The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 5, Episode 5 - Constituency of One - full transcript
While Will gets an enticing offer from the new Vice President, Josh finds himself responsible for a crucial mistake that could sorely embarrass the Administration. He isn't the only one on the wrong side of the tracks as Amy finds out first hand why she shouldn't handle the First Family.
Come by tonight.
We can not talk some more.
Her mother wants to take her back
to New Hampshire for a while.
-What do you think?
-I think her mom is right.
You're gonna have to handle things
for me a little while longer.
I trust you.
That's why I hired you.
You're not willing to toss
it overboard to win.
You're willing to toss it overboard
to avoid disappointing Leo.
-Come on. We created 9 million jobs.
-We've created no jobs.
There's lots of ways of looking
at the numbers--
Work for an economist,
he'll tell you.
Government doesn't create jobs,
business creates jobs.
-They did it on our watch.
This calendar is every event, every
speech the president's gonna give.
Talk about economic accomplishments.
-Not when we're losing jobs.
-Put that on a bumper sticker.
You don't talk about economic
accomplishments in a lousy economy.
-We put it in a context.
-Don't want people saying:
"Hey, thanks for the jobs. I've got three,
and I can't make my house payments. "
Fridays. We don't have
any events on Fridays.
-Fridays don't count.
No one watches the Friday evening
news, no one reads the Saturday papers.
No presidential events on Fridays.
I can think of a few assignment editors
who'd resent that remark.
-Nothing on Fridays.
-You don't need my input.
I'm gonna go home.
This is how we get past
Seize the agenda again.
I'm gonna have nightmares
about color-coded six-day weeks...
-...with no accomplishments.
-You need to learn.
I need to see my bed.
I'm thinking about carrying
a picture of it in my wallet.
We've barely had a message
since the campaign...
...let alone since Zoey.
This is your life
the next three months.
Is that in the OEOB?
-I'll drop you in Dupont Circle.
You think we should tout
-Politics isn't about past performance.
It's "What have you done for me lately
and where's my Turtle Wax?"
I'd better return this.
It's someone looking for
one of your jobs.
See you tomorrow.
Hi, it's Will Bailey.
-Are you Will Bailey?
-I could be. I mean, yes.
He elected the dead guy.
-He did the hard part.
-What was that?
-Is that a joke?
Not really, no.
Am I in the right place?
-Thanks for coming on short notice.
-Mr. Vice President.
-Anything with caffeine.
-Sir, I wanna say again--
-Forget about the speech.
-I admire speechwriters.
They need the tendency to doubt and
the capacity to believe in equal measure.
-Why am I here, sir?
-You're the president's voice.
-You don't think I have an interest?
-At 12: 15 on a weeknight, no.
I have to work longer hours,
I'm playing with a handicap.
Spare tire on the automobile
from having a heartbeat.
The story of the two brothers. One went
to sea, one became vice president.
-Neither was heard from again.
I need more help than that dead guy
you got elected in Orange County.
-I need some political life support myself.
-I'm afraid I don't follow.
I'd like you to be my
First senior hire in the White House.
-I'm flattered, but--
-You don't think I'm politician enough.
-I didn't say that.
-Play baseball coach a moment.
Two players run to first.
They have the same time.
One has perfect form, the other,
lousy form. Which do you pick?
-The one with lousy form.
-Teach him the right form--
-He beats the other guy. Neat analogy.
-I know I'm not the best politician.
But I am vice president
of the United States.
Imagine what we can do
when you teach me the right form.
Sir, I'm special assistant
to the president.
Chief strategist and senior counselor
to the vice president.
-Are we playing poker?
-I'm showing you my hand.
You're looking for your own
I'm looking for someone
who can beat Toby to first.
-Thank you, sir, but I'm not interested.
-I like loyalty. I respect loyalty.
But you can run out the clock
on a Bartlet presidency...
...that, politically speaking, is over.
