updated 1/6/2006 9:13:52 AM ET 2006-01-06T14:13:52

Guests: Katrina Szish, Holly Phillips, Brett Rivkind, Stacey Honowitz, Jim Walker

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight, the honeymoon cruise mystery takes a nasty turn.  Tonight, the cruise captain actually takes a shot across the bow at the missing groom‘s wife.  And he says:  Jennifer Hagel Smith lied to my face. 

We‘re going to get to the bottom of that in the show.

Then, Dr. Laura Schlessinger is here once again.  And now she‘s here to talk about people who blame their bad adult lives on what happened when they were kids.  You may be surprised by what her take is on that. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.  

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks so much for being with me tonight.  Greatly appreciate it.

We‘re going to have those stories in just minutes. 

Plus, caught on tape.  Is he the world‘s dumbest criminal?  He knocks out a cashier before he gets the cash.  We are going to show you how this robbery in progress ends. 

And weird science.  Do you remember the guy who had the nail in his head and didn‘t even know about it?  Well, another guy wakes up with a headache, and he finds out later it‘s because, well, he got a bullet in his brain.  Now, how could these guys not know that they have got nails and bullets in their heads?  Well, the doctor is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and we‘re going to ask her. 

But first it is getting ugly in the case of what happened to missing groom George Smith IV.  As you will remember, six months ago today, this young man, this all-American guy disappeared from his honeymoon cruise.  But so many questions remain, and now the cruise line has seemingly begun a P.R. campaign that apparently includes attacking George Smith‘s widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith. 

Today, on “THE ABRAMS REPORT,” the ship‘s captain took his shot across the bow. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”)

MICHAEL LACHTARIDIS, RETIRED ROYAL CARIBBEAN CAPTAIN:  She was found on a corridor on deck nine, far from her cabin.  And then they escort her to her cabin...

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  She was literally sleeping in the middle of the hall?

LACHTARIDIS:  Sleeping in the hall, yes.

ABRAMS:  Sleeping meaning she was drunk?

LACHTARIDIS:  I don‘t know.  She was sleeping.  They were found here asleep.  So and then the report say that they took a wheelchair to bring her to the cabin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, that‘s just unbelievable. 

It seems to me the only thing that really matters here is who killed George Smith IV.  You can also ask the question, was this investigation botched?  You can also ask, why was the crime scene cleaned up?  There are a lot of tough questions that need to be asked, but, for some reason, Royal Caribbean tonight seems content on simply bashing a bride who tragically lost her husband on her honeymoon cruise. 

Really, what does any of that matter to Royal Caribbean, unless they believe that Jen Hagel Smith murdered her husband?  They certainly suggested that in an earlier statement right after the scene. 

Now, they sent out a press release today, another one, that once again, like the earlier press release that came out right after the disappearance, it reads more like an attack on Jennifer Hagel Smith. 

And it goes on for eight pages.  This is some of it—quote—Royal Caribbean says Jennifer was not asked to leave the ship or left alone in Turkey, as she told me in our interview.  They say Jennifer was not forced to wear clothing with the company‘s logo, that Jennifer was allowed to call anyone after her husband had vanished.

And, basically, Royal Caribbean is calling her a liar. 

I asked Jennifer Hagel‘s lawyer, Jim Walker, and George Smith‘s attorney, Brett Rivkind, about the attacks on Ms. Hagel Smith and Mr.  Smith.  I asked them about those attacks earlier tonight. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM WALKER, ATTORNEY FOR JENNIFER HAGEL SMITH:  The reports that we‘re now finding out from Royal Caribbean is that she was found unconscious by a cleaner and a plumber.

And then three security officers put her in a wheelchair.  Now, if in fact she is unconscious—they characterize her as just being merely asleep, but if she‘s unconscious, she needed medical attention.  Anyone found unconscious in a hotel or a Four Seasons, a place like that, receives medical attention. 

7

If they had done something appropriate in this instance, they would have looked for her husband, in order for him to give them consent to treat her.  And what do they do?  Instead, they just dumped her—this is their own admission—into this cabin, where there were sounds of violence and arguing and the next-door neighbor who came on your show talked about thuds on the wall and furniture moving around. 

He was saying to the security officers, get in there.  What did they do?  They just dumped her in there and closed the door and left.  If they had simply looked for George at that time, simply walked out onto the balcony and looked down, they would have seen at a minimum his blood.  They could have stopped the ship and done a search, or they might have found him out there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, again, Brett, what‘s so upsetting, is not only her, not only the grieving widow, but also George. 

