The festive Christmas spirit at the annual White House tree-lighting is dimmed when the President (Martin Sheen) learns that Christian relief workers have been jailed in Islamic northern Sudan while he welcomes his three headstrong daughters — including the returning Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) — and is surprised to learn that his son-in-law (Steven Eckholdt) wants to run for Congress in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, when the licenses of some doctors in Oregon are suspended after they administer drugs in an assisted suicide, Toby (Richard Schiff) tries to keep the administration from being bogged down in a debate — and clashes with Will (Joshua Malina) when he tries to convince the Vice President to address the political hot potato.
THE WEST WING "ABU EL BANAT" WRITTEN BY: DEBORAH CAHN DIRECTED BY: LESLI LINKA GLATTER TEASER FADE IN: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE LOBBY - DAY Several people are decorating the place with Christmas ornaments. In the middle of the lobby is a pretty Christmas tree. A woman, carring three miniature trees, passes by Toby. We follow him, as he looks at the decorators while going through the lobby. He continues to C.J.'S OFFICE. C.J. is inside. While singing, she's kneeling down, stooped, doing something under her large Christmas tree so her butt is in the air, facing Toby. C.J. [singing] Sleigh bells ringing and jing-jing-jingling, ding-ding-ding ding... TOBY What are you doing? C.J. I'm holding up my tree. Isn't it nice? TOBY What are you doing to it? C.J. I'm holding it up. The stand isn't... TOBY They didn't have anything smaller? C.J. Smaller than me is a shrub. I wanted a real tree this year. TOBY Hmm. Toby sits on C.J.'s couch, and flips a page on one of his papers. TOBY This is fine. I just cut some of the naked gloating. C.J. We restarted the government, Toby. There was a showdown at the OK Corral, and we gunned down the Clantons. We're heroes. TOBY And yet self-effacing. CAROL [entering] Excuse me, C.J. C.J. Can we get a bigger stand? CAROL Yeah. Waterville Crier on Two wants a comment. C.J. No comments for anything called the Crier, the Intelligencer or the Breeze. CAROL The DEA just suspended a Waterville doctor's drug license for giving a terminal patient enough narcotics to kill her. C.J. [stands, still holding the tree] That's against the law. It's what the DEA does with their time. CAROL C.J., Waterville's in Oregon. C.J. is shocked, lets go of the tree and runs to the phone. The tree falls straight on Toby's face. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY Debbie, in front of the desk, is having Bartlet sign some papers. Abbey is sitting on the couch sipping coffee. BARTLET All three of our daughters in one place for Christmas. You've never seen that, have you? DEBBIE No, sir. I haven't. BARTLET [to Abbey] She's never seen it. ABBEY Maybe next year. BARTLET What if she quits before then? She's flighty. Debbie laughs. ABBEY They'll all be here tonight. We'll be grateful for that. BARTLET I'm grateful. But Debbie thinks one night isn't a visit so much as a pit stop. CHARLIE [entering] Mr. President. Liz is pulling up. BARTLET Thank you. Charlie and Debbie exit as Bartlet and Abbey get up to leave. ABBEY Let's not dwell on it with the kids. BARTLET I'm not dwelling. I think it's fine. I think we should all spend Christmas at Liz's in-laws. ABBEY We're invited. BARTLET Never again. I still have flashbacks. ABBEY You didn't sit up all night with Jean sewing ducklings on all the stockings? Outside in the HALLWAY, the Bartlets meet Jim, the photographer covering the Tree-Lighting Ceremony. They all walk. JIM Good morning sir, Mrs. Bartlet. BARTLET Good to see you, Jim. ABBEY We're not doing photos now, are we? JIM A couple candids. Nothing serious till the tree lighting. BARTLET You should get a few of the dinner with the family together. I'll be there. ABBEY I know you will. BARTLET I will. ABBEY I just don't think you should crucify Ellie for telling you she might be late. BARTLET How hard could it possibly be? ABBEY When there's a chance you may not make it yourself. BARTLET I'm not asking her to stay a week. It's one meal. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Margaret is across from Leo going over the schedule. The TV is on in the background. MARGARET ...British Embassy on the 15th, DNC chair on the 22nd, the Uphoffs on Christmas eve. LEO DNC's a maybe. Uphoffs are a maybe. MARGARET I think we shouldn't go with maybes on the Christmas parties this year because "maybe" means I RSVP yes, and you cancel ten minutes before it starts, and I have to call and say the honored guest isn't coming, and you remain lovable Leo McGarry, and I'm the dope who couldn't accurately assess the constraints of your schedule. MAN ON T.V. ...in a hostage situation... LEO "Hostages?" Did he just say "hostage?" MARGARET And by New Year's, I'm a pariah. People hexing my muffins in the mess... Margaret stops when Leo picks up the phone. LEO [into phone] Leo McGarry for the Sudan desk please. [to Margaret] Get Josh on this call now. CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - DAY Bartlet and Abbey continue to head to the driveway. BARTLET I don't want to sit next to Doug tonight. I don't want to hear about his kayak. ABBEY Show up in time, you can sit wherever you like. BARTLET Tell Ellie if she's late, she has to sit next to Doug. The Westin family--Doug, Elizabeth, and Gus--just pulled up and got out of their car when Bartlet and Abbey exit. There are hugs and kisses everywhere. BARTLET Lizzie. ABBEY [sees Gus] Oh, there's my guy. BARTLET [to Liz] How are you, kid? ABBEY Hi Doug. DOUG Hi. BARTLET Doug. DOUG Hey, Jed. BARTLET Was there a stowaway in the car? A monster? He picks up Gus and raises him over his head. BARTLET I got him! I got him! Come with me. Everybody heads inside. CUT TO: EXT. PORTICO - DAY Leo exits the Oval Office. C.J. follows him. C.J. Leo, we have a... LEO I saw it. Hostages. C.J. No. The DEA. LEO What's their problem? C.J. We have a hostage situation? The First Family passes by as they head for the residence. Bartlet is carrying Gus. BARTLET You and I have a very serious job to do tonight. LEO Mr. President. Bartlet turns. Everybody else stops walking. GUS You want to see something? [shows Bartlet something on his hand] BARTLET Oh, great! Bartlet goes over to where Leo and C.J. are standing. LEO [quietly] Twelve relief workers in Sudan got thrown in jail. Congressman's on CNN calling them hostages. GUS I have a quarter with New Hampshire on it. BARTLET You sure do. [to C.J.] You talk to State? C.J. I just heard myself. I was... there's a problem at the DEA. BARTLET Hang on. Bartlet turns back to Elizabeth and hands her Gus. BARTLET Five minutes ago, we were having a quiet morning. I got to take a look. I'll catch up with you in a few minutes. We've got all sorts of good stuff planned. ELIZABETH [to Gus] It's okay. We'll see him later. Bartlet heads back to the Oval Office with Leo and C.J. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES. END TEASER * * * ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY From the portico, Bartlet, Leo and C.J. enter. LEO Sudanese authorities say some of them were trying to convert the locals to Christianity, and it's Islamic law in Northern Sudan... BARTLET So they threw the whole lot of them in jail. Toby enters. LEO Sudan desk got a call from Congressman Richter. Two are his constituents. C.J. Sir, did you talk to the DEA yesterday? BARTLET No. Did State tell you about this Richter thing? C.J. shakes her head no, as Josh enters. BARTLET Well, this blew up good and fast, didn't it? JOSH State's treating it like any other foreign arrest. There'll be a consular visit and a trial. Richter isn't satisfied with that. C.J. Sudanese jail. You gotta hope someone back home's making noise. BARTLET Were they proselytizing? JOSH We don't know. Richter says no. He spoke to a junior officer at the Sudan desk, thinks they're blowing it off so he's trying to bump it up the ladder. C.J. "Hostage" is a big word. Particularly at Christmas. BARTLET All right. Let's get him in here. What about the DEA? C.J. The DEA's coming down on a doctor in Oregon for assisting on a suicide. There's no federal jurisdiction. I don't know what they think they're doing. BARTLET What do they say? C.J. They're calling it a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. The narcotic he used is federally controlled. TOBY So's a handgun. JOSH Yeah. TOBY Doesn't turn a shooting into a federal case. JOSH He makes a point. BARTLET We're sure this wasn't an accident? Pay management gone awry? C.J. The doctor's not hiding his intentions. The state of Oregon says it's legal. He was assisting a terminal patient to hasten the end of her suffering. BARTLET It's a living. C.J. Well, yes, in Oregon, it is. BARTLET When's your next briefing? C.J. An hour. I was going to go... TOBY I don't think we comment. It's DOJ's mess. We don't want it. C.J. We don't want a lot of things. TOBY For four years it's been, "The President does not personally support physician assisted suicide but believes it's not a federal issue and should be resolved by the voters." BARTLET State by state. And not by the Drug Enforcement Administration. TOBY We don't jump into the middle of a bar fight and declare our intention not to act. Let the Attorney General handle it. There's a pause. Bartlet looks over at Leo and nods. LEO I'll sit down with the A.G. BARTLET Thanks everybody. LEO Thank you, sir. The staff leaves. Bartlet calls over to Debbie. BARTLET Debbie, where are they? DEBBIE [OS] Blue room, sir. CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS Donna meets C.J. and Josh as they leave the Oval Office. DONNA Oh, good. JOSH Talk to Debbie. We need a sit-down for Congressman Donald Richter today. And get him on the phone. DONNA Doug Westin's in your office. C.J. Liz's Doug? JOSH How come he's not with his in-laws? DONNA The President's introducing Gus to the Three Tenors. "Hallelujah Chorus" in the Blue Room. JOSH Why's a five-year-old want to meet the Three Tenors? DONNA I'm pretty sure he doesn't. C.J. Doug's your friend. JOSH He's a perfectly nice guy. C.J. Speak slowly. You don't want to lose him. They pass by the LOBBY. Josh sees the decorating crew. JOSH Check it out! They're decking the halls. DONNA Five minutes and I'll spring you. They go inside JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA. Josh meets Doug Westin. JOSH Douglas! DOUG Josh. JOSH It's good to see you. DOUG Good to see you. I swiped your paper. JOSH That's government property. I'm gonna have to call the Feds. DOUG Then I better dash. See ya. [playfully attempts to run] JOSH Come on in. They go inside JOSH'S OFFICE. JOSH You guys here for a couple days? DOUG No, just tonight and tomorrow. We're going to my folks for Christmas this year. Tree-lighting seemed like the least we could do. JOSH No Annie? DOUG Swim meet. That and she pierced her eyebrow. Thought we'd keep her off- camera till it healed. JOSH She... on purpose? DOUG Everyday is a new set of challenges. Hey, you tracking Congressional recruitment? That still your area? JOSH Yeah. I mean – yeah. What's...? DOUG New Hampshire, First District. JOSH Ken Campbell. DOUG He's stepping out end of this term. He's got a valve thing. If he doesn't slow down, his heart is just gonna pow – like a balloon. JOSH That's great. I mean not the – But we'll have a good shot at the seat. DOUG I think so. And I think I'm the man to do it. JOSH To what? DOUG I think with a little help from you fine people, I'm gonna be elected to the United States House of Representatives. CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Margaret knocks and enters. MARGARET The Attorney-General. LEO Mm-hmm. Leo stands up. The Attorney-General, ALAN FISK, enters. Margaret exits. LEO Alan. They shake hands. LEO How come I don't hear your daughters performing at the Kennedy Center till two days after? ALAN Between us, she was under a wig behind Aida's second elephant. Leo chuckles. They sit down in front of the desk. LEO This cowboy over at the DEA. You fire him yet? ALAN No. LEO Sooner is better. ALAN I think I've got to back up the DEA on this one. The CSA is... LEO The Controlled Substances Act is about drug trafficking. It was never