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EMMY WINNER EDWARD JAMES OLMOS, CCH POUNDER GUEST-STAR -- Sam (Rob Lowe) and Toby (Richard Schiff) are dispatched to Connecticut for some damage control and to secure the secret release of President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) primary choice (guest star and Emmy Award winner Edward James Olmos, "Miami Vice") for the Supreme Court, who has been jailed for alleged drunk driving and resisting arrest. Meanwhile, Josh (Bradley Whitford) is a guest lecturer at a college class to talk about working for the President and he recounts the previous week's flare-ups, which include: his feeble attempt to fill in as the White House spokesman at a press conference where he promises that the President has "a secret plan to fight inflation," and the media glare that engulfs the African-American HUD secretary (guest star CCH Pounder, "ER") who publicly labeled a prominent Republican as a racist.



In a large auditorium, David Nessler welcomes a large audience to the evening's third installment of the Marjorie Dupont lecture series, and notes the unusually large turnout, perhaps due to their guest: Josh Lyman. Said guest is waiting in the wings on the phone with Sam Seaborn, who has found out that Appeals Court Justice and Supreme Court nominee Roberto Mendoza has been arrested in Connecticut for drunk driving. Sam finds a taxi and speeds off to the White House. The press is unaware of the situation. At the lecture, Josh's resume is detailed, and Josh is welcomed on-stage, clearly agitated by the news he has just received but trying very hard not to show it.
Get the next associate justice out of jail!

"Get the next Associate Justice out of jail!"

Back in Leo's office, C.J. greets Sam and asks what happened. Sam tells her about the arrest, and she wonders how it could have happened. Sam says it couldn't have happened. "Mendoza doesn't drink," Sam assures her. He was pulled over for "driving while being Hispanic." C.J. wonders if Toby knows yet. Toby enters. "I've stepped off the edge of the world." Apparently he does. Toby wonders if bail has been posted, and C.J. tells him that it's "not Cook County {Chicago and surrounding suburbs}, Toby, it's Friday night in Wesley, Connecticut," and no judge is available. "Believe me C.J., I will figure out a way to blame this on you."

Leo comes in and tells them to find and speak to the judge's lawyer, and tells Sam and Toby that an Air Force jet is waiting to take them to Westchester. "Fly to Westchester, rent a car, drive to Wesley, and get the next associate justice of the Supreme Court out of jail!" If they see one reporter, Leo is going to blame C.J. "Toby's got you covered." Toby tells Leo he will have an abrupt conversation with the judge. Before they all leave, Leo advises them to keep him in the loop about what is going on.

Act I[]

In the lecture hall, David asks Josh to describe a typical day at the White House.
Typical day

There is no such thing as a '"typical day" at the White House

Josh tells him there is no such thing. "It starts out as a 9 to 5 job, but you can pretty much count on that being blown to hell by 9:30." Josh picks the two previous days as an example: The day started out as a time to trumpet the new Education Bill that the President signed, but it quickly spun out of control. The HUD secretary called a prominent Republican congressman a racist on national TV, the White House staff blew a press event, a dentist appointment happened, and Josh was stupid. "For the record, I don't think it was as much my fault as other people do."

In a flashback, C.J. is prepping for a press conference to detail the new education bill. The communications staff is taking her through the bullet points, to her annoyance. After the prep, Sam asks her what time is her briefing, and wants her to push it to 1:00 PM to get more positive spin on the signing ceremony. She tells him she has a dentist's appointment at noon that will prevent that, but he tells her to keep the appointment and push the briefing to 2:00. "Your teeth are your best friends. Protect them and they'll protect you".

That the best

"If the shoe fits?!" Is that the best she could do?

Josh and Toby are discussing the fact that Secretary Deborah O'Leary called Congressman Jack Wooden a racist. Toby asks for Bonnie and Ginger to find the wire piece.
Wooden is a racist

If the shoe fits!

Mandy comes in and reads the actual transcript, in which O'Leary calls the entire Republican Party racist.

Back in the lecture hall, Josh tells the audience that the President had to be told about the incident. Cut to the White house, where President Bartlet is unhappy. "'If the shoe fits?!' Is that the best she could do?!" "Of her many transgressions, let's not worry about she resorted to cliche." Leo tells the President that he will handle it.

The President enters the education bill signing ceremony. After the signing, Danny Concannon questions him about O'Leary's actions, and after trying to evade his question, he admits that O'Leary went too far when she assigned motive. Because C.J. is not there to end the questions, Steve and Sondra are able to get the President to say that an apology would be appropriate. The rest of the staff quickly ends the event but the damage has been done.

