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白宫奇缘 The American President 剧本


The American President script

Liberty's moving.

The 10:15 event's been moved inside to the Indian Treaty room.

10:15 is American Fisheries?

Yes, sir. They're giving you a 200-pound halibut.

Janie, make a note. We need to schedule more events...

where somebody gives me a really big fish.

- Yes, sir. - Janie, I'm kidding.

- Hey, Cooper. - Morning, Mr. President.

Mr. Rothschild asked to have a moment with you this morning, sir.

Is he upset about the speech last night?

He seemed concerned.

It wouldn't be a Monday morning unless Lewis was concerned...

about something I did Sunday night.

- You skipped a whole paragraph! - And Monday morning it is.

"Americans can no longer afford to pretend they live in a great society..."

And then you dumped the whole handguns paragraph.

This is a time for prudence, Lewis.

But, sir, that was the kick-ass section.

Well, I thought what with being president and all...

I didn't mean to imply...

I thought you'd be turning cartwheels this morning, Lewis.

- 63% job approval. - That is good news, sir.

- Morning, Mr. President. - Morning, Charlie.

Sir, the press is gonna need an explanation.

- For what? - Because you dumped the whole section.

- Now we've got this thing hanging out. - There's this thing hanging out?

"Americans can no longer afford to pretend they live in a great society..."

And then nothing. No explanation, no context.

- It's just this thing. - And it's hanging out?

- Yes, sir. - Maria.

- Good morning, sir. - I'm gonna need...

Overall consumer spending and not just first homes?

- We'll have it for you in 15 minutes. - Thanks.

Mr. President, I really feel...

However much coffee you drink, I want you to reduce it by half.

- I don't drink coffee, sir. - Then hit yourself with a baseball bat.

- Yes, sir. - Happy birthday, Laura.

- Laura, happy birthday. - Thank you, sir.

- I should send her some flowers. - You already did, sir.

- Good morning, Mr. President. - How are you today, Mrs. Chapil?

Fine, sir. Mr. Kodak left a detailed breakdown of the approval poll for you.

He seemed to indicate that it was very good news.

Sixty-three percent of it, at any rate.

Lucy called just a moment ago. You forgot to sign her permission slip.

Ah, the museum trip. I'll go get it, sir.

- What time is she getting home? - 3:20.

- How's my afternoon look? - Very crowded.

Schedule some time at 3:45.

Too-tall McCall! So how was Mexico?

I didn't appreciate it until I came back...

and discovered that America isn't a great society.

He dumped a whole section.

Now there's this thing hanging out?

Not a great society, sir?

With you out of the country, it wasn't. Now that you're back, we're great again.

There's a pressroom full of people saying, "What did he mean by that?"

- A.J., did you get one of these? - The letter from Solomon at the G.D. C?

It appears to be a letter from the entire environmental community.

- These people are out of control. - Well, they're frustrated.

Are they blaming the president for global warming?

They don't think he caused it. I'm on the phone with them twice a week.

I honestly don't know what they want at this point.

They want a 20% reduction in fossil fuel emissions.

- It won't pass at 20%. - Well, we haven't really tried.

McSorley, McClusky and Shane hold too many markers.

If we try to push this through and lose, there will be a very loud thud...

and that's not what you want in an election year.

Talk to the G.D.C. Again.

Tell them the president resents the implication...

he's turned his back on the environment.

I'll send 455 to the floor, but I'll ask for a 10% reduction.

If they want to pull their support, fine.

With a 63% job approval rating, I don't need their help to get a bill passed.

- Good deal. - Let's get going. Where's Leon?

John, call Mr. Kodak and tell him the president's waiting.

Sorry. My fault.

Never mind, John.

Excuse me. Good morning, Mr. President.

- Are you all right? - They keep moving that big ficus plant.

We're all here, Mr. President.

First of all, I wanted to say congratulations.

Three years ago, we were elected by one of the narrowest margins in history...

and today, Kodak tells us...

63% of registered voters think we're doing a good job.

Wait a second. You wanted me to poll registered voters?

The poll also tells us what we already know.

If we don't get our crime bill through Congress...

those numbers are gonna be a memory.

So starting today, we're shifting it into gear.

Can I tell my morning press gaggle that gun control...

"Crime control," Robin. "Gun control" means we're soft on crime.

Well, hang on. Are we not putting back the handgun restrictions?

No, we're leaving them out.

Mr. President, we campaigned on this issue.

We took them out when we were in the 40s, but we could push it through now.

After the elections, Lewis.

We may never have an opportunity like this again.

Sir, let's take this 63% out for a spin. Let's see what it could do.

We can't take it out for a spin. We need it to get reelected.

For reasons I don't understand, people do not relate guns to gun-related crime.

Robin, you can brief the press this afternoon.

As of today, the crime bill is priority one on the president's domestic agenda.

- Got it. - Leon, you're gonna run the war room.

We'll need projections for all the target districts by the end of the week.

Oh, and don't be the sweet, nice guy from Brooklyn on this one.

- Do what the N.R.A. Does. - Scare the shit out of them?

- Exactly. - I can do that.

We want you to be legislative liaison. You're gonna run the show on the Hill.

Can I just say, to return to the subject for one moment...

that it might be easier to fight drugs if we weren't arming drug dealers?

We gotta fight the fights we can win, Lewis.

- Yes, sir. - We want to announce the crime bill...

at the State of the Union, which is 72 days from today.

Last count put us 18 votes short.

Eighteen votes in 72 days. Thank you, everyone.

- What's next? - Security briefing, sir.

"Global Defense Council" Good morning. Global Defense Council.

You wanted to see me?

- I just spoke with A.J. Maclnerney. - Did the president read the letter?

The president's pissed as hell. That letter was a stupid move.

It was aggressive, and I think we should stand by every word...

This isn't the guy who needed our help. He's incredibly popular.

He's gonna win reelection, and he could give a shit what we stand by!

If the president passes history's most important environmental legislation...

despite our negative endorsement, our future political weight...

will rank somewhere below the Save the Spotted Owl Society.

I'm bringin' in some help.

We don't need another environmental expert to confirm what every other...

Not an environmental expert. A professional political strategist.

We're playing hardball with Andrew Shepherd, and we need a heavy bat.

- Who? - Syndey Ellen Wade.

Christ, Leo! That woman doesn't know anything about the environmental lobby!

She's a closer, Susan. She gets the job done.

- What if I lose this? - Then move this up here.

David Sasser from the Times wants to know what you think is a great society.

- What did you tell him? - That I can't speak for the president...

but for my money, Bermuda.

- Perfect. - Your cousin Judith has the flu...

and won't be able to join you Thursday night.

I'm sorry to hear that. Remind me to call her later today.

- Yes, sir. - You gonna go stag?

- Is that a problem? - No, we've never gone wrong...

parading you around as the Ionely widower.

I can't believe I said that. That was an incredibly thoughtless remark.

I would never dream of insulting you with the memory of your wife.

That's okay. Forget it. What time is it?

It's 3:30, sir.

I'm gonna go up and say hi to Lucy.

You have the attorney general at 4:00 and the trade rep at 4:30.

- And you promised N.P.R. Five minutes. - Mr. President?

Robin, don't worry about it.

Don't stop. It sounds great. What is it?

Scales.

Well, you're playing with gusto.

- Are my lips swollen? - Are they supposed to be?

- Yeah. - Well, you're doin' just fine.

- What ya got behind your back? - I have a little surprise for you.

- Is it a dirt bike? - No.

Is it a really old seventh grade textbook of yours...

that you're gonna make me discuss at dinner and drive me crazy...

I'm not comfortable with the "really old" part, but everything else was true.

Understanding the Constitution.

Your social studies teacher said your class will be studying the Constitution.

You talked to Mr. Linder?

Yes. It's called a parent-teacher conference.

Mr. Linder and I were the key players in the discussion.

So why don't you like social studies?

I like it fine, Dad.

All your other teachers say you're happy, enthusiastic.

Mr. Linder says you never participate unless he calls on you...

and even then it's a one-word answer.

I don't know, Dad. I guess I'm just not...

I don't know.

Luce, take a look at this book.

This is exciting stuff. It's about who we are and what we want.

Read what it says on the first page.

"Property of Gilmore Junior High."

The next page, Luce.

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union..."

See what I mean? It grabs you right off the bat. This is a page-turner.

- I can't wait. - Well, good because...

this subject may come up at dinner.

Do you see it as your job to torture me?

No, just one of the perks. See you tonight, honey.

The C-STAD hardware's been in place for a month.

We have 22 instructors from the Army waiting to train the Israelis.

- How soon can you deploy them? - We can airlift them in the morning.

They'll have C-STAD operational in 20 days.

Any security concerns?

If anybody wanted to hit it, they'd have hit it by now.

Okay, let's move on it. Thank you, gentlemen.

- Thank you, Mr. President. - Good night, John.

- Thank you. - Good night, sir.

- Good seeing you. - You too. Good night.

Have a good evening, Mrs. Chapil. Janie, I'll see you tomorrow morning.

- You will, Mr. President. - Good night, Janie, Mrs. Chapil.

- Mr. President, sir. - Thank you.

- Leo Solomon brought in a hired gun. - It's about time.

