Posted
04/02/01
 

Retaliation

Teleplay by Scott Fenstermaker

Based in the TV series by Aaron Sorkin.

TEASER

FADE IN:

INT. THE WHITE HOUSE/PRESS ROOM -- DAY

Thursday morning. C.J. is delivering her morning press
briefing.

C.J.
. . .and the White House is optimistic that this cease-fire
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will be the
first in a series of measures to bring about lasting peace
in the region.

Hands shoot up from the press corps.

C.J.
Danny?

DANNY
Is the President concerned that given the track record of
past cease-fire agreements in the region, this latest one
will have the same fate as the others?

C.J.
I would say that having personally brokered them, the
President is well aware of what has happened to Middle-East
peace agreements in the past. He feels confident that true
progress has been made towards a lasting peace in the
region. Marty?

MARTY
C.J., Is the Israeli prime minister going to issue a
statement. . .

INT. BEHIND PRESS ROOM WINDOWS -- CONTINUOUS

TOBY
That's great. That's wonderful. "True Progress." As
opposed to, you know, all that False Progress we've been
working on up until now.

SAM
I don't think they're gonna read it that way.

TOBY
And lets be sure to remind the whole world that this
administration brokered every mid-east peace deal and
cease-fire that ended up going the way of the dodo.

SAM
You wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

TOBY
My bed doesn't have a right side.

SAM
I'm just saying.

TOBY
Are you just about done with the thing?

SAM
Just about, yeah.

TOBY
How far are you?

SAM
Haven't started.

TOBY
Sam.

SAM
It's a slam-dunk. Don't worry about it.

TOBY
I do worry about it. The veto is tomorrow morning.

SAM
I'll have it done this afternoon. It's a slam-dunk.

TOBY
We're gonna want to say something about constitutionality.
You may have to like, look up stuff.

SAM
I think she's looking good in there.

TOBY
Are you listening to me?

SAM
Not even close.

Leo enters.

LEO
How's it going in there?

SAM
Good.

TOBY
Rotten.

LEO
Nice to know the White House communications staff can all
speak in one clear, unanimous voice. Sam, is it done?

TOBY
Tell him.

SAM
It will be.

LEO
You haven't started.

SAM
Leo, we're talking about a five-minute thing. I could do
this in my sleep. In fact, why am I doing this?

LEO
You're doing this because a) your President asked and b) I
want you to get your hands dirty on the off chance you
might wind up a little less cocky in the end.

SAM
Not likely.

LEO
I want it in my hand by this afternoon.

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
In my hand, Sam.

TOBY
She's wrapping it up in there. Come on.

CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY -- DAY

Leo exits. Toby and Sam catch C.J. emerging from the
briefing room.

TOBY
Hey.

C.J.
Hey.

TOBY
True progress?

C.J.
They're not going to read it that way.

TOBY
C.J. -

C.J.
They're not. Sam, tell him.

SAM
They're not going to read it that way.

TOBY
I have two words for both of you: green beans.

C.J.
Toby, I'm not open for reviews on this, okay. Live with
true progress. There's a lot to be said for true progress.
Anyway, why are you picking on me when Sam hasn't even
started his thing?

SAM
It's a slam-dunk . . . hey, how'd you know that?

C.J.
Slipped my psychic an extra twenty.

SAM
C.J.

C.J.
Duh. Of course you wouldn't have it done. You think a
simple veto statement is beneath you.

SAM
It is beneath me.

C.J.
Well that's a shining workplace attitude. Excuse me while
I take the rest of the day off to go polish my Emmy.

TOBY
C.J., the point of all this being, if I get one phone call
about the meaning of "true progress" who am I going to
blame?

C.J.
Me.

TOBY
How pissed am I going to be?

C.J.
Pretty pissed.

TOBY
And don't you think I will make you regret the day you were
ever born?

C.J.
Why should today be different?

TOBY
Okay. Sam.

SAM
I know.

TOBY
This afternoon.

SAM
I know.

TOBY
Okay. Good.
(Pause)
Where the hell was I going, anyway?

SMASH CUT TO:

MAIN TITLES.

END TEASER

* * *

ACT ONE

FADE IN:

INT. THE WHITE HOUSE/OVAL OFFICE -- DAY

National Security Advisor Nancy McNally, along with the CIA
director and his deputy, enter the Oval Office. The
President and Leo greet them.

NANCY
Good morning, Mr. President.

POTUS
Morning Nancy. Morning Fellas.

DCI and DDCI
Good morning, sir.

POTUS
Take a seat, everyone. Okay, what happened?

NANCY
Sir, about twenty minutes ago, there was a high-order
explosion outside an Israeli television station in Tel
Aviv. Emergency crews are there now.

LEO
Do we have an estimate yet?

DCI
Israeli wire service says the body count estimate is at
least forty-five right now, with more than one hundred
injured. Crews have only started working, so that number
is going to go up.

POTUS
Do you think we need to switch over to the situation room
for this?

NANCY
If you want to, Mr. President, but strictly speaking this
doesn't really involve our military. Not yet, anyway.
Might be a good idea to get the Secretary of State over
here. Israel won't just swallow this. They can't. When
they start warming up their tanks, then we should assemble
the Joint Chiefs.

LEO
Does CNN have this?

NANCY
Undoubtedly. I'm guessing it will roll in ten to fifteen.

POTUS
(Sighs)
All right, now comes the big one. Do we know for certain
that this was a Palestinian attack? I'm mean yeah, we know
it was, but is it solid?

DCI
If you're asking whether anyone's taken responsibility, no.
There was no communiqu╚ or anything like that. No
announcement or threat beforehand.

NANCY
The Palestinian Leader won't deny it. He'll say it was
done by a maniac or a fringe group beyond his control.
Then he'll want us to calm Israel down.

LEO
And I'm sure Israel will be just wild about that.

POTUS
Could one or two guys really have done this alone?

DCI
Possibly. This was a truck-bomb like Oklahoma City. We're
not sure what explosive was used, but there's no shortage
of chemical compounds to choose from over there, and
they're all easy to obtain. Could have been fertilizer or
TNT. Could also have been C-4 or plastique if they didn't
use as much.

NANCY
The Israeli Police will keep us in the loop through the FBI
about that. From a strategic viewpoint it doesn't make
sense that the Palestinian Leader or anyone directly
connected with him set this up. They demanded a lot during
the cease-fire negotiation and they came away with a good
deal. They worked to hard on it not to take it seriously
now.

