Season 2 – Episode 21 – “18th and Potomac”

Episode Summary:

Thorny issues encircle the White House as the President (Martin Sheen) and his staff grapple with breaking the news of his illness in an exclusive national broadcast while the newly elected president of Haiti flees for his life and asks for sanctuary in the U.S. embassy — which would place the compound under army attack. C.J. (Allison Janney) and Leo (John Spencer) weigh the dicey arrangements of keeping the blistering news a secret until the telecast while White House counsel Babish (Oliver Platt) finds a disturbing detail in the First Lady’s (Stockard Channing) medical treatment of Bartlet. Elsewhere, a frustrated Josh (Bradley Whitford) needs $30 million more from a Senate committee to continue the Justice Department’s case against Big Tobacco companies but hits a roadblock when he soliticts the crucial votes of two Democratic Senators, and virtuous Mrs. Landingham (Kathryn Joosten) pays sticker price for a new car because she fears anything less will violate federal stipulations about receiving gifts.

Script:

THE WEST WING
"18TH AND POTOMAC"
TELEPLAY BY: AARON SORKIN
STORY BY: LAWRENCE O'DONNELL JR.
DIRECTED BY: ROBERT BERLINGER

TEASER

FADE IN: EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE, PORTICO - NIGHT

	THE WHITE HOUSE
	1:20 A.M.

An agent opens the door and speaks into his mic.

AGENT
Eagle's moving.

Bartlet and Leo come outside and walk.

BARTLET
He talked to her on the phone?

LEO
He talked to her at the airport.

BARTLET
But he called her on the phone?

LEO
To get her to the airport.

BARTLET
Yeah, but I'm saying, did she hang up the phone, turn to her friends and say,
'You're
never gonna believe why I'm getting on a plane?'

LEO
He told her she was coming out to do some polling on subsurface agriculture.

BARTLET
What the hell is that?

They walk into THE OVAL OFFICE. Bartlet puts down some papers.

LEO
It's vegetables that grow underground. He told her she was coming out here
to find out
if Americans were eating more beats.

BARTLET
[searching his front pockets for a pen] Is this a joke?

LEO
It was Josh, Mr. President. It was a job done well. You want to start not
trusting Josh?
[beat] Let's go.

BARTLET
Where are we going?

LEO
The basement.

BARTLET
Why?

LEO
'Cause I don't like the way it looks the seven of us meeting in the middle
of the night.

BARTLET
You like the way it looks if we're meeting in the basement?

LEO
Let's go.

They walk out.

CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE, BASEMENT - NIGHT
Sam and Toby walk out of the elevator.

SAM
These numbers are going to be meaningless.

TOBY
Yeah.

SAM
The governor of an industrial state. It's posed as a hypothetical before
people have any
education on...

TOBY
[puts on his jacket] Yeah.

SAM
Plus there is no way to factor in existing approval numbers, particularly
when it comes
to matters of trust.

TOBY
[to the agent at the door] Saggitarius.

The agent opens the door, Sam and Toby walk inside and down the stairs. C.J.,
Josh,
Joey Lucas and Kenny are inside.

TOBY
Are they on their way?

JOSH
Yeah.

TOBY
They're on their way?

JOSH
Yeah.

Toby sighs heavily as everyone sits down.

TOBY
Joey, your flight was all right?

She doesn't look at him, and he taps her on the shoulder.

TOBY
Your flight was okay?

SAM
[to Joey, as Kenny translates] These numbers aren't going to mean anything,
right?
With the hypothetical and the lack of context? Plus the preexisting level
of trust.

C.J.
Yeah.

SAM
I'm saying he's got numbers like Walter Cronkite.

JOEY
Yeah.

JOSH
Is there anything in there that we're gonna like?

JOEY [KENNY]
We are, in fact, eating more beats.

JOSH
Okay.

Bartlet and Leo come inside. Everyone rises.

BARTLET
Good evening.

JOSH
Mr. President, you remember Joey Lucas?

BARTLET
Yeah.

JOSH
And her interpreter Kenny?

LEO
Joey, did you make photocopies of that?

JOEY
No, sir.

LEO
Good. Let's get started.

Everyone sits.

JOEY [KENNY]
Mr. President, I polled 1,170 registered voters in Michigan, giving their
governor a
hypothetical concealed...

BARTLET
Excuse me. How many people in this room know Kenny's last name?

Everyone looks puzzled.

LEO
It's fine.

BARTLET
I believe this operation is no longer covert.

JOEY [KENNY]
Mr. President, Kenny's been with me for 11 years. To trust me is to trust him.

BARTLET
Josh?

JOSH
Yeah.

BARTLET
[to Joey] Go ahead.

JOEY [KENNY]
1,170 registered votes in Michigan were polled, giving their governor a
hypothetical
concealed degenerative illness. These are the results. [reads] "Do you agree
that it's
okay for the governor to lie about his health?" 17% agree, 83% disagree. "Would
you be
as likely or less likely to vote for the governor now that you know he has
a degenerative
illness?" 71% say less likely. The largest block of likely voters are women
over 55.
78% of those women say they wouldn't vote for a candidate with MS.

C.J.
You just lost Florida.

JOEY [KENNY]
This may be the worst stat, sir. 74% believe MS to be fatal.

BARTLET
They may be right.

JOEY [KENNY]
62% of Democrats aren't gonna vote for you. 65% of those describing themselves
as liberal
aren't gonna vote for you because you lied.

BARTLET
Joey, is there any good news there at all?

JOEY
No, sir.

SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES.
END TEASER
* * *

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Bartlet is standing near his desk, Leo is sitting on one of the couches next
to Robbie
Mosley, Jake, and across from a civilian advisor. More people are standing
near the walls.

LEO
Who's in Port-au-Prince right now?

ROBBIE [VO]
The UN Observer group.

LEO
Which consists of...

ROBBIE
400 technical advisors and observers and 65 unarmed security specialists.

LEO
And the OAS?

ROBBIE
They've got about 200 observers.

BARTLET
[sits in the nearby chair] What happened last night?

CIVILIAN ADVISOR
Citing improper permits, Colonel Bazan's soldiers surrounded Carrefour and
Liberte.

ROBBIE
Liberty Square.

BARTLET
Yeah.

CIVILIAN ADVISOR
...to prevent a victory rally by supporters of Dessaline. Some of the crowd
refused to
disperse when the first shots were fired.

LEO
Anybody killed?

ROBBIE
Two people.

