This is how to do a campaign episode. Santos is on the road, finding some success with a new economic message. And then the White House announces that it's shutting down its own investigation of the shuttle leak, giving Vinick a chance to paint the Democrats as soft on security. Janeane Garafolo shows up as a media consultant who has some (professional) history with Josh, and a whole different set of ideas about how the campaign should be run. Josh gets over his own ego long enough to get Santos to hire her as Communications Director. We then learn that Santos has been called up for his annual Marine Corps Reserve duty, and that Santos and Helen broke a hotel bed while they were up to some shenanigans. The rest of the episode is filled with serious, interesting, and amusing discussion over how to manage the different messages that come from all of these events. Shocking, I know. In the end, by combining the ideas of Josh, Janeane, and Santos, they are able to turn a losing day into a winning one, and Santos asserts himself (again) as the leader of his own campaign. Oh, and Greg Brock is going to prison because he refuses to name his source to a grand jury.
As we open, Margaret is trailing C.J. into her office. Margaret expositions that C.J. "wanted the message plan for Monday's bill signing." Apparently, Scheduling and Advance was thinking they should put a lot of little American flags on the table when the President signs the bill. C.J. wonders what the message is there. Margaret: "This is America." C.J. points out that the particular bill being signed is a fisheries bill. What, are the fish not American? C.J. tells Margaret to get Schedule and Advance to come up with something a little more on-topic. If she thinks keeping Scheduling and Advance on topic is difficult, she should try moderating the forum posters for this show. (I kid because I love.) As C.J. walks away, Margaret suggests they put a bunch of little fish on the table. Why not just use Gail? She deserves a moment in the sun after everything she's done to support Jed.
C.J. walks into her office, where she sees a talking head on television reporting on speculation that the only way the space station could have been repaired was with the use of a secret military shuttle. He also reports that Greg Brock is refusing to name his source for the leak to a grand jury. Toby is sitting in C.J.'s office watching the coverage. C.J. turns off the television. Toby tells her, "NASA just announced that the astronauts fixed the space shuttle all by themselves." C.J. asks if anyone is buying the cover story, and Toby tells her that pretty much nobody is. C.J. starts one of her frighteningly fast little rants, complaining about the Congressional investigation into the leak, the partisan politics bringing the city to a standstill, and "the fact that a fisheries bill could be the better part of [her] legacy as White House Chief of Staff." She hands Toby a yellow pad, and he asks what it is. She tells him it's a statement Jed and Babish want to put out, and that they worked out the language in the car. Toby puts on his glasses and starts reading it. After a second, he stops and asks, "'Respect for the paw'?" She tells him that it's actually "respect for the law," and defends her penmanship by pointing out that she wrote it in a speeding car. Toby asks if the statement is a good idea, and C.J. tells him that the President and White House Counsel want it out. Toby points out that Vinick will stomp all over it, and that even Santos will complain. C.J.: "I think the President and White House Counsel want it out."
Santos is on the stump in Olympia, Washington. It's 101 days before Election Day. He makes an awful joke to the effect that if voters don't like his economic plan, he'll be the first one unemployed. There's actual booing on the soundtrack after that joke. I know that probably represents people booing the idea that Santos wouldn't win, but I prefer to think that Statler and Waldorf are in the audience. Santos is giving a fairly typical stump speech about the importance of preparing for the new technology economy. The rally is taking place at the airport -- the Santos campaign plane is parked right behind the candidate. He finishes his speech by telling the audience, "You ain't seen nothing yet!" And...sweet, sweet montage!