Bartlet engages in the final debate of his career.
THE WEST WING "GAME ON" WRITTEN BY: AARON SORKIN & PAUL REDFORD DIRECTED BY: ALEX GRAVES TEASER FADE IN: INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - DAY TUESDAY, 7:25 A.M. TOBY A crisis of confidence? LEO Yeah. TOBY I don't understand. LEO I was on the helicopter with him earlier this morning, and I'm telling you he's second guessing himself, he's revising answers in his head... TOBY Leo? LEO I know. TOBY What-what... I don't... When I left him, he was ready. I don't understand. He's ready. You can see it. LEO Not this morning. TOBY This isn't supposed to happen with you people. LEO Christians? TOBY Yes. What happened to "steady as she goes"? LEO A smart guy said the Presidential elections are won and lost on one square foot of real estate. [points to his head] Up here. TOBY Well, that's great. LEO Yeah. TOBY All right, we still got a day and half before he debates. We'll go back to school. LEO I think that's just going to pour gas on the problem. TOBY What do you want to do? LEO We've got a two-minute drill right now. I think whatever answers he gives we should just say "That's terrific, Mr. President." TOBY Then what's the point of the two-minute drill? LEO We got five of them scheduled before tomorrow night. We're using one of them for this. TOBY This is crazy. I don't believe this. LEO That's terrific, Mr. President. TOBY All right. Toby and Leo enter the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. SAM Leo... TOBY Listen, we're going to do something in the... in the drill right now. SAM What? TOBY No notes, just positive reinforcement. SAM Why? TOBY He has a problem this morning. SAM All right. Leo, I've got a 9:30 flight. I'll be there sometime after lunch. LEO You really can't do this with a phone call? SAM Oh, God, I don't know. The man died. There's a widow. We're asking them to pack. I'm an hour and 15 minutes away in a rental car, and we didn't make it personal. LEO All right, I just need you in San Diego. They see Josh in the HALLWAY. TOBY Josh! LEO We're still looking for ten words. JOSH I'm still looking for them, too. LEO Ten words, ten words – let's go. JOSH We're going to expand the field. They all enter the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. C.J.'s already there. TOBY No notes during this drill. [to C.J.] That's you, too. C.J. What's that? TOBY No notes during the drill. JOSH Why? TOBY He's in his head. JOSH There's pretty important feedback in the two-minute drills. TOBY We've got four more. We've got one on the plane. C.J. When is Debbie actually starting? LEO The President sent her to the Maxwell school for a three-day crash course in everything. TOBY You know you've got a ten dollar bill in there on your clipboard. C.J. Yeah. I owe it to someone. CHARLIE You can all go on in. JOSH Thank you. They all go inside THE OVAL OFFICE. BARTLET Ten words. Ten words. JOSH We don't have them yet, Mr. President. BARTLET All right, let's do a drill. C.J. Mr. President, despite a rise in tension around the globe, you've held up funding for a missile defense shield. BARTLET Too much money for too little protection. ALL Good. BARTLET Next. JOSH Sir, you oppose a voucher system that would offer children a choice of better schools... BARTLET That would offer some children a choice of better schools, but I haven't given up the ghost on better schools for everybody, and vouchers drain money from that goal. TOBY Mr. President, this next question is on capital punishment, which you oppose: If your youngest daughter Zoey was raped and murdered, would you not want to see the man responsible put to death? BARTLET First of all, it's important to understand the President doesn't make that decision, though he appoints the Supreme Court Justices who do so. What... any... um... All right, I'm not going to say that. I'll just go right to... No, I don't. I think you know that I'm opposed.... [sighs] Let's not do that. I haven't seen any evidence that it's a deterrent, and there are more effective... In my state... TOBY Oh, my God. BARTLET What? TOBY [to Leo] You weren't kidding. [to Bartlet] What's the matter with you? When I left you... I just mentioned your daughter being murdered, and you're giving us an answer that's not only soporific, it's barely human! Yes, you'd want to see him put to death. You'd want it to be cruel and unusual, which is why it's probably a good idea that fathers of murder victims don't have legal rights in these situations. Now, we're going back to school. There is a long pause of silence, then they all begin to laugh. BARTLET Let's go – ten bucks. Crisis of confidence. [to Leo] You did one square foot of real estate. LEO Yes, I did. BARTLET Ten bucks for you. [to Toby] And you – You big bear, come to me. I'm going to kiss you right on the mouth. C.J. Ten bucks. LEO Anything else, sir? BARTLET Work hard. ALL Thank you, sir. They head back out to the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. JOSH [to Sam] Have a safe flight. SAM I'll see you in San Diego. JOSH [to Toby] Sorry about that. It was the President idea. He bet us you couldn't stay quiet if he gave a bad answer. What? TOBY He's ready. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. CAMPAIGN HEADQUATERS [MATTRESS WORLD] - DAY NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA 47TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SAM Excuse me? ELSIE SNUFFIN Hang on, one second. [to woman] Can he do "Inside Politics" tomorrow? WOMAN I told him he could do it on tape, but we're downtown at five. Let me talk to them again. ELSIE Yes. SAM I'm Sam Seaborn. I'm here to see William Bailey. He's expecting me. ELSIE Okay. SAM Hey... William Bailey. Bill Bailey – I just got that. ELSIE You should definitely mention that 'cause he's probably never heard that reference before. SAM Okay. ELSIE It's Will. SAM [as Jimmy Stewart] Merry Christmas, you 'ol Building and Loan. ELSIE That's George Bailey. SAM Well, why don't we get him? ELSIE Will! SAM Will! WILL BAILEY It's good to see you. I'll be with you in just a second. Darren and Sharon, where are you? This is good, but don't ever use the words "waiting periods". I thought the point of the statement was to support a stricter waiting period for handguns. WILL The point is to get one. "Waiting period" sounds like an inconvience. Keeping guns away from felons is an issue of national neccesity. Karen, if you call around on the state initiatives... KAREN Got it. WILL Hi. SAM Sam Seaborn. WILL Sure, Will Bailey. You want to come inside? ELSIE Will, you got like, two minutes. WILL There's a press conference. I've been trying to... study a little. SAM I met your assistant. She's funny. She's very... She's attractive, too. I hope I'm not being innappropriate. WILL I have an assistant? SAM Oh, well, somebody who works here then. WILL Yeah. SAM First things first. I bring the condolences of the White House on your loss. On Mrs. Wilde's loss, I should say. Everybody's. And to tell you you ran a strong campaign on your candidate, and you should be proud. WILL Thank you. SAM Do you know why I came here? WILL Even money it's not to tell me I ran a strong campaign and I should be proud. SAM It's not. Though you did, and you should. WILL And I will once it's over. SAM It's over. WILL Nothing I can do about California election laws. The man's name stays on the ballot. SAM Yes, but you can't keep campaigning without a candidate. WILL It's a campaign of ideas. SAM The candidate died. WILL But not the ideas. The metaphor alone knocks me down. Elsie? SAM Mr. Bailey... ELSIE Yeah... WILL I'm getting really cold feet about the bow tie. I know you like it, but for me, it's like my whole world becomes about it. Can we rustle up a real one? ELSIE Yeah, and we really have to get in the car. SAM The campaign's become embarrassing to us. It's a national joke. SAM I'm sorry about that. WILL I got a press conference. Sally and the Suffragettes – what you got? SALLY We did the PSA. WILL Let me see. Very nice. But do me a favor – read this for me. SALLY AND THE SUFFRAGETTES "It doesn't matter who you vote for. Make sure you vote." WILL I like the sentiment, but the thing is I think it does matter who you vote for. What if it said, "No matter who you vote for, make sure you vote." What do you think? GIRLS Good. WILL Yeah. SAM Will? WILL Yeah. SAM I'm here for the President. WILL I admire the President, Sam. I really do. SAM But? WILL I don't work for him. [to Elsie] Let's go. CUT TO: INT. PRESS ROOM - DAY 4:50 P.M. C.J. All right, everyone. Thank you very much. Carol's passing out the playbooks. Senator, we've put you on criminal justice, and Martin, we've moved you to welfare, if that's okay. MARTIN Sure. TOBY There's also some third party validator information in there, as well as the name of the reporters you'll be handcuffed to. If it's not your thing, don't try to wing it. Call somebody over. C.J. Surrogate plans leaves at 9:00 this evening. We'll see you tomorrow for pre-game. TOBY C.J., could I see you? And I need Congresswoman Wyatt for just a moment. They go to the HALLWAY. TOBY [to C.J.] Bennett's going to spin for Ritchie. C.J. I could have told you that was going to happen! Hang on – no, wait – I did! TOBY I find competitiveness so feminine in tall women. C.J. On defense? TOBY Yeah, on defense! What the hell...? C.J. Don't huckle around with me right now, Phyllis! I got a North Carolina Democrat shilling for Ritchie on defense. I've gotta get a guy. I need a Republican. TOBY This is why I'm talking to you. You're going to use Albie Duncan. C.J. He'll do it? TOBY Yes. C.J. Duncan? TOBY Yes. C.J. He will? TOBY Yes. C.J. Look at me. He's not a little bit crazy? TOBY Albie Duncan? C.J. Yeah. TOBY No, no, no. A little bit. C.J. Toby... TOBY He's going to be great. You'll see to it. Andy? C.J. I'm crazy about the roundness of your head. [walks away] TOBY Thank you. Andy? ANDY She's nervous. These things are won and lost in the rooms. TOBY Not this one. ANDY You think so? TOBY I know so. ANDY Don't get overconfident. TOBY That ship's sailed. Hey you want to know something? C.J. doesn't like running. ANDY Why not? TOBY Believe it or not, because it takes time away from helping. I really like that about her, don't you? ANDY Yeah. TOBY Good. Then marry me again. Toby and Andy reach TOBY'S OFFICE. ANDY No. What else you got? TOBY All right. Let's make it interesting. Let's add incentive. The President wins the debate tomorrow night and you marry me again. ANDY How about the President wins the debate tomorrow night, he gets elected President again? TOBY See, that's the difference between you and me. You're small-time. And that's why the twins are gonna need their father around full-time. 