She's a lawyer from Virginia. Her name is Sydney Ellen Wade.

I know her pretty well. She's had a lot of success getting congressmen elected.

Maybe we should try to steal her.

Ten percent, A.J. Don't let them leave the room till they're clear about that.

If you've got a free second, maybe you could stop in and say hello.

- It might smooth the way. - Mention it to Janie tomorrow.

- Good deal. - And let's focus on the crime bill.

I don't want to just win this one. I want to win by a couple of touchdowns.

We will, Mr. President.

Robin said something to me today, and I know she wouldn't have said it if...

I mean, she wasn't saying it to me, I realize.

Forget it. I'll see you in the morning.

- Good night, Mr. President. - A. J?

- Yes, sir? - When we're out of the office...

and alone, you can call me Andy.

- I beg your pardon? - You were the best man at my wedding.

- Call me Andy. - Whatever you say, Mr. President.

- Good night, sir. - Good night, A.J.

- Hi, I'm Sydney Ellen Wade. - He just needs your driver's license.

- I'm from Virginia. - He doesn't care.

- I have a meeting with Mr. Maclnerney. - He doesn't need to know.

Forgive me. This is my first time at the White House.

I'm trying to savor the "Capra-esque" quality.

He doesn't know what "Capra-esque" means.

Yeah, I do. Frank Capra, great American director.

It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Sydney Ellen Wade of Virginia, knock 'em dead.

Thanks.

...government subsidizes private schools is when we give up on public education.

The proposal only scratches the surface, but it's the least we can do.

We'll let Harold take a look at this. We'll revisit it next week.

Say hello to Linda, and have a good Thanksgiving holiday.

Thank you, Mr. President.

- So how are we doing? - You're four minutes ahead of schedule.

Ahead? Gee, that's unprecedented. I don't know what to do with myself.

- Mr. Maclnerney asked me to tell you... - Oh, right, the G.D.C. Meeting.

Rest assured, your concerns are not falling on deaf ears.

The environmental lobby has known no greater ally than President Shepherd.

Hardly an impressive distinction, A.J.

Sydney, we should leave Mr. Maclnerney alone now. He's given us...

Mr. Maclnerney doesn't want us to leave him alone...

because Mr. Maclnerney has not yet done what he needs to do today.

Sir, Ms. Wade's been thrown into the deep end of the pool on her first day.

She hasn't even had a chance to read the report of the Quebec Conference.

You're right. I haven't read it.

Yesterday, I'd have told you the Quebec Conference...

was made up of six professional hockey teams.

But what I do know is that it's time for the president to run for reelection.

Leon Kodak is as good as it gets when it comes to electoral strategy...

and I'm sure he's told the president exactly what I'd tell him.

Nail down Michigan and California where they burn plenty of fossil fuels...

but if I'd read these 800 pages, I would have discovered...

that burning fossil fuels is what's mostly responsible for global warming...

and that the recommended 20% reduction is a necessary first step...

toward arresting the greenhouse effect which this administration has ignored.

- It's time for us... - The White House chief of staff...

will not let us leave here until he's broken the bad news.

I'm afraid Sydney's right, although not about Michigan and California.

The president has asked me to tell you that his proposed energy bill...

calls for a ten percent reduction.

The president is willing to go it alone on this, but he's asking for...

and frankly, he's expecting... the full support of the G.D.C.

- Our full support? - Yes, he is.

The president's dreaming, A.J. He has critically misjudged reality.

If he honestly thinks the environmental community is going to whistle happily...

while rallying support around this mockery of environmental leadership...

just because he's a nice guy and he's done better than his predecessors...

then your boss is the chief executive of Fantasyland.

Let's take him out back and beat the shit out of him.

Good morning, Mr. President. How are you today?

Couldn't be better. My apologies for the interruption.

A.J. Suggested I come by and say hello.

You wouldn't be Sydney Ellen Wade by any chance, would you?

Mr. President, I don't know what to say. I'm speechless.

All evidence to the contrary.

Mr. President, I'm Susan Sloan. I used to work with Congressman Myers.

I hope that this incident in no way jeopardizes the good relationship...

- Yes, sir? - Do you have a second?

Of course.

I thought maybe we might talk in private someplace less intimidating.

- Janie? - Yes, sir?

This is Janie Basdin, my personal aide. Would you show Ms. Wade to the rec room?

- This way. - I'll be with you in a second.

- Sorry to keep you waiting. - Mr. President, l...

Is it all right if I call you Sydney?

- Of course. Mr. President... - Have you ever been in the Oval Office?

I've just been on the regular tour. It didn't include...

- I hear it's pretty good. - Mr. President...

what you saw in there was just vanity run amuck.

I was showing off for a colleague who doesn't think very much of me.

It would be an injustice to hold the G.D.C. Accountable for my behavior.

On top of which, I am monumentally sorry for having insulted you like that.

- Do you think I'm mad at you? - Well...

Seldom does a day go by when I'm not burned in effigy.

Not by a professional political operative 30 feet from the Oval Office!

I'll grant you that.

Did you know when the city planners sat down to design Washington, D. C...

their intention was to build a city that would intimidate foreign leaders?

- It's true. - I didn't know that.

The White House is the single greatest home-court advantage in the world.

I learned that one the hard way.

Sydney, this bill is important to me.

Yes, sir. I'll convey your message.

- But you don't believe me. - The G.D.C. Is asking for 20%, sir.

It's not gonna pass at 20%. It's a long shot at ten.

How do you know until you put the weight of the White House behind it?

Sydney, at 20%, we're 34 votes shy in the House.

It can't be done.

But I'll tell you what.

I'll make you a deal.

If you can get 24 votes, I'll get you the last ten.

Twenty-four votes?

If you can swing 24 votes by the State of the Union...

I will promise you full White House support.

Do I have your word on that, sir?

Absolutely.

Listen, are you hungry?

I skipped breakfast. You want to have a doughnut?

Coffee or something?

Sir, I'm a little intimidated by my surroundings...

and yes, I have gotten off to a somewhat stilted beginning...

but don't let that diminish the weight of my message.

The G.D.C. Has been at every president for the last decade and a half.

Global warming is a calamity...

the effects of which will be second only to nuclear war.

The best scientists have given you every reason to take the G.D.C. Seriously...

but I'm gonna give you one more.

If you don't live up to the deal you just made...

we're gonna go shopping for a new candidate.

You can't do that, Sydney.

With all due respect, who's going to stop me?

Well, if you go through that door, the United States Secret Service.

That's my private office.

You have to go out that door over there.

McSorley, McClusky and Shane know that we're making our move on the crime bill.

They're circling the wagons on the assault weapons.

- Should I meet with them? - Let Lewis take a pass at them first.

Two-ball in the side.

- Nice shot, Mr. President. - "Nice shot, Mr. President?"

You won't even call me by my name when we're playing pool?

I will not do it playing pool. I will not do it in a school.

I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am.

At ease!

- Would you get away from the pocket? - I beg your pardon, sir.

Nine-ball in the corner.

Leo Solomon phoned. He said he was thrilled with the deal you made.

- I forgot to tell you. - It's a waste of time.

But it's not our time! G.D.C. Makes a big push to get the votes.

When they come up short, we move in with a softer bill.

We get it passed. We're everybody's hero.

- Three-ball in the side. - Also, Sydney Wade called.

Sydney Wade?

She wanted to apologize one more time for her behavior.

Excuse me, sir.

Three in the side.

- Did she say anything about me? - Ms. Wade?

- When she called. - Did she say anything about you?

It's just that we had a nice couple of minutes together.

She threatened me. I patronized her.

We didn't have anything to eat, but I thought there was a connection.

- Excuse me, sir. - Sure.

Thirteen in the corner.

She didn't say anything about me?

Well, no, sir, but I could pass her a note before study hall.

Tell me this. Hypothetically...

I feel a nightmare coming on.

What would happen if I called Sydney Wade and asked her to be my date...

at the state dinner on Thursday evening?

- You're not serious? - Don't I sound serious?

The president can't just go out on a date.

Why not? Jefferson did. Wilson did.

Wilson was widowed during his first term. He met a woman named Edith Galt.

He dated her, courted her and married her.

And somewhere in there he managed to form the League of Nations.

Mr. President, this is an election year.

If you're looking for female companionship...

we can make certain arrangements that'll insure total privacy...

I don't want you to get me a girl! What is this, Vegas?

No, this is the White House.

I'm talking about something that in no way conflicts with my oath of office.

I'm a single adult. I met a woman who I'd like to see again socially.

How is that different from what Wilson did?

The difference is he didn't have to be president on television.

You said it yourself a million times.

If there had been a TV in every living room 60 years ago...

this country does not elect a man in a wheelchair.

- So what are you saying? - I'm saying we'll take a hit.

- How big? - Five points, maybe more.

- We're talking about five points? - It could be more.

I drop five points when Wisconsin doesn't make it to the Rose Bowl.

Five-ball in the corner.

Do you want me to have Kodak put together some numbers?

Yeah... No! I don't want to check a polling sample...

like I'm asking permission to stay out an hour past curfew.

This is not the business of the American people.

With all due respect, the American people have a funny way...

of deciding on their own what is and what is not their business.

I like her, A.J.

Stop being my chief of staff for one minute.

