Season 6 – Episode 4 – “Liftoff”

Episode Summary:

The Bartlet Administration must devise a plan of action when an emissary from the Republic of Georgia walks into the White House and offers them weapons-grade uranium that’s in a research reactor the Russians left behind when they pulled out of Georgia. Meanwhile, Josh (Bradley Whitford) goes looking for support of the tax cut from the DCCC and along the way meets with Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits), a bright and enigmatic congressman from Texas.

Script:

Previously on The West Wing: Prime Minister Zahavy, Chairman Farad, and President Bartlet will hold a joint press conference to describe a tentative accord that’s been reached between the parties.
Barracks security found Leo in the woods at Camp David.
– They think it’s a heart attack.
– You’ve got to keep him out of that job.
He’ll kill himself for you if you don’t.
There’s something I need you to do for me.
– What’s that? – Jump off a cliff.
Morning.
Staff Sergeant Keltie.
This is Sergeant Wolitzer.
– Everything all right? – Sure.
May we? – It’s 5:30.
-5:26 on mine.
I’m gonna use this chair.
– We couldn’t do this at my office? – According to our logs you usually exit the building here.
– Right.
– It’s easier to head out the West Gate.
It’s closer for your parking.
You have to time that.
But in the event of a situation, we’ll need you to exit here.
– Ms.
Cregg? – I’m listening.
– What situation? – A nuclear attack.
– Are we expecting one? – Any attack.
But nuclear tops the list.
You’ll exit here, directly to Marine One.
You’ll sit at S-5, behind the president, to the left of the NSA.
– And they’ll evacuate you.
– Okay.
If there is a situation in your home, make your way with all due haste to this field, off Denville Road.
– It’s a mile to the south.
– A field.
– A pasture.
– I’ll be standing with cows.
Horses.
They’ll scoot as soon as the copter shows up.
Won’t be more than three minutes from code call to liftoff.
Excuse me.
– Morning.
– No.
Sorry.
Agents DeCastro and Shay.
– I don’t need Secret Service.
– They’ll give you a wide berth.
– Could we please discuss this? – Not really.
Have you got a spare room or a basement or something? They’re gonna need a place to sleep.
– You’re not waiting, right? – I just knocked.
– You okay? – In an emergency I stand in a field with a cow and wait to be airlifted.
– Hey.
There she is.
– Morning, sir.
– Good morning.
– Excited? Absolutely.
Berlin’s your first call.
They’re angling for the Baltic shipping deal.
We can’t make it happen.
Hit the ground running.
I won’t be in the security briefing.
I’ve got paperwork with the CIA but NSC will get me up to speed.
Sky’s falling, damage estimate to follow.
– Yes, sir.
– You’ll be great.
– Thank you, Mr.
President.
– She’s gonna be great.
– Is she nervous? – No, she looks fine.
Oh, that’s good.
I’d be apoplectic.
Let’s keep it light today.
Anything you can, hold till next week.
– On it.
– Check the hospital.
See if Leo’s up to a phone call.
This is Ellroy.
He brings briefing books.
You’re gonna be friends.
– These are this week’s? – These are today’s.
– Ready? – I told Josh to be there – in case you need backup.
– I don’t need backup.
Try to keep a tight rein.
I’m not the story, Leo’s not.
I know.
Camp David’s the story.
Stop worrying.
Let me have that.
– Good morning.
– Morning.
This will be my last briefing as White House press secretary.
Toby Ziegler will be filling in until the president names a replacement.
I’ll ask you to please be kind to him and if you can’t be kind, at least speak slowly.
These past six years working for this exceptional group of journalists I’m sorry.
Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.
Thank you.
After bypass surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital 36 hours ago I’m relieved to announce that Leo McGarry is in stable condition and headed for a full recovery.
Though he will always be a very valuable part of this administration he will not be returning to his post.
I’m pleased and terribly proud to announce that, effective immediately the position of White House chief of staff will be filled by Claudia Jean Cregg.
Congratulations.
– Marburg Fever.
– And it’s a virus? – Six cases so far.
AP heard it in Ecuador.
– You’re telling her this – as press secretary or chief of staff? – Both.
– We’ll have something.
Ask AP to wait.
– That was press secretary.
– CDC.
– Call CDC, Immigration, DOH.
Give them what you have.
Set up a conference call for me.
C.
J.
, do you want me in? I’m not sure where to sit.
