West Wing
18th And Potomac

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This Is The Dawning of the Age of Sagittarius

We're outside on the sidewalk; it's a sunny day. It's an almost jarring contrast to the darkly and dramatically lit rooms and wee-hours meetings that have predominated for the last while. Josh is walking out of a building with someone (Ritter, I assume) who is incredulously asking about Dessaline's being taken to the embassy in a car trunk. Josh confirms it. Ritter replies, "I've lived too long." Josh tells him not to go anywhere, because he needs him. Josh is wearing some sunglasses that make him look pretty cool. No doubt his many fans are swooning. Ritter says, "I mean it, Lyman. This is going to get worse before it's gonna get better." Josh says maybe. He tells him that Haiti isn't what he wanted to talk to him about. Ritter asks, "Tobacco?" Josh says, "Yeah, Andy, the President wants to get behind a thirty-million-dollar appropriations bill the Justice Department's had in your committer for a few months now. They need the money to continue the case." Ritter knows, but indicates that the chairman's not going to schedule a vote: "Kalmbach's gonna dance with the girl that brung him." Josh asks, "How much tobacco money has he taken?" Ritter says that from the last campaign, Kalmbach took $460,000 in PACs. Josh asks, "Is there a nose count?" Ritter says it's eight to seven, against. And surprisingly, the divide is not along party lines; Ritter says they have two Republicans and the other side has two Democrats: Warren and Rossiter. Josh remarks, "Warren and Rossiter aren't even from the South." Ritter explains, "They have ideological problems with the case." Josh and Ritter stop walking and Josh says, "This is a phenomenally important case; it's historic. It has to be won, and we're fighting it with paper clips and a slingshot." Ritter claps him on the arm and says, "We were wondering when you guys were gonna notice." He walks off.

Toby comes into his office, where Donna is waiting for him. She's wearing red; she should wear it often, because it really makes her look good. Toby says, "Uh...I'm going to tell you something shocking, except we don't have time to be shocked. So I need you to just hear it and go back to work." Donna is wide-eyed and looks slightly nervous, but agrees. Toby: "Eight years ago, the President was diagnosed with MS. He concealed it during the election, but we're going public Wednesday night with a live network interview and a press conference. This is what Josh is going to be working on twenty-four hours and he's going to need your help and he's going to need you to know this, and so I'm telling you." Donna nods. Toby adds, "You're the first person on the assistant level to find out." Now, that has to be an ego boost for poor, insecure Donna. "Margaret doesn't know, Bonnie and Ginger don't know...Donna, Mrs. Landingham doesn't know." Donna asks, "Is the President in a lot of pain or discomfort right now?" Toby says no, and that he's in remission. Donna's clearly shocked and upset, but maintains her composure. She gets up and asks, "Is there anything else?" Toby emphasizes the importance of her keeping this to herself. She gets it. She leaves.

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West Wing




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