Season 5 – Episode 19 – “Talking Points”

Episode Summary:

On the eve of the President’s controversial trade summit meeting in Brussels, Josh is troubled when he learns that Bartlet will reverse his position about sacrificing American jobs to foreign lands. C.J. is frustrated with a new Federal Communications Commission ruling allowing multimedia companies increased ownership of TV stations. Meanwhile, the administration tries to downplay job-loss statistics, and Donna tells Josh about her dissatisfaction with her limited role on his staff. In the midst of it all, Bartlet meets Kate Harper (Mary McCormack), the brash, new deputy national security advisor.

Script:

THE WEST WING
5X19 - "TALKING POINTS"
WRITTEN BY ELLIE ATIE
DIRECTED BY RICHARD SCHIFF

TRANSCRIBED BY SOUNDMAN FOR TWIZ TV.COM.
 SEND FEEDBACK TO sparticus1611@hotmail.com.

TEASER

 FADE IN: EXT. - WHITE HOUSE - DAY

Josh is walking to the door. Will is waiting for him. They walk in and
begin talking.

WILL
Hey! Congratulations.

JOSH
Thank you.

WILL
So, Leo's turned you into a big-time trade negotiator.

JOSH
No different than baby-sitting or negotiating with Congress. You sit there
and let them wear themselves out.

WILL
They're up to 200 tractors now.

JOSH
Yeah, I know.

WILL
200 tractors, that doesn't worry you?

JOSH
Not being a bale of hay.

WILL
You're flying to Brussels in nine hours, the place is surrounded by tractors,
every pair of overalls in Europe has come out to protest your trade agreements.

JOSH
I'll-I'll bring you back a straw hat.

Josh leaves him and walks into the Roosevelt Room. Larry and Ed are there
waiting for him. They hold up something for Josh to review.

LARRY
For the joint press conference after the signing.

JOSH
That's not the message.

ED
"Protecting intellectual property through international copyright enforcement."

JOSH
Okay, I know what you're talking about, and I don't know what you're talking
about.

LARRY
Isn't that what we...?

JOSH
Free trade creates jobs! It creates better, higher-paying jobs. We still
have to pass this through Congress. Let's not outsmart ourselves - as if
that were, you know, possible.

Josh walks out into the hallway where Donna is waiting on him.

DONNA
They're up to 200 tractors now; it's on TV.

JOSH
I know.

DONNA
Bill Parsons called. What are European farmers so upset about?

JOSH
That they can't cling to a dying way of life, that free trade means that some
of them might have to wear neckties, that they can't beat Pentium chips back
into plowshares. Take your pick.

DONNA
USTR says India's signing on.

JOSH
You're kidding.

DONNA
I barely know what that means, how could I be kidding.

JOSH
India has all kinds of problems with this trade deal, why would they...?

DONNA
USTR says India's in.

JOSH
Ask Ed and Larry to poke around the India thing.

DONNA
I brought my luggage, too, you know.

JOSH
Yeah, I'm still working on that.

BARTLET [prelap]
That's wonderful, Mr. Prime Minister...

CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY

Bartlet is on the phone. Leo and Josh are in the room waiting to talk to him.

BARTLET [cont.]
... I look forward to seeing you in Brussels.

He hangs up the phone.

BARTLET
You did a great job wrapping this up, I've sent a little something over to
your office.

LEO
You should have seen him. Like a pit bull crossed with a rottweiler crossed
with a Fuller Brush salesman.

JOSH
Months of work by a lot of people, sir, I just tossed in some free combs.

BARTLET
Start working on Congressional passage.

JOSH
I'm meeting with the Speaker today. He could argue we gave too much to labor
in these side agreements.

LEO
We'll need Republican votes, but there's plenty in here Democrats'll like. Sell
it right and we'll squeak through.

CHARLIE
Reporters are waiting, sir.

C.J. walks in.

C.J.
Mr. President, you're doing five advance interviews on the Brussels Rounds:
three domestic prints, plus CNN-FN, plus the International Herald Tribune.

JOSH
Foreign press doesn't count.

BARTLET
We haven't globalized pandering yet?

LEO
Our audience is Congress, not the Finnish Parliament.

C.J.
What do you say to the opponents of free trade, people who say it exports jobs?

JOSH
That giant sucking sound.

BARTLET
Any half-decent economist will tell you to wear earplugs...

JOSH
Sir...

BARTLET
... then file immediately for unemployment.

JOSH
Sir, have you read the talking points?

BARTLET
I'm an economist, some would say half-decent. I don't need a primer on this.

CHARLIE
Due respect, sir, your answers on economic issues can be a bit...

BARTLET

Polysyllabic?

C.J.

Academic.

LEO
I was going to go with incomprehensible.

BARTLET
Hey, listen: Any economic advancement involves what Schumpeter called
"creative destruction."

C.J.
Not a good answer.

BARTLET
Why?

C.J.
Because that word "destruction" will really mollify our critics.

JOSH
Free trade creates jobs.

C.J.
Selling our products to the world...

She leaves.

JOSH
... creates better, higher-paying jobs. It's got to be that simple, or we
lose the argument.

BARTLET
Anybody got any crayons so I can color in my Ph. D.?

LEO
Josh makes a point. We're losing old economy jobs in steel, and textiles,
all across manufacturing...

BARTLET
And economics. Clearly, economics...

JOSH
That's why we fought so hard in this deal for copyright enforcement: to protect
the fruits of the new economy. Technology, inventions, ideas; the stuff where
America can't be beat, where they can't do it in Malaysia for a dollar a day.

Josh sees Donna waiting outside the door.

BARTLET
Okay.

C.J. comes back in.

C.J.
What about these tractor protests in the streets of Brussels?

BARTLET
Global economic forces are unstoppable, just like technology itself. Should
we have banned ATMs, to protect bank tellers? Or digital watches, to prop
up the guys who fix grandfather clocks?

JOSH/C.J.
Free trade creates better, higher-paying jobs.

JOSH
It's got to be that simple.

Josh walks out into the hall where Donna is waiting.

JOSH
The President bashing the clock industry in there.

DONNA
India.

JOSH
What?

ED
The Communications union was close to a new contract for 17,000 programmers.

