When the President (Martin Sheen) is overheard making a disparaging comment on an open-mike about the potential Republican nominee, C.J. (Allison Janney) does damage control for days after while Toby (Richard Schiff) tries to finesse the newly named poet laureate (Laura Dern) from speaking out against the United States’ lack of support for a land-mines treaty. Elsewhere, Sam (Rob Lowe) recalls Republican White House legal counsel Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) from vacation to help spin the administration’s response to Bartlet’s gaffe; Josh (Bradley Whitford) is both repulsed and intrigued by the fact that he has his own fan-based Web site — LemonLyman.com; the President also ponders an effort to save a failing giant computer company.
THE WEST WING "THE U.S. POET LAUREATE" TELEPLAY BY: AARON SORKIN STORY BY: LAURA GLASSER DIRECTED BY: CHRISTOPHER MISIANO TEASER FADE IN: THE MURAL ROOM - DAY The President is having an interview live on television. He sits and watches the broadcaster on television. Camera crews are everywhere. Toby watches nearby. TV BROADCASTER Good morning, Mr. President. Good to have you with us. BARTLET Good to be talking to you. TV BROADCASTER You're talking to us from the Map Room this morning? BARTLET The Mural Room as a matter of fact. TV BROADCASTER Well, welcome to Sunrise Cincinnati, sir. And I know you have only a few minutes, and you want to talk to us about Thursday's prime-time press conference. BARTLET That's right, and Thursday night we're going to talk about energy dependence versus independence and cleaner burning fuels that get up to 80 miles per gallon versus oil-based fuels that pump billions of pounds of pollution into our air and perhaps just as important our vulnerable to very volatile price spikes. We want to talk about controlling our destiny through innovation instead of relying so heavily on foreign oil. TV BROADCASTER Okay, now, you mention foreign oil. BARTLET Yeah. 65% of the world's oil reserves are in the Mid East. 3% are here at home. I, for one, wouldn't mind sending a little less of my money over there and the only alternative is to use less oil. TV BROADCASTER Last question Mr. President. Governor Robert Ritchie of Florida the likely Republican nominee for the fall campaign, in his new book "A Promise to Lead," he says that we should be exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for new sources of energy. Will this be a hotly-contested campaign topic? BARTLET I hope so, but there'll be plenty of time for campaigning come the fall. Thursday night is about America's energy future. TV BROADCASTER Thank you, very much, President Jed Bartlet. It's 12 past the hour. Don't go away. We'll be back with traffic and weather updates. MAN And we're out. TV BROADCASTER Thank you very much sir. BARTLET Thank you, Kim. TV BROADCASTER Uh... Terry. BARTLET I'm-- Terry, I'm sorry. TV BRAODCASTER That's all right. BARTLET That was my ninth interview this morning. TV BROADCASTER Are you ready to run against Ritchie? BARTLET Well, I guess we'll be ready to run against whoever we have to run against. TV BROADCASTER What do you think of him? BARTLET Rob Ritchie? I don't know him very well. TV BROADCASTER Well, good luck. BARTLET Thank you. TOBY They all want to talk about Ritchie's book. BARTLET We can talk about my book. TOBY Theory and Design of Macro Economics in Developing Nations? BARTLET Yeah. MAN Okay, sir, we have 2 minutes and 20 seconds and it's WKZN Philadelphia. BARTLET Thanks. TOBY When they say "exploring" you got to say "drilling." There's a 12 point kick with ANWAR between "exploring" and drilling." BARTLET What else? TOBY Saudi Arabia, bad. BARTLET Got it. C.J. How's it going? TOBY Good. C.J. Do you have a minute? TOBY Well, that's all I've got. We follow Toby to C.J.'S OFFICE. C.J. Could you do me a favor? I just got faxed a letter from Tabitha Fortis. She says she's not comfortable going ahead with the dinner next week unless she gets to chastise the administration for backing off it's commitment to banning land mines. I'm sure its just a matter of hand-holding. Would you ask Sam to talk to her? TOBY I'll do it. C.J. I thought Sam 'cause he's more familiar with land mines. TOBY I'll talk to her. C.J. Why? TOBY 'Cause. C.J. gets a big grin on her face. TOBY What? C.J. Is it possible you've got a little touch of the poet? Or would like a little touch of the poet? TOBY Yes. C.J. Okay, then learn something about land mines, would you? We don't want to cancel. About 300 of the finest minds in the country are coming, plus some Congressmen. TOBY It'll be fine. C.J. Knock 'em dead, de Bergerac. CUT TO: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - CONTINUOUS Toby goes back inside. TOBY Okay. BARTLET Okay what? TOBY Nothing, I just meant, you know, okay. MAN They're back from commercial in 20 seconds. BARTLET Drilling/exploring. TOBY Yes, sir. BARTLET Saudi Arabia bad. TOBY Saudi Arabia very bad. BARTLET Okay. TOBY Okay. BARTLET Why are you smiling? TOBY Happiness is my default position. BARTLET Okay. TV REPORTER And joining us now from the Mural Room of the White House is President Bartlet. Good morning, Mr. President. BARTLET Good morning. Thanks for having me. TV REPORTER And you're here to talk about Thursday's prime-time press conference. BARTLET And to shill for my new energy plan, which is about raising fuel economy standards, working with Detroit to develop hybrid cars, and using tax incentives to promote alternative energy. TV REPORTER Why is alternative energy important? BARTLET After a decade of wars with Iraq and a spread of religious extremism in Saudi Arabia, we still rely on this very dangerous, very uncertain region for a quarter of our oil reserves. And I, for one, wouldn't mind not sending quite so much of my money there. TV REPORTER Now, wouldn't that suggest that Florida Governor Robert Ritchie was correct in his book "A Promise to Lead" when he says we should be opening up the Arctic for exploration? BARTLET Exploring is what Magellan did and Balboa and Jacques Cousteau. What we're talking about is drilling which is the only way you know if there's oil there and which will forever damage national treasures like ANWAR. TV REPORTER What about Clean Coal? BARTLET Clean Coal is a term that pollsters came up with 'cause it polls higher then regular coal. What we want are real cleaner burning fuels. We want to control our destiny through innovation and that's what we're going to be talking about Thursday night. TV REPORTER Mr. President, thank you very much for being with us today. BARTLET My pleasure. TV REPORTER It's 16 past the hour. We'll be back with traffic and weather as Wake-Up Philadelphia continues. MAN Okay. TV REPORTER Thank you sir, that was terrific. BARTLET Leslie, right? TV REPORTER Yes, sir. BARTLET Thanks a lot. TV REPORTER I mentioned Governor Ritchie's book because I was hoping you'd rise to the bait. BARTLET There'll be plenty of bait in September-October. TV REPORTER Have you read the book? BARTLET I'll read it when he does. TV REPORTER What's your read on him so far? BARTLET I don't know, Leslie. I think we might be talking about a .22 caliber mind in a .357 magnum world. TV REPORTER Okay. BARTLET Okay, thanks again. [to Toby] Who's next? TOBY You were hot. BARTLET What? TOBY When you said that just now. You were hot. They've got it on b-roll. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY C.J., Josh and Sam are inside. JOSH How'd the tape get out already? SAM We were just talking about that. C.J. There was a local AP reporter at the station in Philly. JOSH They didn't want to keep it for an exclusive? C.J. It's better for them to have their call letters splashed on every... and the networks will carry it tonight. JOSH This is amateur crap, Sam. How'd it happen? SAM Well, first of all, I wasn't there. JOSH Who was there? SAM My boss. The White House Director of Communications. It wasn't his fault, either. It was eight seconds. It was his tenth interview. He didn't see that the green light was... JOSH All right, you're right. What's first? C.J. I have the briefing room in 20 minutes. JOSH What do you think you're going to get? C.J. Is the President saying Governor Ritchie's stupid? SAM Yes. C.J. No. SAM Yes, is the only answer to that question. JOSH Why not, the President has the highest regard for Governor Ritchie. Believes he's a broad thinker and a dedicated public servant? SAM Because it's the Press Briefing Room, not the Improv. There's no way for her to walk this back. She'll sound disingenuous at best. Naive at worst. JOSH I'm more concerned with how the President sounds. C.J. I've got 80 boys and girls in there who don't make the distinction. And if I pretend Bobby Ritchie's a nuclear physicist... SAM Then don't answer it. We're focusing on energy and dependence this week. C.J. No, we're focusing on this this week. I can try a non-apology apology. JOSH Try it. C.J. "The President didn't realize that the camera was hot and he said something he shouldn't have, as we all do from time to time." JOSH Nice. SAM Yeah. It's a head-fake towards contrition. JOSH And we hold our heads high. All right. SAM Good. We'll see how it goes. (exits) JOSH Why do you suppose this one's so hard to spin? C.J. 'Cause it's the classic Washington scandal. We screwed up by telling the truth. JOSH All right. Lets try not to do that that much. We follow Josh into his BULLPEN AREA where we see Donna, Bonnie, Ginger, and Margaret gathered around Donna's computer laughing and whispering. JOSH What's going on? GINGER Hi, sugar lips. JOSH I'm sorry? MARGARET Donna struck gold. JOSH What is it? BONNIE LemonLyman.com. JOSH What is it? DONNA It's your fan site. JOSH What are you talking about? DONNA There's a website devoted to all things "Josh." JOSH You're kidding me. DONNA No. JOSH LemonLyman.com? DONNA You have fans, Josh. Not many of them from the looks of it, but what they lack in numbers, they more than make up for in fervor. JOSH What do they talk about? DONNA You. You on "Capitol Beat." You on "Meet the Press." You in "US News" and "World Report." BONNIE Well, there's also the section called "Sightings about Town." DONNA This is reserved for actual Josh encounters of the third kind. Most of which seem to have taken place in restaurants and haberdasheries to which you've never been, unless you're leading a double life, and I think we both know you're not that clever. JOSH LemonLyman.com. DONNA Right now, we're viewing the section devoted to the Josh Fantasy Date. This, it should painfully self-explanatory, is where the women, and more then a few men I gotta say, discuss what they would do with you if... JOSH All right, can everybody who doesn't work here, please go work where they work. MARGARET I want to work here now. JOSH You can get this at your own desk. MARGARET You better believe it. DONNA See you at lunch. Margaret, Ginger and Bonnie leave. DONNA All right, you've got Senior Senior Staff at C.O.S., then Senior staff in the Roosevelt Room. There's a meeting with the economic team to pre-brief for Fed Chair, and that's followed immediately by Advance, State, and NSC to go over the next six months of foreign travel. JOSH Let me look at this thing. He leans over Donna and tries to look at the web site on her computer. DONNA Josh...? JOSH Right. Yes. Let me know when C.J.'s briefing starts. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY Leo is placing one of the glass globes back on the President's desk when Bartlet walks in behind him. BARTLET Sorry I'm late. LEO Good morning, Mr. President. BARTLET We hearing from the Michigan delegation? LEO We will. They'll want assurances no mandates, no timetable, make the whole thing voluntary and industry-led. BARTLET Polluters aren't going to write the environmental laws. What about the Energy's Workers Union? LEO They just want to know it's Saudi jobs we're after. BARTLET It is. LEO Look, the money's in raising the CAFE standards to 40 miles per gallon. That's the meeting that's coming to my door. BARTLET What else? LEO You're going to be reprimanded tomorrow night on the house floor. BARTLET For what? LEO It's not nice to call people dumb. BARTLET Let me ask you something. You're pretty dumb, did you take offense? Look at that. I did it again. CHARLIE Mr. President? BARTLET Yeah? CHARLIE She's ready to start. Leo and Bartlet begin to walk into