CIVILIAN ADVISOR
Additionally, Rene Ducasse, the newly designated Minister of Justice, was
arrested, and
soldiers have surrounded the house of the Chief Justice. They're saying to
protect him
from death threats. Our intelligence says he's under house arrest.

ROBBIE
Most troubling are personnel carriers with Haitian troops parked in front
of virtually
every police station in Port-au-Prince. This is a sign that the army plans
to take power
from the Gendarme Nationale.

BARTLET
Where is the president-elect?

JAKE [VO]
Sir, we can't find him.

BARTLET
Sorry?

ROBBIE
At this moment, we can't find Dessaline.

BARTLET
And that's not the most troubling...

LEO
Jake, what the hell do you mean you can't find...

JAKE
He never showed up for the 4 pm courtesy conference with Gilbert Tass and
calls made to
the party headquarters and both of his houses went unanswered.

CIVILIAN ADVISOR
Armed forces radio says he's fled the country, but the Dominicans say no.

LEO
What about intelligence?

ROBBIE
It's not like we can just call around, it's chaos down there, nobody knows
anything.

BARTLET
Leo.

LEO
Let's evacuate the non-essential personnel from the embassy.

Bartlet nods and glances around.

JAKE
Mr. President, any move to evacuate the embassy, even the non-essentials,
will be a
highly visible signal that the US has no confidence in the Dessaline
government.

BARTLET
At the moment, there is no Dessaline government; there is no Dessaline! And
I just got
done pulling nine dead bodies out of Colombia. Evacuate the non-essentials. Get
some
Marines at the Embassy. And somebody brief Fitzwallace!

He stands, everyone else rises.

MEN
Thank you, Mr. President.

Everyone begins to leave.

CUT TO: INT. BASEMENT - DAY
Josh walks up to the agent guarding the room.

JOSH
Saggitarius.

The agent opens the door. Josh walks inside and sits at the table, where
Toby and C.J.
are sitting. Sam is pacing around them..

SAM
Why not a Presidential address? Ten - fifteen minutes. 'I have this illness,
I concealed
it, I apologize. Let me tell you about it. Let me reduce your fear.'

C.J.
It's too cold.

SAM
It's not too cold!

C.J.
He needs to be with the First Lady.

SAM
In some decorative room? Sitting with his wife weakens him. Let's put him
behind the
Kennedy desk. Let's put him in the East Room. Let's put him in the Briefing
Room.

C.J.
Sam, he's gonna go on TV and say he lied, I don't want him doing it behind
the Seal of
the President.

SAM
You think without the Seal, people are gonna forget he's the President?

C.J.
We'll do a 30-minute live special from one of the news magazines.

JOSH
Live, live to tape or tape?

C.J.
Live, I don't want a producer editing what he says.

JOSH
What if we want to edit what he says?

C.J.
That's our tough luck.

JOSH
When?

SAM
How about Thursday night?

C.J.
Wednesday night.

SAM
Why?

C.J.
[irritated] 'Cause Thursday night is when they pay their bills, and it's
going to be
tough enough getting 30 minutes and not telling them why we're not cutting
into their
bread and butter during May sweeps.

SAM
Oh, who gives a damn about May sweeps?

C.J.
They do, Sam!

Sam glares at C.J. with unease, but says nothing.

TOBY
All right. 30 minutes, Dateline special Wednesday night, night after tomorrow,
the
President and the First Lady in the Mural Room.

C.J.
And we follow that with a press conference.

JOSH
Why?

C.J.
To control the story as long as possible. Once he gets started with Russert
or Diane
or Stone Phillips or whoever the hell does this, I'm gonna need every reporter
in the
Western Hemisphere in the room where I can see him.

TOBY
We put a team of medical experts up there.

C.J.
We have 48 hours to find them.

SAM
Hang on. If we take him from the Mural Room to the press conference, isn't
a smart
reporter going to ask, 'Mr. President, are you planning on seeking
reelection?'

C.J.
[very irritated] A smart reporter... Sam, Ted Baxter is gonna ask, 'Mr
President, are
you planning on seeking reelection?"

SAM
So, we're gonna need an answer to that too.

CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE, LOBBY - DAY
Charlie and Mrs. Landingham are walking through the doors.

CHARLIE
Are you getting an eight-speaker stereo?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
No.

CHARLIE
Six speakers?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
No.

CHARLIE
How many speakers?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I have two ears, how many speakers do I need?

CHARLIE
At least six and a subwoofer.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I'm not getting a subwoofer.

CHARLIE
How about the tow package?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
The tow package?

CHARLIE
To tow your boat.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I don't have a boat.

CHARLIE
What about a camper?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
No.

CHARLIE
What do you tow?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Groceries.

CHARLIE
You can probably put those in the trunk.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yeah.

They reach the OUTER OVAL OFFICE as Josh walks by.

CHARLIE
Tainted windows?

JOSH
Hey.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Hello, Josh.

CHARLIE
Mrs. Landingham's picking up her new car today.

JOSH
Really?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yes, and I wish I haven't told anyone. Why do men think women can't buy a
car without
a man?

JOSH
It's an old stereotype, Mrs.. L. Did you get the extended service warranty?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
No.

JOSH
Women.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
What do you want?

JOSH
I got a message Leo wanted to see me.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
He's in his office.

JOSH
Did you get the tow package?

CHARLIE
[to Mrs. Landingham] See?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
[to Josh] He's in his office.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY

LEO
Margaret!

Margaret comes in.

LEO
Where's Josh?

MARGARET
He's on his way.

Josh shows up at the door.

LEO
He remembers where my office is, right?

JOSH
Leo, calm down. I'm right here.

MARGARET
He's right here.

LEO
Get out.

Margaret leaves.

LEO
[to Josh] This report is staggering.

JOSH
I know.

LEO
Justice has 31 lawyers and staff. Tobacco has 1,893 lawyers and 2,783
paralegals.
This is no typo, right?

JOSH
No.

LEO
We spent 8.7 million on our side counsel, they spent 192. The 61.3 million
they spent
on travel expenses is twice as much as we spent on our entire case.

JOSH
Yes.

LEO
Who oversees the Justice department Budget?

JOSH
The Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary.

LEO
Who's the ranking minority member?

JOSH
Ritter.

LEO
Talk to him. Find out what the problem is.

JOSH
Yeah. [turns to leave]

LEO
[gets up] Josh? How's it going downstairs?

JOSH
[comes back and hunches over the desk] We'll have an answer on it by the
end of the day.
It's looking like 30 minutes on Dateline and a press conference, but Leo,
it's also
looking like any scenario is going to require a firm position from the
President on
reelection.