I‘m curious, what are the Smiths doing now regarding the lawsuit?  And do they believe and do you believe that this possibility of a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean, for their terrible actions that night, may be another reason that they‘re now coming after George Smith and besmirching his memory? 

BRETT RIVKIND, SMITH FAMILY ATTORNEY:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

It is called damage control on the part of the cruise ship company.  And I hope you play the tape again on television, because I think the United States passengers on cruise ships have to be really, really scared to see that, if something happens to them, and they‘re in a foreign country, that that cruise line has the power to take a passenger, as they took Jennifer, turn her over to the custody of the Turkish authorities, and decide who was going to go on board their ship to do the investigation, and then dupe or mislead the FBI into what really occurred. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Speaking of that, Jim, let me bring you in here, the possibility that you did have murderers on that ship that night leads us into what happened the next day, where these Russians were suspected of possibly committing a sexual assault against a young woman. 

And then at that point, remember, the captain said, well, you take the two incidences one night after another, again, it looks like the captain‘s understanding there‘s a possibility that these Russians may have done something very bad to George and Jen. 

WALKER:  The captain certainly seemed to connect the two.  I‘m not going to go out at this time and make any allegation against win anyone.  We‘re carefully investigating this.  We have hired a forensic...

SCARBOROUGH:  But can you confirm that the Russian gentlemen were kicked off the boat because of suspicion that they assaulted a young woman? 

WALKER:  Yes, the information we have from news accounts and, quite frankly, even from the cruise line itself, seems to indicate that some of the men who were last seen in George Smith‘s cabin—and this is information that we‘re actually even obtaining, extracting from the cruise line—were the same individuals involved in this other incident. 

Just a couple days later, after these men had been warned before and after the—our situation, that they finally, the captain would finally do something and kicked them off.  Now, again, the FBI‘s looking into this.  We‘re not making any allegations against those men. 

But we‘re concerned about the overall safety and security of all the passengers on the ship. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But that is the information.  And, again, it speaks I think to Royal Caribbean‘s credibility that this captain believed that George Smith could have been killed, yet they kept these same people on the boat, the same people that were kicked off a few days later for possibly sexually assaulting a young woman. 

Again, if that in fact is the case, then that young woman I would think would also have a case against Royal Caribbean, because they allowed these people to stay on the boat, instead of doing something.  And it‘s such a complicated issue. 

Maybe that explains why your client, Jim, has hired a famous forensic scientist to help out in this case.  Talk about that.  I understand Dr.  Henry Lee is getting involved in the George Smith case.

WALKER:  Right. 

After Jennifer was appointed to represent her husband‘s estate in late November, she hired me.  And I right away called Dr. Lee.  I thought he was the perfect person.  He‘s, we consider to be, one of the finest, if not the finest, forensic scientist in the world. 

I have been talking about Mr. Rivkind about this.  And we just found out today, based upon the Royal Caribbean press statement, that the FBI had ripped out the entire rug.  Royal Caribbean‘s never told us this.  We have been trying to obtain information from them.  Mr. Rivkind has written them letters.  I have written them letters.  We have made requests. 

We‘re trying to get a list of the passengers.  We‘re trying to get the statements.  We‘re trying to get a list of the crew members.  And the cruise line is not cooperating with us.  So, we wanted to get the best experts we could and go actually out on to the scene to try to find additional evidence and to test and inspect the awning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Brett, why is it that the FBI ripped out the carpet, first of all? 

Secondly, why is it, you think, that Royal Caribbean has not been cooperating at all in this investigation with your clients, who, again, after all, lost their son? 

RIVKIND:  Because I think they‘re more interested in protecting their public image than helping the Smith family get answers. 

We wrote them immediately, Joe—and I think I have sent, showed you a letter—right say, saying listen, you‘re writing these nice form letters to the family that, we will do anything you can to help or assist you.  The Smith family just want to know what happened to their son. 

So, in order to help the Smith family, please, give me this basic information that we should be entitled to.  Since you chose not to let the FBI take statements and do an investigation, but chose your own selected lawyers to do it, give us those statements, so we can get as much information as we can, because the goal should be common here, to find out what happened to George Smith. 

Obviously, the goal of the cruise line is not to find out what really happened to George Smith.  The goal of the company is to protect their public image. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  I will tell you what.  Unfortunately, I agree with Brett completely.  They‘re interested in protecting their public image.  They‘re not interested in getting to the bottom of the facts of this case, as far as I‘m concerned. 

Listen, starting six months ago, we in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY had to launch our own investigation.  As you know, if you have been following what‘s been going on the past six months, we were the ones that got the witness list together, basically, for the FBI.  We were the ones that actually were able to lay out a timeline, minute by minute, hour by hour, leading up to George Smith—the time when many people believe George Smith IV died. 

And we have continually asked the head of Royal Caribbean to come on our show.  They have refused.  It‘s gotten so bad that they now won‘t even return our phone calls to come on the show. 

Again, I have been asking.  I‘m asking the CEO of Royal Caribbean, come on the show.  Let‘s talk.  As I have said before, I will be very fair about this.  But what I—what I just can‘t put up with, what I can‘t stand, and what the people out there that have been watching my show can‘t stand is the fact that, when you‘re in trouble, you won‘t face up to it, like a man. 

Instead, what you do is, you have your weasely attorneys and P.R.  people send out statements that attack a widowed bride.  I mean, have you no shame?  You have got a man here that most of America believes was murdered.  Most of the people that watch this show believe he was murdered, and, yet, in the face of this tragedy, you are attacking a widow.

How do you sleep at night?  I really don‘t know.  Is it really worth it for you, to attack a widow?  Is it worth it to attack the memory of George Smith IV, everybody‘s all-American, from everybody that knows George?  They all say this.  You‘re making a fool of yourself.  You‘re not winning points.  If you think you‘re gaining any points with jury members that are going to obviously be in a case—because this family‘s going to sue you. 

My gosh, if you did this one of my family members, I would hire a fleet of attorneys and I would come after you, and I would level you.  And I would do it not only to protect the reputation of my family.  I would do it to protect other Americans, who obviously can‘t trust the safety of your ships, because, if something happens to them, what will you do?  Let‘s just attack them.  That‘s your M.O.  You‘re pathetic. 

Now, when we come back, we are going to separate fact from P.R.  fiction with an all-star panel.  We are going to focus on how we can get this case solved.  And, friends, we are not going to be doing it by attacking widows. 

Also coming up tonight, so, you think you had it tough growing up?  Get over it.  Dr. Laura‘s here with her moving story.  She‘s going to tell you what you can learn from it. 

And mommy and daddy decided to party in Vegas, but when they got home, the cops were waiting.  The sad details in tonight‘s flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Stick around.  We are just getting started.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Six months ago today, an American tragedy on the high seas, as George Smith IV goes overboard, leaving his lovely bride behind.  She was pushed off the boat, she says, in Turkey.  And now, six months later, the cruise line is trying to shift the blame to her.

We will get to the bottom of it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

Royal Caribbean‘s on the offensive, attacking widow Jennifer Hagel Smith.  But, friends, as I have said before, that‘s not what this is about. 

I‘m let me clear up.  Before I bring in my panel, let‘s just very quickly clear things up here.  They have got high-priced lawyers, P.R.  spin-meisters trying to weasel the company‘s way out of trouble. 

It seems to me, though, there are three basic questions.  Was George Smith killed?  Secondly, did the botched investigation that—put on by Royal Caribbean in the first day stop a murderer from being found?  And, third, what‘s Royal Caribbean‘s M.O. now?  What are they trying to do and why are they trying to do it?

Let‘s bring in Stacey Honowitz.  She‘s a Broward county prosecutor.  Former Connecticut prosecutor Susan Filan, and also Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst. 

You know, Stacey, just for argument‘s sake, let‘s say Jen Hagel Smith was on a cruise with her husband and she drank too much.  What does that have to do with who killed George Smith IV? 

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY:  I don‘t know why you‘re so surprised, Joe. 

In every single case, I mean, in every rape case that I prosecute, it‘s never the defendant‘s fault.  They put the victim on trial.  And that‘s exactly what Royal Caribbean is doing in this case.  They don‘t want to cooperate, or they‘re saying they want to cooperate, yet the only defense that they have to anything is that she had too much to drink and therefore we don‘t have to know what happened to her husband. 

So, this is a typical M.O.  I mean, the cruise business is huge.  Do you honestly think they want to subject themselves to any kind of liability?  Absolutely not.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Well, let me ask you this, then, Stacey.  What I don‘t understand, then, Stacey, is, why are they so stupid?  And they are stupid.  I will tell you this.  I know a little bit about P.R., being in Congress and TV.

They‘re going out.  They‘re trashing the widow.  They‘re putting the stupid captain on, who—there are so many conflicts in what he has to say.  I mean, this is a guy who was responsible for keeping these possible murderers on board with all these other passengers as they went.

