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Rev. Jesse Jackson's Controversial Remarks About Obama; Border Drug Wars Continue and Violence Escalates; Salmonella Outbreak Worsens; Obama Wants American Kids Learning Spanish

Aired July 9, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Every night. Thank you very much.
Senator Obama declaring American children should speak Spanish. The senator providing new evidence that he can be a divisive figure as he claims to be a unifier.

Tonight, a victory for working men and women and their families in the fight for one of the biggest military contracts ever.

And, tonight, the biggest salmonella outbreak, worsening. We'll have a special report for you on the FDA's bungling incompetence and total loss as to the source of the salmonella outbreak.

We'll have all of that, all the day's news, and much more, from an independent perspective, straight ahead, here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. News, debate and opinion for Wednesday July 9th. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Senator Obama tonight under assault from two directions. Reverend Jesse Jackson made what he calls, quote, "crude and hurtful remarks about Obama." Jackson said Obama is talking down to black people in what he apparently thought was a private conversation with a fellow guest on Fox News.

Well, Jackson also making further crude remarks in that conversation, suggesting Obama is cutting off his testicles with African-Americans.

Obama tonight also facing strong criticism for declaring that parents should make sure their children can speak Spanish, another example of Senator Obama's pandering to ethnocentric special interest groups trying to win Hispanic votes.

Well, Jesse Jackson tonight has apologized to Senator Obama for his remarks. Jackson said he strongly supported Obama's campaign with what he called passion from the very beginning. Jackson offered an extensive discussion and an apology to the senator just a short time ago.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: If anything I said in a hot mike statement that's interpreted as distractions, I offer apology for that because I don't want harm or hurt to come to this campaign. It represents too much of the dreams of so many who paid such great prices. And I'm very sensitive to what that means --


DOBBS: Well, a few moments ago, the Obama campaign issued a statement, saying Senator Obama does accept Jackson's apology.

Joining me now for more, two members of the best political team in television: our senior political analyst Bill Schneider and one of our very top reporters on the campaign trail, Jessica Yellin.

Bill, let's begin with you. Let's start with the absurd remark in my opinion by Reverend Jackson. What does it amount to?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it was crude, hurtful, he has apologized for it. Barack Obama has accepted the apology. I don't think it will be damaging to Obama.

It will, I think, be damaging to Jesse Jackson, particularly among African-American who are not going to forget what he said.

Barack Obama is a unique figure; he is an African-American candidate for president. But he doesn't come out of the civil rights movement like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. There could be some resentment because of that. Maybe they feel he should be more deferential to them, pay more respect to his elders.

What Jackson did say was that he resented his criticism of African-American men for their lack, in his Father's Day speech, of personal and moral responsibility to their families. He said he should have given more emphasis to the collective moral responsibility of government and the lack of good choices that often lead to that irresponsibility. These are very different agendas.

DOBBS: Very different agendas and a very different tone.

Jessica, what in the world do you think we should make of, first of all, this division, if anything, between Reverend Jackson. Despite his words, it's very clear his passion extended to very deep critical foundation between both himself and Senator Obama.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Bill points out, there's a generational divide which could contribute to it and this isn't the first time Reverend Jackson has been critical of Senator Obama.

In the past, last year, he criticized Senator Obama for not, in Reverend Jackson's view, speaking out forcefully enough about the Jena Six case. He subsequently said that John Edwards was the one presidential candidate speaking to the issues of the African-American community because he addressed Katrina more than the others. Each time he subsequently apologized. But there's a bit of a tension there clearly. Lou, in the speech that Obama gave back -- the fatherhood speech he said things like -- speaking about the African-American community, that men need to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child, it's the courage to raise one.

This was broadly received among African-Americans and in the community on talk radio. It was widely hailed as the kind of thing they'd like to see, a prominent national leader saying like Barack Obama, but there were critics and apparently Jesse Jackson, quietly at the time, but more loudly now, was one of them.

DOBBS: And today's comment, Bill Schneider, by Senator Obama, saying that children should be speaking Spanish in this country, your take?

SCHNEIDER: Well, that is a very controversial comment. That I think will provoke a lot of heated discussion about whether this should be a bilingual country. I'm not sure that's what he meant. But what he did say was that everyone in this country is bound to learn English, probably not older people, but younger people. If they want to get anywhere in this country, they need to learn English but if the implication is that somehow America should be a bilingual country that will provoke a lot of heated discussion.

DOBBS: And of course that is precisely the debate that is going on both in public education amongst a number of ethnocentric organizations, some who really and truly believe that this should be a multicultural nation to the point of separate languages defining us and departing from a unifying single official language.

Jessica, your thoughts?

