Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Lauren Schmidt & Paula Yoo, Director: Vincent Misiano
Lily Tomlin as Deborah Fiderer
NBC Warner Bros. photo
- Broadcast: February 19, 2003
- While preparing for a trip to Southern California to try and help Sam's campaign, Bartlet is also embarking on a military operation to Kuhndu to stop the genocide. C.J.'s press conference gets questions on both:
- "Does the military operation have a name?" she is asked.
"Have you decided on a press policy?"
"Always be upbeat.... Yeah, I don't get to decide press policy for the U.S. Armed Forces; though if wishing made it so. But we're bringing Pentagon Public Affairs on the California trip and we'll be meeting about it all weekend.... "
"What kind of a reception are you expecting?" C.J. is asked about the trip to "Conservative" Orange County California.
"Well, Sam's going to meet us and we're going to get something to eat."
"I meant by Orange County."
"Don't be fooled. They love us.... I think they really like it when we come to town. When we were there last month, we were working the crowd and some young boys worried, possibly, that I couldn't afford fruits and vegetables on a government salary tossed me some of their own."
- The Republicans pick this time to announce their tax plan. Bartlet's people have been working on theirs for some time and it is also just about ready. But there is a hitch. As Toby summarizes for the President, Will, Josh and C.J.;
- "You'll be announcing a one-percent tax increase on the richest one-percent and doing it in Orange County."
"Then that's where we do it."
"Except, Mr. President," Will says, "It will kill Sam. It will kill him in the 47th. It may be seen as gutsy by the rest of the country, but you'll kill Sam's campaign."
"Which is why I think we should cancel the trip," Josh advises.
The President says, "And announce from the White House?..."
"Won't the White House canceling the trip be seen as a signal that we've given up on the 47th?... And do equal damage to the campaign?" C.J asks. She then tells the President, "...Sir, the first 24 hours of the cycle are critical. We can't fight something with nothing and that's what we'll have for 48 hours after they announce, if we don't announce, too."
"That's a killer decision," the President says after walking about and shaking his head a little. "But let's lean toward Sam and say we smile and keep our mouths shut in California and then come out fighting on Monday morning."
- So, as Air Force One flies to California, the Republicans start a massive assault using their newly announced tax plan:
- "...it's worse than we thought," Larry tells the President,
"It is," Ed says
"Sing it, Larry," the President says, slapping Ed on the shoulder.
"15% tax cut across the board. Cutting capital gains 50%?!" The President is reading from a just released paper.
"And they said it would cost $800 billion," Toby tells him.
"And its actually going to cost?"
"$1.2 trillion," Josh says.
"I'm not an economist , but--- No wait, I am an economist. So, their plan will do what, C.J.?"
The President doesn't wait for her to finish her answer, "Explode the deficit."
"Will it stimulate the economy, Josh?"
"It will stimulate the Swiss economy."
"Josh gets extra credit for being funny and right at the same time. And how long do I have to stay quiet, Toby?"
"You're the leader of the free world, Sir. You can speak any time you like."
"And not kill Sam?"
"No. For that you have to shut up for 50 hours."
"And so I shall."
- The trip doesn't start off well for Sam, however. The old comrades meet for breakfast the next day and after they go through the papers and a litany of news items, few of which show Sam or the President in a good light, Sam tells his former co-workers:
- "...it's still 6:30 in the morning."
"So, you'd rate the trip so far, what? B, B-minus? C-minus?" Then she reaches across and reassuringly lays a hand on Sam's arm. "We'll get it together."
"I have no idea what makes me say this, but it is good to see you."
- Sam's campaign hasn't been doing that well even before the public relations problems the trip caused him. It is almost like his campaign staff --- sent by the DNC --- has given up on him and is now sabotaging the campaign. But Sam is a good soldier in the Democratic Party and puts up with everything until one person insults Donna after Sam has introduced her as "One of my best friends". Sam fires the aide.
- "You're going to get creamed," the former aide tells Sam.
"Like I'm not use to that." After there is a mix-up in a bar involving Toby and Charlie, and Sam forces the President to start responding on the tax plan, there are further firings of Sam's campaign staff.
- Leo and Fitwallance stayed back in Washington to monitor the situation in Kuhndu. The U.S. had given that government 36 hours to step down and stop the situation. Instead, the government seems to be planning to step up the genocide and "finish the job before the deadline." Then three American soldiers are taken hostage in Kuhndu.