Give her a call.

She didn't say anything about me?

She did say you were taller than she thought you'd be.

Well, that's something.

- Yes, sir? - I need you to find a phone number.

Richard, it wasn't funny.

I acted like a college freshman at a protest rally.

Tell him the part about walking out the wrong door.

Oh, God, I forgot about that.

Oh, God, I forgot about that.

No, Richard, I don't want to hear your Andrew Shepherd imitation.

- I want to hear it. - I'm hanging up now, Richard.

Tonight I was gonna go to bed early and wake up where there's a new president.

The president must think I'm a third-rate jerk.

If he thinks you're a jerk, I'm sure he thinks you're a first-rate jerk.

I tell you one thing, boy. I regrouped.

You gotta give me that. I pulled it together at the end.

I stood in the middle of the Oval Office and made it absolutely clear...

that he who doesn't take the G.D.C. Seriously, does so at his peril.

And then you walked out the wrong door.

Are you gonna be throwing that back at me the rest of my life?

That's my current plan.

That's gonna be Leo Solomon. He said he'd call at 9:00.

- Hello? - Yeah, hi. Is this Sydney?

- Leo? - No, this is Andrew Shepherd.

Oh, it's Andrew Shepherd. Yeah, you're hilarious, Richard.

You're just a regular riot.

No, this isn't Richard. This is Andrew Shepherd.

Oh, well, I'm so glad you called...

because I forgot to tell you today what a nice ass you have.

I'm also impressed that you got my number since I don't have a phone.

- Good night, Richard. - This isn't Rich...

This used to be easier.

- I don't believe this. - Do you want me to deal with him?

No. I may choke in front of Shepherd. Richard Reynolds I can handle. Hello?

- Sydney? - Are you learning impaired?

Listen, do me a favor. Hang up the phone.

- What? - Hang up the phone...

then dial 456-1414.

When you get the White House operator...

give her your name and tell her you want to speak to the president.

Oh, my God. This isn't happening to me.

What's going on?

No, it's not possible I did this twice in one day.

Good evening, the White House. Hello?

Hi. My name's Sydney Allen Wade. I'd like to...

The president's expecting your call. I'll put you right through.

- Hello? - Mr. President.

I'm sure there's an appropriate thing to say at this moment.

Probably some formal apology for the nice ass remark would be in order.

I just don't quite know how to word it.

It's my fault. I shouldn't have called you at home.

- Should I call you at the office? - No, of course not.

I mean, yes. You can call me anytime you want.

This is fine. Right now is fine. When I said of course not, I meant...

You know what? The hell with it. I'm moving to another country.

What did you mean when you said that you didn't have a phone?

I just moved to Washington over the weekend, and my apartment isn't ready.

This is my sister's apartment. How did you get this number?

How did I get the number? That's a good question.

I don't know. Probably the FBI.

Oh, the FBI? Sure!

'Cause if you want to find someone and you're the president, you call the FBI.

- You know who else is good at that? - Uh, CIA?

Well, yeah, but I was thinking of the Internal Revenue Service.

You know, they have these computer files that...

Well, I should stop stalling.

As you probably know, the French have elected themselves a new president.

We're having a formal state dinner at the White House...

and I was wondering... and you're under no obligation...

but I thought it might be fun, and I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go...

with me.

That's it. That's why I was calling.

- Congress doesn't take this long. - Mr. President.

You have asked me to join you in representing our country.

I'm honored. I'm equal to the task. I won't let you down, sir.

Sydney, this is just dinner. We're not gonna be doing espionage.

No, of course.

I'm a little...

What do I do?

I mean, where do I go? Will you meet me?

- Should l... - I'll have Marsha Bridgeport call you.

She's the White House social secretary. She'll help you with anything you want.

Now, when she calls you and tells you her name is Marsha Bridgeport...

it'll help if you give her the benefit of the doubt.

- Of course. - I'll see you Thursday night.

Mr. President, thanks for asking me, really.

This is a first for me.

Me too.

Okay, who's on Indiana?

Excuse me. I can't remember your names. Raise your hands if you're on Indiana.

Put your hands down. You're on Illinois.

- We got Jarrett. - What?

George Jarrett. He's ours. Solid yes.

I don't believe it. You, new guy.

Jarrett, democrat, Minnesota. Slide his name on over to yes.

His name was laminated to "undecided." How'd you get his butt off the fence?

I wish I could take credit for it. He says, "I support the president 100%."

Not the bill, the president.

We're gonna win this in a walk. You know, it's like a kissing booth.

Give us a vote, get a photo op with number 63.

- We should've gone after the handguns. - We gotta do one thing at a time.

There's no time for one thing at a time.

Hi. It's David in Sydney Wade's office.

Yeah, I'll hold.

It's David in Sydney Wade's office.

I want to confirm her lunch with the congressman.

We could do with a little party leadership.

I mean, is the majority whip taking a break?

Congress is in session, right? I'm not wrong about that?

I just got off with Luther Simons. Brock's on board.

Terrific.

Well, have him get back to me.

You okay, Syd?

Sure. Why?

I don't know. You seem a little tense.

What do you mean?

Big date tonight?

- Senator Rumson, can I have a moment? - Certainly.

I'm standing here with Senate Minority Leader Robert Rumson...

one of the many guests arriving at what, for the next few hours at least...

will be a nonpartisan White House.

Senator, the latest public opinion surveys show the president...

with approval ratings that would make him all but unbeatable come November.

Is there a republican who can mount a serious challenge, and are you him?

Well, Lloyd, it's a long time till next November.

- I'm looking forward to this evening. - Thank you, Senator.

That's a little tight, Luce.

It's supposed to be tight. It's supposed to make you look regal.

Is it supposed to cut off the blood flow to my face?

All done.

Well, that's not bad.

- Where'd you learn how to do that? - Social studies.

Very funny. No, really, where'd you learn that?

I don't know. I guess I just picked it up somewhere.

Sweetie, did Mom teach you how to do that?

Yeah.

Lucy, is this okay? My having dinner with a lady?

- Dad, it's totally okay. - You sure? If you want to talk about...

Dad, it's cool. Just go for it.

I'm a little nervous.

You'll be fine. Just be yourself.

Be myself, huh?

Yeah, and compliment her shoes.

- Her shoes? - Yeah. Girls like that.

Okay. Thanks.

- Thank you. - Miss Wade?

Good evening. The president would like you to join him in the residence.

- May I show you the way? - Of course.

Sydney! Come on in. You look beautiful.

Thanks. I have no idea what I'm doing here.

I promise you, there's no hidden agenda. This is my wife Esther.

Oh, sure. It's nice to see you.

Sydney, Andrew Shepherd. We spoke on the phone.

Yes, sir. I remember.

Excuse me one minute.

The president told me how you two met, Sydney.

- I think it's priceless. - I don't know what happened.

One minute, I was calling him a mockery of an environmental leader.

- The next minute, I had a date. - Men like being insulted by women.

It makes them feel loved. Don't ask me why.

Mr. President, would you allow me to introduce to you...

Sydney Ellen Wade of the commonwealth of Virginia?

Sydney, this is President Rene-Jean D'Astier...

and his wife Monique Danielle D'Astier of France.

A great pleasure to meet you.

- It's an honor to meet you both. - I'm so pleased to meet you.

Mr. President, I'm sorry to interrupt. The receiving line is in place.

Sydney, I think our table's ready.

When we get to the bottom of the stairs, you'll be escorted to...

- They took me through it. - Oh, good.

Do you do this often, sir?

This is actually only our second state dinner.

The first one was for the emperor of Japan.

He died shortly after, so we stopped having them for a while, just in case.

I meant, do you go out on... Do you often...

Do I date a lot? No. How about you?

Me? Well, lately I seem to be going on a lot of first dates.

- Then you're experienced at this. - Oh, yeah. You can ask me anything.

- Well, how are we doing so far? - It's hard to say at this point.

So far, it's just your typical first-date stuff.

Damn. And I wanted to be different from the other guys.

Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States...

- Oh, by the way, nice shoes. - Accompanied by...

the president of France and Madame D'Astier.

Mr. President, the president and Mrs. D'Astier look bored.

They're not talking to anybody.

They're hammered.

- Esther, do you speak French? - Latin.

- I thought you spoke French. - No, Latin.

Great, next time Julius Caesar comes to town, you're our gal.

Sydney, I don't suppose...

That's my date.

Really?

Sydney, you didn't dissolve our trade agreements, did you?

No, I just said we're sitting in this beautiful room...

listening to the music of this wonderful orchestra...

and I wondered why nobody was dancing.

And I informed Miss Wade that in my country...

a guest at the palace of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette...

would soon find their head in a guillotine...

if they made the impertinent gesture of dancing...

without so much as a by-your-leave from the king and the queen.

I'll bet no one accused Louis of being soft on crime.

- There's a lesson there, Mr. President. - More beheadings at the White House.

Bob Rumson would embrace it.

Yes, I'm sure he would.

I have a better idea.

Would you like to dance?

Yeah, I guess.

I mean, yes, sir, I'd love to.

I don't know how you do it.

It's Arthur Murray, six lessons.

That's not what I mean.

Two hundred pairs of eyes are focused on you right now with two questions...

