Season 7 – Episode 10 – “Running Mates”

Episode Summary:

As the staff anxiously prepares Leo for the vice-presidential debate, word gets out to the press and Internet bloggers that his debating skills are weak and that he’s unfocused. Meanwhile, Santos and Helen learn to cope with new security barriers around their house.

Script:

THE WEST WING
7x10 - "RUNNING MATES"
WRITTEN BY PETER NOAH
DIRECTED BY PAUL McCRANE

Transcribed by Soundman for www.twiztv.com. Send feedback to
sparticus1611@hotmail.com.

TEASER

MARTIN SHEEN
Good evening. On December 16th, we lost our dear friend and colleague,
John Spencer. Through our shock and grief, we can think of no more fitting
memorial to this wonderful man, this extraordinary actor, than to share
with you, beginning tonight, the last few months of his work here on The
West Wing. Johnny, it seems we hardly knew you. We love you and we miss you.

FADE TO: INT. - DEBATE PREP ROOM - DAY
      48 HOURS BEFORE THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Leo is prepping for the Vice Presidential debate. He and Otto stand opposite
each other at the head of a table. Seated at the table are several people,
including Annabeth. There is camera equipment set up to record the prep so
that it can be reviewed later.

LEO
Health care in this country is a mess. Wait, it's "health care is broken." I
think "mess" is better. I know "broken" is what we have a line for but we
should work the word "mess" in. Let's start again. Health care is a mess. The
system is broken. "Broke"?

ANNABETH
"Broken." It's what they agreed on.

LEO
I'm sorry.

ANNABETH
No, no.

LEO
Sorry. What'd you say, "broke" or "broken"?

ANNABETH
"Broken." It sets up the bite better.

LEO
Health care in this country is broken, and the Republican Congress's
attitude is... "seems to be"? "Is," "is" is stronger. The Republican
Congress... Congressional Republicans?... The Republican Congress's attitude is
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Ah! "Is broke." I can't believe I screwed
it up. Idiot! I screwed the line up.

ANNABETH
Leo, it's all right.

LEO
The Republican Congress's attitude seems to be... is. The Republican Congress's
attitude is "If it is broke, don't fix it." No, wait.

ANNABETH
That's it.

LEO
That didn't sound right.

ANNABETH
That's the line.

LEO
Yeah?

OTTO
That was it.

LEO
Really?

ANNABETH
Uh-huh.

LEO
Hallelujah. Anybody got a cigarette?

ANNABETH
We just started.

LEO
I know. I'd like to smoke it and then have someone shoot me.

Annabeth laughs.

LEO
I'm sorry.

OTTO
No, it's fine. That's what this is for.

LEO
Keep going.

ANNABETH
Governor Sullivan, your response.

OTTO [as Sullivan]
Mr. McGarry keeps falling back on the same trick. If it's something good
that's happened in the last eight years, he touts his service in the Bartlet
White House. When it's something he disapproves of, he lays the blame on the
Republican Congress. Now, I submit that if the health care system is "broken,"
it happened on his watch. If your repairman can't fix something after trying,
I think the American people realize it's time to try someone else.

ANNABETH
Mr. McGarry? [pause] Mr. McGarry?

LEO
I need a... boy, that's a good answer. I'm going to need a... this "broke"
thing is a trap. I'm just leading with... I'm leading with my chin here. These
canned... pre-canned... Can we take a break?

He exhales, seeming to be upset with himself.

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

Annabeth is on the phone.

ANNABETH
Yeah, Josh? ... About the VP debate Sunday, we may have a problem.

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

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. SANTOS HQ - NIGHT

Josh is on the phone with Donna.

JOSH
He understands this is his last trip home until the election, doesn't he?

DONNA [VO]
No idea; does he?

JOSH
Let me put it another way: tell him this is his last trip home until the
election.

CUT TO: INT. - LIMO - CONTINUOUS

Donna and Santos are seated. Donna is talking with Josh.

DONNA
You didn't tell him?

JOSH [VO]
Not in so many words.

DONNA
In any words?

SANTOS
Tell me what?

DONNA [to Santos]
Josh says this is your last trip home until the election.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Donna!

CUT TO: INT. - LIMO - CONTINUOUS

DONNA
What?

JOSH [VO]
Some deftness, a little finesse.

SANTOS
I know.

DONNA
He knows.

JOSH [VO]
That's not the point.

SANTOS
Tell Josh to chill.

DONNA
Josh, chill.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Did you just tell me to chill?

CUT TO: INT. - LIMO - CONTINUOUS

DONNA
It would appear so.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Is it somehow not clear that I'm your boss?

DONNA [VO]
Congressman's recommendation.

JOSH
Oh.

CUT TO: INT. - LIMO - CONTINUOUS

DONNA
To which I heartily concur.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

Josh has walked into his office and sits at his desk.

JOSH
Yeah, I don't think you tell me to chill.

CUT TO: INT. - LIMO - CONTINUOUS

DONNA
I wanted to scream it everyday for eight years.

JOSH [VO]
Whatever inhibition prevented you, summon it.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

Ronna comes to the door.

RONNA
It's here.

JOSH
I've got to go.

He hangs up.

JOSH
How does Lou look?

RONNA
Like she always does. It'd be kind of butch on me, but Lou makes it work.

He gets up and they start walking.

JOSH
Does she look happy, worried?

RONNA
Uh, stricken might be the word.

JOSH
Hyperbole, right? Your well-known predilection for panic and exaggeration.

RONNA
I don't have a predilection for panic and exaggeration.

JOSH
For the purposes of this moment, let's stipulate that you do.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Lou and Otto are already seated at the table. Josh and Ronna walk in. Lou
looks unhappy, to say the least.

JOSH
Is it really that bad?

LOU
No. It's worse.

She gets up and puts a tape into the TV in the corner of the room. It starts
playing. It is the tape of Leo and Otto during prep.

OTTO [on TV]
Why won't you and Congressman Santos commit to a pledge not to raise taxes?

LEO [on TV]
Because it's a lie.

OTTO [on TV]
Is my opponent calling Senator Vinick and myself liars?

LEO [on TV]
The American people want the services government provides. They cost money
and have to be paid for. We're running on acceptable deficits as it is.

JOSH
He gets better, yes?

LOU
This is the high-water mark.

JOSH
Switch it off.

She gets up and turns it off. Josh sits and looks accusingly at Otto.

OTTO
What?

