Season 2 – Episode 17 – “The Stackhouse Filibuster”

Episode Summary:

The President’s (Martin Sheen) staff waits impatiently for an elderly but stubborn Senator (George Coe) to yield the floor as he stages a marathon filibuster hoping to stave off a vote on Bartlet’s Family Wellness Act bill while Toby (Richard Schiff) is leery of the Vice President’s (Tim Matheson) sudden interest in supporting another bill tightening fuel-emission standards. Elsewhere: C.J. (Allison Janney) anxiously paws through her memory as she seeks to locate a missing ceramic cat statue given to the President by a Mideastern potentate who expects to see it displayed during his upcoming visit; Josh (Bradley Whitford) strains to finish business in time to catch a flight for a weekend visit to the spring-training camp of the New York Mets in Florida.

Script:

THE WEST WING
"THE STACKHOUSE FILIBUSTER"
TELEPLAY BY: AARON SORKIN
STORY BY: PETE MCCABE
DIRECTED BY: BRYAN GORDON

TEASER

FADE IN: EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. - NIGHT

C.J. (VO)
Dear Dad. First of all, Happy Birthday. Second of all, let me explain why
I'm not on my
way there right now. You're not going to believe this, but it's because of
a filibuster.
A filibuster no one ever saw coming. Not the Senate leadership. Not the
Party leadership.
And not me.

CUT TO: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - NIGHT
C.J. is sitting at her computer typing an email to her father. A television
is on in the
background.

C.J. (VO)
And if you're angry at me, well, you've got a lot of company. I'm going to
explain all
this. Right now, it's Friday night and everyone is trying to get out the
door - only I
won't let them.

CUT TO: INT. SAM'S OFFICE - NIGHT
A television is shown to be on C-SPAN2, broadcasting the U.S. Senate Live. A
Democratic
Senator from Minnesota, HOWARD STACKHOUSE, has the floor and is reading from
a recipe book.

HOWARD STACKHOUSE
...non absorbent paper. Yields approximately four servings.

Sam is watching the television, looking quite dismayed.

SAM
(to himself) This isn't happening.

Sam looks at his watch as STACKHOUSE continues to read.

STACKHOUSE
...sauce, or chili sauce...

Sam spots C.J. in the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE.

SAM
C.J.!

C.J.
Yeah.

SAM
What the hell is he doing?

Sam and C.J. walk through into the CORRIDOR.

C.J.
It's a recipe for deep fried fantail shrimp.

SAM
Yeah. But, what's he still doing up there?

C.J.
He's got a recipe book.

SAM
How long will it go?

C.J.
I don't know.

SAM
I'm saying how many recipes are there?

C.J.
All together?

SAM
Yeah.

C.J.
I can't cook, but I think there are probably like 20 or 30.

SAM
You're screwing around with me.

C.J.
Oh, yeah.

SAM
I'm about to miss the 7:30 shuttle. If I miss the 8:30, I miss the last
train to
Sag Harbor.

C.J. is handed a piece of paper by a staffer.

C.J.
You can spend the night in New York.

SAM
I've only got two nights. And you've gotta see this house.

C.J.
It's cool?

SAM
It's Frank Lloyd Wright.

C.J.
Is it cold in Sag Harbor right now?

SAM
We wear sweaters. It's a Tommy Hilfiger ad.

C.J.
It can't last forever.

SAM
He's got twenty to thirty recipes he can read.

Sam stops walking while C.J. continues through swinging doors into the JOSH'S
BULLPEN,
still talking to Sam.

C.J.
Sam, seriously, there are more recipes than that.

SAM
Who cares? He's blowing my weekend in the Hamptons.

C.J.
Maybe he doesn't know about the sweaters.

C.J. (VO)
The reason they needed to stick around was that the moment the filibuster's
over, there
will be a vote and once they vote, I need my spin boys.

C.J. is walking through JOSH'S BULLPEN.

JOSH
C.J....

C.J.
I know!

Josh jumps up from his chair and walks with C.J. through the bullpen.

JOSH
Who gave him the recipe book?

C.J.
I really don't think we can blame this on the recipe book. Plus, I now know
the secret to
cold asparagus chantilly is a quarter cup whipped cream.

JOSH
I'm going to Port Saint Lucie, which may not mean anything to you, but
happens to be the
spring training home of the...

C.J.
New York Jets. Yes, you've told me. Josh, you can watch basketball on T.V.

JOSH
Yes, except the New York Knicks are a basketball team, the New York Jets
are a football
team, and Port Saint Lucie is the spring training home of the New York...

C.J.
(exasperated) Mets! Yes. Dammit, I'm inadequate.

Josh stops at the bottom of a small staircase that leads to the Briefing Room,
while C.J.
continues. C.J. stops at the top to listen to Josh.

JOSH
A weekend at spring training. Mike Piazza is going to be standing in the
batting cage.
(strikes a batting pose) He's going to turn and see me. He's going to say,
'Dude.'

C.J.
Well, I wouldn't want you to miss a legitimate 'dude' sighting.

JOSH
(excited) So I can take off?

C.J.
No.

C.J. walks into the PRESS BRIEFING ROOM which is full of reporters.

