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HOW LONG CAN SENIOR SENATOR DELAY BILL'S PASSAGE WITH DRAMATIC FILIBUSTER? -- The President's (Martin Sheen) staff waits impatiently for an elderly but stubborn Senator (guest star George Coe) to yield the floor as he stages a marathon filibuster hoping to stave off a vote on Bartlet's Family Wellness Act bill while Toby (Richard Schiff) is leery of the Vice President's (guest star Tim Matheson) sudden interest in supporting another bill tightening fuel-emission standards. Elsewhere: C.J. (Allison Janney) anxiously paws through her memory as she seeks to locate a missing ceramic cat statue given to the President by a Mideastern potentate who expects to see it displayed during his upcoming visit; Josh (Bradley Whitford) strains to finish business in time to catch a flight for a weekend visit to the spring-training camp of the New York Mets in Florida.



C.J. is writing an email to her father explaining why she is unable to be with him in person to celebrate his birthday.  Senator Howard Stackhouse (D-MN) has taken to the floor and launched a filibuster against a piece of legislation on healthcare.  It's Friday night and as a result no one else can leave for the weekend (Sam had a weekend in the Hamptons planned, Josh was supposed to join the New York Mets for Spring Training, Toby was going to Colorado), including the White House Press Corps.

Act I[]

C.J. continues her message to her father and explains how a filibuster works and how it was the Family Wellness Act that Josh negotiated with Congress and subsequent discussions with Senator Stackhouse that led to him taking the floor.  In flashback to the previous Monday where Josh explains to Senior Staff what the bill contains and what was negotiated in and out of the bill.

Charlie comes to see C.J. about a ceramic cat statue that was presented to the President on a trip to Egypt a year ago.  The gifts officer for the trip told Charlie that C.J. has the statue, which she realizes that she had but it broke.

Toby goes to see the Vice President on an energy matter (emissions standards) that came up in the news the previous day.  Toby tells the VP they intend to rewrite the Energy Secretary's remarks to include a rebuttal to the testimony made before Congress.  The Vice President tells Toby the Energy Secretary should not make the comments - he should.  Toby is not sure why the VP would do that but thanks him for taking it on.

Meanwhile, the filibuster enters its eighth hour.

Act II[]

C.J. comes into the White House Mess and finds Sam.  The two of them talk and Sam decides to write an email to his father as well.  Sam tells his father the story about how he got into an argument with a 19-year old intern from the GAO.  Sam volunteered to take an assignment from Josh on reducing government waste in the printed publication of government reports.

Toby comes to see Josh and Sam and tells them about his meeting with the Vice President.  Both are surprised the Vice President agreed to deliver the comments himself.  The three are in agreement - they are not clear on what the Vice President is planning.

Sam gets a group together to identify and suggest the elimination of more than 400 reports.  As the meeting is going on, Winifred Hooper, an intern from the GAO, who has been delivering the reports takes on Sam, questioning why he wants to eliminate reports that he is not even clear on what's in them (she has read the reports). C.J. talks with Donna about the cat statue problem.  She tells Donna that she broke the statue.  Donna agrees that C.J. is "monumentally screwed."  As she comes back to her desk, a staffer hands her a message for Josh from Senator Stackhouse.  Josh tells Donna that the bill was closed and there are not going to be any more amendments (Stackhouse wanted funding for autism research).

Act III[]

[Josh is now writing a message to his mother] Josh was prepared to ignore the message, but after talking with Leo - it was decided to take the meeting with Stackhouse.  Josh goes to see the Senator with instructions to not give anything away.  Stack house wants an additional $47 million for autism.  Josh explains to the Senator the bill is closed and the White House does not plan to open the bill back up for additional discussions - they are trying to get the vote done and the bill passed prior to the Congressional recess.  Stackhouse dismisses Josh and walks out.

As the filibuster continues, Donna is watching the news coverage and asks for some tape to be sent to her - she has noticed something in some "B roll" of a campaign appearance of the Senator with his grandchildren.  Josh comes to the office and she tells him about the travel plans she has made for him to try and get to Port St. Lucie.  He returns to his email to his mother telling her about the press conference the Vice President held.  Toby watched from the back - mystified as to why the Vice President had agreed to this and took such a hard stance.

The President comes to ask Leo to dinner.  A prominent French chef is in town and has come to cook for the President.  Against the President's wishes, Leo takes his phone.

Act IV[]

Donna finds C.J. and tells her that she thinks that Stackhouse has an autistic grandchild.  Leo and the President continue their dinner and the President tells Leo that he made a deal with Abby to serve only one term as President because of the the MS.  Leo's phone then rings and C.J. tells him they have learned of Stackhouse's autistic grandson.  The two of them head back upstairs.

C.J. tells the President there might be a way to stop Stackhouse, help him out.  Donna points out that the Senator can yield for a question without yielding the floor.  The President tells C.J. to make this happen - find a Senator to come to the floor and ask a question and Leo and the President go back to the dining room.

The Vice President is on his way out when Toby stops him to ask him directly why he volunteered to make the comments about energy.  The two have a conversation which leaves Toby still uneasy as to what the Vice President is doing.

Finally, the staff find a Senator willing to go to the floor to see if Stackhouse would yield the floor.  Everyone stands around the TVs in the Communications bullpen to watch it play out.  Sam, Josh, and C.J. complete their emails to their respective parents, while Toby sits in his office thinking, and the President and Leo finish their conversation in the Oval Office.


Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
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 Star

Tim Matheson as John Hoynes

Guest Starring

George Coe as Senator Stackhouse
Cara DeLizia as Winifred Hooper


Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell
William Duffy as Larry
Peter James Smith as Ed
Randolph Brooks as Arthur Leeds
Jana Lee Hamblin as Reporter Bobbi
Robyn Pedretti as V.P.'s Aide Candy
Darren Foreman as V.P.'s Aide #2
Andy Milder as V.P. Assistant
Larry Stahoviak as "Steve"
Lisa Croisette as "Patty"
David Katz as Staffer #3
Jessica Pennington as Sally
Shishir Kurup as Zach
Charles Noland as Reporter Steve
Mindy Seeger as Reporter Chris
Harrison Young as Senator Tom Grissom
Ron Harper as Chairman
Dilva Henry as News Anchor
Pete Leal as Steward


Donna:  Did Senator Stackhouse ask you to meet with one of his aides?
Josh:  Yes.
Donna:  Because, I don't have it down.
Josh:  Yeah, I'm not taking it.
Donna:  Why?
Josh:  He wants an amendment added to the Family Wellness Act that will allocate funding for autism care and research.
Donna:  And we don't want to?
Josh:  This is what's called a Christmas tree bill - everyone hangs amendments on it - we just closed it this morning.  We try and hang a star on top --
Donna:  The tree topples over and it doesn't pass.
Josh:  Stackhouse isn't really someone who has a lot of muscle in this, so . . .
Donna:  You got this phone message.
Josh:  From his office?
Donna:  From him.  "You're gonna meet with me or there's not going to be a vote while I'm alive. - Stackhouse"
Toby:  Mr. Vice President?
Hoynes:  Didn't I do it right?
Toby:  No, sir, you did very well, I appreciate it.
Hoynes:  Yeah.
Toby:  I'm sure you know I was curious why you would volunteer to do something like that?
Hoynes:  Yeah?
Toby:  So I got a hold of some private polling that you've had done?
Hoynes:  Oh.  Yeah?
Toby:  Uh, a significant number of people are concerned over your ties to big oil.
Hoynes:  Well, not anymore . . .
Toby:  Yeah, but I was wondering, why did you put the poll in the field at all? . . .  Mr. Vice President, what do you know that I don't?
Hoynes:  Toby, the total tonnage of what I know that you don't could stun a team of oxen in its tracks.
He didn't wanna make political hay out of his grandson, which is commendable