YELLIN: Well, Barack Obama has taken this position that U.S. needs to change its image in the world. The U.S. needs to respect other nations and understand that we're in a global economy now, et cetera. It really does play into that message. It's going to stir up a lot of controversy as it has. But here's one area at least he's sticking to his guns.

DOBBS: He may be in one area, as you put it, at least, sticking to his guns. But when he says he's embarrassed by Americans traveling the world who cannot speak native languages, that element of this is surely -- surely going to have a considerable impact and be quiet controversial, wouldn't you agree, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: I would agree. "E pluribus unum," it says on our money, "For Many, One." That's the definition of our society; we are one culture, one society. Many different things that are celebrated in the country, but everyone comes together as one America in this country. And that is precisely what Barack Obama wants to run on.

I think if he's talking about that Americans should be more familiar with the world, should even speak more languages, that's fine. But there can be really only one national language in this country.

DOBBS: And obviously that is not what he said.

Bill, thank you very much. Bill Schneider, Jessica Yellin, we thank you both.

Well, those comments by Senator Obama, creating further controversial tonight. The senator wanting Americans to stop focusing on teaching immigrants to speak English and he wants American children to learn Spanish.

It is, perhaps, a divisive view that runs, certainly, contrary, as Bill Schneider said, to our very culture; uniting old and new Americans through a common language, diversity through a common language, and common culture.

Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a simple, straight-forward statement from the campaign trail in Powder Springs, Georgia. When it comes to getting along in America, presidential candidate Barack Obama has these thoughts on immigration and English.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I agree with that, but, understand this, instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English -- they'll learn English -- you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual.

TUCKER: Critics of the senator's statement point out the real problem isn't Americans learning another language.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Virtually every language that's spoken in the world is also spoken in the United States because we have immigrants from every corner of the world.

TUCKER: In fact, America's the most multilingual country in the world. Literally hundreds of languages are spoken here, and the linguistic diversity is not limited to urban areas. It's geographically widespread, which is why proponents of making English the official language argue it's important that one language be the official language of communication.

JIM BOULET, ENGLISH FIRST: It appears from Barack's statement that the only people expected to learn another language are English- speaking children. They're to be required to learn Spanish. I don't know what that's going to do to the Vietnamese child who has to now learn English and Spanish as well as her home language.

TUCKER: Nor does Obama's statement address the reality that in many parts of the southwest, Spanish is widely spoken and in some areas it is the dominant language.


TUCKER: And yet, Senator Obama has consistently voted against resolutions that would have declared English the official language of the United States -- Lou.

DOBBS: This is -- I think this will be a defining issue for this candidate for president. What he said today apparently as Jessica Yellin put it, it seems like something that he will be steadfast about. The idea that he does not comprehend that this is a nation as Bill Schneider said, built on "E Pluribus Unum, "For Many, One."

And to suggest that there is some ideal that is worthwhile. Instead of diversity, he's talking about factionalism if you will, and that's unfortunate. The idea that we -- how many countries have English as their official language? I think it's 26, is it not?

TUCKER: I think so, yes.

DOBBS: This country has a resistance to making English the official language; for what reason, I know not. It's incomprehensible to me.

What we do know is, as you reported that in some parts of this country, Spanish is becoming the dominant and in some cases the only language spoken. Business is becoming a Spanish language.

The idea that there should be any issue here is remarkable. But there are so many issues that should be resolved by just simple common sense. It amazes many -- especially me -- that it isn't.

All right, thank you, sir. Incredible.

Well a vast majority of us, of Americans, want English to be made the official language of this country. In fact, a Zogby Poll shows that 83 percent of all Americans favor legislation to make English our official language. Two-thirds of those polled are strongly in favor of such legislation. Three quarters of the Hispanic-Americans polled in that survey favor making English our official language; something to think about, Senator Obama.

Well, the move to make English the official language is gaining momentum now at the state level. 30 states have designated English as the official language of their state. At least ten more states are considering legislation according to Pro-English, that's a group dedicated to making English the nation's official language.

At the federal level, legislation is pending in both the House and the Senate that would make English the nation's official language. But Senator Obama's track record on the issue is already clear. He voted against measures in 2006 and 2007 that would have made English the official language of this country. Senator McCain voted yes on both of those bills.

Much more on this controversy over Obama's call for children to learn Spanish.

Also a victory for working men and women in this country; the Pentagon reversing course on that huge Air Force Tanker contract. They've decided, perhaps, they don't want to outsource our national security. We'll have a lot more on that. And law enforcement agencies in this country are literally being outgunned by the Mexican gun cartels. We'll have that special report and a great deal more, straight ahead.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: A reversal by the Pentagon today, a reversal that this broadcast has been calling for, for weeks, after months of criticism from this broadcast. Members of Congress, government auditors, the Secretary of the Department of Defense, Robert Gates, today announced the U.S. Air Force will reopen the bidding for that new Air Force tanker aircraft.

