Season 1 – Episode 7 – “The State Dinner”

Episode Summary:

As a night’s stylish state dinner honoring the Indonesian president looms in the background, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) keeps his eye on a spate of potentially explosive problems: an FBI hostage standoff with dozens of militant survivalists, a Class-4 hurricane bearing down on a carrier group at sea and an impending national trucker’s strike. Behind the scenes, the gracious First Lady (Stockard Channing) prepares to host the dinner, a pushy reporter (Timothy Busfield) flirts with C.J. (Allison Janney), Josh (Bradley Whitford) and Toby (Richard Schiff) corner an Indonesian government official (Peter Kors) to ask a favor, and a surprised Sam (Rob Lowe) spies his call girl friend Laurie (Lisa Edelstein) at the event.

Script:

THE WEST WING
'THE STATE DINNER'
WRITTEN BY: AARON SORKIN AND PAUL REDFORD
DIRECTED BY: THOMAS SCHLAMME

TEASER

FADE IN: INT. PRESS BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
C.J. is informally talking to the members of the press as she's looking over
a slide sheet.

C.J.
The first lady will be wearing a Badgely Mischka silk Shantung gown with a
beaded bodice.

SONDRA
Shoes?

C.J.
I believe she will be wearing shoes, yes.

REPORTER
C.J....

C.J.
Black suede and velvet with a Manolo Blahnik slides with a rhinestone and
mother of
pearl toe buckle.

SONDRA
Accessories?

C.J.
Gabriel Sanchez freshwater pearl necklace with tourmaline beads. I'm also
told to inform
you she will be carrying a Christina Bomba silk pleated organdy drawstring
evening bag.

REPORTER
And Mrs. Siguto?

C.J.
Mrs. Siguto will be wearing a traditional silk kegaya in dark purple with
an overlay of
black silk lace.

SONDRA
C.J.?

C.J.
Matching open-toe evening slippers. Her jewelry is by an artist from her
birthplace,
which is Jakarta.

Josh appears and waits for C.J. to finish.

C.J.
It is fashioned with rubies and gold. Anything else? [No response.]
Nothing on the nuclear test ban treaty? [More silence.]
No? Okay. Thank you. [gets up and walks to the briefing podium, Josh
following]

JOSH
C.J....

C.J.
Man alive, do I love it when In Style magazine is issued press
credentials. Mirabella
needed to know what kind of wine is being served with the fish course. So,
it's a good
thing I went to school for 22 years.

JOSH
What wine are we...?

C.J.
It's wine and you'll drink it.

JOSH
Okay.

C.J.
What do you need?

C.J. and Josh walk out to the HALLWAY and continue the conversation.

JOSH
Sarah is picking up speed and power and has now been classified as a class
four system.
You might want to talk about preparations and contingencies.

C.J.
Sure. What are we talking about?

JOSH
Hurricane Sarah.

C.J.
Sarah's a hurricane.

JOSH
Yes.

C.J.
Where is it heading?

JOSH
Georgia and parts of the Carolinas.

C.J.
When?

JOSH
It will hit landfall by tonight.

C.J.
Is it serious?

JOSH
Have you ever been in a hurricane?

C.J.
No.

JOSH
Me neither, but they look pretty serious.

They go into the COMMUNICATIONS BULLPEN where they meet up with Sam.

SAM
Just so you know, they've voted to strike.

C.J.
The teamsters?

SAM
Fifteen minutes ago. Leo's putting them in a room.

C.J.
When?

SAM
Now.

C.J.
How long is it going to last?

Sam, Josh and C.J. walk out to the HALLWAY.

SAM
Till midnight. Taft-Hartley expires, that's why they're going to walk.

C.J.
There's a state dinner tonight.

JOSH
We'll make more food.

C.J.
Josh...

They reach C.J.'S OFFICE AREA where Toby is waiting.

JOSH
Don't worry about it.

C.J.
[to Toby] Hey, did you know about the hurricane?

TOBY
Yeah.

C.J.
Everybody but me?

They all enter C.J.'S OFFICE. C.J. walks to her desk. The others fill the
room.

TOBY
Listen, I want you to start preparing for something. There's a situation in
McClane.

C.J.
Virginia?

TOBY
Idaho.

C.J.
What's in Idaho?

TOBY
There's a property there that local law enforcements had surrounded for four
days.
A farmhouse, with anywhere from 18 to 40 Survivalists.

C.J.
Are they armed?

TOBY
Yeah.

C.J.
Are there kids?

TOBY
Yes.

C.J. grimaces to Sam, who puts his head down.

TOBY
The F.B.I. decided it's a hostage situation. So, we have ourselves a whole
new ball game.

C.J.
So, let me see if I have this.
[looks at Josh] A hurricane's picked up speed and power and is heading for
Georgia.
[looks at Sam] Management and labor are coming here to work out a settlement
to avoid
a crippling strike that will begin at midnight tonight.
[looks at Toby] And the government's planning a siege on 18 to 40 of its
citizens,
all the while we host a state dinner for the President of Indonesia.

JOSH and TOBY
Yeah.

SAM
You got it.

Sondra walks in and tries to get C.J.'s attention.

C.J.
Amazingly, you know what I'll get asked most often today?

JOSH
What?

C.J.
Sondra?

SONDRA
I'm sorry, C.J....

C.J.
Black suede and velvet. Manolo Blahnik slides with a rhinestone and mother
of pearl
toe buckle.

SONDRA
[writes it down] Thanks.

C.J.
No problem.

Sondra leaves as C.J. looks at Josh, at Sam, and at Toby.

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

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY
Josh is on the phone. Radio is on about the storm.

JOSH
Low-pressure system. It's another low-pressure system. Okay, I'm talking to
the Red
Cross. I'll call you in about an hour... Yeah. Bye.

He hangs up and walks out of his office to JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA.

JOSH
Donnatella Moss!

DONNA
Hey.

JOSH
A senior Indonesian deputy is coming tonight. Toby and I want to talk to
him alone
for a few minutes. I need you to find out if he can speak English and if he
can't,
we need to get an interpreter from State.

DONNA
What's his name?

JOSH
Ramahedi Sumahedjo Bambang.

Conversation moves to the HALLWAY.

DONNA
Can you spell that?

JOSH
Not correctly, no.

DONNA
Josh...

JOSH
Yes.

DONNA
I've got to tell you something.

JOSH
What?

DONNA
I'm not wild about this whole Indonesian thing.

JOSH
What's the problem?

DONNA
I've been doing some reading on my own.

JOSH
I wish you wouldn't do that.

DONNA
Why?

JOSH
Because you tend to call some bizarre factoid from a less than reputable
source and
then you blow it all out of proportion.

DONNA
[peeved] I do not.

JOSH
Donna...

They walk to the COMMUNICATIONS BULLPEN.

