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West Wing Wiki

STORM CLOUDS GATHER OVER WHITE HOUSE IN PART I OF TWO-PART SEASON PREMIERE -- In the season premiere, flashbacks reveal how the President (Martin Sheen) will officially announce his plans to run for re-election, which sends his staff into disarray as they work on the speech. But two problems dog them when Sam (Rob Lowe) realizes that Bartlet never apologized for not disclosing his multiple sclerosis while C.J. (Allison Janney) makes a crucial gaffe during a press conference. Meanwhile, the President must decide if he should greenlight a military rescue of the besieged U.S. embassy in Haiti and chief counsel Babish (guest star Oliver Platt, "Bulworth") informs Charlie (Dule Hill) to hire his own expensive lawyer before a special prosecutor begins looking into Bartlet's possible concealment of his illness.



The episode opens where the Season 2 season finale ended, with C.J. conducting the press conference to announce President Bartlet's MS - the President comes into the room and when asked if he plans to run for reelection - he says that he is.

Four Weeks Later - Andrews Air Force Base[]

C.J. and other staff are preparing to get on Air Force One.  The President gets out of his limo and is greeted by Bruno Gianelli, who has been hired for the reelection bid.  C.J. is informed by another staff that the FDA is preparing to announce that RU-486 is going to be made more widely available on the same day the President is planning to formally announce his reelection.  She talks with Josh who will look into it further.  Doug (one of Bruno's people) asks C.J. what Toby's problem with him is.  She blows him off.  The Press peppers C.J. with questions about the speech - which C.J. says is done - as Sam comes out of a room throws papers in the air and says they're starting over!

Act I[]

After the Press Conference - Bartlet returns to the residence, where Abby is waiting for him.  She is angry that he has agreed to run for reelection, despite their having a deal to serve only one term.  She tells him there are ways around it - but he tells her that he is running.  They try to have a conversation about it - but the President has to go down and get briefed on the Haitian crisis.

Back in the West Wing - Josh arrives back from the Press Conference, yells for Donna - they need to make calls about the stunning announcement.  Toby and Sam also return and they set the wheels in motion to revise remarks that were planned to be issued in light of the President not running again.

Sam. Toby, and Josh come to the Oval Office, where they find the President.  He looks up and asks them what they think the news is going to lead with tomorrow?  Leo comes for the President to bring him to the Situation Room.  Nancy McNally and others brief the President on the plan to evacuate the Americans and Dessalin from Haiti.  As the President stands to leave the room, Nancy leads the others in a round of applause for the President on his decision to run again.

Act II[]

Forwarding to four weeks later, back aboard Air Force One - Bruno comes to see Leo about the speech.  Bruno feels the speech must contain an apology.  Josh comes to see C.J. about the FDA announcement, which he has confirmed will take place on Monday.

Back in the West Wing after the press conference, Senior Staff are meeting in the Mess (mess hall) about what to do next.  They all agree that another poll is needed - Joey arrives and makes all the same points.  Josh tells Joey to go put the new poll in the field.

In Manchester - Josh and Donna are talking about the FDA's announcement over RU-486.  Doug and Toby are talking in a bar about the speech.  Doug is adamant the President needs to apologize - but Toby says it's not going to happen in this speech.

Back in the West Wing after the press conference, Toby comes to see Leo to tell him they are putting a new poll out.  Margaret tells Leo they are ready for him in the Situation Room.  Leo comes to observe the conducting of Operation Swift Fury.  As the helicopter completes its evacuation of the Americans, it begins to take fire from Haitian rebels.  A second helicopter neutralizes the rebels and the helicopters return to a nearby aircraft carrier.

C.J. is briefing the press on Operation Swift Fury - and the questions get more and more pointed about the MS.  In the bullpen, Josh is watching when Joey (and Kenny) comes by.  Josh asks Joey her opinion on the press release about the tobacco lawsuit - Josh wants to leak it - Joey says that would be stupid to do so.  Four weeks later, in Manchester - C.J. and Toby have a conversation about "what she is planning to do."

Act III[]

The morning after the Haitian evacuation - the President gets a briefing on what to do next.  The President directs the staff to get a message to Bazon (the Haitian rebel leader) that the US plans to restore Dessalin to power.  Both Josh and Toby caution the President about the appearance that invading Haiti was to deflect from the MS announcement.

