While the White House is festooned with Christmas finery, Leo (John Spencer) fears the worst when he testifies in the Congressional investigation into the President’s (Martin Sheen) possible lack of public disclosure about his illness while flashbacks reveal the background leading to Bartlet’s decision as governor to not come forward with the damaging information. In addition, the President personally investigates a series of church firebombings in the South after a two-year probe proves fruitless and threatens using troops to protect parishioners the next day on Christmas Eve.
THE WEST WING "BARTLET FOR AMERICA" WRITTEN BY: AARON SORKIN DIRECTED BY: THOMAS SCHLAMME TEASER FADE IN: INT. CONGRESS MEETING ROOM - DAY We see Leo, sitting at a table, alone. A clock is ticking. LEO Mike, come on in. MIKE CASPER I was on the other side... LEO Yeah. Margaret, could you...? MARGARET Yeah. MIKE Lot of people out there. LEO Yeah. So, listen, there were more threats? MIKE Seven churches in five Tennessee counties. LEO How many guys do you have on the ground? MIKE We've got 25 and ATF is sending in a team. LEO Has the Governor been briefed? MIKE Right now. LEO All right, listen. I got to be here; I'm stuck with this thing. Will you stay with Josh today? MIKE Yeah. MARGARET [indicating cellphone] Josh. LEO And can you do me a favor and get me a secure phone hookup so I can monitor this thing? All I've got is the cell. MIKE Good luck today. LEO Go. [to phone] Josh. JOSH New threats were made in Tennessee this morning. LEO Mike Casper was just here. He's going to be with you today. JOSH Good. LEO You'll be all right? JOSH Yeah. LEO 'Cause I got to be here all day. It's going to take all day. JOSH Yeah, keep your head there, would you? Don't call during every break and check in. Keep your head there. LEO I'll keep my head where I want. JOSH Leo? LEO Yeah. JOSH There are ways. LEO Don't start again. JOSH There are ways to get the guy out of the room. LEO Hey, I'll keep my head here. You keep your head there, hmm? JOSH I used to do this for a living, Leo. The guy gets the floor for five minutes. I can get him out of the room. LEO Don't help me. JOSH I'm going to help you, 'cause you know why? LEO 'Cause you walk around with so much guilt about everybody you love dying that you're a compulsive fixer? JOSH No, Leo, no. It's 'cause a guy is walking down the street and he falls into a hole, see. LEO Yeah. JOSH Yeah. LEO It's my day, Josh. I got to take the hit. JOSH Leo- LEO I'll see you. JORDAN They're waiting for us. LEO You want to go and get breakfast or something? JORDAN No. LEO Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out. I love tomato juice. JORDAN They're waiting for us, Leo. LEO They can wait. JORDAN No, they really can't. LEO Yeah, they really can. Seven new threats on black churches; the Governor's coming up; we might have to federalize the Tennessee National Guard; and that's just the stuff I know about that's going to happen, and here I am today. JORDAN You shouldn't be nervous. LEO I swear to God, Jordan, the last thing I am right now is nervous. JORDAN Let's go. LEO [the press closes in] Did I win a Grammy for something? JORDAN Were you nominated? LEO No. JORDAN That's ridiculous. LEO Well, those things are so political. JORDAN Leo, is there something you haven't told me? LEO There's lots of things I haven't told you, Jordan. JORDAN About today. INT. HOUSE HEARING ROOM - DAY, CONTINUOUS MARGARET Leo? JORDAN He can't take any calls right now. MARGARET It's the President. LEO Good morning, sir. BARTLET [on phone] Listen, I don't care that much about your ass but if you need to perjure yourself to protect me you're going to damn well do it. LEO Sir, this isn't a secure call, so I'm going to say to the 17 global intelligence agencies that are listening in that he was kidding just then. BARTLET Whatever it is Josh does, you're going to let him do it. LEO I don't need Josh- BARTLET Yeah, yeah. How does she look to you? LEO Who? BARTLET Her. LEO She looks good. BARTLET What's she wearing? LEO [to Jordan] What are you wearing? JORDAN What does it matter? LEO Why don't you ask the President that? JORDAN A gray Armani suit. LEO [into phone] Spandex. BARTLET I like you and her. It's like a '50s screwball comedy LEO You're like a '50s screwball- BARTLET What was that? LEO Nothing. We should do gifts and charitable donations tomorrow night. BARTLET I'm not doing anything tomorrow night. LEO What's tomorrow night? BARTLET It's Christmas Eve. LEO I forgot, and you don't work then, right? BARTLET Yeah. Actually, nobody does. LEO All right, the Governor is going to be there at noon but I'll be talking to you before then. BARTLET You got about a thousand people in this building standing with you right now. LEO I'll be back when I'm done. BARTLET Okay. JORDAN Leo. What's going on? CHARIMAN Will the first witness rise raise your right hand to God and swear the oath that's written in front of you? JORDAN Leo. LEO [to Jordan] It ain't nothing but a family thing. [to Committee] I solemnly swear that the testimony today will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. HOUSE HEARING ROOM - DAY CHAIRMAN Would you state your full name, please? LEO Leo Thomas McGarry. CHAIRMAN And would you identify counsel, please? LEO We've never met. JORDAN Jordan Kendall, Mr. Chairman. CHAIRMAN Mr. McGarry, the Committee thanks you for your appearance today. Why are we here? What are we after? Many, if not most of us, were surprised by the President's announcement that he's been diagnosed with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis for seven years and never mentioned it while asking us to vote for him for President but more surprising still, if not stunning is that his medical condition could have been kept a secret from those campaign aides closest to him. In this age when the most minute details of a candidate's life are brought into the light in a business where secrets aren't kept secret very long this Committee would like to know, quite candidly how it was pulled off. Did people lie? Were people told to lie? Are people lying now? You'll be questioned by Majority Counsel then Minority Counsel then each member will have five minutes to question alternating back and forth between the majority and the minority. Mr. Calley. CLIFF Mr. McGarry, I'm Clifford Calley. I'm the Majority Counsel. Good morning. LEO Good morning. CLIFF What is your current job title? LEO White House Chief of Staff. CLIFF And what's your previous job title? LEO General Chairman, Bartlet for America. CLIFF How long have you known the President? LEO We met for the first time about 32 years ago, but I would say our friendship began 11 years ago. CLIFF You're the person in the White House who's known him the longest? LEO No. The First Lady's known him the longest. CLIFF Fair enough. Mr. McGarry, it was you who first approached Jed Bartlet about running for President, is that right? LEO Yes. CLIFF Where and when did that happen? LEO Four years ago, last month, at the statehouse in Concord. CUT TO: INT. NEW HAMPSIRE STATE HOUSE, OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR - FLASHBACK - DAY Allen and Alan are giving a very unsure presentation about why the state's slogan should be "It's what's new." Throughout, behind Jed, Leo is pacing outside the office, unseen. ALLEN [whipping the cover