Oh, God, right.
Toby’s gonna need you.
– That’s fine.
– Just for the next couple of days.
People shouldn’t be sending me flowers.
They’re for Leo.
– I’m sorry about the stuff.
– Don’t worry about it.
– You need coffee or anything? – I’m fine.
Let’s do it.
CIA briefer’s on his way.
Security will be by for a palm print and an eye scan.
President’s got Treasury in EPA’s waiting for feedback on the Clean Air markup.
Armed Forces is coming about a budget boost for the peacekeeping tour.
They forgot to factor in food for the troops.
– And this gets us to.
-8:45.
I’m not commenting.
NATO’s expressing reluctance to contribute troops to the peacekeeping effort.
The Secretary General of NATO, the president is speaking with him the Secretary General of NATO, this afternoon.
There’s verbal support and there’s boots on the ground.
I’m not commenting on a negotiation before it happens.
– Can we do this without them? – Not commenting.
If NATO’s out, would the president reconsider the U.
N.
? I do not have an answer.
Can you point us towards a subject you’re commenting on? Can you find out where counsel put the DOD analysis? Will Cregg’s role be the same as Leo McGarry’s? Title, parking spot, gym membership.
She’s not coming in with any national-security experience.
The president has a flock of national-security professionals to address his questions and the chief of staff’s.
We’re about to stage a military action A military incursion into the most entrenched conflict on the planet.
Cregg’s not the only one without a net.
Oh, no, no.
– We’re confident – You said nobody has experience – with this kind of incursion.
– The Pentagon has as do the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the NSC.
But in the event they lose their way, the president can send C.
J.
Cregg to Ramallah to swat at suicide bombers with her purse.
Nobody has a portfolio? Oh, good Lord.
My purse?! Page Carol! Get him the hell out of there! – Who has the quote? – I got, “The president can send C.
J.
Cregg to Ramallah to swat at suicide bombers with her purse.
” Toby! You don’t have to brief.
You’re better with written material.
– We can flood them with press releases.
– How’d it go? – Fine.
– Missed it.
Well, there’ll be others.
I’m thinking about the substance-abuse initiative.
What do you say we send C.
J.
to Compton? Have her swat drug lords with her purse? It was an ambush.
They love an opportunity like this.
If they could dance around me with a pig’s head, they would.
– How’s it going? – Well.
Well.
Pat Quigley wants to know if you’re interested in a conversation.
– The Policy Institute? – A job offer.
– I’ve gotten five of these today.
– Job offers.
– It’s that kind of day.
– She’s ready.
– C.
J.
doing okay? – She’s fine.
She’s a pro.
Like a ninja with a Prada clutch.
– Men of valor.
– It was an ambush.
– I say we move past it.
– I’ve never seen you sling anything but a briefcase loaded with 30 pounds of legislative detritus, not your lipstick or your hankie.
– Jump right over it.
– I’m just – Shut up.
– Okay.
– Hey, how’s he doing? – Leo? Awake and cranky.
– Sounds about right.
– You started senior staff? I guess we did.
Why don’t we – go ahead and sit.
– The intel estimates.
Did you? I’m sure I didn’t.
Leo likes to glance at the top sheets before senior staff circle anything he has questions about.
That way, NSC can pull material for the afternoon briefing.
We can wait.
Go ahead.
– Okay.
We’ll set aside some extra time.
– Thank you.
We also try and cover the lunch order before senior staff.
– Leo likes a roast turkey sandwich.
– That’s fine.
– Mayo? – Tell me we can talk about this later.
– Hi.
Press secretaries.
– Can I apologize again? No, but let’s move finding my replacement from priority three to one.
Short list, four or five good choices.
D Triple C’s coming to talk about the election.
– Vulnerable seats? – Josh, sit down with Will.
– It’s gonna be Merridy.
– Josh can do it.
– Merridy hates him.
– Josh is gonna meet with D Triple C and sit with Will.
There’s fundraising trips for the VP.
Get to me sooner rather than later.
Our campaign office has him double-booked.
– Toby, Marburg virus.
– Not that I know of.
Outbreak in Ecuador.
CDC’s setting up a border-screening plan.
Make sure we don’t seem panicked.
Let me say what would’ve been best articulated an hour ago.
The peacekeeping plan is still vulnerable.
This place needs to reek of competence.
Avoid further implications that the president’s in over his head.