POTUS
Okay, so now what do you recommend?

NANCY
For sure the Israeli ambassador will demand a meeting with
you.

There's a knock on the door.

POTUS
Come in.

Charlie enters with a slip of paper.

CHARLIE
Excuse me, Mr. President.

POTUS
Thank you, Charlie.

Charlie leaves. POTUS reads the paper, and then hands it
to Leo.

LEO
State says the Israeli ambassador wants to meet with you.

POTUS
(To Nancy) Whatever I'm paying you it's not enough.

NANCY
Yes, sir. We also need to reach out to the Palestinians.
They're not going to ring our doorbell; they'll expect you
to contact them.

POTUS
Leo?

LEO
I'll take care of it. We have a man here we deal with,
unofficially.

POTUS
Good. Anything else?

DCI
Not at the moment, sir. We'll keep Nancy posted.

POTUS
Okay. Thank you.

The NSA, DCI and DDCI exit.

POTUS
Leo, start the ball rolling on this. And keep C.J. away
from the pressroom until we meet with both sides.
(Pause)
Leo?

LEO
Yeah.

POTUS
The ink isn't evenÍ

LEO
I know.

POTUS
It isn't even dry yet. What part of the cease-fire concept
is so hard to understand?

LEO
Tell me about it.

POTUS
Are you beginning to think this just isn't gonna happen?

LEO
I'm worried about it, sir. This is a now-or-never thing.
We're not gonna get this close again.

POTUS
Freshman year at Notre Dame I had a theology survey class.
We studied lots of passages from the Bible, but we also
read the Torah and the Koran. You wouldn't believe how
similar these books are in places. I was amazed.

LEO
Yes, sir.

POTUS
Nowhere do I remember anything about bombing people, or
stoning them, or running them down with your tanks. All I
remember were the parts about brotherhood and, you know,
loving thy neighbor.

LEO
That really didn't stop us from crusading our way through a
couple hundred thousand people when it was our turn, you
know.

POTUS
Yeah.

LEO
Anything else?

POTUS
Yeah. Tell me how it is that twenty weeks of the most
intense, mind-numbing work can be shot to hell in two
hours.

LEO
I'll get right on that.

CUT TO:
INT. SAM'S OFFICE -- DAY

SAM
It's unconstitutional.

TOBY
Maybe it's unconstitutional.

SAM
No. For sure it's unconstitutional. States have the right
to locally decide how they're going to educate their kids.

TOBY
Sam.

SAM
Toby, it's in the Bill of Rights. It's only about two
hundred years old, you know.

TOBY
I've heard of the Bill of Rights, Sam. I'm still trying to
figure out how we ended up on this side of the Tenth
Amendment for once.

SAM
It's unconstitutional.

TOBY
It's a safe-harbor. It's not mandating anything, its just
attaching strings to federal funding. This is a concept
with which the Democratic Party isn't entirely unfamiliar.

SAM
One hundred million dollars in new education funding, but
only if the schools agree not to teach about birth control
in health classes. It's ridiculous.

TOBY
Sam.

SAM
Why are we even having this discussion? Let's veto it on
the basis of "it's ridiculous."

TOBY
Because when you say "no" to one hundred million dollars
for buying such trivial and unimportant things as books and
teachers, you want to tell people something better than
"it's ridiculous." It doesn't occur to you that you might
just be holding our re-election in your hands?

(Pause)

Do you know for sure it's unconstitutional?

SAM
Trust me, it is.

TOBY
Do you know for sure?

SAM
I can find out.

TOBY
I'm calling in some help.

SAM
I can do this.

TOBY
No, you could have done it last week when it was handed to
you. We've run out of time. I want someone from counsel's
office to go over case law with you.

SAM
I know how to look up laws, Toby.

TOBY
I'm calling Ainsley Hayes.

SAM
You are not --

TOBY
Sam.

SAM
You are NOT calling her.

TOBY
Get over it.

Leo enters.

LEO
The two of you, follow me.

INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

TOBY
What's up?

LEO
Guess.

SAM
Israel?

LEO
Yep.

TOBY
Bad?

LEO
TV station.

SAM
Terrific. Civilians?

LEO
Lots.

They pass Josh.

LEO
Josh! Grab C.J. and meet us in my office.

JOSH
Can I just get two seconds?

LEO
Look at my face.

JOSH
Be right there. Donna!

Josh exits.

TOBY
CNN rolling this?

LEO
As we speak.

TOBY
Well this agreement lasted a whole six minutes. We could
be going for a world's record here.

SAM
We may not be totally screwed yet.

LEO
It doesn't get much more screwed than this.

INT. THE WHITE HOUSE/LEO'S OFFICE -- CONTINUOUS

Leo enters with Sam and Toby. Josh and C.J. follow closely
behind.

LEO
Shut the door. About a half hour ago the cease-fire we
announced just evaporated.

JOSH
Oh, not again.

C.J.
But I was just --

LEO
Yeah, I know. If it was another relatively minor clash we
could probably swallow it. There was a car bomb outside an
Israeli TV station. Death toll is in the mid forties and
going up, with about a hundred injured.

JOSH
Are we sure it was --

LEO
No, we're not. No one knows who engineered this or if it
was even Palestinian. That doesn't matter at this point.
The fingers are already pointed.

SAM
Now what?

LEO
The President is going to meet with the Israeli ambassador
in one hour. We also have to meet with the Palestinians
but that's a little trickier.

C.J.
Why should that be tricky? We'll just meet with whomever
they send over.

JOSH
They're not going to send anyone over.

TOBY
They're not going to -- what??

JOSH
We go through this process every time we call a summit with
these guys. The Palestinian leadership considers it a snub
that we don't have formal diplomatic relations with them.

TOBY
Which we don't have out of respect for Israel.

JOSH
Right. So they essentially cold-shoulder us because we
have really very little influence in the region. When we
want to communicate with them, we have to meet with a
Palestinian spokesman here in D.C., and he sends the
message to the leadership.

LEO
It's slightly under the table, but that's the way it's
done. C.J., when's the next briefing?

C.J.
Two o'clock.

LEO
May have to push it back. I don't want you near a reporter
until we can say we've been in contact with both sides.

C.J.
We push it back, they're gonna smell it.

LEO
I don't care. Let them. But no statement until we've
talked to both sides, period. Josh, go meet with this guy
and tell him that the President will be expecting the
Palestinian Leader's phone call.

TOBY
Why doesn't the President just call the Palestinian Leader?

