Leo wants to talk about the results of a DNC poll: POTUS's job approval is down to 49%; Abby's is eleven points higher. Josh notes that "strong leader" is down and "handling of economy" is way down. Leo thinks that people don't feel safe in the world and economically secure. Rockin' insight, Leo. Toby says that they love the President at a barbecue: "Not so much with the nuclear launch codes." Josh says that those in the White House are not the ones who voted down the stimulus package. Leo says they have to get that message out, and to that end, Toby's working on a message calendar: "When the President signs off, we treat it like it's chiselled stone. No more lurching from issue to issue. No more governors' brother-in-laws' Bar Mitzvahs driving the schedule, just a positive message: opportunity and security, one day at a time." Will pipes up: "Except Fridays." Someone's handed Toby a note, and Toby says that 217 military promotions that were supposed to pass Senate last night were put on anonymous hold. Josh says it's Chris Carrick. See what I mean about the names? This guy is about the fifteenth Chris on this show. They're just fuckin' with me now. Leo wonders why a conservative Democrat would do this. Josh says he threatened it last week when he stiffed the White House on the stimulus package. C.J.: "So much for opportunity and security." Toby complains about fighting their own party over the military. Josh says there's no fight, and that he'll take care of it. Leo says that he'll take care of it, and dismisses everyone. Josh insists to Leo that he can handle Carrick. Margaret comes in to tell Leo that POTUS is ready in the Residence. Leo tells Josh that it's not a thing, and that he thinks he's a "little hot" after last week. Josh tells him, "This is what I do. You got time to wrangle a Senator on the Hill?" Leo relents, and says he got a message from Legislative Affairs about the fact that the HHS appropriations bill is being reopened. Josh feigns ignorance. Leo asks if he knows about this. Josh totally lies that he doesn't. Leo says he'll find out. Josh runs into Donna, as he walks away from Leo, and tells her he needs Amy. Donna asks what's wrong; Josh just reiterates his request.
Leo and Charlie are in the Residence kitchen with Jed, who asks, "What's the problem with the Belgian elections, Leo?" Leo asks if this is the start of a riddle. It isn't: Jed's mad about an intelligence briefing. "The anti-immigrationists are gaining in the north! It doesn't say why or how." Leo asks if he wants more on the Flemish Bloc. Jed: "I want a CIA briefer here in person every morning. Why'd I get this on paper?" He gulps the dregs of some cereal from a bowl and puts it in the sink. Aw, he cleans up after himself! More or less. Whatta guy. Charlie reminds Jed that there's a rule against briefers in the family quarters. Jed growls that that was Abby's rule, and asks what's next. Charlie tells him he's got budget review, and Toby needs him to sign off on the message calendar. Jed waves his arm in the air dismissively as he gets something from the fridge. Leo says it can't wait over the weekend: "It's been months since we had a clear message coming out of this building..." Jed interjects, "It's been months since we reduced a $2 trillion government to poll-tested bromides. You think James Madison ran his Presidency off a message calendar?" Leo: "Probably, yes." Jed gathers up his things with annoyance: "'Life' on Mondays, 'liberty' on Wednesdays, 'shaking off the yoke of a tyrannical monarch' on alternate Thursdays." Hee. I usually enjoy a pissed-off Jed. Coat flip! Leo says that Toby needs his okay this morning, and mentions the HHS appropriations: "Remember our violence prevention initiative?" Jed grumbles that the Republicans gutted it: "Because 'domestic violence isn't a public health issue.' As if spousal abuse were part of the Atkins Diet." Leo says that the Republicans just reopened the bill and added back every penny. Jed: "Just like that." Jed's ready to leave, and Leo promises him more on the Flemish thing. Charlie and Leo exchange glances as they leave. You can't actually see Leo's face when he does it, but you can easily imagine his expression. Hey, those are nice antique samplers on the wall there. I wonder if they're real.