– “Working without a net.
” – I think that’s it.
We’re all working without a net today.
Thanks.
C.
J.
Wow, this is hard.
I couldn’t be happier that you got this gig.
But I think it’s just time for me to go.
Six years is a.
I just think it’s time for me to move on.
This is my letter of resignation to the president.
I don’t wanna pile on, but working for one of my closest friends – is not gonna bring out my best.
– Josh.
You can’t.
– Sorry to barge in.
– Mr.
President, can I have a minute? I’ll make this quick.
I don’t know if I’m comfortable working this closely with a woman.
Maybe it’s time for me to call it a day give the VP a chance to steer the ship.
You’re weak.
You have a weak will.
You should’ve seen if she pulled the Continuity of Government plan.
He cracked up at the suggestion of the VP.
I had a whole thing on spending time with my kids, and I went up! – You are bad, bad men.
– In the service of a vengeful god.
On behalf of the vice president and myself and every man who’s ever had a Wonder Woman fantasy – it’s a bright day.
– Get out.
– Margaret, we behind yet? – Very.
– Toby.
– We need press-secretary candidates.
– Pull some r�sum�s.
– This is the list.
– These are the r�sum�s.
– You always do that? C.
J.
keeps an “in case I get hit by a bus” file.
You’ve got appointments with the top choices.
Spokesmen from State, Interior.
– This is a nightmare.
– I’ll help.
Let me see.
Haffley’s in your office.
Time, time.
Here.
Donna will help.
Nice briefing.
– C.
J.
– Thank you.
That was something, everyone pretending to resign.
Bless their cotton socks.
But you know I’m actually leaving, right? Leo’s gonna be doing something, and it’s a long time I’ve worked for him.
– I just can’t imagine – Margaret.
Sure.
Sorry.
Mr.
Roman Mindeli from the Republic of Georgia in the Roosevelt Room.
– Good morning.
– Thank you.
Good morning to you.
– You okay there? – Would be better on left hand.
– Important documents.
– Of course.
I wanted to speak with Mr.
McGarry.
This is gift I bring for him.
Saperavi.
– From my own vines.
– You’re a winemaker? Former Economic Advisor to Georgia President Rustaveli.
– You want taste? – Oh, no, it’s a little early.
I – Did Josh Lyman put you up to this? – President Rustaveli sent me with important offer, but I wish to speak it with Mr.
McGarry.
Mr.
McGarry’s been ill, so I’m afraid you’re gonna have to speak it with me.
Most top-secret? President Rustaveli wants to offer United States gift of uranium.
Highly enriched.
– To your government.
– Uranium? – Like, to make bombs.
– We do not wish to make bombs.
We give to you.
You make what you want.
– Can you excuse me just one moment? – Yes.
– I open this, show you maps.
– That’s great.
Is this like the two-weeks’- notice gang? – Hey.
– Is Inspector Clouseau your idea? – What? – You and Toby didn’t send a guy to – Did he proposition you? – No.
He tried to give me his collection of highly enriched What? Oh, my God.
– This is happening.
– What? Margaret, get the National Security Advisor right away.
Is there a problem? I’ve got an emissary from the Republic of Georgia offering me a load of weapons-grade uranium.
I’m gonna go with yes.
– I’ll wait.
– They’ve got 300 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium the Soviets left when they pulled out.
– That’s what? – Enough for 10, maybe 15 bombs.
Margaret, I need a meeting with the Secretary of State, Energy, Defense the J.
C.
S.
and CIA tomorrow.
You’ll brief everybody? We tried to take this stuff in ’92.
– Didn’t wanna part with it.
– Because? If things got rough, they could build a nuke.
They’re not.
It’s just sitting there behind what he’s describing as a padlock.
– A miracle it wasn’t boosted.
– The Russians don’t guard it? They gave them the padlock.
Yeah? Thank you.
Mindeli’s been at the Iranian embassy twice in the last three days.
We are not the only ones who got this offer.
Margaret, that meeting’s gotta be today.
Hi.
Come on in.
I’m Donna Moss.
This is Toby Ziegler.
You’re Dan, right? From State? – Yes, Dan Edmunds.
– Thanks for coming in.
Good to meet you.
You want me up here? That’d be great.
Toby’s gonna ask you a few questions.
Just pretend he’s 150 reporters.
The U.
N.
seems to have ruled out sending troops to help us with peacekeeping.
