West Wing
Message Of The Week

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Adiós, Leon. We Hardly Knew Ye.

At Vinick HQ, staffers are watching Vinick appear on Smartline with Kent Brockman. Er, I mean Hardball, with Chris Matthews. Matthews recaps the prior events (Border Patrol, vigilantes, guest worker bill -- you've already read it all). Matthews asks Vinick whether he risks confusing the voters with all his zigzagging left and right. Vinick gives a fine answer, but his hand gestures are awful. He looks like he's trying to reach out of the television set to touch the viewer. Sheila and Dan think his answer was perfect. Now Matthews asks Vinick why he's never done anything on any of these issues in the past, and whether he's doing something now just because his opponent is Latino. At Santos HQ, Josh and Bram are watching the program. Hmmmm, Josh is sure are spending a lot of time with Bram. I wonder if he's trying to make Santos jealous? Josh cheers on Matthew's hard questioning of Vinick. (Indeed, if Chris Matthews treated real politicians to this kind of insightful questioning, I might actually watch his show.) Vinick tries to avoid the question, and then claims that he's worked hard on these issues in the Senate. This is where a real campaign would be doing instant research (or drawing upon already completed research) to figure out whether that was true. Heck, if this were the Clinton campaign, they'd have a press release on Vinick's record on these issues ready by the time the show was over. But nobody at the Santos campaign even bothers to wonder if it's true that Vinick has worked on these issues. Vinick claims that, as a Senator, he could only do so much, and that he needs to be President to get any real work done. And then Matthews asks Vinick about the allegations that he gave a guarantee on judges to the anti-choice forces in his party. Vinick hems and haws, but Matthews doesn't let him off the hook, and Vinick is eventually forced to state that there will be no litmus test for the judges he appoints. George Rohr is watching from his own office, looking appropriately disturbed. Commercials.

Santos is in a hotel room, drinking a tiny glass of orange juice and getting dressed. There's a knock on the door, and Josh enters. Santos is surprised to see him -- they must not have had a booty calls scheduled for that day. They're in Chicago, by the way. Josh tells Santos that he just wanted to see what things were like on the road. Santos tells Josh that the candidate is exhausted. Yeah, I think he could use a backrub. Josh, throwing his backpack down on a chair, says, "I'll see what I can do about that." You can make your own joke. Santos thinks that Lou called Josh in so that they could double-team Santos. I don't think Lou goes in for the freaky stuff. Josh tells him that he's there to help tweak the message a bit by adding some stuff about the Supreme Court to the stump speech. Santos can't believe that Vinick would make an actual promise about judges, but Josh thinks it's a perfect opportunity to keep the press riled up about it so that they'll put pressure on Vinick. Santos wants to find a way to respond to Vinick about the issues he's raised in the last few days, but Josh wants to put him on the defensive about the judges first. The goal is to try to smoke out the person to whom Vinick allegedly made the promise.

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West Wing

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