The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 4, Episode 6 - Game On - full transcript

Toby falls prey to a practical joke by the rest of the staff, after which everyone but Leo takes off for the debate in San Diego. Sam makes a side trip to Newport Beach to explain to the congressional campaign manager of the late Horton Wilde why the campaign has to fold even though Wilde is still on the ballot; what Sam doesn't expect is a stalwart named Will Bailey who, determined to keep the ideas of the campaign alive, continues to hold campaign events and do door-to-door canvassing. In San Diego, a nervous w.w. staff readies itself to spin for the president, but when Bartlet and Richie go head to head in a unique debate format, Bartlet tears Richie apart on states' rights, education, taxes, etc., by being precisely the intellectual snob everyone had accused him of being and using it to his own advantage. Back in DC, Leo and Jordon Kendall meet with the Qu'mari ambassador to the U.N., and Leo warns Qu'mar to back off its campaign to charge Israel with the assassination of Defense Minister Abdul Shareef. After the debate, Sam returns to Newport to meet once more with Will at a bar, during which Sam makes a surprising offer.

Previously on The West Wing:

C.J. Cregg was getting threats.
We put an agent on her.

He walked into the middle
of an armed robbery.


Boy, I don't know.

Think the strike against me is nobody
likes the smartest kid in the class?

It's not a strike
unless you watch it sail by.

You're weak, you're liberal.

And you can't be trusted.

Horton Wilde's had a heart attack.

The Democrats have nominated someone
who's had three heart attacks?

If you're wondering:

"Crime. Boy, I don't know," is
when I decided to kick your ass.

- A crisis of confidence?
- Yeah.

- I don't understand.
- I was on the helicopter...

...and he's second guessing himself.

He's revising answers in his head...
I know.

When I left him he was ready.
I don't understand.

- He's ready. You can see it.
- Not this morning.

This isn't supposed
to happen with you.

- Christians?
- Yes.

What happened
to"steady as she goes"?

A smart guy said presidential
elections are won and lost...

...on 1 square foot of real estate.

- Up here.
- Well, that's great.

- Yeah.
- We still got a day before he debates.

We'll go back to school.

I think that's just gonna
pour gas on the problem.

- What do you wanna do?
- We got a two-minute drill.

I think whatever answers he gives,
we should just say:

"That's terrific, Mr. President."

- What's the point of the drill?
- We got five scheduled before tomorrow.

- We're using one for this.
- This is crazy. I don't believe this.

-"That's terrific, Mr. President."
- All right.

- Leo.
- Listen, we're gonna do something... the drill right now.
- What?

- No notes, just positive reinforcement.
- Why?

He has a problem this morning.

All right. Leo, I've got a 9:30 flight.
I'll be there sometime after lunch.

- You can't do this with a phone call?
- Oh, God, I don't know.

The man died. There's a widow.
We're asking them to pack.

I'm an hour away in a rental car.
We didn't make it personal...

- All right. I just need you in San Diego.
- Josh.

We're still looking for 10 words.

- I'm still looking for them too.
- Ten words, 10 words. Let's go.

We're gonna expand the field.

No notes during this drill.
That's you too.

- What's that?
- No notes during the drill.

- Why?
- He's in his head.

- There's important feedback in the drills.
- We've got four more.

- We've got one on the plane.
- When's Debbie starting?

The president sent her to the Maxwell
School for a three-day crash course.

You got a $ 10 bill
on your clipboard.

- Yeah, I owe it to someone.
- You can all go on in.

Thank you.

- Ten words.
- We don't have them yet, Mr. President.

All right, let's do a drill.

Despite a rise in tension, you've held
up funding for a missile defense shield.

Too much money for too little protection.

You oppose a system that would
offer children a choice of schools.

That would offer some
a choice of schools.

I haven't given up on better
schools for everybody.

Vouchers drain
money from that goal.

This next question's on capital
punishment, which you oppose.

If your daughter was
raped and murdered...

...would you wanna see the man
responsible put to death?

It's important to understand the
president doesn't make that decision.

Though he appoints
Supreme Court justices who do so.

Why...? Any...

All right.
I'm not gonna say that.

I'll just go right to...
No, I don't.

I think you know
that I'm opposed...

Let's not do that.

I haven't seen any evidence
that it's a deterrent.

And there are more effective...

- In my state...
- Oh, my God.


You weren't kidding.

What's the matter with you?

When I left you... I just mentioned
your daughter being murdered.

