PRESIDENT HEADS WEST TO HELP SAM'S POLITICAL CAMPAIGN -- En route to California to campaign for Sam's (Rob Lowe) congressional election challenge where everything that can go wrong, goes wrong, the President (Martin Sheen) and his staff debate whether to announce his controversial tax plan that might damage Sam's bid in conservative Orange County. In the meantime, Bartlet must keep tabs on a dangerous U.S. military incursion in a tumultuous African country.
The President, Leo, and Admiral Fitzwallace are in the Situation Room getting a briefing on action in Equatorial Kundu. The General giving the briefing is called away and when he returns - tells the President the airport in Bitanga (the capital) has been secured by US forces.
Walking back to the Office, Leo and the President talk about the upcoming trip to California to help Sam with his race in the California 47th, among other issues, including the President's tax plan. Walking into the Oval Office - the President tells the Kundunese Ambassador that he has just taken over his country.
C.J. is briefing the press on events in Kundu and about the trip to California. Walking back to her office with Carol - Carol tells her that the Chair of House Ways and Means and the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee have been slated to do the Sunday talk shows - C.J. realizes this is about the tax plan and yells for Josh and tells Carol they need to see the President.
In the Oval Office, the President is uncomfortably meeting with Zoey and Jean-Paul, when Senior Staff arrive. The President uses their arrival to cut off Jean-Paul and usher he and Zoey out of the room. Senior Staff tell the President about the tax plan - and how it would affect Sam's race in California. They discuss the idea about not going but decide to keep the trip but not talk about the tax plan until they come back to Washington.
Toby and Will talk on the way back to the Communications Bullpen and Toby tells him to get the speech writing staff to help Will with remarks on the tax plan for the President and members of the Cabinet. Will tells Toby the speech writing staff doesn't like him. Will goes into his office to call Sam to talk about the campaign. After hanging up with Will, Sam's advisors tell him he has to avoid being too close to the President when he comes to campaign.
Act II - Friday Night, Over the Grand Canyon
On Air Force One - making its way to California - the staff is watching coverage of the Republican Tax Plan, which was rolled out in advance of the White House's plan - and the White House is silent so far. Andy Wyatt appears and Toby is upset that she is on the plane, given that she is very pregnant. Donna finds Josh to tell him that she has several messages from a man named Ivan Perez, who would like five minutes with Josh. Josh tells Donna that he doesn't know him and to meet with him first. The President comes out of his office and is angry over the Republican tax plan - but will stick to the plan of not saying anything until they return from California.
Back at the White House, Will and Elsie talk - he wants her to help him with some remarks - she tells him to get the speech writing staff to help him. In Leo's office, Leo tells two representatives to make sure the President of Kundu gets the message that the President is serious about taking Bitanga unless he orders the Kundunese army to lay down their weapons.
Will arrives for his meeting with the speech writing staff only to encounter four female interns and a message to call Toby. He calls Toby, who tells Will that he fired the speech writing staff and he will have to make do with the interns for now. Will asks Toby if the speech writing staff quit and were not fired, Toby admits this is true.
The motorcade arrives for an appearance with Sam (a major freeway in California has been shut down for several hours due to a mixup - and the rollout of the Republican tax plan) and the staff and the President greet Sam. The President takes a call from Leo while Sam goes up to make some introductory remarks - while behind the platform, the President can be heard yelling at Leo about the French refusal to let the US use their airspace.
Will meets with the interns and Elsie the next morning to start crafting messages for the cabinet about the tax plan. He is having trouble getting them to understand what he needs from them - when Toby calls. Will is upset that Scott Holcomb (Sam's campaign manager) may be undermining all the work he did when he was out there.
In California, Sam is meeting with the Senior Staff, where they talk about the stumbles that have already happened in the first twelve hours of the trip. Josh and Toby try to convince Sam to take Josh with him to a strategy breakfast - but Sam doesn't want Scott Holcomb and Josh in the room together.
As requested, Donna meets with Ivan Perez - while doing so, a photographer comes up and takes a picture of the two of them. After hearing what she wanted to hear (based on Josh's request) she gets up and meets up with Sam. She tells Sam (and his staff) that she was just meeting with Perez and the staff tell Donna that Ivan "Izzy" Perez is a member of the Communist Party.
At the White House, Will runs into Leo and they talk briefly as Leo makes his way to the Situation Room for a briefing on Kundu. The President of Kundu is trying to kill all of the opposition before the deadline.
C.J. is briefing the press on the events in Kundu and the tax plan. She also gets a question about Donna's meeting with Perez and how it will play that an Administration official met with a communist. Back at the White House - Will is still working with the interns. Toby calls (again) and they talk about the campaign.
