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The Mommy Problem

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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Toby

As a Grand Jury is convened to investigate the military shuttle leak from the White House, the presidential race changes focus to national security.  Vinick deftly handles the issue, while Santos is bound by his party loyalty to align himself with the Bartlet administration.

Summary Edit

OpeningEdit

Margaret and C.J. are walking to C.J.'s office, where Toby is waiting.  On the television, a newsman is reporting that the astronauts managed to fix the space station leak on their own.  C.J. questions Toby if anyone is buying that, and Toby says no.  C.J. hands Toby a legal pad with the draft of a statement that the President and Oliver Babish want released, announcing that the President is halting the internal White House investigation and allowing Congress to take the lead on the investigation.

101 Days Until Election DayEdit

In Olympia, Washington, Santos is giving a speech to a large crowd.  This is followed by an appearance in Portland, Oregon.  We also see Josh sketching out campaign strategy and issues on a white board. 

The next morning, Otto and Edie come into headquarters to find Josh working on the message based on the coverage of the previous day's campaign events.  Ned comes in to tell them that the White House is about to release a statement about the leak.  Josh grabs a phone and asks to talk to Toby Ziegler.  Toby tells Josh that the White House is planning to end its investigation, to which Josh begins to yell that this will give Vinick an opening on security issues.  Toby hangs up on Josh.  Josh walks over to the white board, where he has three boxes, labeled "Domestic," "Security," and "Trivia."  He puts a red (Vinick) check mark in the Security box.

Act IEdit

Santos Headquarters is now running in crisis mode.  Josh is on the phone directing someone to keep Santos away from the press until Vinick responds to the White House announcement.  Josh is now on the phone with Santos, who is clearly irritated with the White House, first with the Education plan, and now with the leak announcement.  Josh explains to Bram on the phone and the assembled staff in headquarters about the "mommy problem."  He says:  "When voters want a national daddy, someone tough and strong, they vote Republican.  When they want a mommy to give them jobs, health care policy equivalent of matzo-ball soup, they vote Democratic."

Josh calls C.J. at the White House (going over Toby's head) and proceeds to yell at C.J. about how bad the White House is making things for the Santos campaign.  He then hangs up on C.J.  Josh then goes into a meeting with Joey Lucas, who tells Josh that he needs to hire an assistant and other high level staff.  Josh doesn't like to delegate and leaves the room for another meeting.  Ronna hands him a list of the people in the room, who are all Democratic strategists, presumably to be hired and brought on board the campaign.  One of the individuals is Louise Thornton, who evidently has a history with Josh and the two of them begin to squabble in the meeting.  The two of them continue their conversation outside the meeting and Josh asks her to come on board as Communications Director.  She declines, but Josh presses.

Act IIEdit

At the White House, Margaret tells C.J. that the President is waiting for her and that Greg Brock wants a few minutes.  C.J. tells Margaret no to Greg Brock.  Margaret then tells C.J. that the first round of congressional subpoenas is due and that she's not sure what to do.  C.J. tells Margaret to tell the truth.

On the campaign trail, Josh is greeted by a horde of reporters looking for something new.  He offers them more policy initiatives and they hound him with questions about Santos cancelling a number of lunch meetings over the past few weeks.  Lou is with Josh on the campaign trip and is continuing to squabble with Josh on how the campaign should be run.  Josh is handed something from a staffer and heads inside to find Santos, who is being briefed on the schedule by Bram.

Josh tells Santos that he has something that can get him out of commenting on the White House leak:  he's been called up for reserve duty.  Josh gets with Edie and Ned to tell them about the upcoming reserve duty, but Ned douses Josh's excitement by telling Josh that Santos has frequently postponed his service.

At the White House, Toby is greeted by Carol, who tells him that reporters are everywhere, looking for a comment on why the White House suspended its internal investigation.  Josh and C.J. discuss a draft list that has been circulated of witnesses to testify before Congress, and Greg Brock is on the list, the very person whom C.J. and Toby have both been avoiding.

The Congressman tells Josh that yes, he has moved his service time around from time to time.  Josh is now afraid that if he reports for his service on Labor Day weekend, it will definitely look like a stunt.  On the plane, Santos meets with Lou to interview her about the Communications job.  She pulls no punches with him and tells him that it's time to get off the mat and starting fighting back if he wants to win.

Act III - Fort Lauderdale, FloridaEdit

Josh gets out of the elevator and meets up with Edie to figure out how to deal with the reserve training.  Josh belts himself to the chair to try and figure it out.  Santos comes in to tell Josh that he's convinced Lou to come on board, but reporting directly to him.  Josh tries to get up and promptly falls down.  Bram comes in to tell Josh that the AP has a photograph of Santos' bed from a hotel in Cleveland and they now have something new to deal with.

