Season 7 – Episode 14 – “Two Weeks Out”

Episode Summary:

During the last two weeks before the election, a struggling Vinick (Alan Alda) goes against his advisors and decides to campaign in California, where the nuclear accident continues to leave its residue on the pro-nuke candidate.

Script:

THE WEST WING
7x14 - "TWO WEEKS OUT"
WRITTEN BY LAWRENCE O'DONNELL JR.
DIRECTED BY LAURA INNES

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

TEASER

FADE IN: EXT. - CHICAGO CONVENTION CENTER - DAY
      14 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY

Vinick is on his way in. He is greeting the people who are waiting outside.

VINICK
Hey! ... I need your help on Election Day, all right? ... Hey, thank
you. ... Hey, I need your help on Election Day.

He comes to the end of the line and shakes a woman's hand. She seems reluctant
to let go. Vinick begins to wince, as if he were in pain. An agent comes
over to force the woman to release Vinick's hand. He waves to the crowd and
gets into the Suburban, followed by Bruno and Bob. Jane is seen on a TV that
they are watching. Vinick rubs his hand, and Bob hands him a moist towel.

BOB
Senator.

JANE [on TV]
Senator Vinick has always been opposed to gay marriage.

VINICK
Always opposed?

BRUNO
Still sore?

Bob hands him a bucket of ice that he sits his hand in.

VINICK
It feels like it's going to fall off.

BOB
Only five thousand more handshakes until the election.

VINICK
How could I always be opposed to something I never heard about until a few
years ago?

BRUNO
She is not helping.

BOB
She stabilized our numbers.

BRUNO
Keeping us locked in a tie with two weeks left to go is what I call not
helping.

BOB
She stopped the slippage in the South.

BRUNO
She's scaring away independents.

VINICK
We lost independents because a nuclear power plant almost had a meltdown
after I said nuclear power was completely safe.

BRUNO
That is water under the bridge. Now we've got to...

VINICK
If it's water under the bridge, how come I'm still ducking reporters on the
campaign trail?

BOB
Our next event: Small Business Forum of Chicago. And we've got to get out
of there fast because Santos is scheduled to speak right after us.

VINICK
That's happening a lot lately.

BRUNO
This is the way it always happens the last couple of weeks in swing states.

VINICK
Chicago would like be a lot better if I'd stayed in Florida and let the
Santos motorcade create all the traffic jams.

CUT TO: EXT. - BUILDING - DAY

The motorcade pulls up and Bruno, Vinick, and Bob get out.

BRUNO
We don't have any time for questions. We're already behind schedule.

They walk past the reporters and into the building. He shakes a few hands on
the way, still grimacing in pain. He walks into the bathroom to wait until
he is called on stage. He is rubbing his hand in pain. He walks to the sink
to wash the hand, to try and find a little relief.

CUT TO: INT. - AUDITORIUM - DAY

Matt Welsh, Chicago Bears player, is introducing Vinick to a large crowd.

MATT WELSH
Let's give a big, Chicago welcome to the Republican candidate for President
of the United States, Senator Arnold Vinick!

Vinick comes in waving to the crowd. As he draws closer to the podium, Matt
sticks his hand out to shake hands with Vinick. Vinick takes his hand, and Matt
gives an immensely firm handshake. Vinick winces in extreme pain. Finally,
after Matt lets go, Vinick steps to the podium, still with less than a smile
on his face.

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

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. - SUBURBAN - DAY

Bruno and Vinick are talking to a Doctor about Vinick's hand.

DOCTOR
Can you bend all the fingers?

VINICK
Yeah, a little bit.

DOCTOR
Try to extend the fingers straight out.

VINICK
No!

DOCTOR
Does it hurt when you do that?

VINICK
No. It doesn't hurt me when I do that. It kills me when I do that.

DOCTOR
We really need a set of X-rays.

VINICK
No!

BRUNO
No, no, no. Doctor, we've got a bus-load of reporters following us. We stop
for an X-ray the headline's going to read "Handshake breaks Vinick's hand."

DOCTOR
I can't say for sure without an X-ray, but I think you've got a metacarpal
fracture and you're going to need a cast.

VINICK
No cast.

DOCTOR
Senator, you have to...

VINICK
I can't look like an old man falling apart on the campaign trail.

BRUNO
He's got a crowd waiting for him in Pittsburg, right now.

DOCTOR
I guess I can realign the bone and give him a cast that he can take off when
he's in public.

BRUNO
Welcome to politics, doctor.

VINICK
If anyone asks you what you were doing in the car with me, we were discussing
health care policy.

DOCTOR
Well actually, I do have some suggestions about Medicare.

CUT TO: INT. - AUDITORIUM - DAY

Matt Welsh is introducing Santos.

MATT
And now it's my honor to introduce the Democratic Candidate for President
of the United States, Congressman Matthew Santos!

Santos enters and waves to the crowd. He comes to the podium and shakes
Matt's hand. He then comes to the edge of the platform to shake the hands
of a few people there.

SANTOS
Chicago, how you doing?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - DAY

Josh is speaking to several different staffers.

JOSH
We can't leave him in Ohio for two days.

EDIE
We've got a full day in Cleveland tomorrow, plus promises to keep in Columbus
and Dayton.

JOSH
I want him out of Ohio by midnight tomorrow, and on the set of "Good Morning,
Miami," at 7 am.

Josh's phone rings. Edie answers it.

EDIE
Yeah.

Josh walks on.

MALE STAFFER
Guest lists for the Cleveland event.

JOSH
Yeah. Right there.

MALE STAFFER
Here?

JOSH
Uh, no. On top of the other pile. [to Edie] Then after a full day in Florida...

EDIE
Someone named "Bob" for you?

Josh looks as though this "Bob" is someone he needs to talk to. He grabs a
cordless phone off of one of the desks and answers it.

JOSH
Twice in one week.

