On the eve of the President’s controversial trade summit meeting in Brussels, Josh is troubled when he learns that Bartlet will reverse his position about sacrificing American jobs to foreign lands. C.J. is frustrated with a new Federal Communications Commission ruling allowing multimedia companies increased ownership of TV stations. Meanwhile, the administration tries to downplay job-loss statistics, and Donna tells Josh about her dissatisfaction with her limited role on his staff. In the midst of it all, Bartlet meets Kate Harper (Mary McCormack), the brash, new deputy national security advisor.
THE WEST WING 5X19 - "TALKING POINTS" WRITTEN BY ELLIE ATIE DIRECTED BY RICHARD SCHIFF TRANSCRIBED BY SOUNDMAN FOR TWIZ TV.COM. SEND FEEDBACK TO [email protected]. TEASER FADE IN: EXT. - WHITE HOUSE - DAY Josh is walking to the door. Will is waiting for him. They walk in and begin talking. WILL Hey! Congratulations. JOSH Thank you. WILL So, Leo's turned you into a big-time trade negotiator. JOSH No different than baby-sitting or negotiating with Congress. You sit there and let them wear themselves out. WILL They're up to 200 tractors now. JOSH Yeah, I know. WILL 200 tractors, that doesn't worry you? JOSH Not being a bale of hay. WILL You're flying to Brussels in nine hours, the place is surrounded by tractors, every pair of overalls in Europe has come out to protest your trade agreements. JOSH I'll-I'll bring you back a straw hat. Josh leaves him and walks into the Roosevelt Room. Larry and Ed are there waiting for him. They hold up something for Josh to review. LARRY For the joint press conference after the signing. JOSH That's not the message. ED "Protecting intellectual property through international copyright enforcement." JOSH Okay, I know what you're talking about, and I don't know what you're talking about. LARRY Isn't that what we...? JOSH Free trade creates jobs! It creates better, higher-paying jobs. We still have to pass this through Congress. Let's not outsmart ourselves - as if that were, you know, possible. Josh walks out into the hallway where Donna is waiting on him. DONNA They're up to 200 tractors now; it's on TV. JOSH I know. DONNA Bill Parsons called. What are European farmers so upset about? JOSH That they can't cling to a dying way of life, that free trade means that some of them might have to wear neckties, that they can't beat Pentium chips back into plowshares. Take your pick. DONNA USTR says India's signing on. JOSH You're kidding. DONNA I barely know what that means, how could I be kidding. JOSH India has all kinds of problems with this trade deal, why would they...? DONNA USTR says India's in. JOSH Ask Ed and Larry to poke around the India thing. DONNA I brought my luggage, too, you know. JOSH Yeah, I'm still working on that. BARTLET [prelap] That's wonderful, Mr. Prime Minister... CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY Bartlet is on the phone. Leo and Josh are in the room waiting to talk to him. BARTLET [cont.] ... I look forward to seeing you in Brussels. He hangs up the phone. BARTLET You did a great job wrapping this up, I've sent a little something over to your office. LEO You should have seen him. Like a pit bull crossed with a rottweiler crossed with a Fuller Brush salesman. JOSH Months of work by a lot of people, sir, I just tossed in some free combs. BARTLET Start working on Congressional passage. JOSH I'm meeting with the Speaker today. He could argue we gave too much to labor in these side agreements. LEO We'll need Republican votes, but there's plenty in here Democrats'll like. Sell it right and we'll squeak through. CHARLIE Reporters are waiting, sir. C.J. walks in. C.J. Mr. President, you're doing five advance interviews on the Brussels Rounds: three domestic prints, plus CNN-FN, plus the International Herald Tribune. JOSH Foreign press doesn't count. BARTLET We haven't globalized pandering yet? LEO Our audience is Congress, not the Finnish Parliament. C.J. What do you say to the opponents of free trade, people who say it exports jobs? JOSH That giant sucking sound. BARTLET Any half-decent economist will tell you to wear earplugs... JOSH Sir... BARTLET ... then file immediately for unemployment. JOSH Sir, have you read the talking points? BARTLET I'm an economist, some would say half-decent. I don't need a primer on this. CHARLIE Due respect, sir, your answers on economic issues can be a bit... BARTLET Polysyllabic? C.J. Academic. LEO I was going to go with incomprehensible. BARTLET Hey, listen: Any economic advancement involves what Schumpeter called "creative destruction." C.J. Not a good answer. BARTLET Why? C.J. Because that word "destruction" will really mollify our critics. JOSH Free trade creates jobs. C.J. Selling our products to the world... She leaves. JOSH ... creates better, higher-paying jobs. It's got to be that simple, or we lose the argument. BARTLET Anybody got any crayons so I can color in my Ph. D.? LEO Josh makes a point. We're losing old economy jobs in steel, and textiles, all across manufacturing... BARTLET And economics. Clearly, economics... JOSH That's why we fought so hard in this deal for copyright enforcement: to protect the fruits of the new economy. Technology, inventions, ideas; the stuff where America can't be beat, where they can't do it in Malaysia for a dollar a day. Josh sees Donna waiting outside the door. BARTLET Okay. C.J. comes back in. C.J. What about these tractor protests in the streets of Brussels? BARTLET Global economic forces are unstoppable, just like technology itself. Should we have banned ATMs, to protect bank tellers? Or digital watches, to prop up the guys who fix grandfather clocks? JOSH/C.J. Free trade creates better, higher-paying jobs. JOSH It's got to be that simple. Josh walks out into the hall where Donna is waiting. JOSH The President bashing the clock industry in there. DONNA India. JOSH What? ED The Communications union was close to a new contract for 17,000 programmers. LARRY Jace Computer Networks broke of the talks. JOSH JCN. ED The union thinks JCN is moving 17,000 computer programming jobs to India, and that's why India signed on. JOSH 17,000 jobs because of the deal I just negotiated? ED That's what they think. JOSH Okay. Who else knows about this? LARRY No one. JOSH Don't... Josh walks over to the door where Leo is walking out. JOSH Leo. We may have a situation. LEO Congress? Bartlet comes out of the office, followed by C.J. BARTLET Where were we? C.J. Creating better, higher-paying jobs. Josh looks on in disappointment. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER. * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY Josh and Leo are watching Bartlet in an interview on TV. They walk out into the hallway and start talking as they walk to Leo's office. LEO 17,000 programming jobs. JOSH That's what they're saying. LEO Because of the deal we just negotiated. JOSH We don't know that for sure yet. LEO Those are new economy jobs. JOSH Yeah. LEO Not like putting beads on an abacus. JOSH Which I'm going to say is a lot harder than it sounds. LEO This could kill the deal on the Hill. JOSH In this economic climate, I gotta think both parties are gonna run for the hills. LEO "Send Your Job To Southeast Asia,"; not the best slogan for globalization. JOSH There's another problem: the programmers are represented by the Communications Workers of America. LEO The CWA. JOSH Yeah. I already got a message from Parsons. If this is real... LEO You've been working with JCN on these talks. JOSH All the tech companies. I can't believe they'd sandbag me like this. LEO Talk to JCN. You did a great job on this. I was serious about the rottweiler thing. JOSH Thanks. CUT TO: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY Carol and C.J. are talking. CAROL How are the President's interviews going? C.J. Oh, let's see. He's used the phrase "market inelasticity" three times, "direct entitlement failure" two times; I was waiting for him to start waving a piece of chalk, maybe a piece of the Gross National Product. CAROL Professor-in-Chief. C.J. More like Professor Incoherent. What're we hearing from the press? CAROL How come they're staying at a two-star hotel in Brussels, where are the Speaker and the Majority leader on this trade deal, plus Council sent some press guidance on the new FCC ruling. Will walks in. WILL The FCC reached a compromise with Congress on media consolidation; happened about an hour ago. CAROL Media consolidation? C.J. You know, that plan to let corporations buy up more and more local TV stations. WILL So they backed off. C.J. Yeah, 'cause who wants the same bunch of bigshots controlling the media. Will hands her some papers. WILL Those are talking points on the VP's energy speech, so you can help me... control the media. C.J. So, what's the compromise? WILL Instead of letting one company own stations reaching 45% of all the viewers, the FCC's agreed they can only reach 39.37%. C.J. 39.37%? WILL These things can be very scientific. C.J. I'm gonna need a slide rule during my briefing. 39.37%? WILL On the energy speech, if you get questions, you'll help me... C.J. Control the media. WILL Thanks. He walks off. We follow C.J. as she walks away. We see Josh going into his bullpen area. Josh turns around at one point and suddenly sees Ryan behind him. RYAN Today's my last day at the White House. JOSH Thank you. RYAN I was hoping you'd give a toast at my going-away party. JOSH How about a plaque, for best impersonation of a blue blazer? RYAN So you're coming to the party? JOSH I'm having my own celebration with five cloves of garlic and the cast of The Exorcist. Josh and Donna go into Josh's office. DONNA The Speaker's coming in at 3:15, Parsons called again twice, plus the President sent you a gift. JOSH Make sure Ed and Larry are calling Democrats. I want some votes in my pocket when I meet with the Speaker. He's gonna hate these labor side agreements. He walks behind his desk. JOSH My charts... The JCN lobbyist is coming in. I need those charts on everything we gave tech versus light industry in this trade rounds. Donna looks upset. JOSH If your all out of joint 'cause we favored tech over light industry... DONNA Your leaving in eight hours. Any progress getting me on the trip? JOSH You don't want to go to Brussels. DONNA Which is why I asked 15 times. JOSH It's Presidential hand-holding. It's a motorcade to a hotel to a battle of the balding Belgian finance ministers. It's Pittsburg with an accent. DONNA Which I'd known if you'd taken me on the Pittsburg trip. JOSH This isn't taxpayer-funded tourism. We got jobs to do. They walk out into Donna's cubicle. DONNA And I'm trying to grow in mine. I've been helping on these trade talks for months. How are you going to manage by yourself? JOSH I'll grab someone off the advance staff. I'll be fine. The charts? DONNA Grab someone off the advance staff, maybe they can help you find them. She holds up a folder. JOSH I didn't mean to... I'm busy, okay. They start walking. DONNA Maybe if you shackled me to my desk, it'd speed up my typing. JOSH This isn't a workers' collective. Don't get all Woodie Guthrie on me. I've got a situation here. DONNA You're the oppressor. JOSH That's Latin for "boss". DONNA I'm still not talking to you. JOSH Fine. They both walk together until the finally stop, look at each other, and then walk away. CUT TO: INT. - OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY Debbie is seated at her desk when Nancy McNally comes in with DEPUTY NSC DIRECTOR KATHERINE HARPER. McNALLY Katherine Harper, this is Debbie Fiderer, the President's personal secretary. Kate's our new NSC Deputy. I'm bringing her in to meet the President. DEBBIE Nice to meet you. The President's been running quite a bit late today. NSC DEPUTY KATHERINE HARPER That's okay, ma'am. DEBBIE Please call me Debbie. HARPER Thank you, ma'am. McNALLY Top of her class at Annapolis. Once an ensign, always an ensign. HARPER Uh, your locator box. DEBBIE Why, yes. This is so we know where the first family is at all times. HARPER Forgive me for... do you think you should have it facing out? DEBBIE Excuse me? HARPER Secret Service locator boxes are code-word clearance or higher. Guests in this wing of the building just need an absence of felony charges. Some Congressmen don't even meet that standard. McNALLY We've been looking for an excuse to keep out the Congressmen. HARPER Just trying to be helpful, ma'am. Debbie. DEBBIE On second thought, feel free to call me ma'am. McNALLY You'll let us know when the President's free? DEBBIE Yes. HARPER So nice to meet you. DEBBIE Mm-hmm. CUT TO: INT. - MURAL ROOM - DAY Josh is meeting with the JCN LOBBYIST. JCN LOBBYIST All packed and ready for Brussels? JOSH Let's talk about India. LOBBYIST Bit out of the way for a layover. JOSH The CWA says you're shipping 17,000 computer programming jobs there. LOBBYIST That's proprietary information. JOSH Then why's India signing this trade deal? India, which hated the agricultural provisions, hated the light industrial provisions... LOBBYIST There's a chance JCN'll be moving some jobs there. JOSH You can't do this. After everything I negotiated for you? LOBBYIST You toughened copyright enforcement. Now it's safer for us to move sensitive programming work overseas. JOSH Over time, fine. But not overnight. We worked together for months without one word about this. LOBBYIST It's an internal business decision. JOSH Yet, somehow, the nation of India, population 1 billion and rising, slipped into a JCN board meeting? LOBBYIST We lobbied through our trade association. That's how these things work. JOSH No. When I help you on a trade deal, you don't lobby behind my back. That's how these things work. LOBBYIST It's economics. JOSH It's politics, and you know it! Now I got a union problem. When they go nuts, I got a Congressional problem. LOBBYIST We'll help you lobby. We're good at that. JOSH It's not gonna pass! 17,000 flesh-and-blood families, spread over who-knows-how-many Congressional districts. LOBBYIST It's more like 3.3 million jobs, over the next ten years. Industry-wide, of course. JOSH You're... You're... handing out pink slips when we're popping champagne corks and Brussels sprouts. LOBBYIST We can hold the announcement. But American programmers make 40 bucks an hour. In India, it's 10. JOSH How much would you save if you moved your CEO to India? LOBBYIST This is how free trade works. You can't be surprised jobs moving overseas. JOSH These jobs, yes; $80,000-a-year jobs, yes. The jobs this deal is supposed to create on the day we're leaving to sign it...? LOBBYIST If automakers innovated the way we do, today's cars would get 100,000 miles per gallon and cost 50 cents. JOSH Yeah, but they'd only be this big. I need you to spread the layoffs over a couple years. LOBBYIST Can't do it. JOSH Retrain 'em, shove 'em in a back office. LOBBYIST We're a business, not a halfway house. JOSH Is that what you told the head of your union? LOBBYIST No. But feel free to tell him yourself. I'm sure he's on his way over here right now. CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY C.J. and Toby are sitting at C.J.'s desk and they are talking. There is a news story playing in the background. TOBY Can you and Josh spend some time with Reuters on the way to Brussels? They helped us with that steel story. C.J. You think there's something funny about these new media ownership limits? TOBY Who's-on-first-funny? C.J. Something's-rotten-in-the-state-of-Denmark-funny. TOBY Let's you and me never do a standup act. C.J. Or a local TV show, if I'm reading this correctly. TOBY Our press guidance says it's a victory. They were going to let conglomerates like MertMedia, Viacomm get into 45% of all homes. C.J. And now it's 39.37%, a number that ought to come with a decoder ring and a jar of Ovaltine. TOBY What do you want? There was a public outcry. They settled for a lower number. C.J. A number that no one can explain. TOBY The FCC's completely independent. These companies are your constituents. C.J. No, the public are my constituents, and when big business can soak up more and more local media... Carol comes to the door. CAROL Ben needs to stop by before you leave for Brussels. C.J. No. Tell him it's a bad day. He can't. Tell him I'll call him from the plane. TOBY You're going to Belgium. He wants to make sure you don't sample the endive. C.J. I can't become one of those women who wait by the phone, eyes a-fluttering. TOBY "Eyes a- fluttering"? C.J. You know, parasol's a-twirling. TOBY Ah. C.J. Tell him I'll call him from the plane. How come no one can explain this number? Toby gets up to leave. TOBY Well, you are talking about deregulation. You want to crack that code? Follow the money. C.J. I'll take care of your Reuters things. He leaves. C.J. Carol... pull the FCC's media ownership records from last year, will ya? FADE OUT. END ACT ONE. * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY C.J. is walking to her office followed by reporters Chris, George, and Brock. CHRIS IS this some kind of exclusive? C.J. Yes. And you could say Christmas came a bit early this year. I'm not normally in the business of doing your investigative reporting. GEORGE As opposed to blocking it. C.J. Christmas, and you can throw in Arbor Day. BROCK Is this about the Brussels trip? C.J. This is about the Federal Communications Commission. They just ruled that media conglomerates can buy stations reaching up to 39.37% of all TV viewers. CHRIS We wrote about this when they tried to make it 45%. GEORGE Why do you think they're rolling it back? C.J. And why, you might ask, to 39.37%? I have here the FCC media ownership records. Turns out, last year MertMedia illegally bought nine local TV stations, which brings them up to the magic number of - drum-roll please - 39.37%. They say nothing. C.J. And Viacomm's at 38.8%, and NewsCorp's at 37.8. They still say nothing. C.J. In other words, the FCC is bailing out - as in, posting bail - huge companies that were illegally gobbling up TV stations like greasy hors d'oeuvres. Would you like me to draw you a diagram? BROCK Can I ask about the Brussels trip? C.J. No, you can't ask about the Brussels trip. This is a big story. BROCK My business desk is handling it. C.J. Then bang on your editors. This isn't a technical business story. This is about diversity on the airwaves... She hands them several packets. C.J. [cont.] ... the marketplace of ideas, ensuring a healthy exchange of... You don't want to write this 'cause it's about your corporate owners. CHRIS There are a million places to get news. We compete for every story. C.J. Like you're competing