intended to supplant the states as regulators of medical practice. ALAN He had a license to dispense narcotics for legitimate medical purposes only. LEO The voters of Oregon have declared the termination of life, pain and suffering to be a legitimate medical purpose, and frankly, whether they were right or wrong is none of the DEA's business. Assisted suicide should be... ALAN It's not "assisted" anything. It's murder. LEO Okay. We're done. They stand. LEO You'll be hearing from the President. ALAN The White House interfering with a federal prosecution? You really want to walk that road? LEO You're not a legislative body, Alan. There's only so many times you can pool this before the President... ALAN What? Fires me? LEO I don't want to have this fight. [goes behind his desk] But if we do, I win. ALAN Jed Bartlet's not gonna fire me for standing on principle. He walks to the door and opens it. ALAN Leo. We hear Alan and Margaret outside. ALAN [OS] Have a good day, Margaret. MARGARET [OS] Thank you, Mr. Fisk. You too. Leo sits on his chair. FADE OUT. END ACT ONE * * * ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Toby and C.J. are inside. TOBY Fire him. C.J. The Attorney General? TOBY Fire him. We hired him. LEO We fire him over assisted suicide, it's 16 verses of "Grandma Got Run Over By The Bartlets" now till Easter. C.J. "No comment" is not gonna play. TOBY How about we let the VP be the front man? C.J. Seriously? TOBY We're staring a State of the Union in the face. This is what hijacks the agenda for weeks at a time. [to Leo] This is what we talked about. Toby and Leo exchange strange looks. C.J. What, do you need me to leave the room? LEO Toby's taking first chair on the State of the Union. Not just writing it. C.J. The agenda. That's great. TOBY And if I'm doing it, I'm doing it. This is not on the agenda. LEO Talk to Will. TOBY Thank you. Toby and C.J. walk outside. CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE LOBBY - CONTINUOUS Elizabeth sees C.J. walking to the lobby. ELIZABETH C.J.! C.J. Lizzie B. ELIZABETH Hey. They hug and keep walking. ELIZABETH Hey, listen, you're gonna get a call from an organization called The Hunger Plan. They should be fundraising for the World Food Program and instead they're developing freeze-dried peanut butter and jelly or something. I got lassoed onto the board for two years. I just retired, and I recommended you. C.J. You didn't. ELIZABETH They get a small C-22 grant. It'd be a conflict. Just tell him you wish you wish, but you can't. It'll make him feel good just to know you were interested. C.J. Thanks for the heads up. ELIZABETH We're gonna talk about UNESCO. C.J. You going? ELIZABETH Yeah, and we're gonna talk about a guy named Chris Beck I want you to meet. C.J. He from UNESCO? ELIZABETH Nope. Liz leaves. C.J. turns and passes by Debbie. DEBBIE Did she tell you about the walkthrough at 11:00? C.J. No. Can you maybe handle that? DEBBIE She asked for you. C.J. I've got a meeting. Could you tell her? DEBBIE You can't say no to her, can you? C.J. Not really. DEBBIE I'll see you at 11:00. Debbie walks off. CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Debbie walks in. Charlie is inside. DEBBIE Any word from Ellie? CHARLIE She's running an experiment on viral load reproduction, and she hopes it'll wrap up in time for the thing tonight. DEBBIE No, it's a special dinner. It isn't optional. CHARLIE She's a Bartlet. It's been special everyday since '62. CUT TO: INT. THE MURAL ROOM - DAY Congressman DONALD RICHTER and Under Secretary of State TED BARROW are sitting inside waiting for the President. CONGRESSMAN DONALD RICHTER I spoke to a gal in Khartoum, and then I got a call from some flunky at the Sudan desk. Didn't inspire a great deal of confidence. Bartlet walks in. Richter and Ted stand. BARTLET Congressman, you start saying "hostages," things get a little out of hand. RICHTER Mr. President. Bartlet and Richter shake hands. BARTLET Sit. Hiya, Ted. TED BARROW Mr. President. BARTLET [gestures to the seats] Please. They all sit. RICHTER Proselytizing's punishable by death over there. BARTLET They're not gonna do that. Ted spoke with the families, let them know we're waiting on a report from the consular officer. You gotta let it go through channels. RICHTER We barely have an embassy in Sudan. TED A consular from Cairo flies in whenever we have a problem. He's on the plane. RICHTER There should be a call to the prime minister. TED State deals with thousands of these every year. Like it or not, Americans are subject to the laws of the country that they are in. RICHTER These aren't crack dealers. BARTLET We don't arbitrate. We can't. Not in 193 countries with as many legal systems. RICHTER They didn't break a law. They were stocking a food warehouse. It was looted as soon as they were arrested. Mr. President, these are young people who've taken a couple of years out of their lives to bring food to the poverty-stricken in a civil-war-riddled nation. Of course, they're religious. Someone asks them what it means to be a Christian, they're gonna give an answer. That is not proselytizing. The Secretary of State needs to pick up a phone. TED Sir, as soon as they know it's a Presidential priority, they will hold us up for millions. RICHTER I've got 22 days of Christmas events ahead of me. I'm not sure how to explain to my district that Christians doing charitable works are in a Sudanese jail because we're too cheap to bail them out. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY C.J. is standing in front of the desk talking to someone sitting on the chair. C.J. We're expecting about 6,000 people. We're gonna switch on the lights, then there will be performances by the United States Marine band and the Louisiana Bayou Gospel Choir. And there's gonna be a troop of dancing snowmen. Men, really, dressed as snowmen. Not as scary as it sounds. Though probably deeply humiliating for the men. The camera reveals who she's talking to. Gus is just sitting there staring at her. C.J. No? Snowmen? [pause] Your mom's gonna be right back. And your grandpa will be rolling in here any second now. C.J. looks back at the door and back at Gus. C.J. So what did you think of the Three Tenors? CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - DAY Debbie is leaning on the wall just outside the Mural Room as Bartlet exits the room. They walk. BARTLET Is Dr. McNally in her office? DEBBIE I believe so. How about I send her in right after the tree rehearsal? BARTLET Come again? DEBBIE Liz is concerned that Gus may be overwhelmed with the cameras and the crowd and all. We're gonna practice. BARTLET Flipping a switch? DEBBIE We're gonna show him the platform and the tree and the switch, certainly. BARTLET He'll be fine. Ellie can show him. She did it one year in New Hampshire. Ellie's not here yet? DEBBIE A topic for another time. BARTLET All right. Push the rehearsal. I need to stop at Nancy McNally's. Is Ellie even coming? DEBBIE She's working on it. BARTLET One would never know that the leaders of powerful nations respond to my call on a moment's notice. DEBBIE Not at first glance, sir, no. Bartlet continues on walking. Debbie turns back. CUT TO: INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - DAY Toby goes into Will's office. Will is at his desk writing something. TOBY Russell's speaking to the American Nursing Association this week? WILL Yeah. TOBY We'd like him to do a speech insert. Toby drops off papers on Will's desk and turns back. WILL In his first big health care speech? TOBY It's gonna come up in Q&A anyway. Might as well nip it in the bud. Toby goes back to his office. Will follows him. WILL By making his first speech to the medical community about assisted suicide? Are you kidding? Are you people trying to kill me? TOBY We're trying to make sure you can move to Oregon and kill yourself. WILL He needs to be talking about the insurance gap and prescription drugs. TOBY We need to place some distance between the President and... WILL You know how this thing polls? 48% of Americans consider it a right. 46% of Americans consider it morally reprehensible. It is the definition of a lose-lose issue. TOBY The AG's back-dooring this on a technicality. We're gonna wait till the courts knock it down, which they will. Meanwhile, he's usurping the policy prerogative of the President. We need somebody to remind the public it wasn't our decision. WILL You guys are asking me to groom a backwater congressman. I can't do that... TOBY We didn't ask you to groom Russell for a Presidential run. He asked you. WILL He was chosen by the President. TOBY He was chosen by the Republicans! WILL Look, I've got a budget to finalize. TOBY I'm sorry. I'm sure you're gonna pull a great Eliza Doolittle here. WILL Your confidence is touching. TOBY Meanwhile, if the Vice President would be so kind, in between campaign stops, could he do the President this favor? WILL I'll run it by him. [goes back to his office] CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Josh walks with Donna as he heads for Leo's office. DONNA It's important that you look at the catalogues before the end of the day. JOSH That's three weeks away. DONNA Hannukah's two. JOSH There's plenty of time. DONNA Who's in charge of shopping? JOSH You are. DONNA There are pages turned down with Post-its to tell you which of your relatives the gifts are for. If you're happy with the choices you should initial at the X. If you're not happy with the choices, you should remember how this goes when you try to do this yourself. JOSH I like the polar fleece stuff. DONNA Who's in charge of shopping? JOSH You are. Zoey passes by. ZOEY Hey. JOSH Hey. DONNA Hi! JOSH Zoey. Wow! You look fantastic. ZOEY Thanks. DONNA Gosh, it's great to see you back. ZOEY I'ts good to be back. JOSH Wow, she looks great. Donna leaves. Josh goes into LEO'S OFFICE. JOSH Leo. LEO Yeah. JOSH You got a second? LEO Yeah. JOSH Am I still on congressional recruitment, or is Angela gonna take that? LEO How about you two sit like grown-ups, and you figure it out for yourselves? JOSH I don't care. It's just starting, so... LEO You getting calls already? JOSH Yeah. A nice young guy from New Hampshire wants to run for Campbell's seat. Married to the boss's daughter. Leo reacts negatively. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY Bartlet, Leo and Josh are sitting down talking. BARTLET From New Hampshire? The U.S. Congress, not the state legislature? JOSH No. BARTLET And he wants an endorsement? JOSH I spoke to the county chair and the D triple C. They have some doubts. LEO Did you know about this thing with Lanthorp Biotech? BARTLET They were in a nose dive. I know he tried to pull them out. JOSH He didn't. LEO DNC wants to run Mitch Clark. He's been on the state legislature three terms. He's got ideas. He's a deal-maker. This has been a Republican seat a couple of terms. The party doesn't want to risk it with anybody untried. JOSH Even with our endorsement, he may not make it to the primary. LEO Then everybody looks like an idiot. BARTLET I'll talk to him. JOSH I can talk to him, sir. BARTLET No, I'll do it. LEO Mr. President, he went to Josh, asked his opinion. You got to respect that. Let Josh take care of it. CUT TO: INT. THE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - DAY Toby, carrying his newspaper, walks in and heads to his office. Will stops him from another door. WILL I, uh... I spoke to the Vice President about the assisted suicide thing. He's not comfortable getting into it. Will turns to his office. Toby follows. TOBY I asked you what? Ten minutes ago? WILL I'm a bigwig over there. I don't have to make an appointment. TOBY You found him, brought it up, carefully considered, then decided I can go stuff it? WILL He agreed with my analysis that death plays poorly at Christmas. [sits] TOBY Did you even take it to him? Or just walk around the block and come back with your 'no'? WILL I sent your case. TOBY [nods] I should've sent a card. WILL I'm not your man in the VP's office, Toby. It can't work like that. TOBY I know who you are. You're the guy we pulled out of Botox Babylon out there, brought to work for the President. WILL I work for somebody else now. I don't want this to be acrimonious. TOBY No, you certainly don't. Toby turns and walks out. TOBY The President will take it to the Vice President. WILL Okay. Toby goes into his office and slams the newspaper on his desk. FADE OUT. END ACT TWO * * * ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY On the table is a nice candy-like ornamental rendition of the White House. Next to it is a sleigh decoration with a nice arrangement of reindeer. On the end, Toby looks over some papers. C.J. walks in. C.J. Did you see the clips Carol dropped off? The Jackson Clarion-Ledger says, "Attorney General Cracks Down On Doc Peddling Death." TOBY Catchy. C.J. Nobody but the locals in Oregon had picked it up yet, except the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. TOBY Jackson, Mississippi? C.J. Home of the steamboat, the mud pie, and Attorney General Alan Fisk. He's talked about running for governor. TOBY The AG? C.J. [sits] Is the Vice President going to...? TOBY I'm working on it. C.J. 