American President, The


THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT




 T H E   A M E R I C A N   P R E S I D E N T

    Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

 --------------------------------------------------------------

 FADE IN:

    As the OPENING TTTLES ROLL against a series of shots of
    statues and paintings of former presidents, we HEAR shards of
    dialogue from various presidential speeches.


 MAIN TITLES END ON


 EXT. BEAUTIFUL ESTABLISHING SHOT OF THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

    It's an early November morning, and the sun has just come
    over this extraordinary building. WE HOLD on this for a moment
    before we

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. A CORRIDOR IN THE RESIDENCE - DAY

    A SECRET SERVICE AGENT presses the button by the private
    elevator as he talks into his shirt cuff.

             AGENT COOPER
        Liberty's moving.

    Another AGENT rounds the corner into the corridor and is
    followed a step or two later by

 PRESIDENT ANDREW BENJAMIN SHEPHERD.

    SHEPHERD's walking with his personal assistant, JANIE, a shy,
    professional and incredibly efficient 25-year-old.

             JANIE
        The 10:15 event's been moved inside
        to the Indian Treaty Room.

             SHEPHERD
               (to Janie)
        The 10:15 is American Fisheries?

             JANIE
        Yes, sir. They're giving you a
        200-pound halibut.

             SHEPHERD
        Janie, make a note. We need to
        schedule more events where somebody
        gives me a really big fish.

    JANIE starts to make a note.

             JANIE
        Yes, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Janie, I was kidding.

             JANIE
        Of course, sir.

             SHEPHERD
               (to the AGENT at the
                elevator)
        Hey, Cooper.

             AGENT COOPER
        'Morning, Mr. President.

    SHEPHERD and JANIE enter the elevator. As the doors close...

             JANIE
        Mr. Rothschild asked to have a moment
        with you this morning.

             SHEPHERD
        Is he upset about the speech last night?

             JANIE
        He seemed concerned.

             SHEPHERD
        Well, it wouldn't be a Monday morning
        unless Lewis was concerned about
        something I did Sunday night.

    The elevator doors open, revealing LEWIS ROTHSCHILD. At 32,
    LEWIS is the President's chief domestic policy advisor. It
    would appear that he averages about two hours sleep a night,
    though that doesn't seem to slow him down.

             LEWIS
        You skipped the whole paragraph.

             SHEPHERD
               (to Janie)
        And Monday morning it is.

    LEWIS falls into the pace as the three of them head for the
    double doors leading to the South Lawn.

             LEWIS
        "American can no longer afford to
        pretend that they live in a great
        society"...and then nothing. You
        dumped the whole handguns paragraph.

             SHEPHERD
        This is a time for prudence, Lewis.

             LEWIS
        That was the kick-ass section.

    The three of them are now OUTSIDE and making their way down
    the COVERED WALKWAY that runs from the East Wing to the West
    Wing.

             SHEPHERD
        I thought what with being the
        President and all...

             LEWIS
        Sir, of course I didn't mean to
        imply--

             SHEPHERD
        I thought you'd be turning cartwheels
        this morning, Lewis -- 63 percent job
        approval.

             LEWIS
        That's great news, sir, but...

    They walk past a GROUNDKEEPER who's at work at a patch of grass.

             GROUNDKEEPER
        'Morning, Mr. President.

    Before he's even completed the last syllable of the greeting,
    JANIE quickly and quietly said--

             JANIE
        Charlie.

             SHEPHERD
        'Morning, Charlie.

             LEWIS
        Sir, the press is gonna need an
        explanation.

             SHEPHERD
        For what?

    SHEPHERD, LEWIS and JANIE walk through the door being held
    open by an AGENT. The conversation continues as they make
    their way through the corridors of


 INT. THE WEST WING - DAY

    They walk quickly down a hallway teeming with STAFFERS, AIDES
 AND OFFICE WORKERS.

             LEWIS
        Because you dropped the whole kick-ass
        section, now we've got this thing hanging
        out there.

             SHEPHERD
        There's a thing hanging out there?

