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20 Hours in America (Part I)

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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Leo

The reelection campaign of President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is underway and moving quickly - so quickly that after Bartlet finishes a speech in Unionville, Indiana, Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), and Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) are accidentally left behind by the motorcade containing C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) and the other staffers. The three begin a calamitous and mishap-laden trip back to Washington, D.C.

At the White House, Leo McGarry (John Spencer) and Admiral Fitzwallace (John Amos) become anxious when they learn that the country of Qumar has reopened its investigation into the death of one of its officials.

Also troubling the staff are the floundering stock market and a casual remark made by First Lady Dr. Abigail "Abbey" Bartlet (Stockard Channing) about the importance of being a mother. In Josh's absence, Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) tends to the President and is surprised by how difficult Josh's job is.

The day culminates in a tragic bombing at a Midwest college women's swim meet that kills several participants, spectators, and even some male swimmers who rushed in to try to rescue some of the victims.

Summary Edit

OpeningEdit

The President is holding a campaign rally in Indiana.  C.J. tells Donna that they are wrapping up and getting in the motorcade right away.  Donna goes off to find Toby and Josh, who are talking with Cathy, in the soybean fields.  Toby is agitated, listening to the President's remarks - he is criticizing the President's delivery of the remarks he wrote.  The four of them walk back to the venue, only to find the motorcade has left without them.

Act IEdit

Cathy offers Toby, Josh, and Donna a ride to Unionville to catch up with the motorcade.  Back at the White House, Leo is talking with Margaret about the President's schedule and when he is due back at the White House.  Leo arrives in the Situation Room for an update on events around the world - in Qumar, the government has reopened the investigation into Abdul Shareef's missing plane.  Leo and Fitzwallace exchange looks - and Fitzwallace promises to forward all intelligence to the State Department to share with the Qumari government.

Sam arrives in the office against orders from Leo and others that he is supposed to be home sleeping - he has been working very hard since the convention and Leo needs him at his best.  Sam tells Leo and Ginger he is just going to be there for a few minutes.

In Indiana, the President arrives for his next campaign stop.  Bruno tells C.J. that the President should talk up the military pay raise - C.J. says he won't.  Bruno mentions it to the President, who tells Bruno he can't campaign on a military base - it's against the law.  They are also dealing with a plummeting Dow, which is down almost 300 points.

Josh, Toby are riding in the back of Cathy's pickup truck with Cap, Cathy's boyfriend.  They are talking, while Toby is becoming unglued at missing the President's next appearance.  At the base, the President concludes his remarks and takes a call from Leo.  Leo tells the President about Qumar.  The President tells Leo they are on their way home.

Act IIEdit

The pickup truck carrying Toby, Josh, and Donna, runs out of diesel - leaving the trio stranded yet again.  Donna calls for a campaign volunteer to pick them up.  Cathy and Cap hitch a ride from a passing farmer to go back and get more diesel for the truck.

Back at the White House, Leo meets with Fitzwallace about the news out of Qumar.  Fitzwallace tries to assure Leo that it will be fine - they're not going to find the plane or any evidence that leads the Qumaris back to the President.

On Air Force One, C.J. is giving a briefing to the Press, while the President meets with two Executive Secretary candidates - he doesn't like either one.

Josh, Toby, and Donna arrive at a gas station to wait for the volunteer to pick them up.  Donna can't get anyone on their phones - Josh tells her to keep trying.  Josh and Toby start a contest - throwing rocks into a barrel - first one to miss has to say "I work at the White House" after each time they say their name.

Act IIIEdit

Toby, Josh, and Donna are riding in Tyler's Jeep - a 17-year old campaign volunteer.  Tyler makes a stop to confront a girl that he is in love with.  Josh sends Donna into the conversation to try and get Tyler back to get them to Air Force One.  One of the girls tells them that they've already missed the plane because they have crossed into a county in Indiana that doesn't recognize Daylight Savings Time.  Josh and Toby explode with frustration.  Donna tells Tyler that he needs to get them to a commercial airport.

