The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 1, Episode 21 - Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics - full transcript

The staff waits for a poll to tell them if their new, activist policies are moving them in the right direction. C.J. feels like her opinions are being discounted.


They wanna know how I didn't know
about the memo.

Amateur mistakes make me crazy.

I just got called amateur twice. The
chief of staff can do it, you can't.

Get Leo candidates who back
campaign finance reform.

The fight to restore American
democracy begins here in this room!

- Don't keep things from me.
- I'm friendly with a woman.

You can't spend time
with a call girl, Sam.

It's 7:05.

- It's 10 to 7.
- No, it's not.

- It's 7:05?
- I'm not making it up.

- My watch says 10 to 7.
- It sucks.

My watch is fine.
How do we know it's not 10 to 7?

Those clocks run by the Navy say your
watch sucks in four time zones.

- Six is asymmetrical.
- It's fine.

"Are things going in the right
direction or on the wrong track?"

- Good point.
- Guys, it's 7:05.

"Direction" and "track"
are different words.

- Thank you, Funk & Wagnalls.
- What?

- They make the dictionary.
- I know.

- Why'd you ask?
- It's 7:05.

- The question is asymmetrical.
- It originated decades ago...

...and has been a predictor
of voters' behavior.

I have a problem with 14.

"Do you think the president puts
the needs of average people first?"

"Average" is pejorative.

80% of people in this country would
use "average" to describe themselves.

Being considered an average American
is positive and comforting.

- C.J.?
- Yes?

- "He cares about people like me... "
- We went over this.

- We need to talk about six.
- We don't.

- Since when are you an expert?
- Since 1993.

- Since when are you a pain?
- Before that.

"Bartlet cares about people like me. "

Can't "people like me" be taken
to mean the interviewer?

- Usually it's, "people like yourself. "
- Or "people like you. "

- "Yourself" is softer.
- Softer is bad?

Softer is better.

Separating the respondent with
"people like yourself" is pejorative.

Take this up with Josh.

Eastern Standard Time is at dinner.
The poll is fine.

It's important.

If we don't start
the phone banks now...

...I won't have time to leak
the internals to media outlets.

We've climbed out of the hole,
only we can't tell anybody...

...because we stood here
arguing about asymmetry.

It's time.

- Wanna make a prediction?
- Hold at 42% job approval.

- We'll hold steady.
- I'll be happy if we do.

It'll be inside the plus or minus.

- C.J.?
- We're gonna go up five points.

- President thinks we'll hold.
- He's wrong.

- You think?
- Yes.

Let's find out.
Toby, tell Sam to start the banks.

Sam Seaborn. Okay.

Let's get our report card.

Okay, here we go!

Hey, Sam. How's it going in there?

I popped Mandy
with my tranquilizer gun.

- Why does it take 48 hours?
- We need 1500 responses.

It takes 30 people 48 hours?

It takes 12 hours to make 1500 calls.
We need 1500 responses, 6000 calls.

- Only one in four don't hang up?
- If you're lucky.

The law school graduation is tomorrow.
Were you gonna go see your friend?

- Laurie?
- Yeah.

- Call her Laurie.
- You gonna see her graduate?


- You can't.
- Okay.

I believe Steve Onorato knows.
He'll use it to embarrass us.


They know who this girl is,
they know she's graduating.

They know it's a place you'll be...

- Laurie.
- What?

- You called her "this girl. "
- Sam, you can't.

- Okay, do you see me arguing with you?
- No.

- Anything else?
- Nope.

Biggest day of her life. Huge day.

She put herself through school.
People in South Carolina...

- Not just South Carolina.
- I don't understand what business...

You can't go, Sam.

- I'm not going.
- Thank you.

- Leo.
- Is he here?

- Yeah.
- Wait for a minute, then send him in.

- Okay. Why do you want me to wait here?
- Because I do.


- Feels weird not doing anything.
- Yeah.

- It feels weird because...
- Okay, send him in.


- Barry.
- Yes.

- Leo McGarry.
- Barry Haskel.

Is this your first time
in the White House?

In the west wing.

No one's ever invited
you to the White House?

Not to the west wing. I go
to the Christmas party at OEOB.

Last Christmas the vice president
stopped in for a moment.