JOSH
We can't. Nobody can. Part of his security thing is that
no one outside his inner circle knows where he's residing
at any given time. This guy literally doesn't keep a
steady phone number.

LEO
Go talk to him. Toby, go take the majority leadership's
temperature about what we can expect in the way of
retaliation when we veto the education bill.

TOBY
No one's going to accuse the President of being soft on
schools.

SAM
What about me?

LEO
Last I checked the veto is still tomorrow.

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
Don't you think it'd be fitting if the President says a
word or two before denying funding for school lunch and
fine arts programs?

SAM
Maybe a word or two.

LEO
This afternoon, Sam. In my hand. I'm not kidding.

SAM
Okay.

LEO
That's it. Get busy.

CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY -- DAY

All exit Leo's office. We follow Sam and Toby.

SAM
Don't call her.

TOBY
You don't get a say in this.

SAM
Call someone else.

TOBY
I'm calling Ainsley.

SAM
Why are you calling a Republican?

TOBY
Because when planning to rebuff an onslaught of Republican
denouncements, it might be handy to hear what one of them
has to say!

They pause in the hallway. Ainsley Hayes is in the
background unseen.

SAM
Toby, I'm serious. You want this to be good, and I'm going
to make it good. I can't do this while babysitting someone
who'll want to re-write every word. My style must be
unimpeded. I can't do this if I'm second-guessed the whole
time. I work alone, okay? As far as I'm concerned, she
can take her right wing, annoying opinions and shove --

AINSLEY
(Clears her throat)

SAM
Hi. (To Toby) How does she do that?

AINSLEY
I just follow the trail from your bleeding hearts.

SAM
What are you doing here?

AINSLEY
Dropping a copy of some committee testimony by Leo's
Office. And apparently taking my daily lashings.

TOBY
Ainsley.

AINSLEY
Hi Toby. You're not going to say hi, Sam?

SAM
I did already.

AINSLEY
I didn't hear you.

SAM
Hi.

AINSLEY
Thank you. You guys were saying?

TOBY
Ainsley, can you help Sam with tomorrow's presidential veto
statement?

AINSLEY
The no-condoms bill? Is he having trouble?

SAM
No.

TOBY
Yes.

AINSLEY
That's cute. Sure I'll help.

TOBY
Great.

SAM
Great.

TOBY
Have fun.

Toby exits.

SAM
Right this way.

AINSLEY
Whatever you say.

SAM
And stop that.

AINSLEY
What?

SAM
Gloating.

AINSLEY
Whatever you say, Sam.

SAM
Let me just say that I can tell I'm gonna love having you
all over my back with this.

AINSLEY
I wouldn't worry. I'm not that kind of girl.

Sam shuts the door as we

CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY -- DAY

Josh and Donna are walking down the maze of hallways.

JOSH
Donna, I need you to get someone on the phone for me.

DONNA
Who's that?

JOSH
Our Palestinian friend. Remember the one?

DONNA
Okay.

JOSH
See if you can set up a meeting with him.

DONNA
I don't think he likes me much.

JOSH
Not that I care at all, but what makes you say that?

DONNA
He's not very polite on the phone.

JOSH
Donna, ninety percent of the people I ask you to call are
exceptionally rude on the phone.

DONNA
I know. You need better friends.

JOSH
Donna.

DONNA
Are we vetoing the thing?

JOSH
Yes.

DONNA
Why are we vetoing the thing?

JOSH
The Republicans want to give a hundred million dollars to
education.

DONNA
Well damn them to hell.

JOSH
There's a catch.

DONNA
What's the catch?

JOSH
To qualify for the money, the schools must refuse to teach
about birth control in health classes.

DONNA
So?

JOSH
It's a big deal.

DONNA
Why would that be a big deal?

JOSH
Because I say so.

DONNA
Josh.

JOSH
First of all, the tenth amendment to the Constitution says
that education is and shall always remain a local thing.

DONNA
It says that?

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
I mean it actually uses the words 'local thing'?

JOSH
The Founders were surprisingly good with slang.

DONNA
What's the other thing?

JOSH
What other thing?

DONNA
You implied there was another thing.

JOSH
Wrong with the bill?

DONNA
Yes.

JOSH
There are about fifty zillion things wrong with the bill,
but the biggie is why would we ever want to stop teaching
birth control options in high school?

DONNA
'Cause it's dumb.

JOSH
That's actually about the depth of the Republican's
argument on this.

DONNA
Josh, no one learns about birth control from their health
class.

JOSH
No one?

DONNA
No.

JOSH
Really.

DONNA
Yeah. We just get really grossed out when the decrepit
school nurse talks about sponges and unrolls condoms in
front of us.

JOSH
Well, there you go. That goes a long way toward high
school abstinence.

DONNA
Everybody already knows about birth control by high school
anyway.

JOSH
Well then where do you learn about birth control?

DONNA
Magazines.

JOSH
Ah.

DONNA
The magazines do a better job, too.

JOSH
And we wonder why the planet's overcrowded.

CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY -- DAY

C.J. is returning to her office. Danny catches up with
her.

C.J.
Jesus!

DANNY
Hi.

C.J.
You startled me.

DANNY
I know. It's part of my charm.

C.J.
Funny.

DANNY
Anything on the Israel thing?

C.J.
Yeah, sure. And I'm going divulge everything I know to you
alone because I'm really looking to get fired right now.

DANNY
C.J.

C.J.
Danny, you'll get the White House's comment at the next
briefing like everyone else.

DANNY
Okay.

C.J.
You can't think that the rules don't apply to you just
because you're occasionally cute.

DANNY
Okay.

C.J.
Speaking of that, who the hell let you back here anyway?

DANNY
I'm widely loved.

C.J.
I'm sure.

DANNY
Off the record?

C.J.
Not even off the record this time.

DANNY
Is there any hope of putting this back together?

C.J.
Danny! I've had it if I'm even seen within ten feet of
you. Do you understand? This is one of those times, okay?
I can't talk about Israel yet. When I can, you'll get it
with everyone else.

DANNY
That's nice and all, but I was actually switching subjects.

C.J.
Oh.

DANNY
I was talking about you and me.

C.J.
Oh.

DANNY
Must have been that 'widely loved' crack that made me
thinkˇ

C.J.
Dannyˇ

DANNY
Maybe this isn't the right time.

C.J.
This could possibly be the most wrong time ever.

DANNY
Okay. How's the fish?

C.J.
The fish is fine. Go.