C.J. (VO)
Why do I need the spin? Because it's a bipartisan bill and I'm all for
bipartisanship
as long as we get the credit. So, I've taken the press corps hostage.

The moment C.J. enters and heads for the podium, all of the reporters start
calling her
name. A television in the room is tuned to Stackhouse on C-SPAN2 as he
continues to talk.

C.J.
Guys, I'm sorry, but you know what? Listen, seriously, you're looking at
democracy at
work, it's a beautiful thing.

REPORTER 1
And how much more beauty can we be expecting tonight, C.J.

C.J.
Well, I wouldn't think it would be that much longer.

REPORTER 2
He's got a recipe book.

C.J.
Yeah, but how many recipes can there be? 20? 30?

Another reporter, Mark, rushes up to C.J.

MARK
(in a loud whisper) C.J., it's Friday night. I'm supposed to have dinner
with my
girlfriend. She's going to kill me.

C.J.
Yeah, but you know what, Mark? This is just the kind of thing that can
cleanse the palate
of a relationship that's gone stale. Like a fine sorbet.

MARK
We've been going out three weeks.

C.J.
And she's already bitching about dinner?

MARK
C.J....

C.J.
Lose her.

Mark goes back to his seat as C.J. walks behind the podium. The reporters
start to call
her name again.

C.J.
Listen up! Everybody, this was unforeseen. Obviously, he's got to finish
sometime. When
he does, there will be a vote immediately. When it's done, the President
will make his
calls, White House staff will be available for comment, and most important
you will all
write about it. In the mean time, I say, pizza for everybody! Who's with me?

The room is silent.

C.J.
Excellent!

C.J. gathers her papers and leaves. Carol meets her outside the door and
follows
C.J. through the CORRIDOR.

C.J.
We're going to need like a massive truckload of pizza. And, I don't know,
maybe some
Cuervo 1800 if we've got some lying around.

CAROL
How much?

C.J.
Just enough for me.

Toby approaches.

TOBY
C.J. Just so you know, I need to be in Telluride first thing in the morning.

C.J.
That's a rough assignment you pulled there.

TOBY
No, I'm saying, I already missed the 6:50 to Denver, but I can catch an 8:40
from
National if I change planes in Chicago.

C.J. and Toby enter C.J.'S OFFICE. Toby is bouncing his pink rubber ball.

C.J.
And as you're travel agent, it's important that you update me on that
information.

TOBY
C.J....

C.J.
I'm supposed to be on my way to Napa right now for my Dad's 70th birthday. You
hear me
complaining?

TOBY
You just did.

C.J.
Get out.

C.J. sits behind her desk with her computer.

TOBY
It's your dad's 70th birthday?

C.J.
Yeah.

TOBY
You doing anything?

C.J.
Yeah, we're all getting together in Napa.

TOBY
(quietly) I meant right now.

C.J.
No. I'm sitting and waiting. I'm ordering pizza. I'm catching up on e-mails.

TOBY
All right. I got a a basketball game on in my office if you want to come by?

C.J.
Is it the Jets and the Mets?

TOBY
It's the Nets and the Hawks. [with disdain] The Jets and the Mets?

C.J.
I know the teams. I'm joking when I do this. I'm joking when I do this.

TOBY
Okay.

Toby turns to leave, then turns back around.

TOBY
You know there's a 9:00 to SFO. You could drive to Napa.

C.J.
Yeah.

TOBY
All right. I'm in my office.

C.J. turns to look at the television, where Stackhouse is still speaking.

C.J.
It'll end.

TOBY
Do you have any idea how many recipes there are?

C.J.
I really don't.

Toby leaves.

STACKHOUSE (on T.V.)
...teaspoon of dry mustard...

C.J. begins to type.

C.J. (VO)
So, the press is in the briefing room. The staff is in the West Wing. And
I'm right here.
I'm betting when you read this, you're going to be glad I stayed. I'm betting
you're
going to end up rooting for a Minnesota Senator named Howard Stackhouse. 'Cause
I gotta
tell ya, this doesn't seem like any old filibuster.

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

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - NIGHT
C.J. continues typing her e-mail.

C.J. [VO]
It's our first filibuster, and I'm not a rules expert, but the rules of a
filibuster are
simple enough-you keep the floor as long as you hold the floor. What does
that mean?
It means you can't stop talking, ever. You can't eat, and you can't drink,
which is fine,
because you can't leave the chamber to use the bathroom, either. But all
that's nothing
compared to this: you're not allowed to sit down-you're not allowed to lean
on anything
or, for that matter, anyone. It started with the bill you'll read about
tomorrow morning
called the Family Wellness Act. Josh had been leading staffers from the
Legislative
Liaison Office in negotiations with the conference chairman for weeks and
this last
Monday morning he walked into the Roosevelt Room and said...

CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY
Josh enters and seats himself at the table.

JOSH
We got the Family Wellness Act.

LEO
It's done?

JOSH
Yes, sir.

LEO
What'd we get, what'd we lose?

JOSH
We got most of what we wanted in Title VII.

C.J.
That's infant hearing loss?

JOSH
Yeah, we got a hearing test for every child born in the US.

SAM
What about...?