'Cause your thing would be a terrible trait. A terrible family trait to pass on to little... Beatrice and Bluto. ANDY I'm naming them Beatrice and Bluto now. I don't care if they're boys or girls. What do you need? TOBY I need you to back up Albie Duncan. ANDY Is he crazy? TOBY No, no, no. A little bit. No. Look, he's Albie Duncan. He was in the Eisenhower State Department. He's brilliant, he's respected. He's a Republican. If he's crazy, then I don't want to be sane. ANDY You're not. TOBY Excellent. ANDY I'm out of here. Read Gabe Tillman's speech to the Stanford Club last night. You're gonna think you wrote it... only it was somebody better. CUT TO: INT. PRESS CONFERENCE - DAY WILL Someone who will fight for world-class schools. Someone who will take medical decisions away from HMO's and give them to doctors. Someone who will make polluters pay for the pollution they cause right here in Orange County. REPORTER And what are your plans for the final week? WILL Volunteers are going door-to-door in every neighborhood. We've got six busloads of AFT and AFL volunteers coming down. We've got six get-out-the-vote rallies in the next six days. We're in this to win it. Yeah. TED WILLARD [REPORTER] Mr. Bailey, Ted Willard Orange County Post-Gazette. What happens if that happens? What happens if your candidate wins? WILL A special election will be held after no more then 90 days. TED WILLARD Does the party have someone in mind? WILL We're vetting Wendell Wilkie. What do you think? The reporters laugh. TED WILLARD Seriously? WILL Seriously, one election at a time. Beth? BETH [REPORTER] 60% of Orange County residents disagree with the Horton Wilde gun position which doesn't distinguish it from many other issues important to voters here. Is the Wilde capaign out of touch? WILL 60% is six of ten in a focus group. You change one mind, it's a dead heat. We change two, it's a landslide. This campaign's a mechanism of persuasion. We're not asking for a show of hands. JUNE WHEELER [REPORTER] June Wheeler, San Jose Mercury News. WILL You're a long way from home. JUNE This is a fun story. WILL Glad I could help out. JUNE Mr. Bailey, we're all sitting here pretending this is a regular press conference, and you're very engaging up there, but your candidate died, so why isn't this all a little preposterous? WILL Chuck Webb is a seven-term Congressman who, as chairman of not one but two Commerce sub- committees, has taken money from companies he regulates. He's on the board of the NRA and once challenged another Congressman to a fistfight on the floor, over an amendment to make stalkers submit to background checks before buying AR-15s, AK-57s, Street Sweepers, Mac-10s, Mac-11s. He's joined protests designed to frighten pregnant women. JUNE What's your point? WILL There are worse things in the world than no longer being alive. Yes? REPORTER You said earlier this morning that the 47th pays more in taxes... FADE OUT. END ACT ONE * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: EXT. BEACH - DAY Will sits on bench by the beach, and Sam walks up to him. SAM How you doing? WILL You don't want to be in San Diego right now? I'd want to be in San Diego. SAM I was about to head down there. I was just at your press conference. WILL You guys ready? SAM Yeah. It's going to be great or a disaster. Nothing in between. WILL Good. SAM So what is this? WILL Our contributors gave their money to Horton Wilde. SAM He's dead now. WILL I know. SAM And that's the metaphor. Standard-bearer for a party that's dead in every bedroom community in Southern California. WILL That guy had a point. SAM Who? WILL The Post-Gazette. He asked if we had a name. SAM You want one yet? WILL Well not me. Not right now. Kay Wilde does. SAM The widow? WILL Yeah. She wants a democrat to tell us privately that they'll run if he wins. Nobody wants it. SAM Do you think you're going to need it? WILL No. SAM Give her Winston Churchill, what does it matter? [pause] All right, it matters. What are you doing? WILL Sam, I swear to God, I'm trying to win an election. I think you of all people would be able to recognize it when you saw it. SAM All right. All right. I can get on the 405 if I go straight down there right? WILL The fourth light. Hey, you guys give 'em hell tomorrow. SAM All right. You'll have more events tonight right? WILL Yeah. SAM Your tie doesn't go. Sam ands Will his tie. CUT TO: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - DAY DEBATE DAY CARRIE What are those stripes, 1/16th? They're going to blur. BOBBY You like the herringbone? CARRIE I think it's going to glow. BOBBY It is. JOHNATHAN This is the Navy Heraldic Club. CARRIE Any other year. They're broadcasting in HD digital now and with the pixels. JOHNATHAN Does anybody, anybody, have digital yet? BOBBY Solid silk repp, light mustard? CARRIE Not with his coloring. JOHNATHAN So it's the charcoal and blue. CARRIE Yeah, it's good. Charlie! [tosses him the tie] CHARLIE Thanks. Charlie walks from the Mural Room to the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. JORDAN Hey, Charlie. CHARLIE Hi. You're starting out in the Oval Office actually. JORDAN When do you leave? CHARLIE Right now. JORDAN Good luck. CHARLIE Tell him. BARTLET Hey. JORDAN Good Afternoon, Mr. President. CHARLIE Sir, they've chosen your tie. It's charcoal and blue. BARTLET No, I decided to go ahead and wear my lucky tie. CHARLIE Are you sure? BARTLET Yeah. CHARLIE This tie feels pretty lucky to me. BARTLET Then it's your lucky tie. Why don't you get mine, and we'll go to the plane? CHARLIE Yes sir. BARTLET Listen, what do you say I sit in on this meeting for a few minutes. We've got time. LEO What do you say you get into pre-game. Let me worry about this for tonight. BARTLET All right. LEO Come here a second. Leo and Bartlet exit to the PORTICO. LEO There's no such thing as too smart. There's nothing you can do that's not going to make me proud of you. Eat 'em up. Game on. BARTLET Okay. Bartlet walks along the portico. Leo goes back to THE OVAL OFFICE. LEO We'll go next door. About a week ago we stopped a Qumari ship called the Mastico on information that it was carrying about 72 tons of weapons and high explosives. Leo and Jordan walk to LEO'S OFFICE where Josh is waiting. JOSH Hi. JORDAN Hello. LEO What do you need? JOSH Ten words. Let me try