West Wing
The Portland Trip

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The Quarterback of Notre Dame

The guy who must be Matt Skinner knocks on Josh's door. Matt asks if Josh let Donna "out." Josh says that she's having dinner with some guy she has no future with. Well, keep a good thought, Pete. Matt asks, "Why no future?" Josh: "Because I say so. You want some coffee?" Matt asks for a beer. As Josh gets a beer out of his office fridge (I would have expected that there are strict rules about alcohol consumption in the White House, but whatever) he says it's too bad that they're going to be rushed and that they're only talking about this for the first time now. Matt says he thought it was deliberate, and that the ten days are up tomorrow. Josh says he knows. Matt says they know he knows. Matt says the language doesn't prohibit same-sex marriage. Josh says that it does. Apparently it establishes that, for the purposes of federal programs, the government will define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, while doing nothing to prohibit gay marriage on a state level. Well, Josh takes exception to this last bit. He points out that when the bill was being discussed on the floor, there were some "very ugly things" said about homosexuals. Matt agrees. Josh further points out that these things were said by members of his own party -- in fact, they were said by one of the guys who escorted Matt to the White House tonight and is waiting for him out in the lobby. Matt blithely agrees to this, but looks uncomfortable. Josh asks, "You support this bill?" Matt says he does. Josh points out, for those who've not yet figured it out, "Congressman, you're gay." Matt: "Yes, I am."

Over in the Situation Room, Leo's taking care of business. Some big military dude that I don't think we've seen before, whose name is Mark, tells Leo that the Sudanese captain of the tanker refused to let Navy personnel board the ship. They dispatched a helicopter to try to land on the deck of the ship but seamen obstructed the landing with freight. Those on ship also fired warning shots from Kalashnikovs. At this point, the helicopter retreated to its carrier group. Central Command is now going to have two F-18s buzz the ship and fire warning shots over the bow. Leo says, "There's no way this ends good. In fact, it's already over." Mark says it's not over yet. Leo replies, "Trust me. I'll call the President." He goes off to do just that. Time for commercials, and wouldn't you like some Fresca?

Leo's in his office reading documents when Margaret appears to tell him that he has phone call. Before she'll tell him who it's from, though, she says, "Can I just say that, all I meant before was that if I was married and got divorced and my divorce papers came and I was an alcoholic, I would want to be..." Leo: "Who's on the phone?" She tells him it's POTUS. He picks up the phone. POTUS wants to know what their goal is with this tanker. Leo tells him that they're trying to seize the ship and escort it to Bahrain. Leo elaborates that warning shots will be fired, and will maybe take out the propeller. Jed says, "Leo, just so they know, it's a tanker full of crude oil. If they miss the propeller and hit something else..." Leo says they know, and interrupts him to get rid of Margaret, who, if you ask me, should have beat a retreat some time ago. Leo hisses, "Would you stop looking at me like that?" She vamooses. Jed wants to know what that's about; Leo explains that Margaret was giving him a look, because his divorce papers came today: "She thinks I'm going to drink." Jed says he didn't know that. Leo tells him not to worry about it. As we see Jed sit down in his office chair on board Air Force One, there are titles telling us: "Valhalla Vector -- Jet Route 23 / Wheeling, West Virginia." I can't imagine why we need this information. ["I think Aaron Sorkin's just showing off how thorough his research is." -- Wing Chun] Leo says he'll keep Jed posted. Jed wants to know why he doesn't have a final draft of tomorrow's speech. Leo says that Toby and Sam are working on it; Jed wants to know what's wrong with it. Leo says that Sam doesn't like the writing. Jed accepts this and hangs up.

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West Wing




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