off the posterboard, bearing the new design] "New Hampshire." "It's what's new!" BARTLET [attention being interrupted from his reading] Huh? ALLEN "New Hampshire. It's what's new." BARTLET Thomas Hilton started a fishing village here in 1623, Allen. ALLEN Th-That's the point, Governor. People think of us as a crusty New England relic and tourism's our second largest industry. BARTLET Yeah. ALAN The point is if we don't find a way to be fresh and new- ALLEN While obviously still retaining our charm- ALAN Yeah, we'll never be able to stem the falloff in revenue. BARTLET And a slogan's going to do that? ALAN Well, that's just the beginning. We've got an aggressive strategy. BARTLET Yeah? ALAN The Office of Travel and Tourism is going to run print ads throughout New England encouraging people to drive here and view the fall foliage. BARTLET Oh, oh, slow down, you're going too fast. ALLEN Oh, there's also our new toll-free number with up-to-the-minute reservation information. This is separate from the campaign we'll be doing for snowmobiling, which brings $367 million into the state. BARTLET $367 million in snowmobiling? ALLEN That includes the $1.1 million in registration fees and $717,000 in gas taxes. BARTLET [clearly joking] And the goggles... That includes the goggles? ALLEN [deflated and guilty] I don't know. ALAN I'm not sure. ALLEN It must, if you... BARTLET Okay. Thanks, guys. [shouting] Mrs. Landingham! Thanks. MRS. LANDINGHAM Yes, sir. BARTLET Speaking of crusty New England relics... MRS. LANDINGHAM Governor, does it frustrate you to constantly aim for humor and yet miss so dramatically? BARTLET Nah. Abbey wants to eat at Patsy's tonight. Would you let them know we're coming? MRS. LANDINGHAM Yes, sir. BARTLET What's next? MRS. LANDINGHAM That's all for the schedule but Leo McGarry is here and would like a minute. BARTLET Leo's here? MRS. LANDINGHAM Mm-hmm. BARTLET [yelling] Leo! MRS. LANDINGHAM I'm happy to get him myself, as they do in a civilized world. BARTLET Yeah, yeah. Hey. LEO Hey, Governor. [reading sign] "New Hampshire. It's what's new"? BARTLET Jenny and Mallory are okay? LEO Yeah. BARTLET What are you doing here? LEO I don't know. What do you got? You got leaves. I came to look at the leaves. BARTLET What are you doing...? LEO I came to talk to you. BARTLET Everything's okay? LEO Yeah. BARTLET Why didn't you call? LEO 'Cause you would've asked me what I wanted to talk to you about. BARTLET Where are you staying? LEO At the Marriott. BARTLET What do you want to talk to me about? LEO I've been thinking about getting back into politics. BARTLET I think that's great, man. I think it's about time. You probably mean the House, but I think you should consider the Senate seat in Illinois in two years; I can help raise money. LEO No, I wasn't thinking about the Senate. I was thinking about the White House. BARTLET Hey, Leo, I swear to God there's no one I'd rather see in the Oval Office than you but if you run there's going to be a lot of discussion about Valium and Alcohol. I mean, it's going to come out; this is the world. LEO Yeah. See, I wasn't thinking about me. BARTLET Who? LEO I've been walking around in a kind of daze for two weeks and everywhere I go...planes, trains, restaurants, meetings...I find myself scribbling something down. BARTLET What? Leo takes a napkin out of his pocket, licks it, and sticks it on the posterboard easel. It reads "Bartlet for America." CUT TO: INT. HOUSE HEARING ROOM - PRESENT - DAY RATHBURN He never mentioned his health? LEO No. RATHBURN Not during the first meeting in his office? LEO No. RATHBURN Not during the second meeting at the Marriott? LEO No. RATHBURN Well, then, I'd like to ask you this-If he had told you about his condition would you still have thought it was a good idea that he run? LEO I don't know. RATHBURN Well, think about it and try answering. LEO [covering his mic, and to Jordan] Listen, I'm going to talk a little and you nod and talk a little bit back to me. JORDAN What are you doing? LEO That's good. JORDAN I'm really asking you. LEO I think Rathburn's being a little snotty I think he's going to have to wait and I think he's going to have to wait with the camera on me. RATHBURN Mr. McGarry. LEO One second, please. [to Jordan] Listen, what are you doing for lunch? JORDAN I don't know. LEO Because I thought maybe we could have lunch or something. JORDAN Leo, you've got to answer the question. LEO [to Committee] Congressman, could you repeat the question, please? RATHBURN If Jed Bartlet had told you about his health either at the first meeting or the second meeting would you still have thought it was a good idea for him to run? LEO Yeah, I don't know. CUT TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE LOBBY - DAY DONNA Mike? MIKE Yeah? DONNA Come on back. MIKE Thanks. Listen, churches are burning down. Otherwise, I'd be hitting on you. DONNA I appreciate that. MIKE Sure. Maybe when it's a better time. JOSH [coming down the hall] Let's go. MIKE Where are we going? JOSH 17-month investigation, 34 black churches. How can there be no evidence of a conspiracy? MIKE I don't know. It's probably because we're stupid. JOSH Mike- MIKE The FBI could invent a pattern but then that would be against the law. JOSH Yeah. MIKE Okay? JOSH You met with Leo this morning? MIKE Yeah. Listen, that was big for me. I don't brief the White House Chief of Staff. JOSH All right, well, let's listen in on this meeting for a minute. MIKE Hang on. This wall is curved. JOSH Yeah. Let's go. MIKE I don't have to go in there. I can wait out here. JOSH Charlie. CHARLIE Yeah. JOSH Let's go. Josh and Mike go inside THE OVAL OFFICE. BARTLET Well, the phone calls have been coming all morning, Governor. You should know that Algiss Skyler called. GOVERNOR Skyler wants you to call up the Guard? BARTLET Skyler wants to know why the hell you haven't. GOVERNOR Because local law enforcement is doing plenty. BARTLET Was Eisenhower wrong in '57? Kennedy in '61? GOVERNOR This is a different situation. BARTLET We don't know what the situation is, do we, Josh? JOSH No, sir. Mr. President, this is Special Agent Mike Casper who's acting as the FBI's White House liaison during this situation. BARTLET Do we know what's going on, Agent Casper? MIKE No, sir. BARTLET Edward, so far the churches have been empty. There have been no fatalities. But tomorrow night's Christmas Eve. They're going to be packed. So why shouldn't I send troops in? GOVERNOR Because, due respect, Mr. President but you do it without my consent and it's a clear violation of State's rights and you would have said the same thing when you were the Governor of New Hampshire. BARTLET This doesn't happen in New Hampshire. GOVERNOR You got a pretty big black population in New Hampshire, do you? BARTLET We'll meet again this afternoon. Thank you, Governor. GOVERNOR Thank you, Mr. President. BARTLET Josh, stick around. JOSH Yes, sir. MIKE I'll be in the bullpen. BARTLET So, what have you got cooking? JOSH I'm sorry? BARTLET I said, what have you got cooking? JOSH I don't understand. BARTLET Yes, you do. I know what happened at the third debate. He told me. I know what's going to happen this afternoon. What are you going to do? Are you going to try and get Gibson out of the room when it's his turn to question? JOSH I don't think you and I should discuss it, sir. CONGRESSWOMAN [on