two on you. Defense: "I will make America's defenses the strongest in the history of the world." LEO In the history of the world? When we say that are we comparing ourselves to the Visigoths adjusted for inflation? JOSH Crime: "Some crimes are so heinous, so hateful to American values that we ought to lock prisoners up and throw away the key." Please don't say yes to that one. LEO Keep working on the plane. And call me every 30 minutes. JOSH You read Gabriel Tillman's speech at the Stanford Club? LEO No. JOSH Governor of California's got a new writing staff. LEO Are you going to call every 30 minutes? JOSH Yeah. LEO One more drill on the plane. JOSH We're going to make you proud. Sit back and enjoy it. Josh exits. Jordan turns and shuts one door, and Leo shuts the other. JORDAN You stopped a Qumari ship with what Leo? Are we on another crime spree? Why don't you call me before? LEO [angrily] We stopped them with a warning shot from the USS Austin. JORDAN Okay. LEO An LPD San Antonio class-warship. The weapons were not on their way to the Qumari. They were on their way to the Bahji. If I can't get everyone else on board with the fact Qumar is our enemy surely we can agree that the international Bahji cell is. The weapons were on their way to the Bahji. And the Austin stopped them. JORDAN Qumar is leveraging the Mastico. LEO We know this. JORDAN What do they want? LEO Yesterday they want THAAD missile technology. Today they want convicted Bahji operatives let out of US jails. It changes. JORDAN You're going to have to give them something. LEO [yelling] No! I don't have to do anything, Jordan. I'm right, they're wrong. They're strong... I'm much stronger. LEO What happens tomorrow morning the President gets on TV and makes his case? JORDAN No, we're not ready to do that. We're nowhere near ready. LEO What happens? JORDAN Assuming we get around the Boland amendment and any potential violations of domestic law and separation of powers--forgetting international outcry and sticking our Arab allies with an impossible choice of loyalties--six to five and pick 'em you violated the Geneva conventions. LEO Since when is it...? JORDAN Since Francisco Pizarro. LEO Well, if you're going to throw the Swiss in my face. JORDAN [sighs] Ali Nassir is at the general assembly. How hard would it be to quietly get him here from New York tonight? LEO U.N. diplomats are a little under pay scale. JORDAN He's a reasonable guy. LEO Is he? JORDAN In relation to. LEO Ali Nassir is what passes for reasonable these days. JORDAN How hard would it be to get him here quietly tonight? LEO Not hard. JORDAN All right. Why don't you do it and we'll talk about the next step? LEO Margaret! JORDAN What was that before with ten words? LEO It's a debating phrase. It has to do with making things simpler. [to Margaret] Would you get me the National Security Council? MARGARET Yes sir. CUT TO: INT. AIR FORCE ONE HALLWAY - DAY Charlie walks along one of the hallways. He grabs Donna's arm as she passes and pulls her into the corner. DONNA What's going on? CHARLIE Okay. As I understand it, it was the last debate of the first campaign. DONNA Is everything all right? CHARLIE No. Moments before the debate started, the President went out to the alley to sneak a cigarette, only he lit his necktie on fire. DONNA Yes. CHARLIE And Josh gave him his, and he won and now it's his game tie. And it got ripped at the cleaners by a cleaning solvent we probably shouldn't use anymore. DONNA Did you tell him? CHARLIE No! But that's a different conversation. My point is [holds up a tie] doesn't this look an awful lot like the real one? DONNA I don't remember what the real one looked like, but where did you get a tie on the plane? CHARLIE The neck of the Deputy Labor Secretary but what the hell am I thinking? You can't pull off this kind of fake out. Now it becomes the bad luck tie. Bad things will happen in that tie. No, you've got to face the music and dance alone. DONNA You know what? I think maybe you and the President are obsessing on the tie. I'm going to throw this notion out on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up. I think the President's performance in the debate had actually very little to do with the tie. CHARLIE Okay. You heard me say it was his game tie right? DONNA Yeah. CHARLIE Okay. CUT TO: INT. AIR FORCE ONE - DAY C.J. approaches Albie Duncan. C.J. Mr. Secretary. ALBIE Ah, Ms. Cregg. C.J. Thanks so much for helping us out. ALBIE Yes. C.J. Have you ever seen the Moscow Circus? ALBIE No. C.J. Then I really have no point of reference to describe what a post debate spin room is like. ALBIE [chuckles] I like you. You're the one I like. C.J. Thank you very much. What happens is you'll be taken into the room and a volunteer will walk in behind you holding up a large sign with your name on it and the press will surround you. ALBIE Is that dignified? C.J. Absolutely not. Don't even hope. They're going to want you to talk about why is a Republican spinning for the President. Nobody's expecting you to say a thing-not a thing-that would embarrass the party to which you've been a loyal and active member your entire life. He'll be attacked during the debate on China. He'll have to defend his trade goals versus human rights violations. ALBIE Trade is essential for human rights. Instead of isolating them we make them live by the same global trading rules as everyone else and gain 1.2 billion consumers for our products and strengthen the forces of reform. C.J. That's it. It's that simple. ALBIE No, it's not simple, it's incredibly complicated. C.J. Sure. ALBIE McGarry's boy's over there coming up with greeting cards. C.J. Josh? ALBIE He's sitting with