West Wing
Han

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Will knocks on the door to the Oval Office and Jed, in the middle of a phone conversation, waves him in. Jed hangs up and says, "Parlous. It's like I was talking to John C. Calhoun." Jed cuts to the chase and tells Will that the speech announcing Russell as VPOTUS needs more "altitude." He wants it to be "loftier." He asks, "If I don't sound enthused, how do we expect the country to get excited about this guy?" Jed asserts that Will's not very excited about him. Will: "Oh, no...I mean, sure...I mean, I'm not not excited about him." Jed says that the speech reads the way Will just sounded: "Let's take the equivocation out of it."

Toby and Leo are walking through the halls as Toby states that Will's working out: "The President loved the Zoey speech." The one he mangled himself with all the Biblical references? Leo says they all did. Toby tells Leo he's going to start doing other things. Leo: "What other things?" Toby: "We're drifting." Leo says they've had some stuff to deal with. Toby: "Which has left us kind of drifting. We need to refocus, get back on message." He says he'll start on that, "since Will's working out." Leo points out that Jed's not crazy about the draft of the Russell speech.

Toby and Leo go into the Roosevelt Room as POTUS also arrives. As the meeting begins, Jed asks for the bad news. Larry says that there are some troubling indicators. Things are heading south, pursuant to Zoey's abduction and the bombing in Turkey. Larry says, "Signs indicate we could be sliding toward..." He glances at Josh, next to him, and says, "...bagel." Josh explains that they use that word to avoid saying the R-word. The guy at the end of the table -- someone I don't remember ever seeing and who will henceforth be known as EOTT (end of the table) Guy -- helpfully adds, "Recession." Isn't Toby going to say "Then go outside, turn around three times, and spit! What the hell's the matter with you?" Talk about drifting. Jed says, "What I need is your recommendation for keeping us out of..." He turns to Leo and asks, "I really don't have to call it that, do I?" Leo says that of course he doesn't. He continues, "For keeping us out of a...thing." EOTT Guy says they do nothing: "The tech bubble led to over-investment. This is a normal correction." Some other guy says they don't know that. EOTT Guy says, "Bubbles burst. That's why they're called 'bubbles.'" Toby suggests telling that to the 1.2 million people who just lost their jobs. Josh: "Phone 'em. They're home." Hee. EOTT Guy says that a reduction of twenty-five basis points will stop the bleeding. The "some other guy" guy says they can't just leave it to the Fed: "It will look like we're asleep at the switch." Larry suggests a stimulus package. EOTT Guy sneers at increasing the deficit. Bartlet looks sort of bored and annoyed, and Leo notes this. Some Other Guy Guy suggests a temporary increase in the standard deduction. Jed says, "Which helps not at all the bottom 40% of wage earners who don't pay income tax! We have to stop, or I'm going to start shooting people, starting with myself." He gets up and says, "I asked for a recommendation, not a debate. Wake me when there's a consensus." He leaves, and Leo grouses, "What's the matter with you guys? Man's got a Nobel in this." Leo departs for another meeting.

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West Wing

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