DANNY
It died, didn't it?

C.J.
No it didn't. What gave you that idea?

DANNY
Gail doesn't sit on your desk anymore.

C.J.
You were in my office?!

DANNY
You must have sent Carol on an errand. She would probably
not have let me in.

C.J.
You were in my office?!

DANNY
Get over it. What happened to Gail?

C.J.
She's fine. I took her home.

DANNY
Why?

C.J.
Cause I was lonely, okay Danny?

DANNY
Well I could help you with thatˇ

C.J.
Danny, go. I need you on your side of the pressroom door,
okay. You'll see me at the next briefing.

DANNY
Okay. Tell Sam he'd better start on the veto thing.

C.J.
How the hell -- never mind. Go.

Danny and C.J. separate. C.J. continues to

INT. C.J.'S OFFICE -- CONTINUOUS

C.J.
Carol!

CAROL
Yes, C.J.?

C.J.
I need a favor. I need you to run to the pet store.

FADE OUT.

END ACT ONE

* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN:

INT. WHITE HOUSE/OVAL OFFICE -- DAY

The President is meeting with the ambassador to Israel.

POTUS
Thank you for coming so quickly, David.

DAVID
Thank you, Mr. President, for making yourself available.

POTUS
Is there anything your country wishes you to state, for
starters?

DAVID
To state? Yes, Mr. President, we'd like to state that
apparently the words 'cease-fire' translate much more
accurately into Hebrew than they do into Arabic.

POTUS
David.

DAVID
Mr. President, my country's position should be fairly
obvious to you.

POTUS
Yes.

DAVID
Officially, we are appalled at this latest act of barbaric
aggression, and we must react with due force toward the
perpetrators. Unofficially, are you even the least bit
surprised?

POTUS
Mr. Ambassador, no one knows for certain who initiated
this. No one is claiming responsibility.

DAVID
Are you going to stand up for them?

POTUS
I'm going to stand up for peace, David.

DAVID
It's too late for that, Mr. President! We want to exist as
a peaceful nation, and they blow things up. We give them
their own land, and they blow things up. We call for an
end to violence, and they blow people up. Not soldiers,
not spies, not criminals. People. Television
broadcasters. You cannot, you cannot remain neutral
towards a nation whose sole claim to sovereignty is a
damned bomb threat.

POTUS
You know it's not that simple, Mr. Ambassador.

DAVID
It's just that simple. Have they asked you to handle us,
yet? Have they asked you to sedate us? They will. What
are you going to do then, Mr. President?

POTUS
We cannot condemn a nation for the actions of a small group
of men, David. You know that.

DAVID
Your country condemned the Soviets for the acts of the KGB.
You condemned Lebanon for the acts of Hezbollah. You
bombed Sudan for the acts of bin Laden.

POTUS
We are closer to peace in your region than we ever have
been since the formation of your country. Throughout this
process, the United States has been neutral to both sides.
This must continue if there is any hope for lasting peace
in you region.

DAVID
(Pause)
There is another way to find peace.

POTUS
David, you will be outcasts, do you understand? You will
have no allies if your country does anything like that.

DAVID
Ten years ago, you would have lent us all the firepower
necessary.

POTUS
Let me be absolutely clear. You act with disproportional
force, and you will be completely alone.

DAVID
Your country's Jewish population will never let it come to
that.

POTUS
Your country is prepared to destroy all the progress we
have made?

DAVID
Show me the progress. Point it out. Fifty years ago, Jews
were murdered by gentiles. Today, more Jews have just been
murdered by gentiles. Does it make murder any better when
you bomb a few hundred instead of gassing a few hundred
thousand? There can be no progress while our country in
infected from within, like a cancer. There is only one
treatment for cancer, Mr. President. You remove it.

POTUS
Is that the stance of your country?

DAVID
The stance of my country is that we are appalled at this
latest act of barbaric aggression, and we must react with
due force toward the perpetrators.

CUT TO:
INT. SAM'S OFFICE -- DAY

Sam's desk is covered with strewn papers. Sam and Ainsley
are arguing.

SAM
U.S. v. Lopez!

AINSLEY
Sam.

SAM
U.S. v. Lopez, I'm telling you.

AINSLEY
And if that were slightly on point, I'd be agreeing with
you.

SAM
Ainsley.

AINSLEY
You're wrong.

SAM
In 1995, the Supreme Court held that a federal anti-
firearms-in-school statute violated the tenth amendment.
The opinion took language from Gregory v. Ashcroft, and I'm
quoting, (reads) "The constitutionally mandated balance of
power between the States and the Federal Government was
adopted by the Framers to ensure the protection of 'our
fundamental liberties.' Just as the separation and
independence of the coordinate Branches of the Federal
Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive
power in any one Branch, a healthy balance of power between
the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk
of tyranny and abuse from either front." End-quote.

AINSLEY
Sounds great, but what does that have to do with anything?

SAM
If the Supreme Court won't allow a federal statute
prohibiting something as common-sensical --

AINSLEY
Is that a word?

SAM
Common-sensical to prohibit as guns on school grounds, by
no stretch would they ever allow a federal law to dictate
the content of the class.

AINSLEY
First of all, Sam, the Gun-Free School Zones act was based
on constitutional commerce powers, because a Democratic
congress was trying to end-run the tenth.

SAM
Exactly. The Supreme Court said you couldn't end-run the
tenth amendment.

AINSLEY
The law was an interstate commerce law, Sam. It had
nothing to do with education.

SAM
Come on, Ainsley. The debate on this ended with the Scopes
Monkey Trial. School boards get to decide what the kids
learn. Not the President, and for sure not Congress.
What's so funny?

AINSLEY
Nothing.

SAM
What?

AINSLEY
I never thought I'd hear these words coming from a
Democrat.

SAM
The irony is not lost on me.

AINSLEY
We'll make a Republican out of you yet.

SAM
In Hell.

AINSLEY
If not sooner.

SAM
You want to help me?

AINSLEY
It's not dictating the content of the class.

SAM
Then what do you call it?

AINSLEY
It's a safe-harbor bill.

SAM
I know what a safe-harbor bill is, Ainsley. Do you want to
know how much I charged in the private sector?

AINSLEY
You think that impresses me?

SAM
It says schools can't teach about birth control.

AINSLEY
No, it doesn't.

SAM
Yes it does.

AINSLEY
No, it really doesn't, Sam. It says they have the option
for not teaching about birth control in exchange for money.
Nobody's holding a gun to their heads.