DONNA
I just thought you might like to know that in certain parts of Indonesia,
they summarily
execute people they suspect of being sorcerers.

JOSH
[stops] What?

DONNA
I read it.

JOSH
They... summarily execute people they suspect of being sorcerers?

DONNA
They behead them.

JOSH
Sorcerers.

Josh and Donna are just on their way through THE ROOSEVELT ROOM.

DONNA
Gangs of roving people. Beheading those they suspect of being sorcerers.
You know with... what's that thing that Death carries?

JOSH
A scythe.

DONNA
They're doing it with a scythe.

JOSH
Well, thanks for the head's up.

DONNA
I thought you might like to know who's coming over for dinner.

JOSH
You bet.

JOSH ends up in LEO'S OFFICE. Leo enters through another door. C.J., Sam,
Toby and Mandy
are already there while Leo leans against his desk.

LEO
I heard it got upgraded.

JOSH
It's a class 4 hurricane. FEMA's down in Georgia with the Red Cross. The
President
should be prepared to sign some sort of federal disaster relief. What's
going on with
the truckers?

LEO
I'm meeting with them in the Roosevelt Room in an hour.

JOSH
C.J.'s going to need to know what they're wearing.

C.J.
Yeah.

TOBY
What's the issue?

SAM
Two tiered hiring.

LEO
A company divides its workforce into two bodies. Long term, full time
employees,
who enjoy top market wages and benefits, and part time, or newer full time
employees
who are paid a lower waged scale and usually get no benefits.

C.J.
But, they're part time employees.

MANDY
But, a lot of them aren't. A lot of the workers that management designated
as part time
are de facto full time employees while working the same amount of hours
under a different
designation at lower wages with no health or pension.

JOSH
I'm with management.

MANDY
Imagine my surprise.

TOBY
A younger workforce puts a premium on job flexibility and they're unwilling
to make a
long time commitments to a single company. What do you expect?

MANDY
Fair hiring practices.

LEO
Listen. McClane, Idaho? I need someone to monitor and keep the President
and me updated
throughout the day.

SAM
I'll do it.

LEO
You're going to work with Toby on the toast.

TOBY
Don't need him.

LEO
Yes, you do.

SAM
It takes two people to write a toast?

LEO
The State Department's very particular about these toasts.

JOSH
I'll assign someone from my office.

MANDY
I can do it.

JOSH
No. You can't.

MANDY
Why not?

JOSH
Because, you're a political consultant and... this is an actual... you
know... thing.

MANDY
Leo, please tell Josh that I can play a role in issues and it's not going
to be the
end to this administration?

JOSH
I don't think it will be the end of this administration, Leo. I think it
will be the
end of this republic.

LEO
Establish a contact at the Justice Department and the FBI. And keep Josh
informed
throughout the day and night. What else?

JOSH
[looks at a file] The... uh... Redskins suck.

LEO
Thank you.

Meeting breaks up. Toby and Josh walk out to the HALLWAY. Donna was loitering
around
the meeting, smiling at Josh's comment. Toby comes up to her.

TOBY
Donna?

DONNA
Yeah?

TOBY
Did Josh talk to you about the...?

DONNA
Ramahedi Sumahedjo Bambang?

TOBY
Yeah.

DONNA
I'm on it.

TOBY
Thank you.

DONNA
Toby, did you know that in certain parts of Indonesia they summarily execute
people
who they suspect of being sorcerers?

TOBY
Yes.

He ducks into an office. Donna looks back at Josh.

DONNA
[to Josh] You see?

JOSH
You're all crazy.

CUT TO: INT. MURAL ROOM - DAY

Reporters and photographers are kept behind red velvet ropes on one side of
the room
as Bartlet and PRESIDENT SIGUTO of Indonesia stand between the American and
the
Indonesian flag. C.J. gets something from Bartlet and ducks out of the way.

HARRY
Mr. President?

C.J.
No questions right now, Harry.

HARRY
A short one.

BARTLET
She's not worried about the length of your question, she's worried about
the length
of my response.

They all laugh. Flash bulbs pop. Bartlet talks to Siguto.

BARTLET
We're having salmon tonight.

SIGUTO
Yes.

BARTLET
They told you that?

SIGUTO
Yes.

More pictures taken. Bartlet smiles and turns his head for the cameras.
Siguto just sits and stares straight ahead.

BARTLET
Yo-yo Ma is going to play. [No answer.] Some Bach concertos, I believe.
[Still no answer.] Do you like salmon?

SIGUTO
No.

BARTLET
Well... our mistake.

SIGUTO
Yes.

Bartlet just smiles for the cameras.

CUT TO: INT. SAM'S OFFICE - DAY
Sam is sitting at his desk with the laptop when Toby comes in.

TOBY
What do you have so far?

SAM
Uh, we start by welcoming our friends and distinguished guests. We praise
President
Siguto for leading his country through a period that promises profound change
as
Indonesia moves from an authoritarian dictatorship towards a real democracy.

TOBY
The beginnings of a real democracy.  Let's not get carried away.

SAM
All right. Ah... we have been friends for over 50 years...

TOBY
Don't... Don't say friends.

SAM
It's a state dinner.

TOBY
Fine. But I don't think we should remind people how friendly we were with
dictators
who oppressed their people while stealing their money.

SAM
How else are you going to steal people's money?

TOBY
See, that's good. Write that in the toast? [starts to leave]

SAM
Toby?

TOBY
Yeah?

SAM
You got something going on tonight with Josh?

TOBY
We got to see a guy about a thing.

SAM
Need any help?

TOBY
No. Toughen this up.

CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY
Management and Labor people are seated around the table, two of which are
BOBBY RUSSO
and SEYMOUR LITTLE. Leo barges in authoritarian and sits at the head of the
table.

LEO
Thirty days with a federal mediator, you people couldn't work this out?

RUSSO
There's fundamental differences.

LEO
Name them.

LITTLE
It's the same differences.

LEO
Name them again.

RUSSO
The two-tiered hiring.

LITTLE
Leo, the trucking industry faces intense competition from Fed Ex and UPS,
the railroads,
the airlines, freight operations...

RUSSO
Seymour...

LITTLE
...For us to accept wage costs that are significantly greater than our
competitors,
would render us unable to compete...

RUSSO
You know, you're full of crap, Seymour.

LEO
This is the White House, Bobby, it's not the Jersey turnpike. Watch your
mouth.

RUSSO
Forgive me.

LEO
For all the danger your industry's facing from competition, Seymour... the
fact is,
the trucks are still this country's number one way of moving things
around. Including
food. I'm talking about produce rotting in warehouses. I'm talking about
fistfights
in supermarkets over who gets the last bar of soap. [stands] You have until
midnight.

CUT TO: INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - DAY
Mandy is leaning against the door as Josh walks in.

MANDY
You don't think I can do this.

JOSH
Why aren't you in your own office?

