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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by C.J.

The President explodes when a rival conservative congresswoman seeks to torpedo funding for a controversial medical study by the National Institute of Health by exposing the fact that Bartlet's daughter Ellie is working there as a scientist. Meanwhile, as Toby searches for the internal White House leak that led to Ellie's press scrutiny, Josh works to convince an old college friend to stay the course for his blocked confirmation as a judge on the 6th Circuit federal court. Elsewhere, C.J.urges Abbey to increase her public profile as the First Lady and a working doctor. Part of her plan includes educating children about medicine via a public service announcement with Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita and Zoe.



In the office of Dr. Lewis Foy, a medical researcher, the phone rings.  A Congressman is on the phone and begins to inquire of Foy about the nature of his work.  One of Foy's assistants is Ellie Bartlet.  At the White House, Toby and C.J. are talking about what happened.  Toby doesn't think it is going to be a problem.

Act I[]

The next morning, C.J. arrives to find Toby in her office - he is now convinced that a Congressman trying to tag Ellie is a big problem.  He will do some research for C.J. to counter the questions she is sure to get in her briefing.

Josh is talking with an old friend, Eric Hayden, who was nominated to be on the federal bench, but his nomination has been blocked by the Republicans for the past year.  Hayden has been offered a job at Georgetown University and he wants to take it.  Josh asks him to wait until the end of the week to try and get the nomination unstuck.

Leo comes to see C.J. to tell her that she has to meet with the First Lady to figure out what to do about her volunteering at a clinic.  C.J. has to cancel her planned lunch with Ben - who is waiting for her in C.J.'s office.  C.J. tells Ben she has to cancel - but wants to see him again soon - and leaves for her meeting with the First Lady. In meeting with the First Lady, C.J. suggests the First Lady tape a special with the characters from Sesame Street to help "soften her image" with the media.

Josh goes to see Leo to tell him that he wants to meet with the Chief of Staff for the Judiciary Committee to see if he can get the stalled nominations moving again.  Leo tells Josh that he won't get anywhere but to have at it.

Toby is trying to determine who is behind the "outing" of Ellie Bartlet's research, when he turns on the TV and sees Congresswoman Layton holding a news conference - standing next to her is Congressman Bentley, who steps to the microphone and begins to read a list of research projects, including the one that Ellie is working on.  In her office, C.J. is watching the same thing.

Act II[]

C.J. and Toby are discussing the list that has been released and how to respond to it.  Toby is still not clear on what the fight is - C.J. wants to gloss it over - but Toby wants the fight, once he knows what it is.  Toby will take it to Leo.

Later, in Leo's office, Leo is upset because he knows the President is going to erupt when he finds out that Congress is looking into the work of one of his daughters.  He tells Toby to meet with Congresswoman Layton to see if there is a way to negotiate this away.

The First Lady is in the outer Oval Office waiting to see the President.  Debbie is very excited that the Muppets may be coming to the White House.

Josh comes to see Donna to tell her to set up a meeting with the Judiciary Committee's Chief of Staff.  She also tells him that it's not going to make a difference.  Josh goes off to his meeting with Lisa Wolfe and, as expected, gets nowhere.  When Josh comes back to the White House, he tells Leo he wants to fill the openings by recess appointments - Leo looks askance at him but says he will take it to the President.

Back at the White House, Rena has been looking into the list and keeps coming up with a website for the Traditional Values Alliance, a right-wing religious group.  Toby comes in and tells her to get the head of the group on the phone.  Toby comes to find C.J. to tell her the Traditional Values Alliance is going to go public and they need to get Ellie under protection right away - but they look up to the TV and see that it's too late.

Act III[]

The President is furious over what has happened and the Senior Staff comes into the Oval Office to discuss a strategy with the President.  C.J. wants to leave it alone - but the President wants to make it a bigger issue.  As the Senior Staff leave, the First Lady and Ellie arrive to talk to the President.

Toby and C.J. talk - she is upset at ruining things with Ben.  Toby tells her to go and fix it.  He goes back to his office and tells Rena to call Congresswoman Layton - he is coming to see her right now.  In the meeting, Toby challenges Layton on her motives for releasing the list (and dragging Ellie Bartlet into it).  He tells her that he thinks that she got her list from the Traditional Values Alliance, but she denies it.

