While the staff furiously labors over the President’s crucial State of the Union speech, Bartlet suddenly demands to include a passage that ambitiously promises a crusade to cure cancer within 10 years while Sam (Rob Lowe) is interviewed for a Vanity Fair profile by a woman (Traylor Howard) whom once was his fiancee. A lovestruck Josh (Bradley Whitford) brashly informs a prominent women’s rights leader (Mary-Louise Parker) that her budding romance with a Congressman is solely a product of political machinations. While pollster Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin) studies the sampled responses to the Chief Executive’s speech.
THE WEST WING '100,000 AIRPLANES' WRITTEN BY: AARON SORKIN DIRECTED BY: DAVID NUTTER TEASER BARTLET [V.0.] We stand at a critical point--a time of choosing. If we take the hard course, the right course, there is no limit to what we can achieve. There is no limit to what we will achieve... A round of APPLAUSE. FADE IN: INT. NATIONAL STRATEGIES GROUP - NIGHT It's the night of the State of the Union address. The people -- staffers, aides, and pollsters -- are busier than usual. The place -- a bright and spacious room in the National Strategies Group -- is filled with television screens, all of which are showing one thing: President Jed Bartlet, as he delivers to Congress information on the State of the Union. In the bottom of every television screen is some kind of a dial or gauge, whose purpose we don't know yet. A woman we'll know later as LISA SHERBORNE is looking at the largest screen, mounted from the ceiling in the middle of the room. She is Sam's ex-fiancee, a shorthaired, blonde reporter. Sam joins her, and points to the monitor as he explains the dials. SAM The dials go from zero to 100. They dial up if they like what he's saying. They dial down if they don't. All the numbers lead to a central computer. LISA Like the Nielsens. SAM Yeah. LISA They're behind a screen somewhere. SAM Huh? LISA The people with the dials. They're behind a screen somewhere. Sam points to the other monitors by the wall. In close distance is a PHOTOGRAPHER, taking quite a lot of pictures. SAM They're in Macomb County. They're in Portland. In Los Feliz, California. Norman, Oklahoma. Joey puts together a decent snapshot. LISA Which one's Joey? Sam looks over to a corner, where Joey and Kenny are busy looking at computer screens. SAM Kenny! Can we get Joey a second? Kenny taps Joey and signs something to her. She turns and looks at Sam. She is sporting a new haircut and new professional-looking glasses. BARTLET [on T.V.] ...And we will leave a safer, cleaner planet for future generations... Joey gestures at Sam to wait a minute. Sam signs something back. LISA When did you pick that up? SAM I just said thanks. From behind Lisa, the photographer takes two quick snapshots of Sam. SAM Could he go easy with the pictures? LISA You said it wouldn't be a problem. SAM When did I say that? LISA C.J. Cregg said it wouldn't be a problem. BARTLET [on T.V.] ...this time, but I have the utmost confidence... Joey and Kenny finally approach them. SAM Joey, this is Lisa Sherborne. She's doing a piece for Vanity Fair. BARTLET [on T.V.] ...whether it be two years or 22... JOEY [KENNY] I don't have a lot of time right now. LISA What do the different lines mean? JOEY [KENNY] Red's for Republicans, blue's for Democrats, and green's for Independents. When we say something liberal, like... SAM "Death is bad." JOEY Right. BARTLET [on T.V.] ...that is under protective... JOEY [KENNY] Blues go up and reds go down. When we talk about values, reds and greens go up. You're usually lucky to break 65. I got to get back now. Our POINT OF VIEW shifts from Joey and Kenny as they walk off, to the large monitor above them. Now we can see the dials in great detail. Some numbers indicate the time elapsed and the number of people in the audience. As Bartlet speaks, the three colored lines move at constant speed with little or no fluctuation from the middle 50 line. BARTLET [on T.V.] I have abiding respect for the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader. They are men of fundamental decency and public servants of purpose. APPLAUSE. LISA How much of this did you write? SAM We don't really talk about that. LISA You think there's anything you're gonna talk about, or is this gonna be an extraction? BARTLET [on T.V.] ...to the men and women of both chambers, who have labored to shed the weight of partisanship and donned the cloak of progress. APPLAUSE. LISAThe lines don't seem to be doing much. SAM [raises index finger] Hang on. BARTLET [on T.V.] It may be said that in the last half century, America won the Cold War and modeled freedom for a waiting world. Today, we are faced with a new challenge... LISA Breaking out the greatest hits, huh? BARTLET [on T.V.] ...Now in a new century, when we meet and master new forms of aggression and hatred, ignorance and evil, our vigilance in the face of oppression and global terror will be unequaled by any moment of human history. APPLAUSE. Suddenly, all three lines in the dials make big jumps. They will stay above 50 for a while. LISA Now you're cooking. BARTLET [on T.V.] And to the enemies of freedom, the enemies of democracy, the enemies of America, the enemies of humanity itself, we say here tonight with one voice. There is no corner of this earth so remote, no cave so dark, that you will not be found and brought to light and ended. More APPLAUSE. A majority of the audience gives Bartlet a standing ovation. Sam dons a proud look. The lines are way above 50 now, indicating high 60s and 70s. LISA That's a number spike. SAM [to a man in controls] Hey, crank that up. LISA You broke 65 in all the lines. Even more APPLAUSE. Sam and Lisa walk to take a closer look at another screen. SAM We nearly had one almost as big. LISA What? SAM I said we nearly had one almost as big. LISA What was it? SAM We almost cured cancer. LISA Really? SAM This close. LISA What happened? SAM Just one of those things. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT A large number of staffers, aides, and guests are gathered and conversing in the well-lit and well-decorated Northwest Lobby. Soft music plays somewhere. From a table on one side a BARTENDER is serving drinks. Amy passes by and stops by the table. BARTENDER Can I help you, ma'am? AMY Glass of chardonnay, please. Amy waits for her drink. Josh takes this time to sneak from behind. JOSH Hey, Amy. AMY Are you talking to me? JOSH Yes. AMY What did I say about that? JOSH You said not to talk to you. AMY Yet, you're doing it anyway. JOSH Yes, I am. AMY You're doing it again. JOSH Look... AMY You're still doing it. JOSH Amy... AMY I'm walking away now. The stumped Josh watches Amy leave. After a moment, he orders his own drink. JOSH Ice and vodka, please. A man announces an arrival. It's Sam, with Lisa and the photographer behind him. MAN Sam Seaborn! The party guests acknowledge the announcement and applaud the great writer. SAM Thank you. Thank you. I am at Ha Ha's in Cleveland on the 16th, and tip your waitresses. Sam shakes someone's hand, just as Josh approaches. JOSH Sam. Congratulations. SAM Hey, you too. They hug tight. JOSH So far so good, huh? SAM The dials were what we thought. We'll wait for the overnights. JOSH Lisa. LISA Josh. JOSH Still trying to get waived into Generation X? LISA Still a pompous jackass? JOSH Oh, you betcha. See you later. Josh walks away. Sam and Lisa head for the drinks table. MAN Congratulations, Sam. LISA Tell me about the cancer thing. SAM It got cut. [to the bartender] Jack Daniels. LISA You were gonna cure cancer. SAM We were gonna say we were gonna cure cancer. Curing it is someone else's department. LISA How does that work? SAM How does what work? LISA Deciding what you're gonna say. SAM You mean writing the State of the Union? LISA Yeah. SAM It's a long story. LISA I'm writing along story. SAM Do you do any kind of preparation before you come to report... LISA I prefer to... SAM Hang out at Moomba? Lisa gives Sam a convincing look. SAM The process begins six weeks beforehand with budget meetings. LISA Why budget meetings? SAM 'Cause if we're introducing a new idea, people are gonna want to know how we pay for it. Sam continues, but we are introduced to a series of scenes explaining the writing process of the State of the Union. The first of these show Ginger reading something on her desk. A man with a cart passes by and places a stack of bound papers on Ginger's desk. SAM [V.O.] Memos are written-- Ginger takes the memos, goes into SAM'S OFFICE where Toby, Sam, and other staffers are having a discussion. She puts the stack of memos on top of other stacks of papers on Sam's desk. SAM [V.O.] --they come from everywhere. Every agency, department, senior advisor, outside notable. LISA [V.O.] What's an outside notable? SAM [V.O.] Former presidents, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Jesse Jackson, Mr. Rogers wants to write us a memo; we'll read it. We'll pass some of them on to the President. He'll start making notes in the margins. Bartlet, in his BEDROOM, is up at a late hour reading and writing. SAM [V.O.] Then we have "The President's First Thoughts" meeting. That's when we all want to kill ourselves. LISA [V.O.] Why? A staff meeting in the OVAL OFFICE shows Bartlet pacing. SAM [V.O.] 'Cause that's when the President tells us we're nowhere. LISA [V.O.] Why? SAM [V.O.] 'Cause we're nowhere. So we try to figure out what people want to hear. Another meeting, but this time with Joey in the MURAL ROOM with an appropriate visual aid that says "1. Strong Leader 2. Values 3. Cares about us." SAM [V.O.] And that's when anybody who didn't want to kill themselves before has certainly been converted to the cult. LISA [V.O.] Why is this so hard? SAM [V.O.] 'Cause it's a white piece of paper. LISA [V.O.] How high are the stakes? SAM [V.O.] How high can you count? A woman in TOBY'S OFFICE puts three books on Toby's desk. LISA [V.O.] So what do you do? SAM [V.O.] Whatever it takes to get started. Yet another meeting, this time in the ROOSEVELT ROOM and with a big white board, which barely has any space to write on because of all the scribbles on it. Toby walks to the board and starts to write something. SAM [V.O.] And we read new memos, and we try new themes, and we hear new slogans, and we test new lines, and after a few weeks of that... Toby reveals what he wrote on the board. In big black letters, it says, "We're nowhere." SAM [V.O.] ...we've still got a white piece of paper. Back in the WHITE HOUSE LOBBY, Sam and Lisa are now serving themselves with food. LISA So it's hard? SAM Hmm? LISA It's hard? SAM It's hard under the best circumstances. Obviously, it got a little harder two weeks ago. LISA What happened two weeks ago? Sam looks at Lisa, who realizes what it was. LISA Congress censured the President. SAM Yes. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Two weeks ago, Toby, Sam, Josh and C.J. are waiting in Leo's office. Leo, who just walked in, is bringing troubling news. LEO Good morning. JOSH What's going on? LEO Late last night, early this morning, the President reached an agreement with the Leadership to accept a Congressional Censure. The room falls silent for a minute. The staff certainly isn't pleased. C.J. How's he feeling? LEO Hmm? C.J. How's he feeling? LEO Fine. It's over. SAM Joint Resolution? LEO Yeah. A Concurrent Resolution, actually. It'll take a couple of days for the lawyers to get together on the language. C.J. We should leak in the meantime, soften up the ground? LEO Yeah. C.J. He's all right? LEO He's about to be censured, and then he's gonna deliver the State of the Union, and then he's gonna run for reelection. My guess is that there are some things on his mind. [long pause] It's over. That's all. C.J. Thank you. SAM Thank you. Toby, Sam, and