West Wing
18th And Potomac

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This Is The Dawning of the Age of Sagittarius

Josh returns to the basement war room: "Sagittarius." Inside, Sam, Toby, and C.J. are strategizing how to break the news to the country. Sam suggests a ten- to fifteen-minute Presidential address: "I have this illness, I concealed it, I apologize. Let me tell you about it. Let me reduce your fears." C.J. says it's too cold. Sam says it's not. C.J. says he needs to be with FLOTUS. Sam retorts, "In some decorative room? Sitting with his wife weakens him." I think that's debatable. He continues, "Let's put him behind the Kennedy desk. Let's put him in the East Room. Let's put him in the Briefing Room..." C.J. interrupts: "Sam! He's going to go on TV and say he lied! I don't want him doing it behind the Seal of the President." Sam asks, "You think without the Seal, people are going to forget he's the President?" C.J. suggests a thirty-minute live special for one of the news magazines. Josh: "Live, live-to-tape, or tape?" C.J. says live, because she doesn't want a producer editing the President's words. Josh asks, "What if we want to edit what he says?" C.J.: "That's our tough luck." Next they figure out when to do it: Sam suggests Thursday night. C.J. says Wednesday night, because Thursday night is when the networks pay their bills: "It's going to be tough enough getting thirty minutes and not tell them why without cutting into their bread and butter during May sweeps!" Sam mutters, "Oh, who gives a damn about May sweeps?" ["I remember the days when I didn't have to give a damn about May sweeps. Vaguely." -- Wing Chun] C.J. says, "They do, Sam!" Toby has been listening to all of this with his head characteristically propped up on his hand. He finally says, "All right, thirty minutes, Dateline special, Wednesday night, night after tomorrow, President and First Lady in the Mural Room." ["Hee -- there is no Dateline Wednesday, but I suppose in the world of Bartlet's administration, NBC has a hole to fill that night." -- Wing Chun] C.J. says that they should follow that with a press conference, so that they control the story as long as possible: "Once he gets done with Russert or Diane or Stone Phillips or whoever the hell does this, I'm going to need every reporter in the Western Hemisphere in a room where I can see them!" Toby says that they can put a team of medical experts at the press conference; C.J. says they have forty-eight hours to find them. Sam: "Hang on...if we take him from the Mural Room to the press conference, isn't a smart reporter going to ask, 'Mr. President, are you planning on seeking re-election?'" The other three all look a little weary and C.J. says, "'A smart reporter'...Sam, Ted Baxter's gonna ask, 'Mr. President, are you planning on seeking re-election?'" Sam replies, "So we're gonna need an answer to that, too." They all have the look of people planning their own funerals.

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West Wing




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