West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Fourth Season Episodes * #408 "Process Stories"
C.J. Craig
Allison Janney as Press Secretary C.J. Cregg
NBC Photo: Michael O'Neill
Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Paula Yoo & Lauren Schmidt, Director: Christopher Misiano
Takes Place: Right after the end of the previous episode
Broadcast: November 13, 2002
Query: What were the old songs playing and being sung throughout this episode?
Query: Why was a special election needed when the Democrats obviously won the election with a dead candidate?

Sam is trying to absorb the fact that his assumption that the impossible couldn't happen has left him in an impossible situation. He tries to explain this to Donna:
". . . what he said was this 'A probable impossibility is preferable to an improbable possibility.' The impossible is preferable to the improbable. What did he mean?" Sam is fighting to gain control of the problem in his mind but he is not having much luck. ". . . It was a confluence of events. . . . Aristotle says that a probable impossibility is preferable to a improbable possibility. . . . It's Aristotle all over the place." He then brings the philosophy down to the practical. ". . . when I said I'd run in his place, it's not like I meant it."
Later he tries to explain what has happened to Josh, Toby and C.J. ". . . It was an Aristolean confluence of events that could only happen to me."

While Sam is confused, Leo is trying to celebrate the election victory privately with Jordan. But world affairs breaks into that in the form of a coup in Venezuela. On the other coast in California 47 Congressional district, Elsie Snuffin is trying to get Will Bailey to come back to their victory party, but he wants to reap the reward for winning in a different way:
"I'm going to sleep."
"Come back to the party!"
"I'm going to sleep."
"Any second."
"It's the greatest night of your life and you're going to sleep?"
"Special reward. . . ."
"Are you ever going to enjoy yourself?"
"Just beat Chuck Webb. That was a pretty good time."

Tonight seems to be a night for romance, if only because the election celebration gives the staff a little time to relax at the White House. Jordan is waiting for Leo to finish dealing with Venezuela, the Bartlets are trying to have a romantic snack of caviar and drinks (in between interruptions from the staff), Amy and Josh have some time alone, Bruno is eyeing the ladies, Donna is trying to welcome LtCdr. Reese into the White House (and finally takes him to the party), and Toby's trying to convince Andy to marry him again. But Andy refuses not only to marry him but to take any of his advise on how to minimize the coming blitz about her pregnancy.
"You're not trying to avoid a fight?" Toby finally realizes.
"You're looking for one."
". . . Well --- I can admire that." Andy then asks Toby if he has told the Bartlets and he says 'no' and when he gets back to the White House, he decides he better and this causes another interruption in the Bartlet romantic evening.

Meanwhile, Amy convinced Josh to take a closer look at the possibility of Sam running in the special election in California's 47th. Josh then talked to Will Bailey and then talks to C.J. and Toby. C.J. calls Sam into her office where the rest of the senior staff awaits,
"We need to talk to you."
"Talk to me about what?"
"We think you should run."
"Why? Why would you think something like that?"
"Well, it was Josh's idea."
"Actually it was Amy's," Josh says.
". . . You're going to raise a lot of money," Amy says. "I'm going to help you. And I have a hunch, the President ,who just won a landslide, will be making some visits as well. You'll be the best funded Democrat ever to run in 47. You're not going to win so you can't lose."
"I think you'd energize the state party," Josh puts in. "We're not going to let you look like a fool. We won't allow it."
"What do you think?" Sam asks Toby.
"I don't think you should do it. Energizing the state party's good. A well-funded airing of the issues is good. So is mollifying House Democrats. But you have to ask yourself: is it worth it. You are going to lose. Democrats are always going to lose in the 47th. You can't just pick up and try somewhere else. They have a name for that."
"I don't know," Sam says, at first seemingly confused. But then he then tells them a story about someone who ran against a campaign Sam was once part of. This guy had no chance to win but made the opposition talk about the issues he believed in. "So. I don't know about what you just said."
"Then I think you should win," Toby tells him.

Leo finally gets back to Jordan who has curled up on his couch to wait.
"Boy, you're in the Air Force, the private sector, the Labor Department, two Presidential campaigns and rehab and you think you've seen it all, but it turns out you haven't 'cause Sam Seaborn is going to be the Democratic candidate for Congress in Orange County."
"I know. And I think it's terrific. But I would have thought you would be unhappy."
"He's going to get crushed and I wouldn't think it would reflect well on your boss."
"Well, let me tell you something about process, Dr. Kendall. . . ." Leo says, and then initially moves slightly off topic to tell her what has happened in Venezuela. "Luna took power tonight. About three dozen people are dead, and Ignacio's under arrest. He'll be dead soon."
"Well. Luna's who you wanted."
"The process matters more than the outcome and that's what we wanted. And therein endeth the lesson. Will you dance with me."

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