West Wing. C.J. and Margaret are sitting at C.J.'s desk working when Helen walks in. They seem surprised to see her. She tells them she has an appointment, and C.J. looks at Margaret, all "Did you change my calendar?" But Helen's appointment is with the decorator. Margaret points at a door and says, "That's in there." Helen walks through the door...
...And straight into the Oval Office. Once Helen realizes where she is, she looks a bit shocked. She slowly walks into the room and takes it all in. And then we hear a voice say her name. Hey, it's Gail, the decorator who tried to force Dolly Madison's desk on C.J. Excellent continuity. Although I do wonder why the decorator was left alone in the Oval Office. Aren't there super-important things in that room? Or is she some kind of secret agent decorator with a really high security clearance? You know what? I would watch a show about that. Gail tells Helen that the budget for redecorating is really limited (it's actually $200,000) and that the White House really needs some work (which it really doesn't, at least as it's presented on this show). Gail suggests establishing a fundraising committee to try to come up with a couple of million dollars for the job. Gail especially thinks there's work to do in the Office of O: "I've never liked the color of this rug, but the Bartlets.... Well, it's all up to you now." Helen thinks the rug looks fine. Gail talks about Helen leaving her "personal mark on the White House." Helen: "I'll leave that up to my kids. I tell you right now, there are gonna be a lot of crayon marks that we're gonna have to remove when we leave." You'd better remove them, or you'll totally lose your security deposit. Gail is not amused by Helen's little joke. I'm guessing she's going to activate a top-secret protocol to ban all crayons from the building. Gail presents Helen with some preliminary sketches that she's done of the children's bedrooms. For Peter, she's suggesting "a cowboy theme," and for Miranda, "a place a princess would love." Maybe the Santoses could make a deal with the Prime Minister of Canada and do an episode of Trading Spaces. That's one way to get some cheap redecorating. And I'd just love to see what Hildi does to the East Room. Or maybe Frank could make some kind of country chicken for the Oval Office.
Transition HQ. Vinick enters Santos's office for their rescheduled meeting. Santos apologizes for the scheduling snafu earlier in the day and complains (in a non-whiny way) about how busy he is. I think he's looking to make a little human connection, but all it does is remind Vinick of how jealous and bitter he is. Vinick asks where the cameras are, and Santos explains, with some confusion, that it isn't a photo op. Santos gets some coffee (after offering some to Arnie) and then tells Vinick that he needs his advice. Santos starts to explain about the legal opinion he's received that would let him appoint anyone he wants as Veep. Arnie immediately launches into a harangue about what an awful idea it is to let the Electors, um, elect the V.P. And I just realized I made the same joke at the beginning of the recap. That's how bored I am. Santos lets Vinick go on for a bit, and then tells him that he agrees with him. The advice he wants is about how to deal with the Senate in a confirmation hearing. Santos asks whether "the Senate Republicans would get rough." Maybe if you ask nicely, they would. Vinick thinks it depends on who the nominee is, and Santos leans in and asks, "Is the Vice Presidency something that you would consider?" After a few seconds of shocked silence from Vinick, they go through a little routine about whether Santos is asking, and whether Arnie would consider it if Santos were asking. Vinick asks whether Santos plans to stick to the domestic promises that helped get him elected, and when he confirms that he will, asks why he'd consider nominating someone who so diametrically disagrees with him on those issues. Vinick keeps working over the phrasing of Santos's question, "If I'd consider it." After a bit, he smiles and concludes that this is all a strategy by Santos to float a trial balloon that he might nominate Arnie in order to grease the wheels for whatever Democrat he does eventually nominate. Vinick also reveals that he's figured out that Santos wants to nominate Baker. At the end of this speech, Santos gives a small grin and neither denies nor confirms Vinick's theory. But he does ask Vinick what he thinks about Baker. Vinick gives his analysis of what Baker brings to the table and what the Senate Republicans will think of him. Still smiling, Santos asks, "What are you gonna do next?" Vinick: "I'll do...I'll do what I'm good at." Whine and moan? Oh, no, Santos guesses that he's going to run again. Vinick: "I hope you get your tax increase. It'll give me something to run against." Vinick stands to leave, but Santos asks him whether he has time to discuss Kazakhstan. Vinick sits back down, and they talk foreign policy. Vinick has already sussed out the good cop/bad cop routine that Bartlet and Santos have worked out, and thinks it might work. Santos: "I'm going to need another cop when Bartlet leaves office." And then Santos offers Vinick the post of Secretary of State. Santos lays out all of Vinick's qualifications for the job (which include that he agrees with Santos on foreign policy), and then tells him, "You are the best strategic thinker I know. I'm not asking you if you'd consider it, Arnie. I'm asking you to do it." We cut to commercials before we hear a response from Vinick. Both actors did a very nice job in that scene.
Santos's office. He's just finished briefing Lou, Amy, and Barry on his conversation with Vinick. Amy wonders what happened to the original plan to float a V.P. offer to Vinick to smooth Baker's confirmation, but Santos tells her that Vinick saw through that right away. They all think it's a bad idea, because Vinick's a Republican and because he might leak the story and cause them some embarrassment. Santos thinks the risk is worth it.