The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 2, Episode 11 - The Leadership Breakfast - full transcript

Toby wants to use a bipartisan breakfast to discuss real issues instead of making it a staged event; Sam floats the idea of moving the press room across the street; Leo wants Josh to apologize to a columnist on his behalf; Leo and Toby realize they need to start thinking about reelection.

Previously on The West Wing:

Hard as you might try, the Republican
Party isn't going anywhere.

You don't know that.
They could all move to Vancouver.

- I don't think so.
- Me neither.

But everybody else can take
a seat for four years.

You have post-traumatic
stress disorder.

Well, that doesn't sound like
something they'd let you have...

...if you work for the president.

This president was elected
with 48 percent of the vote.

- But he was elected.
- Without a mandate.

The majority of the people voted
for somebody else.

We don't need some kind
of permission for this?

Shouldn't there be
some official supervision?

We're making a fire in a fireplace.
What supervision do you want?

FEMA, the American Red Cross?

- What kind of wood is this?
- I don't know.

- Josh...
- It's freezing in here.

- I acknowledge that it's cold.
- It's like Ice Station Zebra.

- It also might bother someone.
- It's half past midnight.

See, here's the thing.
This looks like spruce to me.

Spruce is softwood.
Softwood burns out quickly.

- You know what we need?
- A hardwood?

- That's right.
- Interesting.

- Where did you get the wood?
- It was sitting in the thing.

I think that is meant
to be decorative.

It's wood. We're not burning
Benjamin Harrison's log cabin.

- You know what? We might be.
- Why?

It was made out of spruce.

- Where's C.J.?
- In the Roosevelt Room.

Is she doing the seating chart?

Jancowitz has a hearing aid
that seldom works.

He needs to be seated near the center.
Would you tell her that?

You're not using lighter fluid
or anything, are you?

No flammable liquids of any kind
to start a fire, ever.

- Found it.
- What?

- Kerosene.
- Josh.



House majority, House minority.

Senate majority, Senate minority.

- Whip, whip, deputy, deputy.
- Right.

Then the committee chairs.

Ways and Means here.

Finance here.
House Appropriations here.

Senate Appropriations, House Budget.

- Senate Budget.
- Excellent.

- Which brings us to...?
- White House staff.

- So we've got the chief of staff.
- Next to him the deputy chief of staff.

On the other side of Leo will be
the congressional and political liaison.

Next, the communications director
and deputy communications director.

- Staff aides?
- They'll stand around the wall.

- So we're done?
- We're set.

- C.J.?
- Don't give me a thing.

Jancowitz has to sit closer
to the center.

- Why?
- He doesn't hear well.

- He can't sit closer.
- His hearing aid malfunctions.

It's a breakfast to trumpet a new spirit of
bipartisan cooperation in the new year.

- No one will be listening.
- I'm a messenger.

- He's saying don't snub him.
- Because of the thing.

All right, ask him if it's better to dis
the House whip or the Senate whip.

You wanna stand them
in a tripod, right?

Yeah, standing three sticks on end
and slanting them to a common center.

- Isn't that a tripod?
- But...

You just thought you'd say more words?


Hang on. You know what we need?

- Dried leaves?
- We need dried leaves.

We gotta move either
the House or the Senate whip.

- House.
- Why?

Because life is tough.
And if he doesn't like it, he can kiss me.

So the spirit of bipartisanship begins?

Could you possibly get us
some dried leaves?

I'll just run out to the forest
and be right back.

- You know what?
- You think she was being sarcastic?

Yeah, I don't think
she's getting the leaves.

- You know what we could use?
- Newspaper.

This is what I'm talking about.
This is teamwork.

It really is.

- House.
- House?

So we move the House whip
to the left of Sam...

...and move Jancowitz across
from Leo, and we're set, right?

Larry, Ed, we're set?

Either one of you?
Thank you.

You see? You thought it would take a
long time, and it only took 71/2 hours.

- Somebody working on the heat?
- Seating's set.

- That took some time.
- It was hard.

You gotta find a Magic Marker.

When people sit with the president,
there's excruciating protocol involved.

- What?
- Missed one.

- Who?
- Take a look.

- I'm looking.
- It'll happen.

Okay, guys? You know what we did?

- We forgot the president.
- There it is.

Does anybody smell smoke?

Oh, God.

I think this might be
because the wood is wet.

The fire ought to dry it pretty quick,
shouldn't it?

What did you do?

- It's going good.
- There's smoke in the hallways.

- What the hell's going on?
- The wood's drying out.

- Are you burning a dining-room table?
- Spruce is a slow-drying wood.

Do you have any idea
what you're talking about?

- Hang on.
- Are those instructions?

It says this fireplace was a "favorite
of President Andrew Johnson"...

...and he would "sip whiskey from a
charcoal keg while reading by its light. "

That doesn't help.

The flue's been welded shut
since 1896.

- That's probably it.
- What are you doing?

Somebody started a fire.

If the alarms go off,
I gotta wake the president.

The president's 1000 yards over
and two flights up.

It's procedure.

Well, let's get a fire extinguisher
and put it out before the smoke alarm...

- What?
- Mr. President.

You know how you said not to wake you
unless there was a fire?

- These are the rules.
- They're the guidelines.

The meeting will last 90 minutes.

- And the rules...
- Guidelines.

We can't talk about
the Patients' Bill of Rights?

We can talk about it.

We just can't talk about dropping the
provision that would allow for litigation.

- Why not?
- That's not what the breakfast is for.

- What's it for?
- To symbolize a spirit of cooperation... the new session begins
and to eat pancakes.

So on the Patients' Bill of Rights,
we'll just debate the things we agree on.

- And minimum wage?
- We won't be talking about that at all.

No, because it could lead
to something.

- We can't talk about the Patients' Bill?
- We can.

Just not about dropping
the no-litigation clause.

Why have rights
if you can't sue for them?

- Fine argument.
- But we won't make it?

- Not at this breakfast.
- And minimum wage?

Not so much.

I see we won't be talking
about the 993 tax cut.

We won't be, but we've agreed to call
it tax relief instead of a tax cut.

We'll call it tax relief?

- But we won't be talking about it.
- Leo, the Patients' Bill of Rights...

Which we'll call the Comprehensive
Access and Responsibility Act.

What's the Comprehensive Access
and Responsibility Act?

It's the Patients' Bill of Rights, but
the C.A. R.A. was introduced in 1999.

It's the same thing. The Republicans
will discuss changing the name back.

In exchange for calling
tax breaks "tax relief"?

- Or income enhancement.
- I'm in a musical.

Getting it renamed is
a hell of a concession.

- I'm gonna check in with you, okay?
- Sure.

Sick people who don't get proper medical
care, because they can't afford it...

...don't care if we've agreed
to change the bill's name.

We agreed to discuss changing it.

- After that?
- Security briefing.

- After that?
- Agriculture.

Who set off the smoke alarm
last night?

It sounds a lot like you're talking
about Sam, Mr. President.

Were you inconvenienced?

They had me on the Truman Balcony
in my underwear.

- Was it cold?
- In January? No, why do you ask?

I'd like to talk about those rules
in that memo you're reading.

It's a pancake breakfast, Toby.
There's nothing that's important.

We're having Vermont maple syrup?

If you read item four, you'll see time
at this breakfast will be spent...

...discussing calling
the Patients' Bill of Rights...

...the Comprehensive Access
and Responsibility Act.

I don't care if it's called
the Monroe Doctrine.

What the hell are we doing
serving Vermont maple syrup?

On the minimum wage, in item five
of the Rules for Bipartisan Breakfast...

You keep calling them rules.

Margaret, what does it say at the top?

- " Rules for bipartisan breakfast. "
- I keep meaning to fire you.

New Hampshire syrup is
what we serve in this White House.

It's a breakfast. We eat. We pose for
pictures, do a post-game conference.

Everybody gets out,
and I don't have to be Officer Krupke.

- Anything else?
- An OMB efficiency expert has said...

...we can free up space by moving
the press room across the street.

What else?

- Thank you.
- Thank you.


You feeling all right?

You sure?

You don't mind me asking?

Because I'm gonna ask you
once a day, okay?

You just asked me four times
in the last 10 seconds.

Go to Ben and Sally's
for dinner tonight.

Are you going?

Was I invited?

Are Ben and Sally asking for me?

They'd rather you didn't come...

...but they'll do me a favor,
and I need you to do me one too.

What's at Ben and Sally's?

Karen Cahill.

And what stupid-ass Irish thing
did you say to Karen Cahill...

...that you now need me to apologize
for at Ben and Sally's, like a little girl?

Let me tell you what was surprising
about that moment.

I said that only 12 hours
after you were very cool...

...about my almost accidentally
setting the building on fire.

