Season 6 – Episode 19 – “Ninety Miles Away”

Episode Summary:

When speculations fly surrounding the nexus between communist Cuba and the democratic United States, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is propelled into a dubious conundrum — whether to continue secret talks with Cuba’s ailing dictator and lift an antiquated embargo or to yield to bipartisan political fallout and reaffirm 40-year-old sanctions. Meanwhile, Leo (John Spencer) and Kate (Mary McCormack) learn that they have more in common than politics when a distant memory of corrupted elections and barroom antics reveal a more intimate connection.

Script:

Previously on The West Wing: – What are you doing? – Excuse me? We don’t push agendas here.
I don’t believe I am.
I was in a lockdown for 77 hours once.
– Where was that? – Overseas.
Okay.
I get it.
CIA.
I could look you up.
I have code word clearance.
Not this code, you don’t.
We have the ability to effect more change in a day at the White House than we have in a lifetime once we walk out these doors.
What do you wanna do with them? – Leo, you know what time it is? – Good morning, Mr.
President.
I’ll be the judge of that.
It’s a little after 5 a.
m.
-5: 13, to be precise.
– It wasn’t my favorite thing, calling you.
– Yeah, I had to run the gauntlet upstairs.
– That can be special.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.
But those that will not break, it kills.
It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.
” When he was good, he was very, very good, and when he was bad, he was Hemingway was a monster.
He hated his mother treated four wives miserably, trashed his friends, grew paranoid had breakdowns.
Like his father, killed himself.
Well, aside from all that, why are you harassing me at 5: 13 a.
m.
? I’ve been on the phone.
There’s a rumor about Castro.
– There’s always rumors about him.
– And at some point, they’ll be true.
We’ve been laying groundwork and making progress.
Slow, granted.
– A year.
Who’s counting? – If the talks we’ve cobbled together with Cuba blow up, and this number reaches zero, and we’ve got nothing – to show for it – For this, you’re reading Hemingway? – It’s been 10 years.
– I remember.
In 30 days, you read the complete works of.
It was hot.
It was dry.
I had time on my hands.
Changed my life.
Well – not Hemingway, exactly.
– Sierra Tucson can do that.
Sir.
I’ve got an idea.
– Charlie, have you seen Leo? – He’s gone.
– Gone? – I saw him packing up a few hours ago.
– That would be night.
– Yeah, it was still dark out.
Se�or McGarry, you made it successfully.
How was your trip? The boat ride wasn’t a lot of fun.
The weather, it’s been bad.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Please, enter la finca de Se�or Ernesto Hemingway.
Mr.
President? -7:53.
– It’s 7:49.
It’s 7:53, and I had 7:53.
It doesn’t reflect kindly to what looks nothing – so much like trying to welsh on a bet.
– You requested the EPA’s ozone standard report.
Leo had it, but We’ve been expecting you.
I had 7:53, and Debbie’s watch stopped.
A small wager about how long it’d take before someone came – to ask where Leo might be.
– I don’t understand.
Who knew he was such a Hemingway fan that he’d go and visit his house? The one in Idaho or the one with the six-toe cats in Key West? Good question, Charles Young.
You know, I forgot to ask.
You admire Ernesto? Very much.
His writing.
The best of it.
– The bug people are coming today.
– Where’s, “Good morning,” coffee, eggs? There may be termites in the White House.
– Hold the eggs.
– Two companies wanna do tests.
There could be some kind of ant also.
Carpenter ant.
There’s fear it’s related to the outbreak of the woolly adelgid.
The woolly what? They’re attacking hemlocks in the Smoky Mountains and Virginia.
– They’re closing in.
– You’re making this up.
You gave me the briefing book.
The Roosevelt or Mural Room? – Are they coming here to talk? – They might munch around.
Munch? Just keep them far away from me, thank you.
– They handle a large constituency.
– A small constituency.
Well, size doesn’t count.
Changing the subject, any word from Leo? – Still in Hemingway-ville, far as I know.
