The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 2, Episode 6 - The Lame Duck Congress - full transcript

The administration is concerned that the newly elected Congress will be less likely to pass the nuclear test ban treaty, and so considers recalling the outgoing Congress to push it through. A Ukranian reformist politician breaches diplomatic protocol by arriving at the White House and demanding to meet with the President. Sam continues to underestimate Ainsley when he asks her to summarize a position paper on small business hiring practices. C.J.'s personal and professional relationship with Danny becomes more complex as she needs him to leak a story but also wants to punish his newspaper for their unflattering recent coverage.

Previously on The West Wing:

- You're Aimsley Hayes.
- Ainsley, with an N.

- I'm offering her a job.
- Where?

- My day's had a great start.
- It's about to get better.

- Who is this?
- Ainsley Hayes.

- You're an idiot.
- It's not that she's Republican.

She's a Republican woman
and good-looking.

Those three things in combination
usually spell careerism.

If I have to endure
another disappointment today...

...from this place, I am gonna lose it.

- 17 seconds it took her to call us liars.
- Keep your voice down.

- What are you doing here?
- Serving my country.

- Is he meeting with McNally?
- No.

Mr. Konanov, while he is here... not meeting with the secretary
of state or any Cabinet-level official.

He's not meeting with the U. N.
ambassador or any NATO allies.

He's not meeting
with the president.

He will be meeting with the
president's advisors on the Balkans.

Who's next?

Senator-elect Morgan Mitchel is going
to announce on Hardball later today...

...he'll seek a seat on the
Foreign Relations Committee...

...and prevent the Test Ban Treaty
from coming to the floor. Any thoughts?

We'll have a ratified
comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Mitchel says over his dead body.

Senator-elect Mitchel will discover
that he is one of 100...

...and that his power is more limited
than he imagines.

The new Senate will ratify the treaty...

...and we don't care
what condition his body is in.


Has the president considered
ordering a lame-duck session...

...for the Senate to vote?

- Anybody but Danny?
- He hasn't considered it?

I don't know every thought
that passes through his head...

...but there have been no discussions
that I'm aware of.

I'd like to know. Is that something you
can check out and get back to us on?

You bet. Who's next?

She walked into it.
She knows it too.

Walked into what?

She can't confirm that the president
hasn't considered it unless she asks...

- ... at which point he'll consider it.
- That sounds pretty stupid.

It was a better-organized thought
in my head.

- She's wrapping up.
- Let's go.

- Has he considered it?
- No.

- Why not?
- Why should he?

- If he has a better chance of ratification...
- He doesn't.

- But if Mitchel...
- He's not a factor.

The Occupational Safety
and Health Administration...

- OSHA...
- How do you change subjects so fast?

How do you go from a Test Ban Treaty
and a lame-duck Congress to OSHA?

Because I'm me. Do you know how many
people acquire carpal tunnel syndrome?

It shouldn't surprise you that I do not.

600,000 Americans a year.
Do you know how painful it is?

In the scheme of things,
who really cares if...

- Do you have any idea?
- Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Pain in your forearm. No grip.
You lose the ability to pinch.

People who lose the ability to pinch,
I don't know how they can go on.

- You guys are wrong on this.
- Aren't you one of "you guys"?

Not on this.

- I know.
- You walked into it.

There was no other direction to walk.
Answer "no" to this question:

- Has the president considered it?
- No.

- Good.
- Listen. Not that I know of.

- He hasn't.
- Listen.

He should consider it.
He should consider it right now.

There isn't a seat open
on Foreign Relations for Mitchel.

- There is on Appropriations.
- Kasey'll move?

What's going on?

- Kasey wants Appropriations.
- He'll have to give up Budget.

Taglio'll jump at it, clearing the way
for Newberry in Senate Armed Services.

Newberry leaving opens up Judiciary.

Who wants to be attorney general
under the next president?

- Howard Westin.
- So he takes the Judiciary seat.

Vacating his seat on Foreign Relations.

So there's a seat open.

- It doesn't mean Mitchel's gonna get it.
- Yes, it does.

- Why?
- Nobody else wants it.

- Why?
- There's no money in it.

The Foreign Relations Committee
has no control over money.

So there's no lobbyists.
So no fundraisers.

- Under extraordinary circumstances...
- It's vital to national and global security.

- What did you have in mind?
- These people...

Do we have less of a chance
with a new Congress?

We have no chance
with a new Congress.

While I've never lived through a
nuclear explosion, I've seen pictures.

I agree with Josh on his interpretation of
the extraordinary-circumstances clause.

- Is Leo free now?
- In five minutes.

