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West Wing Wiki

WILL PRESIDENT RESPOND TO REPUBLICAN CHALLENGER? WILL JOSH SLIP AWAY WITH FEMINIST? -- While the President (Martin Sheen) and his staff ponder whether to counter a verbal assault on affirmative action by a fast-rising Republican presidential candidate, Josh (Bradley Whitford) must postpone his tropical vacation with a women's rights advocate (guest star Mary Louise Parker) to defuse a risky powderkeg on an island that serves as the Navy's firing range. When Josh rolls up his sleeves to remove protesters who have planted themselves in harm's way on the Puerto Rican island, he makes his first call to the cell phone of an old friend who's leading the group. Meanwhile, Sam (Rob Lowe) meets with an eccentric politician (guest star Sam Lloyd) who believes that Ft. Knox is missing a fortune in gold bullion; a defiant C.J. (Allison Janney) debates with Toby (Richard Schiff) over the merits of affirmative action; and Donna (Janel Moloney) asks Josh to intercede and relieve her of pending jury duty.


Opening – 5:14am[]

Josh wakes up in his apartment, followed by a knock on the door.  It's Amy Gardner. She continues to badger him about John Tandy and Josh's belief that he is using her. They go back and forth and Amy tells Josh that he asked her to marry him.  She readies to leave and Josh tells her that she is going to call him in 30 seconds from her cell phone. The phone rings, but instead of Amy, it's Leo. Not knowing this, Josh begins to describe all of his and Amy's encounters until Leo cuts him off and tells him to come in to the office.

Act I – 5:16am[]

C.J. is on Air Force One on her way to Iowa for the Caucus and is having a difficult conversation with her father. She gets off and goes to talk to Toby about the Message of the Day so she can go back and talk to the Press. Toby gets a call from Sam at the White House. Toby tells Sam that Governor Ritchie made a few comments the previous night about affirmative action and he wants Sam to send a few sentences up to the plane. Sam doesn't believe that Ritchie is going to be the nominee.

Josh arrives at the White House and gets ready to go and talk to Leo. Donna asks him to "work his magic" to get her out of jury duty. He tells he that he has no authority. Josh goes to see Leo and Leo tells Josh about the protests in Vieques and the leader of the protestors are being led by an actor and old friend of Josh. Josh doesn't want to do it, but Leo tells him they are making the call and he is going to talk to him.

Back on Air Force One, the President is receiving a briefing from staff when Toby arrives. They talk about Governor Ritchie's comments and the President tells Toby that he is "not going to swing at every pitch" based on the comments that Robert Ritchie makes. The two talk about the presumption that Senator Simon will be the nominee. Bartlet looks at Toby and tells him, "you and I know different."

Act II – 6:26am[]

Sam comes to Josh's office and they discuss Vieques. Josh tells Sam that Congressman Tandy asked Amy to marry him. The call from Billy comes through from Vieques and Josh talks to Billy. Josh comes to see Leo when his call gets cut off and one of the military advisors tells Josh to stand a little tougher when they get back on the phone.  Josh gets angry and Leo sends him away until they can get the call hooked up again.

On Air Force One, Toby is reading what Sam sent to the President on affirmative action. After reading it, he tells the President that even he doesn't know what the statement is supposed to mean or what it is trying to convey about the administration's position. The President tells Toby he was trying to avoid saying anything quotable. He is already frustrated with the campaign and argues with Toby, but in the end he agrees to say a few words in response to Governor Ritchie's comments. Toby goes back to his seat next to C.J. and they talk about affirmative action. C.J. tells Toby she is the wrong person to talk about affirmative action.

Amy is giving a speech when Josh comes to see her. He wants to take her away on a spur of the moment exotic vacation.

In Iowa, the President is taking questions on the campus of the University of Iowa and gets a question about Ritchie's comments, which he deflects. Toby, watching on monitors outside, is flabbergasted.

Act III – 4:45pm[]

Donna comes to see Sam to get advice on how to get out of jury duty. He then has to go into a meeting with Robert Engler from US Space Command (see also episode 1.5), who requests of Sam permission to tour Fort Knox.  Engler believes the gold stored there is not really there, that it has been replaced with an alien spacecraft.  Sam realizes over the course of the conversation that Engler's father had died recently and Engler was trying to vindicate his father's reputation. Sam comes back in and tells him that Engler is free to keep pursuing this but he cannot issue the paperwork for an audit of Fort Knox.

Josh calls Sam out and tells him they have reached a settlement with Billy and the Vieques protestors.  He also tells Sam he is taking Amy to Tahiti for the weekend.

On Air Force One, which is making its way back to Washington, Toby and C.J. talk about the President's comments earlier in the day. Toby is concerned that "Uncle Fluffy" is coming back. C.J. tells Toby not to worry about it.

Josh comes to Leo's office. Leo tells Josh the meeting (about Vieques) is set up for the day after tomorrow—right when Josh is supposed to be in Tahiti with Amy. Leo tries to tell Josh that he should go on the vacation, but Josh feels like he should be there for the meeting. Donna continues to harangue Josh about getting her out of jury duty.  He tells her to just suck it up and go. He goes back into his office to call Amy and tell him that he can't go to Tahiti. They argue and the conversation ends poorly. Donna comes in to tell Josh they officially won the Iowa Caucuses.