– You know he read Hemingway? History, books on fishing, thrillers, Graham Greene, Charles McCarry.
– You never saw him reading Hemingway? – Can’t say I did.
He is 79 years old, so it could be true.
– Where’d the report come from? – Miami.
Well, that’s reliable.
C.
J.
, a report’s come in the last hour that Fidel Castro’s seriously ill.
– Has it been verified? – We have nothing firm yet.
– It’s from Miami.
– It could be accurate or wishful thinking.
There’s a lot of Chicken Little there, or it could be a cover for something.
There’s a history of assassination attempts, psyops forays, invasion plans.
I thought that had stopped.
– The CIA did.
We’re talking years ago.
– It wasn’t that long ago.
– How long to nail down the information? – A rabid Cuban-American community could be involved.
Old zealots, young hotheads and a ton of agencies.
– FBI, DEA, NSA, NIA, INS – Which doesn’t answer my question.
We may never get a straight answer.
Miami, South Florida, it’s Chinatown.
I don’t care.
Pin it down.
By the way, I haven’t collected my winnings yet.
Excuse me, I think that would be my winnings.
Sir, there’s a rumor about Castro.
– Pull up the drawbridge for a minute.
– I’ll sound the trumpets alert the gatekeeper, get the federal government to attach your wages.
Believe me, they already do.
Castro’s always dying.
He’s dying from hypochondria, or the exiles are trying to kill him or the CIA’s trying to kill him.
He collapsed a few years ago.
Same thing endless rumors.
Then he reappears in fresh fatigues, trimmed beard and launches into a speech of such length and intensity it would’ve put away William Jennings Bryan.
NSA seems to think even if it is a false alarm, it may be significant.
That’s kind of what Leo said.
Why do I feel that there’s something going on with Leo besides Ernest Hemingway? My apologies, C.
J.
, but before you were chief of staff we began secret exploratory meetings in Canada with representatives – of the Cuban government.
– Leo’s gone to Canada? Actually, no.
Cuba.
With, perhaps, a thermometer and a stethoscope.
– And an offer, a new deal.
– And what does he say? – I’m waiting to find out.
– Is it your plan to tell the rest of us who try and help you two run this place? One night in 1961, shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco President John F.
Kennedy sent Pierre Salinger out on a mission.
“Come back with 1000 Cuban cigars by morning.
” Petit Upmanns is what the president smoked, and before 8 a.
m the following morning, Salinger had managed to corral 1200 of them.
JFK smiled, thanked him, lit one up.
Then he opened his desk drawer, pulled out a long piece of paper and signed it.
It was a decree banning all Cuban products from the United States.
And ever since then, we’ve had an embargo against that mosquito of an island 90 miles away, which has never worked while long before, we threw out our anachronistic policies towards Russia and China that are thousands of miles away and far more complex.
If it becomes public, the reaction in the Cuban-American community – and on the right will be harsh.
– If the Cubans make accommodations – before that – The Florida primaries are coming.
– If this comes out – If it does, we’ll bring out shovels and bury the Democratic candidates in that little fiesta.
You sure the country’s ready for this? Who knows who’s gonna be sitting here next? Who knows what will happen after Castro? All I know for sure is there’s a moment here.
Before I’m gone and he’s gone I am not gonna let it pass.
Oh, what a beautiful morning.
Oh, what a beautiful day.
– You wanted to see me? – That is highly improbable.
Been here three weeks.
Bring me in, coach.
– All right.
Know Senator Rafe Framhagen? – I don’t like this already.
He called the president, Leo, and then me.
Guess what that means.
None of you wanted to talk to him, which leaves me.
– See? You do know the senator.
– What’s not to know? Brilliant, bilious, impossible, fires staffers for putting – paper clips backwards on briefs.
– Which way is backwards? – And that one other thing.
– I heard.
Practically day and night.
A wooden leg.
Passes out in his car, they say.
There you are, your assignment.
Godspeed and I’chaim.
Oh, yeah, you got all the indications, all right.
– Indications of what? – Subterranean termites.
