Back in Sam's office, Mallory is, not surprisingly, upset. She's having a little trouble believing that, given Sam's considerable speech writing talents (the details of which she's alarmingly aware), it's really essential that he personally write this message. Mallory tells him that if he didn't want to go he should have just said so and if he started to "chicken out" he should have called. She walks out but Sam follows her to explain that this is something that just came up. She quite rightly counters that a fiftieth birthday is something you can pretty much see coming. He begs for a half-hour to do another draft, whereupon Mallory gets that same boll-weevil-in-the-egg-salad look her father does so well. She can't quite believe he has to do more than one draft of a birthday card. He promises that they'll get to the opera in time for the second act and that there'll be plenty of death and shrieking left. She reluctantly agrees to wait.
Commercials: marginally cute Radio Shack ad, guilt-inducing PSA for blood donation, stupid car ad, Law & Order preview, former roommate of mine uses his toast to prop up wobbly table so he can eat his Eggo waffles without consternation, preview ad for yet another Canadian drama (give it up already).
Back at the White House: in a conference room a meeting is breaking up. Toby is gathering up his things as Josh comes in to tell Toby that he thinks it was Toby's friend Crane who blindsided them with the rider, not Broderick and Eaton. Toby's unfazed by this. Josh can't understand why this doesn't seem to bother him, but Toby says that's not it, it's just that he feels like it's over and he doesn't care how it happened, he just wants to move on. Josh can't believe that Toby wants to tell the President to sign the bill. They argue a bit about how badly they got screwed; Josh insists he still has a few hours to work on the problem. Toby, dejected, tells Josh to suit himself as he walks out.
Cut to C.J. arriving at the President's office. She breaks the news about what she had to offer Danny to get him to drop the Cabinet meeting story. POTUS considers this for a moment and agrees. C.J. then tells him that she's pretty sure it wasn't Hoynes who talked. Jed insists, "Sure it was." She indicates that she's pretty sure it was the secretary. Jed looks up, genuinely surprised. "Mildred?" (I am somewhat surprised that he remembers her name, but that's just the kind of down-to-earth Commander-in-Chief we've got here, apparently.) He thinks about this for a bit and tells her to drop it.