The polls have apparently just closed in Kazakhstan. Hold on a second -- at 10:28 they were under two hours from opening. And now, at 1:28, they're closed? Do people only get to vote in a neat, hour-long window in Kazakhstan? I know this timeline makes it all the more dramatic, what with the nuclear accident, but I'm still confused. ANY-way, the Russian incumbent, Tarimov, has been declared the winner. Bartlet sighs, muttering, "Please tell me they counted the votes first." A weary-looking Kate reports that there's already harassment and beatings taking place, and Bartlet notes that since the election barely held the Chinese off from attacking, these results could cause an outright attack. At the same moment, C.J. is handed a note and says, "We've already got 'em. A pro-democracy riot's broken out in the Kazakh capital." At that moment, the voice on the radio in the sit room says that the engineers cannot get the second valve open.
In Vinick's office, he finishes that story by telling Bruno that they pulled the engineers out after 32 minutes, but still didn't stop the leak. Vinick and Bruno begin to argue about making a statement. Vinick understands that Bruno wants him to get Bartlet to say the magic words, "accidents happen," but he insists that he cannot wait until then to make any sort of statement. Vinick agrees with Bob that he needs to speak before he gets on the plane. "This wasn't a failure of nuclear technology. This was a regulatory screw-up." Bruno, speaking menacingly through his teeth, shoots back, "You point fingers now, and it will look like you are trying to avoid taking any responsibility for this." Vinick shoots back his arguments for nuclear power, and his frustration that "Every time they show that debate clip, it looks like I ran into that plant myself and spilled uranium on the floor!" Bruno, yelling now: "Santos is gonna hit us! You have to wait! That. Is how. We change. The story." Game of chicken, indeed. Vinick is still big-picture, that there are 31 states with nuclear plants, and depending on this evacuation, California might not even be an issue any more. (That calls for a "heh.") He knows that his voting for the plant "is out there, like a ticking time bomb. We can't control the politics of this. Not even close." He concedes that he'll talk to Bartlet about what he's saying, but as the California Senator, he's also going to make his own statement. You know what I've liked about this episode? Just seeing the candidates stick to their guns about what they want to do. Whether I agree or disagree, it's been nice to see actual conviction.