Season 7 – Episode 2 – “The Mommy Problem”

Episode Summary:

Janeane Garofalo signs on as a tough-as-nails media consultant Louise (“Lou”) Thornton, whom Santos hires at Josh’s request even though she and Josh are hardly friends. The campaign could use a jolt, having taken, as Lou puts it, “body blow after body blow” from Vinick and the press in the days following the convention. The biggest problem: Santos’s silence on Bartlet’s decision not to investigate the NASA security leak.

Script:

THE WEST WING
7x02 - "THE MOMMY PROBLEM"
WRITTEN BY ELI ATTIE
DIRECTED BY ALEX GRAVES

Transcribed by Soundman for "TWIZ TV.COM". Send feedback to
sparticus1611@hotmail.com.

TEASER

FADE IN: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY

C.J. and Margaret are talking.

MARGARET
You wanted the message plan for Monday's bill signing. Scheduling and Advance
is thinking little flags.

C.J.
Little flags?

MARGARET
American ones.

C.J.
So we've stopped using the skull and crossbones, then?

MARGARET
They want to line the President's signing table with a great big row of...

C.J.
...little flags.

MARGARET
Yes.

C.J.
And the message is?

MARGARET
This is America.

C.J.
Not to be unpatriotic, but they do realize this is a Fisheries bill.

MARGARET
You'd like them to come up with a...

C.J.
A sign, a slogan, something a little more specific than a great big row of...

MARGARET
...little flags.

C.J.
Thank you.

MARGARET
Little fish.

C.J. walks into her office. Toby is sitting at her table watching a news
report.

REPORTER [on TV]
...that there's a military shuttle, that that's the only way to repair the
station's laboratory module. But with Brock refusing to answer Grand Jury
questions on his source for the top...

She shuts off the TV.

TOBY
NASA just announced that the astronauts fixed the space station all by
themselves.

C.J.
Anybody buying it?

TOBY
Not so much.

C.J.
Well, we've got a Congressional committee investigating a national
security leak out of this building; Washington is devolving into another
gavel-splitting, nose-thumbing standstill; not to mention the fact that the
Fisheries bill could be the better part of my legacy as Chief of Staff.

She hands him a pad of paper.

TOBY
What's this?

C.J.
Uh, President and White House Council wanted to put out a statement. We
worked out the language while I was in the car.

TOBY
"Respect for the paw"?

C.J.
Law. Respect for the law.

TOBY
It looks like respect for the paw.

C.J.
You try writing longhand at 50 miles an hour.

TOBY
You think this is a good idea?

C.J.
I think the President and White House Council want it out.

TOBY
You don't think Vinick will stomp all over this, not to mention Santos?

C.J.
I think the President and White House Council want it out.

CUT TO: INT. - AIRPLANE HANGAR - NIGHT
      OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON
      101 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY

Two men are watching Santos on TV giving a stump speech.

SANTOS [on TV]
Now, if you don't think I have a personal stake in my economic plan, if
you don't think it's personal for me - hey, if the country doesn't like it,
I'll be the first one unemployed.

The audience cheers and laughs. We pan around to where we see Santos is
giving his speech inside and airplane hangar.

SANTOS
We can't hang on to the jobs of the past; none of us can. The entire store of
human knowledge now doubles every five years. A child that is born tonight
could live to see the 22nd Century. If we nourish innovation, if we tear
down red tape and regulation, that child could lead a brand new industry;
can cure a dreaded disease; can touch a far horizon that we can't even glimpse
yet. So if it's personal for you, if you want your child to grow up in a world
fueled by new prosperity and path-breaking discovery, then I need your vote,
'cause you ain't seen nothing yet!

The audience cheers and applauds. We next see several images of Santos on
the campaign trail. Images of the Santos-McGarry plane cut the images apart.

CUT TO: EXT. - CAMPAIGN - DAY
      PORTLAND, OREGON

Santos gets out of a Suburban and gets ready to greet and welcome the
people. Bram comes up to him and they walk and talk.

BRAM
If we start the speech by five past noon and the Portland affiliates will
carry it live.

SANTOS
Then let's start by noon.

BRAM
And the Secret Service would prefer it if you didn't wade into the crowd.

SANTOS
Well, you should tell the Secret Service: put 40 electoral votes on the table,
I'll do whatever they want.

He heads into the crowd and begins autographing things and shaking people's
hands. We see several more images of Santos campaigning.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS-MCGARRY PLANE - PRESS CABIN - DAY

Santos is talking to the press.

SANTOS

Popular Mechanics, 1949. I'm not making this up; they predicted it. In the
future, computers will weigh no more than one and a half tons.

We see several images of Santos on the campaign trail.

SANTOS
So, if you think my plan for high-tech jobs is a little light...

We see many more images.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS HEADQUARTERS - DAY

Josh is sitting at a table in a conference room. He is working on something
and he is watching clips of Santos on the trail. We see him draw two boxes on
a dry erase board. The first is red and is labeled "SECURITY." The second is
blue and is labeled "DOMESTIC." We next see him writing on his pad again. The
last thing he writes is "SANTOS = ???"

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS MCGARRY PLANE - NIGHT

Santos is walking through the press cabin. Everybody is asleep. He gets to
the end of the aisle and turns.

SANTOS
Anybody got any questions?

We see several more images of the campaign.

CUT TO: INT. - HEADQUARTERS - DAY
      SANTOS/MCGARRY
      CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS
      WASHINGTON, D.C.
      6:12 AM

Edie and a consultant named Otto are walking into the conference that Josh
is sitting in. They turn on the lights.

EDIE
Hey, you're here all night again?

OTTO
I thought you left at 10:30.

JOSH
I came back when I saw the coverage of yesterday's West Coast Swing. Our
economic plan is working, so I'm revamping the message plan.

OTTO
We would have stayed and helped.

JOSH
Uh, tell Field: no way am I spending that much on Delaware, tell speechwriting
to try a version of this that actually wins votes, and tell Advance I'm
canceling the foreign policy reporters' meeting and adding a town hall on
high-tech jobs when he gets to Tampa.

Otto sees the boxes drawn on the board.

OTTO
What are those boxes?

JOSH
People think the campaign's about two competing answers to the same
question. They're not. They're a fight over the question itself. Now Vinick
is opening up a big lead on security issues. That's box number one.

EDIE
Okay, so we need to do more military...

JOSH
No, because if the race is about that, we lose. But we're way ahead on most
domestic issues. This new economic message could be our ticket. If we keep
the conversation in box number two, we win this thing.

He has written "VINICK" over the red box and "SANTOS" over the blue box. He
draws a checkmark in the blue box.

OTTO
What's in box number three?

JOSH
Trivia, ephemera, stuff we can't control.

He draws a question mark in box number 3, which is black.

JOSH
From today on, every speech, every public event - box number two.