I wanted to talk to you about
soft-money contributions.

Right, I had a hunch.

- Could I have some juice?
- Thirsty?

This is the first time I've been
called to the chief of staff...

Little nervous?

- You walk past a Marine coming in...
- Rodney.

- I didn't catch his name.
- Rodney's great. Rodney!

Yes, Mr. McGarry?

Could you do that thing
you were doing before?

- Thanks, Rodney.
- Anytime, sir.

And that rifle's really loaded.

- Mr. McGarry...
- Leo.

There's no need to be nervous.
You're one of us.

I'm sorry?

I say, we know you're one of us.
Six commissioners on the FEC.

Two resigned, leaving four, including
you. The belief is that none of you...

...favor a ban on soft-money
contributions. But the truth is you do.

- That's not true.
- I know it is because you said so.

You said so to the Newark Star-Ledger
in March 1995. "Money isn't speech. "

And you said so two years before
that to the Detroit Free Press.

"We must reverse the 1978 regulatory
decision allowing soft money. "

I gave those quotes on the condition
of anonymity.

I went to drug rehab on the condition
of anonymity. Maybe you read about it.

Barry, you wanna ban soft money.
You're one of us.

You've been outed.

Being outnumbered
five to one on the FEC... never made sense to me
to swim against the grain.

I would've been irrelevant...

You'd have had a hard time
getting re-upped.

But if we hadn't gone and found you...'d never have been
invited to the White House.

When I got the call
from your office... wife and her friends said
this is what would happen.

What's that?

That you'd use the trappings
of the White House.

That there would be
a sort of intimidation...

No one's intimidating you, Barry,
you're with us.

You were wandering in the darkness,
but we came and found you.

- And welcome back to the pack.
- Coercion, then?

And I notice that I'm sitting here
in the chief of staff's office...

...and my wife says
it's not uncommon for people... get lightheaded and starstruck.

I've heard the same thing
from others too.

Let me show you around the place.

- If I could just get some water.
- No problem. We keep it in here.

- Sorry to interrupt.
- We're just having a nightcap.

I'd like you to meet Barry Haskel
from the FEC.

May I present Kenneth Kato.

- Mr. Attorney General.
- Dan Larsen.

- Rob Konrad.
- It's good to see you.

Jed Bartlet.
You're thinking about helping us out?

- That makes me so happy.
- It's an honor to meet you, sir.

- Barry's thirsty.
- Get him a drink.

- They'll take good care of you.
- Have a drink.


- Put him in the boat...
- This could be for nothing.

If the numbers....
Did we start?

We put the poll in the field
three hours ago.

All right. Did the guys
make any predictions?

- I didn't ask.
- Yes, you did.

They think we'll hold at 42.
Toby thinks we dropped a few points.

It could be worse than holding at 42.
If the numbers go down...

...I'm just a guy with Barry Haskel
in his office.

I'll stop back.

- A Marine guarding your door?
- Too showy?

- What's he supposed to be guarding?
- I'll be right in here.

- Thanks.
- Thank you, Mr. President.

You are graduating tomorrow, and...

And yet you're in a library, studying.

- It's called the bar exam.
- Are you taking it tonight?

- No.
- Well, then, let's go out.

Give me 10 more minutes.

- Oh, God, is that me?
- That's me.

- The advantages of being a waitress.
- No bar exam?

- You won't be a waitress forever.
- Answer your phone.


-You're in the library?
- It's you.

On the night before?

Three years of law school,
I don't understand real estate.

- Nobody does. Listen...
- You can't come?


I understand.

There's reason to believe a staffer
knows that I know you.

He's been waiting for the moment
it would cause the most trouble.

- And that moment's now?

- It's okay.
- No, it's not okay, but...

Don't kill yourself.
I know you'll be thinking about me.

I will.

Go knock 'em dead tomorrow.

- Okay.

- He can't make it.
- Yeah, I kind of guessed.

- Don't worry about it.
- That's right. This is your week.

You know what's fun?

- Jogging around the Potomac.
- Were you jogging?

No, I was sitting on a bench,
but jogging looked good to me.

Bonnie, arrange a meeting with
Ross Kassenbach, as soon as possible.

- I need two minutes with the president.
- Found one?

- What?
- Ambassador to Micronesia.

