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GOP Debate in Iowa; Israeli Ambassador: Iran Still a Threat; Britney Spears Misses Custody Court Date

Aired December 12, 2007 - 19:00:00   ET


JOE PAGLIARULO, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, another GOP showdown. This time in Iowa. But did the candidates leave the voters as icy as the weather?

And another chapter in the saga of Joe Horn. Some call him a hero. Others a trigger-happy vigilante. But they`ll all have to do it from a distance from now on. We`ll tell you why.

Plus, Britney defends her bizarre behavior. Her side of the story goes on the record as her custody battle with K-Fed continues.

All this and more tonight.


PAGLIARULO: Hello, America. I`m Joe Pagliarulo, Joe Pags, in for Glenn Beck tonight. He`s on the road for his Christmas stage tour. Tonight, as a matter of fact, he`s performing in icy Des Moines, Iowa, where coincidentally, the Republican presidential candidates also performed earlier today in their final debate before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

The debate started at 2 p.m. Eastern this afternoon. Not exactly primetime for most Americans. So if you missed it, here are a few of the highlights.

First, Fred Thompson was awake, maybe suspecting that his poll numbers stink because he`s not funny enough. So he played stand-up comedian today.


FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My goal is to get -- my goal is to get into Mitt Romney`s situation, where I don`t have to worry about taxes anymore. But...

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`d like to get in your situation.

THOMPSON: Well, you know, you`re getting to be a pretty good actor.


PAGLIARULO: Then, in what was quite possibly my favorite debate moment yet, Alan Keyes, yes, Alan Keyes spent more time arguing for more time than he did answering questions.


ALAN KEYES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do I have to raise my hand to get a question? I`d like to address that question.


KEYES: No, you`re not. You haven`t in several go-arounds. So I have to make an issue out of it. I would like to address the question of education.


KEYES: I don`t wish it to pass on...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead. You have 30 seconds.

KEYES: They had a minute. Why do I get 30 seconds?


PAGLIARULO: If -- you didn`t enter some sort of parallel universe, either. That definitely was Alan Keyes you just saw. Apparently, he was in Iowa, stopped by, said, "Hey, do you mind? Can I jump on there?" I guess he`s running for president now. Maybe somebody should tell the American people that.

Well, tomorrow the Democrats take the stage for their final debate. It will be interesting to see if Obama goes after Hillary given that a new CNN poll shows the two candidates are now in a statistical dead heat in New Hampshire. But first let`s dissect this thing that happened today.

Chris Wilson is a Republican strategist and CEO of Wilson Research Strategies. Liz Chadderdon is a Democratic strategist and president of the Chadderdon Group. And Jonathan Allen is a reporter with "Congressional Quarterly."

All right. Listen, welcome to all three of you. And this round table has to start with what the heck was that today? First the moderator -- let`s keep it snappy, let`s keep it tight here, let`s not get -- and she seemed a little bit snippy and just set a weird tone, did it not?

CHRIS WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It did. And I think that`s one of the reasons why you don`t find many newspaper people hosting TV debates.

PAGLIARULO: That`s probably what the story is. Did you all know going into this that Alan Keyes was running for anything? Liz?

LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. I was as shocked as anybody to see Alan Keyes up there. I kept asking people when did he announce for president? I mean, that was completely shocking. I had no idea he was running for president.

PAGLIARULO: I think he was in town. He was having a meal or something, and somebody said, "Hey, what do you think? We`ve got an open podium up there."

JONATHAN ALLEN, "CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY": Joe, I don`t think Republicans want him to be their nominee. His track record against Barack Obama, if you`ll recall, in that Senate race is pretty lousy.

PAGLIARULO: Right. But I mean, I wonder why does he show up? Because the Democrats have Kucinich? "Hey, let`s throw Alan Keyes in there."

And he really did argue for more time the entire time he had the floor. I don`t know what he stands for.

WILSON: At this point pretty much anyone who says they`ve seen a UFO can get into the debate. So that was kind of the key mark that Keyes had to meet.

PAGLIARULO: Liz, I`ve got to ask you this. As somebody from the other side, were you expecting everybody would go after Huckabee? And when it didn`t happen, what did you think?

CHADDERDON: I was really quite shocked, and I was really shocked that Romney didn`t go after Huckabee more. He really should. Huckabee has usurped Romney as the front-runner in Iowa. Romney missed an opportunity, in my opinion, to really go after him. I was quite surprised that they didn`t take after Huckabee.

PAGLIARULO: Jonathan, how is it that we didn`t talk immigration the entire time today? That`s supposed to be the hot topic in Iowa, with their meat packing plants and illegals all over town taking jobs. Why didn`t we hear about this?

ALLEN: Maybe the Iowans get enough of the immigration debate without focusing this debate on it. They hear a lot about it.

But it`s interesting you talked about not going after Huckabee, there`s kind of a problem here for Mitt Romney which is if he goes after Huckabee it may hurt him. A lot of voters, even if they don`t agree with him on specific issues, immigration, for instance, they still seem to like him. And going after him might sort of boomerang on somebody.

I think Romney was hoping that someone else on that stage might go after Huckabee a little bit.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, but I mean, if it`s not Romney that goes after him, then he probably doesn`t benefit from taking him down a notch.