OTTO
Did you do this stuff on Bartlet's campaign?

JOSH
Toby Ziegler. A few more nights like this, we could go hairline-for-hairline.

Ned comes to the door.

NED
CNN says the White House is about to make a big announcement about the
national security leak.

JOSH
That can't be, they're trying to damp that story down.

NED
Tell it to CNN.

Josh takes out his phone and dials.

JOSH
Operator, get me Toby Ziegler, now.

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

Toby's phone begins to ring and he answers it.

TOBY
Yeah.

JOSH [VO]
Whatever you're announcing...

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
...tell me you're going to damp down this leak story, and not...

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

TOBY
We're stopping our internal investigation to cooperate with Congress and
the Grand Jury.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - HQ - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
It'll look like Democrats don't care if there are felons in the Sit Room!

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

JOSH [VO]
Santos is going to get tarred for this!

Toby hangs the phone while Josh is mid-sentence.

CUT TO: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Josh hangs his phone up. A reporter on TV is talking about the story. Josh
walks over to the board.

REPORTER
Bad news for Matt Santos, who just got the spotlight off Leo McGarry's health.

OTTO
So, national security leak, is that in box number 3?

Josh erases the checkmark in the blue box and angrily draws a checkmark in
the red box.

REPORTER
Santos has been trailing his opponent, Republican senator Arnold Vinick.

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

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. - CONFERENCE ROOM - HQ - DAY

Josh is talking to Joey, Kenny, and Edie. Otto comes into the room carrying
food of some sort.

JOSH
Keep away from the press. No talking to the press until we hear what Vinick
says.

JOEY [KENNY]
We should have somebody on the road with him.

JOSH
Bram's on the road with him.

JOEY [KENNY]
A senior advisor to handle things.

JOSH
I'm flying out this afternoon.

JOEY [KENNY]
What about Edie?

JOSH
I've got half a dozen media consultants coming in a half an hour, I'm flying
out this afternoon.

Ronna comes in a turns the TV on.

RONNA

We see on the TV that Vinick is leaving his office. A reporter shouts to him.

REPORTER [VO]
The President's shutting down his investigation of the security leak. Do
you think there's a sound legal basis for this?

VINICK [on TV]
If that were my White House, I'd seal the doors and windows until we found
that leaker, and then I'd throw 'em in federal prison.

JOSH
Vinick's public schedule; I need his schedule for the day.

RONNA
Josh.

JOSH
Is that the Congressman?

SANTOS [VO]
What are they smoking in that White House of yours, Josh?

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

Santos and Bram are getting off the plane. They both have cell phones to
their ear and are apparently both on the same conversation.

SANTOS
First they Bogart my education plan for some low-tar Congressional compromise,
and then they serve up a big fat pitch for switch-hitter Vinick.

JOSH [VO]
It's a legal strategy. We've got to avoid...

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
...commenting or it'll swamp our economic message.

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
I have to make a statement to get past this. It's all the press is going to
want to talk about.

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
Any comment on this drags us into a bad story miles off our economic message.

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS
Well, you know I'm having lunch with two dozen foreign policy reporters today.

EDIE
Josh cancelled that about an hour ago.

SANTOS
For what?

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
For a town hall on high-tech jobs, and I'm making it a reverse town hall. You
ask people their personal stories.

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.][VO]
No one gets to ask you unscripted question.

BRAM
He can handle tough questions. You should see him out here, he's on fire.

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOEY [KENNY]
All this attention on the leak story, it's magnifying the inevitable
"Mommy Problem."

RONNA
Mommy Problem?

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [VO]
When voters want a national daddy...

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
...someone to be tough and strong and defend the country, they vote
Republican. When they want a mommy, someone to give them jobs, health care...

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.][VO]
...the policy equivalent of motzah ball soup, they vote Democratic.

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOEY [KENNY]
On domestic issues, we're three points up.

EDIE
We're better than Vinick on military issues, plus the Congressman was a
Marine pilot...

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

EDIE [cont.][VO]
...flying off carriers in the Gulf. Vinick never even served.

JOSH [VO]
Democrats don't beat Republicans...

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH [cont.]
...on security issues. I know it's phony. I know it's frustrating. But we
have to stay in the box that we can win.

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

JOEY [KENNY]
That's why Vinick attacked Bartlet: to force us back on security.

SANTOS
So we avoid the press and give them no choice but to cover our economic
message.

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JOSH
That's right.

SANTOS [VO]
One sentence...

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

SANTOS [cont.]
...and he boxes me into a corner. Doesn't even mention my name.

CUT TO: INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

BRAM [VO]
Look, we've got to get to this Jacksonville crowd event. We'll see you guys
in Tampa.

ALL
Thank you, sir.

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - CAMPAIGN - CONTINUOUS

We see that Santos has hung his phone up and is walking toward the next
campaign event.

CUT TO: EXT. - WHITE HOUSE - DAY

We see a bird's-eye view of the White House.

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

C.J. is sitting at her desk watching a news report about the shuttle leak.

REPORTER [on TV]
And having made the essential repairs to the space station's laboratory module,
NASA now expects the astronauts to return home within the four to five days.

We hear Margaret's phone ring. A few seconds later, Margaret comes in to
talk to C.J.

MARGARET
It's Josh, again. I told him to call Toby; he insisted on talking to you.

C.J.
Find Toby, will you?

C.J. stands as Margaret leaves.

C.J.
Joshua, for the love....

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

C.J. [VO]
...of my sanity, please talk to Toby. He's my liaison to the campaign.

JOSH
How could you let the President do this, when I finally find a message
that works?

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

C.J.
It was a legal decision.

JOSH [VO]
And you work...

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

JOSH [cont.]
...in the most politicized square footage in the country...

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

JOSH [cont.][VO]
You turned this over to the Republicans who are going to kill me with
a thousand...

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

JOSH [cont.]
...paper cuts, leak every incriminating detail when it pleases them, and I
never get back to my issues. The things I win on.

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

C.J.
The President wants a fair investigation. He wants politics out of this.

JOSH [VO]
Then call for a special prosecutor! You're shutting down your investigation,
go all the way.

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

JOSH [cont.]
Take it out of the political arena for good. And while you're at it, find
me a campaign liaison who's not out to screw me...

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

JOSH [cont.][VO]
...with my pants on.

TOBY
A run-amok special prosecutor...

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

TOBY [cont.][VO]
...rifling through every can of trash...

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

TOBY [cont.]
...from the past seven years?

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

JOSH [cont.]
Well, I'm glad we have this chance to chat, the last one was so gratifying. I
am begging you, get the politics out of this.

TOBY [VO]
You're the one putting...

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

TOBY [cont.]
...politics in it!

JOSH [VO]
You deal away my education plan, you don't give me a heads-up on the political
tsunami of the week; right now, I am the only thing...