LARRY
Jace Computer Networks broke of the talks.

JOSH
JCN.

ED
The union thinks JCN is moving 17,000 computer programming jobs to India,
and that's why India signed on.

JOSH
17,000 jobs because of the deal I just negotiated?

ED
That's what they think.

JOSH
Okay. Who else knows about this?

LARRY
No one.

JOSH
Don't...

Josh walks over to the door where Leo is walking out.

JOSH
Leo. We may have a situation.

LEO
Congress?

Bartlet comes out of the office, followed by C.J.

BARTLET
Where were we?

C.J.
Creating better, higher-paying jobs.

Josh looks on in disappointment.

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

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY

Josh and Leo are watching Bartlet in an interview on TV. They walk out into
the hallway and start talking as they walk to Leo's office.

LEO
17,000 programming jobs.

JOSH
That's what they're saying.

LEO
Because of the deal we just negotiated.

JOSH
We don't know that for sure yet.

LEO
Those are new economy jobs.

JOSH
Yeah.

LEO
Not like putting beads on an abacus.

JOSH
Which I'm going to say is a lot harder than it sounds.

LEO
This could kill the deal on the Hill.

JOSH
In this economic climate, I gotta think both parties are gonna run for
the hills.

LEO
"Send Your Job To Southeast Asia,"; not the best slogan for globalization.

JOSH
There's another problem: the programmers are represented by the Communications
Workers of America.

LEO
The CWA.

JOSH
Yeah. I already got a message from Parsons. If this is real...

LEO
You've been working with JCN on these talks.

JOSH
All the tech companies. I can't believe they'd sandbag me like this.

LEO
Talk to JCN. You did a great job on this. I was serious about the rottweiler
thing.

JOSH
Thanks.

CUT TO: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY

Carol and C.J. are talking.

CAROL
How are the President's interviews going?

C.J.
Oh, let's see. He's used the phrase "market inelasticity" three times,
"direct entitlement failure" two times; I was waiting for him to start waving
a piece of chalk, maybe a piece of the Gross National Product.

CAROL
Professor-in-Chief.

C.J.
More like Professor Incoherent. What're we hearing from the press?

CAROL
How come they're staying at a two-star hotel in Brussels, where are the
Speaker and the Majority leader on this trade deal, plus Council sent some
press guidance on the new FCC ruling.

Will walks in.

WILL
The FCC reached a compromise with Congress on media consolidation; happened
about an hour ago.

CAROL
Media consolidation?

C.J.
You know, that plan to let corporations buy up more and more local TV stations.

WILL
So they backed off.

C.J.
Yeah, 'cause who wants the same bunch of bigshots controlling the media.

Will hands her some papers.

WILL
Those are talking points on the VP's energy speech, so you can help
me... control the media.

C.J.
So, what's the compromise?

WILL
Instead of letting one company own stations reaching 45% of all the viewers,
the FCC's agreed they can only reach 39.37%.

C.J.
39.37%?

WILL
These things can be very scientific.

C.J.
I'm gonna need a slide rule during my briefing. 39.37%?

WILL
On the energy speech, if you get questions, you'll help me...

C.J.
Control the media.

WILL
Thanks.

He walks off. We follow C.J. as she walks away. We see Josh going into his
bullpen area. Josh turns around at one point and suddenly sees Ryan behind him.

RYAN
Today's my last day at the White House.

JOSH
Thank you.

RYAN
I was hoping you'd give a toast at my going-away party.

JOSH
How about a plaque, for best impersonation of a blue blazer?

RYAN
So you're coming to the party?

JOSH
I'm having my own celebration with five cloves of garlic and the cast of
The Exorcist.

Josh and Donna go into Josh's office.

DONNA
The Speaker's coming in at 3:15, Parsons called again twice, plus the
President sent you a gift.

JOSH
Make sure Ed and Larry are calling Democrats. I want some votes in my pocket
when I meet with the Speaker. He's gonna hate these labor side agreements.

He walks behind his desk.

JOSH
My charts... The JCN lobbyist is coming in. I need those charts on everything
we gave tech versus light industry in this trade rounds.

Donna looks upset.

JOSH
If your all out of joint 'cause we favored tech over light industry...

DONNA
Your leaving in eight hours. Any progress getting me on the trip?

JOSH
You don't want to go to Brussels.

DONNA
Which is why I asked 15 times.

JOSH
It's Presidential hand-holding. It's a motorcade to a hotel to a battle of
the balding Belgian finance ministers. It's  Pittsburg with an accent.

DONNA
Which I'd known if you'd taken me on the Pittsburg trip.

JOSH
This isn't taxpayer-funded tourism. We got jobs to do.

They walk out into Donna's cubicle.

DONNA
And I'm trying to grow in mine. I've been helping on these trade talks for
months. How are you going to manage by yourself?

JOSH
I'll grab someone off the advance staff. I'll be fine. The charts?

DONNA
Grab someone off the advance staff, maybe they can help you find them.

She holds up a folder.

JOSH
I didn't mean to... I'm busy, okay.

They start walking.

DONNA
Maybe if you shackled me to my desk, it'd speed up my typing.

JOSH
This isn't a workers' collective. Don't get all Woodie Guthrie on me. I've
got a situation here.

DONNA
You're the oppressor.

JOSH
That's Latin for "boss".

DONNA
I'm still not talking to you.

JOSH
Fine.

They both walk together until the finally stop, look at each other, and then
walk away.

CUT TO: INT. - OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY

Debbie is seated at her desk when Nancy McNally comes in with DEPUTY NSC
DIRECTOR KATHERINE HARPER.

McNALLY
Katherine Harper, this is Debbie Fiderer, the President's personal
secretary. Kate's our new NSC Deputy. I'm bringing her in to meet the
President.

DEBBIE
Nice to meet you. The President's been running quite a bit late today.

NSC DEPUTY KATHERINE HARPER
That's okay, ma'am.

DEBBIE
Please call me Debbie.

HARPER
Thank you, ma'am.

McNALLY
Top of her class at Annapolis. Once an ensign, always an ensign.

HARPER
Uh, your locator box.

DEBBIE
Why, yes. This is so we know where the first family is at all times.

