The West Wing s07e02 Episode Script

The Mommy Problem

THE WEST WING Original air date: 10/02/2005 You wanted the message plan for Monday's bill signing.
Scheduling and Advance is thinking little flags.
Little flags? American ones.
So we've stopped using the skull and crossbones, then? They want to line the President's signing table with a great big row of - little flags.
- Yes.
- And the message is? - This is America.
Not to be unpatriotic, but they do realize this is a Fisheries bill.
You'd like them to come up with a A sign, a slogan, something a little more specific than a great big row of little flags.
Thank you.
Little fish.
that there's a military shuttle, that that's the only way to repair the station's laboratory module.
But with Brock refusing to answer Grand Jury questions on his source for the top NASA just announced that the astronauts fixed the space station all by themselves.
Anybody buying it? Not so much.
Well, we've got a Congressional committee investigating a national security leak out of this building; Washington is devolving into another gavel-splitting, nose-thumbing standstill; not to mention the fact that the Fisheries bill could be the better part of my legacy as White House Chief of Staff.
What's this? Uh, President and White House Council wanted to put out a statement.
We worked out the language while I was in the car.
"Respect for the paw"? Law.
Respect for the law.
It looks like respect for the paw.
You try writing longhand at 50 miles an hour.
You think this is a good idea? I think the President and White House Council want it out.
You don't think Vinick will stomp all over this, not to mention Santos? I think the President and White House Council want it out.
Now, if you don't think I have a personal stake in my economic plan, if you don't think it's personal for me ? hey, if the country doesn't like it, I'll be the first one unemployed.
We can't hang on to the jobs of the past; none of us can.
The entire store of human knowledge now doubles every five years.
A child that is born tonight could live to see the 22nd Century.
If we nourish innovation, if we tear down red tape and regulation, that child could lead a brand new industry; can cure a dreaded disease; can touch a far horizon that we can't even glimpse yet.
So if it's personal for you, if you want your child to grow up in a world fueled by new prosperity and path-breaking discovery, then I need your vote, 'cause you ain't seen nothing yet! If we start the speech by five past noon and the Portland affiliates will carry it live.
Then let's start by noon.
And the Secret Service would prefer it if you didn't wade into the crowd.
Well, you should tell the Secret Service: put 40 electoral votes on the table, I'll do whatever they want.
Popular Mechanics, 1949.
I'm not making this up; they predicted it.
In the future, computers will weigh no more than one and a half tons.
So, if you think my plan for high-tech jobs is a little light Anybody got any questions? Hey, you're here all night again? I thought you left at 10:30.
I came back when I saw the cable coverage of yesterday's West Coast Swing.
Our economic message is working, so I'm revamping the message plan.
We would have stayed and helped.
Uh, tell Field: no way am I spending that much on Delaware, tell speechwriting to try a version of this that actually wins votes, and tell Advance I'm canceling the foreign policy reporters' meeting and adding a town hall on high-tech jobs when he gets to Tampa.
What are those boxes? People think the campaign's about two competing answers to the same question.
They're not.
They're a fight over the question itself.
Now Vinick is opening up a big lead on security issues.
That's box number one.
Okay, so we need to do more military No, because if the race is about that, we lose.
But we're way ahead on most domestic issues.
This new economic message could be our ticket.
If we keep the conversation in box number two, we win this thing.
What's in box number three? Trivia, ephemera, stuff we can't control.
From today on, every speech, every public event ? box number two.
Did you do this stuff on Bartlet's campaign? Toby Ziegler.
A few more nights like this, we could go hairline-for-hairline.
CNN says the White House is about to make a big announcement about the national security leak.
That can't be, they're trying to damp that story down.
Tell it to CNN.
Operator, get me Toby Ziegler, now.
Yeah.
Whatever you're announcing tell me you're going to damp down this leak story, and not We're stopping our internal investigation to cooperate with Congress and the Grand Jury.
It'll look like Democrats don't care if there are felons in the Sit Room! Santos is going to get tarred for this! Bad news for Matt Santos, who just got the spotlight off Leo McGarry's health.
So, national security leak, is that in box number 3? Santos has been trailing his opponent, Republican senator Arnold Vinick.
Keep away from the press.
No talking to the press until we hear what Vinick says.
We should have somebody on the road with him.
Bram's on the road with him.