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

JOSH [cont.]
...between Matt Santos and the megaphone through which he is going to trash
his own party's White House.

Josh hangs the phone up.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - HQ - DAY

Josh is walking with some news media people.

JOSH
Skip the Kentucky leg. We'll hit it through  Cincinnati media. Move this
photo above the fold. And every time we talk about gun control, we have to
say we respect the rights of hunters and sportsmen. Hunters and sportsmen,
right up front.

They have walked into the main area of HQ. Josh comes to where Ned and Edie
are working and the media people walk off.

NED

The New York Post wants to know if we cancelled the foreign policy lunch to
keep Santos away from the leak story.

JOSH
Tell them no, not everything's a conspiracy.

NED
But you changed the town hall to a reverse town hall because...?

JOSH
Certain things are conspiracies. I need sexier economic policy for the
reverse town hall.

NED
Sexier?

JOSH
The press wants to write about the security leak; we want them to write
about the economy. Let's show a little leg.

NED
And by leg, you mean...?

JOSH
Targeted tax credits, preferably indexed to inflation.

NED
When's the last time you went on a date?

JOSH
I don't want to talk about it.

Joey and Kenny walk up.

JOEY [KENNY]
The Democratic media consultants are waiting.

JOSH
Okay, I'm running a national campaign here.

JOEY
By yourself?

JOSH
Joey, twelve days ago we thought we were going on unemployment. We barely
got the nomination. We spent the last four days arguing with the press over
Leo's cholesterol level. I delegate plenty.

JOEY [KENNY]
Name one thing you've delegated.

JOSH
I would never have chosen this paint color.

JOEY [KENNY]
You have to hire some heavyweights. Bruno Gianelli?

JOSH
There's goes half our budget on Italian loafers and mini-bar tabs.

JOEY [KENNY]
You don't have a political director, you don't have a chief speechwriter,
you don't even have a Communications director. There's that huge, empty
office next to yours.

A guy named Bill walks up and introduces himself to Josh.

BILL
Hi, I'm Bill. They told me to show up after  10:00.

JOSH
Absolutely, welcome. You can follow me.

JOEY [KENNY]
There must be 300 people on staff now. Surely a few of them are capable...

JOSH
They're kids. Not a single one of these non-shavers would challenge my
assumptions, stand up to me in a meeting.

Otto walks up and begins walking with them in order to talk to Josh.

OTTO
We thought we'd try with a Houston...

JOSH
Just do it the way I asked. Okay?

Otto walks off. Josh, Joey, Kenny, and Bill have walked into an empty office.

JOSH
I mean, this isn't summer camp; we're not making tie racks out of plywood. Not
everybody has the savvy to play the big game. This is your desk. Sit with
Payroll and Personnel. Diane will give you some business cards. Policy
working group starts at 3:00.

BILL
And that's when I install the new phone lines?

JOSH
Front desk, around the corner.

BILL
Thanks for the business cards.

JOSH
You bet.

JOEY [KENNY]
We're about to sit down with some of the top media consultants in the
party. If you're not leaning on your own staff, at least lean on them.

Ronna walks up and starts walking with them.

JOSH
This is a fake meeting. These guys just want a piece of the DNC media
budget. We bring them in, slide them a contract so they won't snipe at us
on Meet the Press.

RONNA
Here's the list of attendees.

JOSH
What's she doing on there?

RONNA
You said be sure to invite Louise Thornton. I had to talk her into coming.

Joey and Kenny leave them to go to the meeting.

JOSH
I said "Be sure not to invite her."

They walk off to go to the meeting.

CUT TO: INT. - MEETING ROOM - DAY

Josh and Ronna walk in to begin the meeting. Joey and Kenny, as well as
several other media consultants are seated around the table. LOUISE "LOU"
THORNTON is seated at the seat to the left of Josh.

JOSH
Thank you all for coming to this high-level strategy meeting. This is probably
the greatest assemblage of Democratic talent since the last time Jed Bartlet
dined alone.

We see Kenny signing for Joey. After a few moments, she laughs. She is the
only one.

JOSH

As you can see from your handouts, we're positioning Santos very strongly
on domestic issues, especially the economy. With a little discipline we can
ride out today's press storm. I want your input on our message and strategy.

CONSULTANT #1
Your pals in the White House are creating the storm. They're bungling this
leak investigation. My Senate clients are nervous.

CONSULTANT #2
Mine too.

CONSULTANT #3

Very nervous.

JOSH
Obviously the President's got his legal strategy, while the politics...

Ronna brings Louise a cup of coffee. They start whispering to each other. Josh
looks distracted.

CONSULTANT #1
Why aren't you repackaging Santos as a moderate? No wonder half the Democrats
in Congress don't want to share a stage with him.

CONSULTANT #2
You've got to repackage him.

CONSULTANT #3
Make him a moderate.

Ronna has brought Lou something else and she sets it down. Again they start
whispering and again Josh looks distracted.

JOSH

We think when the voters see his record on deficit reduction and middle
class tax cuts...

CONSULTANT #1
And I don't see why Santos isn't sticking it to Vinick; knifing him with
strong contrast.

CONSULTANT #2
He should knife him.

CONSULTANT #3

With strong contrast.

Lou begins pouring either sugar or creamer into her coffee. She makes some
noise while doing it and Josh again seems distracted.

JOSH
We didn't have a full convention to define ourselves. We're trying to run a
positive campaign, especially while the voters are learning about us now. If
you will look at the handout...

LOUISE THORNTON
You don't really want our input on message. Everyone's here for a piece of
the DNC media budget, so get to the point, please.

JOSH
It goes without saying that you will each be part of the DNC media buys. You
can see on page 2.

CONSULTANT #1 [cheerfully]
We've got a strong story for the voters.

CONSULTANT #3
We're excited about the media buy.

JOSH
What if I did want your advice on the message?

LOU
That would be hard to give.

JOSH
And why's that?

LOU
Because you don't have one.

There is a silent pause.

CONSULTANT #3
What she means is that we can test some dynamic new spots.

CONSULTANT #2
Yeah, we can ramp up the positives. That would really fill in the picture.

LOU
I'm not talking about ten-point plans or Leo McGarry's love of egg whites. I'm
talking about the iconic, the symbolic, something that you can put on a
bumper sticker that tells people who Matt Santos is. 'Cause eight days after
the nominating convention, I still don't have a clue.

She gets up to leave.

JOSH
Where are you going?

LOU
I don't want a DNC contract. I just came by to see if this is the Josh
Lyman vanity exercise everyone says it is. Besides, if I take your money,
how can I snipe at you on Meet the Press?

She leaves.

CONSULTANT #1
Obviously she doesn't speak for all of us.

They all start talking at once. Josh gets up and leaves to follow Lou.