The Air Force had originally given the contract to Europe's Airbus. It could now go to American companies. Imagine.

Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Secretary Robert Gates came right to the point.

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I've concluded that the contract cannot be awarded at present because of significant issues pointed out by the Government Accountability Office.

SYLVESTER: Gates also announced that the new selection process will be taken out of the hands of the Air Force and handled directly by his office. The $35-billion tanker contract had been awarded to a European consortium instead of American-based Boeing. Although the Europe group is teaming up with America's Northrop Grumman, the bulk of its jobs would be in Europe.

A Government Accountability Office report last month found that the competition had a number of significant errors including miscalculating the cost of the Airbus and Boeing 767 over their life cycles. Representative Duncan Hunter applauded the decision.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA: This is great news for the American taxpayers and for American aerospace workers. This would have been a huge economic stimulus package for Western Europe and a real loss for the American industrial base.

SYLVESTER: But the re-bid will only look at a limited set of issues. For example, it will not take into consideration protection the U.S. Defense industrial base. Nor will it factor in what the U.S. says is $5 billion in European subsidies provided to build the Airbus tanker plane, the focus of the U.S. trade representative complaint before the World Trade Organization.

REP. TODD TIAHRT, (R) KANSAS: We have one part of the government, the United States Trade Representative, suing the French because of this illegal subsidy, and we make no consideration for it, at the Department of Defense. And that's unfair to American workers.

SYLVESTER: Northrop Grumman responded to the re-bid, saying, quote, "We are reviewing the decision to ensure the re-competition will give both companies a fair opportunity to review the strengths of their proposal. The United States Air Force has already picked the best tanker and we are confident it will do so again."


SYLVESTER: The Department of Defense hopes to issue the request for new proposals late July or early August. And it hopes to make a final selection by the end of this year.

One thing, though, that is not on the table is splitting the contract between Boeing and the European group. The Pentagon said that would be too expensive -- Lou.

DOBBS: Yes and it would also be extremely stupid.

But what would be intelligent -- it seems to me reasonable -- if I may offer this opinion, Lisa, is for Boeing to bring in Northrop Grumman. The fact that the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense are being divisive as between competing companies in this country, but supporting European subsidized company like Airbus, is utterly mindless.

Why not do as much as we can -- this would be the question I would have for Secretary Gates -- to support both of those companies, fine companies, Boeing and Northrop Grumman in this project? Certainly $35 billion now, $40 billion, it's likely to grow to $100 billion over the term of this contract.

Lisa, thank you very much for keeping up to date on this one. This has been quite a battle. Lisa Sylvester reporting. Very helpful to all of us. Thank you.

The tanker program is one of several military projects under fire by the Government Accountability Office. And I want to point out if I may, right now, that the Government Accountability Office deserves immense credit for being just an absolutely outstanding watchdog over this government and bringing the little accountability that is present in our government to bear in Washington.

Well, the GAO has found that the Pentagon is facing huge cost overruns as well. The latest version of the unmanned Global Hawk, so- called, a reconnaissance air craft; it was supposed to cost $900 million to develop. That cost has now soared to only $3 billion -- that's right, more than 300 percent overrun. And the development cost of the Marine Corps's new expeditionary fighting vehicle has risen from just over $1 billion to more than $3.5 billion.

Now, these are the kind of numbers that they refer to as close enough for government work. But there's nothing funny about it. The billions of dollars involved are crushing the Defense Department Budget. And a new generation of army communications equipment called Win-T due to cost $338 million, well, development costs have now skyrocketed -- that's right -- more than $2 billion.

Separately, the cost of the new Marine One helicopter -- by the way, that's another classic case of outsourcing, being built in Europe, has now almost doubled, from $6 billion to just over $11 billion. That is also leading to calls to reopen bidding in the contract and what a good idea it would be.

Well, another symbol of this nation's once strong industrial base has been sold to Arab investors. A 75 percent share of New York's Chrysler Building sold to the Abu Dhabi Invest Council, Prudential Financial confirming that sale; the developer, Tishman Speyer, owning the remaining 25 percent. The 77-story building built in 1930 to house the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation.

It was briefly the tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building was completed shortly thereafter in 1931 and with it went the new title, "World's Tallest Building."

Up next, Mexico's violent drug cartel wars raising new fears on this side of the border; violence spreading to the United States. We'll have a special report.

And thousands are fleeing their homes as winds are whipping up fires in the California mountains. We'll have the very latest for you.

