Teleplay: Kevin Falls & Aaron Sorkin, Story: Gene Sperling, Directed by: Alex Graves
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet
NBC Warner Bros. Photo (from "War Crimes")
- Takes Place: "It's January" - Iowa Caucus (February)
- Broadcast: January 30, 2002
- Toby is dealing with a side of Bartlet that he thinks isn't worthy of the President and the two of them have a few confrontations over the course of this day as the President rewrites lines on Affirmative Action, telling Toby:
- "I was trying to avoid a quote."
"As well as nouns and pronouns," Toby muses.
Later Toby refers to the two Bartlets as "Dr. Jekyll and Uncle Fluffy."
- Meanwhile, as Josh and Amy Gardner move closer together, he has to deal with a friend of his (an Hispanic actor) who is leading a protest that stops ships from getting the target practice they need to head for the Indian Ocean. Josh is asked to talk to his friend, but when someone in the Government tells him to be tougher than he wants to be, he says:
- "This isn't a hostage situation. It's a legitmate protest. . .You're free to arrest them or shoot them but we won't because it's bad politics. Let's just remember what the thing is here."
"This is not the time for people to be protesting. . . ." Josh is told.
"When is the time? Tell me. I'll tell them. They'll do it!"
- Josh's budding romance and his responsiblities to his work end up colliding. Leo advises Josh not to let his job rule his life:
- "My wife lives in my house. I live in a hotel and this is why."
- C.J. disagrees with Toby's complaints about how Bartlet is avoiding confronting the issue of affirmative action. She thinks her father was deprived of rising to the level he should have attained as minorities were promoted over him.
- "We'll just have to agree to disagree," she tells Toby.
"I don't like doing that."
- Sam meets with a crank whom he first talked to a couple of years ago [#5]. Bob then came close to convincing Sam the Air Force was tracking a UFO. Now, Bob wants permission to tour Fort Knox, claiming that bullion has been removed and the spacecraft from the Roswell crash (& alien bodies?) is being stored there. After learning that Bob's father (who started "the family business") recently died, Sam doesn't try to disabuse him of his illusions. Later Sam asks co-workers:
- "What are we keeping at the bullion depository in Fort Knox?"
"Soup?" C.J. suggests.
- Toby tries to deal with his feelings of frustration about the Uncle Fluffy Bartlet. Finally he confronts the President saying:
- "I was a telemarketer for about a week. Can't remember what we were selling but we worked off a script. 'Hi, good evening, my name is. . .' and Toby Ziegler was okay for New York but once we got into the other time zones I needed a name that wasn't going to bother anybody. . . "
"My family signed the Declaration of Independence. You think I have an ethnicity problem?" the President asks.
"Well, mine isn't between light skin and dark skin. . . it's between educated and masculine. Or between Eastern Academic elite and plain spoken. . . . Sir, I don't think I need to tell you that the level of respect with which the staff speaks of you doesn't change depending on
whether or not you're in the room. . . . Well, there's always a bit of concern about the two Bartlets. The absent-minded professor with the 'Aw, Dad.' sense of humor. Disarming, unthreatening, good for all time zones. And the Nobel Laureate still searching for salvation. Lonely, frustrated. Lethal. . . . The one whose father never liked him because he was too smart. . . . Your father use to hit you, didn't he, Mr. President. . . ?"
Bartlet is annoyed but he tries to deflect the conversation saying, "Toby, it was a complicated relationship. . . ."
"He didn't like you. You were smarter than he was. . . So, maybe if you get enough votes, win one more election, you know, maybe your father'll. . . ."
Finally, Bartlet blows up in a quiet, deadly tone of voice, "You have stepped way over the line and any other President would have your ass on the sidewalk right now. . . . They'd have had you on the sidewalk a long time ago. I don't know what goes on in a Brooklyn shrink's office but get it the hell out of my house."
After a pause to think this through, Toby says, "Thank you Mr. President."
As a clock noticably ticks in the Oval Office, Toby walks out and Bartlet sits down with his own thoughts and memories.
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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.