You can finish something
you never started.
You can run around those little hallways
until Toby turns out the lights.
Or you can shape the next
presidency from the ground up.
Total access. Coach of the team.
Of course, I understand
if you're not interested.
Did you read it?
I'm now reading it. There's some
new stuff since the early edition.
-It's a puff piece...
...so I'll return the guy's calls,
which I won't.
"A one-man Congressional majority.
Bartlet's legislative juggernaut. "
It's an embarrassment.
You should steal everyone's copies.
-And burning them on the South Lawn.
-Save one for my mom.
-She'll be proud of her little birthday boy.
Look, Donna, no gifts, no parties,
just another day, okay?
-A coffee and... .
-Yeah, with a thing.
Senior staff in five minutes,
Ward Room at 7:45.
You're not wearing a tie.
Like your suit, though.
Liked it when you wore it yesterday too.
Speaker's trying to roll us again
This story about me sending
a congressman a dead fish...
-...the Post get this from you?
-Coffee and a... .
Great piece in the Post.
Your clipping service
must be busy today.
Why, was there something in the paper?
101 st senator.
Is that like being the fifth Beatle?
Yeah, I was the one who played sitar
and made procedural changes.
So listen, Mr. Rip-Up-the-Constitution-
-I've got a meeting.
-Okay, I don't think veins wield gavels.
What about HHS Appropriations?
How far under budget cap
was our submission?
Get that from Legislative Affairs.
-I'm getting it from you.
-Josh, nice piece.
If the first lady's got some budget
requests, run it through the process.
The first lady's got nothing.
Because our budget's locked,
and she's a sensitive topic around here.
Or not around here,
as the case may be.
-It's nothing, Josh.
I'll get it from Legislative Affairs.
Don't. Come on.
-I didn't talk to them.
Hats off to the
I'm still trying to make the cover
of Jane's Defence Weekly.
-That fish story, you guys--
-Let's talk about the DNC poll.
We got the first half sample.
President's job approval's down
to 49 percent.
Abbey's 11 points higher.
Personal approval's separate
from job performance.
But "strong leader" is down,
"handling of economy," way down.
People don't feel safe with what's going
on, don't feel economically secure.
Republicans are pounding us, and people
don't think the president's leading.
They love him at a barbecue,
not so much with launch codes.
We didn't vote down
the stimulus package.
Our job's to get that message out.
And we're gonna do this
like in the campaigns.
Toby's working a message calendar.
When the president signs off...
...we treat it like it's chiseled stone.
No lurching from issue to issue...
...no more governors' brother-in-laws'
bar mitzvahs driving the schedule.
Just our positive message, opportunity
and security, one day at a time.
217 military promotions that were
supposed to pass the Senate last night.
-What about them?
-A senator put them on anonymous hold.
-A hold? On military promotions?
Why would a conservative Democrat
block military promotions?
He threatened it last week when
he stiffed us on the stimulus package.
-So much for opportunity and security.
-A fight in our party over the military.
-It's not gonna be a fight. I got this one.
-No, I'll handle it.
I can handle Carrick.
-The president's ready in the Residence.
-It's not a thing.
You're a little hot after last week.
I wanna be sure--
This is what I do. You got time to
wrangle a senator on the Hill?
Okay. Thanks. Hey.
I got a message from Legislative Affairs.
HHS Appropriations. For some reason,
they're reopening the bill.
-You know about this?
-No. No, I don't.
I'll call them. It's probably nothing.
Yeah, it's probably nothing.
-Donna, I need Amy.
Just-- I need Amy.
-Morning, Mr. President.
-What's with the Belgian elections?
-Is this a riddle?
-The intelligence briefing.
The anti-immigrationists are gaining,
doesn't say why or how.
-You want more on the Flemish Bloc.
-I want a CIA briefer here in person.
-Why'd I get this on paper?
-You never have briefers in quarters.
-That was Abbey's rule.