LOU
Sullivan's a killer. The kid did what he had to do.

JOSH
The rest of it's really that bad?

LOU
Watch it.

JOSH
Can you fix it?

LOU
We have to. The debate's in two days.

JOSH
Anybody breaths a word of this to the outside, I will devise a punishment
that would make  blanch.

RONNA
Why not leak it?

OTTO
Play the expectations game.

LOU
That doesn't work when you lower expectations and your guy meets them.

The phone rings and Otto answers it.

OTTO
Yeah? ... Yeah.

He puts it on hold.

OTTO
It's Leo, line two.

Josh gets up and goes to the phone.

JOSH
Hey.

LEO [VO]
Hey. So?

JOSH
I never got to see it.

Josh pops open the front of the tape which they were just watching.

JOSH
The machine ate the tape.

He starts pulling out the actual tape from inside the cartridge.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

Leo is on the phone with Josh.

LEO
You didn't see any of it?

JOSH [VO]
No, the damned thing just fried.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Smoke and everything; I was worried it was going to set off the sprinklers.

He pulls more of the tape out.

LEO [VO]
Was that the only copy?

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
I'd love to review it.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Yeah, it's the only copy.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
That's too bad. So... what was the report?

JOSH
Uh, it was good. Some bumps... in spots.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
Some things to work on; that's what debate prep is for.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [VO][cont.]
We'll fine tune tomorrow.

LEO
Yeah.

JOSH [VO]
Get some rest. I need you to look pretty for 20 million TV viewers.

LEO
If that's what we're counting on, the campaign's doomed.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
See you tomorrow.

He hangs up.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

Leo hangs up.

CUT TO: EXT. - SANTOS HOME - STREET - DAY
      HOUSTON, TEXAS

We see the motorcade turning onto the street in front of Santos' house. There
are a ton of reporters and photographers waiting on his lawn for him to exit
the car. We see the cars stop and Secret Service agents get out.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - CONTINUOUS

Santos, Donna, and Bram are seated.

DONNA
We should let them set up. We want pictures.

BRAM
The candidate's return.

Bram gets out.

DONNA
Reconnecting to his loving, photogenic family.

SANTOS
Because God forbid any normal human behaviour should go unpoliticized.

DONNA
Vinick's kids are approaching menopause. We want to get some heartwarming
footage of your adorable children hugging their hale and vital dad.

Santos laughs.

SANTOS
Vital.

DONNA
A subliminal reminder that actuarially, you're far less likely to keel over
in the Rose Garden than your esteemed opponent.

Bram opens the door to speak to them.

BRAM
They're set.

DONNA
Out on the lawn? It makes a pretty picture.

They get out. Santos walks onto the lawn and whistles as he sees his son,
Peter, running toward him. He runs into Santos' arms and Santos picks him
up and hugs him.

SANTOS
Hey, how you doing, how you doing! Buddy, what's happening?! How are you?

Helen and their daughter, Miranda, walk out to meet him.

HELEN
Take it easy. He's not feeling well.

SANTOS
Oh, really? What's wrong buddy?

PETER
I've got a cold.

He wipes his nose on Santos' shoulder.

SANTOS
Thank you for that gift.

HELEN
Sweetheart!

SANTOS
Hey, sweetie.

He picks up Miranda and hugs her. Helen bends down in front of Peter to blow
his nose.

MIRANDA
Welcome home, Daddy.

SANTOS
Oh, thank you, angel. It's good to be home.

MIRANDA
My throat's scratchy.

SANTOS
Okay.

HELEN
Hi.

SANTOS
How are you?

They kiss.

HELEN
I had a little touch of ebola, but I think I'm over the worst of it.

SANTOS
OK. Hi guys. How's it going?

He nods to the reporters and photographers as they go inside.

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

Leo is getting ready for the day of prep. He is on the phone trying to
solicit some campaign money. We hear a knock at the door.

LEO
We're looking over their shoulder. ... Hey, we've got movement in Illinois,
solidifying nicely in New Jersey, trending well in Florida.

He opens the door and Annabeth comes in carrying flowers.

ANNABETH
[whispering] Mention Illinois.

LEO
I think it's definitely tightening up. ... Yeah. Well, fortunately,
there's nothing less impactful than the VP debate. I shouldn't hurt us too
bad. ... Okay, Bob, talk to you soon.

He hangs up.

LEO
When I was in business, all I talked was politics. Now that I'm a candidate,
all I talk is money.

ANNABETH
Shake some loose?

LEO
We'll see. [pause] So, how did I do?

ANNABETH
The mock debate? I don't think I have the standing to critique the substance.

LEO
Artful dodge. Uncharacteristic, your usual conversation mode tending more
toward blunt instrument. On style, then.

ANNABETH
Oh, that was horrible.

LEO
There's the cudgel.

ANNABETH
But we can relax your posture, relocate your voice, corral that fidgeting,
and knock some years off.

LEO
Not again with the Botox.

ANNABETH
Hair and makeup room: man's best friend. Plan to spend some time there.

LEO
It's a hair and makeup room. It's not a time machine.

ANNABETH
None of this is your problem.

LEO
You're going to tell me what is.

ANNABETH
Your smirk.

LEO
My what?

ANNABETH
Yeah, you're doing it now.

LEO
No, I'm not.

ANNABETH
It's your default expression, Leo.

LEO
What are you talk...?

He goes to the mirror to prove her wrong. It looks as if he is, indeed,
smirking.

LEO
That's a scowl. I'm scowling, which is, in itself, probably not great.

She turns him back and he is, again, smirking.

LEO
That's the way my mouth forms.

ANNABETH
From decades of smirking. In the right context, extremely effective;
commanding, reassuring, even devastatingly sexy.

LEO
Sexy?

ANNABETH
In the right context. In a debate, under the best of circumstances it reads
as smug and condescending. In the context where you're getting waxed by your
opponent it comes off as clueless, defensive, and not a little pathetic.

LEO
You seem to have graduated from cudgel to bludgeon.

ANNABETH
But we're going to fix it.

LEO
[sarcastic] Are we?

ANNABETH
There... you're scowling again.

LEO
I wonder why.

ANNABETH
Mr. McGarry, can you explain why, after eight years of the Bartlet presidency,
health care costs have exploded?

LEO
[smirking] Three little words: the Republican Congress.

ANNABETH
Ehhhh.

LEO
Now that calls for a little smirk as underlining punctuation.

ANNABETH
It depends: you want to come off as wise or wise-ass?