JOSH
We did not get mandatory tests for children not born in hospitals.

SAM
We can live with that.

LEO
The Special Needs Adoption Awareness program?

JOSH
Right, this is a national campaign to provide information to the public
regarding the
adoption of special needs children.

LEO
How'd we get it?

JOSH
By agreeing to a provision that would require health care staff to give
pregnant women
information about adoption on an equal basis with all other courses of action.

C.J.
National Organization for Women's gonna hate that.

JOSH
I know.

C.J.
Women seeking abortions should not be required by law to be lectured at.

JOSH
Yeah, but you're gonna help me out there, right?

C.J.
Yes, I will. I will once again and betray the sisterhood.

Josh and the other men look down with small smiles.

C.J.
[pointing to each] Okay, I saw you, you, you, and you roll your eyes.

LARRY
You weren't even looking at me.

C.J.
I felt you.

LEO
[standing with others and clapping] We're done! Josh Lyman, everybody.

They all exit. Sam leaves with Josh.

SAM
Nice job.

JOSH
I know, I'm thinking seriously about turning pro.

SAM
Yeah?

JOSH
Yeah, I got agents talking to me, telling me I could go high in the second
round, maybe
low in the first if I have a good postseason.

SAM
You don't want to stay in school, get your education?

JOSH
Nah, I'm white, nobody's gonna mind.

They walk into LEO'S OFFICE.

LEO
Josh, this looks good. I mean, he stuck sunsets on a bunch of small-ticket
items, but...

JOSH
But that's the way it's gonna happen.

LEO
You just spent six billion dollars on health care. How do you feel?

JOSH
I'd feel better if it meant just once I could go to a doctor without filling
out
something on a clipboard.

LEO
All right, what else?

TOBY
Philip Sluman, who's the chairman of the Petroleum Producers of America,
testified
yesterday to the FTC that "the Bartlet administration's" - blah, blah -
"relentless
pursuit of emissions standards in the form of additives like MTBE is a big
reason we've
seen price hikes in some of the country."

LEO
The Energy Secretary's gotta respond.

TOBY
The Energy Secretary's gonnaa respond and I'd like to mention that to the
Vice President.

LEO
You want me to do it?

TOBY
I got it.

LEO
He's gonna be pretty unhappy.

TOBY
Yep.

LEO
Anything else?

TOBY
No...

C.J.
Nope.

JOSH
No sir, thank you.

They all exit.

CUT TO: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - PRESENT
C.J. continues typing.

C.J. [VO]
So there it was, the Family Wellness Act, an omnibus health bill aimed at
diseases that
disproportionately affect children. This was a good day, cause something
got done. The
problem is, we only thought it was done. Dad, this would be a good time to
mention that
it's possible that an Egyptian cat goddess named Baste has put an ancient
curse on me.

CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - DAY
C.J. walks through a hallway. Charlie catches up with her. They walk to
C.J.'S OFFICE.
CHARLIE
C.J.!

C.J.
Charlie.

CHARLIE
Listen...

C.J.
May I call you Chip?

CHARLIE
No...

C.J.
Chipper?

CHARLIE
No...

C.J.
Gilligan?

CHARLIE
Listen...

C.J.
Yes?

CHARLIE
Hassan Ali's coming here at the end of the week.

C.J.
He's got 38 wives.

CHARLIE
Yeah.

C.J.
Imagine being the girl he dated who he didn't marry.

CHARLIE
C.J.?

C.J.
Hassan Ali is coming?

CHARLIE
Yeah, and on the President's trip to Cairo, Ali gave him a gift, a ceramic
statue.

C.J.
Okay.

CHARLIE
The State Department told the Office of Protocol it is important the gift
be displayed
when Ali visits.

C.J.
Display it.

CHARLIE
Well, the Office of Protocol wasn't able to find it.

C.J.
They should talk to the gift officer.

CHARLIE
They did.

C.J.
And?

CHARLIE
They say you have it.

C.J.
I'm sorry?

CHARLIE
Sherry Halpurn, the gift officer on the trip, says she handed it to you in
Cairo.

C.J.
Did you say a small, ceramic statue?

CHARLIE
Yeah, of a cat.

C.J.
Okay... [sighs] okay... okay.

CHARLIE
C.J.?

C.J.
Yeah?

CHARLIE
You know anything about it?

C.J.
Well, I have to think about it, Charlie. It was a year ago, and it's not
like I have
instant recall of every ceramic cat statue I've ever been handed in Cairo.

CHARLIE
Yeah, should I tell Protocol that...?

C.J.
Tell Protocol I'm searching my recollection.

CHARLIE
Protocol's recollection seemed pretty good.

C.J.
Leave me now.

CHARLIE
Sure.

C.J.
[spots Toby in the hallway] Toby.

TOBY
About to see Hoynes, talk to me later.

C.J.
Okay, Carol?

CAROL
What do you need?

C.J.
Some information, possibly a disguise, and a fast getaway car. Come inside.

CUT TO: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - DAY
Hoynes is with several senior citizens standing with quilts. They are posing
for pictures.

HOYNES
Tell me something, how did they not anticipate the flooding?

REPORTER
There was an unexpectedly high snowmelt.

HOYNES
The snow fell three months ago. Did they not think it was going to melt this
year?

Hoynes thanks the guests for coming as they exit.

WOMAN
The temperatures were unseasonably warms last month.

MAN 1
We don't know why.

HOYNES
Well it could have been something due to the sun, though, right?

MAN 2
Sir?

HOYNES
We're done. [to man] Yeah?

MAN 2
Could you see Toby Ziegler?

HOYNES
25 million acre-feet of water, Candy, that's eight trillion gallons.

CANDY
Yes, sir. [exits with men]

HOYNES
[as Toby enters] Hey, Toby.

TOBY
Good morning, Mr. Vice President.

HOYNES
The California Aqueduct is twice the length of Pennsylvania. Did you know
that?

TOBY
I knew it was pretty big.

HOYNES
What do you need?

TOBY
[as both sit] Philip Sluman, testifying yesterday in front of the FTC,
charged that it
was the White House's pursuit of tighter emissions standards that has caused
the rise
in prices...

HOYNES
Phil Sluman had a good point.

TOBY
Mr. Vice President, I don't want to go round and round with you on Sluman.

HOYNES
Okay.

TOBY
He had no point.

HOYNES
Policy forces them to use expensive additives whose benefits are questionable.

TOBY
It's price gouging...

Hoynes shrugs his shoulders.

TOBY
It costs marginally more to refine the fuel with the additives and the cost
is being
passed on to the consumer at an outrageous markup.

HOYNES
Toby, if a refinery shuts down, if there's a fire, which isn't, like, out
of the question
when you're dealing with petroleum, production comes to a halt, gas becomes
scarce,
prices go up, then they come back down.

TOBY
Well, it's good to know the companies can make it through the lean times.

HOYNES
Yeah.

TOBY
Anyway, sir, tomorrow night, Bill Trotter's gonna be delivering a speech to
the Detroit
Economic Counsel on Energy Efficiency in the 21st century, and we're gonna
rewrite the
draft to include a fairly strong rebuttal to Phillip Sluman's remarks.

HOYNES
[clears throat] Shouldn't have Bill Trotter do it.

TOBY
Why?

HOYNES
'Cause his rants against the oil companies have become familiar and the
press has stopped
writing about them.

TOBY
Still...

HOYNES
It's also pretty dicey political terrain for the Energy Secretary.

TOBY
Who would you send?

HOYNES
[standing] To punch back? Me.

TOBY
Really?

HOYNES
I'm having a press conference tomorrow afternoon to announce an advisory
group for the
antitrust policy. I'll take questions at the end, I'll open it up for anything,
and they
will ask me about Sluman and oil.

TOBY
Mr. Vice President...

HOYNES
Toby, if you think I'll be too soft on him, stand in the back of the room... if
you don't
like what I say, call Bill Trotter and say, "You're on for tomorrow night."

TOBY
[standing] Would you mind if I prepared some notes for you?

HOYNES
[chuckling lightly] Oh, not at all... Would you mind if I shoved them up
your ass?

TOBY
[laughing] No, sir, well, thank you, sir, we appreciate it.

HOYNES
I heard you got the Family Wellness Act.

TOBY
We scheduled the vote for Friday at noon.

HOYNES
Well, I'm sure you'll have the bill by 12:05.

The filibuster continues in the background.

TOBY:
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. [exits]

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

C.J. [VO]
I'll get back to the cat story in a second, cause I have to interrupt to
say this: if you
ever have a free two hours and are so inclined, try standing up without
leaning on
anything and talking the whole time. You won't make it. I wouldn't make
it. Stackhouse
wasn't supposed to last 15 minutes. He's 78 years old. He has a head cold. This
bill is
going to pass. He has no hope, to say nothing of I can't imagine what the
hell it is he's
fighting for. Stackhouse wasn't supposed to last 15 minutes.

STACKHOUSE [on T.V.]
That is how you prepare Virginia Green apple pie. Let's turn now to David
Copperfield...

C.J.
[still typing] Well, somebody forgot to tell Stackhouse, Dad, cause he just
went into
hour number eight.

STACKHOUSE [on T.V.]
...1870, began this great work...

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY
The camera tracks the halls of the West Wing. As it approaches LEO'S OFFICE,
we hear Josh.

JOSH [VO]
The message was pretty cryptic... like something you'd slip a the bank
teller. And it was
unusual to get it directly from a Senator, who'd normally dispatch an
aide. Leo agreed,
but was in no way concerned. He told me to go ahead, take the meeting,
and not to sweat
it, and under no circumstances give anything away.

During the voiceover, we see Leo and Josh talk. Josh takes the memo from
Leo and exits.

CUT TO: EXT. THE CAPITOL HILL - DAY

JOSH [VO]
So I headed up to the Hill... wearing, by the way, the new shoes you bought
me, which I'd
never worn before.

CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL BUILDING HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
Josh slides in from camera left and falls on his butt.

