West Wing
Ways And Means

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Now With 17% More Pedeconferencing!

In the hallway outside the Roosevelt Room, Leo and POTUS are pedeconferencing along with Horton. Leo asks whether the fire's abated yet; it has in fact spread to 6500 acres. It's starting to close in on the boundary. Horton says it's not too late for Jed to reverse his decision, but he doesn't think Jed should, because heavy rains are expected that will quell the fire. They're in the Oval Office now. Leo says, "And if it doesn't, we put it out, and the President looks like an idiot for waiting this long." Gesturing to Horton, Jed asks, "Yeah, but we're going to make sure he looks like an idiot, too, right?" Leo confirms this. Jed tells Horton that Wyoming is just going to have to have some faith that the Department of the Interior knows its job. He thanks Horton, who takes his leave.

Jed notices Josh at the door; he's got Toby and Shrug in tow. Jed says, "Ballerina?" Josh falters, "Yeah, I...I didn't...know...what it was at the time. I liked the word...." Jed says, with a tone of warning, "We'll go with that for now." Toby says they're there to recommend that POTUS threaten to veto any repeal of the estate tax. Jed's surprised; Leo asks what happened with Richardson. Josh explains Richardson couldn't make any promises. Toby says, "Let's make the threat." Jed asks whether Shrug likes it; Shrug smartly says, "Yes, sir!" POTUS asks, "I thought 'you don't oppose a tax cut in an election year.'" Shrug makes a distinction between opposing and vetoing a tax cut: "Your first veto ever. That's...shooting the moon." Jed agrees. Shrug, much like Connie, likes the "bold gesture": I think you gotta get out the stamp." Josh says: "You sign it. You don't do it with a stamp." Shrug: "I thought it was a stamp." Jed says, "Actually, you stamp it, then you sign it." Toby: "Who gives a damn, sir? This is a tax cut that benefits only 4500 families." Jed responds, "It doesn't matter if most voters don't benefit. They all believe that someday they will. That's the problem with the American dream. It makes everyone concerned for the day they're going to be rich. The governors of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, along with the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, are calling me a 'fringe' environmentalist, 'cause I'm listening to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the Chief Ranger, and the Parks Superintendent." As he speaks, he's rummaging through his desk drawers until he finds a square wooden box, which he places on his desk. "They say letting the fire burn is good for the environment. And I'm betting on a weather report, of all things. It's just one of those times." He opens the box, takes out an inkpad with the Presidential Seal on it and a rubber stamp, and lays them on the desk. He takes his Mrs. Landingham pen out of his pocket, regards it for a moment, and places it on the desk with the other items. As the scene ends, the music switches abruptly from melodramatic to just dramatic, accompanied by something akin to the sound of a rubber stamp hitting a hard surface.

We're in the Communications area; C.J., carrying a beer bottle, looks for a bottle opener. She asks Babish whether he has one. He doesn't. She mentions that she knows some men carry those pocket knives that have corkscrews in them. Babish is not one of these men. I, however, happen to be married to such a man. The things Frink carries around with him; I mean, completely above and beyond the normal things your typical Be-Prepared type carries. Teensy screwdriver for eyeglass screws? Check. Planisphere? Check. Paratool? Check. Circular slide rule? Check? Pull-out chart of the Periodic Table? Slide calipers? Tone generator? Duct tape? Check, check, check, and check. ["What the hell is a tone generator? I mean, okay, duh, it generates tones, but to what end?" -- Wing Chun] One of his high-school friends, when asked what he would take to a desert island, thought for a moment and answered, "Frink!" As C.J. rummages in desk drawers, Babish harangues her: "You screwed around with an independent legal proceeding, and you used one of my deputies to do it." C.J. retorts, "I worked the press." They are both looking up at a monitor on the wall. Babish continues: "You know, there was an irony in that Clem Rollins was the right man for the job." C.J. asks, "You think I care less [sic] about irony?" Babish: "You think just because the White House feels more comfortable when they're in an ugly political fight, that means we're gonna win it?" C.J. appeals to all and sundry for a bottle opener. I think girlfriend is kicking so much ass lately she can probably just tear the cap off with her teeth. Although, I suppose that could leave her unpleasantly snaggle-toothed.

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West Wing

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