I made a joke about her shoes.

I'm sorry?

I made a remark about her shoes.

- You're the second most powerful man.
- And she writes for The New York Times.

Who knows what relationship
women have with shoes.

What could you possibly have said?

It was perfectly benign to anyone
who doesn't take shoes that seriously.

Just tell her I love her
and that I'm sorry.

- And I'll take her shoe shopping.
- Why don't you tell her?

If someone else tells her, it seems like
I was thoughtful enough to mention it.

If I tell her,
it makes me seem feminine.

You don't think the shoe shopping's
gonna take care of that?

Let's call the insurance company...

...and see how much water damage
is in the Mural Room.

You needn't wave a stick.

- I am totally there for you.
- Thank you.

- Can I get Sam to do it?
- Fine.

Anything else?

This is about what they say after the
meeting, so let's decide what they'll say.

- It'll be simple enough.
- Like what?

We appreciate the president's invitation
and welcome him to bipartisanship.

I'll end the press conference.

- You'll welcome him to bipartisanship?
- What's wrong?

I think C.J. is objecting to
the implication that we got there first.

How about we all agree on a need
for a renewed spirit of bipartisanship.

The meeting was positive?
Friendly, frank and productive?

Our goals can be met
under the president's leadership...

- No way.
- What's the problem?

I think what my aide is
objecting to is the implication...'s the president's leadership
under which our goals will be met.

The meeting was positive, friendly,
frank and productive.

With a spicy bouquet
that suggests a fine Merlot.

Press will be at the northwest entrance.
If we're done at 10:30...

...majority leader will speak,
the minority leader...

...then C.J. will answer questions
in the briefing room.

If all goes well...

- Why in the briefing room?
- It's where I brief.

The majority leader's briefing
first and outside.

You're doing it last,
in back of a podium...

...and in front of a big picture
of the White House.

The majority leader will be
in front of the White House.

He'll be on the Capitol steps.

Traditionally, it's in front
of the White House.

Traditionally, the person in my job
has cared what's traditional.

The president won't wanna end
a bipartisan breakfast...

...with Republicans speaking
from one place and Dem...

The majority leader won't stand at a
cardboard podium in your front yard...

...while you stand in the White House
briefing room, and with good reason.

- Which is?
- They're not on equal footing.

Our bosses?
I don't think they are either.

The majority leader will brief outside.
If he wants to skip breakfast...

...there'll be more pancakes for us,
and my press room can write about why.

Well, you can't blame a girl
for trying.

- You need me?
- Can I borrow her for a moment?

We'll wait.

- These rules are crap.
- The guidelines?

- We're working with C.J. now.
- I don't care who speaks in what order.

I'm talking about what we say
when we sit down.

- You've got concerns?
- I do.

Name one.

The president prefers maple syrup
from New Hampshire. I'm not kidding.

We'd better meet on this.

- Breakfast tomorrow?
- What should I wear?

- I don't give a damn.
- I've heard different.

9:45. So we got that straight.
Where were we?

You were giving me and my staff
an ultimatum.

Did you know there's a pool
under the briefing room?

- I didn't.
- There's a swimming pool under there.

And according to
the OMB efficiency auditor...

...more people work in the West Wing
than in any point in history.

You wanna free up space by kicking out
the press corps and putting in a pool?

I realize there are some flaws
in my logic.

- Leo needs a favor.
- What?

Go to Ben and Sally's
and apologize to Karen Cahill...

- ... for making fun of her shoes.
- I didn't.

- He did.
- I have no problems with them.

- Leo did.
- What was his problem?

- Do what you usually do.
- Here's the thing.

- What?
- I don't do well with Karen.

- Why?
- I get nervous.

- What happens?
- I become unimpressive.

- In what way?
- In many ways.

You don't fall down, do you?

- When?
- With Karen.

- Once.
- You'll be fine.

- You think?
- You'll be impressive.

I wasn't before.
That doesn't mean I won't do it.

- Right.
- You know why?

- Doesn't matter.
- Perseverance.

You get back on the horse.

I'll sit there and she'll say,
"Sam Seaborn's impressive.

- I'll say nice things about him. "
- Reach for the stars.

- I will.
- Good.

I'm having breakfast
with Ann Stark tomorrow.

- Leave it alone.
- We should discuss the minimum wage...

It's a new year!

- Let's not faff around!
- It's breakfast.

I know it's breakfast. We're not gonna
come up with solutions in 90 minutes.