We're lost

We're lost!

In the auditorium Josh is retelling the events, when he gets a call on his cellphone from Toby. He and Sam are lost. Because Josh is from Connecticut, they call him to ask for directions. Josh tells them he can't talk right now and hangs up, then brushes off questions about what the call was about. He then tells the audience that the day was about to get worse because he was about to step up to the plate.

Act II[]

I can't believe he did that!

I can't believe he did that!

In the rental car, Sam and Toby are still trying to find the police station. Toby tells Sam they are going the wrong way, and Sam tells Toby that they are going the right way, because the bright star in the sky is Polaris, the North Star, and he is using Celestial navigation. "Hey Galileo, get off at the next exit and turn around!"

Deborah O'Leary enters Leo's office, angrily demanding to know why the President wants an apology from her without hearing her side. "We blew the press event" he admits, "But Debbie, I got a videotape of your side!" She tells Leo that the man is a racist and is using his oversight authority to spit at poor people and minorities, which to him are one and the same. Leo tells her that they need votes from Wooden's committee including the ones for appropriations for Housing and Urban Development. "Attacking H.U.D. is code for attacking blacks," she tells Leo. "Thanks, having been born yesterday on a turnip truck" Leo retorts.

She starts to tell him about her role as the highest ranking African-American woman in government, but doesn't get a chance to finish as he roughly interrupts and tells her her role first and foremost is to serve the President, a task at which she failed spectacularly. She will apologize to Wooden, or she will be fired. She gives in. He tells her Wooden has been trying to bait her for months, and that when she gave in to him she surrendered the high ground. She wonders how she could have been so stupid, and he tells her she forgot what her grandfather told her--never argue with a drunk or a fool.

At the lecture, Josh tells the audience that their problems should have ended there. C.J. would do a press conference saying that O'Leary would apologize, and would redirect attention to the $700 million education bill. "Who here has had emergency root canal?" Josh asks the audience.

I had woot canal!

I had woot canal!

C.J. enters Josh's office, with her jaw numbed and the left side of her mouth stuffed with cotton--she had to have emergency root canal surgery. She is in pain and can barely talk coherently: "I have to cancel the bwiefing! I can't even say bwiefing!" He tells her that he will do the briefing, to her obvious consternation. He should get Toby or Sam to do it, but neither of them are available. He heads for the briefing.

Carol Fitzpatrick tells everyone to get into their seats for the briefing. Danny Concannon tries to tell Josh not to do the briefing, but Josh tells him he talks to reporters all the time, and he graduated from Harvard and Yale, and his powers of debate can rise to the "Socratic wonder that is the White House press corps." Danny, obviously relishing the opportunity, simply says "Okey-dokey".

In the lecture hall, Josh tells them he read a statement taking care of the Deborah O'Leary story. He then opened up the press conference for questions, telling the press he would take one question apiece. The first question is from Mike who asks when was the last time the President had a cigarette. "Are you sure you want your one question to be that stupid?" C.J. watches, horrified. Katie Witt, a reporter, tells Josh the President bummed a cigarette from her on Air Force One two days ago. Josh evades the question, and a follow-up.

Josh then calls on Danny, who has obviously been waiting. He asks that since economists are worried that the drop in unemployment will create an increase in wages, thus creating inflation, does the President have a plan to fight that inflation. Josh tells him that the President's council of economic advisors have a plan, and Danny wonders if they won't tell what it is because it's a secret plan. When Josh sarcastically replies that yes it's a secret plan, the rest of the press corps, including Jonathan, demands more information on this "secret plan to fight inflation".

Back in the lecture hall, the audience is dismissed for a brief break, and Josh calls Toby and Sam for an update on Mendoza. Toby tells him that they still haven't found the police station, since Sam was navigating by the North Star which turned out to be an airplane. "It's a miracle we're not in Nantucket!" Josh asks how hard it can be to find, and Toby asks him to tell more about the President's secret plan to fight inflation. Sam is going to pull into a store and ask where the police station is, but Toby tells him he can pull in at the Wesley police station, which they have stumbled across.

Act III[]

In the police station, Sam introduces himself to the officer on duty at the desk, Peter, and tells him to get his watch commander. The man asks if this is a joke, and Sam assures him it isn't. Sam tells him that while they are in a bit of trouble, he is in a lot more trouble, and tells him to get his watch commander now. Sergeant MacNamara enters, and Sam tells him that they are from the White House, and that they have arrested Roberto Mendoza, and that they are there to release him. MacNamara tells them that he is in no mood for a joke, and tells Sam to state their business or leave. The desk officer suddenly recognizes Toby from a photo in the newspaper where he is standing behind the President.

