This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from May 30, 2007.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Next on SPECIAL REPORT, protesters take to the streets of Caracas again in growing resistance to Hugo Chavez's shutdown of that Venezuelan TV station. Pres ident Bush stirs up a hornet's nest on the right with his comments on the immigration bill. Fred Thompson edges closer to a run for the White House. Is Medicaid pushing up the divorce rate? We'll explain. Guess who's coming to dinner with the president at Kennebunkport, not less. You may be surprise d given recent events. All of that right here, right now. Welcome to Washington. I'm Brit Hume. The Senate is expected to resume its contentious debate over the immigration bill next week, but there is plenty of animosity to go around in the meantime after President Bush's remarks on the bill yester day seemed to drive a wedge down the middle of his own party. Congressional correspondent Major Garrett reports the latest salvos against the bill are coming over the airwaves.
MAJOR GARRETT, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rush Limbaugh, mandarin of conservative talk radio, said the immigration reform debate had broken the back of the president's loyalist base.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There are people who are saying, I've had it. I am through defending him. This is the last straw, because he's attacking me here.
GARRETT: Bush appears to have infuriated conservative talk radio listeners when he said this yesterday defending comprehensive immigration reform.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it. You can use it to frighten people.
GARRETT: Laura Ingraham, another potent voice in conservative talk radio, said the president's decision to lash out at the critics of the immigration bill has left them feeling jilted, betrayed and incensed.
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: If you don't sign on to this bill, then you don't want what is best for America; excuse me? Because people want the laws enforced that are currently on the books, how is that not liking—loving America. And so you don't question the patriotism or the motives of a Murtha or Pelosi, et cetera, OK. Don't question our patriotism. Don't question our motives, implicitly or explicitly.
GARRETT: The president also accused critics of throwing around generalities like amnesty to intensify political opposition.
BUSH: If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill is an amnesty bill. It is not an amnesty bill. That's empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our fellow citizens.
GARRETT: Ingraham called the speech a turning point.
INGRAHAM: I think what he said yesterday was a massive error in judgment and tactics if he wanted to get this legislation passed. It was kicking the hornets nest. The hornets are not going to stop buzzing for quite some time. That's my prediction.
GARRETT: DC talk radio reaction ran hot too.
CHRIS CORE, CHRIS CORE SHOW: President Bush has a credibility problem already with liberals, already with Democrats, already with a lot of independents, and now he's trying to get one with conservatives. I don't get it.
GARRETT: At the White House, Spokesman Tony Snow denied the president was trying to demonize GOP immigration reform critics.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: He believes that finding a solution is what's right for America. No, there was no attempt to try to be cute. The invited politicians at the event were Republicans. The president is the leader of the Republican party. He is not picking a fight with Republicans.
GARRETT: Limbaugh's listeners rendered just the opposite verdict.
LIMBAUGH: This criticism of his base is going to be problematic because the left is going to keep up their incessant harping on Iraq. He needs people to support him on this. He needs to have a base of support that will not waiver.
GARRETT: Conservative talk radio listeners believe they have stood with President Bush on the war, the larger war on terror, and a wide range of domestic issues, at times taking the lesser of two evils. What they can't comprehend is why Bush would use some of the harshest rhetoric of his presidency against them, changing the tone to be sure, but in an unexpected and most unwelcome way. Brit?
HUME: Major, thank you. The price of American citizenship is going up, bill or no bill, starting at the end of July. The administration has announced increases in new application fees that they say will help fund speedier processing times and more immigration officers. A Green Card will cost 930 dollars. That is up from 325. Bringing a fiancée to the U.S. will cost 455 dollars, instead of 170. But families of four with children under 14 years of age will actually get a 360 dollar price decrease. The actor and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson will move step closer to a formal presidential campaign June 4th when he forms what's referred to as a testing the waters committee. This will enable him to raise money and hire staff without officially committing to run. Thompson's plans for a June campaign swing through early primary states are still only in the discussion stage and his advisors are quick to say he hasn't made a final decision about running, not yet. Mastering the art of wooing a constituency is central to a successful presidential bid and today Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton courted one of the most important groups, the Hispanic community. Correspondent Anita Vogel takes a look at what she's doing to try to win them over.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: The people of Nevada are ready for change. We want it to happen.
