C.J. tells the clamouring crowd of reporters that a list of prosecutors is given to a three-judge panel, and that the prosecutors as well as the panel were all appointed by Republican Presidents. The reporters shout and compete for C.J.'s attention; over the din, C.J. shouts, "Please! I can only answer fourteen or fifteen questions at once!" On paper it has the sound of her usual snappy patter, but you can hear the strain in her voice. Donna and Margaret arrive at the press conference, looking stunned at the commotion.
At the National Cathedral, a janitor is cleaning the floor in a dim light. Of course, it only reminds me of the janitor in the Nirvana video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which provides me with a minimal amount of unintended levity. The janitor finds Jed's cigarette butt and stoops to pick it up, puzzled. He looks up and out the door as a car with sirens blazing passes; it could be the motorcade, although the cathedral is not en route from the White House to the State Department. Jed could have requested that the motorcade pass the Cathedral, and his sidelong glance out the window at this point would seem to support this theory. "There's so many different worlds/ So many different suns/ And we have just one world/ But we live in different ones."
Back at the press conference, C.J. is saying she imagines subpoenas will be issued to most senior White House staff, including her. As the motorcade arrives at the State Department, Jed gets a bit more of a soaking. As they walk into the building, someone hands Jed a towel to wipe his face. "Now the sun's gone to hell/ And the moon's riding high/ Let me bid you farewell/ Every man has to die..." C.J. is telling the reporters that she can't comment on what kind of hearings Congress has in mind as Carol sees Jed and the boys coming and gives C.J. the nod that POTUS has arrived. C.J. announces, "Okay? Here now, the President of the United States." Everybody stands. "But it's written in the starlight/ And every line on your palm/ We're fools to make war/ On our brothers in arms." It's really quite a beautiful song, and I know the use of pop music in such high-quality dramas is controversial, but I think the creative minds behind this show always give it a great deal of thought, and are selective and restrained in their choices. As Jed passes C.J., she reminds him, "Front row, on your right." Jed takes the podium, looking literally weatherbeaten and quite determined. Amid a volley of flashbulb fire, Jed puts his arms up on the podium, catching his breath, steeling himself. He makes eye contact with Lawrence Altman, the Chief Medical Correspondent for the Times. He looks into the crowd and points to another reporter, saying, "Yes, Sandy?" C.J. looks slightly anxious but not altogether surprised. Sandy asks, "Mr. President, can you tell us right now if you'll be seeking a second term?" He pauses, and says, "I'm sorry, Sandy, there was a bit of noise there, could you repeat the question?" Charlie watches Jed intently. Sandy: "Can you tell us right now if you'll be seeking a second term?" C.J., Josh, and Sam are standing together; none of them breathes. Donna and Margaret don't either. Leo and Toby are watching on a monitor off to the side, and Leo turns toward the President and tells Toby, "Watch this." Jed's hands slide off the podium and into his pockets. He looks ever so slightly off to his left, and smiles the barest of smiles. As the storm rages on, he looks straight ahead at the crowd. There are some droplets on his face; probably both rain and sweat, at this point. The guitar refrain continues. Still, he says nothing. The lines around his eyes are crinkled and there's a gleam in his eye. He smiles a very little smile.