-Budget review at 9.
Toby needs you to sign off...
-...on the message calendar.
-Can't let this sit.
It's been months since
we had a clear message.
Months since we reduced a $2-trillion
government to poll-tested bromides.
You think James Madison ran his
presidency off a message calendar?
-Life on Mondays...
...liberty, Wednesdays, shaking off
the yoke of the monarch...
...on alternate Thursdays.
Toby needs your okay this morning.
One more thing. HHS Appropriations.
Republicans gutted it because domestic
violence isn't a public-health issue.
As if spousal abuse were part
of the Atkins diet.
The Republicans just reopened the bill
and added back every penny.
Just like that.
We'll get you more
on the Flemish thing.
Five minutes with Amy.
Take 10, you're over 21.
-Post said you're the 101 st senator.
-You read headlines.
-What's that mean?
I used to work in the Senate,
I do Senate politics, I got some sway.
-You sent a congressman a dead fish?
-He tried to bottle up the fisheries bill.
-Is this an inquisition?
-Glad it wasn't a whaling bill.
Gather up those profiles.
Lord Bullingdon's having a field day.
-We had a rule today: No gifts.
-Your birthday is not for you...
-...it's for the rest of us.
-How does that work, exactly?
We get to eat cake
and wear pointy little hats.
Don't tell. I don't want one of those
parties in the Indian Treaty Room...
...where some guy drones on about
how I saved the aquatic weed subsidy.
Amy doesn't have time.
-I'm going to the Hill.
-What's on the Hill?
Some buildings and a big statue.
I meant the meeting.
You don't get to know
This isn't an all-access pass.
You're not backstage at a concert.
-You ever been backstage?
-It's pretty great.
-I want him sorting mail.
When consumer confidence drops
seven points instead of two--
That's not why our poll numbers
-You can stop giving me his messages.
Plus, Leo's ready for the pre-brief.
-A guy I lived with for six months.
I didn't know you lived with a guy.
-There's a lot you don't know about me.
Well, that's about it, really.
-You don't want his calls?
-Oh, if I take his call...
...it'd be great to hear his voice.
He has this low, husky radio voice.
We'd swap memories, old jokes,
...and then it's the frisky little e-mails,
and pretty soon it's, you know...
...a weekend in Little Washington
and the late-night phone calls...
...and that's when we start
to get on each other's nerves.
He has this thing where
he twirls his hair and... .
The bloom's off the rose,
I don't call as much...
...and it's the guilt
and cherchez la femme...
... "Why didn't it work out?"
and it's years till we talk.
That was like a bad romantic comedy
in 15 seconds.
-What are you getting from the gaggle?
-Drop in consumer confidence.
Pivot to the stimulus package.
New version comes out next week,
give it back to Congress.
Why is the president dragging his feet
on naming a new chairman?
The president's making his decision...
-...one chairman at a time.
Reuters has a report that we scrubbed
two paragraphs from an EPA report.
-Scrubbed two paragraphs?
-The EPA's report on energy needs.
Reuters is saying the White House
scrubbed language critical of coal.
What lackey tampers
with an independent report?
You're looking at him.
I didn't mean to... .
Are we defending coal?
Reuters has the original draft.
We have to do a mea culpa,
make it a one-day story.
We're not. "The report will
reflect administration views. "
It's not gonna fly
if they have the draft.
"The report will reflect
administration views," that's the line.
You worried about that EPA thing?
I'm worried about anything
that takes us off our new message.
Now that we've officially settled
on our new message.
What's our new message?
-The president signed off.
-I thought I'd have a chance to weigh in.
-You'll have a big role.
Hand-coloring copies of the calendar?
You need to sit with the Labor secretary,
Commerce secretary, vice president.
Walk them through
their economic speeches.
-That's a bad idea.
-We've been over this.
If the president stumps
for the stimulus package...
...Iook at the calendar,
then the Labor secretary--
The vice president, we can't pretend
he's a Cabinet flunky.