And by the way, Giuliani going into this -- hey, Chris, going into this, Giuliani was the hottest candidate, you know, weeks ago. Suddenly, he`s like the third person you talk about or the fourth person, even, in this race. How does that happen? How does he play second fiddle? He didn`t look like he was very comfortable with it.

WILSON: I think Giuliani has seen his numbers drop a lot, and that`s what some of the Republican side were predicting would happen as voters started to examine his position on social issues.

And not just overall has it dropped. It`s dropped dramatically with conservatives, with people who go to church once a week or more, with those who are most likely to vote and those who are paying the most attention.

So Giuliani with those, universes I just discussed, in second or third place nationally, and I think that is a situation that`s kind of motivating what`s happening there.

Back to your point, though, about Huckabee and Romney, you`ve got to keep in mind that Romney`s attacking Huckabee right now on TV...

PAGLIARULO: Right. But he had an opportunity to do it face to face. Is it that he was afraid to sort of look like an attack dog, actually attacking somebody personally? Is that why he stayed away from it?

WILSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. It`s a lot easier to do that on TV than it is in person.

And in fact, Huckabee`s answer was pretty good on that, his response. And I think it`s got Romney a little bit gun-shy. They`re going to sit back, see what the TV ads do. Do they start to move numbers? And if they do, then you`ll probably see him engage a bit more.

But I think you`re exactly right in that Romney was waiting for someone else to jump in and do it first. And it just didn`t happen and because of that Huckabee comes out the winner.

PAGLIARULO: Liz -- go ahead.

ALLEN: I was just going to say the other thing is if Romney gets into a one-on-one with Huckabee, who has proved, if nothing else, that he`s good in these debates at bantering, you know, you could end up looking bad just by being the worse debater.

PAGLIARULO: I guess. Liz, in watching this Huckabee to me, when they had their 30 seconds to sort of just say anything about anything, he tried to come off as very presidential.

Did you see that happening? From the other side of the aisle are you going, well, he`s trying to say, "I am presidential," talking about the Founding Fathers and the brilliant revolutionary ideas and so on and so forth? Is he sort of trying to put himself above the fray, if you will? As you watch it from the Democrat side, is he preparing for a wider, maybe a national race?

CHADDERDON: Well, I definitely think he`s making his move. I think he`s saying I`m here, I`m legitimate, I`m no longer a second-tier candidate, I`m one of the big players. You may be facing me in November. And you know what? I`m a real player.


CHADDERDON: I`m a legitimate presidential candidate.

And I do think he`s probably trying to rise above the fray. I think he knew or, frankly expected to be the person who was going to be gone after in the debate today. And I think that`s part of what this was: it was a prep for that.

PAGLIARULO: OK. Jonathan, I want to start with you, and I want all three of you to comment on this. But Romney and the others all went I -- but -- I don`t know -- global warming. They all freaked out. Thompson didn`t want to raise his hand.

I thought that the conservative angle was yes, you know, global climate change is happening, but I`m not really sure that it`s us that`s doing it. They all seemed to pander to that.

Jonathan, what did you see?

ALLEN: Well, I don`t think this is an issue that a lot of Republicans are comfortable with right now.

PAGLIARULO: They ran away from it.

ALLEN: It`s like you throw -- you throw guns or immigration at the Democrats, and you watch them kind of fumble things.


ALLEN: I think they`re not sure what they want to say at this point on global warming. I think, in a general election, they will want to bow a little bit to the idea that it`s going on and that there`s somebody that might be done about it. In a primary, that`s not going to be as successful. And I think they just really don`t want to lock themselves into -- into tough turf to defend later on.

PAGLIARULO: Liz, what do you think? I mean, you see this, and Fred Thompson says, "I`m not going to play hand games," whatever that meant. And the others are going I think -- I would like to -- if I could have more than a yes or no answer. They`re scared to death of this topic, aren`t they?

CHADDERDON: I absolutely think they`re scared to death. I think they`re finding themselves in a real box on this issue. The Bush administration pretended it didn`t exist for a long time. Now it`s looking like they were wrong. The Republicans are all going it take a hit for that.

And I agree with the guy a minute ago who said, you know, this may not be a Republican primary issue, but it`s definitely going to be a general election issue. And the Republicans have been on the wrong side for a long time. And they`re finding themselves at odds with the general public, and they don`t know what to do.

PAGLIARULO: Well, I could but I don`t want to. We could debate global warming all day. I`ll say yes, there`s global climate change. I don`t think you and me and cows passing gas have anything to do with it. But that`s for a different show.

Chris, what do you think? They have to attack this. They have to answer questions on global warming and hybrid technology and green this and green that. They can`t not talk about it and get elected into office.

WILSON: Well, it`s not a Republican primary issue that`s going to motivate the base, and that`s why they stayed away from it today. I don`t think there`s any fear to deal with this.

And I think you look at some of the people on the -- on the Republican side of the aisle who`ve done an effective job addressing this issue, and that`s going to be the sort of message you`re going to see in the general election.

And I don`t think there`s any fear to address with it. And I would argue the Republicans are going to end up being on the right side of this issue long-term. And despite the sort of flavor of the month that`s going on with Al Gore right now, long-term Republicans are positioned well on this.

PAGLIARULO: I`ll go down the list here very quickly. I`m almost out of time.

Fred Thompson, after seeing his performance today where he did appear to be awake, but I mean, everyone thought he was going to come in and be the firebrand candidate. He`s not that. Is he still a serious candidate? Yes or no? Let`s start with you, Chris.

WILSON: Yes, he is. But he`s got a lot of work to do, to go out and reposition himself. And I think the "National Review" endorsement that took place was a big hit to his campaign.

PAGLIARULO: Yes. I agree.

WILSON: That probably should have gone to him, and it didn`t. And I think that`s a statement, that he needs to get out of bed and campaign more or it`s time to look again.

PAGLIARULO: Liz, yes or no, quickly.

CHADDERDON: No, absolutely. And I think he`s still relevant. I think he`s still a player. I think he may run third in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But you just wait till South Carolina. I think you`re going to see a whole new Fred Thompson.

PAGLIARULO: Jonathan, yes or no?

ALLEN: I`m not sticking a fork in anybody yet.

PAGLIARULO: OK. Very good. I appreciate all three of you. Thank you so much.

Here`s a pop quiz for you. Has Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program? U.S. intelligence says yes. But Israel says, "Not so fast." I`ll explain in just a bit.

Also, the train wreck that is Britney Spears was supposed to have another day in court today. Who would you want watching your kids, Spears or her ex, K-Fed?


PAGLIARULO: Coming up in just a bit, most people say a massive fence is the answer to our illegal immigration crisis. But one man says the fence isn`t enough, especially when it comes to tunnels. I`ll explain.

But first, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pulled no punches yesterday, saying for the first time in public that Iran is likely to develop a nuclear weapon sooner rather than later.


EHUD OLMERT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Iran continues its activities to enrich uranium, even according to the report. It is likely to accumulate sufficient amounts to build a nuclear weapon by 2010.


PAGLIARULO: The recent National Intelligence Estimate report found that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. But Olmert is clearly remaining cautious and asking the international community to continue to apply pressure onto Iran to stop their uranium enrichment entirely. And he`s not only -- the only one that`s taking that approach.

As a matter of fact, French president Nicolas Sarkozy also remaining vigilant regarding Iran`s ambitions, telling a French newspaper that he believed war with Iran was a risk the region still faces, particularly if Israel feels its security is being threatened.

So while some in the international community are looking to the NIE report as a reason to say back off of Iran, I say no way. Are these the same fact gathers who told us Iraq had no weapons of -- or had weapons of mass destruction? Are these the same people who told us the intelligence was a slam dunk?

Sure, I`d like to believe that Ahmadinejad saw how quickly Saddam was defeated and said, uh-oh, better back off this nuke stuff, but this is the very same regime that has said Israel must be wiped off the map. And I just don`t think we should trust this guy as far as we can throw him.

Joining me now is Ambassador Shariv, the consul general of Israel in New York. Ambassador, thank you so much for coming on with us.


PAGLIARULO: Some people are dancing in the streets, Iran isn`t doing nukes anymore. It`s just our friend. It`s going to be OK. Everything`s fine. You`re saying not so fast.

SHARIV: Of course not. You should only listen to the president Ahmadinejad and what he says. When he says he wants to wipe Israel off the map, we believe him. And we`ve tried to develop a nuclear weapon. And that`s what he does. And that`s what the report says THAT he tried to do until 2003. We believe him.

PAGLIARULO: OK. So clearly you think, as I do, sanctions against Iran should continue, maybe even be bolstered, right?

SHARIV: Of course. We need more sanctions. Because that`s what worked. That what supposedly stopped them. We don`t think it stopped. But it worked.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, but see, here`s the problem, though, Ambassador. China and Russia, they look at this report and say, "See? It`s OK to buy weapons from Iran or sell weapons to Iran. It`s OK to buy oil from Iran. It`s OK for to us do business," because they did back off, they listened to the international community. They say the sanctions are working. You say what?

SHARIV: I say the sanctions are working but we need more sanctions. And I think eventually Syria, Russia, and China will think so also, and I think there will be more sanctions.

PAGLIARULO: You think that Russia and China will actually agree with the west here and say OK, it is working, we should stick to it? Because I mean early indications are they`re saying hey, great intelligence. Maybe we can play with Iran more now.

SHARIV: I think that they truly understand the danger in Iran. Not so as we look at it or United States look at it. But eventually, they will do the right thing. That`s what I believe.

PAGLIARULO: OK. Here`s something that jumped out at me, Ambassador. It turns out the ayatollah said something negative about Ahmadinejad. Were you stunned by this? And does that mean that those who are really running that country are getting tired of him?

SHARIV: It shows you that the sanction work. There are more and more opposition. You see demonstrations and you see what the economic situation there. That`s why we need more sanctions.

PAGLIARULO: What do you think of this intelligence specifically? Do you think that it`s flawed, that it`s wrong, or that things have changed since this was taken in 2003 to where they are today?

SHARIV: I don`t know. I know that our intelligence is different.

PAGLIARULO: OK. In what way? Your intelligence says they didn`t stop?

SHARIV: Our intelligence say that we are in the bottom of the ninth inning. We have no time, because they are very close to a nuke -- to cross the technological threshold, and we are very close to that point.

PAGLIARULO: OK. That`s very, very scary talk. When you say very close, what does your intelligence say? How many years?

SHARIV: 2009, 2010.

PAGLIARULO: So that close. So two or three years from now they might have a nuclear weapon?

SHARIV: They might cross the technological threshold.

PAGLIARULO: I was a little surprised by the NIE myself, because when you see that they`re dancing in the streets that they made yellowcake and they`re that much closer and they`ve got 3,000, you know, pieces of machinery put together to start -- you know, to start this whole upgrade to weapons-grade uranium.

And then suddenly we`ve got this NIE report that says no, that really didn`t happen. What are we, the American public, the consuming public of this information, to think about all this?

SHARIV: You know, there were celebrations in Tehran after the report. They said a lot of things. They said Iran won, United States lost. They didn`t say the report is right. They didn`t say we`re not trying to have a nuclear weapon. And that is the most important thing, in my opinion.

PAGLIARULO: What can you believe out of Tehran? He says that, oh, he`s the friend of the American people. He never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map, just would like to see the Israeli people go away from that land that isn`t theirs, according to him.

What can we believe, if anything, out of his mouth? And if we can`t believe anything he says, who do we believe?

SHARIV: We don`t believe him. But of course if he can say that -- he didn`t say, but he said of course in Iran they are calling Israel a one state bomb -- a one-bomb state. We can`t -- we can`t put our heads in the sand. We can`t put our heads in the sand. We have no choice but believe him on this point.

PAGLIARULO: OK. So we take him at his word, whether he`s speaking Farsi or he`s speaking through a translator, whatever he`s saying. Because you know he changes his tune depending on where he is. Right?

SHARIV: It`s true.

PAGLIARULO: OK. So we listen to what he says and when those threats come out, take him at his word.

Ambassador, I want to say thank you very much. I appreciate you stopping by.

SHARIV: Thank you.

PAGLIARULO: OK. Up next, it`s a race to the bottom. Another round in the custody battle between Britney Spears and K-Fed in Los Angeles today. Can you believe either is in the running to take care of these poor kids? I`ll tell you whether Britney or K-Fed is the lesser of two evils, if there is one.

Also, will a massive fence on our southern border really stop the wave of illegal immigration? I`ll talk to one man who says even a fence can`t stop illegals and drug smugglers from building tunnels into America. I`ll explain to him why it`s a good start.


PAGLIARULO: It`s been quite a year for our favorite celebrity train wreck, Britney Spears. Let`s review, shall we?

She shaved her head, went to rehab, left rehab, went back to rehab. She must have missed it. Attacked a paparazzo, bombed at the VMAs, wiped chicken grease on a couture gown before storming out of a photo shoot. Oh, and by the way, released an album. Woo!

But today she`s doing the craziest thing of all. Britney Spears was supposed to have -- to tell the truth, under oath at a deposition with her ex`s lawyers. Remember, I said supposed to. The result of which could determine who gets custody of their children, by the way. But she didn`t show up.

Julia Allison, editor-at-large, "Star" magazine. First problem, the loving mother doesn`t show up at her own deposition? What is going on here, Julia?

JULIA ALLISON, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "STAR": Well, this is actually nothing new for Britney. If you remember correctly, Britney has not shown up at multiple court occasions. Maybe she`s sleeping in or she just doesn`t feel like it that day.

PAGLIARULO: Maybe she`s sleeping in.


PAGLIARULO: We as a society shouldn`t feel like letting her ever have her kids back. How seriously can she be taking it if, it wasn`t important enough to get her butt out of bed and get down to court today?

ALLISON: Not at all seriously. She claims that she was feeling very ill. She was feeling very anxious. She thought all the paparazzi outside. She didn`t want to leave. But there are paparazzi around her all of the time. And the last time she didn`t show up in court, she was found later pumping gas into her convertible.

PAGLIARULO: But you know what? We were talking about this just a little while ago, Julia. And about her being afraid, of her not liking the paparazzi. Wasn`t it her riding around in the convertible, showing off the kids, waving at the paparazzi?

Some days she loves them something, days she hates them. It can`t be a good excuse that "There are people with cameras, bad people with cameras outside of my house. I don`t want to go, make sure I get custody of my kids." That`s not a good excuse.

ALLISON: Well, the trials and tribulations of fame, Joe.


ALLISON: But I think that Britney -- you know, I think that she has absolutely no idea how to deal with her emotions right now. She had -- the idea to her of going under oath and having to talk about what she`s actually doing, how she`s actually feeling, is frightening to her. And I think she just couldn`t handle it, which means she can`t handle her kids.

PAGLIARULO: Is there any -- and I don`t know that you`ve been in contact with anybody. This just happened. But is there any legal ramification now? Can -- I guess K-Fed`s lawyers probably will say, "See? She`s unfit. She didn`t show up."

What`s going to happen next here, in your opinion?

PAGLIARULO: Absolutely. His lawyers have a very firm ground for the argument against Britney`s, you know, mental health. I don`t think that Britney is going to get 100 percent custody anytime soon, if ever. So it looks like the kids are going to stay with Kevin. And I`m not even sure that she wants those kids.

PAGLIARULO: Hello, Kevin Federline is like the father of the year lately. We haven`t seen him; we haven`t heard from him. We haven`t -- he hasn`t made any more babies, which I understand he does a lot. I mean, what`s the deal? Does he just have great handlers?

