West Wing
Ways And Means

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C.J. goes into her office to find Babish waiting there for her. He opens: "Thank God for Lexis-Nexis, huh?" C.J.: "I'll say." He wonders how long it will take them to find the paper he and Rollins wrote. C.J.: "About an hour. They'll make their deadlines." He sighs heavily and says, "I was going to say, you took a beating the last few months. And I was wondering if you were trying to get back in the game with one swing?" C.J., with a mixture of annoyance and indifference: "Is that what you were wondering?" He says yeah. She asks, "Anything else?" He says, "No," and leaves. She gives him a minor stink-eye as he goes.

Josh and Toby meet with Leo in his office about the estate-tax issue. Josh says that they spent the last few hours with the Minority Whip and some deputies; and that they have 218 votes for a repeal without breaking a sweat. Toby adds that it's 290 to override. Leo asks where they're getting the votes. Josh says, "The Republicans are calling an 'all hands'; we're assuming they get the full 226, plus Fayette, Genesee, and Trent. California --" Toby: "A state I've begged you to let secede from the Union..." Josh: "The entire California delegation wants a compromise; if they don't get one, they vote to repeal." Toby points out that they'd lose another thirteen votes from rural districts, maybe three of which would switch back if it was close. "But they'd get killed next November, and I wouldn't ask them to do it." Leo says, "That's 283; where are the other seven votes against us?" Toby says the seven votes are from inside the Black Caucus. Leo wants them to see Mark Richardson first thing in the morning; they've already set it up. Leo says that when they're done, they'll make their recommendation to POTUS, and "he'll make his decision to fight or live to fight, and that'll be that." Josh and Toby get up to leave; as they do, Josh asks, "These are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Can you think of any reason why they'd oppose the estate tax?" Leo: "Sure." Josh: "Why?" Leo: "The first generation of black millionaires is about to die." Margaret comes in to let Leo know that POTUS is back.

Jed wanders out of the Oval Office to speak to Charlie at his desk. He's expecting a call with Bill Horton, but he left the National Fire Plan in the dining room. Charlie goes to get it. Jed looks at some papers for a moment, then turns and notices Mrs. Landingham's empty desk. He walks over to it and gently lays his hand on it. Leo comes to the door, and observes Jed for a moment before saying hello. Jed says, "The Governor of Wyoming was an inch and a half away from calling me a pyromaniac tonight." Leo responds, "That's surprising, because we really had respect for him before." Jed continues, "I'm saying, somewhere out there is a registered voter who's thinking, 'You know, I thought I really liked this Bartlet fellow, but now that I see he's in favour of fire....'" Leo offers that the governor is worried about tourism. Jed says it's the end of the season and the fire isn't anywhere near tourists: "Letting this fire burn is good for the environment. You know how I know?" Leo asks how. Jed: "'Cause smart people told me. Please, God, Leo, let them be right." ["Come on now. I am stupid. If I knew about fireweed, POTUS definitely did." -- Wing Chun] Leo asks whether Jed wants him in on the call with Horton; he does. Leo says he'll be in his office. Jed is still leaning on Mrs. Landingham's desk. He goes around behind it and carefully sits in her chair. He opens a couple of drawers and finds a blue box with the Presidential seal on top. Gingerly, he opens the box; of course, it's full of pens, the ones he likes. There's some writing on them; it says, "Illegitimi non carborundum." Actually, I can't read what it says. (As if Bartlet would have anything to do with pseudo-Latin.) He takes out one pen and holds it thoughtfully. Sad music plays. He tucks the pen in his breast pocket (next to his heart), and replaces the box. He remains seated at the desk, contemplating the nearly unbearable task of replacing Mrs. Landingham.

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West Wing

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