SAM
The way public schools are right now, they might as well
be. Why are you, of all people, sticking up for this?

AINSLEY
I'm not. You need someone to be your devil's advocate.

SAM
No I don't. Don't do that.

CUT TO:
INT. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL/BAR -- DAY

Josh sits down next to a well-dressed Palestinian who is
the U.S. spokesman for the Palestinian Leader.

BARTENDER
What'll you have?

JOSH
Uh, scotch and soda please.

SPOKESMAN
Always the same drink, Josh?

JOSH
Well, I'm a creature of habit.

SPOKESMAN
So it would seem. These little meetings are getting to be
the joy of my life.

JOSH
Yeah, me too.

SPOKESMAN
Well.

JOSH
Well.

SPOKESMAN
What can I do for you?

JOSH
I think you know that already.

SPOKESMAN
The TV station. Are you serious?

JOSH
Yeah. We're absolutely serious.

SPOKESMAN
Your administration panics -- what is your expression? -- at
the drop of a hat.

JOSH
It's your peace agreement too. I thought you'd be a little
more disturbed about this.

SPOKESMAN
After you've lost as many countrymen as I have, you get a
new perspective.

JOSH
Yeah, well, due respect to your perspective, this is about
to demolish a lot of things we've worked for. You and me
both.

SPOKESMAN
You worked for it. We endured it.

JOSH
What the hell is your problem?

SPOKESMAN
My problem is that I'm speaking to Israel's pet bulldog.
And kindly remember whom you're talking to. Do you want
your phone call or not?

JOSH
Yes, I do -- you know, when did we ever treat your people
unfairly?

SPOKESMAN
You condemn our actions almost daily. Because they use
tanks and we don't, you support them and condemn us.

JOSH
No, because you blow up civilians and they don't.

SPOKESMAN
Are you speaking for the White House?

JOSH
No. Right this minute I'm speaking for me.

SPOKESMAN
I was under the impression I could meet with someone
speaking for the White House. Maybe you better go home and
send someone I can do business with.

JOSH
(Pause)
I apologize. I let my personal feelings interfere with our
business, and I'm sorry. I'm here to negotiate a phone
call from the person you represent.

SPOKESMAN
(Chuckles)
All right. Never let passion come before business, Josh.
You should have learned that by now.

JOSH
Can we just get on with this?

SPOKESMAN
Surely.

FADE OUT.

END ACT TWO

* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN:

INT. WHITE HOUSE/MURAL ROOM -- DAY

Toby walks in to meet with two aides to the Majority
Leadership of the Senate.

AIDE 1
Toby.

AIDE 2
Hello Toby.

TOBY
Gentlemen. You're so cordial. I'm shocked.

AIDE 1
I think I speak for both of us when I say we're trying to
cut you as much slack as possible before cutting off your
second term at the knees.

TOBY
Hmm.

AIDE 2
Now, you can save yourself the humiliation by letting this
pass.

AIDE 1
The President doesn't even have to put his name on it.
Just wait ten days and it's done.

TOBY
'Cause I know you're both so concerned for the well-being
of this administration.

AIDE 1
The Senate Republicans are concerned about giving money to
the schools that need it, Toby.

TOBY
Uh-huh.

AIDE 2
And with practically no strings attached.

TOBY
No strings? Is that what you call it?

AIDE 2
Yes.

TOBY
'Cause, you know, we kinda call that a constitutional
violation.

AIDE 1
Right.

TOBY
And frankly, since this bill alienates tenth-amendment
Republicans and planned-parenting Democrats, what makes you
think we're the one's who'll be humiliated?

AIDE 2
Because you're the one who called the meeting.

AIDE 1
First of all, when has your party ever given a damn about
the tenth amendment? You're always the ones trying to get
around it. The fact that you're hiding behind it now is
shameful.

TOBY
Oh, you mean like holding money over students heads to
insure they remain totally ignorant about unprotected sex?

AIDE 2
Toby.

TOBY
No. I want to know where you get off with this.

AIDE 1
Is this any different from your party trying to federally
mandate birth control instruction?

TOBY
Yes.

AIDE 1
How is it different?

TOBY
Because we're right and you're wrong.

AIDE 1
Toby.

TOBY
You're blackmailing the department of education; you're
blackmailing this administrationÍ

AIDE 2
Toby, this is one hundred million dollars we're talking
about. You'd deny that money to students?

TOBY
Under these circumstances? Damn right we would. The
President will still veto this tomorrow.

AIDE 2
Then why are we here, Toby?

TOBY
You're here because we expect you might have something in
mind for us if we do veto this bill.

AIDE 1
Very perceptive.

TOBY
Yeah, well. I use the Force.

AIDE 1
The Senate Republicans want a win here. We want something
we can point to. If you veto this, we're going to point to
you.

TOBY
This administration has shepherded bills for over seven
hundred million dollars worth of education funding up to
this point.

AIDE 2
That was yesterday. We're going to go on TV and ask what
you've done for us today.

TOBY
And it will get you absolutely nowhere.

AIDE 2
That's our problem.

TOBY
The President, in case you haven't noticed, has a pretty
big microphone in front of him, too.

AIDE 1
And he's welcome to use it. But, at the end of the day, we
want to give a hundred million dollars to high school
students, and you're the ones preventing that.

AIDE 2
We don't need a retaliatory agenda; we don't need anything
like that. We're right on this. Parents want their kids
to learn about birth control, they can teach that
themselves.

TOBY
And that philosophy has done wonders for teen pregnancy.

AIDE 1
Kids don't want babies, why are they having sex?

TOBY
Because they do, you schmuck! They do because we do.
We're sitting here telling our seventeen-year-olds to play
by a different rulebook while we all screw with relative
indifference. That's why. How confusing is that? If we
want a pornographic world, our kids are going to screw up
and make babies. Okay? So why is birth control education
such a problem? You guys make me absolutely nuts, you know
that?

AIDE 1
We're leaving, Toby. Let us know if you change your mind.

TOBY
Yeah.

The Senate aides leave as we

CUT TO:
INT. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL/BAR -- DAY

Josh and the Palestinian Spokesman are still talking.

JOSH
You're kidding.

SPOKESMAN
Only if you reason with the Israelis first.

JOSH
That's not going to happen.

SPOKESMAN
You're not in a position to insist upon anything.

JOSH
Yeah, maybe.

SPOKESMAN
The United States must dissuade Israel from any military
action before we will establish contact with you.

JOSH
We're not in a position to dictate terms to Israel.