JOSH [VO]
Since Dad's not here to do it, I think it's my job to bore you with history
now. The
filibuster has been part of parliamentary strategy in this country for over
a hundred
and fifty years. Now, the reason we weren't sweating Stackshouse is that
Stackhouse isn't
someone you sweat. He's been around forever, but he has little influence,
little power,
and few friends. So, Dad would want me to tell you where the word 'filibuster'
comes
from. It's from the Dutch "ury geiter," which translated literally means
"freebooter."
But what they meant was, "buccaneer."

During the voiceover, we see Josh walk to SENATOR STACKHOUSE'S OFFICE. He
removes his
coat as the Senator beckons him in.

JOSH
Afternoon, Senator.

STACKHOUSE
Good afternoon. [coughs]

JOSH
Sounds like a bad cold.

STACKHOUSE
It's fine.

JOSH
You taking anything?

STACKHOUSE
I don't want to talk about my cold. I want forty seven million dollars to
fight autism.

JOSH
Sir...

STACKHOUSE
Five "Centers of Excellence" in universities around the country to help
scientists
coordinate their research, three special units for autism epidemeilogy at
the CDC,
and a centralized facility for gene and brain banking. That's 43 million.

JOSH
Senator...

STACKHOUSE
Uh, the other four million is for a federal program to educate doctors in
order to reduce
the staggeringly high percentage of cases in which autism is misdiagnosed.

JOSH
We can't do it.

STACKHOUSE
Of course you can. You simply pick up the phone, you call the Conference
Chairman, and...

JOSH
The bill started out at two billion. It's six billion now.

STACKHOUSE
That's right. So another forty seven million hurts you how?

JOSH
Sir...

STACKHOUSE
It's eight tenths of one percent of a bill aimed at the health issues
affecting children,
which is roughly the same as the percentage of children affected by autism.

JOSH
I don't need to tell you that in these negotiations...

STACKHOUSE
In these negotiations about a bill aimed at health issues affecting children,
we've
allocated funds for Alzheimer's, glaucoma, and erectile dysfunction.

JOSH
Sir...

STACKHOUSE
You know a lot of two year olds afflicted with that horrific condition, hmm?

JOSH
[smiling] There's no doubt that that's a good point, but in order for us to
ensure that
more important things were in the bill...

STACKHOUSE
So there was a determination made.

JOSH
I'm sorry?

STACKHOUSE
A determination was made, in order of priorities.

JOSH
Senator, there's going to be a vote. The bill's closed.

STACKHOUSE
Open it back up again.

JOSH
To do that would mean to postpone the vote, and everyone's breaking for the
recess, and...

STACKHOUSE
And you want the story before everyone goes home.

JOSH
Yeah.

STACKHOUSE
Okay. [gets up and walks to the door]

JOSH
Sir, the next time around, and there will be a next time around...

STACKHOUSE
That's all. I'm done with you now.

He waves his hand dismissively at Josh and walks out.

JOSH [VO]
And that was that.

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - NIGHT
The camera focuses on the three T.V.s on the shelves.

NEWSCASTER
Also in the news at this hour, parliamentary procedure in all of its glory,
as a Senate
filibuster watches day turn to night, and possibly back into day again. Seventy
eighty
year old Minnesota Senator Howard Stackhouse stands alone tonight in the
well of the
Senate chamber as his colleagues somewhat impatiently wait for a vote that
was scheduled
to take place more than nine hours ago. Stackhouse, a five term senator who
once...

During the commentary, we PAN TO Donna watching the coverage.

DONNA
Hey, Zach.

ZACH
Yeah?

DONNA
You guys record the news feeds coming in, right?

ZACH
Yeah.

DONNA
Could I get a dub of the B-roll they're showing on the Stackhouse story? It's
three or
four seconds, it's a campaign stop, and his grandchildren were with him. The
voiceover's
talking about his seven grandchildren.

ZACH
Sure. What's the problem?

DONNA
It's nothing.

ZACH
I'll have it sent up in a few minutes.

DONNA
Thanks.

Josh enters. He and Donna start a walk and talk to JOSH'S OFFICE.

JOSH
Donna.

DONNA
You're booked tomorrow morning, 8:55, United, direct to West Palm Beach.

JOSH
Which gets in at?

DONNA
12:58.

JOSH
It's still a seventy mile drive to Port St. Lucie. I'll miss the game.

DONNA
I thought they weren't playing yet.

JOSH
It's an exhibition game.

DONNA
You're flying to Florida to see the Mets play another team in a game that
doesn't count?

JOSH
Actually, it's an intrasquad game.

DONNA
So you're flying to Florida to see the Mets play each other in a game that
doesn't count.

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
Okay. Uh... there's a Continental flight out of Dulles at seven A.M., you
change planes
in Newark.

JOSH
I gotta fly to New Jersey to get to Palm Beach?

DONNA
Look...

JOSH
Whatever. Just make sure that tomorrow morning...

DONNA
Mike Piazza calls you "dude."

JOSH
Yes.

Josh starts typing.

DONNA
What are you doing?

JOSH
I'm writing an e-mail to my mother.

DONNA
Why?

JOSH
To thank her for a pair of shoes she sent me.

DONNA
Your mother sent you shoes?

JOSH
Donna, please try and keep it...

DONNA
That is the sweetest thing I...

JOSH
Donna?

DONNA
Okay.

Donna exits. Josh turns back to the computer.

JOSH [VO]
Donna says hi, Mom. Anyway, I didn't think much about the meeting with
Stackhouse
afterward. There are always going to be people who don't get what they
want. I was
thinking of other things.

CUT TO: INT. BRIEFING ROOM - NIGHT
Hoynes is having a press conference. Toby is watching from the back of the
room.

JOSH [VO]
Like Toby, I was puzzled as to why the Vice President, who made his money
from the oil
industry, who champions the oil industry, would volunteer to admonish the
oil industry.

STEVE
Sir, I'm sure you're aware that Phillip Sluman testified before the FTC that
the Bartlet
administration's relentless pursuit of stricter emissions standards in the
form of
additives is why we're seeing price spikes.

HOYNES
Yeah.

STEVE
Would you comment on that?

HOYNES
Yeah. Our relentless pursuit of cleaner air standards has resulted in lower
asthma rates
and the cleanest air in California in 50 years. It costs marginally more to
refine fuel
with additives, but the costs are being passed on to consumers at an outrageous
price.

CHRIS
Mr. Vice President.

HOYNES
Uh, yeah, Chris.

CHRIS
Are you accusing members of the PPA of price gouging?

HOYNES
Well, some of these CEOs are old friends of mine. But, uh, I can tell you
they do know
how to turn a profit. Now, they'll claim that prices will go back down after
production
increases...

JOSH [VO]
Hoynes just kept hammering away, and I was reminded for a minute how close
he came to
being elected President.

HOYNES
...have created a new bottom line...

JOSH [VO]
Toby said it was an impressive display from Hoynes, but couldn't get past
the question
of why he volunteered to do it.

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT

JOSH [VO]
And if you're wondering what the President does during a filibuster, I dunno
'cause this is our first. But at the moment, he's in his private dining room
having dinner. There's a famous French chef visiting, and every time he comes
he cooks for the President.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Bartlet walks in.

BARTLET
Leo.

LEO
Good evening, sir.

BARTLET
You busy?

LEO
What do you need?

BARTLET
Come have dinner with me.

LEO
Why?

BARTLET
Pierre Boileau is cooking tonight. You want to have dinner?

LEO
What's he serving?

BARTLET
That's your answer?

LEO
I'm just asking.

BARTLET
Well, I can tell you that the man specializes in a reinterpretation of
classic Provancale
cuisine. Cassoulet, duck with green olives...

LEO
Yeah...

BARTLET
...saffron chicken...

LEO
I haven't had a good saffron chicken in quite some time.

BARTLET
Well, don't you think you deserve one?

LEO
Yes.

BARTLET
His specialty is his dessert: Tomate de Saltambique.

LEO
That's gonna be a big, seedless beefsteak tomato stweed for three hours in
creme de
caramel and stuffed with...

BARTLET
Passion fruit, kiwi and hazelnuts, and...

LEO
...served on a pomegranate reduction, yes.

BARTLET
Let's go. Leave the cell phone.

LEO
I'm taking my phone.

BARTLET
We're not leaving the building. People can find you.

LEO
Let's go.

Bartlet and Leo head outside.

BARTLET
What's he on to now?

LEO
He's reading the rules of cards.

BARTLET
Oh, brother.

LEO
Don't worry about it.

BARTLET
Could Howard Stackhouse possibly be a bigger horse's patoot?

LEO
I don't know what part of a horse that is, exactly, but I've always thought
he was a
decent guy.

BARTLET
He's a curmudgeon: a grouchy old crank.

LEO
So are we.

BARTLET
You are. I am full of mirth.

LEO
Okay.

BARTLET
He was all over me the first year. He called me, "Bartlet the Inert."

LEO
That was pretty funny.

BARTLET
I'm a reformer. I'm the most liberal President he's ever served under. His
hero, Hubert
Humphrey, once, you know...

LEO
Shook your hand.

BARTLET
That's right. [silence] I feel bad.

LEO
Why?

BARTLET
His wife died a few years ago. I didn't go to the funeral.

LEO
Why?

BARTLET
I was kind of busy running for President, Leo.

LEO
That's right.

BARTLET
Tomate de Saltambique, my friend.

LEO
Yes, indeed.

They reach the DINING ROOM, which is lit by candlelight.

BUTLER
Good evening.

BARTLET
Hi. Hang on. [to Leo] They thought I was going to be eating with Abbey, so...

LEO
Hmm...

BARTLET
We'll just, you know, pretend there's no candlelight.

LEO
And that we're not paranoid homophobes in any way.

BARTLET
Yeah.

Leo's cell phone rings.

LEO
Yeah.

BARTLET
Leo, you have a deputy who's, frankly, a lot smarter than you are. Whatever
it is, let
him handle it. Who are you talking to?

LEO
My deputy. [into phone] Yeah.

BARTLET
What did he say?

LEO
He says there's no end in sight.

BARTLET
Okay. Let's eat.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
* **

ACT FOUR

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

STACKHOUSE [V.O.]
To get cash for your chips you have to go to the cashier's cage of the
casino...

DONNA
C.J.?

C.J.
Yeah.

DONNA
Listen, I was looking at the B-roll they're showing on the Stackhouse story
and there's
something that struck me as odd.

