The room is full as everyone prepares for the swearing-in. Mac's asked if she has a bible handy, and as she asks the kids for one, Templeton offers the one he has with him, ready for his own inauguration. We pan across all of the media's viewing screens as the ceremony begins, Templeton standing behind the proceedings looking grim. As Mac swears to faithfully execute the office of President, there is an oddly timed cut to commercial and we don't see the rest of the ceremony.
Media swarms the streets of Washington, and we hear clips of news reports discussing the inauguration. One commentator remarks on what Mac was wearing (a navy suit, for the curious), illustrating the kind of scrutiny that she'll endure that the male presidents have not really had to deal with. Mac walks through the halls with a lot of presidential talk about scheduling, and then sweeps into the Oval Office. Movies, TV, actual political news coverage -- that view is always amazing.
Jim is in the Oval with Mac and Rod, clearly feeling out-of-place. He assures them that he's not had time to type up his letter of resignation yet, but that it is forthcoming. Rod confidently interjects niceties, thanking him for all of the work he's done and assuring him that they'll need his help to make the transition. Jim lets Mac know that the cabinet is assembled, and she says she'll be there in ten. She and Rod take a moment to breathe. She feels sad, but knows that she can do this. As Rod cheers her on, assuring her that she'll do a good job being herself, she walks around the desk and gazes at all of Bridges's photos. His family. His son. He, a friend, and a really big fish. The secretary knocks and enters. Ruth, the President's secretary, is clearly uncomfortable, and offers to clear off the desk at a later time. She lets Rod know that he's scheduled to meet with Nora Woodruff in the Vermeil in ten. He asks who that is. Ruth: "The First Lady's Chief of Staff, Sir." Oh, ha ha ha. Like Rod wants to or has time to deal with that: "Well, that can wait, because I've got to see the President..." Mac assures Rod that she's okay. He asks if she's sure, clearly a bit miffed. She reassures him, and he muddles out of the office.
Mac turns to Ruth. "Ruth, I would like to talk to you later about staying. Integrating my staff..." Ruth interrupts her, saying that she would understand if she wanted to bring the Vice-President's secretary over, but Mac assures Ruth that she'd like her to stay, if she wouldn't mind. Ruth: "Ma'am, yes, I do." Mac's face clearly asks, oh? Ruth stutters out her response: "I don't mean to apply any more pressure to you. My god -- I can't imagine what it must be like for you. But I have been with him for more than a decade, and I know that he did not want you behind that desk, and so..." "Why don't you give it a few days, Ruth, see how it --" (My God, every single person in this administration communicates by cutting off someone else.) Ruth: "I wish you success, ma'am. I really do, because I wish this country success, but...staying here, it would just make me feel..." She trails off. Mac calmly tells her, "Say it, whatever it is." Ruth: "It would make me feel cheap." Wow, of all the responses, that seems a bit melodramatic. Really, if you're a secretary, do you say that to the President while standing in the Oval Office? But Mac accepts this and goes All Business, making sure Ruth will train Miss Rogers, Mac's current secretary. Ruth leaves, and Mac settles back in her desk chair for the first time, alone with the weight of the free world now on her shoulders. We pan back dramatically, and look at her behind a statue of an eagle. Unfortunately, the eagle is roughly the same color as her suit jacket, and it looks more like her breasts are sprouting wings. I like to think that is Rod Lurie's symbolic equivalent to brass balls for all the guys.