C.J. exit, while Josh remains on his seat. Leo, now with glasses on, just looks at Josh, who touches his head. CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - CONTINUOUS Just after hearing the news, Toby, Sam, and C.J. enter the empty Roosevelt Room. SAM This is like the Civil War. When's the last time Congress rebuked a sitting president? TOBY The Civil War. SAM And now, how do you...? TOBY Yeah. C.J. Should we postpone the State of the Union? What are the rules on that? After wandering the hallway, Josh enters. TOBY He's required to give Congress information on the State of the Union. If he buys Congress a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, he's fulfilled his Constitutional... SAM Postponing or canceling's an admission of defeat. C.J. He's accepting a censure. That is defeat. And you don't ask the school bully out to lunch the day after he stole your lunch money. SAM You don't go on a starvation diet, either. And we can spin the censure as a bipartisan... C.J. You can't spin a formal denunciation from the legislative branch. It spins itself. SAM I don't... C.J. It's our biggest press hit of the year, our biggest pre-convention campaign exposure. I don't know how you make a formal report to Congress when Congress just called you a liar. JOSH I say we strap a polygraph onto the TelePrompTer. No response. JOSH [CONT.] Humor--to lighten the load... I recommended that he take the censure and if any of you had been on the inside, you'd have recommended it too. How does he deliver the State of the Union in two weeks? He's the President of the United States. When he walks into the House chamber, they're all gonna stand up. Anyone here not believe this President can take it from there? I still got my lunch money. Toby? Sam? You got to dig in. [pause] Anything else? Josh chuckles, which C.J. returns back. JOSH All right. C.J. Hey Sam. SAM Yes? C.J. Well argued. SAM Yeah. Sam and C.J. exit and walk and talk in the HALLWAY. SAM What do you want? C.J. What kind of attitude is that? SAM C.J.... C.J. Vanity Fair's pitching my office a story on you. SAM What's the angle? C.J. They want to do a profile, and they want to start the reporting on the night of the State of the Union. SAM Why don't they just cover the State of the Union address? C.J. This is their way of doing that. The thing is... you know the writer. SAM Who? C.J. Lisa Sherborne. SAM That's funny 'cause I used to be engaged to someone named Lisa Sherborne. C.J. Isn't it funny? SAM I'm not doing it. C.J. I'd like you to. They exchange looks before they enter SAM'S OFFICE. SAM What happened to rule number one on staff profiles being that we don't do staff profiles? C.J. When did we have that rule? SAM We should have that rule. Keep the focus on the President. People should think he writes the State of the Union. C.J. I think people know about speechwriters. SAM Then there's no more story to tell. C.J. In the past, you tell me. Did it help or hurt that the campaign had a youthful and energetic energy? SAM I'm not sure you can say "energetic energy." C.J. Did it help or hurt? SAM It helped. C.J. Do we need help right now? Do young women read Vanity Fair? SAM So let them cover the President. C.J. They do cover the President. Right now they want you, and I want to give you to them. SAM [pause] It's got to be Lisa Sherborne? C.J. Hey, is the reason you guys didn't get married is 'cause her name would have been Lisa Sherborne Seaborn? SAM Yeah. That's the reason. C.J. I could do this for a living. [exits] CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - PRESENT The night of the State of the Union, Sam is seated by one of the tables in the room, which has been conveniently turned into a party dining area for the special night. C.J. passes by Sam, but his gaze is focused on Joey and Kenny, who pass through the Communications Bullpen. In the HALLWAY, Sam meets Joey and Kenny as they exit the bullpen. SAM Do you have anything? JOEY No. SAM I don't believe you. JOEY [KENNY] I don't have anything. SAM If you didn't have anything, you wouldn't be out here at the party. JOEY [KENNY] I like parties. SAM What do you have? JOEY [KENNY] I have the first 20 minutes. SAM Okay. JOEY [KENNY] You don't want the first 20 minutes. SAM Why? JOEY Sam... Hi. Joey sees Lisa, who just walked up from behind Sam. LISA Hi. SAM [to Lisa] I just need a minute, okay? LISA I can wait. SAM I need you to wait over there. LISA Okay. Lisa goes into the Roosevelt Room. Joey, Kenny, and Sam step inside the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE for privacy. SAM Why don't I want the first 20 minutes? JOEY [KENNY] It's what we expected it would be. SAM Tell me. JOEY [KENNY] It was the censure. People saw it was... SAM Just tell me. JOEY [KENNY] Democrats, low to mid 50s. Republicans, high 30s. SAM Independents? JOEY [KENNY] Low 40s. SAM You're kidding me. JOEY Sam... SAM Low 40s? JOEY [KENNY] We knew the first 20 minutes... SAM Ten minutes. You said ten minutes and not this bad. JOEY [KENNY] Wait for the rest of the dials. SAM We did Internet commerce in the first 20 minutes. We did child asthma... JOEY [KENNY] He wasn't the President in the first 20 minutes. Wait for the rest of the dial groups. SAM Top line, cross-tabs, whatever you get, I got a bad feeling about tonight. Sam exits and sees Lisa seated in the ROOSEVELT ROOM, drinking. He approaches, and she stands up before he could say anything. LISA Were those polling numbers? SAM No. LISA What was that about? SAM It was polling numbers, but it was... it was nothing. LISA How's it look? SAM It's too early to tell. They sit, and they exchange smiles in the process. FADE OUT. END ACT ONE * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - NIGHT Sam and Lisa are still seated by their table. Ed and Larry walk up. ED Sam... LARRY Congratulations. SAM You too. Ed, Larry, this is Lisa Sherborne from Vanity Fair. LISA Uh, which one's Ed, which one's Larry? ED and LARRY Doesn't matter. LARRY [to Sam] Joey went back to the office. SAM Thank you. Ed and Larry leave. LISA You don't have to introduce me as Lisa Sherborne from Vanity Fair. SAM I like to let them know they're talking to a reporter. LISA You really are uncomfortable with me being here, right? You're not just, you know, being you. SAM I don't know what that means. LISA How did curing cancer get cut from the State of the Union? SAM A lot of things got cut. LISA Curing cancer? SAM Hey, we had to cut a section about making government manuals easier to read, so curing cancer can take a number. LISA Why are you pissed at me? SAM I'm not pissed at you. I'm working. LISA You're done working. SAM I'm not done working. You're confused because you see Absolut Cosmopolitans and famous people. LISA [laughs softly] A section on government manuals. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Two weeks ago, Donna is reading a monster of a book on her desk. Josh walks up. JOSH Donna? DONNA Yeah? JOSH Can you get me the most recent memo from the DPC on the welfare-to-work initiatives? DONNA Yeah. Donna's attention is still on the big book. Josh changes the subject. JOSH I'm seeing Amy again tonight. DONNA Second date? JOSH First date really. Last night was more of a, you know... DONNA Scheme. JOSH Yeah. DONNA Good, 'cause the second date's usually where the wheels come off the wagon for you. JOSH That is so false. DONNA What are you doing? JOSH A late drink. DONNA Where are you going? JOSH Wilson's. DONNA I like that place. JOSH I don't. DONNA Why? JOSH Well, for one thing, the piano player only seems to know one song. DONNA Which song? JOSH "Little things with fur better hurry..." DONNA "Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry." JOSH Okay. DONNA "Surrey With a Fringe on Top." JOSH Whatever. It's like I'm on a hayride. Donna walks over to a file cabinet Josh is standing next to. She pulls out a file from up top and reads. JOSH What are you doing? DONNA I'm trying to figure out if you have to pay for the plane ticket to Phoenix. JOSH It was official travel. DONNA Yeah, well, that doesn't really seem to make a difference... JOSH What does the rule say? Donna sits back down, sighs, and reads from the big book. DONNA An employee may not use contract airline/rail passenger service provided under the contract with the General Services Administration. See part 301-15 subpart B of this chapter. JOSH What's the problem? DONNA Well, let's set aside that there's no subpart B. The rest of it uses a sentence structure with which I'm not familiar. JOSH [starts for his office] Just put it on my credit card. DONNA No. See, I think this is what it's designed to do. I think it's designed to break a person's spirit. JOSH And damn it, that's my job. DONNA We're getting beat by the system. JOSH We are the system. DONNA We suck. JOSH Yes. I need the welfare-to-work memo. Josh reaches his office. Donna turns to the hallway and meets Toby, who has been walking very slowly, seeming very distracted. DONNA How many words in the Gettysburg address? TOBY 266. DONNA And the Ten Commandments? TOBY 173. DONNA So you really wouldn't think you'd need 6000 to discover how a plane ticket gets reimbursed. TOBY No. DONNA No. Donna walks off. Toby stands still, looking into Josh's office. Josh was about to come out, a phone rings somewhere, and he goes back in. Toby puts his hand on the wall, playing with it a little as he walks forward, slower than usual. Josh looks at him from inside his office. TOBY What's going on? JOSH Welfare-to-work. Both of them walk and meet each other in the hallway. TOBY I was happy when you said this morning that you recommended the censure. JOSH Your face didn't register much. TOBY I was thinking about the speech. JOSH I figured. TOBY Don't ask me how it's going. JOSH I wouldn't. TOBY It's in the larva stage. You can't rush these things. It's not like putting a hammer to a nail. [pause] I need some pie. JOSH You should go get some. [starts to walk off] TOBY [pause] Come with me. Toby seemed a little surprised with what he said. Josh, surprised as well, turns around to face him. JOSH Okay. TOBY Don't ask me about the speech. JOSH Wouldn't do it. The two start walking. They will end up past the lobby and down the stairs. TOBY How'd it end up going last night? JOSH With Amy Gardner? TOBY Yeah. JOSH Very, very well. Donna passes them and gives Josh something. DONNA Here's the memo. JOSH Thank you. TOBY You know Amy's seeing somebody. JOSH I do know that. TOBY You know who? JOSH No, and I don't want to know. Yes, now that you mention it, who? TOBY John Tandy. JOSH Really? TOBY Yeah. JOSH [pause] Really. TOBY Yes. JOSH Interesting. TOBY Yeah. JOSH It's interesting, and I'll tell you why. TOBY Why? JOSH Because John Tandy is a... TOBY I'll tell you why, seriously. JOSH Why? TOBY 'Cause they started seeing each other shortly after Nan Lieberman announced he was gonna make a primary challenge in the 20th district. JOSH Really? TOBY Yeah. JOSH Ah-so. TOBY I don't think he's courting Amy Gardner. I think he's courting women. JOSH I don't think you're right. TOBY Why? JOSH 'Cause that's ridiculous. TOBY Really? JOSH No. It's not ridiculous. Of course, you're right. TOBY [sighs] Hey, who's the President having dinner with tonight? JOSH Friends of Abbey. TOBY Good, 'cause when you're in this kind of mood, having dinner with your wife's friends is just what you're hoping for. CUT TO: INT. THE RESIDENTIAL DINING ROOM - NIGHT That night, Bartlet is indeed having dinner with Abbey's friends, who, apparently, are all oncologists. Chamber music plays in the well-lit dining room, but Abbey is not present at the moment. WOMAN It's molecular pathology. MAN 1 S.T.I. MAN 2 [to Bartlet] That's the Signal Transduction Inhibitor. BARTLET I'm sorry? MAN 1 S.T.I. stands for Signal Transduction Inhibitor. BARTLET Abbey just went to take