But we have the principals
in a room and no cameras.

The leaders of the land.

Not to talk about how we'll approach
minimum wage, Patients' Bill of Rights... relief and education
in the session that's about to begin... a criminally negligent and
cowardly refusal to do what we were...

...all sent here to do.

This is what my ex-wife and I
did for years.

We had these rules.

We could talk about anything but why
we couldn't live with each other.

I could have been
two years younger right now.

There was a freshman Democrat
who came to Congress 50 years ago.

He turned to a senior Democrat
and said:

"Where are the Republicans?
I want to meet the enemy. "

The senior Democrat said,
"The Republicans aren't the enemy.

They're the opposition.
The Senate's the enemy. "

Those days are over.

In this climate...

This climate is when real debate is
what bipartisanship should look like.

This woman's had this job two weeks.

I don't like dealing with people
who are trying to impress me.

I know her a little.

Have breakfast with her.

Thank you.

Jenny and I wouldn't talk
about it either.

- You know why?
- Why?

Because we loved each other,
and it was awful.

And we knew it was
never gonna change.


I wanna talk about minimum wage
and Patients' Bill of Rights.

You're talking about the Comprehensive
Access and Responsibility Act there.

- All right, yeah.
- I brought you a present.

- What is it?
- Guess.

- Really?
- Sure.

- Why?
- I would think it'd be fun.

- You don't think it'd be a waste of time?
- You've lost your sense of humor.

It's a bottle of New Hampshire
maple syrup.

It's a can of New Hampshire
maple syrup...

...and you just ruined what I think
could've been a nice moment.

- Ann...
- Tax breaks are tax relief now.

And we're changing
South Carolina to Italy.

- The minimum wage.
- You cannot muster a thank you?

For the syrup?

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

- And congratulations.
- Thank you.

You are the chief of staff to the most
powerful Republican in the country.

- Obviously, a great deal of confidence...
- Where's my present?

For being promoted?

- I don't have one.
- Give me my syrup back.

Are you ready to order?

He's gonna need syrup. I have syrup
here, but he doesn't have any.

Scrambled eggs, wheat toast
and coffee, please.

Did the president say the stats were
more staggering in Washington, D. C.?

- Would you remind me to clarify that?
- Why?

He was in Louisville, Kentucky,
when he said it.

- You got my note?
- Moving the press room to the OEOB?

- I did.
- And?

Don't let anyone know you wrote it
and don't ever mention it again.

- Moving the press room?
- See? You mentioned it.

- You did it again.
- I didn't.

- You were about to.
- The OEOB is across the street.

We're not getting a pool.

I know we're not getting a pool,
but we can get needed office space.

We can put distance
between the press and the president...

...and put them across the street
in a state-of-the-art facility.

- By "state-of-the-art" you mean...?
- A room with electricity.

The press doesn't want distance
from the president.

And Americans don't want the president
to have distance from the press.

We can't exile the press.

The room is 100 yards
from where we're standing.

It sends a signal we're trying
to hide things.

We are, but I don't think we'll be
better at it if they're across the street.

- I'll get more information.
- I don't need it.

- So you can ruminate.
- I don't need to.

Excellent. Josh.

- How'd it go?
- Hang on.

- What do you need?
- Did the monthly DNC go out yet?

- It's going out now.
- Is there time to add a question?

Donna, get me the polling center
at Global Strategies Group.

What's the question?

C.J. thinks if we move the press out
of the West Wing, Americans will object.

- She's crazy.
- So I want to show her numbers.

Mike at Global Strategies.

I wanna tack on a question, okay?

Would you object to...?
Would you have...?

Yes or no. Would you have
an objection if...?

What should the question be?

If the White House moved the press
to Trenton, would you give a flying...?

Would you object to the White House
moving the press room...

...out of the West Wing
and across the street?

Read it back.

- How'd it go?
- It went great.

Thank you.

- I had to talk to Karen Cahill last night.
- Did you fall down?

I did not.

We were talking about the stability
of former Soviet republics...

...and their fear
of Islamic extremism.

And I have to say, that I made
some very scholarly points...

...regarding the remaining
nuclear weapons in Kirghizstan...


The nuclear weapons are
in Kazakhstan.

I said Kirghizstan?

Well, Kirghizstan has
no nuclear weapons.

Kazakhstan's a country
four times the size of Texas...

...and has a sizable number
of former Russian missile silos.