C.J.
What?

DONNA
They show two different events during his last campaign and his grandchildren
are next to
him on stage. He's got seven of them.

C.J.
What's the problem?

DONNA
There are only six in the shot. I don't think this is what we think it is. I
don't think
he's just being ornery. I think he's got a grandson who's autistic.

C.J.
Oh, holy hell. Tell Josh. Find out for sure.

DONNA
Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. THE PRESIDENT'S DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Bartlet and Leo are having dinner. The steward is with them, while Leo talks
on the phone.

STEWARD
More brandy, sir?

BARTLET
Nah, I'm fine.

STEWARD
I hope the First Lady's not feeling ill this evening.

BARTLET
No, she's up at the Manchester house.

STEWARD
Very good, sir.

BARTLET
No, it really sucks, but thanks.

STEWARD
Yes sir. [walks off]

BARTLET
Did you hear that? He said, "Very good, sir". Where do they learn that?

LEO
Yeah. [to Bartlet] I'm sorry?

BARTLET
Nothing.

LEO
[into phone] I'm sure that was moved for a reason. We're prepping for a G-8
with Barney
and we're going to Tel Aviv.

BARTLET
I just feel like we don't talk anymore.

LEO
[into phone] Tel Aviv's the week after. [to Bartlet] What?

BARTLET
See you're not even listing.

LEO
[into phone] Ben, let me call you back. What's your problem?

BARTLET
I'm just saying we work all day, and then the day's over, and we go out to
dinner and
you're still working, and you know, I'm sitting here. No time to talk.

LEO
You know, conversations like this, are the reason I got divorced.

BARTLET
No, it's not. (clears his throat)

LEO
(whispering) Sir... what's wrong?

BARTLET
I made...

The steward enters.

LEO
Uh... I'm fine, Billy.

The steward turns and exits.

BARTLET
I made a deal with Abbey... 'cause of my thing.

LEO
One term?

BARTLET
[nods] My thing, by the way, is the reason Hoynes stepped up on oil.

LEO
'Cause he thinks maybe...

BARTLET
Yeah.

LEO
It was three years ago. She can't expect...

His cell phone rings.

LEO
[into phone] Yeah. Yeah. [to Bartlet] It's C.J. Stackhouse has an autistic
grandson.

BARTLET
(sighs) Let's go.

LEO
[into phone] C.J., we're coming up.

CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT
C.J. and Donna enter.

C.J.
Charlie?

CHARLIE
He's just coming over.

C.J.
Thanks. Can we wait?

CHARLIE
Yeah. Look, C.J., one of us is going to have to tell the President the
statue's broken.

C.J.
It's not broken.

CHARLIE
It is broken.

DONNA
She Crazy Glued it back together.

CHARLIE
You Crazy Glued it?

C.J.
I didn't know what it was. I needed a potpourri holder. I have the ancient
curse of Bast
on me so get off my back, Sparky.

CHARLIE
Okay, but when you tell him I'd leave out the Crazy Glue.

C.J.
And the potpourri, right?

CHARLIE
Yeah. Here we go.

CUT TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE PORTICO - CONTINUOUS

BARTLET
How does he not just tell me?

LEO
Sir...

Bartlet and Leo enter THE OVAL OFFICE.

BARTLET
How does he not come to me and say "Jed, this is my grandson and there are
lots more like
him and there are lots more to come. Can you help us out?"

LEO
Because he...

BARTLET
Damn it. He knows we would have gotten it done. Why doesn't he tell me?

LEO
Because he doesn't want to make political hay out of his grandson, which is
commendable.

BARTLET
Nah, he's a crank.

C.J.
Good evening, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Hey. Hey Donna, you need something?

C.J.
Donna's the one who started sniffing around it.

BARTLET
C.J., that phone message was for real. He's not going to stop till he drops.

C.J.
He might.

BARTLET
C.J., let me tell you something. Don't ever, ever underestimate the will of a
grandfather. We're mad men. We don't give a damn. We got here before you
and they'll
be here after. We'll make enemies, we'll break laws, we'll break bones but
you will
not mess with the grandchildren.

LEO
There was quite a bit of sugar in the cr'me de caramel.

C.J.
Yeah.

BARTLET
C.J.... If I told you to screw the print deadline what would you want to do
right now?

C.J.
I'd want to see if there's a way I could help him out.

BARTLET
Give him some dignity right? And give him a rest. The guy's going to collapse
out there.

C.J.
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Screw the print deadline. Leo?

LEO
Look...

BARTLET
We will talk about the other thing later.

LEO
I'm just asking how we're going to do this.

DONNA
Excuse me?

LEO
The Chairman's going to gavel him off if he stops talking or sits.

Donna, holds up her hand, like in school.

DONNA
Excuse me?

LEO
(amazed) What are you doing?

DONNA
I didn't know if I'm supposed to...

LEO
We usually don't raise our hands.

BARTLET
Though it's not the worst idea in the world.

DONNA
The Senator's allowed to yield for a question without yielding the floor.

LEO
What do you mean?

DONNA
He's allowed to yield for a question without yielding the floor.