HARPER
Forgive me for... do you think you should have it facing out?

DEBBIE
Excuse me?

HARPER
Secret Service locator boxes are code-word clearance or higher. Guests
in this wing of the building just need an absence of felony charges. Some
Congressmen don't even meet that standard.

McNALLY
We've been looking for an excuse to keep out the Congressmen.

HARPER
Just trying to be helpful, ma'am. Debbie.

DEBBIE
On second thought, feel free to call me ma'am.

McNALLY
You'll let us know when the President's free?

DEBBIE
Yes.

HARPER
So nice to meet you.

DEBBIE
Mm-hmm.

CUT TO: INT. - MURAL ROOM - DAY

Josh is meeting with the JCN LOBBYIST.

JCN LOBBYIST
All packed and ready for Brussels?

JOSH
Let's talk about India.

LOBBYIST

Bit out of the way for a layover.

JOSH
The CWA says you're shipping 17,000 computer programming jobs there.

LOBBYIST
That's proprietary information.

JOSH
Then why's India signing this trade deal? India, which hated the agricultural
provisions, hated the light industrial provisions...

LOBBYIST
There's a chance JCN'll be moving some jobs there.

JOSH
You can't do this. After everything I negotiated for you?

LOBBYIST
You toughened copyright enforcement. Now it's safer for us to move sensitive
programming work overseas.

JOSH
Over time, fine. But not overnight. We worked together for months without
one word about this.

LOBBYIST
It's an internal business decision.

JOSH
Yet, somehow, the nation of India, population 1 billion and rising, slipped
into a JCN board meeting?

LOBBYIST
We lobbied through our trade association. That's how these things work.

JOSH
No. When I help you on a trade deal, you don't lobby behind my back. That's
how these things work.

LOBBYIST
It's economics.

JOSH
It's politics, and you know it! Now I got a union problem. When they go nuts,
I got a Congressional problem.

LOBBYIST
We'll help you lobby. We're good at that.

JOSH
It's not gonna pass! 17,000 flesh-and-blood families, spread over
who-knows-how-many Congressional districts.

LOBBYIST
It's more like 3.3 million jobs, over the next ten years. Industry-wide,
of course.

JOSH
You're... You're... handing out pink slips when we're popping champagne
corks and Brussels sprouts.

LOBBYIST
We can hold the announcement. But American programmers make 40 bucks an
hour. In India, it's 10.

JOSH
How much would you save if you moved your CEO to India?

LOBBYIST
This is how free trade works. You can't be surprised jobs moving overseas.

JOSH
These jobs, yes; $80,000-a-year jobs, yes. The jobs this deal is supposed
to create on the day we're leaving to sign it...?

LOBBYIST
If automakers innovated the way we do, today's cars would get 100,000 miles
per gallon and cost 50 cents.

JOSH
Yeah, but they'd only be this big. I need you to spread the layoffs over a
couple years.

LOBBYIST
Can't do it.

JOSH
Retrain 'em, shove 'em in a back office.

LOBBYIST
We're a business, not a halfway house.

JOSH
Is that what you told the head of your union?

LOBBYIST
No. But feel free to tell him yourself. I'm sure he's on his way over here
right now.

CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY

C.J. and Toby are sitting at C.J.'s desk and they are talking. There is a
news story playing in the background.

TOBY
Can you and Josh spend some time with Reuters on the way to Brussels? They
helped us with that steel story.

C.J.
You think there's something funny about these new media ownership limits?

TOBY
Who's-on-first-funny?

C.J.
Something's-rotten-in-the-state-of-Denmark-funny.

TOBY
Let's you and me never do a standup act.

C.J.
Or a local TV show, if I'm reading this correctly.

TOBY
Our press guidance says it's a victory. They were going to let conglomerates
like MertMedia, Viacomm get into 45% of all homes.

C.J.
And now it's 39.37%, a number that ought to come with a decoder ring and a
jar of Ovaltine.

TOBY
What do you want? There was a public outcry. They settled for a lower number.

C.J.
A number that no one can explain.

TOBY
The FCC's completely independent. These companies are your constituents.

C.J.
No, the public are my constituents, and when big business can soak up more
and more local media...

Carol comes to the door.

CAROL
Ben needs to stop by before you leave for Brussels.

C.J.
No. Tell him it's a bad day. He can't. Tell him I'll call him from the plane.

TOBY
You're going to Belgium. He wants to make sure you don't sample the endive.

C.J.
I can't become one of those women who wait by the phone, eyes a-fluttering.

TOBY
"Eyes a- fluttering"?

C.J.
You know, parasol's a-twirling.

TOBY
Ah.

C.J.
Tell him I'll call him from the plane. How come no one can explain this number?

Toby gets up to leave.

TOBY
Well, you are talking about deregulation. You want to crack that code? Follow
the money.

C.J.
I'll take care of your Reuters things.

He leaves.

C.J.
Carol... pull the FCC's media ownership records from last year, will ya?

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE.
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY

C.J. is walking to her office followed by reporters Chris, George, and Brock.

CHRIS
IS this some kind of exclusive?

C.J.
Yes. And you could say Christmas came a bit early this year. I'm not normally
in the business of doing your investigative reporting.

GEORGE
As opposed to blocking it.

C.J.
Christmas, and you can throw in Arbor Day.

BROCK
Is this about the Brussels trip?

C.J.
This is about the Federal Communications Commission. They just ruled that
media conglomerates can buy stations reaching up to 39.37% of all TV viewers.

CHRIS
We wrote about this when they tried to make it 45%.

GEORGE
Why do you think they're rolling it back?

C.J.
And why, you might ask, to 39.37%? I have here the FCC media ownership
records. Turns out, last year MertMedia illegally bought nine local TV
stations, which brings them up to the magic number of - drum-roll please
- 39.37%.

They say nothing.

C.J.
And Viacomm's at 38.8%, and NewsCorp's at 37.8.

They still say nothing.

C.J.
In other words, the FCC is bailing out - as in, posting bail - huge companies
that were illegally gobbling up TV stations like greasy hors d'oeuvres. Would
you like me to draw you a diagram?

BROCK
Can I ask about the Brussels trip?

C.J.
No, you can't ask about the Brussels trip. This is a big story.

