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Mandatory Minimums

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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Sam

A newly energized President Bartlet bucks tradition and throws down the gauntlet when he names two candidates of his own choice - both campaign finance reformers - to the Federal Election Commission despite threats from his political opponents to introduce embarrassing legislation that would dare him not to sign. Early reactions to his announcement are not encouraging, especially from top-notch pollster Al Kiefer. However, Kiefer's arrival means his attractive cohort, Joey Lucas, accompanies him, and she again draws a smitten Josh's attention.

Toby agrees to seek out his ex-wife, a breezy congresswoman, to gauge her response to any future narcotics legislation that would emphasize prevention over enforcement. Leo, uncomfortably aware of his own brush with drugs, agrees to be the Chief Executive's front man for positioning the high-voltage issue of revising the drug laws.

Summary Edit

In the opening scene, President Bartlet is giving a speech at a Washington hotel. He announces his choices for the Federal Elections Commission, which the Senate Majority Leader watches in his office, with his staff. The Chief of Staff, Steve Onorato, tells the Senator that it's coming despite the warnings there would be retaliation. The Senator calls Josh Lyman to reinforce what he threatened, to which Josh replies, "Hi, Senator. Why don't you take your legislative agenda and shove it up your ass?"

C.J. gives the press briefing where she deflects the questions about the FEC nominees. Toby decides to bring in Al Kiefer (who is going to bring Joey Lucas ) to help with the polling they are going to do during the week. Toby gives the heads up to Josh so he is aware that Joey will be there.

Leo holds a breakfast meeting with the Senior Staff where they discuss the week ahead regarding the battle with Congress. Kiefer arrives and briefs the President, telling him that it is political suicide to pursue this. C.J. tells Mandy that she is not allowed in the meeting - that Leo is not comfortable with her anymore - because of the report she wrote.

Josh greets Joey and tries very hard to not show any emotion toward her. Josh comes to see Leo and Toby, and they tell Toby that he is going to meet with his ex-wife, Representative Andy Wyatt, to take her temperature on campaign finance reform. She tells him that Mandatory Minimums should be dropped, because they are racist. The meeting in the Oval Office breaks for lunch and Sam heads back to his office, where he finds Steve Onorato (the Senate Majority Leader's Chief of Staff), who asks Sam to eat lunch with him to plead his case.

Danny and C.J. have an argument about C.J. shutting him out - she is still angry about his having the report and writing about it. Leo has a meeting in the White House Press Room with aids to several members of Congress, all of whom work for Senators and Representatives who have had problems with drugs and/or crime. Leo wants them to get their bosses in line when the debate starts.

Sam and Toby come to see Josh. Toby tells Sam to tell Josh what Steve Onorato said. Josh and Toby laugh because they realize that Steve obviously knows about Laurie and is trying to move Sam out front so he can drop it on Sam. Sam is bothered by this and wants to do something about it. Josh stops by and sees Joey and tells her that he likes her.

An impromptu meeting takes place in the President's bedroom. The President tells them that they all had a good day and they are going to have some stumbles, but they should keep on. He also tells them that Mandy was just doing her job, it's time to let her out of the doghouse - he also specifically tells C.J. that Danny was only doing his job too.

Goofs Edit

  • When Toby is walking back to his office from the press room with his ex-wife, the ex-wife's tag and chain keeps changing through the entire sequence. Sometimes it's over her jacket and the tag's just hanging or it's under the jacket and the tag is sitting just inside her jacket.[1]
  • The episode opens with the President giving a speech at the "Sheraton Centre Hotel" in Washington DC but there is no such hotel.
  • Although it is well established that Toby is no longer married, he can clearly be seen wearing a wedding band. (This is not a goof. Richard Schiff said he purposely wore a wedding band even though Toby was divorced. This was his way of showing that the character wasn't ready to accept being divorced.)
  • C.J. was actually correct to say that the President was under no legal obligation to appoint a Democrat and a Republican. Though 2 U.S.C. § 437c(a)(1)—which has since been editorially reclassified as §30106 of Title 52, Voting and Elections—does state that no more than three members of the FEC may be affiliated with the same political party, it does not require that all the members be either Republicans or Democrats. President Bartlet could have legally appointed someone affiliated with a third party to either or both of the open seats.

Quotes Edit

Josh Lyman: Hi, Senator. Why don't you take your legislative agenda and shove it up your ass.

Josh Lyman: I'd like to clear up that I don't have suits for days of the week. This is just a regular suit.
Sam Seaborn: It's a nice suit.
Donna Moss: Sure it's a nice suit, it's his Joey Lucas suit.
Josh Lyman: Donna!
Donna Moss: I'm beginning to regret not getting the waffles.
Leo McGarry: I am beginning to regret having hired any of you! We have a 42% job approval and you're talking about waffles and something with Josh I don't understand.
Donna Moss: He's wearing a special suit for Joey Lucas.
Leo McGarry: You got dressed up for a guy named Joey?

President Josiah Bartlet: I'm sleeping better. And when I sleep, I dream about a great discussion with experts and ideas and diction and energy and honesty. And when I wake up, I think: 'I can sell that'.

Cast Edit


Special Guest StarEdit

Guest StarringEdit


References Edit

"The West Wing" Mandatory Minimums (2000)
Movie Mistakes