How to pick your Chief Of Staff

{Roger Tribby, the secretary of agriculture, has been chosen to stay at the White House during the State of the Union. If the President and other higher-ups on the chain of succession were killed in an attack at the SOTU, he would become the acting president. He is meeting with President Bartlet before he leaves to give the speech, and Bartlet is giving him hints on what to do in the unlikely event he becomes president. Leo is in his office and can overhear the President, but the President and Roger Tribby are unaware of his presence. — ed.}

BARTLET You have a best friend?

ROGER Yes, sir.

BARTLET Is he smarter than you?

ROGER Yes, sir.

BARTLET Would you trust him with your life?

ROGER Yes, sir.

BARTLET That’s your chief of staff.



I mean I’m at this place with Mallory, where I don’t know if she likes me. I don’t know if she doesn’t like me. I don’t know if she’s indifferent altogether. I just wish she’d take the bull by the horns and get past it so we can move on.

Across the room, Mallory finds Sam.

MALLORY Sam! Did you write this statement defending my father?

SAM Uh, yes.

Mallory walks over to Sam and kisses him. She pulls back then kisses him again, this time longer than the first. Josh and C.J. just stare at them.

Mallory walks away after the kiss.

SAM Well, now I’m even more confused.


SAM Though, I gotta say, I’m enjoying being a writer.

Man To Man

BARTLET Say, listen. My hesitation about your going out with Zoey before, you know, it’s not ‘cause you’re black.

CHARLIE [sits] I didn’t think it was.

BARTLET It’s not.

CHARLIE I thought it was ‘cause I’m a guy.

CONGRESSMAN Personally, I don’t know what to say to people who argue that the N.E.A. is there to support art that nobody wants to pay for in the first place. I don’t know what to tell people when they say Rogers and Hart didn’t need the N.E.A. to write Oklahoma, and Arthur Murray didn’t need the N.E.A. to write Death of a Salesman.

TOBY I’d start by telling them that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote Oklahoma, and Arthur Murray taught ballroom dance, and Arthur Miller did need the N.E.A. to write Death of a Salesman, but it wasn’t called the N.E.A. back then. It was called W.P.A.

We pan to THE ROOSEVELT ROOM. Toby is having a meeting with RAYMOND BURNS and two other Congressmen about the State of the Union address.

BURNS Toby, I’m concerned that the speech contains a number of positions that democrats and Congress aren’t quite on board with yet.

TOBY They’re free to write they’re own speech.

BURNS I understand, but they are the ones who are gonna have to run against us a year from now.

TOBY What are your concerns?

CONGRESSMAN We feel, even in this draft—

BURNS And, you’ve made some progress.

CONGRESSMAN Yes, but even in this draft, there’s too much emphasis placed on the role of federal government.

TOBY I’ve pared down…

BURNS We know.

TOBY This is an opportunity for a pep rally. This is an opportunity to trumpet government. Why do we want to pretend to be sorry for intruding?

CONGRESSMAN Because that’s what people want to hear.

TOBY So I’ve been told.


TOBY Why don’t you pick your section of the speech. Fight with me about it, and I’ll lose, and then I can call in the next group.

BURNS You understand—

TOBY Pick a section. There’s a line waiting outside. I’ve got 31 hours to-to write this…

BURNS We don’t—

CONGRESSMAN Federal funding for the arts.

TOBY The N.E.A.? [sighs] Let us open our hymnals to page 22.

The Congressman smiles.

BURNS Now, the President’s proposing in his speech that the budget by the N.E.A. be increased by fifty percent?

TOBY The National Endowment amounts to less than 1/100th of one percent of the total budget for the federal government. It costs taxpayers 39 cents a year. The arts budget for the U.S. is equivalent to the arts budget of Sweden.

ABBEY Well, the good news is, your temperature’s gone down.

BARTLET Can I go to the office?


BARTLET Why not?

ABBEY It hasn’t gone down enough, and it’s gonna go back up again.


ABBEY ‘Cause you have the flu.

Abbey takes her stethoscope and puts the end on the President’s back. She listens.

BARTLET Here’s the thing though. I never really saw you study while you were in med school.

ABBEY Deep breath.

BARTLET Do you even know what you’re listening for right now? [inhales]

ABBEY Do you know how many other people I could have married?

BARTLET You’re very sexy when you’re in doctor mode you know that? ‘Give me an IV/saline solution and 100 milligrams of Flumadine. Stat.’ [beat] I could jump you right now.

ABBEY I could kill you right now.

BARTLET My thing’s more fun.

Dr. Bartlet

CHARLIE How you feeling, sir?

BARTLET I’m feeling roughly the same as I was feeling when you asked me four minutes ago.

CHARLIE I’m sorry.

BARTLET It’s okay. This isn’t the worst of it, Charlie. The worst of it’s coming up the stairs right now.

The bedroom door opens. Abbey comes in.

ABBEY Hello.


CHARLIE Good evening, ma’am.

ABBEY [puts her jacket and bag on a chair] Hey, Charlie. How you doing?

HACKETT Ma’am, I’m Admiral Hackett. I was on duty when it happened. [offers hand]

ABBEY [shakes hands] Good to meet you, Admiral. Charlie, would you mind getting my bag please?

Charlie does. Abbey takes a clipboard from Hackett. The President tries to get her attention.


ABBEY [looking at clipboard] Oh, well. 101.9.

HACKETT Yes, ma’am.

ABBEY When’s the last time you checked?

HACKETT About an hour ago.

ABBEY Pulse and pressure?

HACKETT The pressure dropped before he fainted, but it’s coming back.

ABBEY 105 over 70.


ABBEY I want to put him on an IV/saline and vitamin solution. [to Jed] Honey, you still dizzy?

BARTLET I was wondering when you were gonna notice me.

ABBEY Are you still dizzy?


ABBEY He’s lying. Give him Flumadine, 100 milligrams, twice a day.

HACKETT Yes, ma’am.

ABBEY Thank you, admiral.

"The Era of Big Government Is Over"

BARTLET ‘How do we make the American dream a reality for all who work for it.’

TOBY Oh, come on.

BARTLET You got to add, ‘who work for it.’


JOSH That was me.

TOBY We’ve decided this two weeks ago.

JOSH We’ve seen some pretty compelling polling samples. We need ‘people who work for it’ and I’ll tell you what else.

TOBY What?

JOSH ‘The era of big government is over.’

TOBY [stops walking] Oh, when did this happen?

JOSH This morning, we had a meeting.

TOBY We decided to offend poor people?

JOSH The people we’re offending won’t be watching the State of the Union.

TOBY Yeah, I can’t imagine why not.

BARTLET It’s what they’re listening for in welfare reforms, so screw it.

TOBY Alright, but when you get visited in the middle of the night by the ghost of Christmas future, don’t come running to me.

BARTLET Damn, Toby, ‘cause you’re exactly who I was gonna come running to.

TOBY You don’t look so good.

BARTLET Well, I’m gazing in the 321st century, man. There’s a lot on my mind.