Right. Cabinet flunkies
He's a constitutional officer,
get his input.
-I am not interested in his input.
-What if he doesn't like it?
-You want me in the meeting?
Give him his assignment.
I don't care if he likes it.
You work for the president,
so does he.
-I get it. Idaho. That's funny.
Do you have an appointment?
No, but he'll wanna see me.
Josh Lyman from the White House.
Go on in.
I'm surprised the White House
sent Senator Lyman.
You can't block military promotions.
We can't have an intraparty fight when
Republicans are thrashing us on security.
Oh, I don't wanna fight.
These are career officers who've risked
their lives in the Gulf, in Africa.
We'll keep promises to our troops once
we keep our promises to each other.
-What promises are those?
-The MB-827 triple-missile launcher.
To be built in my state of Idaho.
I'd like a signed letter of intent today.
-One problem with the MB-827 launcher.
It doesn't work.
It's a missile defense system
that can't hit missiles.
It's a $270-million slingshot
the Pentagon doesn't want.
Let's talk about why
you wanna build that launcher.
No, let's talk about what
you're gonna do for our underpaid...
men and women.
Not a damn thing
till I get my launcher.
-And when were you promised we'd--?
-Seven years ago.
-Under the last president?
Okay, a bunch of things have fallen by
the wayside since then, like communism.
You want promotions,
give me my launcher.
If you want party favors, you shouldn't
have voted with the Republicans.
You shouldn't have voted with them
to kill our stimulus package.
You tell Leo McGarry I look forward
to a letter approving the MB-827.
I want these to go back
to the staff secretary.
-Absolutely, Mr. President.
Did you hear about the chief justice?
He was presiding over a moot court.
Thought he was at the Supreme Court.
Fine, if we can get NYU to rule
on the Second Amendment.
-He's losing it, Leo.
-It's a lifetime appointment.
That doesn't mean he gets
to decompose on the bench.
-Are we taking care of Carrick?
There's more on HHS Appropriations.
Violence prevention's now been doubled.
-It went from gutted to doubled?
-Two hundred million.
-Legislative Affairs are concerned.
It could cut into bioterrorism, global
pandemics. 200 million's real money.
You think the Republicans want to
make it so expensive we'll cut it?
-They trying to outflank us on the left?
-I can't see why.
-Let's find out.
Josh is against the launcher because
he thinks it's make-work jobs for Idaho.
But he supports workfare,
which gives people make-work jobs.
Find me a military contractor
on food stamps and we'll talk.
-Josh's guidance on the DSCC.
So I'm giving Josh
an expensive birthday present.
Can't. You're his subordinate,
that's a violation of ethics.
Then I'm giving it to you.
You're my subordinate...
...and I don't think you even bought
a present at all.
There's a party
at the Australian Embassy later.
It's just... .
There aren't enough books in the
District of Columbia for you to stand on.
How about suburban Maryland?
-He wants the MB-827 missile launcher.
-The one that doesn't work.
The 97th Airborne's a stickler
for that kind of thing too.
I got a breakdown on the promotions.
Two dozen are headed
for rotations in the Gulf.
If they're not promoted,
they can't leave.
Carrick wants that launcher today.
I'm gonna send Fitzwallace to cut a deal,
call it his farewell tour.
I've got a better idea.
No Fitzwallace, no letter, no deal.
Five years, he's voted Republican.
Switched his vote,
jammed us on the stimulus package.
That's why we're in this mess.
We wanna roll over?
He's a Democrat from Idaho,
they use Democrats for target practice.
Sometimes he's gotta
lean to the right.
We give him everything.
He screws us.
He makes Machiavelli
look like a social worker.
We need his vote when we bring
stimulus up, we need it on our agenda.
So we reward him for rolling us?
That'll keep him in line?
We can't afford an ugly fight.
Unless we want more, we gotta
stop feeding the hand that bites us.