LEO
Well, we'll have that answer by the end of the day, too.

JOSH
Will we?

LEO
Yes.

JOSH
Leo...

LEO
He just had Joey's numbers in the middle of the night. Give him the day!

JOSH
Don't you think it would help if we had a discussion among the...Knock on
the door.

Both Leo and Josh turn, startled. Margaret comes in with a note.

JOSH
A discussion among the rest of us...

Leo reads and crumples the note.

LEO
Excuse me. [walks out]

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Leo is standing in the Oval Office, looking out window at Bartlet, who enters
from
outside with Charlie.

BARTLET
What?

LEO
Two of Dessalines' bodyguards were shot. We think he's headed to our embassy.

BARTLET
How do we know?

LEO
Jake Bratt got a message through.

BARTLET
What is Jake Bratt doing down there?

LEO
He went down for the inauguration, and he may well have Dessalines in the
trunk of
his car.

BARTLET
The trunk of his car?

LEO
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Did we evacuate the non-essentials?

LEO
They're on their way. A C-9's waiting for them on the runway. Mr. President,
if we
don't take Dessaline, he'll be convicted in a 20-minute trial, imprisoned
for life,
or probably executed by the Junta.

ROBBIE
I'm sorry sir, but this is an internal affair in Haiti, and the US has no
place
choosing sides.

LEO
Of course we're choosing sides, there was a free election! We saw to it
there was a
free election, and Dessalines won!

ROBBIE
If we grant asylum to we'd officially be in a standoff with Bazan.

JAKE
The best way for Bazan to elevate his stature in Haiti is to stage a standoff
with
the U.S.

ROBBIE
Plus Bazan can surround the embassy, saying he's searching for a wanted
criminal,
and obviously he can take everyone in the embassy hostage.

In the background, Charlie walks to a man and whispers in his ear, motioning
to a phone.

LEO
Mr. President, there will never be real elections in Haiti if the military
thinks it
can simply kill the winner. Also I'd like to point out, sir, that we
encouraged
Dessaline to run-in fact we strongly encouraged it-and now he's in the trunk
of a car.

MAN
[holding up the phone] The car's at the gate, I got the gate right here.

BARTLET
Let him in.

ROBBIE
Sir...

BARTLET
Let him in!

MAN
[into phone] Tell them to let him in. [long pause as everyone waits] He's in.

CUT TO: INT. BASEMENT - DAY
C.J., Toby, and Sam all sit around the table.

TOBY
Do we put Hoynes up there?

SAM
At the press conference?

TOBY
Do we put Hoynes up there?

SAM
There's never been a more important time to emphasize the Vice Presidency.

C.J.
The Vice President's presence underlines the health risks to the president.

SAM
And it's good to underscore that the president anticipated this problem with
the
selection of the vice president.

C.J.
But it'll also serve to underscore that he anticipated the problem and didn't
tell
anybody about it.

SAM
Hoynes was one of the first people to know. If he's there it's a breathing
demonstration
that he signed off on the president's health and joined the ticket.

C.J.
And he'll get bombarded with questions about what he did or didn't know,
the press corps
will impanel themselves as a grand jury.

SAM
Then let them, C.J.! We did something wrong or we didn't.

C.J.
Well fantastic, Sam, I didn't realize it was that simple!

Knocking. A man enters and hands C.J. a note. Toby hands her her glasses
and she reads
the paper.

C.J.
There's a situation developing in Port-Au-Prince, I have to get ready to
brief. [exits]

TOBY
Sam, can Josiah Bartlet function as president?

SAM
I'm not a medical expert.

TOBY
[standing and moving around] Right.

SAM
Toby, there is a responsibility and the future and an obligation to the party,
and if
he is not gonna run, then he's gotta point to Hoynes and say, 'This is our
guy.'

TOBY
And what if they ask Hoynes, 'In the meantime, can Bartlet function as
president?'

SAM
He'll say yes.

TOBY
What if he says, 'I'm not a medical expert'?

CUT TO: EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. BUILDING - DAY
Josh comes out with Senator ANDY RITTER.

ANDY RITTER
The President of Haiti was taken to the embassy in the trunk of a car?

JOSH
Yes.

RITTER
I've lived too long.

JOSH
Well don't go anywhere, cause I need you.

RITTER
I mean it, Lyman, this is gonna get worse before it's gonna get better.

JOSH
You may be right, but Haiti's actually not what I wanted to talk to you about.

RITTER
Tobacco?

JOSH
Yeah, Andy. The president wants to get behind a 30 million dollar
appropriations bill
the Justice Department's had in your committee for a few months now. They
need the money
to continue the case.

RITTER
I know.

JOSH
Has the chairman scheduled a vote?

RITTER
He's not gonna.

JOSH
He's not gonna schedule a vote?

RITTER
Kalmbach's gonna dance with the girl that brung him.

JOSH
How much tobacco money has he taken?

RITTER
From the last campaign?

JOSH
Yeah

RITTER
$460,000 in PACs

JOSH
Is there a nose count?

RITTER
Yeah, it's eight to seven against

JOSH
Along party lines?

RITTER
No, believe it or not. We've got two Republicans, they've got two Democrats

JOSH
They've got two Democrats?

RITTER
Warren and Rossitter

JOSH
Warren and Rossitter aren't even from the South.

RITTER
They have ideological problems with the case.

JOSH
This is a phenomenally important case: it's historic; it has to be won. And
we're
fighting with paper clips and a slingshot.

RITTER
We were wondering when you guys were going to notice.

Ritter pats Josh on the shoulder and walks off, as Josh looks after him.

CUT TO: INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - DAY
Donna sits, waiting for Toby. He walks in, shutting the door. Donna stands.

TOBY
Hi.

DONNA
Hi.

TOBY
Have a seat.

DONNA
I was told you wanted to see me.

TOBY
Yeah, Donna. Uh, I'm going to tell you something shocking except we don't
have time
to be shocked. So I need you to just hear it and go back to work.

DONNA
Yeah.

TOBY
Eight years ago, the president was diagnosed with MS. He concealed it during
the
election, but we're going public Wednesday night with a live network interview
and
a press conference. This is what Josh is gonna be working on 24 hours and
he's gonna
need your help and he's gonna need you to know, and so I'm telling you...

DONNA
Yeah.

TOBY
You're the first person on the assistant level to find out. Margaret doesn't
know,
Bonnie and Ginger don't know. Donna, Mrs. Landingham doesn't know.