MANDY
I don't have an office in this building.

JOSH
There's a reason for that.

They walk and talk into the HALLWAY.

MANDY
The McClane police got a warrant to search this house. They had reason to
believe
there was a gun in that house that was made illegal by virtue of a barrel
that was
a quarter inch shorter than it was supposed to be.

JOSH pours himself some coffee.

MANDY
The people in this house, who are exactly who you think they are, refused
entry to
the police.

JOSH
Did they... refuse it politely?

MANDY
They produced weapons, if that's what you're asking.

JOSH
Yes... that's what I'm asking you.

MANDY
It really bugs you that the President listens to me sometimes.

JOSH
Yes, but you shouldn't take it personally. It bugs me when the President
listens to
anyone who isn't me.

MANDY
Do you know why the FBI had reason to believe there was an illegal weapon
in this house?

They enter JOSH'S OFFICE.

JOSH
Why?

MANDY
Because we sold it to them.

JOSH
You know that for sure?

MANDY
Yeah. Also, there are children in there. And a lot of crossed wires between
the
Deputy Attorney General and the FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in
terms of
who's running the show. My point is, aside from everything else, this is a
PR disaster
waiting to happen. And it's going to happen today. This is why you hired me.

JOSH
Yeah, I was wondering why that was.

MANDY
[chuckles] It bugs you.

JOSH
Yes.

Mandy walks away. Josh whispers.

JOSH
Yes.

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN:

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Bartlet and Siguto are sitting in chairs. Another group of reporters are
standing
across them. Cameras are again flashing.

REPORTER
President Siguto, how are you enjoying America so far?

SIGUTO
Fine, thank you.

REPORTER
Would you mind expanding on that, sir?

He doesn't respond. Bartlet leans over.

BARTLET
She'd like you to say a little more on the subject.

SIGUTO
I have nothing more to say on the subject.

BARTLET
Okay.

C.J.
One more question. Danny?

DANNY
Mr. President?

BARTLET
Which one?

DANNY
Pardon me. President Bartlet... I wondered if you noticed the protestors
across the
street this morning?

BARTLET
I try not to look out my window that much, Danny. What protestors?

DANNY
Vermeil.

BARTLET
Vermeil?

DANNY
Yes, sir.

C.J.
Danny, I'm going to cover vermeil at the briefing, that's all folks, I got
to bring
in the next group.

BARTLET
Thank you.

As reporters are filing out, Danny and C.J. talk into the HALLWAY.

DANNY
You don't know what it's about, do you?

C.J.
The protestors?

DANNY
Yes.

C.J.
It's about vermeil.

DANNY
What's vermeil?

C.J.
I happen to know what vermeil is.

DANNY
[with a chuckle] Okay.

C.J.
My one o'clock briefing is going to be about the vermeil protestors, isn't it?

DANNY
Well, I just asked a question in front of 24 White House press reporters
and you didn't
answer it. So, I would assume that there would be some sort of follow-up, yes.

C.J.
Thanks.

DANNY
Anytime.

Carol passes by.

DANNY
Carol?

CAROL
Yeah?

DANNY
She's going to need you. [walks off]

CAROL
What do you need?

C.J.
I need to know what vermeil is and why people are protesting it.

CAROL
Vermeil?

C.J.
Yes.

CAROL
...E-I-L?

They walk inside THE OVAL OFFICE. Leo walks up to Bartlet and Siguto, who
are still
in their chairs.

BARTLET
Leo...

LEO
Good morning, sir.
[to Siguto] Good morning, Mr. President. Would you excuse me, Mr. President?
[back to Bartlet] Sir, if I could...

BARTLET
Absolutely.

LEO
Thank you.

BARTLET
[to Siguto] Would you pardon me one moment, please? [to reporters] Excuse me,
folks.

C.J. calls on Carol as Bartlet and Leo walk into LEO'S OFFICE. They whisper
at the door.

BARTLET
I can't decide if that man is boring or rude, but he's one or the other.

LEO
I'm sorry to hear that.

BARTLET
I'm sitting out there trying to figure out how this guy campaign for
something
and win, then I remembered--we usually rig the elections.

LEO
There you go.

BARTLET
You think it's important he sit at my table tonight?

LEO
He's the guest of honor, so it is customary.

BARTLET
Where are you sitting?

LEO
At your table, sir.

BARTLET
Where's Toby sitting?

LEO
With C.J. and Josh and Sam.

BARTLET
Ah, that's the fun table.

LEO
Yeah.

BARTLET
What do you need?

LEO
I just wanted to let you know that we're going to clear out a battle carrier
group
from the Norfolk Naval Yard.

BARTLET
Because of the hurricane?

LEO
Yes. It's standard procedure. They want to get the ships out of the way.

BARTLET
All right, fine.

LEO
And this is just in case someone asks you why we deployed an entire group
in the
North Atlantic.

Their conversation fades as they re-enter THE OVAL OFFICE. Bartlet sits in
his chair.
Cameras flashing, Siguto still sitting like a gargoyle.

BARTLET
Sorry to keep you waiting. [No answer.] Did I mention we're having salmon
tonight?

SIGUTO
Yes.

CUT TO: INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - DAY
We look over Toby's shoulder as he writes in long hand on a legal pad. Sam
is sitting
on Toby's couch with his laptop on his lap.

TOBY
Read this. [hands Sam the pad, which Sam reads as Toby closes the door]

SAM
'Indonesia's constitution highlights democratic principles.' Toby...

TOBY
Read.

SAM
I know what you're gearing up for.

TOBY
Read!

SAM
[reads] 'The national ideology of Pancasila, upon which, your constitution
is founded,
includes a belief in the Supreme Being, while calling for religious
tolerance.'
I see you've underlined that. 'Freedom of the press, freedom of assembly...'
Toby, do you think it a good idea to invite people to dinner and then tell
them
exactly what they're doing wrong with their lives?

TOBY
Absolutely, otherwise it's just a waste of food.

SAM
Toby...

TOBY
We're not telling them how to run their lives.

SAM
[reads again] 'It's time for your government to live up to the promises
enshrined
in the hearts and minds of your people as well as the laws of your land?'

TOBY
Friendly reminder.

SAM
Can we soften the top of this?

TOBY
No.

SAM
Something like... 'As has often been said, a true friend tells another friend
the
truth and on some issues, we must speak candidly, or we could not, in all
honesty,
hold the great honor of being known the world over as Indonesia's friend.'

TOBY
Well... that was just about the worst writing I have ever heard.

SAM
I know.

CUT TO: INT. BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
C.J. is doing the briefing.

C.J.
Vermeil is gilded silver. Silver covered in gold. The White House has one
of the
largest collections in the world.

REPORTER 1
Why the protestors?

C.J.
Well, these are 18th and 19th century French objects. Many designed by the
noted
European silversmith, Jean-Baptiste Claude Odiot.