LEO
I wasn't done.

ANNABETH
Finish.

LEO
Give the Santos-McGarry Administration...

ANNABETH
No, the whole thing. Why has the cost of health care exploded under
Bartlet? Go.

LEO
Three little words: the Republican Congress. Give the Santos-McGarry
Administration a Democratic Congressional majority, we'll bring health costs
under control our first year in office.

After finishing, he begins to smirk, again.

ANNABETH
You're doing it again.

LEO
I am not!

ANNABETH
Leo. What's this?

She uses her fingers to position his mouth into a smile.

LEO
You want to lose those, clear to the knuckle?

ANNABETH
I want to see this, not this.

She positions his mouth into a frown/scowl.

LEO
What my life has come to.

ANNABETH
And it wouldn't kill you to throw in a few specifics.

LEO
I thought you didn't do content.

ANNABETH
Ah-ah-ah.

CUT TO: INT. - BASEMENT - WHITE HOUSE - DAY

Will is walking from the basement. Kate meets him and they walk and talk
together.

KATE
Hey. Looking for me?

WILL
I've got a minute. Can you brief me on this Kazakhstan situation? The press
is starting to ask me more questions than I have answers.

KATE
Sure. What do you want to know?

WILL
Has a deal been structured to keep Chinese troops on their side of the border?

KATE
That's classified.

WILL
So if there was a deal, the details would be...?

KATE
Also classified, if there were details.

WILL
If there was a deal, which is...

KATE
Classified.

They walk into the Communications office and into Will's office.

WILL
As you said. Have elections been rescheduled?

KATE
In Kazakhstan?

WILL
That's our subject.

KATE
Also classified, although for the life of me I can't imagine why.

WILL
You're enjoying this, aren't you?

KATE
Not really, no.

WILL
Have the parties agreed to U.N. monitors in this election that may or may
not be rescheduled?

KATE
Classified.

WILL
You're just playing with me now.

KATE
Honestly, I'm not.

WILL
Is the subject of monitors being discussed?

He looks at her and she says nothing.

WILL
It's in the papers it is.

KATE
They didn't hear it from us.

WILL
So, it's being considered... debated, negotiated... anywhere, by anyone?

KATE
I'm so sorry.

WILL
It makes you feel powerful. "I am woman, hear me withhold."

KATE
It's not like that.

WILL
A little.

KATE
At moments.

WILL
This moment?

KATE
A bit.

WILL
It's disturbingly compelling.

KATE
What's that say about you?

WILL
Nothing good. Well, I want to thank you for all the illuminating help.

KATE
Anytime.

She walks out.

CUT TO: INT. - KITCHEN - SANTOS HOME - DAY

Helen is at the sink. Santos walks in.

SANTOS
It's nice to be home; a little semblance of normalcy.

Helen looks around at the number of people inside the house alone.

HELEN
Normalcy ain't what it used to be.

SANTOS
Well, I'm sorry about this.

HELEN
Small price to pay to have you home.

SANTOS
So, the Secret Service guys, they're okay? They stay outside?

HELEN
It's fine.

SANTOS
All the neighbors, they're alright with guys with dark glasses posted around
the house?

HELEN
Are you kidding? They now live on the safest block in America.

They have walked into the foyer. Helen goes into the living room. Santos
opens the door as if he were going outside. A Secret Service agent stops him.

AGENT
Sir, did you want to go somewhere?

SANTOS
I was just going to get the mail.

AGENT
Of course, sir. We'll just need a few minutes to shut down the street.

SANTOS
To walk to the mailbox?

AGENT
Anytime you go into the front yard.

SANTOS
Do you really need to get into all that?

AGENT
I'm afraid so, sir.

He signals some agents to shut down the street.

SANTOS
That's okay. Never mind.

Santos signals for them to never mind.

AGENT
We'll get someone to retrieve the mail for you.

SANTOS
Fine.

AGENT
Then it'll need to be screened.

SANTOS
Do whatever you have to do.

He moves to go back inside, but hears something and stops.

SANTOS
What's that noise?

AGENT
Those are our vehicles. We keep their engines running.

SANTOS
The neighbors must love that.

AGENT
Yes, sir.

He steps in and closes the door behind him. Helen is there, looking at him
in a matter-of-fact kind of way.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - DAY

Josh, Lou, Ronna, Annabeth, and Otto are walking. Josh has a piece of paper
in his hand and is reading from it. It is a print-off from a web blog.

JOSH
"McGarry Debate Debacle"? Where did he get this?

ANNABETH
Who knows how these bloggers get their information.

JOSH
Considering he has all the gory details, I'd have to say it was from one of us.

LOU
Don't say us, when you mean you.

RONNA
I didn't leak anything.

OTTO
Me neither.

JOSH
I'm this far from ordering polygraph tests. Nobody mention this to Leo. His
confidence is shaky as it is.

They walk into a conference room where Leo is waiting. Leo is looking at
the blog page on a laptop.

JOSH
Hey.

LEO
You see this?

JOSH
I heard... something about it, yeah.

LEO
Let's get started. We evidently have some work to do.

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE.
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN: INT. - HOTEL ROOM - DAY
      REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE PREP SITE

Bob Mayer is on the phone with someone.

BOB
Well, for the record, we discount this blog report as the transparent ploy it
so obviously is: old as politics. We fully expect Leo McGarry to be a fierce
and formidable debate opponent. ... Off the record? ... I think you can
sum up the mood here at Vinick-Sullivan headquarters as "yippee." ... Yeah,
thanks, Harv.

He hangs up and goes to the table. Sheila and Bruno are there.

BOB
Everyone's got it.

SHEILA
God bless the Internet.

SULLIVAN
It giveth and it taketh away.

BOB
Well, it's giving with both hands on this baby.

SHEILA
Let's not be overconfident.

BOB
You know, the thing about being warned about overconfidence is you have a
hell of a reason to feel pretty damn confidant.

SULLIVAN
I'm not going to be lulled by this. McGarry is verbal and tough.

BOB
It's one thing to argue behind the scenes. It's a whole other ball game
doing it in a debate setting.

SHEILA
Concerned about presentation, tone...

BOB
Clarity.

SHEILA
Concision.

BOB
It's hard enough for veteran politicians, let alone a neophyte like McGarry.

SULLIVAN
Leo's no neophyte.

SHEILA
At being a candidate, he is.