And what happened the next night?  A sexual assault.  They had to kick them off then.  You would think they would just sit back and shut up, right? 

HONOWITZ:  Well, listen, they have to at some point come out and say something. 

But, unfortunately, this is how they have chose—and these are the tactics that they have taken.  You‘re right.  It is a stupid move on their part.  What kind of good press or publicity are they going to get from this? 

What they should have done is conducted a proper investigation.  And we know that that has not taken place.  They let the Turkish authorities take over, people that probably had no idea what went on, probably didn‘t interview any witnesses, just interviewed her.  And she didn‘t even know what was going on.

(CROSSTALK)

HONOWITZ:  So, why they choose to put a captain on to have conflicting statements is beyond me, but this is the tactic that they have to take.  She is in the wrong.  She was drunk. Maybe she was flirting.  Maybe she was doing other things.  They have no other defense in this case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, even if she were doing all of those things—and I‘m not saying she was—what does it have to do with a possible murder? 

HONOWITZ:  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Clint Van Zandt, let me bring you in here.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  This captain comes on.  He‘s attacking who I consider this poor woman.

VAN ZANDT:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And wasn‘t he the guy, though, responsible for the investigation and how it went on right after they found the blood stain? 

(CROSSTALK)

VAN ZANDT:  Yes. 

Part of it, Joe—let me clear something up real quick here.  This took place—when the ship pulled into port in Turkey, it was within the 12-mile limit.  It was tied up in port, so the Turkish authorities, the Turkish police had the authority to conduct the investigation. 

The FBI has to rely on the forces, the law enforcement agencies in this country to conduct the initial investigation, and then assure that investigation.  Of course, the FBI has jurisdiction, because it‘s a potential crime on the high seas, but both agencies had it. 

And in defense—and I don‘t like to defend this particular cruise line—but, in defense, if the cops come on board and say, captain, we don‘t care what you say; we‘re taking the witnesses off this ship, I mean, short of the captain stacking about 15 or 20 people in front of him, there‘s not a whole lot he could do. 

Now, could they have brought in lawyers and everything else to try to stop it?  Later, perhaps.  But, at this particular point, the captain was still responsible to maintain that crime scene, to protect the widow, to protect the evidence, and to start identifying people who could provide information, and not start setting up a legal defense to protect a cruise line. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, you know, Clint, it was several days—I think four or five days—before they even started questioning people about what happened the night George Smith IV went overboard. 

There is no defense for that, is there? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  As you look at investigative techniques? 

VAN ZANDT:  Part of my problem is the cruise line initially brings in their attorneys.  And their attorneys are not there by and large to get to the bottom of the criminal offense.

They‘re there to build a wall around the cruise line and protect the cruise line.  Now, there‘s got to be a balance here.  And I think that‘s what you have tried to do in your show.  That‘s what the congressional hearings are trying to do, is say, let the cruise line carry on their business, but when there‘s a crime on the high seas, especially a crime against an American, we have to find that balance, get the investigators there, get them to do their job, and worry—let the lawyers fight it out later, but let‘s solve the crime first, instead of digressing into this she said/they said, which is where we seem to be right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Unfortunately.

And, Susan Filan, that does nothing to solve this crime.  The FBI working hard behind the scenes, quietly, diligently.  And I‘m hearing from more and more people—heard it from attorneys earlier today involved in this case—that there is much more focus tonight on those Russians.  Tell me, what‘s going on in the investigation?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Well, law enforcement has hit this hard from the very beginning, but, Joe, they had to play catchup. 

Their crime scene was completely destroyed by the callous, reckless disregard on behalf of Royal Caribbean for preserving this scene.  That that awning doesn‘t exist, that that blood is gone is absolutely shameful.  The key to this case is going to be forensics.  It‘s going to be witnesses, ear witnesses and eyewitnesses.  It‘s going to be piecing together from passengers what they heard, what they saw, and what happened.

Without some of those key forensics, the FBI, law enforcement in general, has had to play catchup.  But they have picked up the ball and they‘re running with it.  They‘re working very, very hard on this case.  They‘re going to see it through, Joe. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Are they close to solving it? 

FILAN:  Well, I can‘t specifically comment on that, but I think there‘s still a ways to go.  But I think it will be solved. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What about—we have had the young California man‘s attorney on, and he was with the Russians.  We keep hearing these people coming up.  Are they going to play a role in the solving of this case? 

FILAN:  I have said from the very beginning this California teen is a critical part of the investigation.  He has a lawyer.  But he absolutely has to step up to the plate, cooperate with law enforcement, and tell what happened that night. 