Kirghizstan's on the side of a hill near
China and has mostly nomads and sheep.

I'm sure you got it right last night.


I'm sure.


It's a photo op, Toby. Let them talk
about the Redskins and their kids.

And why not talk
about the minimum wage?

Because you'll say you want it
raised $2 in 50¢ increments...

...over two years,
and we'll say three years.

Ann, do you know what
a full-time worker...

...employed at $5. 15 an hour
makes in a year?


Which is $2600 below the poverty line.
Why have a minimum wage?

- Now you're talking.
- Ann, I...

You think raising the minimum wage
will put a dent in the poverty rate?

I'm saying it could keep up
with inflation.

The last 30 years, the purchasing power
of the minimum wage is down 30%.

You know how much
the stock market is up?

A hundred and fifteen percent. Small
businesses will fold or produce less...

...because they can't afford
to pay a federally mandated wage.

The unemployed will, in turn, face
higher prices while receiving no wage.

Let's talk about it at breakfast.

- Why?
- Twenty senators will call and say:

"Why are you starting the ball
rolling without us? "

They will say, "Why are you rolling
the ball at all? "

You'll sandbag the thing
in committee.

You've shown us your whole hand.
You're playing a game, and not well.

I just got here.

- Your predecessor didn't play it well.
- That's why they gave me her job.

Ann, we're not gonna get screwed
around on the wage hike.

- We have the votes, and you know it.
- Having the votes doesn't matter...

...if the leader decides there
isn't gonna be a vote.

There is gonna be a vote,
and if there isn't...

...we'll offer the wage hike as an
amendment on everything that moves.

Say that again.

You heard me the first time.

Do you not remember I'm the same
person who bought you a can of syrup?

What have I done to make you think
I'm scared of you?

- The Patients' Bill of Rights.
- We can talk about it?

We can spend 15 minutes
on dropping the litigation shield.

- In exchange for what?
- Some flowers.

- In exchange for what?
- The spirit of bipartisanship.

In exchange for what?

I want the press conference
at the Hill.

Our guys are tired of looking
like the president's stupid cousin.

That's all? You want
the press conference on the Hill?


C.J. Cregg says no.

C.J. works for me.

- Thank you for breakfast.
- You're welcome.

- Charlie.
- Yes, sir.

- Who's the next meeting?
- Kim Woo of Singapore.

- You want the cheat sheet?
- I don't need a cheat sheet. Kim Woo:

He won a bronze medal for fencing.
He's a Buddhist.

And he enjoys European history.
You see, even though it's a handshake...

...I make him feel like a friend,
and that's what they call people skills.

Kim Woo's a woman, sir.

He's an Olympic athlete.
Don't say that to his face.

- Sir.
- What else?

Sam jotted down some remarks for
your toast at the breakfast tomorrow.

" Ladies and gentlemen. "
That's funny.

- That's funny. She's a woman?
- Yes, sir.

- Did you mark that down?
- Yes, sir.

"We spend so much time
demonizing the other side...

...treating our opponents
like threatening strangers...

...with whom we share
nothing in common...

...that we've lost sight, perhaps,
of the greater truths. "

Did you know it's bad luck
to toast with water?

- I didn't.
- Yeah, don't toast with water.

- Should we go, sir?
- It's from Greek mythology.

- You lose your spirit.
- To what?

To what do you lose your spirit?

That's a good question. I could tell you,
but it's better if you look it up.

I'll hit the library as soon
as I get off work tonight at 1 a.m.

"That we've lost sight, perhaps,
of the greater truths.

There is a lot more that unites
Americans than divides them. "

That's good.

"There's a lot more that unites
Americans than divides them. "

- Remind me to tell Sam that's good.
- Yes, sir.

And remind me not
to toast with water.

- Yes, sir.
- Let's go.

I said the wrong one.

- Maybe not.
- I'm fairly certain.

- You had a 50-50 chance.
- It was Karen Cahill.

I'm sure I said the wrong one.

Why do you guys get worked up
over Karen Cahill?

- She's very influential.
- So are you.

- She's a columnist.
- You talk to lots of columnists.

- She has special powers.
- You think?

- Maybe you didn't get it wrong.
- I got it wrong.

- Maybe there are nuclear weapons there.
- There are barely pots and pans there.

- You think The Times will tease you?
- I do.

You gotta be used to that by now.

- Yeah, here's what we'll do.
- We're gonna do something?

- You talk to her.
- I don't know her.

