JOSH GETS PUFFED BUT PRODS FOR SENATOR'S KEY COOPERATION IN MILITARY ISSUE; TOM SKERRITT, GARY COLE GUEST-STAR -- After Josh (Bradley Whitford) is hailed as the "101st Senator" in a newspaper profile, he butts heads with a conservative Idaho Democratic Senator (guest star Tom Skerritt, "Picket Fences") who withholds out his approval of a backlog of military promotions to secure an expensive but faulty missile launcher to be built in his home state. In the back corridors, Will (Joshua Malina) gets a flattering offer from the newly approved Vice President (guest star Gary Cole, "Midnight Caller") while CJ (Allison Janney) runs afoul of Leo's (John Spencer) temper when she does not stick to the adminstartion's scripted line on an EPA report on coal-based energy. Likewise, Amy (Mary-Louise Parker) earns the President's (Martin Sheen) wrath when she pushes for funding of the First Lady's agenda on violence prevention while Toby (Richard Schiff) pieces together a message calendar to stay on point during Bartlet's second term.
Toby and Will are getting ready to leave for the day and are talking about the economy. Toby wants to "seize the message" again and start talking about accomplishments and getting the agenda moving forward. Will is paged and returns a call to a number he doesn't recognize. Moments later - Will is ushered into the Vice President's Office. Vice President Russell offers Will the job of Communications Director for the Vice President, to start the process of molding and shaping Russell into a candidate and nominee to succeed President Bartlet.
Josh is walking through the halls of the West Wing and encounters Donna. Josh is reading an article that is a profile of Josh as the "legislative juggernaut" of the Bartlet Administration. He meets Amy in the Lobby as several people walk by, congratulating Josh on the piece. Amy asks Josh about the HHS budget. Josh heads off to Senior Staff - where they talk about the issues, including the President's poll numbers, which are down. Also, Senator Carrick (D-ID) has placed a hold on military promotions - Josh tells Leo (and the others) that he will deal with Carrick. Leo mentions to Josh that the HHS budget has been reopened and if he knows anything about it - Josh says no, but then finds Donna to tell her that he needs to talk to Amy. Leo goes to the Residence to brief the President on the day ahead.
Josh goes back to his office and is greeted by Ryan who quizzes him on the piece in the Post. Josh goes into his office, where there is a dead fish wrapped in newspaper on his desk (Josh did the same to a Senator) - and he mentions to Donna that he said no gifts (it's also his birthday).
C.J. and Toby walk into her office talking poll numbers and the economy. Carol tells C.J. that Ben has called again. She tells Carol not to pass on his messages anymore - Ben is an old boyfriend and C.J. doesn't have time for romance. They walk out and give Leo the rundown on what the Press is likely to ask C.J. - Leo gives C.J. the answers for the Press.
Toby and Will talk about the message calendar and beginning its implementation. Toby tells Will to get the Vice President and Cabinet Secretaries inputs - Will tells Toby they should get the VP's input up front - but Toby shoots him down.
Josh goes to the Hill to see Senator Carrick. Carrick will not remove the hold on the military promotions until a missile system is approved (which will be built in Idaho). Josh doesn't budge. Josh comes to see Leo and persuades Leo to let Josh play hardball with Carrick. Leo wants to make a deal - but Josh is adamant about not giving in to Carrick.
Back at the White House - the President and Leo talk - the Chief Justice is starting to show signs of age and dementia, the President asks about Carrick, and Leo tells the President the HHS budget has now been doubled.
Josh goes to see Amy about the HHS budget - he tells her to be very careful about working around the process as well as getting in between the First Lady and the President.
At the afternoon briefing - C.J. is questioned about an EPA report that has been amended after it was reviewed by the administration (Leo). Leo had given C.J. the quote to use, but instead she states that "it would have been a mistake for the administration to amend the report." In the back of the room, Toby is stunned and, Leo, watching in his office, immediately calls for Margaret.