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

Toby is on the phone with Josh. He is obviously using the guise of "Bob"
to fool anyone.

TOBY
What are your latest numbers in California?

JOSH [VO]
Are you working for this campaign now?

TOBY
You should have new numbers by now. Check, will you?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Do we have the new California numbers?

EDIE
Yeah. We just got them.

She hands him some papers.

JOSH
We're up by two, but that includes all the leaners. So, basically, we're tied.

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

TOBY
You've got to get Santos out there right now.

JOSH [VO]
Yeah, we've got him in Illinois and Pennsylvania today, Ohio tomorrow,
Florida the next day.

TOBY
California's the whole ball game. So...

JOSH [VO]
Yeah, we're pushing up the media buy in California...

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
...but we've got to keep the candidate working in the states where he can
shake enough hands to make a difference.

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

TOBY
Yeah, but California...

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Retail politics doesn't work in California. The place is too big.

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

TOBY
I'm not talking about retail politics.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
TV is the only way to reach those voters.

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

TOBY
Exactly. That's why I'm...

JOSH [VO]
...media buy in...

TOBY
Josh!

JOSH [VO][cont.]
...in Ohio and...

TOBY
Josh, Josh, Josh! Listen to me.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

TOBY [VO]
Josh, Josh! You're getting three hours of sleep a night, you've got 300
urgent calls to return; you're not thinking straight in that place.

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

TOBY
Now take a deep breath and listen to me for one second!

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Okay, I'm listening.

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

TOBY
You can win this thing if you get him out to California right now.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

Josh looks as though he can't believe he didn't think of that.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK PLANE - DAY

Vinick walks onto the plane. Jane is seated there as he walks into the
conference area.

VINICK
I thought you were going to stay at headquarters.

JANE
I got tired of being ignored.

VINICK
Annie, have you got that thing the doctor gave me?

ANNIE
Uh, yeah.

She takes his coat and moves to get the cast for Vinick.

JANE
You know, while you're out there shaking your hand off, Matt Santos is
running his new game plan and it's working - criss-crossing the swing states,
talking nothing but energy policy. He throws in a line about the nuclear
accident to keep pressure...

Bob walks in and sits.

BOB
We're going to have Pittsburg all to ourselves this afternoon, but we're
going to cross paths with Santos tonight in Philadelphia. He's speaking at
the Constitution Center just before us.

Annie begins wrapping Vinick's hand in order to put the cast on. Bruno
walks in.

BRUNO
Tell Advance no rope lines in Pittsburg or Philly.

ANNIE
Okay.

BRUNO
Tell them no one gets to shake the Senator's hand. Not the police chief,
not the mayor...

ANNIE
How are they supposed to enforce that?

BRUNO
Tell Advance to figure it out.

Annie leaves, looking confused.

JANE
Two weeks out, we've lost our lead.

VINICK
We?

JANE
You. You have lost your lead and we still don't have a strategy to get it back.

VINICK
I thought the gay marriage nonsense was the new strategy.

JANE
You're opposed to gay marriage. There's nothing wrong with letting your
values voters know that.

VINICK
The federal government has nothing to do with marriage law. Nothing. No one
should care what I think of gay marriage.

JANE
And no one should care how tall you are and what kind of hair you have,
but you know they do, so let's...

VINICK
I'm not going to win this thing on gay marriage.

JANE
You don't know that.

VINICK
Gay marriage is a state issue. It's not a federal...

Vinick tries to open a sugar packet and put it into his coffee. He ends up
getting all around the coffee, but very little goes in.

JANE
Spare me the political science lecture. Bruno's 50-state strategy was
ridiculous even before the accident.

BRUNO
Republicans have won 49 states twice in the last 100 years.

JANE
Yeah, I've heard you say that 1000 times on TV. So you think nothing's
changed in the last 20 years in the Republican Party?

BRUNO
Yeah. People like you have taken over.

JANE
People like me think a win's a win. 51% is plenty for us. People like you
want to get into the campaign hall of fame.

BRUNO
No one is talking about a 50-state strategy anymore, not since the nuclear
thing, okay?

JANE
If you hadn't wasted the last five months trying to win Massachusetts,
we wouldn't be behind in the South.

BRUNO
Okay.

BOB
We had every Southern state before the nuclear accident.

JANE
Yeah, but you didn't have any goodwill there. You were the lesser of two
evils. If they'd actually liked you, they wouldn't have abandoned you so fast.

BOB
They haven't abandoned us. They've moved us into the Undecided column. No
one outside of Texas has moved from us to Santos.

JANE
Oh, well, Texas only has 34 Electoral Votes, so why worry about that.

BOB
You think we're not worried?

BRUNO
We were never counting on winning Santos' home state. Latino registration...

JANE
Are you counting on winning Vinick's home state?

BRUNO
We'll bounce back in California.

JANE
When?

BOB
We're okay in California. We're only two points behind Santos. And that's
after a nuclear accident that scared half the state...

JANE
Nothing is okay in California. The nuclear accident cost you that state. You
don't have the time or the money to win it back.

VINICK
I'm not going to win back California by going to the right. For every voter
you win me in Alabama, I lose two in California.

JANE
That's why we should be back in the South this week, especially Florida.

VINICK
We followed your advice. We spent all last week in the South. Where did it
get us?

JANE
It stopped the bleeding. And if you were still in the South right now talking
tax cuts, strong on national defense, tough on crime in front of flag-waving
crowds, I wouldn't have to be on TV trying to talk to the Republican Base
and I could shut up about gay marriage. I'm saying we stay in the South until
we get a solid lead. Then we spend a week, maybe ten days, closing the deal
in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

He gets up and starts walking, looking as though he is not paying attention.

JANE [cont.]
You don't have to say anything to Alabama voters to lose you California
voters. But Senator, you have got to energize the base of the party if
we're going to get the turn-out we need to get 51% on Election Day. Senator,
you can't pretend...