             LEWIS
        "Americans can no longer afford to
        pretend that they live in a great
        society." Then ...nothing. No
        explanation. No context. So now it's
        just this thing.

             SHEPHERD
        And it's hanging out there?

             LEWIS
        Yes, sir.

    SHEPHERD stops at an open doorway, calls to a STAFFER--

             SHEPHERD
        Maria--

             STAFFER (MARIA)
        Good morning, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Did they tell you I'm gonna need--

             STAFFER (MARIA)
        --overall consumer spending and not
        just first homes. Yes, sir. We'll have
        it for you in 15 minutes.

             SHEPHERD
        Thanks.

    SHEPHERD moves on. LEWIS and JANIE stay with him.

             LEWIS
        Mr. President, I really feel we need
        to focus on...

             SHEPHERD
        Lewis, however much coffee you drink
        in the morning, I want you to reduce it
        by half.

             LEWIS
        I don't drink coffee.

             SHEPHERD
        Then hit yourself over the head with
        a baseball bat, would you please?

    Another STAFFER crosses their path--

             JANIE
        Happy birthday, Laura.

             SHEPHERD
        Hey, Laura, happy birthday.

             STAFFER (LAURA)
        Thank you, sir.

    Once out of earshot--

             SHEPHERD
            (to JANIE)
        I should send her some flowers.

             JANIE
        You already did, sir.

    And, with that, they walk through a doorway and into


 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    In the OUTER OFFICE, MRS. CHAPIL, the President's secretary,
    is hard at work on a word processor. She stands as SHEPHERD
    walks in--

             MRS. CHAPIL
        Good morning, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        How're you, Mrs. Chapil?

             MRS. CHAPIL
        Fine, thank you, sir. Mr. Kodak left
        the detailed breakdown of the approval
        poll for you. He seemed to indicate that
        it was very good news.

             SHEPHERD
        Sixty-three percent of it, at any rate.

    And by now they're in the OVAL OFFICE itself. SHEPHERD has
    gone to his desk and is looking over the various overnight
    briefing memos that have been left for him. As someone used
    to doing six things at once, he has no trouble reading,
    listening, and talking at the same time.

             MRS. CHAPIL
        Lucy called just a moment ago. You
        forgot to sign her permission slip
        for her class--

             JANIE
        --the museum trip. I'll go get it.

             SHEPHERD
               (to JANIE)
        What time does she get home today?

             JANIE
        Three-twenty.

             SHEPHERD
        How's my afternoon look?

             JANIE
        Very crowded.

             SHEPHERD
        Schedule some time for me at 3:30.

             WOMAN (O.S.)
        Buenos dias, Senor Presidente.

    This from ROBIN McCALL, a strikingly tall black woman and the
    President's press secretary, as she strides into the room.

             SHEPHERD
        Too-tall McCall, how was Mexico?

             ROBIN
        I didn't truly appreciate it until I
        came back and discovered that America
        isn't a great society.

             LEWIS
               (to ROBIN)
        He dumped a whole section.

             SHEPHERD
        Now there's a thing hanging out there.

             ROBIN
        Not a great society, sir?

             SHEPHERD
        Well, with you out of the country, it
        wasn't, Robin. Now that you're back,
        we're great again.

             ROBIN
        There's a press room full of people
        saying "What did he mean by that?"

             LEWIS
        See?

             SHEPHERD
               (re: a memo he's been
                looking at)
        A.J., did you get one of these?

    This is said to A. J. MACINERNEY as he walks through a
    separate entrance on the left side of the room. In addition
    to being the President's Chief of Staff and closest advisor,
    he's the President's closest and oldest friend.

             A.J.
        Is that the letter from Solomon at
        the GDC?

             SHEPHERD
        It would appear to be a letter from
        the entire environmental community.
        These people are outta control.

             A.J.
        I think they're just frustrated,
        Mr. President.

             ROBIN
        Are they blaming the President for
        global warming?

             A.J.
        Well, they don't think he caused it,
        if that's what you mean.

               (continuing;
                to SHEPHERD)
        Sir, I'm on the phone with these
        people twice a week. I honestly
        don't know what they want at this
        point.

             LEWIS
        What they want is a 20 percent reduction in
        fossil fuel emissions.

             A.J.
        It won't pass at 20 percent.

             LEWIS
        We haven't really tried.

             A.J.
        Lewis, McSorley, McCluskey and Shane
        hold too many markers. If we try to
        push this through and lose, there will
        be a very loud thud when we hit the
        ground, and that's not what you want in
        an election year.

             SHEPHERD
        Talk to the GDC again, A.J. Tell them
        the President resents the implication
        that he's turned his back on the
        environment. Tell them I'll send 455 to
        the floor. But we're gonna ask for a
        10 percent reduction. If they want to pull
        their support, fine. At 63 percent job
        approval rating. I don't need their help
        getting a bill passed. We gotta get going--
        where's Leon?

             A.J.
               (to an AIDE)
        Would you call Mr. Kodak and tell him
        the President's--

    A.J.'s sentence is cut short by the sound of a head-on
    pedestrian collision in the outer office--

             MRS. CHAPIL (O.S.)
        Aaagh!

             KODAK (O.S.)
        Sorry! Sorry, my fault.

             A.J.
               (to the AIDE)
        Never mind.

    LEON KODAK comes into the oval office. The White House
    pollster is a likable, if clumsy, numbers whiz. He, along
    with A.J., LEWIS, and ROBIN, are regarded as the President's
    Starting Team. The people in this room have grown very close
    over the past few years.

             KODAK
        Excuse me. Good morning, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        You all right?

             KODAK
        They keep moving that big ficus plant.

             A.J.
        We're all here, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        Okay. First, I wanted to say
        congratulations. Three years ago, we
        were elected to the White House by
        one of the narrowest margins in history,
        and today Kodak tells us 63 percent of
        registered voters think we're doing a
        good job.

             KODAK
        Wait a second. You wanted me to poll
        registered voters?

    Everyone LAUGHS... even SHEPHERD smiles...

             SHEPHERD
        But the poll also tells us what we
        already knew: We don't get this
        crime bill of ours through Congress
        and these numbers are gonna be a
        memory. So, starting today, we're
        shifting it into gear.

             ROBIN
        Can I tell my morning press gaggle
        that gun control--

             A.J.
        Crime control, Robin. Gun control
        means we're wimps and we're soft on
        crime.

             LEWIS
        Hang on, are we not--

             A.J.
        Lewis--

             LEWIS
        Are we not putting back the handgun
        restrictions?!

             A.J.
        We're leaving 'em out.

             LEWIS
        Sir, we campaigned on this issue.
        Now, I understand we took it out when
        we were in the low forties, but we
        can push it through now.

             SHEPHERD
        After the elections.

             LEWIS
        Sir, we may never have an opportunity
        like this again. Let's take this 63
        percent out for a spin and see what
        it can do.

             SHEPHERD
        We can't take it out for a spin, Lewis.
        We need it to get re-elected. For
        reasons passing understanding, people
        do not relate guns to gun-related crime.

             A.J.
        Robin, you can brief the press this
        afternoon. As of today, the crime
        bill's priority one on the President's
        domestic agenda.

             ROBIN
        Got it.

             A.J.
        Leon, you're gonna run the war room.
        We're gonna need detailed projections
        for all the target districts by the
        end of the week. And, Leon, don't be
        a nice, sweet guy from Brooklyn. Do
        what the N.R.A. does.

             KODAK
        Scare the shit out of 'em?

             A.J.
        Yeah.

             KODAK
        I can do that.

             A.J.
        Lewis, we want you to be legislative
        liaison on this. You're gonna run
        the show on the hill.

             LEWIS
        Can I just say, to return to the
        subject for one moment, that it might
        be easier to fight a war on drugs if
        we weren't arming drug dealers.

    SHEPHERD responds a little too quickly -- we see a spark of a
    temper.

             SHEPHERD
        Lewis, we've gotta fight the fights
        we can win.

             LEWIS
        Yes, sir.