These people are gone.
The 106th Congress is adjourned.

Twelve were voted out of office.
This is bad.

Tell the president to call a lame-duck
session, it's gonna look like politics.

It is politics.
Let's see Leo.

What do we tell the 12 people
looking for new jobs?

They may not be done
with their old ones yet.

Kasey wants Appropriations.

- He's on Budget.
- He's gonna want Appropriations.

- Kasey wants Appropriations.
- He has seniority.

- He'll give up Budget.
- Taglio'll take that.

Clearing the way for Newberry
in Armed Services.

- He'll vacate his seat on Judiciary.
- Westin leaves Foreign Relations.

That's where Mitchel comes in.

It's like running the country with
Barnum, Bailey and his sister Sue.

Leo, would it be possible
for just two of them to speak at once?


That was an hour-and-10-minute

...with Dick Rush, Ed,
Marty Beach and Henry Rodriguez.

I have never seen political and legislative
liaisons so unanimous in a diagnosis.

- They think he should call it?
- Yeah.

We have a better chance now
than in a month.

Not only that...
I'm sorry.


Not only that, here's what
C.J. can tell the press.

The world is looking to the U.S.
to ratify the treaty first.

We wait, it takes longer for
other countries to ratify...

...the closer we get to more unstable
countries developing a nuclear threat.

- Arguments against?
- We might lose the vote.

- That'll hang around our necks.
- The Senate might stall confirmations.

Can I add that a Senator-elect
announcing what assignment he'd like... not what the founders would have
considered an extraordinary occasion.

An extraordinary occasion is whatever
the president says it is.


- Sir?
- Could I have a couple of aspirin...

...or a weapon of some kind
to kill people with?

- Leo?
- Even when they're here in session...

...getting 100 Senators in a line is
like getting cats to walk in a parade.

What do you wanna do?

Take the leadership's temperature
on the lame-duck session...

...and let's also get some kind of nose
count and see where we are.

Leak it the president's considering
calling the Senate back.

That is not gonna be a problem.

The source is big enough
so they go with it...

...small enough so we're not tied to it.
Toby, get me a nose count. What else?

The State Department wants
to change the terminology...

...from " rogue nations"
to "states of concern. "

- What else?
- Medicare coverage of clinical trials.

- What else?
- Fraud awareness for small businesses.

Not now. Anything else?

The four of you wait in my office.

Thank you all.

- When does Konanov get here?
- In a few minutes.

- No high-level meetings, right?
- No.

- On the lame-duck session.
- Yeah?

- You don't want to call a vote and lose.
- Yeah, but this could be a window.

- We've gotta see if it's doable.
- Yeah.

- It could be doable.
- Yeah.

- You got anything more to say?
- Not this minute.

- Thank you, Mr. President.
- Thank you.

There's gonna be an editorial
in The Post tomorrow.

The president's time
isn't being used efficiently.

Schedules are abandoned before lunch.

The west wing resembles
a high school yearbook office.

And I believe I'm compared
to a substitute teacher.

- That's ridiculous.
- No, it's not.

Certainly not based on the display
I just saw in there. So new rules.

You need an answer from the president,
you want him to weigh in...

...I want to see a summary on my desk
absolutely no longer than two pages...

...and I want my initials on it
before you go into the Oval Office.

A two-page summary's
gonna kind of cramp our style, isn't it?

Your style could use a little cramping.
Are we understood?

- Yes.
- Fine.

Toby, Sam, take some meetings
on the Hill today.

Toby, concentrate on votes that can
be loosened with Stenson gone.

Sam, dangle reservations
in front of them. C.J., start the leak.

Anybody happens to see
Vasily Konanov in the hallways...

...walk in the other direction. That's it.

I can't unleash my potential
in a two-page summary.

I'm gonna meet with Fox and Fowler,
Sam, you're gonna go to the Hill.

Think with Stenson gone?

I can get Fox and Fowler
to loosen up some votes.

That is, if I can ever get them
to order off the damn menu.

I've never seen two grown men
order lunch like this.

Fox and Fowler loosen the votes. Sam,
you drop that we'd consider reservations.

It is not out of the realm of possibility
that that gets us eight votes.

They wanna speak to the president,
he's by the phone.

So this is not unimportant.

I also have to take a 22-page position
memo and summarize it in two pages...

- ... and it's gotta be done today.
- Give it to Ainsley.

- She's gonna...
- Get over it.

There are gonna be jokes
because I asked her for help.

"Reservations. " That's the word
you're dropping on the Hill.

You don't have to leave
the meeting with a win.