the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. LEO Seriously, the GOP's lining up a bunch of people for order speeches. BARTLET Calling me impolite? LEO I guess. NANCY He's here. You can send her in. LEO Anyway, the Whip's got about a 150 Democrats ready to rebut. You have any special preferences? BARTLET I don't know. I guess the biggest names. LEO Know what we'd do if we were smart? We wouldn't send anybody. We'd look so good by not showing up. Let them whine by themselves. We pan from Leo and Bartlet to a TV set in the outer office where we see the press briefing has begun. REPORTERS (on T.V.) Good morning, C.J.. C.J. Good morning. REPORTER 1 (on T.V.) C.J., was the President saying that Governor Ritchie isn't up to the job of being President? C.J. The President didn't realize the camera was hot, and he said something he shouldn't have. Something we all do from time to time. LEO Nice. REPORTER 2 (on T.V.) Isn't it a bit early in the season to be going negative? C.J. Yeah, again, he said something he shouldn't have and he wouldn't have if he knew it was going to be for public consumption. STUART (on T.V.) C.J., has he made the same kind of remarks in private? C.J. There's a reason they call it private, Stuart. BARTLET All right, I'm going back to work. LEO All right. Bartlet and Leo walk out of the room while the camera stays on the TV. REPORTER (on T.V.) C.J., is the President saying that he's smarter than Governor Ritchie? C.J. The voters get to make those kinds of judgments. REPORTERS (on T.V.) C.J.! C.J.! C.J. Yes? FADE OUT. END ACT ONE * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. THE PRESS ROOM - DAY TUESDAY MARK Governor Ritchie is calling on the President to apologize? C.J. Yes. MARK Will he? C.J. As I said yesterday, the President didn't realize the camera was hot and he said something he shouldn't have. Katie? KATIE The Ritchie camp is also challenging the President to sign a pledge basically a promise to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign. C.J. Well, for one thing, while the Governor is the presumptive Republican nominee, it's presumptive. For that matter, so is the President's renomination. But more important than that, the President has been a candidate in seven statewide and national elections and every one of them has been a substantive, issued-based campaign, which is one of several reasons why the voters have elected him each and every time his name has appeared on a ballot. Phil? PHIL Were you aware that several news organizations have been trying to obtain Governor Ritchie's transcripts from the University of Florida? C.J. You mean since yesterday? PHIL Yeah. C.J. No I wasn't. PHIL I guess my question is does the President feel college transcripts are an accurate barometer of a person's fitness to hold a high public office? C.J. I've never asked him, but my guess is the President feels that a person's college transcripts is a reasonable barometer of how a person did in college. [laughter] For the record, the President graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame with a major in American Studies and a minor in theology. He received a Masters and a Doctorate at the London School of Economics and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Dartmouth University where he was a tenured professor. CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS Sam is standing outside of the Press Room watching C.J. conduct the briefing on a monitor. C.J. [cont] I myself attended Cal Berkeley, go Bears. Thank you very much, I'll talk to you later. REPORTERS Thank you, C.J. Sam sighs as C.J. exits the Press Room. They walk. SAM All right, so far not bad. C.J. What's next? SAM Well, But Wachtell's in my office right now. C.J. Of course he is. Don't give him what he wants. SAM I'm told I seldom give anybody what they want. C.J. We cant hold a bipartisan summit on bipartisanism, we'll look ridiculous. SAM We're used to that, aren't we? C.J. Sam... SAM I'm not giving him what he wants. C.J. Is it me, or is Ritchie's people handling this wrong? SAM It's not you. C.J. Why keep it alive? There's no way for them to look good. The President was mean to mean? Let it go. SAM By the way, my Princeton Tigers could whip your Cal Bears any day of the week. C.J. At what? SAM Logarithms, possibly. C.J. walks away as Sam enters the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. GINGER He's in your office. SAM Thank you. CONGRESSMAN WACHTELL waits in SAM'S OFFICE as Sam walks in. SAM Congressman. CONGRESSMAN WACHTELL There's a heavy stench of partisanism in the air, Sam. SAM Actually, you know, they just sprayed for bugs. WACHTELL How in the hell did Ziegler let something like this happen? SAM Well, first of all, it wasn't Toby's fault, it was mine. And it happened quickly and we regret it. WACHTELL How's reaction been so far? SAM Our base is very happy, but when our base is happy, there's usually trouble someplace else. WACHTELL The moderates are talking about bolting the party. SAM Nobody's bolting the party, it was an honest mistake. And, by the way, had nothing to do with partisanism. WACHTELL Well, something has to be done. SAM There's very little that can be done from the Communications Office. WACHTELL A summit... SAM Congressman... WACHTELL A summit on bipartisan cooperation. SAM I can bring it up but it'll get laughed out of the room. WACHTELL Why? SAM It's an election year. We want to be partisan. We're trying to beat them. WACHTELL Well, I've got to be able to go back and tell my moderate friends something. What about a Republican appointment, or promotion? SAM We've got Ainsley Hayes. WACHTELL That name sounds familiar. SAM She was Associate White House Counsel, got promoted to Deputy Counsel, and she's just slightly to the right of the Kaiser. WACHTELL I'd make her visible right now. SAM Yes, sir, that's a good idea. WACHTELL And learn to tell the difference between red and green. SAM Yes, sir. WACHTELL Okay then. As the congressman exits, Sam gets up from desk and walks back out to the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. SAM Ginger... I need to see Ainsley. GINGER She's on vacation. SAM When's she coming back? GINGER Next week. SAM Mmm... Not so much, no. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY JOSH Donna! DONNA Yeah? JOSH Sit down we're gonna post a response on the site. DONNA What site? JOSH LemonLyman... DONNA No. JOSH Yeah, we got to post a response to someone. DONNA It's a bad idea. JOSH Why? DONNA You don't know these people. JOSH Neither do you. DONNA Oh, yes, I do. JOSH What's wrong with them? DONNA Nobody knows. JOSH These are people taking a very healthy interest in government. They should be applauded. DONNA Then applaud them, but stay off the site. JOSH These are the people talking. I'm not an elitist. DONNA You are an elitist. JOSH I am an elitist, but I have respect for people who don't measure up. DONNA People on these sites tend to be a little hysterical. JOSH We've got to correct something. DONNA What? JOSH Irmatrude writes, "Three nights ago on Nightline Josh said, 'We'll be asking for a GAO study of Medicare drug pricing.' Apparently, no one's told Josh that only Congress can ask the GAO to do anything." First of all, how cool is that, that they know what the GAO can and can't do? DONNA Oh, it's cool as all giddy up. JOSH Sit down. DONNA Please don't do this. JOSH Sit down. Irmatrude... Thanks for watching me on Nightline. Yes, I do know that only Congress can instruct the GAO. When I said, "We'll be asking," I meant Democrats and not the White House. Thank you for your concern, Josh "Lemon" Lyman. DONNA Are you sure you want to sign-off like that? JOSH It's playful. DONNA Okay. JOSH You could get more in the spirit of this, you know. DONNA The people. JOSH Yes. DONNA What Josh doesn't know is that some of these people haven't taken there medication. Let's watch what happens now. Toby knocks on Josh's office door. TOBY Excuse me. JOSH Hey! You're done. TOBY Is this tie all right? JOSH I'm sorry? TOBY This necktie, does it go with the jacket? JOSH God, I don't know Toby. The tie, is it red or is it green? TOBY Congratulations, you're the hundredth person to make that joke. JOSH The tie is fine, why? TOBY I'm meeting someone. JOSH When? TOBY Now. Excuse me. Toby walks out to the NORTHWEST LOBBY. He approaches the U.S. POET LAUREATE TABITHA FORTIS, who is waiting in a chair. TOBY Ms. Fortis? TABITHA FORTIS Yes. TOBY I'm Toby Ziegler. TABITHA I've been thinking a lot about it since you called. TOBY Yeah? TABITHA There's nothing that rhymes with Ziegler. TOBY That's why no one writes poetry about me. TABITHA They could do it in blank verse. Dylan could do it. TOBY Yeah, but he hasn't yet. TABITHA Am I, uh, really weird right off the bat? TOBY Do you want to be? TABITHA No. TOBY Then you're not. TABITHA I think you're just being nice. TOBY I think if you ask around, you'll discover that's unlikely. Do you want to come back to my office? TABITHA Yeah. They begin to walk. TABITHA Uh, so you know what everybody is talking about out there? TOBY The President's open-mike gaffe. TABITHA That is exactly what I was going to say. Sam runs into them. SAM Toby...? TOBY Sam, say hello to the newly-minted United States Poet Laureate, Tabitha Fortis. TABITHA Hi. SAM Yes, indeed. Poetry, I must tell you... TOBY That's fine. TABITHA Nice meeting you. SAM You, too. [leaves] TABITHA You guys poetry fans around here? TOBY We can't get enough of it. TABITHA Oh, yeah, who's your favorite? TOBY You. TABITHA Nice. They finally reach TOBY'S OFFICE. TOBY Come on in. TABITHA Nice office. TOBY Exactly 63 feet from the Oval Office. If you don't think we measure, you're out of your mind. Okay. So. Hello. TABITHA How are you doing? TOBY We have a problem? TABITHA Yes. TOBY We have arranged a dinner in your honor. We've invited 300 important people, we've invited the press, we've shined our shoes... TABITHA You've got to sign the land mine treaty, Toby. TOBY Whoa... What happened to the nuance of diplomacy? TABITHA Oh, sorry, the shoes are shined. TOBY No we-we're there now, you-you can't go back. TABITHA Sorry. TOBY Right. TABITHA 142 countries have signed it, 84 have ratified, 12 destroyed there entire stock. TOBY Yes. TABITHA You know who hasn't signed it? Us and Cuba. TOBY You know who initiated it? Us. And the nations of the world rallied around it in yet another impressive display of American leadership. TABITHA And then? TOBY We bolted. TABITHA Right. TOBY And the reason we did is because we love anti-personnel land mines. We love 'em. And we think the government should be in the business of selling them, like the Post Office. In fact, the Post Office is the sales venue we've been considering. TABITHA Toby. I-I got a... TOBY It's Korea. Tabitha. There are 900,000 North Korean soldiers in the DMZ, and the only thing stopping them from walking into South Korea are 37,000 US troops, and about a million land mines along the border. We have said over and over that we would be thrilled to sign this treaty if we could have an exemption for South Korea and we have been rebuffed. Rebuffed... I say. TABITHA Look, so we disagree on this... clearly, what's the big deal? TOBY Not a big deal at all. TABITHA Except? TOBY If you voice your disagreement at a party in your honor hosted by the President with the press in attendance then it's a gigantic deal which travels the 63 feet right to this office. TABITHA All right then. I'm sorry we can't have the party. But I like talking to you. Yeah, you're cute and, uh... I love the way you write. FADE OUT. END ACT TWO * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. THE PRESS ROOM - DAY WEDNESDAY The camera pans across C.J. on a TV set stopping on her at the podium. ARTHUR (VO) C.J., can you give it to us unvarnished? Was the President calling Governor Ritchie stupid? C.J. Oh, my God, day three! ARTHUR Was he? C.J. Well, I think this one may be unspinnable. That's certainly saying something coming from my office. Yeah, he was calling him stupid. BOBBI How has his mood been in the last few days? Has he regretted it? C.J. He hasn't been able to feed or bathe himself. Laughter MARK The Governor is kicking off a ten-state tour and his campaign has indicated they'll be trying to rally the nation around his clean campaign pledge. I'm quoting a senior campaign official now. "A different