for this one? Let me walk you through the numbers; talk to your editors. Trust me, this is a story. CUT TO: INT. - LOBBY - DAY Josh is walking along with Ed and Larry. ED The tractor protests are accelerating. JOSH From four miles an hour to five? LARRY They're up to 230 tractors. JOSH Why do I get the feeling the soil's going untilled? ED Advance is worried. They're blocking the Place de Brouckere. JOSH Just keep the tractors away from the President. It's two centuries off our message. How we doing on Democratic votes? LARRY It's tough in this economy. ED They're terrified of losing jobs in there district. JOSH Well, keep making calls. Tell them... talk about the labor side agreements. Josh walks into Leo's office. Fitzwallace is sitting across from Leo and they are talking. LEO The President's concerned Andy Wyatt and these Congressmen'll negotiate on their own. FITZWALLACE Are you sure you want me on a Congressional delegation to the Middle East? It'll only lend it legitimacy. LEO The President wants you to go. Someone's got to block them from moving the Israeli border and renaming the synagogues after prominent North Dakotans. Just meet with him on this. FITZWALLACE Of course I'll meet with my President. LEO We'll get you in this afternoon. You know, I almost didn't recognize you without the hardware store on your chest. FITZWALLACE Hmm. Only way I could shed those extra pounds. Fitzwallace leaves. FITZWALLACE Josh. JOSH Admiral. LEO How'd it go with JCN? JOSH Great, if you write computer code and live in suburban Bombay. LEO They serious about the 17,000 jobs? JOSH They say it's going to be 3.3 million over ten years. The tech lobby screwed me on this. They were pressing India the whole time. Parsons and his guys from the CWA are coming here now. If I let you down on this, if I missed some... LEO I sent you in there to close the deal. No one does it better. JOSH We need a strategy. LEO For Capitol Hill. JOSH If it becomes a story, yeah, I'm worried the Republicans aren't going to like this deal as it is, but that's not our biggest problem. LEO We don't run the computer industry. JOSH No. Look. We have to give something to Parsons, to the union, to balance this out. LEO Give them what? JOSH The government only buys software that's made in America. LEO First, foreign countries would retaliate against us. Second, we buy the lowest-cost goods or we burn taxpayers' money. JOSH So, we help a few taxpayers earn some money. LEO Congress would laugh us out of the room, and it'd cost 15, 20 billion a year. JOSH I'm talking short-term, till the effects of the trade deal kick in. LEO Where's your suit made? JOSH I get this in Georgetown. LEO Where's it made? Josh looks in the pocket. JOSH Mexico. LEO I think those "Made in the USA" labels are sewn in Mexico now. You want to ask Congress and the OMB to do what no self-respecting clothes-horse would do. Let's see if this becomes a thing on the Hill. JOSH I'm talking about the union. LEO The President's right, or Schumpeter, or whoever - sometimes you destroy to create. CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY Bartlet is seated with two people and he is talking. Debbie comes in and speaks to him. BARTLET That's the danger... DEBBIE You're 11:00 is here, Mr. President. BARTLET It's quarter past 12:00. Would you please stop calling it my 11:00? McNally and Harper come in and walk to the President's desk. DEBBIE Very well, sir. Your 11:05 is waiting outside. BARTLET Thank you. Anyone has a stopwatch, we can boil some eggs. McNALLY Sir, this is Kate Harper, your new Deputy National Security Advisor. BARTLET Yes, yes. I have your C.V. You're fluent in Arabic. Harper speaks in Arabic. BARTLET Thank you. I always forget the punchline myself. McNALLY My own 11:00 is waiting, so I'll give you two a chance to get acquainted. BARTLET Thank you, Nancy. McNally leaves. BARTLET Four years in Naval Intelligence. You served at our embassy at Ulan Bator. HARPER Yes, Mr. President. BARTLET Ah... yes... So, we're off to Brussels. Nancy may have told you about this French bilateral I'm dreading. They're holding two documented terrorists, won't extradite them because they don't like our sentencing laws. We can't even interrogate bloodless murderers if we don't put the right crease in their linen napkin. HARPER That's one way of looking at it, sir. BARTLET You've got another way. HARPER That's not really my job, Mr. President. BARTLET I'm asking you. HARPER There's a French side and an American side. BARTLET I want your argument. HARPER Officially, I don't have an argument. BARTLET Yet we're having one right now. HARPER Well, sir... I guess what I would say is that France has a body of law and a constitution and it's wrong to trample on either, let alone the extradition process. Bartlet stands and walks to the door. HARPER They see it as imperialism and you do it at the risk of shredding and already fragile relationship. Officially, however... BARTLET Debbie, would you bring in my 11:03, whatever the hell it was. HARPER Mr. President, I didn't mean... BARTLET Thanks for answering. It was nice meeting you, uh... HARPER Ma'am. I mean, Kate. Two more people come in as Harper leaves. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY Josh is standing at his desk when Ryan comes to the door and knocks. JOSH No. RYAN Okay. Second question. JOSH What? RYAN Trade. These Belgian farmers think it will cost them jobs. JOSH It probably will, 'cause it let's in cheaper produce. They walk out to Donna's cubicle. RYAN But Belgium's for it anyway? JOSH It may be bad for their farmers, but it's good for their economy. RYAN Then who's their economy for? Donna comes up. DONNA Would you please tell Josh...? JOSH Harpo speaks. DONNA Would you please tell Josh that Bill Parsons with the CWA will be here any minute, and his 3:30 with Congressman McKenna's been moved to 3:00? RYAN Your 3:30... JOSH McKenna's lucky if I only keep him waiting a half hour out of spite. RYAN He says Congressman McKenna... DONNA Tell him the Social Office wants to remind him about your going away party. RYAN The Social Secretary'd be mighty... JOSH Tell Ms. Mozzarella that a pack of wild bison on stilts couldn't drag me to your