You know, these fellas outnumber us a thousand to one.
Pile all them up and all us up, 10 times the weight of all the folks in the world.
Probably swarmed in through a crack I saw in the foundation.
– There was damage under a window.
– Swarmed? What window? – The one near that weird round room.
– The Oval Office? People appeared from every which way.
Never seen such a thing.
– May be some evidence here.
– Hey, that’s a 200-year-old mural.
Oh, yeah.
– How many rooms you got here? – One hundred and thirty-five.
– I better start.
This may take a while.
– What do you plan to do? Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System should do it.
– What does it involve? – Dig holes, install stations drop in a few grams of Recruit II and wait.
Okay, hold on one second.
I’m coming with you.
Mr.
Senator, Cliff Calley’s here.
I’ve got a copy of his travel itinerary.
The senator will see you now.
– Thanks for taking care of that.
– You got it.
Yeah, come on in, son.
What are you drinking? Diet Coke will be fine.
Diet Coke.
No, that’s a Georgia drink.
In Florida, we drink orange juice.
Fresh.
Shipped up every week.
Vitamin C.
We can inject it with something if you like.
– So they sent you.
– I have that privilege, senator.
I remember you.
Yeah, we breed lawyers around here like minks.
Except we can’t wear you in the wintertime.
Well, here’s Linda Lee.
Do me a favor, darling.
Would you freshen mine up too? That is a sashaying piece of pulchritude, isn’t it? Well, some people say that beauty and brains don’t go together.
Well, I’m talking smart pulchritude around here.
– You know why you’re here? – There’s the water table in the Everglades, the hurricane damage on the Gulf.
They didn’t tell you.
– I’m sorry, sir? – Of course not.
Send ignorance to combat truth, huh? All right.
Now, you go back over there, and you tell those people those people the senator graciously tried to call They didn’t bother to call the senator back.
You tell them that I’ve heard it too, the rumor.
– What rumor? – It’s that Castro thing.
And somebody knowledgeable better come see me right quick.
Back when Leo was chief of staff, I could heckle him a little.
We used to bend our elbows together right in this room.
Down home, back when.
And now he’s gone.
– Probably only that NSA gal, huh? – Gal? – You like repeating things, son? – I’m getting good at it.
You go back a couple of years, get her out of those power suits back into the Sunshine State, that would be some serious pulchritude.
– But she’s a buttoned-up babe now.
– Babe? – Bet she knows what’s going on.
– You mean Kate Harper.
Just a warning shot across the bow.
If some heroic new Cuban agenda is being contemplated by the Bartlet administration, it’s gonna backfire.
Now, the House may have that bill that waters down the embargo, but my Cuban-American constituents will just raise bloody hell over that bill with Democrat candidates.
No such bill will see the light of day out of my commerce committee.
Did you get that or do you wanna repeat some of it? C.
J.
, Cliff’s here.
– What’s next? That was fun.
– You saw the senator.
– I’m full of vitamin C.
– Nothing stronger? – I think his juice was spiked.
– What did he want? – I’m not sure.
– You’re not sure? This repeating thing must be contagious.
I assumed it was gonna be a doddery senator who ran out of paper clips but it seemed to be about Fidel Castro.
– You got my attention.
– A rumor about his Health.
Whether he’s alive or dead.
He was wondering if the White House was behind it or up to something.
What is this city, just one big game of telephone? – Anything I should know? – There’s a rumor about his health.
Yeah.
One other odd thing.
He suggested I talk to Kate Harper.
She’s deputy national security advisor.
– I don’t think that’s it.
– Why is that? I can’t exactly put my finger on it.
He indicated something other than that.
More.
Margaret, get me Kate Harper.
Let me guess, then.
Back to the bench for me? This is disgraceful.
I’m actually starting to like you.
She’s gone for the day.
– Toby! – Toby! Does the White House have knowledge about Mr.
Castro’s health? The last time we had firsthand knowledge of Castro’s health was 1959.
We heard he cancelled a rally to denounce the U.