SPOKESMAN
You're in a perfect position to dictate terms to Israel.

JOSH
They were the ones who were bombed. We're not going to
jerk them around.

SPOKESMAN
And we did not bomb them.

JOSH
Oh, please.

SPOKESMAN
And any accusation along such lines is erroneous and
insulting.

JOSH
Who was it going to be? The Polish?

SPOKESMAN
Most likely it was a militant fringe group.

JOSH
Whom you would have no control over.

SPOKESMAN
Of course not.

JOSH
I see.

SPOKESMAN
Even though I pray for the souls of those fine soldiers.

JOSH
Soldiers? Soldiers? It was two guys in a U-Haul loaded
down with TNT. They were maniacs.

SPOKESMAN
We are at war.

JOSH
At war?

SPOKESMAN
The same war we've been fighting for two thousand years.
More than that. Their land is our land. Their temples
stand where our mosques should be. They claim unilateral
ownership of our holy city of Jerusalem. Believe me when I
tell you that you have no possible hope of contemplating
the entirety of this struggle.

JOSH
I take some heavy issue with that, man.

SPOKESMAN
The fact remains that the Israelis are going to make a
military threat against us, and we cannot talk about peace
under these conditions.

JOSH
You will talk about peace under these conditions because
these are the only conditions we have to give.

SPOKESMAN
You can do better.

JOSH
Israel is going to start up their tanks --

SPOKESMAN
You mean your tanks.

JOSH
Whatever. The sooner you come to the table, the sooner
they'll stop shooting.

SPOKESMAN
We have things we can shoot back.

JOSH
What are you telling me?

SPOKESMAN
I'm telling you that there are more rebellious groups of
men where this one came from.

JOSH
Are you threatening more Israeli civilians?

SPOKESMAN
Israel is not the only place where Jews live.

JOSH
(Pause)
Say that again.

SPOKESMAN
You heard me. These rogue groups are very difficult to
control. Do I have your attention?

JOSH
Yeah.

SPOKESMAN
Good. You'll get the phone call you're looking for. But
you go back and tell Israel to put its guns down. This
doesn't have to get any worse.

The Spokesman gets up to leave. Josh cuts him off.

JOSH
You wait. Just wait. You may want to reconsider what you
just said, because the President's going to hear what I
just heard, and if he does, he will single-handedly throw
this conflict back into the nineteen-eighties. I swear to
God he will. If you think we're biased towards Israel now,
wait until you see how we respond to threats of terrorism.
We do it with style! There will be no Gaza. There will be
no West Bank. There will be nothing. We're going to cut
you off, and we're gonna call in all the favors from all
the mid-east countries that owe us one, and we will end
you. We will screw you royally, you got me? All because
you said to me some words you didn't really mean, right?
Just say you didn't really mean what you said.

SPOKESMAN
Remember what I said about passion and business, Josh.

The Spokesman leaves a dumbfounded Josh behind as we

CUT TO:
INT. C.J.'S OFFICE -- DAY

C.J. is at her desk. Danny walks in.

DANNY
Hey.

C.J.
Danny, do you hear nothing?

DANNY
I thought I'd surprise you --

C.J.
Do you hear nothing I say?

DANNY
I remember the important stuff.

C.J.
Like when I said I couldn't talk today?

DANNY
Technically you said you couldn't talk right then. It's
later now.

C.J.
And?

DANNY
You pushed the briefing back.

C.J.
Yeah.

DANNY
Why did you push the briefing back?

C.J.
You'll know when you know.

DANNY
Getting in touch with those Palestinian guys can be a
bitch, can't it?

C.J.
Danny, I swear to God --

DANNY
Hey, Gail!

C.J.
Yes.

DANNY
(Looks closer)
That's not Gail.

C.J.
Of course it's Gail.

DANNY
I thought you said you took her home.

C.J.
I did.

DANNY
And now she's back here?

C.J.
Yes.

DANNY
You went home and brought her back?

C.J.
Yeah.

DANNY
That's not Gail.

C.J.
That is too Gail.

DANNY
Did Gail die?

C.J.
Danny.

DANNY
Did Gail die?

C.J.
Yes, all right? What do you want from me? Goldfish die
sometimes.

DANNY
Yeah.

C.J.
They do.

DANNY
I know.

C.J.
Sometimes you can take perfect care of them and they still
die.

DANNY
So you go out and buy another one hoping that the really
cute guy who gave it to you wouldn't notice?

C.J.
Well, yeah.

DANNY
C.J., I wouldn't have cared.

C.J.
I know.

DANNY
Honestly. Goldfish die.

C.J.
Yeah.

DANNY
I understand that.

C.J.
I just, you know. The gift was really sweet.

DANNY
Well --

C.J.
I mean it. It was really sweet of you. I really liked
that goldfish.

DANNY
Well, you can name this one, okay?

C.J.
I just thought we'd call her Gail.

DANNY
That wouldn't be disrespectful?

C.J.
No. It's kind of like a dedication. Like you give your
kid the name of someone else in the family?

DANNY
Yeah.

C.J.
Anyway, briefing's tentatively set for three.

DANNY
Okay.

C.J.
Danny?

DANNY
Yeah?

C.J.
Thanks for understanding.

DANNY
No prob. This one has your eyes.

C.J.
Get out.

CUT TO:
INT. SAM'S OFFICE -- EVENING

Sam is pacing and Ainsley is sitting on the floor with her
back on the bookshelf. Leo knocks on the already-open
door.

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
You know what time it is?

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
It's this afternoon.

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
I'm looking at my hand here.

SAM
Leo.

LEO
You see what's in my hand?

SAM
Nothing.

LEO
My point.

SAM
It's taking a little longer.

LEO
I can see that.

AINSLEY
Hi Leo.

LEO
Hi kid. What's the problem?

AINSLEY
Sam is having a problem.

SAM
I'm not having a problem.

LEO
You see me smiling about this?

SAM
This isn't my idea of heaven, either.

LEO
Do you have a draft?

AINSLEY
He's taking another swing.

LEO
Well, this better be his last at-bat because he knows he's
not going home tonight without this being done.

SAM
Do you mind if we talk as though I'm in the room?

LEO
Sure. Get it done!

SAM
Thanks.

Ginger walks up and hands Leo a slip of paper.

GINGER
Excuse me, Leo.

LEO
Thank you.

Leo unfolds it and reads, then hurries off toward the

INT. SITUATION ROOM -- CONTINUOUS

Leo joins the President, Nancy, Fitzwallace, and all the
Joint Chiefs, among others.