BOB
You can go balls to the wall all you want in private with the President. Try
doing that on TV.

SHEILA
It scares the horses.

SULLIVAN
We go in just as hard, just as strong, just as focused.

BOB
You'll wipe the floor with him.

SULLIVAN
That was my plan regardless.

SHEILA
If he's really that bad, you might want to dial it back a notch.

SULLIVAN
You don't want me to look like a bully?

BOB
The trick is to beat his brains in without making people feel sorry for
the guy.

SULLIVAN
Well, let's get to work.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Santos and his campaign people are gathered around the table.

SANTOS
So, what speech am I giving?

DONNA
Plus the fundraising appeal?

BRAM
Mm. Modified stump.

SANTOS
Modified?

DONNA
Shorter.

SANTOS
Less filling, tastes great.

DONNA
Hopefully.

BRAM
It's Houston. These people know you.

SANTOS
They're sick of hearing me talk.

DONNA
Conceivably.

SANTOS
Thank you for your support.

DONNA
De nada.

SANTOS
Anybody speak Spanish here?

They people around the table laugh.

BRAM
You want to spend less time telling your friends what they already know and
more time looking them in the eye and asking for cash.

DONNA
There's a squirm factor we're counting on.

SANTOS
I could just hold 'em up-side down by the ankles and give them a good shake.

DONNA
We may be after more thank what they've got in their pockets.

SANTOS
Hey, this is Houston. You never know.

BRAM
It's all about the dinero.

SANTOS
That's money, right?

The people laugh again.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - DEBATE PREP - DAY

Leo is standing at the podium. Otto walks in and Josh talks to him as he
walks toward his podium.

JOSH
Hey, remember: we're trying to build confidence, so hold back a little.

Lou comes to him after Josh walks away.

LOU
This is only useful if it's real. Don't hold back.

JOSH
Ready?

LEO
Where's the camera?

JOSH
Uh, no taping. The only people who need to see it are right here.

LEO
No, for my own edification; review.

LOU
We don't need you too self-conscious.

JOSH
No split focus: we want you to concentrate on your performance, not whether
your forehead is shining.

ANNABETH
For the record, your forehead is gorgeous. It's actually making me hot.

LEO
Let's get started.

JOSH
Mr. McGarry, the United States refuses to recognize the U.N. International
Criminal Court's jurisdiction as it applies to itself, yet implicitly seems to
expect the rest of the world to submit to that body's legal authority. Isn't
this arrogant and hypocritical?

LEO
Yes.

Everyone looks stunned at this answer. Leo continues after a pause.

LEO
Congressional withholding of recognition of the ICC has been one of the
factors contributing to growing international resentment toward the United
States. And I know the argument on the other side: because the U.S. regularly
takes the leading role in military interventions overseas, it leaves itself
especially vulnerable to potentially illegitimate legal claims motivated solely
by ideological or political animas with no countervailing checks and balances.

Ronna holds up a card with "15" written on it.

LEO
But, to get back to our original position...

She takes it away and puts up one with "10" on it.

LEO
The ICC requires the participation to have true legitimacy of the world's
remaining superpower's sole remaining...

She pulls it away for one with "0" on it.

ANNABETH
Time.

There is an awkward silence.

JOSH
Lou?

LOU
Okay. That was good. You spent, perhaps, a little more time laying out the
other side's position rather than your own.

LEO
I felt that.

LOU
Yeah? Good. And the language was a bit dense.

LEO
Dense?

LOU
Uh, help me out here.

JOSH
Dense is good.

ANNABETH
It could be more plainspoken.

RONNA
That's it.

LOU
Plainspoken, exactly.

JOSH
Plainspoken.

CUT TO: INT. - BRIEFING ROOM - DAY

Will is briefing the press. They are clamoring for his attention.

WILL
Yes, Steve?

STEVE
Do you have an update on the situation in Kazakhstan?

WILL
Things seem to be in a holding pattern.

STEVE
Seem to be?

WILL
I have no information to the contrary.

STEVE
Has a deal been reached to keep the Chinese and Russian troops from crossing
their respective borders?

WILL
Not that I'm aware of at this time.

FEMALE REPORTER
Is one currently being negotiated?

WILL
I couldn't say.

STEVE
But you could say?

WILL
I'm sorry. I should have said, "I have no knowledge of whether an agreement
is being discussed or not."

FEMALE REPORTER
Are you just obfuscating here?

WILL
Luckily for all of you if, perhaps not for the administration, should it
ever come to that I couldn't possibly pull it off this convincingly.

STEVE
If it turns out we're on the brink of World War III, this won't seem quite
so amusing.

WILL
In that horrible event, one might assume we'd all have more pressing
concerns. Mark?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - BEDROOM - DAY

Helen is getting ready for the stump event that night. Santos walks in.

HELEN
There you are.

SANTOS
We finally finished revising those stimulus numbers based upon that latest
CBO package.

HELEN
Is that what you guys have been doing? Every time I walked by there all I
heard was people laughing.

SANTOS
Well, we enjoy each other's company.

HELEN
Evidently.

SANTOS
Is there a problem?

HELEN
It's just that when you said you were going to come home and spend time with
the kids, I thought you were going to spend some time with the kids.

SANTOS
I played with them this morning.

HELEN
Practically handling them with tongs.

SANTOS
I don't want to get in their faces. They're sick.

HELEN
They have head colds. It's unlikely you'll start bleeding from the eyes.

SANTOS
I'm in the middle of a Presidential campaign.

HELEN
That's where you've been nights.

SANTOS
I know it's been rough.

HELEN
The kids being issued panic buttons and the house transformed into an
armed camp?

SANTOS
A bit of an exaggeration.

HELEN
Do the windows in here look any different?

SANTOS
No, not really.

HELEN
It's amazing the natural look they can achieve now with bulletproof
glass. Labor Day, the barbeque: I had to provide the Secret Service with
everyone's names, Social Security numbers, birthdates. To come by and have
a hot dog, everybody had to be issued ID pins. My mother walking around
tagged like she was some threatening wacko. If you're considering this an
opportunity to crack a mother-in-law joke, you are seriously misjudging the
mood of your audience.

There is a silence, during which Helen continues to get ready.

SANTOS
I had a real good one, too.

HELEN
Yeah, what?

SANTOS
Too late. [pause] I'm sorry. Tomorrow will be better.

Helen laughs.

SANTOS
Hey, think about the neat place we get to live in once we win this thing.

Miranda walks in.