S.
on Malec�n Boulevard and several posters of him have been removed from the capitol.
Well, that could mean he’s dead or the communist government took down posters, planning to replace them with more flattering photos – like six years ago.
– The vice president said he voted for the embargo in 1996 and will continue to support it until this horrific dictatorship is brought to its knees.
– Is he speaking for the White House? – He said that at a campaign rally.
If Castro is not in control, how will the White House react? – We don’t react to hypotheticals.
– Post Castro would we declassify Cuba a terrorist state? Only if they reacted to hypotheticals, which they and I both don’t.
Yeah, you.
Steve.
The CIA issued a report that Cuba has replaced East Asia as the destination for pedophiles and sex tourists.
No, I can’t issue you a visa.
Next question.
Hoynes’ campaign may be collapsing, but Russell says he wouldn’t rule out military intervention to secure a democratic transition in Cuba.
Yeah, they’re campaigning in Florida.
What about Santos? With his surprising victory in California? If you wanna cover the campaign, take your questions to Florida.
– Steve, please.
– Here in Washington – Thank you.
– Senator Framhagen said the worst thing a president can do is send mixed messages to Cuba.
– She’s a blond now.
– I wasn’t gonna come.
And stand up a former CIA compatriot after all these years? It’s a time I’d like to forget.
It was a time of “splendor in the grass, glory in the flower – but we will grieve not ” – What do you want, Andy? We’re not running off the reservation ops anymore.
We’ve changed.
– Second time I’ve heard that today.
– No more dirty tricks no more messing with elections, even for Cabrera.
– Still, our assignment’s the same, Kate.
– You came here to tell me this? No.
I just wanted to warn you guys over there that it’s a big mistake to dig into the Cuban tar pit once again.
– What are you talking about? – Leo McGarry.
– What about him? – Can’t touch down in Cuba at his level.
Whatever the precautions, word will leak out.
Everyone’s on the take or has an agenda or is an agent or a wannabe.
I don’t know anything about it.
– You played that beautifully.
– I played nothing.
Whether you’re lying or covering because you can’t or won’t tell me or you’re telling the truth the one thing we learned there, you can’t beat history.
The Bartlet administration can’t pull this off.
It’s not gonna work.
The president will be hung out to dry.
C.
J.
, why didn’t anyone tell me? – Excuse me? – I’m the deputy NSA and I don’t know Leo McGarry’s in Cuba? Yeah.
How did you find out? It’s 90 miles away.
It’s like driving to Baltimore.
– There’s 3.
5 million Cuban-Americans – Do you know Senator Framhagen? Florida.
He is Florida.
I knew him when I was stationed there in ’95.
It was my first posting.
Why would he say to ask you about Castro’s health? I don’t know.
Maybe because he assumed I’d know about Leo’s trip.
– How close is your source? – Very.
Look, C.
J.
, we don’t wanna get stuck in the muck down there again.
Hey, look who’s back.
She caught on, Leo.
I had to spill the beans.
You talked to him? How was he? He’s alive, and I think he might finally be ready to deal and he can talk and talk.
He agrees on the need for further private unpublicized discussions bilaterally.
The man’s indefatigable.
No wonder he’s held sway for coming on 50 years.
Still smoking cigars.
I’m not sure he’s ready to fight for justice and the American way.
I am optimistic, but we’ve been down this road before.
– I don’t wanna fail again.
– It’s a beginning, an opening.
Just thank God he didn’t ask about baseball.
What he and I both think about it could’ve blown the whole thing.
He saw you pitch at the Orioles game.
He had pointers.
– I’m sure.
– My fear is there seem to be rumors more rumors, and rumors within rumors.
With Cuba, everyone seems to have secrets, and they never stay that way.
Yeah, you’re right.
We don’t need to paint this guy as a hero.
It’s time to deal with him.
Let’s put together a fail-safe response on how and what to announce about Castro’s health about Leo’s trip, then sound out public and congressional reaction and the candidates, what to do about its impact on the primaries and the general election and Cuba’s response.