No Fitzwallace, no letter, no deal.
I need your proxy on this.
Okay. But go easy.
That "one-man majority" stuff,
you know they didn't get that from me.
I don't care about
The Washington Post.
Take care of Carrick.
Call Carrick's chief of staff.
The launcher's off the table.
Tell him there's no such thing
as a free launch.
-Just made it up.
Amy can see you from 1: 10 to 1: 15.
How about telling me I can see her.
I got five minutes for her. She can
wait in my office all day if necessary.
-Amy can see you from 1: 10 to 1: 15.
Is this a private birthday celebration?
Need some dollar bills and a smock?
It's a meeting, would you...?
I don't do birthday celebrations.
Childhood trauma, I presume?
My 7th birthday, my parents
hired a birthday clown.
Big nose, seltzer bottle, whole drill.
He did all his tricks for my sister.
She got to keep one of his floppy shoes.
Okay, I wouldn't tell that
to anyone else.
Tell Amy's office I'm on my way.
Get me the committee roster. Thanks.
-Nice profile, Josh.
So this guy calls his mother,
he says, "Mom, how are you?"
She says, "I'm terrible.
I haven't eaten in 38 days. "
"Why haven't you eaten in 38 days?"
"I didn't want my mouth to be full
in case you should call. "
-You telling me to call my mom?
-I'm telling you a joke.
What's the first lady doing? Why do you
need lists of Congressional committees?
I'm Amy Gardner, I work for
Abigail Bartlet. Have we met?
She's running around
the budget process.
-You're not supposed to--
-Run her office?
Leo's onto what you're doing
with HHS Appropriations.
I practically lied.
Next time, I'm not gonna.
-Will I find a horse's head on my desk?
-Don't tempt me.
-You got a problem, call--
-Like I'm gonna get between the Bartlets.
You run it through the process.
Afraid we're gonna get called
to the principal's office?
I am the principal's office.
-Call your mother.
Is the president concerned
joblessness will affect his standing?
The president's concern is passing
his stimulus package...
...to get Americans good jobs.
He's hopeful Congress will move
his new version to the floor.
Does the president wish his press
were as good as Josh Lyman's?
We've set up a whole wing
to handle his paparazzi.
I'm just hoping for a decent table
at the Palm. Yes.
The EPA says the White House censored
a report critical of coal-based energy.
Is that appropriate?
The White House feels the EPA report
will reflect administration views.
Not the EPA's. Their draft cited stunted
trees, poisoned fish and wildlife...
...as just some of the problems
The report will lay out views
on a range of issues.
Why'd the White House tamper
with an independent report?
-I addressed that.
Why is independent analysis
subject to White House censorship?
I don't accept your premise.
I'm sure you all look forward
to reading the report.
I've read both the censored one
and the original. Are you defending--?
If there was interference with an
independent report, that was a mistake.
-But I assure you...
... the final report will reflect
administration policy. Sally.
It's been months since Admiral
Fitzwallace announced his retirement.
Is the president sticking... ?
I'll see him.
-Something you wanna say, say it now.
-They had both drafts, there was--
I gave you the line.
Who said you could drop it?
Coal is the dirtiest energy on the planet.
That's worth censoring?
What wasn't in that report
was any clean coal.
-Any mention of... .
-Clean coal's a myth.
They turn it into gas and steam.
Clean coal's like saying healthy
botulism, child-safe plutonium.
Tell me the alternative.
Getting people to stop using electricity?
I don't know, neither does the EPA,
but they're telling the truth.
And we gagged them.
Who gave us the right?
Are we surprised our polls are down?
We have a responsibility to the country,
we can't just spin any line we make up.
You have a responsibility.
When I give you the line, that's the line.
-Not when no one will believe it.
-Put out a statement in your own name.
It's gonna say what you should
...that we stand behind that report.
-You don't want me to do that.
That's saying I wasn't speaking
for this White House.