Let's be able to end this day
by telling the president...

...he's in striking distance and he should
seriously consider the session.

Let's be able to do that.

Where's C.J.?

She's looking for a reporter
to leak the story to.

- You talk to him?
- I don't believe it.

You guys launched an editorial.
Four in two weeks.

- I don't work for the editorial staff.
- That's convenient.

- You expect me to do nothing?
- Are you gonna cancel your subscription?

- Smack me around?
- Any reason I can't do both?

- Hey, Carol.
- Hey.

Carol, get me the spokesperson
for the majority leader.

- House or Senate?
- Senate.

So you guys are considering
a lame-duck session.

- Who says?
- You're calling the majority leader.

We do a great deal of business
with the majority leader.

- He's not in session.
- They'll track him down.

Can I say "White House senior aides"?
"High-level sources in the White House"?

"Sources in the White House
office of legislative liaisons...

- ... who declined to be named. "
- It sounds like I got it from a paperboy.

- Take it or leave it.
- I'll take it.

Anything else?

- Nope.
- Thank you.

- Ken Richmond on line three.
- Who is he?

He's the spokesperson
for the majority leader.

- I didn't need him.
- Ken, sorry....

What I think you don't understand... carpal tunnel is only one of many
repetitive stress injuries, or RSL...

...which are covered by
the science of ergonomics.

I'm not in charge of
the science of ergonomics.

You're gonna have to ask
somebody else who cares.

You don't have to be in charge.
OSHA is.

I want to know why the White House
isn't implementing their new standards.

Because the SBA says that the cost
could exceed $18 billion a year...

...there'll be a huge increase in
workmen's compensation premiums...

...and Republicans find the word
"ergonomic" to be silly.

If we backed off everything
because the words are silly...

...we'd have pregnant teenagers
and no health care.

We do have pregnant teenagers
and no health care.

So how's your plan
working out so far?

- Josh?
- Hang on, Charlie.

- I don't think this can wait.
- What?

Vasily Konanov is here.

I can't see him.
Make sure he's not in the bullpen.

He's not.
He's in the driveway.

- What?
- He's sitting in the car in the driveway.

He's refusing to get out unless
he can speak to the president.

- This is a joke?
- No.

- He's sitting in the driveway?
- They're saying....

- What?
- They're saying he's drunk.

- Really?
- Yeah.



- Excuse me.
- Yes.

- This is your office?
- Yes.

- It's very nice, Sam.
- Thank you.

You can see sunlight and you have
a window that can be opened.

You want to work or decorate?

- You called me?
- Yes. I need your help.

- Really?
- Let's not make a big deal out of it.

No, it's sweet that you need my help.

I don't need your help,
I'm asking for it.

Dad, it's me.
Sam's asking for my help.

- Put the phone down.
- Gotta go, Dad, I need to help Sam.

- You must've had them rolling in Georgia.
- I'm from North Carolina.

- Wherever you studied baton-twirling.
- Harvard Law School.

Yes. So here's the thing.

- You need my help.
- A favor.

I have a position recommendation...

...regarding an amendment
to a commerce bill.

It's 22 pages long and
Leo is on a streamlining kick.

You want me to summarize it
and give it to the president?

Yeah, and then I want you to skip
to Tijuana in a dirndl skirt.

- Summarize it and give it to me.
- Fine.

Thank you.

- In exchange for?
- No.

- Then my schedule's tight.
- In exchange for what?

Are you going to the Hill for meetings
on the Test Ban Treaty?

- I want to go.
- No.

- Why?
- Because.

I'm not gonna say anything,
I'm not gonna spill anything...

...I'm not gonna get
Republican juice on you.

- I'm just gonna sit there and learn.
- Look...

From the master, Sam.
I wanna learn from the master.

You see, women think
that kind of thing works, but it doesn't.

It really does, Sam.

I let you come,
you'll summarize my memo?

I'll use punctuation and everything.
You might get extra credit.

Have you eaten lunch?

I brought my lunch from home.
I ate it already.

Did you bring your lunch?
Do you think you'll be eating it?

- You can't have my lunch.
- Okay.

- Meet me in the lobby in an hour.
- Okay.

- I'm helping her out.
- Good.

- She wants to get a feel for...
- We've got a problem.

- Konanov.
- Is he here?

In a manner of speaking.

- Leo?
- Yeah.

- How you doing?
- Good.

Vasily Konanov is in the driveway.

He's drunk and he won't get out of
the car until he speaks to the president.

- And we have a winner.
- Are you kidding me?

He's sitting in the car with a woman who
is either a security attaché or a hooker.

