West Wing
Ways And Means

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Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Now With 17% More Pedeconferencing!

As C.J. rounds the corner, she runs into Bruno, who says he needs to bring Victor Campos out here: "Whaddya got?" As they pedeconference all over the place, C.J., without a moment's hesitation, offers, "They're going to introduce racial profiling. Fifteen-minute op in the Rose Garden." Bruno gripes, "Campos has forty-eight pictures in the Rose Garden." C.J. suggests, "Senate hearings on trade agreements between the U.S. and Brazil. Campos can discuss his objections to the President's position." Bruno doesn't want to remind people of any objections Campos may have to Bartlet's positions. C.J.'s not sure what else to offer, when she thinks of the "unveiling of the HELP initiative." This initiative is the Hispanic Education Longevity Program, designed to lower the dropout rate for Latino high school students. She's about to go into the briefing room; by way of thanks or parting salutation or perhaps just general sexist jackassedness, Bruno says, gesturing up and down, "Man, you have got a killer body. You know that?" C.J. says, "In fact, I do." Certainly, one can't quibble with that. Yet my foot, it bounces restlessly: go there? Don't go there? Mashing my eyes into the butts of my palms, I decide it's not worth it. But boy, am I getting tired of the way certain remarks are made and handled on this show. Let me just say this: occasionally it would be nice, not to mention realistic, to convey the idea that not every woman welcomes gratuitous sexual remarks in the workplace, that some of us see them as harassment, not cute attempts at flirtation. I'm just saying. ["Deborah, don't forget -- this isn't HBO. C.J. could just reply 'Fuck off' as you know Allison Janney would without a moment's hesitation, and with perfect diction and a withering look." -- Wing Chun] C.J. enters the briefing room and announces that Victor Campos has been added to the guest list for the unveiling of the Hispanic Education Longevity Program. A reporter asks whether the White House is filing any complaints over the leaks coming from the Special Prosecutor's office. C.J.: "None that I'm aware of. I can tell you that Oliver Babish and Mr. Rollins have had several productive conversations about that." She's asked, "Do they speak often?" C.J. casually says, "Well, they're old friends."

Shrug and Connie are meeting with Toby in the Roosevelt Room, about the estate tax. Connie asks about the compromise offered. Shrug explains that if the estate is worth less than a million dollars, you're exempt. The Republicans wanted it to be five million; they settled on two and a half million. Connie throws up her hands and says, "Seems reasonable." Toby insists that it wasn't even within driving distance of "reasonable." Shrug argues that these people have paid taxes on this money already in the form of income tax, property tax, and capital gains. He asks, "They gotta pay --" Toby: "Don't say it." Shrug: "A death tax?" Toby counters, "Ninety-eight percent of estates pay no taxes at all. We're talking about people who are loaded!" Shrug looks irritated: "You think just because people can afford a tax, it should be levied?" Toby replies, "I think if we're going to spend millions of dollars on tax breaks, we should consider spending it on people who don't have millions of dollars." That's my Toby-wan. Shrug opines that a million dollars isn't what it used to be, which is true, but then, what is? Toby mutters, "And they don't make good yachts anymore." Josh arrives to tell them that the estate-tax meeting's not going to be rescheduled: "Legislative Affairs has it from three rural House Democrats that Ways and Means is trolling for votes." Toby: "On a complete repeal?" Looks that way. Toby tosses his red rubber ball in the air. Everyone thinks. Toby says, "Screw it. We went from a million to two-five, what if we throw in another...?" Josh says no. Toby is suggesting that they expand the compromise. Hey, he caved unusually fast. Josh insists that they're not going to reschedule the meeting; Toby wants to know how he knows. Connie says, "Because it's not about the estate tax. They want what they want and they can get what they want now, right?" Josh reiterates that the meeting won't be rescheduled. Josh asks Shrug what he thinks. Josh perhaps learned from Bruno last week that not everyone who's not a senior staff member of the current administration is an idiot. Toby's not yet on board with that: "I can tell you what he thinks. He thinks we roll with it. He thinks the President can't be against tax cuts in an election year. He thinks since our key districts have farms that are going to be inherited, that we have to.... He thinks we roll...with it." There's a pause, and finally Shrug says, "I think...he should take out the A-bomb. I think he's gotta do something he's never done even once before. 'You think I'm weak? How about I shove Article 1, Section 7 up your ass?' Screw the compromise. I think he's got to veto." Everyone quietly takes this in; Toby thoughtfully fidgets with his ball. Josh wearily says, "I knew I should have majored in Dance instead of Law. Rudolf Nureyev never had these sort of problems." No, no. Actually: "Toby, I just...don't know on how many fronts we can fight a war. You want to find out?" Toby does indeed. They leave, and pass an etching of the Capitol building in the hall, on which the camera comes to rest. And it's time for more commercials.

Wednesday. C.J.'s walking outside when a couple of characters (aides? politicians?) I don't think we've seen before call out to her. One's wearing a bowtie, the other a polka dot tie. Bowtie says that he had a meeting at OEOB, and that they were going to come see her. He tells her there's some concern on the Hill, about how soft the press has been about Rollins for the last couple of days. Polka Dot Tie says, "Particularly with regard to his relationship to the White House." C.J. feigns concern. Bowtie says that Democrats are worried that Republicans will use it as an excuse to start their own hearings earlier than expected. Polka Dot Tie suggests that the White House try to appear less eager to cooperate and tone done the trumpeting of Rollins's integrity. C.J. pretends to take their advice. Bowtie advises her to downplay Rollins's friendship with Babish. They bid her a good night and walk away. C.J. looks satisfied as she watches them leave.

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