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Debate Camp

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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Sam

While on a weekend retreat to prepare for the crucial debates, the President (Martin Sheen) is confronted with an Israeli air attack on Qumar that could inflame the Mideast -- but his accompanying staff has time to recall the Bartlet administration's first error-prone days in Washington, D.C.

Bartlet bitterly remembers the period for his failed nominee for Attorney General. Josh (Bradley Whitford) reminds Donna (Janel Moloney) of how her naivete almost cost her the job over a national security issue, after an outgoing staffer tells her there is a missile silo under the White House and Donna reveals that in an interview. Donna gets her revenge on Josh by sending an intern posing as an NSA agent that tells Josh that Donna hit too close to home. Josh falls for it.

The flashbacks also reveal Toby and his ex-wife, Andy (Kathleen York) were attempting to have children just before their divorce. In the present day, Toby reveals to the staff that Andy is now pregnant with twins, and that he is the father.


Opening - Saybrook Institute for Public Policy - Faith, North Carolina 1:00pmEdit

Sam and the President are standing at lecterns engaging in a mock debate (Sam is playing the role of Governor Ritchie).  They are trying to come up with a response to civil rights and affirmative action issues and the issue with Rooker, the nominee for Attorney General, whose name was withdrawn before being confirmed.  Leo arrives and hands the President a note - Israel has attacked Qumar.

Act IEdit

The President, Leo, and other advisors walk to a makeshift Situtation Room, where other members of the National Security Team are patched in.  They discuss what is going on in the Middle East and what they need to do both domestically and internationally.

Toby follows Andy outside and asks her for several things, including if she will agree to marry him again.  She says no.  Sam and Josh arrive as she leaves and they both ask Toby what's going on between the two of them.  He says nothing.  They go off to shoot some basketball.

[in a flashback to Bartlet Transition Offices - Five Day Before Inauguration] - Leo comes to the staff to tell them that Cornell Rooker is going to be nominated as the Attorney General.  They all debate if it is the right move to pick Rooker.  During the meeting - an aide comes to get Toby to tell him that Congresswoman Wyatt is here looking for Toby (the two of them are still married at this time).  He comes out to meet her - she needs him to go and give a sample to the doctor (they are trying to have a baby together). At the White House, Donna is meeting with her counterpart from the previous administration - she is hoping to learn some things - he plays a series of jokes on her instead.

Back to the present, Joey is ready to give some input on electoral math to the senior staff.

Act IIEdit

Joey tells the Senior Staff the President is going to lose New Hampshire.  Back in Debate Prep, the President is trying to craft an answer on family values and C.J. pulls Josh aside to tell him the President needs help to get to the right answer.  She leaves for a press briefing . . .

[flashback to the White House Press Room, Two Days after Inauguration] C.J. comes to the podium to get comfortable being in front of the room.  She is trying it out for Carol - who quickly gets up and leaves and C.J. continues, speaking to the empty room.  A reporter for a far right Christian publication comes in to tell C.J. that 600,000 people will be praying for her and that he thinks Cornell Rooker is a great choice for AG.  In the Oval Office - Mrs. Landingham is showing the President pictures of things he can request to be hung in the White House.  C.J. comes to see Leo - to tell them she's looked into Rooker further and has discovered an issue with racial profiling.

Act IIIEdit

Back in the present, Josh calls Amy (which he didn't want to do) to get help for the question on families. 

Flashing back again to the White House a few days after the inauguration, Sam and Josh are trying to find a meeting room - and they wind up in Leo's office.  They are trying to find the message on the Rooker nomination - Sam wants the President to withdraw the nomination, but the others want to proceed.  Josh comes out of the meeting with a copy of a magazine that Donna gave an interview to (at the request of her predecessor), where she made several comments as related to her by the guy she met with - he set her up to look stupid.

Back at Debate Camp - Charlie comes to find Toby to tell him that he is there for him - to help him get Andy to marry him (again).  [Flashback - Toby and Andy are talking about their problems in getting pregnant - when C.J. comes to ask Toby about something that Danny Concannon found on Rooker - he had a DUI covered up.]

Back at Debate Camp - Sam and Joey talk about electoral strategy - and then Josh calls Amy back (who is on a date) trying to get an answer on families from her.  [Flashback - A man comes to see Josh, saying he is from the NSA - he wants to talk to Josh about Donna and the interview.  He tells Josh they are going to revoke her credentials until they complete their investigation.  Josh tells Donna she has to leave but he is looking into it.]

At Debate Camp, they are continuing to craft the message and the answers to the questions.

Act IVEdit

The President meets with advisors, including Fitzwallace, who has traveled down from Washington - he reports a ship is making its way in the Mediterranean toward Lebanon, carrying weapons.  The President wants to know what they need to do to stop the boat - Leo and Fitzwallace tell the President they are going to have to use force to stop the boat.

[Flashback - Leo comes to his office to tell the Senior Staff that Rooker's nomination is being withdrawn and the first numbers on the President's approval are out - they are down significantly.  They all promise to do better.  Josh leaves the meeting with Sam and asks him about the visit from the NSA and then realizes that something is not right - he goes back to the bullpen where he finds Donna and the guy who came to see him - it's Donna's friend and they played a joke on Josh.]

Josh calls Amy again and gets the answer he wants for the President.  "Team Toby" assembles to keep working and Toby announces that Andy is pregnant with twins.  Everyone leaves the room except for Sam when the President arrives - they talk about Rooker and other issues - Sam tells the President he is going to lose New Hampshire, but the President should consider spending time in districts where the Democrats won't win.  Sam mentions Horton Wilde - and the President tells Sam that Wilde has died.  They go downstairs to start the debate anew.


President Bartlet: (leaving room) I agreed to be locked up with you people for 48 hours. How much time do I have left?
Leo McGarry: 47 hours, 41 minutes.
President Bartlet: What are we doing right now?
Mrs. Landingham: We're choosing pictures from the collection at the National Gallery.
President Bartlet: They'll loan stuff?
Mrs. Landingham: Anything you want in the National Gallery or the whole Smithsonian.
President Bartlet: Really?
Mrs. Landingham: Yeah.
President Bartlet: I want Apollo 11.
Mrs. Landingham: Well, you can't have that.
President Bartlet: Then don't bother me.
Josh Lyman: We were looking for West Wing 160.
Leo McGarry:  Yeah, I think it's in the Kremlin. Let's just meet here.
Leo McGarry: "We'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow." We said that yesterday.
Leo McGarry: Not quite. Our report card for our first two weeks in office. The President's approval has gone from 61% during the transition -- when, I suppose, there's nothing to approve-- to 49% once there was. 47% see him as a strong leader-- a result of bungling the Rooker nomination -- and African-American support, which basically elected him, has gone from 92 to 78. Finally, if the election were held today, the President would be Chairman of the Economics Department at Phillips Andover Academy. Can anyone report anything good?
C.J. Cregg: 600,000 Evangelicals are praying for me... so... we have that going for us.
Leo McGarry: What the hell are you talking about?
C.J. Cregg: It's true-- a guy gave me this card: "365 in Media."
Sam Seaborn: Who are the others?
C.J. Cregg: I don't know, let's see... "Hugh Hefner, Don Imus, Howard Stern..." all the late-night guys. This is... one, two, three... this is the Editorial Board of The New York Times. This isn't a good list, this is a list of people who are going to hell!
Sam Seaborn:  Sir, we expect the President to face the world in his own way for his own time. Also luckily for all of us, you have better advisors in that area than you do in domestic and political policy.

Cast Edit


Special Guest StarsEdit

Guest StarringEdit


Background information and notesEdit

  • In this episode at 05:50 CTU is mentioned, the Counter Terrorist Unit: an intelligence and law enforcement agency in the United States of America which does not exist in the real world but plays a central role in the TV show 24. Jack Bauer was a Special Agent at CTU Los Angeles.
Ken Kato (over phone): Sir, It's Ken. On your order, we'll put CTU on high alert.
Bartlet: You have the order.
  • Sam and Josh have the following exchange -

Sam: You mind if I talk to you while we walk?
Josh: Well, we may as well get used to having meetings in the corridors from now on.
This lampshades the 'walk and talk'.

  • During the electoral math scene, President Bartlet's name is (supposedly) spelled wrongly as 'Bartlett' on the electoral map board.
  • When Amy is at dinner, Pachelbel's Canon in D is heard playing.
  • CJ says "600,000 Evangelicals are praying for me... so... we have that going for us." This could be a reference to the famous Caddyshack quote "So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."