DONNA
Is the president in a lot of pain or discomfort right now?

TOBY
No. He's in remission.

DONNA
Okay. [standing] Is there anything else?

TOBY
I want to press upon you how important it is that this not be discussed
beyond-

DONNA
Yeah.

Donna exits the room, shutting the door behind her.

CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Charlie is seated behind a computer at his desk.

CHARLIE
You want to know where you made your mistake?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I didn't make a mistake.

CHARLIE
You probably did, and here's where you went wrong.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Where?

CHARLIE
You went to the dealership alone.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yes.

CHARLIE
That was a mistake.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
'Cause a dealer would load me up with a lot of extras I don't need?

CHARLIE
That's right.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Like a tow package?

They walk and talk into THE OVAL OFFICE.

CHARLIE
How are you gonna tow your camper without a tow package?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I have never been camping.

CHARLIE
Neither have I, and I was hoping you'd take me. I'd be sitting there fishing
and
listening to the Orioles on a transistor radio.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
What would I be doing?

CHARLIE
Warding off bears, that kind of thing. How much did you pay?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
We don't talk about money, dear.

CHARLIE
Can you tell me how much you paid below sticker?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I didn't pay anything below sticker.

CHARLIE
What do you mean?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
In my defense, I didn't pay anything above sticker, either.

CHARLIE
Mrs. Landingham, seriously.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Charlie-

CHARLIE
No, seriously, you paid sticker price?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yes

CHARLIE
Why?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
That was the price

CHARLIE
Mrs. Landingham-

MRS. LANDINGHAM
It says so, right on the sticker

CHARLIE
Who pays sticker price?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I do!

CHARLIE
You gotta let me go back there with you

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I wasn't duped, Charlie.

CHARLIE
You paid sticker price!

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I'm a government employee.

CHARLIE
That doesn't necessarily mean you're a fool.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
No, but it means I'm not allowed to accept gifts of a certain value.

CHARLIE
It's not a gift.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Of course it is. The price tag says one thing, and the dealer is giving it
to me for
something less.

CHARLIE
That's what happens when you buy a car.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Not me.

C.J.
[entering] I was looking for Leo.

CHARLIE
He's in the Situation Room.

C.J.
That's usually a good sign.

CUT TO: INT. THE SITUATION ROOM - DAY
In a very busy Situation Room, the officers are seated around the table.

LEO
How many are they saying?

MAN
They can't say.

LEO
Well how many are they estimating?

MAN
It changes every minute.

NANCY
[entering from the side] Well how many this minute?

MAN
Nancy, the cavalry.

NANCY
You guys need some adult supervision?

LEO
No, we need the cavalry.

NANCY
Nah. Jeff, what's the latest estimate?

JEFF
It's about 500 soldiers, maybe 300 of them with AR-15s

LEO
We sold those to them, right?

NANCY
Well until a few hours ago they were on our side.

LEO
Still...

NANCY
Yeah. The AR-15s aren't the only things they've got. They've got two Bradleys
with
120-millimeter cannons and a couple of artillery tubes.

LEO
What do we have?

NANCY
Thirty-seven marines with M-14s and Beretta side-arms.

LEO
What happens when the first shot is fired?

NANCY
Sally, get me hooked up to Operations.

SALLY
Yes, ma'am.

NANCY
[to Leo] Embassy marines aren't lawn jockeys. They're not decorative. They're
trained,
in restraint, and they're trained well.

SALLY [VO]
Operations, ma'am.

NANCY
Thank you.

LEO
Nancy, if they take the embassy, how are we gonna know? Are they going to
send some
kind of note?

NANCY
[to staffer] Sidney, I need com-con status. This is a few minutes old.

SIDNEY
Yes, ma'am.

NANCY
[to Leo] There's no note, Leo. They're taking the embassy. [into phone]
Fitz, this is
Nancy. I think we should mobilize the 8-80th Hostage Task Force out of Parris
Island.

The camera zooms into Leo's face, as we

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. THE BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
C.J. is on the podium.

C.J.
The USS Enterprise as well as the amphibious carriers out of Mayport, Florida,
are
being dispatched to the region and are expected to be there in 36 hours and
aircraft
will be in the combat radius of 300 to 400 miles within 12 hours and you'll
get more
details on that when the Pentagon briefs at three.

REPORTERS
C.J.! C.J.!

C.J.
Katie.

KATIE
Should we be reading anything into the fact that the Pentagon's briefing
and not State?

C.J.
State will brief later in the day.

REPORTERS
C.J.! C.J.!

MARK
Is one option recognizing the Bazan government?

C.J.
There is no Bazan government.

Mark
Yeah, but is one option being...

C.J.
You're not taking me there, Mark.

STEVE
C.J., is the US prepared to invade Haiti?

C.J.
It should be clear that we're talking about two separate issues: one is a
democratically-
elected president whose people are being denied their leader by an armed
militia, the
other is the lives of the Americans in the embassy and the American marines
who are
guarding them.

STEVE
You didn't answer my question.

C.J.
How about that? I'll be back in a few hours.

C.J. walks off the podium and out the room as the reporters clamor. Out in
the HALLWAY,
Carol hands C.J. a note.

C.J.
Is he here?

CAROL
He's in the Mural room.

C.J.
Do I look all right?

CAROL
You look pretty tired.

C.J.
That's what you're saying to me?

CUT TO: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - DAY
PAUL HACKETT, head of a television network, is standing along with Bonnie.

BONNIE
You sure there's nothing I can get for you, Mr. Hackett?

HACKETT
No, Bonnie, thanks, I'm fine.

C.J. walks in, and shakes his hand.

C.J.
Paul.

HACKET
Good afternoon, Claudia.

C.J.
Bonnie, thank you. Would you step outside the door and knock if anybody
wants to come in?

BONNIE
Sure. [exits]

HACKETT
[as they both sit down] She took me in through the basement.

C.J.
Yeah.

HACKETT
I've been in this building two or 300 times, never came in through the
basement.
What have you got in front?

C.J.
The White House press corps.

HACKETT
Yeah?

C.J.
I need thirty minutes night after tomorrow.

HACKETT
C.J., what the hell are you guys planning for Haiti?

C.J.
It's not Haiti.

HACKETT
What is it?

C.J.
I'm not gonna tell you.

HACKETT
What am I supposed to tell my news director?

C.J.
Tell him it's your network.

HACKETT
It's not my network, it belongs to the company, it belongs to stockholders. So
what am
I supposed to tell my news director?

C.J.
That we need thirty minutes Wednesday night. On Wednesday morning, I'll tell
you why.
You pick the interviewer, they'll have 10 hours to prepare.

HACKETT
Just the President?

C.J.
The President and the First Lady.

HACKETT
On our set?

C.J.
In this room.

HACKETT
So we just get the interviewer and the network logo?

C.J.
No network logo.

HACKETT
C.J....

C.J.
Paul, I've got to get two other networks and CNN to pick this up live;
bad enough it's
gonna be your guy and not theirs, but they'll run and old Petticoat Junction
before they
put your network brand on their air.

HACKETT
C.J....

C.J.
Yeah.

HACKETT
Between friends...

C.J.
Yeah.

HACKETT
Is the water over your head?

C.J.
No. The water is exactly at my head.

HACKETT
I'll talk to Jeremy.

They stand and shake hands.

C.J.
Paul, we'll start to leak Wednesday morning to soften up the ground a little
bit.
Anything leaks before then and I'll take my business across the street.

HACKETT
Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
Josh is in his meeting about tobacco.

JOSH
Well, I was surprised when Andy gave me the nose count, because I wasn't
aware of any
tobacco ties you have.

WARREN
We don't.

JOSH
Yeah.

WARREN
I don't. [to Rossiter] Do you?

ROSSITTER
No, no, we grow no tobacco in my state and I'd have to check but I don't
think I've
taken contributions.

MAN
However, we are both former US Attorneys and it's the suit itself we find
troublesome.

JOSH
The suit?

WARREN
The suit alleges that the tobacco companies have been engaged in a broad
conspiracy of
lies since the 1950s.

JOSH
Yes.

WARREN
How exactly are the Justice Department litigators going to demonstrate that?

JOSH
Well... Uh... I'm not a litigator and I don't work at the Justice Department,
and
there's a reason why both those things are true...but I wouldn't think it'd
be that
hard to prove that the tobacco companies have lied since we already know
they did!

ROSSITTER
Every Surgeon General since 1964 has warned the public about smoking and
since 1966
through a Congressional mandate a pack of cigarettes has to carry a warning
label.
Turning around now and saying 'we've been had' is frankly ridiculous.

JOSH
Are you saying that people who start smoking and get addicted to nicotine
are too
stupid to live?

ROSSITTER
No, I'm saying they're too stupid to be protected by the courts.

JOSH
Too stupid to be... Every day, the Justice Department uncovers the evidence
that
cigarette companies knew far better than the rest of us, that smoking causes
death
and disease. To say nothing of the CEOs being the last seven people on earth
to
discover that nicotine was addictive.

WARREN
Josh. Your administration wants to prosecute a suit they know is hopeless,
so they can
score points at the expense of an industry that funds your opponent. It's
politically
correct extortion. And that's why it's unlikely the Appropriations bill will
make it
out of the subcommittee.

JOSH
It's almost 3 o'clock. By seven, 3000 new people will have taken up smoking;
2800 of
them will be under 18. Thanks. [gets up and leaves]

CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE, BASEMENT - DAY
Abbey and her Secret Service detail are walking to a room outside which a
guard stands.

GUARD
Good afternoon, ma'am.

AGENT
Sagittarius.

Abbey walks in, her agent remains outside. Sam jumps as he sees her.

SAM
Good afternoon, Mrs. Bartlet.

ABBEY
What do we use this place for, when we're not using it for this?

SAM
I think.... I know we used it to plan some of the Millenium things.

ABBEY
Didn't it used to be the photo office?

SAM
I don't know, ma'am; I could check it out.

ABBEY
Would you like to sit down? [sits]

SAM
Yeah.

Sam sits across from her. He shifts his papers, plays with his pen, while
she looks at
him intently.

SAM
What we're talking about is thirty minutes with an interviewer. The questions
will
be entirely about the medical history, there'll be no questions about the law.

ABBEY
C.J. got them to agree to that?

SAM
She will Wednesday morning, when she tell them what it's about.

ABBEY
Why will they agree?

SAM
'Cause if they don't, they'll lose the story.

ABBEY
It's all right with me.

SAM
So I'd like to go through the story, get a sense of what you're going to say,
run it
by Oliver Babish and spend the next couple of days going over it with you.

ABBEY
That sounds fine, Sam, but you know, I'm kinda seeing someone right now...

SAM
Yeah.

ABBEY
It's not serious, but it could be, you know what I'm saying?

SAM
Ma'am.

ABBEY
[sighs] Ten years ago, he began experiencing fatigue, and signs of paraparesis
of the
anterior femoral muscles.

SAM
In laymen's terms?

ABBEY
He had a tingling pain in his thigh.

SAM
And those symptoms subsided.

ABBEY
Yes.

SAM
And two years later?

ABBEY
My husband experienced neuropathy and presented symptoms of optic neuritis
with partial
unilateral nerve paresis.

SAM
Mrs. Bartlet...

ABBEY
Doctor Bartlet.

SAM
Yes, ma'am. The language you use...

ABBEY
Why aren't the President and I doing this together?

SAM
I'm sorry?

ABBEY
Somebody's doing this with the President, and I was asking, why we're not
doing it at
the same time. Is it so you can compare our stories?

SAM
Yes. The language you use...

ABBEY
Two years later, he felt numbing and dizziness.

CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Charlie and Mrs. Landingham are sitting across from each other, reading
papers. Suddenly...

CHARLIE
Look...

MRS LANDINGHAM
Section 2635 of the guidelines laid out in the Ethical Conduct for Employees
of the
Executive Branch - Final regulations issued by the US office of Government
Ethics...

CHARLIE
Mrs. Landingham...

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Section 2635 wherein White House employees are specifically enjoined from
receiving
or soliciting gifts over $20 in value. They wanna give me a $19 discount on
my car -
I'll take it!

Leo walks in, Charlie stands to usher him inside.

CHARLIE
He's waiting for you.

LEO
Thank you.

Leo walks in THE OVAL OFFICE.

BARTLET
What happened?

LEO
We shot three Haitian soldiers on the runway.

BARTLET
They boarded the plane?

LEO
Ground traffic control stopped the plane.

Bartlet throws off his glasses.

LEO
When the soldiers boarded, they were told they'd illegally boarded a US Air
Force C9.
They were told to drop their weapons; they were told again. Two staff
sergeants in
the bulkhead had a clear shot and took 'em. They dumped the bodies on the
tarmac and
made an emergency takeoff.

BARTLET
Leo...