When Toby hangs up, he returns to the table in a bar in California. C.J. tells Toby and Josh they should take over Sam's campaign for the last week. Charlie is arguing with Jean-Paul about issues and then a man walks up and openly criticizes Andy Wyatt on her pregnancy. Toby stands up to tell the guy to step away and then Charlie appears and the woman standing with the man makes a reference to Charlie having dated Zoey.
At the White House, Leo is meeting again with Kundunese representatives - the President of Kundu will step down if there is agreement the US won't prosecute him and pays him to leave the country. Back in California, Charlie and Toby are being booked for assault - they got into a fight at the bar.
Scott Holcomb comes to Sam and tells him he should come out against the Bartlet Tax Plan. Sam wants to know how Scott knows it is coming out on Monday - he realizes the White House held back to try and help him. Across town, the President is walking to a rally for Sam - where the President is told by Debbie that Toby and Charlie have been arrested. They talk about the campaign and the President decides to replace Scott with Toby - Sam arrives and demands to know why they waited on the tax plan. Sam goes out to the podium and, in introducing the President, tells the crowd not to let the President leave without telling them about his tax plan. Leo calls to tell the President that three Americans have been taken by the Kundunese forces and President Nzele will keep them alive in exchange for money and safe passage.
The President tells Leo they are coming home - and then goes out to address the crowd.
- Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
- 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 Stars
- President Bartlet: Mr. Ambassador, I'm sorry to keep you waiting. I was just in the White House Situation Room.
Ambassador Tiki: Mr. President, the U.S. is trampling on the sovereignty of my country and on behalf of Nzele...
President Bartlet: I've just taken your airport... [shakes his hand] ...clearing the way for the 101st Air Assault to take the capitol. 7,000 troops, 25 battle tanks, 15 Apache attack helicopters, and three destroyers. Strictly speaking, I conquered your country without the paperwork.
- Ambassador Tiki's Aide: Kundu is in the midst of a civil war.
- President Bartlet: No, it's not. It's in the midst of a one-sided slaughtering of an entire people. Both the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Vatican have pleaded with President Nzele for a cease-fire and both the U.N. and the Holy Father have struck out to the peril of 115,000 Induye men, women, and God knows children, particularly the boys.
- Ambassador Tiki: Who will soon be men and will rise up...
- President Bartlet: The heads of Ghana, Nigeria and Zaire have similarly been sent packing. The Red Cross has been denied entry on three separate occasions in the last ten days. President Nzele has 36 hours to give the command to his troops to hand over their weapons to the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army. At 36 hours and one minute, I give the order for the 101st Air Assault to take Bitanga and run up our flag. I skipped breakfast. Anybody want coffee or something?
President Bartlet: If you leave, I'll kill you.
- Josh Lyman: Yes, sir.
- Deborah Fiderer: Mr. President?
- President Josiah Bartlet: Mrs. Hottentot?
- Deborah Fiderer: Toby and Charlie...
- President Josiah Bartlet: Yeah, where are they?
- Deborah Fiderer: They're being held.
- President Josiah Bartlet: What do you mean?
- Deborah Fiderer: Toby and Charlie are under arrest. There was an incident at a bar.
- President Josiah Bartlet: They're under arrest?
- Deborah Fiderer: Yes sir.
- President Josiah Bartlet: Did they rob the bar?
- Deborah Fiderer: No, sir. A patron was jostling Congresswoman Wyatt and Toby tried to get him to step back, and the man slipped on the floor. And then the man's friend lunged for Toby.
- President Josiah Bartlet: Uh-huh. And what did Charlie do?
- Deborah Fiderer: He hit him.
- Josh Lyman: Sir.
- President Josiah Bartlet: Toby and Charlie were arrested in a bar fight.
- Josh Lyman: Yes, sir, it's not going to be a problem. C.J.'s taking care of it.
- President Josiah Bartlet: Really?
- Josh Lyman: It's going to be a little bit of a problem.
- President Josiah Bartlet: Everytime we come to Southern California we are absolutely the Clampetts.
- Since 2003 this district is now the California 48th district and is represented by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R). In 2018, Congressman Rohrabacher lost to Congressman-elect Harvey Rouda (D), as all of Orange County went Democratic.
- The USS Harpers Ferry is still an active ship in the US Navy, the USS Cleveland was decommissioned in 2011, both were light amphibious transports. There is no such ship named the USS Tallahassee.
- Air Force One is unlikely to land at a commercial airport (SNA is the airport code for John Wayne Airport) if a military option is available (as is Los Alamitos).
Notes and references
- "The West Wing" California 47th (2003) — Trivia copied from IMDb