CUT TO: INT. - HQ - DAY

Lou is walking out and Josh runs to catch up with her.

JOSH
You and I haven't always been on the same side.

LOU
You mean those four times I beat your hand-picked primary candidates?

JOSH
That was three times.

LOU
I was counting the 2-to-1 victory twice, but okay.

JOSH
You're right; I don't have this iconic, symbolic thing. I'm not a
Communications director. My strong suit isn't...

LOU
Isn't connecting with the electorate, I know.

JOSH
Reducing human complexities to a box of soap flakes, no.

LOU
All I know about Santos is what the country knows: He's smart and he's
cute. That is hardly the stuff of global leadership.

JOSH
Well, it's better than fat and dumb.

LOU
That's such a good bumper sticker. You don't need me.

They begin walking.

JOSH
Yes, I think what you do is superficial, but I know it's important or I
wouldn't be asking you, of all people, for help.

LOU
'Cause I'm not a cultist like you.

JOSH
'Cause we have different approaches to campaigns.

LOU
Right, I win them.

JOSH
I'm trying to be friends.

LOU
You saw Vinick on TV this morning. Clearly it wasn't about content, but he
was tough and he was authentic. He was Neil Young to your Neil Diamond.

JOSH

I like Neil Diamond.

LOU
I'm sure you do.

JOSH
We can't have a fight about a security leak. We'll get killed. I'm trying
to change the conversation back to the economy.

LOU
How about moving the conversation to the fact that while Santos was serving
in the Gulf, Vinick was serving himself Chardonnay. That Santos is still
serving in the Reserves as a Congressman. He's been in the Senate for,
like, 90 years. He was practically born in a committee hearing. If you're
not using the phrase "Beltway Arnie" in every press release...

JOSH
We're not going negative. Not now, not first.

LOU
Oh, really. You don't think you're running a negative campaign? Why are you
always talking about high-tech jobs? Because Vinick uses a manual typewriter
and his future is a set of plastic gums. You're doing political smear like
the rest of us. All I'm saying is do it right.

They have come into the elevator room. Ned walks up.

NED
We're getting lots of press calls on this security leak.

JOSH
How many press calls?

NED
113.

JOSH
We're not commenting.

NED
Plus, New York Post still thinks today's lunch was cancelled because we're
hiding from the leak story.

JOSH
It's not connected... tell them we cancel lunches all the time. We're fast
and nimble and move like the night, okay?

LOU
Hey, don't mind me. You and Elmer Fudd Jr. just keep changing the conversation.

JOSH
Hang on.

Josh walks back in to talk to Ronna.

JOSH
Manifest Lou for the Florida-California trip.

RONNA
Ten minutes ago you didn't even want her...

JOSH
Some of her ideas are a little nutty, she doesn't always play well with others,
but she's got an IQ of 200, she knows this image stuff backwards and sideways,
and it's better than having her on the outside lobbing mortars on my lap.

RONNA
See if she wants the vegetarian option.

JOSH
She'll have the raw meat.

He walks back to talk to Lou.

JOSH
I want you to come to California and Florida with me. You can pick up a
bag on the way to Dulles. If the Congressman signs off, I'm hiring you as
Director of Communications answering directly to me.

LOU
I don't think so.

JOSH
I'm talking about the future of civilization here.

LOU
Yes, I don't have any desire to play tambourine in your one-man band.

JOSH
I am asking you to meet with the next President of the United States.

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE.
* * *

ACT TWO

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

Margaret comes in to talk to C.J.

MARGARET
State's about to brief POTUS and VPOTUS on the Norwegian working dinner.

C.J.
Can you make sure NSC's in the Oval? State's trying to do an end run.

Nancy knocks and comes in from the Oval Office.

NANCY
The President's ready, Ms. Cregg.

C.J.
Thank you.

MARGARET
Plus, Brock still wants a few minutes.

C.J.
Tell him no, in Norwegian, if you have to. That would be "nosk."

C.J. moves toward the door and Margaret follows her. C.J. realizes she is
and stops. She turns.

C.J.
What is it?

MARGARET
Counsel's office says the first round of Congressional subpoenas are coming
and they always start with junior staff.

C.J.
Okay.

MARGARET
Obviously, the focus is on the Chief of Staff's office, on our office. If
there's anything you want me to...

C.J.
I want you to tell the truth.

She turns and goes in to the Oval Office.

CUT TO: EXT. - CAMPAIGN - DAY
      TAMPA, FLORIDA

We see Josh, Lou and Ned get out of a van and start walking toward the
building where Santos is to give the reverse town-hall. They are surrounded
by press who are asking a lot of questions. Josh hands out papers to them.

REPORTER #1
Josh, do you have a comment about this Bartlet situation?

JOSH
I've got brand new policy, also known as hard news. Don't all thank me at once.

REPORTER #2
The Congressman's really not taking questions at the town hall?

JOSH
He's proposing a major new tax credit for research and experimentation. It
rewards innovation in the economy.

REPORTER #1
When are you making him available for questions?

JOSH
After you write about the tax credit.

REPORTER #2
Congressional Republicans are saying Democrats can't be trusted with our
national security.

REPORTER #1
Santos has to be furious at the President for dumping this on his head. How
does Leo McGarry feel?

JOSH
He's upset we're not doing more to reward innovation in the economy.

REPORTER #3
Do you have a comment on the New York Post?

JOSH
I'm against it. That's off the record.

REPORTER #3
There's a story on their website that says Santos has cancelled four lunch
events in the last two weeks.

JOSH
Lunch events?

REPORTER #2
Yeah, why always lunch events?

JOSH
Let me get this... they've got a story that we're canceling lunch events?

REPORTER #3
Four in two weeks; they're calling it "Santos' Siesta."

The reporters laugh.

JOSH
First of all, that's ridiculous. Second of all, it's a cheap stereotype.

REPORTER #1
Well, why is it always lunches, Josh?

JOSH
You can't seriously be interested in this.

REPORTER #2
As opposed to the same economic message two days in a row?

JOSH
Okay, well, we'll see you after the event.

He walks off with Ned, Edie and Lou toward the event.

NED
You heard about the siesta story.

JOSH
When I said tell the Post we cancel lunches all the time, the point wasn't
to emphasize...

NED
That we cancel lunches all the time?

JOSH
Right.

NED
Kind of a fine-line situation.

JOSH
Not really.

EDIE
So how are we going to deal with this?

JOSH
We hold lunch events every day this week. I don't care if we're stuffed to
the gills, we put out a sandwich tray and we call it a lunch event.

LOU
Doesn't this fall under your famous box number three?

JOSH
I use a message grid; so sue me.

LOU
That is what happens when you fight scandal with spreadsheet.

JOSH
I'm running a Presidential campaign. We talk policy. You've got a better
idea? I'll take it.

