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The Indians in the Lobby

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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by C.J.

While President Bartlet frets about where to spend Thanksgiving - and how to best cook a gourmet turkey - C.J. meets with two Native Americans who are camped in the lobby and promise to cause a media dustup if they can't meet with a bigwig about receiving better public health projects on their reservation. Elsewhere, Josh pulls some political levers as he tries to gain the extradition of a teenaged boy who murdered his teacher and fled to Italy; Toby informs Bartlet of an inexpensive way to improve his polling numbers; and Sam questions a new poverty income index that could spell trouble for the President by classifying millions more people as poor virtually overnight. [1] President Bartlet calls the Butterball Hotline, identifying himself as Joe Bethersonton of Fargo, North Dakota, residing on 11454 Pruder Street (not to be confused with Pruder Way or Pruder lane,) zipcode 50504, apartment 23-R.

Summary Edit


The President is talking with C.J. about where he's going to spend Thanksgiving.  He doesn't want to go to Camp David, but that's where his family will be.  C.J. is exhausted because the President has been lecturing on Thanksgiving and the way he cooks his turkey.

She finally leaves the Oval Office and finds Josh waiting for her to tell her there are two Indians in the Lobby who had a meeting with another staff member but are now refusing to leave the lobby until they meet with someone.  She goes to speak with them and she now has to deal with them - they are refusing to leave until they get satisfaction.

Act IEdit

Leo finds Josh to tell him about a Georgia boy who shot his teacher the previous week and was then spirited out of the country by his parents.  Interpol has arrested the boy in Rome, Italy - but refuses to extradite him to a country that has the death penalty.  Leo tells Josh to talk to some people and work it out.

Sam is pacing outside of Toby's office and comes in to tell him that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is putting out new poverty figures - a bad news, good news situation - the income level at which one is considered poor is being raised, which will result in officially more poor people but also allow more people to receive benefits.  Toby tells Sam to look into it.

C.J. is still talking with the Indians in the lobby, who are telling her about the various treaties the US has violated concerning Native Americans.  C.J. tells them there is really nothing she is going to be able to do for them - but she will continue to talk with them and try and find an agreement they are satisfied with.

Donna and Josh are talking about his Thanksgiving plans, which now involve his flying to Florida to spend the holiday with his mother.  He asks Donna to get someone at State on the phone for him to talk about the Georgia boy.  Sam comes to see Josh and they talk about the boy as well.  Sam came to talk to Josh about the new poverty model. Toby comes to see the President about a new initiative to provide cell phones to neighborhood watch groups and what Toby is hearing about the new poverty model.

Act IIEdit

The President is in Leo's office "talking turkey."  Charlie brings a poll for the President to look at and Charlie tells the President about the Butterball Hotline.  The President wants the number.  The President then looks at the poll and realizing it's not the one he wanted but contains information that makes him angry - he asks for Bruno to be found and brought to the White House.

Sam meets with Bernice Collette on the new poverty model.  He wants to know how the current model was devised and she impresses upon him the new model needs to be adopted.

Josh meets with Russ Angler from State - and Russ tells Josh that Italy will not extradite the boy if there is a chance he would be put to death.  Josh continues to work the problem.  C.J. continues her conversations with the Native Americans, in the lobby. 

Act IIIEdit

Josh goes to see the Italian Consul-General to talk about the situation with the boy.  The Italian government is not going to send the boy back if there is the possibility he will face the death penalty.

C.J. is working with Carol to try and find someone to talk with the Native Americans - but as it is the day before Thanksgiving - everyone has left.  She decides to go and see Leo.  She impresses upon him they have to do something.  She wants Leo to meet with them - he refuses to take a meeting with someone who stages a sit-in in the lobby.

Toby and Sam are talking about the new poverty model and then Sam goes back to talk to Bernice about holding off until they look at it further.

Bruno comes to the Oval Office where the President lays into him about the poll in which questions were asked where the President should spend Thanksgiving.  The President tells Bruno that his family is off limits - but Bruno insists that he has to be given more flexibility to do his job.  The President is resigned to it and then Charlie brings him the number for the Butterball Hotline - which gives Bruno some additional cause for concern.

Toby comes to the Oval Office and the President talks to Toby about the poll.  While talking the Butterball Hotline operator comes on the line and the President asks his questions about cooking turkey.  After finishing the call, which the President completely enjoyed - he goes off to the residence to confront Abbey about the poll and where they should spend Thanksgiving.