And a great deal more still ahead. Stay with us, we'll be right back.


DOBBS: The raging drug cartel violence in Mexico terrorizing communities on both sides of our border. Law enforcement officials even here in the United States are now finding themselves increasingly outgunned by those drug traffickers.

Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At least 15 people have been killed execution-style in Tijuana since Friday. So far this year, Tijuana has suffered more than 260 drug cartel-related killings, a 70 percent increase over last year. At the same time, drug-related gang violence and kidnappings are a growing concern for law enforcement officials north of the border.

EDMUN BROWN JR., CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Last night, I met with the attorney general of Baja, California, and heard directly about the hundreds -- thousands of killings going on below the border and the dozens of kidnappings going on on our side of the border; gang related. So this problem -- it's not going to go away without a lot of determined effort on the part of police and the leadership of this community and this state.

WIAN: So far, Mexican President Felipe Calderon's deployment of 25,000 troops to fight drug traffickers has only intensified the violence and increasingly police in U.S. cities near the board remember facing the same threat.

SGT. JOEL TRANTER, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT: Law enforcement having basically daily gun battles with some of the drug cartels, people involved in either drug trafficking or human smuggling and that's what we're seeing here in Phoenix.

WIAN: In Phoenix last month, eight heavily armed Mexican men dressed with body armor, helmets and assault rifles allegedly gunned down a man in a suspected drug house; firing more than 100 rounds at this suburban home.

The firepower forced responding Phoenix police officers to delay directly confronting the shooters. Only three were captured after a standoff and pursuit lasting more than two hours. Police say the suspects told them they planned to escape from the scene by ambushing officers but ran out of ammunition.


WIAN: Internal Phoenix Police Department documents warn some Mexican drug cartel families are fleeing north of the border. The police expect more of this type of violence in the near future -- Lou.

DOBBS: And the response so far from the U.S. government?

WIAN: U.S. Government's response is the merit initiative, $400 million so far to Mexico to help them fight drug cartels, military equipment and training. This is a part of a three-year plan, $1.5 billion. They expect this problem is not going to go away soon as well -- Lou.

DOBBS: And support for the law enforcement agencies along the border?

WIAN: Nothing specific that I'm aware of for law enforcement agencies on the border. In fact, Congress keeps cutting back the money that they're supposed to give to local law enforcement agencies to pay for the cost of illegal immigration -- Lou.

DOBBS: Casey Wian, thank you very much, appreciate it.

Time, now, for some of your thoughts.

Pat in South Carolina saying: "How about every immigrant be required to learn to speak English, the language of the United States? Referring to Senator Obama's call for American children to learn Spanish.

And Dale in Wisconsin said: "Obama says my kids should learn Spanish. I have a Spanish word for him, adios."

Dan in Tennessee: "Lou, Barack Obama says our children should learn to speak Spanish. Is he running for the presidency of the United States or Mexico?" I wondered that and I've wondered that about our current president as well, just to be straight forward about it.

We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.

And that bring us to the subject of our poll tonight. We'd like to know what you think about this: Do you believe English should be this nation's official language?

Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results later.

Up next, Senator Obama declaring American children should learn Spanish. We'll hear from one of the nation's oldest organizations that promotes English as our official language.

And legislation to provide relief to homeowners facing foreclosure has been stalled in Congress. Once again our lawmakers failing to help our struggling middle class.

And more than a thousand people sickened by salmonella, officially. The number, unofficially, could be 30,000 to 40,000. The FDA still doesn't know what's going on. Can't anyone in this government do their jobs?

We'll have that report next.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Defense Secretary Robert Gates today declared Iran's latest ballistic missile test proof that Iran is a real threat. Iran test firing nine long- and medium-range missiles. Those could, of course, strike targets in Israel. The launches come amid rising tension over Iran's refusal to abandon its nuclear program.

Secretary Gates warned Iran not to begin a military conflict.


GATES: I will tell you that this government is working hard to make sure that the diplomatic and economic approach to dealing with Iran and trying to get the Iranian government to change its policies is the strategy and is the approach that continues to dominate.


DOBBS: The White House said Iran's missile test is completely inconsistent with Iran's obligations to the world. Iran's aggressive military buildup could be one of the biggest national security challenges facing the next president. Today, Senators McCain and Obama both criticized Iran and that missile test. But their responses illustrate their fundamental differences on the direction, in their view, of appropriate foreign policy.

Dana Bash has our report.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Menacing images from Iran, multiple missile tests, Iranian saber-rattling that one of these two men will be in charge of responding to in just six months. And they are quite different.


BASH: John McCain call Iran's new test proof of a need to build a missile defense system in Europe and join allies to impose tough sanctions.