             A.J.
        We want to announce the crime bill at
        the State of the Union, which is 72
        days from today. The last nose count
        put us 18 votes short.

             SHEPHERD
        Eighteen votes in 72 days. Thank you,
        everyone. Janie, what's next?

             A.J.
        Thank you, Mr. President.

    The meeting's over. LEWIS, ROBIN, and KODAK say their "Thank
    you, Mr. President"'s as they exit.

             JANIE
        Security briefing, sir.

                                                            CUT TO:

 EXT. THE WASHINGTON BUSINESS DISTRICT - DAY

    It's around 10 o'clock the same morning as the capital district,
    in its own way, is showing signs of the approaching Thanksgiving
    and Christmas holidays.


 EXT. A CHROME AND GLASS BUILDING - DAY

    On the seventh floor of the building. A RECEPTIONIST tells us
    where we are by answering the phone--

             RECEPTIONIST (V.O.)
        Global Defense Council...

             SUSAN (V.O.)
        You wanted to see me?

             LEO (V.O.)
        I just got off the phone with A.J.
        MacInerney.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. LEO SOLOMON'S OFFICE - DAY

    LEO, a white-haired man in his early 60's is meeting with
    SUSAN SLOAN, a 40'ish lawyer who seems to go out of her way
    to create an issue where none exists.

             SUSAN
        Did the President read the letter?

             LEO
        The President's pissed as hell,
        Susan. That letter was a stupid move.

             SUSAN
        It was aggressive, and we should
        stand by every--

             LEO
        This isn't the guy who needed us four
        years ago, Susan. He's incredibly
        popular. He's gonna win re-election
        in a walk, and he could give a shit
        what we stand by! If the President
        passes the most important piece of
        environmental legislation in history,
        and does it despite our negative
        endorsement, our political weight in
        the future will rank somewhere below
        the Save the Spotted Owl Society.
               (beat)
        I'm bringing in some help.


             SUSAN
        We don't need another environmental
        expert to confirm what every other
        environmental expert--

             LEO
        Not an environmental expert, a
        professional political strategist.
        We're playing hardball with Andrew
        Shepherd, and we need a heavy bat.

             SUSAN
        Who?

             LEO
        Sydney Ellen Wade.

             SUSAN
        Oh Christ. That woman doesn't know
        the first thing about the
        environmental lobby.

             LEO
        She's a closer, Susan. She gets the
        job done.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    SHEPHERD and LEWIS -- working on a speech.

             SHEPHERD
        Try it like this and lose that.

             ROBIN
               (entering)
        David Sasser from the Times called
        and wanted to know what the White
        House felt was a great society.

             LEWIS
        What did you tell him?

             ROBIN
        I told him I couldn't speak for the
        President, but for my money: Bermuda.

             SHEPHERD
        Perfect.

    JANIE steps in--

             JANIE
        Mr. President, your cousin Judith's
        come down with the flu and won't be
        able to join you Thursday night.

             SHEPHERD
        That's too bad. Remind me to give
        her a call later.

             JANIE
        Yes, sir.

             ROBIN
        You gonna go stag?

             SHEPHERD
        That's not a problem.

             ROBIN
        No. We've never gone wrong parading
        you around as the lonely widower.

    The words came out casually, but they instantly freeze everyone.

             ROBIN
               (continuing)
        My God.
                 (beat)
        I can't believe I said that.
               (beat)
        Mr. President, that was an incredibly
        thoughtless remark. I would never
        dream of insulting you or the memory
        of your wife.

             SHEPHERD
        That's okay, forget it.
                (to JANIE)
        What time is it?

             JANIE
        It's 3:45, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm gonna go over and say hi to Lucy.

             JANIE
        You have the Attorney General at 4:00
        and the trade representative at 4:30.
        Somewhere in there you promised NPR
        five minutes.

             ROBIN
        Mr. President--

             SHEPHERD
        Robin, don't worry about it.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. THE RESIDENCE - DAY

    We HEAR the sound of a TROMBONE being played--not well--from
    one of the rooms. SHEPHERD comes around and down the corridor.