ANITA VOGEL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton, campaigning out west today, made two stops in Las Vegas. First, a visit with the Culinary Union and then a town meeting at a local high school. Clinton is the first candidate to form a special Hispanic voter coalition and she is in the Silver State in part to woo Hispanic voters. Approaching this ethnic community early is key, according to Clinton supporter Max Couvillier.
MAX COUVILLIER, CLINTON HISPANIC COALITION: I see Hillary as a person who's going to win the presidency. I'm confident about that. And the fact that she has reached out to me and given me an honest opportunity to engage in issues that are important to the Hispanic community, I think this speaks volumes.
VOGEL: Thirteen percent of Nevada voters are Hispanic, a group that could be crucial in clinching the January 19th state Democratic caucuses, which are scheduled to come right after the first in the nation political contest in Iowa.
RORY REID, CLINTON NV CAMPAIGN CHMN: Nevada is the example that will be followed in other states. Senator Clinton is a very shrewd politician and understands all that, and understands why Nevada had to come first, and why we had to set an example for the rest of the country.
VOGEL: But her critics say her strategy is flawed.
MATTHEW KLINK, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Hillary Clinton's attempt to establish a Latino task force is a clear pander to the Latino community. She is doing it because she fears the candidacy of Bill Richardson.
VOGEL: Clinton rival, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is the only declared Hispanic candidate running for president. While he lacks Clinton's cash and connections, he has got the blood lines that earn him big points in the grass roots Latino communities across the country. And Richardson jokes he does not need a task force to understand Hispanic issues.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: A task force? You know, I know the problems.
VOGEL: But so far Hillary Clinton is not having problems with a Latino voters. A poll out today by the Latino Policy Coalition says she has the support of 60 percent of Hispanic voters. And later today she gains the official endorsement of one of the highest profile Latino politicians in the country, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In Los Vegas, Anita Vogel, Fox News.
HUME: Well to the south now; tens of thousands of Venezuelans were marching again today in Caracas to protest President Hugo Chavez's decision to pull the country's most popular TV channel off the air. Correspondent Adam Housley is live in Caracas with the latest. Adam?
ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Brit, once again President Chavez has stirred the pot. In the last half an hour, he has called in the president's of Global Vision, as well as the main anchor. It's the last opposition media of any type. It's a small television here in Venezuela. He has called them in to meet with his ministers for what he says is airing video that is detrimental to his country. Now last night on television Chavez also went on the air. We have video of his speech where he basically said the United States is partly causing these problems here. He says he will forcefully put down anyone who tries to march in the streets and tries to uprise, what he says is a possible coup against him. Now, his decision to do this is starting to cause reaction in the United States. Again, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, came out with a statement in the last couple hours. She says, in part, "The decision by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez not to renew the license of Radio Caracas Television," which is a large station he shut down on Sunday, which started all this, "in order to silence criticism, is exactly the kind of action that raises concern about his leadership. President Chavez should know that efforts to suppress the media will not only ultimately fail, but are also a detriment to one of the pillars of democracy, freedom of expression. "He should reconsider this ill advised decision. The United States Senate has already called upon the Organization of American States to respond appropriately and the House may consider similar actions soon." Again, that from Nancy Pelosi. We have other comments also from the American embassy. Now, in response last night we had some more clashes. Again, today we've heard about clashes. The video, dramatic, Brit. You saw some of it on your show yesterday as police and protesters were in a standoff at some points, police also opening fire with rubber bullets and blanks. Protesters throwing rocks, as well as bottles. All of this is taking place—in fact, in response, not only is there military action, but the government has come out and said that they did not shut down the television station, that they, in fact, just took away its license, really a semantic debate on the part. Brit, back here live once again, we're in the main square in Caracas. This is where all the marches, all the protests have started from. As you can hear behind me, there are still a lot of people here. And this latest action to call the Global Vision leaders in might once again stir a pot when these people were planning on going home tonight and starting again tomorrow. But now, they are here, Brit.