Who's this girl? And why is the president dancing with her?

Well, first of all, the 200 pairs of eyes are not focused on me.

They're focused on you.

And the answers are... Sydney Ellen Wade, because she said yes.

Does this setup work for you?

- Good morning, Mrs. Chapil. - Good morning, Mr. President.

Mr. Rothschild and Miss McCall are in the office, sir.

They need to speak with you before scheduling.

Fine. Janie, can you get me the number of a local florist?

I'll take care of it, sir.

I want to do it myself. I just need the number.

I don't understand.

I want the phone number of a florist.

You just want the phone number?

Yeah.

I don't understand. Is there a problem...

I want to send some flowers. I want to do it myself.

I don't want to issue an executive order. I just want a phone number.

I'll get it for you right away, sir.

- Good morning. - Mr. President, we need five minutes.

I'll be with you in two minutes. I just need to make a call.

Thank you, Janie.

Who are we calling, sir?

I'm calling the organization of the it's none of your damn business.

- I'll be with you in a second. - Yes, sir.

Yeah, hi. Good morning. How do I get an outside line?

That was simple.

- Janie. - Yes?

What's the president doing?

I'm sorry. I'm really not at liberty to say.

Yes, hi. Good morning. Is this Carmen's House of Flowers?

Good. I'd like to order some flowers, please.

Well, tell me, what is the state flower of Virginia?

Does this have something to do with Sydney Wade?

I'm really not at liberty to say.

Well, is there anybody there who might know?

No, I'm not trying to be difficult.

Hang on, please.

Janie, what is the state flower of Virginia?

Mrs. Chapil, state flower of Virginia?

- The dogwood. - The dogwood, sir.

Thank you.

It's the dogwood.

Really?

Hold on, please.

Janie, the dogwood is a tree. It's not a flower.

Actually, it's a tree and a flower.

- Are you sure? - Yes. What's going on?

Sir, it's a tree and a flower.

It's a tree and a flower. I'd like a dozen, please.

Really? No dogwoods?

How about roses?

Simple. Classic. Two dozen?

Janie, I'm the president's senior domestic policy advisor.

It's important I have a full understanding...

Janie, do you know where my credit cards are?

They're in storage in Wisconsin with your personal items.

Right. Perhaps it would be better if you bill me.

I'm sure it'll be all right with your boss.

Well, I don't know if you recognize my voice...

but this is the president.

Of the United States.

Leo. You wanted to see me?

So there I was thinking, maybe I should give Sydney a call.

She doesn't know many people. Then I picked up the Times.

Leo, it was crazy. He called me at home.

- What's going on? - Nothing.

It was innocent. His cousin got the flu at the last minute.

- Did you sleep with him? - Leo.

- Did you sleep with him? - That's none of your business.

- Yeah, it is, Sydney. - How is my personal life...

Because when it's the president, it's not personal.

I hired your reputation. I hired a pit bull, not a prom queen.

- That's unfair. - It's incredibly unfair!

But you've spent a lot of time over the years...

telling me the trouble with the environmental lobby...

is that we don't understand that politics is perception.

This is a bad time to develop ignorance.

- You're making too much of this. - Am I?

This is your time. You're sitting at the grown-ups' table.

You have a chance to get everything you want...

run a national campaign, be a major player inside the party.

But this relationship had better go all the way...

because with the leader of the free world, there's no halfway.

Politics is perception.

If this doesn't work out, the time it'll take you to go from being a hired gun...

to a cocktail party joke can be clocked with an egg timer.

Leo, there's no relationship. It was one night. It's done.

This was just delivered by White House messenger. It's marked perishable.

The White House sent me something perishable?

- It's for Miss Wade. - Oh, well, here we go.

Relax, Leo. I'm sure it's just a formality.

- It's from him. - Of course it's from him.

So he had some staff flunky send me a fruit basket.

- He wrote the note himself. - I'm sure he didn't take the time to...

The messenger waited for ten minutes while the president wrote the card.

Okay, listen...

It took him ten minutes to write the card?

Apparently, he went through several drafts.

- What is it? - A ham.

He sent me a Virginia ham!

Dig it, Miss Wade. You're the president's girlfriend.

There's never an egg timer around when you need one.

Thanks.

They're going to be pressing today about whether the White House...

is prepared to soften the crime bill.

There's no need to entertain that at this point.

How do you want me to handle the Sydney issue?

"The Sydney issue?"

We should have a consensus on how the White House is gonna handle it.

I certainly hope the Sydney issue refers in some way to a problem with Australia.

- If it's anything other than that... - Mr. President.

Ms. Wade is here to see you.

Have her come in, please. I am finished here.

- Yes, sir. - There is no Sydney issue.

Good morning.

Thanks for seeing me on such short notice.

- No problem. Did you get the ham? - Yes, I got the ham.

I wanted to send you some flowers, but there are some kinks in the system.

I'm so glad you stopped by. I had such a good time last night.

So did I. It's just that...

You have 45 seconds.

I have to deliver a luncheon speech at the governors' conference.

- No, no, of course. - Are you free for dinner tomorrow?

- Dinner? - Casual, without the United Nations.

My daughter will be there, so it may seem like the United Nations.

- I'd love to meet Lucy, but... - I'm sure she'd love to meet you.

- Actually, I have some concerns... - I can't do this.

- Robbins or Stackhouse? - Either one. I have to be in and out.

Governor Stackhouse needs ten minutes. He wants to talk about assault weapons.

Stackhouse wants to talk about grazing rights, trust me.

I'm sorry. You have concerns?

Yes. Not many. A few. One. I have one concern.

This wouldn't have to do with the fact that one of us is president?

- You like to make jokes about this. - I am not mocking you, honest.

I'm just a guy asking a girl over for a meal.

- What's that? - That's my ride.

Leo Solomon has some serious concerns...

about me exploring a social, you know...

scenario with the president of the United States.

When you put it that way, it doesn't sound that good to me either.

Have meat loaf with Lucy and me. How presidential can that be?

7:30?

- Hi. Miss Wade? - Sydney.

- Hi. Lucy Shepherd. Nice to meet you. - Hi. Nice to meet you.

My dad told me to tell you that he's on the phone with his dentist...

and that I should behave myself and entertain you until he gets back.

Oh. Your father's on the phone with his dentist?

No, he told me to tell you he's on the phone with his dentist.

He wants you to think he's a regular guy.

Oh. Well, who's he on the phone with?

The prime minister of Israel.

Oh. They're probably not discussing his teeth.

I hope not.

They're discussing an abbreviation I can never remember.

- Mmm, C-STAD? - Yeah.

- Capricorn Surface-To-Air Defense? - Right.

Okay, let meat loaf night begin.

- Hi. - How's everything with your teeth?

- My teeth? - The dentist.

Oh, right. Yeah, I got a cavity in my upper bicuspid region.

You have a short-range weapons system outside Tel Aviv.

- I think somebody told on me. - Dad!

You're overthinking this. Voters aren't interested...

in how to achieve economic growth.

They don't want to hear our plans to strengthen foreign policy.

- So it comes down to character. - The press like him.

- The networks, the newspapers. - Reporters like him.

Networks and newspapers like ratings and circulation.

For all the bitching we do about liberal bias in the press...

when it comes to a good character debate...

The press is an unwitting accomplice.

The character debate didn't work for us.

Because it couldn't. Our polling told us...

that attacking his character less than a year after he'd lost his wife...

was gonna make people feel sorry for him.

We couldn't run the campaign we wanted because the opponent was a widower.

But he's still a widower. Time's passed, but...

You'll have to forgive my friend here. He's been on a hunting trip.

- He's been cut off from the world. - Why? What's going on?

The president's got a girlfriend.

Your dad says you're studying the Constitutional Convention.

- She's not having any fun, though. - Dad!

- You're not having any fun? - This is a nightmare.

- This is a social studies nightmare. - They're doing a mock congress.

Each kid plays one of the delegates, and they debate the amendments.

- What's not fun about that? - Good night, Dad.

Good night, sweetheart.

- It was nice meeting you, Sydney. - Thanks. It was nice to meet you.

- Good night. - Sleep well. I love you.

Love you too, Dad.

- She's wonderful. - She's her mother.

She's you.

Would you like the 25-cent tour?

I thought C-STAD wasn't gonna be operational until January.

It was ready ahead of schedule. We've just been waiting for the personnel.

- The Israelis? - No, our guys.

We sent a team of army instructors to train the Israelis.

Good evening. I think...

Yeah, this is the Dish Room.

- It's not the Dish Room. - It's the room with all the dishes.

- It's the China Room. - I'm more of a west wing president.

If you're curious about the mansion, I'm sure there's a book you can get.

There are about 7,000. I'll get one for you.

Mr. President, have you ever noticed how similar...

the Van Buren flatware is to the Buchanan flatware?

Do you think there'll ever be a time...

when you can stand in a room with me...

and not think of me as the president?

This isn't a state of mind. You are the president.

And when I'm in a room with you... oval or any other shape...

I'm always gonna be a lobbyist and you're always gonna be the president.

I have news for you, Sydney.

As a lobbyist...

you'd never be alone in a room with the president.

Do you think this is a good idea?

Probably not.

We have a secure call from the sit room.

Excuse me.

