The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 1, Episode 12 - He Shall, from Time to Time... - full transcript

When the President collapses on the eve of his State of the Union, it's diagnosed as the flu. But when the First Lady cancels a trip and rushes home to look after him, Leo suspects the first family is hiding something about Bartlett's medical condition.


- What's going on?
- Claypool's got your records from rehab.

I didn't ask you out,
you asked me out 49 times.

I'm saying yes to one.

Do you like opera?

- You're asking me out.
- No.

I love opera, and with your guarantee
there won't be sex, how can I say no?

Lord Marbury.
I was summoned by the president.

We've met, 10 or 12 times.

- The world is coming apart.
- Thank God you sent for me!

With 18 million new jobs, wages rising
at twice the rate of inflation...

...the highest home ownership
in history...

...the smallest welfare rolls
in years...

...and the lowest peacetime
unemployment since 1957...

...I stand here to report
that America has created...

...the longest peacetime
economic expansion in our history.

For the first time in decades,
the budget is balanced.

- From a deficit of $290 million...
- Billion dollars.

- What?
- 290 billion.

- What'd I say?
- Million, but let's move on.

- I said million?
- Yeah.

From a deficit of $290 billion...
It says "million" on the teleprompter.

- Sam?
- Our fault.

Let's take it back.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President...

... members of the 106th Congress....

He doesn't look so good.
He's pale and he's sweating.

- Is he sick?
- I don't know.

- Are his glands swollen?
- Damn.

- What?
- Know what I forgot to do?

I forgot to feel
the president's glands.

Do you think your joke reflex is why
you have so much trouble with men?

We're 44 hours away from the State of
the Union, and he doesn't look so good.

How do we make...

...the dream of opportunity
a reality for all?

I came to this hallowed chamber
a year ago...

We're spelling "hallowed"
with a pound sign?

- We'll fix it.
- Is it silent?

Move on, Mr. President.

I came to this hallowed chamber
one year ago... restore the American dream
for all... we gaze at the horizon
of possibilities open to us... the 321 st century.

Wow, that was ambitious of me,
wasn't it?

Let's take a break.

- We meant "stronger" here?
- What's it say?

"Our country is stranger
than a year ago. "

- That's a typo.
- Could go either way.

- Sam...
- Taking care of it.

- Mr. President, how do you feel?
- Why is everyone asking me that?

You don't look so good.
You're pale and perspiring.

- You should take something.
- I take things.


My wife hands me pills,
I swallow them.

Vitamin C. Is it possible I'm taking
something called euthanasia?

- Echinacea?
- That sounds more like it.

I'm taking pills.

Are you actually taking them,
or just carrying them around?

- Carrying them around was a big step.
- You gotta take them.

How do we make the American dream
a reality for all who work for it?

- You gotta add "who work for it. "
- That was me.

We decided this two months ago.

Polls say we need
"who work for it"...

...and "The era of big government
is over. "

- When did this happen?
- In a meeting.

You wanna offend the poor?

- The ones we offend won't watch.
- Can't imagine why not.

It's what they want on welfare reform,
so screw it.

When the Ghost of Christmas Future
visits, don't run to me.

- Damn! You're who I was gonna run to.
- You don't look good.

I'm gazing into the 321 st century.
There's a lot on my mind.

Let's finish up in here.

- Oh, God. I will take the pills.
- Now?

Yes. I will pour a glass of water...

...from the glass pitcher, a gift
from the Christian Charity Network.

I'm just saying, before you call me
Ebenezer, remember...

...I got a nice pitcher
for just being a good guy.

You turned me right around
on that one.

I will take the pills.

You know, here's a thing.

- We haven't been invited.
- What?

The speaker invites the president
to deliver the speech.

- And we haven't been invited yet?
- Not yet.

- Is somebody seeing to this?
- I will.

Good. We can report the country's
stranger than it was a year ago.

I'm never gonna live it down.

- Liberty's down. We're in the Oval.
- Get a doctor!

His temperature's 101.9.

I'm fairly sure it's the flu,
but I'll take him for a cardiogram.

I don't need a cardiogram.
I got dizzy.

- We're going.
- I didn't have a heart attack.