On my desk within the hour.
Violence prevention jumped
another 30 million in an hour?
It's a bidding war, sir.
Do we know why it's happening?
-Do we or don't we?
-Direct request from the first lady...
...to the members of the
HHS Appropriations subcommittee, sir.
After Zoey's kidnapping...
...she's hugely popular,
even in the Republican conference.
First lady's office requested it.
They're fighting to fund it.
What does this mean
for the CDC budget?
They're cutting almost everything
to make room.
Bioterror, infectious diseases.
-Do you wanna call the first lady?
-Would you like us to work--?
-Thank you, Mr. President.
Don't touch that.
Don't touch that either.
Your family's had a lot
of press attention, right?
My great-great-great-granddad whipped
up a lather when he annexed Cuba.
I mean, since Reconstruction.
-Yeah, we get some press.
-How do you, you know, deal with it?
I never read any of it.
-Actually, I read all of it.
-So answer the question.
-The biggest enemy of truth isn't the lie.
-It's the myth.
Meaning I'd be better off
if I never read any of it.
Happy birthday, by the way.
I really don't want you
making a big deal.
-I was all done.
I walked the minority leader
through the calendar.
Triplehorn ought to be jazzed,
his stuff's on.
He tells me we're not giving Carrick
a missile launcher he wants.
The minority leader wants us to cave.
If he could manage his own caucus,
we wouldn't have this problem.
We can't win back
the Senate without him.
You're suggesting we build
a multimillion dollar heap of garbage?
Sometimes they find
other uses for the technology.
Turn it into a toaster
that doesn't make toast.
This has zero to do
with defense technology.
The minority leader thinks
we could lose our chance...
...to get him on the new
stimulus package, on our tax bill.
-It's a bluff.
-Forty-nine percent job approval.
We gotta get off this,
on to our issues.
The stuff this guy has already bilked us
for, out of a state of about nine people--
He's an endangered species,
if he needs a little pork... .
The Volcanic Soil Museum,
the Canola Oil Fuel Cell Initiative.
It's low-fat pork.
Military Communities Program.
What's wrong with Hemingway?
-Maybe we cut our losses.
-That's easy for you to say.
I lost him on stimulus,
I have to get him on our agenda.
I'm the one lacing up concrete shoes
on the front page of the Post.
Been on a--? Have you been on
a fishing trawler recently?
I'm fine on Carrick.
Do your job, I'll do mine.
It stinks in here. It's like working
in Moby Dick's gym locker.
What do you expect?
A fish was here all night.
-Amy left it last night.
We're doing pretty well
on violence prevention.
-They were gonna gut it.
-First lady turned it around.
We probably should have run it
through Legislative Affairs.
I'm not gonna have Abbey
jump through hoops.
Intimate partner violence affects
more people than breast cancer.
-How many calls today?
The first lady, how many calls did she
make to members of the subcommittee?
She's hiking in the White Mountains.
She made no calls, you made them.
-It's a cause she believes in.
-Don't tell me what she believes.
-I'm telling the Congress.
-My wife is not a budget appropriation.
She's not a line.
Don't put words in her mouth.
Don't treat her like
she's your blank checkbook.
With due respect,
it's what she'd want.
She has to be here to want things.
And you don't have to be here at all.
You wanted economic events
I said, blue. Blue.
Green is the color of money.
This is about people's lives.
What color are those?
Just stick to black and white,
quill and parchment.
I need this for the Treasury secretary.
Did you get the VP's sign-off?
-What did you get, exactly?
He offered me a job last night
as his chief strategist.
Russell's an empty cowboy suit, you
work for the leader of the free world.
I work for a guy who works for a guy
who works for the leader of the world.
Treasury secretary's ready
in the Roosevelt Room.
The calendar. I need the calendar.
He has lunches with the president,
-He's not taking orders from us.
-What did you tell Russell?
I didn't tell him anything. Yet.
