"Dig it, Ms. Wade: You're the President's Girlfriend!"
Over at the GDC, Sydney enters Leo's office: "Leo, you wanted to see me?" He casually says, "So there I was, thinking maybe I should give Sydney a call. She's new in town, doesn't know many people..." Sydney sits down and puts her feet up on Leo's desk. How many people are this comfortable with their new boss in Week One of their new job? ["You know consultants -- always taking liberties like that." -- Wing Chun] Leo shows Sydney the morning paper with the photo of her and POTUS dancing. He wants to know what's going on. She insists it's perfectly innocent and that she was filling in for Shepherd's sick cousin. Seems to me that the President's taking his cousin to social events isn't perhaps the best picture to paint either, but whatever. Leo asks whether she slept with Shepherd. Sydney tells Leo it's none of his business. Which it sure isn't, by gum. Leo's mad; he says that when POTUS is involved, it's not personal: "I hired your reputation. I hired a pit bull, not a prom queen." She thinks that's unfair. Leo acknowledges that: "It's incredibly unfair. But you've spent a lot of time over the year telling me the trouble with the environmental lobby is that we don't understand the fundamental truth that politics is perception. This is a bad time to develop ignorance." Sydney replies, "You're making way too much of this." He says, "Am I? This is your time, Sydney. You're sitting at the grown-ups' table. You have a chance to get everything you want: run a national campaign, be a major player inside the party. But this relationship had better go all the way, because with the leader of the free world there's no halfway. Politics is perception, and if this doesn't work out, the amount of time it'll take you to go from being a hired gun to a cocktail party joke can be clocked with an egg timer." As Sydney insists that there's no relationship, Leo's secretary brings in a big fancy basket with a bow on it. It's something perishable, and it's for Sydney. Leo's not impressed. Sydney thinks that it's just a courtesy gesture. The secretary hangs around, excited that it's from the President. Sydney starts unwrapping it, making comments to minimize the gesture. The secretary says, "The messenger said he waited in the Oval Office for ten minutes while the President wrote the card." Sydney's surprised to hear this, and the secretary further volunteers that apparently he went through several drafts. She reads the note and smiles and laughs. Leo looks grim. She opens up the basket and it's...a ham. A Virginia ham. The secretary says, "Dig it, Miss Wade. You're the President's girlfriend!" Leo says, "There's never an egg timer around when you need one."