And you're giving us an answer that's
not only soporific, it's barely human.

Yes, you'd wanna see him put to death.
You'd want it to be cruel and unusual.

Which is why it's a good idea
that fathers of murder victims...

...don't have legal rights
in these situations.

Now we're going
back to school.

Let's go, 10 bucks.

Crisis of confidence.

You did 1 square foot
of real estate?

- Yes, I did.
- Ten bucks for you.

And you, you big bear, come to me.
I'm gonna kiss you right on the mouth.

- Ten bucks.
- Anything else, sir.

- Work hard.
- Thank you, sir.

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

- Have a safe flight.
- I'll see you in San Diego.

Sorry about that.
It was the president's idea.

He bet us you couldn't stay
quiet if he gave a bad answer.

- What?
- He's ready.

- Excuse me.
- Hang on one second.

Can he do Inside Politics tomorrow?

He can do it on tape, but we're
downtown at 5. Let me talk to them.

- Yes.
- I'm Sam Seaborn.

I'm here to see William Bailey.


Hey, William Bailey.
Bill Bailey. I just got that.

Mention it to him. He's probably
never heard that reference.

- It's Will.
-"Merry Christmas... old Building and Loan."

That's George Bailey.

Well, why don't we get him.

- Will!
- Will?

Good to see you.
Be with you in a second.

Darren and Sharon,
where are you?

Good, but don't use
the words"waiting period."

The point was to support a stricter
waiting period for handguns.

Waiting period sounds
like an inconvenience.

Keeping guns away from felons
is a national necessity.

Have you called
on the ballot initiatives?

- Hi.
- Hi. Sam Seaborn.

Sure. Will Bailey.
You wanna come inside?

- Will, you got like, two minutes.
- Yeah.

There's a press conference.
I've been trying to study a little.

I met your assistant.
She's funny.

She's attractive.
I hope I'm not inappropriate.

I have an assistant?

- Well, somebody who works here.
- Yeah.

First things first. I bring the condolences
of the White House on your loss.

On Mrs. Wilde's loss, I should say.

And you ran a strong campaign
for the candidate. You should be proud.

Thank you.

- You know why I came here?
- It's not to tell me...

...I ran a strong campaign
and should be proud.

- It's not, though you did and you should.
- And I will once it's over.

- It's over.
- Nothing I can do about election law.

- The man's name stays on the ballot.
- Can't campaign without a candidate.

- Campaign of ideas.
- The candidate died.

But not the ideas.
The metaphor alone knocks me down.

- Elsie!
- Mr. Bailey.

- Yeah.
- I'm getting cold feet about the bow tie.

You like it, but for me,
my whole world becomes about it.

- Can we rustle up a real one?
- Yeah, and we have to get in the car.

The campaign's become embarrassing
to us. It's a national joke.

Sorry about that.

I got a press conference.

Sally and the suffragettes,
what you got?

- Oh, we did the PSA.
- Let me see.

Very nice, but do me a favor.
Read this for me.

"It doesn't matter who you
vote for, make sure you vote."

I like the sentiment but I think
it does matter who you vote for.

What if it said"No matter who
you vote for, make sure you vote."

What do you think?

- Good.
- Good.

- Will?
- Yeah.

- I'm here for the president.
- I admire the president, Sam, I really do.

- But?
- I don't work for him.

Let's go.

All right, everyone.
Thank you very much.

Carol's passing out playbooks. Senator,
we've put you on criminal justice.

- Martin, we moved you to welfare, okay.
- Sure.

There's also
third-party validator information... well as names of the reporters
you'll be handcuffed to.

If it's not your thing, don't try
to wing it, call somebody over.

Surrogate plane leaves at 9.
See you tomorrow for pre-game.

C.J., could I see you?

And I need Congresswoman
Wyatt for just a moment.

- Bennett's gonna spin for Ritchie.
- I could have told you that.

Hang on. No, wait. I did.

I find competitiveness
feminine in tall women.

- On defense?
- Yeah. What the hell...?

Don't heckle around with me.

I got a Democrat shilling for Ritchie on
defense. I gotta get a guy. A Republican.

This is why I'm talking to you.
You're gonna use Albie Duncan.

- He'll do it? Duncan?
- Yes.

Look at me.
He's not a little bit crazy?

Albie Duncan? No, no.
A little bit.

- Toby...
- He'll be great. See to it. Andy...

I'm crazy about
the roundness of your head.

- Thank you. Andy?
- She's nervous.

