West Wing
In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen, Part I

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In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen, Part I

At the bleak-looking VFW hall in Nashua -- where, believe me, it's not an SRO event -- Governor Bartlet is rattling on about economics, his area of specialty. Behind him on the stage, the New Hampshire flag (you know, "Don't tread on me") is hanging sideways. Toby's sitting alone on a table at the back. Some tool in a suit comes over to him and asks what Bartlet's going to say if he's asked about the New England DFC. Toby says he doesn't know. The Tool asks if Toby talked to him, which Toby confirms, and asks what Bartlet's going to say. Toby says again that he doesn't know. The Tool keeps pestering Toby about it and asks him a third time what the Governor will say. Toby replies, "I have no new information since the last time you asked me that question." Bartlet's fielding a question about taxes and is blathering on to a woman in the audience about how married people seem to be penalized tax-wise. The Tool accuses Toby, "You told him to go ahead and piss off the dairy farmers, didn't you?" Toby is looking more and more annoyed. He finally says that he asked Bartlet about his vote, Bartlet told him, and he advised him that if asked about it tonight, he should. Piss off the dairy farmers, that is. "It's the easiest thing to remember: tell the truth." The Tool asks Toby, "Do you enjoy losing?" Toby states, "Not that much, no. Then again, I have nothing to compare it to." The Tool wanders back to the other side of the room to stand with all the other tools on this campaign who fail to appreciate Toby's brilliance.

Back at the podium, Jed's wrapping up a long-winded answer to the woman in the audience. He finally asks, "You really didn't understand any of that, right?" She hedges: "A little." He says, "Me too." Another guy stands up and asks about Bartlet's having voted against the New England Dairy Farming Compact when he was a member of Congress. The fellow complains that that vote hurt him to the tune of maybe ten cents a gallon. The Big Tool glares at Toby. We see that Josh is sitting at the back of the room. He appears to be working a crossword puzzle or something. He is completely uninterested. The dairy farmer continues, stating that he voted for Bartlet three times for Congress and twice for Governor. He wants an explanation. Bartlet looks uncomfortable and pauses. He finally says, "Ah...yep, I screwed you on that one." The farmer is like, "I'm sorry?" Bartlet says, "I screwed you. You got hosed." Josh looks up. Bartlet continues about how he put the hammer to a bunch of dairy farmers all over New England: "You guys got rogered, but good. Today for the first time in history, the largest group of Americans living in poverty are children. One in five children live in the most abject, dangerous, hopeless, back-breaking, gut-wrenching, poverty any of us could imagine. One in five, and they're children. If fidelity to freedom and democracy is the code of our civic religion, then surely the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says, 'we shall give our children better than we ourselves received.'" "Civic religion?" Um. He continues, "Let me put it this way: I voted against the bill 'cause I didn't want to make it harder for people to buy milk. I stopped some money from flowing into your pocket. If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. If you expect anything different from the President of the United States, you should vote for somebody else." Josh seems pretty intrigued now. Bartlet thanks them and leaves the stage. Josh does that slow clapping thing that I've only ever seen people do on TV.

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West Wing

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