a phone call. Bartlet looks down at his dessert and plays with the spoon, barely listening to the conversation. Something else is obviously in his mind. WOMAN We've tested it on 12 patients. MAN 1 Is this the first drug that targets sphingosine kinase? WOMAN It is. Yeah. The first drug. MAN 2 Where are you with the FDA? MAN 1 The FDA just ruled they can use higher doses. WOMAN This, they did. Another man, BOBBY, who just went and got his cup of coffee, joins in on the conversation. BOBBY I'm telling you, we're ten years, 25 billion dollars and a good luck charm away from curing human cancer. MAN 2 More than 25 billion dollars, but the point is... MAN 1 Two and three more breakthroughs in molecular targeting... WOMAN Which is what the Signal Transduction Inhibitor is all about. Bartlet heard something that appealed to him. He looks up. BARTLET [to Bobby] What did you just say? WOMAN We're talking about a new drug, which is a signal transduction inhibitor. Sphingosine kinase was identified recently as the enzyme believed to control all signal pathways to cancer growth. This new drug can act as a kind of, guided missile. MAN 1 Smart bomb. WOMAN Yeah. That destroys cancer cells without killing the healthy ones. BARTLET Right. The part I understand was Bobby saying we could cure cancer in ten years. BOBBY Not cure it, but make it chronic. BARTLET In other words, make it so that people could live with it? BOBBY Yeah. BARTLET What is standing between us and that happening? WOMAN I don't know. BARTLET Who at this table knows? WOMAN Nobody knows. BARTLET How much money would it cost? WOMAN Nobody knows that, either. BARTLET He just said... WOMAN It's cancer. Nobody knows anything. BARTLET He just said ten years. I want to hear about this from the beginning. Talk to me like I'm not an oncologist. Everyone else looks at each other. BARTLET [CONT.] I'm not messing around. This isn't barbecue night. I'm the Commander-in-Chief. Put your asses in the chairs. Everyone standing takes his or her seats. CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - NIGHT From inside, we follow a man as he walks down the hallway. We stop just as he passes the Communications Office. From a distance, we see Toby exiting his office and going into Sam's. He crumples a piece of paper in his hand. CUT TO: INT. SAM'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Toby throws the crumpled paper as he enters. Sam is at his desk typing. TOBY I'm out of pie. SAM We'll get some more. Toby plays with his mouth and savors the last of his pie. He picks up some kind of snack on a table and starts eating it. TOBY So how's it going on the uh... what are you doing? SAM The economy. I'm getting somewhere. TOBY I can look at it when you're ready. SAM How about another two hours? TOBY Lisa's gonna do a piece? SAM It wasn't my idea. TOBY I wouldn't think so. Sam stands and picks up a newspaper from outside his door, then comes back to his desk. SAM C.J. asked me if the reason we didn't get married was because her name would've been Lisa Sherborne Seaborn. TOBY That's funny. SAM Yeah. TOBY [pause] So why didn't you get married? SAM Hmm? TOBY Why didn't you? SAM She didn't like me very much. [sits back down] TOBY Ah. Toby and Sam immediately see Bartlet in the hallway, accompanied by an agent, as he heads for the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. They meet as Bartlet enters. TOBY Good evening, Mr. President. SAM Good evening, sir. BARTLET I want to call everybody in. I just had dinner with some of Abbey's friends. They're all oncologists. I think in the State of the Union, I can announce that I'm directing our researchers to have a cure for cancer in ten years. Call everybody in. Bartlet and his agent leave. Stunned, Toby and Sam exchange looks. TOBY This is about the censure. Toby goes in his office. Sam waits a moment, then enters his office as well. From out- side, we FOCUS on the seal at the door that says, "THE WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DEPT." FADE OUT. END ACT TWO * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. WILSON'S BAR - NIGHT The piano player plays "Surrey With a Fringe on Top." The place is filled with fancy dressed people, all of whom are conversing with each other. Somewhere inside, Josh is with Amy. It's their "first date." AMY What did you just say? JOSH I said it for your own good. AMY Did you? JOSH I did. I like you. AMY I hate you. JOSH Let's look at the facts. AMY Okay. JOSH He was polling at 69% among Democrats. And that's all Tandy's got in his district. AMY Congressman Tandy. JOSH All right. He had a 69% favorability rating with women. You need 93% favorability among men to beat that, and Mahatma Gandhi doesn't get that in the Florida 20th. AMY Somebody's been studying. JOSH When Nan Lieberman announces that she might challenge him in the primary, his favorability goes down to 52%. You know why? AMY 'Cause you're an idiot? JOSH 'Cause women started going over to Lieberman. AMY Look... JOSH Women's groups started hedging saying there aren't enough women in Congress. Tandy needs women. NOW hasn't endorsed him yet. AMY It's January. JOSH Yes. Still, when did he start going out with you? A week after Lieberman announced. AMY How do you know when we started going out? JOSH I know everything. And you are the door to women. The WLC put nine million dollars in the hands of pro-choice candidates. You narrowed the gap in the House from 14 to nine in one election. You bring home the bacon. AMY You think John's worried about losing women? He runs and Emily's List practically makes a wire transfer. He crushed his last opponent in Lauderhill -- I don't even remember his name -- but he was a moderate pro-choice Republican, and there was 29% gender differential. You think he's going around with me 'cause he's afraid of Nan Lieberman? JOSH I do. AMY [chuckles] Well, I've never been so flattered in my life. JOSH I don't