Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story: Eli Attie, Directed by: Vincent Misiano
Dulé Hill as aide Charlie Young
- Broadcast: January 9, 2002
Query: What is Censure and what gives Congress the power to impose this punishment on the Executive Branch including the President?
Query: What was the movie Toby says is Bartlet's favorite?
Query: How does the resolution of censure read?
Query: Is it possible to see a copy of that 1709 map of the Holy Land which Charlie gave Bartlet?
Query: Where is there additional information on the censure of Andrew Jackson?
- Query: Who are Ed and Larry?
- Cliff and the Republican leadership on the House Oversight Committee have decided that an easy win would be in their own best interests and they want Leo to take an offer to the President since it means that they would not continue their interrogation of him (begun in the previous episode). But Leo will hear nothing of it:
- "You think I am so desperate to save my ass that I'll roll over on Jed Bartlet? . . . . I take a bullet for the President. He doesn't take one for me." And then he walks out of the meeting.
- Meanwhile, a photographer Sam hired, who was quickly fired, has written a tell-all book about the Bartlet White House. Sam makes copies and hands out sections of the book to staffers --- sections that deal with that staffer. Sam asks them to check their sections for inaccuracies:
- "Well, right away I see one," says Ed, a staffer always seen with his co-worker Larry.
"I'm Larry, he's Ed," Larry says as they exchange their sections.
"I usually don't know that," says C.J.
Larry starts reading from his section, "Bartlet was playing a round of golf with Toby Ziegler, the prickly, mumbling Communications Director whose inner, bitter darkness spelled the breakup of the one marriage we know about."
C.J. breaks the silence that follows this by peering around a lamp to address Toby and suggest that the problem was, "It was miniature golf, wasn't it?"
- Leo doesn't actually lie to the President but he tells him the offer was a non-starter and he refuses to discuss it with him. But the offer is still conveyed to the President who lets Leo know he's going to take it:
- "Sir. . . . it doesn't get Abbey off the hook. She's still going to have to deal with the AMA. . . . It doesn't clear us up for the campaign. It's just a different looking stage weight around our ankle and now it comes with a Congressional seal. It doesn't give us any room to argue the point. We've got two, maybe as many as three, House Democrats in tight races. And you've still got MS. . . . Doing this to save me the embarrassment I've got coming to me is about the dumbest reason I can think. . ."
"There's another reason. . . . I was wrong. I was. I was just, I was wrong. Come on, we know that. Lots of times we don't know what right and wrong is. But lots of time we do. And come on, this is one. I may not have had sinister intent at the outset, but there were plenty of opportunities for me to make it right. No one in government takes responsibility for anything any more. We foster, we obfuscate, we rationalize. 'Everybody does it.' That's what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safe house where everyone's to blame so no one's guilty.
I'm to blame. I was wrong." Leo understands this and has no further argument to make.
- Themes of this episode:
- taking responsibility/blame (a recuring theme in this show)
- the truth matters
- if your opponent is fumbling around, you might want to just get out of his way (the basketball player who was 1 for 23 but 8 for 8 from the foul line)
- How something is perceived may not relate to its essential nature (the map of the Holy Land from 1709)
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.