He walks into his office and shuts the door in her face.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK'S OFFICE - PLANE - DAY

Vinick is seated, drinking his coffee. He sets the coffee down and grabs
a newspaper. There is a knock at the door just as Vinick is having trouble
opening the newspaper.

VINICK
Yeah.

Bruno steps in.

BRUNO
Can I come in?

VINICK
Just you.

He comes in and shuts the door.

BRUNO
Does your hand feel better in that thing?

VINICK
They say replacing Sheila was a sign of weakness.

BRUNO
Inside baseball: no one cares except the press.

VINICK
I shouldn't have let Sheila quit. She said it would send a message, give
the campaign a new start.

BRUNO
Sheila was right.

VINICK
We should have just put Jane out there in front of the cameras and let her
energize the base and then ignore her.

BRUNO
We are ignoring her.

VINICK
The press is doing Santos' work for him. Santos could take a vacation,
just let the press keep hammering me on this nuclear thing and he wins. The
President sends troops into Kazakhstan and that's still not enough to get this
nuclear power quote out of the news. When is old news going to be old news?

BRUNO
You know what I really hate about Jane? She's not always wrong. We need a
new strategy for the last two weeks.

VINICK
So, what do you got?

BRUNO
I wish I could tell you I have a better idea than Jane.
CUT TO: INT. - CONSTITUTION CENTER - NIGHT
      PHILADELPHIA , PA

Santos is finishing up at a campaign stop. He comes down from the platform
and meets Josh. They start walking and talking.

SANTOS
California?

JOSH
Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - HOTEL - NIGHT

Santos and Josh come out of the elevator and start walking.

SANTOS
I thought you said we weren't going to California because it was too big
for us.

JOSH
Yeah, that was then.

SANTOS
Yeah, that was yesterday.

JOSH
Right. Then I rethought the whole thing.

They walk into the holding room and start getting ready to leave.

SANTOS
You rethought it?

JOSH
Yeah, you know, I talked it over.

SANTOS
With who?

JOSH
Usual suspects, party people, experience campaign types, and we agree that
because California media is way more expensive than Ohio...

There is a lot of noise and chatter.

JOSH
Excuse me, I'm sorry. Can we have the room, please?

Everybody begins packing up their stuff to leave.

JOSH
It's going to be a lot cheaper for us to campaign in California and buy TV
time in Ohio and Florida.

LOU
You'll get five minutes for free on every local station all over California
instead of spending big bucks on one 30-second commercial.

JOSH
If we can push up a few more points in California, get your lead outside
the margin, the press is going to explode with stories about Vinick losing
his home state. It's going to build momentum for us everywhere else.

SANTOS
Yeah, knock Vinick off his game.

LOU
He's off his game! Now we've got to knock him out of the game.

JOSH
California's the key. You get a real lead there, Vinick's going to have
to give up on his home state, bet everything on a Southern strategy. Now,
he didn't play well in the South when he was riding high. He's sure as hell
not going to play any better now that he's desperate.

Santos grabs his stuff and heads to the door. Josh and Lou follow him.

SANTOS
Okay, get me there tonight. But I want a full schedule of California events
from breakfast to lights out.

JOSH
It'll be full.

CUT TO: INT. - LOBBY - NIGHT
      PHILADELPHIA , PA

Vinick and his staff are walking into the campaign stop that we just saw
Santos leaving. He avoids the press that is waiting there.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Vinick and Co. get off the same elevator into the same hallway that Santos
just came through.

VINICK
When do I go on?

ANNIE
They're going to start you're intro in a couple of minutes.

They come around a corner and come face to face with Santos and Josh. They
glance at each other, but neither says a word. Santos turns and heads
out. Vinick and his crew are led into the same holding room that Santos
just left.

CUT TO: INT. - HOLDING ROOM - NIGHT

Vinick is preparing for his appearance. Santos can be heard on the TV.

VINICK
Tell them I'm not going on until he's out of the building. I don't want the
cameras covering his press conference while I'm doing my speech.

SANTOS [on TV]
I came to Philadelphia to talk to the people of Pennsylvania about what we
should be doing for the next four years, about energy policy, about education.

Somebody moves to turn the TV off.

VINICK
I want to hear what he has to say.

SANTOS [on TV][cont.]
... about job security, about pension security. I don't want to get into
a whole political blame game about what happened at the San Andreo nuclear
power plant.

VINICK
Sure you don't.

SANTOS [on TV]
It was an accident. It was exactly the kind of accident that I foresaw when
I opposed the building of nuclear power plants in the state of Texas.

BRUNO
[sarcastically] Saint Santos.

SANTOS [on TV]
The governor of California and the President responded to the situation
immediately and they contained it.

BOB
He'll side-step that one.

JANE
We're not going to figure out how to run this campaign by watching the Santos
campaign. This is the time you ignore the other guy and sprint to the finish
line. You keep pushing your tax cut message...

VINICK
The press won't let me. They're not going to let up on this nuclear accident.

JANE
Forget about the press.

VINICK
That's not how I got this far. I don't duck the tough questions. I say what
I think. That's how I get elected.

JANE
Look, senator, I love the straight-talk thing, but it doesn't work in every
situation.

VINICK
That isn't me out there campaigning now. That's the problem.

BRUNO
We're going to get past the nuclear accident.

VINICK
No, we're not, not unless we deal with it.

JANE
If we open the whole nuclear-power can of worms...

VINICK
It's already open - wide open. I've got to close it. I've got to start
answering their questions.

JANE
There is no one in this campaign - no one in this party - that thinks you
should be talking about nuclear power now.

BOB
We insert a new energy paragraph in the stump speech; something about safe
energy sources - you wouldn't have to nuclear.

VINICK
That's not going to work.

BOB
What are you going to do? Go out there and say you were wrong about nuclear
power?

VINICK
No! I still think we need nuclear power.

JANE
This is the worst possible time to say that.

VINICK
I should to a "Til They Drop" press conference on the nuclear accident.

JANE
It's a big mistake.

VINICK
Explain my role in getting the plant built. Talk about where we go from here
on nuclear power. Answer every reporter's question. Stay at the microphone
until I bore them to death.

BRUNO
That'll look desperate.

BOB
Worked for Andrews in the Senate race when he had that problem with is
tax returns.

VINICK
We're going to California tomorrow. I'm going to do a press conference in
front of the San Andreo nuclear plant.

JANE
Okay. My work's done here.

She grabs her things and gets ready to leave.

BOB
What, you're quitting?

JANE
It's been fun. Good luck.

BRUNO
Whoa, whoa. Jane, hold on, please.

JANE
I can't afford to get blamed for the mistakes this campaign is making.

BRUNO
And we can't afford to have another story about trouble with the Vinick
campaign staff. It would look like we're completely out of control.

VINICK
I don't want you to quit.

JANE
I have a reputation to protect.

VINICK
Quitter?

JAVE
Better than loser.

VINICK
Then don't lose.

JANE
The press conference is a mistake. Campaigning in your home state is a mistake.

VINICK
I let them ask me every nuclear question they can think of. We get one more
round of stories on this and then it's behind us.

JANE
It's a sign of weakness.

VINICK
If I win the election you're going to get all the credit. You came on to a
sinking ship and you saved the day.

JANE
If you lose?

VINICK
Then you came onto a sinking ship and it sank. It's not your fault. How
about we go with my strategy tomorrow, and then we go with your strategy
for the rest of the campaign.

JANE
And if you disagree with my strategy?

VINICK
Then we'll fight about it.

JANE
And we'll end up doing it your way.

VINICK
You'll win some and you'll lose some.

ANNIE
They're ready for you on stage.

Everybody grabs their things and follows the Senator out. Bruno, lagging
behind, notices a briefcase left under the table. He picks it up and looks
at it for any marks as to whose it might be. He sets it down and opens it up.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' OFFICE - PLANE - NIGHT

Santos is settling down for the trip to California.

LOU
The party is going to flood California with surrogate speakers after your
day of free media.

SANTOS
Good.

BRAM
Your speech for San Francisco.

SANTOS
Can I get my briefcase?

BRAM
It's not in here?

SANTOS
Uh, no.

BRAM
Okay, I'll get it.

Bram walks out into the hallway and speaks to Otto.

BRAM
The Congressman needs his briefcase.

OTTO
I thought you had it.

BRAM
No, I had it in Chicago. You had it in Philadelphia.

OTTO
No, I had it in Pittsburg and then I put it back in his cabin for the flight
to Philly.

BRAM
Well, it's not there now.

OTTO
Did we take it to the event in California?

BRAM
I don't know. I had my arms full of stuff. I don't remember the briefcase
in Philadelphia.

A staffer walks through.

BRAM
Did you notice the Congressman's briefcase in Philadelphia?

STAFFER
No, but the candidate wasn't carrying anything.

OTTO
Does he need it right now?

BRAM
He asked for it. That means "right now" to me.

OTTO
We can't tell him we lost it.

BRAM
Well, you were the last one who had it.

OTTO
He asked you for it. Tell him we're searching every compartment. Worst-case
scenario: it somehow got slipped into checked baggage, we'll have it to him
by the time we get to the hotel.

CUT TO: INT. - HOLDING ROOM - NIGHT

Bruno is looking through the briefcase he found. He picks up what appears
to be a checkbook. He sets it back, closes the briefcase, and contemplates
on what he should do.

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE.
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN: INT. - SANTOS' OFFICE - PLANE - CONTINUOUS

Bram walks in and hands some papers to the Congressman.

LOU
Get the L.A. schedule to the press right away so they can schedule news
satellite trucks to cover us live.

SANTOS
You get my briefcase?

BRAM
Not exactly. I thought Otto had it, he thought it was in here. We're searching
under the seats and in the overheads right now.

SANTOS
You lost my briefcase?

BRAM
Worst-case: it got slipped into checked baggage. We'll have it for you by
the time you get back to your room.

SANTOS
Call Philadelphia an retrace our steps. Check the cars we used and check
the rooms that we were in.

He nods and leaves. Lou looks at him in bewilderment.

SANTOS
I left my wallet in that thing.

LOU
I hope you don't have any super-secret strategy memos in that briefcase.

SANTOS
We have super-secret strategy memos?

LOU
I wish we did.

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

Toby is watching Jane on TV. He is on the phone with Josh.

MALE REPORTER [on TV]
Did you schedule this trip because Santos is starting to pull ahead in
California?

JANE [on TV]
That's not what our polls show.

TOBY
MSNBC, right now.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

Josh is also watching Jane.

FEMALE REPORTER [on TV]
Did you change your schedule after the Santos campaign decided to go to
California tomorrow?

JANE [on TV]
We didn't know about the Santos trip when Senator Vinick decided to go
to California.

JOSH
She's a terrible liar, isn't she?

TOBY [VO]
Team Vinick is in a panic.

JANE [on TV]
Senator Vinick is still ahead in the Southern states, and he's confident
that his home state of California is going to support him as it always has
in his Senate campaigns.

JOSH
They're trying to steal our free media. Get the local TV cameras to abandon
Santos and cover Vinick.

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

TOBY
It won't work if you spin it as Vinick trying to chase Santos out of
California.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Then every Vinick story becomes a story about the Santos surge in California?

TOBY [VO]
That's right.

He hangs up.

JOSH
I need Lou on the plane.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - CONTINUOUS

Lou is handed the phone.

LOU
Thank you.

She takes it and talks to Josh.

LOU
Yeah?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Hey, it looks like Vinick is going to follow you out to California tomorrow.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - CONTINUOUS

LOU
How desperate is that?

