West Wing Wiki
West Wing Wiki

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

Toby convinces the President to secretly sanction his solo effort to make history by reforming Social Security, but his efforts to recruit a Republican Senator and a Democratic cohort are leaked -- forcing the administration to back-pedal while Josh and Leo are left clueless and stewing. Meanwhile, an equally ignorant C.J. spars with a reporter who is ready to print all the backstage details. In addition, the female staffers complain to Josh about the new hire -- a mysterious, seductively dressed woman assigned to Toby.


Opening - 2:47am[]

Toby is lying awake at his home - he gets up and heads to the office. 


He puts in a tape of President Bartlet's State of the Union.  He takes note of Senator Gaines enthusiastically approving of Bartlet's comments on raising the minimum wage and welfare.  He calls Josh at home to ask how much money Gaines has in his reelection campaign account.  Josh tells him and Toby hangs up.  Toby begins researching Social Security and makes notes on a pad.  He calls Charlie and asks what time the President's wake up call is and tells Charlie he will call the President. 


As the clock finally ticks to 5:45am - Toby calls the President and tells him that he needs to come see him alone - he believes there may be a way to save Social Security.

Act I - 6:15am[]

Toby is explaining to the President that he believes that Senator Gaines is not running for reelection and that Toby can work with Gaines (a Republican) to try and strike a deal to save Social Security - Bartlet is skeptical - but allows Toby to go and talk to Gaines, quietly.

C.J. comes to see Josh and complains to him there is nothing to talk about to day - the administration is not making any news today.

On Capitol Hill, Toby meets Senator Gaines and tells him of his plan to try and save Social Security.  Gaines lays out a few scenarios where Gaines makes proposals and Josh counters with attacks on Gaines.  Toby tells the Senator that everything is on the table and he is the only one negotiating.  Gaines tells him to find a heavyweight  Democratic Senator and he'll talk.

Will comes to see Josh to ask for his advice to help make Vice President Russell a better speaker and therefore a better candidate/politician.  Josh tells him about problems they had with the President at the beginning - and then tells him that he may have something for Will about Senator Gaines and Will responds that he heard that Toby met with Senator Gaines that morning.

Toby comes back to the office and pulls Rena into his office and tells her to start looking through documents and to not tell anyone about what she's doing.  Josh stops by and asks Toby if he met with Gaines and what it was about.  Toby deflects the question.  Josh walks back to his office and tells Donna that he's going to see Will with something (about Senator Gaines).

Act II[]

Wall Street Journal reporter Greg Polk comes to see C.J. to ask if Toby met with Senator Gaines about Social Security.  C.J. (truthfully) tells him that she doesn't think that it is true but she'll find out.  Rena comes to Toby to ask him about the possibility of talking with James Carney if Gaines can't help.  C.J. comes to see Toby about Polk's question.  Toby closes the door and tells C.J. that he needs the press off him for a few days and that Leo can't know what he's doing, either.  Josh arrives in Will's office and tells Will that Russell can start making fun of Gaines and his anemic fundraising.

Toby comes to see Senator Brainerd (D) to get her to work with Gaines - she makes some demands right off the bat.  Toby tells her they are going to have to compromise if Gaines and the Republicans are willing to do the same.  Toby comes back to Gaines - to tell him that he's got Senator Brainerd on board - Gaines is mad that he's hearing that Josh and Will are getting ready to attack Gaines.  Gaines tells Toby that he's confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Toby came to him with a plan to cut Social Security.  Toby is stunned and is not sure what to do next.

C.J. is in her office and Carol comes to tell her that an Argentine diplomat is here to discuss an issue that Carol found for her on the slow news day.  Carlos Carrio, an incredibly attractive man comes into C.J.'s office and C.J. is immediately distracted by his good looks.  She goes off to her press briefing without anything substantial to give them - it's still a slow news day - and Polk didn't ask his question either.

Act III[]

C.J. comes back to her office and Carol shows her a wire story that comments on C.J.'s "right to adopt."  The reporter is in her office and C.J. goes in - and plays him and then unloads on him for writing about adoption instead of something more newsworthy.

Toby comes to see Polk to ask him to not write the story - until Toby has the chance to try and save it.  Toby then goes to see Josh to try and get Josh to dial things back on Gaines.  Rena comes to get Toby and tells him that he is needed in his office.  Toby leaves and Josh tells Donna to go and talk to Rena to see if she can find out what Toby is working on.

