updated 2/15/2006 11:51:51 AM ET 2006-02-15T16:51:51

Guests: Bruce Fretts, Curtis Sliwa, Jennifer Berman, Arvin West, Sara Carter, Deborah Orin, Ruth Westheimer

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, quail-gate, day two.  That‘s a little safer.  The man shot by the vice president, though, seriously, takes a turn for the worse, and the White House actually keeps it from the press.  Tonight, tough new questions are being asked by an angry press corps.  Are reporters barking up the wrong tree, or does the White House have something to hide? 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, and 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, welcome to the show. 

We have got our all-star panel with us tonight ready to dive into the latest on this White House firestorm.  And I‘ll tell you what.  It‘s spinning wildly at the White House right now. 

Also, Mexican drug cartels put a bounty on the head of U.S. deputies on the American-Mexico border.  And get this.  Those cartels may be buying off Mexican troops, troops that your tax dollars are helping to pay.  You‘re not going to believe the details on this one, friends.  We will have it for you. 

And, also, a new look at love.  What does this brain scan prove?  Well, we have got Dr. Ruth Westheimer here to tell you all about it on Valentine‘s Day. 

But, first, more fireworks today in the White House press room.  For the second day in a row, reporters just absolutely grilled and fried Press Secretary Scott McClellan over the vice president‘s weekend hunting accident. 

I want you to take a look at this heated exchange between McClellan and NBC‘s David Gregory.  It happened earlier today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  No, I‘m just not going to go back through it again.  I‘d appreciate it if you‘d let me respond fully before you jump in. 

DAVID GREGORY, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  All right, well, hold on a second.  I‘ve got one question...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCLELLAN:  Other people in this room have a question and we...

GREGORY:  I understand that, but I‘m not getting answers here, Scott.  And I‘m trying to be forthright with you, but don‘t tell that you‘re giving us complete answers when you‘re not actually answering the questions.  Because everybody knows what is an answer and what is not an answer. 

And the final...

MCCLELLAN:  David, now you want to make this about you, and it‘s not about you.  It‘s about what happened.  And that‘s what I‘m trying to...

GREGORY:  I‘m sorry that you feel that way because that‘s not what I‘m trying to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, I will tell you what.  There were fireworks, and there have been fireworks between David Gregory and Scott McClellan throughout the week on this.  We‘re going to be talking to him in a minute. 

But, I will tell you, at that time, when you have that back and forth going on, what the press didn‘t know at that time, but McClellan and the White House did know, is that the victim, Harry Whittington, had suffered a heart attack.  We are going to be talking to David Gregory about that and his showdown at the White House press room in just a minute. 

But, first, we have got an all-star political panel here.  They‘re going to break down the fireworks over quail-gate. 

With me now, we have got MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O‘Donnell, also MSNBC contributor and executive producer of “The West Wing” in its best season yet Lawrence O‘Donnell.  We have got “The New York Post”‘s Washington bureau chief, Deborah Orin, and also the host of MSNBC‘s “THE SITUATION,” Tucker Carlson. 

Norah, let‘s start with you.

Day two of fireworks in the White House briefing room.  What can you tell us about this almost blood feud between the White House press corps and Scott McClellan and the Bush administration? 

NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Well, yes, you can certainly call it that, and I think it got—took a turn for the worse today, after the press learned, belatedly, that the victim here had a mild heart attack today.  This is the 78-year-old man who was shot by Vice President Cheney. 

And the doctors today down in Texas said that he‘s going to have to stay a week more in the hospital because one of the birdshot has either lodged inside or just outside of his heart.  They also revealed, I thought interestingly, that he has somewhere—as many as 200 birdshot in him that will probably stay in him.  So, they‘re going to monitor him with consulting with the White House doctors who are—who are helping the doctors down there in Texas. 

So, as you mentioned, Joe, the White House had been informed of this, because this heart attack apparently happened earlier this morning.  The White House was informed about it, but Scott McClellan came out to the briefing and withheld that information from reporters.  It wasn‘t learned later—until—from the hospital that this had happened.  And when asked later, Scott, why he didn‘t give out that information, he said he thought it was patient privacy and he would leave that up to the doctors. 

But that is clearly sort of one more example of what is frustrating the press corps who is trying to get this story out and the White House seems to be withholding information. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, is the White House playing a cat-and-mouse game with the facts and the White House press corps, or would you classify this more as a full-scale cover-up? 