JOSH [VO]
They're trying to steal our free media coverage out there.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
You have to spin it that Vinick is chasing Santos. Turn every Vinick story
into a Santos story.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - CONTINUOUS

LOU
Okay, I'll start working the press cabin now. Hey, Josh?

JOSH [VO]
Yeah?

LOU
The Congressman's briefcase: what's inside there?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Road stuff, toothbrush, electric razor, sometimes a wallet. Why?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - CONTINUOUS

LOU
We seem to have lost it and he seems kind of worried.

JOSH [VO]
They guy's running a tie for the Presidency and he's got two weeks left.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
You can expect him to look worried once in a while.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - CONTINUOUS

LOU
So, there's nothing bad in there.

JOSH [VO]
Like?

LOU
[sarcastically] I don't know: heroin, porn?

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
[sarcastically] No, that's all mine.

LOU [VO]
I'm going to go now.

Josh hangs up.

CUT TO: INT. - HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Vinick and Annie are walking into the room.

ANNIE
San Andreo press conference is set for 12 noon. News networks are going to
cover it live.

BOB
You've got two choices for the evening event: San Diego and L.A. The problem
with the L.A. thing is that Santos is going to be there.

VINICK
I thought he was going to be in Florida tomorrow.

BOB
He put out a press advisory about a half hour ago. They're going to do a
California swing tomorrow: San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno and L.A.

VINICK
He thinks he can take my state away from me in a day.

BOB
The mayor's going to introduce Santos and the L.A. event, so San Diego
probably.

VINICK
No. L.A. I want to get in his face. I want Santos to see if he's going to
take California, he's going to have to rip it out of my hands.

JANE
The story's going to be Vinick chases Santos to California. If he skips
Florida tomorrow, then that's where we should be.

BOB
We already announced the trip. We can't change our public schedule again.

JANE
No, but we can get out of California as quick as we can.

VINICK
No.

JANE
We could have Florida all to ourselves. We could...

VINICK
If Santos takes California, game over.

Unseen by most, Bruno has slipped into the room, holding the briefcase he
found, presumably Santos'. He quietly sets the briefcase down beside him.

JANE
A Republican can win the Presidency without winning California.

VINICK
And a Democrat can't. This isn't some sentimental, home-state thing. This is
about winning. I don't have a 50-state strategy anymore. I have a one-state
strategy: the one state that has everything - big cities, small towns,
mountains, deserts, farms, factories, fishermen, surfers, all races, all
religions, gay, straight - everything this country has. There's more real
America in California than anywhere else. If I can win California, I can
win the Country.

JANE
That's a nice speech, just don't say it into any microphones because everyone
else in the 49 other states thinks California is a giant psycho ward.

VINICK
California hasn't been competitive in a Presidential race in 25 years. They
don't know how to campaign there. I do.

BOB
All right, let's just get out there and see how it goes.

JANE
Okay. Just please, forget about the power plant. Go home to Santa Paola. Remind
the country, especially the South, of your hometown roots in a farming
community.

VINICK
I can't go to California without dealing with the nuclear power incident.

JANE
Take questions about the nuclear thing but in your hometown, surrounded by
friends where you'll actually get some applause instead of standing in front
of a radioactive danger zone where property values have just collapsed and
everyone's ready to vote for anyone but Vinick.

VINICK
I've got to be there to show them that I believe we've contained the leak,
that it's safe, that the clean-up is working.

JANE
Standing in front of the power plant says the accident was my fault. Blame me.

VINICK
We'll talk about Florida tomorrow night. If you're right, then they'll be
chasing me out of California by then. Annie, I want an updated briefing book
on the clean-up, tomorrow morning on the plane.

ANNIE
Okay.

Everybody leaves the room except for Vinick and Bruno.

BRUNO
Is your hand any better?

VINICK
Do I sound crazy to you?

BRUNO
It's been a tough couple of weeks.

VINICK
Tough? I've been in tough campaigns before. This is way beyond tough. This
is a nightmare. That nuclear power plant works perfectly for 24 years.

BRUNO
The race was going to tighten by now, even without that accident.

VINICK
It wasn't going to get this tight. We were heading for at least a five-point
win and California was going to give us a big Electoral College win. We had
this thing locked.

BRUNO
We still do.

He picks up the briefcase and walks to the table.

VINICK
Now you're starting to sound crazy.

He sets the briefcase down on the table.

VINICK
That isn't mine.

BRUNO
I know. It belongs to Matt Santos.

VINICK
Yeah, very funny.

BRUNO
I'm not kidding.

VINICK
I don't know this joke. What am I supposed to say now?

BRUNO
It's not a joke.

VINICK
That's Matt Santos' briefcase.

BRUNO
Yeah.

VINICK
And how did you get it? You win it in a raffle?

BRUNO
I was the last one out of the holding room tonight. I saw it, I thought it
was one of ours. There was no name on it. I opened it up...

VINICK
That's really Matt Santos' briefcase?

BRUNO
Yeah.

VINICK
I don't want to know any more about this. I want to be able to say I had
nothing to do with this. I didn't know anything about it. [pause] You stole
Matt Santos' briefcase?

BRUNO
I didn't steal it; I found it.

VINICK
But you didn't give it back. You could have gotten it back to him easily. You
could have given it to the Secret Service.

BRUNO
I didn't think of that.

VINICK
Yes, you did. And you would have done it in a second unless you found
something in there, something that would hurt Santos.

BRUNO
You just told me you didn't want to know anymore about it.

VINICK
Who else knows about this?

BRUNO
No one. [pause] It could make you President.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO.
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. - HOTEL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Vinick is still contemplating what Bruno has told him.

VINICK
I need to talk to a lawyer. I need to think this through.

BRUNO
As soon as that information comes out - the Santos campaign: it's over. So,
you do not have to go to California tomorrow and do that painful press
conference which is going to play as if that nuclear accident was somehow
your fault. And you do not have to draw any more attention to the fact that
your polls aren't looking so good right now. And you can keep campaigning
in the South and Midwest - look like you're driving your own train instead
of jumping on Santos' train.

