C.J.'s in her coat and scarf, standing in front of Jed's desk, describing all the folderol attending the lighting of the tree. The camera slowly swings around to show us dear little Gus, in coat and goofy hat, sitting in Jed's chair, listening to all this, quite unmoved. C.J. tells him his mother and grandfather will be along any minute. Kid still says nothing. Seriously, I have met staplers with more verve and personality than this squirt. C.J. -- who must be one of the most highly paid babysitters in the country at the moment -- asks, "So what did you think of the Three Tenors?" Stone silence. If this is supposed to be funny or cute, it's neither. The kid is as compelling as a package of paper towels.
Jed comes out of the Mural Room, and Debbie -- who's been hanging out by the door -- springs to life. Jed asks if Nancy McNally's in her office, and I foolishly get my hopes up, thinking we're going to see Anna Deavere Smith. Debbie thinks so, and suggests that she could send Nancy in right after the tree rehearsal. Jed: "Come again?" Debbie explains that Liz is worried that the little moppet may be overwhelmed by all the hoopla related to the tree-lighting, so they want to practice. Jed says: "Flipping a switch?" Jed thinks: "This is my grandchild? I want a DNA test." He insists that Gus will be fine, and that Ellie can show him, because she did it one year in New Hampshire. Well, I'll bet the crowd for that event wasn't nearly as large as the one for the White House affair. Also, Ellie's nowhere around. Which seems to occur to Jed: "Ellie's not here yet?" Debbie: "Uh...topic for another time." Jed tells Debbie to push the rehearsal, and that he has to talk to Nancy. He stops to demand, "Is Ellie even coming?" Debbie claims that Ellie's working on it. Jed pedegrouses, "One would never know that the leaders of powerful nations respond to my call on a moment's notice." Debbie: "Not at first glance, sir...no." Man, her clothes are awful. She's wearing a tan Mandarin-collared tunic with a Chinese botanical print on it, a long brown vest over it, and a big doofy flower pinned on it with some other crap affixed to the flower.
Toby walks into Will's office which, for reasons I have yet to fully understand, is still next to Toby's. Surely somewhere in the OEOB there's a Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue in which they could stick the VPOTUS's Communications Director? I like that Will's working for Russell, but I can't help wondering if the writers actually, you know, thought it all the way through. Toby hands Will a speech insert for Russell's address to the American Nursing Association and walks out, without getting into what it is. Will: "In his first big health-care speech?" Toby says it's going to come up during the question period anyway: "Might as well nip it in the bud." Will follows Toby into his office, asking, "By making his first speech to the medical community about assisted suicide? Are you kidding? Are you people trying to kill me?" Toby: "We're trying to make sure you can move to Oregon and kill yourself." Ha! Toby says they need to place "some distance between the President and..." Will interjects, "You know how this thing polls? Forty-eight percent of Americans consider it a right. Forty-six percent of Americans consider it morally reprehensible. It is the definition of a lose-lose issue." Toby explains, "The AG's back-dooring this on a technicality. We're going to wait until the courts knock it down -- which they will. Meanwhile, he's usurping the policy prerogative of the President! We need somebody to remind the public that it wasn't our decision." Will replies, "You guys are asking me to groom a backwater Congressman..." Toby says they didn't ask him to groom Russell for a Presidential run: "He asked you!" Will says he was chosen by the President. Toby: "He was chosen by the Republicans!" Will mentions that he has a budget to finalize. Toby: "I'm sorry, I'm sure you're going to pull a great Eliza Doolittle here..." Will: "Your confidence is touching." Toby: "Meanwhile, if the Vice-President would be so kind, in between campaign stops, could he do the President this favour?" Will says he'll run it past Russell.