Act IVEdit

Josh comes to talk with Leo about the situation in Georgia - Leo impresses upon him that he doesn't want the President to have to take a call from the Pope - and tells Josh to start working it from the US side.  He tells Josh to go see the DeKalb County DA who ran and lost a congressional race and would probably like to run again.  Josh plans to meet him in the Atlanta airport as he is traveling to Florida, anyway.  Josh "runs into" Mark Farragut, the DeKalb County DA at the Atlanta airport.  Josh tells him that if he agrees to not seek the death penalty - he will get the support of the White House and access to money to run again for Congress, and win.

Toby and Sam have another conversation about the poverty model.  Sam has been won over by Bernice Collette.  They decide they will talk to Bruno about it.  Sam runs into Bruno on the way out of the White House and they talk about the new poverty model.  Bruno tells Toby that he will be able to sell it.

C.J. is in her office trying to come up with a plan.  Carol comes to tell her that security is getting nervous and are preparing to remove them from the lobby.  She finally comes out to talk with them one last time - telling them she is going to call the National Park Service to have them removed - or they can come back to her office and make an appointment for Monday morning and the White House will pay their expenses.  They agree to go back to her office.

The President talks with the First Lady about Thanksgiving.

Trivia / Goofs Edit

  • The "L" in DeKalb County, Georgia, is silent, so the name of the county is pronounced "dee-KAB" and not "dee-KALB."
  • During the president's call to the Butterball hotline, it is mentioned that the zip code for Fargo, North Dakota is 50504. This is incorrect. The 14 zip codes for Fargo, North Dakota are... 58102, 58103, 58104, 58105, 58106, 58107, 58108, 58109, 58121, 58122, 58123, 58124, 58125, 58126.
  • Mollie Orshansky is characterised as a Polish immigrant who based her poverty model on life in 'communist Poland'. In fact she was an American economist born in New York in 1915.[2]

Quotes Edit

C.J. Cregg: When I came in here, back in the late 50s, there was a purpose to it, but then one thing led to another and I blacked out. I mean, I can hang in there with the best of them, Sir, but somewhere in the discussion of anise and coriander and the other 15 spices you like to use to baste a turkey, I simply lost consciousness.
President Josiah Bartlet: You know that line you're not supposed to cross with the President?
C.J. Cregg: I'm coming up on it?
President Josiah Bartlet: No, no. Look behind you.

C.J. Cregg: Indians on the day before Thanksgiving.  Wow, ironic.

Josh Lyman: His parents, who were in custody, Fed-ex'd him to Rome, which is in Italy.
Sam Seaborn: Are you kidding me?
Josh Lyman: No, it's really in Italy.

[On neighborhood watch cell phone funding]
President Josiah Bartlet: It's too small. I could fund this out of my pocket.
Toby Ziegler: It's $10 million.
President Josiah Bartlet: Leo could fund this out of his pocket.

Alberto Fedrigotti: Joshua you're in a restaurant...
Josh Lyman: Alberto.
Fedrigotti: ...and there is a little girl who's really misbehaving. She's runs around, she's throwing food. Her father decides to punish her right there by cracking a wine bottle over her head, throwing her to the ground, and kicking her repeatedly. You sit at the next table. What do you do?
Josh: The kid wasn't throwing food.
Fedrigotto: Is there a crime that girl could commit that would justify what that father did?
Josh: See, it's problematic when other people make my argument for me.

[President cooking Thanksgiving dinner]
Presdient Bartlet (Joe Bethersonton):  Stuffing should be cooked inside the turkey, am I correct?
Operator: It can also be baked in a casserole dish
Presdient Bartlet (Joe Bethersonton):  Well, then we'd have to call it something else, wouldn't we?
Operator:  I suppose.
Presdient Bartlet (Joe Bethersonton):  If I cook it inside the turkey, is there a chance I could kill my guests? I'm not saying that's necessarily a deal breaker.

Josh: Why is the White House so concerned about this?
Leo:  Because I don't want this President to get a call from the Bishop of Rome
Josh:  Why do we care about the Bishop of Rome?
Leo:  Because that's not the only name he goes by.
Josh:  What's another name?
Leo:  Your holiness?
Josh:  The Bishop of Rome is the Pope?

C.J. Cregg:  How do you keep fighting the smaller injustices, when they're all from the mother of injustices?
Maggie Morningstar-Charles:  What's the alternative?

Cast Edit


Special Guest StarEdit

Guest StarringEdit


Notes Edit

  • The remark Bruno makes about white salmon ("guaranteed to not turn pink") is a reference to an urban legend about attempting to sell something unmarketable. [3]

References Edit