MIRANDA
My throat's really hurting.

HELEN
Oh, sweetie. Come here, honey.

SANTOS
I'll handle it.

He walks over to her and bends down.

SANTOS
What's wrong, angel?

MIRANDA
I want mommy.

SANTOS
Okay.

Helen comes over and kisses her forehead.

HELEN
I'm here, baby. You're really warm. Let's go take your temperature, okay?

MIRANDA
Okay.

HELEN
Okay, honey. Come here.

She picks her up and they go into the bathroom. Santos goes back to getting
ready. As he does, he taps on the glass.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO.
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Josh, Lou, Ronna, and Annabeth are watching a tape of the earlier debate
prep which they told Leo wasn't being taped.

JOSH [on tape]
Mr. McGarry, given the Vice President's role as one who could be called upon
to assume the Presidency, what's your response to voters concerned about
your medical history?

LEO [on tape]
I'd say the House Speaker shouldn't skip any check-ups.

Lou pauses the tape.

LOU
He can't be flippant about this.

JOSH
I thought it was funny.

ANNABETH
Defusing.

RONNA
Sullivan will jump all over it.

LOU
And do an aria about the awesome, sacred responsibility of succession.

JOSH
And he'll look like an idiot.

LOU
And Leo will sound like he could care less.

ANNABETH
How can we help him if we can't even agree?

JOSH
He never figured out we were taping him?

ANNABETH
Nope.

LOU
Nice job.

JOSH
Lipstick cameras. You use these at home for your personal pleasure?

RONNA
Wouldn't you like to know.

JOSH
Not really. No.

LOU
Should we cancel?

JOSH
The debate?

RONNA
It's the right question.

ANNABETH
It'd just nakedly be saying we're worried about him looking bad.

LOU
Better than moving forward and him, in fact, looking bad.

JOSH
We don't cancel. We keep working; do another practice session tomorrow.

RONNA
Tomorrow's the debate.

JOSH
[sarcastically] Is it? Really? Gee, it slipped my mind.

LOU
Okay, guys. Thank you. You can go.

Ronna and Annabeth leave.

JOSH
He'll be fine. [pause] Acceptable.

LOU
I'll take anything over train wreck.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Leo's phone is ringing. He gets up from his desk and answers it.

LEO
Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

Santos is on his way back from the stump event.

SANTOS
Hey.

LEO [VO]
Congressman. How'd the event go?

SANTOS
Asking people who've already given money to give more money?

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
You've got to be shameless.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
It's shameful how shameless you get. What are you up to?

LEO [VO]
Cramming.

SANTOS
I know the feeling.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
Comic retribution for every candidate I ever told, "Just work harder." You
saw the blog report.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
Don't let that worry you, Leo. Every time you and I argue policy, you kick
my ass.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
Hardly.

SANTOS [VO]
A piece of advice?

LEO
Please.

SANTOS [VO]
Don't let all those advisors mess you up.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS [cont.]
All of that well-intentioned council can get you so self-conscious you can't
remember your shoe size.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS [cont.][VO]
Trust your instincts. You have a practice session tomorrow?

LEO
Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
Blow it off. Go to a movie. Get everybody out of your hair.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
How's the homecoming?

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
Great.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
Having a little reentry problem?

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
A little bit.

LEO [VO]
Is she right there?

SANTOS
Home with the kids. Miranda's got a fever.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
You two will be all right. My best advice: don't get on a plane angry.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

LEO [cont.][VO]
Says the divorced guy.

SANTOS
Does that make your advice better or worse?

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
I have no idea.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - HOUSTON STREET - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
Get some rest.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

LEO
Thanks for calling.

SANTOS [VO]
Good luck.

Leo hangs up.

CUT TO: INT. - COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - DAY

Will is starting up one of the computers in the Communications office when
Kate walks in.

KATE
What are you doing here on a Sunday?

WILL
No life. You? Wait, let me guess: you can't tell me.

KATE
You're getting good at this.

WILL
Coffee?

KATE
Hmm-mm.

WILL
You know it occurs to me that if you ever used, and the fact that you haven't
earns you major cliche avoidance points, the old, "I could tell you but
then I'd have to kill you" trope, that given your background you probably
actually could.

KATE
With my bare hands.

WILL
Again, alarmingly alluring.

KATE
You do have issues to work on, which I tend to find compelling to my
continual misery.

WILL
Really?

KATE
Dismayingly so. Anyway, I just came by to say that I thought, given all,
you acquitted yourself well at yesterday's briefing.

WILL
Apocalypse Maybe.

KATE
Nimbly done.

WILL
Don't change the subject.

KATE
From?

WILL
The end of the world as we know it.

KATE
I can assure you: Armageddon not necessarily imminent.

WILL
May I communicate same to the White House press?

KATE
I can't think why not.

WILL
You have the thanks of a thankful Communications director. Though the thought
of the world ending did have one upside: I figured it gave license to ask
whether you might want to have dinner with me before we and the planet went
up in cinders.

KATE
Well, that is an opportunity lost. Though I said it wasn't imminent, not
out of the range of possibility.

WILL
So, then...?

KATE
How's tonight?

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

Ronna, Annabeth, and Lou walk into Josh's office looking very somber. Josh
shuts the door behind them.

JOSH
It's all over the press that Leo had another bad debate practice. Somebody's
leaking.

LOU
You can't seriously think it's one of us.

JOSH
You told a friend, they told a friend, the friend told the Washington Post.

LOU
I haven't spoken to a friend in two months.

ANNABETH
I don't think I have any friends left.

RONNA
All my friends are in this room.

LOU
Okay, you win most pathetic.

Leo knocks and comes in.

LEO
Am I interrupting?

JOSH
Hey! No, not at all.

LEO
I'm canceling today's debate prep.

JOSH
I'm not sure that's the best plan.

LEO
Too many voices; I need to clear my head a little bit.

LOU
We could make it just Josh and me.

JOSH
Or just Lou. Or me.

LEO
I think I'll do better on my own.

JOSH
Short session?

LEO
I don't want to leave it in the locker room.

JOSH
Right.

LEO
See you all tonight.

ANNABETH
All right.

Leo leaves. As he shuts the door, Josh goes back to his desk, looking very
worried.

JOSH
Okay, forget what I was saying. I want you to get out there and lower
expectations now.

LOU
Beyond what they are?

JOSH
Lower than low. Go for low. Hades low. Spinning iron core in the planet
low. Low.

