West Wing
Opposition Research

Episode Report Card
LTG: B- | 3 USERS: A+
Lovers' Spat

Santos is talking to a small group of voters outside of what looks like a post office. He's talking about the need for education reform, while trying to avoid details. But one woman just tries to press him to agree that there would be no tax increase. Josh and Ronna are looking on from the sidelines. A minivan (or maybe another SUV, who can tell) pulls up, and Donna gets out. She gives a cheerful "hi" as she walks up to Josh and Ronna. Donna reaches out to shake Ronna's hand, and Ronna introduces herself: "Ronna." Donna: "Actually, it's Donna." Ronna: "I'm pretty sure it's Ronna." Josh heads off Who and I Don't Know before they head round home base and introduces them to each other. And then he asks Ronna if he can have a few minutes alone with Donna. Ronna leaves, but Donna tells Josh that she should have stuck around: "Your whole campaign is like some Dr. Seuss nightmare. 'One fish, two fish, dead fish, we fought the good fight fish.'" Josh has a nice rejoinder: "As opposed to 'the cat in the imitation cowboy hat fell flat'?" Donna: "Go ahead, hop on Bob." I didn't catch that last line until I was writing the recap, and it was far away the funniest thing in the episode. Josh tells Donna, "You should be with me. You're in the wrong campaign." Josh asks her what "make-work job" she's doing in the Russell campaign. Donna: "Media targeting for the northeast and Pacific northwest." On hearing that, I think Josh might have actually demonstrated the tiniest spark of awareness of how much he has underestimated Donna all these years. Josh tells Donna that the Santos campaign is the one that has "the gutsy education plan [and is] speaking the truth about the New Hampshire primary." Donna tells him about the meaningful issues of local concern that Russell has been speaking about on his trips to New Hampshire, and Josh accuses Bob of pandering. Donna thinks Bob is just talking about "what voters want. Campaigns are about them, not us. You taught me that." Josh asks her if she came just to deliver his old truisms, and she tells him she's actually there to deliver "letters from Russell supporters to the DNC, urging them to protect the New Hampshire primary." As she walks away, she turns back to him and says, "You ought to deliver some of those truisms yourself." It's great to see Donna stand up for herself in a meaningful way. Backbone is a good look for her.

Josh enters his office to find a Bingo Bob cutout, complete with a shiny red bow over the heart. Josh muses aloud, "The least you could do is send me the one with the noose." Josh picks up a marker and draws a Snidely Whiplash moustache on the cutout. A volunteer calls to him from the main floor of the office -- I just realized that Josh's office is in a kind of loft that overlooks what would have been the main sales floor of the store. In any case, the volunteer tells him that there's "a Mr. Potus on the line." Josh picks up the phone, and in a couple of seconds, he's put through to the President. Jed tells him that he heard from Liz that Josh looks like hell. We see Jed in the Office of O., signing some papers that are being handed to him by a secretary who is not Debbie. Did Lily Tomlin get fired or something? 'Cause I miss her. Jed also seems to have recovered his balance, because he is standing behind his desk. Jed apologizes for Doug's jerkwad behavior, saying, "If you ever have daughters, Josh, don't let 'em run off and marry pinheads." Josh says he understands why Doug did it, and Jed says he feels bad that Josh took a bullet for him: "I'm the one that didn't want Doug to run." Jed tells Josh he knows it looks like Jed's for Russell, but that he feels like he can't say anything without appearing to take a position. And then he tells Josh, "Take down these numbers." Josh grabs a pen as Jed recites "Six to twenty-four over six." Apparently, that stands for the number of spots that New Hampshire fell in the national drop-out rate over the last six years. Jed thinks it's important for Santos to be able to say why he's talking about education, and that he thinks it's okay for Santos to run against his record because, in Jed's own words: "I haven't done enough." He tells Josh that he hopes to see him when Josh is in Washington, and they end the call. Josh picks up the matchbook on which he wrote down the numbers and sets it on fire, dropping the burning paper into an a convenient ashtray. Commercials.

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West Wing




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