TV] The red light is on, so I will yield the floor... BARTLET Where are we? CHARLIE Dearborn will be next. CHAIRMAN ...Dearborn, you have five minutes. DEARBORN Mr. McGarry, I would like to use my time to talk about Edith Wilson. BARTLET Abbey's about to get spanked. Guys, the things we do to women. My wife's a world-class scientist. DEARBORN Do you know who Edith Wilson was? LEO Edith Wilson was Edith Galt before she became the second wife of Woodrow Wilson. DEARBORN And with the help of her doctors she ran this country for months while her husband was incapacitated by a stroke. LEO Yes. DEARBORN Do you believe that the President having a stroke falls within the scope of the 25th Amendment? JORDAN Excuse me, but with the Wilsons being dead for 80 years I don't believe it falls within the scope of this hearing. DEARBORN Abbey Bartlet knew of her husband's condition. LEO Yes. DEARBORN And she kept it to herself. LEO Well, I don't know who she kept it to, Congressman. DEARBORN She didn't tell you. LEO No. DEARBORN Or anyone else in the high command of the Bartlet campaign? You're smiling. LEO Yes, sir. DEARBORN Why? LEO Because at this point there wasn't much of a high command. All we'd done is show a strong third in Iowa. We were working out of storefront. CUT TO: INT. STOREFRONT - FLASHBACK - DAY Toby and C.J. are throwing a basketball back and forth to each other. TOBY You got to pop the ball. You got to pop it. C.J. I'm popping it. TOBY No, you're not. SAM So my feeling- TOBY Yeah? SAM Is that we're fine playing this song in South Carolina. C.J. I agree. TOBY Pop it. SAM As long as all he's doing is running against Wiley it's fine that he doesn't seem like a real candidate. TOBY It's when Wiley drops out and he's running against Hoynes. SAM Right. They'll cover us all the way to South Dakota. Suddenly, we don't want to be quaint anymore. People want to know "Is this guy for real?" SAM We got to show them we're an honest-to-God alternative. We got to show them we're big time. Sam claps and holds out his hands for C.J. to throw him the ball. C.J. turns towards Sam and throws the ball past him and through the window behind him. C.J. gawks at the hole in the window. C.J. Can we get an intern over here? SAM What about this. A series of major, national policy addresses. We work with Josh; we pick three issues. TOBY Yeah, and we should start projecting the image that he thinks he's for real. C.J. We'll release his tax returns, put all his stocks in a blind trust. SAM You know what else? TOBY Yeah. SAM He should take a physical. C.J. Absolutely. He's got ten years on Hoynes. We should release a medical report. TOBY I'll take it to Leo. SAM Okay, guys, let's go. Let's be working. Somebody want to get the ball? FADE TO: EXT. STREET OUTSIDE THE CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT A large flag outside the headquarters flaps in the breeze. It's now late evening. A light snow is falling. Bartlet and Abbey walk side by side down the front steps of the building and along the street. A police car is parked a few blocks away, waiting for them, lights flashing. ABBEY I like some of these new people. I'm gonna miss them. BARTLET Yeah. ABBEY [chuckles softly] Josh Lyman's special. Sam Seaborn's very funny. BARTLET Which one's he? ABBEY The young one. BARTLET They're all young. ABBEY Mmm... BARTLET Listen, they want me to do some things before South Dakota. ABBEY [long pause] South Carolina's next. BARTLET Yeah, we're lookin' past that. ABBEY What do they want you to do? They reach the car. A police officer opens the door to the back seat. Abbey turns to look at her husband. BARTLET Full financial disclosure... ABBEY I have no problem with that... BARTLET They want me to take a physical. She stares at him, a tiny glint of concern in her eyes. BARTLET What's a physical right now gonna show? ABBEY [trying to act casual] It'll, uh... Nothing... Um... You're in remission. BARTLET [shakes his head] I'm not lying to anybody, Abbey. I'm taking a physical - a physical which I'm under no legal obligation to take. I'm doing it voluntarily. ABBEY [nods, still looks concerned] Yeah. BARTLET Now is when people are listening. I'll make my speeches, get whooped on Super Tuesday, and we'll all go home. Abbey smiles at him and he leans forward to kiss her. She gets in the car. He closes the door for her. The officer starts the engine and drives away. Bartlet stands there, hands in his coat pockets, watching her go. DEARBORN [VO] We're headed for South Carolina. We're planning for South Dakota. And Mrs. Bartlet - excuse me, Dr. Bartlet - has yet to mention to anyone that her husband has multiple sclerosis. FADE TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE, OUTER OVAL OFFICE - PRESENT Bartlet is watching the hearing on the TV near Charlie's desk. BARTLET [softly, with regret] The things we do to women. BRUNO [on TV] The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia, Congressman Buchanan. Bartlet puts his reading glasses in his jacket pocket and goes outside through the French doors. BUCHANAN [on TV] Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I'd like to skip any statement and move right into my questioning. BRUNO [on TV] The chair thanks the Gentleman for his consideration. BUCHANAN [on TV] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. FADE OUT. END ACT ONE * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. HALLWAYS OF THE COMMUNICATIONS BULLPEN - DAY Present day. Christmas lights are hanging throughout the Bullpen. Several TVs, perched on top of the filing cabinets, are tuned to the hearings, the sounds of which fill the hallway. Aides are bustling around Sam, who's getting some coffee. Josh walks up to him. JOSH Listen... SAM They're coming back from the break. JOSH [sighs] Yeah. They walk down the hall. Josh begins to say something but he stops when Sam keeps talking. SAM You know what I was thinking about? I was thinking about when we threw that basketball through the window of the first campaign headquarters in Manchester. JOSH [distracted] I wasn't there. I heard about it. SAM You weren't throwing the ball around with us? JOSH It was you, Toby, and C.J. SAM [chuckles, smiles to himself] What that must've looked like from the point of view of someone walking down the sidewalk... JOSH I need somebody in the steel lobby to speak to Darren Gibson right away - sometime toward the end of this hour. SAM [suddenly all business] Jim Jericho. They walk in SAM'S OFFICE. JOSH Jim Jericho's who I had. He had to leave town. His wife is sick. Who else do we have? One of our people? Sam is standing behind his desk, facing Josh. SAM Nick Grindell. Josh shakes his head, sighs, and looks at the floor. SAM Well, I'll get to somebody. What's this about? JOSH [quickly glances up at Sam] Nothing. [turns to leave, rubbing his forehead] SAM It's not about nothin'. You want Gibson out of the room. JOSH [standing in the doorway, turns to look at Sam] I'd like 'em all out of the room. [starts walking away again] SAM Josh. [Josh turns to look at him. Pause] What's Gibson got? JOSH [stares at Sam for several long moments] You'll get a guy for me? SAM [stares, nods] Yeah. Josh turns and walks away. Sam sets his coffee down and sits at his desk. He opens a drawer, pulls out a thick address book, and flips through the pages which contain an uncharacteristic amount