MCCAIN: It's time to make the Iranians understand that this kind of violation of international treaties, this kind of threatening of their neighbors, this kind of continued military activity is not without cost.

BASH: Barack Obama wants to talk to Iran with direct diplomacy.

OBAMA: We haven't shown a willingness to engage in the sort of direct negotiations with Iran that would give them carrots and sticks for a change in behavior.

BASH: The reality is, both candidates support diplomatic efforts with Iran to halt its nuclear program. But their difference in approach is a major campaign flash point.

Obama said, as president, he would sit down with Iran's leaders.

OBAMA: The notion that somehow talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous.

BASH: McCain mocks that as naive and stokes concerns in a Jewish community and elsewhere about Obama's commitment to protecting Israel.

MCCAIN: Why does Barack Obama, Senator Obama, want to sit down with a state-sponsor of terrorism? What does he want to talk about with Ahmadinejad, who said that Israel is a stinking corpse, who said that he wants to wipe Israel off the map?


BASH: Well, Obama said today that the U.S. must gather European allies, the Russians and the Chinese to offer incentives to pressure Iran to change its behavior. The McCain campaign quickly responded, pointing out the Bush administration has been trying to do that recently to no avail -- Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much -- Dana Bash.

Well the Senate today passed new legislation on electronic spying and providing immunity to telecommunications companies with the support of Senator Obama. Senator Obama joining other senators, voting in favor the eavesdropping bill. Among other things, the legislation does protect telecommunication companies from being sued for cooperation with the U.S. government. Sixty-nine senators voting in favor of the bill, 28 against.

Senator McCain was not present for the vote.

Senator Obama originally wanted to strip immunity for telecommunications companies from the legislation. Obama facing charges of a flip flop, as he reversed course.

Senator Clinton, by the way, opposing the legislation.

The Senate today also passed a hotly-contested Medicare bill. It was preceded by a dramatic moment on the Senate floor when Senator Ted Kennedy returned to the Senate, the first the Massachusetts Democrat has appeared in the Senate since he underwent brain surgery nearly two months ago. The legislation blocks a 10.6 percent reduction in payments to doctors who are treating Medicare patients.

Back to back fundraisers sponsored by the Obama campaign in New York City tonight. But one of the events is being co-sponsored by the Clinton campaign to help pay off her debt. As we've been reporting, the Clinton campaign ended with a debt of $23 million. But so far they've reportedly come up with no more than $100,000 from the Obama campaign. Neither of tonight's events open to the media.

Straight ahead here, Senator Obama calling for American children to learn Spanish. I'll talk with the leading official of the group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of English in America.

And Congress for months holding up legislation that would help our struggling middle class who are losing their homes. We'll have a full report on what's happening. Stay with us, we're coming right back.


DOBBS: The group U.S. English was founded by the late Senator S.I. Hayakawa to preserve the unifying role of English in our country. Tim Schultz is the director of government relations for U.S. English, joining us now from Washington, D.C. Tim, good to have you with us. Let's put a poll here if we may. This is the Zogby poll showing that more than 80 percent of Americans support making English the official language in this country -- 83 percent favor it, only 15 percent oppose it.

Why in the world is this happening?

TIM SCHULTZ, U.S. ENGLISH: I think because the politicians are sometimes cowardly and they're out of touch with the people. I think that this statement that you've been covering by Senator Obama today reflects a certain disconnect between the ruling class and the people. And Senator Obama's statement was elitist and it was condescending.

DOBBS: I have to say, the part that people -- we have not been reporting much of is that he said he was embarrassed by Americans who are traveling abroad who could not speak the native language. Now I have to say, the man is getting a little out of control in my opinion.

SCHULTZ: It's extremely condescending to say that and I think what you heard in that statement was a microcosm of that kind of sort of elitist mindset that the American people are a bunch of hicks and rudes who need their wise leaders to kind of keep them from their impulses and I think that's completely wrong. If you're one of the 80 plus percent of Americans who support English as the official language, Senator Obama is not just saying that he disagrees with you. He's saying he thinks you're a little bit backward and I know that we're hungry for change, but that's not the kind of change I think we're really looking for.

DOBBS: Yes, I think the change that -- it's pretty clear that our politicians want is just they want to be in charge rather than make substantive changes in the way in which we are governed. I can remember a distant past when the consent of the government was required.

The idea that 30 countries right now -- or I think it's 26, it's up to 30, 10 other countries are looking at making English the official language, why aren't we doing it? What is the reason for the resistance to it? Thirty states have already done so, 10 more.

SCHULTZ: Well and I think that you're seeing that there's a big moment in the states. A lot of those states that have just made English official in recent years, and we also see that in the Congress, there are 148 members of the House who are cosponsors of HR- 997, which is the federal bill to make English the official language. So it's not like there's no one doing anything.