A senior advisor to handle things.
I'm flying out this afternoon.
What about Edie? I've got half a dozen Democratic media consultants coming in a half an hour, I'm flying out this afternoon.
Josh! The President's shutting down his investigation of the security leak.
Do you think there's a sound legal basis for this? If that were my White House, I'd seal the doors and windows until we found that leaker, and then I'd throw 'em in federal prison.
Vinick's public schedule; I need his schedule for the day.
Josh.
Is that the Congressman? What are they smoking in that White House of yours, Josh? First they Bogart my education plan for some low-tar Congressional compromise, and then they serve up a big fat pitch for switch-hitter Vinick.
It's a legal strategy.
We've got to avoid commenting or it'll swamp our economic message.
I have to make a statement to get past this.
It's all the press is going to want to talk about.
Any comment on this drags us into a bad story miles off our economic message.
Well, you know I'm having lunch with two dozen foreign policy reporters today.
Josh cancelled that about an hour ago.
For what? For a town hall on high-tech jobs, and I'm making it a reverse town hall.
You ask people their personal stories.
No one gets to ask you unscripted question.
He can handle tough questions.
You should see him out here, he's on fire.
All this attention on the leak story, it's magnifying the inevitable "Mommy Problem.
" Mommy Problem? When voters want a national daddy someone to be tough and strong and defend the country, they vote Republican.
When they want a mommy, someone to give them jobs, health care the policy equivalent of motzah ball soup, they vote Democratic.
On domestic issues, we're three points up.
We're better than Vinick on military issues, plus the Congressman was a Marine pilot flying off carriers in the Gulf.
Vinick never even served.
Democrats don't beat Republicans on security issues.
I know it's phony.
I know it's frustrating.
But we have to stay in the box that we can win.
That's why Vinick attacked Bartlet: to force us back on security.
So we avoid the press and give them no choice but to cover our economic message.
That's right.
One sentence and he boxes me into a corner.
Doesn't even mention my name.
Look, we've got to get to this Jacksonville crowd event.
We'll see you guys in Tampa.
Thank you, sir.
And having made the essential repairs to the space station's laboratory module, NASA now expects the astronauts to return home within the next four to five days.
It's Josh, again.
I told him to call Toby; he insisted on talking to you.
Find Toby, will you? Joshua, for the love of my sanity, please talk to Toby.
He's my liaison to the campaign.
How could you let the President do this, when I finally find a message that works? It was a legal decision.
And you work in the most politicized square footage in the country You turned this over to the Republicans who are going to kill me with a thousand paper cuts, leak every incriminating detail when it pleases them, and I never get back to my issues.
The things I win on.
The President wants a fair investigation.
He wants politics out of this.
Then call for a special prosecutor! You're shutting down your investigation, go all the way.
Take it out of the political arena for good.
And while you're at it, find me a campaign liaison who's not out to screw me with my pants on.
A run-amok special prosecutor rifling through every can of trash from the past seven years? Well, I'm glad we have this chance to chat, the last one was so gratifying.
I am begging you, get the politics out of this.
You're the one putting politics in it! You deal away my education plan, you don't give me a heads-up on the political tsunami of the week; right now, I am the only thing between Matt Santos and the megaphone through which he is going to trash his own party's White House.
Skip the Kentucky leg.
We'll hit it through Cincinnati media.
Move this photo above the fold.
And every time we talk about gun control, we have to say we respect the rights of hunters and sportsmen.
Hunters and sportsmen, right up front.
The New York Post wants to know if we cancelled the foreign policy lunch to keep Santos away from the leak story.
Tell them no, not everything's a conspiracy.
But you changed the town hall to a reverse town hall because? Certain things are conspiracies.
I need sexier economic policy for the reverse town hall.
Sexier? The press wants to write about the security leak; we want them to write about the economy.
Let's show a little leg.
And by leg, you mean? Targeted tax credits, preferably indexed to inflation.
When's the last time you went on a date? I don't want to talk about it.
The Democratic media consultants are waiting.
Okay, I'm running a national campaign here.
By yourself? Joey, twelve days ago we thought we were going on unemployment.
We barely got the nomination.
We spent the last four days arguing with the press over Leo's cholesterol level.
I delegate plenty.
Name one thing you've delegated.
I would never have chosen this paint color.
You have to hire some heavyweights.