kind of politics is sweeping the nation, and once the President understands the hearts and minds of the American people, he'll have no choice but to sign the pledge. C.J. Mark, I swear to God, as soon as the President needs help understanding the hearts and minds of the American people, he'll call the Republican Governor of Florida. But this week, we're focused on tomorrow night's press conference wherein we unveil our national strategy for energy independence. Speaking of which, this country has been dependent on foreign oil for far too long. 65% of our crude oil reserves comes from the Gulf. Only three percent here at home. BOBBI C.J.? Policy is the President's forte. Are you guys trying to bait Governor Ritchie into an argument on energy 'cause you know you'll win? C.J. Yeah, well, we all tried to convince the President that talking about policy was just plain unsportmanlike, but we didn't get anywhere. Listen, I've had a lot of fun, and I know you have, too. I'll see you later. ALL Thank you C.J.. C.J. begins walking to the back of the press room, when Charlie walks up behind her. CHARLIE C.J.? C.J. turns around. C.J. Chuckles. They begin walking. CHARLIE The President would like another pre-brief and another run-through tonight after dinner. C.J. Sure. CHARLIE Full-blown run-through. C.J. Yeah. CHARLIE Maybe that can be when you can explain your problem with drilling ANWAR for oil. C.J. Huh? CHARLIE If we want to be energy independent, If we've been relying too long on foreign oil, what's wrong with drilling Alaska for oil? C.J. It will do huge and lasting damage to the environment, and it would not, in the long run, reap that much oil. CHARLIE It will have zero impact on the environment. And how do you know how much oil is down there, until you explore? C.J. "Explore?" CHARLIE Yes. They reach Carol's desk. C.J. You mean drill? CHARLIE That's how you get where the oil is at. C.J. You've been reading his book? CHARLIE Excuse me? C.J. "A Promise to Lead", Ritchie's book. CHARLIE Whoever ghosted it, isn't bad. C.J. Carol, would you put together a page on the environmental impact of drilling the Artic National Wildlife Reserve? CAROL Yeah. CHARLIE Make sure you know exactly how many caribou we've made unhappy. C.J. Thank you. CHARLIE You bet. CUT TO: INT. SAM'S OFFICE - DAY Sam is sitting down reading a paper when there is a knock at the door. SAM Come in. Ainsley enters carrying luggage with a look of annoyance on her face. SAM Hey, welcome back. AINSLEY What?! SAM How was the vacation? AINSLEY It was 40 hours long. SAM Where'd you go? AINSLEY Hilton Head. SAM What'd you do? AINSLEY I unpacked, and then I packed. SAM By the way, congratulations. Babish is promoting you to deputy. AINSLEY When did this happen? SAM Right after I told Bill Wachtell that we already had. AINSLEY What the hell is going on? Sam gets up and grabs Ainsley's luggage as they begin to walk to her office downstairs in the basement. SAM Well, Monday morning, there was a little incident during the satellite interview. AINSLEY I read about it. How could you let something like that happen? They stop in front of the staircase. SAM (sighs) Okay. For everybody who works outside the building, I'll fall on the sword. But for everybody who works inside the building, I wasn't there! AINSLEY Okay. They begin to walk down the stairs. SAM Didn't get much of a tan. AINSLEY What do you need? SAM Capitol Beat, Capitol Gang, Inside Politics. AINSLEY To say what? SAM The President isn't an elitist. He respects everyone. AINSLEY And that's why he made a Southern Republican who disagrees with him a deputy counsel. They reach the BASEMENT HALLWAY. SAM Congratulations again, by the way. AINSLEY He is an elitist. SAM Uh-oh. AINSLEY It's elitist, geocentric, Ivy League snobbery to think if you haven't written six journal articles on monetary support mechanisms, you're not fit to lead. SAM We're of the belief that if you're going to set policy, it'd be a bonus to understand it. And at this point, we'd be astonished to discover that Ritchie had read as many as six journal articles on anything other athletic support mechanisms. AINSLEY There's a difference between intellect and instinct. They finally enter AINSLEY'S OFFICE. SAM 252 million people in the country. You don't think we'd ought to be able to elect somebody who's got both? AINSLEY I'm saying, Presidents can have good advisors. SAM Good advisors could better advise informed and curious Presidents. AINSLEY But what happens when Ivy League Presidents surround themselves with intellectual snobs? SAM All right. Let's clear up a couple of things, 'cause that's the second time you've invoked the "Evil Eight". First of all, Notre Dame isn't a member of the Ivy League. They play football as an independent. They play basketball in the Big East. Second, we're very interested in education in this White House, so can you tell me what's wrong with the Ivy League? Should we be discouraging parents from hoping there kids get into Princeton and Yale and Dartmouth? AINSLEY All I know is, we got into Vietnam courtesy of the Beltway Chapter of the Harvard Alumni Association. Ainsley sits down behind her desk. SAM Yeah, except, that's not all you know because you're bright and you're curious and you worked hard, and you got into Smith and you got your law degree where? Cambridge, Massachusetts. You lose, I win. 'Twas ever thus. AINSLEY I was on vacation. SAM Life's tough in the aluminum siding business. Check the press office on your TV schedule. AINSLEY I will do the TV show's because I serve at the pleasure of the President, but I do not want a promotion that I didn't earn. SAM I'll talk to Babish. AINSLEY Well, let me check out the pay differential first. SAM You bet. CUT TO: INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - DAY Toby is putting on a jacket walking out into the hallway when C.J. calls him from behind. C.J. Toby? TOBY Yes. C.J. We've gone from one network carrying the press conference tomorrow night to four. TOBY Are you kidding? C.J. No. TOBY I guess we shouldn't be surprised. They walk through the NORTHWEST LOBBY. C.J. No. Where are you going? TOBY Sightseeing. C.J. Really? TOBY Tabitha's never been to Washington. C.J. You going to get that thing done, or you want me to talk to her? TOBY It's going to be fine. C.J. You sure? TOBY She's a poet. She's new to things like consequences. C.J. Okay. TOBY All four networks... They stop in the HALLWAY next to C.J.'s office. C.J. Listen, I have a crazy thought. Is it possible...? TOBY What? C.J. Hmm, never mind. I'll see you later. C.J. walks into her office. TOBY Okay. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY Josh is sitting at his desk looking at a computer screen. JOSH Donna? DONNA (OS) Yeah? JOSH Something weird has happened here. Donna appears in doorway. DONNA Where? JOSH LemonLyman.... DONNA No. JOSH They don't seem to be taking my response in the spirit in which it was intended. DONNA Yeah. JOSH Seems to be a very unusual social structure. For instance, there is leader who seems to pride herself on her organizational skills and a certain amount of discipline. DONNA Right. That's what's called a control freak. JOSH [getting visibly upset] Well, she does seems to do an awful lot of scolding. "You've posted in the wrong place. Stay on topic people. Don't use capital letters. I don't have time to tell you twice," when clearly, she does have time to tell us twice. But that's not the problem. DONNA No. Josh clears his throat then begins to read a post on the LemonLyman Board. JOSH "Someone need to deal with Josh's planet-sized ego, by teaching him government 101. Who made him overlord of the Democratic party?" And someone else writes, "Is Josh delusional, or is he actively trying to destroy the separation of powers?" DONNA Well, are you? Josh No. DONNA Then turn off the computer, shut these people up, and let's go back to work. JOSH I think I need to clarify my original post. DONNA Josh, there's a primetime press conference tomorrow and a new energy policy that you have spent months shepherding down the field, and now, on the one-yard line... JOSH Sit down in the chair. DONNA Has the pressure for you to get the energy package...? JOSH Sit down in the chair. DONNA I think you've gone 'round the bend. JOSH I'm dictating now. I don't think it falls under the category of "outrageous" to suggest that I might have friends on the other end of the Avenue who have the phone number of the GAO. Let me put this more plainly. The White House can get a GAO review of anything it wants without posing a threat to the separation of powers. And I believe I'll use capital, lowercase, or Sanskrit, right up until the moment the font police cuff me and read me Miranda! DONNA That'll show them. JOSH See, I think these are good people, by and large, but they've come under the thumb of a dictatorial ruler. So, as with a small, Central American country, my role is to incite the people to topple her DONNA You're way round the bend. Can I get you a damp towel or something? JOSH No, but do we have any Yoo-Hoo? DONNA Yeah. JOSH I'll take one. DONNA I'm on it. CUT TO: EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. - DAY Toby approaches Tabitha. TOBY What are you doing? TABITHA Crossing off the FDR Memorial, the Atrium, and the Folger Library. I like crossing off lists. It's very satisfying. You like lists? TOBY Yes. TABITHA You like crossing things off? TOBY I'll let you know if it happens. TABITHA Hey, how'd you know what hotel I was at? TOBY We have you watched when you're in D.C. TABITHA Are you serious? TOBY No. TABITHA Oh. TOBY We always have you watched. TABITHA Aha. TOBY So, you know what I was thinking might be fun? TABITHA If I came to the White House dinner and shut the hell up? TOBY That's not what I was going to say at all. TABITHA Oh, what were you going to say? TOBY If you came to the dinner, wore a beautiful dress, and shut the hell up. TABITHA (laughs) I got a list of nine former I-Corps Commanders who served in Korea, who say that land mines aren't necessary to protect our troops anywhere. TOBY We're aware of all nine. TABITHA And we have, do we not, other weapons that are more effective and less deadly to our side. That are already apart of the U.S. response plan to the North crossing the DMZ? TOBY I work in communications. TABITHA And land mines would actually slow a counter-invasion. You have an answer to any of this? TOBY The President of the United States requests the honor of your presence, and I'm sorry, but you show up. TABITHA And I'm sorry, but I tell the truth. TOBY Not every minute of the damn day, Tabitha. TABITHA I've seen what I've seen. And I've been told what I've been told. And I have an audience with the person who can do something about it. To smile for a photo op and recite 64 couplets on the American experience? That's treasonous. TOBY Can we stop with the drama? TABITHA Toby? TOBY Tabitha, you don't know what you're doing. This isn't kid's stuff. If you stand up in the President's face, that's going to be the story, and nobody's going to care about what you care about. Nobody is going to care about what you care about. And... It'll be bad... for you, for us, for the land mines, everybody. TABITHA Can we just not talk for a minute? TOBY Yeah. TABITHA Yeah. I-I got to give a lecture tomorrow night at Georgetown. I just... I need to... I need to not talk for a minute. TOBY Yeah. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY The President sits at his desk reading and singing. BARTLET (singing) Another sky Another June Another something that rhymes with June Another reason, another season For making... (stops singing) Wait a sec. CHARLIE Yeah. "Sunny honeymoon" is what you were looking for. BARTLET No, wait a sec. He's absolutely right. Hang on. He puts down the paper he was reading, gets up, and knocks on the door to LEO'S OFFICE, and enters where Leo is having a meeting with several staffers. BARTLET Excuse me. I'm sorry for interrupting. No, no, keep your seats. Leo? You're absolutely right. LEO About what? BARTLET We shouldn't show up. Tell the Whip we want to yield all our time. While they're going in front of the cameras complaining about me making fun of Ritchie, the Democrats will be caucusing on literacy and tuition tax credits. We want to yield all our time. LEO Yes, sir. BARTLET Thank you. Bartlet walks back to his office. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. THE PRESS ROOM - NIGHT THURSDAY, 8:00 P.M. The camera pans from C.J. at the podium all round the room, and then back to C.J. C.J. The President will begin his press conference at nine, or more accurately, the walk down the red carpet will happen at 9:01:30, per the network's request. He'll deliver an opening statement on his National Strategy for Energy Independence, we expect that'll last about 15 minutes, and then the President will take questions for 45 minutes. REPORTER C.J.? A senior official in the communications office of the Ritchie campaign said if the President thinks his candidate is stupid, he should just come right out and say so. We see C.J. on the monitor beside him as he speaks. C.J. Really? REPORTER [nodding] Really. CUT TO: INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS The camera pans from C.J. on the monitor around to Sam, casually lying back on the couch with his feet up as he watches. C.J. (VO) Let's start a pool to guess how long the senior communications official is going to keep his job if once a day he suggests we call his candidate stupid. Somebody's got to step in and stop this fight 'cause we're the only ones scoring points, and we're not even playing. Mark? The camera pans further to reveal Ainsley sitting close to the monitor, also watching. SAM She's got a point there. AINSLEY [turning to look at him] Does it concern you that the smartest Presidents have been the worst? SAM I don't grant your premise, but... AINSLEY John Quincy Adams was so full of himself, he could hardly build a coalition around having eggs for breakfast. How many grand theories of international relations did Wilson come up with that were dead on the arrival in Congress? SAM I don't care. AINSLEY Why? SAM Because before I look for anything, I look for a mind at work. Nobody's saying the President needs to have a tenured chair in semiotics, but you have to have... AINSLEY What? SAM Gravitas. AINSLEY [leaning forward] And how do you measure that? SAM You don't, but we know it when we see it, and Republicans tend to mock it when they do. You think I'm wrong? AINSLEY I do not. SAM No you don't, and the way I know you don't is I saw you say so on television. Toby appears in the doorway, still in his coat. SAM Hey, Toby. Ainsley stands up. TOBY Why are you here? SAM The TV isn't working in my office. TOBY [to Ainsley] You did good on TV. AINSLEY Thanks. I'll be in my office. Toby stands aside to let her through the door as she leaves, the sound of her holiday flip-flops clearly audible. Toby heads past Sam, who is now sitting up, to his desk. SAM How's it going with the poet? TOBY I'm not sure. SAM Does she have a strong history of activism? TOBY She has no history of activism. She said something yesterday, when I was with her, she said- she was talking about land mines - she said, "From everything I've seen and everything I've been told..." SAM You think she's getting some pressure? TOBY [shrugging] I don't- Ginger knocks on door. GINGER [OS] Toby? TOBY [turns to her] Yeah. GINGER It's someone from Georgetown University. I think there's a problem. Toby takes this in. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - NIGHT Josh walks past Donna then notices her and comes back. JOSH The Internet people have gone crazy. DONNA [sarcastically] You're kidding. The two of them start to walk together. JOSH They're calling the GAO "General Josh's Standing Army", and saying I don't understand it's mandate and purpose. They're saying if I could get a review of anything I want, that I should start by reviewing the job of Deputy C.O.S. Then one guy compares me to a poor man's Clark Clifford, and a page and a half of posts, debating whether or not I was mocking Egyptians with the Sanskrit reference. They come to a halt. DONNA [snappishly] I told you they were hysterical. JOSH I thought you meant they were funny. DONNA They're not. They start walking again, voices rising. JOSH I know they're not! It's "Lord of the Flies" in there. DONNA Well, who invited you in the first place? JOSH It's got my name on it. Look, I don't want to hear about it anymore. [glances at his watch] We got an energy plan in ten minutes. I'm gonna... He starts to walk away, and C.J. comes up the HALLWAY behind him. C.J. Oh Josh! JOSH Yeah? He turns and waits as she walks towards him. C.J. The Federal Page of the Washington Post just called Carol to confirm that you're the Josh Lyman who stated on an Internet website that the White House could order a GAO review on anything it wants. JOSH Without threatening the separation of powers is what I was saying. C.J. You posted on a web site? Donna emerges from a door behind C.J., and they exchange a look. JOSH I was communicating with the people. C.J. Really? Josh is momentarily distracted watching Donna walk past him into his office. Then he steps closer to C.J. and speaks in a hushed voice. JOSH C.J., it's a... crazy place. It's got this dictatorial leader, who I'm sure wears a muumuu and chain smokes Parliaments. [makes a smoking gesture with his fingers] C.J. What did you go there for in the first place? JOSH It's called LemonLyman.com. C.J. gives him a pointed shove in the direction of his office. They walk a few paces and stop outside the doorway. C.J. Let me explain something to you, this is sort of my field. The people on these sites? They're the cast of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Donna picks up her jacket inside the office and walks out between the two of them. C.J. [cont] The muumuu wearing Parliament smoker? That's Nurse Ratched. When Nurse Ratched is unhappy, the patients are unhappy. You? You're McMurphy. You swoop in there with your card games and your fishing trips... JOSH [shrugging defensively] I didn't swoop in, I came in exactly the same way everybody else did. C.J. Well, now I'm telling you to open the ward room window and climb on out before they give you a pre-frontal lobotomy, and I have to smother you with a pillow. Josh regards her in silence for a moment. JOSH You're Chief Brom- C.J. I'm Chief Bromden, yes, at this particular moment. I'm assigning an intern from the press office