- These are won and lost in the rooms.
- Not this one.

- You think so?
- I know so.

- Don't get overconfident.
- That ship sailed.

Hey, you wanna know something?
C.J. doesn't like running.

- Why not?
- Believe it or not...

...because it takes time
away from helping.

- I really like that about her, don't you?
- Yeah.

- Good. Then marry me again.
- No.

What else you got?

All right, let's make it interesting.

Let's add incentive.

The president wins the debate tomorrow,
and you marry me again.

How about the president wins the
debate, he gets elected president again.

See that's the difference between
you and me. You're smalltime.

And that's why the twins are gonna
need their father around full-time.

Because your thing
would be a terrible trait...

A terrible family trait
to pass on to little...

...Beatrice and Bluto.

I'm naming them Beatrice and Bluto now.
I don't care if they're boys or girls.

- What do you need?
- Back up Albie Duncan.

- Is he crazy?
- No. No.

No. A little bit.

No. Look, he's Albie Duncan.

He was in the Eisenhower
State Department. He's brilliant.

He's respected. He's a Republican.
If he's crazy, I don't wanna be sane.

- You're not.
- Excellent.

I'm out of here.

Read Gabe Tillman's speech
to the Stanford Club last night.

You're gonna think you wrote it.

Only it was somebody better.

Someone who will fight
for world-class schools.

Someone who will take decisions away
from HMOs and give them to doctors.

Someone who will make polluters
pay for the pollution they cause here.

What are your plans
for the final week?

Volunteers are going door-to-door.

We've got six busloads of AFT
and AFL volunteers coming down.

We've got six get-out-the-vote
rallies in the next six days.

- We're in this to win it. Yeah.
- Ted Willard.

Orange County Post-Gazette.

What happens if that happens?
If your candidate wins?

An election will be held
after no more than 90 days.

- Does the party have someone in mind?
- We're vetting Wendell Wilkie.

- Seriously?
- Seriously, one election at a time. Beth.

Sixty percent of residents disagree
with the Horton Wilde gun position...

...which doesn't distinguish it from
many issues important to voters.

Is the Wilde campaign out of touch?

Sixty percent is six of 10
in a focus group.

We change one mind, it's a dead heat.
We change two, it's a landslide.

This campaign's
a mechanism of persuasion.

We're not asking
for a show of hands. Yeah.

- June Wheeler, San Jose News.
- You're a long way from home.

- This is a fun story.
- Glad I could help.

We're all sitting here pretending
this is a regular press conference.

And you're very engaging up there,
but your candidate died.

So why isn't this all
a little preposterous?

Chuck Webb is a congressman
who as chairman of not one...

...but two commerce subcommittees...

...has taken money
from companies he regulates.

He's on the board of the NRA,
once challenged another congressman... a fistfight on the floor over
an amendment to make stalkers...

...submit to background checks
before buying AR-15s, AK-57s...

...Street Sweepers,
MAC-10s, MAC-lls.

He's joined protests designed
to frighten pregnant women.

- What's your point?
- There are worse things...

...than no longer being alive.

You said earlier that the 47th
pays more in taxes...

How you doing?

You don't want to be
in San Diego now?

I'd want to be in San Diego.

I'm about to head there.
I was just at your press conference.

You guys ready?

Yeah. It's gonna be great
or a disaster, nothing in between.


- So, what is this?
- Our contributors gave money to Wilde.

- He's dead now.
- I know.

And that's the metaphor. A
standard-bearer for a party that's dead... every bedroom community
in Southern California.

- That guy had a point.
- Who?

The Post-Gazette.
He asked if we had a name.

- You want one yet?
- No, not me. Not right now.

- Kay Wilde does.
- The widow?

Yeah. She wants a Democrat to tell us
privately that they'll run if he wins.

Nobody wants it.

- Do you believe they're gonna need it?
- No.

Then give her Winston Churchill.
What does it matter?

All right, it matters.

- What are you doing?
- I swear to God...

...I'm trying to win an election.

I'd think you, of all people, would be
able to recognize it when you saw it.

All right.

All right. I can get on the 405
if I go straight down there.

Fourth light.
Give them hell tomorrow.

All right.

- You have more events tonight, right?
- Yeah.

Your tie doesn't go.

What are those stripes?
They're gonna blur.

- You like the herringbone?
- I think it'll glow.

- It is.
- This is the navy heraldic club.

Any other year. They're broadcasting
in HD Digital now and with the pixels...

Anybody, anybody
have digital yet?