We see Danny's extremely smiling face.

C.J.
The collection is kept in the Gold Room along with the ten-arm glass cut
chandelier
which was made in England in 1785.

REPORTER 2
C.J.? What does this have to do with the protestors?

C.J.
Nothing at all. It's just interesting information and I thought I'd share
it with you.

Light chuckles from the audience.

C.J.
Many workers were blinded by the mercury while making these pieces. Louis
the 15th
would melt them down to pay for his wars against his people. So, in general,
they're
seen in some circles as a symbol of a government's bloody and tyrannical
oppression
of its own people. We use them as centerpieces with a seasonal floral
arrangement.

TOM
Is the President concerned this might send the wrong message?

C.J.
[stares for a moment] I'll be honest with you, Tom. I haven't run this by
the President
yet, but I'll have that for you, plus the rest of the day's scores and
highlights at the
next briefing at 4:00 or 5:00. Thank you.

As she leaves the podium, she meets Carol.

C.J.
I won't need a transcript of that.

C.J. walks out to the HALLWAY. where Danny catches up.

DANNY
C.J....

C.J.
You're a rabble rouser, you know that? You rouse rabbles.

DANNY
Hey...

C.J.
I went and looked at your big vermeil demonstration. Six people in Lafayette
Park
with oak tag and magic markers.

DANNY
I didn't say it was Selma, Alabama, or anything.

C.J.
Six people! Six pathetic people protesting on a Friday and you just lent
their weak
and feeble voices a megaphone. What do you call that?

DANNY
A job well done.

C.J.
You're very proud of yourself.

DANNY
Yeah. So, what are you wearing tonight?

C.J.
What am I wearing tonight?

DANNY
Yeah.

C.J.
Your paper wants to know what I'm wearing?

DANNY
Not my paper, that was just for me.

C.J.
[stops] You want to know what I'm wearing?

DANNY
Yeah.

C.J.
[slowly] Well... I'm wearing... an evening gown of... gray silk.

DANNY
Good, then. I'll be looking forward to it.

C.J.
Well, okay. I got to go deal with the vermeil crazies.

DANNY
See ya.

C.J.
Okay.

C.J. thinks it over after Danny walks away.

CUT TO: INT. DINER - DAY
Sam and Laurie are eating sandwiches. Laurie has a law book in his lap,
sitting sideways
in the booth.

SAM
The point I was trying to make to Toby was that this toast is coming at the
end of two
days of policy talks. And maybe at dinner we could lighten it up.

LAURIE
Sam, I've got Com Law in an hour.

SAM
Should I sit quietly?

LAURIE
Yeah, 'cause I really need to study this.

SAM
No problem.

LAURIE
Thanks.

SAM
I'll eat my sandwich.

LAURIE
Good, Sam.

SAM
I'm having a hard time deciding between the ham and cheese and the chicken
salad.

LAURIE
This might help you, the chicken salad's mine. [brings her plate closer to
her]

SAM
Yeah, but this kind of environment is basically community food, right?

LAURIE
You're not afraid of being seen with me right now?

SAM
Because of the way you're dressed?

She's dressed in college wear.

LAURIE
No, not... why? What's wrong with the way I'm dressed? No. Because of my
night job, Sam.
You're not afraid of being seen with me?

SAM
No.

LAURIE
Okay.

SAM
Your night job's crummy.

LAURIE
Yes. I know.

SAM
So, you got a thing tonight? A date?

LAURIE
A client?

SAM
Yeah.

LAURIE
Yeah.

SAM
Who?

LAURIE
Sam?

SAM
I was just...

LAURIE
I thought we had a deal.

SAM
Yes.

LAURIE
Thank you.

SAM
Where's he taking you?

LAURIE
I don't know.

SAM
Okay.

LAURIE
No. I really don't know, Sam. He calls me, he tells me what to wear and the
rest of it
is a big surprise.

SAM
Is this...?

LAURIE
Sam, I have class in an hour and I have not even finished...

SAM
Oh, for God's sakes, it's Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 US 335. You cite the
precedent.
You cite Black's opinion for the majority.

LAURIE
[stunned at his knowledge] Thank you for that display of geek bravado. But
I'd like to
learn this myself so I can graduate from law school, practice law, and give
up my night job.

SAM
And I'd like you to learn my experience when I tell you that law school
bears little
relationship to the practice of law.

LAURIE
It bears some relationship to graduating, though, right?

SAM
Yes.

LAURIE
Then shut up.

SAM
I'm just saying. Your night job stinks.

LAURIE
Fine.

SAM
And I'm taking your sandwich.

LAURIE
Fine.

She watches him take a bite of her sandwich as she bites down on a pickle.

CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Two military types, Leo, Josh and Mandy, are meeting with the President.

MILITARY GUY 1
Certainly, I think we're all agreed that militias impose an inherent
threat. They are
very well armed condreys of dangerous lunatics bent on undermining the
government.

MANDY
Mr. President? Would it be inappropriate for me to join the discussion?

BARTLET
No, of course not.

MANDY
Kooks, nuts, extremists, the lunatic fringe element. This is the inevitable
and
unavoidable by product of the democracy. Such as pornography is the unavoidable
by
product of free speech.

JOSH
Excuse me, Mr. President. These people aren't thumbing through Hustler. They're
armed.
They're evading arrest and they're holding hostages.

MANDY
We think they're holding hostages. Plus, we're the ones who sold them the
gun in the
first place.

MILITARY GUY 2
Yes. It's called a sting, Mandy.

MANDY
Yeah, but another word for it is entrapment.

MILITARY GUY 2
Oh please. Pardon me, Mr. President, but the judge is never going to-

MANDY
I'm not talking about the courts. I'm talking about public opinion.

MILITARY GUY 1
Then this is two different conversations.

BARTLET
You want to raid this house?

MILITARY GUY 2
We don't have to come in with guns blazing. We can simply fire tear gas
through the windows.

MANDY
And tomorrow's front page will be a screaming woman running out of a burning
house with
a baby in her arms and F.B.I. windbreakers in the foreground. Why can't we
starve them out?

MILITARY GUY 1
They've got like a five-year supply of food and water. To say nothing of
ammunition.

LEO
Josh?

JOSH
There's no way this'll end good. All that's left is to end it fast.

LEO
I agree.

MANDY
What about a negotiator?

MILITARY GUY 2
Negotiation what?

MANDY
A peaceful settlement.

JOSH
This is a stand off with federal officers. A peaceful settlement is 'put
your guns down,
you're under arrest.'

MANDY
I think it would be wise if we demonstrated that we exhausted every possible
peaceful
solution before we got all Ramboed up.

BARTLET
All right, Mandy. Thank you. Josh? Would you two give us a minute, please?

Josh and Mandy walk out into the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. They stay there as the
door closes.

JOSH
I don't think it's unreasonably macho for the White House to be aggressive
in preserving
democracy.