of messy scribbling. The TV next to his desk is tuned to the hearings. The Chairman of the Committee, CONGRESSMAN JOSEPH "PHIL" Bruno, gavels the committee back into session. BRUNO [on TV] I would like our ten-minute breaks to be closer to fifteen minutes than they are to a half hour... CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY BRUNO [cont.] ...and, with that, the Chair recognizes the Gentleman from Pennsylvania. CONGRESSMAN ERICKSON Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'd like to complement you on your leadership of this committee. Bruno nods and silently mouths "Thank you" to Erickson. Erickson's hands are clasped in front of him, his tone a bit smug. ERICKSON Now, Mr. McGarry. You're familiar, are you not, with Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the U.S. Constitution? Leo and Jordan stare blankly at Erickson. Leo pauses, then places his hand over his microphone and slowly turns toward Jordan. Jordan turns her microphone away from herself and leans toward Leo. They keep their voices low, whispering. LEO We're gonna have to do this again. JORDAN He's being snotty? LEO Yeah. Seated among the committee members, Cliff sighs and tries not to look annoyed. LEO So... I was thinking maybe... you know... dinner... JORDAN [annoyed] Listen to me. I don't like this. You pay me six hundred and fifty dollars an hour. You tell me everything. LEO [hint of a devilish smile] Well, what do I have to pay to only tell you some things? JORDAN I don't know. But you have to pay it to another lawyer. LEO So what are you saying about dinner? JORDAN I'm not kidding around. Leo looks at her for a few more moments, then slowly turns back toward the committee. He removes his hand from the microphone and leans toward it to speak. LEO Yes, I am. ERICKSON It says if something happens to the President then the Vice-President will assume his duties. LEO No, it says the Vice President assumes his duties if the President dies. Short of that, impeachment, or the 25th Amendment being invoked, the Vice President stays the Vice President. ERICKSON Who picked John Hoynes to be the running mate on the ticket? LEO The President did. ERICKSON Did he have any help? LEO Yes. ERICKSON Do you think the people who weighed in on the decision might have benefited from knowing about the President's health condition? LEO I don't see how. No. ERICKSON Well, with the possibility that the President might die in office... LEO Hold it. ERICKSON ...a greater possibility with this President... LEO [emphatically] No, sir. That isn't true. MS isn't fatal. And while on national television, it is criminal to imply otherwise in an effort to score some cheap points. [pause] You owe an apology to fathers of children who are suffering from this disease. ERICKSON Mr. McGarry, I... LEO Finally, the President chose his running mate using the only yardstick that means anything: ability to assume the duties of the Presidency. And with John Hoynes, we got our man. And the Vice President was immediately told of the President's condition. FADE TO: INT. PRESIDENTIAL HOTEL SUITE AT THE CONVENTION - FLASHBACK The suite is large, with several separate areas, including a seating area with sofas. In the entryway, a TV is broadcasting MSNBC news coverage from the convention floor. The sound of cheers and applause mingles with the news anchor's voice. NEWS ANCHOR [on TV] I can tell you that when Jed Bartlet takes this stage 72 hours from now, these delegates are gonna go absolutely crazy. Various aides - including Toby, Josh, Sam, and C.J. - are milling around by the sofas along with Bartlet and Leo. Abbey is getting coffee from a table near the TV. She smiles at an aide and walks across the room. BARTLET Toby? TOBY [walks toward Bartlet] Yeah. BARTLET Josh? JOSH Yeah. BARTLET Sam? SAM [smiles] Yeah. I think so. BARTLET C.J.? C.J. Yeah. BARTLET [turns to look at Leo] All right, let's do it. LEO All right. Leo walks toward the door. Abbey catches her husband's eye as she moves to stand where Leo was standing moments before. Bartlet is holding a mug of coffee, looking rather calm. In contrast, Abbey appears a little tense - she's wringing her hands and looks somewhat worried - although she's trying not to show it. Leo opens the door. John Hoynes is standing in the hallway talking with several aides. LEO John? Hoynes looks over at Leo, then walks into the suite and shakes Leo's hand. HOYNES Leo. Leo quietly closes the door and watches as Hoynes greets Abbey, who has banished the tension from her face. They embrace formally. He kisses her on the cheek. HOYNES Hello, Abbey. ABBEY Hello, John. BARTLET [smiles] Senator. Bartlet and Hoynes shake hands. HOYNES Good evening. BARTLET I'd like you to be the Vice-President. Hoynes' expression goes from amiable smile to shock. He and Bartlet stare at each other silently for a few moments. BARTLET Why don't you sit with Abbey and me for a few minutes. [turns to aides] Can I have the room, please? As the staff quickly take their leave, Bartlet walks over to a table on the other side of the suite. He pours himself another cup of coffee. BARTLET [to Hoynes] You want anything? Coffee or anything? Hoynes, his hands in his pockets, walks slowly toward Bartlet. HOYNES Ah... no. On yet another TV, this one in a corner, crowds on the convention floor can be heard chanting "Bartlet! Bartlet!" Hoynes glances over at the TV. Abbey finally joins them but stands a bit off to one side. Again, she looks a bit nervous and distracted as she fidgets with her wedding ring and watches the two men talk. BARTLET You ran a good campaign. [pause] You're a young man. You'll be back. HOYNES [nods] Thank you. Bartlet finishes getting his coffee and walks back over to the sofas. Hoynes and Abbey join him as the last of the aides leaves and the door to the hall finally closes. Bartlet and Hoynes sit down across from each other. Abbey remains standing off to one side. BARTLET There's something you need to know. It's why I asked everyone to leave the room. [short pause] A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a relapsing remitting course of MS. HOYNES [confused] I'm sorry? BARTLET Multiple sclerosis. Hoynes, stunned, glances over at Abbey with a vaguely accusatory expression on his face. Bartlet looks over at her, too. She meets Hoynes' gaze. She reveals very little, says nothing, but her expression is grave. HOYNES [to Bartlet] Did you just tell me that you have MS? BARTLET Yeah. HOYNES Which you never mentioned during the campaign. Bartlet shakes his head. Hoynes raises an eyebrow and sighs heavily. BARTLET I told you because it's something you're gonna need to know. But also because I wanted to show that I trust you. HOYNES [slight edge to his voice] Oh, you do? BARTLET [unfazed] Yeah. HOYNES [leans forward] That's supposed to be me accepting the nomination Thursday night. But I suppose your trusting me is consolation prize enough. BARTLET [doesn't flinch, pauses] Well, what do you say? Hoynes shrugs his shoulders, sighs, and stands up. HOYNES I'd like to think about it... for a few... BARTLET [stands] I'd like your answer now, John. They stare at each other for several long moments, the tension rising. HOYNES You'll have it when I give it, Jed. Hoynes turns and leaves, almost slamming the door on his way out. Bartlet watches him go. Abbey stares at her husband. She doesn't