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think they‘re playing a little bit of a game now.  But the big game they played was on Saturday.  We have the information now that immediately after this incident that the local authorities tried to talk to the vice president.  They were denied until the next day.  We know that about 7:30 p.m., Karl Rove brought it to the attention of...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait.  Wait.  Let me stop you right there, Lawrence.  What‘s the significance of that, that authorities did not have immediate access to Dick Cheney?  How could that change this story? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, for example, one of the things you would find out in that situation is exactly what‘s the condition of the vice president.  Simple question.  Was he drunk, for example?  I mean, these are ultra-rich Republicans at a weekend fun time hunting.  They are releasing information that there was no alcohol served at their lunch that day.  And we have no way of knowing that. 

I mean, is that the way it works with those people, Joe?  Are they absolutely careful about that on Saturday afternoon lunches?  We could know this if the vice president had immediately made himself available to the local authorities, if the vice president had immediately gone to the microphones and told us about this on live television.  We could have made our own assessment of what the condition of the vice president is. 

But if no one gets to see him until the next day, and if this is structured very carefully so that no one gets to see him until the next day, the one question I have for the White House is, was he drunk?

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Lawrence, that‘s the problem with you blue-state types.  If you lived in red-state America, you would know that nobody ever drinks beer while they‘re going out hunting. 

L. O‘DONNELL:  Never.  Never.  Never. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Never.  Never happens, does it, Tucker Carlson?

(LAUGHTER)

L. O‘DONNELL:  Wouldn‘t think of it. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  Well, actually, honestly, it doesn‘t—it actually doesn‘t happen.

L. O‘DONNELL:  No, never.  Never.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  It doesn‘t. 

I mean, I go hunting all the time.  Most people who hunt a lot have strict prohibition against—prohibitions against booze and guns.  That‘s just the way it is.  I think it‘s sort of actually ludicrous for you to say Cheney...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Where do you hunt, Tucker, like in...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... England fox club? 

CARLSON:  No, come—come on, Joe.  If you have a loaded club, most people...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m from the Redneck Riviera, buddy.  My friends that go out hunting take beer with them. 

CARLSON:  Look, even rednecks I know don‘t—maybe if you‘re shooting raccoons late at night in West Virginia. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  But if you‘re shooting quail during the day—and, look, Cheney, whatever his many faults—I disagree with the war in Iraq—I disagree with things Cheney does—he‘s not a boozer.  Maybe he was shooting heroin, too.  I just don‘t think that‘s a serious point.

L. O‘DONNELL:  He doesn‘t have to be a boozer.  Did he have any martinis that day? 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Oh, come on.  That is—I mean...

L. O‘DONNELL:  Did he have two drinks in him?  Did he have three? 

What‘s...

(CROSSTALK)

L. O‘DONNELL:  By the way, we have no forensic evidence at all.  We have no idea how close this gun was to the victim.  None.  And we aren‘t going to have any forensic evidence, because they covered that up.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That is a real point.  That is a real point. 

I can tell that you as someone who fires a 28-gauge shotgun a lot, 30 yards, I don‘t think that‘s believable.  You‘re not going to wind up with dozens or scores of pellets in your if you‘re wearing protective clothing at 30 yards.  I mean, people are notoriously unable to gauge distance.  But, for whatever it‘s worth—and it‘s probably not significant—I don‘t think it‘s plausible that this man was shot from 30 yards—maybe 30 feet, but I don‘t think 30 yards. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, not 30 yards.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Deborah Orin, right now, because, Deborah, you have been inside the White House briefing room.  There are a lot of questions that are coming up, like the question that Lawrence is asking about—of course,  nobody knows.  But the reason we‘re talking about it tonight is because the vice president was kept away from everybody for at least 12 to 18 hours. 

But talk about the frustrations inside the White House briefing room, not only today, but since this story first broke. 

DEBORAH ORIN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “THE NEW YORK POST”:  Well, it‘s not just the frustrations inside the White House briefing room. 

Today, you had two Republican White House press secretaries, Ari Fleischer, who was President Bush‘s first press secretary, and Marlin Fitzwater, who worked for his father and for Ronald Reagan, both saying, as Fitzwater put it, that the way the White House has handled this has been appalling. 

And what it has done is give rise to precisely the kind of conspiracy theories that Lawrence is proposing.  And I think, to be honest, the idea that he was drunk is something that is probably more likely on a television show like “West Wing” than in real life. 

But precisely because he did not appear and precisely because they did not present the information in a timely fashion, it gives rise to that.  And so it was, you know—the unfortunate phraseology is, the White House shot itself in the foot.  There was no need to do this.  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  Norah, is there a belief in Washington among the press corps that this is a White House that is notoriously slow in coming forward with all the facts? 

N. O‘DONNELL:  Well, yes. 

And I think, listen, they are partially—they are secretive, and that is how this White House has operated, and they are vindictive with enemies and certainly with members of the press who they believe have crossed them in the past. 