Is that a real country? Sounds like
a place the Marx brothers...

The president's got two minutes
in two minutes.

Come with me for this.

Based on what
is he making that claim?

We've been out there for weeks!

We've been out there. Crossfire,
Meet the Press, The Today Show.

Good Morning Scottsdale, Time,
Newsweek, Popular Mechanics.

We're talking about treatment,
not legalization.

The same memo has been generated
by every administration.

- How do you wanna handle it?
- By saying that it's the same memo.

It sounds like we're soft.
Onorato says I wanna legalize drugs.

It's been the exact same memo
for 30 years.

- That's exactly what you should say.
- Thanks.

Leo said you guys predicted
we'd hold steady at 42.

Do you really think
we held our ground?

- I said we might drop a couple.
- I think we held our ground.

I didn't say we'd hold steady, sir.
I said we'd gain five points.

- Yeah?
- Yes, sir.

Well, okay.
Anybody wanna offer C.J. the odds?

- Talk to the press.
- Yes.

Tell them every administration
for 30 years has generated that memo.

That's it. Thank you.
What do you got?

- Micronesia.
- Toby says it's a country.

- It is. You know where?
- In the South Pacific.

It's actually 607 small islands
in the South Pacific.

While its total landmass
is only 270 square miles... occupies a million square miles
of the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Embassy is located
in the state of Pohnpei...

...not on the island of Yap.

- Why would a person know that?
- Parties.

- Sir?
- I looked at Micronesia.

- I can't fire our ambassador.
- Why not?

I won't have an answer
for why I fired him.

- Sam's got you covered.
- How?

- You're gonna promote the ambassador.
- To what?

- Ambassador to Paraguay.
- And what happens to him?

Ambassador to Bulgaria.

If everybody keeps moving up one,
I get to go home.

The ambassador is having an affair
with the prime minister's daughter.

- That ambassador is Ken Cochran?
- Yes.

The daughter of the Bulgarian
prime minister?

Who is said to be upset.

- I can imagine.
- Do you know him, sir?

- The prime minister?
- Cochran.

- I know his wife.
- Ouch.

- I gotta fire Ken Cochran?
- Yes, sir.

Not because of the girl.

- Why not?
- I know his wife.

We can create legitimate grounds
for incompetence.

Looks to me like there
are legitimate grounds.

- But come up with different ones.
- Yes, sir.

- All right, let's do it.
- Thank you.


- Yes, sir?
- I need to meet Ambassador Cochran.

He can be found
at the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.

Have the State Department
fly his ass here tomorrow.

- Yes, sir.
- Thank you.

- Is that Ken Cochran?
- Yeah.

- Okay.
- What?

I'm sorry, sir?

- It looked like you knew who he was.
- No, sir.

- Okay.
- Thank you, Mr. President.

They might put it on the table.

- They won't...
- They might.

- If they do put it on the table...
- They won't.

Is there any possibility
you'll let me finish a sentence?

You don't have to raise your voice.

- How the hell do you know if I am?
- I guessed.

Give me an argument
on English as the official language.

Don't speculate if the Republicans
put the issue on the table.

- Okay.
- Good.

- What'd she say?
- They won't.

Okay, look...

Josh, C.J. started talking
about the drug memo.

The briefing's not till 11.

- Guess what?
- My watch sucks?

- Indeed.
- When I get back...

...we'll argue about
what I wanna argue about.

Do your best not to annoy me.

It's hard to believe
you're not married.

Many have tried.

- Did Toby find a country?
- Micronesia.

Is that a real country?

It's southwest of Hawaii,
where you've never taken me.

When was I supposed to take you?

- Anytime. It's something bosses do.
- Micronesia?

They have the best scuba diving.
The mantas on Yap...

Stop talking now.

... mandatory minimum sentencing

... applied to crack cocaine
are racist.

A guy takes his assistant to Maui,
it's not unheard of.

- C.J.
- Hang on.

Mandatory minimums
require sentencing...

...anyone with five
grams of crack to five years.

It takes 100 times as much powder
cocaine to get that sentence.

70% of drug users are white.
80% of crack users are black.

Mandatory minimums for crack
are a war on the black community.

Are you defending
the rights of drug users?

- Oh, please. Katie?
- Hang on, C.J., I asked...

We are committed to reversing
the effects of drug abuse.

The best way is to treat
addiction as a medical problem.

We do not believe in a phony war
on drugs or killing black drug users.

- C.J., are you aware...?
- Onorato says we support legalization?

Steve Onorato has a memo written
by the assistant surgeon general.

I'd be happy to produce similar memos
written for every president... the last 30 years, including
four Republicans. That's all.

- There was no reason to snap at me.
- It was a ridiculous question.

We aren't crusading for drug
users' rights!

I know, but don't count on everybody
understanding you when I can't.

You can't stay pissed at me.
Mandy's thing went away.

Is there really a need
to continue punishing me...?

Hang on.

- They talk about it here, Danny.
- And they blame you?

- They don't say it.
- But they blame you?

- Yes.
- And you think you've let them down?

C.J., you're late
for the G-7 briefing.

- I have to go back to work.
- Okay.

- C.J.?
- Check in with the poll.

- I checked in a half-hour ago.
- Check again.

- Leo.
- Yeah?

C.J.'s here.

- Okay.
- Wanna hear a joke?


Why do they only eat
one egg for breakfast in France?

Because in France,
one egg is un oeuf.

- Okay, C.J.'s here.
- Okay.

- Hi.
- Hey.

- The lid is on.
- You told me.

You called me and told me
it was a full lid.

Yeah. I'm gonna go to the phone banks,
check in with the poll.

- Okay.
- Leo, this is a small thing.

The president mentioned
that you told him...

...that everyone said
we'd hold steady at 42.

But I said we'd go up five points.

I meant on average.

Like lopping off the score
from the East German judge.

I think it's strange my take wasn't...

I'm saying,
don't read too much into it.

- All right?
- Okay.

Anything else?

No. I'm gonna go
check the phone banks.

- Roosevelt said...
- Josh...

- The Republicans will bring it up.
- No, they won't.

He said, "We have room
for but one language: English.

We intend to see
our people turn out as Americans...

...not as dwellers
in a polyglot boarding house. "

- What kind?
- Polyglot, it means having knowledge...

- I know what it means.
- Why did you ask?

- He asked you!
- Would the two of you shut up?

Or the three of you.
Could half of you stop?

Mandy's wound a bit tight
during polling.

- What are you doing here?
- Another laid-back team member.

- Mandy's supposed to be here.
- What are you doing here?

I'm morale.
The calls are going great.

I've got a deadline. You can't stand
here distracting the female callers.

Have I been distracting
the female callers?

- Even a little?
- That's it.

The window's fine,
they're making their quotas.

- Did he mention he's here for morale?
- And as such, I'm getting coffee.

A hundred volts of caffeine
is what the doctor ordered.

You should've been more impressed
that I was able to quote Roosevelt.

I was impressed
you knew what polyglot meant.

760 SAT word, baby.

You are both drunk and disorderly.

- Oh, my God.
- Happy graduation.

- How did you...?
- Surprise!

- We worked in cahoots.
- You planned this?

- This is why you dragged me back here.
- Are you glad?

Well, then, be quiet.
And I'll be upstairs.

- Good night, Janeane.
- Good night, Janeane.

- What'd you get me?
- Graduation gift.

Is it a briefcase?
Did I just ruin it?

I ask because it's a typical gift.
I don't mean boring, I mean basic.

When I say basic,
I don't mean boring, either.

Open the box.

- You bought me a pen.
- It's a good one.

- You can use that pen in outer space.
- Where's my present?

- Happy graduation, counsel.
- Thank you.

- Way to go, Laurie.
- Thank you.

I have to go.
You spend the night here, or...

I'm gonna go upstairs. She's got a...

Did you see anybody get in that car?

- He'll see us.
- What'd he say?

- "Get your ass over here. "
- I wrote a letter of resignation.

That would deny me the pleasure
of throwing you out of a window.

- You have every right to say that.
- I should keep you on a leash.

I'm talking to C.J., then to you.

I'd bolt you to your desk
and have someone feed you.

The president referred
to the NASDAQ Composite...

...not the 30-year Treasury Yield.

Not the Dow Industrials,
the NASDAQ Composite.

Someone here
is gonna get back to you.