me, trying to boil down foreign policy into a ten-word statement. C.J. No, no, he's the ten-word. And believe me he hates it. ALBIE I've been at the State Department for 30 years and there's no right answer for these questions and diplomacy needs all the words it can get its hands on. Plus, he's from Connecticut. C.J. Yeah, but the thing is Ritchie's good at it and we just need to show we have that club in our bag. That's all. ALBIE What kind of shot do you get with that club? C.J. According to the best people who've analyzed specific polling data there may a million undecideds out there who'd come to Bartlet if he displayed one or two qualities that were more like Ritchie. And we chose this. So for 90 seconds tonight the mountain will come to Mohammed and we'll pretend the whole thing never happened. ALBIE Yeah, it's incredibly complicated. C.J. Yes. ALBIE The answer I just gave you on trade? C.J. It was perfect. ALBIE You know there's a decent chance I'm full of crap right? C.J. Sure. ALBIE "Free trade is essential for human rights" ... the end of that sentence is "we hope because nothing else has worked." C.J. Okay, but I wouldn't say that tonight. ALBIE The President knows Chinese political prisoners are going to be sewing soccer balls with their teeth whether we sell them cheeseburgers or not, so let's sell them cheeseburgers. C.J. Nor, if it were I, would I say that. ALBIE Let me tell you something young lady, 3700 years ago in the Chang dynasty when a king died, his slaves were beheaded – the lucky ones. The unlucky one's were buried alive. Political repression? This is progress. C.J. Still, I think the first answer's our winner. So, can I find an attractive aide and have her bring you some Schweppe's Bitter Lemon? ALBIE No, I'm too steamed... yes, yes, okay. C.J. Good. [walks down the aisle] Carol? CAROL Yeah? C.J. Go to work. CAROL Yeah. C.J. meets Josh and Toby in a corner. TOBY So is he crazy? C.J. Um, yes. TOBY What do you think? JOSH Well if we lose because of a ten-word answer, then I'm quitting show business. [walks off] TOBY What do you think? C.J. I think it depends who shows up. If it's Uncle Fluffy, we've got problems. If it's the President, in his last campaign, his last debate, for the last job he'll ever have... if the President shows up, I think it'll be a sight to see, I mean a sight to see. What do you think? TOBY I think you're going to enjoy yourself tonight. FADE OUT. END ACT TWO * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - NIGHT 8:55 P.M. The Qumari Ambassador to the U.N. ALI NISSIR is sitting down in the room. Jordan and Leo enter. LEO Mr. Ambassador. ALI NISSIR Mr. McGarry. LEO You know Jordan Kendall. NISSIR I do, but I did not know she worked here. LEO Special Counsel to the Office of the Chief of Staff. They sit down. LEO Mr. Nissir, the President starts his debate in four minutes. I won't be there, obviously. And for me, it's like missing my brother's wedding, right? A big Super Bowl or something. And I'm mentioning this to underline the importance of this conversation. You have to turn the boat around. It's the match being held to the fuse. NISSIR I don't know anything about a boat. LEO You're not getting access to THAAD. We're not going to release Bahji operatives. You have to turn. CUT TO: INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT People are taking their seats in the auditorium. MAN [over P.A. system] Ladies and gentleman, please take your seats. The debate will begin in two and a half minutes. We'd like to remind you that this is a live broadcast. In the event of any technical difficulties, we'd ask that everyone remain quietly in their seats until the issue has been addressed. CUT TO: INT. BACKSTAGE ROOM - CONTINUOUS We follow Sam backstage talking on his cellphone into a room where Abbey is taking a picture with Albie Duncan. Josh is standing next to Vice President John Hoynes, and Bartlet is talking to Charlie. MAN [over P.A. system] Should you need to exit the hall at any time, please beware the reentry will not be permitted mid-broadcast. When the debate comes to a close... BARTLET I guess what I don't understand is this. Have I ever exhibited any evidence that I'd be mad if a tie got ruined? CHARLIE No, sir. BARTLET No, I'm not that guy. CHARLIE This tie was special. BARTLET The chemicals at the Dry cleaner don't know that. STAGE MANAGER [OS] Can we have President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie to the stage, please? This is their two-minute warning. BARTLET Josh? JOSH Yeah. Guys, we're going to give them the room now. C.J. Bring it, boss. Bartlet kisses C.J. on the cheek. JOSH Nothing but strikes. Bartlet and Josh shake hands. SAM Game on. Bartlet and Sam shake hands. They all exit. Bartlet turns around to talk to Abbey and sees Toby still in the room crunching loudly on a carrot. TOBY I just assumed you wanted to include me. They shake hands. Toby exits. MODERATOR ALEXANDER THOMPSON [OS] Good evening, from the University of California, San Diego. I'm Alexander Thompson. Welcome to the Presidential debate between... ABBEY Well, it's in the bag. You have someone here to show off for. BARTLET My daughters are here? ABBEY Are you kidding? Ellie's wearing makeup. BARTLET Well, I don't approve of that. ABBEY You understand she's 27, right? BARTLET I don't approve of that, either. Remember the tie Josh had to give me at the last minute? ABBEY Yeah. I heard that happen. So, do you think there's any point in still having the debate? BARTLET There was a lot of juice in that tie. It was like in the last seconds. Just the energy getting me out on stage... ABBEY Well... tough. Charlie enters. CHARLIE Sir? BARTLET Yeah. I got to go. ABBEY We'll do mushy later. So, for now, I just got to say I love you so much that my head's going to fly off. But, more importantly, game on, boyfriend! Let's go! BARTLET Okay. ABBEY By the way, I feel bad. I don't think I've done enough to help you prepare for this debate. BARTLET Why are you telling me this now? Bartlet turns around to look back, when Abbey pulls out a pair of scissors and cuts off his tie. ABBEY Just 'cause. Bartlet looks down at his tie, then up at Abbey who has a sly grin on her face. BARTLET Oh, my God. You're insane. Are you...? You're insane! Charlie! STAGE MANAGER [OS] 30 seconds, please. Bartlet runs out into the HALLWAY. Abbey swings the tie around and laughs. They begin to frantically walk to the stage. CHARLIE Josh, we need your tie. JOSH What the hell?! CHARLIE Take it off! C.J. What happened? BARTLET My wife cut it off with scissors. JOSH Why? BARTLET I don't think we have that kind of time, Josh. STAGE MANAGER Folks, can I get you to the stage, please. 15 seconds. C.J. No one's done camera test... TOBY She's right. Let's run some. STAGE MANAGER Sir? Josh has taken off his and Sam is fumbling to get it onto Bartlet. SAM Right here. Backstage, C.J. and Toby come tumbling through the side door. STAGE MANAGER Can you keep it down. MODERATOR [OS] With that, ladies and gentlemen, President Josiah Bartlet of New Hampshire, and Governor Robert Ritchie of Florida. Applause. STAGE MANAGER Quiet, please. They arrive at the side of the stage. Abbey fixes Bartlet's collar. Bartlet pulls his hand back, slaps Abbey on the rear, then walks on stage. ABBEY Oh! Oh... President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie walk on stage, shake hands, then go to their podiums. MODERATOR The rules for tonights debate are as follows: A candidate will be asked a question by one of the panelists, and he will have 90 seconds to respond. His opponent will then have 60 seconds with which to ask a question and get an answer – though it must be limited to the same topic. There will be two minutes for closing statements at the end. By virtue of a coin toss, Governor Ritchie, the first question is for you. MAN Governor Ritchie, good evening. GOVERNOR RITCHIE Good evening. MAN Perhaps the biggest philosophical difference between you and the President is over the role of the federal government itself and whether national problems really have national solutions. Can you explain your view? RITCHIE Well, first, let me say good evening and thank you. It's a privilege to be here. My view of this is simple-- CUT TO: INT. SPIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS The debate is being shown on large screens backstage. C.J. and Mark are huddled around a TV watching. RITCHIE [on TV] ...we don't need a Federal Department of Education telling us our children have to learn Esperanto, they have to learn Eskimo poetry. REPORTER MARK Eskimo poetry? C.J. Shh! RITCHIE [on TV] Let the states decide. Let the communities decide on health care, on education, on lower taxes, not higher taxes. Now, he's going to throw a big word at you-- "unfunded mandate." If Washington lets the states do it, it's an unfunded mandate. But what he doesn't like is the federal government losing power. But I call it the ingenuity of the American people. MODERATOR [on TV] President Bartlet, you have 60 seconds for a question and an answer. BARTLET [on TV] Well, first of all, let's clear up a couple of things. "Unfunded mandate" is two words, not one "big word." They cheer backstage. BARTLET [on TV] There are times when we're fifty states and there are times when we're one country, and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn't fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That's a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year – from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans, with their Eskimo poetry. 12.6 out of a state budget of $50 billion, and I'm supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is: Can we have it back, please? JOSH Game on. C.J. Oh, my God! SAM Strike 'em out, throw 'em out! [turns to reporters] Anybody want spin? C.J. [to Toby] It's not going to be Uncle Fluffy. TOBY No. MODERATOR [VO] Mr. President, the next question is for you. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT The debate continues. RITCHIE ...and the partisan bickering. Now, I want people to work together in this great country. And that's what I did in Florida – I brought people together – and that's what I'll do as your President. End the logjam, end the gridlock, and bring Republicans together with Democrats, 'cause Americans are tired of partisan politics. MODERATOR Mr. President? BARTLET Actually, what you've done in Florida is bring the right together with the far right. And I don't think Americans are tired of partisan politics; I think they're tired of hearing career politicians diss partisan politics to get a gig. I've tried it before, they ain't buying it. That's okay, though. That's okay, though, 'cause partisan politics is good. Partisan politics is what the founders had in mind. It guarantees that the minority opinion is heard, and as a lifelong possessor of minority opinions, I appreciate it. But if you're troubled by it, Governor, you should know, in this campaign, you've used the word "liberal" seventy-four times in one day. It was yesterday. CUT TO: INT. SPIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS TOBY [to Josh] I'm not sure I can watch anymore. No, wait, I can. I can. CUT TO: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - NIGHT NISSIR Isreal launched and unwarranted, illegal, unilateral air attack against the people of Qumar. LEO