It's the flu.
I don't need a cardiogram.

- We'll do blood work and an x-ray.
- Think it's pneumonia?

I think it's the flu.
But I don't want to fool around.

- Leo, I'm fine.
- Mr. President.

Thank you, Mrs. Landingham.
How do I look to you?

- You're a very handsome man.
- You see?

- What do you think?
- It can wait until morning.

But I'll stay for a while.

Do the blood work now,
the cardiogram and x-ray tomorrow.


- You're going to bed.
- Can't yet. Situation Room.

Let's do this.
Then you're going to bed.

We'll meet you in the residence
in a few minutes.

- Just a little joke.
- You're a real cutup.

- 101.9, and I still got it.
- Yes. Indeed, sir.

I'll tell him steady but not
egregious. Are we all okay with that?

- Admiral.
- What do you got?

We got the 2nd, 3rd,
103rd, 106th, and the 107th.

Thank you.

- Anybody know if the Celtics won?
- We can get that information.

What happened?

There have been steady clashes
along the cease-fire line.

Look at the photos. India's moved
new units into their force structures.

There's four days left
on the cease-fire.

- They're getting ready.
- What about Pakistan?

They say that
if the Indians continue...

...they can't defend
with conventional forces.

Is this whining or for real?

Bazin's given control of nuclear
weapons to field commanders.

They just want attention.

- They've got mine.
- And they've got China's.

I'm gonna scramble the B-1 s
and put the 49th Tactical on alert.

I'm going to bed.
Call me if there's movement.

Yes, sir.

- Mr. President.
- Yeah?

- The Celtics lost in overtime.
- Good night.

Thank you, Mr. President.

- It was very cute.
- So I grow the beard back?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

- Didn't he look cute with a full beard?
- I've never thought about it.

- Take your time.
- What?

- I came to see my fish.
- It's fine. I need my office.

- I'm leaving?
- Yes.

- Good night.
- Good night.

He gave me a fish a few weeks ago.

That one there.

- It won't kill you to be friendlier.
- It doesn't seem to kill you.

What do you need?

- Are you kidding?
- Yes. I was kidding.

- You sounded serious.
- I'm very dry.

- The story's breaking.
- How do you know?

- It's on the Internet.
- The whole thing? I'll go see him.

We weren't invited?
I thought it was a requirement.

It is.

- But we have to be invited?
- A technicality.

It dates back to Parliament,
what do you want from me?

- Also, remind Josh to pick a guy.
- Pick a guy?

- He'll know what it means?
- Yes.

- Because I don't know...
- Margaret!

- Excuse me.
- Hey, C.J.

- What's going on?
- How's the president?

- In bed.
- Does the first lady know?

She canceled the trip.
She's on her way back.


It's gonna break. Tomorrow?

Yeah. It's on the Internet right now.

Why don't we do a preemptive...?
You'll talk to the press.

I'm gonna work with you first, okay?

It tested very well.

I'm not saying we're doing it,
I just want to try it out.

The era of big government is over.

All right, thanks.

How you feeling?

Roughly the same as when you
asked me four minutes ago.

- I'm sorry.
- That's okay.

This isn't the worst of it. The worst
is coming up the stairs right now.

- Good evening.
- Charlie, how are you doing?

I'm Admiral Hacket,
I was on duty when it happened.

Good to meet you.
Would you get me my bag?

Now, 101.9.
When's the last time you checked?

- About an hour ago.
- Pressure?

- It dropped before, but it's back.
- 105/70.

I want to put him on IV saline
and vitamin solution. Still dizzy?

I was wondering when you'd notice me.

Are you still dizzy? He's lying.
Give him Flumadine, twice a day.

Would you mind waiting outside
for a minute?

Would you mind waiting outside?

- Need anything?
- No, thanks.

You're very sexy
when you're in doctor mode.

"Get me an IV... Saline solution and
100 milligrams of Flumadine. Stat. "

- I could jump you right now.
- I could kill you right now.

- My thing's more fun.
- It took you 25 minutes to call me?

Fitzwallace called.
There was more movement in Kashmir.

I don't care if Canada
invaded Michigan. You call me.

