path: Home / Second Season Episodes #213 (35) "Bartlet's Third State of the Union"
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet & Stockard Channing as the First Lady, Abbey Bartlet - NBC Photo
- Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Allison Abner & Dee Dee Myers, d: Christopher Misiano
- Takes Place: Around January 20, three months after Ainsley joined the White House
- Broadcast: February 7, 2001
- Query: How can this be Bartlet's Third State of the Union Address?
- Query: Do Toby's figures on gun control really add up?
- Query: Is the President allowed to sit on the left side of the car?
- President Bartlet gives a rousing State of the Union Address to Congress and his staff rushes to point out to the Press just how good it was. Ainsley is brought in and admits on camera that she hasn't actually met the President yet. Off camera Sam offers to introduce her but she panics at the thought:
- "I don't want to live in fear of the inevitable bungling of the English language which will occur and the mortification that will ensue," she tells Sam. "I'm going back on television now," she continues when he seems to agree that he won't push such an introduction.
"Try to remember you're on our side," he says as he sends her off to finish her television appearance.
But Sam wants her to meet the President and in his desire to help, he makes things worse, saying later, "That could have been worse --- No, probably not." This scene involved a drink, a bathrobe and dancing to Eydie Gorme's "Blame it on the Bossa Nova."
- Not all the staff is talking to the press. Josh is responsible for getting the numbers of a poll which starts right after the speech ends. But the person controlling the polling is Joey Lucas. Josh seems totally focused on getting those numbers, but Donna is focused on getting Josh to ask Joey out on a date.
- "What is taking so long?" Josh shouts into the void.
"...you have to ask a girl out on a date. You can't just randomly tumble into a girl sidewise and hope she breaks up with you soon --- the way you always do," Donna advises.
- Instead of asking Joey out, Josh shouts at Joey saying that he needs to know what the public thinks.
- "You're an egomaniac who needs to know that the public loves you and you'll have the numbers in five minutes." But Joey finds herself unable to fulfill her promise when the power goes out in the building they are polling from.
- Leo meanwhile is dealing with a "situation" in which five federal drug agents have been taken hostage by Colombian terrorists. Leo wants to go in in force, other advisors want to continue negotiations and the President tries to walk a line which leaves all the options open.
- In addition to the hostage situation and discovering that a policeman he just cited as an example has a reprimand on his record, President Bartlet discovers that his wife rather badly upset:
- "You're mad at me."
"At what point in the process," she demands to know, was it decided to leave out the "Violence Against Women Act?" But it turns out that wasn't what she was most upset about. "We had a deal," she reminds him. "We made a promise, we made a deal. When did you decide you were going to run for a second term? . . . That's all that tonight's speech was about."
To Be Continued
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.
Background from Bravo: What you need to know from past episodes.