    He walks into--


 INT. LUCY'S ROOM - DAY

    LUCY, Shepherd's 12-year-old daughter, stops playing.

             SHEPHERD
        No, keep going. I liked what you
        were playing? What's it called?

             LUCY
        Scales.

             SHEPHERD
        Well... you play it with gusto!

             LUCY
        Are my lips swollen?

             SHEPHERD
        Are they supposed to be?

             LUCY
        Yeah.

             SHEPHERD
        Then you're doing fine.

             LUCY
        Whatcha got behind your back?

             SHEPHERD
        A little gift.

             LUCY
        Is it a dirt bike?

             SHEPHERD
        Nope.

    He hands her an old textbook ...

             LUCY
        Is it a really old seventh-grade
        textbook of yours that you're gonna
        make me read cover to cover and
        discuss at dinner and drive me crazy
        with?

             SHEPHERD
        I'm not comfortable with the "really
        old" part, but everything else you
        said was true.

             LUCY
               (reading the cover)
        "Understanding the Constitution."

             SHEPHERD
        Your social studies teacher said your
        class would be starting on the
        Constitution this week.

             LUCY
        You talked to Mr. Linder?

             SHEPHERD
        Yes. It's called a Parent-Teacher
        Conference. Mr. Linder and I were
        the key player in that discussion.
        Why don't you like social studies,
        Luce?

             LUCY
        I like it fine, Dad.

             SHEPHERD
        All your other teachers say you're
        happy, you're enthusiastic, you've
        always got your hand up...Mr. Linder
        says you don't participate unless he
        calls on you, and even then it's a
        one-word answer.

             LUCY
        I don't know what to say, Dad. I
        guess I'm just not...I don't know.

             SHEPHERD
        Luce, take a look at this book. This
        is exciting stuff. It's about who we
        are and what we want. Read what it
        says on the first page.

             LUCY
               (reading)
        "Property of Gilmore Junior High
        School."

             SHEPHERD
        The next page.

             LUCY
               (reading)
        "We, the People, of the United States,
        in order to form a more perfect union..."

             SHEPHERD
        See? Grabs you right off the bat.
        It's a page-turner.

             LUCY
        I can't wait.

             SHEPHERD
        Good, 'cause it's possible the subject
        might come up at dinner tonight.

             LUCY
        Do you see it as part of your job to
        torture me?

             SHEPHERD
        No, it's just one of the perks. See
        you tonight.

    He gives her a kiss on the head and heads out the door.
    Behind him, he hears Lucy's rendition of "Hail to the Chief."
    SHEPHERD shoots her a look as we

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

    Where SHEPHERD is finishing a meeting with the DEFENSE
    SECRETARY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS and a NATIONAL
    SECURITY ADVISOR, each of whom is accompanied by at least one
    DEPUTY or AIDE. A.J. is also present.

             DEFENSE SECRETARY
        The C-STAD hardware's been in place
        for a month. We've got 22 instructors
        from the Army Air Defense School waiting
        to go down and train the Israelis.

             A.J.
        How soon can you deploy them?

             CHAIRMAN
        We can airlift 'em in the morning.
        They'll have C-STAD operational in 20
        days.

             A.J.
        Any security concerns?

             SECURITY ADVISOR
        If anybody wanted to hit it, they'd
        have hit it by now.

             SHEPHERD
        Okay. Let's move on it. Thank you,
        gentlemen.

    SHEPHERD and A.J. leave the Cabinet Room amidst a volley of
    "good-bye" 's and "Thank you, Mr. President"'s.
    They pass MRS. CHAPIL and JANIE.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Have a good evening, Mrs. Chapil.

             MRS. CHAPIL
        You too, Mr. President.

    SHEPHERD starts his walk from the West Wing back to the
    residence.

    It is the exact reverse of the path he took to the OVAL OFFICE
    in the morning.

             SHEPHERD
        I'll see you in the morning, Janie.

             JANIE
        You will, Mr. President.

    A SECRET SERVICE AGENT follows at a distance.