BROCK
My business desk is handling it.

C.J.
Then bang on your editors. This isn't a technical business story. This is
about diversity on the airwaves...

She hands them several packets.

C.J. [cont.]
... the marketplace of ideas, ensuring a healthy exchange of... You don't
want to write this 'cause it's about your corporate owners.

CHRIS
There are a million places to get news. We compete for every story.

C.J.
Like you're competing for this one? Let me walk you through the numbers;
talk to your editors. Trust me, this is a story.

CUT TO: INT. - LOBBY - DAY

Josh is walking along with Ed and Larry.

ED
The tractor protests are accelerating.

JOSH
From four miles an hour to five?

LARRY
They're up to 230 tractors.

JOSH
Why do I get the feeling the soil's going untilled?

ED
Advance is worried. They're blocking the Place de Brouckere.

JOSH
Just keep the tractors away from the President. It's two centuries off our
message. How we doing on Democratic votes?

LARRY
It's tough in this economy.

ED
They're terrified of losing jobs in there district.

JOSH
Well, keep making calls. Tell them... talk about the labor side agreements.

Josh walks into Leo's office. Fitzwallace is sitting across from Leo and
they are talking.

LEO
The President's concerned Andy Wyatt and these Congressmen'll negotiate on
their own.

FITZWALLACE

Are you sure you want me on a Congressional delegation to the Middle
East? It'll only lend it legitimacy.

LEO
The President wants you to go. Someone's got to block them from moving the
Israeli border and renaming the synagogues after prominent North Dakotans. Just
meet with him on this.

FITZWALLACE
Of course I'll meet with my President.

LEO
We'll get you in this afternoon. You know, I almost didn't recognize you
without the hardware store on your chest.

FITZWALLACE
Hmm. Only way I could shed those extra pounds.

Fitzwallace leaves.

FITZWALLACE
Josh.

JOSH
Admiral.

LEO
How'd it go with JCN?

JOSH
Great, if you write computer code and live in suburban Bombay.

LEO
They serious about the 17,000 jobs?

JOSH
They say it's going to be 3.3 million over ten years. The tech lobby screwed
me on this. They were pressing India the whole time. Parsons and his guys from
the CWA are coming here now. If I let you down on this, if I missed some...

LEO
I sent you in there to close the deal. No one does it better.

JOSH
We need a strategy.

LEO
For Capitol Hill.

JOSH
If it becomes a story, yeah, I'm worried the Republicans aren't going to
like this deal as it is, but that's not our biggest problem.

LEO
We don't run the computer industry.

JOSH
No. Look. We have to give something to Parsons, to the union, to balance
this out.

LEO
Give them what?

JOSH
The government only buys software that's made in America.

LEO
First, foreign countries would retaliate against us. Second, we buy the
lowest-cost goods or we burn taxpayers' money.

JOSH
So, we help a few taxpayers earn some money.

LEO
Congress would laugh us out of the room, and it'd cost 15, 20 billion a year.

JOSH
I'm talking short-term, till the effects of the trade deal kick in.

LEO
Where's your suit made?

JOSH
I get this in Georgetown.

LEO
Where's it made?

Josh looks in the pocket.

JOSH
Mexico.

LEO
I think those "Made in the USA" labels are sewn in Mexico now. You want to
ask Congress and the OMB to do what no self-respecting clothes-horse would
do. Let's see if this becomes a thing on the Hill.

JOSH
I'm talking about the union.

LEO
The President's right, or Schumpeter, or whoever - sometimes you destroy
to create.

CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY

Bartlet is seated with two people and he is talking. Debbie comes in and
speaks to him.

BARTLET
That's the danger...

DEBBIE
You're 11:00 is here, Mr. President.

BARTLET
It's quarter past 12:00. Would you please stop calling it my 11:00?

McNally and Harper come in and walk to the President's desk.

DEBBIE
Very well, sir. Your 11:05 is waiting outside.

BARTLET
Thank you. Anyone has a stopwatch, we can boil some eggs.

McNALLY
Sir, this is Kate Harper, your new Deputy National Security Advisor.

BARTLET
Yes, yes. I have your C.V. You're fluent in Arabic.

Harper speaks in Arabic.

BARTLET
Thank you. I always forget the punchline myself.

McNALLY
My own 11:00 is waiting, so I'll give you two a chance to get acquainted.

BARTLET
Thank you, Nancy.

McNally leaves.

BARTLET
Four years in Naval Intelligence. You served at our embassy at Ulan Bator.

HARPER
Yes, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Ah... yes... So, we're off to Brussels. Nancy may have told you about this
French bilateral I'm dreading. They're holding two documented terrorists,
won't extradite them because they don't like our sentencing laws. We can't
even interrogate bloodless murderers if we don't put the right crease in
their linen napkin.

HARPER
That's one way of looking at it, sir.

BARTLET
You've got another way.

HARPER
That's not really my job, Mr. President.

BARTLET
I'm asking you.

HARPER
There's a French side and an American side.

BARTLET
I want your argument.

HARPER
Officially, I don't have an argument.

BARTLET
Yet we're having one right now.

HARPER
Well, sir... I guess what I would say is that France has a body of law and a
constitution and it's wrong to trample on either, let alone the extradition
process.

Bartlet stands and walks to the door.

HARPER
They see it as imperialism and you do it at the risk of shredding and already
fragile relationship. Officially, however...

BARTLET
Debbie, would you bring in my 11:03, whatever the hell it was.

HARPER
Mr. President, I didn't mean...

BARTLET
Thanks for answering. It was nice meeting you, uh...

HARPER
Ma'am. I mean, Kate.

Two more people come in as Harper leaves.

CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY

Josh is standing at his desk when Ryan comes to the door and knocks.

JOSH
No.

RYAN
Okay. Second question.

JOSH
What?

RYAN
Trade. These Belgian farmers think it will cost them jobs.

JOSH
It probably will, 'cause it let's in cheaper produce.

They walk out to Donna's cubicle.

RYAN
But Belgium's for it anyway?

JOSH
It may be bad for their farmers, but it's good for their economy.

RYAN
Then who's their economy for?

Donna comes up.

DONNA
Would you please tell Josh...?