party. RYAN He says that actually he'd be quite tickled - stilts? DONNA Tell him McKenna's got a problem with his beloved trade deal. JOSH Tell her McKenna can take a check, and I can handle a ninth-string Congressman. DONNA Tell him there's something he should know about that meeting and I've got half a mind... JOSH Tell Donna wherever Skippy the translator's going, she should go, too. He walks away. RYAN He says give that dashing, young Ryan a great big... DONNA Harpo can hear, bright boy. Donna walks off. CUT TO: INT. - PRESS AREA - DAY C.J. walks in and the unnamed reporter is waiting for her. BROCK Now can we talk about the Brussels trip? C.J. No, we can't. Carol tells me you're not even pitching the FCC story. BROCK It's a business story. Just 'cause I don't agree with your take on it... C.J. I... I don't have a "take". The FCC looked at how many stations were already owned by the six or seven biggest companies and used that as the number, so nobody'd have to sell anything. BROCK Media monopolies are history. The Internet's exploding. TV's every guy with a camcorder and a digital uplink. C.J. Yet, one company can now own stations in 199 of the nation's 210 markets. One company can influence the election of 98 senators, 382 House members... BROCK It's a free country. He walks away. CUT TO: INT. - PRESS FILING CENTER - CONTINUOUS C.J. walks in and to the reporter's seat. C.J. Until Comcast and ClearChannel puts a big bullhorn in every town square it is. He looks confused. C.J. A free country. BROCK I am not a media critic. C.J. No one in the media is, that's the problem. BROCK You're just trying to knock me off this story about job losses. C.J. That isn't a story, it's an allegation. BROCK Those are white-collar jobs; those new-economy jobs the president brags about creating. C.J. People need to know this FCC thing isn't a victory - it's less, but by the exact amount the companies wanted. BROCK Now you're getting into glass-empty, glass-full territory. C.J. I'm trying to talk about who pours the water. BROCK Then let's talk about it, because when seats come open in your briefing room, I don't see you giving them to the Pennsauken Post, or radio free Botswana, or some guy with a digital uplink. C.J. We're not the ones buying up all the media. BROCK But you're the ones giving them access. How many seats does MertMedia alone have in there? Three? How many companies are represented? Seven? Eight? C.J. You want there to be even fewer? BROCK No. I want to talk about Brussels, and you don't, and I'm on a deadline. He walks away. C.J. sees Ben through the glass. She indicates for him to come with her. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Josh walks into his office. BILL PARSONS, a man, and a woman are standing in front of his desk. He walks to his desk. BILL PARSONS Aren't you going to offer us a drink? JOSH Bill, I don't know how this happened. PARSONS I do. You were so desperate to help a bunch of soft-money-donating CEO's, that you sold us up the Ganges River. JOSH I'm sorry, but I-TOBY got to ask you not to public with this yet. Hard as it seems, we're growing this economy... PARSONS For who? Foreign investors? I mean, what good is the economy without the people in it? JOSH You knew we were for free trade. You knew it when you endorsed us five years ago. PARSONS Yeah, 'cause you told us we might lose old economy jobs - shoe manufacturing - to some dirt-poor country, but if we trained ourselves we'd get better jobs. Now they're being vacuumed out of here, too. JOSH We're going to fight for more job training, more transition assistance... PARSONS I have members on their third and fourth career. What are they supposed to train for now, nuclear physics? Cello playing? Or should they just give up and bag groceries for minimum wage? JOSH Well, that'd still buy them a nice house in Bangalore. He laughs. MAN Well, I've got three kids in college - little late for a transfer, isn't it. JOSH You'll have pension assistance, wage assistance, you name it. MAN I don't want burial insurance. My career isn't over yet, I want to keep my job. WOMAN You owe us that, Mr. Lyman. PARSONS You made that promise five years ago, to my face, in the Wayfarer Hotel. They're going to stay right here till you tell them how you plan to honor it. He turns to leave. JOSH Where are you going? PARSONS To your press room, then to Capitol Hill. One thing about the Communication Workers; we know how to communicate. He leaves. MAN You look a lot better on TV. FADE OUT. END ACT TWO. * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY We see a TV news story about the protests in Brussels in and the job story. We pan to see Josh on the phone. JOSH No, Congressman... yes, of course... Yeah, I understand. Will walks up. WILL What are you doing out here? JOSH Donna's not talking to me, plus there's some soon-to-be-unemployed workers camped out in my office. WILL With tractors, I presume. JOSH Something like that. WILL Think this job story's true? JOSH It's proprietary. WILL Think it'll give the GOP an excuse to squash this trade deal? JOSH With midterms coming up, what do you think? How'd you become a free-trader? WILL America has a quarter of the world's wealth and only two percent of the customers. You have to sell to others. JOSH So, how do you make that case to people who are about to lose their jobs? WILL Ask them how often they go to Wal-Mart to buy cheap cardigans or drill-bits. JOSH Drill-bits? WILL I don't wear cardigans. JOSH Okay. WILL But I like a nice drill-bit. JOSH So it all comes down to cheap drill-bits. WILL Pay more for a drill-bit, you have less to spend on other things. Keep out cheap, foreign drill-bits, that country'll keep out cheap American something else. And that costs us jobs. JOSH Do you ever wonder if we forget the human face of trade, the blood and muscle? WILL You have to go with what grows the economy for everyone. There's blood and muscle in India, too. JOSH Yeah. WILL Hoynes was pretty critical of free trade when you worked for him, wasn't he? JOSH That was mostly politics. WILL So how'd you become a free-trader? JOSH I came to work for one. Did you need something? WILL The Vice President is going to distance himself from this trade deal. You did a great job. It's mostly politics. Will leaves. C.J. [prelap] I'm sorry, I can't do this right now. CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY C.J. is walking to her office followed by Ben. BEN Do what? C.J. This leaving-on-a-jet-plane-can't-bear-to-be-without-you-for-36-hours bit. BEN Okay. C.J. I've got labor leaders frothing at the mouth, making unverified claims, a media conspiracy run amok. I can't need to see you every 37 seconds to achieve completion as a human being. BEN Fine. C.J. Are we clear on this? BEN Sure. C.J. Good. BEN Can I say something? C.J. Go right ahead. BEN You left your passport at my house. You left your wallet at my house. You left your driver's license and all your credit cards at my house. Have a safe flight. He turns to leave. C.J. Are you...? He stops. C.J. There's this nice little place... Can I interest you in a late lunch? CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Josh comes to his office door and sees the people are in still there. He walks away and Larry and Ed come up to him to talk to him. LARRY Josh. Josh. This job story's killing us with the Democrats. JOSH Yeah. ED You think the Speaker's gonna smell blood in the water and spike this thing? Belgian Prime Minister's letting the tractors into the Place de Palais. LARRY 260 tractors, right mext to the ceremony site. ED It's like the Hayseed Olympics out there. LARRY Maybe if we plant a row of corn... JOSH Stop mocking the farmers. They're just trying to scratch out a living. He walks over to Donna's cubicle. JOSH This no-talking thing isn't working for me. DONNA You have a 3:00. I need to brief you, and they won't leave your office. JOSH I know. DONNA I tried to move them. Do you want me to call Secret Service? JOSH No. DONNA I just want to grow in my job, do something meaningful, do more than earn a paycheck until I die. JOSH Why are you saying that? They start walking. DONNA I only have one career, and I want it to matter, or I might as well be a soda jerk. That's why I wanted... JOSH Let's go back to not talking for awhile. Josh walks into the lobby, headed for the Roosevelt Room, where Ryan meets up with him as Donna stops following him. RYAN You missed a great party. JOSH I've got bigger problems than your brass parachute. RYAN Where you going? JOSH To meet Congressman McKenna. RYAN That's funny, actually... JOSH No, it isn't funny. He's a two-bit jerk of a House member. He holds us hostage every time we have a budget or a trade deal, or enough discretionary authority to buy an ice cream cone. I've got the Speaker of the House in ten minutes. I'm gonna smile, bob my head, and stick him in the outbox. They walk into the Roosevelt Room. JOSH Beat it. I've got a meeting. RYAN So do I's the thing. JOSH It's just me and McKenna. RYAN I'm his new Legislative Director. Hi. He figured it'd be leverage enough that he's on two authorizing committees and can stall half your budget priorities. Is this the part where you smile and bob your head? JOSH McKenna has a problem with the Brussels Round? RYAN He just wants a seat on the plane. Ryan sits down. JOSH That question you asked: who's an economy for...? RYAN I don't care about trade. If you taught me anything, it's that my view doesn't matter anyway. You take your boss's position, lock, stock, and sound bite, and you get what you came for. Am I right? BEN [prelap] I think there's too many channels as there is. CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY C.J. and Ben are seated at her couch and they are talking while they eat. BEN [cont.] There's a Cooking Channel, a Botany Channel. I'm waiting for the channel that's devoted to explaining all the other channels. While they are talking, Carol comes in and hands some papers to C.J. C.J. We have to do all the news mags. You know when they passed the laws that limit media ownership? In the 40s, as a response to fascism in Europe. BEN I think I saw that on the Fascism Channel. C.J. Laugh now, channel-boy, soon it'll be the only one left. Leo comes in. C.J. gets up and goes to her desk. BEN Oh, hi. LEO Hi, Leo McGarry. You must be Ben. C.J.'s just nuts about you. C.J. Not really, actually. LEO Why are you hawking this FCC story? I got calls from two network heads. C.J. Of course you have. Their crazy about this ruling, and the people who aren't can't get us on the phone. LEO My problem right now is I'm too easy to get on the phone. I need you to push back on the job losses. Our Caucus is going bananas. C.J. This is a bail-out for MertMedia and all the... LEO The President's against excessive media ownership. IF we think the FCC's not looking out for the little guy, use the Briefing Room to say it. C.J. No one's writing about it. They're all afraid of their media-mogul robber-baron bosses. This is the biggest media conspiracy since William Randolph Hearst was starting wars and crushing filmmakers. LEO We don't run the press. We certainly don't run the FCC. They made the ruling. C.J. Local news is getting trampled. You think corporate media is gonna take on corporate polluters, describe mega-mergers as anything more than a rising stock price? BEN When was the last time you watched local news? I mean, it's just high school ping-pong and weathermen predicting hailstones the size of canned hams. LEO National programming doesn't bother you? BEN I've spent my entire career living in Moosejaw. I get my news off CNN. LEO I like this one. C.J. He's about to become available. Leo leaves. C.J. Had to be MertMedia. BEN MertMedia? C.J. The CEO calls me every few months to offer me a job, corporate communications. I'm due for a call next week. BEN You're not thinking of leaving...? C.J. No, I'm not, but... And I don't know who the FCC is looking out for, but I came here to look out for the little guy. How come only the big guy wants to hire me? She walks out and speaks to Carol. C.J. Call facilities maintenance. Get me two or three workmen. CAROL Workmen? C.J. Carpenters, joiners, quitters, whatever they've got down there. CAROL May I ask you...? C.J. Like a surgeon wields his scalpel, like a barrister wields his... whatever it is he wields, I am using my Briefing Room. CUT TO: INT. - MURAL ROOM - DAY