LOU
Yeah, Vinick's slugging you in the gut; how about slugging back?

JOSH
This lunch thing was our goof.

LOU
You don't think someone's got the tabloids out looking for them?

JOSH
We can ride it out. We don't give them anything else by the end of the day,
they'll be filing stories about the tax credit.

Reporter #1 walks up to him.

REPORTER #1
Josh.

JOSH
I'm not commenting on the leak story.

REPORTER #1
This isn't about the leak story.

JOSH
Oh, don't tell me there's another...

REPORTER #1
No, this one, you're going to like.

He hands him an envelope.

CUT TO: INT. - KITCHEN - HOTEL - DAY

Bram and Santos are talking while Santos is having his picture taking.

SANTOS
So, is this covered under Josh's press memo?

BRAM
No, it's in Josh's scheduling memo. It's a listen-only conference call. We'll
do it right after the reverse town hall. You talk about the R&E tax credit
for regional reporters but you literally can't hear them speak. They can
only listen.

SANTOS
If it goes well, I can open it up to hand gestures.

Josh walks up.

BRAM
Then you're meeting with Lou Thornton, a media strategist Josh wants to hire.

SANTOS
Oh, she wins a lot of races.

JOSH
She probably won't do it, but she is what we need in the Communications shop
- aggressive, out-of-the-box. Obviously, her ideas will be heavily filtered
through me, but anything you can do to get her on board.

BRAM
I'll grab you when they start your intro.

He walks off.

SANTOS
So, let me guess: the press is, uh, gone bananas because I haven't been
commenting on the leak.

JOSH
I may have a way to close the security gap overnight.

SANTOS
Strafing runs over the national press club, huh?

JOSH

Time Magazine has a copy of a letter from the Marine Reserve Command. You've
been called up for Reserve training in Fort Worth, Texas, for two days,
Tuesday after Labor Day.

He shows him the letter. Santos takes it.

SANTOS
How'd the press get this before me?

JOSH
You're a Presidential candidate; from now on, you're going to be the
last one to read a lot of your mail. Congressman, it's Christmas in July;
"Deck the halls with guns and ammo." This is everything we couldn't do in
the convention. You in fatigues, wind in your hair, trench knife in your
teeth. This is an annual required thing, right?

SANTOS
Do a physical, some flight hours, some marksmanship.

JOSH
With very big guns. Guns are very big.

SANTOS
It won't look like a stunt?

JOSH
You're just following orders.

Bram walks up.

BRAM
They're starting your intro.

Bram and Santos walk off. Josh starts walking.

JOSH
Sir, give me your best bottle of champagne. Make it your tenth best. Nothing
with a screw-off top.

Edie and Lou are standing nearby.

LOU
Hey, remember me?

JOSH
Why don't you go watch the reverse town hall?

LOU
They're still doing introductions.

Why don't you leave so we can talk about stuff you're not allowed to hear?

She leaves. Josh grabs Edie and brings her over to where Ned is. They start
walking.

JOSH
We're about to make a big announcement. Two days after Labor Day, the
Congressman's doing Reserve duty in Texas. He's just following orders. We
announce it without comment. A picture's worth a thousand bayonets.

EDIE
That's fantastic.

JOSH
Edie, coordinate a small press pool with the Marine Reserve Command. Nothing
gaudy; make sure his uniform fits like a glove.

Edie stops. Josh and Ned continue to walk.

JOSH
Ned, work with the Congressional office. Get all the documentation.

NED
Documentation?

JOSH
We need to lay it out for the press; dates, details, how he's done this
every year like clockwork.

NED
Sometime he resets the clock.

JOSH
When it needs rewinding.

NED
He's postponed it a few times.

JOSH
For critical national security votes in Congress.

NED
Usually to campaign for reelection; I think once, because his daughter
was sick.

A man from the kitchen staff walks up behind Josh and Ned and pops the top
off of the bottle of champagne.

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

We see Carol talking with Toby about the press.

CAROL
We have been getting some press inquiries.

TOBY
Yeah, I'm sure.

CAROL
A lot of them, actually, on why we ended this internal investigation and
how we plan to deal with it now...

TOBY
Refer them all to the Counsel's Office.

CAROL
Which is good, except...

TOBY
We're walling this off from the rest of the White House so we can do some
governing around here.

CAROL
Counsel's not taking any press questions.

TOBY
Some walls are thicker than others.

CAROL
Toby, you should see your call sheet. And there are three reporters camped
outside your office, wondering...

TOBY
Which is why I'm nowhere near my office.

They have come to C.J.'s office and he walks in. C.J. is there.

C.J.
How's it playing out there?

TOBY
Aside from Arnold Vinick's plan to turn the federal government into an
episode of Dragnet?

C.J.
I know it's bad politics; at least it's for the right reason.

TOBY
Good men with good reasons shouldn't set precedents for bad men with bad ones.

C.J.
What's this?

TOBY
Witness lists for the Congressional hearings. What I could get, anyway.

C.J.
Greg Brock will refuse to testify.

TOBY
Yeah.

C.J.
You think Congress holds him in contempt?

TOBY
The First Amendment isn't what it used to be.

C.J.
I've been avoiding him all day.

TOBY
As you should.

He walks off.

CUT TO: EXT. - RUNWAY - DAY

Josh, Santos, and Bram are walking away from the meeting and walking toward
the plane.

SANTOS
So I moved it around a bit, at least I did real Reserve training with the
big guns, every year. Almost. It'll look like a stunt, won't it?

JOSH
14 weeks before the election, trailing on security, you skipped it for politics
and Flintstones chewables, we announce you're putting on a uniform first day of
fall campaigning: it'll look like Ringling Brothers' Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Josh stops while Santos gets on the plane.

CUT TO: INT. - MEETING ROOM - SANTOS' PLANE - DAY

Santos comes into the room to meet Lou. She is seated at the seat nearest
the door, reading a magazine.

BRAM
You've got five minutes before a clutch with the City Council Chair before
we take off for Fort Lauderdale.

SANTOS
Okay.

He takes a piece of paper from Bram and sits across from Lou.

SANTOS
Is it Lou or Louise?

LOU
Well, Lou started in college when I signed up for men's intramural
softball. They were a player short; turns out, I was the best hitter on
the team.

SANTOS
So, Lou?

LOU
Louise is fine.

SANTOS
What did you think of the reverse town hall?

LOU
I didn't like your joke about being the first one unemployed.

SANTOS
That's just a funny line.

LOU
Shaving cream and seltzer are funny. Unemployment's not particularly funny.

SANTOS
I've got the Council Chair after this, we could go egg her house. Was there
anything that you did like about the town hall?

LOU
Oh, sure, but I assume you have plenty of people around to tell you how great
you are, and if you don't, you should hire some because they're wonderful.