What’s the administration gonna do? The North Atlantic Council has made, and will continue to make determinations in regard to burden-sharing and a great many factors weigh upon those determinations.
It’s premature to prejudge what the council, in its deliberative fashion of fully appropriate to its role as a deliberative body may or may not have predetermined out of any zeal to ascertain the precise nature of those deliberations.
This is gonna be a long day.
– Need to schedule.
– I’m seeing the president.
– You have a door in your office.
– Let me see.
Looks good.
The chief of staff clears the president’s schedule.
The chief of staff knows every meeting and gets the information the president will get before he does.
In that case, get me briefed on this one and this.
Push the 1:45 to next week.
– And this shouldn’t even exist.
Cancel it.
– Fiderer.
– Better.
– Secretary of Defense for the president.
Unscheduled.
The chief of staff clears phone calls.
Know what the call’s about? – Ask what it is.
– May I ask what it’s in reference to? The president’s unavailable, but he should call me and let me know what it’s about.
– Thanks.
– Just today.
– Tomorrow you’re on your own.
– He’s on a call.
Can I direct you – to the chief of staff? – Mr.
President? That’s what they tell me.
We’ve been approached by the Republic of Georgia looking to unload enriched uranium.
We may need to stage an emergency extraction.
There’s some concern it’ll wind up in Iran.
– Worth avoiding.
– We’re briefing agencies.
I hope to have options by the end of the day.
Mr.
President, they’re waiting for you.
Thank you.
You putting together a tiger team? – I’m not sure what that is.
– Four or five agencies on one project something this complicated, they’ll pass it around like a hot potato.
having accomplished absolutely nothing.
You’re gonna have to spearhead the project.
Sure, I’ll tiger team: – What was that? – Nothing.
He could work with Chuck Horowitz.
He could replace him.
The D Triple C’s a great place to work, Josh.
– I’m not looking.
– You got something? – I’m staying at the White House.
– Gosh, working for C.
J.
– Okay, let’s talk about the – Really, anything else.
– Coffee? – No.
Thanks for the help at the midterms last year.
It was fantastic.
– Our pleasure.
– Looking at next year.
Seven members of Congress retiring, and we’ve got 12 – Maybe 13.
– vulnerable incumbents.
– Presidential’s got the spotlight.
– And the money.
– We’re not neglecting these seats.
– The Republicans won’t be.
– Why is Matthew Santos dropping? – He’s done.
He’s not done.
He’s 42.
We just got him on Ways and Means.
– He says that he’s had enough.
– No, he hasn’t.
I’ll talk to him.
– Who else? – Wexler in Connecticut’s retiring.
Hey, you’re from there.
You could run for his seat.
I have a job.
– Can I get in? – You have your own door.
– I’ll be quick.
– He’s talking with Secretary of Defense.
– Hutchinson? – He walked him back from the meeting.
Weren’t you there? I got pulled out.
Hutchinson doesn’t have a meeting.
They walked in.
I thought about taking him down.
Margaret, did the Secretary of Defense call for me? It’s C.
J.
He didn’t? Get him out of there.
– Really? – Pull the president.
– He’s late for his 1: 15.
– He doesn’t have a 1: 15.
Make one up.
Excuse me, Mr.
President? – Secretary Hutchinson.
– Congratulations.
– Woman of the hour.
– Thank you.
I wanted to catch you.
You’re gonna do a fantastic job.
Thank you.
I know the president had to run.
– Anything I can help you with? – No.
This Georgian project could be tricky, but we’ll cover it in the meeting.
See you.
How come Matt Santos doesn’t wanna run again? Well, what makes a man seek public office, Josh? What makes a man abjure the comforts of a private life? – Here we go.
– The decadence of simple breadwinning for the Athenian wrestling mat that is the forum politic.
– Hey.
– Why doesn’t Matt Santos – wanna run again? – Because he’s a tool.
– We got him on Ways and Means.
– They love him in Houston.
– Maybe he’ll run for governor.
– You think? Term or two, he can run for the big chair.
– You high? – People like him.
Ex-Marine – He’s not running No.
– I’m talking to him.
D Triple C wants help on 19 races.
Yours are the ones with stars.
The VP’s gonna be fundraising for himself.
I’m not sure we can double dip in these places.
It falls under the category – of people scratching people’s backs.
– Indeed.
– First priority.
– For the day? – For 1:45.