– How soon? – How about the end of the day? – Are they here yet? – They’re in your office.
– Can you get me Kate Harper’s file? – I can’t.
– Why not? – That’s top-secret, above my level.
– What do we have to do? – Formal letter of request, signed by you.
Write it.
Forge my signature.
You can do the president’s.
But his is simple, just a sweeping garland formation.
Yours – Mine is what? – Angular aggressive.
I mean, your signature.
See the baseline, the unevenly distributed pressure some countermovement to the natural flow? – Which means? – You’re concealing something.
What, are you a counterfeiter, a handwriting analyst? My great uncle was, after the Civil War.
He was a dashing man with a mustache and one arm By now, we could have written it, and I could have signed it.
Just go, do it.
How’s it going? Give me a progress report.
Cliff? There’s an opportunity to use the rumors of Castro’s health as deflection.
Keep them coming.
It’s been a Marx Brothers comedy anyway his illnesses and his 29 doctors who claim he’ll live forever.
Yeah, I’m not sure how long that will fly.
There’s support in the House to curb the embargo from blue and red states Midwestern Republicans ready to jettison the trade part.
Cuba’s an economic disaster area.
– It needs American grain, meat – Can you believe this guy Cabrera? Introducing the vice president.
Congressman.
Seventh, eighth term.
Once ran an ad standing next to a picture of himself with the caption: – “Convicted Felon.
” – Thanks for the lesson in local color.
Keeps winning every two years, saying the same thing.
Then he gets here, doesn’t do or say a damn thing.
Did you call Josh and Donna? I wanna take the temperature in the campaigns.
Somebody should make this son of a bitch obsolete.
Vice President Bob Russell, front-runner of the Democratic presidential – Has the exterminator been here? – There was a man yesterday.
The Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System? – Matter of fact, yes.
– We don’t wanna quarrel – with another company’s product – It’s not why we’re here.
We can talk about the individual species like RIFA.
– R-I-F-A? – Red imported fire ant.
We’re members of IFAHI to thwart the spread of RIFA.
We have charts to show you of the spread of the cinch bug the black-legged tick, the viral-spreading mosquito and this very year’s infestation by the Mormon cricket.
Here.
We’re entomologists.
While some control is necessary, these others lost sight of how insects help preserve diversity of life and are essential to the ecological web.
Insects can spread disease, but they help the study of how diseases are spread.
The newest discovery is they can play a crucial part in learning – about our own history.
– Like this great White House.
Think Abigail Adams and the War of 1812, the burning of this building.
Now, I’ll wager we go into these walls, and we will uncover all kinds of information as yet unknown.
That will help in solving crimes.
Forensic entomology, my special field is invaluable in measuring exposure of the victim whether Homo sapiens, Felis catus, Canis familiaris to determine the time of death and even the method of murder.
You’ve gotta make a decision.
Do you simply want to wipe out the infestation or use these little pioneers to journey into our past and unveil secrets for the first time? – You got it? – They checked my clothes patted me down, searched my shoes, my best shoes, practically x-rayed me.
But they didn’t do any personality profile? – That didn’t even occur to me.
– What were they thinking? Here it is.
Kate Harper.
– Close the door? – Yes.
– C.
J.
– Charlie, tell me you have good news.
– I’m not sure.
– Entertain me, enlighten me raise me up to the rooftops, please.
I think this has more to do with the lower depths.
– It’s coming back to me now.
Bugs.
– Rhinotermitidae.
– Is that the guy I saw with the gizmo? – It could be.
– And he found – Rhinotermitidae.
– We’re not tenting the White House.
– No, we’re drilling walls.
There’s a group suggesting we observe them before killing them.
– The ones with the animatronic? – “Insectilatronic.
” They say we can find out things from termites about lumber conditions when the White House was built, burned, rebuilt what presidents smoked, ate, smelled like.
This, Charlie, is not a tough choice.
For once, our policy can be clean and simple.
Just kill the damn bugs.
– Who is this? – Toby.
I wanted to ask you – about this Castro thing.