- A solid silk rep. Light mustard.
- Not with his coloring.

So it's the charcoal and blue.

Yeah, it's good. Charlie?


- Hey, Charlie.
- Hi. You're starting in the Oval Office.

- When do you leave?
- Now.

- Good luck.
- Tell him.

- Hey.
- Good afternoon, Mr. President.

They've chosen a tie.
It's charcoal and blue.

No, I decided to go ahead
and wear my lucky tie.

You sure? This tie feels
pretty lucky to me.

Then it's your lucky tie. Why don't
you get mine, we'll go to the plane.

Listen, what do you say I sit
in on this meeting. We've got time.

What do you say you get into pre-game?
Let me worry about this for tonight.

- All right.
- Come here a second.

There's no such thing as too smart.

There's nothing you can do
that's not gonna make me proud of you.

Eat them up.

- Game on.
- Okay.

We'll go next door.

About a week ago we stopped
a Qumari ship called the Mastico...

...on information that it was carrying
72 tons of weapons and high explosives.

- Hello.
- What do you need?

Ten words, let me try two. Defense.

"I will make America's defenses
the strongest in history."

When we say that
are we comparing ourselves... Visigoths
adjusted for inflation?

Crime:"Some crimes are so heinous,
so hateful to American values...

...that we ought to lock the prisoners
up and throw away the key."

- Don't say yes to that one.
- Keep working.

And call me every 30 minutes.

You read Gabriel Tillman's
speech at the Stanford Club?

- No.
- The governor's got a new writing staff.

- Are you gonna call every 30 minutes?
- Yeah.

- One more drill on the plane.
- We're gonna make you proud. Enjoy it.


You stopped a Qumari
ship with what, Leo?

Are we on another crime spree?
Why don't you call...?

We stopped them with a warning
shot from the USS Austin...

- Okay.
- An LPD San Antonio class warship.

The weapons were not
on their way to the Qumari.

They were on their way to the Bahji.

If I can't get everyone else on board
with the fact that Qumar is our enemy...

...surely we can all agree
that the International Bahji Cell is.

Weapons were on their way to the
Bahji. The Austin stopped them.

- Qumar's leveraging the Mastico.
- We know this.

- What do they want?
- Yesterday they want missile technology.

Today they want
convicted Bahji operatives...

...let out of U.S. jails.
It changes.

- You're gonna have to give them some...
- I don't have to do anything.

I'm right, they're wrong.

They're strong...

...I'm much stronger.

And what happens tomorrow morning?
The president gets on TV...

...makes his case.
- We're not ready.

- Nowhere near ready.
- What happens?

Assuming we get around
the Boland Amendment...

...and any potential violations of
domestic law and separation of powers.

Forgetting international outcry...

...and sticking Arab allies
with a choice of loyalties.

You violated the Geneva Convention.

- Since when...?
- Since Francisco Pizarro.

Well, if you're gonna
throw the Swiss in my face.

Ali Nissir is at the General Assembly.

How hard would it be to quietly
get him here tonight?

UN diplomats are
a little under pay scale.

- He's a reasonable guy...
- Is he?

Ali Nissir is what passes
for reasonable these days.

How hard would it be
to get him here quietly tonight?

Not hard.

All right. Why don't you do it,
and we'll talk about the next step.

- Margaret.
- What was that before with 10 words?

It's a debating phrase.

It has to do
with making things simpler.

Would you get me
the National Security Council?

Yes, sir.

Broadcasting live at 9:00
tonight on the East Coast...

... and tape delayed
on the West Coast.

- What's going on?
- Okay.

I understand it was the last
debate of the first campaign.

- Everything all right?
- No.

Before the debate the president
went out to sneak a cigarette.

- He lit his necktie on fire.
- Yes.

Josh gave him his, he won,
and now it's his game tie.

It got wrecked by a cleaning solvent
we probably shouldn't use anymore.

- Did you tell him?
- No. But that's a different conversation.

My point is, doesn't this look
like the real one?

I don't remember what
the real one looked like.

- Where did you get a tie on a plane?
- The neck of a labor secretary.

What am I thinking?
You can't pull this kind of fake-out.

Now it becomes the bad-luck tie.
Bad things will happen in that tie.

No, you gotta face
the music and dance alone.

You know what? I think maybe you and
the president are obsessing on the tie.

I'm gonna throw this notion out,
see if the cat licks it up.

I think the president's performance
had actually very little to do with the tie.


