West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Sixth Season Episodes * #604 "Liftoff"
Josh & Will
Joshua Malina as Will Bailey, Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman, Jimmy Smits as Matt Santos
NBC Photol
Writer: Debora Cahn, Director: Alex Graves
Broadcast: November 10, 2004
Query: Didn't an episode from last season specifically say that C.J. served two Presidential terms as White House Press Secretary? Yes (more to follow).
Query: What was that about the midterm elections having been last year and the next Presidential election coming up?

C.J. learns just how hard Leo's job is as she takes it over: "Jumping off a cliff" for the President. On the first day, she briefs the President (soon after the Secret Service and others have briefed her on how her life is going to change). Bartlet is used to it:
"Sky is falling. Damage estimate to follow. You're going to be great at this."
"Thank you, Mr. President."
Shortly thereafter, Bartlet addresses the Press. "After by-pass surgery 36 hours ago, I'm relieved to announced that Leo McGarry is in stable condition and headed for a full recovery. Though he will always be a very valuable part of this administration, he will not be returning to his post. I am therefore pleased and terribly proud to announce that effective immediately the position of White House Chief of Staff will be filled by Claudia Jean Cregg."

And C.J. is not alone in dealing with changes. Toby has to brief the press and he fumbles badly. Josh was supposed to help him but wasn't around. Carol doesn't know who she is dealing with, in what position. Only Margaret is on top of everything and she shows C.J. what to do and where to go, although that only gets C.J. so far. And then in a meeting of the senior staff, Toby tells C.J.
"C.J., wow this is hard. Couldn't be happier that you got this gig. But I think it's just time for me to move go. Six years is a --- I just thinks it's time for me to move on and this is my letter of resignation to the President."
"I don't want to pile on." Josh says, "but working for one of my closest friends is, I think, I'm not going to be at my best."
C.J. is flustered as she watches Toby put down his letter of resignation while Josh is about to do the same. "Josh," she says. Then looks back at Toby, "you can't ---"
Just then the President knocks and comes in saying, "I'm sorry to barge in."
"Mr. President can I have just a minute?"
"I'll make this quick. I don't know if I'm comfortable working this closely with a woman. Maybe it's time for me to call it a day. Give the VP a chance to steer the ship." Suddenly, Toby can no longer play out the joke and he breaks out in giggles and Josh also starts laughing. C.J. catches on.
Bartlet turns to Toby. "You're weak. You have a weak will. You should have held it. See if she pulled out the continuity of government plan."
"He cracked up at the mere suggestion that the VP," Will notes.
"I had a whole thing on spending time with my kids. I went up."
"You are bad, Bad men," C.J. tells them all through her laughter.

Meanwhile, Toby and Donna (as a stand in for Josh) are interviewing replacements for C.J. and they are not having a lot of luck finding anyone who can do the job. And Charlie tries to help C.J. get a handle on some of her new duties and also on some people who haven't quite accepted her in her new role. And Josh tries to prevent a Congressman from leaving his seat in the next election.
"Bipartisan or bust, my friends," Congressman Santos says to his staff as Josh gets ushered into a meeting with him.
"...Congressman you're a strong presence on the floor, your staff's on fire how can you walk away from this. Who champions Patients' Bill of Rights if you're out of here?"
"I'm happy to help but you're the one who's got to put his name on the bill."
"When I was the mayor of Houston we opened up eight health clinics. Each one sees 200 patients a day. I'm going to go home and open up 20 more. That's not a health care agenda, Josh. That's health care."
"It's appealing...."
"I'm going home to Texas... I hear C.J. Cregg got Chief of Staff. That's got to be a blow."
"It's fine really."
"Everybody likes the look of the next rung up the ladder. But you know what? You couldn't do the kind of politicing you do behind Leo McGarry's desk. You'd be making sure the trains run on time. They need you: You love that fight. And you're good at it. I don't love it."

On other fronts, C.J. and Toby have a disagreement about how to move ahead on a problem.
"It was not a suggestion," she tells him.
"It was what? An order?"
C.J. turns to the one person who really does know her new job. At the hospital she tells the sleeping Leo, "I don't think this is going to work out."

But as time goes on and a new day comes, C.J. occasionally gets hold of parts of her job. She tells off the President for trying to do her job for her. As she leaves his office, Fiderer asks the President,
"What was that?"
"I just got spanked," he tells her.
"Mmmm. Sorry I missed it. She still nervous?"
"I don't think so. No."

And although Margaret has told C.J. that she has worked for Leo for a long time and will be going to help him when he gets out of the hospital and starts doing whatever he will do next, C.J. stops to tell her.
"You're an odd woman and I've never quite understood you. But you are extremely capable and you run this office like a Swiss watch --- and you're tall which is reassuring. Leo may need you and if he does, that's okay. But if he's willing to part with you, I hope you'll stay."

And the staff is called "upstairs" by C.J. and find a small celebration. Will asks,
"Who did this."
"The boss," Toby tells him.

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.

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