- You met her.
- We've been introduced.

- You said you two made a connection.
- That's true.

- Here's what you do.
- I connect with people.

You're going to the South Street exhibit?

- How did you know?
- You told me. She's going.

- How do you know?
- She told me.

- A lot of reconnaissance went into this.
- You're gonna go up to her:

"Hi, I'm Donna Moss.
I'm Josh Lyman's assistant. "

You had to come up to her.
She'd get a kick out of this.

Sam Seaborn's being so cute.

He thinks he may have said

...when he meant Kazakhstan.

"Sam Seaborn's being so cute"?

- It would kill you?
- No.

Thank you.

Listen, I just had breakfast
with Ann Stark.

- Minimum wage?
- No.

- It's for the best.
- Why?

- There will be a fight.
- Yes.

- Toby.
- There should be a fight.

We disagree on something important.

Which means there should
be a compromise.

- It won't happen posing for a picture.
- It won't happen eating pancakes either.

Let them tell dirty jokes for 90 minutes,
shake hands and start the year.

Not when it's the taxpayers' pancakes.

Taxpayers will be happy the Democrats
are trying to tighten their belts.

They'll put a provision
of the Patient's Bill for discussion.

That's something you can disagree on.

- Fifteen minutes.
- You can shout a lot in 15 minutes.

In exchange, she wants
the press conference on the Hill.

She wants the whole thing on the Hill?

- Yeah, listen...
- I said no to the split conference.

- What makes her think I'll put...?
- Because I'm asking you to.


- That's what they get in exchange...
- You kidding?

- Look...
- Are you kidding me?

- Who cares where the...?
- I don't even know where to start!

- C.J....
- But first of all...

...if they need a response,
I need 20 minutes with staff.

I can't huddle in front of the White
House and congressional press corps.

There won't be a surprise.

You've decided what to say,
which is not much of anything.

We don't speak for the president
at the Capitol.

We don't need their microphone.

It makes us look like less than what we
are. In fact, it makes us look small.

We call tax breaks "tax reliefs"...

...refuse to discuss raising the salary
of those living in poverty...

...arguing about seating...

...and you think that'll
make us look small?

We're talking about the no-litigation
clause for 15 minutes.

I don't care if the damn press
conference is outside the Rotary Club.

It shouldn't be me, then.
It should be Henry.


It should be the deputy.

- I'll tell Ann it's not gonna be you.
- I think this is a bad idea.

First visual is that Congress is the seat
of power and the president's irrelevant.

Not only that, but you just took
my legs out from under me with Ann.

Are you ordering me to move it
to the Hill?

- I don't like doing that.
- You're gonna have to.

Do it.

- It's about to start.
- C.J.

Steve, you should be on the Hill.

I'm gonna watch it on TV.

Are you thinking about moving
the press room across the street?

- No.
- I heard you were discussing it.

- From who?
- Chris.

It's starting.

- She was sure you were discussing it.
- Why?

She got called by a pollster,
who asked her how she felt...

She got called by a pollster?

- She herself got called?
- It's starting.

- Anyway...
- Let me get into it.


Good morning. We're joined today
with Congressman Dade...

...Congressman Shallick, Senator
Hammond and then Senator Ford.

Unfortunately, the majority leader has
a sore throat and is unable to join us.

He's gone back to his office.

We concluded a frank
and productive meeting...

- When did he get a sore throat?
- I don't...

She took the majority leader
off the board.

...bipartisanship, as we face the
coming legislative session.

We'll answer questions
for a few moments this morning. Yes.

Was the Patients' Bill of Rights

The Comprehensive Access and
Responsibility Act, it was discussed...

- ... though I hesitate to comment...
- She took him off the board.

Was it a balance thing?
No, she didn't want balance.

- She wanted power.
- Maybe...

Why did she take her boss
off the board?

We discussed the litigation clause, but
I don't wanna get into the specifics.

- We're about to get hit.
- What about the minimum wage hike?

The wage hike was not discussed.

Well, are you considering
a $2 increase over two years?

We want the same thing
over three years.

Certainly the leader's position's...

Call on Simon.

We didn't discuss it. Craig?

Call on Simon.

Is it fair to say it's the majority leader
holding this up and not the majority?

I don't think it's fair to say either.
In the back. Simon.

Congressman, I'm quoting
a senior White House aide...

...who says they have the votes.

The aide said unless they get a straight
up or down vote from the leader...