Everybody is hiding behind their lawyers and covering for themselves.  It‘s ridiculous.  Come forward, tell the truth.  Let‘s solve this case in George‘s memory. 

SCARBOROUGH:  In George‘s memory, instead of attacking George and his widowed bride. 

Stacey Honowitz, you know, we have so many people that are placing these three inside the room.  It reminds me of the case down in Aruba.  The last one seen with them, and yet the captain of the ship, who knows this, decides to allows them to stay on the ship another night.  And because of that, a young woman comes forward later and claims that she was sexually assaulted. 

Again, isn‘t this one more example of negligence on the part of the cruise ship? 

HONOWITZ:  Well, absolutely. 

And, as Clint said, there has to be some protocol, some policy, as to what the crew and what the captain has to do if allegations of this nature come forward. 

How do you forge ahead without -- 1,000 passengers on board, when there‘s a potential murder suspect or a rape suspect on board?  You put the lives of everybody else on that ship in jeopardy, because you have knowledge. 

So, there has to be congressional interference.  There has to be policies and procedures put in place as to what the captain has to do if these things come to a head.  I will tell you something, Joe.  There‘s been thousands of sexual assaults on cruise ships.  It‘s documented.

Brett Rivkind, the lawyer for the family, can tell you that.  Never before has any of them gone, usually, to the state attorney‘s office to come forward.  Why is that?  Why is it covered up?  These are all the questions that now have to be answered when a case like this comes out into public. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So many questions, and so many more questions I want to ask you all.  Thanks for being with us tonight.  We‘re out of time. 

But, one more time, I‘m asking Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, to come on this show and answer the questions that so many of you out there want answered.  And, after all, so many of you out there that want these questions answered are people who spend money on cruises, by the way, on a cruise line that is based out of my home state, in Miami, Florida. 

And if it‘s based out of my home state, in Miami, Florida, you would think Floridians and other Americans could expect that, if a loved one died on the high seas, well, they may be able to get a little more cooperation than the Smiths have been getting from Royal Caribbean. 

Thanks a lot, again, to my panel. 

Coming up next, could your problems in the past be making you miserable today?  Well, Dr. Laura Schlessinger is here with her take on that. 

And imagine being shot in the head and not even knowing it.  Talk about being thick.  That‘s just one of the crazy medical stories we have uncovered and we will tell you about when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s Hollywood Babylon, as former child star Lindsay Lohan talks about her life on the skids, sex, drugs and eating disorders—that nasty L.A. story and stories about Tom Cruise coming up. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.  

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What happens in Vegas, well, it doesn‘t always stay in Vegas.  We are going to tell you how this dad‘s New Year‘s celebration in Sin City landed him behind bars.  And Lindsay Lohan reveals her battle with bulimia.  And we will have the lowdown on what this means for the teen queen‘s future in Hollywood. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—those stories in just minutes. 

But, first, Dr. Laura Schlessinger is known for handing out no-nonsense advice in her best-selling books and on her daily radio show.  So, it may come as a surprise to her millions of fans that, in her new book, “Bad Childhood, Good Life,” Dr. Laura is saying that childhood trauma is stuff that you just can‘t get over.  You have got to work through it, and it‘s really hard to work through it. 

Well, I sat down with Dr. Laura, and I asked her why she wrote this important book. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, it seemed to me more and more on my show that people were hurting and messing up their lives, their relationships, their ability to have any joy, peace and satisfaction in life. 

And they were blaming it on something happening today.  It was a spouse, a situation, whatever.  And what it really was is, they hadn‘t quite let go of some pain and hurt and longing about their own childhoods.  And they were bringing that into the past—bringing the past into the present and not even realizing it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I would think that you would be more apt to say to somebody, hey, get over it.  Don‘t live in the past.  You have got to take what hand‘s been dealt you, and stop looking at what happened 20, 30 years ago.  But you‘re saying tonight that‘s just not possible to do. 

SCHLESSINGER:  Well, two things. 

Ultimately, it is true that who we are today is a composite of everything we have survived.  And we survive some things better than others.  So, it‘s nice to say to somebody, snap out of it and move on, but when they don‘t appreciate the level of longing or fear and apprehension they have of finding out that when their parent called them stupid, maybe they are, when their parent abandoned them, maybe they‘re not lovable, to struggle now as an adult to try to make sure those things aren‘t true. 