So, this is a White House that has had controversial press relations.  But that shouldn‘t be a huge surprise.  That‘s certainly the way the president wants it.  And this vice president is certainly known not to like the press corps very much. 

What‘s interesting is that the vice president, who feels no need to sort of clean this mess up, if you will, even though there are some in the West Wing who work for the president who think that what has happened over in the vice president‘s office is hurting them, overshadowing the president‘s message. 

The president is going off to do a big trip tomorrow.  They want to focus on his domestic agenda.  And yet this is now becoming almost a weeklong story that the vice president‘s operation—and, so, there‘s some grumbling about that inside the West Wing and Republicans close to the White House, that there‘s tension that exists there between the president‘s staff and the vice president‘s staff. 

So, that‘s, I think, one storyline that‘s certainly going to develop.  And the first time we‘re going to hear from the vice president this week is on Friday.  He‘s planned to go out to Wyoming, back home, for an event out there.  It‘s not clear whether he will specifically address this issue, but that‘s the first time he‘s going to be seen essentially at a public appearance since he accidentally shot this man. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, is it really negative for this Bush White House that obviously has been focusing on winning back conservative votes for the past at least three or four months, is it necessarily a negative political story to have the White House press corps going after, beating up, and berating Scott McClellan? 

L. O‘DONNELL:  No, I don‘t think it is.  I don‘t think anybody really cares about this, the way the press has currently framed it, which is a story of pure innocence and a pure accident.  And there‘s just a little bit of a delay of some hours of when we actually tell the press corps about it. 

The much more interesting story is the one that the press presumes is a completely innocent story and there‘s nothing to be concerned about.  Why was Karl Rove telling the president of the United States about this at 7:30 p.m., and why did the president of the United States and Karl Rove, who I submit is an expert at press management, why did Karl Rove, the White House expert at press management, decide, we must not tell anyone until tomorrow? 

Was there a reason for that, that they would be able to tell a better story tomorrow than they could tell tonight? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Deborah Orin.

N. O‘DONNELL:  And I would just have to add—and, Deborah Orin, you can jump in here, too.

But, Lawrence, you bring up excellent points.  The two major questions that exist are, why did it take almost 14 hours for the authorities to be able to question Vice President Cheney?  And, two, why was it that there were so few and what was this chain of intelligence, essentially, that learned about the actual accident?  Why is it that Karl Rove was informed?  Why was is it that Karl Rove informed the president, and why wasn‘t that the president‘s press secretary was informed and probably even the vice president‘s press secretary informed? 

Because it doesn‘t appear that the vice president‘s press secretary was traveling with the vice president at the time.  Why was that decision made to keep this information so closely held? 

CARLSON:  May I ask a question here?  Because I‘m just getting a little confused.

Let me just say, Norah, I think the answer to your second question is because Karl Rove runs everything.  We all know that, and I think it‘s true.  But if there is some cover-up...

N. O‘DONNELL:  But Karl Rove is good friends with Scott McClellan. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, sure.

(CROSSTALK)

N. O‘DONNELL:  They have worked together for a long time.  And they...

CARLSON:  And the White House is saying, look, we didn‘t want the press hounding Mr. Whittington in the hospital.  I don‘t know if that‘s true or not. 

But let me ask Lawrence O‘Donnell, if you are positing the existence of some other explanation, what might it be, that the vice president tried to off Whittington for some—I mean, like, what could the sinister part be?  I just don‘t get it.

(CROSSTALK)

L. O‘DONNELL:  The easiest one I would suggest to you is, he couldn‘t pass a Breathalyzer. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We‘re going to have to leave it there, on that very inflammatory note. 

Thank you all so much for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it. 

And we will be right back and show you some clips of what people were saying last night late night, and, also, David Gregory on his showdown at the White House. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  NBC‘s David Gregory at the White House, where he‘s had a showdown with Scott McClellan for the past two days.  It‘s gotten ugly.  It‘s gotten personal.  But David‘s going to tell us the story behind the story—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Our good friend, NBC‘s David Gregory, has been at the center of this week‘s press room theatrics.  He got into an argument with Press Secretary Scott McClellan before yesterday‘s briefing, and the two went at it again today during McClellan‘s briefing.  It got so testy that Gregory called McClellan a jerk.  That‘s, of course, because McClellan accused Gregory of grandstanding. 

Well, tonight, I talked to David, and I asked him about those two heated exchanges. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREGORY:  I think that‘s kind of heat-of-the-moment stuff.  I have had a very good relationship with Scott McClellan over time.