The air strike was neither unwarranted nor was it against the people of Qumar. It was against two Bahji terrorist camps after the Isreali Foreign Minster was shot down by Bahji operatives of, by-the-by, Qumair citizenship. Educated, if we're going to use that word, in Qumari madrassahs and financed by fat members of the Qumari Royal Family, including the Sultan's brother, Abdul ibn Shareef. NISSIR Zionist propaganda. And we lost a cabinet minister as well. LEO Yes, and you have the results of joint U.S, U.K., and Qumari search and rescue operations, that detail the tragic loss at sea. Yet your intelligence services seem ready to tell the world that it was Israel. NISSIR A state that sanctions covert assassination. LEO Of terrorists. Are you saying Mr. Shareef was one of them? JORDAN Excuse me, Mr. Ambassador. Leo? They get up and walk into the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. JORDAN You got to stop it. LEO Jordan, I... JORDAN You, you got to turn the boat around. You're going to be at war. LEO I can't play games with these people anymore. I can't do it anymore. Ben Yosef gave me the medal of David, and ten hours later he was dead. I can't pretend Qumar's our quirky little ally whose culture it's important to be tolerant of. They're not wearing wooden shoes. I was a soldier. I flew fighters over the DMZ. It was incredibly dangerous. What did I do that for? What am I handing to the next guy and to my kid? JORDAN Turn the boat around. Do that for the next guy, do that for Mallory and do that for the President. He's busy right now. They turn around to see the debate on TV. BARTLET [on TV] No, the question is: Should we focus on 90% of the kids, who go to public school, or give parents money from the public-school budget to send their kids to private school at a time when private schools are even turning kids away who can afford it? Public schools are going to be the best schools in the country. They're gonna be cathedrals. The answer is a change in the way we finance schools! They walk back into THE MURAL ROOM. NISSIR Mr. McGarry, I think we are both men, and we both know there is a charade being enacted here. I understand Western politics, and I understand President Bartlet is unable to admit Israel's complicity in the death of the Sultan's brother during a close election. So perhaps we could... Leo laughs. NISSIR Did I say something funny? LEO You think the President's afraid that if he admitted complicity in Shareef's death, he would lose votes in this country? To sweep all fifty states, the President would only need to do two things – blow the Sultan's brains out in Times Square, then walk across the street to Nathan's and buy a hot dog. Mr. Ambassador, you are going to turn the Mastico around. You are going to cease and desist any disinformation campaign that links the death of Shareef to Israel. And sometime next year, the Sultan is going to propose a Middle East peace plan – the Qumar plan – and win the Nobel Peace Prize. Make your phone call. I'll be waiting. Leo walks out of the room. NISSIR He's a little hot under the collar, is he not? JORDAN Excuse me, I have a meeting of Godless infidels next door. CUT TO: INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT MODERATOR Governor Ritchie, many economists have stated that the tax cut, which is centrepiece of your economic agenda, could actually harm the economy. Is now really the time to cut taxes? RITCHIE You bet it is. We need to cut taxes for one reason – the American people know how to spend their money better than the federal government does. MODERATOR Mr. President, your rebutal. BARTLET There it is. CUT TO: INT. SPIN ROOM - CONTINUOUS REPORTER MARK What the hell? C.J. He's got it. BARTLET [on TV] That's the ten-word answer my staff's been looking for for two weeks. There it is. Ten-word answers can kill you in political campaigns. They're the tip of the sword. Here's my question: What are the next ten words of your answer? Your taxes are too high? So are mine. Give me the next ten words. How are we going to do it? Give me ten after that, I'll drop out of the race right now. Every once in a while... every once in a while, there's a day with an absolute right and an absolute wrong, but those days almost always include body counts. Other than that, there aren't very many unnuanced moments in leading a country that's way too big for ten words. I'm the President of the United States, not the President of the people who agree with me. And by the way, if the left has a problem with that, they should vote for somebody else. C.J. [to Toby, Josh, Donna, Sam, Carol and Andy.] I'm going to make a bold suggestion, but hear me out. Let's not spin. Let's leave the room. We'll use the experts, but nobody from the campaign, nobody from the White House, and definitely not us. JOSH Why? C.J. There's nothing left to do here, and it's inelegant. It's the punch Ali never gave Foreman when he was going down. TOBY Absolutely. JOSH All right, just a statement. The President's on his way to Washington to get back to work. SAM And there'll be a lot of drinking on the plane. I don't think that should be included in the statement. C.J. No. Good heads-up. They all break up and Albie Duncan walks into the Spin Room. The reporters start shouting for him. ALBIE Trade with China is essential for human rights. By engaging China and making them by the same global trading rules as everyone else, we gain 1.2 billion consumers for our products, and we strengthen the forces of freedom, and the President knows this. C.J. Mr. Secretary? ALBIE Uh, I'm sorry, Miss Cregg, do you need me? C.J. I have a question. Isn't there a decent chance you and the President