Toby's waiting for someone. I think he's in that room behind the Briefing Room. Polk comes in and tells Toby he's a hard man to reach today. Toby tells him that they're speaking off the record; Polk agrees. Toby asks Polk not to write his story, in exchange for an exclusive or ten after it's over. He promises something big. Polk: "Bigger than a fifth of the federal budget? Bigger than fifty-one million monthly cheques?" Toby says that Polk's going to ruin Toby with the party: "You'll ruin us on fifteen different issues!" Polk suggests that Toby and Josh are playing good cop/bad cop: "Am I right?" Toby: "You're wrong. And the arrogance you have in assuming that...." Polk: "How about the arrogance of trying to reform a $400 billion program by manhandling Senators behind closed doors? With no public debate? Without organized labour? Without the AARP? Without the taxpaying public [sic] having any clue that they might have to work longer for less money? You also met with Brainerd, and I'm through talking off the record." He flips open his notepad. Toby asks when he's filing; Polk says it's tonight. He adds, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant, Toby." Toby gives him one of his mirthless smiles and replies, "For germs, maybe. Not the plague."
Toby walks into Josh's office, where Josh is apathetically watching some news report and snaps off the TV, saying, "I told you the $310K wasn't relevant." Josh mutters that he's making it relevant. Toby shuts the door and says, "I don't want it relevant." Josh stands up and asks, "Are you dealing on Social Security?" He adds that he went on record denying it. Toby doesn't answer, but just says, "Stop the stunts!" Josh: "I've gotten calls from half a dozen Democratic Senators thrilled to see signs of political life in this building. They're planning to run on Social Security. They don't want it dealt away." Toby says that what he's doing doesn't concern the political department. Josh: "Meaning, it's bad politics." Toby shouts, "Meaning, knock it off!" Josh: "You know the electorate's ten percent older in the off-years and more culturally conservative? The only two advantages we have in the midterms are Social Security and Medicare. We take them off the table, we got nothing!" Toby insists that there is no table. Josh: "Then why do you care what I do to Gaines?" Before he can answer, Marina comes in, saying, "Mr. Ziegler, there's someone...you're needed in your office right away." Toby gives Josh a slightly guilty, slightly pained look. Josh just raises his eyebrow slightly as Toby takes off. I'm sure nobody at all heard this argument. God, is it just me, or is this the most half-assed attempt at keeping something on the QT in American history?