- Please tell me it's not...
- It's no one you know.

- Have you spoken to him?
- I'm not allowed to.

I walked by the car a couple of times.

Leo, we gotta move him. Tourists
are gonna start to ask questions...

...and Boris and Natasha
will answer them.

You now have permission
to talk to him.

Put him in an office, dry him out, and
explain why he can't see the president.

- Try to avoid the Situation Room.
- Good safety tip.

- What?
- I'm taking Ainsley to the Hill with me.

- Good.
- She wants me to teach her some things.

- She called me the master.
- Get out.

Yeah, the risotto, but I'd like it cooked
with chicken broth instead of oil.

And I'd like to substitute
the snow peas for the asparagus.

I'll have the same, but I don't want
the squash puréed with cream or butter.

- In fact, does it even have to be puréed?
- Fellas?

- Just asking.
- It's puréed. Otherwise, it's just squash.

Butter is fine.

I'll have a New York steak
and ginger ale. Just cook it.

- The rumor's been getting around.
- Is it more than a rumor?

We don't know yet.

- Our boss is fishing off the Keys.
- Everybody's boss is.

Or skiing in Jackson Hole
or watching football.

It'll tear the president up
to bring them back...

...but I want to talk about if he should.

- Our guy's not gonna vote to ratify.
- Why not?

- Same reason as before.
- We didn't have a vote.

- Because you'd lose.
- Right.

What are you saying?

I'm saying, what if there was
a vote now? Without Stenson.

Stenson wasn't keeping us
from voting for it.

- What was?
- The voters.

- 82% want the Test Ban Treaty.
- Not in our state.

- You were guided by the 18%...
- Not in our state, Toby.

82% of voters, Joe. 82% of voters,
to say nothing of 150 nations...

...including Russia, China,
Great Britain, France.

Get North Korea, India and Pakistan
aboard, and we'll have a ball game.

- Have you checked your back yard?
- What?

- Have you checked your back yard?
- What do you...?

In the nose count. I don't think you have
the votes you think you have.

- Who did we lose?
- Make your calls.

I don't have to make...

- Who did we lose?
- Make your calls, Toby.

- Did you say you wanted...?
- Chicken broth instead of oil.

- Snow peas instead of the asparagus.
- Excuse me.

- I don't understand.
- It happens.

A member of the Ukrainian
Parliament can just show up?

He had an appointment,
just not with the president.

- The guy's a little crazy, Leo.
- No, he's just....

Yeah, he's crazy,
but he's our kind of crazy.

- Got it.
- Good.

- The girl's not bad-looking.
- Go to work.

- You think she knows how to kill me?
- Yes.

- Leo.
- Hey, Donna.

- Can I talk to you for a moment?
- Sure.

- That's a very nice suit. Is it new?
- No, what's on your mind?

OSHA would like to do something
about repetitive stress injuries...

...or musculoskeletal disorders
like tendinitis or...

- Or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- One interesting example out of several...

We can't afford it. It costs
$18 billion, Donna. Type slower.

C.J., what do you got?

The State Department
and our new vocabulary.

Is this the two- or 10-minute pitch?

- The two-minute pitch.
- Go.

- Now you threw me off my game.
- C.J.

- I'm nervous now.
- Come on.

- If I run over, you're gonna play me off.
- I'm getting older over here, C.J.

State wants us to change
"rogue nations" to "states of concern. "

I say fine. It's a symbolic gesture
with no real consequence.

It gains us points with allies
who feel we've been too harsh.

It signals to countries we're talking about
that we're open to taking positive steps.

- Any downside?
- I'll feel stupid.

- I can live with that.
- You have so far.

Talk to the president
at the end of the day.

- Sure. About what?
- Danny wants access for a feature.

- No.
- No, what?

No, he can't have access.

Leo, his editorial staff just jumped on
your head yesterday and last Thursday.

The president twice before.
Four times in two weeks.

That's why everybody's
walking around with a stopwatch.

Talk to the president at the end of the
day. You'll get another two minutes.


We may be dead already.

- What happened?
- We lost someone.

- Who?
- I don't know.

I need some help.
Is Tony Marino in Philadelphia?

- I don't know.
- Call him and see if he'd get on a train.

I wanna find out who we lost
and get them back.

Back up.

- We lost one of our people.
- Who?

- They wouldn't tell me.
- Fox and Fowler...

They wouldn't tell me.
They just said to check our back yard.

- Who the hell...?
- I need to talk to Marino.

It's not hard enough getting new votes?

I need you to talk to Marino.

I need you to set up
a meeting with me.