are wrong? ALBIE I'm sorry? C.J. I mean, doesn't he also know that Chinese political dissidents are going to be sewing soccer balls together with their teeth whether or we sell them cheeseburgers or not? I mention this because the President just reminded us that complexity isn't a vice. She walks over to him and whispers in his ear. C.J. You're the one I like, too. She kisses him on the cheek then walks away. MODERATOR [VO] That concludes this debate. Thank you very much and good night. CUT TO: INT. AUDITORIUM - CONTINUOUS Ritchie and Bartlet walk over and shake hands. Ritchie whispers in his ear. RITCHIE It's over. BARTLET You'll be back. Ritchie and Bartlet walk back over to their sides of the stage where the family is waiting to give them hugs. CUT TO: INT. BAR - NIGHT LAGUNA BEACH AROUND 1:00 A.M. Will is sitting at the bar, and Sam walks in. SAM Hey. WILL Tammy, I'd like to buy this old guy a beer. He had a good night. TAMMY Okay. SAM Thank you. WILL How does it feel? SAM Winning? WILL Yeah. SAM Good. WILL I thought he was going to have to fall all over himself trying to be genial. SAM So did we. But then, we were convinced by polling that said he was going to be seen as arrogant no matter what performance he gave in the debate. And then, that morning at 3:10, my phone rings, and it's Toby Ziegler. He says, "Don't you get it? It's a gift that they're irreversibly convinced that he's arrogant 'cause now he can be." If your guy's seen that way, you might as well knock some bodies down with it. WILL You don't fly with the team? SAM Not this time. I had to return the rental car; that's why I was glad to get together again. One-way charges on rental cars are insane. I think if everybody drove one way, it'd all work out in the wash. What do you think? WILL I think every rental car in America would be at the Grand Canyon and the Tropicana. SAM Let the campaign fold, man. Stay out of the news his week. WILL I'm sorry. Tammy places Sam's drink in front of him. SAM Thank you. TAMMY Sure. SAM You grew up in California politics? WILL No, I grew up in Brussels. SAM Why? WILL Several members of my family worked at the NATO headquarters. SAM You're not Thomas Bailey's grandson by any chance, are you? WILL I'm his son. I'm the youngest. SAM Hmm. That had to have been a nice Career Day. "Hello, I'm Will's dad. I'm Supreme Commander, NATO Allied Forces." Not a lot of kids took your lunch money, right? WILL No. SAM It's embarrassing, Will. WILL There's a campaign being waged here, and I'm not embarrassed by it. There are things being talked about – things you believe in, things the White House believes in – and they're only gonna be talked about in a blowout, and you know it. And you know there's no glory in it, and you still come here twice and tell me my guy's a joke. That my people are embarrassing. How many Democrats told you to get out of the way for John Hoynes? The bandwagon was in Texas, and the boys were in Nashua, and how Democrats told you it was embarrassing? I'm not kidding, Sam. How many? SAM All of them. WILL That's right. SAM You're the one who wrote Tillman's speech. WILL No, I'm not. SAM His speech to the Standford Club – yes, you are. WILL I don't even... I don't know what you're... SAM That's fine. But you and I both know different, right? So let's have some respect for that. WILL You've ghosted for senators, movie stars, I think the King of Belgium one time. Do you say anything? SAM No. WILL Why? SAM Speechwriters don't do that. WILL Yeah. SAM Okay, I'll just say that it was very good, and a number of people think so, and leave it there. Except to say that the jokes worked, too. I don't know who wrote them, maybe the King of Belgium, but I know it wasn't the Governor of California. WILL [pointing to Elsie] You see that girl over there? SAM That's the one I thought was your assistant. WILL Her name is Elsie Snuffin. SAM What a great name. WILL Isn't it? SAM Why'd you tell me that? WILL She wrote the jokes. Anyway, you should know about her. SAM Where'd you find her? WILL She was the 11th man on a ten-man writing staff for a sitcom. They weren't using her stuff 'cause it was smarter than the show, but she didn't know that. SAM All right. Thank you for the beer and for the lively conversation. Listen.. if you can't find a Democrat, tells Mrs. Wilde... tell Kay that I'll do it. WILL Are you kidding? SAM Tell her I'm a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton and editor of the Duke Law Review. Tell her I've worked for Congressmen and the DCCC. I have seven years at Gage Whitney, and for the last four I've served as Deputy Communications Director and Senior Counsel. Tell her I grew up two streets from here. WILL I'm not going to ask anyone else. SAM This is for election night, if you win. If I read about it before that, I'm gonna deny it and we're through. Sam walks over to where other staffers of Horton Wildes campaign are seated. SAM Excuse me. They applaud and cheer. SAM Listen. GIRL We love you! SAM Thank you. Listen, I've got to get to a bed, but I just wanted to say, thanks for the hard work. One more week. You're making a lot of people proud. And if you get a chance, read the text of the Governor's speech to the Stanford Club. It's going to give you chills. And the jokes, I think, are particularly funny. Anyway... good luck. They stand up and cheer. He looks at Elsie who mouths "Thank you" to him. He begins to walk out. SAM Good night, Will. WILL Don't forget your necktie. SAM Keep it. Sam walks out of the bar. 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 4.6 – "Game On" Original Air Date: October 30, 2002, 9:00 PM EST Transcribed by: ck1czar and Corrine June 11, 2003