West Wing
A Proportional Response

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A Proportional Response

In the walkway outside the Oval Office, we hear Jed's voice snarling, "This is crap, Leo! It's been three days. This is amateur hour!" Leo tries to placate POTUS, saying, "Cashman and Berryhill have to revise the response scenario so that they speak to State's concern..." POTUS retorts, "Cashman and Berryhill are dragging their feet. Cashman and Berryhill are trying to make me look like a clown. And State should concern itself with what I damn well tell 'em to be concerned with." Leo says, "Doesn't work like that." POTUS snaps: "So I've discovered." Leo adds that POTUS knows that's not how it works, and that the chiefs are moving as swiftly as they can, even though time isn't a factor. He also states that Cashman and Berryhill have a reasonable point with respect to the Security Council. Jed calls out to Mrs. Landingham that he can't find his glasses anywhere, and, waving his arms around, requests that she do whatever it is she does when he can't find his glasses. He turns his attention back to Leo. "It's been seventy-two hours, Leo. That's more than three days since they blew him out of the sky. And I'm tired of waiting, damn it. This is candy-ass! We're going to draw up a response scenario today. I'm going to give the order today. We're going to strike back today." Leo says quietly, "I wish you wouldn't say 'him,' Mr. President." Jed's puzzled. "What?" "Three days since they blew him out of the sky? Of course that's fine while it's just you and me, sir. But in there with Fitzwallace and the Chiefs, I hope you say 'it' or 'the airplane,' not him." Jed seems a little annoyed that Leo is suggesting that he's taking it personally, wondering why the hell he shouldn't take it personally, and pointing out that Americans were on the plane. He bellows again to Mrs. Landingham about his glasses, while Leo is trying to say that he thinks they still need to talk about something, but Jed ignores him and tells Mrs. L he still doesn't have his glasses. Mrs. L reassures him that they're "on it." Um, wouldn't the President have at least one spare pair of glasses? She also tells him that the Director is waiting and Jed tells her to bring him in. He then asks Leo what he wanted to say but Leo decides not to bother, and goes off to his staff meeting, leaving Jed to peer at a document in a file folder.

Leo enters his office and everyone greets him. Josh, with his mouth half full of food, asks, "How's his mood?" Leo tells them all not to worry about it, and asks Sam, "What do you know?" Sam replies, "It's true. I have the transcript from the broadcast." Sam, with some interjections from Leo, begins to explain that a Congressman Bertram Coles appeared, along with some officers from Cromwell Air Force Base, on a radio program in his home district (where they have just recommended cuts in funding for the M6 Beacon), and made remarks about the President's being weak on defense. "Folks down here are patriotic, fiercely patriotic. The President better not be planning on making any visits to this base. If he does, he may not get out alive." Toby listens to all this and asks, "He said that? Sitting there with military officers?" Josh tells him not to take the bait. Toby says, "You better believe I'm going to take the bait." Leo says, "There oughta be a law against it." Toby raises his voice and waggles his finger; "There is a law against it." Josh asks Leo, "Why'd you get him started?" Leo shrugs and suppresses a little smirk. Toby, his voice getting louder: "How about threatening the life of the President? He's talking to other people. How about conspiracy? There were military officers. How about treason?" Josh: "Toby..." Toby: "That was a member of our own party, Leo. That was a Democrat who said that!" He pounds his fist on Leo's desk. Leo allows that it's bad. Toby's incredulous. "That's it?" Leo's unfazed: "What are you gonna do?" Toby replies, "Have the Justice Department bring them in for questioning pending felony charges!" Josh cracks, "Toby's right. What's the good of being in power if you're not going to haul your enemies in for questioning?" C.J. kicks Josh's chair. Toby can't believe that they're really not going to do anything about this. Leo says, "Yeah, Toby, 'cause what we really need to do is to arrest people for being mean to the President. Toby grouses, "There is no law...there is no decency..." Josh tells the peanut gallery, "He's just getting that now." Leo tells them that in the event that an attack order is issued today, they'll need a half hour on the networks. C.J. says the networks need ninety minutes' notice. Leo says they must wait until the last minute and tells Toby to start working on a draft for the President. Toby mentions that he needs to know what targets they're hitting. Leo doesn't know either and tells Toby, "It's military, Toby. You'll know when you know." Toby tells Sam the people with whom he must co-ordinate, and Leo says, "Let's do this right." Josh: "Not much chance of that."

C.J., Josh, Sam and Toby burst through a set of doors. C.J. is saying, "We need to be fully stocked -- State department officials, the Pentagon, we'll need the Embassy office..." Josh says they should get McMartin on board, and Adamley at the Pentagon. C.J. says she's got them. Josh asks, "So how do we tell 'em what we know without telling 'em what we know?" C.J.: "Well, we don't know anything so that shouldn't be hard." As C.J. breezes off, she asks Sam to stop by her office at lunch. Sam says sure and then mutters to Toby, "Think she knows?" Toby: "Yeah." Sam: "Why?" Toby: "'Cause she told me she knows." Sam asks if they can talk, and Toby tells him they can, and that he'll be right back. He's looking at something off-screen ahead of him. A secretary is whipping by (I believe it's the elusive Renee Estevez playing Nancy), and he tells her to hold on and stay there. She stops and waits as Toby walks toward the small clutch of people who caught his eye. Most of them are holding notebooks. One guy asks Toby whether he heard what Bertram Coles said on the radio. Toby says, "Yeah." Another reporter says, "And...?" Toby replies, "The Secret Service investigates all threats made against the President. It's White House policy not to comment on those investigations." The first guy says, "So you're telling me there's going to be a criminal investigation?" Toby, satisfied that he's stirred things up sufficiently, regards them very seriously and says, "I really can't comment on that right now. Damn, I gotta get back to my office." He walks away, back toward Nancy, and hands her the file he was carrying as he mouths the words "Thank you." I'm not entirely sure why he needed her to stand there, unless it was to make it seem like they'd interrupted him, and not like he deliberately went over to them, which of course, he did. Because Toby rules. Also, if that is Renee Estevez, she's got her Dad's eyes, and she sure looks like she could be Emilio's sister. Unlike Emilio, she doesn't look too dissipated; then again, to cut Emilio some slack, she hasn't been married to Demi Moore.

After the commercial, we're in C.J.'s office. She's talking to two women about something to do with science and technology; I can't tell whether the women are reporters or secretaries, but since I don't think I've seen them before, I'm going with reporters. Sam comes up to the door and knocks; C.J. dismisses the other two. Sam says he thinks he knows why she wanted to see him. C.J. says, "Do you? You sussed it out, huh?" She starts to lay into him about the media figuring out what's going on, to which he replies that there's nothing for the media to figure out. She tells him he can't spend time with a call girl; he'll get caught. Sam maintains his innocence, but C.J. tells him not to get cute with her. Sam points out that he didn't know Laurie was a call girl when he went home with her; C.J. counters that he went back to see her after that. Sam argues that he went back to see her, not to solicit her. C.J. tells him that it doesn't make any difference; Sam insists it does. C.J. begins to read him the riot act about how he works fifty feet from the Oval

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