West Wing
The Stormy Present

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Back in the Flying Conference Room, Jed and Newman are still chatting with the Situation Room about the protestors. There are some diplomatic channels being pursued that seem to be at least somewhat promising, but there is also concern that they need to be able to evacuate the Americans from the compound if it comes to that. The advisors bicker over whether the protests are a real move for democracy or a disastrous advance by stealth fundamentalists. Basically, nobody in the group knows enough about the protestors to know what they really want, and nobody trusts the Saudi public to vote for a form of democracy that would be as acceptable to the U.S. as the royal family is. Jed directs them to work the diplomatic channels, but to do it fast, and get ready to go in with force if it doesn't work. Leo wants to know if he should tell the prince he's the one on the block if it goes bad, but Jed says no, that'll make it worse; Leo should tell him they're confident that the monarchy can solve it peacefully. "One hour, gentlemen," Jed says. "We're going to have to make a call." When the call is over, Jed turns to Newman: "There ought to be a warning sign when you hitch up to be leader of the free world." Newman smiles knowingly.

When we return from commercials, it's Thursday at 12:45 PM-TCT. Josh is sitting in the conference room when Angela enters tentatively. "What happened in here?" she asks. "I'm biased just because I'm from Connecticut," Josh says. After making a brief attempt to explain the situation straightforwardly, Josh blows up and admits that he thinks a state that denounced the Constitution and the Union has a lot of nerve asking for its copy of the Bill of Rights back. Angela volleys back that North Carolina and its ilk are the only reason there even is a Bill of Rights, because they're the states that insisted on it when New England thought it wasn't necessary. Josh asks Angela where she's from, and it turns out that she's from -- wait for it -- North Carolina. Josh gets up on his high horse about North Carolina's poor civil-rights record, and Angela is appropriately amused that Josh is attempting to lecture her on this point. I love it when anyone hands Josh his rhetorical head on a platter, so as you can imagine, I am all about Angela in this scene. He starts to rail again about how dare they blah blah blah, and mercifully, Angela cuts him off. "First, Josh," she says, "the Civil War wasn't just about slavery. It was about industry. Second, that's exactly why North Carolina needs an original copy on display in Raleigh -- to remind them. And third, Connecticut has the highest per-capita income in the country. They want the damn piece of paper so badly, why don't they just offer to compensate North Carolina?" As she's talking, MaryLou and Fairfax have managed to sneak in behind Josh, and they've overheard this last part. "Uh, we'd be willing to pay," Fairfax says frankly.

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West Wing

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