Josh, Haffley, and two other people are seated and talking. JOSH Mr. Speaker, I guess you've seen the story about the job losses. HAFFLEY I have. JOSH I know it's easy to play politics here, but it's just an allegation. This deal will create jobs over time. No one is more concerned about the dislocation than me, so if you've got some issues, we should... HAFFLEY Let's get right to my issues. JOSH Sure. HAFFLEY I have no issues. JOSH Meaning? HAFFLEY Meaning you're home, Josh. JOSH Excuse me? HAFFLEY You're home. I can get you 200, maybe 210 Republican votes. My members love it. You did a fantastic job. JOSH They love it? HAFFLEY Business lobby loves it, tech lobby loves it, unions always complain about trade. JOSH The labor side agreements. HAFFLEY Those things aren't even enforceable. JOSH And if there are white-collar job losses? HAFFLEY We knew there might be. The tech lobby was pressing India to sign the thing. JOSH You knew about that? HAFFLEY Yeah. So did the White House. It's the way things were going anyway. India can have our programming jobs. We'll give them up like we gave up horses and buggies. They can't take away what's great about the American spirit. They stand to leave. JOSH That's... That's it? HAFFLEY Unless I can interest you in running for Congress as a Republican. [pause] I'm kidding. Tell the President to have a great trip. We'll start whipping votes. They leave. CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Josh is standing in Leo's office waiting for Leo. Leo comes in and they begin talking. After Leo comes in, Josh closes the door. LEO So, the Vice President's distancing himself. JOSH Lots of Democrats are. LEO But things went well with the Speaker. JOSH We knew the tech lobby was leaning on India. LEO Lot of lobbies lean on lots of people. JOSH You sent me into that room knowing it might cost the CWA jobs. LEO I sent you into that room to close a deal. No one put you in charge of economic policy. JOSH You didn't tell me 'cause I never would have made the deal. LEO When the President wants a deal, it's your job to close it. We don't sign waivers around here. JOSH We made a promise, me and the President. That's how we got the CWA, the first union to endorse us in the first campaign, which is how we got the AFL-CIO, how we won Iowa, South Dakota. That was my job, too. You think we'd be here without it? LEO You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose. JOSH We promised that union we'd protect their jobs. We said it right to Parsons' face. LEO We said we'd try to look out for them. JOSH I'm not parsing words, that's not what we meant. We have to strip out the copyright provisions. LEO We'll give them transition assistance. JOSH They call it burial insurance. LEO Well, it's all burial insurance, isn't it? JOSH Great. Let's revise those talking points: the case for sweatshop labor, send your nine-year-old to a sneaker factory. Let's just call this whole trade deal "To hell with everything." LEO I sent you in there to close a deal, and you did. Thank you. There are trade-offs. Lose 17,000 here, gain 30,000 there. JOSH They're human beings. You're talking in abstractions. LEO As opposed to what, meeting every factory worker in America? Reviewing every line of computer code and giving little checkmarks. We run a country, we deal in abstractions. JOSH That's easy for you to say. You're not the one who just screwed 3.3 million people. LEO Neither are you. It's the President's agenda. JOSH And it was the President's promise. Which you can't break, I can't break, and I am taking this to him if I have to park a tractor on the South Lawn to do it. Josh turns and leaves and Leo watches him as he goes. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE. * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. - LOBBY - DAY Josh is walking in the lobby. He meets with C.J. and they start talking. C.J. Hey. JOSH Hey. C.J. The CWA said some nasty things about you to the press. JOSH Yeah, I saw. C.J. Tell your pals at JCN to buy some TV stations, shut this down in a hurry. JOSH That's good advice. C.J. Al the work you do with the unions, why'd Leo put you at that negotiating table? JOSH 'Cause I asked him. You spend your whole career trying to get in the room, as if you're the one who can square every circle. And it turns out... C.J. A circle's a circle. JOSH There's our geometry lesson for the day. C.J. See you on the plane. They both turn in opposite directions and leave. CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY Bartlet, Leo, and Fitzwallace are talking. LEO You know what these CODELs are like. We don't need any dime-store diplomats gumming up the peace process. FITZWALLACE There is no peace process. Dime-store diplomats may be better than no diplomats at all. BARTLET We really need a bunch of Congressmen doing back-seat diplomacy? FITZWALLACE You really want me to go all the way to the Middle East with a whistle around my neck, teach Congressmen how to make lanyards? BARTLET I need you to go so we can stay out of trouble. It's the best we can do in that region right now. Come back with some lanyards, I'll toss in a couple of new medals. FITZWALLACE I'll go. Josh comes in. FITZWALLACE You know I'll do anything you ask, Mr. President, but I think we should be more engaged over there, not less. BARTLET Thank you, Fitz. I appreciate it. LEO Thank you so much. BARTLET Would you give us a minute, please? FITZWALLACE Sure. He and Leo go into Leo's office. Bartlet indicates for Josh to sit. BARTLET Leo's told me about the 17,000 jobs. JOSH We have to fix this thing. BARTLET We've talked about creative destruction. JOSH We made a promise. BARTLET It's the natural evolution of capitalism. JOSH This isn't economic theory. Where are our allegiances? To our own people or to Third-World plutocracies? BARTLET There are children in those plutocracies who dig through trash heaps for food who'd kill for a low-wage job. You think if they're not sewing sneakers, they're downing cocktails at a debutante ball? JOSH This is different. These programmers have middle-class jobs. BARTLET Different how? Because we know them? JOSH Different... because you and I looked them in the eye five years ago, at the