West Wing
Inauguration, Part I

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A Thoroughly Unimportant Country

Leo runs into some senator who asks Leo about the rumour that POTUS is contemplating a new doctrine for the use of force. Leo says that the President is nothing if not contemplative: "The man makes the Prince of Denmark seem reactionary." The senator is concerned that Jed's going to talk about it right now. Leo: "He's the Commander-in-Chief; he's going to reserve the right to, you know, command. Get yourself some punch." He takes off, only to run into another disgruntled politician he greets as "Mr. Leader," who says that he's assured a dozen members that the White House won't act without them. Leo: "Then you're all set." Leo directs him to some cheese and takes off. Cheese and punch? That's what you get when you're inaugurated? Isn't that more like a Tupperware party menu? Leo finally gets to talk to Jed. Apparently it's time for the traditional "men talk about what women are wearing for fancy parties" exchange. Leo, with evident delight, says he saw the dress Abby's wearing for the ball. Jed: "Yeah, I may need to get a room." I can't help but wonder why Leo happens to have seen Abby's dress. Also, I'm wondering if he's actually wearing a pink shirt or if the lighting in this scene is just that weird. Leo asks if Jed knows it's leaked. He does. He says he's been reminded by three people already of what Jefferson said in his Inaugural speech. Leo: "'Peace, commerce, honest friendship with all nations, and entangling alliances with none.'" Jed says the problem is that when Jefferson said that, the best chance of getting entangled with an ally was in a rowboat.

Just then, Charlie comes up with a Bible which he hands to Jed, who opens the book and reads, "'Donnie's Motel'? They didn't have one in the House Library?" Charlie: "This is the one from the House Library." Jed says okay as some dude we only see a tiny bit of comes out and says, "Mr. President." Jed looks up, smiles, and says, "Mr. Chief Justice." I guess they couldn't get Rehnquist for a cameo. They're saving that money to bring Zoey's tiresome French boyfriend back, I just know it. Have you seen the fares for Mandyville? Why do you think people go there and rarely return?

Monday Morning. Six Days Before Inauguration. Jed's at the podium in the Briefing Room; C.J.'s coaching him on what to do during the swearing-in. Jed's being a smart-ass about it. He's good at it, too. C.J.'s hair looks like she got caught in the rain and was forced to restyle it with her fingers. In the dark. Jed asks for the foreign policy section of the speech to be put on the teleprompter. Toby says it will take a second. He chuckles as he reads something. Jed wants to know what's funny. Toby says the Chief Justice wrote a dissenting opinion in Sea Northern vs. Arizona, saying that "an association between asbestos and a higher risk of cancer in later life was insufficient to merit relief." Jed's all, so what? Toby smiles and laughs and explains that the opinion is written in what Toby is almost certain is trochaic tetrameter. He looks to Will for support on this; Will agrees. Jed asks what they're talking about. There ensues a discussion of the Chief Justice's mad prosody skillz, which include such gems as "Fear of cancer from asbestos/fuzzy science manifestos." Toby says somebody just faxed this to Will. Jed's not sure which one is Will; Toby points him out. Will waves. Toby explains trochaic tetrameter to POTUS. I suspect somebody made a bet with Aaron Sorkin that he couldn't work the phrase "trochaic tetrameter" into a script and get it on the air. It's like his own little version of the recapper's Rae Dawn Chong Challenge. I bet he's collecting his money right now. The staff members get back to preparing POTUS, who reads from the prompter, "'America cannot be the world's policeman. America cannot enforce its own standards, its own values across the world. Yet when it's in our clear and vital interest...' We're being candid, at least." Toby says it's State Department language. Jed knows: "Look, I understand I present a uniform gap, but I want to mean what I say." Toby tells Will he's going to meet with the State Department Communications Director, who likes to have input into foreign policy language. Will wonders if he isn't going to be insulted by meeting with a nobody like himself. Though he doesn't put it that way. Toby: "I would really think so." Maybe Will's still being hazed. Leo says that's all, and the meeting breaks up.

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