VINICK
That briefcase can kill us.

BRUNO
It's got a sort of a journal in there.

VINICK
I said don't tell me.

BRUNO
It's a day-planner. It has notes about meetings, people, lots of stuff that
can be embarrassing - what he really thinks about the Vice President, how
bad a campaigner Leo McGarry is. And he also has a checkbook in there. It's a
strange one. It just says "M. Santos." It's not a joint account with the wife,
there's no address on the checks. He just uses it for ATM withdrawals and one
check each month, same amount, made out to someone named Anita Morales. There
is an Anita Morales - 29 years old, never married, one child, seven-year
old girl - she's a clerk in Houston, hired seven years ago by Mayor Matt
Santos. Come on, we've all heard the rumors about Matt Santos.

VINICK
There are rumors about all of us.

BRUNO
Do you have a checkbook like that? Child support payments for a kid nobody
knows about? Hush money for an affair?

VINICK
You have to give back that briefcase.

BRUNO
If this comes out he's going to have to take a DNA test. He's going to have
to prove that he did not have an affair, or a child, with a woman he's been
making monthly payments to for who knows how long.

VINICK
We can't do this. I can't do it.

BRUNO
I work for you. I am not going to do anything you do not want me to do.

VINICK
Give this thing to the Secret Service right now. And tell them... I don't
know you tell them but you just give it to them.

BRUNO
Just think about what other secrets this guy might have. This may be the tip
of the iceberg about what we don't know about him. [pause] Look: how about
I keep the briefcase, we sleep on it, and we'll talk about it tomorrow.

Vinick says nothing.

BRUNO
Just tell me what you want me to do, Senator.

VINICK
Keep it.

Bruno gets up, takes the briefcase, and leaves the room.

CUT TO: EXT. - CAMPAIGN STOP - DAY
      FRESNO, CA

Santos gets out of an SUV to a waving, cheering crowd. He moves along the rope
line, shaking hands and greeting people as he goes. Lou is walking with him,
talking on a phone.

LOU
Oh, yeah, we had a huge crowd in San Francisco this morning. The Silicon
Valley event was bigger than we anticipated. Right now, Fresno's going nuts
for him. California loves our guy.

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

Josh is on the phone with Lou.

JOSH
The news networks aren't giving you any live coverage yet. You got enough
cameras out there?

LOU [VO]
Yeah, we've got all the local TV stations.

CUT TO: EXT. CAMPAIGN STOP - CONTINUOUS

LOU
We are going to rule the 6 o'clock news all over the state.

Santos shakes a few more hands and gives out a couple of autographs.

CUT TO: INT. - BUILDING - DAY

Bram and Otto are walking and talking.

OTTO
Still no word on the briefcase?

BRAM
It wasn't in the checked baggage.

OTTO
Did you tell the Congressman yet?

BRAM
I'm gonna wait until he asks.

OTTO
That's very brave.

BRAM
Hey, if he's not worried about it, why remind him?

They have stopped in front of a TV set where a news anchor is doing the 12
o'clock news.

ANCHOR
In a surprise move, the Vinick campaign followed the Santos campaign to
California and we're going to go to live coverage from our sister station,
KRAC, in San Andreo, where Senator Arnold Vinick...

Bram takes his phone out and dials.

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

Josh is still on the phone with Lou.

JOSH
Call me from L.A.

Edie walks in.

EDIE
Hey, Bram's on line two. He says it's urgent.

JOSH
Hang on, Lou.

He switches the line to talk to Bram.

JOSH
Yeah, Bram. ... They cut to Vinick?

He switches back to Lou.

JOSH
Lou, Fresno TV is going live with Vinick. Get Santos onto the stage right
now. Tell the Fresno camera crews they have to stay live with the guy who
actually came to Fresno.

Vinick comes onto the TV that Josh is watching in his office. He is in front
of the San Andreo nuclear power plant.

VINICK [on TV]
Good afternoon. I just finished a complete inspection tour of the facility,
and I'm here to report to the people of California...

JOSH
Maybe not.

CUT TO: EXT. SAN ANDREO NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTINUOUS

Vinick is speaking to the group of reporters.

VINICK [cont.]
...is ahead of schedule, and the radiation in and around the plant are back
to normal...

REPORTER ELLEN
Do you think it's safe to live near this plant?

VINICK
Yes, I do. I just spent two hours inside the plant, so I'm convinced it's safe.

ELLEN
Completely safe?

VINICK
Obviously, I never should have said that nuclear power is completely safe. I
said that in the heat of a debate. Nothing is completely safe.

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

VINICK [on TV]
We're never going to figure out how to make driving a car completely safe,
but Californians are still going to do it every day.

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

Toby is on the phone and is also watching Vinick's press conference.

CUT TO: EXT. SAN ANDREO NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTINUOUS

VINICK
Living near a nuclear power plant is a lot safer than driving a car.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

Bruno and other staffers are watching the P.C.

VINICK [on TV]
The top priority in every nuclear power plant has to be safety.

CUT TO: EXT. SAN ANDREO NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTINUOUS

VINICK
This is one area where I think we need more federal regulation and more
strictly enforced safety standards.

REPORTER #2
Are you blaming the Bartlet Administration for failing to...?

VINICK
I'm not blaming anyone. President Bartlet did everything he could within
current law to maintain safety at these plants. When I'm President, I'm
going to strengthen those safety regulations.

ELLEN
That wasn't your position when this plant was being built. You wrote several
letters to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, urging them to expedite the
approval of this plant.

VINICK
Yes, I did.

ELLEN
And in one of those letters, you complained the project was being delayed
because of what you called "burdensome regulations."

VINICK
I was very eager to make sure that California had an adequate supply
of low-cost electricity. You know the governor and most of the states
Congressional Delegation supported the building of the plant.

