Teleplay: Eli Attie and Aaron Sorkin, Story: Eli Attie & Kevin Falls, Director: Jessica Yu
Martin Sheen as President Bartlet aboard Air Force One
- Broadcast: April 2, 2003
- Query: Could Air Force One, or any plane, land on "Runway Three-Niner"?
- Query: In the last six months of the Vietnam War did the draft that year go to 90 and could Toby's draft number have been 125?
- Query: Was that an F16 or an F17 outside the window of Air Force One?
- Air Force One is returning from half way around the world. C.J., Will Charlie, and Ed and Larry are on the plane with the President. The pilot announces over the loud speaker that there is a problem on the ground but Bartlet (while on the phone with Leo) is told the truth:
- "When we deployed Hydraulic System One our nose wheel indicator light didn't illuminate. Now, chances are it's a problem with the indicator light itself, but at the moment we have no way of knowing if our front wheel's locked...."
"Listen," Bartlet tells Leo, "we've got a problem up here."
- C.J. drafts Will, Ed and Larry to help her keep this information from the Press on the plane. But in the end she has to just shut off the Press's access to the outside world.
- Meanwhile, Toby is asked to check with Congressman Mark Richardson of the Black Caucus. Richardson (the Congressman of Toby's home district) is about to make a speech against the U.S. involvment in Kuhndu. Toby is asked to find out why and what the Administration can do to minimize damage from this direction. The Congressman says,
- "Toby, I'm opposing an intervention in Kuhndu because I am still waiting for an intervention in Brooklyn.... I wasn't elected by the lives we're saving in Kuhndu. I was elected by the lives who are doing the saving."
"But you agree there are moral imperatives?"
"Well, if there are moral imperatives, then you have to tell me we're going to go get everybody. Beginning with the Saudis."
"Mark, obviously we need votes from the Black Caucus next week. Are you telling me it isn't in the vested interest of Black America?"
"It is in the interest of working-class-America... to be able to choose between more than a McDonald's uniform or a Marine uniform.... I'm not opposing the peacekeeping bill. In fact the whole Black Caucus is going to stand behind it but with a proposed amendment.... Reinstating the draft. I think the kids in my district are going to live longer if their fortunes are tied a little more closely to the fortunes of the kids in Josh Lyman's district.... I'm just trying to promote some patriotic unity."
- And back at the White House Donna gives Josh messages from Leo,
- "...he'd like you to work with Airlift Ops on Angel Maintenance procedures. We're going to need it when they land."
"What are angel maintenance procedures?"
"I'm sorry 'Angel' is the Airlift Ops codeword for Air Force One... Anyway, C.J. is going to be answering questions about maintenance procedures and she's going to need to be briefed."
- The President is not pleased to hear that the Black Caucus is walking off the Kuhndu Peacekeeping bill. He complains to Leo by phone,
- "They wanted me to make Africa a priority. And now they're making me look like an idiot."
- Will has to tell the President that Colombia is going to be recertified against Presidential wishes because to stop the recertification, the President would have to sign and deliver his signature on the paper. A faxed signature would not work. This is the final straw.
- "I want this plane to land!" The President shouts to the universe.
Will looks out the window a second later asking, "Did it work?" And this makes the President laugh.
- Toby finds language that C.J. can say about how the President feels on the draft. He reads it to Richardson who asks,
- "It's not going to screw you too much?"
"No, it'll screw us the regular amount."
- C.J. is waiting. As Ed and Larry approach to give her the latest news, she asks,
- "Are we near the tower?"
"The gear's down," Larry tells her.
"They got the indicator light"
"They recycled the gear and the light went on this time," Ed says. "We're landing." C.J. is overjoyed so she puts her hands on either side of Ed's face and kisses him before she rushes off to free the Press Corps.
After she leaves, Larry says with disappointment, "I was the one who said it first."
- For additional conversations from this episode see: