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.

BURNS Toby?

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.

Notes

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