West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Second Season Episodes * #208 (30) "Shibboleth"

Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Patrick H. Caddell, Directed by: Laura Innes
Takes Place: Sunday-Thursday, Thanksgiving week
Broadcast: November 22, 2000
Query: What is the full story behind the word 'Shibboleth'?
Query: What Are Those Dates, Toby?

After the Coast Guard intercepts stowaway Chinese immigrants on a container ship, C.J. tells the press how the White House is dealing with the fact that the immigrants are claiming they are Christians fleeing persecution back in China:
"In the following days we'll be meeting with the Reverend Al Caldwell, members of the Beijing Embassy and INS agents. The President has asked Josh Lyman and Sam Seaborn to run these meetings so it's entirely possible that by week's end we will have alienated Christians, China and our own government."

In another venue Toby is trying to start a debate on school prayer. In order to do so, he wants the President to appoint Leo's sister as an assistant Secretary of Education. He holds meetings with aides of the Republican Senate leadership who complain about her stand on school prayer:
"She enforced the law," Toby insists.
"A law that 70% say is wrong. Seventy percent of the people say. . . ."
"Laws don't work like that. . . . We don't ask for a show of hands."

But opponents of the appointment have a picture of Dr. Josephine McGarry standing next to police officers while students praying at a high school football game are handcuffed and arrested.
". . . football game, high school, marching band, on their knees. The only thing breaking up Norman Rockwell are the cops, the handcuffs, the nightstick and my sister," Leo summarizes.

She comes to Leo's office saying she's ready for a fight.
". . . you look for them."
"Just like my brother."
"I don't look for fights, Josey. There are enough of them that look for me. . . . And I am trying to stage manage an undisciplined White House through what I would say was a difficult time except I haven't experienced an easy one yet," Leo tells her while asking her to withdraw her candidacy for the appointment.

All through this time C.J. has been dealing with two turkeys. While choosing one to be pardoned, she becomes attached to both and needs the President to pretend he has the constitutional power to pardon the other turkey. The kid who has come to collect the turkey believes this, but the President, annoyed that anyone wouldn't have the education to know where presidential power ends, tells the truth:
"If you think I can pardon a turkey, then you have got to go back to your school and insist that you be better prepared to go out in the world."
"You can't pardon a turkey?" Donna asks, increduously.
"No," the President says, slightly shaking his head. "I tell you what I can do. I'm drafting this turkey into military service. In the meantime somebody will be drafting a check which will have my signature on it so the folks can buy themselves a butterball."
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Background from Bravo: What you need to know from past episodes.

28 Amendment
Don't miss Neal Rechtman's election thriller The 28th Amendment in which an actor
who portrays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics
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