West Wing
The American President, Part II

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"A Medium-Sized Nightmare"
As Shepherd mixes some drinks, he says, "Okay. You're attracted to me, but the idea of physical intimacy is uncomfortable because you only know me as the President. But it's not always gonna be that way, and the reason I know that is that there was a moment last night when you were with me and not the President, and I know what a big step that was for you. So, Sydney, I'm in no rush. Here's my plan: we're gonna slow down. When you're comfortable, that's when it'll happen." Sydney returns, wearing one of Andy's white dress shirts, a serious, blasé look, and nothing else. He gets a load of this and says, "Perhaps I didn't properly explain the fundamentals of the 'Slow Down' plan." She pats and tests the mattress with her hand, saying, "No, you explained it great." Shepherd asks whether Sydney's nervous. She says she isn't. He replies, "Good. My nervousness exists on several levels. Number one -- and this is in no particular order -- I haven't done this in a pretty long time. Number two: any expectations that you might have, due to the fact that I'm, you know..." Sydney: "The most powerful man in the world?" He rabbits on nervously -- something about Eisenhower -- and she finally plants one on him. At a political rally, Bob Rumson is bellowing, "Does New Hampshire want traditional American values back in the White House?" The crowd cheers and hollers yes. He keeps on in that vein, getting them riled up and finally announcing, "My name is Bob Rumson. And I'm running for President!" Geez, how long did it take to come up with that slogan? The evidently not very demanding crowd goes wild. Back at the White House, it's before dawn. Shepherd's bedroom phone rings; he answers it. It's Lewis. "Lewis, it is 5:00 AM. You gotta get yourself a life, man." Shepherd agrees to something, hangs up, and turns over to look at Sydney. But she's not in bed; she's sitting on the couch putting her shoes on. She explains that she wanted to leave the building before the press corps arrived. Shepherd replies, "I have those same thoughts every day of my life. Say, you know Lewis Rothschild, don't you? Well, he's..." Sydney says, "Sure. Boy, Lewis'd go nuts if he knew I'd spent the night." Andy tells her Lewis is on his way up. Someone knocks on the door. Before Sydney can even take this in, POTUS has told Lewis to come in. Lewis greets them both. POTUS is wearing a t-shirt and boxer shorts. It's pretty obvious what has transpired, but Sydney makes a feeble attempt to cover anyway: "Well, Mr. President, thank you for taking the time to go over those fossil fuel numbers. I'll just get my coat, and be on my way." Nobody's fooled. Shepherd asks Lewis, "What's the situation?" Lewis states, "Camped out at every exit." Sydney seems pretty surprised to learn that the press is there. Lewis tells her she should have taken a cab. Sydney is surprised to learn that the press have bothered to note the make, model, and license number of her vehicle. Pretty naïve for a professional political operative. Robin arrives, greets everyone, and says, "I think the important thing is not to make it look like we're panicking." POTUS replies, "See, and I think the important thing is actually not to be panicking." A.J. arrives next. Lewis is wondering how to get Sydney out of the building and what to say to the press; Robin suggests a diversion, by which she does not mean setting the White House on fire. Shepherd sarcastically agrees with torching the joint. Lewis announces, "Can I state very clearly that I can't be party to anything illegal?" Buddy, I think you're in the wrong profession. A.J.: "Good for you, Lewis." Lewis's rejoinder: "Say what you want -- it's always the guy in my job that ends up doing eighteen months in Danbury Minimum Security Prison." POTUS tells Lewis to simmer down, and that they're not going with Plan A: Create a Diversion. He tells Sydney that they'll have someone take her home. A.J. says his wife is in his office and can do it. Lewis thinks that's fine, and wants to settle the press statement. Andy tells Sydney, "Sydney, when you leave here, you're gonna run into reporters and photographers. They're gonna take your picture every day. They're gonna ask you questions every day. Answer them, don't answer them -- it's entirely up to you. The White House has no official position except to say 'no comment.'" Robin is all, "'No comment'?" POTUS states, "The White House does not comment on the President's personal life." Lewis argues that they can't leave it at that. Shepherd: "Well, I tell you what, Lewis: we just did." Lewis tries to argue, but A.J. ends the meeting and hustles Robin and Lewis out, telling Sydney, "Esther will be in my office. You take your time." When everyone's gone, Andy apologizes for how all this went, and promises, "We'll do it better next time." Sydney sweetly says, "Well, I'm no expert, but I thought we did it pretty good this time." They part, smooching a couple of times. He promises to call her from Panama. Once she leaves, he tells himself, "All right. Okay. This is good."

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West Wing

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