- You heard me say it was his game tie?
- Yeah.


Mr. Secretary.

Oh, Miss Cregg.

- Thanks so much for helping us out.
- Yes.

- Have you ever seen the Moscow Circus?
- No.

Then I have no point
of reference to describe...

...what a post-debate
spin room is like.

I like you.
You're the one I like.

Thank you very much.

What happens is you'll be
taken into the room.

A volunteer
will walk in behind you...

...holding up a sign
with your name on it.

And the press will surround you.

Is that dignified?

Absolutely not, don't even hope.

They want you to talk about why is
a Republican spinning for the president.

Nobody is expecting you to say a thing
that would embarrass the party... which you've been a loyal
and active member.

He'll be attacked
during the debate on China.

He'll have to defend trade goals
versus human rights.

Trade's essential for human rights.

Instead of isolating them, we make them
live by the same global trading rules... everyone else and gain
1.2 billion consumers for our products...

...and strengthen the forces of reform.

- That's it, it's that simple.
- No, it's not simple.

- It's incredibly complicated.
- Sure.

McGarry's boy's over there
coming up with greeting cards.

- Josh?
- Sitting with me...

...trying to boil down foreign policy
into a 10-word statement.

No, no, he's the 10-word.
And believe me, he hates it.

I've been at the State Department
for 30 years. There's no right answer.

And diplomacy needs all the words
it can get its hands on.

Plus, he's from Connecticut.

But the thing is Ritchie's good at it.

We need to show we have
that club in our bag. That's all.

What kind of shot
do you get with that club?

According to the best people
who've analyzed polling data...

...there are a million undecideds
who'd come to Bartlet...

...if he displayed one quality that were
more like Ritchie, and we chose this.

So for 90 seconds tonight
the mountain will come to Mohammed.

And we'll pretend the whole
thing never happened.

- It's incredibly complicated.
- Yes.

- The answer I just gave you on trade.
- It was perfect.

You know there's a decent
chance I'm full of crap, right?

- Sure.
- Free trade is essential for human rights.

The end of that sentence
is,"We hope.

- Because nothing else has worked."
- But I wouldn't say that tonight.

The president knows Chinese political
prisoners are gonna be sewing... balls with their teeth whether
we sell them cheeseburgers or not.

- So let's sell them cheeseburgers.
- Nor, if it were I, would I say that.

Let me tell you something, young lady.

Thirty-seven hundred years
ago in the Shang Dynasty...

...when a king died,
his slaves were beheaded.

The lucky ones.
The unlucky ones were buried alive.

Political repression?
This is progress.

Still, I think the first answer's
our winner.

So can I find an aide and have her bring
you some Schweppes Bitter Lemon?

No, I'm too steamed.

- Yes, yes, okay.
- Good.

- Carol?
- Yeah.

- Go to work.
- Yeah.

- So is he crazy?
- Yes.

- What do you think?
- Well, if we lose...

...because of a 10-word answer
then I'm quitting show business.

- What do you think?
- I think it depends who shows up.

If it's Uncle Fluffy
we've got problems.

If it's the president?
In his last campaign, his last debate?

For the last job he'll ever have?
The president shows up...

...I think it could be a sight to see.
I mean, a sight to see.

What do you think?

I think you're going
to enjoy yourself tonight.

- Mr. Ambassador.
- Mr. McGarry.

You know Jordan Kendall.

I do, but I did not know
she worked here.

Special counsel to the
office of the chief of staff.

Mr. Nissir...

...the president starts
his debate in four minutes.

I won't be there, obviously.

And for me, it's like missing
my brother's wedding.

A big Super Bowl or something.

And I'm mentioning this to underline
the importance of this conversation.

You have to turn the boat around.

It's the match being held to the fuse.

I don't know anything about a boat.

You're not getting access to THAAD.

We're not gonna
release Bahji operatives.

And we're not gonna
give you $30 billion... create the Trans-Qumari pipeline.

You have to turn
the boat around.

Ladies and gentlemen,
please take your seats.

The debate will begin
in two and a half minutes.

We'd like to remind you
that this is a live broadcast.

In the event of any
technical difficulties...

... we ask that everyone
remain quietly in their seats...

... until the issue
has been addressed.

I guess what
I don't understand is this:

Have I ever exhibited any evidence...

...that I'd be mad if a tie got ruined?
- No, sir.

- No, I'm not that guy.
- This tie was special.

Chemicals at the cleaner
don't know that.

President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie
to the stage, please.

- Josh?
-This is their two-minute warning.

Yeah. Guys we're gonna
give him the room now.

Bring it, boss.

Nothing but strikes.

Game on.

I just assumed you
wanted to include me.

Good evening from the University
of California, San Diego.

I'm Alexander Thompson.

Well, it's in the bag.
You have someone here to show off for.

- My daughters are here?
- You kidding? Ellie's wearing makeup.

- I don't approve of that.
- You understand she's 27, right?

I don't approve of that either.

Remember the tie Josh
had to give me at the last minute?

Yeah, I heard that happened.

Think there's any
point in having the debate?

There was juice in that.
It was in the last seconds.

Just the energy
getting me out on stage.

Well, tough.

- Sir?
- Yeah. I gotta go.

We'll do mushy later.

So for now, I just gotta say I love you
so much, that my head's gonna fly off.

But more importantly,
game on, boyfriend. Let's go.

- Okay.
- By the way, I feel bad.

I don't think I've done enough
to help prepare.

Why are you telling me this now?

- Just because.
- Oh, my God. You're insane.

Are you...? You're insane!

- Charlie!
- Thirty seconds, please.

- Josh, we need your tie.
- What the hell?

- Take it off!
- What happened?

- My wife cut it off with scissors.
- Why?

- I don't think we got time, Josh.
- Fifteen seconds.

- We got it.
- No one's done camera tests.

- She's right. Let's run some.
- Right here!

Ladies and gentlemen, President
Josiah Bartlet of New Hampshire...

- Would you keep it down?
...and Governor Ritchie of Florida.

Quiet, please.

The rules for tonight's
debate are as follows:

A candidate will be asked
a question by one of the panelists...

...and he will have
90 seconds to respond.

His opponent will
then have 60 seconds...

...with which to ask
a question and get an answer...

...though it must be limited
to the same topic.

There will be two minutes
for closing statements at the end.

By virtue of a coin toss...

...Governor Ritchie,
the first question is for you.

- Governor Ritchie, good evening.
- Good evening.

The biggest philosophical difference
between you and the president... over the role of the
federal government itself.

And whether national problems
really have national solutions.

- Can you explain your view?
- Well, first, let me say good evening.

And thank you.
It's a privilege to be here.

My view of this is simple.

We don 't need a federal department
of education telling us our children...

... have to learn Esperanto,
they have to learn Eskimo poetry.

- Eskimo poetry?
-Let the states decide.

Let communities decide on health care.

On education.
On lower taxes, not higher taxes.

Now, he's gonna throw
a big word at you.

Unfunded mandate.
He's gonna say:

"If Washington lets the states
do it, it's an unfunded mandate."

But what he doesn 't like is
the federal government losing power.

- Hi.
-I call it ingenuity of American people.

President, you have 60 seconds
for a question and answer.

First, let's clear up
a couple of things.

"Unfunded mandate"
is two words not one big word.

There are times
when we're 50 states.

And there are times when we're one
country and have national needs.

The way I know this is that Florida
didn't fight Germany in World War II...

...or establish civil rights.

You think states should do
the governing wall-to-wall.

That's a perfectly valid opinion.

But your state of Florida got
$ 12.6 billion in federal money last year...

...from Nebraskans and Virginians
and New Yorkers...

...and Alaskans
with their Eskimo poetry.

Twelve-point-six out
of a state budget of 50 billion.

And I'm supposed to be using this
time for a question, so here it is:

Can we have it back, please?

- Game on!
- Oh, my God.

Strike them out, throw them out!
Anybody want spin?

- It's not gonna be Uncle Fluffy.
- No.

Mr. President,
the next question is for you.

And the partisan bickering.

Now I want people to work
together in this great country.

That's what I did in Florida.
I brought people together.

That's what I'll do
as your president.

End the logjam, end the gridlock...

...and bring Republicans
together with Democrats...

...because Americans
are tired of partisan politics.

Mr. President?

What you did in Florida is bring
the right together with the far right.

I don 't think Americans
are tired of partisan politics.

They're tired of hearing

...diss partisan politics to get a gig.

I've tried it before,
they ain't buying it.

That's okay, though.

That's okay
because partisan politics is good.

Partisan politics
is what the founders had in mind.

It guarantees that the
minority opinion is heard.

And as a life-long possessor
of minority opinions...

... I appreciate it.

If you're troubled by it,
you should know in this campaign...'ve used the word
liberal 74 times in one day.

It was yesterday.

