West Wing
The Mommy Problem

Episode Report Card
LTG: B | Grade It Now!
Poor Josh

We get several blessed minutes of Santos campaigning, almost always accompanied by Bram. He's all over the Pacific northwest, and he's wading into crowds, taking pictures with people, making reporters laugh, and striding purposefully. All set to "Jet Airliner" by the Steve Miller Band. And then the montage shifts over to Josh, who is...writing on a legal pad. He's writing things like "economy" and "hi-tech jobs" and drawing boxes around them. And then he's writing on a whiteboard. And erasing the whiteboard. And writing again. And then we start cutting back and forth. Santos! Josh! Santos! Josh! Santos is walking through the reporters' section of the campaign jet -- it's clearly nighttime, and all the reporters are sleeping. He gets to the curtain, turns around, and quietly asks, "Anybody got any questions?" I would have loved it if they had all snapped awake and started shouting out questions. And...a little more cutting back and forth, and the montage is over.

Campaign workers filter into Santos HQ. Edie walks up to Josh's office and busts his chops for working through the night, "again." Josh tells her and a man whose name I did not pick up last week that he returned to the office to revamp the message plan after seeing how well the speeches on the economy went over on the West Coast. Josh gives the two of them instructions on various issues that have come up, including telling Edie to cancel the lunch with foreign-policy reporters and replace it with a town hall on high-tech jobs when Santos arrives in Tampa. According to the subtitles, it's 6:12 AM -- isn't it a little late to start planning a new public campaign event for about six hours from the present? Unnamed man asks about the boxes Josh has drawn on the whiteboard. This is ridiculous, I need a name for this guy. Let's see, a little IMDbing around...ah, his name is Otto. I do not know if he loves to get blotto. Josh has drawn three boxes -- one labeled "security," one labeled "domestic," and the last labeled "trivia." Josh points out that Vinick is opening a big lead on security issues, and rejects Edie's suggestion that they focus more on military issues: "No, because if the race is about that, we lose." Instead, they need to keep the focus on domestic issues, where Santos has a comfortable lead over Vinick. Josh draws a big check mark in this box, I think to symbolize that Santos is winning the fight to frame the issues. The third box is for all the irrelevant junk that comes up that the media tends to obsess about. Otto asks if Josh did the same stuff on the Bartlet campaigns. Josh tells him that Toby was actually in charge of the message then. But, he says, "a few more nights like this, we could go hairline to hairline." And then Ned comes in to tell them that something big is being announced on CNN. It's about the leak. And naturally, the announcement is being made at 6:12 AM. Josh hops on a phone and says, "Operator? Get me Toby Ziegler, now." I want a phone that can do that.

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West Wing




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