INAUGURATION -- A situation in a thoroughly unimportant country on the other side of the world has the President and his staff re-writing his Inauguration address on the eve of his swearing-in as tensions between the White House and the Pentagon mount and the staff is stunned by the betrayal of one of their own. The first of a two-parter.
Opening - United States Capitol - Sunday, Inauguration Day
C.J. meets up with the President, who has arrived for the swearing-in. He is being trailed by staffers who are talking to him about the Inauguration balls - Bartlet doesn't really care. The President asks C.J. about the speech - she kisses him on the cheek as approval of what he will say.
The President next meets Josh who tells the President that the details of the new policy initiatives have leaked out. The President tells Josh that he is still waiting on a bible - Josh tells him that Charlie is working on it. Josh and Leo meet in the next room, where Josh asks about Jack Reese, who has been transferred out of the White House at the request of the Secretary of Defense, because the White House (Leo) asked him to prepare a force depletion report without going through the Secretary.
Leo walks into the next room, where the President is waiting. Several come up to Leo to complain about the Inauguration Speech the President is about to give. The President and Leo talk and Charlie arrives with a bible, just as the Chief Justice arrives to ask the President if he is ready.
Act I - Monday Morning, Six Days Before Inauguration
The President and Senior Staff are rehearsing the Inauguration in the Press Briefing Room. Toby is amused by something he is reading and the President asks about it - the Chief Justice wrote an opinion in verse. The President asks to see the foreign policy section of the speech. The President looks it over and tells Toby that he wants to make some changes - Toby tells Will that he will meet with someone from State.
The President and Leo walk back toward the Oval Office and talk about the Chief Justice and then about the situation in Equatorial Kundhu, a country in Africa, that is being ravaged by civil war. Walking into the Oval Office, Charlie tells the President that he needs to decide what Bible he is going to use. The President looks up to see Will standing in the Oval Office - who tells the President that relationships between writers and the people they write for develop over time.
Josh comes to his office to find Donna - who tells him that Jack is taking her to the balls on Inauguration Day. Josh asks about messages, there are several from State - they are concerned about the proposed changes.
Later, the President is attending a Prayer Breakfast and is questioned by several religious leaders about the situation in Equatorial Kundhu.
Will is in his office when Bonnie knocks to tell him the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Bryce Lilly, has arrived - Will talks with him about changing the language the State Department has proposed. Lilly leaves after Will tells him the language is going to be significantly revised. Toby throws the ball at the window between their offices to get Will to come to Toby's office. The two talk and realize they better have some new language to replace the State language they have just tossed out. In Toby's office are some of the boxes of public remarks made by Congressman and Governor Bartlet in the past.
Charlie comes into the Oval Office to tell the President that he can't use the Bartlet Bible, which is in the New Hampshire Historical Society. Bartlet and Charlie talk about other options and the two also have a brief conversation about Kundhu - the President asks Charlie to get Bob Slattery and have him come to the White House.
C.J. is wrapping up her press briefing and as she walks back to her office with Carol, Carol tells her that Danny wants to see her (who is also walking right behind them). Danny tells C.J. that the signal officer in Bermuda has gone missing.
In the Oval Office, Charlie comes in to tell the President that Assistant Secretary of State Bob Slattery is here. The President and Slattery talk about Kundhu and the President asks to see a force depletion report, which Slattery will ask Jack Reese to prepare.
The next day, C.J. gives a briefing to the Press, including reports on Kundhu. She is getting some hard questions and has few answers.
Donna comes to Josh to tell him that she was in Jack's office the night before and he was working on something that he couldn't fully tell Donna about - so Donna is asking Josh if he knows anything about it.
In the Oval Office, the President comes out and tells Charlie that he's changed his mind - he wants to use the Johnathon Edwards bible - Charlie says he will get it. Leo arrives with another opinion in verse from the Chief Justice. The two talk about the force depletion report the President asked Slattery about.
In Will's office, he, Toby, and Elsie are working on the speech, while Will is also familiarizing himself with the President's style. An intern arrives with another speech, that was kept out of the rest - as it was stricken from the Congressional Record at the President's request - Will takes it and immediately starts reading.
Will is in Toby's office reading from the speech that was delivered separately. Will makes the case to Toby that the language that Bartlet used in this speech is exactly what the President wants now. Toby tells Will to forget it and go back to revising the existing State Language.
Charlie escorts people to the Blue Room with the Johnathon Edwards bible, which is large and unwieldy - when the President arrives - he realizes they are not going to be able to use it - and tells Charlie to see about getting the Washington bible.
In the Situation Room, Leo is getting an update on events around the world. He asks Secretary of Defense Hutchinson to hold back and asks about Kundhu. Leo lets it slip to Hutchinson that the President has seen a force depletion report, which angers the Secretary.