– I can’t hear you.
Donna, it’s Toby.
Toby Ziegler.
– It’s so crazy in here.
Wait a minute.
– Hello? Toby? – Josh.
– Toby? – We’re not talking to each other.
– Then what’s making my phone ring? The thing’s got a mind of its own.
What’s with Castro? What’s going on with that? – That’s what I wanted to ask you.
– I can’t hear you.
It’s crazy down here.
– It’s Guatemala.
– Hello? – I lost you.
How are you? – What’s going on down there, Donna? You won’t believe it.
This state, it’s unreal.
It’s like – Guatemala? – Hey, that’s good.
You a speechwriter? – What’s the impact of this Castro thing? – It’s unbelievable.
Castro’s become Che.
Is he alive or dead? He’s wallpapering the primary.
– Wait, what? Donna, hold on a second.
– Toby, I’ve got Josh? Josh? Josh.
C.
J.
, I should apologize for you not knowing about the Cuba trip.
– Yes, you should.
– I thought it was worth the risk.
– I still do.
– While you were gone, we all got calls from Rafe Framhagen.
I sent Cliff over, who said the senator – may have been three sheets.
– Yeah? And he had questions about Kate Harper and Cuba, as if she knew something.
– Concerned? Why don’t you pull her file.
– I did.
This has been the long way around to what? – A lot of blackout.
– Are we getting sidetracked? Kate Harper, Navy.
Father, Navy.
Formerly CIA, wasn’t it? Africa, blackout.
Kosovo, blackout.
Iran, blackout.
She got around.
You’re in it.
– That’s impossible.
– Turn the page.
But why is it in her file? – CIA must have been monitoring us.
– The rest was blacked out.
What is it? We had a gathering of the Bay of Pigs veterans from both sides for the first time, and it was remarkable.
These aging warriors, enemies, fellow countrymen.
And I had high hopes we were pulling together, strand by strand, a dialogue with – the Cuban-Americans and Cubans.
– I never heard this.
There was also an election recount underway.
Congressman Cabrera.
– Yeah, I know the one.
– I was secretary of labor and Rafe Framhagen showed up, and we started drinking.
And I made a fool of myself.
Talk about three sheets to the wind.
And when I got back, it was over.
It had all fallen apart.
I should have never left.
So I vowed then if there was ever a chance, I’d put it back together.
If we had a cigarette, a lighter and a password, we’d be back 10 years.
But it’s so loud in here now, I’d never hear the password.
Don’t you miss it – when you were undercover? – I miss the excitement dressing up and down, disappearing into character.
And now look at you.
Wearing suits and sitting in meetings with amazing people.
You’ve changed.
I saw your ex-husband not long ago.
He’s still down there.
Why’d you call me again? I wanted to apologize.
For what? I knew back then what was going on.
What it was doing to you.
– I should’ve protected you better.
– Would’ve, should’ve.
But it’s There’s more to it than that.
It’s too late now, Andy.
It was too late then.
I know.
I know.
Part of my 12 steps, to make a fool of myself.
Especially to those people who, maybe, I made fools of.
Thank you.
They have all of it down there now, Kate.
Leo McGarry’s trip, the deal he’s trying to make with Fidel.
They’re gonna break the story.
– You’re sure? – Yeah.
Don’t get caught in this again when it goes to hell.
Cuba.
It scums everybody it touches.
I’m walking back here thinking, “This is a building I never thought I’d be in.
” Maybe it’s a place you never quite get used to.
Once, my dad was gone with the Pacific Fleet.
My mom and I were left at the Key West Naval Base.
There was no housing, so for a while we lived in this boiling trailer with no air conditioning.
The wind shook it at night and rocked me to sleep.
It’s a long way from here.
Kate, what’s going on? Tomorrow, Cuban-American factions are going public with Leo’s visit to Cuba.
Mr.
President, it’s clear that the news of Leo’s trip is going to break.
Don’t know if it’ll be audio, eyewitness, photos, but we know it’s coming.
– CNN will get it, then the networks.