SANTOS
Yeah. No, we pay a premium for that. Say, are you familiar with the Mommy
Problem?

LOU
I am.

SANTOS
Do you think I have one?

LOU
That's something you're going to have to answer for yourself, because right
now, Beltway Arnie is kicking you all around the electoral math, the White
House is treating you like a fly on their governmental windshield. And I
wonder if it's just Josh, or do you have what it takes to come out of the
Candidate Protection Program and start kicking back.

Bram knocks and shows in the City Council Chairwoman.

BRAM
Councilwoman Stone, the next President of the United States.

SANTOS
Hello, pleasure to meet you. Hi, hello. How are you? Oh, we're going to take
a little picture here. Okay.

Bram begins to snap the pictures as Lou goes back to reading her magazine.
FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO.
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. - HOTEL - FLORIDA - DAY
      FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

We see Josh get off the elevator and start walking. He sees Edie walking the
opposite way. He speaks to her but while he does, a group of college-aged
people grab him for a picture.

JOSH
Hey, we've got to write up some options for the press...

GIRL
Mr. Lyman, over here.

He puts his arms around the group and takes a picture with them.

EDIE
Ned says he's postponed his Reserve drilling about a third of the time.

JOSH
41%. And whoever gave that letter to Time has to know that.

EDIE
He stayed in the reserves all these years?

JOSH
Yes.

EDIE
So our problem is Santos served too much whereas Vinick never even served.

JOSH
Well, you're going to be good at this; I can tell.

They have walked into a room of some sort. Josh sets his bag down.

EDIE
What was option one again?

JOSH
Reporting for Reserve duty right after Labor Day looking like a gun-toting,
flag-waving phony.

EDIE
That would be a no, wouldn't it?

JOSH
No on option one.

A man walks in carrying a box of drinks. Josh turns him around.

JOSH
Soda shop's closed.

He shuts the door after the man walks out. He begins taking his belt off as
he walks over to a chair and sits down.

EDIE
May I ask what you're...

He takes the belt and wraps it around his leg and the leg of the chair. He
pulls it tight.

JOSH
It's a law school study trick. I'm not getting up until we figure this
out. Option two: postponement; highlights previous postponement if the even
grant him one this time.

Santos comes in. Josh moves to cover the belt so that Santos can't see it.

EDIE
Congressman.

SANTOS
Hi. Stay seated. I've got the high-tech CEOs waiting for me across the
hall. I just wanted you to know that I got Lou to come on board as Director
of Communications.

JOSH
That's terrific.

SANTOS
You were right. She's exactly what we need: a whole different take on the
campaign.

JOSH
I didn't think she'd do it.

SANTOS
Yeah, there's just one small condition.

JOSH
What's that?

SANTOS
Reporting directly to me.

Santos turns and leaves. Josh gets up and attempts to follow him out. He
falls flat on his face as Bram is walking in.

BRAM
If you've got a minute, we've got a problem with the Associated Press.

JOSH
I don't have a minute. Edie, will you tell him why I don't have a minute.

EDIE
Yeah, he doesn't have a minute.

JOSH
I'm trying to solve a problem that is 50 times bigger than some
sombrero-wearing nonsense. I'll handle it later.

BRAM
You'll want to handle it now.

JOSH
What?

BRAM
The AP's got some sort of photograph. Something that took place in our hotel
in Cleveland last week.

JOSH
Photograph?

BRAM
Of the Congressman's bed.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - HOTEL - DAY

Santos is taking a picture with a group of men. Josh walks up and taps him
on the shoulder to get his attention.

JOSH
I need a moment.

He speaks to one of the Secret Service agents.

JOSH
Can you seal the elevator?

They walk into the elevator.

SANTOS
Is this about Time Magazine?

JOSH
I'm working on that.

Josh pushes a button and the doors close as they start to move. After they
start moving, he pushes the emergency stop button to stop the elevator where
it is. They look at each other for a moment.

SANTOS
Hi.

JOSH
Maybe Lou's right: maybe there is a coordinated effort to throw us off our
game. Maybe it's Vinick, maybe it's the RNC.

SANTOS
Wait, what are you talking about?

JOSH
AP has a photograph of something that happened in Cleveland in your hotel
bed. Is there anything you'd like to tell me?

Santos looks resigned that Josh has figured out the secret.

SANTOS
His name is Bruce. He's a flight attendant on Aer Lingus. They've got a
connecting hub out of Hamburg. You know, at first it was long walks along
the Reeperbahn...

Josh begins to laugh.

JOSH
I'm sorry. But I have to ask.

SANTOS
Geez.

JOSH
It's my job. I'm sorry.

SANTOS
Wait a minute.

Josh hits the button and they begin to move.  Santos rushes to the button
and stops it again.

SANTOS
Cleveland?

CUT TO: INT. - ROOM - NIGHT

Josh, Bram, and Lou are in the room talking about the picture.

LOU
I don't understand what happened.

BRAM
He wouldn't let me in his room that morning. I should have suspected something.

JOSH
Box number three. Fifteen years I've been doing this, I've never been stuck
in box number three.

LOU
Is anyone going to tell me what happened?

BRAM
He demolished his bed.

LOU
Demolished it?

JOSH
It was his wife's only night on the road. It was old, wooden bed; slats,
hand-cranks, what have you.

LOU
Hand-cranks?

JOSH
And what have you.

LOU
Look, as much as I respect good craftsmanship, I'm still not clear about
what happened.

JOSH
They broke it together, get it.

Ned walks in and comes to Josh. He sets a piece of paper down on the table
in front of Josh. Everyone gathers around it.

NED
The wire photo's out.

LOU
Oh, my.

BRAM
Hurricane Santos.

JOSH
You repeat that outside this room and I'll have you knocking on doors in
Alaska, and not the urban part. Give me that. The guy's the next leader of
the free world. I won't have us ogling his dirty... you know.

NED
The hotel proprietor claims the bed was steel-reinforced.

Lou and Bram move closer to get a better look.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Josh and Lou are walking out of the room. Josh hands her a copy of the letter.

JOSH
We have a bigger problem than Helen's Ohio surprise.

LOU
He's been called up by the Marine Reserves for right after Labor Day.

JOSH
Two days of marksmanship and flight training.

LOU
Well bless his broken headboard.

JOSH
He's postponed it 41% of the time.

LOU
Postponed it?

JOSH
41% of the time.

LOU
As in "I'll see you when I'm done with my essential government business"?

JOSH
As in "See you when it's politically convenient and no one in my family has
a runny nose." If I'd had a full convention, I would have had the Marines
in the parking lot digging foxholes.

LOU
You won't lift a finger against Beltway Arnie Vinick who never served and
who flipped and flopped his way through 40 years of subcommittee hearings.

JOSH
I am not going negative. Not when people barely know who Santos is.

LOU
And a vacuum gets filled. That's why he's the swinging king of siesta. You
won't even let him admit the obvious which is that the President screwed up
on the security leak. That's why you're in this.

JOSH
The President is trying to take the politics out of it.

LOU
Then why not call a Special Prosecutor? Why won't Santos call for it?

JOSH
You're my new Communications director; you're supposed to help me solve
this problem.

LOU
You're the problem; not some box on a grid, not the Marine Reserves. No
negative campaigning, no outside opinions within five miles of the candidate,
no deviation from some Jonestown-like obsession with your pals at the
White House.

JOSH
Okay.

He starts to walk away.

LOU
When are you going to stop drinking the Kool-Aid?

He goes into the room.

CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

C.J. and Margaret are walking and talking.

C.J.
I need Hobson at Treasury. They're worried about another currency devaluation
in Argentina, and while I like a nice prime rib for 35 cents, the OAS
ain't buying.

MARGARET
C.J. ...

C.J.
The message for Monday's bill signing?

MARGARET
Scheduling and Advance wants to stick with the little flags.

C.J.
Because this is America?

MARGARET
Yes. But...

C.J.
But I want an actual message. They have until tomorrow morning or I'm going
to read them the riot act to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

MARGARET
Greg Brock is in your office.

C.J.
Why is Greg Brock in my office?

MARGARET
He walked in, he wouldn't leave. I didn't think you'd want me to call the
Secret Service.

C.J.
Think again.

She walks into her office where Greg Brock is waiting for her.

C.J.
We're both professionals. We're both under investigation by professionals. It's
bad enough that you're plastered all over my call sheet and Congress has
every scrap of paper aside from my half-finished crossword puzzles. Would
you please leave this office before I call in an armored division?

BROCK
I have a question about daycare.

C.J.
Toby covered that in last week's briefing. We're deadlocked at 300
million. CBC's pushing for more after-school care. I don't think we'll get
that out of committee.

BROCK
That's great, but Della's four and a half. Now she can live with her mom
while I'm in prison, but her mom travels for her job. So why isn't there
some federal voucher that you get your kids to come with you and get them
into daycare wherever you go?

C.J.
Prison?

BROCK
I wouldn't talk to the Grand Jury. The judge held me in contempt. I report
to Cumberland Minimum Security Prison tomorrow. It should be on Fox by now.

C.J.
You can appeal.

BROCK
He refused to stay the contempt; at least 18 months. I have to appeal from
behind bars. You don't have to worry about your call sheet for a while.

He moves to leave and C.J. stops him.

C.J.
Just name your source.

He looks at her for a moment and smiles slightly.

BROCK
I always liked you in that suit.

He walks away.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE.
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. - HOTEL - NIGHT

Josh and Bram are walking. They come to a door and Bram opens it for Josh.

BRAM
He's already late for the State Party reception downstairs.

Josh goes in. Santos is on the phone with Helen. Lou is seated at a table.

SANTOS [into phone]
No. ... No, Helen, I don't. ... No, I mean short of us crawling under there
with a screwdriver and a roll of duct tape, I don't see how we could... Oh,
yeah, 'cause I personally love the fact that it's in all the newspapers,
and I... Honey, bring a sledgehammer with you when we meet in Michigan and
we can... I got to go.

He hangs up.

SANTOS
How many papers is this going to be in?

JOSH
It's all over the blogs and cable shows. Now the first tier press gets to
cover the coverage. This is my fault. I should have pushed out more policy. I
knew it'd be hard to hit back against this phony, superficial crap.

LOU
I don't think it's phony or superficial. These stories only stick when they
confirm what people already think. And let's face it, nobody knows what
to think.

JOSH
So, we deserve it?

LOU
You haven't given anybody an alternative formulation on who he is, so he's
taking body blow after body blow.

JOSH
I'm trying to position him as the guy with the jobs...

LOU
How about positioning him as the guy with the spine?

JOSH
You want to hit back against Vinick? Get sucked back into the leak story?

LOU
I want him to beat back at the White House and get distance from them.

JOSH
The President's approval is at 66%. The leak has barely made a dent.

LOU
That's why he seems like his little infant cousin. I'm sure you've never
even presented him with that argument.

Santos walks over to a table, picks up a heavy book, and drops it on the
table. Lou and Josh look over at him.

SANTOS
Okay. You want me to have a spine, you want me to be nice to my cousin. Let's
talk about my Reserve drill.

LOU
You have to resign your commission, Congressman.

JOSH
Sir, she's right.

LOU
You can't show up after Labor Day when you've postponed your service five
times in 13 years. It'll look like the mother of all staged photo-ops and
we'll get killed in the press.

SANTOS

'Cause I moved it around a few times?

LOU
'Cause you're a Democrat who wears a uniform when it fits his schedule.

SANTOS
Oh, and never mind my 25 years of military service compared to Vinick's
none. Never mind one of the most pro-military voting records in the Democratic
Caucus.

LOU
Why'd you even leave active duty? You went to Annapolis for free. The taxpayers
were supporting your military career. Your trench mates don't have a story
to tell?

SANTOS
And by resigning, I'm saying what?

LOU
That you are ready to be President of the United States. That we have a
civilian-led military and you are threw playing G.I. Joe.

Bram comes in. Santos gets up and puts his jacket on.

BRAM
He really has to get to the State Party reception.

JOSH

Time Magazine has called twice; we're going to have to tell them something.

SANTOS
Tell them that if the country doesn't like my military records, I'll be the
first one unemployed.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - DAY
      100 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY

We see Lou walking down one of the aisles carrying a bag. She comes into
the next section and sits down next to Josh. Edie walks in behind her.

LOU
Tough press day.

JOSH
"Vinick's comments called into question the  Santos campaign's unflinching
support of the Bartlet White House, as Congressman Santos parried tabloid
charges, and strained to articulate an economic message." Strained to
articulate; it's like he was drooling into a cup.

EDIE
So Vinick won the day.

JOSH
Yeah, by walking five feet from his office while the Latin Luther Van Dross
napped his way across the continent.

LOU
So now can we revisit the Bartlet question?

JOSH
Oh, hi. Let me introduce myself: I'm the problem.

LOU
I interpret the facts; I read the data; which is why you need me, and also
why you resent me. I am not a Bartlet-ista and I'm not a Santos-ista. I am
completely untethered to your cult of personality.

JOSH
Also known as ethics.

LOU
What is unethical about say Jed Bartlet is a great President; make way
on Mount Rushmore. But in this one instance, in this lapse in security,
he goofed. Someone in your White House goofed.

JOSH
Look, I read that data, too. No one thinks the White House goofed on this. It's
a press obsession; a Vinick trick to get us on to issues we can't win on.

LOU
Do you think Vinick participated in last night's tracking poll?