-300 pages on snowmobiles.
The president’s got lunch with Interior tomorrow.
– Yellowstone’s gonna come up.
– No one can position us? – Toby and Policy shop are split.
– Get the rest.
We’ve talked through it.
You have to leave.
– Where am I going? – The Georgian thing.
Where’s the nonproliferation one? And the uranium-repatriation study? You really have to start walking now.
– It’s downstairs? – At DOD’s request.
WHO faxed preliminary plans for the Marburg virus.
They’re asking for 18 million worth of emergency aid.
It doesn’t say how they came up with that.
Does HHS know they’re calling it a global health alert? I’ll call them.
Ma’am.
This way, ma’am.
Ten-hut.
Anybody run this by the Russians? Georgians don’t want the Russians.
They left the uranium in the first place.
– The Russians can’t secure it.
– It’s gotta come here.
– Who’s gonna pay? – Excellent question.
Department of Energy’s tapped out.
– We’re all tapped out.
– It’s probably not just enriched uranium.
I bet there’s a load of spent fuel with it.
Nuclear waste.
And leaking, likely as not.
We may be looking at a biohazard cleanup.
– Which costs? – Extraction, maybe 5 million.
Cleanup’s easily 20.
Besides which, we take nuclear material and dump it in Oakridge, Tennessee – every environmental group – This can’t go public.
It’ll get out.
You’ll have a PR nightmare on your hands.
Isn’t the larger PR crisis one wherein al Qaeda steals the stuff and we admit it wasn’t under our control because we were cheap? You got a Congressional appropriation I don’t know about? – Who pays? – He called it a gift, didn’t he? – Your friend.
– Are we considering leaving a stash of uranium unprotected because we can’t scrape up 25 million? I’m considering this the tip of a very large iceberg.
We can look into helping the Russians secure it.
The president isn’t interested in the Russians.
– He’s not? – Figure out something else.
I didn’t get the site analysis.
Have we run an independent test? – I’m not – This just walked in the door.
Before we deploy a fleet of C-5’s with an extraction team be nice to know we’re not buying clay.
– We’ll test it.
– Get the president a report on storage.
– I’m not sure we’re ready – He asked me for it.
Are we done? Mr.
President? What do we have on domestic nuclear-storage facilities? I’ll get Energy’s quarterly.
Sir, we may be able to get the Russians to help.
Hutchinson wants the Russians out of it.
We don’t know if it’s actually uranium.
You get documentation they’re not selling us the Brooklyn Bridge? – We’re looking into that.
– I asked for the breakdown – on domestic facilities.
– I’ve got it.
I just wanted to look it over.
I didn’t get a copy.
You sure Margaret and Charlie – are keeping your papers flowing? – Yes, sir.
Your conversation with the Secretary of Defense We didn’t talk much.
Charlie hightailed me into a meeting with an empty chair.
I know it’s gonna be bumpy till you settle in.
But make sure things aren’t being lost in the shuffle.
– Of course.
– Thank you.
Sources say NATO’s reluctant to contribute troops to peacekeeping missions in the Middle East.
How will the president address that? The president was aware when he drafted the peacekeeping agreement that the international community wasn’t going to jump in like lemmings.
You’re saying it’s a suicide mission? Not necessarily.
The lemmings die at the end of the story.
Sources say NATO’s reluctant to contribute troops to peacekeeping in the Middle East.
How’s the president going to address that? Joanne, marry me.
Make me the happiest man in the world.
NATO has shown reluctance to commit troops.
Individual member nations Sorry.
We can’t hear you back here.
NATO has agreed to provide support as well as military – Thanks.
– Thank you.
Thank you.
NATO doesn’t seem to wanna pitch in troops to the peacekeeping mission.
The president asked for NATO troops as a courtesy.
What we need from our allies is financial support logistical support, tactical aid.
All of which they’ve pledged.
We don’t need their troops? The president doesn’t want the impression we’re strong-arming the region with European forces marching into Jerusalem under an American flag.
This process will be executed by the Palestinian and Israeli governments.
– We’re there to help.
– What if it turns out to be bigger? The president knows what he’s getting into.
He’s crafted a mission he knew could succeed, and it will.
Governor of Tennessee called.
Georgian package, absolutely not.
How did he? Who the hell leaked it? I cannot have a leak.
Get the governor on the phone, quickly.