REPORTER #2
But no one pushed harder than you did, Senator.

VINICK
I don't do anything half-heartedly.

ELLEN
So you no longer think regulation of nuclear power plants is burdensome?

VINICK
No.

ELLEN
Do you regret saying it was?

VINICK
I wouldn't write that letter today.

ELLEN
Do you regret it?

VINICK
That was 25 years ago. We've all learned a lot since then.

ELLEN
Do you regret writing the letter, Senator?

VINICK
Yes. Next question.

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

Josh is on the phone with Toby.

JOSH
What the hell is he doing?

TOBY [VO]
Trying to get it behind him.

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

TOBY
If he does a "till-they-drop" press conference, it just might work.

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

JOSH
If he does a "Don't worry, be happy" routine, he's going to look nuts.

TOBY [VO]
You're not going to get that lucky.

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

TOBY [cont.]
He's starting to sound like the straight-talking Arnie again.

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

JOSH
If this works...

TOBY [VO]
It worked for Andrews in the Senate race. He got the tax thing behind him.

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

TOBY [cont.]
And he's killing you're free media day in California.

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

JOSH
Yeah, whose bright idea was that? I forget.

CUT TO: EXT. - CAMPAIGN STOP - CONTINUOUS

Santos and Lou are walking back to the car. Lou is on the phone.

LOU
Vinick's got to wrap this thing up.

SANTOS
How long has he been on?

LOU
Over an hour - doesn't look like he'll be quitting anytime soon.

SANTOS
Yeah, he's cutting into our press coverage. Look at that.

He comes to the door of the car and is about to get in. We see Vinick on
the TV screen in the car.

LOU
Yeah, we'll try it now. [to Santos] Josh wants us to go back inside, set up
a quick press conference, see if we can get some cameras turned on you.

SANTOS
Dueling press conferences? No.

LOU
Hey, I'd love to tell you I had a better idea.

He steps away from the car and heads back toward the building.

SANTOS
Fresno! I love you guys. Thanks for coming out. Come on inside. We're going
to talk some more.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

Vinick is still talking to the reporters.

VINICK [on TV]
But no one's saying we should get rid of all those gas stations. I think
the American people understand...

JANE
Two hours and 48 minutes.

BRUNO
He's just getting warmed up.

JANE
Why didn't you fight him on this? You know this is a bad idea.

BRUNO
I think he may have a better feel for California politics than we do.

JANE
Are you drinking the Vinick kool-aid this morning? If he goes on much longer
he's going to turn this into a mini-series.

VINICK [on TV]
The people who are most worried about Global Warming...

JANE
There's no way we're going to be able to spin this.

VINICK [on TV]
...are the same people who are most opposed to nuclear power.

CUT TO: EXT. SAN ANDREO NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTINUOUS

VINICK
Over a 26-year career in public service, I'd probably do a lot of things
differently if I could do them over again. But my job is to make the best
decision I can with the information at the time.

A few reporters grab their things and walk away.

VINICK [cont.]
You know, if you do something for 26 years you should keep getting better at
it. I'm better than I used to be because I have better information. I have
more experience making tough decisions. And I have more mature judgment. And
that's what I think this country needs now, more than ever. We have troops
on the ground in Kazakhstan and more on the way. That's the choice that
President Bartlet made to try and keep Russia and China from slipping into war
there. Now, the next President is going to have to take over that situation
the first hour on the job. That's the most important issue that's facing
the country in this campaign.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

VINICK [on TV][cont.]
Not who said what about nuclear power 25 years ago.

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

VINICK [on TV][cont.]
Or did one of us use too strong a word in a debate.

CUT TO: EXT. SAN ANDREO NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTINUOUS

VINICK [cont.]
The real decision Americans are going to have to make is who do they want
as their next Commander-In-Chief. All right, next question.
Nobody says anything.

VINICK
Anyone?

Again, nothing.

VINICK
Ellen?

ELLEN
Nope.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

VINICK [on TV]
Thank you. Thank you very much.

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

TOBY
Damn, this guy is good.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

BRUNO
Son of a bitch.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE.
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - DAY

A staffer is on the phone and calls for Jane.

STAFFER
Jane, Speaker Haffley on line two.

Jane picks up the phone.

JANE
Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Vinick and Annie walk in amidst applause.

BRUNO
What's the word on the street?

JANE
The Speaker thinks the press conference was brilliant.

BRUNO
I hope you took full credit.

STAFFER
MSNBC wants someone from the campaign to go live right now.

JANE
I can do it.

She walks away.

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

Vinick is seated. Bob comes in.

BOB
Senator.

VINICK
How are we doing on time?

BOB
Not bad; about 20 minutes late. Better for us - Santos will be out of the
building by the time we get there.

VINICK
Bob.

BOB
Yeah?

VINICK
Tell the Secret Service I want to get five minutes with Santos before he
leaves. Alone.

BOB
Are you serious? They're going to want to know what it's about.

VINICK
Just tell them... it's personal.

Bob walks away.

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - DAY

Jane is in front of the cameras.

JANE
Yes, Larry. I think he has put this issue behind him. He answered every
questions, didn't duck the tough ones.

Bruno's phone rings. He answers it.

BRUNO
Yeah?

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

JOSH
What's this about your guy wanting a meeting with Santos at the L.A. thing?

BRUNO [VO]
Hi, Josh.

JOSH
What's this about?

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

BRUNO
First I've heard about it.

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

JOSH
The message we got said it's something personal. What's that supposed to mean?

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

BRUNO
Maybe it means it's personal.

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

JOSH
I'm not sending my guy to a meeting if we don't know what it's about.

BRUNO [VO]
Good.

JOSH
What do you mean, good?

CUT TO: INT. - VINICK CALIFORNIA HQ - CONTINUOUS

BRUNO
I don't like sending my guy into a meeting I know nothing about. If you
could stop it, I'd owe you one.

