Press secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) tries to defuse a potentially nasty public clash between the President (Martin Sheen) and his wilful Vice President (Tim Matheson) concerning the Veep's quotes about a bill favored by the chief executive. Exasperated political consultant Mandy Hampton (Moira Kelly) drowns her troubles when her only client ignores her advice and agrees to bottle up a key bill in committee that could have been costly for the President if put to a vote. The President forges a kinship with a young Navy captain (Reuben Santiago-Hudson) who's substituting for his regular White House physician - so much, in fact, that he asks him to assume the position on a full-time basis.
How to lose a client
Mandy is driving, along a Washington, street. She spots Lloyd Russell speaking with a few colleagues and honks at him. After parking illegally (and destroying the front suspension of her car by driving full speed over a curb!), she hops out of the car, yelling at Russell for making a deal to shelve Bill 443, which the President would have likely vetoed and gotten Russell considerable face time with the press, until after the midterm elections. As they talk, she finds out that the deal was made so that Russell could get a high profile spot at the convention - possibly even personally nominating the President for re-election - something that infuriates Mandy even more since she was trying to make Russell the nominee. Russell eventually calms her down by telling her that he didn't believe he could have beaten President Bartlet.
A calmer Mandy states that the part she hates the most is that the West Wing was celebrating the deal at her expense. Russell indicates his skepticism that the White House would celebrate, but a quick shift to the White House shows Josh celebrating the victory by exclaiming "Victory is mine! Victory is mine! Great day in the morning, people, victory is mine! [...] I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land."
As Josh does a dance with his colleagues applauding him, Donna hangs up Josh's coat and remarks "It's going to be an unbearable day" before she walks off.
Just a joke
Toby and C.J. discuss how a group declined an invitation to have a photo op with the President because the President made an off-color joke. We later find out that the group is the Ryder Cup team. When C.J. tries to use it as a chance to discuss the President's sense of humor and points out how a similar joke helped them lose Texas in both the Primaries and the general election, the President responds by telling her that on her tombstone it'll read "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc." Leo translates this to mean "After it, therefore because of it." Bartlet explains that the statement means that because one thing follows the other, it is caused by the other but that this "isn't always true, in fact it's hardly ever true." He tells CJ they didn't lose Texas because of the joke but asks her when she thought they lost Texas,"when you learnt to speak Latin?" She replies, "go figure" responds Bartlet.
In the President's outer office, Captain Morris Tolliver comes in for the President's checkup, but is greeted by Leo as the senior staff exit the Oval Office. Leo tells Morris that while he was only supposed to fill in until the regular medical examiner gets back, but the President would like to keep Morris on permanently. Leo tells Morris that the President likes him, and that he is more relaxed after talking to him, and that this occasionally makes the job of everyone on the senior staff a little easier Morris agrees to the offer but says that he's headed to Jordan for a week.
In Mandy's office, Mandy gets back and informs her partner, Daisy, that Lloyd Russell isn't going to run and isn't their client any longer. We find out that, in fact, Lloyd Russell is still their only client and both feel significant pressure having left good jobs to work with Lloyd Russell. However, Mandy keeps an optimistic perspective that they'll find a plan.
After Donna tries to get Josh to pay up for a bad pool she'd entered him into, Josh and Toby discuss the Ryder Cup problem. We discover that this follows a string of other Public Relations problems from incidents involving the Banking Committee, New Jersey, the G-8, and the President riding a bicycle into a tree. They agree they need a new media director and Josh says they need to push Leo into letting them bring one in. Josh also stipulates that it shouldn't be Mandy.
As C.J.'s briefing the press, when a question comes up regarding the Vice President talking about the A3C3 stating, "This is a time when the President needs our support." C.J. deflects, instead talking about the Ryder Cup Team.
Meanwhile, Josh and Sam discuss the statement by Hoynes. Apparently, his statement is the third statement raised in five weeks that has caught the attention of the White House. Sam presses Josh into not letting Leo find out saying that the quote would likely die before it got anywhere unless Leo makes it a story about Hoynes and the Chief of Staff fighting.
As Josh and Sam enter Josh's office, Sam tells Josh about Laurie and the fact that she's a call girl. As they discuss it, Josh realizes that Sam wants to try and reform Laurie. Josh tells Sam to talk to Toby before doing anything.
As Josh is leaving his office, he runs into C.J., who makes it clear that she's on a warpath for Hoynes. Josh tells her to keep it off Leo's desk.
The Vice President is welcoming a foreign dignitary when C.J. catches up with him. C.J. gets a minute with him before he leaves to New York. The Vice President, however, blows C.J. off, telling her "I've got my own Press Secretary."
In the Oval Office, Morris is giving the President his checkup. We find out that Morris is going to Amman, Jordan to work at a teaching hospital for a week. The two of them bond, talking about Morris' newborn daughter and sharing a few jokes. The President reveals that he feels uncomfortable sitting with the Joint Chiefs. Morris tells the President to let the Joint Chiefs get to know him better and then they'll respect him - and until then, he outranks them.
Donna tries to get Josh to pick his team for the next pool when C.J. comes up saying that they're going to talk to Leo. Josh asks about Hoynes, which C.J. says has been resolved. Josh adamantly reminds C.J. about how it can't be Mandy for their media director.
Meanwhile, Mandy and Daisy are drinking wine out of Styrofoam cups in their office, lamenting their lack of client or work and discussing possible clients.
Sam finishes the Hilton Head draft and walks into Toby's office, telling Toby about Laurie. Toby interrogates Sam, trying to figure out whether anyone knew that Sam had slept with a Call Girl to which Sam admits he had spoken with Bill Kentworthy of The Wall Street Journal though Sam says that he left before Sam went home with Laurie. After discussing it, Toby also realizes that Sam is going to try to reform Laurie. When Josh walks in, Toby quizzes Josh about his opinion but Josh indicates that he's fine if Sam wishes to reform Laurie, much to Toby's frustration.
Sam, Toby, Josh and C.J. converge on Leo's office to convince him to hire a full-time media consultant. Leo agrees without debate and announces they'll hire Mandy. As the senior staff affirm Leo's decision, Josh realizes that he'd been trapped into hiring Mandy. Leo forces Josh to give a non-personal reason for why they shouldn't hire Mandy but Josh couldn't, prompting the decision to be finalized. Josh rallies pressing upon everyone that Mandy reports to Josh and Toby.
As they leave, Leo asks C.J. what the situation is with Hoynes, but C.J. indicates it was a miscommunication and that Hoynes was still on-board.
Mandy and Daisy are still going over the list of possible employers when Josh shows up to suggest Bartlet. Mandy responds by punching Josh for not hiring her a year earlier when they first took the White House. Josh lays down a few guidelines for the job:
- Mandy can't punch him
- They can't get drunk mid-day
- They answer to Josh and Toby
While Daisy agrees to all three willingly, Mandy does her absolute best to dismiss them all.
Back in the West Wing, the Vice President gets back from New York and visits Leo. Leo quickly brings the topic to asking Hoynes if he blew off C.J. When Hoynes criticizes C.J. for going to Leo on the issue, Leo responds by indicating that CJ protected Hoynes. Leo then tells Hoynes that he's to consider what C.J. says to be directives from the office of the Chief of Staff. The Vice President points out that this office has no official power over the Vice President. Leo indicates that if the two of them get into a power struggle, he'll win - so Hoynes should fall into line.
An act of terrorism
Sam looks through a restaurant for Laurie. He finds Laurie with her client for that night and quickly embarrasses her into leaving with him by threatening to call the Assistant Attorney General. Outside, Laurie points out that the AAG doesn't have jurisdiction to arrest her. After Sam tries to start making small talk, Laurie realizes Sam is trying to reform her and points out that she makes more money than he, and it's paying for her to go to law school. Sam refuses to apologize to Laurie for embarrassing her but declares that he's decided he wants to be good friends with her - though he makes it clear that he doesn't expect sex in return.
3:35 AM the next morning, the White House is abuzz with activity as the President walks to the Oval Office. Leo, who was meeting with various military and senior staff, goes to brief the President. Captain Morris Tolliver and 57 others were shot down by the Syrian military. The President indicates that the act will not frighten him but instead he would "blow them off the face of the Earth with the fury of God's own thunder."
- Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
- Moira Kelly as Mandy Hampton
- 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
- Merrin Dungey as Daisy Reese
- John Bedford Lloyd as Lloyd Russell
- and Tim Matheson as Vice President John Hoynes
- The title of this episode comes from the Latin expression post hoc, ergo propter hoc, a logic fallacy which President Bartlet references in the episode.
- This episode is the first to reveal the intense enmity between John Hoynes and CJ, the source of which is not revealed until the season 5 episode "Full Disclosure".
- There is a discussion in the oval office between Bartlet and C.J. on Bartlet's sense of humor, during which Bartlet takes off his glasses. But in the next shot, Bartlet has his glasses back on, then in the next shot they are back off for the rest of the scene.
- Mandy says she worked with the Bartlet team for two and a half years. Given the timescale clearly established in later episodes, that isn't possible.
- The euro is divisible by cents, not pennies.
- USS Coral Sea (CV-43) was decommissioned in 1990, least 9 years prior to this mission it was taking part in.
Notes and references
- William Duffy is credited as "Bill Duffy" and as playing a Staffer, his character is later identified as Larry.
- Chris Hendrie is credited as playing a businessman, his character is later identified as Chief Financial Officer Wes Wright.
- Bradley James is credited as playing a Secret Service Agent, his character is later identified as Donnie.