West Wing
Slow News Day

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C+ | 1 USERS: A+
Of Cabbages And Things

Toby approaches Senator Gaines on the steps opposite the Capitol Building and asks to speak to him. Uh, if no one's supposed to know anything about this, shouldn't he be a lot more cloak-and-dagger about this? It looks like a speech or press briefing just broke up. Yeah, there are hardly any reporters or cameras around. Not to mention, the guy that Gaines was walking with just stands there waiting and watching as Gaines and Toby walk away. Anyway, Toby tells Gaines his theory about how and why the Senator's not running for reelection: "And I'm offering you what I think could be the crowning achievement of your career." Gaines: "You want me to applaud the President more often?" Toby: "I want us to try to save Social Security. I'll bring the President along with a leading Senate Democrat to the table." Gaines: "Then we'll simonize the Hoover Dam?" Toby suggests they do this first. Gaines says that Toby's been good on this issue: "Your political hacks in the White House haven't." Toby says it will be a day without politics. Sure it will. Did he just stumble out of a Teletubby video? Gaines is skeptical, too: he says he'll suggest having personal savings accounts so that people can invest their own money, and "Josh Lyman's hatchet factory" will accuse him of turning Social Security into stock-market bingo. Toby assures him that everything's on the table. Gaines continues, saying he'll recommend trimming the cost-of-living adjustment, and that the opposition will brandish widows scraping by on monthly cheques of $740 and accuse him of wanting them to eat cat food. Toby insists again that everything is on the table: "I'm asking you to take one step, one small step toward greatness. You chair the Subcommittee, you're the one who can deliver House and Senate Republicans." Gaines: "Funny. I knew the perfect Republican to lead this in the House. Deeply committed to reform." Toby: "Senator, I...." Gaines: "Jim Carney was his name. And I think he's in a different line of work now." Toby: "Are you willing to let the trust fund go completely broke? 'Cause let's face it, that'll lead to the mother of all tax increases, or the total collapse of the system. Is that the legacy you want to leave? One step, Senator. That's all I'm asking." Gaines, thinking it over: "I'll need a Democrat. He'd better be a heavyweight."

Josh enters his office where Will's hanging around, saying that VPOTUS's speech to the Detroit Economic Club wasn't half bad. Will wants to talk about Russell's "presentation problem." Josh: "People agree with everything Russell says...." Will: "Until he says it." Josh says that the greatest sin in politics is to be bad on television. Which will explain a huge amount of what's wrong with politics, right there. Will wonders if Josh and Toby ever had presentation problems with POTUS. Josh: "First campaign, every speech was an eighteen-point plan for something or other." Will wonders what they did. Josh: "Gave him an eighteen-point plan to make his speeches snappier." Will: "Russell's instinct is to make fun of his blandness, salt his speeches with self-deprecating jokes." Josh: "Such as?" Will: "'Bob Russell is so dull, his Secret Service code name is Bob Russell.'" Josh smirks and says that's not bad. Will: "'Bob Russell's an inspiration to the millions of Americans who suffer from Dutch Elm disease.'" Josh says if he uses that, he's going to have a Sierra Club problem. Will: "That's where we used it." Josh says, "The problem is, telling people you're dull just removes all doubt. Russell needs to confound expectations, do something to really shock the party faithful." Frink suggests: "Be found in panties." I don't think that will do it, myself. Josh: "And I may have something...about Gaines...." Will asks if Toby met with Gaines this morning. Apparently some Wall Street Journal reporter named Polk asked Will about it, and he said he had no idea: "For once in my life, I was telling the truth." Josh, seemingly attempting to sound knowledgeable: "Yeah, uh, that meeting was...let me get back to you about Russell." Will leaves.

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West Wing




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