MANDY
Let me tell you something. Ultimately, it is not the nuts that are the
greatest threat
to democracy, as history has shown us over and over and over again, the
greatest threat
to democracy is the unbridled power of the state over its citizens. Which,
by the way,
that power is always unleashed in the name of preservation.

JOSH
This isn't abstract, Mandy. This isn't a theoretical problem. The FBI says
come out with
your hands up, you come out with your hands up. At which point, you're free
to avail
yourself of the entire justice system.

MANDY
Do you really believe that? Or are you just pissed off because I got into
the game?

Leo opens the door and emerges from the Oval Office, walks straight to Mandy.

LEO
Mandy, the President's going to go with your plan. Chafey's going to send
in a negotiator.

MANDY
Good.

Leo walks away.

JOSH
Well, you're in the game now.

Josh leaves. Mandy stays standing.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Josh is wearing a tux. Donna is tying his white bow tie.

DONNA
If you can't explain what you're doing now, the assumption is that you're
a sorcerer.
If you try to run, the assumption is that you're a sorcerer. Okay? So,
if anything
happens, the prudent thing is to stand still and calmly explain your
business.

JOSH
Well, prudent or not, once the scythe comes out, I'm probably going to haul
ass.

Knock on the door. Charlie sticks his head in.

CHARLIE
Excuse me.

JOSH
What's up?

CHARLIE
I hate to ask you this, but I need a favor.

JOSH
What do you need?

CHARLIE
My grandparents own a little house up the Georgia coast.

JOSH
Are they evacuated?

CHARLIE
I don't know where they are. I've been trying to get a hold of them all day.

DONNA
They lost power lines in parts of Northeastern Georgia.

CHARLIE
Um... I'm sorry to ask you this, but-

JOSH
Don't worry about it. Donna, call FEMA, use my name. When that doesn't work,
use Leo's name.

CHARLIE
It's just that they don't get around too well.

JOSH
We'll find them.

Donna is on the phone already. Josh walks down the HALLWAY. Mandy is wearing
a beige
flowered sleeveless dress with a sienna colored wrap. She spied Josh and
meets up with him.

MANDY
Hi.

JOSH
I look good tonight, don't you think?

MANDY
Yes.

JOSH
You look good too, but I look even better.

MANDY
The FBI guy's been in there a couple of hours.

JOSH
Yeah?

They walk through the halls as workers are setting up floral arrangements
and candles.

MANDY
You think it's a good sign?

JOSH
I really don't know.

MANDY
I'm asking you what you think.

JOSH
I don't have any thoughts on it one-way or the other.

MANDY
So, what's happening with the teamsters?

JOSH
I don't know.

MANDY
Any news on the hurricane?

JOSH
Not that I'm aware of.

MANDY
What is it you do here exactly?

JOSH
It's never really been made clear to me.

Mandy chuckles. They reach the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. Sam comes out of his
office,
wearing a tux with tails and also a white bow tie.

JOSH
Toby!

SAM
He's not here.

JOSH
Hey.

SAM
We look good, don't we?

Josh adjusts Sam's tie.

MANDY
You guys want to be alone? [walks off]

SAM
Hey, I'm finishing up this speech... Do you think there's some sort of
personal
connection between President Siguto and the U.S.? You know, something from
his past?

JOSH
He was once almost pushed out of an airplane by a CIA trained operator.

SAM
I should probably leave that out.

JOSH
Yeah. I would.

Sam walks off. Josh comes out to the HALLWAY. Toby is down the hall, also
wearing a tux
with tails and a white bow tie.

TOBY
Excuse me, Josh?

JOSH
Hey.

TOBY
Can I speak with you a moment?

JOSH
Is he in?

TOBY
Yes.

JOSH
Let's go.

TOBY
There's a problem.

JOSH
What?

TOBY
Mr. Minaldi!

The door of one of the offices opens, MR. MINALDI walks out.

TOBY
This is Mr. Minaldi. The interpreter from State.

JOSH
You do speak Indonesian, don't you?

MINALDI
There's no such language as Indonesian. Indonesians speak 583 different
languages.
I speak Javanese. Mr. Bambang speaks Batak.

JOSH
[calls] Donna!

DONNA
[comes down the hall] I know, I know, I've got it under control.

JOSH
It's 7:30, is there anyone left at state?

DONNA
No.

JOSH
Then, what are we doing?

DONNA
Well, Mr. Minaldi speaks Portuguese.

TOBY
Where does that get us?

DONNA
Well, there's a guy who works in the kitchen who can translate Mr. Bambang's
Batak
into Portuguese. Then Mr. Minaldi will translate it into English.

TOBY
Wait a minute... ah... Why can't the kitchen guy translate Batak into English?

DONNA
The kitchen guy doesn't speak English.

TOBY
You're kidding me.

DONNA
Well, no. He speaks Batak and Portuguese so I wouldn't look down your nose.

TOBY
Is the bar open yet?

DONNA
Yeah.

TOBY
Make this work. [walks off]

DONNA
[arranges Josh's tie and whispers] I'm sorry.

CUT TO: INT. RECEPTION ROOM - NORTH LOBBY - NIGHT

C.J. is in her wonderful gown of gray silk--high neckline, sleeveless,
with a gray
silk wrap, dark gray gloves to the elbow and a sparkler of a diamond
bracelet.
She stops by a waitperson.

C.J.
Excuse me. Have you seen the First Lady?

ABBEY
[yelling from the distance] C.J.!

C.J. walks to her and sure enough, ABIGAIL BARTLET is wearing exactly what
C.J. told
the press she'd be wearing.

C.J.
Good evening, Mrs. Bartlet.

ABBEY
Nice threads girl. Showing a little dEcolletage wouldn't kill you dead.

C.J.
Yes, ma'am. [giggles]

Abbey takes her arm and steers her over to some people.

ABBEY
C.J., this is Harry and Nancy O'Malley. Douglas and Barbara Coleson. And
their son,
Steven, who's a cardiologist.

STEVEN
Nice to meet you.

C.J.
Nice to meet you all.

ABBEY
This, of course is C.J., my husband's press secretary. She's not married,
Steven,
and she doesn't have a boyfriend.

C.J.
Thank you, Mrs. Bartlet.

C.J. smiles and takes Abbey away.

C.J.
Abbey?

ABBEY
He's a doctor, C.J. He's heir to Coleson Technologies.

C.J.
I appreciate the thought.

ABBEY
So, what's on your mind?

C.J.
I spoke to Peggy about the vermeil. You might get a few questions.

ABBEY
I'm not embarrassed by the vermeil. It's not like we spent new money on it.

C.J.
Yes, but it's history.

ABBEY
It's our history. Better or worse, it's our history. We're not going to lock
it in
the basement or brush it with a new coat of paint. It's our history.

C.J.
Okay, well. Good answer.

