West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Fifth Season Episodes * #519 "Talking Points"
Mary McCormack as Kate Harper and Anna Deveare Smith as Nancy McNally
NBC Photo
Written by: Eli Attie, Directed by: Richard Schiff
Broadcast: April 21, 2004
Query: Who was Canute (Knud): The King Who Could Not Stop the Sea?
Query: Has C.J's tirade against massive media ownership by just a few media companies in this episode gotten any response in the real world?
Query: Who was Leo quoting in the line about 'You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.'?

Josh has negotiated a trade deal. The President is enthused about the agreement and he and Leo are looking now at getting it through Congress. But when C.J. asks what he is going to say to those who say the agreement is going to export jobs, Bartlet makes a joke about economists recommending filing for unemployment. So, Josh asks,
"Sir, have you read the talking points?"
"I'm an economist. Some would say half-decent. I don't need a primer on this."
"Due respect,sir," Charlie says as a lead-in to, "your answers on economics can be a bit---" When he hesitates for a fraction of a second, Bartlet offers a word.
"Academic," C.J. counters.
"I was going to go with incomprehensible," says Leo.
"Hey listen: Any economic advancement involves what Schumpeter called 'creative destruction'."
"...Not a good answer," C.J. tells him. "...'Cause that word 'destruction will really mollify our critics...."
"Global economic forces are unstoppable just like technology itself," Bartlet insists.
But C.J. and Josh counter that the answers to everything must be, "Free trade produces better, higher paying jobs. It's got to be that simple."

Immediately thereafter Josh learns that the deal he just negotiated allowed companies to move more computer programming jobs to India. He is not pleased. Meanwhile C.J. learns of a new FCC ruling that companies can own 39.37% of the media. She starts to wonder where they came up with that figure. And back with Josh, he is told by his intern, Ryan, that today is his last day at the White House. Josh is pleased with that but it doesn't relieve his concern about those jobs. And Donna is bugging him to get her on the trip to Brussels for the trade summit.
"We've got jobs to do," he tells her.
"And I'm trying to grow in mine. I've been helping on these trade talks for months. How are you going to manage by yourself?"
"I'll grab someone off the advance staff. I'll be fine." Then he asks for, "The charts"
"Grab someone off the advance staff. Maybe they can find them for you."

Nancy McNally introduces her new NSC Deputy to Debbie and then to the President.
"Sir, this is Kate Harper your new deputy National Security Advisor."
"Yes, yes.... Very impressive. You're fluent in Arabic.... Four years in Naval Intelligence..." After Nancy leaves, Bartlet talks to Kate about problems he is having with the French who are "holding two documented terrorists; won't extradite them 'cause they don't like our sentencing laws...." He goes on to talk as if the French are just nitpicking.
"That's one way of looking at it, sir."
"You've got another way."
"That's not really my job, Mr. President."
"I'm asking you.... I want your argument...."
"Well, sir, I guess what I would say is that France has a body of laws and a constitution and it's wrong to trample on either.... they see it as imperialism...." Bartlet dismisses her.

Josh is being embattled on this job loss problem with his recently negotiated trade bill.
"How'd you become a free-trader?" He asks Will.
"America has a quarter of the world's wealth and only two percent of the customers. You have to sell to others.... Keep out cheap foreign drill-bits and that country will keep out cheap American something-else and that costs us jobs.... You have to go with what grows the economy... So, how did you become a free-trader?"
"I came to work for one."

Josh is seeming less and less sure of the trade deal he negotiated and that comes out and is emphasized during his meeting with the Speaker of the House (with whom Josh disagrees on everything).
"Mr. Speaker, I guess you've seen the story about the job losses.... I know it's easy to play politics here, but it's just an allegation. This deal will create jobs over time. No one is more concerned about the dislocation than me. So if you've got some issues, we should---"
"Let's get right to my issues.... I have no issues.... I can get you 200, maybe 210 Republican votes. My members love it. You did a fantastic job.... Business lobby loves it; tech lobby loves it; unions always complain about trade...."
"That's--- that's it?"
"Unless I can interest you in running for Congress as a Republican." Josh feels sick and the Speaker can tell. "I'm kidding."

Josh is upset with Leo. All Leo can say is that you do what you can do and,
"'You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose'.... We run a country; we deal in abstractions."

Josh can't keep a promise that he and the President gave to the first union that backed them in the primaries. He can't save the programming jobs. Neither he nor the President can command the tide to come in or go out and have it obey until it does so on its own. But he can get Donna a diplomatic passport.
"You got me a seat on the---" thinking this means she's going to Brussels.
"No, I even had to give up mine... I'm going on the press plane.... You're going on a CODEL to the Middle East with Fitzwallace and Andy. No, presidential hand-holding. You're going to see what's going on, brief me and tell me about it."

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