  • During Sam's story, when Josh is delegating tasks to the assistant deputies, Josh erroneously identifies a misplaced modifier as a dangling modifier.
  • It is sometimes erroneously noted as a goof that, in recounting the story about being yelled at by an intern from the GAO, Sam calls it the General Accounting Office. The entity is now known as the Government Accountability Office, but that change did not occur until 2004 -- some three years after the original air date of this episode.
  • During the episode, characters who provide voice overs (i.e. CJ, Sam, Josh) are writing e-mails during their voice overs. When the characters are writing these e-mails, the amount of text in the e-mails are inconsistent from shot to shot, and the voice over does not always match up with the text on the computer screens.

I PilotPost Hoc, Ergo Propter HocA Proportional ResponseFive Votes Down
The Crackpots and These WomenMr. Willis of OhioThe State DinnerEnemiesThe Short List
In Excelsis DeoLord John MarburyHe Shall, from Time to Time...Take Out the Trash Day
Take This Sabbath DayCelestial Navigation20 Hours in L.A.The White House Pro-Am
Six Meetings Before LunchLet Bartlet Be BartletMandatory Minimums
Lies, Damn Lies and StatisticsWhat Kind of Day Has It Been?
II In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part I)In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part II)The Midterms
In This White HouseAnd It's Surely to Their CreditThe Lame Duck CongressThe Portland Trip
ShibbolethGalileoNoëlThe Leadership BreakfastThe Drop-In
Bartlet's Third State of the UnionThe War at HomeEllie
Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to JailThe Stackhouse Filibuster
17 PeopleBad Moon RisingThe Fall's Gonna Kill You18th and PotomacTwo Cathedrals
III Manchester (Part I)Manchester (Part II)Ways and MeansOn the Day BeforeWar CrimesGone QuietThe Indians in the LobbyThe Women of QumarBartlet for AmericaH.Con - 172100,000 AirplanesThe Two BartletsNight FiveHartsfield's LandingDead Irish Writers
The U.S. Poet LaureateStirredEnemies Foreign and DomesticThe Black Vera Wang
We Killed YamamotoPosse Comitatus
IV 20 Hours in America (Part I)20 Hours in America (Part II)College KidsThe Red Mass
Debate CampGame OnElection NightProcess StoriesSwiss DiplomacyArctic Radar
Holy NightGuns Not ButterThe Long GoodbyeInauguration (Part I)
Inauguration: Over There (Part II)The California 47thRed Haven's on FirePrivateers
Angel MaintenanceEvidence of Things Not SeenLife On MarsCommencementTwenty-Five
V 7A WF 83429The Dogs of WarJefferson LivesHanA Constituency of OneDisaster ReliefSeparation of PowersShutdownAbu el BanatThe Stormy PresentThe Benign PrerogativeSlow News DayThe Warfare of Genghis KhanAn KheFull DisclosureEppur Si Muove
The SupremesAccessTalking PointsNo ExitGazaMemorial Day
VI NSF ThurmontThe Birnam WoodThird-Day StoryLiftoffThe Hubbert PeakThe Dover TestA Change Is Gonna ComeIn The RoomImpact WinterFaith Based Initiative
Opposition Research365 DaysKing CornThe Wake Up CallFreedoniaDrought ConditionsA Good DayLa PalabraNinety Miles AwayIn God We TrustThings Fall Apart2162 Votes
VII The TicketThe Mommy ProblemMessage of the WeekMr. FrostHere Today
The Al Smith DinnerThe DebateUndecidedsThe WeddingRunning Mates
Internal DisplacementDuck and CoverThe ColdTwo Weeks OutWelcome to Wherever You Are
Election Day (Part I)Election Day (Part II)RequiemTransitionThe Last Hurrah
Institutional MemoryTomorrow