Act IV – 9:25pm[]

C.J., Toby, (and the others) return from the airport. The two of them are continuing to disagree about affirmative action.  C.J. is concerned about her father, who may have done better and had a better life, he might not be suffering with the effects of early Alzheimer's Disease.

Amy comes to Josh's apartment where he surprises her with the fact that he has set up "a little piece of Tahiti right here in Georgetown."  She is impressed with Josh's efforts, especially his willingness to ignore politics and focus on her for a little while.

Toby comes to see the President who initially tells Charlie that he doesn't want to see him, but then relents.  Toby talks to the President about how they are going to have to campaign against Ritchie. The conversation takes a bad turn when Toby pushes the President on his relationship with his father.


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

Mary-Louise Parker as Amy Gardner

Recurring cast

NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
Renée Estevez as Nancy

Guest Starring

Sam Lloyd as Robert Engler


Kim Webster as Ginger
Ted Garcia as Newscaster
Tom Knickerbocker as Civilian
Tom Porter as Officer
Elizabeth Liang as Staffer


Josh Lyman:  [answering the phone, thinking it is Amy] Time number one was on the steps in front of my apartment when you kissed me.  It was snowing.  Time number two was when you came over after the State of the Union.  Time number three was at your house when you put on your bootleg tape of the Stones at Wembley Stadium and put on your feather boa and sang "Honky Tonk Woman."  Time number four involved a variety of hosiery . . .
Leo McGarry:  Josh, I'm going to stop you right here, OK?
Josh Lyman:  Leo?
Leo McGarry:  Yeah.
Josh Lyman:  Anybody else in the office?
Margaret Hooper:  Hey, Josh.
Josh Lyman:  Hey, Margaret.
Leo McGarry:  We've got a problem in Vieques and a caucus in Iowa.  Why don't you come on in to work, hmm?
Josh Lyman:  Yeah.
President Bartlet:  Look, we're going to Iowa where we've already won.  I'm not ignoring the state and I say thank you for getting me elected in the first place and we're back on the plane and I'll tell you what else.  I don't think it's a good idea for us to be fighting for news coverage with three governors, two senators, and the head of the church of I Hate You.
There's an old expression: "Quando dio vuole castigarci ci manda quello che desideriamo." When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers
Toby Ziegler: [sighs] Sir, I don’t think I need to tell you that the level of respect with which the staff speaks of you doesn’t change, depending on whether or not you’re in the room.
President Bartlet: But?
Toby Ziegler: Well, there’s always been a concern... about the two Bartlets. [beat] The absent-minded professor with the “Aw, Dad” sense of humor. Disarming and unthreatening. Good for all time zones. And the Nobel Laureate. Still searching for salvation. Lonely, frustrated. Lethal.
President Bartlet: You’re gonna sing a country western song?
Toby Ziegler: The one whose father never liked him because he was too smart.
President Bartlet: [stands] This stopped being fun for me a little while ago.
Toby Ziegler: Sir?
President Bartlet: It was actually never fun for me. I was just being polite.
Toby Ziegler: [pause] Your father used to hit you, didn’t he, Mr. President?
President Bartlet: [with back turned] Excuse me?
Toby Ziegler: Your father used to hit you, sir?
President Bartlet: [pause] Yeah.
Toby Ziegler: Not like a spanking.
President Bartlet: He hit me. Why?
Toby Ziegler: He punched you.
President Bartlet: I’m done being polite now.
Toby Ziegler: He did it because you made him mad, but you didn’t know why.
President Bartlet: Toby, it was a complicated relationship. Can I help you?
Toby Ziegler: It was because you were smarter than he was.
President Bartlet: It was a complicated relationship.
Toby Ziegler: He didn’t like you, sir. That’s why he hit you. That’s why people hit each other. He didn’t like you. You were smarter than he was.
President Bartlet: Why are we talking about this?
Toby Ziegler: So maybe if you get enough votes, win one more election -you know- maybe your father will--
President Bartlet: You have stepped WAY over the line, and any other President would have your ass on the sidewalk right now.
Toby Ziegler: Yes, sir.
President Bartlet: They would’ve had you on the sidewalk a long time ago. [firmly] I don’t know what the hell goes on in a Brooklyn shrink’s office, but get it the hell out of my house!
Toby Ziegler: Thank you, Mr. President.


  • The University of Iowa is in Iowa City, which neighbors Cedar Rapids, where Air Force One landed.
  • A banner behind Amy at the Women's Leadership Coalition rally says "Agenda 2002", at the same time the Iowa Caucuses are taking place in the episode. Along with a quote from Toby in 17 People about Hoynes being "dropped from the ticket in 2002", this is one of few direct confirmations in the series that presidential elections take place two years off from real life.


  • There is no such paper as the Iowa City Standard, the newspaper in Iowa City is the Iowa City Press Citizen
  • On the westbound flight to Iowa, the pilot announced they were heading to their cruising altitude of 41,000 feet. On the return (eastbound) flight, he announced a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. Planes travelling west are assigned even-numbered altitudes (to the nearest thousand feet), while planes heading east are assigned odd-numbered altitudes. The acronym is WEEO -- West Even, East Odd.
  • The episode refers to Tahiti as if it's in the Caribbean, when it's actually in the South Pacific, over 2,500 miles south of Hawai'i


red red wine | UB40
josh made tahiti for amy



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
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Election Day (Part I)Election Day (Part II)RequiemTransitionThe Last Hurrah
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