- I'm sorry, ma'am. - Oh, no. Of course not.

We're gonna have to cut our night short. The Libyans have just bombed C-STAD.

I'll try to call you in the morning. Please show Miss Wade out.

The response scenario's in place.

The F-18s are fired up on the Nimitz and the Kitty Hawk.

They're just waiting for your attack order, Mr. President.

And we're gonna hit Libyan Intelligence Headquarters?

The NSA confirmed they're the ones who planned the bombing.

- And what's the estimate? - We'll level the building.

The Libyan I.H.Q. Is in the center of Tripoli. What else are we gonna hit?

Nothing, unless we miss.

- Are we gonna miss? - No, sir.

- How many people work in the building? - We've been through this.

How many people work in the damn building?

I have the numbers here, Mr. President. There are three shifts.

What shift has the fewest people? The night shift, right?

By far, sir. Mostly custodial staff.

What time does the night shift start?

They're on now, sir.

Sir, it's immediate, it's decisive, it's low risk...

and it's a proportional response.

Someday someone's gonna have to explain the virtue of a proportional response.

- Mr. President? - Attack.

As soon as our planes have cleared Libyan airspace, call the press...

but I don't know what time we'll have the full B.D.A.

- General Rork says around 0800. - 0800.

Sir, what do you think about a national address?

Last thing I want to do is put the Libyans center stage.

I think it's a great idea, sir.

You know Rumson's gonna be talking about your lack of military service.

It's not about Rumson.

What I did tonight was not about political gain.

Leon, somewhere in Libya right now...

a janitor is working the night shift at the Libyan Intelligence Headquarters.

He's going about doing his job...

'cause he has no idea in about an hour he's gonna die in a massive explosion.

He's just going about his job 'cause he has no idea that about an hour ago...

I gave an order to have him killed.

You've just seen me do the least presidential thing I do.

Mary.

Is there anything at all about the C-STAD weapons system...

that could have been mistaken by Libyan Intelligence...

as offensive rather than defensive?

No, we did everything but show them the blueprints.

The hardware had been sitting in an airplane hangar for over a month.

They didn't hit it until the American personnel arrived. Leslie?

Sir, you were reportedly with Sydney Wade when you heard of the attack.

- Can you comment? - Yes, we had just finished dinner.

- Get him off. - Last question.

Sir, would you care to comment on the status of your relationship?

We don't have a relationship. We just had dinner. Thank you.

Tell us if she spent the night at the White House.

A lot of people were killed last night.

Let's try to keep our eye on the ball, okay? Thank you.

That was my fault. We should have prepped you.

It's nothing that needs prepping.

Let's meet with the leadership after we meet with the Security Council.

Newsweek is begging for any ten minutes you got.

Nobody gets ten minutes today.

Lewis, tell the speaker to wait. I want to talk to him.

No, I'll be right down.

Last night the cost of those liberal programs...

was raised to include the blood of 22 American soldiers.

Now, Mr. Shepherd's read a lot of books...

but it doesn't take a Harvard degree to see this one coming a mile away.

I went to Stanford, you blowhole.

Commander in chief has never served one day in uniform...

This box just says "miscellaneous." Is it bedroom or kitchen miscellaneous?

Why did I have to kiss him?

- You kissed him? - Yeah.

- You didn't tell me that. - I kissed him.

- Where? - On the mouth.

- Where in the White House? - In the Dish Room.

- The Dish Room? - The China Room.

- And then what happened? - He had to go and attack Libya.

It's always something.

I gotta nip this in the bud. This has catastrophe written all over it.

In what language? Sydney, the man is the leader of the free world.

He's brilliant. He's funny. He's handsome. He's an above average dancer.

Isn't it possible our standards are just a tad high?

- Answer the phone. - It's him.

- Answer the phone. - He'll ask me to come over there.

- Answer the phone! - I don't want to go over there!

All right, but I'm gonna end it on the phone.

I just came over to tell you why I can't see you anymore.

Come on in. Thanks, Coop.

I know you've had a tough day...

Not as tough as some. Like a drink? Let me take your coat.

Mr. President, this isn't gonna work.

Sure it will. You button the top button...

- That's not what I mean. - I didn't think it was.

I enjoyed the time we've spent together, but this has catastrophe written on it.

Please, Mr. President, don't pursue me outside the political arena.

I have no intention of pursuing you inside the political arena...

and that leaves everything out, and that's unacceptable.

If I were on your staff, I would tell you that the worst thing you can do...

coming into an election year is to open yourself up to character attacks.

The quickest way to do that is to prance like the playboy of the western world.

Let's clear up a couple things.

Number one: I seldom prance.

Number two: I have no intention of engaging in a character debate.

Number three: You're not on my staff.

- Yes, but if you'll follow... - Why is that, by the way? Please.

- Why is what? - Why aren't you on my staff?

- You can't afford me. - How much do you make?

- More than you do, Mr. President. - The name is Andy. How much?

What does it matter how much I make?

Raise your voice to the president?

I'm only thinking about your presidency.

This morning's press conference isn't gonna be the end of this.

Bob Rumson's gotta be drooling over this.

Are you attracted to me?

I beg your pardon?

- I asked if you were attracted to me. - That's not the issue.

Tell you what. Let's make it the issue. Let's try something new.

Most couples when they first get together are inclined...

to slam on the brakes because they're concerned about Bob Rumson's drool.

- You're not most people. - You know what your problem is?

- What's my problem? - Sex and nervousness.

- Sex and nervousness is my problem? - Yes.

Last night when we were looking at those place settings...

I realized that those place settings were provided by the first ladies.

And I'll bet none of those first ladies...

were nervous about having sex with their president husbands.

- And do you know why? - No, but you'll explain it to me.

I will. Because they weren't presidents when they first met them.

That's not the case here.

- You see what I'm getting at? - Yes.

- May I use your bathroom? - Go through there, right behind you.

I just want to freshen up.

As you pass through, you'll see a large closet.

If you feel comfortable, hang up your coat.

When you come back, I'll have fixed us a drink.

We'll sit on the couch and I will explain to you my plan.

You got a plan? Don't make me wait. You're on a roll.

You're attracted to me, but the idea of physical intimacy is uncomfortable...

because you only know me as the president.

But it's not always gonna be that way.

The reason I know that is there was a moment last night...

when you were with me and not the president.

And I know what a big step that was for you.

So, Sydney, I'm in no rush. Here's my plan.

We're gonna slow down...

and when you're comfortable, that's when it's gonna happen.

Perhaps I didn't properly explain the fundamentals of the slow-down plan.

No, you explained it great.

Are you nervous?

- No. - Good.

My nervousness exists on several levels.

Number one... and this is in no particular order...

I haven't done this in a pretty long time.

Number two, any...

expectations that you might have given that I'm, you know...

- The most powerful man in the world? - Exactly. Thank you.

I think it's important you remember that's a political distinction...

that comes with the office.

If Eisenhower were here instead of me, he'd be dead by now.

- Number three... - Andy.

Does New Hampshire want traditional American values...

back in the White House?

Does New Hampshire want the pride back?

My name is Bob Rumson, and I'm running for president.

Put him through.

Lewis, it is 5:00 a.m. You've gotta get yourself a life, man.

All right.

- Hi! - What are you doin'?

I wanted to leave the building before the press corps got here.

I have those same thoughts every day of my life.

You know Lewis Rothschild, don't you?

Sure. Lewis would go nuts if he knew I spent the night.

- Well, he's on his way up. - What?

Come on in, Lewis.

Morning, Mr. President. Hi, Sydney.

Hi, Lewis. Well, Mr. President...

thanks for taking the time to go over those fossil fuel numbers.

I'll just get my coat, be on my way.

- So what's the situation? - Camped out at every exit.

- Who's camped out? - The press.

- The press is camped out? - You should have taken a cab.

- They know my car? - Good morning, Mr. President, Sydney.

- I came as soon as Lewis called. - Thank God.

The important thing is not to look like we're panicking.

I think the important thing is actually not to be panicking.

- Morning, Mr. President. - Morning.

Morning, Ms. Wade. I see everyone's getting an early start today.

How do we exit Sydney from the building and what do we say to the press?

- We need a diversion. - A diversion?

I'm not suggesting that we burn down the White House.

- Please, let's do. - Let me state clearly.

- I can't be party to anything illegal. - Good for you, Lewis.

It's always the guy in my job who ends up doing 18 months in Danbury Prison.

Rest easy. We're not gonna create a diversion.

- We're having somebody take you home. - Esther's in my office.

- She has the station wagon. - Good. Now, press statement.

Sydney, when you leave here...

you're gonna run into reporters and photographers.

They're gonna take your picture every day.

They're gonna ask you questions every day.

Answer them. Don't answer them. It's entirely up to you.

The White House has no official position...

- except to say, "No comment." - No comment?

The White House does not comment on the president's personal life.

We can't just leave it at that.

- Lewis, we just did. - But, sir...

Thank you very much. Come, friends. Let us away.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Sydney, Esther will be in my office.

- Take your time. - Thanks, A.J.

I'm sorry about this.

We'll do it better next time.

I'm no expert, but we did it pretty good this time.

- No, I didn't mean that. - I know.

I had a good time.