This is the quote, "We'll attach it as an
amendment to everything that moves. "

- Could you say that again?
- The senior aide said...

I don't wanna comment on this.

I think I'd like to get back to
the breakfast meeting and then for...

Excuse me, but I'm sorry.

My friend from Michigan is too polite
to comment on this.

I'm not burdened
by any such sense of etiquette.

- Congressman.
- This is disgraceful.

The record should show a spitball
contest was begun behind our backs...

...through the press...

...and before the 107th Congress
was even gaveled into session.

You want some quotes?
Open your note pads.

It's Toby.

It is sadly not atypical of this
White House to make a public show...

- I'm the senior aide.
- No kidding. Get me Henry.

We came here in an honest effort...


I've got Henry. What do you want?

If the White House says
one thing to our face...

...and another to us
through the media...

...if the White House ambushes us
with ultimatums in the press...

What do you want me to do, Toby?

Don't let him take the podium.

He'll take questions
in the briefing room in 20 minutes.

Henry, get home.

Congressman, one last question!

Does the White House
really have the vote?

What the hell happened?

That was me.

I gave Ann Stark the quote,
and she fed it to a reporter.

- Why'd you give her the quote?
- It wasn't a quote.

- What was it?
- I told her we had the votes...

She knows we have the votes.

She was promoted to chief of staff
for the Senate majority leader.

You don't think she knows
we have the votes?

I misunderstood our relationship.

Now it looks like we went to the press
and went for his knees.

Excuse me, but Toby's not the one
who gave it to the press.

Will the majority leader believe that?

- No.
- It was a breakfast.

It was a damn photo opportunity.

The year is one week old.
The legislative session hasn't begun.

We can't put a forkful of waffles in our
mouth without coughing up the ball.

You got beat.


I have press in 10 minutes.

Figure it out.
Tell me what you're gonna do.

We can take the highroad...

...say we don't want it to disintegrate
into a war of words.

We don't wanna disrupt
a fragile peace.

It's been disrupted. We're accused
of ambushing the majority leader.

Labor's gonna want to know
we stand by the minimum wage.

Why don't we have
the Labor secretary make a statement?

- We support the $2 minimum wage.
- Let's emphasize how close we are.

We support the $2 minimum-wage
hike spread over two years.

The Republicans want it over
three years. We're close.

It sounds like we're close to agreeing
on 30 months, which we're not.

No one will cover a statement
from a Labor secretary...

...which is good because it'd look
like we were ducking.

- No, I don't think...
- She's right.

We can't be passive, and the highroad
doesn't go where we need it to.

Be cool. Be funny.
Smack them down hard.

The majority leader is out of touch
with the needs of real people.

Why wasn't he at the podium?
A sore throat?

We know how tough that is. Thank
goodness he had health insurance.

- There it is.
- That's the sound bite.

And that's the new story.

- Toby?
- Do it.

Carol, I need voting stats
on health care.

Five minutes.

How's this for a phrase?

You can lay down in front of the train,
or you can get onboard.

That's a really bad phrase.

Is it better if it's, "You can get onboard
the train or lay down in front of it"?

No, it's really bad either way.

Josh, this was delivered by messenger.

What is it?

It's... Wait, wait. No, damn,
my x-ray vision is failing me today.

Give me that.

- How'd it go?
- Last night?

Did you talk to her?

I explained you said Kirghizstan
when you meant Kazakhstan.

Did you say it was cute
how I worried?

- I did.
- Did I get it wrong?

- She said she wasn't really listening.
- Okay.

I had a most stimulating conversation
with her. It was pithy. It was erudite.

And most of all, it required
no follow-up explanation.

- Donna?
- What was in the envelope?

Your underwear.


I'm holding your underwear
in my hand right now.

And the way I know
it's your underwear..., your name is sewn in the back...

...which, obviously, we'll spend some
time talking about at a later date.

How did you get my underwear?

Did you wear the same pair of pants
two days in a row this week?

- No.
- Donna?

- Yes.
- Okay...

...when you got dressed on day two...

...did you check the pant leg
for the previous day's underwear?

- I don't need to check the pant leg...
- Donna.

- They fell out of my pants?
- It would appear that way.


The South Street exhibit.

- Where?
- On the floor, in front of Karen Cahill.

- Tell me she's not the one...
- She sent a note.

Fred and Ethel, would you follow
me, please?

I think she's talking about us.

Did a question get tacked on to
the monthly DNC tracking poll...

