Season 3 – Episode 9 – “Bartlet for America”

Episode Summary:

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.

Script:

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

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