Me too. I'll call you.

I'll be in Panama, but I'll call you.

I'd like that.

Bye.

All right. Okay. This is good.

David, what about an incentive program?

Sydney Ellen Wade, the political strategist...

who accompanied President Shepherd to last week's state dinner...

reportedly spent the night at the White House as the president's guest.

The president returned from Panama this evening...

after a three-day tour through Central America.

His first order of business:

An intimate dinner with Sydney Wade at a romantic Georgetown bistro.

Conservative and religious family organizations...

are starting to smell blood in the water...

as the polling numbers of the president are dropping.

Showbiz Weekly was in Hollywood for the star-studded gala.

Also on tonight's program: Day 15 of the Sydney watch.

Is the world's most eligible bachelor off the market?

Next caller, you're on the air.

What about Lucy Shepherd? Is anyone concerned about this little girl?

Can we now, finally, have a serious debate about family values?

Political polling analyst, Ed Earl.

With the president's job approval taking an eight-point dip...

from his personal best of 63 percent three weeks ago...

should the White House be concerned that the girlfriend factor...

has left Shepherd vulnerable to the character questions...

he was able to avoid three years ago?

If they're not concerned, they oughta be.

Columnist Cynthia Skyler, how will this new wrinkle...

affect his ability to put together a win on his crime bill?

When we come back...

we're gonna meet a junior high school classmate of Sydney Wade's...

who has some intimate details to share.

Who has some intimate details to share.

I agree with you 110 percent, Mrs. Harper.

That's why I'm up here in the winter talkin' about it with you folks.

That's very generous of you, ma'am.

I'll be taking that money off your hands right now.

What do you got?

Call me Santa Claus, Senator. She's got an FBI file.

Oh, shit, Stu! My mother's got an FBI file.

Yeah, but I got art.

It's a demonstration outside the Department of Commerce.

The picture's old and some faces are obscured by the fire...

but that's a burning flag...

and that's Sydney Ellen Wade right there in front.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Harry...

Think like a father for a second.

Wouldn't you like your kids to be able to take a deep breath when they're 30?

Thank you! You're doing the right thing.

- Tote board's heavy. - How's this?

Terrill, North Carolina.

Syd, I saw on your schedule you're gonna meet with McSorley, McCluskey and Shane?

Yeah. The Motown Three said they'd give me 30 minutes next week.

These are people who represent people who make cars for a living.

- Yeah. - Cars, you understand, run on gasoline.

I know it's a long shot...

but if I can get one of them, it's a huge payoff in visibility.

If we're gonna try, we should prep. You wanna order in?

I can't. I'm having dinner at the White House.

So let's start early tomorrow morning. Say, 7:30?

I'm having lunch at the Kremlin...

so we'll have to start even earlier than that.

- Good night, David. - In order to catch the plane to Moscow.

Good night, David.

Douglas, does the N.R.A. Have videotapes of you playing golf with Satan?

We've already softened the assault weapons.

We're leaving the S.K.S., the Mini 14 and 250 other types on the street.

How much pull can one lobby have?

We're gonna continue this conversation tomorrow. I'm late for the fund-raiser.

And, Douglas, I'll put in a good word for you.

- You're incredibly late. - Excuse me.

I just got off the phone with the federal mediator in St. Louis.

Management just walked. The baggage handlers, pilots...

and flight attendants are gettin' set to walk in 48 hours.

I studied under a Nobel Prize-winning economist. Know what he taught me?

Never have an airline strike at Christmas?

- I'm going to St. Louis. - Leave straight from the fund-raiser.

- Thanks, A.J. - Good luck, Mr. President.

Liberty's moving.

- Mr. President, can we have a moment? - He's incredibly late.

Hop in. We'll talk in the car.

- What is it? - We have a small problem.

It could've been small. Now it's a nightmare.

- I see it as an opportunity. - If we'd caught it.

- We caught it. - 5:45 doesn't do me any good.

- 5:45, network news is in make-up. - You have 12 people working for you.

Guys, do I have to be here for this meeting?

Sorry, sir. It's on the evening news.

- It's buried as the third story. - It's got a bullet.

Sydney was at a protest rally. They burned a flag.

- Today? - About 13 years ago.

At the Department of Commerce. Anti-apartheid.

Let me see if I got this. The third story on the news tonight...

was that someone I didn't know 13 years ago, when I wasn't president...

participated in a demonstration where no laws were being broken...

in protest of something that so many people were against...

it doesn't exist anymore?

Just out of curiosity, what was the fourth story?

Right. I think it's important when we deal with it...

- Don't deal with it. - Excuse me?

They're trying to get us to swing at a pitch in the dirt. It'll go away.

- I'm not sure that's the wisest course. - Ah, hell!

See? It's already distracting you. Let us put together...

You reminded me I'm supposed to have dinner with Sydney.

It's terrific, Beth. I love it.

I can't believe I'm loaning you clothes.

I thought you owned every piece of clothing there was.

Work clothes. I always have dinner at the White House wearing a suit.

- I thought a dress would be nice. - Go ahead, try it on.

I brought earrings too.

- Hi. What are you doing? - Just trying on dresses.

I feel terrible, but I'm going to have to cancel our date tonight.

Another woman?

I've gotta go to St. Louis to avert a massive airline strike.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one.

Thanks for understanding, and I'll call you later this evening.

I hate doing that. She was tryin' on dresses.

I tell any girl I'm going out with that all plans are soft...

until she receives confirmation from me 30 minutes beforehand.

- And they find this romantic? - I say it with a great deal of charm.

Look! There it is! Carmen's House of Flowers.

- We gotta stop. - What?

- I gotta get her some flowers. - Here?

That's what men do when they break a date.

I know no men who do that.

Coop, I'm gonna hop out at the flower shop.

- You're gonna hop out, sir? - No, he's not. No hopping, sir.

- I'll get the flowers. - Then it's not personal.

Let the agents do a security sweep. We don't know who's in there.

You think there's a florist planning an assassination...

on the off-chance I might be stopping by?

It's possible.

You're not hearing me. Listen to what I'm saying.

- It was at the basketball game. - Excuse me.

No, at the game. Kiki wasn't even there.

- Excuse me. - Hold on.

I will be right with you.

I don't know if you're the one that I talked to on the phone.

Virginia, Dogwood, President.

Does any of this ring a bell?

Same girl. She remembered me.

I'm glad to see that the president has a girlfriend.

Never mind that she's the hired gun...

of an ultra-liberal political action committee.

Never mind that the president takes the Fifth...

any time a reporter has the temerity to ask him a question about a woman...

in a position to exert enormous influence...

over a huge range of issues.

Never mind that this woman's idea of how to unwind at the end of a tough day...

is to get together with her ACLU pals and to set American flags on fire.

No reaction from the White House.

Because it doesn't need to be dignified with a response.

There's no up side. I'm leaving it alone.

What do Lewis and Robin think?

Brutus and Cassius? They want me to get into a character debate and mix it up.

Lewis and Robin are very smart.

- Sydney says you guys are really stupid. - I didn't say that.

- She's questioning your loyalty. - I question it all the time.

Wait a minute. Here comes my favorite part.

My name is Bob Rumson, and I'm running for president.

Glad he cleared that up, because they were about to buy some Amway products.

His numbers are climbing.

- His numbers have nowhere to go but up. - What about yours?

We'll be in the 60s once I get the votes for the crime bill.

- What are you doin' this weekend? - I got some work. Why?

Negotiations are going well.

Looks like the nation's gonna keep on flying.

Lucy's spending Saturday night at a friend's house.

What'd you have in mind?

Ever been to Camp David?

Sure. I used to go there all the time, but then they changed chefs and l...

It's sass, right? You're sassing me.

Yes.

I'm gonna have somebody pick you up on Saturday morning.

Okay. Bye.

- Good God. - What?

I'm looking at your college transcripts. This isn't human.

Nobody gets this many A's. You were like a Stepford student.

Are you still reading that ridiculous biography?

No, I finished Andrew Shepherd: Road to the White House.

Now I'm on to Shepherd: The Early Years.

Seven trillion dollar communications system at my disposal...

and I can't find out if the Packers won.

Oh, Andy. C-minus in women's studies?

That course wasn't about what I thought it was gonna be about.

President Shepherd was in Maryland this week...

for his routine physical exam.

Doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital pronounced him in excellent health.

Who cares! Just give us the scores!

While the president spent the day at Camp David...

GOP presidential hopeful Robert Rumson...

continued his attacks on President Shepherd's character.

During the Saturday news program, Capital Review With Kenneth Michaels...

Senator Rumson suggested that G.D.C. Political director, Sydney Ellen Wade...

whose close personal relationship with the president...

has been causing the White House headaches over the past two months...

may have traded sexual favors...

for key votes in the Virginia State Legislature...

while lobbying for the Virginia Teachers Association.

Wait a minute, Senator. That's a heck of an accusation to make.

Let me be very clear about this. I am not making an accusation.

I am saying, when you hear one thing, you dismiss it.

You hear two, you dismiss it, but when several...

several well-respected members...

and former members of the Virginia State Legislature...

- Can you give us names? - My God.

- He's making this up as he goes along. - I'm so sorry, Sydney.

I don't know what we call her. The First Mistress?