HUME: Adam, is it your sense that these protests are growing larger by the day, about the same, what?
HOUSLEY: Yes, they are growing larger by the day, Brit. But at one point we were talking with some of the people here, until one person steps forward to be that face of the opposition that everyone can rally behind, they continue to grow, but really the members of the military and the police, who probably would cross over to help them, won't do it, because right now it is still Chavez and his people at the top. There is nobody really leading this opposition, although it's growing in numbers every day.
HUME: All right, Adam Housley. Thanks for being there Adam. Later on SPECIAL REPORT, a first war in cyberspace. An entire government Internet system and communications system shut down. But next, we will tell you about senators who are taking desperate measures to protect their spouses and their money.
HUME: I said before the break we were going to bring you a story about senators, it is a story about seniors. Traditional wedding vows include language such as "in sickness and in health," and "in death do us part." But now, it turns out that some couples that have been married for decades are choosing to split up because of the government's rules for its Medicaid program. Correspondent Steve Brown explains.
ROSALIND GAUCHET, WIFE: We are both from traditions of—where marriage is important.
STEVE BROWN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And next month, Rosalind and Todd Gauchet will celebrate their twenty first wedding anniversary. They have three sons. Todd's cerebral palsy might get in the way of his speech, but has not gotten in the way of the couple's marriage.
GAUCHET: You are F-I—first woman who said I love you.
BROWN:But the Gauchets admit they are now under pressure to end their marriage, to divorce and they blame Medicaid.
GAUCHET: Medicaid is set up for one individual with a disability, and not for a family.
BROWN:Medicaid pays for the around-the-clock health care Todd has needed since contracting a spinal infection four years ago. If a couple, or just once spouse is receiving Medicaid care, both have to help pay for it. That was part of the package of reforms in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. For the Gauchets, it meant Rosalind cashing in a state pension to pay their share, the only way to protect their nest egg meant for their golden years, was divorce.
GAUCHET: To Todd, it was a slap in the face, because he always dreamed of getting married. BROWN (on camera): One Ohio attorney who specializes in these cases says he counsels couples regularly that divorce is an option that they need to consider.
BILL BROWNING, ELDER LAW ATTORNEY: There is a moral stigma. Do you want to tell all of your friends in your community that I got divorced to save my own hide? That's not something people are proud of.
BROWN:Bill Browning, an elder law specialist, says it is older couples who usually face this choice of either saving their assets or their marriage. This divorce dilemma was news to Medicaid's regional director.
JACKIE GARNER, MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES: We have not heard of or been contacted by any advocacy groups about the problem as you have described it to me.
BROWN:The agency does advise married couples to buy long term health insurance as a form of financial protection. But often low and middle income couples, who would benefit most from long-term coverage, hear about it far too late.
BROWNING: I have seen it when somebody is already in the nursing home or has just been diagnosed with a long term illness.
BROWN:The Gauchets at this point hope to hang on to their home. Their marriage, they vowed to never let go of that. In Shaker Heights, Ohio, Steve Brown, Fox News.
HUME: President Bush today nominated former U.S. Trade Representative and Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to run the World Bank. He replaces Paul Wolfowitz, who announced his resignation earlier this month amid controversy over a job transfer for his girlfriend, a bank employee. That incident has strained relations with other countries, but today Zoellick said it was time to put yesterday's discord behind us and focus on the future. Zoellick, by the way, still must be approved by the World Bank's board of directors. Later on SPECIAL REPORT, could talking security cameras be coming to a corner near you? But first, after weeks of escalating rhetoric, Russian President Vladimir Putin agrees to a face-to-face meeting with President Bush. That report is next.
