West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Sixth Season Episodes * #607 "A Change Is Gonna Come"
Pres & VP
Gary Cole as Vice President Robert Russell,
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet
NBC Universal photo
Teleplay by: John Sacret Young & Josh Singer, Story by: John Sacret Young, Director: Vincent Misiano
Takes Place:
Broadcast: December 1, 2004

Former Vice President John Hoynes reappears with a new book and in an interview discusses returning to "public life" which everyone translates as running for President in the upcoming election --- the Iowa caucus "is around the corner' --- and he is wooing Josh. But a day earlier problems developed about the upcoming summit in China on which Josh is the point man. While he discusses with C.J. how things are progressing, Carol comes in to tell them,
"We got a question... about a flag the President received this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast."
"A flag?" Josh asks her.
"A green flag from the Taiwanese delegation.... green with a red flower."
"...No, no, no-no, no.... The Chinese are going to freak out.... The green flag is the original flag of the Taiwan independence movement.... You can see why I might be mildly concerned about the symbolism of the President accepting their flag on the eve of a major summit with China --- I sound a little hysterical." The last five words Josh speaks in a whisper but C.J. hears it.
"Just a touch."
"So, we'll just give the flag back before anyone knows we have it." Josh's streak of optimism is proven unrealistic within about a minute.

Bartlet hasn't yet heard about the flap. Instead he is making arrangements with Fiderer to loan out the letter he used to resign the Presidency.
"I solve Middle East peace, fix social security and they want the piece of paper I used to remove myself from office."
"It is the National Constitution Center."
"It's not like the Smithsonian's beating down my door."
"I'm sure they'll take a greater interest in your when you're dead."
"There's something to look forward to." At this point C.J., Charlie and Kate come to tell him about the flag which he says he doesn't remember getting, but says, "I handed everything over to my new body man --- what's his name, the new Charlie."
"Curtis Carruthers."
"Not that the old Charlie could ever be replaced, of course."
"...if he's worth anything, he's turned it over to the gift unit."
"...we're going to need it...." C.J. tells him.
"I'm on it."

But Charlie runs into problems trying to get the flag back from the Gift Unit which is now under control of Bernard, The Officious, who once dealt with C.J. in the matter of returning a picture from the White House to its rightful owner.
"The President needs the flag back."
"Oh, I'm afraid not.... The flag is an historical artifact and its value is much higher than the reporting threshold established by the GSA.... When the President accepts a gift of such value. its deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States.... According to Chapter Five of the U.S. Code section 7342(c), it is now the property of the American people...."
"I need that flag."
"You're not suggesting that I break the law?"
"Well then, I suppose we're in a bit of a pickle." Later Charlie does some research and comes back for a second round to which Bernard responds, "Must we suffer through another round of Capture the Flag?"

Everyone else is working under the assumption that Charlie will be able to obtain the flag. But the President still has to turn over the letter to the National Constitution Center. Representing the National Consitution Center is Governor Baker of Pennsylvania.
"Is that the letter."
"That is the letter that removed me from office. I have to keep the one that put me back in case anyone starts asking questions.... How do you like the old place," Bartlet asks, meaning the Oval Office.
"It's --- humbling."
"Believe me it's worse from behind that desk. There's a dagger that hangs from a thread somewhere up there."
"I would think the Secret Service would do something about that."

But everything keeps coming back to China which has deployed submarines. As C.J. tells Josh,
"Submarines trump symbolism. I had to make a call.... And the President wants me with him at the summit. There are some things up in the air right now...."
Josh realizes that this means that he's no longer going to the summit he was supposed to have been in charge of, "Sure, I'll start pulling together the briefing packets for you. Come on, you're going to need Toby to deal with the press. Somebody's got to man the fort here. I'm fine staying...." Of course, Josh is not really "fine" with it --- his disappointment is obvious and understandable --- but they all work for the President and if the President wants C.J. with him because of the flap, then things change.

Leo comes to the White House to see how C.J. is doing. She is not so sure they should let China push them around. Leo talks to her about her job --- putting out the fire. And Charlie finally gets that flag out of Bernard's keeping. Later Bartlet and Abbey attend an Awards ceremony where he tells her,
"I didn't see the flag.... I couldn't tie my tie. I haven't been able to focus, or see out of my right eye since early yesterday morning. I didn't see the flag."

And former Vice President Hoynes tells, Josh,
"...It's time to start leading. You're never going to be Leo McGarry to Jed Bartlet. But you can be Leo to me. I'm running for President. I want you with me. I want you to run my campaign." And while this is going on we hear James Taylor sing a Sam Cooke song called "A Change Is Gonna Come" (track #29, which you can hear Sam Cooke sing when you click on 'See all 30 tracks on this disc')

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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