-You're not considering it.
-You're not considering it.
-How long are we gonna make calendars?
You think I wanna be making calendars?
You think I like being in a P.R.
dogfight with Congress...
...writing banner copy for photo-ops?
The Treasury secretary's waiting.
And did you want all this flush-right?
Calendars aren't... .
It's a calendar, make it look like
a calendar. How hard is that?
This is the NBA.
You don't go back to shirts and skins.
"Amy, looks like you had a tough day.
Tell me all about it
while I give you a foot massage. "
Okay. Let's talk about the fish.
You don't understand this building.
Not being an architect
or a steamfitter.
I'm talking about a code,
an ethos you don't understand.
-Josh, I was just... .
-That Post profile...
...the "legislative juggernaut" ...
...all those anecdotes,
all those quotes came from you.
-We don't glorify ourselves.
How is the president gonna feel
when I've got better press than him?
How is every Congressional
staffer gonna feel...
...when I'm taking victory laps
the week after losing a key vote?
Like you're not gonna
lose the next one.
We don't advertise,
it's not the code.
It's not the code to look
strong to your constituents?
The only constituency that matters...
...is the constituency of the guy
in the round room.
I came here to work on issues,
not be part of a messianic cult.
Serve the issues by serving the man.
I'm pretty sure the man
just revoked my parking privileges.
-I'm pretty sure I was just fired...
...by the president of the United States
for doing my job.
Apologize. You gotta go apologize.
I've got a constituency
of one too, Josh.
But it's me.
Just hang on a second, okay?
Senator Carrick held up
another 56 promotions.
-The Army secretary wants a meeting.
Unless the meeting's to strap
Carrick to his idiot missile launcher...
...and fling him headfirst into an ICBM,
which he'll miss--
He's concerned if it becomes public--
-I'm making it public.
I'm leaking to every newspaper that
Carrick's blocking military promotions...
...that he's doing it for a hunk
of pork-barrel, defense scrap metal.
-I'm calling his bluff.
I'm making him crawl down here
on his knees. I'll be in the Press Office.
Sorry about before.
You have a future here.
-We should talk about it.
-I'd like to.
My portfolio, the speeches,
...I'm gonna give it to you.
To do big think
and work on the legacy.
You're never gonna give up the job.
You're not capable of it.
You could move from
Pennsylvania Avenue to the state.
It's a Commonwealth.
We'll figure it out.
-I don't want your job.
Bartlet's never gonna finish the job.
Name an issue,
you're still clawing your way back.
Someone has to be ready
to take the handoff.
You took the Russell job.
This isn't a line on a r?sum?.
None of us.
-You don't walk away.
-We're on the same team.
maybe we'll print up T-shirts.
-Your statement on the coal thing?
-It just went out.
-There's a typo in the... .
-Carol caught it.
-Is that all?
I don't like coal any more than you do.
But tomorrow, we're gonna
get the results of that poll.
I'm gonna have to tell him
his numbers are crumbling...
...the dogs don't like the dog food...
-...on the eve of a budget fight.
We attack the coal industry and
however many thousand coalminers...
...and what's our answer? Nuclear?
Drill in the Arctic?
Forty percent unemployment
in West Virginia?
Like it or not, we're the Saudi Arabia
of coal, coal's what we've got.
The EPA's an independent agency, Leo.
The day we don't get blamed for their
screwups, count them as independent.
And holding your line makes it
a two- or three-day story at least.
The whole room thinks we screwed up
whether we admit it or not.
-You made that point.
-I appreciate your apology.
If I'm gonna fulfill my duty, I don't
need to know what you're thinking.
I need to know that you're listening
to me when I say you made a mistake.
I'm not apologizing to you.
I'm telling you my thinking
as a courtesy.
But you work for me. When I make
a decision, that's the decision.
If you can't back it up,
don't go in the briefing room.
-We are here to serve the country.
-We are the country.