CUT TO: EXT. - SANTOS' HOME - DAY

Santos, Helen, and the kids are coming back from mass. Santos is carrying
Miranda.

SANTOS
You know, between the security sweep, the metal detectors and the perimeter
detail, that was the safest mass performed in America today.

Helen laughs.

SON
What's so funny?

MIRANDA
Yeah, what's so funny?

HELEN
Kind of everything.

SON
Did Teddy's father get his gun back?

Helen and Santos both laugh at this.

SANTOS
I don't know, Pete. You're going to have to ask him.

MIRANDA
What?

They have come to the front door and an agent opens the door for them. Donna
and Bram are waiting for them.

SANTOS
All right, kids. Get changed.

HELEN
Sorry. You guys had him all day yesterday. Today's the Sabbath, day of rest.

DONNA
There's something both of you are going to want to see.

HELEN
What is it?

DONNA
Photos hit the papers you're probably not going to like.

SANTOS
I've probably looked worse.

DONNA
It's not of you.

Donna hands him a tabloid newspaper. The headline reads "HOTTIE HELEN." It
shows a picture of her when Santos first arrived home. She is bent down,
wiping Peter's nose. The picture is a close-up of the strap of her thong
underwear. Helen looks embarrassed as she takes it for a closer look.

CUT TO: INT. - HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Bob is looking at a webblog featuring the picture which Donna just showed
to Santos and Helen.

BOB
You think they planted it to distract from the debate tonight?

Sheila and Sullivan come to look at it.

SHEILA
Only a man would ask that.

SULLIVAN
I beg your pardon.

SHEILA
Sorry. You're right. Only you.

Sheila and Sullivan sit down on the couches.

BOB
It's all over the Internet.

SULLIVAN
What are we doing about Illinois?

SHEILA
Not panicking.

BOB
Four points up is still up.

SHEILA
Senator of Chicago to the suburbs...

SULLIVAN
I go downstate.

BOB
Santos ain't playing in Peoria.

He sees something on one of the blogs he is looking at.

BOB
They're talking about canceling.

SULLIVAN
Who?

BOB
Santos-McGarry.

SHEILA
I hear they're in panic mode over there.

BOB
That's why he leaked the Helen photo.

SHEILA
Will you stop?

SULLIVAN
He set the bar so low, the only way McGarry can look bad is if he trips
over it.

BOB
Go out, do your thing; just watch out it doesn't look like you're kicking
a cripple.

SHEILA
And we let this man talk to reporters?

BOB
What?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - DAY

Santos, Helen, Donna, and Bram are 'discussing' the photo. Santos is
outraged. Helen looks mortified.

SANTOS
This is out of bounds. I want you to contact every media outlet and let
them know that anyone using this will no longer receive cooperation from
this campaign.

There is an awkward pause and silence.

SANTOS
Honey, I'm sorry about this.

HELEN
I... I guess this is speechless.

BRAM
It's trash journalism - the lowest kind of tabloid stuff. This will backfire.

HELEN
They'll only sell out every copy.

DONNA
I'm so sorry, Mrs. Santos. I can understand how you must feel.

HELEN
Can you? What kind of underwear are you wearing right now, Donna?

She gets up and leaves.

SANTOS
Put me on the phone with this publisher.

DONNA
I'm not sure that's the best...

SANTOS
Put me on the phone with him, right now.

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

Josh is on the phone with Toby.

JOSH
Hey. Is this a bad time?

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Toby is seated in the hallway. He is on the phone with Josh.

TOBY
No. You caught me between arraignments.

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

JOSH
I'm surprised you haven't changed your cell number.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Disappointed to actually get me?

JOSH [VO]
No, I...

TOBY
Is somebody dead?

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

JOSH
I've talked to you.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Once every six weeks; you could set an extremely slow clock by it.

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

JOSH
I didn't think you wanted to hear from me.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Because I don't feel cut off enough?

JOSH [VO]
All right. I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to you.

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

JOSH [cont.]
Last time you were more than usually assholic.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Is that the reason you're calling? Because I'm not sure I'm in the ideal
headspace for a character critique.

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

JOSH
Have you seen the stuff about Leo?

TOBY [VO]
Lowering expectations.

JOSH
It's not us.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Really? You mean he actually...?

JOSH [VO]
Yeah.

TOBY
News for a day. Not even, with this tattoo thing. That was you, right?

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

JOSH
No.

TOBY [VO]
Huh?

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY [cont.]
Really on top of the information flow, huh?

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

JOSH
I think we can do without your usual disparagement about my job performance. I
just feel like I really screwed up.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
It's the VP debate - the very definition of "low impact."

JOSH [VO]
Well, the campaign will survive - it's Leo.

TOBY
He'll survive too.

JOSH [VO]
I put him in this position.

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

JOSH [cont.]
If he goes out and embarrasses himself, it's my fault.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
He's a big boy, Josh.

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

JOSH
He did this for me. And now I've put him in this position where he can fail
on national TV.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
I'm sorry? He did this for you?

JOSH [VO]
You know what I mean.

TOBY
Leo McGarry didn't accept his party's nomination to the Vice Presidency of
the United States because he thought it might make your socks roll up and down.

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

JOSH
I just hate to see him struggle like this. It's not what he deserves. I
can't help it if it sounds self-aggrandizing, I feel responsible.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
He's really that bad?

JOSH [VO]
Watch tonight.

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

JOSH [cont.]
Actually, don't watch. [pause] This must all sound pretty trivial.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
You mean to someone under indictment? It does concentrate the mind, just
a little.

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

JOSH
How's that going?

TOBY [VO]
I can't talk about it.

JOSH
Too tough?

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Legally prescribed.

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

JOSH
Right.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Give yourself a pass on this, Josh.

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

JOSH
Yeah. I'll talk to you in six weeks.

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Election Day.

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

JOSH
I forget: in D.C., do they let felons vote?

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Toby says nothing.

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

JOSH
Too soon?

CUT TO: INT. - COURTHOUSE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
Just a little bit. See ya.

He hangs up.

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

Josh hangs up

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE.
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. - SANTOS HOME - BEDROOM - DAY

Helen is in the room, still looking embarrassed. Santos walks in.

SANTOS
I just tore that publisher a new one. Are you okay?

HELEN
Okay may be a bit much to hope for.

SANTOS
I'm sorry about all this.

HELEN
It's not your fault.

SANTOS
In a way.

HELEN
What are you going to do?