And when you get in relationships, some relationships don‘t work.  Does that mean you‘re not lovable?  No, it just means that relationship doesn‘t work.  So, to say to somebody snap out of it is just—it‘s sort of cruel, because it denies the reality that it‘s a journey, not an event. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Isn‘t it also cruel just to tell somebody just to pray to God, don‘t worry about what happened to you when you were 10 or 12, when your father molested you and your mother stood by and did nothing about it, and now you can‘t be intimate with your husband?  You can‘t just magically get on your knees and pray, without confronting those past demons.

SCHLESSINGER:  Well, ironically, the number-one motivating force for people to turn that corner, to start taking that journey from a bad childhood to a good life, the number-one reason I got from thousands of people who wrote me when I solicited input was God. 

So, it‘s funny what you‘re saying, mostly Christian, not all, and it was, Jesus loves me.  Therefore, A, I‘m lovable.  B, I have hope that all the stupid things I have done, all the pain I have experienced, it‘s not terminal.  There‘s a place to go from here. 

The second part of the religion that helped them was, religion teaches you not to focus in on your navel, but to look outside and live for ideals and people and causes outside of yourself. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talking about trial and tribulation, you have been putting yourself out on your one-woman shows.  You didn‘t know—when we talked last time, you didn‘t know what to expect.

SCHLESSINGER:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You opened it up to the audience.  Again, you—you put yourself in a vulnerable position that a lot of public figures don‘t put themselves in.  Tell me, how has that been going for you?

SCHLESSINGER:  Well, the first weekend I did it was in Santa Barbara, California.  That was just before we spoke.

And, after that weekend, I was very depressed for about half-a-day.  I just put myself to bed and slept, because I had never, I had never, in a public venue, spoken that much about my own inner pain.  And to do that was kind of nervous-making, but the other part was just—you know, I have done so much to move beyond it, to go back and revisit just brings the pain up again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s quite a dramatic chance that you have taken to expose yourself to everybody and to be vulnerable and to say, these are the problems that I have been facing throughout my life.  What type of audience response did you get from people that saw a side of you that they didn‘t know existed? 

SCHLESSINGER:  Very touched, very touched, very moved, and very much, “Oh, I get you now” kind of thing. 

I wasn‘t worried about being attacked for being vulnerable.  I didn‘t feel threatened at all.  I have been, simply because of my positions that I take in various family issues, abortion and divorce when you have kids, and remarriage, and making more kids, and shacking up, and moving in, all this kind of stuff, I have been so viciously, destructively, hurtfully, maliciously attacked for so many decades, that, for somebody to turn on me for what is sensitive and real in my life, trust me, at this point in my life—I‘m going to be 59 next week—you can‘t touch me anymore. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

SCHLESSINGER:  I have gotten too good at dealing with it.  I have gotten attacked personally for things that it‘s shoot-the-messenger moment.

You do get used to that.  In the beginning, I swear I don‘t know how I survived it.  I would wake up in the morning sometimes and go, gee, I‘m sorry I woke up.  That‘s how depressed I would sometimes get.  It was awful, because I felt that I was working very hard to try to help people do and be and feel better in their lives, and look what my reward was. 

On the other hand, I think it‘s a small price to pay for the feedback that I have been getting for the 30 years, or the good that I have done, and helped a lot of people take a journey into being more constructive and purposeful and meaningful in their lives. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you can feel—you can begin that journey, feeling different, by going and getting “Bad Childhood, Good Life.” 

Dr. Laura, you know what a big fan I am and what a big fan we all are of you and your show and your books. 

SCHLESSINGER:  It‘s reciprocal. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Well, great.  Well, thanks so much for being with us tonight.

SCHLESSINGER:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We really do appreciate it. 

SCHLESSINGER:  I always appreciate being with you.  Thank you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And now here‘s a man who had a good childhood and a good life, former boy wonder Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.”

Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  Hey, Joe.

Dr. Laura.  I like Dr. Laura.  She‘s harsh with the callers, though. 

SCARBOROUGH:  She is tough.

CARLSON:  It‘s like that scene in “Animal House.”  You‘re worthless and weak.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tough love, baby, tough love.

CARLSON:  It is.  It‘s very tough love. 

Speaking of tough, again, tonight, members of Congress in Washington waiting to find out if they‘re going to be indicted.  We will bring you the latest on the Abramoff scandal. 

And “New York Times” columnist John Tierney joins us to answer the question, what do women want?  It turns out, Joe, they don‘t want men who are poorer and dumber than they are.  The problem, women are graduating from college at a much higher rate than men these days.  There are fewer smart, rich men to go around, a crisis in American dating.  We will explore it in detail. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank goodness I was born when I was. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Me, too. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Make sure you tune into “THE SITUATION,” coming up next at 11:00. 

