Martin Sheen as
President Josiah Bartlet
- NBC Photo
- Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr., d: Lou Antonio
- Takes Place: About the middle of January (before the State of the Union - around Jan. 20th each year)
- Broadcast: January 24, 2001
- Leo McGarry is promoting a proposed missile defense system the tests for which have a history of not working. The President assumes the latest test will have the same result but Leo drags him off to the Situation Room to listen in.
- "You are the Charlie Brown of missile defense. The Pentagon is Lucy." When Leo says he doesn't read the comics, the President explains, "Charlie Brown wanted to kick a football and Lucy would hold it except that she'd pull it away at the last minute and Charlie Brown would fall on his butt. . . . Each time Lucy would find a way to convince Charlie Brown that this time she wouldn't pull the ball away, but she would and once again Charlie Brown would fall on his butt." As the President predicted, Leo's high hopes are dashed, and the President tells him, "By the way, the words you're looking for are, 'Oh, Good Grief.'"
- Meanwhile, various new ambassadors are being presented to the President. At the last moment our old friend Lord John Marbury is named the new Ambassor from Great Britain.
- And Sam is enthusiastically preparing for the President to address the Global Defense Council (GDC) while launching the Clean Air Rehabilitation Effort (CARE). Sam writes a rousing speech about global warming. But for political reasons Toby, Josh and Leo are not as enthusiastic over this and none of them were consulted before Sam convinced the President to do this speech. Toby, who was away, wonders why Leo wasn't in the meeting:
- "Cause I'm trying to convince the President to warm up to a missile shield that is suppose to save humanity and there is a limit to the number of rooms I can be in at once. . . "
Accepting that it is done, Toby wants to have the President admonish the GDC in the speech, "I don't want it in the advance text and I don't want Sam and his 14 objections. It should just be a drop-in."
"I'll talk to the president," Leo promises and when he does convince the President, Bartlet says:
"It feels strange to score political points by doing the right thing. I'm victim to my own purity of character."
- Sam is really mad at Toby's drop-in and the fact that it was kept from him. He tries to get in to see the President but Toby stops him:
- "You don't ever go into the Oval Office mad."
"I think the President's remarks were ill-advised to say the least. . . . The drop-in's the story now. . . not the energy package."
"The energy package doesn't need to be a story, it's going to be a law."
". . . this cynicism of attacking your friends for political protection offends them and it offends me. It offends you and there's really nothing I can do to make you feel better about that."
"We can't govern if we don't win," Toby tells the still angry Sam.
- Leo continues his campaign for the missile shield trying to convince Lord Marbury as well as the President:
- "I'm pushing you toward the missile shield, cause I think it works," he tells the President.
"Based on what," President Bartlet asks him.
"Confidence. And the understanding that there's been a time in the evolution of everything that works when it didn't work."
Later the President asks Lord Marbury, "Where are you on the missile shield."
"Well, I think it's dangerous, illegal, fiscally irresponsible, technologically unsound, and a threat to all people everywhere. . . ."
"I think the world invented a nuclear weapon," Leo responds, "and I think the world owes it to itself to see if they can't invent something that would make it irelevant."
"Well that's the right sentiment," Lord Marbury tells him, "and certainly a credible one from a man who's fought in a war. You think you can make it stop? Well, you can't. We build a shield and somebody will build a better missile."
"Well," says the President, "it's a discussion for serious men. They say a statesman is a politician who's been dead for 15 years. I'd like us to be statesmen while we are still alive."
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