CNN's Lou Dobbs Delights Rosie With Liberal Views, Stays Mum on Impeaching Bush
CNN anchor Lou Dobbs appeared with the ladies on ABC's The View to deliver some rather liberal opinions. He stumped for a minimum wage increase, railed against the influence big corporations have on politics, and pushed for universal healthcare. Interestingly, Dobbs was not grilled the way Bill O’Reilly was on the same show several months ago. Also of note, the co-hosts did not even touch illegal immigration, the one issue where Lou Dobbs is famously conservative.
Rosie O’Donnell asked the question she has been obsessing on lately.
O’Donnell: "Mr Dobbs, do you think that some Senator for principle, if not for follow through, should call for the impeachment of George Bush?"
Dobbs did not answer the question, perhaps because he does not want to upset his CNN colleague Jack Cafferty. Instead, Dobbs sighed and exclaimed "boy" before listing his complaints about Bush administration failings. ABC went to a hard break before O'Donnell and Joy Behar could get a definitive yes or no out of him.
The entire transcript is below.
Rosie O’Donnell: "Lou Dobbs was a lifelong Republican. Who knew I would become such a big fan? But when I realized he had a voice beyond partisanship, he won me over. I love his book. I love his show. His latest book, 'War on the Middle Class,' tells us who's winning and who's losing. Please welcome Lou Dobbs to the show."
[Cheers and applause]
O’Donnell: "How are you, sir? Great to see you. So Lou Dobbs, how did 9/11 change your life and career?"
Lou Dobbs: "Well, I think it changed all our lives. Like most people who live and work in New York, I lost people I knew, friends. I took it personally. I think most Americans took it personally. It raised the standard, I think, for all of us, both in government, in the conduct of our lives, and certainly for us as journalists.
O’Donnell: "Now, why is it that some took 9/11 and sort of used it to fuel sort of the rhetoric and a hatred and divisiveness in the country and you sort of took it in the opposite direction?"
Dobbs: "Well, I think that's a choice for all of us. I, I think one of the unfortunate things that we've seen happen in this country is, while we're engaged in a global war on radical Islamist terror, we focus on fear, we focus on limitations, and this country has a tradition of focusing on hope, on aspiration and achievement. And I think too much time in the public dialogue in the national leadership has been on fear and limitations rather than achieving what we should."
Tina Fey: "This is being bugged."
O’Donnell: "Yeah, really. George Bush is bugging this room. You people at home don't hear it but there's tremendous breakup in the speakers right when you were talking about government. But I'm sure it's just an audio problem and it's not a conspiracy. What do you think about the minimum wage issue we were talking about in the beginning of the show?"
Dobbs: "I've been calling for the minimum wage to be raised for years. You pointed out, $5.15 an hour. The fact that the Senate blocked it, we put up on our website those Senators who insisted upon business tax breaks to be coupled with a minimum wage increase. To me it is absolutely heinous and reprehensible that Congress, and both parties, frankly, are responsible, but primarily the Republican party, chose not to raise the minimum wage. This nonsense that the minimum wages somehow will make it impossible for small business to function, to make profits and create jobs, is absurd. In point of fact, Congress is only following the lead of the states. 28 states and the District of Columbia have already raised the minimum wages, their minimum wages, above the the federal level. And guess what? Studies between 1997 and 2004 show that those states that have raised the minimum wage are actually prospering. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the principled voice of business in this country now, unfortunately, is utterly wrong. It's conducting a propaganda campaign. You know, if there is such a resistance to the minimum wage, you wonder why the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable doesn't come out and say, you know, 'Congress, why don't you roll back those eight pay increases that you gave yourself over that course of a decade?'"
O’Donnell: "It says in the polls, 83 percent of Americans are in favor of raising the minimum wage."
Joy Behar: "They don't seem to pay attention to what the American people say."
O’Donnell: "How is it that Congress and the government now seems to be so out of touch with the wants and desires of their constituents?"
Dobbs: "In part because both the Democratic and Republican parties are owned lock, stock and barrel by corporate America. Big business and special interests spend over $2 billion a year to lobby 536 folks in Washington, the president, 100 Senators, 435 Congressmen and women. No wonder the middle class, some 250 to 280 million people in this country can't find a voice in Washington. There is hope. There's a possibility. The Democrats have an opportunity in Congress."