POTUS
Evening Leo.

LEO
What's going on?

NANCY
Leo, two Palestinian weapons depots were bombed by Israeli
F-15's. There's been no ground movement yet, but Keyhole
satellite infrared shots picked up heat blooms coming from
tanks kept in two separate Israeli laagers near Gaza.

LEO
Oh, man.

POTUS
Yeah. Any word from the Palestinians?

LEO
The phone call is arranged, but beyond that they're
demanding that we make Israel swallow the bombing with no
retaliation, and that idea just got blown to hell.

POTUS
Looks like we're off to the races, doesn't it?

NANCY
Leo, have the Palestinians told us how they're going to
respond?

LEO
Josh said they're contemplating letting the dogs loose. We
can probably expect more of the same, and then some.

POTUS
What do you mean, and then some?

LEO
Josh told me that their spokesman hinted that this might
take on a more local dimension.

POTUS
You're kidding.

LEO
Wish I were.

POTUS
You are kidding.

LEO
Nope. I was just on my way to tell you.

FITZWALLACE
Mr. President?

POTUS
Admiral?

FITZWALLACE
If you'd like to exert some force, we can arrange for some
delays in shipments of technical and weapon components to
Israel. If we wanted to get really extreme, we can recall
the F-16 fighter regiment we have over there. We're
training some of their air force pilots right now. They'll
read either message loud and clear.

POTUS
(Pause)
No.

NANCY
Sir?

POTUS
We're not going to put pressure on Israel.

LEO
Mr. President, it might be the only way to get these two
back to the table.

POTUS
Leo, did you or did you not just tell me that the
Palestinians threatened to condone domestic terrorism?

LEO
They implied it, yes sir.

POTUS
They were hit, Leo. The Israelis got hit, and they're
entitled to their proportional response. That's what we
would do.

FITZWALLACE
Mr. President, it doesn't look like it's going to end
there.

POTUS
If it escalates, then we'll yank the parts and the jets.
Until then, we are not going to interfere with a sovereign
nation responding to terrorism.

STAFF MEMBER
Excuse me, Mr. President. We have an incoming call from
the Palestinian Leader.

LEO
Oh, boy. Talk about timing.

POTUS
I'll take it in the Oval Office. Excuse me. Leo, tell
C.J. the briefing's a-go and fill her in on what's happened
and what we're doing.

LEO
Yes, Sir.

The President rises and leaves. All the others look at
each other as we

FADE OUT.

END ACT THREE

* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN:

INT. SAM'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Sam is sitting on the edge of his desk, facing Ainsley who
is still sitting on the ground by the bookcase.

SAM
How about this: I believe passionately that education is
our nation's most profound concern, but in making it so we
cannot jeopardize our morals and our principles. Then I
start quoting from U.S. v. Lopez.

AINSLEY
Most profound concern?

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
Sure you're not going to piss off people who have other
profound concerns?

SAM
Do I care?

AINSLEY
Evidently not.

SAM
For the hundredth time, are you going to help me with this?

AINSLEY
I am.

SAM
Maybe that's why I'm still here.

AINSLEY
You're still here because you put this off.

SAM
I'm really getting the tenth degree for that, aren't I?

AINSLEY
I'm just saying.

SAM
This will work. This will work. Just -- no it won't.

AINSLEY
Nope.

SAM
It's too -- there's not enough -

AINSLEY
Right.

SAM
There's not enough connection between the declaration and
the balance of powers bit. It kinda comes out of nowhere.

AINSLEY
Yeah.

SAM
So something needs to go in between.

AINSLEY
How about saying that while the bill has righteous intent --

SAM
What?

AINSLEY
We still cannot violate the Constitution.

SAM
Righteous intent?

AINSLEY
What? Too much?

SAM
Where are you getting righteous? What could possibly be
righteous about any of this?

AINSLEY
A hundred million --

SAM
Blood money.

AINSLEY
For what? Not stretching a condom out over a banana in
health class? Small price to pay.

SAM
No. Huge price to pay. If it keeps even one teenager from
getting pregnant --

AINSLEY
I thought you said this was about the tenth-amendment.

SAM
(Pause)
It is.

AINSLEY
No it's not, Sam. That's just the pretense.

SAM
You actually support this?

AINSLEY
No, I actually don't.

SAM
Why not?

AINSLEY
Because of the tenth amendment. Because as weird as this
may seem, I actually believe in the thing you're trying to
hide behind. School boards get to decide curriculum,
period. This is a state issue, not a federal one. But
that's not why you care. If you believe teaching about
birth control is imperative, for God's sake say that! If
you really believe that, then that's your message. But
don't all of a sudden say you're against federalizing
things because that'll never sail, Sam. Never in a million
years.

SAM
(Sinks down to the ground with his back to his desk)
Yeah.

AINSLEY
(Sits next to him)
Tired?

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
Me too.

SAM
(Pause)
You know, you can be a real pain in the ass sometimes.

AINSLEY
Oh, thanks. You're not exactly the poster-boy for
chivalry, Sam.

SAM
Right.

AINSLEY
Who's doing the favor here, anyway?

SAM
Hey, I didn't ask. I was doing fine.

AINSLEY
You were absolutely not doing fine. Why don't you just
admit that you needed my help?

SAM
If you don't want to be here, you can go anytime.

AINSLEY
Don't think that hasn't crossed my mind. I didn't know
you'd be this ungrateful.

SAM
Why do you have to make this personal?

AINSLEY
I am not making this personal. This was personal before I
walked in here. Sam, I can't tell if you're rude,
annoying, or just plain sexist. But don't accuse me of
making something personal because you can't handle female
input.

SAM
Can we just stop talking about this now?

AINSLEY
I think we'd better.

SAM
Yeah.
(Pause)
So how come you aren't a litigator?

AINSLEY
Why?

SAM
'Cause I liked what you were saying about the tenth. And
Lord knows you've got more than enough spunk for the
courtroom. You would have been good.

AINSLEY
Oh.
(Beat. She thinks.)
I, uh, I was too opinionated I think. I never really
wanted to do anything else but be in Washington. You?

SAM
I can write better than I can speak. I get nervous.

AINSLEY
Me too.

SAM
I go really fast when I get nervous.

AINSLEY
Yeah.

SAM
Sometimes I'm incomprehensible.

AINSLEY
I get the point.

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
But that was nice of you to say.

SAM
Sure.