– A delightful prognosis.
We can spin it.
It was Cuban representatives who initiated the conversations.
We listened, agreed to and accepted nothing.
– I hate that.
– We must look at the consequences.
The South Carolina and Florida primaries are two weeks away.
There will be no mercy in the Cuban-American community.
It won’t go away by the general election.
– Russell will find a way.
– I can hear his sound bites already.
Santos is a mystery.
I don’t know what he’ll do.
Bet he doesn’t either.
Republican candidates? Walken and Vinick? Vinick probably agrees with you, but publicly, he’ll step back and let Framhagen and Walken put on war paint – and gather around Little Bighorn.
– Wasn’t the image I was hoping for.
So Republicans and Democrats alike will distance themselves from this act of madness of the Bartlet administration.
I think it’s time we looked beyond regrets and elections, sir.
It’s here, isn’t it? Another cliff.
Yes, sir.
Toby? – Jump.
– C.
J.
Get me some airtime.
I’ll have a few words with the nation.
– When? – As soon as possible.
– We won’t wait for the story to break.
– It’s fair to let the candidates know.
– I agree.
– Sir, the vice president is still waiting.
Get Senator Vinick on the phone, and then Congressman Santos.
Then I’ll see the vice president.
Leo.
Thanks for coming all the way over here.
Been a long time.
Care to join me? No, I’m only fooling.
I know you don’t any longer.
Kind of wish more people around here did.
– What’s Hemingway’s word? – “Utilize.
” How’d you find out? Boat captain, deckhand, limo driver, the gas attendant.
Does it matter? It seems to me we got a lot more done around here when we were utilizing.
Got along better too.
Left and right, elephant and mule.
These days, that’s one place where my point of view is the minority.
Not the only place, senator.
Demographics are changing in your state.
You were Scotch, as I recall.
The good stuff.
Just the way it poured.
Younger Cuban-Americans don’t care.
The Cuba effect on Florida is going the way of too much utilizing.
So for the younger Cuban-Americans, your solution is to have an old man with MS send another old man who’s had a heart attack to check on the health of a third old man.
A man who could be, should be, and, God willing, soon will be dead.
It’s too late for the Bartlet administration to go legacy shopping in Cuba, Leo.
If I had come to you first, what would you have said? No.
We had to change the calculus, or you’d bury us.
– I am gonna bury you, Leo.
– After 45 years, it’s time to admit the embargo isn’t a reason for or a solution to Cuba’s tragic reality.
The reason for Cuba’s tragic reality is Fidel Castro a vicious dictator who refuses to allow free press, free elections who jails even the slightest opposition.
You wanna legitimize his government.
The good ship Legitimacy sailed decades ago.
He’s there, has been for a very long time.
The State Department lists Cuba as a terrorist state.
The State Department, Leo.
The FBI just busted a Cuban espionage operation, arrested 10 spies.
When we’ve tried reforming a communist regime through embargo and severing relations, we’ve always failed.
When we sought change through engagement and trade, we succeeded.
What about the law, Leo? Congress has codified the embargo.
U.
S.
sanctions cannot be lifted against Cuba until all political prisoners have been freed, until political parties and labor unions have been legalized and free elections have been scheduled.
No American president can overturn the will of the people.
It’s not the will of the people.
It’s a few loud and shrinking number – of Cuban-Americans.
– Who came here stripped of everything.
Who floated over here in little, leaky boats, their kids in one hand and their dreams in another.
And how many of whom did we turn away? No one No one’s disputing that.
And who have become monumentally successful and too many of whom have become Republicans, right, Leo? But who we’ve also pandered to for far too long.
– I’m bringing a possible breakthrough.
– There’s no such thing.
We’re starting with an executive order to provide food, dollars through the U.
N.
The Department of Treasury liberalizing business travel to Cuba working to involve Cuba in curbing narco-trafficking and terrorism rather than treat them as the problem.
Now, there’s the toothless, gutless foreign policy we’ve all come to expect from the Bartlet administration.