DOBBS: No, I'm not suggesting there's nobody doing anything, but I am suggesting it's been going on a long time. English is the unifying language. I'm a little tired of the nonsense when I hear someone like Senator Obama say that people should be learning Spanish in this country instead of focusing on English with that condescending tons, I get a little annoyed.

So I want to know, what can the viewers of this broadcast do to make certain that something happens now? Because some of us have had a belly full of it.

SCHULTZ: Absolutely and what we need to be doing is making sure that everybody for elected office and I mean all the way down to the level of dog catcher, you have to ask your members of Congress or your candidates for office where they stand on English as the official language. Right now, on our Web site, which is, we have available a list of candidates who have taken a pledge to support legislation to make English the official language of government.

And you need to be asking your elected leaders, people who are vying for your vote, have you signed a pledge? Are you going to support English as the official language? And if not, you don't have my vote. DOBBS: OK, I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to help a little bit on this broadcast and on the radio show. We're going to talk to every single person running for national office and by that, I mean Congress or Senate or president and find out where they stand on it. We'll get it going.

Meanwhile,, go there, find out what all the issues are. Let's make some racket.

All right, Tim, thank you very much, we appreciate it.

SCHULTZ: You're welcome, good to be with you.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question is: Do you believe English should be the nation's official language?

Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results upcoming.

Still ahead, our economic crisis worsening. Big business and government doing little to help our struggling middle class, if anything. We'll be talking about this crisis with an independent perspective. I'll be talking with three terrific analysts of our body politic.

And the nationwide salmonella crisis is worsening with FDA, well, they don't have a clue. We'll have the latest for you. Stay with us, we'll be right back.


DOBBS: We reported extensively on this broadcast on the rising foreclosure rates in this country, our housing crisis, our credit crisis. Our federal government has failed to help the thousands upon thousands of struggling Americans who are losing their homes each and every day. While Congress has promised relief, political infighting has held up the passage of legislation that would help and held it up for months now.

Kitty Pilgrim has our report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House says two and a half million American households could face foreclosure this year. Private estimates like the credit rating agency Moody's say the number will be closer to 3 million and that's more than 8,000 foreclosure notices a day. Legislation introduced in March to help homeowners was delayed for months. Promises of a July 4th deadline came and went. President Bush threatened to veto in May, saying it was a bailout and again on another version in June. But bill sponsor Congressman Barney Frank says the president could have it by August.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), FINANCIAL SVCS. CMTE: Reality has breached the walls of the Bush administration ideology. So we think the administration is mostly willing to accept this. There's been a problem in the Senate.

PILGRIM: Senator John Ensign of Nevada is being blamed for delaying it further because he's insisting on attaching an $8 billion renewable energy tax incentive.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: Remember, the Democrats in the House held up the housing bill since April. We passed it in a strong bipartisan way back in April. They've taken this long to act. And now they're accusing me of holding up a bill for an extra week trying to do something good for the country.

PILGRIM: The bill could help ensure and guarantee refinanced mortgages. Some economists say even if it passes, it may not be enough.

ALAN BLINDER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Even the Frank Dodd bill, partly because of the need for political compromise, was probably not drawn as generously as it needs to be drawn. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if, say, next year, with a new president, the Congress would revisit it and broaden it.

PILGRIM: At most, 500,000 homeowners are expected to be helped by the legislation.


PILGRIM: One of the things, Congress is still fighting over is how soon the legislation will go into effect once it's passed. Now some want the measures to kick in immediately. Others say it has to be phased in over at least six months to prevent more problems in the mortgage industry -- Lou.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Well, one reason perhaps so many important pieces of legislation aren't making it through Congress is because -- well, Congress works so little. Congress has just returned from a week-long Fourth of July recess and will work about five weeks before taking another break. This is when members of Congress and senators returned to their home districts for what's called a summer district work period.

Congress returns to Washington well after Labor Day. The Senate resumes voting on the 8th of September. It will adjourn on the 26th of September. So the senators can get back to what they do best, campaigning. And the Senate has only 29 remaining working days until the end of the year. But who's counting?

The Bush administration and this Democratically-led Congress have done very little to help most Americans with our worsening economic crisis. It may well be up to Independent voters to pressure the presidential candidates to do something, if anything at all is possible to solve the crises that face us.

Joining me now, David Sirota. He is the author of the important book, "The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington." I like the sound of that.

And Paul Muolo, author of "Chain of Blame."

And it's out next week, is that right, Paul?

PAUL MUOLO, AUTHOR: It's out now.

DOBBS: Well let's get to the book stores now. "Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis."