LEO
Sir...

BARTLET
That wasn't supposed to happen!

LEO
Look, if...

BARTLET
I evacuated the non-essentials specifically so that wouldn't happen!

LEO
And they came two minutes...

BARTLET
I gave the order six hours ago!

LEO
They had to...

BARTLET
[shouting] Six hours ago I gave the order! What the hell were they still
doing
on the runway?!

LEO
They had to be collected, sir, they weren't all in one place.

BARTLET
They shot three men...

LEO
That's what you do!

BARTLET
We what?

LEO
A foreign hostile puts his foot on an American military plane- that's an
attack!
And rules of engagement give us every right to repel.

BARTLET
And I'm sure these guys had their handbooks with them!

LEO
These guys were there to keep the plane on the ground.

BARTLET
The plane is up in the air?

LEO
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
What's happening on the ground?

LEO
We're communicating through diplomatic back channels.

BARTLET
Who are we using?

LEO
The Canadian Ambassador, Dominican intelligence.

BARTLET
And what does Bazan want?

LEO
Dessaline.

BARTLET
On what charge?

LEO
That, as Treasury Minister, he embezzled 18 million dollars earmarked for
humanitarian aid.

BARTLET
I'm sold.

Leo picks up the phone.

LEO
Margaret, get me the Secretary of State.

BARTLET
You're right, you know, I should be bringing them in on reelection. I should
be talking
to them.

LEO
Yeah.

BARTLET
I don't want to make the same mistakes over again.

LEO
Not when there are so many new mistakes we can make.

BARTLET
Yeah. Let's start tonight. Around 9 o'clock we'll meet in the residence.

LEO
[into phone] Scott! I'm with the President, we're going to invoke 1070 at OAS.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT
CNN's coverage of the unrest in Haiti is playing at low volume on the
television set next
to the desk. Mrs. Landingham walks briskly behind her desk and starts tidying
a few things.
She looks up as the door to the hallway opens and Bartlet strides in.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Good evening, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Bob Cratchit.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Oh, sir, surely you have better things to do than annoy me.

BARTLET
Never...You bought a new car?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
And you paid sticker price.

Bartlet reaches into his jacket pocket and retrieves a sheet of paper.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Section 2635...

BARTLET
You need to look at the next page - subsection B, paragraph four, Mamie Yokum.

Bartlet puts on his glasses.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
[leaning toward him] You know, I could beat you up anytime I want, sir.

BARTLET
Secret Service'd have you down like a calf at a rodeo.

Mrs. Landingham chuckles softly as she turns her back to him to look at
something on the
table next to her desk.

BARTLET
[reading] "The definition of 'gift' excludes opportunities and benefits
including favorable
rates and commercial discounts available to the public at large."

As Bartlet reads, Mrs. Landingham rolls her eyes and sighs in mild
annoyance. Then she turns
around as he holds up the sheet of paper as proof.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
I did look at the next page.

BARTLET
And?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
[wagging her finger] I work next door to the Oval Office, sir.

Mrs. Landingham walks back behind her desk.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Caesar's wife must be above reproach.

BARTLET
[removes glasses] Is the reason you didn't tell me you were getting a new
car... you...?
Did you think I was gonna think it was an extravagance?

Mrs. Landingham looks a bit sheepish.

BARTLET
You don't think I think you should have a new car? [pause] Delores, have
you ever had a new car?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
[smiling at the memory] No... No, Henry would go to Calvin Hilly in Concord
and Calvin would
give him a good deal on something reliable.

BARTLET
How about you let me find out what you were supposed to pay and write you
a check for the
difference?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Oh, no. Thank you, but I'm buying this car myself. This car is gonna feel
good.

BARTLET
[smiling] Is it a nice one?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
It's a beauty. It's blue. It has air conditioning. I told 'em I could just
roll down the
windows, but it comes with it anyway.

Bartlet chuckles quietly and affectionately to himself, amused.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Consumer Reports rates it very high. It's very safe. And when you get inside,
there's this...

Mrs. Landingham gestures, trying to find the right word.

BARTLET
Smell?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
How did you know?

BARTLET
It's the smell of freedom...and the chemicals they treat the dashboard with.

Mrs. Landingham smiles as she buttons up her coat.

BARTLET
When are you picking it up?

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Right now.

BARTLET
Do me a favor, would you? Come back here after you pick it up. I'd like to
talk to you
about something.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Yes, sir.

Bartlet wanders into THE OVAL OFFICE.

BARTLET
And put the car in the driveway. I'd like to kick the tires.

MRS. LANDINGHAM
Why?

BARTLET
[jovially] It's an expression, Fannie Mae! Go get your car!

Mrs. Landingham smiles, picks up her purse, and leaves.

CUT TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE, BASEMENT CONFERENCE ROOM - NIGHT
Abbey and Sam are seated across from each other at the table.

ABBEY
[gesturing professorially] What happens is, basically, that small stones in
the inner ear
which respond to gravity become dislodged and that'll cause benign positional
vertigo.

Sam wearily removes his glasses and rests his forehead on his hand.

ABBEY
You all right?

SAM
[tries to shake off his weariness] Yes, ma'am.

ABBEY
[with a twinkle in her eye] Sure you don't want some acetylsalicylic acid?

Sam stares at her blankly.

ABBEY
Aspirin, my brother.

SAM
[smiling slightly] What a dumb major you had.

Abbey chuckles as the door opens and Oliver appears holding a thick volume.

OLIVER
Good evening.

ABBEY
[lightly] Ah, Oliver...Do you know what peripheral neuropathy indicates?

OLIVER
[walking down stairs] No, but I don't really care that much. Sam, would you
mind for a minute?

SAM
No.

ABBEY
[self satisfied] B-12 deficiency.

OLIVER
[to Sam] Thank you.

SAM
Sure.

Sam walks up the stairs and leaves. Abbey sighs.

OLIVER
Mrs. Bartlet, I want to talk to you about...

ABBEY
[firmly] Dr. Bartlet.

Oliver stares at her, but doesn't respond.

ABBEY
When did I stop being "Dr." Bartlet? When in the campaign did I decide that
women were
gonna like me more if I called myself "Mrs."? When did I decide that women
were that stupid?

OLIVER
[firmly] Ma'am, I want you to get your own lawyer.

ABBEY
I have my own lawyer.

OLIVER
Pat's a family lawyer. I want you to get someone for this. I'll give you
eight names.
You, Pat, and the President whittle it down to three. I'll pick the one.

ABBEY
Can we do this after the broadcast Wednesday night?