I'm not sure I can watch anymore.

No, wait.
I can, I can.

Israel launched an unwarranted,
illegal, unilateral air strike...

...against the people of Qumar.

The air strike was neither unwarranted,
nor was it against the people of Qumar.

It was against two Bahji terrorist camps.

After the Israeli foreign minister
was shot down by Bahji operatives...

...of, by-the-by,
Qumari citizenship...

...educated, if we're gonna use
that word, in Qumari madrasahs...

...and financed by fat members
of the Qumari royal family...

...including the sultan's brother,
Abdul ibn Shareef.

Zionist propaganda.

And we lost a cabinet
minister, as well.

Yes, and you have
the results of joint U.S., U. K...

...and Qumari search
and rescue operations...

...that detail the tragic loss at sea.

Yet your intelligence services seem
ready to tell the Arab world it was Israel.

A state that sanctions
covert assassination.

Of terrorists.

Are you saying Mr. Shareef
was one of them?

Excuse me, Mr. Ambassador.

You gotta stop it.

You gotta turn the boat around.
You're gonna be at war.

I can't play games anymore.
I can't do it anymore.

Ben Yosef gave me the medal of David
and 10 hours later he was dead.

I can't pretend Qumar's
our quirky ally...

...whose culture it's
important to be tolerant of.

They're not wearing
wooden shoes.

I was a soldier.
I flew fighters over the DMZ.

It was incredibly dangerous.

What did I do that for?
What am I handing to the next guy...

...and to my kid...?
- Turn the boat around.

Do that for the next guy. Do that for
Mallory and the president. He's busy.

No, the question is...

... should we focus on 90 percent
of the kids who go to public school...

... or give parents money
from the public school budget...

... to send their kids
to private school at a time...

... when private schools are turning
away kids who can afford it?

Public schools are gonna be the best
schools. They're gonna be cathedrals.

The answer is a change
in the way we finance schools.

Governor Ritchie, your rebuttal.

Mr. McGarry...

...I think we are both men.

And we both know there's
a charade being enacted here.

I understand Western politics.

And I understand President Bartlet
is unable to admit Israel's complicity... the death of the sultan's
brother during a close election.

So perhaps we could re...

Did I say something funny?

You think the president's afraid
that if he admitted complicity... Shareef's death, he would
lose votes in this country?

To sweep all 50 states, the president
would only need to do two things:

Blow the sultan's brains
out in Times Square...

...then walk across the street
to Nathan's and buy a hot dog.

Mr. Ambassador,
you're gonna turn the Mastico around.

You are going to cease and desist
any disinformation campaign...

...that links the death
of Shareef to Israel.

And sometime next year...

...the sultan is gonna propose
a Middle East peace plan...

...the Qumar Plan,
and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Make your phone call.

I'll be waiting.

He's a little hot
under the collar, is he not?

Excuse me. I have a meeting
of godless infidels next door.

Governor Ritchie, many economists
have stated that the tax cut...

...which is the centerpiece
of your economic agenda...

...could actually harm
the economy.

- Is now really the time to cut taxes?
- You bet it is.

We need to cut taxes for one reason.

American people know how
to spend their money better...

... than the government does.

Mr. President, your rebuttal.

There it is.

- What the hell?
- He's got it.

That's the 10-word answer my staff's
been looking for for two weeks.

There it is. Ten-word answers
can kill you in political campaigns.

They're the tip of the sword.

Here's my question:

What are the next 10 words
of your answer?

Your taxes are too high?
So are mine.

Give me the next 10 words,
how are we gonna do it?

Give me 10 after that,
I'll drop out of the race right now.

Every once in a while...
Every once in a while...

... there's a day with an absolute right
and an absolute wrong.

But those days
almost always include body counts.

Other than that, there aren't
very many unnuanced moments... leading a country
that's way too big for 10 words.

I'm president of the United States...

...not the president of the
people who agree with me.

If the left has a problem with that
they should vote for somebody else.

We begin closing statements
with Ritchie.

- I'm gonna make a bold suggestion.
- What?

Let's not spin.
Let's leave the room.

Use experts. Nobody from the campaign,
nobody from the White House.

- Definitely not us.
- Why?

There's nothing left to do.
It's inelegant.

The punch Ali never gave
Foreman when he was down.

- Absolutely.
- Just a statement.

The president's on his way
to Washington to get back to work.

There'll be drinking on the plane.

That shouldn't be included
in the statement.

Trade with China
is essential for human rights.