And next on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, caught on tape.  A thug attacks a woman cashier, then realizes he made a big mistake.  We will show you what happened.

And, later, how can you not feel a bullet in the brain or a nail in the head?  Amazing medical cases.  We have got a doctor in the house who is going to tell us how it could be—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now it‘s time for another flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, some stories that slipped under the mainstream media‘s radar, but not ours.

We begin tonight in San Ramon, California.  Police there arrested this man and his wife for allegedly leaving two young children at home alone while they were partying in Vegas for New Year‘s.  The 5-year-old and 9-year-old boys were ditched while they were sleeping with—get this—some food and gas in the fireplace.  It was still hit. 

The parents were whooping it up in Sin City at the same time.  The neighbors heard one of the boys screaming in the garage for help.  And, well, they got the help.  The kids are doing OK tonight.  The parents are in jail.  And don‘t worry about the couple‘s new puppies.  They got dogs, but they made sure to get a dog sitter for them, but not the kids.

Our next stop, Cincinnati, Ohio, for another edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s dumbest criminals.  Surveillance cameras there caught this guy as he knocked down a surveillance store cashier, only to realize he needed her to open up the cash registers.  Police say he got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, but not before he left the cashier with a trip to the hospital. 

And coming up next, a guy is shot in the head this week, and he didn‘t even feel it.  It‘s a medical marvel.  The doctor is the house to explain how it could happen to you. 

And here‘s a shocker.  Tom and Katie‘s love affair may be on the rocks.  That‘s news that is rocking Hollywood tonight. 

But, before we go to break, this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: 

Who was the first U.S. president to use an airplane for official travel?

Take a look at the choices, and we will have the answer when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

And here‘s the answer to this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge. 

The first president to use an airplane for official travel, Franklin D.

Roosevelt. 

Now, friends, is it possible to be shot in the head and not realize it?  Well, that‘s exactly what happened to this guy.  After being shot by his girlfriend this week, he woke up with a headache.  He drove to work.  He left a note for his boss, and then he drove to the hospital.  

If you think that‘s strange, well, consider this guy in Colorado who walked around for six days with a four-inch nail in his brain, thinking it was a toothache.  I mean, that‘s straight out of “The Simpsons.”

Then, there‘s a 73-year-old woman from Alaska who had no idea that her appendix was full of buckshot—apparently, a common problem in Alaska, where they eat so much meat that has been killed by hunters. 

Well, to talk about all these medical oddities is Dr. Holly Phillips, a general internist in private practice in New York City. 

And, Holly, I just got to ask you, how does a guy wake up with a bullet in his brain and not know it? 

DR. HOLLY PHILLIPS, GENERAL INTERNIST:  Isn‘t it an incredible story? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  It is.

PHILLIPS:  The true answer is, he has great luck.  It takes some serious good luck to survive a bullet wound to the head like that. 

What I think happened—and, of course, we won‘t really ever know for sure, but what I think happened is that it‘s not so much that he didn‘t realize he got shot, but, rather, that he forgot.  Sometimes, under situations of severe trauma or shock or stress like this, like getting shot, say, by your girlfriend, the body can go into a state of shock.

And then you have some what we call an amnestic event, some amnesia, where you actually forget what‘s happening.  Or it also could be that where the bullet lodged in his brain is part of the brain that helps to control short-term memory. 

So, it might be that when it occurred, he knew it was happening, but he managed to forget it by the next morning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And...

PHILLIPS:  Well, what‘s more incredible, though, is that this bullet managed to miss all of his major arteries, all the major blood vessels, and it lodged in a part of the brain that didn‘t seem to affect his—his vital functions.

So, he was able to survive it.  It‘s an absolutely incredible story. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘re looking at right now X-rays, where you can actually see the bullet lodged in the brain. 

Doctor, you talked about how he may have gotten amnesia somehow and forgotten it.  Don‘t we have, all humans have, this defense mechanism?

PHILLIPS:  It is.

SCARBOROUGH:  When things become so traumatic, a part of our brain just shuts down, and, like you said, goes into shock, and we don‘t remember what happened? 

PHILLIPS:  Exactly. 

It‘s actually thought to be a protective mechanism that both the body and the brain are able to do, where you can just sort of segment that sort of trauma away from your daily consciousness.  So, it might just be that he knew it was happening, but then promptly forgot. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what about the nail in that guy‘s head?  I mean, what an X-ray that is.  This guy thought it was a toothache. 

PHILLIPS:  Yes.  I remember hearing this story. 