AINSLEY
(Pause)
So, uh --

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
Anyway, are you, uh --

SAM
What?

AINSLEY
Never mind.

SAM
No, what?

AINSLEY
Nothing.

SAM
Seriously.

AINSLEY
Nothing, Sam.

The phone on Sam's desk rings.

SAM
Excuse me.
(Picks up phone)

Hello? Oh, Hi, Mallory. How'd you know I'd be - (Pause)
how does everyone know I put this thing off?! What? Yeah,
I had a good time at the Kennedy Center. Thanks. (Pause)
This Saturday? Well I don't -- sure I can. What about
Richard? (Pause) Oh, I'm sorry to hear. Okay. Thank you
for -- thank you for calling. Bye.

(Returns to Ainsley)

What was that you were asking?

AINSLEY
It's really nothing, Sam.

SAM
Okay. Listen --

AINSLEY
Sam, do you think you've got it from here? I should
probably get going.

SAM
Oh. Yeah.

AINSLEY
Okay.

SAM
Listen, I --

AINSLEY
Um, you know --

SAM
I just wanted to say thanks. For helping me.

AINSLEY
Okay.

SAM
I didn't mean to be ungrateful.

AINSLEY
Sure. You sure you got the rest of this?

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
Just, you know, say what you feel and you'll be fine.

SAM
Okay.

AINSLEY
Well --

SAM
Well --

AINSLEY
Good luck finishing this.

SAM
You too -- I mean, bye.

AINSLEY
Bye.

Ainsley exits. Sam stands alone for a second before we

CUT TO:
INT. LEO'S OFFICE -- MORNING

Friday morning. Leo is seated behind his desk. Margaret
enters.

MARGARET
Leo?

LEO
Yeah?

MARGARET
Sam's here.

LEO
Send him in.

Sam enters.

LEO
Hi Sam.

SAM
It's done.

LEO
Is that the same suit you had on yesterday?

SAM
Uh, yeah.

LEO
Well, your dedication is commendable.

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
It's just your procrastination we have to work on.

SAM
Can someone else do the next one?

LEO
What, too hard for you?

SAM
No.

LEO
'Cause if it's too hard --

SAM
I can do it just fine.

LEO
Well, then I guess you're the only man for the job. Was
Ainsley helpful?

SAM
What?

LEO
Ainsley?

SAM
Oh, yeah. Yeah she was helpful.

LEO
Good.

SAM
Did the President talk to the Palestinian Leader?

LEO
Yeah. They're not too happy with us, but we think we can
get them to come back to the table despite Israel's
retaliation.

SAM
Good.

LEO
They were on the phone for four hours.

SAM
Will Israel cooperate?

LEO
The President just gave an order to delay shipping some
aircraft parts to them. I think that should be all it
takes.

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
Anyway, I'll read this and hand it to the President.

SAM
I'll be in my office.

CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY -- DAY

Sam exit's Leo's office and bumps into Ainsley Hayes.

SAM
Hey.

AINSLEY
Hey.

SAM
(Pause)
What brings you here?

AINSLEY
Nothing important. You?

SAM
Nothing important.

AINSLEY
Okay.

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
Isn't that the suit you had on yesterday?

SAM
Yeah.

AINSLEY
Oh.

SAM
Well, I'm going this way.

AINSLEY
See you.

SAM
Yeah.

CUT TO:
INT. OVAL OFFICE -- DAY

The President is meeting with Leo, Josh, and Toby.

POTUS
(Reads)
Since taking office, I have sought to make education
foremost in priorities. While we can all agree that more
money needs to be devoted to our children's education, we
cannot do so at the expense of their welfare. If public
education is to work at all in this country, we need open,
honest discussions in classrooms. We need to teach the
truths of the world, without having teachers be afraid to
answer frank questions about heath and sexuality.

(Looks up)

This is very good. We're not going with the
constitutionality route?

TOBY
Sam decided last night that using the tenth amendment would
not send the right message.

LEO
It mentions in there about curriculum being local business,
but we don't harp on it too much.

JOSH
The bill isn't strictly unconstitutional anyway, since it
isn't a federal mandate.

POTUS
Fine. Leo?

LEO
Yes, Mr. President?

POTUS
Am I dreaming, or am I really going to veto a hundred
millions dollars for high schoolers?

LEO
I feel the same way.

POTUS
This isn't going to be a mistake?

JOSH
Oh, it could definitely be a mistake. But it's probably a
mistake worth making.

POTUS
Yeah.

TOBY
If we say it's all right to restrict sex-ed teaching,
what's to keep us from federally banning books? This is
okay to teach, that isn't. I don't like the idea of going
down that road, Mr. President.

LEO
Toby's right.

POTUS
Okay. Sam worked with Ainsley on this, didn't he?

TOBY
Yeah.

POTUS
Any bets on those two?

TOBY/JOSH/LEO
Absolutely not, no way, etc.

POTUS
You know Leo, I'd just like to point out that if those two
ever get together, he won't be dating your daughter.

LEO
I remain ever hopeful, Mr. President.

There's a knock on the door. Charlie enters.

CHARLIE
Excuse me.

POTUS
Yeah Charlie.

CHARLIE
The National Security Advisor needs a couple minutes, it's
very important. She's here with the FBI director.

POTUS
Okay send them in. (To the group in the room) You guys
stay for this, please.

Nancy and the FBI Director enter.

NANCY
Mr. President.

POTUS
Nancy, Bill, come on in. What's happening?

NANCY
I'll let Bill tell you, sir.

FBI DIRECTOR
Mr. President, about an hour ago, we just arrested a man
outside an FBI branch office in Chicago. He's a
Palestinian national traveling on a Sudanese passport. His
car was filled with C-4 explosive compound, sir.

LEO
Excuse me?

NANCY
The bomb disposal unit disarmed the device with only
minutes to go on the timer.

POTUS
Where is he now?

FBI DIRECTOR
He's being detained in Chicago, Mr. President.

POTUS
Has he told us anything?

NANCY
No. We have very little information. He hasn't given any
names. It doesn't appear he's about to.

LEO
And that means-

FBI DIRECTOR
It's very unlikely we'll ever find out if someone else
bankrolled this. A bigger group probably did finance it,
but it doesn't look like we'll be able to confirm that. We
may have to be satisfied apprehending the one suspect.

POTUS
(Looks to his Senior Staff)
Yeah. Yeah.

The staff exchanges very sick expressions as we

FADE TO BLACK.

THE END

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