Oliver Babish comes to see Charlie to advise him that he should get a lawyer.  Charlie maintains that he doesn't need one.  Babish tells him that Charlie will be asked to recount every conversation he had with the President, every observation, his interactions with the President, with Zoey.  Charlie asks how much a lawyer would cost - Babish tells him in the neighborhood of $100,000.

Act IV[]

In Manchester, Bruno's people and the Senior Staff are winding up after a long evening.  Bruno's people are concerned with the drafts of the speech they have been reading.  Leo comes to tell them all to go to bed - they'll deal with it tomorrow.  Josh tells Leo about the RU-486 announcement and that they should consider postponing the speech.

Joey has early numbers on the new poll.  The numbers are not good except that 41% of the electorate would vote for the President, 37% would not, and 22% don't know.  Joey points out that at this point in the calendar - an incumbent should have at least 40% of the voters in favor of him.

Josh and Sam have a conversation about the apology.  Josh asks Sam about the press release that Josh wants to leak.  C.J. is holding another briefing, when she stumbles - making a comment that the President "is relieved to be thinking about something that matters" (sending troops into Haiti).  Toby (who is watching from the back) and Sam wait outside the press room when C.J. comes out.  She tells them not to say anything to her, she curses and storms off.  Leo and Josh meet up with Toby and Sam to come up with a response about C.J.'s gaffe.

Finally, in Manchester, Leo comes to see the President to suggest to him they postpone.  The President tells him they aren't postponing - despite the announcement, despite the chance that subpoenas will be handed down, despite C.J.'s gaffe, despite anything - the President is running for reelection and he's gonna win.


Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
Stockard Channing as Abigail Bartlet
Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
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

Oliver Platt as Oliver Babish
Ron Silver as Bruno Gianelli
and Marlee Matlin as Joey Lucas

Recurring cast

Anna Deavere Smith as Nancy McNally
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
Renée Estevez as Nancy

Guest Starring

Evan Handler as Doug Wegland
Connie Britton as Connie Tate
Bill O'Brien as Kenny Thurman
Victor McCay as Peter
Jim Beaver as Reporter Carl
Earl Boen as Reporter Paulson
Glenn Morshower as Mike Chysler
Dennis Cockrum as Military Officer
Gregalan Williams as Robbie Mosley


Kim Webster as Ginger
Peter James Smith as Ed
William Duffy as Larry
Ivan Allen as Newscaster Roger Salier
Mindy Seeger as Reporter Chris
Charles Noland as Reporter Steve
Kris Murphy as Reporter Katie Witt
Doris McMillon as Reporter Sandy
Dayna Devon as A.F.1. Reporter #1
J.P. Stevenson as A.F.1. Reporter Jonathan
Jacqueline Torres as A.F.1. Reporter Sondra
Lois Foraker as Bartender Lois
Jill Remez as Reporter #4
Randolph Brooks as Reporter Arthur Leeds
Kirk Kinder as One Star General
John Emmanuel as Agent
Mark Henderson as Driver


President Bartlet:  Yes, Sandy?
Sandy (reporter):  Mr. President, can you tell us right now if you'll be seeking a second term?
President Bartlet:  I'm sorry Sandy, there was a little bit of noise there, could you repeat the question?
Sandy:  Yes sir, can you tell us right now if you'll be seeking a second term?
[Bartlet puts his hands in his pockets, looks away, and smiles]
President Bartlet:  Yeah.  And I'm gonna win.
Abbey – You missed it.  It was incredible.  It's all over the news.  This crazy man got up in front of millions of people and totally screwed his wife
Bartlet – That's funny, because that's sort of what I did


  • In the scene where the Senior Staff is discussing the need for a new poll, which Joey comes in and repeats what they all have already decided - Toby makes a "Dupont Circle" comment, a Sorkin "signature" location for his Washington-based movies and television.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not an "independent agency," as is stated by CJ at the beginning of the episode. Rather, it is a an executive agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, itself a cabinet-level agency.  Josh clarifies this in Part II of the episode.


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doug tries to talk to toby at the bar
rock the boat | HUES CORPORATION
c.j. and sam work and talk at the bar
toby tries to talk to c.j. while they play pool at the bar
evolution revolution love | TRICKY
charlie demolishes toby at pool
? | ?
group at the table at the bar

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