Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Paul Redford & Nanda Chitre, Director: Christopher Misiano
Martin Sheen as President Bartlet
- Takes Place: C.J. says this is the president's first veto "since he took office 33 months ago" and this is when Donna is seeing Cliff which is around October 4 & 5 [#49] as pointed out by Abi Hobbs
- Broadcast: October 31, 2001
- Query: Where is there more information on erev Yom Kippur?
- Query: Would the Privacy Act really prevent C.J. from reporting on the death of two Americans?
- Query: Why would the show refer to a non-existent newspaper?
- Query: How many bills has Bartlet vetoed?
- Bartlet has announced that he will veto House Resolution 10 that repeals the "Death Tax". And just after the bill is delivered to the White House, the Republican leadership of the House schedules a vote to override that veto. Sam starts suspecting that the opposition has suddenly acquired the votes to override the veto and he asks if anyone wants to consider waiting. Toby is in no mood for that and when Sam asks him why not, Toby says,
- "If it's a show of strength and resolve, you don't wait to think about it."
"And if they override the veto, it's neither strong nor resolute."
"They don't have the votes to override."
"Says me, Josh, the Office of Political Liaison, Legislative Liaison
and the Minority Whip."
"Sometimes it's like I don't even need to be here," murmurs the President.
- Turns out Toby was wrong and they need to scramble to save this veto. Josh tells the President:
- "Sir, if the House successfully overrides the veto, we're going to look weak."
"If the House successfully overrides the veto, we are weak," Bartlet says as he signs the veto.
- The House is rushing to call the vote to override. The staff calls Leo out of a fancy dinner and he doesn't get back to it as he goes from a short conference on the bill to a crisis in which Americans were perhaps targeted by a suicide bomber in Israel.
- Leo isn't the only one trying to deal with more than one crisis. Josh is dealing with a Democratic Governor who might challenge the President in the primaries. But Josh is the expert on how to stall a vote in the House and so his talk with the Governor keeps getting interrupted as he gives advice on stalling the vote.
- Leo gets tired of getting nibbled to death by House Representatives and Governors in their own party. Sam and Toby decide to take a hell of a chance. Toby plays it with strength and a facade of fearlessness, but Sam expresses a concern that they may have gone too far:
- "Okay. Well, now this really needs to work."
"Yeah," Toby admits.
- Leo and the National Security Advisor come up with a lead on the bombing and a suggestion for the President:
- "And you think this 'puts the pin back in the grenade?'" the President asks.
"For a day," Leo answers.
- And C.J. is dealing with a reporter who doesn't play by the rules of the White House Press Room. So C.J. crushes the reporter with just a few words during a live press conference. She then tells the woman:
- "Hunting season on me is over."
- Meanwhile, everyone is advising Charlie to accept immunity in the investigation of the President.
- As some of it gets resolved, Donna tells Josh that she has dated a Republican on the staff of the oversight committee.
- Then the senior staff gather in the Oval Office to suggest to the President what he might say to the parents of the kids who were bombed. They are all pensive and Bartlet relates what someone at dinner had told him:
- "On Yom Kippur you ask for forgiveness for sins against God. But on the day before Yom Kippur you ask forgiveness for sins against people. . . . You can't ask forgiveness of God until you ask forgiveness of people the day before."
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.
Background from Bravo: What you need to know from past episodes.