West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Episodes * #20 "Mandatory Minimums"
Spring in D.C. ©2001-www.arttoday.com
Written by Aaron Sorkin,  Directed by Robert Berlinger
Broadcast: May 3, 2000
Writer: Aaron Sorkin (for other credits, see Episodes)

The President decides to announce his intention to nominate two people to the Federal Election Commission who are in favor of campaign finance reform. He leads into his announcement by saying:
"My father was very fond the analogy of the Irish lads whose journey was blocked by a brick wall seemingly too high to scale. Throwing their caps over the wall the lads had no choice but to follow."

In addition to dealing with the appointments to the FEC, the senior staff are trying to come up with a new drug policy. Sam is getting frustrated because people won't listen to him on the need to do away with "mandatory minimums which are racist":
"Does anyone remember that I was put in charge of this?"
"It was an honorary type of thing," Leo tells him.

Leo sent someone to find out if any of the Congressmen who are in favor of enforcement verses treatment on drugs, had used their office to spare family members the force of such policies. Toby tells him:
"It's exactly the right thing to do."
"From anyone except for me." Leo is strongly aware of his own past connection to drugs.

Leo can't seem to get everyone focused at their out-of-the-office breakfast:
"I am beginning to regret having hired any of you. . . . My point is: we have to make it through the week without making any mistakes. . ."
". . .I'm saying calm down," Josh says.
"I'm perfectly calm."
"You're not calm, Leo. You're acting like a nervous holaria (sp?)" Sam says.
"A what?" Toby asks.
"It may not be a word. May be just something my mother used to say."

Leo is still upset about the paper Mandy wrote for the opposition. C.J. is assigned to tell her not to join their policy talks for the time being:
"Leo's not comfortable with it. . . ."
"I can be trusted."
"We'll see. . . . There's plenty for you to do. Leo would feel more comfortable if you stayed out of . . . ."

The staff is trying to come up with a way to approach the drug issue that the American people will accept:
"Science is science to everyone." Toby claims, when a political consultant, says the American people won't buy the science.

And then C.J. claims the President was under no legal obligation when he was. When Josh tells Leo, he says:
"This is just the kind of dumb mistake we don't need right now.... All right. . . What you're going to do?"
But that's not the end of it. Later he blows up at C.J.
"These amateur mistakes make me crazy."
Danny overhears them and calls her "bush league" for cutting him out of everything after he published the paper Mandy had written in [#19]:
"I just got called amateur twice in 10 seconds. The White House Chief of Staff can do it wherever he wants. You don't do it in front of people. . . . I'm not in my freshman year anymore. I understand more than you think."

Leo is desperate to get a feel for what members of the House Ethics Committee will think about his threats to the opposition Congress members who have used their positions to get their family members out of drug difficulties. Turns out Toby's ex-wife is on that committee:
"You set me up on a date with my ex-wife?"
They meet outdoors:
"Would you walk faster, please. I don't like being outdoors this long," Toby tells her but later it turns out he's a avid Yankee fan and baseball games are held outdoors.

Both Toby and his ex-wife, Congresswoman Andrea (Andy) Wyatt, join Leo's discussion with the representatives of the Congressional members who want harsh drug treatment for others but interfere when it's aimed at their families:
"The President wants a lively debate. He wants to hear opposition. But he's not going to stomach hypocrisy. . . . We play the full nine innings at this level. . ."

Afterwards, Toby's ex-wife admits that when she was out on a date, they got into an automobile accident and the police were going to give her companion a blood alcohol test but recognized her and decided not to. When Toby finds out who her date was he explodes:
"You went out on a date with the executive advisor for the Baltimore Orioles?
"Toby, are you upset 'cause I went out on a date? Or are you upset that I went out on a date with someone who plays in the same division as the Yankees?"
"Honest to God, I'm not sure. . . .Just date the National League, would you?"

Leo is still trying to get the President to assign the drug issue to someone else:
"I feel a little self-conscious coming down the mountain on drugs two months after I announced I was a recovering drug addict."
The President won't hear about it. Other members of his staff show up and apologize for mistakes that have made the job harder:
"Guess what, mistakes are going to be made. Minimize them, fix them. Move on.... Listen to me. I have never lost an election in my life. We do this right and people are going to respond. . . . Mandy was doing her job. It's time to let her out of the dog house."
"That's me," Leo admits raising his hand.
"She was doing her job. C.J., so was Danny."

When the others leave, the President tells Leo:
"I'm sleeping better. And when I sleep I dream of a great discussion with experts and ideas and diction and honesty. And when I wake up, I think: 'I can sell that.'"

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