West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Episodes / * #17 "White House Pro-Am"
White House ©2001-www.arttoday.com
Written by Lawrence O'Donnell Jr., Paul Redford & Aaron Sorkin,  Directed by Ken Olin
Broadcast: March 22, 2000

The White House staff and the First Lady's staff vie for top billing, though Sam tells one of her aides:
"The news cycle doesn't belong to us.... It's not ours to give away."

Turns out to be accurate assessment when a few minutes later they find out that Bernard Dahl, Chairman of Federal Reserve (the "chief architect of the longest peace time expansion in history") has died of a heart attack. Leo reports this development to the President, who responds:
"The market's going to open 200 points down."
"If we're lucky."
"When was the last time we were lucky?"
"Super Tuesday." Leo tries to talk the President into naming a new Fed Chairman immediately but the President wants to hold off for 24 hours.
"You could have been nicer to me during this conversation."
"How?" Leo asks.
"By saying that Wall Street does trust me and the market'll hold while I appoint a new Fed Chairman."
"Sure, just give me a minute to call my broker and dump my portfolio."
"I'm not willing to jump into bed with Ron Erhlich yet, making me one of the few people in my family who can say that." It turns out the First Lady dated Ron Erhlich 30 some years ago.

Toby, who has worked with Sam to come up with a reason why the president isn't immediately appointing Ron Erhlich, tells Josh:
"We are waiting a day to make our announcement out of respect, Josh."
"For whom?" "The dead. . . and how I wish I were one of them."

Meanwhile, Sam is assigned to find out how a news story got out that people close to the First Lady are saying she favors the appointment of Ron Erhlich. The First Lady's staff doesn't take well to his approach:
"That was a nice bit of diplomacy I just did there."

The President is upset about the press report on the First Lady and tells C.J.:
"...try to find out who those friends of my wife's are in the wire piece and take them out back and have them shot. Can I do that?" he asks Leo.
"Yeah. Leo says I can do that."

When the President goes on about economics, he often loses his audience. Leo tells him that C.J. doesn't understand what he's saying. Later, he says:
"You know, sometimes even I don't know what you're talking about."
"Sometimes I'm just making it up."

It seems everyone is reading a book on what life was like 100 years ago called When My Grandmother Was a Child by Leigh Rutledge.

And White supremacists have been writing threatening letters about the relationship between the President's daughter and Charlie. Zoey is told by her father that she and Charlie can't go to the opening of a new club cause it's too dangerous. Charlie is angry and expresses his feelings to Gina, Zoey's Secret Service bodyguard, who isn't all that sympathetic:
"You're looking at the girl whose job it is to jump in front of the bullet. I like it when she stays in her dorm and watches videos."

Charlie even mentions his frustrations to Danny:
"I don't think the problem is you're black, I think the problem is you're stupid. . . . A dozen bodyguards. Everyone wants to get close, everyone wants a thing. . . . Plus, and I say this standing 15 feet away from the Oval Office. . . life with father couldn't have been a real company picnic. If it was me, just for now I'd make sure I was the one guy who was hassle free. But that's just me."

But Danny has his own problems as the President searches for ways to track down information on the story about his wife wanting Ron Erhlich for Fed Chairman. Leo arranges the meeting, but then puts in a disclaimer:
"Hey, Danny, I'd like to say right off the bat that I strongly urged the President not to have this conversation. So I'm just a guy sitting here."
"We'll note with surprise your lack of conviction," the President responds.
"Note it well, sir."
"I miss our late-night talks," the President tells Danny. "Out there on the campaign trail . . . .We got really close."
"I'm flattered by that, sir." But when the President pushes him for information on sources, Danny politely refuses.
"Let him go," Leo says.

So the President and the First Lady finally have a discussion just between themselves. The First lady gives in:
"...I concede I was wrong about the thing."
"No, 'however', just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong. And get used to it."
Later he says, "We just had our first Oval Office fight."

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode, let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.
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