SANTOS
That shouldn't be a part of all of this.

HELEN
Everything is a part of this. If you don't see that, you're not paying
attention. No pizza delivery on the block is a part of all this, mass starting
an hour late so they could mag-wand the choir, the kids getting sick...

SANTOS
The kids? How are they...?

HELEN
Dragging them across the country.

SANTOS
Kids whose fathers aren't running for President get colds.

HELEN
Well, I'm not going to do it anymore.

SANTOS
They enjoy it, Helen.

HELEN
Sitting in hotel rooms waiting for Daddy?

SANTOS
Can we talk about this when you're not so upset?

HELEN
You should change. You promised Peter you'd throw the football around.

She gets up and leaves.

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

Leo is lying on his couch. He is watching a movie. There is a knock at the
door. Leo pauses the movie and gets up to answer it. Josh is there.

LEO
Hey.

JOSH
You all set for tonight?

LEO
I'd better be.

JOSH
You got a suit picked out? A tie?

LEO
Are you here to approve my wardrobe?

JOSH
No, no. I'm not worried about that. I'm not worried at all.

LEO
Thanks for saying it at least. Listen, we should move "Rock the Vote" up.

JOSH
It's going to give Santos his "boxers or briefs" moment.

LEO
Helen should do it with him.

JOSH
She won't do it. He's pretty pissed.

LEO
We make lemonade, put them both on: youthful, attractive.

JOSH
Camelot for the 21st Century.

LEO
We turn that vote out, we win.

JOSH
They never come out.

LEO
They haven't had anyone like him to vote for since Kennedy.

JOSH
I'll get on it. [pause] There's still time to go over stuff for tonight.

LEO
I'm good.

JOSH
Last minute review?

LEO
I'd rather take it easy, rest up.

JOSH
[pause] It's gonna be good.

LEO
It's gonna be what it is.

JOSH
Okay, well...

LEO
Thanks for coming by.

JOSH
Yeah, I'll see you there.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HOME - DAY

Peter is playing an Xbox game. Santos and Miranda are playing go-fish. Santos
is on the phone.

SANTOS
Leo's going to be better than people think, but you know, it's the message,
not the messenger.

MIRANDA
Do you have any twos?

He takes the phone away from his mouth and mouths for her to "Go Fish."

SANTOS
No, we're going to score tonight because what we've got to say about this
country is forward-looking and inclusive.

Helen has walked up and she watches Santos as he talks on the phone.

MIRANDA
Dad!

SANTOS
I have every confidence that when Leo McGarry challenges Ray Sullivan on
the issues, he's gonna show that the Vinick campaign's so-called "Sensible
Solutions" are neither sensible, nor are they solutions.

Miranda gets up and walks over to where Peter is playing his game. We pan
to the living room where Bram is showing in Jorge Santos, Matt Santos' brother.

BRAM
Sorry for the mix-up, Mr. Santos.

JORGE SANTOS
Produce ID, pass through a metal detector to enter my own brother's house.

BRAM
We were told you were out of town. That's why you weren't on the pre-clearance
list.

JORGE
Plus they got my name wrong. It's Jorge, not George.

BRAM
They just went with what's on your driver's license.

JORGE
I'm getting it changed.

Santos walks into the room. He and Jorge hug.

SANTOS
Hey, you made it after all.

JORGE
Hey. I thought I was going to get cavity searched.

BRAM
He wasn't on the list.

SANTOS
Standard operating procedure now.

JORGE
You can make it up to me. Listen, I invited over a couple of business
associates for drinks and a photo. You think we can get it past your storm
troopers?

He looks at Bram who seems to indicate that it's not a good idea.

SANTOS
Sure.

BRAM
I'll see what I can do.

SANTOS
Helen's back here.

CUT TO: EXT. - SANTOS' HOME - BACKYARD - DAY

Helen is cleaning some things off of the picnic table in the back. Donna
walks out to talk to her.

DONNA
I haven't had a chance to say, you have a lovely home.

HELEN
It's even nicer when you don't have shouting protestors holding pictures of
fetuses just up the street.

She gets up and walks to the other side of the table.

HELEN
I'm sorry about snapping at you before.

DONNA
It's completely understandable. Personal embarrassment aside...

HELEN
Embarrassment is when you nod off at the PTA meeting. When entire cable
news segments are devoted to whether you seem kind of whore-y, I think we've
upgraded to outright humiliation.

DONNA
I was gonna say, it actually probably helps more than it hurts. It makes
you and the Congressman seem sexy and hip.

HELEN
Well, glad to be of service.

DONNA
You know, one of the reasons these stories may get so much play might be
because it's all the public knows about you. You haven't really defined
yourself.

HELEN
Well, I'm not running for President.

DONNA
With all due respect, we both know you're not that naive. The option to be
left alone took a hit when the Congressman signed on to run and pretty much
got obliterated when he won the nomination. It'll be a distant memory when
he wins this thing. It might be time for you to start talking about the kind
of First Lady you want to be. I'd like to help out with that if you'll let me.

HELEN
I can't tell you what kind of First Lady I'd like to be. I'm too busy deciding
if I want him to win.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - DEBATE HALL - NIGHT

Leo, Josh, and Lou are walking and talking as Leo prepares for the debate.

LOU
Eye contact. Start on the monitor.

JOSH
Once you punch, straight to camera.

LOU
When Sullivan talks, you look at him.

JOSH
But don't stare.

LOU
Don't look bored.

JOSH
Even when he's boring.

LOU
He'll be boring.

Annabeth walks up.

ANNABETH
Hey, look at me.

Leo turns for her to see him.

ANNABETH
Gorgeous.

LEO
Oh get her away from me.

ANNABETH
The man can not take a compliment.

Ronna walks up.

RONNA
They're ready for you.

JOSH
Go get 'em.

ANNABETH
Good luck. Hey, McGarry. [whispering] You're smirking.

LEO
[sarcastically] Yeah?

CUT TO: INT. - WILL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Will and Kate are seated at what appears to be Will's desk, although it is
covered with a tablecloth. There are candles lit on the table/desk. Will
pours some wine into two glasses. He and Kate clink glasses and take a
drink. He motions for her to tell him what she thinks of it.

KATE
Good.

He grabs the takeout orders and gives Kate hers. He opens his and scoops it
out onto his plate.

WILL
You.

KATE
Thank you.

WILL
Me.

KATE
A Carciofi salad, shaved parmesan. Little order envy.