ALLISON: You know what it is? I think Kevin looked at the press he was getting, and he made -- you know, it`s scary to say, but good judgments. He said, "Listen, I`m not getting good press for going out into the public, for partying, for using marijuana, so I`m going to stop doing those things."

Britney looks at the press and says, "I don`t know what else to do. I`m just going to keep doing the same thing. Oh, wait, no, I`ll mix it up and do different crazy things."

PAGLIARULO: Yes, I`ll do exactly the opposite.

We`ve got less than 30 seconds here. Got to talk very quickly about Jennifer Love Hewitt. I love what she did. I love that she stood up for herself. Your take?

ALLISON: I think she was absolutely fantastic. And I think what we`re going to see now in the future is celebrities standing up on their own blogs and through the Internet to counteract some of this -- you know, I would say it`s media nastiness.


ALLISON: Media snarkiness. It`s unacceptable for guys to go around saying that women are fat just because they`ve got cellulite.

PAGLIARULO: Julia, as always, thanks.

By the way, I`ve got three beautiful daughters, and they`re going to take a great example from Jennifer Love Hewitt for standing up for herself. Good job.

Up next right here, you would think no one in their right mind would be against a border fence, but believe it or not, there are some people who say no fence is the best bet. I`ll talk to one next.


PAGLIARULO: Joe Horn, you will remember him, he`s the Houston-area man who shot and killed two burglars. Some people say he`s a hero. Others that he`s a racist killer. I`ll have the latest on this drama in just a bit.

But first, there`s nothing more American than a good old-fashioned rally around something you passionately believe in, right? And hundreds took that sentiment to heart last night in the town of McAllen, Texas, where citizens gathered to voice their opinions regarding a proposed border fence for the Rio Grande Valley.

It was a gathering sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. They were looking for some local input. And boy, they got it. Much of the rally was in opposition to the fence as a whole, along with some of the usual fringe cries of "you hate Mexicans" or "you`re going to destroy a precious habitat" or "our environment would be horribly damaged."

Look, I love wildlife as much as the next man and I love this country and its people much more. Unfortunately, when it comes to the border and the building of a border fence, passion often gets all mixed up in politics and personal agendas and we start looking like two Americas and ignore the fact that this is about national security for all Americans. Joaquin Castro (ph) is a Texas state congressman from my hometown of San Antonio.

Joaquin, it`s really good to have you on. Have you heard my radio show?

JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS STATE CONGRESSMAN: I have, Joe. Congratulations on hosting this week.

PAGLIARULO: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you. Do you think that I`m racist?

CASTRO: No, I don`t. I think you`re very opinionated.

PAGLIARULO: Or that I hate Mexicans?

CASTRO: No, I don`t. I think you have got strong opinions and I disagree with a lot of them, but I think you have a good radio program.

PAGLIARULO: Well, I appreciate that. What`s wrong with building a fence, slowing down the flow of the illegal immigration that`s going on? It certainly would slow it down, although tunnels can pop up. I get that. It`s much harder to build a long elaborate tunnel than it is just to walk across a fenceless border, isn`t it?

CASTRO: Well, I think it`s unnecessary. I think that at best it should be a last resort. And the reason I say that is because the federal government has not done enough to protect our borders in other ways. I`ll give you a few examples.


CASTRO: The first thing is, we haven`t done enough to protect our ports. Whether it`s in San Diego or in Houston or in Baltimore, there is cargo and contraband that has the opportunity to make its way over here. And I think the government just has not done enough about that.

PAGLIARULO: You and I agree.

CASTRO: With the border -- with the border fence we have not put enough customs agents in our border check areas. The fact is that just as many people and just as much contraband and drugs comes across the border in cars or in trucks that comes walking across.

So I think a lot of the focus is really, I wouldn`t say misplaced, but we`re just seeing a very small part of the picture and I think a lot of the outcry that you get from folks living across the Texas-Mexico border here is the fact that they feel like the government has not tried hard enough with other measures that could have slowed this problem and really a frustration that it has gotten to this point.

PAGLIARULO: I am not willing to argue those points with you because I think you make some very good points. What you didn`t do was actually talk about what`s wrong with putting a fence.

Yes, I want more customs agents. Yes, more money should be spent on checking cargo. Yes, cars coming in with bails of marijuana is a problem for me. What`s wrong with putting a fence there? I haven`t heard that from you yet.

CASTRO: Well, first I think that it would go against the spirit of the United States. It would go against the spirit of this nation. It would devastate I think the Texas economy.


CASTRO: Well, I don`t know if you knew, Joe, but there are about 6 million visitors from Mexico that come to Texas every year.


PAGLIARULO: Are they coming in legally?

CASTRO: I think -- absolutely. You have folks here.

PAGLIARULO: Well then, how would a border fence that has gates and openings and ways for people to drive in and walk in legally, how would that stop that flow?

CASTRO: That`s a good question. And the answer is that it would discourage folks from coming to the United States.


PAGLIARULO: Well, how so? I`ve got to cross the border to get into Canada and that doesn`t stop me from going there.

CASTRO: It would discourage from coming here illegally. I think it would discourage.