think I'm getting enough credit for saying this for your own good. AMY Don't talk to me. JOSH Look... AMY Don't talk to me. JOSH We're changing the sub... AMY You're talking to me. JOSH Perhaps... AMY Don't talk to me. JOSH I should just sit here? AMY Yes. JOSH And? AMY Not talk to me. JOSH Amy... AMY I have wit, I have charm, I have brains, I have legs that go all the way down to the floor, my friend. JOSH You don't have to... AMY Don't talk to me. Josh watches as Amy walks away. Seconds later, his cell phone rings. It's Toby. JOSH Hello? TOBY Josh? JOSH Yeah. TOBY You got to come back. JOSH Why? TOBY The President thinks he can cure cancer. JOSH Well, that's some good news, I guess. TOBY Yeah. I'll see you in a few minutes. Josh hangs up. CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT Joey and Kenny, who have just been called in, are walking with Charlie in the hallway. They're heading for a meeting in the Oval Office. JOEY [KENNY] Did he find a cure for cancer? 'Cause if he found a cure for cancer, I think that would be interesting. I think that was something we should share. CHARLIE Yeah. JOEY [KENNY] But he didn't. He wants to find a cure for cancer, and he wants to say that in the State of the Union. You know what my response would be? Me, too, but is this the first time you had that thought? CHARLIE Sign "union" again. That was cool. Joey signs the word. CHARLIE No. It must have been a different word. JOEY [KENNY] Is he serious about this? CHARLIE That's not my department. I get you to the meeting. JOEY [KENNY] Right. CHARLIE Joey? JOEY Yes? CHARLIE How high are the stakes for the speech? JOEY [KENNY] They're high. But a magic trick isn't gonna help. CHARLIE How high? JOEY High. CHARLIE How high? JOEY [KENNY] Well, you don't win anything in January. You only lose. If he doesn't park the State of the Union, and I mean deep, it'll be his last one. CHARLIE All right. You're in the Oval Office. Joey nods and steps into the Outer Office. CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE LOBBY - NIGHT Josh enters and sees Ed and Larry walking by. JOSH Hey, did I hear Toby right on the phone? LARRY Could be worse, you know. JOSH How? LARRY He could have cancer. JOSH Do the two of you ever go anywhere separately? ED It's weird, isn't it? JOSH A little weird. Yeah. Ed and Larry walk off. Josh continues on his way. CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Sam, Toby, C.J., Joey and Kenny have been waiting. Josh walks in. JOSH What's going on? What was that phone call? TOBY We're gonna meet and talk. [beat] How'd it go? JOSH Not at all well. You know whose fault that is? TOBY John Tandy's? JOSH No. TOBY Hers? JOSH Yours. LEO Let's go. Leo had just opened the door from inside and invites everyone into the OVAL OFFICE. TOBY Leo, is he serious...? LEO He's on his way down. Toby closes the door when everyone else gets in. JOSH Totally your fault. TOBY I'm just, you know... I'm just the guy who does the thing. JOSH What? TOBY We've run out of pie. From the portico, Bartlet steps in. BARTLET Good evening. Thanks for being here so late. ALL Good evening, Mr. President. BARTLET A President stood up. He said we will land a man on the moon before the end of the decade. You know what we knew when he said that? Nothing. We didn't know anything. We didn't know about the lunar surface. We didn't know how to land one of these things. All we'd ever done is crash it into the ocean. And God knows we could figure out how to land soft. We didn't know how to blast off again, but a President said we're gonna do it, and we did it. So I ask you, why shouldn't I stand up and say we are going to cure cancer in ten years? Silence in the room. No one responds. BARTLET [CONT.] I'm really asking. JOSH Well, how close are we to really being able to do this? BARTLET Nobody knows. JOSH Then... BARTLET Toby. TOBY It'll be seen as a political ploy. BARTLET Why? C.J. It can be seen... [to Toby] Excuse me. [to Bartlet] It can be seen as self-serving. BARTLET How? C.J. Using cancer to deflect attention from MS. BARTLET You think people with cancer care what my motives are? You think their families do? C.J. I'm saying... BARTLET Joey? JOEY [KENNY] I agree with everything that's been said, except, I don't think they'll see it as deflecting the MS. I think they'll see it as deflecting the censure. BARTLET Once again, why would somebody...? JOEY Everybody cares about motive, Mr. President. BARTLET I didn't... KENNY She said, "Everybody cares about motive," sir. BARTLET Sam. SAM Yes sir? BARTLET Why shouldn't I do it? SAM I think you should. I think ambition is good. I think overreaching is good. I think giving people a vision of government that's more than Social Security checks and debt reduction is good. I think government should be optimistic. Bartlet nods, turns to look at Leo, then back to his staff. BARTLET I'm sorry. I know it's late, but I want to start seeing drafts of a new section in the next few hours. C.J., I want a sense of a media overview, too. C.J. nods, but nobody moves instantly. BARTLET Now. ALL Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. The staff exits. Bartlet goes behind his desk, and Leo gives him a knowing look. BARTLET I just want to look at some drafts. Leo exits to his office. CUT TO: INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - NIGHT After the meeting, Sam and Toby walk in. TOBY I don't have an hour and a half to spend on this. SAM I can do it. TOBY You don't have an hour and a half to spend on it either. SAM Why are you opposed to this? TOBY Stopping what we're doing to write about curing cancer? SAM Yeah. TOBY 'Cause it's never gonna be in the speech. SAM How do you know? Toby goes into his office just as Joey and Kenny enter. JOEY [KENNY] What resources do we have to devote? SAM I don't know. JOEY [KENNY] How much money is it gonna cost? SAM I don't know. TOBY [exits his office] That's how I know. JOEY [KENNY] The man's about to get a Congressional Censure. He's trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat. What are you doing humoring him? SAM I'm not humoring him. TOBY I don't want you spending more than an hour and half. [goes to his office] SAM You're a pollster. JOEY Yes. SAM You don't think this will poll well? JOEY [KENNY] Do I think people are in favor of curing cancer? Yes, I do. SAM So? JOEY [KENNY] But federal government shouldn't be directing scientific research. SAM Why? JOEY [KENNY] Because you stink at it. If it was up to the NIH to cure polio through a centrally directed program instead of an independent investigator driven discovery, you'd have the best iron lung in the world, but not a polio vaccine. SAM When did you get an M.D.? JOEY [KENNY] I was just quoting Samuel Broder. SAM Who's he? JOEY [KENNY] The former director of the National Cancer Institute. The speech is gonna work fine. Don't overreact to the censure. SAM There is no speech yet. JOEY [KENNY] There will be. SAM I have to work now. The President asked me to try this. JOEY [KENNY] I'll be in my office. [exits with Kenny] CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - PRESENT Back at the State of the Union party, Joey and Kenny walk down the hallway talking, obviously by means of signing. Josh comes up from behind. JOSH Listen... When the hell are we getting numbers? JOEY [KENNY] You are a pleasure to work for. JOSH I hear that a lot. When are we getting numbers? JOEY When I say so. Joey and Kenny walk away. Donna, on the other hand, walks quietly from behind Josh. DONNA So many women, so little charm. JOSH What in God's name could you possibly want right now? DONNA [faces him] Let me tell you something. Making government manuals easier to read? JOSH Yeah? DONNA Would have been a winner. Amy suddenly passes by behind Josh and smacks him hard on the head. AMY Come with me. JOSH [to Donna] Excuse me. Josh follows Amy, until they reach a deserted hallway, not far from the party. AMY [whispers] He happens to be more feminist than the White House. JOSH I have no idea what you just said. AMY I said he happens to be more feminist than the White House. JOSH Feminine? AMY Feminist. He wrote the amendment to the HHS Appropriations Bill that made violence near abortion clinics a federal crime while you guys were seeking legal commentary. JOSH Forgive us for talking to lawyers about the law. AMY He almost single-handedly beat back three parental consent bills, and on two of them, he ran his own damn whip operation because they weren't Leadership priorities. JOSH The Minority Whip doesn't work for us. AMY And he ties the Violence Against Women Act to the last crime bill... JOSH Amy... AMY ...over White House objection. JOSH I'm not quarreling with his credentials as a lover of women. I happen to know he excels in that area. AMY Look who's talking. JOSH I'm just saying... AMY That he's using me. JOSH I was saying that. I was saying it two weeks ago. Now I'm not saying anything in the vicinity of that. From the other end of the hallway, someone walks up. It's Congressman JOHN TANDY. TANDY Hey. AMY Hey. JOSH Congressman. TANDY Josh, great night for us. JOSH We'll see. [They shake hands.] TANDY Amy, we're doing some pictures with the President in the Mural Room. AMY You don't want to do them yourself? TANDY No. Come on. Tandy starts to walk off. Josh and Amy exchange looks. JOSH Go ahead. Photo-op. Amy begins to leave, but she stops and looks back one more time. Tandy, already a few steps ahead, calls her. TANDY Amy. AMY Yeah. [joins him] TANDY [to Josh] Congratulations. Josh watches as Amy and the Congressman step away. JOSH [to himself] Hmm. We'll see. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - LATE NIGHT Two weeks before the State of the Union, Sam knocks at the open door. Bartlet is at his desk, reading. BARTLET Yeah. Come on in. Sam steps in and walks up to the desk. SAM Good evening, Mr. President. BARTLET You got it? SAM Yeah. He gives Bartlet a piece of paper, which he reads, all the while pacing the room. Bartlet finds himself seated on a chair. BARTLET This is good. SAM You know we can't do it. BARTLET Yeah. SAM We need to line up experts who can face the press, and in just two weeks. BARTLET Yeah. SAM Sloane-Kettering, Dana-Farber, The Cleveland Clinic, UCLA. BARTLET We'd want to include the Society of Clinical Oncology. SAM And the NCI. BARTLET The OMB would have to score it. We haven't identified the offsets to pay for it. We can barely tell them what the it is. SAM Clinical trials under Medicare and Medicaid, Science and Technology Democrats, the pharmaceutical companies. BARTLET [sighs] It was a good idea though. SAM We have other good ideas. BARTLET So we don't get water from a rock. We just do our thing and take our chances. SAM I think so. BARTLET [stands] We're gonna have to do it awfully well this time. SAM We've done that before. Bartlet gives Sam the draft back. BARTLET Anything else? SAM [shakes his head] Thank you, Mr. President. Sam exits. Bartlet walks back to his desk. CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE LOBBY - PRESENT At the State of the Union party, C.J. is conversing with two men. Nearby, Kenny calls her. KENNY C.J.! C.J. [to the men] Would you excuse me? C.J., with drink in her hand, walks down the hallway to JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA. Almost every staffer in the place is gathered around Joey and Kenny. As soon as C.J. arrives, Joey starts. JOEY [KENNY] Well, something happened at the half-hour mark. TOBY What? JOEY [KENNY] They remembered why they liked him in the first place. The breakdowns are being handed around, but the really good news are the panel backs. Sixteen Democrats, 16 Republicans, and 12 Independents were asked identical questions two days ago and one hour ago. Two days ago, 48% said he was able to handle his job effectively. Tonight, that number's 