You know, it‘s never appropriate for me to raise my voice like that or to say something like that.  I did it and...

SCARBOROUGH:  But is it appropriate, though, for Scott to really sort of, as you said, use his position to try to embarrass you, to suggest that you‘re showboating...

GREGORY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... when it‘s the White House who‘s not giving you the news that you‘re supposed to draw from? 

GREGORY:  Well, obviously, as you could tell from my remarks that were not on camera, but that were said, no, I didn‘t think that that was appropriate for him to do that.  There‘s plenty of things that I do I think that he doesn‘t think are necessarily appropriate. 

So, there‘s a give and take here.  I give as good as I get.  So, I don‘t take any of this personally.  I got frustrated.  I was just trying to get answers here.  This has been frustrating for me and my colleagues, I think, as we‘re trying to find out what‘s going on. 

And I make no apologies for the fact that I will keep pursuing a line of questioning when I don‘t think that there‘s a real answer there.  I mean, I get it.  I get that there‘s certain things that they don‘t feel like they can‘t say or that they want to say.  But I still have a job to keep pushing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is there such animosity between McClellan and the White House press corps right now? 

GREGORY:  You know, Joe, I think Scott‘s in a very tough position. 

He‘s been there before. 

This is particularly tough, in some ways, because it exposes a kind of deep fissure in the White House between the president‘s immediate staff and the way the vice president chooses to deal with the national press corps, and what some believe is a more secretive streak that the vice president has, and, frankly, more disdain for the press corps. 

And, so, they‘re trying to balance that.  And McClellan is the punching bag.  He‘s got to answer for how the vice president decided to handle all of this.  They have been really not very secretive about the fact that they have disagreed, that they gave advice that was contrary to what the vice president decided to do. 

But, you know, I think what‘s interesting today is that, you know, McClellan made the decision that he was going to come out and really, you know, stick it to us, which a lot of people around the country would applaud, by saying, look, if you guys want to obsess about this, that‘s fine.  We‘re moving on and getting about the business of the American people.  It‘s very similar to what the Clinton team did at the height of the Lewinsky scandal. 

But Scott McClellan made a decision that he was not going to disclose what he knew at that point, which was that Harry Whittington had taken a turn for the worse, that he had suffered this mild heart attack.  And the White House claims and McClellan claims he had limited information about this and that it wasn‘t his place to put this information out there. 

But I think it raises serious questions about why they weren‘t straight with us about what they knew and when they knew it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Could you take us behind the scenes, what it‘s like for you to, where—again, like lawyers who may be fighting in court will walk out afterwards and talk in a conversation.  Does Scott understand, your job is to draw as much information out as humanly possible, just like you understand his job is to protect the president? 

GREGORY:  Right. 

You know, Yes.  I mean, I think that—that part of this is that we -

we have to work together.  You know, there‘s a “I need him, he needs me” to a certain extent.  And that‘s not just about me, but all of the members of the press corps, because in many ways he serves the president, but he also serves our needs and speaking through us to the general public. 

So, you know, there‘s people who look at what I do through their own ideological prism and maybe approve of what I do or don‘t approve of what I do.  And I hope and I try to convince that it really has nothing to do with that.  I‘m doing what I think I have to do.  He‘s doing the same. 

And, as I say, we have had a good relationship.  We argue about things, both how I may go about my job or conduct myself, and vice versa.  And we can scrap about it at the time, and we will get past it down the line. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks for being on with us. 

GREGORY:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I guess your job is to go after him tomorrow and the next day and the next day also, right? 

GREGORY:  I think that‘s right, yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They—you know what?  They don‘t pay you for being polite.  That‘s not your job. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  So, David Gregory, thanks so much.  We greatly appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule for us. 

(CROSSTALK)

GREGORY:  Thank you, Joe. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And you could almost hear the late-night comics chomping at the bit when this story came out over the weekend.  They were in all their glory, though, last night.  And here are some of the highlights you may have missed. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”)

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Now, this story certainly has its humorous aspects, easy to make fun of an incident such as this, very easy, unbelievably easy. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)

JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”:  When the ambulance got there, out of force of habit, they put Cheney on the stretcher. 

(LAUGHTER)

LENO:  He‘s going, no, the other guy, the other guy. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”:  But here‘s the sad part.  Before the trip, Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy‘s request for body armor. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The vice president and two others got out of the car to walk up the cubby.

STEWART: What kind of hunting story begins with getting out of your car? 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  As I sighted the great beast before us, my hand was shaking. 

I could barely engage the parking brake. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)

LENO:  Cheney‘s defense is that he was aiming at a quail when he shot the guy, which means Cheney now has the worst aim of anyone in the White House since Bill Clinton, apparently.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”)

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”:  But all kidding aside, and in fairness to Dick Cheney, every five years, he has to shed human blood, or he violates his deal with the devil. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)

LENO:  After he shot the guy, he screamed, anyone else want to call domestic wiretapping illegal?  Huh?  Come on. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mr. Whittington was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty well. 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Peppered.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Yes.  There you have it, Harry Whittington seasoned to within an inch of his life. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush.  Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush.  And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Hey, thanks so much to “The Daily Show,” “The Late Show,” Jay Leno‘s Show, and Jimmy Kimmel, too.  That‘s some great stuff. 

And coming up next, we‘re going to get serious again, talking about more troubles along our borders.  This time, Mexican drug lords are actually targeting Texas sheriff‘s deputies and threatening to go after their families as well.  An we‘re going to show you what the drug traffickers are doing and actually how your tax dollars are involved. 

Also ahead, on this Valentine‘s Day, the look of love, is it animal attraction or a chemical reaction?  We‘re going to be talking to Dr. Ruth about that and why some folks just can‘t help but being addicted to love. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  HBO‘s “Sopranos” is going to be having a season premiere just around the corner.  We will be seeing why Americans love a mob boss who murders people, robs businesses, and abuses women.  We will get a look at the new season. 

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

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the wait is almost over.  “The Sopranos” are coming back next month.  Just ahead, why does America like the lifestyle of the murdering mob? 

Also, the science of love.  Now we find out that a brain chemical is behind addiction, and it can help us fall in love.  Dr. Ruth will join us to talk about that love connection. 

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

But, first, the men charged with protecting the United States from dangerous drug cartels and terrorists on the U.S.-Mexican border now live with bounties on their heads.  How bad is it?  Well, sheriff‘s deputies testified on Capitol Hill last week because they have had to put guards at their children‘s schools after threats have been made against their families. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. government sends millions of dollars to many of the same Mexican officials who have already been bought off by the cartels. 

Here to talk about it are Sara Carter.  She‘s a reporter with “The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin” in California, and also Sheriff Arvin West of Hudspeth County, Texas, where the border wars have gotten dangerous and very personal. 

Sara, let‘s start with you.  Get us up to date on the very latest along the borders.  Are these border wars getting more dangerous by the day? 

SARA CARTER, “THE INLAND VALLEY DAILY BULLETIN”:  They are, Joe. 

It‘s interesting that it‘s developed to this point.  I was—last week, I spent most of the time in El Paso County, as well as Hudspeth County, Texas, with law enforcement officials along the Rio Grande.  And what I was seeing out there was unbelievable.  They‘re basically wide open.  Most of the law enforcement officials and their families have now been threatened by cartel members that have crossed the Rio Grande by foot or by car, and have gone on their property, their homes, threatened the wives, threatened the children.

And basically our law enforcement officials are sitting out there hoping that someone will listen to them and protect them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, so, Sara, the situation has gotten so bad now that they‘re having to go to Capitol Hill to tell our congressmen and senators that they‘re being threatened.  Do you have information on how these threats are delivered from these drug cartels in Mexico to family members and sheriff‘s deputies? 

CARTER:  Yes, I do. 

What they have done is, they visited them in person.  These haven‘t been by letter.  This hasn‘t been by e-mail.  What they have done is, they have walked on to their property.  They have threatened their wives.  In fact, one of the sheriff‘s deputies who will remain anonymous because it has to be this way right now, his wife was told his children‘s class schedule, what school they went to, what time they go to school, what time they get on the bus, his wife‘s route. 

I mean, these are very viable threats and at this point in time the sheriffs have decided to stick their ground.  They‘re not leaving Hudspeth County.  They‘re staying there, and they‘re going to fight back.  They are just hoping that the government does something to assist them at this point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in Sheriff Arvin West. 

Sheriff, why is it that these drug cartels from Mexico feel so free to come on U.S. property and threaten sheriff‘s deputies and their families? 

ARVIN WEST, HUDSPETH COUNTY, TEXAS, SHERIFF:  They have been acting boldly for years down here, well, up and down the Rio Grande, well, the entire border.  And they‘re just getting bolder and bolder. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is the United States government not providing the assistance that you need to make sure that you, your family, your sheriff‘s deputies and other law enforcement personnel know that their children and their family members aren‘t going to be targets of these drug cartel attacks? 

WEST:  They have been adverse to it.  They have been informed about it.  And the state has definitely been moving on it.  As far as the federal government, that‘s as far as it‘s gotten. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Sara Carter, let me ask you about—you had talked about before you got your hands on these government documents, these memos, talking about how about the—about these dangers that, again, you‘re documenting day in and day out. 