- How do you not tell me until now?
- We didn't know anything last night.

- Sam called you.
- He saw a suspicious car.

I'm not gonna call at night
because someone started a car.

I was handling it. It took me three
hours to confirm there was a picture.

- Who has it?
- The London Daily Mirror.

They paid a friend of hers $50,000
to confirm that she was a call girl.

When's it running?

Later today. American press
has it tomorrow morning.

- He was giving her a present?
- Yeah.

- Work the Post and the Times.
- Yeah.

- You never paid her for sex?
- No.

- They had sex once. He didn't know.
- That makes two of us.

Sam's always been aboveboard
about his relationship with Laurie.

- Laurie's the girl?
- Yes.

He told us about it
after his first contact.

Her putting herself through
law school has to mean something.

- And Sam's word is unimpeachable.
- Are you sticking up for Sam?

I know it's strange,
but I'm feeling a certain...

...big-brotherly connection right now.
Obviously, I want it to go away soon.

But now we should stand by Sam and
go after the people who set him up.

Sam, you're gonna spend the morning
finding out if you broke any laws.

- Call the girl. What's her name?
- Laurie.

Tell her the White House regrets
the inconvenience she'll experience.

And that she probably has a cause
of action against the paper.

Tell her if she passes her bar exam,
the U.S. Attorney General...

...will personally see
that she's admitted to the bar.

Tell her the president says
congratulations on getting her degree.

- Yes, sir.
- That's all.

Thank you, Mr. President.

It's nice when we can do something
for prostitutes once in a while.

- Mr. President.
- Ready?

Cochran's in the Mural Room.

- Where are we putting Lobell?
- Roosevelt Room.

He has a lot of staff.
I don't know what they do...

...but there they are.
Wherever Lobell goes, 15 guys.

I'm gonna take care of this first.

- Who's in the Mural Room?
- Cochran.

- You did it again.
- Sir?

You said it like you knew him.
I have a sense about these things.

- Finely honed.
- It's failing you, sir.

Cochran's in the Mural Room?
Sit with him and send in Ted Mitchel.

- Mr. President?
- Yes, of course. Thanks.

- Ted!
- Mr. President.

- Thanks for coming.
- My pleasure.

- You're looking good. How's Mary?
- She sends her love.

- Let me tell you that I need a favor.
- Of course.

- I need you to hire a guy.
- Who?

The former ambassador to Bulgaria.
Ken Cochran.

Isn't he the current ambassador?

Not for long. He's a good man.
He'd be a good corporate officer.

- Why is he being fired?
- Gross incompetence. I'll be back.

- Morning, sir.
- Nancy.

- Lobell's in the Roosevelt Room.
- Be right in.

Mr. President. Good to see you.

- Thank you for flying in.
- Of course, Mr. President.

- What can I do for you?
- Resign.

Excuse me?

You had an affair with the prime
minister's daughter. That won't work.

Neither does a newspaper article
saying you're having an affair.

You're gonna get a job offer
for a lot more money.

That's why you left the embassy.
I'll be back.

Well, this is outrageous.

- I'll tell him when he comes back in.
- Yes, sir.

- Have we met?
- Sir?

You look familiar. Have we met?

- Yes, sir.
- Where?

I was a waiter
at the Gramercy Club.

- Charlie?
- Yes, sir.

- Charlie!
- Yes, sir.

- It's good to see you again.
- Yes, sir.

Under strained circumstances,
which I'll explain.

- I resigned my membership.
- Did you?

Yeah. I find exclusive clubs
to be repugnant.

It didn't stop you from joining up.

Now, that's out of line.
That shouldn't have been said.

- You're addressing a U.S. ambassador.
- I apologize, sir.

I'm sorry to do this, but I'd like
to speak to your supervisor.

I'm personal aide to the president.
My supervisor's busy...

...looking for a back door
to shove you out of.

I'll let him know
you'd like to complain.

- Thanks for waiting.
- Mr. President.

Clearly, this young man has told you
about our past, and I'd like to...

That doesn't have anything to do...
Wait a second.

You two have a past?
You mocked my finely honed sense.

You stood there in my face...
It's done, Ken.

Ted Mitchel will put you
on the board of directors.

Remember, I like your wife. I would
hate to see her be made a fool of.