HUME: Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are rising over the limited missile shield the U.S. plans to put in Eastern Europe. While the Bush administration has tried to reassure Moscow about its intentions, the Russians seem unconvinced. Chief White House correspondent Bret Baier reports.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Foreign Ministers meeting ahead of the G8 summit in Germany, Russia's top diplomat accused the U.S. of starting a new arms race by building a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said about the U.S., quote, "all they are saying is, don't worry. It's not aimed at you." He added, "the arms race is starting again."
That just one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said this about the planned U.S. missile shield.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Our point is clear, we consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg and to stop it with new weapons. BAIER: Tuesday, Russian test fired a new inter-continental ballistic missile. featuring multiple warheads that officials said were designed to overcome missile defense systems. U.S. officials said the plans for the missile shield in Eastern Europe should not be a threat to Russia and its thousands of nuclear-weapons, because the plans, they say, are small, 10 interceptor missiles and a couple of radar stations to be able to respond to an attack by a rogue state like Iran, not one from Russia.
THOMAS CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: It's absolutely just silly to some say that the missile defense plans that we have pose any kind of threat to their strategic capabilities.
BAIER: President Putin views all U.S. activity in Eastern Europe with growing suspicion. And in a speech earlier this month denounced, quote, "disrespect for human life, claims to global exclusiveness and diktat, just as it was in the time of Third Reich." The Kremlin later insisted that Putin did not mean to compare the Bush administration policies to those of Nazi Germany, but Russian officials have not hidden their annoyance with U.S. foreign policies. With U.S./Russian relations strained, White House officials announced today that President Putin will meet with President Bush at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine July 1st and 2nd.
SNOW: The Russians still remain a very important partner, despite the tensions that may arise over various issues. One of the interesting things about the president and President Putin is that they are not afraid to ventilate them. And they are brutally honest with one another.
BAIER: So what is behind Putin's recent anti U.S. rhetoric? Some analysts say there may be a motive.
LT GEN TOM MCINERNEY, US AIR FORCE (RET): Maybe President Putin is trying to create a crisis because his term, his second term is coming up.
BAIER: White House officials say the two leaders have a long history of, quote, getting along. Russian expert, Sarah Mendelson, insists there has been an over personalization of the U.S./Russian relationship.
SARAH MENDELSON, CTR FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If we hang all of U.S./Russian relations on two personalities, it is not surprising if we see some problems.
BAIER: Many analysts are saying U.S./Russian relations are at their lowest point since the Soviet era. Senior administrations officials tell Fox privately they hope the meeting in Kennebunkport will help cool things down, because in the words of one senior aide, quote, no matter what the Russians are saying, there's no doubt they are crucial, especially when it comes to Iran and North Korea. Brit?
HUME: OK Bret, thank you. President Bush is calling on Congress to double the amount of money devoted to fighting AIDS in Africa over five years to 30 billion dollars. The new funding levels would help treat 2.5 million people and provide care for more than 12 million, including five million orphans and children. Africa and humanitarian aid are among the major agenda items for next week's G8 summit. A U.S. military spokesman confirms that five Americans are dead in the downing of a Chinook helicopter in southern Afghanistan today. The official said it appeared a rocket-propelled grenade hit the aircraft. A NATO spokesman says all seven people aboard the chopper were killed. Taliban fighters claimed to have shot the helicopter down in Helmand Province. Usually the threats we report from the terrorist group al-Qaeda must be translated into English before we tell you about them. But this latest message from them does not need that. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin explains why.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Adam Gadahn, raised in Orange County, California as Adam Pearlman has gone from teenage American heavy metal head banger to head propagandist for al-Qaeda. In a new video, he threatens President Bush and the United States.
ADAM YAHIYE GADAHN, AL QAEDA SPOKESMAN: You and your people will, Allah willing, experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq, and Virginia Tech.
