West Wing
20 Hours in America, Part II

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Deborah: B | 1 USERS: A+
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The Road Not Taken

Just a bit of advice to readers of this recap: if you haven't seen Part I of this pair of episodes, or read the recap, a lot of things in this one aren't going to make any sense. I'm just saying.

Sam and Jed are in the Oval Office, watching the financial news. At closing bell, the Dow had dropped 685 points. It's the seventh-largest percentage drop in history, and the largest point total ever. They look as if someone's died. The news anchor goes on to mention that the largest hedge fund in the U.S. -- Gerhman-Driscoll -- filed for bankruptcy before the opening bell. Jed comments, "Yeah, it's a proud day for Alfred Nobel." Hee. Charlie comes in to get Jed for his photo op. Jed asks Sam when he thinks he should say something. Sam says he should if Japan doesn't step up. As Jed leaves, he asks Charlie to remind him of the name of the person with whom he's having the photo op; it's Muriel Keith.

Jed walks into the Mural Room and shakes hands with Mr. Keith. Jed says he told his granddaughter that he would be meeting Mr. Keith, and asked her what questions she would like him to ask Mr. Keith. She told him to ask Mr. Keith who, of all the Presidents he's met, was his favourite President. Jed confidently assured her that Mr. Keith would say it was Bartlet. Mr Keith -- whose voice puts me vaguely in mind of Mr. Magoo -- says, "No, no...um, Mr. Truman. He was a good man." Jed tries to save face: "Okay, well...I was just kidding. But sure, Truman. If you like that kind of thing." The photographer tells them he'll be ready in a moment. Jed asks Mr. Keith how old he was when he met Hoover. Mr. Keith says he was nine. It was on his birthday: October 23, 1929. Jed thinks about that, and then mentions that the day after Mr. Keith shook hands with Hoover, the Great Depression started. I guess that's one of those dates that no economist -- even one with a memory as bad a Jed's -- can forget. That's not Black Tuesday, by the way: that was October 29, 1929. What I've read is that October 24 is the day people started selling their stocks as fast as humanly possible, and I guess Jed's using this date as the beginning of the Great Depression, although I think it's more common to use the 29th. Mr. Keith is not particularly fazed by this observation. Jed says that the stock market took "a stumble" today: "We'll call it a little bigger than a pre-rally decline. If you watch the news or read a newspaper or really are alive in any way, you're going to hear about it in the next couple of hours." Jed rambles that he's not worried, because Tokyo opens at 7:00 PM EST, and Tokyo's going to be his mother's milk tonight: it's in the bag. Has he had even less sleep than Sam?

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West Wing

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