JOSH
Harpo speaks.

DONNA
Would you please tell Josh that Bill Parsons with the CWA will be here any
minute, and his 3:30 with Congressman McKenna's been moved to 3:00?

RYAN
Your 3:30...

JOSH
McKenna's lucky if I only keep him waiting a half hour out of spite.

RYAN
He says Congressman McKenna...

DONNA
Tell him the Social Office wants to remind him about your going away party.

RYAN
The Social Secretary'd be mighty...

JOSH
Tell Ms. Mozzarella that a pack of wild bison on stilts couldn't drag me to
your party.

RYAN
He says that actually he'd be quite tickled - stilts?

DONNA
Tell him McKenna's got a problem with his beloved trade deal.

JOSH
Tell her McKenna can take a check, and I can handle a ninth-string Congressman.

DONNA
Tell him there's something he should know about that meeting and I've got
half a mind...

JOSH
Tell Donna wherever Skippy the translator's going, she should go, too.

He walks away.

RYAN
He says give that dashing, young Ryan a great big...

DONNA
Harpo can hear, bright boy.

Donna walks off.

CUT TO: INT. - PRESS AREA - DAY

C.J. walks in and the unnamed reporter is waiting for her.

BROCK
Now can we talk about the Brussels trip?

C.J.
No, we can't. Carol tells me you're not even pitching the FCC story.

BROCK
It's a business story. Just 'cause I don't agree with your take on it...

C.J.
I... I don't have a "take". The FCC looked at how many stations were already
owned by the six or seven biggest companies and used that as the number,
so nobody'd have to sell anything.

BROCK
Media monopolies are history. The Internet's exploding. TV's every guy with
a camcorder and a digital uplink.

C.J.
Yet, one company can now own stations in 199 of the nation's 210 markets. One
company can influence the election of 98 senators, 382 House members...

BROCK
It's a free country.

He walks away.

CUT TO: INT. - PRESS FILING CENTER - CONTINUOUS

C.J. walks in and to the reporter's seat.

C.J.
Until Comcast and ClearChannel puts a big bullhorn in every town square it is.

He looks confused.

C.J.
A free country.

BROCK
I am not a media critic.

C.J.
No one in the media is, that's the problem.

BROCK
You're just trying to knock me off this story about job losses.

C.J.
That isn't a story, it's an allegation.

BROCK
Those are white-collar jobs; those new-economy jobs the president brags
about creating.

C.J.
People need to know this FCC thing isn't a victory - it's less, but by the
exact amount the companies wanted.

BROCK
Now you're getting into glass-empty, glass-full territory.

C.J.
I'm trying to talk about who pours the water.

BROCK
Then let's talk about it, because when seats come open in your briefing room,
I don't see you giving them to the Pennsauken Post, or radio free Botswana,
or some guy with a digital uplink.

C.J.
We're not the ones buying up all the media.

BROCK
But you're the ones giving them access. How many seats does MertMedia alone
have in there? Three? How many companies are represented? Seven? Eight?

C.J.
You want there to be even fewer?

BROCK
No. I want to talk about Brussels, and you don't, and I'm on a deadline.

He walks away. C.J. sees Ben through the glass. She indicates for him to
come with her.

CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY

Josh walks into his office. BILL PARSONS, a man, and a woman are standing
in front of his desk. He walks to his desk.

BILL PARSONS
Aren't you going to offer us a drink?

JOSH
Bill, I don't know how this happened.

PARSONS
I do. You were so desperate to help a bunch of soft-money-donating CEO's,
that you sold us up the Ganges River.

JOSH
I'm sorry, but I-TOBY got to ask you not to public with this yet. Hard as
it seems, we're growing this economy...

PARSONS
For who? Foreign investors? I mean, what good is the economy without the
people in it?

JOSH
You knew we were for free trade. You knew it when you endorsed us five
years ago.

PARSONS
Yeah, 'cause you told us we might lose old economy jobs - shoe manufacturing
- to some dirt-poor country, but if we trained ourselves we'd get better
jobs. Now they're being vacuumed out of here, too.

JOSH
We're going to fight for more job training, more transition assistance...

PARSONS
I have members on their third and fourth career. What are they supposed to
train for now, nuclear physics? Cello playing? Or should they just give up
and bag groceries for minimum wage?

JOSH
Well, that'd still buy them a nice house in  Bangalore.

He laughs.

MAN
Well, I've got three kids in college - little late for a transfer, isn't it.

JOSH
You'll have pension assistance, wage assistance, you name it.

MAN
I don't want burial insurance. My career isn't over yet, I want to keep my job.

WOMAN
You owe us that, Mr. Lyman.

PARSONS
You made that promise five years ago, to my face, in the Wayfarer
Hotel. They're going to stay right here till you tell them how you plan to
honor it.

He turns to leave.

JOSH
Where are you going?

PARSONS
To your press room, then to Capitol Hill. One thing about the Communication
Workers; we know how to communicate.

He leaves.

MAN
You look a lot better on TV.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO.
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY

We see a TV news story about the protests in Brussels in and the job story. We
pan to see Josh on the phone.

JOSH
No, Congressman... yes, of course... Yeah, I understand.

Will walks up.

WILL
What are you doing out here?

JOSH
Donna's not talking to me, plus there's some soon-to-be-unemployed workers
camped out in my office.

WILL
With tractors, I presume.

JOSH
Something like that.

WILL
Think this job story's true?

JOSH
It's proprietary.

WILL
Think it'll give the GOP an excuse to squash this trade deal?

JOSH
With midterms coming up, what do you think? How'd you become a free-trader?

WILL
America has a quarter of the world's wealth and only two percent of the
customers. You have to sell to others.

JOSH
So, how do you make that case to people who are about to lose their jobs?

WILL
Ask them how often they go to Wal-Mart to buy cheap cardigans or drill-bits.

JOSH
Drill-bits?

WILL
I don't wear cardigans.

JOSH
Okay.

WILL
But I like a nice drill-bit.

JOSH
So it all comes down to cheap drill-bits.

WILL
Pay more for a drill-bit, you have less to spend on other things. Keep out
cheap, foreign drill-bits, that country'll keep out cheap American something
else. And that costs us jobs.

