Inside the Oval Office, Toby tells Jed he'd like him to talk to Russell about handling some of the right-to-die flak. Jed says: "Yeah, he said Will brought it up?" Toby is surprised to learn that they've already discussed it. Jed says it won't work, and that Leo's hoping the AG will back down: "If not, C.J. puts it in a Christmas Eve briefing, restates our position, it's gone by Boxing Day." Toby: "We just had a huge victory, and we're looking at a month of Christmas carols, and the official ornament from the state of South Dakota. The press is itching for a story...." Jed says that the court will stop him: "There's no way...." Toby gently interrupts: "One in five patients requesting aid in dying has MS. One in five. Do you know what the questions sound like?" Jed thinks he has a pretty good idea. Toby wants to be sure: "'How long does the President think he has before his MS becomes debilitating?' 'Do his doctors anticipate a speedy decline?' 'Does he have a plan?' 'Does the First Lady have four glass vials and a syringe in a lockbox in the nightstand?'" Somehow Jed manages to keep a ghost of a smile on his face, and when Toby stops, he says, "She may chicken out -- maybe I'll call you." Toby: "That's the conversation, sir. It won't be 'Controlled Substances Act' or 'federal overreaching' or anything else. I don't think we're ready to have that conversation with the American public." Jed stares off in another direction.
Leo ambles over to where Josh is standing by his fax machine (come on, you know he thinks of it as "his") and asks if he spoke to Doug. Josh is all weirdly tentative and deferential in this scene. Things still aren't normal between these two. Leo asks if he took it okay. Josh: "He did, you know, he really did." Leo approves and walks away, followed by Josh, saying nothing. Leo notices that he's being shadowed and asks, "You wanna carry my books or something?" Heh. Josh indicates he's not sure Doug got the message. Leo thinks that if he didn't take it personally, so much the better. Josh thinks Doug still thinks he's running, explaining that he took it more like a cautionary tale. Leo: "Oh, for the luvaGawd..." Josh: "He's resilient, which isn't such a bad thing in a candidate." Or he's obtuse, which is. Leo: "He's going to show up at dinner, popping champagne corks and the President's going to be stuck delivering the news in front of the guy's wife and his mother-in-law. You have to go back and tell him no, in no uncertain terms. Draw a picture if you need it: a ballot in a circle with a line through it." As Leo's barking this order, Josh is nodding and apologizing in such a nervous, obsequious way that it's almost like he's a cartoon character. Yikes. I hope he pulls himself together soon.