TURMOIL CHURNS INSIDE WHITE HOUSE AS PRESIDENT PONDERS MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT IN PART II OF SEASON PREMIERE -- Flashbacks reveal the President (Martin Sheen) as he refines his speech for a major re-election announcement while his staff works uneasily with a heavyweight political strategist (guest star Ron Silver) over whether Bartlet should include a public apology in his remarks. Meanwhile, C.J. (Allison Janney) considers drastic action in the wake of her ill-timed statements during a crucial press conference. In addition, Bartlet tries to patch up a misunderstanding with his wife Abbey (Stockard Channing). The President must also decide if he will accede to the requests of a corrupt Haitian leader that could lead to peace. Chief counsel Babish (guest star Oliver Platt, "Bulworth") shocks Charlie (Dulé Hill) with the probable cost of hiring a fancy lawyer since a special prosecutor is preparing to ask him tough questions.
The second part of the season opener finds the reelection staff and the senior staff listening to the President going over the speech and the staff is interrupting with comments and criticisms of the draft.
Four Weeks Earlier
Bartlet comes to the residence to freshen up and Abbey is in bed. The two of them have a conversation - but the President tells her they can't get into it - he has to go and read about Haiti. He tells her that he didn't see her lying there.
The Bartlet Family Farm
Staff are still arguing over the speech. Josh and Leo talk about the RU-486 announcement - Leo makes it clear to Josh that he can stop the announcement, and misspeaks, saying "tobacco" instead of "486" - Leo tells him to leave it alone.
C.J. comes to the farm to see Mrs. Bartlet about a photo-op with the President. The First Lady is angry about C.J. coming to her with "unnamed sources." Leo and C.J. have a conversation about the First Lady - C.J. is also upset with Leo about him telling Toby what the two of them discussed - Leo tells C.J. to "stop being pissed at me about Haiti."
[Four weeks earlier] Leo and the President come to the Situation Room, Bazon is demanding asylum in the US before he would agree to step aside in Haiti. The President and the staff discuss options and agree to let Bazon leave for Venezuela peacefully - and that is the only option. Leo calls Nancy into the hall to tell her that she will brief the press after this is over, instead of C.J. Sam comes to see Leo to tell him there has been no apology and they may need to think about working one in.
Leo comes to see C.J. to show her some numbers - they haven't made any gains. Leo tells her he is bringing in Bruno, C.J. thinks it's too early for Bruno and that Toby and Sam aren't going to like it. Leo says they are going to have to live with it.
[At the farm] Sam, Toby, Doug, and Connie, continue to fight about the speech.
[Four weeks earlier] Bruno comes to see Leo. He makes demands of Leo: 15% of the ad buys (Bruno points out that Leo is going to say 10% - so they should agree on 13%); hiring and firing perogatives in his department; a room at the Hay Adams and a car and driver; and unfettered access to the President. Leo agrees to all but the last item. Bruno insists that he must have it - Leo says he won't. Bruno says if he asks the Presdient, the President would agree. Leo lets Bruno go into the Oval Office to ask the President himself.
The President and Bruno sit down in the Oval Office to discuss Bruno's demands. The President tells Bruno he wants 12% of the ad buys, a room, car, and driver - but all access to him goes through Leo's office. Bruno agrees to help.
[In Manchester] The staff are getting ready for the kickoff announcement. Josh and C.J. are talking about the FDA announcement and Josh says "tobacco" again. Toby has discovered that campaign posters in Manchester read "Bartlet For President." He begins to cross them out and replace "for" with "is the."
[Back at the White House] Senior Staff and Bruno's staff are discussing the plans for an announcement, and a speech that should contain an apology. Bruno walks back to Josh's office to point out that leaking the press release about tobacco was an error - Josh points out they got the money - but Bruno points out that if they waited until the fall, they would have had the issue to hang over the Republican nominee and they would have easily swung Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio to their column.
The President comes to the event site to practice his speech. The First Lady is there, he didn't know she was going to be there. The two of them talk for a moment - she is going to introduce him - she tells him that he needs to reach out to the staff, then they'll feel better and so will he.
[Earlier at the White House] Jed and Abbey continue their "discussion" about the reelection, which devolves into another fight.