Oh, man. My father heard that.

He's just gonna have to turn a deaf ear.

My father doesn't have a deaf ear. He hears fine out of both.

So do I, my sister and my friends. You're the only one who seems to...

I can't challenge the school bully because he picks on my girlfriend.

I'm not asking you to. I can take care of myself.

This isn't about me. How can you keep quiet?

How do you have patience for people who claim they love America...

but clearly can't stand Americans?

I have one election left.

I don't have the luxury of losing my patience.

I want to say something to you...

but I'm gonna fumble it a little bit...

so please just wait till I'm done before you respond.

I am in love with you.

I'm certain of it, and I want to be with you more than anything.

But maybe things would be better for you if I just disappeared for a while.

Things will be better when I pass the crime bill.

And if you disappeared, I'd find you.

- Hi, Gill. - Mr. President.

Militant women are out to destroy college football in this country.

- Is that a fact? - Yes.

Have you been following the situation down in Atlanta?

These women want parity...

for girls' softball, volleyball, field hockey...

If I'm not mistaken, Gill, the courts ruled on Title 9 about 20 years ago.

Yes, sir, but now these women want that law enforced.

- It's a world gone mad. - Gill, merry Christmas.

- Merry Christmas. - Come meet some people.

- You see, the country has mood swings. - Mood swings?

Nineteen postgraduate degrees in mathematics...

and your best explanation of going from a 63 to a 46 percent approval rating...

in five weeks is mood swings.

I could explain it better, but I need charts, graphs and an easel.

Fellas, we haven't slept in three years.

Can't we forget work for one night and enjoy each other as friends?

- It's Christmas. - It's Christmas?

Yeah. You didn't get the memo?

Sydney. Merry Christmas.

- Hi, Esther. - Hello, Sydney.

- Merry Christmas, A.J. - Merry Christmas to you.

- Where you been? - I got stuck on Du Pont Circle.

I can never remember which lane I'm supposed to take.

Then I got cut off by this idiot cab driver who starts screaming at me.

- Sydney, it's Christmas. - Hiya, Syd.

Did you get stuck on Du Pont Circle again?

It's not funny. I hate that place.

- Declare it a federal disaster area. - I'll look into it.

What were you doing up on the Hill anyway?

I had a terrible meeting today.

I totally lost my cool with McSorley, McCluskey and Shane.

- You went up to see the Motown Three? - I pitched them the bill.

- On its merits? - The woman has no fear.

She'd lobby the Carolinas to the American Lung Association.

- It was a disaster. - You're in good company.

A week ago they said there was nothing on the president's domestic agenda...

they were more committed to defeating than the crime bill.

Congratulations. You're out of the cellar.

McSorley told me that the only thing on the president's domestic agenda...

that they were more committed to defeating than the crime bill...

was the fossil fuel package.

- You're kidding. - No, I'm not kidding.

It's funny that he used the same words.

The Pep Boys don't know too many words.

I'm gonna get a drink and shake this off.

When I come back, I'll have some Christmas spirit.

- Are you okay? - I'm fine, yeah.

- I'll lead the way. - Thank you.

- Merry Christmas, Mr. President. - Happy holidays, Bob.

Did what I think just happened, just happen?

Did the G.D.C.'s political director just tell the president and chief of staff...

that there are three votes on the crime bill that can be bought...

by sticking the fossil fuel package in a drawer?

The G.D.C.'s political director didn't tell us anything.

Sydney Wade told her boyfriend and his best friend that she had a lousy day.

It doesn't change the facts, Mr. President.

If Sydney gets her 24 votes and we're three votes shy, we need to maneuver.

- I made a promise. - You made a deal.

- I made it with Sydney. - You made it with the G.D.C.

It's all academic anyway. We're not gonna need those three votes.

If your approval rating continues to drop...

things are gonna get tight.

I'm hearing rumors that your boss is wavering on the crime bill.

I wouldn't listen to rumors. You know this town.

That's what I wanted to hear.

I'll tell you, though, my boss is startin' to waver on the crime bill.

Sydney, everybody cares about the environment during a phone survey.

On election day, nobody gives a damn.

That's why you have a job.

Pennybaker, on election day, people give a damn about what I tell them.

That's why I have a job.

She got Pennybaker.

Congressman, it was our understanding we had your support.

Look, I like your boy. Always have.

But for God's sake, kid, does the woman have to spend the night?

We've got the full backing of the White House, Catherine.

Yes, at 20 percent.

Three more votes, the president sends it to the Hill.

Katie, ten years from now...

any car with an internal combustion engine is a collector's item.

Come on board. We'll make your Volvo a classic.

Congressman, the assault weapons are gone.

- The bill is priced to move. - The bill isn't the issue.

I'm facing a serious challenge in November...

and the president's coattails aren't what they used to be.

The president's coattails are gonna have room for you. Leave that to us.

We left that to you, and now the president's in a free-fall.

- I wouldn't say he's in a free-fall. - Fellas.

I just can't give you my vote.

The well is dryin' up. The president's gotta make a move, or we're gonna die.

What if I do a new poll, detailed public opinion?

- And we put Sydney in the new model. - Right.

A.J., it's meaningless unless we ask him about Sydney.

All right, fine. Let's do it.

It's delicious. Thank you.

- Is there any more? - Tons. I didn't think you liked it.

You kidding? Of course I did.

It's not for me. The agent who checked the food thought it was delicious.

I told him I'd bring him some if there was any left.

- So you didn't like it. - No, I loved it.

- You're lying. - No, I'm not.

You are. I can tell. You do a thing with your face.

When have you ever seen me do a thing with my face?

Two days before I met you...

you were giving a speech for the Daughters of the American Revolution.

- I was there. - You were?

- You remember the speech? - Vaguely.

"Americans can no longer afford to pretend they live in a great society."

There was supposed to be something after that.

- How did you know that? - I told you. The face.

Cheers.

Oh, wow! What's the occasion?

You're lookin' at a lady who's two votes shy of the promised land.

- Two votes? - I got Pennybaker.

- That got me Cass and Zimmer. - That's great work, Sydney.

I'm not there yet.

No matter what happens, you have every reason to be proud of yourself.

I'll be proud when I see you sign the bill.

Well, yeah.

Andy? You're doing that thing with your face.

- How are the numbers? - Bad.

- How bad? - Forty-one.

- Character across the board. - George, don't tell me that!

- Who is Lewis on with? - Jarrett.

He's trying to keep his fingers in the dam.

You're supposed to be a United States Congressman!

But we're not gonna stay at 41. The numbers are gonna go back up.

But they're gonna go back up.

All right, George. Congressman...

Congressman Jarrett.

George, listen to me. It's crunch time.

It's personal. This is one of those moments.

It's just you and the president. Now what's it gonna be?

Yeah.

Yeah, all right, George. Can I tell you something?

We're gonna win this thing. We're gonna get the votes.

And that very night I'm gonna go to Sam & Harry's, order a big steak...

and I'm gonna make a list of everybody who tried to fuck us this week!

Just vote your conscience, you chickenshit lame-ass!

- We lost Jarrett. - I hope so.

Because if that was an undecided, we need to work on our people skills.

Hi, Karen, it's Lewis. I need you to find Congressman Quincy for me.

We lost Quincy too.

Did he give a reason?

Yeah. He thinks your numbers aren't likely to rebound.

We're three votes down again, sir.

Mr. President, as of this morning Sydney only needed one more vote.

The Motown Three have gotta be scared blind.

I don't think there'll be a better opportunity.

The press expects an announcement on the crime bill by the State of the Union.

If you stick 455 in a drawer until after elections...

- they'll give you the three votes. - And we declare victory.

We said as a last resort.

We're there, sir. The State of the Union is 48 hours away.

- There's gotta be three votes someplace! - There isn't.

- Bullshit! There's gotta be somebody! - There isn't.

- I beg your pardon? - What about Storch?

- Storch is a no. - Mr. President.

- Wagner? - No.

Sobel? Clark?

- Not that Clark! The one from Indiana. - That one too, sir.

Mr. President, I think we have to do this.

A.J., she is one vote away.

It's important legislation that for the first time has a legitimate chance.

- She deserves every opportunity... - She?

You meant "it," didn't you, sir?

You meant the important legislation deserves every opportunity.

- Lewis, shut up. - You have something to say to me?

Respectfully, sir, we should examine the new poll...

They don't like that I'm going out with Sydney.

It's not that simple.

This poll brings a murky problem into specific relief.

Whose problem we talking about, yours? You worried about losing your job?

Because this poll isn't talking about my presidency!

This poll is talking about my life!

264 million people...

They don't give a damn about your life! They give a damn about their own!

All right! That's enough!

Mr. President, you've raised a daughter...

almost entirely on your own, and she's terrific.

So what does it say to you that in the past seven weeks...

fifty-nine percent of this country has begun to question your family values?

The president doesn't answer to you.

Oh, yes, he does. I'm a citizen. This is my president.

In this country, it is not only permissible to question our leaders...

it's our responsibility.

But you already know that, don't you, Mr. President?

You have a deeper love of this country than any man I've ever known...

and I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks...

fifty-nine percent of Americans have begun to question your patriotism?

- If people want to listen to Bob... - They don't have a choice!

Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking.

People want leadership, and in the absence of genuine leadership...

they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone.

They want leadership.

They're so thirsty for it, they'll crawl toward a mirage.

And when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

Lewis, we have had presidents who were beloved...

who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight.

People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty.

They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

Mr. President, what do you want to do about 455?

- Make the deal. - Yes, sir.

I just want to go on record...

and apologize for my attitude towards you since your arrival.

I didn't notice. Was there an attitude?

Well, I think that I have a lot of pent-up hostility.

I'm wondering who I can blame.

I'm not really qualified...

I've been blaming it on my mother and my ex-husband, but that doesn't work.

Syd, Leo needs to see you.

Tell him to get in here. It's a party.

- He needs to see you in his office. - It can't wait?

He just got off the phone with Maclnerney. There's been a development.

Good evening.

Sounds good.

- It's progressive. - I'll say.

What's wrong with Sydney? Did you fight?

- What do you mean? - She seemed pretty mad.

- You saw her? - Yeah. She's here.

- Where? - In your room.

- Why is she mad? - Don't worry about it, honey.

- Were you a dork? - Practice your music.

If you were a dork, you should say you're sorry. Girls like that.

Have you seen a grey cable knit sweater?

A grey sweater? No. I called you today.

It's Beth's. I didn't want to leave it.

Where you going?

- I'm going home, then to Hartford. - Connecticut?

- Yes. Was it sent with your cleaning? - What's in Connecticut?

Richard Reynolds' campaign. He may give me a job.

When did you decide to get a new job?

Not long after Leo Solomon fired me from my old one.

- Beth's gonna kill me. - Why did he fire you?

Total failure to achieve any of the objectives for which I was hired.

I told him he was being unreasonable.

After all, I did get to dance with the president...

and ride in Air Force One a couple of times.

But you know those environmentalists. It's always gotta be something.

If it's not clean air, then it's clean water.

It's not good enough that I'm on the cover of People magazine.

I'll call him.

You mean you'll call him yourself, personally?

It'll come from the president?

That's a great idea. You should call Leo and make a deal.

He hires me back for, say, 72 days.

I go around scaring Congress...

making them think the president's about to drive through a very costly bill.

They'll believe me, right? Because I'm the president's Friday night girl.

I don't know if you can dip into that well twice since I've lost credibility.

But you never know. I might pull it off again.

I might give you just the leverage you need...

to pass some ground-breaking piece of crime legislation...

like a mandatory 3-day waiting period before a five-year-old can buy an Uzi.

Fuck the sweater! She'll have to live with disappointment.

What do you think went on here today?

I know exactly what went on here today. I got screwed!

You saw the poll, needed the bill, couldn't get it, so I got screwed!

The environment got screwed, Sydney. Nothing happened to you.

Governing is choosing. Governing is prioritizing.

I made no secret of the fact the crime bill was my top priority.

Well, congratulations.

It's only taken you three years to put together...

crime prevention legislation that has no hope of preventing crime.

Syd, please.

I don't want to lose you over this.

Mr. President, you got bigger problems than losing me.

You just lost my vote.

What's in Hartford?

Richard Reynolds' district office. She's thinking of running his campaign.

Twelve in the corner.

Hartford... insurance capital of the world.

Have a good time, Syd.

Listen, I'm gonna have Janie clear your schedule for the weekend.

- You need rest. - You handling me?

- No. - Good.

But I will if you don't start taking your head out of your ass.

Excuse me?

Lewis is right. Go after this guy.

- Has he lied? - What?

- Has Rumson lied in the past 7 weeks? - Has he lied?

Other than not knowing the difference between Harvard and Stanford...

has he said something that isn't true?

Am I not a commander in chief who's never served in the military?

Am I not opposed to a constitutional amendment banning flag burning?

Am I not an unmarried father who shared a bed with a liberal lobbyist...

down the hall from his 12-year-old daughter?

And you think you're wrong?

You don't win elections by telling people that they are!

We fight the fights we can win. You fight the fights that need fighting!

Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats, A. J?

- I beg your pardon? - Because it occurs to me...

that in 25 years, I've never seen your name on a ballot.

Why are you always one step behind me?

Because if I wasn't...

you'd be the most popular professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Fuck you!

Have Lewis put the final draft of the State of the Union...

on my desk in the morning.

Yes, sir.

If Mary hadn't died...

would we have won three years ago?

Would we have won?

If we had to go through a character debate three years ago...

would we have won?

I don't know.

But I would have liked that campaign.

If my friend Andy Shepherd had shown up...

I would have liked that campaign very much.

Because the president feels there's no value...

in this kind of character debate.

Will the president ever respond to...

Rumson's question about being a member of the American Civil Liberties Union?

Yes, he will. Good morning.

Please keep your seats. Good morning.

For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested...

that being president was, to a certain extent, about character.

Although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me...

I've been here three years and three days...

and I can tell you, without hesitation...

being president of this country...

is entirely about character.

For the record:

Yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

But the more important question is, why aren't you, Bob?

Now, this is an organization...

whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights.

So it begs the question:

Why would a senator... his party's most powerful spokesman...

and a candidate for president... choose to reject upholding the Constitution?

If you can answer that question, you're smarter than I am...

because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago.

America isn't easy.

America is advanced citizenship.

You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight.

It's gonna say, "You want free speech?"

Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil...

who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs...

that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.

You want to claim this land as the land of the free?

Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag!

The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right...

to burn that flag in protest.

Now, show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.

Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've operated under the assumption...

that the reason Bob devotes so much energy to shouting at the rain...

was that he simply didn't get it.

Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it.

Bob's problem is that he can't sell it.

We have serious problems to solve...

and we need serious people to solve them.

Whatever your particular problem is, I promise you...

Bob Rumson's not the least bit interested in solving it.

He is interested in two things, and two things only:

Making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.

You gather a group of middle-age, middle-class, middle-income voters...

who remember with longing an easier time...

and you talk to them about family and American values and character.

You wave an old photo of the president's girlfriend...

and you scream about patriotism and you tell them...

"She's to blame for their lot in life."

And you go on television...

and you call her a whore.

Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob.

She has done nothing but put herself through school...

represent the interests of public school teachers...

and lobby for the safety of our natural resources.

You want a character debate, Bob, you better stick with me.

'Cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.

I've loved two women in my life.

I lost one to cancer.

And I lost the other 'cause I was so busy keeping my job...

I forgot to do my job.

Well, that ends right now.

Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill...

to Congress for its consideration.

It's White House Resolution 455...

an energy bill requiring a 20% reduction...

of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years.

It is, by far, the most aggressive stride ever taken...

in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming.

The other piece of legislation is the crime bill.

As of today, it no longer exists. I'm throwing it out.

I'm throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense.

You cannot address crime prevention...

without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns.

I consider them a threat to national security...

and I will go door to door if I have to...

but I'm gonna convince Americans that I'm right, and I'm gonna get the guns.

We've got serious problems, and we need serious people.

If you want to talk about character, Bob...

you better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card.

If you want to talk about character and American values, fine.

Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up.

This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your 15 minutes are up.

My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the president.

You don't see that every day.

He's got the press corps asking how to spell "erudite."

- Better call the printer. - Gotta rewrite the State of the Union.

- Better call the printer. - Gotta rewrite the State of the Union.

Every word. It's a whole new ball game. You have exactly 35 minutes.

Oh, good. I thought I was gonna be rushed.

I don't want a limousine. I don't want an escort.

I want a plain, ordinary, non-bulletproof automobile.

Somebody around here must have a Chevy I can borrow.

Find one and have it outside the west wing entrance in five minutes.

Excuse me, sir. Where are you going?

I'm going over to her house, stand outside her door until she lets me in.

- I'm not leaving until I get her back. - How are you gonna do that?

I haven't worked that out, but I'm sure groveling will be involved.

You're just gonna drive over?

I'm commander in chief of the most powerful army in the world.

You don't think I can drive ten blocks?

Just stay away from Du Pont Circle. I hear it's murder this time of day.

Hi, A.J.

Nice to see you, Ms. Wade.

Well, if anyone needs me, I'll be in the Roosevelt Room...

giving Lewis oxygen.

I heard your speech.

I was in my car.

It just kind of steered its way over here.

I'm glad.

I didn't decide to send 455 to the floor to get you back.

And I didn't come back because you sent 455 to the floor.

Mr. President, you might want to...

Hi, Sydney.

I moved Social Security up front.

Mr. President, Mr. Leventhal at the Treasury wants two minutes. Hi, Sydney.

Mr. President... Excuse me, Ms. Wade. Miss McCall is on her way over.

I got some things to do.

Yes, you do.

We're only a moment away from the arrival...

of President Shepherd and his State of the Union address.

George, you've served on several past administrations.

What kind of last-minute activity is the president engaged in right now?

There's something I wanted to give you since our first date.

I've tried to do it a number of times...

but somehow I've always managed to trip over my job.

But here.

These are for you.

They're beautiful.

- Mr. President? - Well, I've gotta go.

Should I stay here?

Walk with me.

- How'd you finally do it? - Do what?

Manage to give a woman flowers and be president at the same time.

Well, it turns out I've got a rose garden.

Mr. Speaker...

the president of the United States!

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