And David Cay Johnston, he's the author of "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense," another terrific book. I think we're three for three here tonight.

David, good to have you with us as well.


DOBBS: Let's start with this Senate legislation, the freeze in the Senate on legislation that would help those -- at least with the report to help those facing foreclosure. Why can't anything happen here?

MUOLO: Well, it boils down to money and politics and lobbyists. They're trying to figure out what exactly they should do with the program called the FHA, the Federal Insurance Program. And the question is you know, they're tinkering with the nuances here on the bill, having to do with something called gifting, how much of a down payment someone can make and get an FHA loan.

There's a lot of lobbyists involved. And there's a lot of struggling homeowners out there. But what they need to do is create a floor for the housing market and any bit of federal help, aid, would help right now and that's what we need to get through this crisis, set a floor and this bill should get passed.

DOBBS: As Kitty Pilgrim just reported, three months at this point and that action has not been taken. What in the world is this so-called Democratically-led Congress -- I say so-called because I can't see any sign of leadership whatsoever on part of either Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. What's going on?

SIROTA: Look, I think the last point was right, that this is a congress that is controlled in many ways by big money. You've got the presidential candidates who are also in the throes of being pushed and pulled by issues of big money. You saw that on the FISA bill with giving immunity to telecom companies. You see it on this bill. You see it on their dances on issues like trade. Should we expand and extend NASTA? There's not really much of an answer. So you have money essentially gridlocking Congress.

DOBBS: David -- go ahead.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR: Well I was going to say, the banks don't want to take a big haircut on these loans after they collected the fees. Unfortunately, the way the system works with the securitization of these loans and selling them off is you can't go into your bank anymore and say, hi, I need a forbearance, I want to make some arrangements so I can keep my house, because they'll tell you, well I'm sorry, we sold the loan, we can't negotiate with you. That's a real core problem in this.

DOBBS: Well, there's another core problem. That is, David, Congress has a 9 percent approval rating. That's an all-time low --

JOHNSTON: It's that high?

DOBBS: It's that high. I agree with you, by the way, David. I can't imagine who those 9 percent are. These are mumbling buffoons. By the way, they're make the preceding Republican do-nothing Congress look like a bunch of wildly excitable, ambitious people.

SIROTA: I think what this shows is how angry the country is generally at the political system. I think people -- we're at a moment now where people don't think the government's just not doing anything, people see that the government is participating in the crises at hand. The government not doing something on energy has something to do with gas prices. The government not doing something on the mortgage crisis has something to do with the mortgage crisis. This is a level -- these numbers are an expression of anger.

JOHNSTON: Yes, I agree with David 100 percent. I think these numbers show that people are beginning to recognize that many of their economic problems are the result of government policies that favor large corporations and the rich over their interests.

DOBBS: Well that's interesting because -- you wrote, Paul, in your book that you didn't believe that the current crisis, housing crisis, credit market crisis, was brought on by deregulation, but at the same time, you felt that it was pretty clear, the failure to regulate.

MUOLO: That was a problem in "Chain of Blame." We note that they didn't deregulate like they did with the savings and loans. They deregulate with the savings and loans, everyone crazy making junk bonds and big commercial loans.

But here, they just didn't regulate. The FEC was asleep at the wheel which Lou Renerie (ph) pointed out in late 2006. And lo and behold, they're packaging these subprime loans into bonds. And the investor doesn't know what's in them really. And they're being sold overseas. And they're just trusting their bond salesman on Wall Street.

DOBBS: We're talking about 2.5 million people this year, 1.5 million people last year, we're facing foreclosure. We've seen Bear Stearns get bailed out. We've heard this -- I promised my wife I wouldn't call them any repulsive names anymore. The treasury secretary with his demonstrated incompetence, again, talk about there's not anything they can do for those being foreclosed upon. This is absolutely nuts. SIROTA: And that has the chance, I think, to change our politics fundamentally. This is what I reported in my book, that there is really an uprising. People are really angry and people are actually taking action. You see people -- I saw people organizing new unions and new constituencies.

I saw people down at the border, the minute men down at the border. That's a right-wing kind of protest to what's going on. There is a fundamental anger here at the politics of big money.

DOBBS: You say in your book David, whether -- in "Populist Uprising," you say whether it is economic issues or the Iraq war -- if we can put this up, there we go. "Whether it is economic issues or the Iraq war, there remains an enormous gap that mortally threatens the uprising." What do you mean by that?

SIROTA: Well, what I mean is that there's a gap between what the public wants and what the government is doing. We have consensus positions on what the public wants. The public wants -- opposes this war. The public doesn't want more NAFTA trade deals. The public wants a government that's cleaned up from big money. And that's not what the government is giving them. So there is this uprising where people are saying enough is enough.