PAGLIARULO: Well, I`m not sure I understand. How does -- if you`re coming here legally -- and listen, I go shopping at the malls in San Antonio all the time, there are plenty of Mexican license plates. I`m not sure, how does it stop people from coming to Texas legally, to the United States legally and continuing commerce? That`s always a red herring that`s thrown up there, Joaquin, because people.

CASTRO: No. I think that is absolutely wrong.


PAGLIARULO: . would never -- are they going to turn around and go south? I don`t think so. They`re going to still come here.

CASTRO: I didn`t say that it would stop them. I said that it would send the wrong message and you would just...

PAGLIARULO: In what way?

CASTRO: Wait. And it would discourage them from coming here. I think you would agree that it would cause a chilling effect and it would probably discourage folks who feel like they`re unwelcome from coming here.

PAGLIARULO: No. I disagree, because people who come here legally are absolutely welcome. This is not about not welcome -- listen, the entire population of Mexico can come and shop in Texas, can live in Texas as long as they do it legally. Why is that an issue?

CASTRO: I`m not arguing with you about that. I agree, they could. But I`m saying that they`re not going to.


PAGLIARULO: The fence would still allow them to still do that. They`re still our friends, still our neighbors.

CASTRO: It absolutely would.

PAGLIARULO: . as long as they come with their heads up high.

CASTRO: It would allow them to do that, but.

PAGLIARULO: . and their shoulders back and.

CASTRO: . it`s going to discourage.


PAGLIARULO: . are proud to say who they are and why they`re here. Joaquin, I`ve got to go. Listen, I appreciate it.

CASTRO: Thank you.


PAGLIARULO: . and we`ll continue this on radio sometime. We appreciate your time.

CASTRO: Absolutely.

PAGLIARULO: OK. Now you remember that line in the movie "Field of Dreams," if you build it, they will come. We may need to change that to, if you build it they`ll dig under it. Last week authorities in Tecate, California, right on the border, found a tunnel that stretches 1,300 feet to the south, crossing under the Mexican border fence some 50 feet below ground.

The tunnel is four feet wide, six feet high with sophisticated lighting, ventilation, and a pulley system for, you guessed it, smuggling drugs. Looks like we may have to plug some holes as well as build that fence. Congressman Ed Royce of California has visited some of these tunnels and was a sponsor of a bill last year that tried to get something done.

Congressman, I appreciate your time. What did you try to get done? And what can we possibly do less than building a fence deep into the ground to stop these tunnels from being built?

REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, the legislation put a 20-year penalty on anyone who is caught financing or building such a tunnel. I will tell you, one of the reasons the cartels have gone to tunneling is the fencing in San Diego, in that sector, was very effective, 85 percent effective according to the Border Patrol.

And so they were having a hard time moving their contraband. The tunnel -- one of the tunnels I went through was six football fields long, and you could tell the type of capital expenditure they had to make to do it. They had water pumps in there, electricity, a pulley from the Mexican side that helped bring this contraband in to the warehouse which it came up in on the U.S. side of the border.

But key here is the fact that the cartels are having an increasingly difficult time moving their contraband, so they are putting this money in. And while I was down there on one of my trips, and we`ve chaired a number of hearings down there, a Border Patrol agent showed me how on Mexican border patrol territory, border patrol agents on the Mexican side were actually involved in helping disguise the tunneling that was going on that the cartel was doing.

PAGLIARULO: Well, imagine that. I mean, there have been stories, Congressman, about these guys being involved in getting paid off and being parts of the organization forever. The Mexican government certainly isn`t helping us. But I like your legislation.

Do you find that those who are breaking the law and drug smugglers of huge caliber coming from Mexico to the United States, do they care that you want to raise it or that you raised it to 20 years? Is it slowing down the pace?

ROYCE: It`s a disincentive. It`s a disincentive. And we`re also developing new technology to better discover these tunnels. We`ve discovered 68 of them so far in the Southwest. And so as it becomes easier to discover them because of the new technology we`re deploying, as we continue to go forward, and I`m one of the members who is a little angry that we haven`t gone faster with the border fence.


ROYCE: . because that`s the other part of the solution here. We can close down that border effectively based upon what the Border Patrol has testified to my committee they`ve been able to do in San Diego.

But we need the will. We need the will to do that. And so enforcement, longer penalties, more Border Patrol agents, better surveillance, all of this is important.

PAGLIARULO: Well, how about better cooperation from Mexico? Is there anything we can possibly do? Do you ever talk to Mexican authorities?

ROYCE: A lot. Yes.

PAGLIARULO: Are they willing to play ball or are they just going to - - is it all just lip service from them?

ROYCE: Some are. Some are. In this particular case, the incident I gave you in which four individuals were tunneling, protected by two border patrol agents on the Mexican side, our local Border Patrol officer contacted the Mexican FBI, their equivalent of the FBI.

They came down, they made the arrest, and all of those individuals are now in jail. So there are elements in the Mexican government that are fighting this. But of course there is some endemic corruption. And this is why we have to take border security very seriously.

In my hearings, we studied not only bringing drugs over and illegal immigrants over, but also the fact that they were able to penetrate the border with uranium, with the components to a dirty bomb.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, it`s a major problem. What do we do with a tunnel like this when we find it? Fill it in with concrete, with dirt? We can`t fill it in the Mexican side so they still have half of a tunnel there.