Margaret? Nancy McNally needs to call the governor and reiterate that he needs to keep a lid on this.
Have Charlie put it on the president’s schedule for tomorrow.
– We got a guy.
– What kind? A press secretary.
He’s smart, he’s articulate and you can hear him.
– He was the Great Wall of China.
– I thought we were looking at a short list.
Governor of Tennessee on one.
Mr.
Governor.
Thank you, sir.
I understand you heard – The Secretary of Energy.
– We’re done.
We’re not done.
I’d like a list.
Three to five names.
Unfortunately, sir, his decision to share that information was premature.
The president would appreciate it if you did not go public with this.
No, I’m gonna have to insist.
Josh Lyman for the congressman.
We’re not in the dream-making business.
Why not a cap? Punitive damages stop at 5 million.
– In egregious cases – You invest that money, it’s a good life.
– For a kid paralyzed when he was 2? – It gives insurers immunity nobody gets.
Not automakers, chemical companies – me if I mow you down in my car.
– A distinct possibility.
– It’s a societal disincentive.
– Running it to the ground is a disaster.
Josh? Are we gonna run the HMO system into the ground? HMOs pulled down 8.
8 billion in profit last year.
We’re not running them into anything.
So Republicans are greedy bastards.
Profits are a red herring.
What if the Republicans aren’t worried about profits? What if they know the companies do that on their own by boosting premiums and letting costs soar in an industry that was created to curtail the price of health care? – I’ll have lunch with Joel Haig.
– Watch him put ketchup on his mashed potatoes? Bipartisan or bust! Come on in, Josh.
– Patients’ Bill of Rights? – Final shudder and gasp – of a dying piece of legislation.
– Then bring it back next term.
I’m not gonna get five minutes of small talk? – Not asking about my kids? – How’re your kids? – Don’t recognize me.
Who’s that guy? – One more term.
We’ll do fundraising.
We got chairmanships opening up – It’s not gonna happen.
– You’re a strong presence on the floor your staff’s on fire.
How can you walk away from this? Who champions Patients’ Bill of Rights? – You.
– I’m happy to help.
But you gotta put your name on the bill.
When I was the mayor of Houston we opened up eight health clinics.
Each one sees 200 patients a day.
I’m gonna go home and open up 20 more.
That’s not a health-care agenda, Josh.
That’s health care.
That’s appealing.
As, I’m sure, is the governor’s mansion.
You think I’m gonna run for another office? – I’m getting out.
– What about your 20 clinics? Privately funded.
That’s all we got left.
There’s no Patients’ Bill of Rights.
Congress won’t do it.
Or else they’ll spend five years wrangling over minutiae – and come up with a toothless plan.
– A toothless plan is not inconsiderable.
And a little wrangling? That’s the fun part.
No, that’s how you have fun.
That’s why you’re here, and I’m going home to Texas.
I hear C.
J.
Cregg got chief of staff.
– That’s gotta be a blow.
– It’s fine, really.
Everybody likes the look of the next rung up the ladder.
But you know what? You couldn’t do the kind of politicking you do behind Leo McGarry’s desk.
You’d be making sure the trains run on time.
They need you.
You love that fight and you’re good at it.
I don’t love it.
Go on.
Get out of my office.
Do what you were born to do.
You’re screwing the party.
It’s not like we got a lot of bench strength in Texas.
I know.
And I’m sorry about that.
Ronna, give Mr.
Lyman a copy of the talking points.
– On? – Patients’ Bill of Rights.
– Gail! – I fed her this morning.
We’re not in Kansas anymore, Gail.
Greg Brock’s writing an “Is the administration in over its head?” story.
– Peacekeeping mission? – He’s trying to get General Alexander.
– Where’d he? – Rumors, speculation.
– Toby’s briefing.
– First day’s tough.
– Is Toby in his office? – I think so.
I’ll check.
Traditionally, we call people, and they come to you.
– That’s the wrong file.
– You want a magazine? – That’s the not-enough-experience file.
– Yes, indeed.
– We have people with more – We’ve got a guy who is bulletproof who will throw himself in front of the press corps like the lone man facing down the tanks in Tiananmen Square.
One, two.
Bring in these four tomorrow.
– You don’t think that’s a waste of time? – Yeah, it is a colossal waste of time.
These four.
Talk to Greg Brock.
Get him to hold the story.
– He has nothing.
– He’ll run nothing next week.
I misspoke.