Bruno Gianelli? There's goes half our budget on Italian loafers and mini-bar tabs.
You don't have a political director, you don't have a chief speechwriter, you don't even have a Communications director.
There's that huge, empty office next to yours.
Hi, I'm Bill.
They told me to show up after 10:00.
Absolutely, welcome.
You can follow me.
There must be 300 people on staff now.
- Surely a few of them are capable - They're kids.
Not a single one of these non-shavers would challenge my assumptions, stand up to me in a meeting.
We thought we'd try with a Houston Just do it the way I asked.
Okay? I mean, this isn't summer camp; we're not making tie racks out of plywood.
Not everybody has the savvy to play the big game.
This is your desk.
Sit with Payroll and Personnel.
Diane will give you some business cards.
Policy working group starts at 3:00.
And that's when I install the new phone lines? Front desk, around the corner.
Thanks for the business cards.
You bet.
We're about to sit down with some of the top media consultants in the party.
If you're not leaning on your own staff, at least lean on them.
This is a fake meeting.
These guys just want a piece of the DNC media budget.
We bring them in, slide them a contract so they won't snipe at us on Meet the Press.
Here's the list of attendees.
What's she doing on there? You said be sure to invite Louise Thornton.
I had to talk her into coming.
I said "Be sure not to invite her.
" Thank you all for coming to this high-level strategy meeting.
This is probably the greatest assemblage of Democratic talent since the last time Jed Bartlet dined alone.
As you can see from your handouts, we're positioning Santos very strongly on domestic issues, especially the economy.
With a little discipline we can ride out today's press storm.
I want your input on our message and strategy.
Your pals in the White House are creating the storm.
They're bungling this leak investigation.
My Senate clients are nervous.
- Mine too.
- Very nervous.
Obviously the President's got his legal strategy, while the politics Why aren't you repackaging Santos as a moderate? No wonder half the Democrats in Congress don't want to share a stage with him.
You've got to repackage him.
Make him a moderate.
We think when the voters see his record on deficit reduction and middle class tax cuts And I don't see why Santos isn't sticking it to Vinick; knifing him with strong contrast.
- He should knife him.
- With strong contrast.
We didn't have a full convention to define ourselves.
We're trying to run a positive campaign, especially while the voters are learning about us now.
If you will look at the handout You don't really want our input on message.
Everyone's here for a piece of the DNC media budget, so get to the point, please.
It goes without saying that you will each be part of the DNC media buys.
You can see on page 2.
We've got a strong story for the voters.
We're excited about the media buy.
What if I did want your advice on the message? That would be hard to give.
And why's that? Because you don't have one.
What she means is that we can test some dynamic new spots.
Yeah, we can ramp up the positives.
That would really fill in the picture.
I'm not talking about ten-point plans or Leo McGarry's love of egg whites.
I'm talking about the iconic, the symbolic, something that you can put on a bumper sticker that tells people who Matt Santos is.
'Cause eight days after the nominating convention, I still don't have a clue.
Where are you going? I don't want a DNC contract.
I just came by to see if this is the Josh Lyman vanity exercise everyone says it is.
Besides, if I take your money, how can I snipe at you on Meet the Press? Obviously she doesn't speak for all of us.
You and I haven't always been on the same side.
You mean those four times I beat your hand-picked primary candidates? That was three times.
I was counting the 2-to-1 victory twice, but okay.
You're right; I don't have this iconic, symbolic thing.
I'm not a Communications director.
My strong suit isn't Isn't connecting with the electorate, I know.
Reducing human complexities to a box of soap flakes, no.
All I know about Santos is what the country knows: He's smart and he's cute.
That is hardly the stuff of global leadership.
Well, it's better than fat and dumb.
That's such a good bumper sticker.
You don't need me.
Yes, I think what you do is superficial, but I know it's important or I wouldn't be asking you, of all people, for help.
'Cause I'm not a cultist like you.
'Cause we have different approaches to campaigns.
Right, I win them.
I'm trying to be friends.
You saw Vinick on TV this morning.
Clearly it wasn't about content, but he was tough and he was authentic.
He was Neil Young to your Neil Diamond.
I like Neil Diamond.
I'm sure you do.
We can't have a fight about a security leak.
We'll get killed.
I'm trying to change the conversation back to the economy.
How about moving the conversation to the fact that while Santos was serving in the Gulf, Vinick was serving himself Chardonnay.
That Santos is still serving in the Reserves as a Congressman.
He's been in the Senate for, like, 90 years.
He was practically born in a committee hearing.
If you're not using the phrase "Beltway Arnie" in every press release We're not going negative.
Not now, not first.
Oh, really.
You don't think you're running a negative campaign? Why are you always talking about high-tech jobs? Because Vinick uses a manual typewriter and his future is a set of plastic gums.
You're doing political smear like the rest of us.
All I'm saying is do it right.
We're getting lots of press calls on this security leak.
- How many press calls? - 113.
We're not commenting.
Plus, New York Post still thinks today's lunch was cancelled because we're hiding from the leak story.
It's not connected tell them we cancel lunches all the time.
We're fast and nimble and move like the night, okay? Hey, don't mind me.
You and Elmer Fudd Jr.
just keep changing the conversation.
Hang on.
Manifest Lou for the Florida-California trip.
Ten minutes ago you didn't even want her Some of her ideas are a little nutty, she doesn't always play well with others, but she's got an IQ of 200, she knows this image stuff backwards and sideways, and it's better than having her on the outside lobbing mortars on my lap.
See if she wants the vegetarian option.
She'll have the raw meat.
I want you to come to California and Florida with me.
You can pick up a bag on the way to Dulles.
If the Congressman signs off, I'm hiring you as Director of Communications answering directly to me.
I don't think so.
I'm talking about the future of civilization here.
Yes, I don't have any desire to play tambourine in your one-man band.
I am asking you to meet with the next President of the United States.
State's about to brief POTUS and VPOTUS on the Norwegian working dinner.
Can you make sure NSC's in the Oval? State's trying to do an end run.
- The President's ready, Ms.
Cregg.
- Thank you.
Plus, Brock still wants a few minutes.
Tell him no, in Norwegian, if you have to.
That would be "nosk.
" What is it? Counsel's office says the first round of Congressional subpoenas are coming and they always start with junior staff.
Okay.
Obviously, the focus is on the Chief of Staff's office, on our office.
If there's anything you want me to I want you to tell the truth.
Josh, do you have a comment about this Bartlet situation? I've got brand new policy, also known as hard news.
Don't all thank me at once.
The Congressman's really not taking questions at the town hall? He's proposing a major new tax credit for research and experimentation.
It rewards innovation in the economy.
When are you making him available for questions? After you write about the tax credit.
Congressional Republicans are saying Democrats can't be trusted with our national security.
Santos has to be furious at the President for dumping this on his head.
How does Leo McGarry feel? He's upset we're not doing more to reward innovation in the economy.
Do you have a comment on the New York Post? I'm against it.
That's off the record.
There's a story on their website that says Santos has cancelled four lunch events in the last two weeks.
Lunch events? Yeah, why always lunch events? Let me get this they've got a story that we're canceling lunch events? Four in two weeks; they're calling it "Santos' Siesta.
" First of all, that's ridiculous.
Second of all, it's a cheap stereotype.
Well, why is it always lunches, Josh? You can't seriously be interested in this.
As opposed to the same economic message two days in a row? Okay, well, we'll see you after the event.
You heard about the siesta story.
When I said tell the Post we cancel lunches all the time, the point wasn't to emphasize That we cancel lunches all the time? - Right.
- Kind of a fine-line situation.
Not really.
So how are we going to deal with this? We hold lunch events every day this week.
I don't care if we're stuffed to the gills, we put out a sandwich tray and we call it a lunch event.
Doesn't this fall under your famous box number three? I use a message grid; so sue me.
That is what happens when you fight scandal with spreadsheet.
I'm running a Presidential campaign.
We talk policy.
You've got a better idea? I'll take it.
Yeah, Vinick's slugging you in the gut; how about slugging back? This lunch thing was our goof.
You don't think someone's got the tabloids out looking for them? We can ride it out.
We don't give them anything else by the end of the day, they'll be filing stories about the tax credit.
- Josh.
- I'm not commenting on the leak story.
This isn't about the leak story.
Oh, don't tell me there's another No, this one, you're going to like.
So, is this covered under Josh's press memo? No, it's in Josh's scheduling memo.
It's a listen-only conference call.
We'll do it right after the reverse town hall.
You talk about the R&E tax credit for regional reporters but you literally can't hear them speak.