She hands him a piece of paper.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS' OFFICE - DAY

Santos is seated. He is reading a tabloid paper titled "ORLANDO
INQUISITOR." Josh knocks and comes in.

JOSH
It took us a couple hours to place Helen on the Cleveland trip. Remember,
she came out as a surprise for... you. Anyway, that's why some of the stories
imply that...

He hands him the paper.

SANTOS
What is this?

JOSH
Polling question from last night's track.

SANTOS
"Was the President right to end his own investigation of the classified
security leak? Yes, 27; No, 54; Don't know, 19." Are you suggesting I should
criticize the President?

JOSH
I would never suggest that. But you asked me to run this campaign. I don't
want you thinking I'm holding back the data.

Santos gets up and walks back to where the press are seated.

SANTOS
Hi. I know you guys have got a job to do whether I like it or not, so I'm
not going to pretend that the afternoon naps and the bedside shrapnel don't
make for good news copy. So, I'm going to address this once, just this once,
and that'll be the end of it, okay: No way was that bed steel-reinforced.

He turns to leave.

REPORTER
Still no comment about the President stopping his investigation?

He turns around to address them. Many of the reporters get their recorders
out and some snap some pictures.

SANTOS
You know, if that were my White House I'd call in the FBI. I would
do everything in my power to cooperate with both Congress and the Grand
Jury. I'd play it by the law, not by politics. And, in case you haven't
noticed, that's exactly what this President is doing.

He walks away.

CUT TO: EXT. - GREG BROCK'S HOUSE - DAY

We see Brock leaving his house, surrounded by what appear to be Secret Service
agents. A lot of reporters are outside and they start taking photographs.

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

C.J. is at her desk watching Brock being escorted by the Secret Service
agents. A female reporter is talking but can't be seen.

REPORTER [VO][on TV]
Certainly no one expected today's decision, which means that Greg Brock must
report to jail immediately. That's right: he reports to Cumberland Minimum
Security Prison in Maryland immediately. Without any appeal, without any
time to take his case to a higher level...

Toby comes in.

C.J.
Did you see?

TOBY
Yeah.

C.J.
I need Scheduling and Advance.

TOBY
Scheduling and Advance? Why?

C.J.
The Fisheries bill signing. They think our message should be a row of
American flags.

TOBY
That was my idea.

C.J.
A row of flags?

TOBY
'Cause he's the American president, and he's signing a bill into law, and
as long as we're being investigated by two branches of our own government
I don't see why we should be any more clever than that.

CUT TO: INT. - SANTOS PLANE - DAY

Josh is looking at the polling data that Lou gave him. Lou comes over to
talk to him.

LOU
I've been thinking about the reason I beat you in those three primaries. It's
because you wouldn't pound your candidates like I did. This is too important
to make it personal.

JOSH
It's different when you build a candidate from nothing, when you're the
person he looks to for more than just shock therapy.

Bram comes in from Santos's office.

BRAM
The Congressman wants you.

Both Josh and Lou move to enter.

BRAM
Just Josh.

Josh goes in.

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

Josh comes in. Santos is seated near a window.

JOSH
I appreciate what you said about the President today. I've been thinking about
the Reserve drill. I think you should do it. Get the past postponements out
today ahead of the letter. If they slam us for it, we'll deal...

SANTOS
Look out the window.

He looks out the window.

JOSH
That's the Rocky Mountains. You turned the plane around?

SANTOS
We're going to Fort Worth. The Marine Commandant in Washington was my CO in
the Gulf. He said I could get it out of the way right now if I wanted to. You
know, I didn't have so much as a high school diploma in my gene pool. That
commission is the reason I'm on this plane. I'm not giving it up.

JOSH
Before anyone in the press gets a chance to take a shot at us, the whole
country sees you in uniform.

SANTOS
You'd better cancel our schedule for the next two days.

JOSH
Sorry about Lou before. She's got a lot to contribute but she should contribute
it through me. Some of her ideas are a little extreme.

SANTOS
That doesn't mean I don't need to hear them.

JOSH
So you feel like you need her at the table.

SANTOS
I feel you do. Her, and a whole lot of others.

JOSH
But there has to be somebody in charge, somebody to filter out the knucklehead
stuff. In the Bartlet campaign...

SANTOS
Jed Bartlet was in charge. You were right about the President, Josh. And
Louise was right about leaving a vacuum. I need to hear it all.

Bram knocks and comes in.

SANTOS
Yep.

BRAM
They're ready for that State briefing in the staff cabin.

Bram leaves. Santos notices the board that is hanging on the wall. It has
the three boxes that Josh drew. He grabs a marker from off the top of it. He
draws a checkmark in each box.

SANTOS
We're going to beat him on security issues; we're going to beat him on
domestic issues; we're going to beat him on trivia, too.

He puts the marker back and we focus on the board with the three checks as
he leaves.

CUT TO: INT. - HANGAR - DAY
      NATIONAL GUARD TRAINING CENTER
      FORT WORTH, TEXAS

We see Santos and two other Reserve men walking out to the planes. They are
dressed in their flight suits and they are carrying their helmets. We see
Santos walk over to the plane and put his helmet on. He climbs the steps and
gets in the cockpit. The tech finishes fueling and removes the nozzle. The
cockpit cover closes. The plane taxis out onto the runway as the voice of
a female reporter can be heard.

REPORTER [VO]
The Santos campaign refused to comment on the drill, saying the candidate was
taking care of a personal obligation and would return to his economic themes...

CUT TO: INT. - HQ - DAY

We see a shot of several TVs showing stories about Santos's drilling and
training.

MIKE DIACOVO [on TV]
Personally I think it's a charade; a made-for-TV movie. Why do you think he
stayed in the Reserve...

SCOTT PIERCE [on TV]
Vinick took a shot at the President. Maybe he's sincere about it, but Santos
defends Jed Bartlet, and then says, "Hey, I don't...

We pan into a conference room where Josh, Edie, Ned, Joey, Kenny, and Lou
are discussing the poll and their numbers.

JOEY [KENNY]
We jumped four points on security in last night's poll.

LOU
What about the gender gap?

JOEY [KENNY]
Might want to use Congressman Cassanova in a TV ad.

NED
Half the press is calling it a stunt.

JOSH
Yeah, but all the press is running the footage.

LOU
When he goes on offense, he really goes on offense.

JOSH
Yeah, welcome to the cult of personality. Otto, I need that brochure copy
on his military record. Edie, get Helen's schedule. We want her on the road
with the Congressman at least three days when he gets back from Texas. Ronna,
Ned, foreign policy events, best idea gets an extra fortune cookie.

We pan out of the room as we follow Ned, who has gotten up to get something. We
stop on a TV showing Vinick campaigning. A reporter is talking.

REPORTER [on TV]
But they are confidant that on national security and other issues, their
candidate has a commanding advantage.

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

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