"Dig it, Ms. Wade: You're the President's Girlfriend!"
We cut to a street scene in a business district, then to a shot of an ugly modern office building, and then to a shot of an office interior, where "GDC" and "Global Defense Council" are painted on the main door. A woman (played by Wendie Malick) enters the office of a man (played by John Mahoney) and says, "You wanted to see me?" He says, "I just got off the phone with A.J. MacInerney." She wonders whether the President read the letter. The man replies, "The President's pissed as hell, Susan. That letter was a stupid move." Susan counters, "It was aggressive, and we should stand by every..." The man replies, "This isn't the guy who needed our help four years ago, Susan. He's incredibly popular. He's gonna win re-election in a walk, and he could give a shit what we stand by! If the President passes the most important piece of environmental legislation in history, and does it despite our negative endorsement, our political weight in the future will rank somewhere below the Save the Spotted Owl Society." He pauses, while she looks chastised, and then tells her, "I'm bringing in some help." She doesn't think that they need another environmental expert. He elaborates, "Not an environmental expert -- a professional political strategist. We're playing hardball with Andrew Shepherd, and we need a heavy bat." Susan wants to know who he's getting. Leo: "Sydney Ellen Wade." Susan explodes: "Christ, Leo!. That woman doesn't know the first thing about the environmental lobby!" Leo firmly says, "She's a closer, Susan. She gets the job done."
Back in the Oval Office, POTUS and Lewis are working on a speech. Robin comes in and says, "David Sasser from the Times called and wanted to know what the White House felt was a great society." Lewis asks what she said. She replies, "I told him I couldn't speak for the President, but for my money: Bermuda." Personally, I'd probably have to vote for some Scandinavian country, or possibly the Netherlands or Iceland. Except the weather often sucks. If only Denmark or Sweden had San Diego's climate. Lewis says, "Perfect." Janie arrives to tell POTUS that his cousin Judith has come down with the flu and won't be able to join him Thursday night. Shepherd asks Janie to remind him to give her a call later. Robin asks POTUS, "You gonna go stag?" He asks whether that's a problem. Without missing a beat, she casually inserts her foot so far into her mouth that she could lick the back of her own knee: "No. We've never gone wrong parading you around as the lonely widower." I can't believe she could actually let that escape her mouth. Talk about a thing just hanging out there. Janie turns, looking shocked. Shepherd doesn't really react, but looks up mildly for an explanation; nonetheless, you can tell he was not unaffected by the remark. Robin looks horrified and says, "I can't believe I said that. Mr. President, that was an incredibly thoughtless remark. I would never dream of insulting you or the memory of your wife." Shepherd looks vaguely sad and uncomfortable as Robin apologizes. Why is it the floor never seems to open up and swallow one when one most desperately needs it? Lousy rassen-frassen floors. Anyway, there's your plot complication: he's a widower. He tells her, "That's okay, forget it." He asks Janie for the time, which is 3:45, and says that he's going to go up and say hi to Lucy. Janie reminds him, "You have the Attorney General at 4:00 and the trade rep at 4:30. Somewhere in there you promised NPR five minutes." Shepherd's walking out of the Oval Office as Robin tries again: "Mr. President..." There's a desperate note in her voice. He tells her, "Robin, don't worry about it." She looks pretty dismayed. Yeah, I'd say she's not getting a lot of sleep tonight.