Will is working in his office when there is a knock at the door. Will, thinking it's Toby tells him to hang on - and then looks up and sees it is the President. The President picks up the speech that Will was reading and questions about why America should intervene in Kundhu.
C.J. is about to start her briefing when Danny stops her to say that the signal agent has turned up . . . in Guyana. C.J. pulls Danny into a room to pretend to come on to him - to illustrate what she would do if she wanted to have him. She leaves to go to her briefing. She leads with updated numbers from Kundhu - the death toll is now nearing 25,000.
Josh arrives at the Oval Office to see the President. Charlie is looking over the seating chart of the Inauguration. The President is in a security briefing and Charlie goes to tell the President that Josh is waiting. The meeting wraps up and the President walks out with Charlie - and tells Charlie he's changed his mind (again) on the Bible. The President stops in Leo's office and they talk about Leo's discussion with Hutchinson and Leo admits that he may have gotten Jack Reese in trouble. The President also mentions to Leo about the interaction that he had with Will Bailey. The President comes into the Oval Office to talk with Josh - Josh is hearing from people who are concerned about additional language in the speech. Josh leaves and runs into Donna who tells him that Jack Reese has been reassigned to Aviano Air Force Base in Italy. Donna wants Josh to do something but there's nothing he can do. Charlie stops by to tell Josh that Jean-Paul is sitting with Zoey in the Friends and Family section at the Inauguration. The two look over to the TV in Josh's office where footage from Kundhu is being shown - the killings are continuing.
- 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 Star
- Granville Van Dusen as Bryce Lilly
- Danica McKellar as Elsie Snuffin
- Steve Ryan as Miles Hutchinson
- Victor McCay as Henry
- Thomas Kopache as Bob Slattery
- Gibby Brand as Adam Kent
- Faran Tahir as Manny
- John Cothran, Jr. as Civilian Advisor
- Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
- Peter James Smith as Ed
- William Duffy as Larry
- Devika Parikh as Bonnie
- Kris Murphy as Katie Witt
- Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell
- Abdoulaye N'Gom as Archbishop Zake Kintaka
- Paul Kent as Cardinal Patrick
- Mark Chaet as Imam
- Ralph Meyering Jr. as Director #2
- Dan Gerrity as Director #3
- Nicole Lyn as Stacy
- Joel Anderson as Clark
- Geoffrey Ewing as Senator Beckwith
- Daniel Ziskie as O'Donell
- Timothy Rice as Chief Justice
- President Bartlet: The Chief Justice wrote a poem.
- Leo McGarry: He's trying to get the Court to adopt powdered wigs.
- President Bartlet: What do you mean?
- Leo McGarry: Exactly what I said.
- President Bartlet: Powdered wigs?
- Leo McGarry: Like the British magistrates. I'm telling you, I think there might be a problem.
- President Bartlet: You think he stayed to long at the fair?
- Leo McGarry: He's not a young man.
- President Bartlet: Neither am I.
- Leo McGarry: This is what I'm talking about.
- Will Bailey: "America stands alone as the indispensable nation-- a force for peace, freedom and prosperity on all corners of the globe."
- Bryce Lilly: But that's almost exactly what we wrote.
- Will Bailey: No, that is exactly what you wrote. I'm quoting the State Department text.
- Bryce Lilly: You memorized it? It was 1,200 words.
- Will Bailey: I'm pretty sure it was 1,123.
- President Josiah Bartlet: Why is a Kuhndunese life worth less to me than an American life?
- Will Bailey: I don't know, Sir, but it is.
- President Bartlet: Some of which have my name on them. So tell Jeff Tomlison and baby Bob to take a deep knee bend, would you? I'm just as big a cotton candy ass as they are.
- Josh Lyman: Yes, sir.
- President Bartlet: You're just going to let that hang in the air?
- Josh Lyman: Of course not, sir. You're a much bigger cotton candy ass than they are
- None of the White House staff or the president seem to know much about Equatorial Kundu (including its location and pronunciation) despite having met with the late President Nimbala just a few years earlier.
- Donna says "I'm not Gidget," referring to the boy-crazy teenager who was popular 1957-72.
- The opening scene shows "United States Capitol - Inauguration Day - Sunday" but public inauguration ceremonies are not held on Sundays, the public events would have been scheduled for Monday.
- Will Bailey says to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs that Article I of the Constitution only gives "some Presidents" power over foreign policy. Article I deals with the Congress. It is Article II that gives the President such powers.
- Donna states that Jack's dress blue uniform has 13 buttons on the trousers. The 13 button trousers are only a part of the Navy enlisted dress blue uniform. Jack is an officer and would not wear those trousers.
Notes and references