West Wing
Process Stories

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POTUS Interruptus

Sam and Donna arrive out in the bullpen just in time to see the report from Newport Beach. Sam sighs gently, knowing what's coming. As the very excited reporter begins her segment, Sam asks Bonnie and Ginger to get him Will Bailey and Kay Wilde very quickly, but I'm not sure they hear him, especially since everyone's applauding this unlikely Democratic victory. But there's Bonnie on the phone in the background. Sam bounces up and down nervously as the reporter says that Chuck Webb has conceded the election. Sam asks again for Will Bailey as Donna watches Sam. The anchor asks the reporter who the Democrats might run in the special election. Sam: "Get him! Gotta get him!" I'm thinking that ship's sailed, Sam. The reporter says that there's no official word yet, but that she can report a rumour that's been making the rounds. Sam, exasperated: "Of course you can! Why not?" The reporter makes her announcement as the people around him in the room fall silent. Sam looks at the stunned faces surrounding him, especially Bonnie's, and says quietly to the guy next to him, "They're talking about someone else," as the news program throws up a picture of him. Sam suddenly calls out, wondering if anyone knows where Toby, Josh, and C.J. are. He hustles into the hallway shouting for them; Larry tells them, "They're over in the...thing." Sam makes his way through a crowd of people, quickly saying "Hi" to one of them, then through the empty hall near Donna's cubicle until he arrives in C.J.'s office, which is lit with lamps with gauzy red scarves draped over them, candles, and a blue lava lamp. Toby, Josh, and C.J. are there. C.J.'s on the phone, and she says to Josh, "Sam Donaldson from the ABC Nightly News program is on the phone. He'd like to know if the President is endorsing Sam." Josh asks Toby if POTUS is endorsing Sam. Toby, smoking a stogie, says he doesn't know. "He's asleep, but let's go ask him." Sam just looks exasperated. They all get up to go and Sam says, "All right," and closes C.J.'s door. Credits.

Sam says that it's extremely easy to explain: "First of all...okay...how familiar are the three of you with Aristotle?" Josh, Toby, and C.J. all start talking at once, and Sam says he said it for the widow: "She wanted a name for election night and I said, 'Use my name,' not thinking for a second it was ever going to be a practical option. Can I ask, is your office now The House of Rising Sun?" He gestures to a scarf-covered lamp. C.J.: "Yes." Toby: "You did it for the widow." Sam: "Yes, and for a guy I met named Will Bailey who was running the campaign and worked his ass off and never backed off and, by the way, navigated a dead liberal Democrat to a win against Chuck Webb! Five hundred races tonight, that was pretty impressive. Though it was an Aristotelian confluence of events that could only happen to me." He sighs. Toby glances at C.J. Sam says he has to talk to the widow. C.J. advises him to talk to POTUS first. She reminds him that Bartlet will be asked about it first thing in the morning, and shouldn't be left in the position of looking like a clueless dummy. Sam sees the wisdom of this and takes off. As he leaves, Toby watches him go and then turns back to Josh and C.J. with the sweetest little smile on his face. It's hard to say whether he's amused at Sam's predicament or busting with pride, or both -- though I prefer to believe the latter -- but it's adorable as heck.

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West Wing




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