Gary Cole as Vice President Robert Russell
NBCPhoto: Paul Drinkwater
Teleplay: Eli Attie, Story: Eli Attie and Michael Oates Palmer, Director: Laura Innes
- Takes Place: On Josh's birthday (which seems to be after July Fourth and before Thanksgiving, probably in September, more probably October)
- Broadcast: October 29, 2003
- Query: Could Ryan's "great-great-great-granddad" (President Franklin Pierce)" have "annexed Cuba"?
- Query: Is it likely that a Senator would be able to hold up military promotions for local reasons?
- The new Vice President sends for Will and tells him,
- "I admire speech writers. They have to have the tendency to doubt and the capacity to believe in equal measure.... I'm playing with a handicap.... Spare tire on the automobile of government. Heartbeat away from having a heartbeat.... I may need more help than that dead guy you got elected in Orange County, Will. I may need some political life support myself.... I'd like you to be my Communications Director.... I know I'm not the best politician, but here I am Vice President of the United States."
"Sir, I'm a 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 Toby Ziegler."
"I'm looking for someone who can beat Toby...."
"Thank you, sir, but I'm not interested."
"I like loyalty, Will. I respect loyalty. But you can run out the clock on a Bartlet Presidency that in effect is over. You can finish something that you never started in the first place.... Or you can shape the next presidency from the ground up. Total access. Coach of the team."
- The papers have a story about how Josh is the 101st Senator. And it's his birthday and he doesn't want anyone to make a deal out of it. And in meetings, Will says,
- "Reuters has a report that we scrubbed two paragraphs from an EPA report.... language critical of the coal industry." Leo admits that he was the one who tampered with the report and he tells C.J. just to claim the report will reflect Administration views.
- A Democratic Senator has put an anonymous hold on military promotions to force a missile defense system to be built in his state.
- "It's a missile defense system that can't hit missiles.... when were you promised---?"
"Seven years ago."
"Under the last President?"
"Okay, a bunch of things have fallen by the wayside since then like Communism...."
Josh reports to Leo that the Senator isn't budging on the promotions. Leo seems to understand, "He's a Democrat from Idaho. They use Democrats for target practice up there. Sometimes he's got to lean to the right.... go easy."
- Josh is not all that comfortable with the reports in the press about how great he is. He discusses this with his intern,
- "Your family's had a lot of press attention, right?"
"My great-great-great-granddad whipped up a lather when he annexed Cuba.... 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."
"Let's just say 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."
- Turns out the story was leaked by Amy as a birthday present. But Josh thinks it is against the "code" of working in the West Wing for him to have better press than the President. And that's not the only story that throws the Administration into disarray today: Will leaves to join the Vice President's staff (which throws out Toby's plan to move up to a position as a senior policy advisor to the President), C.J. finds she can't defend Leo's changes to an EPA "independent" report (which makes for considerable tension between her and Leo), the President suggests that Amy has exceeded her authority and doesn't have to be there, the Democrat from Idaho decides to officially join the Republican party, and Josh faces a birthday party he is not up to dealing with.