- Abbey?
- Stop talking.

I broke the pitcher
in the Oval Office.

It's okay.

Seriously, Abbey, I'm fine.

You could've hit your head.

But I didn't.

- Was it like the time in Nantucket?
- Yeah.

- Or was it more like at my parents?
- I really don't remember.

It's all right.

Close your eyes.
You're gonna be asleep in a minute.

The Pakistanis are giving control
of nuclear weapons to the field.

It's okay.
Leo's in the west wing.

- Just go to sleep.
- I'm sorry about the pitcher.

- I was taking the pills you gave me.
- Go to sleep, baby.

- I could jump you right now.
- Yeah, sure you could.

I don't think it's in the mailroom.

It's an invitation to the president.
I'm assuming it was hand-delivered.

- Thank you. Yes?
- Margaret came by.

She said to remind you
you need to pick a guy.

She said you'd know what that means.
Do you?

- Yeah.
- I don't.

Someone from the line of succession
has to miss the speech.

Why? Wait, I know why.

If the building's blown up...
Who will it be?

- Who should I pick?
- You should pick me.

- You think so?
- I'd be good.

You're in the line of succession?

If somebody blows up the Capitol
during the speech, I'd move up.

- Fair point.
- Who's it gonna be?

- Roger Tribby.
- Secretary of agriculture?

Listen, be sweet to Margaret
and Leo today.

It's not the worst day of their lives,
but it'll be in the top five.

See you later.

"I deeply regret the pain and trouble
this has caused the people in my life. "

When you left Sierra Tucson,
did you start attending meetings?

- AA meetings?
- Don't say AA if they don't.

After you left Sierra Tucson,
did you attend meetings?

- Do you still attend them?
- Yes.


I won't answer that.

- How often?
- I won't answer that either.

- How about, "As often as I need to"?
- Need?

Don't answer it.

- What else?
- Has the president known?

The president and I have a long
history and a close relationship.

You didn't answer the question.

The president has known, as well
as the FBI and the Secret Service.

Did they object to you
being in such a position?

Yeah, they were worried I'd sell
state secrets to Bolivia...

It's not an unreasonable question.

I'm all set.

I wrote a draft of the president's
statement of support.

What did you do?

I wrote the statement of support.

- Why?
- The president's condition...

I know what condition he's in.

- Who told you to write it?
- Toby told him last night.

Nobody had to tell me, it's my job.

No! Your job is to protect
the president.

Do me a favor, don't show initiative,
don't rush to my defense.

I don't want to see you
on Crossfire...

...I don't wanna read your name unless
it supports the president's agenda.

I go down, I go down.
I'm not taking anyone with me.

- Is that clear?
- Yes, sir.

I'm all set. Go back to work.

The good news is,
your temperature's gone down.

- Can I go to the office?
- No.

It's gonna go back up again.

- Why?
- Because you have the flu.

Here's the thing, though.

- I never saw you study in med school.
- Deep breath.

Do you even know what
you're listening for right now?

- Know how many men I could've married?
- How many?

I'm going to the office.


- Really?
- Feel free.

Anything else?

All right. I think I'll stay here
for a little bit.

They're ready for you.

- You need anything?
- No.

- Good morning.
- Morning.

A story which most of you
are aware of already...

...will break in wide circulation
by the end of the day.

I'd like to read a brief statement
before I answer your questions.

In June of 1993,
I voluntarily admitted myself... the Sierra Tucson
rehabilitation facility... treat an addiction
to alcohol and Valium.

I am a recovering alcoholic
and drug addict.

I deeply regret the pain and trouble
this has caused people in my life.

I'd like to, at this point,
clarify a few things....

Roger Tribby.

Why the secretary of agriculture?

The secretaries of state and defense
are famous faces for the camera.

So if it blows up, my country will
look to the secretary of agriculture.

- It's my country too.
- Yeah, but you'll be dead.

I don't anticipate
the Capitol building exploding.

When have things exploding
been anticipated?

- Now you're bringing me down.
- I would think so.

I thought he did well.

Yeah. He did.

I read the statement you wrote.
Great. I'm sorry no one will read it.

The president will. He is right now.
I don't care.