C.J. and Leo turn to Bartlet.

BARTLET
I was in the House. I know nothing about Senate rules.

DONNA
Yes sir, but Josh does, and he likes to explain things, and, well, I let him.

C.J.
I'm pretty sure it's true, sir.

BARTLET
What time is it? Let's wake up a parliamentarian.

LEO
Yeah, but the problem is the only people who ask questions are Senators.

BARTLET
We're going to get one of them to walk in there. Charlie!

LEO
The Senate wants to go home. They want a vote.

CHARLIE
Yes, sir?

BARTLET
I want to call Senators. We'll start with our friends. When we're done with
those two,
we'll go on to the other 98.

C.J.
Charlie!

CHARLIE
Yes, ma'am.

C.J.
Start with the grandfathers.

CHARLIE
Yes, ma'am.

BARTLET
There's no damn holiday for us either.

LEO
We'll be in the dining room.

BARTLET
C.J., no kidding, make this happen.

C.J.
Yes, sir. (quietly) Oh and, I broke you're statue.

DONNA
I don't think he heard you.

C.J.
No.

CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT
Hoynes and his staff walking through the hall.

STAFFER
The water peaked at 3 690 feet last month because of an uncontrolled release
from Lake
Powell.

HOYNES
You mean the uncontrolled release of Lake Powell.

STAFFER
I suppose.

HOYNES
I am going home.

STAFFER
Good night, sir.

HOYNES
Good night.

TOBY
[walks up] Mr. Vice President?

HOYNES
Didn't I do it right?

TOBY
No, sir, you did it very well. I appreciate it.

HOYNES
Yeah.

TOBY
I'm sure you know I was curious about why you'd volunteer for something like
that.

HOYNES
Yeah.

TOBY
So I got a hold of some private polling you've had done.

HOYNES
Oh. Yeah?

TOBY
A significant number of people are concerned over your close ties to big oil.

HOYNES
Well, not anymore.

TOBY
Yeah, but what I was wondering was why did you put the poll in the field at
all?
Mr. Vice President, what do you know that I don't?

HOYNES
Toby, the total tonnage of what I know that you don't could stun a team of
oxen in its
tracks. Good night.

Hoynes steps into his car, and leaves Toby standing.

C.J. [V.O.]
And then came the big moment, Dad. Everyone...

CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT
The staff throughout the building are frantically calling Senators.

JOSH
Everyone was enlisted. You called everyone you had a relationship with...

SAM
...with and if you didn't get anywhere, they got a call from the President.

C.J.
Do I have your word on that, Sarah?

JOSH
We'd been at it 20 minutes and we were coming up with...

SAM
...nothing, until...

C.J.
Got it!

SAM
Senator Tom Grissom of Washington State was headed from his office...

C.J.
...to the Chamber and everybody started flooding into the Communications
Bullpen to see
what would happen, the problem being of course...

SAM
...Stackhouse would have to know as much about rules and procedures as Donna
had and not
think we were trying to screw him.

JOSH
We stared at 14 different television sets while calculating in our heads
the time it
would take Grissom to walk from his office...

C.J.
...to the floor and we were in frozen silence while we listened to the rules
of blackjack.

STACKHOUSE
...unless you are counting cards.

C.J.
And then it happened.

TOM GRISSOM
Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN
Mr. Grissom?

GRISSOM
Will the Senator yield for a question?

SAM
Come on.

CHAIRMAN
Mr. Stackhouse?

JOSH
Come on.

BARTLET
Trust me just this once, you grouchy old son of a bitch.

STACKHOUSE
Mr. Chairman, I yield to the Senator from Washington for a question.

GRISSOM
My question is in 22 parts and might take quite a while. Perhaps you'd like
to sit and
have some water while I ask it.

The COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE explodes with cheers.

C.J.
And that was it. Grissom gave him a rest and an opportunity to answer some
real questions
about autism, and when Grissom was done, McNamara took over, and after
McNamara came
Gianelli, grandfathers all. I'm going to have to finish this up now and go
into the
press room and explain what happened. There'll be no vote tonight and the
Senate will
go home...

JOSH
...for the week. And since Stackhouse, with our help, blew the print deadline
anyway,
there's really no reason...

SAM
...for Josh not to go back to the Conference Chairman and reopen the bill.

C.J.
There are so many days here where you can't imagine that anything good will
ever happen.
You're...

JOSH
You're buried under a black fog of partisanship and self promotion and...

SAM
...stupidity and a brand of politics that's just plain mean...

C.J.
Yes, Hoynes had us nervous with his admonishment of big oil and yes, the
President was
making us nervous too, but that's for tomorrow 'cause tonight I've seen a
man with no
legs stay standing Dad, and a guy with no voice keep shouting and if politics
brings out
the worst in people then maybe people bring out the best 'cause I'm looking
at the TV
right now and damned if 28 US Senators haven't just walked onto the floor
to help. I'll
catch the first plane out in the morning and if you wouldn't mind not turning
70 until
tomorrow that'd be great. In the meantime, I love you so much. Your daughter,
Claudia.

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 2.17 -- "The Stackhouse Filibuster"
Original Airdate: March 14, 2001, 9:00 P.M. EST

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