Written by: Debora Cahn, Directed by: Christopher Misiano
- Takes Place: 52 days until the election
- Broadcast: Sunday, December 04, 2005
- Lou gives Santos the results of the debate:
- "46% of voters polled say they have a more favorable opinion than they did before the debate. CNN/USA Today polls call the debate a tie. So does Newsweek.... You got a four-point bump. Vinick only got a two-point bump.... You're both polling from undecideds."
They discuss a stop the next day in L.A. where a black youth has just been shot by a policeman. Santos asks, "Donna, what's the officer's name?"
- Back at the White House, we discover that it is a Saturday and C.J. came in to help Ellie and Vic with the wedding plans because Ellie knows her. She's pulled out of the meeting by Kate Harper who tells her,
- "NSC just got a call. There's a China-Russia-Kazakhstan thing happening." So C.J. assigns Will to work with Ellie and Vic on the wedding arrangements.
Later Kate goes into more depth on what is happening, "Tarimov is acting President. He was supposed to hold elections but he called them off."
"He suspended them. He didn't call them off."
"He suspended them weeks ago and has made no move to reschedule. The guy's a Russian puppet. It was looking like the Chinese were getting there foot in the door so he halts negotiations and boots the Chinese out of the country."
"Kazakhstan isn't China's only oil source."
"They're their most promising one. The Kazakh people, meanwhile, are rioting in the streets because they've just been screwed out of an election. China's looking at major instability on their border, not to mention the 300,000 ethnic Chinese living in Kazakhstan who aren't looking particularly safe, all because the Russians want the oil and are willing to fight for it. Best-case scenario, I'm ruining your Saturday. Worst-case scenario, two nuclear powers are positioning themselves to actively engage in an armed conflict over oil."
- Back in Denver with the Santos campaign Lou is being advised by Lester on visits in L.A. to the dead kid's family and an already scheduled visit to an African American church on Sunday morning, Lester tells her,
- "We need 90% of black voters. We've got 81%. 12% of African-Americans are undecided in this race. The black vote's never had undecideds, but they're willing to hang back and weigh their options because they don't hate Vinick and they're not sure they like the whole idea of Santos. This is not a small problem.... The audience at the church is going to want to hear him denounce the cop...."
Donna puts in, "He can't denounce the cop. We don't even know what happened yet. He could prejudice the whole investigation."
Another staffer says, "Well, the Latino community is not going to like it if he jumps all over the cop, not to mention the law and order vote. They're definitely looking for us to support the cop."
- Josh takes the time and risk to visit Toby.
- "So, how are you?"
"I meant to call. But it's been insane..."
"People calling about speaking engagements; someone from Simon & Schuster is calling about a book deal."
"You going to do it?"
"I don't know. Maybe. May need the money. People I'd rather work with can't come within a ten-block radius of me."
"You'll be less radioactive in a few months."
"Oh, yeah? How many months do you think?"
"...Your kids, how they are?"
"It must be good to have more time to spend with them."
Josh's phone rings and it is the campaign which doesn't know what to do about the racial unrest in L.A. When he finishes the call, Josh tells Toby, "We landed in some racial tension in L.A."
"The cop thing?"
"Yeah. We had an event planned in the neighborhood."
"So, the black vote, which was already not in the bag..." Josh tells Toby that he is trying to get the President to back up Santos in L.A. by flying out tonight and that C.J. said she would get back to him. He knows it's last minute.
Toby tells him, there is no way the President will do it. "It's got nothing to do with last minute, it's got to do with he doesn't think your guy is going to win."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means it's unlikely he gets on a red eye."
"I am constantly amazed at your ability to continue to be a bastard. It really is something."
"You think I need to come here to be your punching bag?"
"I really have no idea why you needed to come here."
"Yeah, well, I don't know either. Nostalgia? It's been a pleasure. I'll see you later."
"No you won't. You won't be coming back. At least have the integrity to say that out loud."
- But later after the White House tells Josh that the President can't do it and Kate and C.J. discover there is troop movements in the area they are watching, Josh does visit Toby again. Josh tells him,
- "Išve given a lot of thought to the heartwarming insight you shared with me about how the President thinks Santos is a loser and I think youšre full of it.... This isn't about the President doesn't think Santos can win, it's about you don't think he can win."
"That's true, I don't."
"Because it will kill you to see me do this and succeed. You're not wired for such an event. You're entire neurological infrastructure would fritz out.
"You really think I built up some Freudian fratricidal mania built around your success? You don't think I have anything other than that against the Democratic nominee for President?
"Name something else, please.
"He's not Presidential material.
"Why? Because he left. He left Congress, he left Washington to go home and do small, important work. You had to haul him by the hair out of the family bed. Did you never stop to wonder if that was a good choice?
"He stepped up when presented with the opportunity."
"The man in that job shouldn't have to be presented with anything! It's for someone who grabs it and holds on to it, for someone who thinks the gods have conspired to bring him to this place, that destiny demands of him this service! If you don't have that kind of drive, that hubris, how in the hell are you going to make the kind of decisions that stump every other person in this country? How in the hell are you going to hold that kind of power in your hand?"
"You don't know he's not that man."
"You don't know that he is. Is he? Look me in the eye and tell me that you know. Without a shadow of a doubt you know." Josh doesn't answer. "That's why the other guy wins."
- Santos visits the kid's family and that doesn't go well. They bring in Leo to help at the church but it is left to Santos to say something meaningful. He says,
- "Good morning. My prayers are with Ronnie Burke's family today. I know yours are too. My prayers are with Officer Rafael Martinez and his family. They are not struggling with the loss of a child, but they are struggling with a terrible truth. My prayers are with those families and with this one.
"You know, I find myself on days like this casting about for someone to blame. I blame the kid, he stole a car. I blame the parents. Why couldn't they teach him better. I blame the cop, did he need to fire. I blame every one I can think of and I am filled with rage. And then I try and find compassion. Compassion for the people I blame. Compassion for the people I do not understand, compassion. It doesn't always work so well. I remember as a young man listening on the radio to Dr. King in 1968. He asked of us compassion, and we responded, not necessarily because we felt it but because he convinced us that if we could find compassion, if we could express compassion, that if we could just pretend compassion, it would heal us so much more than vengeance could. And he was right: it did but not enough. What we've learned this week is that more compassion is required of us and an even greater effort is required of us. And we are all, I think everyone of us, tired.
"We're tired of understanding, we're tired of waiting, we're tired of trying to figure out why our children are not safe and why our efforts to to make them safe seem to fail. We're tired. But we must know that we have made some progress and blame will only destroy it. Blame will breed more violence and we have had enough of that.
"Blame will not rid our streets of crime and drugs and fear and we have had enough of that. Blame will not strengthen our schools or our families or our workforce. Blame will rob us of those things and we have had enough of that. And so I ask you today to dig down deep with me and find that compassion in your hearts. Because it will keep us on the road. And we will walk together and work together. And slowly, slowly, too slowly, things will get better. God bless you. God bless you and God bless your children."
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.