I think it would be appropriate
now to make a confession.

- What's that?
- I never voted for you.

Well, thanks for trying,
but here I am anyway. Gotta go.

- All set?
- Look, 14 staffers.

- You have a large staff too.
- But I don't walk around with them.

- Good morning.
- Good morning, Mr. President.

Allow me to introduce
Bob Simon, Peter...

Max, I don't need to know
all the names. Please sit.

- All right.
- You know what we're doing here?

- Talking about soft money.
- We'll do more than talk.


- We agree on nothing, Max.
- Yes, sir.

Education, guns,
school prayer, gays...

...defense spending, taxes.
You name it, we disagree.

- You know why?
- Because I'm a lily-livered...

...bleeding heart communist.

Yes, sir. And I'm a gun-toting,
redneck son of a bitch.

- Yes, you are.
- We agree on that.

- We also agree on campaign finance.
- Yes, sir.

So, Max, let's work together
on campaign finance.

- You don't have House votes.
- I don't need them.

1978, the FEC voted a rule
that opened the door to soft money.

The FEC can close it again
with four of the six votes.

How will you get the four votes?

Two seats opened up,
I nominated Bacon and Calhoun.

That's two.

Haskel is with us,
we took him out of the closet.

- How'll you get the fourth?
- Toby'll take care of that.

Max, can I count on your support
to confirm my candidates?

And what do I get in exchange?

The thanks of a grateful president.

Good answer, sir.


Thank you.

Mr. Kassenbach.

- Toby Ziegler.
- Nice to meet you.

The president thinks you've done
a great job on the FEC...

- ...and extends his congratulations.
- On what?

On being named the next ambassador
to the Federated States of Micronesia.

It's in.

- Yeah.
- You talk to them?

They sealed it in an envelope,
sent it by courier.

- So Joey mentioned she talked to you.
- Yeah.

She said you think there are
only so many times... can walk into the Oval Office
and sing a song.

- She said "sing a song"?
- That's what I thought she said.

I'm trying to learn sign.
We're using letters of the alphabet.

Turns out she said you think
there are only so many times...

- can say you're wrong.
- He hasn't called my number much.

He did on this.
The media strategy was yours.

Holding at 42 is good.
You shouldn't expect a 5-point bump.

- I do expect that.
- Okay.

He thinks of you
like a daughter, C.J.

That's not a good enough reason
to keep me here.

- You'll come when you get it?
- Yeah.

- Because we're all waiting over there.
- Yeah.

They're delivering it to her?
And she's gonna bring it right here?


Thank you.

Kassenbach was okay?

- I'm sorry, sir?
- Kassenbach was okay?

He's gonna be an ambassador.
He feels pretty good.

- Did you tell him about the weather?
- Yes, sir.

- Scuba diving?
- Yes, sir.

- Full diplomatic immunity?
- Yes, sir.

Though there aren't
a lot of laws in Micronesia.


- Good evening.
- Good evening, Josh.

I just saw C.J.
She'll be here in a minute.

Joey and I are working on
a counter to de Tocqueville.

- We're having a fight with him?
- Don't get him started.

Joey, what say you to the position
that with ethnic warfare spreading... will eventually
reach our shores...

...and making English
our official language...

...safeguards our national identity
and avoids ethnic strife?

That's what I deal with.

72% of Hispanics are strongly
opposed to such a law.

The Republicans won't
put it on the table.

They'll lose the second-largest
ethnic bloc of voters.

But if you need a counterargument,
I'd say to Monsieur de Tocqueville...

...aside from being unconstitutional,
no laws need to be created... protect the language
of Shakespeare.

That's all I was looking for.
That one line took you four days.

- She did it again.
- Yeah.

What kind of briefcase
did you get her, Sam?

- Sir?
- What kind of briefcase?

Coach Beekman in British tan
with brass hardware.

- That's nice.
- Yes, sir.

Andara makes a nice model.
Comes in black or brown...

You can fit a laptop...

This conversation is surreal.

Trieste in Milan
makes a nice briefcase.

The polling book is 400 pages long,
and it's still being put together.

- I have the top sheet results.
- What does it say?

I was wrong.
We went up nine points.

Okay, what's next?

We should talk about
the new projections....