'Cause I've been thinking maybe it's time we get back into this. TOBY We thought it through the first time. C.J. Five years ago. TOBY And Oregon hasn't worked out all the kinks. C.J. The number of suicides among the terminally ill has gone down since they passed it. TOBY A policy of non-intervention... C.J. ...is a little lame when there's a 14th amendment violation in the offing. TOBY We have no Constitutional right to die. Refuse treatment, yeah, but... C.J. The framers never considered the notion of degenerative death, an event which is entirely the creation of modern medicine. We have a right not to reach the end of life in unendurable suffering and agony. TOBY We're not stopping anybody from squirreling away 50 Seconal in a nightstand and washing it down with a bottle of vodka. C.J. In order to down the 50 Seconal, you have to have control of both the muscles in the hand and the muscles of the esophagus. This is an opportunity, and we're dodging it. There's a pause. Toby senses something different. TOBY C.J., how's your dad? C.J. He's in the hospital. I don't know. I don't know... if he knows the difference. Toby watches C.J. stand and exit. CUT TO: INT. RESIDENCE - DAY Doug is going through the luggage looking for something. Josh stops by. DOUG Gus has a glove in here somewhere. I know I packed it. JOSH He's hitting already? DOUG Oh, like a pro. He can't catch to save his life, but he can swing, boy. JOSH That's great. So, New Hampshire, First District. DOUG Yeah. What you got? JOSH You know a guy named Mitchell Clark? DOUG Sure. Voted for him a couple, three times. JOSH The DNC seems to think he's got a chance for Campbell's seat. DOUG Anyone's got a chance. It's a moderate district. It's poachable. JOSH No question. We have a shot, but the party, they're... reticent... DOUG It's a nepotism thing, isn't it? JOSH That could be part of it. DOUG Look, it's gonna come up, and it's gonna pass. I mean if the worst thing they can say about me is that I'm Jed Bartlet's son-in-law. Once the public gets to know me as an individual, it's an entirely different race. JOSH What about state legislature? It's the place to learn. The President started there... DOUG Come on. I run while Jed's in office, I've got a leg up like no two terms, six terms as a state legislature's ever gonna give me. What kind of fool is gonna let a moment like that sail by? JOSH I don't know. Doug finds Gus's baseball glove by the bed. DOUG Here we go. Is that the greatest thing you ever saw? Can't even get my thumb in there. JOSH Yeah. DOUG Look, I really appreciate your concern, I do, but it's gonna be fine. I'm a winner, buddy. I'm gonna win this. CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY Zoey exits the Oval Office and sees Toby. ZOEY Hi, Toby. TOBY Hi. You back to stay? ZOEY Nah. I'm liking New Hampshire. CHARLIE [to Toby] You can go in. TOBY You look, uh... great. ZOEY Thanks. Good to see you, Toby. Toby walks inside the Oval Office. CHARLIE People making a fuss? ZOEY Yeah. CHARLIE You don't look that good. Zoey hits Charlie on the arm. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Bartlet is at his desk. Toby sits on the chair next to it. TOBY I was hoping you could speak to the Vice President. Ask him to do some talking for us on the right-to-die situation. BARTLET Yeah. He said Will brought it up. TOBY You already discussed it? BARTLET That's not gonna work. Leo's hoping the Attorney General will back down. If not, C.J. puts it in the Christmas Eve briefing, restates our position, it's gone by Boxing Day. TOBY We just had a huge victory, and we're looking at a month of Christmas carols, and the official ornament from the State of South Dakota. The press is itching for a story with blood in it... BARTLET The court will stop him. There's no way... TOBY One in five patients requesting aid in dying has MS. One in five. Do you know what the questions sound like? BARTLET I've got a pretty good idea. TOBY "How long does the President think he has before his MS will become debilitating?" "Do the doctors anticipate a speedy decline?" "Does he have a plan?" "Does the First Lady have four glass vials and a syringe in a lock box in the night stand?" BARTLET [beat] She may chicken out. Maybe I'll call you. TOBY That's the conversation, sir. It won't be Controlled Substances Act, or federal overreaching, or anything else. I don't think we're ready to have that conversation with the American public. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Leo walks by and sees Josh by the printer. LEO Hey. Did you get a chance to talk...? JOSH Doug? Yeah. LEO Did he take it okay? JOSH He did, you know. He really did. LEO Good. Leo leaves him, but Josh does a double take and follows Leo. LEO You want to carry my books or something? JOSH I'm not sure he got it. LEO Got what? JOSH The rejection. LEO If he didn't take it personal, all the better. JOSH I think he thinks he's still running. LEO You didn't tell him?! JOSH He took it more like a cautionary tale than an actual... LEO Oh, for the love of God. JOSH He's resilient, which isn't a very bad thing in a candidate. LEO He's gonna show up at dinner, popping champagne corks, and the President's gonna be stuck delivering the news in front of the guy's wife and his mother-in-law. You have to go back and tell him no. JOSH Yeah. LEO In no uncertain terms. JOSH I'm sorry. LEO Draw a picture if you need it. A ballot in a circle with a line through it. We follow Leo inside the OUTER OVAL OFFICE. C.J. is inside with Debbie. C.J. Liz and Gus are running a little behind schedule. Can we push this to four? DEBBIE Uh, do you want to belly dance for the Joint Chiefs, or shall I? [to Leo] Go on in. Leo gives C.J. a look, knocks and enters THE OVAL OFFICE. Bartlet is behind his desk. LEO Everything okay? BARTLET I'm waiting for my daughter and her son to arrive so we can practice the ceremonial flipping of a switch. LEO Right. BARTLET He had a Fisher-Price gizmo hooked to the side of this crib with more cranks and levers than a DC-10, but we're gonna practice with the switch. LEO C.J. says the assisted suicide story's showing up in some Mississippi papers. BARTLET You think Fisk is feeding it to them? I want him in here first thing tomorrow. LEO [gives Bartlet a file] Consular report from Sudan. Holly Gilweit and Katherine Melo, ages 20 and 23 respectively, had a grand total of 18 Bibles and a video on the lives of the Apostles. BARTLET [reading] The NGO know about this? LEO They never identified themselves as evangelists. Never mentioned religion. BARTLET So they're undercover agents? LEO Spies for Christ, yeah. BARTLET 18 Bibles. They couldn't have just talked about loving, kindness and good will towards men? I just had Berryhill call the prime minister of Sudan and issue a stern reprimand for behavior that I likened to street gangs and petty thieves. We need to issue an apology. LEO We can't. Ten other relief workers who weren't distributing anything other than wheat and sorghum are in jail. We've got to stick with our denial. BARTLET But they know what's going on. LEO And we know. That's where the money comes in. Nancy's waiting downstairs. BARTLET Debbie? [to Leo] 20 and 23? LEO Girls. BARTLET Toby asked me today if I have a plan for my death. Liz has never asked. Zoey. I understand Ellie asked her mother once, but I'm not supposed to know about it. I get Toby. Debbie knocks and walks in. BARTLET Are we expecting Liz and Gus? DEBBIE Oh, they're running late. There's a disagreement about a bath. BARTLET Nancy McNally is waiting, and she's already had her bath. DEBBIE I'll tell Liz. Debbie walks over to have Bartlet sign some papers. BARTLET [to Leo] Josh talk to Doug yet? LEO They spoke. He didn't seem to follow. Josh is gonna try again. BARTLET He didn't follow? LEO Josh wasn't clear. BARTLET What's not to follow? LEO It's hard to say. Thank you, Mr. President. Leo exits. Bartlet and Debbie begin to walk out to the HALLWAY. BARTLET 3.2 billion men in the world. She picks him. DEBBIE I hear he had a great pitching arm. BARTLET When he was 19, sure. She dumped a Rhodes scholar for this guy. Zoey left Charlie for the Frog. Ellie and the guitar player with the purple van. My children choose morons. Every one. DEBBIE They say daughters look for their fathers. BARTLET You know, 15 years ago, we took a trip to Egypt, all five of us, saw the pyramids and Luxor, then headed up into the Sinai. We had a guide, a Bedouin man, who called me "Abu el Banat." Whenever we'd meet another Bedouin, he'd introduce me as "Abu el Banat." The Bedouin would laugh and laugh and then offer me a cup of tea. And I'd go and pay them for the tea, and they wouldn't let me. "Abu el Banat" means "father of daughters." They thought the tea was the least they could do. Debbie gives him some papers and they part ways. BARTLET Thanks. FADE OUT. END ACT THREE * * * ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT The T.V.s in the offices are showing the Tree Lighting Ceremony, where "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is playing. We follow Charlie when he goes inside the Oval Office. Bartlet and C.J. are waiting by the portico door. C.J. Does he know we've heard "The Twelve Days of Christmas" twice? BARTLET What did Liz say? CHARLIE She said we should've rehearsed. BARTLET I should go up there. C.J. 7,000 people standing in the cold, sir, you have to go turn on the lights. Zoey walks in with Agent Len. BARTLET Any movement? ZOEY There's a lot of noise. Somebody's in a time out. BARTLET Gus or Doug? ZOEY I'll go. You and me. BARTLET [to Zoey's agent] Len, this gonna be okay? LEN Yes, sir. BARTLET [to Zoey] It's cold out there. You got a coat? CHARLIE Zoey. Charlie takes off his coat and puts it over Zoey. ZOEY You're a prince. BARTLET Here we go. They all exit to the PORTICO. LEN We're moving Eagle and Bookbag. Replacing Eagle and Tonka with Eagle and Bookbag. Unit six and nine assist exit. Uniform to the front for a possible surge. C.J. [to Charlie] She's good. Bartlet, Zoey, C.J., Charlie and the agents keep walking. We stop and watch them on T.V. through the door by Debbie's desk. REPORTER [on T.V.] ...as President Bartlet and daugther Zoey walk to the podium. The White House and the nation prepare to officially celebrate the holiday season with the lighting of the Christmas tree here at the grounds of The White House. The tradition is carried on... CUT TO: INT. WILL'S OFFICE - NIGHT Three men are working on boxing and packing everything inside. MOVER Boxes for all this, and that... A dolly for the desk. WILL [enters] Hi, what are you doing? MOVER This you? WILL Yeah. MOVER We're moving you to your new place across the street. WILL I don't have a new place. MOVER [shows him the clipboard] Will Bailey. OEOB. Will sees Toby go inside his office through the window. He shakes his head and signs the paper. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT Doug shows up at the door. DOUG Donna said you were looking for me. JOSH Yeah. How'd it go with the tree? DOUG The lights are on. Let's, let's leave it at that. [sits] JOSH Okay, um... the conversation we had earlier. I think I wasn't clear. DOUG This is awkward, for all of you, I know that, but I don't want you to feel like you... JOSH We're asking you not to run. DOUG Who's we? JOSH The DNC. The White House. DOUG The President? JOSH If you want to go forward on your own, the White House can't endorse you. DOUG Wow. [chuckles] Wow. JOSH The New Hampshire House is a great place to get some experience. Build a network... DOUG I have a network. I've been working R&D in the New Hampshire tech corridor for 15 years. I got the CEO of the Diginet and the CFO of Gamsey-McGrath ready to join my finance committee. I got the guy who ran your boss's New Hampshire primary finding me a campaign manager and I just spent five hours last Sunday in a duck blind with the editor of the Manchester Union-Leader. I'm running for Congress. JOSH Hal Collins is... You met with Hal? DOUG There's a lot of fun to be had with the "there's nobody good enough for the President's daughter" stuff, but I'm not actually an idiot. JOSH That's... DOUG I'm gonna have to dash. I'm late for dinner, but I appreciate your time, Josh. I really do. JOSH Any time. DOUG Yeah. [leaves] CUT TO: INT. THE DINING ROOM - NIGHT Jed, Abbey, Liz and Zoey are waiting for Doug and Ellie to arrive so they could start eating dinner. The stewards are serving wine. BARTLET He shouldn't be upset. He'll light the tree next year. ABBEY He's just wound up. BARTLET He's not eating? ELIZABETH It's eight o'clock. He goes to sleep at eight. He eats at five. BARTLET Why didn't we eat earlier? ABBEY You're a bright guy, and that's a stupid question. ZOEY Where's Doug? ELIZABETH I think he's making sure Gus is down. BARTLET Isn't there some kind of person...? ELIZABETH A nanny is not a substitute for a parent. BARTLET I thought that's exactly what a nanny was. ZOEY She has a strange chin. ABBEY No, she doesn't. ZOEY Well, she kind of has no chin. ELIZABETH She's Swedish. ZOEY Yeah, most Swedes have chins. BARTLET Would you like to call him up and tell him we're waiting, and he can leave the child in the confident care of the chinless Swede? ABBEY We can give it ten more minutes. ELIZABETH Is Ellie...? BARTLET Apparently not. ABBEY Can we give it ten more minutes? Doug walks in. ABBEY There he is. DOUG I'm sorry. Are we eating already? ZOEY We're waiting. ELIZABETH Is he...? DOUG [sits] He's fine. He's watching a video. ELIZABETH Well, I should... DOUG He's fine. So what's on the menu? ABBEY The menu is absolutely... DOUG Where's Ellie? BARTLET We have yet to determine if medical science can spare Ellie Bartlet for an evening. ABBEY We're giving her a few more minutes. ELIZABETH [to Doug] Did you...? DOUG Mm-hmm. I think I'm gonna grab a drink if that works. [stands] ABBEY Let me call the steward. DOUG No, I'll get it. They put ice in the scotch, and I-I don't really want ice in my scotch today. Which one is the sitting room? Abbey points to her right. DOUG Great. Liz gets the idea and glares at her father. She stands up and follows Doug. ABBEY What was that? Leo knocks at the door and walks in. LEO Good evening, everybody. I apologize. They said they hadn't started serving. ABBEY That's all right. BARTLET Did you want to sit? We have room. LEO Thank you, no. We, um... BARTLET Excuse me. The two stand by the door. LEO Two more physicians' licenses were just suspended. The AG's downstairs. I asked him to come in tomorrow, but he's getting on a plane. BARTLET When's his flight? LEO Two hours. BARTLET [to Abbey and Zoey] Five minutes. Ellie's still not here. I'll beat her back. Bartlet exits with Leo. ABBEY John? The steward, John, approaches. JOHN Yes, ma'am? ABBEY We seem to have lost our quorum. CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT Bartlet walks in from the portico. Alan Fisk is waiting inside. BARTLET Two more doctors? You couldn't wait a year to start campaigning? ALAN Mr. President... BARTLET You don't run for governor from my Cabinet. ALAN You really think a run to the right on a couple of pro-life standards is gonna win me Mississippi? BARTLET "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the states respectively." ALAN How long before there's a lawyer arguing, "We can't limit this to terminal patients? We ought to include the chronically ill? When is it allowing children to make the decision for their parents? BARTLET Yes. When is it allowing the state to decide, not families? We'll just start knocking off the weak and the indigent along with the sick and dying. When does my administration completely deteriorate into the Third Reich? ALAN I'm not suggesting... BARTLET The federal government has no place here. The question is a moral one, an individual one. Grappling with the nature of life and the purview of God, in which the federal government has no... Forget it. Do what you want. The courts are gonna nail you. You're counting on my silence, and you've just lost it. [turns to leave] ALAN Sir, a public debate... BARTLET Yeah, I didn't want to get on T.V. with Oprah and talk about who's gonna cut my meat when the coordination goes, but c'est la vie. The lid's off. You pull this crap one more time, you're fired. Tell Janet Merry Christmas. Bartlet made his point and walks out. CUT TO: INT. THE DINING ROOM - NIGHT Ellie hurriedly walks in and sees nobody but the stewards. JOHN Good evening, Ellie. ELLIE Good evening, John. Is my...? JOHN They'll be right back. ELLIE Okay. JOHN Can I get you something to drink? ELLIE Um, no. I'm fine, thank you. As John walks away, Ellie just sits on her place at the table. CUT TO: INT. RESIDENCE - NIGHT Bartlet walks by the hallway. He stops in front of Elizabeth's room, knocks and enters. Liz is inside, already packing. Bartlet walks in and picks up something Liz has dropped by the foot of the bed. BARTLET There's a guy named Mitch Clark. DNC's been... ELIZABETH Mitchell Clark single-handedly disemboweled managed care reform. He put together the committee, took credit for creating rate stabilization and then sold the whole thing down the river. How do you think he's financing a run? He's got board members from Barnstead Mutual writing check after check. BARTLET The district's splitting right, much more than in my day. ELIZABETH Josh mentioned something about that. Apparently, he was very helpful. BARTLET Elizabeth... ELIZABETH You couldn't give him the courtesy of five minutes? It's one thing to delegate my car loan or Ellie's MCATs to your staff, but my husband? BARTLET He went to Josh. He didn't come to me. If he wanted my advice, or if you did, for