- ... about moving the press room?
- Yes...

...because I wanted to shoot down
the argument the public...

The public gets news from the press,
and the press gets news...

It's a private poll. The press doesn't
have access to it.

They don't know what questions
we're asking?

Are you sure?

The only way they'd know what
questions were asked... if they were called by one
of the pollsters and... Oh, my God!

- Yes.
- A reporter got called by a pollster?

Yes, indeed. Yes.

- What are the chances of that?
- They're astronomical.

- Guys.
- They sample 800 respondents.

Would the two of you stop being
amazed by the mathematics?

All right, I'd pass it off.

Say some schnook in the management
office wanted to kick it around.


It's gonna be me, right?

- Okay.
- You ready?

You had a lot of opportunities today
to say I told you so...

...and score some points with Leo.

You're a class act.

Why were you holding
women's underwear before?

Never really needed a reason.
Heat them up.



White House press secretary
C.J. Cregg...

...characterized the Republican
response as bizarre.

There was no intent to ambush
the Republican Party with an issue...

...that's been on the table
for a year.

Ann Stark, recently installed chief of
staff in the majority leader's office...

...said she was surprised
by the White House...

And shocked.

Shocked to discover there's gambling
going on in this establishment.

Maybe if you'd gotten me a gift
of some kind.

You think this is funny?

You used to have a sense
of humor, Toby.

- You never had a sense of humor.
- Ann...

I think you'll have to get next
to the idea...

- ... your party isn't in the majority.
- My party's in the White House.

A building to which the Constitution
does not endow sovereign power.

You think I'll sit around while you
reduce the president to prime minister?

Stand or sit. We're in the majority,
and things are gonna have to look it.

And by the way, don't ever walk
into my office without an appointment.

You'd think this could wait
until an election year.

- When is it not an election year?
- Ten years ago, we'd sit down.

We'd order a couple of bourbons.
We'd talk about health care.

We'd talk about the minimum wage.

He didn't have a sore throat.


You kept him off the board
so he could come back on and fix it.

- When will you announce?
- Announce what?

That he's running for president.

I'm pretty sure we just did.

I'm gonna read a short statement in
response to the rather bizarre take on...

I think the whole damn thing is bizarre.

I don't know if this is
the right moment...

- Right moment for what?
- Donna Moss needs a favor.

While talking to Karen Cahill, she
accidentally dropped her underwear.

She feels Karen Cahill may have
misinterpreted that.

Donna asked me to ask you
if you'd call Karen Cahill...

...and make it clear she wasn't
making a sexual advance.

I'm not sure there is a right moment
to ask me that, Charlie.

So I should tell her no.

- Good evening, Mr. President.
- Donna wants me to call Karen Cahill...

...and say she wasn't hitting on her
when she gave her her underwear.

That's because I made fun
of her shoes...

.. Sam said there were
nuclear weapons in Kirghizstan...

...and Donna went to clear it up
and accidentally left her underwear.

There can't possibly be
nuclear weapons in Kirghizstan.

Mr. President, please don't wade
hip-deep into this story.



I'm going to bed. If anybody thinks
of new ways for us to make friends...

...don't hesitate to wake me,
or just feel free to start a fire.

- Thank you, Mr. President.
- Good night.


He didn't wanna see me.

He'll be all right in the morning.

You're the communications director.
It was a TV show.

It was a blunder from top to bottom.

You should know that it could've
been avoided if I'd listened to C.J.

Or me.

Alexander Hamilton didn't think
we should have political parties.

Neither did John Adams. They thought
political parties led to divisiveness.

They do. They should.

We have disagreements.
Arguments are good.

Only if they lead to statesmanship.

Or it's just theater.

And statesmanship is compromise.

What about persuasion?

They're coming for us, Leo.

I know.

I mean, they're coming for us now.

Toby, if you knew what it was like
getting him to run the first time....

- I know.
- Like pushing molasses up a sandy hill.

If I go and tell him it's time to run
again, he's gonna get crazy...

...and frustrated.
He's gonna sink into his head.

And he's gonna say he's not running.

So we've gotta do it for him.

We'll keep it away from this office...

...but we've gotta get real now.

Ann Stark's a wartime consigliere.
That's why she was bumped up.

I'm a wartime consigliere too, Toby.

I was just hoping it'd be peacetime
a little longer.

Son of a bitch.

Shake my hand.

- We just formed it.
- Formed what?

The Committee to Re-elect
the President.

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