Filing back into the war room from the singing, Santos HQ hears the same thing. And with that, the talking heads call California for Vinick. Oregon and Nevada are the only states left without a verdict; to win, Santos must claim both of them. Josh orders all of the campaign's lawyers mobilized there immediately, Santos manages a nervous grimace at Helen, and they all scuttle off.
3:30 AM CST. The ballroom crowd is alternately napping and reading, and there's a whole lot of news coverage narration recapping the two remaining states and the possible legal brouhaha to follow. We're gonna need a montage! Everyone's doing a lot of highlighting and murmuring. Vinick is watching on his couch as his daughter and granddaughters sleep on the sofa next to him. Helen types away on the computer. Fine! I get it! We're waiting! Even I'm bored. Lou and Bram enter, and Santos asks if the concession speech is ready, but she only replies that he won't need it. Ignoring her, he asks that they make sure to assure the public that the loss is not a racial issue, to which Lou agrees, and as she walks out, Santos tells Bram to get the number for Vinick. Wow, this all sounds so similar to something I just typed up from another candidate's hotel room. Out in the hall, Lou runs up to Bram, all munchkin-like, and orders him to check with her before giving Santos the number. Bram, in a dim moment, explains beseechingly that Santos asked for it, and I love Lou for saying "If I didn't know what he said, why would I tell you to ignore it?" Yeah, Bram.
Bruno's pouring coffee, which Bob comments on. Wait a second, is this to tell us that they have been up and might be tired? Bruno: "I was just going to mainline adrenaline. Couldn't find a clean needle." Bruno seems really not amused. They sit down, and Bob offers that they should go into business after the election: "Ying and Yang Political Consultants, Inc. Our motto can be, 'It ain't about the ideals, it's about the money, stupid.'" Bruno actually chuckles: "Pithy -- you don't think it might scare off prospective clients?" Bob: "Only the neophytes. We'd be fighting off five-term congressmen with a stick." Soberly, he adds, "Seriously, we should talk about it." Bruno seems surprised that Bob wouldn't stay with Vinick, but when he starts listing the perks of working in a Vinick administration -- such as a tiny cubicle -- his opinion of the job becomes clear. Bob says that he much prefers the competition to making things work in office. Bruno tells him sincerely, "Thanks. But I am done." He wants to go to Essex County, to his big house, where he can plant flowers. Bob's face mirrors mine: his eyebrows actually seem to hover above his hairline, he's so skeptical, but damned if Bruno doesn't at least sound serious this very moment.