Back on Air Force One - C.J. asks Charlie if he would consider taking over as Big Brother to Anthony, who is in trouble and angry at C.J. after Simon's death.  Charlie would consider it - but he really can't devote the time it would take.

In Sam's apartment, Sam is sleeping when his phone rings - Josh screams into the machine, waking Sam.  Josh apologizes but tells Sam that he needs to staff the President because Josh can't get back there.  Josh tells Sam he will do fine.

Bruno comes to see the President and gives him information on new polls that are out.  C.J. finds Bruno to report on a story that is following Mrs. Bartlet around, including a response from Janet Ritchie, Governor Ritchie's wife, who went on the record about being proud of being a wife and mother.

Act IVEdit

Sam is trying to get ready for his role, filling in for Josh.  Ginger is telling him about what he is going to be doing.  Sam asks Bruno about the women who appeared at Abbey Bartlet's appearance in Wisconsin.  The women were wearing aprons and holding rolling pins.  Abbey had responded to her question about her medical license being revoked by saying, "right now, I'm just a wife and mother."  Bruno goes into a meeting with C.J. and others about how best to spin this.

Tyler is still driving Josh, Donna, and Toby  to a train station, which will conduct them to Indianapolis where they will catch a flight home.  They stop into a diner to get some food and then head for the train. Donna gets C.J. on the phone, who asks Josh to come by her office - she hasn't realized the three of them are still in Indiana.

The President arrives in the Oval Office with Sam there to back him up.  The first meeting is with Commerce Secretary Bryce, followed by a meeting with a new Texas Congressman.

Trivia / GoofsEdit

  • In most of the episodes involving Air Force One - the usual pilot for Air Force One is Col. Gantry - but in this episode, Bartlet tells one of the secretarial candidates the plane is flown by an Air Force General, and in another scene - the General's voice is overheard.
  • John Gallagher, Jr. who plays Tyler in this episode went on to play Jim Harper in Aaron Sorkin's series "The Newsroom."
  • While lost in Indiana, Josh mentions they could fly into Dulles, BWI, or LaGuardia. LaGuardia is a four-hour drive from D.C. and it would make little sense to fly there. D.C.'s third airport is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

QuotesEdit

Cathy: Sy, these guys work for Bartlet.
Josh: How you doing?
Sy: Didn't vote for him the first time. Don't plan to the second time.
Cathy: Have a good trip back. Remember some of that stuff I said, okay?


Leo: Just out of curiosity, what do you think would happen?
Fitzwallace: I don't know what would happen to you and me but I'm pretty sure the President would be invited to see the inside of the Hague.
Leo: Yeah, well, they can invite all they want. He ain't going.
Fitzwallace: Perhaps this would be a good time for you to reconsider your position on a international war crimes tribunal.
Leo: Perhaps this would be a good time for you to...
Fitzwallace: Get out of your office.
Leo: Yeah.

  Bruno: I love it when the women get involved.


Sam: Listen, if you want to give me your call sheets and I can farm a out a few memos for you.
Josh: I actually need you to do more than that, Sam. I need you to staff the President. He's got one of those days.
Sam: I don't know what it is you do in there.
Josh: Yeah, you do. Anything ceremonial, security related, or personal, you've leave the room. As it gets later in the day he's going to start to talk to you. You're going to tell him how the meeting he just had with his Council of Economic advisors relates to the meeting he had with the Agriculture Secretary, relates to his intelligence briefing, relates to the environment, relates to jobs, relates to education, relates to the campaign. You're his wide-angle lens.
Sam: There are going to be any number of areas on which I can't give him expert advise.
Josh: Welcome to the club, partner. We got jackets.
Sam: All right. I'm not going to let you down.
Josh: You never do.


Toby Ziegler: Excuse me. Would you mind terribly if I changed the channel to CNN for just a minute? I've, uh, been a little out of touch today. I would like to check in with what's been going on.
Man: Earl and Fiona don't get cable TV. Three channels are enough. The picture's fuzzy today. I think there's going to be weather.

Cast Edit

StarringEdit

Special Guest StarsEdit

Guest StarringEdit

Co-StarringEdit