West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Sixth Season Episodes * #619 "Ninety Miles Away"
Mark Feuerstein as
Former Sen. Maj. Counsel Cliff Calley
NBCUniversal Photo: Mike Ansell
Written by: John Sacred Young, Directed by: Rod Halcomb
Takes Place: After the California primary and before the Florida primary (with some flashbacks to over a decade before)
Broadcast: March 16, 2005
Query: Did President John F. Kennedy really have his press secretary buy a thousand Cuban cigars the night before he announced an embargo on them?
Query: What was Leo saying in Spanish when he was on the phone?

Leo "has an idea". It concerns Castro and Leo wants to see what can be done before the Administration ends. He talks to Bartlet at 5 am and then disappears. Bartlet tells his staff that Leo has gone to visit Ernest Hemingway's House. He doesn't tell them which one. Charlie thinks there are two possibilities but there is a third one: the one in Cuba. Meanwhile in the situation room Kate is discussing rumors about Castro. Bartlet later talks to C.J. about JFK first buying over a thousand Cuban cigars and then signing
"...a decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. And ever since then we've had an embargo against that mosquito of an island 90 miles away which has never worked while long before we threw out our anachronistic policies toward Russia and China that are thousands of miles away and far more complex."
"If these meeting become public the reaction in the Cuban American community and on the right will be ferocious."
"If the Cuban government makes certain accommodations before that---"
"The Florida primaries are right around the corner. This comes out, sir---"
"This comes out and we can bring out the shovels and bury the Democratic candidates in that little fiesta."
"You're sure the country's ready for this?'
"Who knows who's going to be sitting here next. Who knows what's going to happen after Castro. All I know for sure is there's a moment here and before I'm gone and he's gone I'm not going to let it pass."

C.J. sends for Cliff who says to her,
"You wanted to see me?"
"I find that highly improbable."
"Been here three weeks, bring me in Coach." So she sends him to talk to a Florida Senator who thinks the Administration may be trying to deal with Cuba.

And Charlie is dealing with two approaches to a possible termite infestation of the White House. When Cliff gets back from the Senator he tells C.J. that the Senator indicated that Kate Harper might know something. And when C.J. sends for Kate, she discovers that Kate has left for the day. Kate is meeting with a CIA operative she used to work with on ops about Cuba. He tells her,
"The Bartlet Administration can't pull this off. It's not going to work. The President will be hung out to dry."

C.J. orders Kate's file but it comes mostly blacked out. But there is a mention of Leo in Kate's file. She shows that to Leo who was in Florida in 1995 (when he was Secretary of Labor) but wonders "why is it in her file?" He tells C.J. that he was trying to work out a deal back then but it all fell apart and he vowed if there was ever a chance again, he would "put it back together." But this current attempt seems to be falling apart as well since the Cuban American community has found out about Leo's trip. Bartlet decides to tell the nation first. He addresses the nation "about a country that is only 90 miles away."
"...Change is not going to come easily. It's not going to be a change without passionate discussion and disagreement. But a change there can and will and must be. The Cuban people and the Cuban American people have suffered for too long under intolerable circumstances on both shores. My dream is that every one of the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who draw lottery cards every year to win one of the 20,000 slots allowing them to come to America in search of a better life and freedom will finally have the chance to find that freedom in their own country as well. And that the one and a half million Cuban Americans who have for so many decades longed to return to their homes will finally have the chance to once again see the land of their fathers and forefathers."

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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