Josh comes to get the Congressman and gets into an elevator with him.  He stops the elevator, and asks Santos about what happened in Cleveland.  Santos makes a joke and then realizes something:  that his wife was with him in Cleveland.  Josh meets with Lou and Bram and then Ned brings the photo to them:  the bed was demolished by the Santoses!  Josh then meets with Lou, who takes Josh to task for holding Santos back.  She feels he is trying to protect the White House and he just wants her to help him with the issues.   C.J. is heading back to her office and talking to Margaret, who tells C.J. that Greg Brock is in her office.  C.J. walks in to talk to him and he tells her that he is being sent to prison for contempt, because he wouldn't talk to the Grand Jury.  She tries to get Brock to reveal his source so that he won't have to go to prison, but he leaves her office instead.

Act IVEdit

On the campaign trail, Lou is arguing with Josh in front of Santos regarding the news stories about the bed and his call-up for National Guard service.  Lou wants to ignore the bed story and both Josh and Lou think Santos needs to resign his commission or else it will look like a major publicity stunt if he reports this time after having previously postponed it.

100 Days Until Election DayEdit

Back on the campaign plane, Lou and Josh continue to talk strategy.  Lou wants the campaign to release a statement about the White House Leak.  Josh is reluctant to do so because of his history with the Bartlet White House.  Lou hands him the previous night's poll that included a question about the leak.  Josh brings it to Santos in the interest of full disclosure.  Santos gets up and walks back to the press cabin and makes a statement / joke about the bed, and, when a reporter asks about the leak issue, Santos turns around and both slightly criticizes President Bartlet while also defending his actions.

At the White House, C.J. is watching press coverage of Greg Brock being led to prison.  Toby comes in and they discuss an upcoming event for the President, while not really talking about Brock.

On the campaign plane, Santos calls for Josh.  Josh tells Santos that he thinks he should do his reserve training.  Santos tells Josh to look out the window of the plane.  Santos tells Josh that he called the Commandant and asked about his training, and that he is going to do it right now.   Santos and Matt talk about things going forward, and Santos tells Josh that they are going to beat Vinick in all three of "Josh's boxes."

National Guard Training Center - Fort Worth, TexasEdit

Santos gets into a fighter plane and takes off, while news commentators debate the timing of the training.  At the campaign HQ, Josh runs the strategy meeting while good news continues to come in as a result of the training.

Trivia / Goofs Edit

  • This is Janeane Garofalo's first appearance as media consultant Louise "Lou" Thornton.[1]
  • There is an allusion to an address given by President Kennedy to a group of Nobel Prize winners who were honored with a dinner at the White House.  President Kennedy said:  "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."  In the present episode, Josh Lyman says to a group of media consultants:  "This is probably the greatest assemblage of Democratic talent since the last time Jed Bartlet dined alone." [2]00
  • At the end of the episode, when Matt Santos is approaching his fighter jet, the number "15" is on the left part of the jet's nose.  Later, when the jet is taxiing towards take-off, the number changes to "01". [3]
  • It is claimed that Matt Santos has postponed his service 41% of the time.  Later in the episode, Lou says that he postponed it 5 out of 13 times.  Postponing it 5 times out of 13 would be 38%, not 41%.

Quotes Edit

Congressman Matt Santos: Tell the Secret Service if they put 40 electoral votes on the table I'll do whatever they want.
Josh Lyman: People think campaigns are about two competing answers to the same question.  They're not.  They're a fight over the question itself.
Josh Lyman: Congressman, it's Christmas in July.  Deck the halls with guns and ammo.  This is what we couldn't do at the convention:  You in fatigues, wind in your hair, trench knife in your teeth.
Josh Lyman: Time's called twice.  We have to tell them something.
Congressman Matt Santos: Tell them if the country doesn't like my military record I'll be the first one unemployed.
Josh Lyman: Oh, let me introduce myself.  I'm the problem.
Congressman Matt Santos: You know, if that were my White House, I'd call in the FBI.  I would do everything in my power to cooperate with both Congress and the grand jury.  I'd play it by the law, not by politics.  And, in case you haven't noticed, that's exactly what this president is doing.
Congressman Matt Santos: The Marine Commandant in Washington... he was my CO in the Gulf.  He said I could get it out of the way right now if I want.  You know, I didn't have as much as a high school diploma in my gene pool.  That commission's the reason why I'm on this plane.  I'm not giving it up.
Josh Lyman: Before anybody in the press gets a chance to take a shot at us the whole country sees you in uniform.
Congressman Matt Santos: Better cancel our schedule for the next two days.
Josh Lyman: Sorry about Lou before.  She's got a lot to contribute, but should do it through me.  Some of her ideas are extreme.
Congressman Matt Santos: Doesn't mean I don't need them.
Josh Lyman: You feel you need her at the table?
Congressman Matt Santos: I feel you do.  And others.
Josh Lyman: There has to be somebody in charge to filter out knucklehead stuff.  On the Bartlet campaign...
Congressman Matt Santos: Jed Bartlet was in charge.  You were right about the President.  Louise was right about leaving a vacuum.  I need to hear it all...  We're gonna beat him on security issues, beat him on domestic issues... We're gonna beat him on trivia too.

Cast Edit

StarringEdit

Special Guest StarsEdit

Guest StarringEdit

Co-StarringEdit

References Edit

"The West Wing" The Mommy Problem (2005)
The West Wing: The Mommy Problem
Movie Mistakes


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