-Mr. President, Amy Gardner's here.
The Flemish Bloc
is gaining in the north.
Excuse me, sir?
The Flemish Bloc,
ultranationalists in Belgium.
Skinheads, really. Neo-Nazis.
They're wearing three-piece suits,
speaking in coded discourse now...
...instead of angry chants,
and they're gaining in the north.
Everyone wears the same suit...
...how does anyone know
which side they're on anymore?
-You asked to see me, Mr. President.
-You're not fired.
Abbey would choose you
over me anyway.
I think it's best for me to leave, sir.
What I did today, lobbying, prodding...
...prying money out of that
...that's what I'm good at.
I wasn't made to serve
at someone else's pleasure.
I don't think my staying
would please anyone anyway.
She didn't... .
I didn't talk to Abbey about this.
Zoey told me she was hiking.
This building's not very conducive
to relationships, sir.
I'll call back the members
of the subcommittee.
Tell them the first lady wants
violence prevention fully funded.
A hundred million?
Make it 110.
You were looking for me?
What did you wanna talk about
with the president?
Did I forget the secret password?
We talked about my giving up
...leaving it to Will
and focusing on the big picture.
This is not the time.
When will it be the time?
Message of the day,
top of the news hour.
Second term, and we're acting
like a losing campaign.
-You're not lecturing him.
-Stop protecting him.
It's my job to protect.
It's your job to get us back on message.
-Will can, I'll supervise.
-You supervise him now.
What does that matter?
It matters because I need you
doing what you're doing now.
I'm holding this together
with Scotch tape and baling wire.
We have an economic policy held
together with tape and baling wire.
FDR built the middle class
in 100 days.
-How many days do we even have left?
-We can't start another New Deal.
-Fight for the old one...
...instead of haggling with Republicans
over how much to cut.
We created 9 million jobs.
Now they're disappearing.
Outsourcing, downsizing, buyouts.
They build TVs in Mexico
for a dollar a day...
-...on dirt floors with cardboard walls.
-That's our fault?
It's on our watch, Leo.
Where's our 100 days?
Where's our Great Society?
Where's our New Frontier?
Somebody's gotta do
what we came here to do!
Those jobs aren't coming back.
We lose or cave every battle
we have with Congress...
...and we have a calendar, not a plan.
Will's gonna work
for the vice president.
I'm asking the president
not to let him.
He told Russell he could have him.
You got a problem with your job?
I could use one of those
Anything from Amy?
I left messages for her everywhere
to come see you.
This isn't about the dead fish.
-Not exactly, no.
I think she's been fired.
She thinks so,
and I kind of unloaded on her.
-She'll be-- I don't know what she'll be.
Find her. Forget about budget bills...
...and poll samples and missile launchers.
Go find her.
-What else have I got?
-Senator Carrick's in the Roosevelt Room.
Chris Carrick's here? Now?
Well, that was quite a press coup...
...telling the Idaho papers
about my anonymous hold.
-What can I do for you?
-You know what?
I've released the military promotions.
Can't defend that to the people of Idaho.
I hope that lesson won't be lost
on the stimulus package.
-Oh, it won't be.
-Josh, I need one last favor from you.
I got my own letter here. I'd like you to
personally deliver that to the president.
-It's my letter of resignation...
...from the Democratic Party.
I'm running as a Republican
You're switching because
we won't give you a launcher.
The launcher is a deterrent.
It says we're serious
about perfecting missile defense...
...so rogue governments
don't build missile programs.
Building it is more important
than whether it works.
We don't want it to have to work.
We can't win back the Senate
We can't pass the tax bill,
the new stimulus package.
I'll get you a meeting with Fitzwallace.
A meeting with the president.
I don't work for the president or you.
I work for the people of Idaho.
You're leaving the party be--?
This is because of me?
I'm not leaving because of you.
But you made it a whole lot easier.
Josh, Leo wants you
in the Mural Room.