59. Some sounds of amazement and relief from everyone. JOEY [KENNY] "Trustworthy," 60%, up from 41. TOBY Give us the real one. JOEY [KENNY] "Strong leader..." [with a smile] 69%. Strong, loud, and motivating cheers come from everyone. The place is lifted up with joy and rapture, as they smile and applaud. JOSH [arms up in the air] We're back! Yes! Yes! Sam and Toby hug. Josh kisses Joey. He then goes to Donna, kisses and hugs her. C.J. gives Toby a handful of lip smacks. Sam exchanges a high five with Larry as Ed cheers nearby. Josh lifts C.J. up in the air. From the end of the hall, staffers make way and applaud as Bartlet walks up, with Leo behind him. Bartlet puts his arms around Sam and Toby. BARTLET Somebody get these guys some pie. Smiles and laughter continue. C.J. Joey, is there an extra copy of the panel backs? I didn't get one. KENNY I got one. C.J. Thanks. She takes the copy and makes a run for her office, passing by Toby. TOBY C.J.! C.J. Hang on. TOBY Dance with me! C.J. Hang on! I'm just gonna toss this in my office. As C.J. enters her office, Carol walks in behind her. CAROL Congratulations, boss. C.J. Nice job. Take the rest of the night off. CAROL Yeah. It's one in the morning. C.J. Well, you earned it. Sam knocks and enters. Carol exits. C.J. Sam, Sam, sunshine man. Get on the couch, I'm gonna do you right now. SAM Okay. C.J. Sorry, I was still talking to Carol. SAM What is wrong with you? C.J. We really don't know. [laughs] Lisa mentioned that it wasn't going that well tonight. You still got a couple of weeks with her, you'll... SAM Yeah. I wish that we hadn't started tonight. C.J. Why? It was a shining moment. SAM It got the job done, but it's ironic, 'cause that thing, sort of, a thing between us is I'm supposed to know the difference between flash and substance. C.J. Sometimes a little flash is what's required. You said that to me. SAM I say that when I don't have anything to say. C.J. It wasn't a Vegas act. It was stirring. And I wouldn't hang your head when you say it got the job done. That job was impossible and it had to be done. There aren't ten guys in the country who could write that speech. SAM I bet the Cancer Committee can't wait to buy me a beer. C.J. puts a hand on Sam's chest. SAM Hey, I'm just, you know. Anyway, congratulations. And if you're serious about that thing with Carol, I can just sit in the corner and not even say... C.J. [laughs] Get out. C.J. takes a sip of her drink as Sam leaves. CUT TO: INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - NIGHT Sam leads Lisa inside. SAM Sorry. I was just getting some polling numbers. LISA Can you tell me what they were? SAM They're internal numbers. CNN/USA Today will have something in a little while. Anyway, this is my office over here. LISA Sam, I'm gonna give my notes from tonight to someone else and let them finish the reporting over the next few weeks. You're obviously not comfortable with this. SAM They're internal numbers, Lisa, I can't... LISA Yeah, whatever. I'm gonna give my notes to someone else. SAM [pause] Anyway... [shows Lisa inside his office] This is my office. LISA It's nice. SAM [pause] C.J. asked me a couple of weeks ago if the reason we didn't get married is because your name would be Sherborne Seaborn. LISA That's exactly why we didn't get married. SAM [pause] Why didn't we get married? LISA Why do you think? SAM 'Cause I don't know what the cool restaurant is, and I don't care. When I get hungry, I want to eat. And I don't know where the Tommy Hilfiger party is, and I don't know what to do once I get there. LISA You're full of crap. SAM I was never cool enough for you. LISA You're full of crap, and you think too little of me, and I didn't leave you. You left me, and you did it to do this, and the reason you're pissy is 'cause I'm here looking at you and writing about you, and you're wondering if I'm gonna think you've been doing anything at all. SAM Often it's not clear to me whether or not I have. LISA You have. SAM How would you know? LISA I don't know. SAM [pause] Here's something interesting. In 1940, our armed forces weren't among the 12 most formidable in the world, but obviously we were gonna fight a big war. And Roosevelt said the U.S. would produce 50,000 planes in the next four years. Everyone taught it was a joke, and it was. 'Cause it turned out we produced 100,000 planes. Gave the air force an armada that would block the sun. LISA Do you still have what you wrote that night? SAM About curing cancer? LISA Yeah. Sam walks to his desk and fiddles with his laptop. He shows Lisa his draft on curing cancer. LISA Read it to me. [sits] SAM [reads] "Over the past half-century, we've split the atom, we've spliced the gene, and we've roamed Tranquility Base. We've reached for the stars, and never have we been closer to having them in our grasp. New science, new technology is making the difference between life and death, and so we need a national commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of possibility. And so, I announce to you tonight, that I will bring the full resources of the federal government and the full reach of my office to this fundamental goal: we will cure cancer by the end of this decade." LISA [pause] That was nice. [beat] I'll pass the notes along. Sam nods and watches Lisa leave his office. As he leans back on his chair, we see his computer screen and the words to his draft. With a touch, he highlights all the words, before he deletes them. For a moment, Sam just sits still, staring at the blank page. DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES. FADE TO BLACK. THE END * * * The West Wing and all its characters are a property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Production, Warner Brothers Television and NBC. No copyright infringement is intended. Episode 3.11 -- '100,000 Airplanes' Original Airdate: January 17, 2002, 9:00 PM EST Transcript By: Giorgio March 6, 2002