- Leo's gonna kill us.
- I don't care. Do you?


Toby, the speech contains positions
Democrats aren't on board with yet.

They can write their own speech.

But they're the ones who have to run
against this a year from now.

What's your concern?

- We feel, even in this draft...
- You've made progress.

But there's too much emphasis
on the role of the federal government.

- I've pared down.
- We know.

This is an opportunity for a pep rally,
to trumpet government.

Why do we want to pretend
to be sorry for intruding?

That's what people
want to hear.

So I've been told.

Pick a section, fight with me,
I'll lose and call in the next group.

- You understand...
- Pick a section.

There's a line waiting outside.

I've got 31 hours to finish
writing this....

- We don't...
- Federal funding for the arts.

The NEA.

Let us open our hymnals to page 22.

- Leo?
- Yeah?

- Mallory's here.
- Okay.

- Dad.
- Hey, Mal.

Are you okay?

You told me it was gonna be
this afternoon.

I told you that it probably...

I wanted to be there.
Mom and I should have been there.

A picture of me standing next
to my estranged wife is...

I don't want to fight.

Okay. Anyway...

- I saw the president's statement.
- Statement?

For the press, supporting you.
It's floating around.

- It's floating around.
- It's very moving. He loves you.

Excuse me.

- Sam.
- Yeah?

- Where we at?
- We're getting slapped around on the NEA.

Man, why is he...?
On the NEA he's putting up a fight?

- You did it again.
- Leo....

I know you're pissed...

- Has the president seen it?
- Yes, and he...

Who gave it to him?

- I did.
- I did.

- You're giving me Abbott and Costello?
- I did.

- I told you...
- They want to tear you down.

They don't like you,
so they do this.

And for us not to defend you....

I disobeyed you, I apologize.
But that's the way it is.

- The first lady's in your office.
- Thank you.

This is not what I wanted.

- You've got an itch for Sam Seaborn.
- I do not have an itch.

- You want some free advice?
- Sure.

Don't go for the geniuses.
They never want to sleep.

Oh, Leo, hi.

I hope I didn't take you away
from anything.

I do not have an itch.

I'm going.

- Bye, sweetie.
- Bye, Daddy.

You did good today.

- Thank you.
- Mallory's very proud of you.


Do you think there's a huge downside
to postponing for a few days?

- Did his fever go back up?
- No, it's going down.

- What's going on?
- Nothing.

What should I know
that I don't know?

- Just to be...
- Why'd you cancel your trip?

Because the president
has a temperature.

The president's not in nursery school.

- If it's a problem to postpone...
- It's not a problem to postpone.

I won't let anything jeopardize
the president's health.

- What I'm saying...
- Leo, please.

This is me.

This has happened before.

I see you trying to cover the panic.

I see you prescribing medication.
I think you're giving him shots.

What does he have
he can't tell people?

He has the flu.

You wouldn't have come back
for that.

He fainted.

He was running a fever.

He has multiple sclerosis.

Oh, Abbey.

A fever could be life-threatening.

Mrs. Green, there are things
you must never say to Chief Bennett.

He's married to someone else,
and so are you.

Don't any of these characters
have jobs?

I don't know.
I think one of them is a surgeon.

They seem to have a lot of free time
in the middle of the day.


She's changed her clothes a lot
for one day.

Mr. McGarry's outside.

Yeah. Would you mind
stepping out, Charlie?

Abbey phoned and told me
about your conversation.

It was diagnosed 7 years ago.
My life expectancy is normal.

My particular course of MS
is called relapsing-remitting...

...which means I should experience
total recovery.

Abbey gives me injections of Betaseron
that reduces the frequency.

Fever and stress tend to be two things
that'll induce an attack.

You're president,
the State of the Union is tomorrow...

...India and Pakistan have nuclear
weapons, you have a 102-degree fever.

- So I guess we're out of the woods.
- 101.9.

Jed, of all the things
that you could have kept from me.

You haven't called me Jed
since I was elected.

Why didn't you tell me?

I wanted to be president.

I still would've got you here.
I could've been a friend.

- You've been a friend.
- But when it was time...

When I was lying in a parking lot,
you were the one I called.