             AGENT #2
               (sotto)
        Liberty is moving.

             A.J.
        Leo Solomon brought in a hired gun
        at the GDC.

             SHEPHERD
        It's about time.

             A.J.
        She's a lawyer from Virginia named
        Sydney Ellen Wade. I know this woman
        well. She's had a lot of success
        getting congressmen elected.

             SHEPHERD
        Maybe we should try to steal her.
        Ten percent, A.J. Don't let them
        leave the room till they're clear
        about that.

             A.J.
        You know, if you've got a free second,
        maybe you could stop in and say hello.
        It might smooth the way.

             SHEPHERD
        Mention it to Janie.

             A.J.
        Good.

             SHEPHERD
        Then let's clear this off the table
        and get everybody focused on the
        crime bill. I don't want to win
        this. I want to win it by a couple of
        touchdowns.

             A.J.
        We will, Mr. President.

                   SHEPHERD
        Good.

    A.J. starts to leave. SHEPHERD stops him.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
     A.J.?

             A.J.
        Yes?

             SHEPHERD
        Listen, Robin said something to me
        today that I'm sure she wouldn't have
        said it if...I mean, she wasn't saying
        it to me, I realize...
               (beat)
        Ah, never mind. Have a good night.

             A.J.
        Good night, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        A.J., when we're out of the office
        and we're alone, you can call me Andy.

             A.J.
        I beg your pardon?

             SHEPHERD
        I mean you were the best man at my
        wedding, for crying out loud. Call
        me Andy.

             A.J.
               (laughing off the
                suggestion)
        Whatever you say, Mr. President.

    They have reached the south entrance to the White House.

             A.J.
               (continuing)
        Have a good night, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Good night, A.J.

    SHEPHERD enters the White House.

                                                            CUT TO:

 EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

    It's early morning of the following day, and the grounds
    outside are in full swing.


 EXT. THE NORTHWEST EXECUTIVE ENTRANCE - DAY

    In front of the guardhouse, Susan and her new colleague,
    SYDNEY ELLEN WADE, are being cleared.

             SYDNEY
               (to the GUARD)
        Hi, my name's Sydney Ellen Wade.

             SUSAN
        He just needs your driver's license.

    SUSAN hands the guard her license.

             SYDNEY
               (handing him her
                license)
        I'm from Virginia.

             SUSAN
        He doesn't care.

             SYDNEY
               (to the GUARD)
        I'm here for a meeting with Mr.
        MacInerney.

             SUSAN
        He doesn't need to know that.

    The GUARD BUZZES her through the gate.

             SYDNEY
               (to the GUARD)
        Forgive me, this is my first time at
        the White House. I'm trying to savor
        the Capra-esque quality.

             SUSAN
        He doesn't know what Capra-esque
        means.

             GUARD
               (to SUSAN)
        Yeah, I do. Frank Capra, great
        American director -- It's a Wonderful
        Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
               (handing SYDNEY and SUSAN
                their laminated passes)
        Sydney Ellen Wade of Virginia. Knock
        'em dead.

             SYDNEY
        Thanks.

    SYDNEY and SUSAN begin to walk up the path toward the entrance
    to the West Wing.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    A meeting with the EDUCATION SECRETARY, the HUD SECRETARY,
    several AIDES and LEWIS is breaking up. SHEPHERD is ushering
    people out.

             SHEPHERD
        The day the government starts
        subsidizing private schools is the
        day we give up on public education.

         EDUCATION SECRETARY
        I know the proposal only scratches
        the surface, but it's the least we
        can do.

             SHEPHERD
        We're already doing the least we can
        do, but I can't think of anything
        better, so we'll go with this for now.
               (to HUD SECRETARY)
        Jerry, say hello to Linda for me.
        And if I don't see you again, have a
        good Thanksgiving.

             HUD SECRETARY
        Thank you, Mr. President.

    The room has cleared...JANIE is arranging new papers on the
    President's desk.

             SHEPHERD
        How're we doing?

             JANIE
        You're running four minutes ahead of
        schedule.