Sam and Toby disagree about the President's need to apologize. [In Manchester] Connie and Sam talk about the need for an apology. Toby is still arguing with Bruno and Doug - Doug comes to Toby and tells him that he is so pissed at the President he doesn't even realize it. Doug tells Toby that Leo called Bruno and the speech is locked.
It's the day of the announcement and tensions are still running high. Leo sends Donna to find Josh, who is in his room, not yet ready. He finally explodes, telling Donna that he blew the tobacco thing and it is going to be a very close election and he could have helped.
C.J. comes to see the President, who wanted to see her. He tells her not to be a marriage counselor between him and Abbey. C.J. tells the President that this might be a good time for her to announce her resignation. He doesn't want to hear of it - and the two of them share a moment, where he tells C.J. that he needs her and he's sorry about benching her for the last Haiti conference.
The President and the First Lady talk in the limo on the way to the kickoff event. They are on their way to making up. In the classroom off where the President is to speak - he speaks to the assembled staff telling them that he is sorry but that this is a new beginning and they are going to write a new chapter in history.
- 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
- Josiah Bartlet: (Growing increasingly annoyed with his staff's interruptions while he is practicing his speech) But I am not satisfied. Indeed, Leo, I am close to taking my own life with a wheat thresher.
- Leo: Bruno?
- Bruno Gianelli: Yeah, listen up. I've been thinking. It might not be such a bad idea for me to lock you all in here and set the place on fire. We have 48 hours before we kick off this campaign. We will work hard, we will work well, and we will work together, or so help me mother of God I will stick a pitchfork so far up your asses you will, quite simply, be dead.
- Bartlet: "And so, with pride and purpose, I hereby announce my candidacy for the presidency of the United States."
- Leo: When this is a done deal, I want you to stick around for a while and brief the press.
- Nancy: She made a mistake, Leo.
- Leo: I'm not punishing her.
- Nancy: She made a -
- Leo: I'm not punishing her. You're not the political face of this administration and you're no part of the MS thing and you won't be asked questions about it.
- Nancy: I don't feel right about this.
- Leo: I don't care.
- 〉The State Department's suggesting that we praise the French government for their help in resolving this matter. I would, but I'm worried they'd surrender〈
- —President Bartlet
- ❝Doug – I'm from Oregon. In Oregon, we like to see a man stand up and and say he's sorry. Where are you from?
- Toby – Me? I'm from the United States of suck my--
- Josh – All right. Let's take lunch❞
- 〉Connie – I was out trying to find a Starbucks. A guy in a gas station said, "Around here, people don't pay $4 for coffee"
- Sam – "New Hampshire: Live free or cheap."〈
- Josiah Bartlet: Did you know that hardly any of the guys who landed on the moon are married to the same people they were married to before they went there?
- Abbey: What?
- Josiah Bartlet: I'm just saying, it could have been worse: I could have been an astronaut.
- Abbey Bartlet: You could not have been an astronaut.
- Josiah Bartlet: I would have been a great astronaut.
- Abbey Bartlet: You're afraid of heights, speed, fire, and small enclosed spaces.
- Josiah Bartlet: I'd have overcome it to go to the moon.
- Abbey Bartlet: I know you would have.
- Abbey Bartlet: There's something important I have to say.
- Josiah Bartlet: Say it.
- Abbey: I haven't really made up my mind yet, but at the moment, I'm leaning towards voting for you.
- 〉 President Bartlet – (to his staff) It occurs to me, I never said I'm sorry. I am. For the lawyers, for the press, for the mess, for the fear. Bruno, Doug, Connie - these guys are good. They want to win. So do we. The only thing we want more is to be right. I wonder if you can't do both. There's a new book and we're going to write it. You can win if you run a smart, disciplined campaign. If you studiously say nothing - nothing that causes you trouble, nothing that's a gaffe, nothing that show you might think the wrong thing, nothing that shows you think - but it just isn't worthy of us, is it Toby?
- Toby – No, sir
- President Bartlet – It isn't worthy of us, it isn't worthy of America, it isn't worthy of a great nation. We're gonna write a new book, right here, right now. This very moment, today. You know what? Break's over!〈
- — To work
- When Donna walks into Josh's room and find he's been up all night, he is wearing a Wesleyan University T-shirt. Josh didn't go to Wesleyan, he went to Harvard and Yale; Bradley Whitford went to Wesleyan. This also occurs in Celestial Navigation when Josh has a coffee mug with "Wesleyan" on it.