JOSH
Do you ever wonder if we forget the human face of trade, the blood and muscle?

WILL
You have to go with what grows the economy for everyone. There's blood and
muscle in India, too.

JOSH
Yeah.

WILL
Hoynes was pretty critical of free trade when you worked for him, wasn't he?

JOSH
That was mostly politics.

WILL
So how'd you become a free-trader?

JOSH
I came to work for one. Did you need something?

WILL
The Vice President is going to distance himself from this trade deal. You
did a great job. It's mostly politics.

Will leaves.

C.J. [prelap]
I'm sorry, I can't do this right now.

CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY

C.J. is walking to her office followed by Ben.

BEN

Do what?

C.J.
This leaving-on-a-jet-plane-can't-bear-to-be-without-you-for-36-hours bit.

BEN
Okay.

C.J.
I've got labor leaders frothing at the mouth, making unverified claims,
a media conspiracy run amok. I can't need to see you every 37 seconds to
achieve completion as a human being.

BEN
Fine.

C.J.
Are we clear on this?

BEN

Sure.

C.J.

Good.

BEN

Can I say something?

C.J.

Go right ahead.

BEN
You left your passport at my house. You left your wallet at my house. You
left your driver's license and all your credit cards at my house. Have a
safe flight.

He turns to leave.

C.J.
Are you...?

He stops.

C.J.
There's this nice little place... Can I interest you in a late lunch?

CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY

Josh comes to his office door and sees the people are in still there. He
walks away and Larry and Ed come up to him to talk to him.

LARRY
Josh. Josh. This job story's killing us with the Democrats.

JOSH
Yeah.

ED
You think the Speaker's gonna smell blood in the water and spike this
thing? Belgian Prime Minister's letting the tractors into the Place de Palais.

LARRY
260 tractors, right mext to the ceremony site.

ED
It's like the Hayseed Olympics out there.

LARRY
Maybe if we plant a row of corn...

JOSH
Stop mocking the farmers. They're just trying to scratch out a living.

He walks over to Donna's cubicle.

JOSH
This no-talking thing isn't working for me.

DONNA
You have a 3:00. I need to brief you, and they won't leave your office.

JOSH
I know.

DONNA
I tried to move them. Do you want me to call Secret Service?

JOSH
No.

DONNA
I just want to grow in my job, do something meaningful, do more than earn
a paycheck until I die.

JOSH
Why are you saying that?

They start walking.

DONNA
I only have one career, and I want it to matter, or I might as well be a
soda jerk. That's why I wanted...

JOSH
Let's go back to not talking for awhile.

Josh walks into the lobby, headed for the Roosevelt Room, where Ryan meets
up with him as Donna stops following him.

RYAN
You missed a great party.

JOSH
I've got bigger problems than your brass parachute.

RYAN
Where you going?

JOSH
To meet Congressman McKenna.

RYAN
That's funny, actually...

JOSH
No, it isn't funny. He's a two-bit jerk of a House member. He holds us
hostage every time we have a budget or a trade deal, or enough discretionary
authority to buy an ice cream cone. I've got the Speaker of the House in
ten minutes. I'm gonna smile, bob my head, and stick him in the outbox.

They walk into the Roosevelt Room.

JOSH
Beat it. I've got a meeting.

RYAN
So do I's the thing.

JOSH
It's just me and McKenna.

RYAN
I'm his new Legislative Director. Hi. He figured it'd be leverage enough
that he's on two authorizing committees and can stall half your budget
priorities. Is this the part where you smile and bob your head?

JOSH
McKenna has a problem with the Brussels Round?

RYAN
He just wants a seat on the plane.

Ryan sits down.

JOSH
That question you asked: who's an economy for...?

RYAN
I don't care about trade. If you taught me anything, it's that my view doesn't
matter anyway. You take your boss's position, lock, stock, and sound bite,
and you get what you came for. Am I right?

BEN [prelap]
I think there's too many channels as there is.

CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY

C.J. and Ben are seated at her couch and they are talking while they eat.

BEN [cont.]
There's a Cooking Channel, a Botany Channel. I'm waiting for the channel
that's devoted to explaining all the other channels.

While they are talking, Carol comes in and hands some papers to C.J.

C.J.
We have to do all the news mags. You know when they passed the laws that
limit media ownership? In the 40s, as a response to fascism in Europe.

BEN
I think I saw that on the Fascism Channel.

C.J.
Laugh now, channel-boy, soon it'll be the only one left.

Leo comes in. C.J. gets up and goes to her desk.

BEN

Oh, hi.

LEO
Hi, Leo McGarry. You must be Ben. C.J.'s just nuts about you.

C.J.
Not really, actually.

LEO
Why are you hawking this FCC story? I got calls from two network heads.

C.J.
Of course you have. Their crazy about this ruling, and the people who aren't
can't get us on the phone.

LEO
My problem right now is I'm too easy to get on the phone. I need you to push
back on the job losses. Our Caucus is going bananas.

C.J.
This is a bail-out for MertMedia and all the...

LEO
The President's against excessive media ownership. IF we think the FCC's
not looking out for the little guy, use the Briefing Room to say it.

C.J.
No one's writing about it. They're all afraid of their media-mogul robber-baron
bosses. This is the biggest media conspiracy since William Randolph Hearst
was starting wars and crushing filmmakers.

LEO
We don't run the press. We certainly don't run the FCC. They made the ruling.

C.J.
Local news is getting trampled. You think corporate media is gonna take on
corporate polluters, describe mega-mergers as anything more than a rising
stock price?

BEN
When was the last time you watched local news? I mean, it's just high school
ping-pong and weathermen predicting hailstones the size of canned hams.

LEO
National programming doesn't bother you?

BEN
I've spent my entire career living in Moosejaw. I get my news off CNN.

LEO
I like this one.

C.J.
He's about to become available.

Leo leaves.

C.J.
Had to be MertMedia.

BEN
MertMedia?

C.J.
The CEO calls me every few months to offer me a job, corporate
communications. I'm due for a call next week.

BEN
You're not thinking of leaving...?

C.J.
No, I'm not, but... And I don't know who the FCC is looking out for, but I
came here to look out for the little guy. How come only the big guy wants
to hire me?