             SHEPHERD
        Ahead?

             JANIE
        Yes, sir.

             SHEPHERD
               (exited)
        Janie, this is unprecedented. I don't
        know what to do with myself.

             JANIE
        Mr. MacInerney asked me to remind you
        to pop your head in on--

             SHEPHERD
        The GDC meeting. Right.

                                                            CUT TO:

    INT. A.J.'s OFFICE - DAY

             A.J.
        Your concerns are not falling on deaf
        ears. The environmental lobby has
        known no greater alley in the White
        House than President Shepherd.

             SYDNEY
        Hardly an impressive distinction, A.J.

    SUSAN is trying to avert the inevitable--

             SUSAN
        Sydney, we should leave Mr. MacInerney
        alone now. He's already given us more
        time than--

             SYDNEY
        Susan, Mr. MacInerney doesn't want
        us to leave, because Mr. MacInerney's
        not yet done what he needs to do today.

             SUSAN
        Sir, Ms. Wade's been thrown into the
        deep end of the pool on her first day.
        She hasn't even had a chance to read
        the report of the Quebec Conference.

    SYDNEY -- whose brain is telling her to slam on the brakes,
    check her swing, smile and leave the building -- decides,
    instead, to hit the gas and swing away. The OTHERS are watching
    this as if they were watching the evolution of a train wreck.

             SYDNEY
        You're right. I haven't read it. If
        someone had asked me yesterday, I'd
        have told them the Quebec Conference
        was made up of six professional hockey
        teams. But what I do know is that it's
        time for the President to run for
        president again. Leon Kodak is as good
        as it gets when it comes to electoral
        strategy, and I'm certain he's told the
        President exactly what I'd tell him:
        Nail down Michigan and California,
        where they make cars and airplanes --
        and burn plenty of fossil fuel. But if
        I had read these eight hundred pages,
        I would have discovered that it's the
        burning of fossil fuels that's been
        mostly responsible for global warming and
        that the 20 percent reduction recommended
        by the GDC is a necessary first step
        toward arresting the catastrophic greenhouse
        effect that has gone unchecked by this
        administration...

             SUSAN
               (to SYDNEY)
        It's really time to--

             SYDNEY
        Susan, I promise you, the White House
        Chief of Staff will not let us leave
        here until he's broken the bad news.

    No one in the room really understands what's going on...
    except A.J., who would like to take the time to admire
    SYDNEY but, of course, can't.

             A.J.
               (pause)
        I'm afraid Sydney's right. Although
        not about Michigan and California.
        The President has asked me to convey
        to you that he's sending his energy
        bill to the floor with a call for a
        reduction of 10 percent.

    There's an uncomfortable silence in the room...

             A.J.
               (continuing)
        The President is willing to go it
        alone on this, but he's asking for,
        and frankly he's expecting, the full
        support of the GDC.

             SYDNEY
        The President's expecting our full
        support?

             A.J.
        Yes, he is.

             SYDNEY
        The President's dreamin', A.J.

             SUSAN
        Sydney!

             SYDNEY
        --the President has critically
        misjudged reality. If he honestly
        thinks that the environmental
        community is going to whistle a
        happy tune while rallying support
        around this pitifully lame mockery of
        environmental leadership just because
        he's a nice guy and he's done better
        than his predecessors, then your boss
        is the Chief Executive of Fantasyland.

             VOICE (O.S.)
        Let's take him out back and beat the
        shit out of him.

    SYDNEY's blown out her speakers because she's turned in the
    direction of the private office entrance to see, live and in
    person, The President of the United States.

    She is frozen. Mortified. If she were capable of thought
    process, she would be preying for something heavy to fall on
    her head right now.

             A.J.
        Good morning, Mr. President. How are
        you today?

             SHEPHERD
        Couldn't be better.
               (to the GROUP)
        I apologize for the interruption, but
        A.J. asked me to stop and say hello.
        You wouldn't be Sydney Ellen Wade, by
        any chance, would you?

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, I'm...don't know what
        to say. I'm speechless.