Um, sergeant...


Sam tells MacNamara that he has arrested a Federal judge who is a nominee for the Supreme court. The phone starts ringing, and Sam tells him he should answer--it's the Governor of Connecticut.

At the lecture, Josh has continued to talk about how the Press Conference spun out of control, with Danny, Sondra, Steve and Jesse bombarding him with questions about the secret plan to fight inflation. Josh, looking like a deer in the headlights, catches Danny's eye as Danny looks smugly at him. The Press Conference ends, and Donna comes to him, followed by C.J., and then Toby, all of them very upset with him. "A secwet pwan to fight infwation?!" C.J. yells. C.J. tells Josh he is never allowed near the press room again. Sam enters and tells them that they have another problem--it's Mendoza.

In the lecture hall, Josh tells the audience that Supreme Court nominees are supposed to let the White House speak for them, something they have been unable to teach Judge Mendoza. In Leo's office, they find that Mendoza told the Chicago Tribune that the president was wrong to demand that Secretary O'Leary apologize to Wooden. C.J. tells Leo that the "Pwesident" needs to be "bwiefed" on the Mendoza situation. Toby: "C.J., so help me if you use the words 'Pwesident' or 'bwiefed' again..."

Leo tells them that the President will be in New Orleans for a labor conference in an hour, and that there will be no press there. When he is done, he will come straight back. Josh tells him that most of the day was their fault, and the president won't take this very well. They will be with Leo in spirit when he meets with the President. Leo tells him that the senior staff--all of them--will meet with the President in the Oval Office in the morning at seven.

An abrupt conversation

Toby has his "abrupt" conversation with Mendoza

At the lecture, Josh tells the audience that in the 8 weeks since Mendoza was named, he has publicly criticized the American Bar Association, the AFL-CIO. and the New York State Legislature, three groups that all helped the President get elected. The only thing they had handled successfully was the Deborah O'Leary issue, and Mendoza stirred it up again. Josh's phone rings, and it is Sam telling him they have arrived and are handling the situation. At the police station, Toby is admitted to Mendoza's cell, and they begin to have their abrupt discussion.

Act IV[]

At the lecture, Josh tells him that while the hardest Job in the White House is President, the second hardest job is Charlie Young's, the President's personal aide. Of his many duties, the one he hates the most is waking the President in the morning. And, in this instance, the President had gone to sleep only three hours earlier. At the White House, Charlie is calling the President for his morning wake-up call. He is very groggy and very angry, and wonders why he is being awakened so early. Charlie details the President's morning schedule, and asks if he wants coffee. "Sir, I need you to dig in now. It wasn't a nightmare--you really are the President."

At the lecture, Josh tells them that Mendoza was summoned to the White House, and such summons often are answered within an hour. Judge Mendoza would be taking his time, however, stopping for antiquing in Connecticut. More bad news for the President, who still wasn't awake.

Your are committing a federal crime

Charlie wakes the President

At the White House, a steward named Billy informs Charlie that he has been knocking but has gotten no answer, and that the shower is not running. Charlie enters and wakes a very grumpy President. "How'd you know the First Lady wasn't gonna be naked when you came in here?" Charlie reminds him that she is in Argentina. Charlie also reminds him that he has a busy day ahead, and that he has to get up, shower, and get dressed. The President agrees and gets out of bed, happy that at least Charlie got less sleep that he did.

In the Oval office outer office, the staff waits nervously for the President to arrive. He does: "I'm tired, I'm cranky, and my wife's in Argentina. Let's get this over with!" The staff details the Public Relations disasters of the previous day. Josh tells him the O'Leary incident, which had been settled, flared up again. The Press Conference was moved to trumpet the education bill, C.J. had her dental surgery and wasn't able to do the Press Conference. When Josh tells the President he did, his only response is "Oh God!"

The President will be reading about the President's secret plan to fight inflation, and Josh tries to explain what happened, to the President's dismay. "Before we go on, C.J.: If blood is gushing from the head wound you just received from a stampeding herd of Bison, you'll do the press briefing." Toby interrupts, telling the President that as much as he is enjoying the beating Josh is taking, there are bigger problems with Mendoza. The President says that C.J. will untangle the press corps, and they will wait for Mendoza to arrive, and hope that nothing happens today to make things worse. "Though I certainly wouldn't bet the house on it!" As they leave, Josh tells the President that he should say he hasn't smoked in years, and that the cigarette he bummed was for a friend. "Get. Out."