Wayfarer Hotel. BARTLET I know that we did. And sometimes I wish I could stick to the theory. I don't like seeing our friends get hurt. JOSH Then let's not hurt our friends. BARTLET By doing what? Building a wall around the country so we can keep those jobs a bit longer and never create any new ones? Passing a law that no one can be fired, even if played video games at their desk all day? I'd probably get a spike in the polls for that one. JOSH The CWA's the reason we're in this room. BARTLET And they would prefer a Republican who'd support free trade then gut job training and eviscerate unemployment insurance? JOSH We made a promise. BARTLET There was a man named Canute, one of the great Viking kings of the 11th Century. Wanted his people to be aware of his limitations, so he led them down to the sea and he commanded that the tide roll out. It didn't. Who gave us the notion that Presidents can move the economy like a play-toy? Leo comes back from his office. BARTLET That we can do more than talk it up or smooth over the rough spots? It's a lie. What we really owe that union is the truth. JOSH We run around saying free trade creates high-paying jobs. BARTLET And it will. But I've been trying to tell you it's not that simple. LEO I'll set up a call with Bill Parsons. BARTLET It'd be nice to roll back that tide, wouldn't it? JOSH Yes, Mr. President, it sure would. CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY - OUTSIDE BRIEFING ROOM - DAY C.J. and Carol are walking toward the Briefing Room. C.J. I need you to do me a favor. CAROL What's that? C.J. Start preparing a statement. CAROL Saying what? C.J. Retracting everything I'm about to say to the room. She walks in and into the Briefing Room. C.J. Good afternoon, folks. I have to apologize. The pre-Brussels briefing won't start for a half an hour or so. BROCK What happened in here? C.J. We're making adjustments to your seating assignments. CHRIS Adjustments? C.J. You're all aware of the FCC's new rule on media ownership. As you've reported, they're a big victory for the little guy - if by little, of course, we mean trans-national multi-billion-dollar conglomerates. And in that spirit of runaway populism, the White House Briefing Room will now offer just one seat per corporate owner. They all murmur is disagreement. C.J. One seat for MertMedia, one for GE, one for Disney, Viacomm, News Corps, Clear Channel, Tribune. I guess you'll have to flip a coin to see who gets to sit. BROCK Why are you doing this? C.J. Because if America's choices are going to be restricted, so are yours, and everone's gonna know it. Brock, see if your business desk will lend you a folding chair. I'll see seven of you in half an hour. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DONNA'S CUBICLE - DAY Josh walks up to Donna's desk. DONNA They're still in your office. JOSH Yeah. DONNA What are they doing? JOSH Waiting by the sea. He holds out something for her to take. DONNA What's this? JOSH Your diplomatic passport. DONNA You got me a seat on the... JOSH No. I even had to give mine to McKenna. I'm going on the press plane. DONNA Well, you tried. JOSH You're going on a CODEL to the Middle East with Fitzwallace and Andy. No Presidential hand-holding. You're going to see what's going on and brief me and Toby about it. What I did wrong wasn't breaking my word. It was making a promise I couldn't keep in the first place. He walks into his office. CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Leo is seated at his desk when C.J. comes in. LEO I understand we lost about 39.37% of the seats in the Briefing Room. C.J. I've retracted that and I'm having the government bill me for the carpentry. LEO I know you have a two-by-four to pick with the FCC. C.J. You said I could use the Briefing Room. LEO I did. C.J. Our own press guidance said it was a victory for the little guy when it was an amnesty for monopolists. And when do we stop rewarding it? LEO Can I ask you a question? C.J. Sure. LEO Who's the little guy? I'm serious. Who is he? Do you know of any poor, struggling station owners, some guy wearing hand-me-downs, tying antennas to a pick-up truck? C.J. No. LEO Even the smallest of stations earn tens of millions. Some of them have no news programming at all. We're supposed to upend the market place on principle alone? C.J. People need to know what's going on. They need to know big changes are happening when nobody's looking. LEO That doesn't mean we can stop them. C.J. It doesn't mean we go down without a fight, either. LEO Send me that bill. I'd like to pay for that carpentry myself. C.J. Thanks, but it was worth ever nickel. She leaves. MAN [prelap] I'm educated, I work as hard as anybody... CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY Josh, the man, and the woman are talking. MAN [cont.] ... and this isn't the first time I've lost my job. Where does it end? Am I gonna be working at a video rental counter next to some high-school dropout? Donna comes in. DONNA The staff vans are leaving. JOSH Ten years ago, I worked for this Senate candidate. He had this idea that health care, pensions, even vacation time ought to be portable, that it should follow you from job to job, 'cause everyone was gonna work 15 jobs in a lifetime. Might as well fly in the teeth of it. And we talked him out of it. We told him he was scaring the bejeesus out of people. Who wants to know about 15 jobs? Maybe we should have done that, I don't know. WOMAN What do you know, Mr. Lyman? JOSH We can't save your jobs. We are gonna create more in the long run, but we can't save your jobs. It's the short run we gotta figure out. The world's moving faster, we can't stop it. I wish we could. We are gonna do more to prepare you. We have to. He gets up to leave. The woman stands up and speaks to him. WOMAN Is that a promise? JOSH No, but we're gonna try. He walks away as the man stands up as well. CUT TO: EXT. - WHITE HOUSE - FRONT DOOR - DAY We see Josh getting into one of the vans leaving for the airport. We see him get in and sit down as the van leaves. DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES. FADE TO BLACK. THE END. * * * The West Wing episode 5.19 "Talking Points", original air date 21 April, 2004.