["I guess people cared less back then." -- deborah] Leo says, "I don't see a shortage of cameras or microphones around here. What the hell were you waiting for?" The Prez tries to interrupt, but Leo steamrolls over him, "Everything you do says, 'For God's sake, Leo, I don't want to be a one-term President.'" The Prez says, "Didn't I say, put our guys on the FEC?" Leo points out that he didn't, actually; he said, "Let's dangle our feet in the water of whatever the hell it is we dangle our feet in when we want to make it look like we're trying without pissing too many people off." I think Leo's paraphrasing, there. While Charlie tries to think of some excuse he can use to leave the room, the Prez declares, "You brought me in on teachers, you brought me in on capital gains, you brought me in on China, and you brought me in on guns." Leo says the Prez never declared a position on any of those issues, adding, "You dangle your feet, and I'm the hall monitor around here. It's my job to make sure nobody runs too fast, or goes off too far." Leo tells the Prez about Josh and Sam's adventures, and how they never get anywhere because everyone on the opposing side knew the Prez wouldn't take a stand. The Prez complains, "If I ever told you to get aggressive on campaign finance, or gays in the military, you would tell me, 'Don't run too fast or go too far.'" Leo says that if the Prez told him to get aggressive about any issue, he'd say, "I serve at the pleasure of the President." Leo goes on, "You want to see me mobilize these people, these people who would walk in fire if you told them to? These people who showed up to lead? These people who showed up to fight?" Charlie is dragged into the bloodletting, as Leo points out that Charlie wanted to go to the club opening despite the death threats he got for dating Zoey, but the Prez said he shouldn't go. Leo says, "This twenty-one-year-old, at six hundred dollars a week, said, 'I'm going where I want to, because a man stands up.'" A shout out to A Man Could Stand Up, by Ford Madox Ford? No, almost certainly not, but it's a good book, and I was reminded of it by that line. Leo says, "Everyone's waiting for you. I don't know how much longer." The Prez starts muttering, "I don't want to go to sleep like this." Leo says that he doesn't have to. The Prez whispers, "I want to speak." Leo says, "Say it out loud. Say it to me." I begin asking Niels and Johanna, who joined me to watch the show, "What the hell is happening? When did this become a therapy session?" The Prez says, "This is more important than re-election. I want to speak now." Leo makes him say that again, too, before responding, "We're in business." Leo says, "We got our asses kicked first quarter, but it's time to get up off the mat." He makes the Prez repeat his new mantra while scribbling on a legal pad. Leo says he's going to take the staff "off the leash." The Prez asks if Leo has a strategy planned. Leo says he has the beginnings of one, and shows the Prez what he's written: "Let Bartlet be Bartlet." Johanna begins muttering, "This is bad, this is bad." While the Prez stares at the note, perhaps wondering if Leo's fallen off the wagon, Leo hurries out to rejoin the rest of the staff in his office.
Episode Report CardStrega: B | 800 USERS: C+
YOU GRADE IT