MUOLO: Well the public needs a lobbyist now. They don't have a lobbyist in the mortgage fight. They don't have a dog in this fight, so to speak. And I think a lot of the public, they feel lost in the mortgage crisis. They feel there's no one there to help them and they certainly feel that Congress isn't doing a whole heck of a lot these days with it. So they need someone to be their advocate, so to speak, and I don't see it happening. It would be great to see a candidate grab the mortgage issue by the throat and do something.

DOBBS: David, you get the last word here.

JOHNSTON: Well a lot of the mortgage crisis is manufactured. About 70 percent of the people who are in subprime mortgages in the last few years would have qualified for a regular mortgage. But the big fees up front result in their being put into bad mortgages. The banking industry should take the haircut on that and we should get it resolved before we have whole neighborhoods going to hell in a hand basket.

DOBBS: Hell in a hand basket. David, I always expect a former reporter for the "Times" to elevate the discourse and I couldn't agree with you more, partner.

David Cay Johnston, thank you. David Sirota, Paul Muolo, thank you very much. Gentlemen, we appreciate it. We're going to be right back.

Coming at the top of the hour, however, "THE ELECTION CENTER" and Campbell Brown.

Campbell, tell us all about it.


Well, coming up at the top of the hour, Jesse Jackson says he did not realize his microphone was on, but it was, and he made some crude comments criticizing Barack Obama. What he said has stirred up a hornet's nest. Reaction, apology, still coming in. We're going to have it all for you in just a few minutes.

We're also watching for the start of a joint fundraiser right here in New York City. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are together again. But observers say don't be fooled. Join me at the top of the hour for all the details, Lou.

DOBBS: Unity what a sweet word. Campbell, thanks -- Campbell Brown.

Up next, there are still no answers in the salmonella outbreak. We'll have the latest for you. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, there are more than 1,000 cases of salmonella poisoning in this country. Federal agencies, however, are still no closer to identifying the origin of the salmonella outbreak, which may be linked to products from Mexico.

Louise Schiavone with our report.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1,017 confirmed cases of the St. Paul strain of salmonella now reported across 41 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ongoing outbreak is now one of the largest outbreaks of salmonellosis ever in the United States and it's the largest food-borne outbreak of any sort in the last 10 ten years based on a number of culture confirmed cases.

SCHIAVONE: At least 203 people hospitalized according to the Centers for Disease Control, and now two deaths are mentioned in connection with the outbreak. The CDC receive referencing, quote, "one death of a man in Texas in his eighties" and, "a man in his sixties who died in Texas from cancer had an infection with the outbreak. The infection may have contributed to his death."

Initially identified as tomato caused, the outbreak is thought now to have a possible link to salsa ingredients besides tomatoes, including fresh jalapeno and Serrano peppers and cilantro.

Although for the record, there are no answers.

STEVE SUHDLOF, FDA: We have not found any positives, either with tomatoes or salmonella saint Paul or with the peppers. But the peppers are just starting.

SCHIAVONE: This lawyer has been contacted by more than 100 clients from 20 states, 35 of whom are formal victims of the outbreak.

BILL MARLER, LAWYER: Who do we go after? Well, the reality is and to be simplistic, but you can't bring a lawsuit unless you know who to sue.

SCHIAVONE: Most of his clients consumed salsa, which one market researcher says is the nation's No. 1 selling condiment. Meanwhile, the question persists. If the government still can't get to the bottom of this after three months of investigating, how vulnerable are we to bioterrorism?

MARLER: Maybe Lou Dobbs is correct when he says that this sort of underscores the failure of this administration to take these sorts of problems really seriously. And this is exactly how a bioterrorism outbreak is going to look.

SCHIAVONE: The FDA says it's possible no definitive cause will ever be identified.


SCHIAVONE: The outbreak continues unabated with new reports every day. And now the warning to health-compromised individuals has been expanded, still including certain tomatoes, but also including fresh jalapeno and Serrano peppers -- Lou.

DOBBS: Louise, thank you -- Louise Schiavone from Washington.

Well, our poll results tonight, 94 percent of you responding saying English should be the nation's official language.

And a reminder to join me please on the radio, my guests tomorrow include a New Jersey city councilman taking action against illegal immigration. Gordon Chang, the author of "The Coming Collapse of China" will also join me. Join me Monday through Friday for "The Lou Dobbs Show." Go to for your local listings.

And we thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow when I'll be joined by Congressman Brian Bilbray, former White House policy analyst and author Bruce Bartlett.

For all of us, we thank you for watching. Good night from New York.

The "ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown begins right now -- Campbell.