He needs to tell me who jumped
and he needs to help us bring them back.

Toby, the guy lost a bad race bloody.

- He's gonna wanna come back for this.
- He's gonna wanna sit down.

Not on the Test Ban Treaty.
He spent four years on it.

Spent a lot longer than that,
and it burned him. He lost his seat.

- The man's done.
- Obviously, he hasn't.

I set up this meeting,
and what's your pitch?

That this treaty he wants so bad
can happen.

He can stick it to every Pennsylvania
voter who put him out of a job...

...and take Mitchel's knees out before
he can put his pencils in a jar.

- Plus, who did we lose?
- He might not know.

He'll know.

- He's been out of town for a month.
- He'll know.

If it was anything less important
than a Test Ban Treaty...


Thank you.

- Toby.
- Messages?

- Yeah, but...
- Why are my blinds closed?

Yeah, listen...

Yeah, yeah!
That deserves an explanation.

Mr. Konanov? Mr. Konanov?
Yes, right in here, sir.

- Right in here.
- Errand boys is what they send me.

I am a reformer and I will lead
the Ukraine, and you know this...

- ... and they send me errand boys.
- I'm the deputy chief of staff.

It's actually a very...
It's a big...

Never mind. Mr. Konanov,
please understand. There's protocol.

Your government has
a leader we deal with.

- You wish to deal with me.
- We do...

- ... but right now President Shevkuh is...
- You've called my embassy?

We are seeking permission to have you
speak with Secretary Shaeffer...

I wish to speak to the president.

Now that's not gonna happen,
and you damn well know it.

- You speak to him in this tone?
- He's drunk in my office...

...and I will speak to him
in whatever tone pleases me.


Put two uniformed agents outside
my door and tell Leo I'm coming over.

How I miss the Cold War.

- This is my fifth...
- Sam...

It's my last meeting on the Hill.

I wanna know what it'll take
to get your boss to loosen his grip.

If the senator moves,
he frees up eight, maybe 10 votes.

- He gives political cover to those...
- Why should he move?

- Well, it's the right thing to do.
- You know, Sam, it's not a holy thing.

You guys act like if you're against
the treaty, you're bloodthirsty.

Republicans aren't
the only ones against it.

Six secretaries of defense,
five former CIA directors.

A former secretary of state
and a national security advisor.

31 Nobel Laureates,
the chairman of the Joint Chiefs...

...150 countries and 82% of voters say
the treaty makes the world a safer place.

Not if North Korea and Iran are making
significant technological improvements...

...while the president's
handing out pens.

Tell me that the chance we take...

...isn't outweighed by the chance
we take doing nothing.

- I've heard all this.
- Right, and I'm here to ask you this:

I'm here to ask you this:
is there no room for movement?

We'd consider attaching reservations.

If you can't trust a man's word,
what good is it to put it on paper?

Is there room for movement?

- You wasted a trip.
- I'll waste more of them.

- We're done?
- Yeah.

- Ainsley, I'm surprised to see you here.
- Why?

Before you were on Bartlet's payroll
you were an opponent of the treaty.

Well, it's President Bartlet,
I'm on the government payroll...

...and I believe that politics
should stop at the water's edge.

It should stop well before that,
but Elvis isn't cutting records anymore.

- What is she saying?
- I don't think you think the treaty's bad.

I don't think you think it's good.

- You just wanna beat the White House.
- Yes.

You're a schmuck, Peter.

Today, tomorrow,
next year, next term...

...they'll have the treaty ratified without
the reservations he just offered you.

Can I take this muffin?


- Margaret?
- Yeah.

- You got that memo?
- Any minute now.

- Margaret?
- Yeah.

- What the hell are you doing?
- Why, I'm typing, Leo.

- Margaret...
- Your response to Donna's concern...

...about the White House not supporting
OSHA's recommendation about RSLs...

...was "type slower. "

Donna has organized most
of the assistants here to do just that.

- Margaret?
- Yeah.

Look at my face right now.


- Leo.
- Can you keep your people in line?

There's been no evidence of it so far.

- Listen.
- Inside.

So, what's going on?

Well, I've got The Man
Who Came to Dinner in my office.

I'm begging the Ukrainian
Embassy for help.

If I don't get some soon,
I'm gonna apply for a job there.

No, here's what we're gonna do.

All this guy wants is
to be able to say he met the president.

- He can't meet the president.
- He can accidentally.

How do you do that?

We did it with the Dalai Lama.

Beijing doesn't want the president
to have any diplomatic contact... they arrange a low-level meeting,
keep the door open...

...the president wanders by.
" Hey, how you doing, Dalai Lama? "

- That's the craziest thing I've ever heard.
- It works.

- This is how the world is run?
- Yeah.

- I'm sticking to domestic policy.
- Yeah, that has the ring of sanity to it.

- Is Toby meeting with Marino?
- Toby's on a mission.

I know you're not comfortable...

Exerting influence after being voted
out is an ethically gray area for me.

They're all ethically gray areas.

If we're gonna have a chance,
we've gotta invite Marino.

- Marino's gonna want in because...
- Marino lives for revenge.

I was gonna say because
Marino's devoted to the issue.

- We may have lost one of our guys.
- Who?

Toby's gonna ask Marino.

Hey! Norma Rae, get in here.

The man's trying to run a country.

This law would prevent 32 to 95,000
injuries a year.

- Not here it wouldn't.
- Why not?

The White House and Congress are
exempt from the workplace-related laws.

The White House
and Congress are exempt?

Well, that makes things
considerably easier for yourselves.

- Josh, set it up.
- You've got your 4:00.

- I got a job for you.
- Congress and White House are exempt.

- Get past it.
- What do you need?

I need Vasily Konanov to meet with
someone of absolutely no consequence.

You're my girl.

- What the hell...?
- Meet with Vasily Konanov.

- Why?
- So the president can interrupt you.

- Are you kidding me?
- No.

- So I'm a beard.
- Yes.

- I'm being used.
- Yes.

- As a dupe.
- Yes.

- How am I supposed to feel about that?
- How do you usually feel about that?

- My value here is that I have no value?
- You have enormous value to me.

You have no value to Eastern Europe.

- Okay. You know what this is?
- No.

- This is an opportunity.
- Right.

This is a man who understands
the plight of the worker.

Or do you think he'll understand
the plight of economics?

He's drunk and doesn't speak
much English... I don't think
he's gonna understand much.

But set up the meeting
and knock them dead.

- "Can I have this muffin? "
- Listen, I was...

The sharpest of closing remarks
will be blunted by asking for a muffin.

The minute we left, those guys
were calling their bosses saying:

"They're offering reservations,
let's jump on it. "

You did great. And " politics stopping
at the water's edge" was touching...

- ... and then you asked for a muffin.
- I was hungry.

- How'd it go on the Hill?
- As expected. But know what I think?

I think Ramsey, Roanoke, maybe
Grace are gonna vote for it anyway.

- Why?
- Cause Tony Marino's gonna tell them to.

Three senators that can't get
reelected without labor...

...and Marino's still gonna swing
a big bat with the unions.

- Toby's meeting with him now.
- Good.

Should I give Danny
access for a feature?


- You're wrong.
- Okay.

- You should.
- Why?

- He's cute.
- I'm leaving.

- Do you have my two-page summary?
- I'm sorry?

- Do you have my two-page summary?
- Yes.

- Could I have it?
- Yes.

Thank you.

- You reversed my position.
- Yeah.

I gave this to you to summarize,
and you reversed my position.

- I polished it.
- You reversed my position.

- It's shorter.
- And you reversed my position.

- Your position was wrong.
- Could you step inside, please?


- How you doing, Toby?
- What are you having?

- Dewar's rocks.
- I appreciate your coming down.

The president's thinking about
calling a session. You heard?

It was well-leaked.

It's nice we found a use
for our particular talents.

Anyway, I had a meeting at lunch
with Joe Fox and Bob Fowler...

...and they said we may have lost
one of our guys.

And I wanted to find out if it was true,
who it was and is it important.

It's true and it couldn't be
less important.

- Who is it?
- It was me, Toby.

- I don't understand.
- They were talking about me.

I don't...

Tony, I don't understand.

You've changed your mind?
I don't...

No, I haven't changed my mind, and
I'll do whatever spadework you want...

...but if you call a session,
I can't vote for it.

- Here you go.
- Thank you.

- Tony...
- I'm a lame-duck senator.

The people of Pennsylvania
voted me out and Mitchel in.

He gets a seat on Foreign Relations,
we should all kill ourselves.

I'm gonna talk to Newberry about staying
where he is and stopping dominos.

- There's no reason why you can't...
- They voted me out.

Largely based on my support
of the Test Ban Treaty.

- Because Mitchel painted a picture.
- That's not for me to say.

I'm gonna choose not to assume
that my constituents were duped.

- Senator, nobody expects...
- Nobody expects. Nobody expects.

It seems we've come to expect less
from each other, and that should change.

I'm a senator for 10 more weeks.
I respect what these people want.

You call a lame-duck session now,
and I've got to abstain.