Just give away the store, probably billions of dollars, without getting – a single concession in return.
– Extradition treaty.
– He’ll resign the extradition treaty? – We’re talking.
You’re talking? Sure, he’ll romance you he’ll waltz you around until he gets what he needs – Maybe he’s legacy shopping too.
– which is cash.
He needs cash.
That’s why he’s talking to you in the first place.
We finally got him where we want him, on the verge of economic collapse.
– That’s what we said in 1963.
– He’ll take your money, our money – and he’ll renege.
– The rest of the world is already there.
If we don’t get our foot in, U.
S.
business interests and your poor Cuban-Americans will be left out in the cold.
Oh, that is really good.
The Bartlet administration is gonna save Castro for the sake of American business? That’s rich.
So you’re gonna go to war so a few geriatrics can get their cabanas back? That’s the trouble with our policy.
Your rigor mortis stance is holding hostage a Cuban-American community you say you so love, and by proxy it’s held hostage the whole country.
The world, time, has passed them by.
Castro won.
Rafe, it’s time.
– It’s long past time.
– Whatever dumb thing you do to prop up Castro will be reversed next year, because if you do it you lose Florida in the election and the presidency with it.
You care more about American politics than relieving the plight of the Cuban people, just like in 1995.
Which year was that? The one where Cabrera won the election recount, and it turned out his sister-in-law, who worked for you, was the chief monitor.
Cabrera did win that election.
He was a convicted felon, and you knew at the same time we were meeting – talking with Castro’s people.
– I came down there – and I remember we had a drink.
– We could have had a deal – ended all this insanity a decade ago.
– It was you who took me aside invited me for a drink.
Now you’re gonna climb up on your high horse, huh? That’s what I gotta live with.
We were close once, back then.
No, senator, we just drank back then.
We were never close.
– Hey.
– I was looking for you.
President goes on the air any minute.
Thought I’d watch it down here.
– Alone? – Yeah.
Cuba.
Florida.
You know a lot about them.
You were there in the ’90s? 1995, maybe? – Yeah.
– Yeah.
I was there only a few days and I can’t remember much at all.
Led me to lock myself away for 30 days, dry out.
But I believed then, and I believe now, this fight is worth it.
There’s gonna be hell to pay tomorrow.
If I’d only gotten it done 10 years ago, Jed Bartlet could be spared it.
The CIA would have never let the embargo go away then.
They’re against ending it now.
– What about you? – I was in favor of it then.
And now? I don’t know.
It’s not about me.
It’s about the president, what you want for him.
And this is something.
Yeah.
Did we meet back then? Do you remember me? No.
Do you remember me? – Where you going? – My car, I think.
– Okay, okay.
Why don’t I drive.
– No.
Yeah, I think I’ll drive.
I’m fine.
There you go.
Okay, okay, that’s good.
– Where are you going? – Why not drive off into the sunset? – Yeah, I think we missed it.
– Something happen to your eye? Well, you should see the other guy.
– Where are you staying, at a hotel? – On Calle Ocho.
Got a suitcase.
Pack it.
Airport, if I can find it.
– I’m gonna remember this.
– No, you won’t.
Yes, I will.
No, but I will.
I’m gonna put my head down.
Just for a moment.
Thank you.
My fellow Americans, in 1961 President John F.
Kennedy bought some cigars.
They happened to be from a country called Cuba.
And since that day, nearly 45 years ago no American has been able to do it again.
And it’s time for that to change.
This is not about cigars, of course, but about our relationship with a country that is only 90 miles away.
Change is not going to come easy.
It won’t be a change without passionate discussion and disagreement but a change there can, and will, and must be.
The Cuban people and the Cuban-American people have suffered too long under intolerable circumstances on both shores.
My dream is that every one of the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who draw lottery cards every year to win one of the 20,000 slots allowing them to come to America in search of a better life and freedom will finally have the chance to find that freedom in their own country and that the 1.
5 million Cuban-Americans who have for so many decades, longed to return to their homes will finally have the chance to once again see the land of their fathers and forefathers.

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