to that web site. They're going to check it every night before they go home. If they discover you've been there, I'm going to shove a motherboard so far up your ass... Josh looks down at the floor. C.J. What? JOSH [with a slight shrug] Well... technically, I outrank you. C.J. [shouting] So far up your ass! JOSH [quickly] Okay. C.J. Okay? JOSH How you doing? C.J. Are we ready? JOSH [nods] We are. C.J. I believe we are. You want to walk over? He hesitates, then turns to walk with her. JOSH [calling out] Donna, let's go, it's time. CUT TO: EXT. OUTSIDE A LECTURE HALL - NIGHT The camera pans past a large signboard which says "Tabitha Fortis Poet Laureate Lectures Tonight at 9:00 P.M." to Toby as he approaches. He spots two people. TOBY Excuse me? MAN Are you Mr. Ziegler? TOBY What happened? MAN Well, she was giving her lecture, and then towards the end something... I don't know. I think she's okay, but I asked her if there was anyone I could call. TOBY Where is she? WOMAN [gesturing over her shoulder] She's sitting out on the steps. TOBY Okay. Thanks. MAN Mm-hmm. Toby walks past and then pauses and turns back. TOBY Was there any press there tonight? MAN For a poetry lecture? TOBY Right. Toby walks off. CUT TO: EXT. SQUARE OUTSIDE LECTURE HALL - CONTINUOUS Toby walks past a large fountain toward where Tabitha sits facing away from him at the top of the steps. She doesn't look up until he's right beside her. They exchange a look, and then he sits down next to her. The sound of the fountain is loud in the background. TABITHA [after a moment] There was a man in Banja Luka that I met. He took his son and I... to go fishing in the Sava River. And the little boy, uh... hooked a piece of garbage... and when he tried to take it off the line, it blew him up. Right in front of his father, and, uh... right in front of me. TOBY What happened tonight? Tabitha sighs heavily. TABITHA Um... I decided to highlight poets who were never chosen Poet Laureate 'cause they were too rebellious. Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Allen Ginsberg and I went into "Howl." I know "Howl" like you know voting districts. "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, dragging themselves through..." and then, uh... TOBY What? TABITHA I couldn't remember any more. I couldn't, uh... You know, I-I couldn't remember any more. [beat] You think I think that an artist's job is to speak the truth. An artist's job... is to captivate you for however long we've asked for your attention. If we stumble into truth, we got lucky, and I don't get to decide what truth is. What you said about South Korea makes sense, you know, uh, people know more then I do. I... I shouldn't be uh... you know... I write poetry, Toby, that's how I enter the world. [beat] I was thinking maybe, you know... I-I don't if you could do this, but... I was thinking if I could get a few minutes alone with the President, so that could tell him what I saw in Banja Luka? [beat] Then it wouldn't have to be a thing, you know, at the dinner... in there I could, uh... I have 64 couplets on the American experience that I think might be appropriate. TOBY Yeah, we can do that. Toby reaches for a pocket inside of his coat and pulls out a small notepad. He flips through the pages and shows it to Tabitha. TOBY What's that say? TABITHA [reading] "Meet Tabitha Fortis". Toby produces a pen and crosses her name off of the list. Tabitha chuckles. TOBY I have to be at a press conference. TABITHA Right. CUT TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE CORRIDORS - NIGHT People bustle about, looking busy. C.J. and Charlie pass by, Charlie reading a document as he walks. C.J. So as a matter of cold fact, Chipper, you'll see that it's the Porcupine Caribou, and ANWARS's their calving ground, and you can't put a price tag on that, but that's hardly the point. Charlie turns back the top page to read. CHARLIE 36 species of fish, 36 land mammals, 160 different bird species. [closes the document] I admit, this is a lot of wildlife. They come to a halt. C.J. Well, forget the wildlife, it hurts flesh and blood subsistence hunters in the area, changes migratory patterns in ways we don't even understand, increases freezing depths of rivers and lakes... CHARLIE And the emissions from drilling. C.J. Welcome home, it'll cause pollutant haze and acid rain, and all this in exchange for? CHARLIE Not a lot of oil to begin with. Bartlet and Leo approach together. BARTLET All right, here we go. What time is it? CHARLIE Nine o'clock, sir. LEO [to Bartlet] We'll see you inside. BARTLET [to the room] Thank you, everyone. Everybody heads off in different directions, and Bartlet looks back as C.J. walks past. BARTLET C.J.? She heads back towards him. C.J. Yes, sir? BARTLET I've been meaning to tell you, you've done really well this week with the open-mike thing. C.J. Thank you. He slips on his glasses and looks up at her. BARTLET Didn't turn out too bad. C.J. No sir, it didn't turn out too bad at all. In fact, the whole country's talking about whether Ritchie's smart enough to be President. And you didn't take hit, 'cause it was an accident. You know, it occurs to me that even your choice of language was interesting. "A .22 caliber mind, in a .357 magnum world." That's unusual for you, a gun metaphor. Bartlet doesn't look up, seeming to be engrossed in whatever he's reading. C.J. [cont] Toby mentioned to me that when each interview was over, all the interviewers wanted to talk to you about was Ritchie, and you took a pass each time. Until Philadelphia. Now Bartlet slowly looks up at her. C.J. [cont] Mr. President, is it possible you saw that the green light was on? He slips the glasses off and gives her an unreadable look. ANNOUNCER [VO] Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States. C.J. smiles. C.J. That was Old School. He turns back to look at her. C.J. Go knock 'em dead. Bartlet walks away from her towards the microphones as cameras flash. He reaches the bank of microphones, and nods to his audience. 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 3.16 -- "The U.S. Poet Laureate" Original Airdate: March 27, 2002, 9:00 PM EST Transcript by: Ck1Tzar and Nomad October 8, 2002