He hangs up.

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

Bruno knocks.

VINICK
Yeah.

Bruno comes in as Vinick prepares to put his tie on one-handed.

BRUNO
I just got a call from Josh. He wanted to know what the Santos meeting
was about.

VINICK
What'd you tell him?

BRUNO
The truth: that it was the first I'd heard of it.

VINICK
You think Santos will show up?

BRUNO
Not if Josh has anything to say about it.

VINICK
I want to give him back his briefcase.

BRUNO
I figured.

VINICK
"When in doubt, do the right thing."

VINICK & BRUNO [together]
"The rest of the time, get away with whatever you can."

VINICK
Who said that? It must have been one of those Louisiana governors.

BRUNO
Yeah, probably from his jail cell. You know, Santos never got the vetting a
front-runner gets. He was never supposed to get the nomination. The press gave
him a free ride in the primaries. Until now, he's been running way behind you,
so the press still hasn't done their digging on him. But they will now. So,
it really doesn't matter what you do with that briefcase. It's going to come
out. If it comes out while Santos is in the White House... I don't know what
happens. All hell will break loose.

VINICK
He wouldn't be the first President with an illegitimate child.

BRUNO
How far do you think he's going to get with that defense?

VINICK
You know what, if I agreed with a candidate on the issues, and I was ready
to vote for him, and something like this came out about him, I'd still vote
for him.

BRUNO
Good. That's you. And that's maybe most Santos voters. And it is every voter
in France. But it is not this country, not yet. I don't want people wishing
they could change their votes after this comes out. The voters have a right
to know about it before making their voting decision.

VINICK
Come on, Bruno. This is me you're talking to. Please don't try to turn
mud-slinging into a "Respect the Voters" spiel.

BRUNO
Don't tell anyone, but I don respect the voters. That's why I win. I find
out what they care about. I don't try to tell them what they care about.

VINICK
That's not exactly my idea of leadership.

BRUNO
It's my idea of democracy. The voters get to set the terms of the elections,
not us. They get to decide what's important, not us. That's why I think voters
have a right to this information now instead of six months from now. They
could be electing a President who's drowning in scandal when he's supposed to
be trying to stop World War III from starting in Kazakhstan. And that is not
the kind of guy most of the country wants to be the next Commander-In-Chief.

CUT TO: INT. - AUDITORIUM - NIGHT

Santos is finishing up his appearance.

SANTOS
Thank you! Thank you, very much.

He waves to the crowd as he walks off stage.

CUT TO: INT. - HOLDING ROOM - NIGHT

Vinick is waiting in the holding room, alone, with the briefcase.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Santos and Lou are walking, discussing the meeting.

SANTOS
What harm could it do?

LOU
It's the principal of the thing.

SANTOS
Which is?

LOU
We like to know what a meeting is about before we agree to it.

SANTOS
Five minutes?

LOU
That's what they say.

CUT TO: INT. - HOLDING ROOM - NIGHT

Santos walks in. There is an awkward moment between them.

SANTOS
Whose idea was the press conference?

VINICK
I couldn't let you have California all to yourself.

SANTOS
Ah, I should have known.

VINICK
Well, I've got something for you.

He grabs the briefcase and sets it on the table. Santos looks a bit perturbed.

VINICK
Bruno found it in the holding room in Philadelphia.

SANTOS
You look through it?

VINICK
Well, no name tag on it.

SANTOS
It took 24 hours to get back to me. [pause] You find anything interesting
in my notes?

VINICK
I didn't read them.

SANTOS
But Bruno did.

VINICK
You don't have to worry about that.

SANTOS
I don't?

VINICK
No one else knows about this.

SANTOS
Bruno, you and me?

VINICK
That's it. And we're not going to tell anyone.

SANTOS
Or maybe I should tell the press that Bruno stole my briefcase.

VINICK
He didn't steal it. He found it.

He grabs the briefcase and turns to leave.

VINICK
It's not your notes you should be worrying about.

Santos stops.

VINICK
The checks you've been writing are a much bigger problem.

SANTOS
You think so.

VINICK
We're not going to tell anyone about the checks. But you should.

SANTOS
So that's what this meeting is all about? You just wanted to give me a
little advice?

VINICK
Obviously, it's up to you how you handle this.

SANTOS
That's right. It's up to me.

VINICK
We're not going to use it. But it's going to come out eventually. The press
is going to find out. They're going to find Anita Morales. Camera crews are
going to follow her daughter to school.

SANTOS
Bruno really did his homework, huh?

VINICK
You think the people who work for you wouldn't have done exactly the same
thing if they had found my briefcase? If the press finds out about this
next week, then all that happens is you lose an election. But if you win and
the press finds out next month or next year then I don't know what happens
to you or your Presidency. That's what you have to think about. Right now,
you have a responsibility to the voters to...

SANTOS
Don't lecture me about responsibilities.

VINICK
Do you really think you can handle this if it comes out while you're living
in the White House with your family? Do you really want to put the country
through that? Put your wife through that?

SANTOS
My wife knows all about it.

There is a pause in which he says nothing. After taking a few breaths,
he begins to explain.

SANTOS
My brother's never been good about living up to his responsibilities. He went
out with Anita for a while and then disappeared like he always does. He's
never really been able to hold onto a job. When I found out about the baby
I figured somebody had to step up.

VINICK
That would have looked a lot better if you had given your brother the money
and let him pay the child support.

SANTOS
Yeah, well, I wish I could trust him to do that.

There is silence, during which Vinick appears non-plussed.

SANTOS
You don't believe me.

VINICK
It doesn't matter what I believe. You know the truth.

Santos nods.

SANTOS
This is a family thing. This has nothing to do with what kind of President
I would be.

He turns and leaves. Vinick rubs his hand a bit in preparation to go on stage.

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

The West Wing episode 7.14 "Two Weeks Out", original air date 19 March 2006.

Leave a Reply

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