No one thinks you can’t handle foreign policy.
We all do.
If you thought differently, it would’ve been: “She’s been involved in foreign policy for five years” not, “She’ll bounce questions to NSC.
” It never crossed your mind to reject it.
– So I’m a lousy public speaker.
– Talk to Brock.
This runs tomorrow, it’s two graphs on page 10.
Wait a week, it’s top left, page one.
It wasn’t a suggestion.
It was what? An order? It’s almost 8.
You should get out of here.
– I’ll be back.
– Where are you going? I.
I don’t think this is gonna work out.
Lord, I never wanted a double vodka at 9 a.
m.
until this week.
They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.
Margaret, sit.
I have a problem.
– I’m not sure I’m – Hutchinson’s a son of a bitch.
– Is that just me, or? – No.
– How did Leo deal with him? – Leo always talked to Tim Crawford first.
– Chief of staff at DOD.
– How about Secretary of Energy? Leo’s first calls were always subcabinet.
Secretaries have agendas, policy wonks have information.
Right.
How many policy wonks work for me? A bunch.
Secretary of State.
Secretary of Defense.
Secretary of Energy.
All fans of nonproliferation.
All doing everything they can to keep their hands off this.
They’re the “no” team.
You’re the “yes” team.
– Where’s Toby? – He had a.
I don’t know.
I need a plan for funding an emergency uranium extraction from sunny Tbilisi.
Keep in mind we need to secure it, contain it, transport it and bury it in a manner that will shelter it for upwards of 30,000 years.
Resist the temptation to rely on the Emergency Nonproliferation Fund.
Apparently, we’ve already spent it.
You knew these four were underqualified when you called them in.
He mispronounced “New York.
” – God help me.
– Come on in.
– Is this? – Yep.
Right place.
– You’re Annabeth Scott? – Schott.
– What? – Schott.
– There’s an H.
I didn’t see it.
– She didn’t see it.
Go ahead and stand behind the podium there.
– Up there? – Yeah.
I’m not going up there.
– Why would I do that? – Much of the job is briefing the press.
– For a deputy? – Deputy what? – You the gal I talked to on the phone? – Thank you.
We’re gonna move on to somebody who understands the position.
– You’re hiring a press secretary.
– Do something.
– To be press secretary.
– C.
J.
Cregg, former press secretary has been promoted.
Big day.
All over the news.
– You should go watch.
– I’ve seen the news.
“President’s fixing to send Cregg to Ramallah to swat bombers with a purse.
” That’s gotta be some purse.
– I never said “fixing.
” – Why on earth would you hire a new press secretary with Cregg Does someone not talk to these people? Nobody tell you why you’re coming? Deputy press secretary for Media Relations.
I sent in my r�sum� six months ago.
They were looking to replace Tim Waters.
– He used to prep for the morning shows.
– He was irritating.
– He saved your tail more than once.
– Okay.
Did you ever replace him? Because I’d be a fine choice.
If you’re nice, I’ll get a dress Marine to walk you out.
You don’t want a new press secretary.
Not yet.
Anyone who tries to stand in C.
J.
Cregg’s shoes will be eaten alive.
And who exactly do you think is gonna brief the press? You.
You need someone from the administration to get through this transition period.
Don’t make a face.
– You were good.
– I saw it.
He really wasn’t.
You need grooming.
I can take care of that.
I’ll help you find a new press secretary.
A real search, not some 24-hour emergency-rescue mission.
Who’s this administration’s most effective critic? – Taylor Reid.
– When I found him he was a bartender with half a novel.
He had what you have.
– What’s that? – A watchable quality.
– Short list.
– Two.
– Shorter than discussed.
– Alan Zwick, you brought me before.
– He was good.
– He has no soul.
Of course he sounded good.
He’d front for the Gotti family if you asked.
And Annabeth Schott.
The little pixie from The Taylor Reid Show? We shouldn’t hire them.
– I think I should do it.
– Do what? Brief the press.
I have a quality.
Look, not forever.
For a few weeks, until we find somebody.
But we do a real search and hopefully not with me sitting listening to them.
– This is thought out.
– She came up with it.
Marybeth.
– Annabeth.
– She said we were rushing.
She’s right.
We put a fresh face up there this week – they’ll be ground beef.
– She’s your follow-up act? No, she wanted some Media Relations She’s irrelevant – She wants Tim Waters’ job? – And she wants to search – for your replacement.