Josh meets with Eric Hayden to tell him that he wants to push Hayden through as a recess appointment, but Hayden really wants to withdraw.

In the residence, Ellie and her father have a heart-to-heart about her research and science policy.  She just wanted to work quietly on the project - but instead got thrust into the spotlight - which she hates.

Act IV[]

Back at the White House - Rena comes to Toby with the two lists and the realization that whoever gave out the list had to be inside the administration.  Toby knows who it was - Will - and he immediately goes and confronts him. Will doesn't deny it.  Elsewhere, Ellie, Debbie, and others are watching the taping of the First Lady's appearance with the Muppets.

Josh comes to see Leo, who is on the phone.  When Leo gets off the phone - Josh tells him that Hayden is willing to go forward with the recess appointment.  Leo tells him there is a new problem - one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, Owen Brady, has died suddenly.

Will goes to see the Vice President and Will asks him if he was the one who leaked the list - the Vice President says it was.  Will tells the Vice President that he is going to have to tell the President - but the Vice President says he won't do that.

Ellie asks C.J. for her help in preparing and delivering a statement for the Press on her research.  The President and First Lady watch on TV, as does Will from his office.

Trivia / Goofs[]

  • During the filming of this episode, PBS also filmed Stockard Channing, Allison Janney, and Lily Tomlin dancing to the song Boogie Woogie Sheep for their special "Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On," which first aired on Sunday April 4, 2004. [1]
  • Stockard Channing previously featured on Sesame Street in "The Number Painter" sketches
  • Many of the staff claim to be huge Muppets fans, yet they have trouble distinguishing between the Muppets and Sesame Street. It's obvious that Abby appears on Sesame Street (as the skit involves Elmo and Big Bird), yet they continually refer to the show as "Muppets" (even despite Abbey lecturing Debbie about the difference between the two). Further, this episode was set in 2004, several years after "Muppets Tonight" ceased production.
  • When discussing the difference between The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, Abbey states that Kermit the Frog is the only Muppet to crossover. In actuality, Rowlf the Dog also appeared in the Sesame Street pitch reel and The Song of Nine during Sesame Street's first season.
  • The title is an apocryphal observation attributed to Galileo Galilei, when his theory that the Earth was not the center of the heavenly spheres was challenged and he was forced by the Inquisition to recant this heresy. The phrase is often used to reflect the 'undeniability' of true science.


Toby Ziegler: As in House Reform? How many U.S. Research Labs come equipped with the President's daughter? Whether they invoked her or not, they wouldn't have called unless they had something. Somebody's out for blood and they're targeting Ellie Bartlet.
Leo McGarry: Lunatics. I'm surrounded by lunatics.
Josh Lyman: I'm going to set up the meeting.
Leo McGarry: I've got ten bucks says you're banging your head against the sink.
Josh Lyman: Twenty.
Leo McGarry: I'm sorry but can we really justify spending $800,000 on 'A Bio-Cultural Approach to the Study of Female Sexual Fantasy and Genital Arousal'?
Toby Ziegler: How can we afford not to?
Charlie Young: I'm crazy for Muppets. I'm just trying to act cool.
Ellie Bartlet: Thomas Jefferson said 'We must not be afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead'. Scientific truth ennobles us. It tells us who we are, where we've been and where we're going. I believe the truth will only be found when all the scientists are free to pursue it.
Elmo: Wait a minute! Didn't you give up your medical license? Do you have a diploma you could show Elmo?



Special Guest Stars[]

Guest Starring[]


  • Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
  • Caroll Spinney as Big Bird
  • Kevin Clash as Elmo
  • Fran Brill as Zoe
  • Carmen Osbahr as Rosita
  • Joseph Mazzarino as Muppet Doctor
  • Alice Dinnean Vernon as Rosita's Right Hand
  • Paul McGinnis as Elmo's Right Hand
  • Penny Griego as Anchor
  • Anthony Giangrande as Gary
  • Doug Tompos as Bentley's Aide


"The West Wing" Eppur Si Muove (2004)
The West Wing : Eppur Si Muove