GRIFFIN: The first American in 50 years convicted of treason, Gadahn is presumed to be hiding in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region near Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri. In this video, Gadahn lays out al-Qaeda's demands.
GADAHN: Should so much as one single American soldier or spy remain on Islamic soil, it shall be considered sufficient justification for us to continue our defensive jihad against your nation and people.
GRIFFIN: Al-Qaeda leaders believe that, according to Islamic law, they must war their enemy before the strike.
NEIL LIVINGSTONE, TERRORISM EXPERT: We don't know if there are any hidden messages yet at this point. GRIFFIN: Shown here in a 1994 amateur video at home in California discussing environmental issues, Gadahn appeared more concerned then about saving the world, rather than blowing it up.
GADAHN: How does the garbage project help the future of the Earth.
GRIFFIN: And another video was released today on the Internet, Abu Yahia al-Libi, who has appeared in as many videos now as bin Laden's right hand Zawahiri, issued his own threats, this time against the Saudi royal family, criticizing them for arresting 172 al Qaeda members in Saudi Arabia in April and cooperating with the United States.
ABU YAHIA AL-LIBI, AL QAEDA SPOKESMAN (through translator): And at the hand over, they saw them off with insults, curses, and slander, and strutted and boasted about that in front of the American masters.
GRIFFIN: Al-Libi escaped from a U.S. prison at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan in July, 2005. This is the 48th video released by al-Qaeda's propaganda wing, al Sahab Productions, since the beginning of this year. That means the group is averaging one every three days. Brit?
HUME: OK, Jennifer, thank you. We will take a break here to pay some bills and check headlines. When we come back, one Senate Republican says Valerie Plame still has some explaining to do. We'll explain that next on the Grapevine.
HUME: The newest tool in law enforcement in Britain is not a fancy new gun or computer program, it is relatively traditional loudspeaker. And the way those speakers are being used has some people saying they can hear the voice of Big Brother. Correspondent Amy Kellogg has a look.
AMY KELLOGG, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From this control room in the English town of Middlesbrough, officials say they're taking back the streets from violent dogs and litterbugs. Not content to just watch their citizens, the local authorities use speakers on security cameras to give them a dressing down when they're caught doing anything inappropriate in public.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're in an illegal area and you get a ticket.
KELLOGG: With a large student population and a depressed local economy, the speakers have been busy. Here, they prevent a young reveler from taking home a roadside souvenir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember to put your litter in the rubbish.
KELLOGG: And elsewhere in town, they remind residents it's not nice to litter.
HARRY MASON, CCTV CONTROLLER: We try and be firm, but not be rude or aggressive.
KELLOGG: The town security coordinator says the system is a good way of countering antisocial behavior.
JACK BONNAR, SECURITY MANAGER: It is the element of surprise that somebody is talking to you.
KELLOGG (on camera): Great Britain is already crammed with CCTV cameras. The average Brit is photographed 300 times a day by some estimates. (voice-over): And for that reason, a lot of people call Britain "Big Brother Nation." They say that security cameras are intrusive enough, but putting speakers on them would add insult to injury.
GARETH CROSSMAN, CIVIL LIBERTARIAN: It might be of some very limited use in dealing with very minor activity. But this is not going to stop any sort of real serious crime taking place.
KELLOGG: Still, back in Middlesbrough, the camera speaker system has drawn a generally positive response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a bit Big Brotherish, but I think it's doing a good thing rather than a bad thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People just drop litter and I mean, other people should say something to them, but they don't.
KELLOGG: Local officials even suggest the system could play in the states with local concerns in the U.S. about community security. That remains to be seen, but it's moving ahead here. Similar systems will be installed in 20 areas in the coming months.
In London, Amy Kellogg, FOX NEWS.
