Title: The Drop-In
Aired: January 24, 2001
Story by: Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.
Teleplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Directed by: Lou Antonio
Leo (John Spencer) tries to convince an unenthusiastic President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) about the merits of an expensive and errant missile defense system while the chief executive ponders the political benefits of chiding hard-core environmentalists over the actions of eco-terrorists when he addresses their convention. Toby (Richard Schiff) pushes hard for chiding them, and drops a condemnation into a speech that Sam (Rob Lowe) has been slaving over. He does it without Sam's knowledge and when Sam finds out, he feel deeply betrayed by Toby and also feels that the President sacrificed friends with similar ideals for a miniscule political point.
Meanwhile, Bartlet endures the formalities of accepting the appointments of a range of foreign ambassadors but he enjoys one in particular -- the presentation of the charming Lord John Marbury (Roger Rees) who returns as Great Britain's new U.S. ambassador. In addition, C.J. (Allison Janney) treads lightly when she is dispatched to New York to dissuade a comedian, Corey Sykes (Rocky Carroll), who once uttered a well-publicized but offensive joke in the President's presence from performing at the annual Will Rogers dinner. What Sykes takes offense to was that at the time, the White House claimed that the President did not laugh at the joke, but Sykes knew that he did.
"The cynicism of attacking your friends for political protection offends them and it offends me. It offends you and there's really nothing I can do to make you feel better about that."-Sam Seaborn, rebuking Toby for the drop in.
On the missile defense shield:
"I think the world invented a nuclear weapon, and I think the world owes it to itself to see if they can't invent something that would make it irelevant."- Leo McGarry
"Well that's the right sentiment, and certainly a credible one from a man who's fought in a war. You think you can make it stop? Well, you can't. We build a shield and somebody will build a better missile."- John Marbury
"Well, it's a discussion for serious men. They say a statesman is a politician who's been dead for 15 years. I'd like us to be statesmen while we are still alive."- Pres. Bartlet