Now this is the Northwest executive
entrance to the White House.

Ordinarily, I'd show you more, but the
president's in the west wing right now...

...and when he's working, we like
to keep the area as calm as possible.

The whole damn world's flying apart
at the equator, you know that, Bonnie?

This, of course, is my boss,
Toby Ziegler.

Why is a Test Ban Treaty so important?

Let me tell you. In 1974, India set off
a peaceful nuclear explosion.

Indira Ghandi said they had
no intention of building a bomb...

...just wanted to know that they could.

20 years later, India sets off
five nuclear explosions.

Who gets nervous? Pakistan.

When Pakistan gets nervous,
everybody gets nervous.

You know why?
Because we're all gonna die.

Sam, half of America's work force
is employed by small business.

That's companies that employ
fewer than 100 workers.

- I know what it is.
- Then you know that a third of them fail.

One third of all small businesses
lose money and fail.

Not because of rent hikes
or big chains squeezing them out...

- ... but because of why?
- Employee fraud.

- That's right.
- Yes.

- What do you say?
- You reversed my position.

Other than what you've been saying
for the last hour and a half.

I can't believe
I'm listening to a Republican...

...tell me the government
should run background checks.

I can't believe
I'm listening to a Republican.

Could it be that the people you want
to fingerprint have darker skin?

Well, not to let the facts interfere,
but 80% of violators are white.

Fraudulent employees are
three times more likely to be married...

...four times more likely to be men,
16 times more likely to be executives...

...and five times more likely
to have postgraduate degrees.

You... Listen...
You know...

I can't...
All right.

- Start from the beginning.
- Really?

- Are you eating that donut?
- Take it and start from the beginning.

- Hello.
- Hey, C.J.

- I'm supposed to see him?
- There's a meeting...

...but they're circling
for a landing.

- You mind if I wait?
- No.

- Hey, Charlie.
- Hey, Danny.

- Hey, C.J.
- Hey, nimrod.

- I leaked your damn story for you.
- I leaked it to you, pal.

- I used you like so much whatever.
- Well-put.

- I'm here to see the president.
- He's finishing up a meeting.

Charlie, Danny's paper, after
savaging us four times in two weeks...

...would like access
to write a three-part feature.

- About what?
- About winning a Pulitzer Prize.

See, reporters seldom win
a Pulitzer. Feature writers do.

And The Post has been getting
a little outpaced lately.

Do you suspect my motives
are anything but journalistic?

- I'd definitely like to be part of this.
- This doesn't have anything to do...?

- C.J.
- Thank you.

- Good evening.
- No more rogue nations, huh?

- Yes, sir.
- Well, that was easy.

What's doing, Claudia Jean?

The Post would like access
for Danny to do a three-part feature.

Yeah, let's do it.

- No, I don't think it's a good idea, sir.
- Why not?

- After the editorials they've run...
- They've been way off base.

Not so much the second one, but
the first, third and fourth were silly.

Exactly, so let's send them a message.

- First of all, it wasn't Danny.
- Danny is their representative.

We have to stop being a punching bag
and they need a wake-up call.

It's gonna look petty and petulant...

- ... because it's petty and petulant.
- Nobody elected this newspaper.

Certainly not the 48 million people
who chose you to be president.

But not having to run for anything tends
to help with honesty and decisiveness.

- Send Danny in.
- Yes, sir.

- You have to send them a message.
- I really don't, C.J.

- Is this personal?
- Excuse me?

I hear things. I don't understand it,
but I hear it.

No, sir, it's absolutely not personal.

He's a great reporter.
You're a great press secretary.

That's why it wasn't gonna work
as long as you had those jobs.

- I can assure you...
- Hey, Danny.

I think you guys have had your heads
up your asses the last few weeks.

- I hope you don't mind me saying so.
- Of course not.

I think you've been trying to bait me,
which is a waste of time, paper and ink.

I'm 50 times smarter
than any of you will ever hope to be.

I've got an election in two years...

...and I'm not about to alienate
The Washington Post.

I tell you what I will do.
I'm canceling our subscription.

Excellent, sir. The White House
buys 1100 copies every day.

Canceling that subscription
should send a message.

No, I meant just mine and Abbey's.
I'll borrow a copy from somebody.

- Mr. President?
- Yeah. Take it easy, Danny.

C.J. will give you
all the access you want.

- Thank you, sir.
- Thank you, Mr. President.

I've gotta go tell circulation
we lost $32.95.

I know about the job offer.

- I figured.
- I've known for a couple of days.

- Yeah.
- You don't want to be an editor?