OLIVER
No. I want you to do it right away - because I don't think you should do
the broadcast Wednesday night.

ABBEY
Why?

OLIVER
Because I don't think you should answer questions without a lawyer.

ABBEY
Sam said they're not gonna get into issues of legality.

OLIVER
I don't know how they're gonna avoid it.

ABBEY
[leans forward] Oliver...

Oliver sets the book on the table, turns his back to her and walks to one
end of the room to
pour himself a cup of coffee.

OLIVER
Herman Vikram was the original specialist, right?

ABBEY
Yeah.

OLIVER
It was Vikram who put him on prednisone?

ABBEY
Yeah.

OLIVER
Then almost four years ago, you put him on Interferon Beta 1-b.

ABBEY
Yeah.

OLIVER
Betaseron.

ABBEY
Yeah.

OLIVER turns around and walks back toward ABBEY.

OLIVER
You did it, not Vikram.

ABBEY
It was in consultation with Vikram.

OLIVER
But Vikram didn't write the prescription.

ABBEY
I thought, under the circumstances, it would be wrong to involve another
doctor.

Oliver sits down and flips through several books on the table.

OLIVER
So you wrote the prescriptions to yourself and then had them filled where?

ABBEY
The Dunwich Women's Health Clinic.

OLIVER
And then had them shipped to various locations?

ABBEY
[a bit defensively] It was the campaign.

OLIVER
One location was... Phoenix.

ABBEY
Probably.

OLIVER
Another was St. Louis?

ABBEY
Yeah.

OLIVER
You violated the medical ethics rules of three State Boards - New Hampshire,
Arizona,
and Missouri.

Abbey stares blankly at him. She looks a bit disconcerted, but reveals little
else.

OLIVER
[reading from a volume in front of him] "The board may take disciplinary
action against any
person who is engaged in dishonest or unprofessional conduct."

ABBEY
[sternly] They were extraordinary circumstances, Oliver. I gave my husband
excellent medical
care and I'll line up tenured professors who will say so.

OLIVER
Did you keep medical records?

ABBEY
No.

OLIVER
[reading] "...or any person who has failed to maintain adequate medical
records or
documentation on diagnostic and therapeutic treatment." [looks up and meets
her gaze]
The AMA's code of ethics pretty well spells out the egregiousness of treating
your own
family members.

ABBEY
We do it anyway. We write prescriptions for migraines, antibiotics...

OLIVER
Can I ask you, as the President's physician, have you ever asked him if he's
ever had
extramarital affairs?

Abbey fixes him with an especially steely gaze.

ABBEY
No.

OLIVER
Isn't that a crucial question in the diagnosing of autoimmune diseases?

Abbey stares silently at him for several moments, trying to control her
emotions.

ABBEY
[slowly, tersely, with a hint of sadness] I'd like to be next to my husband
when he does this.

OLIVER
[firmly] I'd like you to get your own lawyer.

ABBEY
[after a long pause] Is there anything else?

OLIVER
No. [closes book] Thank you, Dr. Bartlet.

Oliver stands up and leaves. Abbey doesn't move at all as he departs. After
the door closes
behind him, she bows her head slightly.

CUT TO: EXT. SHOT OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND WASHINGTON MONUMENT - NIGHT
CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
The office is dark except for the light from a single desk lamp. Josh is
sitting at his desk
with his head in his hands, staring blankly at the papers in front of
him. Donna walks in
through the open door, sets a folder on the desk, and removes a document
from the folder.

DONNA
You need this?

JOSH
[fatigued, a bit dazed] I didn't even see you there.

DONNA
I haven't seen you all day.

JOSH
I've been with... [clears throat] ...you know, tobacco.

Donna jots a note on the document and shows it to him again.

DONNA
You need this?

JOSH
Yeah.

Josh distractedly takes to document from her.

DONNA
Josh, the President wants you at a meeting tonight in the Residence around
9:00.

JOSH
[trying to seem nonchalant] I'll...tell you what that is. That's the Blue
Ribbon Commission
on Reform. Let me tell you, I'm gonna be collecting benefits or, you know,
not by the time
we get this Blue Ribbon thing up.

DONNA
Josh.

JOSH
Yeah?

DONNA
[after a long pause, smiles awkwardly] Um...I'm trying to...See, this is
why I'll never
have a career as a...

JOSH
Donna, what?

DONNA
Sagittarius.

Josh looks startled and sad. They stare at each other for several moments.

JOSH
[whispering] Are you all right?

DONNA
[nodding, still meeting his gaze] Yeah... There's an empty office next to
the conference
room downstairs. I moved two couches in and there's some pillows and blankets.

JOSH
C.J. putting the lid on?

DONNA
Right now...

Josh bites his lip.

DONNA
...and Leo's ready for you now.

Donna turns and leaves. Josh stares sadly after her.

CUT TO: INT. PRESS ROOM - NIGHT
C.J. is behind the podium briefing reporters.

C.J.
The OAS has agreed to meet in an emergency session tomorrow morning, but
we're still
waiting for confirmation.

STEVE
Can you tell us exactly what you're gonna say to them?

C.J.
Yes, but first we're gonna say it to them.

MARK
C.J., one more question on the Haitian casualties.

C.J.
Sorry, Mark. We've run out of time, but we'll pick it up with our lightning
round tomorrow.
I'm calling a full lid. Any developments throughout the night and you'll be
paged. Thank you
for your patience, everybody.

As C.J. walks toward the door, a few reporters call her name and toss out
questions.

STEVE
Thank you, C.J.

KATIE
Thank you, C.J.

CAROL
[standing by door] Leo's ready for you.

C.J.
[opening door] Thanks.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - NIGHT
The desk is covered in layers of paperwork. Toby is pacing near the sofa
when Leo comes in
and walks briskly to his desk. His back is turned. Toby closes the door.

TOBY
Leo. This is insane, plain and simple.

LEO
What's insane? Oh, never mind. What isn't?

Leo turns around.

TOBY
You don't think it's crazy?

LEO
I don't even know what we're talking about.

TOBY
We're firming up strategy on what will define the future of this presidency
and we don't
know if this President is interested in the future. We have to have a
discussion and we
have to have it tonight.

LEO
We're having a discussion.

Leo turns back toward his desk.

TOBY
When?

LEO
Tonight.

TOBY
Okay then.

The door opens and Josh walks in.

JOSH
Good evening.

Leo turns around to look at Josh, then walks behind his desk.

LEO
Good evening, Josh.