speak; she barely moves. Her expression is a mixture of concern and disbelief. Bartlet stands very still, not meeting her gaze, his hands in his pockets. In contrast to their mutual silence, a TV mounted in the wall behind Bartlet is broadcasting boisterous images from the convention floor. Finally, Bartlet reluctantly meets his wife's gaze - only for a moment - and then he walks toward the door, looking frustrated and perhaps a little upset, since his voice breaks slightly when he speaks. BARTLET I'm gonna stretch my legs. Slowly, Abbey turns to watch him leave. She fidgets with her wedding ring and lets the shock and worry wash over her face. FADE OUT. END ACT TWO * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY JOSH If you could please give him that message as soon as he gets in or, you know, when he returns the page. Cindy, if I could tell you what it's regarding I'd have told you. Sorry. Thank you. DONNA They want you. JOSH Where have you been? DONNA You sent me to the Hill. JOSH Has Sam called? DONNA No. JOSH He didn't maybe drop off a piece of paper with a name on it? DONNA No. They want you in the Mural Room. JOSH Okay. Mike comes up the HALLWAY. MIKE Josh? JOSH Where have you been? MIKE We got it. JOSH President's going to make a decision right now. We got to... What? MIKE We got it. JOSH What do you mean? MIKE Gilbert Murdock, a 17-year-old high school dropout was pulled over outside Chattanooga for a failing left brake light. When the officers approached his car he sped off and led them in high pursuit. JOSH Why? MIKE 'Cause he thought he was being pulled over for planning to make a Molotov cocktail. JOSH Why? MIKE 'Cause he was planning to make a Molotov cocktail. JOSH Did he name friends? MIKE He was a tough nut to crack. Took almost 20 minutes. JOSH We got ourselves a conspiracy. MIKE Yeah. JOSH Let's go. MIKE Where? JOSH To brief the President. MIKE No. The Director will brief the President. JOSH Mike, that's your task force out there. The only reason you're not out there with them is 'cause – I don't know – 'cause you're a woman or something. MIKE I am temporarily desk-assigned for health reasons – a decision I appealed vigorously. JOSH Let's go. MIKE We don't take curtain calls. JOSH You'll take a handshake. Let's go. They go inside THE MURAL ROOM. SKYLER Of course there's a legal basis. Religious freedom is a civil right. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 raises these threats to a federal level. GOVERNOR Credible threats, and no one in this room's trying to take away your civil rights. SKYLER A sin of omission by any other name. JOSH Mr. President? BARTLET Yeah? JOSH Your decision just got a lot easier. BARTLET Tell me. MIKE Sir, the FBI's ready to call this a credible threat. We have one of the conspirators in custody. BARTLET Conspirators? MIKE Yes, sir. BARTLET All right. Here come the Tennessee Volunteers. Reverend, have the pastors encourage the women to bake those guys something nice. They're all spending Christmas Eve where they don't want to be. Ed, you get to be a hero to the blacks in your state. Anybody in your state doesn't like it the FBI is calling the shots. What could you do? Anything else? SKYLER Thank you, Mr. President. GOVERNOR Thank you, sir. BARTLET I'm sorry. I've forgotten your name. MIKE Michael Casper. BARTLET How'd you get him? MIKE He was pulled over for a bad brake light and he thought it was something else. BARTLET A two-year investigation gets its first crack from a broken taillight. MIKE In 13 years with the Bureau I've discovered that there's no amount of money, manpower or knowledge than can equal the person you're looking for being stupid. BARTLET God, well, some of the stupidest criminals in the world are working right here in America. I've always been very proud of that. MIKE Yes, sir. BARTLET Thank you, Agent Casper. MIKE Thank you, Mr. President. BARTLET So, what's going on? JOSH I got to call him and tell him, you know- BARTLET It's not going to happen? JOSH I don't think so. BARTLET It was a long shot, anyway. Look, I wanted to see him spared this but Leo's made out of leather. His face has a map of the world on it. Leo comes back. JOSH Okay. BARTLET All right. Josh leaves. BARTLET Damn it. REP. [on TV] At no point did he lie? LEO No. REP And at no point did you lie? LEO No. REP At no point did he encourage others to lie? LEO No. REP And at no point has he been unable to discharge his duties? LEO No. REP Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. CHAIRMAN The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan Mr. Gibson, for five minutes. GIBSON Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Two years ago, January the President collapsed in the Oval Office. Is that correct? LEO I'm not sure what the medical term would be. GIBSON He involuntarily fell to the ground. LEO Yes. GIBSON Will Minority Counsel stipulate that we can call that collapsing? Let the record reflect that Minority Counsel has nodded his head up and down so as to indicate an affirmative response. CHAIRMAN So ordered. GIBSON Is this the only time since the President took the Oath of Office that he's collapsed? LEO So far as I know. GIBSON Is this the only time since the beginning of the campaign that he's collapsed? LEO [long pause] No, it's not. GIBSON I'd like to take you back to 30 October in St. Louis, Missouri. Jed Bartlet is the Democratic nominee for President and is about to participate in the third and final debate- JORDAN Mr. Chairman, I would like to request a short recess. CHAIRMAN We just got back from a recess. JORDAN Sir, we have taken breaks at the request of nearly every member of this Committee while the witness has asked for a total of none. One time, Mr. Chairman. CHAIRMAN We'll take a five-minute break. Please, let's keep it to ten minutes. JORDAN Come with me. GIBSON Yeah, it will all come out. CLIFF Excuse me. What's going on? CHAIRMAN I was just asking the same thing. CLIFF I don't know anything about testimony from October 30. GIBSON It's okay, I got it. CLIFF No, you don't got it. CHAIRMAN We better go someplace and talk. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY The TV next to the desk shows people milling around and talking in the hearing room. Josh picks up the phone. He sighs as he waits for Leo to answer his cell phone. LEO [VO] Yeah. JOSH Leo... I couldn't make it happen. CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HALLWAY OUTSIDE WAITING ROOM - DAY Leo is walking down to hall toward the waiting room. LEO Don't worry about it. He hangs up his cell phone. A guard opens the door for him. Jordan is waiting. She closes the door. She's pretty upset but he just stares are her blankly. JORDAN [angry] You have to tell me what's going on now or I'm walking out the door. LEO [quietly] Look- JORDAN [sharply] Tell me now. Leo turns and walks slowly along one side of the table. LEO On the day of the final debate, I was meeting with two potential donors... FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Leo is meeting with three men, two of whom are CEOs. CEO #1 is balding slightly; CEO #2 has a moustache. They're all chuckling. Before they sit down, Leo shakes each of their hands, a big smile plastered on his face. LEO [VO] It was nine days 'til the election. We were too close to call and I didn't wanna be the guy who ran outta money