C.J. comes to see Leo about what she said in the Press Briefing. He tells her to draft a statement under her own name saying that she wasn't speaking for the White House and to have it on his desk in an hour.
Ed and Larry are briefing the President on the HHS budget appropriations, which is still rising but no one is sure why.
Josh comes back to his office and quizzes Pierce on how his family dealt with attention from the media. Toby comes by to tell Josh to get the Minority Leader on board with the message calendar. Josh and Toby talk about Carrick and the missile launcher - Josh tells Toby they're not giving in to Carrick, even if it means that Carrick might be defeated.
The President comes to see Amy and tells her to stop working on the HHS appropriation - even if the First Lady wants her to - but it's not clear that Abbey has been directing Amy to do that.
Will comes to see Toby, who asks Will if he got the VP on board - Will tells Toby the Vice President offered him a job instead. Toby asks Will if he is truly considering the job - Will tells Toby he is.
Amy comes to see Josh and tells him that she thinks the President just fired her over the HHS appropriations. Donna comes in and tells Josh that Senator Carrick just placed more holds on military promotions. Josh is going to leak it that Carrick is holding up the promotions.
Toby comes to see Will to apologize and tell him that he wants Will to take on more responsibilities, while Toby focuses on "big picture" work. Will tells Toby that he has accepted the job with the Vice President.
C.J. brings her statement to Leo. They disagree on how the issue was dealt with - but Leo tells her that she works for him and some days she just has to do what she's supposed to do.
Amy comes to see the President and apologizes for what she's done. The President tells her that she is not fired - but Amy feels she should likely leave anyway.
Toby comes to see Leo and they talk about what to do to get back on message. Toby wants the President to keep Will - but Leo tells Toby that the President is allowing Russell to take Will.
Donna finds Josh and he tells her to find Amy - he's trying to save her job. She tells him that Senator Carrick is in the Roosevelt Room waiting for him. As he heads there, he sees Amy but doesn't have a chance to talk to her. Carrick tells Josh that he is leaving the Democratic Party and wants Josh to deliver the letter and the message to the President personally.
Margaret comes and gets Josh - telling him that Leo needs him in the Mural Room. When he opens the door - everyone is there to surprise him with a birthday party. Josh is still stunned at having lost Carrick.
- Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
- Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
- Joshua Malina as Will Bailey
- Janel Moloney as Donna Moss
- Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
- John Spencer as Leo McGarry
- Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
- and Martin Sheen as President Bartlet
Special Guest Stars
- Mary-Louise Parker as Amy Gardner
- Jesse Bradford as Ryan Pierce
- Gary Cole as Bob Russell
- Tom Skerritt as Senator Chris Carrick
- Kim Webster as Ginger
- Peter James Smith as Ed
- William Duffy as Larry
- David O. Katz as Staffer #1
- Jamie Millhoff as Staffer #2
- Tom W. Chick as Gordon
- Joyce Guy as Charlayne
- Becky Meister as Sally
- Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell
- Teresa Huang as Holly
- Matthew Lang as Staff Assistant
- Eric Lemler as Nat
- Karen Goberman as Researcher
- ❝I like loyalty, Will. I respect loyalty. But you can run out the clock on a Bartlet Presidency that in effect is over. You can finish something that you never started in the first place. Or you can shape the next presidency from the ground up. Total access. Coach of the team❞
- Amy says to Josh "So this guy calls his mother; He says; mom, how are you? She says; I'm terrible, I haven't eaten in 38 days. Why haven't you eaten in 38 days? I didn't want my mouth to be full in case you called."
- A similar joke is repeated in the episode B-12 of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the joke is in a dialog between Matt Albie and Harriet Hayes.
- Matt Says to Harriet "A Jewish guy calls his mother and says; mom, how are you? And the mother says; terrible, I haven't eaten in 38 days. And he says; why haven't you eaten in 38 days? And the mother says; I didn't want my mouth full in case you should call."
- Ironically, this joke appeared five episodes after Studio 60 creator Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing.