Bartlet wraps up a phone conversation and declares, "I thought a degree in economics was plenty for this job. My kingdom for a plumbing license." He gets on the phone with Santos to let him know he's taking Vinick on his trip, and tells him outright that he knows this could help Vinick. "He's the senior Senator from California. If I do anything else I'm playing games with a national emergency." Santos is clearly disappointed. It's getting a bit harder to keep being the bigger person.
Bob and Bruno fight like children in front of Vinick as Bruno tells Vinick about the trip. Bruno thinks it's a blessing, while Bob thinks it's a potential disaster if something bad happens while he is there with the President. They bicker spitefully back and forth until Vinick interrupts to tell them he's going. "I represent the state. I'm taking that seat on Air Force One."
C.J. enters to deliver thing number seven or is it eight?...that is now going wrong. "The temporary pipeline that runs cool water to the core? It usually carries hot water, not cold " With that economics degree, Bartlet doesn't catch on right away. C.J. continues. "Imagine heating a glass to 700 degrees, then pouring ice water in it." "It's cracking," Jed concludes. C.J. tells him that this means the water level around the rods is dropping again, and that nothing more can be done to try and fix the valves from outside. They need to send someone in. "I'm guessing the radiation in there is above the acceptable dosage." C.J.: "Five times more, even with the anti-contamination gear." Worse still, the two engineers for the job are civilians, and there aren't any military engineers that could do the job in their place. He's quiet. "You think when they started engineering school, they imagined the President would ask them to risk their lives by prying open a piece of pipe?" He pauses, but concludes, "Let's send them in." He slumps back into his chair as C.J. leaves.
1:15 AM, Will is giving new announcements. He tells them about the cracking pipe, and that they are trying to lay new pipe while the two NRC engineers try to fix the valve from the inside. After questioning, he admits that it's dangerous, but something they are trained to do. The idea is that hopefully this is fixed before the gas builds up once again and has to be released. Reporters are asking questions about media reports, and Will again shuts down the rumors. "There're lots of people who think they know what's going on. Let me tell you who does: he briefs from this podium." Will, getting strong! I'm getting a little bit warm over here. And a spectacular frustrated response comes from one of the gallery: "This isn't the Kremlin, Will." (But if you could incorporate a furry hat, it would be entertaining.) "How do we know you're not covering something?" Wisely, Will uses this time to move on to his second announcement, that Bartlet and a delegation will be traveling to San Andreo the next day.