Behar: "Do you think they'll rise to the occasion?"
Dobbs: "I have to say they did manage to pass the ethics reform. It's not as strong as any of us would have liked, but at least it's a start. The failure, the failure on the minimum wage is annoying as the dickens."
Behar: "But you said it was primarily the Republican party that voted against it. How many Democrats actually voted against it out of 50 Sen- out of 100 Senators?"
Dobbs: "The point of fact, they got a majority vote, but they need 60 to move to legislation."
Behar: "So this is the fault of the Republican party?"
Dobbs: "Oh, no question about it, no question about it."
Fey: "You're an independent now."
Dobbs: "Yes, ma'am."
Fey: "Do you feel there's no difference between the two parties, which I whole heartedly agree that there's too much overlap."
Dobbs: "There's not enough difference. And the way I see it, Tina, I believe in the two-party system. Just that right now I don't believe in either of these parties. They have sorely disappointed us. The level of national leadership, the quality of national leadership in this country -- 300 million people have got to be able to do better than that."
Behar: "You haven't given the Democrats a chance yet. They just got in and they have some incredible candidates out there right now. We mentioned Webb before. We've got Obama, you know, there's Joe Biden, there's Hillary. I think you have a lot of, a lot of talent now."
O’Donnell: "But what he's saying, Elisabeth, Joy, is that there's not a lot of difference between big business owning and lobbying a Republican Senator verses a Democratic Senator."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "It's not about the people anymore, is essentially what you're saying."
Dobbs: "300 million people. In 2004 we put forward two candidates. Kerry and Bush, both men of privilege, from privileged families, both Yale educated, both members of skull and bones. Now that's diversity, isn't it?"
Behar: "And also, weren't they both C students?"
Hasselbeck: "You're also pretty furious over the healthcare situation going on in the country. Do you think universal healthcare is the solution?"
Dobbs: "I think it absolutely is. There is no excuse for this country not to provide health care for all -- we've got the best health care system in the world. How can we reasonableably deny that system and great care to anyone? And principally, by the way, it's the middle class. It's not the poor. We have medicaid and medicare for the poor and aged and infirm. In the middle class, half of whom are making less than $35,000 a year in this country."
Behar: "A lot of doctors, they don't take medicare, you know. I'm not on it yet, yet. But, but they don't take it. They don't take, they don't take insurance, either. I mean, you have to do a third party put it in. I mean, it's amazing what it costs to get a mammogram these days."
Hasselbeck: "If the universal health plan is a solution, how do you implement that without removing the competition from companies, and making it hard to get your-"
Dobbs: "Here is what competition has bought us right now, and that's what this administration has been pushing, the Republican party, for a long time. What competition has bought us is more than double-digit increases in health care costs. 48 million Americans don't have health insurance and meanwhile this administration and corporate America are arguing that gold-plated insurance, health care insurance is just, you know, it's overdone, and we've got to roll it back. That's what competition has brought you. There are other ways to achieve competition and reasonable care. First, take care of the people."
O’Donnell: "Right. Mr. Dobbs, do you think that some Senator for principle, if not for follow through, should call for the impeachment of George Bush?"
Dobbs: [Sigh]"Boy --"
Dobbs: "You put a fellow who prides himself on being a straight talk, yeah."
O’Donnell: "Well, that's why I ask you because there are very few people you could ask that to in the public eye. And I'm just curious if."
Behar: "You're not running for anything you can tell."
O’Donnell: "Do you think that this nation should do it to say this that, if nothing else, to tell the rest of the world this is what we stand for?"
Dobbs: "I have to say, that when we look at the performance of this administration on healthcare, on the minimum wage, on free trade, 30 consecutive years of trade deficits, now a few trillion in debt, the conduct of this war and kindly the dissembling-"
O’Donnell: "Yes or no? We've got five seconds, sir."
Behar, forming her hand into the shape of a gun and pointing it at Dobbs: "Yes or no? Come on! Gun to the head."
Dobbs: "I would encourage Senators or Congressman-"
O’Donnell: "Ah, Lou, you disappoint me."
[ABC then went to black, because of a hard ad break about 56 minutes into the hour, then to an ad]