WILL
Take it.

KATE
No.

WILL
One-time, first-date offer. I'd seize it.

KATE
First?

WILL
I'm an optimist.

KATE
Take out dinner in your office; you must be.

He looks at his watch as he pours his new salad onto his new plate.

WILL
Uh, hey, it started.

He switches the TV on to the debate.

MODERATOR [on TV]
Mr. McGarry, your response.

LEO [on TV]
Senator Vinick and Governor Sullivan oppose the Kyoto treaty because they
don't want foreign governments dictating our emissions standards. They oppose
the International Criminal Court because they don't want a foreign body to
have legal jurisdiction over U.S. citizens.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - DEM. WATCHROOM - CONTINUOUS

Josh, Lou, Annabeth and others are watching the debate.

LEO [cont.][on TV]
But they apparently have no problem seating enormous, unprecedented leverage
over our economy to bankers in China. Our opponents evidently favor sending
even more, billions of U.S. dollars, China's way. Matt Santos and I would
bring that money back to our shores for our citizens and return control of
our back home where it belongs.

CUT TO: INT. - WILL'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

MODERATOR [on TV]
Mr. McGarry, the next question's for you.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - REP. WATCHROOM - CONTINUOUS

Sheila and Bob are watching the debate.

MODERATOR [on TV]
Many Americans consider the Vice President's role in Presidential succession
to be the most important responsibility...

Sheila looks at Bob, obviously because of Leo's so-far performance.

BOB
I never said he was going to giber like a gibbon.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Santos, Helen, and the kids are watching the debate.

MODERATOR [on TV]
Given your medical history, why shouldn't voters feel concern about you?

LEO [on TV]
By an overwhelming percentage, the first symptom of a heart attack is death. I
am fortunate to be here. But it wasn't all luck. I was the beneficiary of the
finest medical care in the world - medical care available to me, to Governor
Sullivan; but not to the millions of Americans with no or inadequate health
insurance. They have their noses pressed against the windows of the world's
greatest hospitals, best trained doctors and nursing professionals. And when
they most need, most desperately need their services, they can't get in.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - DEM. WATCHROOM - CONTINUOUS

LEO [cont.][on TV]
Matt Santos and I don't want to leave anyone out in the cold if they get
sick like I did.

JOSH
I could kiss somebody.

He looks over at Lou, who is sitting beside him.

JOSH
Or, you know, not.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

LEO [on TV]
... access to the first-class treatment that I firmly believe saved my life.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - DEM. WATCHROOM - CONTINUOUS

RONNA
He didn't really answer the question.

JOSH
It doesn't matter.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - REP. WATCHROOM - CONTINUOUS

SHEILA
It doesn't matter.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
Damn straight.

MIRANDA
You said a swear.

Helen laughs.

CUT TO: INT. - STUDIO - OFFSTAGE - CONTINUOUS

Leo is walking off stage amid whistles and applause.

LEO
Thank you. Thanks. Thank you. Hopefully I didn't embarrass us to bad.

RONNA
Are you kidding?

LEO
Josh and Lou are in the spin room?

ANNABETH
You gave them a lot to work with.

LEO
Thanks for the help, everyone.

He and Annabeth start walking down the hallway.

RONNA
Are you coming next door for a drink?

LEO
As soon as I scrape the makeup off.

ANNABETH
Son of a bitch.

LEO
Very nice.

ANNABETH
You sandbagged.

LEO
Headstart on that drink?

ANNABETH
Didn't you? You're not smirking. What was all this about?

LEO
The truth?

ANNABETH
Yeah.

LEO
I was really that lost.

ANNABETH
Oh, come on.

LEO
Couching answers in tame, time-pressured sound bites. And then when Josh
wouldn't even show me that tape, it scared me to death. So I leaked it.

ANNABETH
You did?

LEO
I was worried he was so worried he wouldn't.

ANNABETH
So you just called up a bunch of reporters and said "Hey, Leo McGarry here,
just letting you know I'm one scary debater.

LEO
I covered my tracks. I've been at this awhile. I had a couple think it was you.

ANNABETH
Wasn't the voice a big tip-off?

LEO
There's not enough helium in the cosmos. So, I borrowed your e-mail account.

ANNABETH
Excuse me?

LEO
Never use your cat's name as your password.

Josh walks out and talks to Leo.

JOSH
Hey, I've got to get back in there. I just want to say good going.

LEO
I got through it.

JOSH
Oh, you did better than that.

LEO
Just never make me do this again.

JOSH
In four years, book it. I'll see you at the thing.

He walks away.

ANNABETH
If you'll excuse me, too, I have a password to change.

She walks away.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' HOME - STAIRCASE - NIGHT

Santos is getting ready to leave out. Helen is walking with him.

SANTOS
So, I'll see you in Phoenix on Thursday.

HELEN
I'll be there.

SANTOS
I hear that the hotel's got this water slide.

HELEN
I will pack a Victorian bathing dress.

SANTOS
I meant for the...

HELEN
I know what you meant.

SANTOS
Anyway, it's probably not a good idea that they go swimming with their colds
and all.

HELEN
Yeah, probably not.

SANTOS
I miss them like crazy.

HELEN
I know you do.

SANTOS
I miss you, too.

HELEN
I'll be there in Phoenix.

SANTOS
Yeah.

They kiss. He turns and walks out the door where some agents are ready to
escort him to the car. He goes and Helen shuts the door behind him. We watch
Helen walk away from the door and back upstairs.

CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Leo is watching some of the spin from the debate. On the TV are Mike Diacovo
and Elizabeth Willis.

WILLIS [on TV]
McGarry did all he needed to do: exceed expectations.

DIACOVO [on TV]
How couldn't he, the way the Democrats spun the run-out.

WILLIS [on TV]
And we fall for it every time: viewing the spin instead of the substance.

DIACOVO [on TV]
Substance in a debate? I'd be surprised if this debate changed anyone's mind.

WILLIS [on TV]
Well, arguably, the best outcome for the Vice Presidential debate: at least
don't send the voters running into the arms of the other guys.

CUT TO: INT. - SUBURBAN - NIGHT

Santos is in the car, driving to the airport. After a few minutes of thinking,
he sneezes.

DRIVER
Bless you, sir.

SANTOS
Thank you.

After some thought, he remembers that both of the kids had colds while he
was there.

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

The West Wing episode 7.10 "Running Mates", original air date 8 January, 2005.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.