– Not a bad idea.
– It is, but can we focus on? – On you as spokesman? – Dream come true.
– The deputies can handle most.
– I’ll do high-profile stuff.
– Like this morning.
– Yeah, no.
Slightly better.
– Did you talk to Greg Brock? He’s not holding the story.
– Don’t give me the face.
– This is.
I don’t know how this is gonna work, Toby.
You’re not his story.
“We’re unprepared” is the story.
It’s not coming from here.
– It’s coming from DOD.
– What? Graham Bradley told him they low-balled the troop estimates.
We can’t do it with 18,000 men.
DOD’s burying the number because they can’t get that money from Congress.
DOD’s in over their heads.
I love you, desperately.
– I know.
– They low-balled the estimates.
Hutchinson’s railroading the Georgia project.
He can’t afford it! – I could be good at briefing.
– That’s debatable.
Bring her in to do the search.
Put her in Media Relations.
– I don’t think that part’s a good idea.
– She’ll be helpful to you, and you.
If you wanna brief, you should.
You know why? I trust you.
– And you most certainly have a quality.
– I’m watchable.
The Secretaries of State, Energy Defense, Nancy, JCS, and CIA in the Sit Room.
Not the Sit Room.
My office.
This office.
Here.
I need to speak with him.
Come here.
– Right.
– Come in.
– Afternoon, Mr.
President.
– How you doing? Fan-dab-tastic.
You got the Energy quarterly? – I got it right here.
Thank you.
– I’d like it back.
Get your own copy.
We’re not ready to assess nuclear storage facilities.
The team hasn’t evaluated all the options.
You don’t have complete information.
– You don’t think this is a good start? – I think it’s you doing my job for me.
You’re looking at this based on DOD’s call.
It’s valid, but it’s one perspective.
Until we’ve gathered others if you need something to read, the new Benjamin Franklin bio is a page-turner.
Thank you, Mr.
President.
What was that? I just got spanked.
Sorry I missed it.
– She still nervous? – I don’t think so, no.
– They’re in there.
– Great.
You’re an odd woman.
I’ve never understood you.
But you’re extremely capable.
You run this office like a watch.
You’re tall, which is reassuring.
Leo may need you, and if he does, that’s okay.
But if he’s willing to part with you, I hope you’ll stay.
Thanks for coming in.
These are tentative figures for the extraction.
We need to rejigger numbers on flight support.
It shouldn’t change the bottom line.
– I’d like to sit with the president – It will flow through this office.
I will keep the president up to speed.
– Let’s look at the breakdown.
– I’m sure this is well-thought-out.
– The only viable option now – Mr.
Secretary.
– is to secure the material – Mr.
Secretary.
– because we don’t have the resources.
– Miles.
We will find the money.
You will not.
Though DOD will likely be saddled with most of the operational responsibility you will not be saddled with the cost.
You’re sending 18,000 troops into the Middle East, and we can assume that’s the beginning.
You’re overextended.
We’ll find money elsewhere.
Let’s look at the breakdown on page three.
C.
J.
wants us upstairs.
– I had a great meeting with Matt Santos.
– Good.
What do you think about the Patients’ Bill of Rights? Lead balloon.
Maybe.
I don’t know.
– I’m gonna take a look at it again.
– So he’s keeping his seat? No, he’s screwing us.
That’s your idea of a good meeting? Yeah.
Look what the elves have done.
– Hey.
– Hey.
C.
J.
wanted to be here, but she got pulled in.
Staff’s on their way.
She wanted me to give this to you.
– “J and T, nothing without you.
” – Hey.
Thanks.
– Who did this? – The boss.
– Good evening, Mr.
President.
– Hey.
How’d it go with the tiger team? We took a vote and elected not to call it tiger team.
Beyond that, I think we’ve isolated the funding.
There’s some concern about political fallout if we bring foreign nuclear material onto American soil.
– EPA? – Environmental-impact study would take over a year.
We don’t have that time.
Thinking about the British, see if they’ll help.
We talked about nonproliferation at the G8 last year.
– They said they’re willing to get involved.
– Great.
I’ll schedule a call for the prime minister.
C.
J.
, you’re chief of staff.
You can make the call.
Right.
Thank you, sir.
Margaret.
Will you set up a call tomorrow with the prime minister of the United Kingdom? Sure.
Who’s going to be on the call? Me.

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