It involved, I think, an accident with a nail gun.  You know, I think it‘s another one of those things where he didn‘t realize the nail was entering his brain. 

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS:  He might have briefly lost consciousness. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.     

PHILLIPS:  And, then, when he came to, wasn‘t really sure what happened.  Maybe he thought he bumped his head, something along those lines.

But, again, it takes a great deal of good luck for this nail to miss all of the parts of the brain that really involve our vital functioning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it. 

PHILLIPS:  It‘s really good luck. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Too much good luck for me.  That‘s why I keep nail guns out of my hand.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Holly Phillips, as always, thanks a lot for being with us. 

PHILLIPS:  Certainly.  Great to be here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really appreciate it.

Coming up next, I know you have been waiting with bated breath to see how Christmas was for Tom and Katie.  Well, questions out of Hollywood: 

Are Tom and Katie splitting up? 

Plus, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON,” it‘s just minutes away. 

Oh, look at that.  He‘s putting on the bow tie.  Children, wake up. 

Tucker‘s on his way. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  She was a child movie star providing endless material for the paparazzi and the tabloids, but now she‘s on the cover of “Vanity Fair.”  And Lindsay Lohan comes clean about drugs and bulimia and the perils of Hollywood.  It‘s all the buzz in L.A.  And the question is, will it mean the end or a rebirth of her career?

Katrina Szish of “Us Weekly” is here with us with that and other tales from the West Coast. 

Katrina, let me start by asking you, why is Lindsay giving us all this information now?

KATRINA SZISH, STYLE EDITOR, “US WEEKLY”:  Lindsay was a teen queen darling until 2005, and then she started getting a little bit wacky.  She started sowing her wild teenage oats, lost a lot of weight, died her hair blonde, was known for dancing on tables at clubs, that kind of stuff.

And I think she realized that, to be taken seriously as an actress in Hollywood, she needed to clean up her image.  And I think this is the quickest and most effective way to do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But isn‘t it interesting, also, the surest way to get on the cover of “Vanity Fair” or “People” magazine has always been for these Hollywood stars, once they get in trouble, to blame it on drugs and say, hey, I‘m coming clean, right? 

SZISH:  I think it is.

But I think the reality is, a lot of times, drugs are involved, because it is so—a problem that‘s so rampant in Hollywood, especially for someone in Lindsay‘s age group.  And she is still a teenager, so she is definitely affected by all of these—these bad things that—that come her way.

SCARBOROUGH:  Bad things and bad choices.

SZISH:  Exactly right.

SCARBOROUGH:  It seems to me that the only really good movie, in my opinion—of course, nobody‘s asking my opinion.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  She did “Mean Girls,” which Tina Fey wrote, which, of course, is a Lorne Michaels movie. 

SZISH:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Great movie.

But then she made some pretty bad choices.  She really hasn‘t had a successful movie since “Mean Girls,” has she? 

SZISH:  She hasn‘t yet, no.

I think we remember her, especially even back in “The Parent Trap,” where she did a great job of playing twins.  And that‘s where we really fell in love with her.  And then, “Mean Girls” was a fun movie, as you pointed out.  And, then, after that, she sort of seemed to peter out. 

But I think Hollywood really is holding out hope, as are her fans, that Lindsay is a very talented actress, and if she puts her mind to it and sort of gets her head screwed on straight again, she just may be able to get cast for some good films, because she does have talent. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tell us about TomKat.  Tom... 

SZISH:  Well, this is an interesting one.

Yes, for—I hate to break it to all the TomKat skeptics out there, but this is one of those stories that you can‘t always believe what you read.  And the story, of course, is that Tom and Katie had a bumpy ride over the holidays.

But, to be honest, the only bumpy ride they really had was on snowmobiles in Telluride, where they actually were spending time, having a great time as a newly engaged couple. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  So, the Hollywood press, the tabloids, blowing up a story that may not be true?  I can‘t believe it. 

SZISH:  It‘s hard to believe, isn‘t it, Joe? 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s—it‘s just terrible. 

SZISH:  I‘m sure it‘s never happened before.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina Szish, as always, thanks so much for being with us. 

SZISH:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  We appreciate you being here tonight.  And stay tuned, because, friends, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” and Tucker is going to be talking about the sleaze in Hollywood, D.C.—you talk about Hollywood.  D.C. is even worse.  Tucker is talking about that tonight.  And “THE SITUATION” starts right now.  

Tucker, what is the situation?

CARLSON:  Thank you, Joe, as always.  Thanks. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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