When you stood up there today,
I was so proud.

- No.
- I tried to get up and fell down again.

I know the feeling.

I'm so sorry, Leo, I really am.

Mr. President?

Don't worry about it.

- Yeah, Charlie?
- Lord Marbury.

Give us a minute,
would you please?

The president's proposing that the NEA
budget be increased by 50%?

The National Endowment amounts to
less than 1/100th of 1 %...

...of the total federal budget.
It costs taxpayers 39 cents a year.

The arts budget for the U.S.
is equivalent to that of Sweden.

With such a big deal being made
out of Mapplethorpe...

Are you gay-bashing?

All we'd like is for you
to not mention the NEA.

I don't know what to tell people
who say that the NEA...

...supports art nobody
wants to pay for...

...or people who say Rodgers and Hart
didn't need the NEA to write Oklahoma!

And Arthur Murray didn't need the NEA
to write Death of a Salesman.

I'd tell them that Rodgers and
Hammerstein wrote Oklahoma!...

...and Arthur Murray taught dance.

Arthur Miller did need the NEA
to write Death of a Salesman.

It was called the WPA back then.
It was Roosevelt's...

It was Roosevelt's...



You stopped talking
in the middle of a....

Thank you, everybody,
this meeting's over.

There are marvelous flu remedies
known in parts of the subcontinent.

Licorice root combined with bamboo sap
and a strong shot of whiskey.

Ginger root also,
mixed with citrus peel.

- And a shot of whiskey?
- Yes.

In fact, you can throw out
the ginger root and citrus peel.

What have you got for me, John?

After speaking with your secretaries
of state and defense...

...I believe this:

Buy them off.

Buy them?

- Yes, sir.
- How?

For centuries, my kingdom has
ruled India with a stick and carrot.

When we had a problem with someone,
we'd make him a maharajah.

That's a kind of regional king.

We'd pay him off with an annual
tribute. In return he'd be...

...loyal to the Crown.

Under our Constitution, the president
is not empowered to create maharajahs.

Thanks for clearing that up.
Having been educated at Cambridge...

...I am, as you know, quite stupid.

- John, please.
- You've always paid the world off.

During the cold war,
you paid dictators to be on your side.

To this day, you pay North Korea
not to develop nuclear weapons.

- What does India want?
- Computer industry.

They require an infrastructure,
which you can give them.


- It's the price you pay.
- To avoid a war so far away?

For being rich, free and alive
all at the same time.

And for the neglect of Congress... not checking the proliferation
of nuclear devices.

- Your friend, the prime minister...
- Ricky.

He's gonna go for this?

If it's handled properly.

Tell the ambassador
we'll discuss this in three months.

In three months.
This isn't like quid pro quo.

That's the carrot.
Leo, what's the stick?

In 24 hours, we want recon photos
of Indian divisions retreating.

If we don't, we're gonna seize
Indian assets in the U.S.

So will our NATO allies.
G-7 will call in its loans.

They put command control in the field
and we get physical. Let them know.

Well, now I have my instructions.

Talk to the ambassador.
I want to have photos in 24 hours.

- Mr. President?
- Yes, Charlie.

- Toby's here.
- Come in.

- I'm gonna go back to the office.
- Let's hope.

Hey, Toby.

- How are you feeling?
- Much better, thank you.

I was watching a program before
with a sort of a roving moderator...

...who spoke to a panel of young women
who were having boyfriend trouble...

...because the boys had slept
with the girlfriends' moms.

Then the boys came out
and they all fought.

Toby, tell me.
These people don't vote, do they?

I wouldn't think so, no.

- Excuse me.
- What do you need, Josh?

I asked Josh to join me here, sir.

What's on your mind?

The era of big government is over.

You wanna cut the line?

I wanna change the sentiment.

We're running away from ourselves.
I know we can score that way...

...I was an architect of that
campaign strategy along with Josh.

But we're here now.

Tomorrow night we do an immense thing.
We have to say what we feel.

That government, no matter what its
past failures, and in times to come...

...government can be a place
where people come together...

...and where no one gets left behind.

No one...

...gets left behind.

An instrument of good.

I have no trouble understanding
why the line tested well.