Have you gotten any read on why our federal government is not acting more aggressively, not only to protect our borders, but to protect the men and women who protect our borders? 

CARTER:  You know, it‘s baffling, Joe. 

I continue to write these stories.  I continue to find memos.  I continue to uncover documents.  And it doesn‘t seem like the government is moving fast enough.  One of the interesting things is the fact that we have documented these Mexican military incursions, cartels buying off Mexican military in order to protect them as they transport drugs across the Rio Grande Valley. 

And, yet, nothing really has been done.  You know, the Mexican government continues to deny this and that it‘s true.  But our own Department of Homeland Security and our border agents have been documenting this for years.  And now come to find out that, you know, our State Department and Department of Defense has been funding, you know, nearly $400 million in the last 10 years to Mexico in order to purchase helicopters, military equipment, surveillance equipment to guard the border. 

But if you talk to Sheriff Arvin West or to other deputies or Border Patrol agents out on the field, they really have no working relationship with Mexican military officials or law enforcement officials.  They rotate the men in and out of the field in Mexico.  So, our law enforcement officials never develop a relationship with them.  So, what you have is law enforcement officials and border agents working continuously along the border and sparsely located along the border are Mexican military or Mexican law enforcement agents, who get rotated every two years. 

It doesn‘t seem that Mexico is doing their part to protect the border.  So, it is interesting to me that the government really hasn‘t jumped on this.  And it‘s surprising. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is very surprising. 

Sara, thank you so much for being with us and continuing what you‘re doing. 

And, also, Sheriff Arvin West, thank you for being here. 

And, friends, I got to tell you, there‘s a real scandal here. And the biggest scandal is, despite the fact that we keep reporting these stories that Sara is bringing to us, and the despite the fact that you‘re seeing the Homeland Security documents that she‘s gotten ahold of and that we also let you see, for some reason, our federal government in Washington, D.C., is not stepping forward and doing what‘s required to protect our men and women along the borders. 

And, worse yet, we‘re paying about $40 million to the Mexican government supposedly to protect the borders.  It‘s an outrage.  We‘re going to follow this story. 

Now, to lighten things up a bit, for Valentine‘s Day, you‘re looking at scientific proof that you can be addicted to love.  Might as well face it.  It may look like a normal MRI, but these brain scans show, the same chemicals that cause drug addiction actually help us fall in love.  It‘s part of a new National Geographic “Naked Science” episode called “What‘s Sexy.”

So, is it a bunch of hype or is there a science to love? 

With us now to talk about that, we have got sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer and also Dr. Jennifer Berman, relationship expert for ladieswholaunch.com. 

Thank you all so much for being with us. 

Dr. Ruth, we begin with you.  Talk about the science of love. 

DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER, SEX THERAPIST:  I will tell you what, Joe.  I will tell you what, Joe.  That worries me. 

If you—I‘m all for science.  I‘m a professor at Princeton and at Yale.  But it worries me that we are going to tell people on Valentine‘s Day, sit back and wait for a chemical in your brain.  Don‘t do anything about it.  Just sit there, and if that chemical works, you‘re going to fall in love. 

First of all, I want people to have the control over their brains.  I want them to say, look, it‘s time for me now to start a new relationship.  It‘s Valentine‘s Day.  Let me decide this year I will find a partner.  If anything in the science can help just to reinforce it, but don‘t sit back and wait until the MRIs and all of that stuff is going to be proven. 

In the meantime, you don‘t have a partner.  You don‘t celebrate Valentine‘s Day, and you don‘t have sex. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Berman, let me ask you about these new reports that have been coming out for some time now.  One of them that I heard about today said that actually the same type of reaction that you have to falling deeply in love causes things to occur in your brain that also happen when you are bipolar or manic depressive or something.

Like, people are comparing it to brain activity for somebody who‘s mentally ill.  What‘s that all about? 

DR. JENNIFER BERMAN, WWW.LADIESWHOLAUNCH.COM:  Mentally ill, or, you know, you‘re lovesick, so to speak. 

There are studies, and the ones that you‘re referring to show that there‘s increased activation of the centers that are responsible for dopamine, and dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical, that‘s secreted from the brain that is definitely associated with feelings of love, lust and infatuation. 

And I totally appreciate and mirror what Dr. Ruth is saying, in terms of take control, and, you know, we control our motivations.  But the problem is, the brain controls us.  And what you‘re referring to in terms of addiction, there is something addictive about love.  And, in fact, for people that have substance abuse history and/or issues, when they recover, they are told and instructed not to get involved in a new relationship, because love is like a drug, and it‘s replacing one drug, a chemical substance, for another. 

So, there is definitely an association between the regions of the brain associated with love and the regions of the brain associated with addictive behaviors, and that has been well confirmed through these MRI studies and animal research and others. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Ruth, can you give us advice on Valentine‘s Day eve? 

Give us some advice on love.  Give us some advice on relationships.

WESTHEIMER:  Well, first of all, Joe, when you say the word love, I want you to smile.  I want you to have that enthusiasm.  I want people to do a different position, even you, Joe, and...

BERMAN:  Her voice makes me smile.

WESTHEIMER:  And call me tomorrow.  Tell me about a position. 

(LAUGHTER)

WESTHEIMER:  But you decide it.  And the most important thing is to keep that interest in love and interest in relationships.  People ought not to be alone.  People ought to have a partner.  They ought to be able to share what is—what‘s possible to share. 

So, I would like to say, on this Valentine‘s Day, even if it‘s a commercial day, go out there and do something about your relationships.  It doesn‘t have to be chocolate. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Berman, I will give you the last word, same question to you. 

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN:  Is that love is a wonderful thing, which is what Dr. Ruth is alluding to, and love—there‘s different phases of love and there‘s different chemicals in the brain that drive our behavior, from the infatuation stage, to the attachment stage of a long-term relationship, to the connection phase. 

And, ideally, we would be able to control our brains, but unfortunately, what all the research and what you are alluding to is, our brains control us, and there are real neurobiological reasons for our behavior.  But love definitely increases our endorphin levels, increases our mood, improves mood, improves well-being, and improves...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

BERMAN:  ... overall quality of life. 

So, I agree with Dr. Ruth.  Everyone should be in love today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much.  Happy Valentine‘s Day...

BERMAN:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Dr. Laura (sic) Berman. 

WESTHEIMER:  Thank you. 

BERMAN:  Jennifer.  Jennifer.

SCARBOROUGH:  And for more on the science of love, National Geographic Channel‘s “Naked Science: What‘s Sexy,” airs this Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

Coming up next, Americans get ready to welcome back Tony Soprano into their homes.  But why are we so fascinated with a man from the mob? 

Stay with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

Tonight, HBO leaking details about the final season of “The Sopranos”, set to start in about a month.  In the season premiere, HBO reports that Tony considers an associate‘s retirement request.  In the second episode, called “Join the Club,” Tony goes to the West Coast, but suffers from what HBO calls a case of mistaken identity.  Then, in the third episode, Silvio  and Paulie divide their riches in the episode called “Mayham.” 

With me now to talk about it, Bruce Fretts from “TV Guide,” who was actually on the set for a recent taping of the show, and also radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa. 

Bruce, let me start with you. 

Talk about the new season.  And I‘m really fascinated.  Why is it that America is in love with this murdering mob boss? 

BRUCE FRETTS, “TV GUIDE”:  I think because it‘s a great show. 

I mean, I think HBO‘s proven that when you put on a well-written, well-acted show, it doesn‘t matter what it‘s about.  “Six Feet Under” was a about a funeral home, and people watched it.  This is a show about mobsters.  People have been obsessed with mobsters since the ‘30s with James Cagney.  It‘s a fascination with the dark side of humanity. 

And this is a really well-done show.  So, people are willing to wait almost two years since the last season to see what‘s happening next with these characters, because they‘re attached to them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What did you see on the set? 

FRETTS:  I was on the set one day when they were filming at the pork store, Satriale‘s, in Kearny, New Jersey.  And it was a scene with Tony and Christopher and a couple of the FBI agents who were coming in to get a veal parm hero, and they were explaining that they had been reassigned to terrorism, and they had been in Pakistan, and one of them had gotten a parasite there.  And, so, they missed the food back here in the states.

So, they were stopping by to have a veal parm sub.  And the guys were just sitting around outside kind of joking around, the way they always do.  And, so, it was a typical “Sopranos” scene.  But it was great to be there to see it in the flesh. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Curtis, Curtis, you‘re a guy who obviously—I mean, you have been personally threatened by the mob, I‘m sure actually more than one time.  Why do you think America, including my family, is so fascinated by Tony Soprano? 

CURTIS SLIWA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, you know, America loves these espresso-sipping, psychotic killers of organized crime, because, in their minds, this is fantasy, “Sopranos,” “Godfather,” “Goodfellas.”  Doesn‘t matter. 

And, naturally, they don‘t take into consideration the horrible continued stereotype against Italian-Americans.  But you see, I have grown up with these wise guys through their—their “deformative” years, when they become full-blown degenerates as adults. 