Toby comes back to his office and finds Senator Brainerd on his couch.  She tells him that things are falling apart and she's out - she gets up and leaves.  Donna comes to see Rena to try and find out what Toby is working on - but she's not comfortable and leaves without finding out anything.  Josh comes to see Leo and asks if his job is in jeopardy - he knows that Toby is working on something big - and Leo tells him not to worry.

Rena and Toby are working and she asks again about Jim Carney.  Toby tells her that he and Josh wrote an ad that destroyed his political career.  Leo comes to see Toby to ask what is going on and Toby deflects.  The phone rings and Rena tells Toby the President wants to see him in the residence.

The President confronts Toby on the deal that is in tatters - and tells him to fix it somehow.

Act IV - 7:45pm[]

Toby comes to see C.J. and apologizes to her about the day's events.  He tells her that he may have an announcement for her shortly, which may defuse the Social Security problem.  Leo comes to Toby's office and demands that Toby tell him what is going on.  Toby tells him there is no problem and hands Leo a sheet of paper and walks out.

In the Oval Office, Leo is talking with the President, who is reading the paper that Toby gave Leo - it is Toby's resignation.  Leo tells the President that believing in something doesn't make it happen.  He tells the President that he has to accept Toby's resignation.

Josh comes to find Toby and asks Toby why he kept this a secret from him.  Toby tells him that he knew that Josh would try to stop him.  They talk about how Gaines had agreed to move on the retirement age and Josh suddenly knows of another Senator they can talk to.

In the Mural Room, Senators Gaines and Turner are talking with Josh and Toby looking on.  The two Senators have reached agreement but then disagree on how the deal was reached.  In the Oval Office - Toby, Josh, and Leo are talking with the President about how to save the deal.  The President decides they can't take credit for it - they have to let the Senators say they approached each other in a bipartisan move.

C.J. comes to see Toby, who is watching the Press Conference with Gaines and Turner and tells him that Polk and the Wall Street Journal no longer have a story.  Toby watches a few more minutes of the press conference, turns out the light and leaves the office.

Trivia / Goofs[]

  • In a conversation between President Bartlet and Toby near the beginning of the episode, President Bartlet asks Toby if he's just supposed to "pretend he doesn't know who [Toby] is" if Toby's plan goes awry. Toby responds with "We'll always have Paris", a reference to the 1942 film Casablanca.


Toby Ziegler: I know this sounds crazy but, I think we have two weeks. A two week window... I need to see you alone right now, because if I'm right about this...
President Bartlet: Toby, what are you talking about?
Toby Ziegler: I think I know how we can save Social Security.
Toby Ziegler: More college kids think they'll see UFOs than Social Security checks.
President Bartlet: But they don't tell you how many believe in UFOs; that's the number we ought to be worried about.
President Bartlet: If it becomes public we've even discussed this, both sides will go crazy. It'll jeopardize our whole agenda on the Hill.
Toby Ziegler: What if I do it? I'll do all the negotiating. You'll have total deniability. No one else in this building has to know.
President Bartlet: And if it blows up, I'm supposed to pretend we've never met?
Toby Ziegler: We'll always have Paris.
Senator Gaines: Either you're lying, or the left hand doesn't know what the far-left hand is doing.
President Bartlet: I want this back in the cardboard box it came in. I don't want to see you or talk to you 'til that's done. 'No way' is not an acceptable answer. 'I tried' is no longer an option. You started this thing, and you're gonna damn well going to finish it with either a blue ribbon or a great big deafening silence.
Leo McGarry: There's a reason we have a chain of command. So people don't take flyers and I don't hand you their resignations.
President Bartlet: I wanted to believe he could do it. I wanted to believe as much as he did.
Leo McGarry: This isn't Never-Never Land, sir. Believing is not enough.



Guest Starring[]

  • Melissa Marsala as Marina
  • Josef Sommer as Sen. Steve Gaines
  • Kate Burton as Sen. Sarah Brainerd
  • Michael Nouri as Sen. Roy Turner
  • Scott Allan Campbell as Grey Polk
  • and Joaquim de Almeida as Carlos Carrio



"The West Wing" Slow News Day (2004)
The West Wing Episode Guide