that matter... [pause] Doug didn't call Hal Collins. You did. You recruited the finance committee. ELIZABETH Mom made a useful suggestion or two in the early years. BARTLET "The Speaker can convince most people of most things and himself of almost anything." Doug came up with that? ELIZABETH We're a good team. We have different strengths, skills. He has skills you've never even bothered... BARTLET He's a great guy and a fantastic father. You're the politician. Why the hell don't you run? ELIZABETH Because Annie pierced her face. And this one can't catch, or bathe. BARTLET You can handle it. ELIZABETH You can't. Forgive me, Ms. Steinem and Ms. Friedan, you cannot do it all. BARTLET Your mother did. ELIZABETH No, Daddy. She didn't. BARTLET There's no question we missed things. We all made sacrifices, but Elizabeth, when Annie and Gus watch you walk onto the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives... ELIZABETH I don't want my son to be a part of my entourage. A photo-op is not his idea... [firmly] I don't want it. BARTLET Then why would you let Doug? ELIZABETH Because he's my husband, and he asked me to. CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT Donna walks in. Josh is looking at Donna's gift catalog. DONNA You gonna come watch? There's people singing in the lobby. JOSH Spontaneously? DONNA The choir from the Tree Lighting. Josh puts down the catalog in front of Donna and points at a picture. JOSH Who's that for? Donna looks, but stays silent. JOSH You picked your own gift? DONNA I'm in charge of shopping. JOSH I got your gift. DONNA No, you didn't. Three weeks in advance? JOSH I saw it Thanksgiving. I got it. DONNA No, you didn't. What is it? JOSH I'm not telling you. DONNA I want to know. JOSH Really? It's a gift certificate. Tower Records. 'Cause you're a fan of the music. You get to go on a spree. DONNA That'll be fun. JOSH [stands] So that's why I need to sit with Approps and find some foreign aid money we can reprogram. DONNA What should I tell them it's for? JOSH Bribing a dictator to get illegal missionaries out of Sudan. DONNA Something I can put on a memo. JOSH Reassigning funds from extant authorizations based on new priorities in East Africa. DONNA Do you mind if I go watch the carolers? Josh shakes his head no as Donna heads out. JOSH Donna, it's not a gift certificate. DONNA What is it? JOSH I'm not telling you. DONNA I want to know. JOSH Socks. DONNA Stop it. JOSH I'm not telling you. Live with the pain. Donna walks outside with a big smile on her face. CUT TO: INT. THE DINING ROOM - NIGHT Bartlet is sitting down eating fruit when Abbey walks in. ABBEY You didn't want to wait for dinner? BARTLET I'm waiting. There's a fruit bowl. Turns out the fruit's real. ABBEY Ellie and Zoey went down to watch the carolers. We didn't know how long you'd be. BARTLET Ellie's here? That's nice. She enjoying her stay? ABBEY Did you talk to Liz? BARTLET I'm not sure we're gonna see her for dinner. It's okay. I got a picture in my wallet of the three girls together from Acadia in '96. ABBEY [sits] It's Doug's fight. Why does she have to get in the middle? BARTLET It's bigger than Doug. ABBEY What is it about those ice skates we never bought her? BARTLET That and the cauliflower incident. ABBEY We didn't beat them. BARTLET There's still time. Shame about Gus and the tree. ABBEY You really didn't think he was gonna march... BARTLET I did. He would have had fun. ABBEY He thought he was gonna be alone, with you. He didn't know what all those other people were doing there. BARTLET Oh, yeah. Last Christmas, Ellie wasn't around. The year before was Tennessee and the calls to Belarus. I can't remember when it was just the five of us and weather and everybody in their slippers. ABBEY We don't do that. BARTLET We did. ABBEY I was on call three straight Christmas Eves when Ellie was little. We've never been Currier and Ives. BARTLET I'm putting together a panel on assisted suicide. If you got any names, medical ethicists. ABBEY Your position has changed? BARTLET [shakes his head no] Uh-uh... No syringe in the nightstand. It'll get ugly and that's that... You gonna be there? ABBEY Yeah. [stands to leave] BARTLET Abbey. Abbey stops and kisses Jed on the forehead. ABBEY Gus is still up. Go say good night. CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE LOBBY - NIGHT Elizabeth joins her sisters Ellie and Zoey as they watch the choir sing in front of the Christmas tree. CHOIR What child is this, who laid to rest On Mary's lap, is sleeping Whom angels greet, with anthems sweet While shepherds watch are keeping This, this is Christ the king Whom shepherds guard, and angels sing Haste, haste, to bring him laud The Babe, the Son of Mary... CUT TO: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - NIGHT C.J. is by her desk, talking on the phone. C.J. He's not a fan of turkey. I was told he didn't eat any of it... Yes. Talmidge Cregg. The other night nurse... Right. We spoke the day after Thanksgiving... It's fine. I just thought maybe I could send a ham... No, I'm not asking the kitchen to do it. I'm saying It's three weeks away. They vacuum pack it. If I could just send it to you, and you could see that they give it to him instead of... No, this is... I'm... This is C.J. I'm-I'm his daughter. CUT TO: EXT. PORTICO - NIGHT Hand in hand, Jed Bartlet and his grandson, Gus, walk by the portico. They continue on in the White House grounds through the snow until they reach and stop in front of the light switch of the already lit White House Christmas Tree. BARTLET Ready? GUS Yeah. BARTLET Okay. Bartlet lets Gus flip the switch back and forth. We see them below as we follow the camera up the Christmas tree, its lights going on and off. We stop in front of the star on top, and it stays lit. DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES. FADE TO BLACK. THE END. * * * The West Wing and its characters are a property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Productions, Warner Brothers Television and NBC. Absolutely no copyright infringement is intended. Episode 5-09 – "Abu el Banat" Original Air Date: December 3, 2003 Transcript by: Giorgio December 5, 2003