And you pointed it out.  John Gotti Jr. tried to kill me on two separate occasions.  He‘s going on trial again for that.  Jury selection was today.  That‘s real.  They try to kill you.  They try to turn you into room temperature. 

And why would we celebrate and glorify marauders and enemies of society?  This is a sickness that America has to try to live vicariously through these stone-cold killers who literally have cold water running through the marrow of their bones.

SCARBOROUGH:  You still have a price on your head? 

SLIWA:  You better believe it.  I got a target on me.  Every wise guy out there, every (SPEAKING ITALIAN) who wants to earn some stripes would love to put a bullet between my eyes and literally have me out on a slab. 

But I will tell you this much.  I will continue to talk out against this what I call (SPEAKING ITALIAN) of Hollyweird, with those freakazoids and trendoids who continue to perpetuate these stereotypes that have actually led to the subculture and hip-hop and gangs to emulate and imitate the structure of Tony Soprano and his family, of the Gotti family and the Gambinos, and, naturally, the don of all dons, “The Godfather.”

This is absolutely romanticized fantasy, because these are not people you would want living next door.  You would literally want to move out of the neighborhood if any of these (SPEAKING ITALIAN) were living next to you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Bruce, at the end of last season, there was obviously that very disturbing scene where I think was Adriana got—basically got pushed out of a car and gunned down...

FRETTS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... because she was starting to deal with the FBI.

And, yet, again, people I talk to throughout, again, the off-season, were just talking about what a great season it was and what a great finale her getting gunned down in the forest was. 

Again, let me ask you, what‘s the fascination with that? 

FRETTS:  Well, I mean, people were attached to that character.  They loved that character.  They were upset to see her die.  And I think the show—you know, it shows both sides. 

I mean, I don‘t think it just totally glorifies the mob, because it does show them killing people.  It shows beating women.  So, I don‘t think it‘s just a total glorification.  I think it‘s a fully-blown portrait of these characters, where you can see some things about them where they‘re just like regular family guys.  They have got wives.  They have got kids.

But then it keeps reminding you their job is to kill people.  And it shows you that.  And I don‘t think it sugarcoats it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, it certainly didn‘t at the end of last season.

Hey, thanks a lot, Bruce.

Thank you, Curtis. 

What a season straight ahead.  And, again, in my family, I will guarantee you, we will be watching it every night. 

I‘m joined now by Tucker Carlson.  He‘s host of “THE SITUATION WITH

TUCKER CARLSON.” 

Hey, Tucker, what is the situation tonight?

CARLSON:  Hey, Joe, we‘re following up tonight on a story that you did I think last week.  You did a great job with it, about a movie in Turkey, the most viewed movie in Turkey with an anti-Semitic, anti-American plot, and American actors in it, including Gary Busey—Hollywood, meanwhile, saying nothing about it.  Why?  We will tell you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot, Tucker.  Greatly appreciate it. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  We will be right back in a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for another flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the stories that may have fallen under the radar for the mainstream media, but certainly not our radar.     

Let‘s start in Basin, Wyoming, where gambling debts caused one man to head for the hills, literally.  Police say Marvin Hackworth stages his own disappearance in the Big Horn Mountains after losing a $40,000 Super Bowl bet.  Why did you bet against the Steelers?  Hackworth told his wife he was going to clear his heads in the mountains.  But he never returned.  Search-and-rescue teams spent hours looking for the man after his truck was found empty.  But it turns out Hackworth had hidden another truck in the mountains and had intended to disappear.  Hackworth said he didn‘t mean to cause any trouble, probably just to escape his debts. 

But let‘s move on to Los Angeles, California, where law enforcement has a new look, and that look is green.  The newest sheriff in town, Lou Ferrigno, the star of the 1970s show “The Incredible Hulk.”  Ferrigno has been training to become a reserve deputy since September.  He‘s going to serve 20 hours a month, and he says he made the move from superhero to law enforcement officer to give back to his community and also to follow in his father‘s footsteps. 

Hey, we will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, friends, you made such a great difference during Hurricane Katrina.  It‘s time to make a difference again.  Help us out with the Fallen Heroes Funds.  Go to www.fallenheroesfund.org.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Now it‘s time for me to pass it on to a man who never mixes alcohol with shotguns.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m talking about Tucker Carlson.  He‘s the star of “THE

SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.” 

Tucker, I have got my Pimm‘s Cup out, ready to have a drink.  What is the situation tonight?

CARLSON:  A drink, and kill some birds while you‘re at it, Joe. 

Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  I will do it.  Yee-haw.

(LAUGHTER)

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

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