C.J. begins the briefing saying that the President plans to focus on raising educational standards in the coming weeks. She tries to get the members of the press corps excited about that, but they're not, and a reporter asks about proposed changes to federal adoption law. She says they hope to streamline the process soon. There's Polk off to the side, adjusting his collar. The reporter asks another question about the adoption-law changes, including a preference for younger parents, but C.J. says she hasn't reviewed the language. She keeps glancing at Polk. The reporter presses her, saying that the Bartlets have a combined age of 111, and he wants to know if they killed the announcement because they're considering adopting a baby. Someone else jumps on that, and C.J.'s so anxious to derail that line of questioning that she calls on Polk, who doesn't have any questions. The room goes nuts, calling her name and pursuing the adoption "story." She quickly ends the briefing, and a reporter complains that they don't have any news to file. C.J.: "Like a blank page would kill you." She leaves the podium, asking Polk to come with her. She wants to know why he didn't ask his question. Polk: "Why share it with the room?" C.J.: "'Cause they like flimsy rumours and innuendo, too." He says he has a second source: "You'll see how flimsy it is in tomorrow's Journal."
Toby catches up with Gaines on the steps of an office building. Somebody really needs to go to Confidentiality Boot Camp. He already knows the word is out to some degree; he can't be any more careful than this? He tells Gaines that Brainerd is willing to talk. Gaines: "Maybe we can start a book club." Toby says she's the ranking Democrat on finance, and that it's a good first step. Gaines he just heard from two reporters: "Bob Russell and the Bartlet smear machine are planning to attack me on Social Security, make a circus out of my fundraising weakness. Is that the second step?" My God, can't anybody in this town can keep his or her yap shut for five minutes? How does he know about that already? Toby doesn't know what he's talking about. Gaines: "Either you're lying, or the left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing." Oy. Funny line, but the idea that anything about the Bartlet administration is "left," never mind "far left," is just so very, very yoomerous to me. Toby says he's not lying. Gaines: "You know what happened to Carney? He commissioned one lousy CBO analysis on raising the retirement age." Toby says he can fix this. Gaines: "Josh Lyman ran ads with ninety-year-olds in hardhats working construction: 'The Carney Social Security Plan.' Lost his seat by eleven points." Toby insists he'll put a stop to whatever's going on. Gaines: "Eleven points." Toby says that Gaines isn't running again. Gaines: "Who said I wasn't running? I thought it was time to raise the minimum wage." Toby: "You have to trust me." Gaines: "I don't. And even if I did put my neck on the line with my own party by scaling back private accounts, you and your guys would never give up on your favourite partisan attack." Toby: "We're on the same limb. The Journal's chasing this, your staff is leaking it!" Gaines: "They were until I confirmed it." Toby: "You confirmed it?" Gaines: "I told them that you came to me and urged me to cut Social Security." Toby says that if that gets printed, it will screw any chance there is for a deal. Gaines: "Well. Now you've got that limb all to yourself, hmm?" He takes off.