She walks out and speaks to Carol.

C.J.
Call facilities maintenance. Get me two or three workmen.

CAROL
Workmen?

C.J.
Carpenters, joiners, quitters, whatever they've got down there.

CAROL
May I ask you...?

C.J.
Like a surgeon wields his scalpel, like a barrister wields his... whatever
it is he wields, I am using my Briefing Room.

CUT TO: INT. - MURAL ROOM - DAY

Josh, Haffley, and two other people are seated and talking.

JOSH
Mr. Speaker, I guess you've seen the story about the job losses.

HAFFLEY
I have.

JOSH
I know it's easy to play politics here, but it's just an allegation. This deal
will create jobs over time. No one is more concerned about the dislocation
than me, so if you've got some issues, we should...

HAFFLEY
Let's get right to my issues.

JOSH
Sure.

HAFFLEY
I have no issues.

JOSH
Meaning?

HAFFLEY
Meaning you're home, Josh.

JOSH
Excuse me?

HAFFLEY
You're home. I can get you 200, maybe 210 Republican votes. My members love
it. You did a fantastic job.

JOSH
They love it?

HAFFLEY
Business lobby loves it, tech lobby loves it, unions always complain about
trade.

JOSH
The labor side agreements.

HAFFLEY
Those things aren't even enforceable.

JOSH
And if there are white-collar job losses?

HAFFLEY
We knew there might be. The tech lobby was pressing India to sign the thing.

JOSH
You knew about that?

HAFFLEY
Yeah. So did the White House. It's the way things were going anyway. India
can have our programming jobs. We'll give them up like we gave up horses
and buggies. They can't take away what's great about the American spirit.

They stand to leave.

JOSH
That's... That's it?

HAFFLEY
Unless I can interest you in running for Congress as a Republican. [pause] I'm
kidding. Tell the President to have a great trip. We'll start whipping votes.

They leave.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S OFFICE - DAY

Josh is standing in Leo's office waiting for Leo. Leo comes in and they
begin talking. After Leo comes in, Josh closes the door.

LEO
So, the Vice President's distancing himself.

JOSH
Lots of Democrats are.

LEO
But things went well with the Speaker.

JOSH
We knew the tech lobby was leaning on India.

LEO
Lot of lobbies lean on lots of people.

JOSH
You sent me into that room knowing it might cost the CWA jobs.

LEO
I sent you into that room to close a deal. No one put you in charge of
economic policy.

JOSH
You didn't tell me 'cause I never would have made the deal.

LEO
When the President wants a deal, it's your job to close it. We don't sign
waivers around here.

JOSH
We made a promise, me and the President. That's how we got the CWA, the first
union to endorse us in the first campaign, which is how we got the AFL-CIO,
how we won Iowa, South Dakota. That was my job, too. You think we'd be here
without it?

LEO
You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.

JOSH
We promised that union we'd protect their jobs. We said it right to Parsons'
face.

LEO
We said we'd try to look out for them.

JOSH
I'm not parsing words, that's not what we meant. We have to strip out the
copyright provisions.

LEO
We'll give them transition assistance.

JOSH
They call it burial insurance.

LEO
Well, it's all burial insurance, isn't it?

JOSH
Great. Let's revise those talking points: the case for sweatshop labor,
send your nine-year-old to a sneaker factory. Let's just call this whole
trade deal "To hell with everything."

LEO
I sent you in there to close a deal, and you did. Thank you. There are
trade-offs. Lose 17,000 here, gain 30,000 there.

JOSH
They're human beings. You're talking in abstractions.

LEO
As opposed to what, meeting every factory worker in America? Reviewing
every line of computer code and giving little checkmarks. We run a country,
we deal in abstractions.

JOSH
That's easy for you to say. You're not the one who just screwed 3.3 million
people.

LEO
Neither are you. It's the President's agenda.

JOSH
And it was the President's promise. Which you can't break, I can't break, and
I am taking this to him if I have to park a tractor on the South Lawn to do it.

Josh turns and leaves and Leo watches him as he goes.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE.
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. - LOBBY - DAY

Josh is walking in the lobby. He meets with C.J. and they start talking.

C.J.
Hey.

JOSH
Hey.

C.J.
The CWA said some nasty things about you to the press.

JOSH
Yeah, I saw.

C.J.
Tell your pals at JCN to buy some TV stations, shut this down in a hurry.

JOSH
That's good advice.

C.J.
Al the work you do with the unions, why'd Leo put you at that negotiating
table?

JOSH
'Cause I asked him. You spend your whole career trying to get in the room,
as if you're the one who can square every circle. And it turns out...

C.J.
A circle's a circle.

JOSH
There's our geometry lesson for the day.

C.J.
See you on the plane.

They both turn in opposite directions and leave.

CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY

Bartlet, Leo, and Fitzwallace are talking.

LEO
You know what these CODELs are like. We don't need any dime-store diplomats
gumming up the peace process.

FITZWALLACE
There is no peace process. Dime-store diplomats may be better than no
diplomats at all.

BARTLET
We really need a bunch of Congressmen doing back-seat diplomacy?

FITZWALLACE
You really want me to go all the way to the  Middle East with a whistle
around my neck, teach Congressmen how to make lanyards?

BARTLET
I need you to go so we can stay out of trouble. It's the best we can do in
that region right now. Come back with some lanyards, I'll toss in a couple
of new medals.

FITZWALLACE
I'll go.

Josh comes in.

FITZWALLACE
You know I'll do anything you ask, Mr. President, but I think we should be
more engaged over there, not less.

BARTLET
Thank you, Fitz. I appreciate it.

LEO
Thank you so much.

BARTLET
Would you give us a minute, please?

FITZWALLACE
Sure.

He and Leo go into Leo's office. Bartlet indicates for Josh to sit.

BARTLET
Leo's told me about the 17,000 jobs.

JOSH
We have to fix this thing.

BARTLET
We've talked about creative destruction.

JOSH
We made a promise.

BARTLET
It's the natural evolution of capitalism.

JOSH
This isn't economic theory. Where are our allegiances? To our own people or
to Third-World plutocracies?