JOSH
Leo, would you excuse us for a second? Toby, can I talk to you outside?

Toby silently follows Josh into the hall and closes the door behind
himself. Neither of them
raises their voice above a low whisper.

JOSH
You told Donna.

TOBY
Yeah.

JOSH
Why didn't you let me?

TOBY
You hadn't yet.

JOSH
[bows head] How'd she take it?

TOBY
If everybody out there takes it the way she did, we may be okay. If a few
more people in
here took it the way she did, that'd be all right, too.

Toby starts walking back toward the door.

JOSH
[blinks] Was that for me?

TOBY
That was for me.

Josh follows Toby back inside the office.

LEO
Tobacco.

Josh closes the door. Leo and Toby sit down in chairs.

JOSH
Kalmbach's not gonna let it come to a vote in the subcommittee, which at
the moment is fine,
'cause if he did, it'd be 8-7 against.

LEO
Party lines?

JOSH
[sits down on sofa] No...We have Stacy and Miner but Warren and Rossitter
are voting against.
They have ideological problems with the case...What do you wanna do now?

LEO
Stick some dynamite up Warren and Rossitter's ass.

JOSH
Yeah, the problem is, Rossitter sits on the Judiciary Committee and I don't
know how many
enemies on Judiciary we wanna make right now.

Toby listens with his head in one hand.

LEO
[firmly] Both of you listen. We're not gonna stop, soften, detour, postpone,
circumvent,
obfuscate, or trade a single one of our goals to allow for whatever
extracurricular nonsense
is coming our way in the next few days, weeks, and months.

C.J. comes in and sits down while Leo is talking.

TOBY
[mildly annoyed] When did we decide this?

LEO
[pauses] Just now. [to Josh] Light 'em up. [to C.J.] You got a recommendation
for me?

C.J.
Thirty minutes Wednesday night. Live.

LEO
Live to tape?

C.J.
Live.

JOSH
The Mural Room?

C.J.
Yeah. They pick the interviewer, it's carried on all the networks and CNN. I
give it to
them ten hours before.

TOBY
And that's followed by a press conference.

C.J.
There isn't another step we can take until we know what the President's
intentions are.
We need a discussion, and I hate to sound shrill, but it can't wait another
night.

TOBY
We're having a discussion.

C.J.
When?

JOSH
Tonight.

C.J.
Really?

LEO
Yeah.

C.J.
That's great.

The door opens and Sam walks in. He doesn't sit down.

SAM
Good evening.

LEO
Sam, what do you know?

SAM
I know that fluid accumulating in the semicircular canals of the
vestibulo-cochlear nerve is
usually what'll account for dizziness.

Leo, Toby, and Josh all roll their eyes with mild exasperation and empathy.

SAM
Leo, I want to state right here, right now, in terms so plain and clear as
to command
their assent...

LEO
[wearily] We're having a meeting tonight.

SAM
The whole country's gonna assume he's not running when he announces the thing.

LEO
[wearily, but a bit louder] We're having a meeting.

SAM
The press is gonna assume...

LEO
[emphatically] We're having a meeting!

SAM
Really?

LEO
Yeah.

SAM
That's great.

LEO
Yeah.

C.J. stares blankly at Josh and Toby, who both glance at Leo.

LEO
[glances at his watch] Why doesn't everybody grab something to eat, be back
at 9:00, and
you'll get called to come over to the Residence.

C.J. and Toby stand up and leave, along with Sam.

LEO
Josh, walk out with me.

Josh stands up. Leo walks behind his desk to gather up a few things.

LEO
I mean it - set one off under these guys.

JOSH
How about I have C.J. make a statement at her briefing?

LEO
[looks up] A strong statement.

As they walk out of the office into the hallway, they toss out possible
language for the statement.

JOSH
"The President calls on Congress to fund the Justice Department's tobacco
lawsuit at the
levels necessary to continue this litigation."

LEO
"The American people deserve their day in court."

JOSH
[more animated] "And this Administration won't sit on the bench while well-fed
members of
the Appropriations Committee choke off funding for a lawsuit aimed at the
perpetrators of
hundreds of thousands of negligent homicides while filling their campaign
war chests."

LEO
Light 'em up!

Leo walks off in one direction. Josh pounds the door frame, then walks off
in the opposite direction.

CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT
Charlie is standing behind his desk staring silently at the phone receiver
in his hand.
Leo walks in.

LEO
Charlie?

CHARLIE
[evenly, calmly] Leo, there was an accident at 18th and
Potomac. Mrs. Landingham was
driving her car back here.

LEO
What happened?

CHARLIE
There was a drunk driver and they ran the light at 18th and Potomac. They
ran it at a high speed.

LEO
Charlie, is she all right?

CHARLIE
No...She's dead.

Leo stares at Charlie for several moments, completely stunned. Leo wavers
back and forth
just a bit, trying to absorb Charlie's words. He looks lost, overwhelmed,
totally shaken,
but he finally musters his ability to speak.

LEO
[a bit hoarse] Is he alone?

CHARLIE
Yeah.

Leo turns, walks past Mrs. Landingham's desk, and walks out onto the
veranda. Charlie watches
Leo leave, then quickly hangs up the phone.

CUT TO: EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE VERANDA - CONTINUOUS
A few Secret Service agents and Marine guards are standing at attention at
several designated
points on the veranda. Pools of light illuminate the darkness as Leo slowly
and reluctantly
makes his way toward THE OVAL OFFICE. He appears dazed and he moves with
the stiffness of a
much older man. His clothes seem to hang on him. As he reaches the French
doors, the light from
the office reveals the apprehension and dread on his face. Bartlet is standing,
with his back
turned, reading a document and talking on the phone. Leo does not move for
a several seconds;
he appears even older and more frail through the wavy glass in the French
doors. When he finally
reaches for the door knob, Bartlet notices him and gestures for him to come
in, which he does.
Leo closes the door. Bartlet hangs up the phone, removes his glasses, and
turns toward Leo.
Through the wavy glass, Bartlet's features are distorted somewhat as he
listens to Leo speak.
Bartlet cocks his head slightly to one side as Leo breaks the sad news.

DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES.
FADE TO BLACK.
THE END
* * *

The West Wing and all its characters are properties of Aaron Sorkin, John
Wells
Production, Warner Brothers Television, and NBC. No copyright infringement
is intended.

Episode 2.21 -- '18th and Potomac'
Original Airdate: May 9, 2001, 9:00 PM EST

Transcript By: The Vault
July 19, 2002
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