They can only listen.
If it goes well, I can open it up to hand gestures.
Then you're meeting with Lou Thornton, a media strategist Josh wants to hire.
Oh, she wins a lot of races.
She probably won't do it, but she is what we need in the Communications shop ? aggressive, out-of-the-box.
Obviously, her ideas will be heavily filtered through me, but anything you can do to get her on board.
I'll grab you when they start your intro.
So, let me guess: the press is, uh, gone bananas because I haven't been commenting on the leak.
I may have a way to close the security gap overnight.
Strafing runs over the national press club, huh? Time Magazine has a copy of a letter from the Marine Reserve Command.
You've been called up for Reserve training in Fort Worth, Texas, for two days, Tuesday after Labor Day.
How'd the press get this before me? You're a Presidential candidate; from now on, you're going to be the last one to read a lot of your mail.
Congressman, it's Christmas in July; "Deck the halls with guns and ammo.
" This is everything we couldn't do in the convention.
You in fatigues, wind in your hair, trench knife in your teeth.
This is an annual required thing, right? Do a physical, some flight hours, some marksmanship.
With very big guns.
Guns are very big.
It won't look like a stunt? You're just following orders.
They're starting your intro.
Sir, give me your best bottle of champagne.
Make it your tenth best.
Nothing with a screw-off top.
Hey, remember me? Why don't you go watch the reverse town hall? They're still doing introductions.
Why don't you leave so we can talk about stuff you're not allowed to hear? We're about to make a big announcement.
Two days after Labor Day, the Congressman's doing Reserve duty in Texas.
He's just following orders.
We announce it without comment.
A picture's worth a thousand bayonets.
That's fantastic.
Edie, coordinate a small press pool with the Marine Reserve Command.
Nothing gaudy; make sure his uniform fits like a glove.
Ned, work with the Congressional office.
Get all the documentation.
Documentation? We need to lay it out for the press; dates, details, how he's done this every year like clockwork.
Sometime he resets the clock.
When it needs rewinding.
He's postponed it a few times.
For critical national security votes in Congress.
Usually to campaign for reelection; I think once, because his daughter was sick.
We have been getting some press inquiries.
Yeah, I'm sure.
A lot of them, actually, on why we ended this internal investigation and how we plan to deal with it now Refer them all to the Counsel's Office.
Which is good, except We're walling this off from the rest of the White House so we can do some governing around here.
Counsel's not taking any press questions.
Some walls are thicker than others.
Toby, you should see your call sheet.
And there are three reporters camped outside your office, wondering Which is why I'm nowhere near my office.
How's it playing out there? Aside from Arnold Vinick's plan to turn the federal government into an episode of Dragnet? I know it's bad politics; at least it's for the right reason.
Good men with good reasons shouldn't set precedents for bad men with bad ones.
What's this? Witness lists for the Congressional hearings.
What I could get, anyway.
Greg Brock will refuse to testify.
Yeah.
You think Congress holds him in contempt? The First Amendment isn't what it used to be.
I've been avoiding him all day.
As you should.
So I moved it around a bit, at least I did real Reserve training with the big guns, every year.
Almost.
It'll look like a stunt, won't it? trailing on security, you skipped it for politics and Flintstones chewables, we announce you're putting on a uniform first day of fall campaigning: it'll look like Ringling Brothers' Barnum and Bailey Circus.
You've got five minutes before a clutch with the City Council Chair - before we take off for Fort Lauderdale.
- Okay.
Is it Lou or Louise? Well, Lou started in college when I signed up for men's intramural softball.
They were a player short; turns out, I was the best hitter on the team.
So, Lou? Louise is fine.
What did you think of the reverse town hall? I didn't like your joke about being the first one unemployed.
That's just a funny line.
Shaving cream and seltzer are funny.
Unemployment's not particularly funny.
I've got the Council Chair after this, we could go egg her house.
Was there anything that you did like about the town hall? Oh, sure, but I assume you have plenty of people around to tell you how great you are, and if you don't, you should hire some because they're wonderful.
Yeah.
No, we pay a premium for that.
Say, are you familiar with the Mommy Problem? I am.
Do you think I have one? That's something you're going to have to answer for yourself, because right now, Beltway Arnie is kicking you all around the electoral math, the White House is treating you like a fly on their governmental windshield.