- I'm a White House reporter.
- Taking a job outside the press room....

I have no problem with a reporter
dating the press secretary.

Well, I have a problem, so....


Okay, I'll see you later.


The keyboard forces users to put
their wrists into a palms-down position...

...and encourages a sideways wrist twist
to reach the Enter key.

That sideways twist is called an
" ulnar deviation, " and it's very bad.

It has a right-hand bias toward the
important letter and number keys...

...and frequently used keys like Enter
and Shift are near the weakest finger...

- ... forcing the wrist to absorb stress...
- What is this woman talking about?

I'm talking about my government's
unwillingness to...

Vasily? Vasily Konanov?

You're the last person I expected
to be where they told me to go.

- Mr. President.
- Thank you, Donna. Gentlemen.

- Vasily?
- Yes.

I don't know who this is.

What the hell are you doing?

Mr. President....

I would like to talk to you
about commercial lending rights.

I would like to talk to you about
the World Trade Organization.

And I would like to talk to you
about nuclear compatibility.

I'm not the transportation secretary...'ll join the WTO when you reduce
the 300% tariff on American cars...

...and with a nuclear weapon
pointed at my head...

...I will not talk to you
about nuclear compatibility.

- Mr. President...
- You're a reformer.

You're gonna do good things
in Eastern Europe.

I'm looking forward to the day
when you're president.

Until then, my State Department deals
with the government of the Ukraine.

Now you can go home and do
exactly what you wanted to do...

...which is say you've met with
the president of the United States.

You just have.

How you doing?



Thank you.

Dr. Zhivago is out of here.
What do you have?

The Commerce Department wants us
to back an amendment... help small businesses with
fraud prevention and employee theft.

- We want to recommend it.
- You have numbers?

This is from an independent study
I have faith in.

30% of workers plan to steal
from their employers.

30% give in to occasional temptation.

5% will commit fraud regardless
of circumstances...

...85% will commit fraud
given the right circumstances.

- What are the right circumstances?
- Need, opportunity...

...and the ability to rationalize their
behavior. It's called the fraud triangle.

It's gonna help when
we wanna raise the minimum wage.

Small business owners are
opposed to wage hikes.

- You weren't gonna go the other way?
- Yeah, I was.

- You got turned around?
- Yeah.

- Okay, good. Thanks.
- Thanks.

- Hang on. I wanted to...
- Thank you, Leo.

- That was it?
- Yeah.

- That was it?
- Yeah.

- I don't understand.
- You don't understand what?

- What just happened?
- Leo said yes. We're in.

- I don't understand.
- Leo said yes, end of meeting.

I was just talking, Sam.
I was just talking to you.

We play with live ammo around here.

You convinced me, I convinced Leo.
Leo'll convince the president.

It's a short day and a big country.
We've gotta move fast.

And so because I said this in here,
the president in there is gonna...?

You gotta tell me
when that's gonna happen.

Is this how you guys
decide to go to war?

I don't know, I'm not in the room
when they do that.

Could somebody get her
a cupcake or something?

- Mr. President?
- Yeah.

- Toby's here.
- Thanks.

- You can take off. We're done.
- Thank you, Mr. President.

Good evening, sir.

- Tony Marino's gonna abstain, huh?
- Yeah.

He was a great public servant, Toby.
A great senator.

Didn't Edmund Burke say a representative
owes his industry and judgment...

...and betrays you if he sacrifices
his judgment to yours?


And then he was voted out of office
by the people of Bristol.

- That's not the point, sir.
- I know.

The fact is, the opponents of the treaty,
you gotta respect them, Toby.

They're politicians flying in the face
of overwhelming public opinion.

I have to respect senators for defying
82% of the American people?

Can I tell you something honestly?

This is one of those situations I could
give a damn what the people think.

The complexities
of a global arms treaty...

...the technological, military, the
diplomatic nuance, it's staggering, Toby.

82% of the people can't possibly be
expected to reach an informed opinion.

- You want to call a session anyway?
- No.

No. If we lose, and we will...

- ... we cut off...
- Yeah.

Anything else?

No, sir.

Thank you, Mr. President.

You know, we forget sometimes.

In all the talk about democracy,
we forget it's not one, it's a republic.

The people don't make the decisions,
they choose the people who do.

Could they do a better job
choosing? Yeah.

But when you consider
the alternatives....

Anyway, Abbey's in New Hampshire.

You wanna come up for a cigar?

The day's over, Toby.
We'll live to fight another one.

- Come on up, I'll beat your ass at chess.
- You baiting me?



If anybody's out there, I'm signing off.
Have a good night.