Written by: Eli Attie, Directed by: Christopher Misiano
- Broadcast: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006
- There has been an accident at the nuclear generating station in San Andreo, California. A value is malfunctioning and coolant's stopped flowing into the reactor's core. C.J. tells Bartlet,
- "We could be looking at a full scale nuclear meltdown...."
"We better start working on a plan because I'm making a statement in 15 minutes...."
"Mr. President, with all the levels of government involved in this maybe now is a good time to designate a czar: a single point-person to oversee—"
"You're looking at him."
- Meanwhile, it turns out, as Vinick tells Bruno, he
- "...pushed the licensing commission to get San Andreo up and running 25 years ago."
- Will is called in. C.J. tells him,
- "The President wants to make a statement in the next few minutes."
"Whatever we can figure out in the next few minutes.... I need you to go out and hold the information flow."
"I have no information."
"Welcome to the club. Let's start with that statement."
- The President is asking his advisors:
- "What are the odds this leads to a meltdown?"
"A meltdown isn't when one thing goes wrong. It's when 12 things go wrong."
- At the Santos campaign Santos and Josh agree not to exploit the situation for political gain even knowing that Vinick supports nuclear power and Santos has previously expressed deep concerns about it. Josh tells him,
- "I say we go completely dark. Let the press go after Vinick on their own."
"I'm fine doing nothing on this issue."
"I mean nothing on any issue.... We just stay right here."
- Will needs to get all the Federal agency spokespeople to refer everything to him.
- "No one. Not a single one of you is going to talk to the press.... There will be one briefer. Me.... there will be one voice, the dulcet tones of Will Bailey."
- They have to release radiation into the air to avoid an explosion. And it is slightly above safe limits. Back at the Santos campaign Donna gives Josh a report and he passes on the information to Matt and Helen Santos.
- "Vinick lobbied for Federal approval for San Andreo 25 years ago. He's the reason the plant is there...."
Matt hands the report back to Josh and tells him, "Hide these under your mattress."
- The President complains,
- "I don't like hearing the term 'meltdown' on cable news. Twelve things have not gone wrong yet. By my count we're barely at six or seven." He decides to fly at to the area and offers to take the state's congressional delegation with him and that includes Senator Vinick.
- Bruno has a plan to help Vinick. But Bob tells Bruno that the best defense is a good offense.
- "...the regulations are too lax. It's practically scout's honor."
"We're in a great big, glass house. We do not throw the first stone."
"Okay, a moratorium on all new nuclear plant construction."
"He cannot retreat from what he said in the debate."
"They're killing us out there. And they still don't know our guy helped get that plant approved in the first place."
"Bob. Bob, I know Josh Lyman. There is a reason he's camped out in Florida, the swinging-est of swing states. Santos is gonna whack us. Then we hit him back for politicizing a national disaster."
"That's a big roll of the dice on one weak pair of knees."
"Trust me. Josh has the political equivalent of Turret's Syndrome. He can't help himself.... We wait for his next spasm and then we strike back"
- Bartlet is juggling several balls in the air and says,
- "I thought a degree in economics was plenty for this job. My kingdom for a plumbing license."
- Will is beging undermined by another government spokesman who was told to not comment. Will tells him,
- "You're being transferred. You no longer speak for this government."
"For telling people the truth?"
"For telling people something which can only cause further panic. It doesn't matter if it's true. It doesn't matter if I've already said it. We're trying to prevent mass hysteria in a climate in which even the truth can be misinterpreted, so we speak with one voice. You're lucky you still have a job."
- As Bruno predicted, Josh is weakening on his idea to just stay silent and have the press find the information about Vinick having pushed for the plant to be opened. Santos holds firm. Two engineers have been asked to go in and open some stuck valves. They risk their lives to do so. And this is happening while the Kazakhstan election takes place amid election monitors reports of wide-spread "harassment: beatings, mass arrests of civic activists." And then before Vinick gets on Air Force One he makes a statement and expresses his belief that the accident wasn't caused by any inherent problem with nuclear power but with Federal regulators (who are directed by the Bartlet Administration). And Josh goes behind Santo's back to tell Donna to lead some reporters in the direction of the material about Vinick lobbying for the San Adnreo plant. Turns out the press just discovered it on their own. And then Kazakhstan: Kate tells Bartlet and C.J. First Bartlet and then C.J. respond to Kate's news,
- "Newly elected government's killed 114 protestors. China is crossing the border into ethnic Chinese enclaves. Russian troops are ready to enter as well."
"We can't have China and Russia blowing each other to bits over election fraud."
"No, oil, really. Fraud's just the kicker."
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.