HUME: What is being called the first war in cyberspace resulted in computer hackers almost shutting down the entire infrastructure of the northern European country of Estonia, earlier this month. Media reports say so-called "hacktivists" launched denial of service attacks that clogged government agency websites, Estonia's biggest banks and the site of several daily newspapers. They started as a response to the government's moving at a popular Soviet war memorial out of the capital city of Tallinn. The attacks took a heavy toll on the country that relies on the Internet for much of its commerce. Officials blame Russia, by saying some attacks were traced to Russian government computers. Russia denies involvement. NATO officials says the campaign highlights a need for better cyber defenses. Iranian officials claim they have found evidence of U.S.-affiliated espionage networks in Iran that plan to infiltrate and sabotage the country. State-run Iranian television displayed what it said are devices confiscated by Iranian security forces during their espionage investigation since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iran has periodically accused the U.S. of trying to destabilize its government. The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution to set a court to prosecute the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, even though the Lebanese Parliament has failed to endorse the tribunal. The leader of the Lebanese parliament's ruling majority and the son of the slain leader choked up with tears as he welcomed the resolution as a victory for Lebanon. Some Lebanese leaders accuse Syria of killing Hariri and 22 others with a bomb two years ago. Syria denies involvement. Up next, President Bush has his hands full trying to allay concerns on the right about the immigration bill. The FOX all-stars will tell you how it's going. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to kill the bill, you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it. You can use it to frighten people or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all.
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: People felt like this was questioning their motives, their integrity, their own credibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their love of country.
INGRAHAM: Of course. If you don't sign onto this bill, then you don't want what's best for America. Excuse me? Because people want the laws enforced that are currently on the books, how is that not liking—loving America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: What you just heard there from Laura Ingraham, who has a very popular radio program, is a reflection of what you heard on a number of radio programs today and from a number of people in reaction to what the President Bush said yesterday, a little slice of which we played for you. Some thoughts on this battle now from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard; Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call; and Nina Easton, Washington bureau chief of Fortune magazine—FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTORS all. It would seem, perhaps, that the president woke up the wrong passengers, here.
FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, the bill in the Senate is not his bill, the White House was called in after the negotiations already began on the bill. In the House, they're going to start from scratch, it's not his bill. And the president, I just think, needs to drop out of this debate. He's unpopular, the opponents of immigration reform are going to call whatever the bill is, a Bush bill, because they think that'll make it more unpopular than it might otherwise have been. And for him to say people pick out a—some little thing in the bill, the one in the Senate now negotiated by Senators Kennedy and Senator Kyl of Arizona—a Democrat and Republican—something little. The truth is that while I basically like this bill, the opponents don't pick out something little, they pick out something very, very big, and that are the Z-visas that would allow, at some point, the 12 million illegal immigrants, already in America, to stay here indefinitely. And perhaps go back to their home country and apply for a Green Card and then citizenship, but that's what they call amnesty.
HUME: That is what gives rise to the claims of amnesty.
BARNES: Yeah, I don't think it is amnesty and I think.
HUME: But, it's not an unpatriotic argument.
MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: No. Look, he did not question their patriotism he said...
HUME: He said they don't want to do what's best for America.
KONDRACKE: OK, but that's not questioning the patriotism of people.
HUME: All right, well, let's talk just for a moment. I mean, Fred suggested he butt out. But let's talk about the substance of what he said yesterday. Apart from whether the president can help—what about what he said—Mort.
KONDRACKE: Well, I think it was unproductive for him to say what he said. To say that you're not doing what's right for America. All of that just waving red flags in the face of a bunch of raging bull's anyway, these people, some of them females, actually, like Laura Ingraham—anyway, look, this is not an amnesty bill, this is border enforcement first, nothing happens until the border is secure...
HUME: But, what does it take, Nina, for the border to be certified as secure? Or these steps to be certified? Is it—it's simply a presidential certification, isn't it and is taking care of it, right?
NINA EASTON, FORTUNE: I think so.
KONDRACKE: Double the Border Patrol—you have to finish the fencing, it's all...
HUME: But how does it—but what is the step that establishes.
KONDRACKE: We'll know. We'll know whether the Border Patrol is doubled.
HUME: .actual step that establishes it? Isn't it simply a presidential certification? And suppose Hillary Clinton, for example, is the president, is that something that people who are worried about this can count on?
BARNES: That's why someone who is frequently on this panel, Charles Krauthammer, has suggested a further step, and that is that you have to quantify, somehow, I'm not exactly sure how you would do it, that illegal immigration is way down. Charles said it should be down 90 percent. But there's a way to do that to convince people, to show people, in actual numbers that illegal immigration has been substantially reduced and that justifies the certification.
HUME: So, you think it would be a good idea to tighten the border enforcement provision and the trigger in the certification?
BARNES: Absolutely. Because people, after you know, decades of practically open borders that we've had, until very recently, people don't trust the government to shut down the border.
EASTON: It's not just border control, it's not the only important piece of this legislation, it's employer control. It's the changing in documentation. The entire industry right now is based on forged documents. And this bill takes a very strong steps to address that. Employers will not only be held accountable, but now there will be a system where you can't forge documents. Illegal immigrants come here for jobs and if that's shut down, that's a big piece of border control and the president, instead of stirring up a hornet's next, as Laura Ingraham put it, should be talking about the controls that are in that legislation.
KONDRACKE: Well, actually, he did, it's just that—yeah, exactly...
EASTON: I don't think he did it very well.
KONDRACKE: You know, the whole idea that this is amnesty is just bunk. But, you're going to have to be here for eight to 13 years in order to become a legalized citizen.
BARNES: You get it at 13 -- it's 13.
KONDRACKE: All right, yeah. You get a Z-visa right away.
HUME: But a Z-visa.
KONDRACKE: Then you have to pay all kinds of fines and fees and have to learn English, you have to have a clean record.
HUME: But you would concede, would you not, that the critics skepticism about whether these enforcement measures will ever be put into place, is well-founded?
KONDRACKE: On the basis of history, yeah. Ronald Reagan was the sponsor of the amnesty bill, 1982, the hero of conservative America, and he let amnesty be the law of the land. It's not—this is not an amnesty bill.
BARNES: Here's why the bill—here's why I like it.
HUME: That was the Simpson- Mazzoli bill, wasn't it?
KONDRACKE: Yeah. Well, he signed it.
BARNES: Yeah, well look, Reagan was not a restrictionist, Reagan was very pro-immigrant. Look, here's what conservatives get, even the critics, I think, and they don't realize it, they get dramatically beef-up security, they get this trigger which can be strengthened so you really do have to certify that illegal immigration is down; they get a guest worker program that business wants, and they get rid of chain migration, when—if you're an immigrant who gets in, you're—you know, your third cousin once removed also gets in, and those are—and all they have to give up are these Z-visas to people who are going to stay here, anyway. EASTON: You're never going to convince the amnesty crowd.
HUME: Next ahead on the panel, Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez defends his decision to pull the plug on that TV station, but the street protests are on. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to go out in the streets, man, and fight for our rights, that's what we have to do. We can't stay in our homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we have to fight for freedom, man. This is crazy. This is like completely unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: And what was so unacceptable? Well, it was the closing down of a popular TV station by the Venezuelan leader, dictator, Hugo Chavez. And now, for three or four nights in a row—or days and nights in a row, he has had the streets full of protesters. He's threatened them, he's now threatened the owners of the only other remaining, I guess, independent TV channel, very small one there. And so he is still more or less riding high, I suppose, but he would not be—if he were to fall, this kind of thing has a long history of being the first stage in it. Student protests in the streets often go farther. How much of a chance? Panel, what you think?
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, there was a coup that was staged against him, it only lasted two days, back in 2002. You know, there is very strong opposition to him. I mean, he is a socialist, communist. He wants to be Fidel Castro, dominate the whole region. And a sizable portion of the population in Venezuela believe in free markets and freedom and all of that, and.
HUME: And TV.
KONDRACKE: And TV. They like their TV.