And I wonder if it's just Josh, or do you have what it takes to come out of the Candidate Protection Program and start kicking back.
Councilwoman Stone, the next President of the United States.
Hello, pleasure to meet you.
Hi, hello.
How are you? Oh, we're going to take a little picture here.
Okay.
Hey, we've got to write up some options for the press Mr.
Lyman, over here.
Ned says he's postponed his Reserve drilling about a third of the time.
And whoever gave that letter to Time has to know that.
- He stayed in the reserves all these years? - Yes.
So our problem is Santos served too much whereas Vinick never even served.
Well, you're going to be good at this; I can tell.
What was option one again? Reporting for Reserve duty right after Labor Day looking like a gun-toting, flag-waving phony.
That would be a no, wouldn't it? No on option one.
Soda shop's closed.
May I ask what you're It's a law school study trick.
I'm not getting up until we figure this out.
Option two: postponement; highlights previous postponement if the even grant him one this time.
- Congressman.
- Hi.
Stay seated.
I've got the high-tech CEOs waiting for me across the hall.
I just wanted you to know that I got Lou to come on board as Director of Communications.
That's terrific.
You were right.
She's exactly what we need: a whole different take on the campaign.
I didn't think she'd do it.
Yeah, there's just one small condition.
What's that? Reporting directly to me.
If you've got a minute, we've got a problem with the Associated Press.
I don't have a minute.
Edie, will you tell him why I don't have a minute.
Yeah, he doesn't have a minute.
I'm trying to solve a problem that is 50 times bigger than some sombrero-wearing nonsense.
I'll handle it later.
You'll want to handle it now.
What? The AP's got some sort of photograph.
Something that took place in our hotel in Cleveland last week.
Photograph? Of the Congressman's bed.
I need a moment.
Can you seal the elevator? Is this about Time Magazine? I'm working on that.
Hi.
Maybe Lou's right: maybe there is a coordinated effort to throw us off our game.
Maybe it's Vinick, maybe it's the RNC.
Wait, what are you talking about? AP has a photograph of something that happened in Cleveland in your hotel bed.
Is there anything you'd like to tell me? His name is Bruce.
He's a flight attendant on Aer Lingus.
They've got a connecting hub out of Hamburg.
You know, at first it was long walks along the Reeperbahn I'm sorry.
But I have to ask.
Geez.
It's my job.
I'm sorry.
Wait a minute.
Cleveland? I don't understand what happened.
He wouldn't let me in his room that morning.
I should have suspected something.
Box No.
3.
Fifteen years I've been doing this, I've never been stuck in box No.
3.
Is anyone going to tell me what happened? He demolished his bed.
Demolished it? It was his wife's only night on the road.
It was old, wooden bed; slats, hand-cranks, what have you.
Hand-cranks? And what have you.
Look, as much as I respect good craftsmanship, I'm still not clear about what happened.
They broke it together, get it.
The wire photo's out.
Oh, my.
Hurricane Santos.
You repeat that outside this room and I'll have you knocking on doors in Alaska, and not the urban part.
Give me that.
The guy's the next leader of the free world.
I won't have us ogling his dirty you know.
The hotel proprietor claims the bed was steel-reinforced.
We have a bigger problem than Helen's Ohio surprise.
He's been called up by the Marine Reserves for right after Labor Day.
Two days of marksmanship and flight training.
Well bless his broken headboard.
He's postponed it 41% of the time.
Postponed it? As in "I'll see you when I'm done with my essential government business"? As in "See you when it's politically convenient and no one in my family has a runny nose.
" If I'd had a full convention, I would have had the Marines in the parking lot digging foxholes.
You won't lift a finger against Beltway Arnie Vinick who never served and who flipped and flopped his way through 40 years of subcommittee hearings.
I am not going negative.
Not when people barely know who Santos is.
And a vacuum gets filled.
That's why he's the swinging king of siesta.
You won't even let him admit the obvious which is that the President screwed up on the security leak.
That's why you're in this.
The President is trying to take the politics out of it.
Then why not call a Special Prosecutor? Why won't Santos call for it? You're my new Communications director; you're supposed to help me solve this problem.
You're the problem; not some box on a grid, not the Marine Reserves.
No negative campaigning, no outside opinions within five miles of the candidate, no deviation from some Jonestown-like obsession with your pals at the White House.
Okay.
When are you going to stop drinking the Kool-Aid? I need Hobson at Treasury.
They're worried about another currency devaluation in Argentina, and while I like a nice prime rib for 35 cents, the OAS ain't buying.
- C.
J.
- The message for Monday's bill signing? Scheduling and Advance wants to stick with the little flags.
Because this is America? - Yes.
But - But I want an actual message.
They have until tomorrow morning or I'm going to read them the riot act to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic.
" Greg Brock is in your office.
Why is Greg Brock in my office? He walked in, he wouldn't leave.
I didn't think you'd want me to call the Secret Service.
Think again.
We're both professionals.
We're both under investigation by professionals.
It's bad enough that you're plastered all over my call sheet and Congress has every scrap of paper aside from my half-finished crossword puzzles.
Would you please leave this office before I call in an armored division? I have a question about daycare.
Toby covered that in last week's briefing.
We're deadlocked at 300 million.
CBC's pushing for more after-school care.
I don't think we'll get that out of committee.
That's great, but Della's four and a half.
Now she can live with her mom while I'm in prison, but her mom travels for her job.
So why isn't there some federal voucher that you get your kids to come with you and get them into daycare wherever you go? Prison? I wouldn't talk to the Grand Jury.
The judge held me in contempt.
I report to Cumberland Minimum Security Prison tomorrow.
It should be on Fox by now.
You can appeal.
He refused to stay the contempt; at least 18 months.
I have to appeal from behind bars.
You don't have to worry about your call sheet for a while.
Just name your source.
I always liked you in that suit.
He's already late for the State Party reception downstairs.
No.
No, Helen, I don't.
No, I mean short of us crawling under there with a screwdriver and a roll of duct tape, I don't see how we could Oh, yeah, 'cause I personally love the fact that it's in all the newspapers, and I Honey, bring a sledgehammer with you when we meet in Michigan and we can I got to go.
How many papers is this going to be in? It's all over the blogs and cable shows.
Now the first tier press gets to cover the coverage.
This is my fault.
I should have pushed out more policy.
I knew it'd be hard to hit back against this phony, superficial crap.
I don't think it's phony or superficial.
These stories only stick when they confirm what people already think.
And let's face it, nobody knows what to think.
So, we deserve it? You haven't given anybody an alternative formulation on who he is, so he's taking body blow after body blow.
I'm trying to position him as the guy with the jobs How about positioning him as the guy with the spine? You want to hit back against Vinick? Get sucked back into the leak story? I want him to beat back at the White House and get distance from them.
The President's approval is at 66%.
The leak has barely made a dent.
That's why he seems like his little infant cousin.
I'm sure you've never even presented him with that argument.
Okay.
You want me to have a spine, you want me to be nice to my cousin.
Let's talk about my Reserve drill.
You have to resign your commission, Congressman.
Sir, she's right.
You can't show up after Labor Day when you've postponed your service five times in 13 years.
It'll look like the mother of all staged photo-ops and we'll get killed in the press.
'Cause I moved it around a few times? 'Cause you're a Democrat who wears a uniform when it fits his schedule.
Oh, and never mind my 25 years of military service compared to Vinick's none.
Never mind one of the most pro-military voting records in the Democratic Caucus.
Why'd you even leave active duty? You went to Annapolis for free.
The taxpayers were supporting your military career.
Your trench mates don't have a story to tell? And by resigning, I'm saying what? That you are ready to be President of the United States.
That we have a civilian-led military and you are threw playing G.
I.
Joe.
He really has to get to the State Party reception.
Time Magazine has called twice; we're going to have to tell them something.
Tell them that if the country doesn't like my military records, I'll be the first one unemployed.
Tough press day.
"Vinick's comments called into question the Santos campaign's unflinching support of the Bartlet White House, as Congressman Santos parried tabloid charges, and strained to articulate an economic message.
" Strained to articulate; it's like he was drooling into a cup.
So Vinick won the day.
Yeah, by walking five feet from his office while the Latin Luther Van Dross napped his way across the continent.
- So now can we revisit the Bartlet question? - Oh, hi.
Let me introduce myself: I'm the problem.
I interpret the facts; I read the data; which is why you need me, and also why you resent me.
I am not a Bartlet-ista and I'm not a Santos-ista.
I am completely untethered to your cult of personality.
Also known as ethics.
What is unethical about say Jed Bartlet is a great President; make way on Mount Rushmore.
But in this one instance, in this lapse in security, he goofed.
Someone in your White House goofed.
Look, I read that data, too.
No one thinks the White House goofed on this.
It's a press obsession; a Vinick trick to get us on to issues we can't win on.
Do you think Vinick participated in last night's tracking poll? It took us a couple hours to place Helen on the Cleveland trip.
Remember, she came out as a surprise for you.
Anyway, that's why some of the stories imply that What is this? Polling question from last night's track.
"Was the President right to end his own investigation of the classified security leak? Yes, 27; No, 54; Don't know, 19.
" Are you suggesting I should criticize the President? I would never suggest that.
But you asked me to run this campaign.
I don't want you thinking I'm holding back the data.
Hi.
I know you guys have got a job to do whether I like it or not, so I'm not going to pretend that the afternoon naps and the bedside shrapnel don't make for good news copy.
So, I'm going to address this once, just this once, and that'll be the end of it, okay: No way was that bed steel-reinforced.
Still no comment about the President stopping his investigation? You know, if that were my White House I'd call in the FBI.
I would do everything in my power to cooperate with both Congress and the Grand Jury.
I'd play it by the law, not by politics.
And, in case you haven't noticed, that's exactly what this President is doing.
Certainly no one expected today's decision, which means that Greg Brock must report to jail immediately.
That's right: he reports to Cumberland Minimum Security Prison in Maryland immediately.
Without any appeal, without any time to take his case to a higher level Did you see? Yeah.
I need Scheduling and Advance.
Scheduling and Advance? Why? The Fisheries bill signing.
They think our message should be a row of American flags.
That was my idea.
A row of flags? 'Cause he's the American president, and he's signing a bill into law, and as long as we're being investigated by two branches of our own government I don't see why we should be any more clever than that.
I've been thinking about the reason I beat you in those three primaries.
It's because you wouldn't pound your candidates like I did.
This is too important to make it personal.
It's different when you build a candidate from nothing, when you're the person he looks to for more than just shock therapy.
The Congressman wants you.
Just Josh.
I appreciate what you said about the President today.
I've been thinking about the Reserve drill.
I think you should do it.
Get the past postponements out today ahead of the letter.
- If they slam us for it, we'll deal - Look out the window.
That's the Rocky Mountains.
You turned the plane around? We're going to Fort Worth.
The Marine Commandant in Washington was my CO in the Gulf.
He said I could get it out of the way right now if I wanted to.
You know, I didn't have so much as a high school diploma in my gene pool.
That commission is the reason I'm on this plane.
I'm not giving it up.
Before anyone in the press gets a chance to take a shot at us, the whole country sees you in uniform.
You'd better cancel our schedule for the next two days.
Sorry about Lou before.
She's got a lot to contribute but she should contribute it through me.
Some of her ideas are a little extreme.
That doesn't mean I don't need to hear them.
So you feel like you need her at the table.
I feel you do.
Her, and a whole lot of others.
But there has to be somebody in charge, somebody to filter out the knucklehead stuff.
- In the Bartlet campaign - Jed Bartlet was in charge.
You were right about the President, Josh.
And Louise was right about leaving a vacuum.
I need to hear it all.
Yep.
They're ready for that State briefing in the staff cabin.
We're going to beat him on security issues; we're going to beat him on domestic issues; we're going to beat him on trivia, too.
The Santos campaign refused to comment on the drill, saying the candidate was taking care of a personal obligation and would return to his economic themes Personally I think it's a charade; a made-for-TV movie.
Why do you think he stayed in the Reserve Vinick took a shot at the President.
Maybe he's sincere about it, but Santos defends Jed Bartlet, and then says, "Hey, I don't We jumped four points on security in last night's poll.
What about the gender gap? Might want to use Congressman Cassanova in a TV ad.
Half the press is calling it a stunt.
Yeah, but all the press is running the footage.
When he goes on offense, he really goes on offense.
Yeah, welcome to the cult of personality.
Otto, I need that brochure copy on his military record.
Edie, get Helen's schedule.
We want her on the road with the Congressman at least three days when he gets back from Texas.
Ronna, Ned, foreign policy events, best idea gets an extra fortune cookie.
But they are confidant that on national security and other issues, their candidate has a commanding advantage.