By engaging China and making them
live by the same global trading rules... everyone else, we gain
1.2 billion consumers for our products.

We strengthen the forces of freedom,
the president knows this.

Mr. Secretary?

- I'm sorry, Miss Cregg, you need me?
- I have a question.

Isn't there a decent chance
you and the president are wrong?

I'm sorry?

I mean, doesn't he also know
Chinese political prisoners...

...are gonna sew soccer balls whether
we sell them cheeseburgers or not?

I mention this because the president just
reminded us that complexity isn't a vice.

You're the one I like too.

Thank you very much and good night.

It's over.

You'll be back.

Tammy, I'd like to buy
this old guy a beer.

- He had a good night.
- Okay.

- Thank you.
- How does it feel?

- Winning?
- Yeah.

- Good.
- I thought he was gonna fall over...

...himself trying to be genial.
- So did we.

But then, we were convinced by polling
that he was gonna be seen as arrogant... matter what performance
he gave in the debate.

And then that morning at 3: 10,
my phone rings, it's Toby Ziegler.

He says,"It's a gift that they're
irreversibly convinced that he's arrogant.

Because now he can be."

If your guy is seen that way you might
as well knock some bodies down with it.

- You don't fly with the team?
- Not this time.

I had to return the rental car, that's
why I was glad to get together.

One-way charges
on rental cars are insane.

If everybody drove one-way it'd work
out in the wash. What do you think?

Oh, I think every
rental car in America...

...would be at the Grand Canyon
and the Tropicana.

Let the campaign fold, man.

- Stay out of the news this week.
- I'm sorry.

- Thank you.
- Sure.

- You grow up in California politics?
- I grew up in Brussels.


Several members of my family
worked at the NATO headquarters.

You're not Thomas Bailey's
grandson by chance, are you?

I'm his son.
I'm the youngest.

That had to have been
a nice Career Day.

"Hello, I'm Will's dad, I'm supreme
commander, NATO Allied Forces."

- Not a lot of kids took your lunch money.
- No.

It's embarrassing, Will.

There's a campaign being waged
here, and I'm not embarrassed by it.

There are things being talked about,
things you...

...and the White House believe in. They'll
only be talked about in a blowout.

You know there's no glory in it.

And you still come here twice
and tell me my guy's a joke?

That my people are embarrassing?

How many told you to
get out of the way for John Hoynes?

The bandwagon was in Texas,
the boys were in Nashua.

How many Democrats
told you it was embarrassing?

- I'm not kidding, how many?
- All of them.

That's right.

You're the one
who wrote Tillman's speech.

- No, I'm not.
- At the Stanford Club. Yes, you are.

- I don't even... I don't know what...
- That's fine.

But you and I both
know different, right?

So let's have some respect for that.

You've ghosted
for senators, movie stars.

I think the king of Belgium one time.
Do you say anything?

- No.
- Why?

- Speechwriters don't do that.
- Yeah.


I'll just say it was very good.

And a number of people think so.
Leave it there.

Except to say
that the jokes worked too.

I don't know who wrote them.

But I know it wasn't
the governor of California.

You see that girl over there?

The one I thought
was your assistant.

Her name is Elsie Snuffin.

- What a great name.
- Isn't it?

- Why did you tell me that?
- She wrote the jokes.

- Anyway, you should know about her.
- Where'd you find her?

She was the 11 th man on a 10-man
writing staff for a sitcom.

They weren't using her stuff because
it was smarter than the show.

But she didn't know that.

All right.

Thank you for the beer
and for the lively conversation.

If you can't find a Democrat...

...tell Mrs. Wilde...

- Tell Kay that I'll do it.
- Are you kidding?

Tell her I'm a graduate of Princeton
and editor of the Duke Law Review.

I've worked for congressmen
and the D-Triple-C.

I have seven years at Gage Whitney.

I've served as deputy communications
director and senior counselor.

Tell her I grew up
two streets from here.

- I'm not gonna ask anyone else.
- This is for election night.

I read about it before then,
I'm gonna deny it and we're through.

Excuse me.

- Listen...
- We love you.

Thank you. I've gotta get to a bed,
but I just wanted to say...

...thanks for the hard work.
One more week.

You're making a lot of people proud.

And if you get a chance... the governor's speech
to the Stanford Club.

It's gonna give you chills.
The jokes are particularly funny.

Anyway, good luck.

- Great job.
- Thank you.

Good night, Will.

Don't forget your necktie.

Keep it.