Donna's hanging around in a commercial kitchen somewhere. A chef asks her, "Donnatella, you want me to fix you up a piece of salmon?" Donna: "No thanks, Giuseppe." He offers some fettucine: "Beano's using a new cream." Beano? I don't know. That's what the closed captioning says. Donna says she tried it last week at the technology conference: "It's the best. Listen, the dais still exits through here, right?" Giuseppe says she can go in there and just stand in the back. Another chef -- I'm calling him Harvey -- tells him that she's trying not to scare somebody: "Would you leave the child alone?" The child? Oy. Giuseppe: "I'm trying to feed her some food." Harvey says to Donna that Giuseppe's spent all his twenty-two years in D.C. in the kitchen and he doesn't know how things work. Giuseppe: "Maybe I could learn something if I beat you about the head with a sturdy ladle." Suddenly Ellen comes through the kitchen, and when she spots Donna she says, "Wow. You know what you are? You're the little aide who could." Donna says, "She wasn't on the dais." Ellen says she had to cancel and she read a letter in Hardin's absence. Donna starts to say something when her cell phone rings. It's Josh. She says, "That's great…who? All right." She tells Ellen, "We've got two yes votes, McMichael and Schapp. The Senator can come out of the woods." Donna takes off. We see a shot of a woman sitting behind a desk, with another woman and a man standing around her desk. She hangs up the phone with a look I read as trepidation. I guess that's Hardin.
Will meets up with Elsie in the Mess. She tells him a fairly weary old Jewish mother joke. Will says humourlessly that it's good. Elsie: "You like it?" Will: "Yeah, if the President's been booked into Ha-Ha's in Cleveland." Hmm. That was one of Sam's lines last year. Elsie wasn't suggesting it for the speech; she was just telling him a joke. Will says it was funny: "What do you want from me?" They pedeconference, going on and on about not much, politicians, voters, blah blah blah. Sorry, I just find Elsie too annoying to recap this in detail. And for some reason Danica McKellar's tone in this scene is particularly grating. I hope she's not on here much, because I enjoy Josh Malina and want to cover his scenes but I really can't take her, and she's more likely to have scenes with him than anyone else. Will mentions a quotation from Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is five minutes with the average voter." They're in front of his office now, and he thanks her for the coffee. She calls him Willy, which he tells her not to do. She says that he took the office of a guy who "obviously became part of the family." She says the other staffers will "stop with the bicycles and Seaborn posters and the cold shoulder." Will knows. He insists he's focused. Elsie: "Hey, cool goat…when'd you get it?" Will turns into his office, dismissing her with, "Professional comedian, Elsie…" When he sees the goat, he cries, "Aah!" The goat is tethered to his desk. Elsie says she thinks it's great that he keeps oats in the office, just in case. He tells her to leave now: "I'm focused, please." She leaves. Will regards the goat, which makes a baa-ing sound. Will: "Right."
Toby comes to see Josh: "What's going on?" Josh says Donna tried to flush her out: "And she did it well, but…she named names." Josh explains that Hardin's staff made two phone calls and the Senator crawled back into her hidey-hole. Toby sighs and announces that Hoebuck's crazy. He explains to Josh what Hoebuck wants, probably expecting Josh to join in with trashing the craziness of it all, but instead Josh gets incredibly interested in the fact that this guy's vote can be bought for the bargain basement price of $115,000. Toby fires up his church-and-state objection, but Josh says, "I don't care if we're investing in communion wafers." Is that a growth industry? I don't know. Toby repeats his objection; Josh says they'll deal with that problem tomorrow. Toby says he already dealt with it today. Josh: "Not yet, and the clock's running." He's taking it to Leo.