Writer: Aaron Sorkin, Director: Vincent Misiano
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet,
NBC Warner Bros. Photo (from "War Crimes")
- Takes Place: The eve of the New Hampshire Primary
- Broadcast: February 27, 2002
- Query: What is the name of the town in New Hampshire that votes so much earlier than the rest of the state?
- Query: Could someone have brought chess to the Court of Charlemagne in 760AD?
- Query: How many "free" elections has Taiwan had?
- Query: Where did chess originate? And what is the Evans Gambit?
- Query: Why do voters in New Hampshire have a choice between a Republican and a Democrat in the Primary? Answer: Independents in New Hampshire can vote in either party's Primary (though not in both).
- The President is playing chess in separate rooms with Sam and Toby as he plays a sort of chess with the Chinese over Taiwan. He is using the game with Toby to defend himself from Toby's insistence previously that he had tried to downplay his intelligence. So as they play chess, Bartlet says:
- ". . .I had this historic stretch of sleeplessness after our last meeting. . . . It got so bad Leo brought in the guy from ATVA. . . ."
"What did he say?"
"He said it was your fault. He said you shouldn't bother me so much."
"I really am sorry about that."
"Yeah, I forgot for a second that you are hilarious. . . Check. . ." The chess game continues as they discuss whether or not Bartlet has been trying to downplay his intelligence. Then Bartlet comes to the point he is trying to make.
". . . . If a guy is a good neighbor, if he puts in a day, if every once in a while he laughs, if every once in a while he thinks about somebody else and above all else if he can find his way to compassion and tolerance then he's my brother and I don't give a damn if he didn't get past finger painting. What I can't stomach are people who are out to convince people that the educated are soft and privileged and out to make them feel like they are less than, you know, 'He may be educated but I am plain-spoken like you.' Especially when we know that education can be the silver bullet. . . . for crime, poverty, unemployment, drugs, hatred."
- While the chess games continue, C.J. and Charlie go back and forth starting with C.J. playing a "practical joke" and Charlie coming back over and over again; destroying government property and playing tricks involving the White House security system. Leo calls the two of them into an office and after hearing them both give their sides of the story (at the same time), he says:
- "All right. I think it's fine that people blow off a little steam. But now it's done and it's time for one of you to be mature."
"Well," Charlie says, "God knows, C.J.'s a lot more mature than I am." And indeed, C.J. keeps her cool even after a final act of destruction. She can obviously take just about anything that can be thrown at her.
- Bartlet gets back to his chess game with Sam just as Leo brings him a note with the results of the chess game he has been playing with the Chinese. The President hands the note to Sam who says:
- "I'd like to try it without looking at the note." And Sam guesses most of what Bartlet has negotiated with the Chinese to defuse the situation. ". . . I don't know how you do it," Sam tells Bartlet.
"You have a lot of help. You listen to everybody and then you call the play. Sam, you're going to run for President one day. Don't be scared. You can do it. I believe in you."
- Hartsfield's Landing is a fictional town with many of the traits of two real New Hampshire towns. Daniel Hank emailed us that one is named Dixville Notch. Lee Fink emailed us the name of the second, which is Hart's Location. He also send us the following link on the 2000 primaries that names the two towns and talks about when they vote:
Voting to kick off at midnight in New Hampshire hamlets
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode,
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.