But I don't think that means
we should say it, it means...

...we should change it.

I think so too.

What do you think, Josh?

I make it a point never to disagree
with Toby when he's right.

Then you and Sam get your people
together and get to work.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you.

You're mad that Danny
flirted with Mandy.

- Did I say that?
- I read between the lines.

There are no lines.

It can be pretty confusing.

With Mallory, I don't know if she
likes me, hates me or is indifferent.

I just wish she'd get past it
so we could move on.

- You wrote the statement about my dad?
- Yes.

- Well, now I'm even more confused.
- Yes.

Though I gotta say,
I'm enjoying being a writer.

- Is Danny Concanon in the press room?
- Yeah.

Would you have him
come to my office, please?

I wanna take your temperature
one last time.

You took it 14 times in three hours.
You're not taking it again.

At least not with a thermometer.

If you wanna take it recreationally...

There's something wrong with you.

Why is "hallowed" spelled
with a pound sign?

I stopped asking those questions.

- Yes?
- It's C.J.

- Okay.
- Can I come in?

- C.J., this is your office.
- Right.

- Hello.
- Hello.

So you have asked me out many times,
I have said no.

- You said yes once.
- To a business dinner.

Nonetheless, I do seem to have
a preoccupation...

...a sort of girlish, I suppose, thing.

Please don't be mislead
by anything....

In fact, let me
put it this way...

I'm supposed to write
about the speech.

My paper wants me to see it.
If you could move this along....

I thought I'd kiss you,
you know, on the mouth...

...and then I'd just get past it.

I'd get past it,
and then I'd be able to...

...give my work the kind of
concentration it really deserves.


- How's right here?
- That's fine.

- Be careful of the fish.
- Sure.

I'm saying, because
if you rock against the....

- How's that?
- Oh, good.

- Past it?
- Yeah.

Okay, I've gotta go now.

- Taking that fish with you?
- No.

- Walked into that door there.
- Yes.

You're too fixed on Western medicine.
Bamboo sap, a gambir twig...

- And a shot of whiskey.
- You're all set.

- Good evening.
- Mr. President.

Well, now, if I'm not mistaken...

...this is a photograph
of Indian troops in retreat.

So is that, and so is this.

Thank you, John.

I'm leaving to see Ricky in an hour.
Many things to settle.

- Godspeed, your Lordship.
- Thank you, sir.


- Good luck, John.
- Good luck to you too, Leo.

Thank you.

I'm off!

Friends, let me
have your attention, please.

A lot of time, energy,
passion, wit, skill and talent...

...went into drafting this.

You may not see it in my performance,
but it is an extraordinary speech.

I say thee yea, Toby Ziegler!
I say thee yea, Sam Seaborn!

Motorcade's ready, the agriculture
secretary's at the Oval Office.

- Roger.
- Good evening.

Sorry you drew
the short straw on this.

We'll miss you tonight.
Next year it's the surgeon general.

- You can watch on TV in my study.
- Thank you, sir. I brought you a gift.

- I know you love all things ancient.
- What is it?

Someone translated
our Constitution into Latin.

I think it was a high school project,
and it got published.

Oh, this is magnificent.

I highlighted an appropriate passage
from the executive powers section.

Can you translate?

"He shall, from time to time...

...give to the Congress information
of the State of the Union...

...and recommend to their
consideration such measures... he shall judge necessary
and expedient. "

Sounds right up your alley, sir.

- Thanks, Roger.
- Knock them dead, sir.

Oh, Roger. If anything happened,
you know what to do, right?

- I hadn't thought about it.
- First is national security.

Appoint joint chiefs, appoint a
chairman, take us to Defcon 4.

Have emergency delegates sent
to Washington.

The assistant attorney general
becomes the acting AG.

If he tells you to bring out the
National Guard, do what he says.

- You got a best friend?
- Yes, sir.

- Is he smarter than you?
- Yes, sir.

- Would you trust him with your life?
- Yes, sir.

That's your chief of staff.

In the residence,
on the second floor... have to jiggle the handle
on the toilet or it'll....

I gotta go.

You'll do fine.

- People have phenomenal capacity.
- Yes, sir.