ABBEY
You know, the truth will do it almost all the time.

C.J.
Yes, ma'am.

ABBEY
C.J.? Cardiologist...

C.J.
Yes, ma'am. [walks on]

Abbey looks around the room and sees Leo.

ABBEY
Oh, I'm sorry. Is that Leo McGarry, or is that Fred Astaire?

Leo smiles and they meet. Leo does a suave dance move.

LEO
Fred Astaire.

ABBEY
Leo, where's my husband?

LEO
He was caught on a call. He'll meet you over there.

ABBEY
What's happening with the teamsters?

LEO
They've been at it for ten hours.

ABBEY
What's your confidence?

LEO
We'll be okay.

ABBEY
Good. Mingle.

Somewhere in the reception, Mandy nervously looks around. She goes out to the
JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA. Donna is on the phone.

MANDY
Anything yet?

DONNA
I'm on with the Red Cross.

MANDY
What about Idaho?

DONNA
Nobody's calling back.

MANDY
What is going on? [gets on another phone and dials]

CUT TO: INT. RECEPTION ROOM - NORTH LOBBY - NIGHT
Toby, Sam, and Josh are standing in a huddle. Leo comes up.

LEO
Guys... shmooze someone for me. His name's Carl Everett, and he's raised a
ton of money
for us in the Midwest. Carl? I'd like you to meet...

CARL
Toby Ziegler... [shakes Toby's hand]
Sam Seaborn... [shakes Sam's hand]
and Joshua Lyman. [shakes Josh's hand]

TOBY
Our reputations precede us.

CARL
They ought to. You three do fine work.

LEO
Excuse me, gentlemen. [leaves]

SAM
So, how long are you in town for, Mr. Everett?

CARL
Just for the night. Let me introduce my date. Brittany?

The date turns around. It's Laurie, and Sam becomes uncomfortable.

CARL
This is Brittany. Brittany, this...

TOBY
[hurriedly] Toby Ziegler. [shakes her hand]

JOSH
Josh Lyman. [shakes her hand]

SAM
[puts out his hand for a shake] Sam Seaborn.

LAURIE
Nice to meet you.

CARL
We're going to head on over, but maybe I'll get a chance to talk to you all
later.

SAM
Great.

JOSH
Have a good time.

LAURIE
Thank you.

JOSH
Okay.

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - NIGHT
Charlie walks by, and Donna calls out to him.

DONNA
Charlie! Charlie. Your grandparents are in a shelter in Granville.

CHARLIE
Oh, man. Thank God. Thank you, Donna. You know how long they're going to
have to stay
there for?

DONNA
Well, people are being sent back to their houses right now. Get this, the
hurricane
shifted direction.

CHARLIE
You're kidding.

DONNA
No. It's heading back out to the Atlantic.

Leo walks by, into C.J.'S OFFICE. C.J. is holding satellite photos of the
hurricane.

LEO
C.J.?

C.J.
Leo.

LEO
What's happening?

C.J.
It's a whole new situation.

LEO
It's moving east. It's moving back out. What kind of situation?

C.J.
For some reason, there's a fleet of ships out there.

LEO
[stricken] Oh, God...

C.J.
Do you know about this?

LEO
They evacuated a battle carrier group out of Norfolk this morning as a
standard
safety precaution.

C.J.
They're sitting right in the path of the hurricane.

LEO
Can they get out?

C.J.
Leo, the thing is 600 miles across. They're locked in. How bad can this get?

LEO
Catastrophic.

C.J.
What do you want to do?

LEO
Let's do this thing, and then get ready.

C.J.
I should start to work now.

LEO
Ah. I don't want to tip the press. Let's go to a party. [ushers C.J. out]

INT. FORMAL DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Guests are being ushered at tables by men in dress uniforms. We are taken
to the
RECEPTION AREA. In a room attached to the formal dining room, Josh is on
his cellphone.

JOSH
Yeah, okay... I appreciate your call. Thank you. [hangs up]

MANDY
[comes up] Josh. I'm not hearing anything from the FBI. And I'm not hearing
anything
from Justice. It's been about a half an hour and I can't get any information
out of Idaho.

JOSH
It's over.

MANDY
What do you mean?

JOSH
That was Chafey. They took the house. 34 occupants, they're all in custody.

MANDY
What happened?

JOSH
They shot the FBI negotiator. He's in critical condition.

Clapping in the background.

ANNOUNCER
Ladies and gentlemen... President and Mrs. Bartlet... accompanied by President
and
Mrs. Rahm Siguto.

Josh is clapping with the crowd. Mandy is numb.

JOSH
Mandy?

MANDY
I... should call... get on the phone... I'm going to throw up.

Mandy takes off. Josh claps for Bartlet, his wife, Abbey, and the guests.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. FORMAL DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Bartlet and Leo are walking up the elegant stairs of the dining room,
supposedly after
the salmon.

BARTLET
Without warning?

LEO
Yeah.

BARTLET
The hurricane just shifted direction without any warning?

LEO
It's not an anomaly, but it's unusual.

BARTLET
I would think.

They walk inside the ELEGANT BRIEFING ROOM. Lots of computers, weather maps
of the
hurricane are inside. A captain is there.

BARTLET
Captain? How big is this carrier group? How many men and how many ships?

CAPTAIN
This battle group is made up of the aircraft carrier, John F. Kennedy,
which carries
a crew of 5,000 men. Two guided missile cruisers, two destroyers, and two
battleships.
All told, it's a little over 12,000 men.

BARTLET
How soon before the worst of it starts?

CAPTAIN
About 20 minutes.

BARTLET
Is there any way I can speak with the fleet commander?

CAPTAIN
It will take a few minutes. But we can set a hook up right here.

BARTLET
All right. Let's do it.

CAPTAIN
Thank you, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Thank you.

Lightning flashes outside the window. The officer leaves.

BARTLET
Any word on the FBI guy's condition?

LEO
They're prepping him for surgery.

BARTLET
What do I do now?

LEO
Go back to the party.

Bartlet and Leo move toward the door and two military guards open the door
for them.

CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN - NIGHT
Amidst the very busy night in the kitchen, Toby is talking to GOMEZ, a member
of the
kitchen staff.

TOBY
Mr. Gomez...

Camera zooms in. We see chaos as they're serving the state dinner. Toby is
with Donna,
Minaldi, Gomez, and the Indonesian diplomat, RAMAHEDI SUMAHEDJO BAMBANG.

TOBY
Mr. Gomez, you speak Batak. Is that correct?

MINALDI
[translating] Senhor Gomez, o senhor fala Batak. Correto?

GOMEZ
Sim.

MINALDI
[to Toby] Yes.

TOBY
As you just did, you also speak Portuguese?

MINALDI
E como arabou de fazer, o senhor tambem fala Portugues?

GOMEZ
Sim.

MINALDI
Yes.