BARTLET
There are children in those plutocracies who dig through trash heaps for
food who'd kill for a low-wage job. You think if they're not sewing sneakers,
they're downing cocktails at a debutante ball?

JOSH
This is different. These programmers have middle-class jobs.

BARTLET
Different how? Because we know them?

JOSH
Different... because you and I looked them in the eye five years ago, at
the Wayfarer Hotel.

BARTLET
I know that we did. And sometimes I wish I could stick to the theory. I
don't like seeing our friends get hurt.

JOSH
Then let's not hurt our friends.

BARTLET
By doing what? Building a wall around the country so we can keep those jobs
a bit longer and never create any new ones? Passing a law that no one can
be fired, even if played video games at their desk all day? I'd probably
get a spike in the polls for that one.

JOSH
The CWA's the reason we're in this room.

BARTLET
And they would prefer a Republican who'd support free trade then gut job
training and eviscerate unemployment insurance?

JOSH
We made a promise.

BARTLET
There was a man named Canute, one of the great Viking kings of the 11th
Century. Wanted his people to be aware of his limitations, so he led them
down to the sea and he commanded that the tide roll out. It didn't. Who gave
us the notion that Presidents can move the economy like a play-toy?

Leo comes back from his office.

BARTLET
That we can do more than talk it up or smooth over the rough spots? It's a
lie. What we really owe that union is the truth.

JOSH
We run around saying free trade creates high-paying jobs.

BARTLET
And it will. But I've been trying to tell you it's not that simple.

LEO
I'll set up a call with Bill Parsons.

BARTLET
It'd be nice to roll back that tide, wouldn't it?

JOSH
Yes, Mr. President, it sure would.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - OUTSIDE BRIEFING ROOM - DAY

C.J. and Carol are walking toward the Briefing Room.

C.J.
I need you to do me a favor.

CAROL
What's that?

C.J.
Start preparing a statement.

CAROL
Saying what?

C.J.
Retracting everything I'm about to say to the room.

She walks in and into the Briefing Room.

C.J.
Good afternoon, folks. I have to apologize. The pre-Brussels briefing won't
start for a half an hour or so.

BROCK
What happened in here?

C.J.
We're making adjustments to your seating assignments.

CHRIS
Adjustments?

C.J.
You're all aware of the FCC's new rule on media ownership. As you've reported,
they're a big victory for the little guy - if by little, of course, we mean
trans-national multi-billion-dollar conglomerates. And in that spirit of
runaway populism, the White House Briefing Room will now offer just one seat
per corporate owner.

They all murmur is disagreement.

C.J.
One seat for MertMedia, one for GE, one for Disney, Viacomm, News Corps, Clear
Channel, Tribune. I guess you'll have to flip a coin to see who gets to sit.

BROCK
Why are you doing this?

C.J.
Because if America's choices are going to be restricted, so are yours, and
everone's gonna know it. Brock, see if your business desk will lend you a
folding chair. I'll see seven of you in half an hour.

CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DONNA'S CUBICLE - DAY

Josh walks up to Donna's desk.

DONNA
They're still in your office.

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
What are they doing?

JOSH
Waiting by the sea.

He holds out something for her to take.

DONNA
What's this?

JOSH
Your diplomatic passport.

DONNA
You got me a seat on the...

JOSH
No. I even had to give mine to McKenna. I'm going on the press plane.

DONNA
Well, you tried.

JOSH
You're going on a CODEL to the Middle East with Fitzwallace and Andy. No
Presidential hand-holding. You're going to see what's going on and brief me
and Toby about it. What I did wrong wasn't breaking my word. It was making
a promise I couldn't keep in the first place.

He walks into his office.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S OFFICE - DAY

Leo is seated at his desk when C.J. comes in.

LEO
I understand we lost about 39.37% of the seats in the Briefing Room.

C.J.
I've retracted that and I'm having the government bill me for the carpentry.

LEO
I know you have a two-by-four to pick with the FCC.

C.J.
You said I could use the Briefing Room.

LEO
I did.

C.J.
Our own press guidance said it was a victory for the little guy when it was
an amnesty for monopolists. And when do we stop rewarding it?

LEO
Can I ask you a question?

C.J.
Sure.

LEO
Who's the little guy? I'm serious. Who is he? Do you know of any poor,
struggling station owners, some guy wearing hand-me-downs, tying antennas
to a pick-up truck?

C.J.
No.

LEO
Even the smallest of stations earn tens of millions. Some of them have
no news programming at all. We're supposed to upend the market place on
principle alone?

C.J.
People need to know what's going on. They need to know big changes are
happening when nobody's looking.

LEO
That doesn't mean we can stop them.

C.J.
It doesn't mean we go down without a fight, either.

LEO
Send me that bill. I'd like to pay for that carpentry myself.

C.J.
Thanks, but it was worth ever nickel.

She leaves.

MAN [prelap]
I'm educated, I work as hard as anybody...

CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY

Josh, the man, and the woman are talking.

MAN [cont.]
... and this isn't the first time I've lost my job. Where does it end? Am
I gonna be working at a video rental counter next to some high-school dropout?

Donna comes in.

DONNA
The staff vans are leaving.

JOSH
Ten years ago, I worked for this Senate candidate. He had this idea that
health care, pensions, even vacation time ought to be portable, that it
should follow you from job to job, 'cause everyone was gonna work 15 jobs
in a lifetime. Might as well fly in the teeth of it. And we talked him out
of it. We told him he was scaring the bejeesus out of people. Who wants to
know about 15 jobs? Maybe we should have done that, I don't know.

WOMAN
What do you know, Mr. Lyman?

JOSH
We can't save your jobs. We are gonna create more in the long run, but we
can't save your jobs. It's the short run we gotta figure out. The world's
moving faster, we can't stop it. I wish we could. We are gonna do more to
prepare you. We have to.

He gets up to leave. The woman stands up and speaks to him.

WOMAN
Is that a promise?

JOSH
No, but we're gonna try.

He walks away as the man stands up as well.

CUT TO: EXT. - WHITE HOUSE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

We see Josh getting into one of the vans leaving for the airport. We see
him get in and sit down as the van leaves.

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

The West Wing episode 5.19 "Talking Points", original air date 21 April, 2004.

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