first. CEO 1 You look nervous, Leo. [glances at CEO #2] Don't worry about it. I brought my wallet. CEO 2 chuckles. LEO Anybody wanna eat? I got steak sandwiches on the way. CEO 2 Yeah and uh, let's have some drinks. LEO [pats CEO 2 on shoulder] Sure. CUT TO INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT Leo sits in a chair at one end of the table. LEO The President was at the debate site, walking the stage. [pauses, smiles wistfully] A podium is a holy place for him... CUT TO: INT. DEBATE SITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Bartlet marches into the theater, followed closely by C.J., Sam, Toby, and Josh. They're all dressed casually. Bartlet is all business, focused. He assesses the space with his eyes as he walks toward the stage. C.J. smiles and shakes hands with a woman - probably one of the debate organizers. They all follow Bartlet up to the stage, where there are two podiums and a table for the moderators. Opposite the stage, there are hundreds of seats for the audience. Lots of aides are bustling about, making preparations. LEO [VO] He makes it his own like it's an extension of his body. You ever see a pitcher work the mound so the dirt does exactly what his feet want it to do? That's the President. He sees it as a genuine opportunity to change minds - also his best way of contributing to the team. He likes teams... CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT LEO [smiles] ...I love him so much... Jordan finally sits down at the table, facing Leo. JORDAN What was going on in your room? LEO [mumbling softly to himself] ...I like the little things... JORDAN I didn't hear you. LEO [jolted out of his inner thoughts, speaking louder] I said, "I like the little things." [smiles] The way a glass feels in your hand - a good glass, thick, with a heavy base. I love the sound an ice cube makes when you drop it from just the right height. The sound of an ice cube being dropped into a glass. FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Leo is staring, transfixed, as the CEOs pour themselves drinks. They're all sitting around a coffee table. LEO [VO] Too high and it'll chip when you drop it. Chip the ice and it'll melt too fast in the scotch. CEO #2 You ever try this, Leo? It's Johnny Walker Blue. Bartenders are selling it for thirty bucks a shot. He uncorks the bottle and slowly pours the scotch into a glass on the table in front of him. LEO [VO] Good scotch sits in a charcoal barrel for 12 years. Very good scotch gets smoked for 29 years. FADE TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT LEO [nostalgic] Johnny Walker Blue...is 60-year-old scotch. JORDAN [impatiently] I don't care. What happened in the room, Leo? LEO I'm trying to tell you what happened. FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Cigar smoke fills the air. Leo and the donors are chuckling jovially, but Leo's face reveals the strain he's feeling as he watches the other men drink. His grin has taken on a dark quality. A lull in the laughter and conversation leaves Leo staring at the glass of scotch in CEO 1's hand. He looks around awkwardly for a moment, then tries to banish temptation by changing the subject. LEO Should we get to it? The THIRD MAN is visible, sitting in the background off to one side, but his identity is hidden amidst the ample cigar smoke. CEO 1 [holding up his glass] You don't wanna find out what a thirty dollar sip of scotch tastes like? Leo stares at the glass. He's visibly struggling to control himself, so he responds with a smile and tries to sound relaxed and nonchalant. LEO [nods] Naw... I gotta... stay sharp for tonight. CEO 1 sets his drink down and stands up. CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT JORDAN Why don't you just say, "I'm an alcoholic?" LEO They're two CEOs. I'm tryin' to get 'em to give me half-a-million dollars a piece right now. It's not really the best time to mention it. [pauses] The President's still at the debate site. CUT TO: INT. DEBATE SITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Josh and Sam are huddled by one podium, talking. C.J. and Toby are conferring by the other podium. Dozens of aides are still bustling around in the background. Bartlet is standing by the moderators' table with the woman that C.J. greeted on the way into the theater. WOMAN How do you feel about the temperature, sir? BARTLET It's good. WOMAN It's not too cold? BARTLET [glancing around] It won't be later. This is a 550 seat theater and they'll be seated a half-hour before we start, so the temperature'll be up four to six degrees. CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT JORDAN [loudly, an edge to her voice] The hotel room, Leo. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK The four men are still seated around the coffee table - the two CEOs across from Leo, the third man still off to one side, sipping his drink. Dim light is filtering in through the windows and French doors. The bottle and glasses are on the table. Leo is hunched over in his seat, fidgeting. CEO 2 We already gave to the RNC but we're worried we may have backed the wrong horse. LEO You wanna hedge your bet. CEO 1 [nods] That's why we're here. LEO [nods, tense] Good... Now gimme a sip of that. CEO 2 smiles and hands Leo his glass. The ice cubes rattle against the glass as Leo holds it and takes a quick sip. He tries to act like it's no big deal, but his expression indicates otherwise. LEO That's what I remember. CEO 1 chuckles. FADE TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT JORDAN You had a drink. LEO I'm an alcoholic. I don't have one drink. [pauses] I don't understand people who have one drink. I don't understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don't understand people who say they've had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? [pauses, sighs] My brain works differently. JORDAN Who was the third person in the room? LEO Well, now we've arrived at our problem. FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Leo is drinking scotch heartily and smoking as they talk. LEO [to CEOs] Count on it. THIRD MAN Whoa, you want to be careful there. Leo glances over at him as he stands up. THIRD MAN You're not the big money party. We are. Leo chuckles silently and takes another sip of scotch. CEO 1 [to Leo] Did I mention that he's thinking about running for Congress? The third man sits down on the sofa next to Leo. It's Gibson. He smiles as Leo glances over at him again. GIBSON I'm thinking about it. CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT JORDAN You were drunk in front of Gibson? LEO I don't get drunk in front of people. I get drunk alone. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK The CEOs and Gibson have left. Leo opens the wall cupboard containing the mini-bar. He pulls out several miniature bottles of booze and checks his watch. He's stonefaced, almost like he's on auto-pilot. LEO [VO] They were going over something at the debate site... JORDAN [VO] [impatiently] I don't want to hear about the debate site. LEO [VO] The debate site is what happened. The debate site is how he gets to bring this up here. CUT TO: INT. DEBATE SITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK On one side of the stage, Sam and Josh walk over to where C.J. and Toby have been talking. Bartlet is standing by himself on the other side of the stage. The theater is still buzzing with aides making preparations. SAM [to C.J.] Where's Leo? JOSH [to C.J. and Toby] I'd still like to go over the Social Security answer. We gotta get it down to 90 seconds. C.J. It's down to 90 seconds. Bartlet wanders past a TV monitor on a cart. He's wearing a sweater over a dress shirt. He puts his glasses in his shirt pocket. He looks slightly distracted, perhaps a bit unsteady. He's looking down at the floor and holding onto his coat. JOSH It's not - and they're gonna cut him off. The foursome slowly walk across the stage toward Bartlet, who's standing next to the TV monitor. SAM I put a stopwatch on him. When he just speeds up... JOSH When he speeds up, he speeds up. When he doesn't... It's 90 seconds. We need to cut some more. Bartlet crosses his arms over his chest and hunches over slightly. TOBY [to Josh] Which words? JOSH Governor, what do you think? Governor? Bartlet appears increasingly unsteady on his feet, a bit dazed, maybe short of breath. But it's subtle enough that his aides don't seem to notice. JOSH Sir, we were just saying on the Social Security answer... BARTLET [softly] No. JOSH ...it's a tight ninety seconds, and... BARTLET [looking at floor, swaying] No, no. Not now. JOSH [scoffs, looks around at the others] Well, we gotta do it now, sir. Bartlet stares blankly, straight ahead, then suddenly reaches out his right arm to balance himself, leaning on the TV for support. TOBY Something's wrong. C.J. Governor? BARTLET [gasping softly, trying to keep his balance] Yeah. JOSH Governor? [pause] Sir? BARTLET G'abbey... SAM You wanna sit down? C.J. Let me get some water. [turns around to grab a bottle of water] BARTLET G'abbey... TOBY He's saying, "Get Abbey." JOSH [to an aide] Get Abbey! Bartlet loses his balance and pitches sideways toward Sam, who catches him, with assistance from Toby and Josh. JOSH Whoa... Sam and Toby hold Bartlet up. A security agent rushes over to help. TOBY [looks up at C.J.] C.J. C.J. stares at Toby. She looks shocked, a bit unsure about what to do. JORDAN [VO] He had an attack? LEO [VO] I mean, the doctor said it was an inner ear infection. Toby and Sam help Bartlet regain his balance. They help him walk backstage, along with the agent. Josh walks behind them, stops, and takes out his cell phone. He looks up at C.J., concern all over his face. LEO [VO] But all Josh knew when he called me was that he'd collapsed. I was supposed to be down there already. I was supposed to be down there an hour ago. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK Leo is sitting on the sofa, pouring himself another drink. The coffee table is covered with empty bottles and glasses. The phone by the bed rings and rings. His breathing is labored and he's unsteady on his feet as he struggles to stand up and make his way over to the bed. He takes a gulp of scotch, presses the speakerphone button, and sits down on the bed. Then he leans back on the pillows and closes his eyes, the glass still in his hand. LEO [loud] Yeah. JOSH [on phone] Leo, the Governor's sick. The buzzer to Leo's suite sounds. He sits up slowly, awkwardly, as he registers what Josh is saying and that the buzzer is sounding. LEO Okay. JOSH [on phone] He collapsed. You gotta get down here. The buzzer sounds again. Leo doesn't respond quickly to Josh; he tries not to panic, tries to get his bearing. JOSH [on phone] Leo. LEO Okay. Leo sits up, lets go of his glass. Knocking on the door. GIBSON [at the door] It's Gibson. LEO [loud] Okay! Suddenly, Leo processes the implications of Gibson being at his door. He rubs his forehead and sighs, exasperated and overwhelmed. He's breathing heavily again as he shakily stands up. LEO Okay... Okay... He walks to the door, smoothes his hair, and tries to straighten his rumpled suit. Then he opens the door. LEO Hey. Gibson walks right in. Leo stands by the open door, shifting uneasily. GIBSON I forgot my briefcase. Gibson grabs his briefcase from the floor by the sofa. In the process, he notices all the bottles and glasses on the coffee table. He turns to look at Leo, questioning. GIBSON You havin' a party? LEO [barely able to meet Gibson's gaze] I uh... I-I gotta get to the uh debate site. The Governor collapsed. Gibson nods slightly, then leaves and closes the door behind him. Before Gibson is even out the door, Leo looks confused, then pained, then horrified and filled with regret as he realizes what he's done. He sighs and tries to catch his breath. FADE TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT Leo and Jordan are still sitting at the table, facing each other. JORDAN [VO] I don't understand how you could have a drink. I don't understand how, after everything you worked for, how on that day of all days you could be so stupid. LEO That's because you think it has something to do with smart and stupid. Do you have any idea how many alcoholics are in Mensa? You think it's a lack of willpower? That's like thinking somebody with anorexia nervosa has an overdeveloped sense of vanity. My father was an alcoholic. [leans forward] His father was an alcoholic. So, in my case... JORDAN [nods] Ain't nothin' but a family thing. LEO That's right. JORDAN Who knows? LEO Josh Lyman and the President. JORDAN Why nobody else? LEO Because. JORDAN That's a little boy's answer. LEO [pauses] I went to rehab. My friends embraced me when I got out. You relapse, it's not like that. "Get away from me" - that's what it's like. There's a knock on the door and it opens. A security guard appears. Jordan turns to look at him. GUARD We're back in a minute. JORDAN Thank you. The guard closes the door. Jordan turns back toward Leo. JORDAN Just out of curiosity... Why have you been asking me to have a meal with you every five minutes? LEO I like you. I've been tryin' to get it in under the wire. Jordan takes a moment to take this in. She seems a bit surprised. JORDAN You'll answer the questions - simply and directly. I don't want to hear about Mensa. That'll be my job. LEO Okay. Leo stands up, walks toward the door. Jordan doesn't move, a hint of a smile on her face. Leo opens the door as Jordan stands up and walks toward him. JORDAN Yes, by the way. LEO Yes? What? JORDAN Yes, I'd like to have dinner with you tonight. LEO [surprised] Okay. Jordan walks out ahead of him and he follows her. CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY People are milling around, waiting for the hearing to reconvene. There's a small room off the hallway. A guard is standing beside the glass door. Inside the room, Bruno, Cliff, and Gibson are standing face to face arguing. CLIFF That's where you're going with this? GIBSON Yeah. CLIFF Just to embarrass the guy? GIBSON Just? CLIFF Leo McGarry's sobriety isn't the subject of these hearings. These hearings are to investigate... CUT TO: INT. A SMALL ROOM - CONTINUOUS CLIFF ...if any rules - ethical or otherwise - were broken by Jed Bartlet while he was running for President. GIBSON That's nice, but I live in the actual world where the object of these hearings is to win. CLIFF [shakes his head] No... it's not. Bruno listens closely, stonefaced. GIBSON It's the object of the Majority. CLIFF Not while I'm the Majority Counsel, it's not. This is bush league. This is why good people hate us. This right here. This thing. [Bruno turns his back on them and leans on a table.] This isn't what these hearings are about. [Gibson glances over at Bruno, peeved.] He cannot possibly have been properly prepared by counsel for these questions, nor should he ever have to answer them publicly. Bruno turns back around, rubbing his chin, looking concerned. CLIFF [jabbing his finger at Gibson] And if you proceed with this line of questioning, I will resign this committee and wait in the tall grass for you, Congressman, because you are killing the party. Cliff glares at Gibson, who turns toward Bruno. GIBSON Who the hell is this? Bruno meets his gaze. CLIFF [to Bruno] You don't have to make up your mind right now, Mr. Chairman... GIBSON Phil... CLIFF You don't have to make up your mind right now. Declare a recess 'til after the holidays. Buy yourself two weeks. GIBSON [to Cliff] And give him two weeks to circle the wagons? Cliff maintains eye contact with Bruno, although he'd clearly love to respond to Gibson. GIBSON [to Bruno] How do you think the Speaker's gonna feel about this? To say nothing of the RNC? BRUNO [sighs] I need a minute. Gibson quickly leaves, followed by Cliff, who practically slams the door on his way out. He walks through the crowd of people in the hallway, back toward the hearing room. Leo is in the hallway, shaking someone's hand, and notices Cliff walk by. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY A TV in the hallway is showing coverage of the hearing. Phones are ringing and staff members are bustling about. Sam walks through a swinging door and heads toward Josh's office. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Josh is leaning against the back of a chair, watching the hearing on his TV, and rubbing his forehead. Sam appears in the doorway. SAM I tried everybody. JOSH [looks up] It's all right. SAM I tried everybody. It was just a tough fit. And since I couldn't tell 'em what it was about... JOSH [points at the TV] They're back. Sam sighs heavily. They both focus their attention on the TV. CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY Bruno gavels the hearing back into session. BRUNO Let's come to order. Jordan and Leo are back in their seats. Jordan looks a little worried. BRUNO Mr. Gibson, you can proceed with your questioning. Cliff sighs with exasperation. Leo stares at Gibson. GIBSON Mr. McGarry, 30 October in St. Louis, Missouri, the date Jed Bartlet was... BRUNO [holds up a hand in Gibson's direction] No, I'm sorry. [pause] Mr. McGarry, it's been a long day and, unless Counsel has an objection, I'm gonna resume this after the holidays. Jordan and Leo are stunned. LEO What? Cliff breathes a sigh of relief. Some members of the committee look pleasantly surprised, others not so much. Gibson shoots a warning glare at Bruno. GIBSON Mr. Chairman... BRUNO Mr. Calley. CLIFF Mr. McGarry, that concludes our questioning for today... CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY CLIFF [on TV] We'll pick it up here when the Chairman gavels these hearings back to order. Josh sighs with relief. CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY Leo is still confused and not sure if this is real. LEO I'm sorry...? BRUNO You're done for the day, sir. The House Reform and Government Oversight Committee stands in recess until January the 5th, and the Chair wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. The hum of conversation fills the room as people begin to stand up. Several people in the audience - journalists, presumably - leap out of their seats to go outside. Jordan is pleased, but very surprised. Leo still can't believe it. They steal short glances at each other. Jordan chuckles softly to herself. LEO What the hell...? JORDAN [shakes her head] I don't know. [They both stand up.] We have two weeks. A woman who's been sitting behind Jordan hands her a coat. Leo leans against his chair. LEO I really had to tell you the damn story? JORDAN Shut up. I'm going to dinner with you. She starts to leave, passing Margaret, who's standing behind Leo. LEO [softly] Yeah. [pauses, turns to look at her] Well, listen. JORDAN What? LEO You wanna do it tomorrow night instead? JORDAN What's tomorrow night? LEO It's Christmas Eve. JORDAN [pauses, smiles, nods] Okay. LEO [smiles] Okay. Jordan walks off into the crowd. Leo gathers his things from the table and glances up at the committee dais. Cliff is standing behind his chair, also gathering his things. They meet each other's gaze for several long moments. Cliff looks away first, then quickly leaves. Leo seems to realize what - or who - may have stopped the hearing. Then he turns around toward Margaret, who's been chatting amiably with someone. Slowly, they walk out of the hearing room together. FADE TO: EXT. WHITE HOUSE ENTRANCE - NIGHT Later that evening, a guard opens one of the French doors for Leo. The door closes slowly behind him. FADE TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE HALLWAYS - CONTINUOUS Leo walks purposefully through the corridors, which are decorated with holiday lights. Everyone has gone for the day. Leo finally reaches his office, but he doesn't notice Bartlet - sitting in a corner chair, his feet propped up on another chair, patiently waiting for his friend. The office is dark; only a few lamps and a TV are still on. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Leo walks over to his desk to grab his phone messages, his back to Bartlet. BARTLET Well, well, well. Leo turns around, only slightly surprised to see him. BARTLET Dodged a bullet. LEO For the moment. BARTLET [genially] Which is more than I can say for me in Rosslyn. LEO [nods, smiles] Yeah. BARTLET Did you get a date with her? LEO It's none of your business... [walks around behind his desk] I just came back to catch up on some work. [joking] See how badly you screwed up this church thing in Tennessee. BARTLET I did the church thing in Tennessee okay. I did it without you. LEO You mind if I make some calls - see if Tennessee's still one of the states and stuff? Bartlet smiles, stands, and picks up a small package with a big red bow from the table beside him. BARTLET So anyway, I have a present for you. Bartlet walks over to Leo's desk. Leo is surprised and acts like Bartlet really didn't have to get him anything - although he's clearly pleased. Bartlet hands him the gift. BARTLET Merry Christmas, Leo. Leo removes the bow, revealing a small square black frame holding the "BARTLET FOR AMERICA" napkin from their first meeting in New Hampshire. It's wrinkled but it's still legible. Leo stares at it for several moments, then slowly looks up at Bartlet. Clearly, he's very moved. BARTLET That was awfully nice of you. Leo looks down at the frame again and starts to lose control over his emotions. Bartlet senses this and leaves, walking through the passage to the Oval Office. Once Bartlet is gone, Leo shifts back and forth on his feet and holds the frame to his chest. When he can't stay standing any longer, he sits down heavily in his chair. And then he allows himself a good cry. DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES. FADE TO BLACK. THE END * * * The West Wing and all its characters are a property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Production, Warner Brothers Television and NBC. No copyright infringement is intended. Episode 3.09 – "Bartlet For America" Original Airdate: December 12, 2001, 9:00 PM EST Transcript by: The Vault July 22, 2003