BARNES: See, what he's substitute—puts on this TV station now that they—a documentary on explores in Antarctica. Boy, I'll bet that was exciting and an exercise tape. Chavez propaganda.
KONDRACKE: Right, he does have the guns, he does—has the rubber bullets, he has the fire hoses and unless these people are willing to do, you know, what was done in the Ukraine, for example, and just risk death, I think he's going to win.
EASTON: He's acting like a classic dictator, which, newsflash, he is, which is news that might be translated to some of the politicians in the Democratic Party, like these Massachusetts congressmen like Delahunt who praised him as basically a misunderstood humanitarian because he was giving cheap oil to the northeast. I think those people should be saying something right now.
HUME: Nancy Pelosi was out with a statement today, critical of him. I don't know what she said about him in the past.
BARNES: It wasn't exactly (INAUDIBLE), though, I read her statement. Look, he's a thug. And he acts like a thug. And he's stupid besides. I mean, who in the world would want—would take the Cuban model for your economy when Fidel Castro is reduced practically to subsistence level where they're not even self-sufficient in sugar, their crop. I mean, that's a pathetic economy. That's his model. That's what he wants. Now, the—look, he's only got one thing going for him—a lot of oil in Venezuela. And if we have, and I hope we do—have a price drop of some significance, then he's really going to be in trouble.
HUME: Really, why? Because it will weaken his economy, you mean?
BARNES: He pays people off. He pays off other countries. He gives money to the Sandinistas, he gives money to Cuba, he gives money to other leaders around Latin-America and therefore they're sympathetic to him. You know what President Bush needs to do is what he did with the president of Brazil and that's really court him and others. The president of Brazil was a lefty—he was elected in what's it.
HUME: He needs to court.
BARNES: No, no, no, court the others who are not falling in behind Chavez. One of the problems is Democrats, here, are against this treaty—trade treaty with Colombia where President Uribe, is one of the—a great Democrat and ally of the U.S.
KONDRACKE: It's worth noting that the voices that you usually—that the Democrats listen to on issues like this, like the EU and Human Rights Watch, are not denouncing what Chavez is doing. So, if you're still uphold Chavez, like Daily Kos, for example, that—left-wing—we'll it's the most popular, I guess...
HUME: Is it?
KONDRACKE: Left-wing website, yeah. I mean, it's very influential.
HUME: But is it sticking up for Chavez?
KONDRACKE: Yeah. Oh yeah, it's saying that RCTV was, you know, was cheering on.
HUME: That was the popular station that.
KONDRACKE: Right. Cheering on the coup in 2002 and by implication deserves, therefore, to be closed down by this dictator. EASTON: The other thing he's got going for him, when you mention he's got oil going for him, he's got a broad anti-American sentiment in the region going for him. And the question here is, has he stepped far enough that he.
BARNES: Without the oil, he'd go nowhere. That's for sure.
EASTON: Has he ever played his hand, though?
BARNES: Probably has, but he can get away with it as long as he gets all that oil money.
KONDRACKE: Well, when he rigs elections. I mean, practically ever election that he's won has been rigged.
HUME: That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for the latest on the case of the man accused of using soap to drug his date. That's next.
HUME: Finally tonight, what you're about to see is an excerpt from a actual newscast with the story about a man accused of using soap as a date rape drug. The tape, we promise you, has not been doctored.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people use soap to wash away germs, but a drummer for a punk rock group, called the Germs, is accused of using soap for something very different. Now, he's on trial for position of a date rape drug. Michael Brownlee is in live in Newport Beach—Michael.
MICHAEL BROWNLEE, ABC NEWS: Hey Christine, well 51-year-old Don Bolles tells us he uses the soap because it gives him the complexion of a 15-year-old girl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: That was a guy. And that's SPECIAL REPORT for this time. Please tune us in next time and in the meantime, more news is on the way—fair, balanced, and unafraid.
Watch "Special Report With Brit Hume" weeknights at 6 p.m. EST.
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