Written by: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr., Directed by: Tim Matheson (who played Vice President Hoynes)
- Takes Place: During the transition period.
- Broadcast: Sunday, April 30, 2006
Alan Alda Senator as Arnold Vinick,
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet,
Jimmy Smits as Matt Santos--
NBC Universal Photo
- Arnold Vinick is feeling lonely and lost. He finally decides to sort of continue campaigning. And he goes for a checkup. And he looks into job offers, none of which excites him but guest lecturers in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. He is thinking about the next election: "I'm telling you 70 is the new 60." Meanwhile, Santos is overwhelmed with things to do. He has the Secretaries of Treasury, Defense and Attorney General. But he is having a problem thinking of the right person for Secretary of State. And although he knows he wants Governor Baker for Vice President, he is afraid he can't get Baker approved by the Senate. Santos sends for Vinick but then because of a scheduling mix-up, Vinick is left waiting for a long time and then they have to reschedule. Finally they meet and Santos asks Vinick for advice on several things including getting a Vice President approved. Santos seems he might offer VP to Vinick. Santos is impressed with Vinick's savvy. Vinick even knows what Bartlet and Santos are doing on the Good Cop / Bad Cop thing on Kazakhstan. Santos says,
- "I'm going to need another cop when Bartlet leaves office." He pauses before making the offer. "How about Secretary of State?" Vinick doesn't believe this is a serious offer to him. "...You've got better relationships with all the important heads of state than I do. You know the diplomatic corps. You're respected in every capital around the world. You agree with me on foreign policy. And you are the best strategic thinker I know. I'm not asking you if you'd consider it, Arnie, I'm asking you to do it."
- Santo's team is not pleased.
- "What about the ploy of getting him to consider VP."
"Oh, he saw that ploy instantly. They guy's brilliant."
Lou makes the obvious objection, "He's a Republican."
"He's who we need."
Amy puts this in other language, "You're saying there is not a single Democrat who could handle State as well as Vinick."
"Well, that's not exactly what I would go out there and say publicly but yeah." They all object that Vinick will leak it and that undercut the Secretary they will finally do get. "Maybe. But this is the risk I've decided to take."
- Vinick's staff encourages him to take the job. He tells them,
- "I turned him down on the spot. And then he asked me to sleep on it and give him my final answer tomorrow...."
Sheila tells him, "You ran a campaign to try and unify the country. Now it looks like Santos is trying to put together an administration that will unify the country. The President says he needs you The country needs you."
"I disagree with him about everything...."
"You don't disagree on foreign policy. You think about it differently. You use different rhetoric but you agree on the objectives—"
"He just wants to take me out of the campaign. He's afraid to run against me again...." He looks at Sheila, "You really don't think I can win, do you?"
"Maybe if you were ten years younger.... It's not just your age.
"Stevenson got the nomination twice in a row. Fifty years ago and he lost both times.
You can enter the history books as maybe the last honorable Senator and a great Secretary of State. Or you can be the guy who just didn't know when to quit."
- The next day Vinick goes to Santos
- "You're strategy's not going to work."
Vinick is sure this is about getting Baker approved, "Everyone will know this is a phony offer."
"This isn't about Baker. I want you for Secretary of State. you're my first choice.... I will get Baker confirmed. I don't need you for that."
""Secretary of State is not something you throw at the other party to show how bipartisan you are. The job is way more important than that. This is your representative to the world."
"You think you can make me Secretary of State and then ignore me and run all foreign policy out of the White House? ...Because anyone good enough to appoint would quit the day you try and go around the State Department."
"I don't want to go around you, I want you to do the job."
"And when we disagree."
"I will give you all the time you need to set me straight and then I would expect you to go out there and sell whatever decision I make."
"I'd have to have my own Deputy Secretary."
"Pick any Democrat you want."
"...I don't know. This is crazy. I don't see how this can work."
Santos decides to take this as an acceptance. "Here's today's intelligence report...." And they start solving their problems.
Show Cast: Janel Moloney, Stockard Channing, Lily Tomlin, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Dule Hill, Janeane Garofalo, Mary Mccormack
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.