheit. Not the kind of place you would find life, right? Well, Venus may still be kicking with active volcanoes and earthquakes. If NASA is from Mars, planetary scientists David Grinspoon is from Venus.

DAVID GRINSPOON, SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INST.: Mars is mostly long dead and Mercury, the moon, there all dead. Earth is the living planet in terms of geology. Venus we think might still also be a living planet. And it would be really neat to have one so close by that is still geologically active with volcanoes, and venus-quakes, and where you're not just studying the past but ongoing geology.

O'BRIEN: Studying Venus is fraught with peril. The Soviets put four plucky landers named Venera on the red-hot rocks beginning in the mid-70s. Before their kamikaze missions ended with a meltdown, they sent back a few postcards, "Greetings from Venus, be glad you're not here."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And at night, the rocks would actually glow faintly because it's so hot. It's red-hot on the surface. You know, it wouldn't be a very bizarre alien place, not a very comfortable place for you and I to be unless we had a really well-designed suit to wear.

O'BRIEN: Alien indeed. Grinspoon (ph) thinks there could be acid-loving microbes living inside those clouds. Maybe NASA is looking in the wrong direction as it searches for signs of alien life. And if you are not looking in the right direction on June 8, you may be out of luck. The next time Venus walks across the sun, it will be 2012. Talk about a transitory event. Miles O'Brien, CNN, Atlanta.


DOBBS: The Venus transit happens tomorrow morning. In this country, people in the Midwest and the East will be able to see the last third of the transit starting at sunrise if the skies are clear, of course. The event will not be visible in most of the western part of the country. The best views of Venus transit will be in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia if you happen to be there and if you don't happen to see it, we will have, I assure you, lots of video on this broadcast tomorrow evening.

A reminder to vote on our poll tonight. "Should the United States study the environmental impact of Mexican trucks crossing the border?" Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results later in the broadcast.

When we continue, we'll share some of your thoughts on this country's job market. And we continue in just a moment.


DOBBS: A rally on Wall Street today. The Dow up nearly 150 points. The Nasdaq rose 42. And the S&P up just over 18 points. The rally took stocks to six-week highs. Christine Romans is here with the story. A rally.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this was a patriotic rally. Investors over the weekend were reminded that Americans can change the world. Newspapers and airwaves full of remembrances of Normandy 60 years ago and a president who ushered in the end of the Cold War, who conquered double digit unemployment rates, double digit interest rates and inflation, and a stagnant economy and returned to this country to hope and prosperity. Let's say investors gave Wall Street some perspective today. Lou, when Ronald Reagan took office, the stock market had gone nowhere for 15 years. Since then, it's up ten-fold. Plenty of people will say the market rallied today on follow-through from Friday's jobs report or because oil prices cooled or because some biotech stocks were hot. But the truth is, investors, for today at least, looked at the big picture, looked at national prospects (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what can be achieved when Americans are confident of shaping our future.

DOBBS: Outstanding. The kind of rally we would like to see more of. Christine, thank you.

Let's take a look at some of your thoughts now and the nearly 250,000 jobs added in the month of May. Norman, Massachusetts, "Lou, what we small-towners don't understand is why American companies are sending work overseas that we would gladly do at the same wages paid in India. Is it because we also want medical benefits?"

Cathy Loring of Falls Church, Virginia. "I've heard numerous people on your show stipulate that the outsourcing of jobs will not affect our economy in a negative way and will actually allow for more jobs in the United States. However, in the mean time, who is paying into our social security system? People better wake up and smell the pitfalls before their cupboard is bare."

Helen of Rockland, California. "Lou, the reason unemployment is down is because lots of us have run out of unemployment so we've just dropped off the face of the earth. We're no longer counted."

And Miki Hawkins of Bedford, Texas. "It is not the rate of jobs being added that's the problem, it's the type of jobs. Average household income has gone down $1,400 per year. Makes you wonder how much the CEOs average income has gone up."

DOBBS: Well, about 25 percent. We appreciate hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at Still ahead, the results of our poll tonight. Please stay with us.


DOBBS: The results now of our poll tonight. The question, "should the United States study the environmental impact of Mexican trucks crossing the border?" 92 percent of you saying absolutely, 8 percent saying no.

Thanks for being with us. Please join us tomorrow, former governor Mario Cuomo joins us to talk about his new book, "Why Lincoln Matters Today More Than Ever." And we continue our special report on "Homeland Insecurity," looking at the efforts underway to secure this country's 361 major ports.

Thanks for being with us tonight. For all of here goodbye from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.


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