At the lecture, David asks what happened with Judge Mendoza, and Josh tells him that they haven't met with him yet.

In Wesley, MacNamara tells Sam that he was the one who pulled Mendoza over, and that his driving was erratic--he could have been drinking. Sam tells him that Mendoza has chronic persistent hepatitis, a non-progressive form of liver inflammation, and that if he had drunk enough alcohol to be legally drunk he would be dead.

In the cell, Toby wonders why the judge didn't take a breathalyzer, and Mendoza tells him that there was no just cause--it would have been an illegal search and a civil rights violation. Toby asks why he gave the local cop a hard time just to make a point, and Mendoza tells him that it was a point worth making. "Not here and not now" Toby tells him. The whole situation could have been resolved with one phone call.

Nothing that wouldn't be better if you were a surpreme court

There's nothing about this that wouldn't be better if you were a Supreme Court Justice.

Mendoza tells Toby he was pulled over for driving while Hispanic. Toby tells the judge that they are leaving, but he refuses, stating that he is under arrest. Come Monday, he will avail himself of the legal system for which he has worked all his life. He was handcuffed, frisked, and loaded into a squad car in front of his wife and nine-year-old son. Toby tells him his son has seen him in a robe with a gavel, but Mendoza tells him that his son doesn't understand that--he understands the police. Toby tells him the whole situation stinks, but that there is nothing about it that can't get better if he is appointed to the Supreme Court.

In the lobby, Toby enters with Judge Mendoza following. Toby tells the officers that they are lucky. There will be no record of the arrest, no investigation, and no suspensions. There will also be no $100 million lawsuits against the county which they would certainly lose. What will happen, though, is that they will apologize the Judge Mendoza on the spot, and that they will then follow them to the hotel where his wife and son are staying and apologize to them. They quickly agree. Outside, Sam calls Josh and tells him that the situation has been resolved.

At the lecture, Josh promises that the phone won't ring again. David asks if there is anything Josh can tell him about the situation, and Josh tells him to ask him back again after Judge Mendoza is confirmed. Josh agrees to take some questions as the screen fades to black.


Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
Moira Kelly as Mandy Hampton
Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
John Spencer as Leo McGarry
Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
and Martin Sheen as President Bartlet

Special Guest Star

Edward James Olmos as Justice Roberto Mendoza

Recurring cast

Timothy Busfield as Danny Concannon
Janel Moloney as Donna Moss

Guest Starring

CCH Pounder as Deborah O'Leary
Robert David Hall as David Nessler
Vaughn Armstrong as Sgt. MacNamara


NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
Kim Webster as Ginger
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
Devika Parikh as Bonnie
Jacqueline Torres as Sondra
Charles Noland as Steve
Diana Morgan as Jesse
Kris Narmont as Katie Witt
Victor Love as Mike
Jason C. Morgan as Peter
Bob Thompson as Billy
J.P. Stevenson as Jonathan
Kelly Fialing as Pretty College Student


There's no such thing as a typical day. There's a schedule and a structure to be sure. And to a certain extent it starts off as a 9-5 job, but you can pretty much count on it being blown to hell by 9:30.
Sir, I need you to dig in now. It wasn't a nightmare, you really are the president
A secwet pwan to fiwgt infwation?!
—C.J. Cregg
(walking into a briefing after getting only three hours' sleep) I'm tired, I'm cranky, and my wife is in Argentina. Let's get this over with
Toby – Hello, Mr. Justice. How are you?
Mendoza – Incarcerated, Toby, and how are you?
―"The system works"
Josh Lyman: Uh, long story short you're going to be reading a bit today about your secret plan to fight inflation.
President Josiah Bartlet: I have a secret plan to fight inflation?
Josh Lyman: No.
President Josiah Bartlet: Why am I going to be reading that I do?
Josh Lyman: It was suggested in the press room that you do.
President Josiah Bartlet: By who?
Josh Lyman: By me.
President Josiah Bartlet: You told the press I have a secret plan to fight inflation?
Josh Lyman: No, I did not. Let me be absolutely clear I DID NOT do that. Except yes, I did that.
President Josiah Bartlet: Josh, I'm a little confused.
Josh Lyman: Sir, there was this idiotic round robin. It was sarcastic! There's no way they didn't know that. They were just mad at me for imposing discipline and calling them stupid!
President Josiah Bartlet: Okay, before we go on, C.J., if blood is gushing from the head wound you just received from a stampeding herd of bison, you'll do the press briefing.
Josh Lyman: If anyone asks you, you quit smoking years ago, and the cigarette you bummed on Air Force One was for a friend.
Bartlet: Get. Out.
Josh: You bet.