ROYCE: Well, we fill it in with concrete and we continue to monitor it.

PAGLIARULO: Very good. Congressman, thank you very much. Up next, a do-good hero or racist killer? The Joe Horn saga continues to generate controversy in Texas. I`ll have the very latest.


PAGLIARULO: A few weeks ago, a Texas man named Joe Horn made a tense call to 911 as he watched two men rob his neighbor`s home.


OPERATOR: Do not go out of the house.

JOE HORN: I`m sorry. This ain`t right, buddy.

OPERATOR: You`re going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with the gun. I don`t care what you think.

HORN: You want to make a bet?

OPERATOR: OK, stay in the house.

HORN: I`m going to kill them.


PAGLIARULO: The men he shot, both of them illegal aliens from Colombia, died from their injuries, and the district attorney is now deciding whether to bring that case in front of a Texas grand jury.

Of course, this case has generated a lot of publicity and outrage from people on both sides of the argument, outrage that spilled over at one point into competing protests right in front of Joe Horn`s house.

Well, now the city council of Pasadena, Texas, has decided that the right to assembly does not apply to residential neighborhoods, citing the safety concerns here. The council gave preliminary approval to a new ordinance yesterday that would ban all picketing on residential streets.

And while that may seem like a direct affront to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has actually already upheld a similar law passed in Wisconsin about 20 years ago. Texas Congressman Ted Poe joins me now.

This story has ignited a lot of strong feelings both in support for and outrage against Joe Horn. As you know, Congressman, I have a daily radio show in Houston. I`ve had the guy who started that one rally, Quanell X on my radio show. We called him, called the Black Panther nation -- or Party, whatever they called themselves.

There was no response at all from them today. Where are you on what Joe Horn did? Where are you on people rallying the streets of neighborhoods like this?

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Well, Joe Horn exhibits the frustration that a lot of people, especially in this neighborhood, have had. Pasadena has had recently a lot of home burglaries. And these two individuals may turn out to be the gang leaders of the burglaries that have been committed.

And so he sees his neighbor`s house being burglarized. As a good neighbor he goes outside, he confronts the burglars as they`re leaving with part of the property. He speaks to them, tells them to stop. One thing leads to another. That`s when minds disagree as to what happened. And he shoots and kills both of them.

It turns out the two individuals are illegally in the country. They have been in Texas from Colombia. They`ve both been arrested before. Both.


PAGLIARULO: Yes, extensive criminal records.

POE: Long.

PAGLIARULO: One was deported 10 years ago.

POE: That`s right. And we`re talking about forgery of documents and numerous other types of felonies. Sent back to Colombia, and they come back, they`re back in Texas committing crimes. A lot of people have no sympathy for the individuals. But the law here covers up several things. Texas has the right to defend property almost as strong as the right to defend oneself.


POE: And so in this case the grand jury`s going to have to decide, did he have the right under the circumstances to defend somebody else`s property with the use of deadly force? That`s going to be the question.

PAGLIARULO: Well, it`s widely held, Congressman, that in Harris County, Texas, there`s no way they`re going to indict this guy. But now he`s getting death threats. If he`s not indicted, somebody left a message on his machine that he`s going to die.

I mean, when you hear a reaction like that, what do you say to the people of that area of Texas about a case like this that obviously has got a lot of emotions going?

POE: Well, of course, no one should be threatened with being killed. And of course, whoever made this phone call called the district attorney and said, we`re going to kill this guy, if he gets convicted, we`re going to kill him in prison.

All that does is fuel the emotions on both sides. You know, the problem of crimes committed by illegals in the Houston area and the other parts of the country, people have had it, they`re tired of it. And so that`s why these victims, if you will, the people that are shot, really don`t have a lot of sympathetic supporters in the area.

We`ll say this, burglaries in Pasadena have dropped tremendously since these two individuals are no longer among the living.

PAGLIARULO: Well, what would you say about somebody like Quanell X or his party or his backing -- his organization, people who call themselves civil rights activists, who are out there race-baiting, making this somehow about race because Joe Horn originally described the two burglars as black guys?

POE: Well, to me that is what the supporters of the two burglars are doing. They are playing it seems the race card in trying to fuel to emotions based on that. This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with people that are committing crimes, committing home burglaries.

PAGLIARULO: Well, it`s very simple. If you don`t leave the house in the morning, kiss your family goodbye, grab your crowbar and decide to go burglarize houses, you`re probably not going to end up getting killed as you come out of one of those houses.

Clearly these people made a lifelong decision, this will be my career, and you know, I might day any given day. I`m not really sure I understand the argument where those on the opposing side are coming from. I`m guessing you`re with me on this.

POE: Well, I understand completely how Joe Horn and the neighbors feel about crime, and burglary -- home burglaries and crime committed by anyone. But also crime committed by people illegally in the United States.

And people are tired of that criminal conduct. Joe Horn was frustrated and under the circumstances, the law is going to determine whether or not he was justified. But he has a lot of sympathy for people who live in the Houston area.

PAGLIARULO: Congressman, I appreciate that. Now I want to turn to Mr. Horn`s continuing legal limbo. Is it likely the district attorney will see things the way the majority of us Texans do like I just said? Nicole Deborde is a criminal defense attorney down in Houston.

Nicole, it`s a pleasure to have you on today.


PAGLIARULO: Well, what do you think about this? I know that there`s the castle doctrine, which is my house. I know there`s a third party law in Texas which is, I can protect my neighbor`s house if they asked me to. What did Joe -- if you`re defending Joe Horn, what defense do you use here?

DEBORDE: Well, Congressman Poe had it exactly right. In Texas we regard the right to protect property very seriously. In fact, it`s written into our Texas penal code in sections 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43, exactly what you have the right to do. And believe it or not, in Texas you have the right to shoot and kill a fleeing burglar with property if you`re trying to get back your property.

And so really, from a legal standpoint, Joe Horn, even according to the most brutal version of the facts that we`ve heard on occasion about this case, he was legally justified in doing what he did, because that means...

PAGLIARULO: Even though it wasn`t his property, Nicole? Does that matter?

DEBORDE: Exactly, exactly. In fact, what section 9.43 of the Texas penal code says is that you have -- you`re allowed to transfer that responsibility for -- to yourself, for somebody else`s property under certain circumstances. And it could be that the neighbor asked him to watch the property. It could be that Joe Horn felt that he had the responsibility to watch that property.

And really under both of those scenarios, he would be behaving legally, even to shoot a fleeing burglar who was in possession of property that belonged to somebody else.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve taken a ton of phone calls on the radio show on this, as you probably have heard.

DEBORDE: I have heard.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve had Quanell X on and actually had him agree with me at the end of the conversation that if these people aren`t burglars with a crowbar, they`re still alive today. We understand that.

But in listening to the 911 tapes, to play devil`s advocate here for a second, people are making a case of him saying, I`m going to kill them, I`m going to kill them, I`m going to go out there and kill them. Now they take that as premeditation. What do you say to that as a defense attorney?

DEBORDE: Well, the reality is, is that he is still protected under the penal code, and if the legislature wants to change that based on these types of facts, they`re going to have to do that in a future session. The fact is that Joe Horn under Texas law, even under the worst case scenario, these facts, is legally correct in what he did.

PAGLIARULO: I`ll tell you what, what`s clear to me about this is why does Joe Horn -- and because again, just yesterday I had some calls on this. Why does Joe Horn even call 911 if he just wants to kill a couple of guys? He doesn`t. Why make that call at all? He did that obviously hoping that the police would come and give him some help.

DEBORDE: Exactly. And he actually waits for quite a long time. I mean, listen, I don`t think there are a whole lot of people who say that he exercised the best judgment. I mean, the reality is that he could have easily been killed in this circumstance, going out of the house. But he did. And the fact is that it`s not really that bad judgment that`s in question here as far as whether he left his house or not. It is simply.

PAGLIARULO: It is the law.

DEBORDE: . did he obey the law?

PAGLIARULO: Yes. Nicole, thank you very much. Up next right here, I`ll be home for Christmas. How one G.I. gave his sons a Christmas present they will never forget. Trust me, you don`t want to miss this story. Do not go away.


PAGLIARULO: As you know, Christmas is quickly approaching, and even though I haven`t purchased a single present for anyone yet, I kind of know in the back of my head it`s not really about that. Christmas is most importantly time spent with my family for the holidays. But even I need that reminder from time to time. And kids certainly do. But there`s one little boy seeing things a little bit differently this year.

His Christmas surprise wasn`t found under the tree, it walked right into his school classroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t explain. And I`m excited, and I`m interested to see how this little one is going to react.

JUSTIN QUESINBERRY, WFMY REPORTER (voice-over): Little Evan hasn`t seen his father since his first birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I see him. Yes, I know that walk.

QUESINBERRY: Sergeant First Class Michael Johnson (ph) is home for two weeks from Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

QUESINBERRY: This homecoming celebration has been a long time coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) about 20 hours the last two days.

QUESINBERRY: But they don`t have long to spend at the airport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s rush, rush. But I`m thrilled and I`m excited.

QUESINBERRY: The Johnsons have somewhere else to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Landon (ph), you want to turn around?

QUESINBERRY: The Johnsons` oldest son, Landon, had no idea his father was coming home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s wrong? You speechless?




QUESINBERRY: Jacqueline Johnson (ph) got the idea on Thanksgiving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve been eating good, haven`t you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Landon turned to me, and he said, where`s my father? And I said, well, maybe daddy will surprise you one day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Told all my buddies back in Iraq what I was going to try to do. And they said, oh, that`s going to be something good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For five months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me he was coming back on the 30th, but he wasn`t.

QUESINBERRY: After 15 years in the Army Johnson`s first deployment was this summer. He was scheduled for leave in January, but it was bumped up to now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: prayed I said, I only want one gift this Christmas, and that is to have my husband home and to make my children happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Christmas is going to be probably one of the greatest Christmases ever.

QUESINBERRY: In High Point Justin Quesinberry, WFMY News 2.


PAGLIARULO: That`s what Christmas is all about. And to my wife Jenny (ph), I`ll just come home then. You don`t need -- no, I`m going to be getting you something. And you know what a great story like that is, really a great one to end on. I`m Joe Pags, in for Glenn Beck. From New York, good night, America.