TOBY
But not English?

MINALDI
Mas nao fala Ingles?

GOMEZ
Nao.

MINALDI
No.

TOBY
Okay. Those are two pretty tough languages, Batak and Portuguese... you
might want to
take a crack at English one day, seeing as how you live here. Okay?

MINALDI
Okai. Sao linguas...

TOBY
[stops him] No. Don't translate.
[to Bambang] Mr. Bambang, thank you for agreeing to meet with me today.

MINALDI
Senhor Bambang, obregado por ter concorcado em vir me encortar.

GOMEZ
Bapak Bambang, saya terima kasih bapak menyetujuin ketemu beseya saya.

BAMBANG
Kembali.

GOMEZ
[to Minaldi] Nao tem de que.

MINALDI
[to Toby] You're welcome.

TOBY
Okay.

It's going to be a long night for Toby by the looks of his expression. Josh
comes in.

JOSH
Sorry I'm late. I'm Josh Lyman.

MINALDI
Desculpem o atraso meu nome e Josh Lyman.

GOMEZ
Ma'af saya telat nama saya Josh Lyman.

Round of translations continue as Toby whispers to Josh.

TOBY
This is going to take a while.

MINALDI
Pleased to meet you.

JOSH
Are you enjoying the evening?

Translations start.

TOBY
Josh, this isn't the best context for chit-chat.

JOSH
Mandy is pretty upset. I didn't do a great job.

MINALDI
I didn't like the salmon.

Josh is confused.

TOBY
He's answering a question from like a half hour ago. Mr. Bambang?

BAMBANG
Why don't we just speak in English?

Toby and Josh are stunned.

JOSH
Donna...

DONNA
I was told that he...

TOBY
Yes.

DONNA
You should keep in mind all the things I do right.

JOSH
Yes.

DONNA
Should I go?

TOBY
Yes. Mr. Gomez, Mr. Minaldi, thank you for your trouble.

Donna leaves, as well as Gomez and Minaldi.

BAMBANG
What can I do for you, gentlemen?

TOBY
[beat] A friend of mine is in one of your jails. I want you to let him out.

BAMBANG
But your friend isn't an American.

TOBY
He's French.

BAMBANG
Then why not let the French take care of this one?

TOBY
Because he's my friend and the French don't give a damn.

BAMBANG
The extradition process is one that might...

JOSH
We're not talking about the extradition process.

TOBY
What we're talking about is that you unlock the cell, you put him in a car,
and you
drive him to the border.

BAMBANG
Your friend led anti-government demonstrations?

TOBY
That's what he does. He teaches students how to protest.

BAMBANG
And so you're asking this as a favor?

TOBY
Yes.

BAMBANG
Senior aide to senior aide.

TOBY
Yes.

BAMBANG
I think you have a lot of nerve. That was a despicable and humiliating toast
your
President made. And I know you are the one who wrote it.

TOBY
[stunned, rubs his eyebrow, as he's apt to do when flustered, tightly smiles]
Please understand that with so many people watching... with so much media
coverage...
it was important for us to make clear that the United States, with it's
commitment to
human rights...

BAMBANG
Mr. Ziegler. Does it strike you at all hypocritical that a people who
systematically
wiped out a century's worth of Native Americans should lecture the world so
earnestly
on human rights?

TOBY
Yes, it does.

BAMBANG
You humiliated my President tonight, qnd for no other reason than to show
off. And now
you want me to do you a favor? Go to hell. [leaves]

JOSH
We'll talk to the French. [starts to leave, Toby is rooted to his spot]
Toby. We'll
talk to the French.

TOBY
Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - NIGHT
We hear and see the storm outside as C.J. is typing on her computer. Danny
stands by the door.

DANNY
That's a nice dress.

C.J.
You're not supposed to be back here right now.

DANNY
KDHN in Boise is reporting an FBI agent went down on a raid on a house in
McClane.

C.J.
We'll have a statement in 15 minutes.

DANNY
What happened?

C.J.
[gets up and walks to the door] Danny, did you hear me say we'll have a
statement in
15 minutes? God, Danny.

DANNY
What did I do?

C.J.
When you flirt with me, are you doing it to get a story?

DANNY
No.

C.J.
Why are you doing it?

DANNY
I'm doing it to flirt with you.

C.J.
[goes back to her desk] I don't believe you.

DANNY
I know.

C.J.
So?

DANNY
So, that's your problem.

C.J.
Look...

DANNY
When's Hurricane Sarah about to hit?

C.J.
You know what? You're the one who goes around town saying that I'm too
friendly with
the press corps and that makes me a weak press secretary.

DANNY
I never said you're a weak press secretary.

C.J.
Yeah, but you've been thinking it.

DANNY
I thought you did well with the vermeil scandal.

C.J.
See? You're doing it.

DANNY
I know.

C.J.
I have work to do.

DANNY
No problem. [about to walk off]

C.J.
You really like the dress?

DANNY
Yes.

C.J.
All right. Whatever.

DANNY
I hope the FBI guy pulls through.

C.J.
15 minutes.

Lightning flashes as she begins typing again. Danny smiles and walks down
the hall.

CUT TO: INT. ROOSEVELT ROOM - NIGHT
The Teamsters and Labor are still at it.

RUSSO
To accept these policies means that the Teamsters Union will be significantly
weakened
in its ability to represent or retain the loyalty of younger workers and
we're not going
to let that happen!

LITTLE
I disagree.

RUSSO
No kidding!

Bartlet walks in and slams the door. All stand.

BARTLET
How are we doing?

LITTLE
We're at an impasse, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Hungry?

RUSSO
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Tired?

RUSSO
Yes.

BARTLET
Talk to me for five minutes apiece and then we're going to settle this.

They are about to sit.

BARTLET
Stay standing.

CUT TO: INT. FORMAL DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Sam is at a table eating alone. Carl Everett and Laurie walk up.

CARL
Sam.

SAM
Carl. Brittany.

CARL
Have you got just a minute?

SAM
Sure. [stands up and shakes his hand]

CARL
Can I cut to the last page?

SAM
Sure.

CARL
I think you're someone that I could have a relationship with.

SAM
You want to have a relationship with me?

CARL
What do you think?

SAM
I cost $500 an hour.

Laurie reacts to that remark.

SAM
In the private sector. I billed out at $500 an hour.

CARL
I don't understand.

SAM
Would you like some of my food?

CARL
Oh, there's Todd. Excuse me. Todd? [walks off]

Sam sits and Laurie hurriedly sits next to him.

LAURIE
I didn't know.

SAM
What were you thinking?

LAURIE
I didn't know where he was taking me. I told you I didn't know where he was
taking me.

SAM
He just tells you what to wear.

LAURIE
That's right.

SAM
That's great.

LAURIE
You know, I'm sorry, Sam. But this isn't exactly your business. I'm not here
because
of you. I'm just here because I'm here. I would be here even if you were
here or not.
You're just some guy who happens to know me.

SAM
[angrily] Thank you.

LAURIE
I didn't... you know what I mean.

SAM
No. Could you keep talking about being here and not being here until blood
starts
pouring out of my ears?

ABBEY
[walks up] Sam.

Sam and Laurie stand.

SAM
Mrs. Bartlet, good evening.

ABBEY
Are you enjoying yourself?

SAM
Yes.

ABBEY
Sam?

SAM
Yes?

ABBEY
Wouldn't you like to introduce me to your friend?

SAM
Okay.

LAURIE
Mrs. Bartlet, I'm Brittany Rollins.

ABBEY
Abigail Bartlet. [They shake hands.]

LAURIE
It's an honor to meet you, ma'am.

ABBEY
Oh, aren't you sweet? I'm sorry to interrupt you. Actually, I was looking
for the President.

SAM
He had to step out to the West Wing.

ABBEY
Oh.

SAM
I'm not sure why, but I could...

ABBEY
To pistol-whip the trucking industry.

SAM
Why would he?

ABBEY
Because he can't save a gunshot victim and he can't stop a hurricane.
[smiles at Laurie] You are thoroughly charming.

LAURIE
Thank you.

ABBEY
Excuse me.

SAM
Yes, ma'am.

Abbey leaves. Sam sits back down.

LAURIE
That was incredible.

SAM
I'm just going to eat, if that's okay.

Laurie still has her hand on her heart from meeting the first lady.

LAURIE
Sam...

SAM
I'll give you $10,000 not to go home with that guy tonight.

Laurie keeps her hand to her heart, then walks away speechless.

CUT TO: INT. ROOSEVELT ROOM - NIGHT
Everyone in the room is still standing.

LITTLE
Such a broad inflationary surge would wreak havoc on the economic policies
that have
allowed the United States to enjoy an unprecedented...

BARTLET
Time's up.

LITTLE
Actually, if I may, Mr. President. I didn't get my full five minutes.

BARTLET
Yes, I know. But I got tired of listening to you. Now you listen to me. I
have a Nobel Prize
in Economics and I'm here to tell you that none of you know what the hell
you're talking
about. At 12:01 am, I'm using my executive power to nationalize the trucking
industry.

LITTLE
You can't do that, Mr. President...

BARTLET
Fourteen White House lawyers disagree. Truman did it in '52 with the coalmine.

LITTLE
And it was struck down by the Supreme Court.

BARTLET
In 50 years, there's a new bench and I'll take my chances. As for Labor,
I am calling
Congress into Emergency Session to grant me the authority to draft the
truckers into
military service. You're going to love our food. Nice talking to you folks. If
this
isn't settled in 47 minutes, don't worry. We know where to find you. [walks
out]

Out in the HALLWAY, Bartlet walks by, looking at the floor.

ABBEY
I shouldn't have stayed away so long.

Abbey is in the Oval Office doorway. Bartlet hadn't noticed her.

BARTLET
Hey... I'm all right. [holds her hands]

ABBEY
I shouldn't have extended the trip. I'm sorry.

BARTLET
I approved a plan for an FBI negotiator.

ABBEY
I know.

BARTLET
He's in surgery now.

ABBEY
I know. You know, one of the things that happens when I stay away too long,
is that
you forget that you don't have to power to fix everything. You have a big
brain.
And a good heart. And an ego the size of Montana. [They both snicker.] You
do, Jed.
You don't have the power to fix everything. But I do like watching you try.

They hug tight. We hear the thunder outside. The dim, flicker, and then goes
out for a moment.

BARTLET
What the hell? Well, if this isn't a metaphor for powerlessness, I don't
know what is.
We better get back to work, huh?

They walk down the hall hand in hand.

CUT TO: INT. FORMAL DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Leo comes down the stairs as Bartlet and Abbey are going to go up.

LEO
Mr. President...

BARTLET
We got the fleet commander?

LEO
Not yet. The JFK's radios have been knocked out along with communications
on the Normandy
and the South Carolina. All we've got is the Hickory. It's a little maintenance
and supply
boat that sails around with the fleet.

They walk into the ELEGANT BRIEFING ROOM. Everyone's there already. Mandy,
Toby, Josh, Sam,
the captain and several guards. Bartlet walks to a table with Abbey and Leo.

BARTLET
So, I guess I'm going to talk to the Captain of the Hickory?

JOSH
The intercom's been knocked out. They're looking for him on foot, sir.

BARTLET
Is there somebody on there now? [points to the radio]

LEO
The kid in the radio shack.

BARTLET
You're kidding.

CAPTAIN
No sir.

ABBEY
Jed, talk to the boy.

The Captain pushes the speaker phone button.

BARTLET
Hello? [pause] Hello? Anyone there?

MAN [on the phone]
This is the U.S.S. Hickory.

BARTLET
Hickory, this is the White House. Who am I speaking to?

MAN [on the phone]
This is Signalman Third Class Harold Lewis.

BARTLET
Son? This is President Bartlet. [No answer.] Hello?

HAROLD LEWIS
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Is your C.O. around?

HAROLD
Sir, they're getting him right now, sir.

BARTLET
Can I talk to you in the meantime? [beat] Hello?

HAROLD
I'm... yes, sir.

BARTLET
Are you all right, Harold?

HAROLD
I hit my head on... I-I... I hit my head.

BARTLET
Are you bleeding?

HAROLD
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Can you put something on it?

HAROLD
Well, I need to get to the other... I-I can't reach it and...

BARTLET
You go over and get it. I'll stay right here.

A long pause.

BARTLET
Harold? [pause] Harold, are you back?

HAROLD
Yes, sir. I think the skipper should be here any minute, sir.

BARTLET
Can you tell us what's going on?

HAROLD
Well...

BARTLET
Harold?

HAROLD
Hello?

BARTLET
We're here.

HAROLD
Yeah.

BARTLET
Can you tell us what's going on?

HAROLD
Well, we're looking at I guess 80 foot seas with winds up to 120 knots. We're
shipping
solid green water over the bow. And we've got a fire in the engine room. We
lost our
running lights and may get run over by an aircraft carrier that can't see
in the dark.

Bartlet is at a loss of what to say and kneels down.

BARTLET
Well, I don't know, man. Sounds pretty bad, Harold. I think I'm going to
ask for my
money back. [pause] Harold?

HAROLD
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
I'm going to stay right here, as long as the radio works, okay?

Abbey puts her hand on her husband's shoulder.

HAROLD
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Hang on.

The conversation continues.

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

The West Wing and all its characters are properties of Aaron Sorkin, John
Wells
Production, Warner Brothers Television, and NBC. No copyright infringement
is intended.

Episode 1.7 -- 'The State Dinner'
Original Airdate: November 10, 1999, 9:00 PM EST

Transcript By: Jo

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