  • Sam and Toby walk into a Connecticut police station to spring their Supreme Court nominee. When they introduce themselves as presidential aides, the duty officers don't believe them until the junior man recognizes Toby from a picture, with the President in the Oval Office, that appeared in that day's paper. Three seasons later, in the Christmas episode Holy Night, we see Toby's father, Julie, admiring the same front page that has found its way into a frame and onto the wall in Toby's office.
  • Josh's "secret plan to fight inflation" resembles presidential candidate Richard Nixon's claim that he had a plan to end the Vietnam War, which he really didn't. Video on the History Channel, an in-depth essay from the Christian Science Monitor, and background on Wired.
  • In the scene where Josh leaves the lecture hall to talk to Toby and Sam, this was filmed in the atrium of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
  • The exterior of the police station is the show's post-production office.[1]
  • Polaris, the North Star, is far from the brightest star in the night sky, It is actually a magnitude 2.02 star, and is the 48th brightest star in the night sky. It forms the left end of the handle of the Little Dipper constellation.[2]
  • Sam sounds like he says F@&k when he excitedly spots the police station after hours of searching with Toby.


Notes and references[]

I PilotPost Hoc, Ergo Propter HocA Proportional ResponseFive Votes Down
The Crackpots and These WomenMr. Willis of OhioThe State DinnerEnemiesThe Short List
In Excelsis DeoLord John MarburyHe Shall, from Time to Time...Take Out the Trash Day
Take This Sabbath DayCelestial Navigation20 Hours in L.A.The White House Pro-Am
Six Meetings Before LunchLet Bartlet Be BartletMandatory Minimums
Lies, Damn Lies and StatisticsWhat Kind of Day Has It Been?
II In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part I)In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part II)The Midterms
In This White HouseAnd It's Surely to Their CreditThe Lame Duck CongressThe Portland Trip
ShibbolethGalileoNoëlThe Leadership BreakfastThe Drop-In
Bartlet's Third State of the UnionThe War at HomeEllie
Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to JailThe Stackhouse Filibuster
17 PeopleBad Moon RisingThe Fall's Gonna Kill You18th and PotomacTwo Cathedrals
III Manchester (Part I)Manchester (Part II)Ways and MeansOn the Day BeforeWar CrimesGone QuietThe Indians in the LobbyThe Women of QumarBartlet for AmericaH.Con - 172100,000 AirplanesThe Two BartletsNight FiveHartsfield's LandingDead Irish Writers
The U.S. Poet LaureateStirredEnemies Foreign and DomesticThe Black Vera Wang
We Killed YamamotoPosse Comitatus
IV 20 Hours in America (Part I)20 Hours in America (Part II)College KidsThe Red Mass
Debate CampGame OnElection NightProcess StoriesSwiss DiplomacyArctic Radar
Holy NightGuns Not ButterThe Long GoodbyeInauguration (Part I)
Inauguration: Over There (Part II)The California 47thRed Haven's on FirePrivateers
Angel MaintenanceEvidence of Things Not SeenLife On MarsCommencementTwenty-Five
V 7A WF 83429The Dogs of WarJefferson LivesHanA Constituency of OneDisaster ReliefSeparation of PowersShutdownAbu el BanatThe Stormy PresentThe Benign PrerogativeSlow News DayThe Warfare of Genghis KhanAn KheFull DisclosureEppur Si Muove
The SupremesAccessTalking PointsNo ExitGazaMemorial Day
VI NSF ThurmontThe Birnam WoodThird-Day StoryLiftoffThe Hubbert PeakThe Dover TestA Change Is Gonna ComeIn The RoomImpact WinterFaith Based Initiative
Opposition Research365 DaysKing CornThe Wake Up CallFreedoniaDrought ConditionsA Good DayLa PalabraNinety Miles AwayIn God We TrustThings Fall Apart2162 Votes
VII The TicketThe Mommy ProblemMessage of the WeekMr. FrostHere Today
The Al Smith DinnerThe DebateUndecidedsThe WeddingRunning Mates
Internal DisplacementDuck and CoverThe ColdTwo Weeks OutWelcome to Wherever You Are
Election Day (Part I)Election Day (Part II)RequiemTransitionThe Last Hurrah
Institutional MemoryTomorrow