             SHEPHERD
        All evidence to the contrary.

             SUSAN
        Mr. President, we haven't met. My
        name is Susan Sloan. I used to work
        with Congressman Myers. I hope this
        episode in no way--

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney?

             SYDNEY
        Yes, sir?

             SHEPHERD
        You got a second?

             SYDNEY
               (quietly)
        Of course.

    SYDNEY gets up to leave. SHEPHERD escorts her out of A.J.'s
    office and into the hallway.

             SHEPHERD
        I thought maybe we might have a word
        in private. Someplace a little less
        intimidating.
               (calling)
        Janie?

             JANIE
        Yes, sir.

             SHEPHERD
               (to SYDNEY)
        This is my personal assistant, Janie
        Basdin. Janie, would you show Ms.
        Wade into the rec room. I'll be there
        in a second.

    SHEPHERD enters a doorway off of the hall. SYDNEY continues
    down the hallway.

             JANIE
               (to SYDNEY)
        This way...

    JANIE leads SYDNEY into...


 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    ...where SYDNEY just stands uncomfortably, not knowing
    whether to sit or stand. Waiting. Trying -- the way a jumper
    on a window ledge tries not to look down -- trying not to
    notice things like the JFK Desk, the Seal of the President of
    the United States, the bust of Lincoln...

    SHEPHERD strides in--

             SHEPHERD
        Sorry to keep you waiting.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President--

             SHEPHERD
        Is it okay if I call you Sydney?

             SYDNEY
        Of course. Mr. President--

             SHEPHERD
        Have you ever been in the Oval Office?

             SYDNEY
        I've just been on the regular tour.
        It didn't include...

             SHEPHERD
        I hear it's pretty good.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, what you saw in there
        was nothing more than vanity run amok.
        I was showing off for a colleague who
        doesn't think very much of me. It'd
        be a real injustice for you to hold the
        GDC accountable for my behavior today.
        On top of which, I'm monumentally sorry
        for having insulted you like that.

             SHEPHERD
        Are you under the impression that I'm
        mad at you?

             SYDNEY
               (pause)
        Well...

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney, seldom does a day go by that
        I'm not burned in effigy.

             SYDNEY
        Not by a professional political
        operative standing 30 feet from the
        Oval Office.

             SHEPHERD
        No, I'll give you that.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President--

             SHEPHERD
        Did you know that when the City
        Planners sat down to design
        Washington, D.C., their intention was
        to build a city that would intimidate
        and humble foreign heads of state?
        It's true.

             SYDNEY
        I didn't know that.


             SHEPHERD
        The White House has the single
        greatest home court advantage in the
        modern world.

             SYDNEY
        Learned that one the hard way.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney, this bill is important to me.

             SYDNEY
        Yes, sir, I'll convey your message.

             SHEPHERD
        But you don't believe me?

             SYDNEY
        The GDC is asking for 20 percent, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        It's not gonna pass at 20 percent.
        It's a long shot at 10.

             SYDNEY
        How do you know that until you put
        the full weight of the White House
        behind--

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney, at 20 percent, we are 34 votes
        shy in the House. It can't be done.
        But I tell you what. I'll make you a
        deal with you. If you can get 24
        votes, I'll get you the last 10.

             SYDNEY
        Twenty-four votes?

             SHEPHERD
        If you can swing 24 votes by the
        State of the Union, I'll promise you
        full White House support.

             SYDNEY
        Do I have your word on that, sir?

             SHEPHERD
        Absolutely. Listen, are you hungry?
        I skipped breakfast. You wanna have
        some coffee? A donut or something?

             SYDNEY
        Sir, I'm a little intimidated by my
        surroundings, and yes, I've gotten
        off to a rocky and somewhat stilted
        beginning, but don't let that
        diminish the weight of my message:
        The GDC has been at every president
        for the last decade and a half that
        global warming is a calamity, the
        effects of which will be second only
        to nuclear war. The best scientists
        in the world have given you every
        reason to take the GDC seriously.
        But I'm gonna give you one more. If
        you don't live up to the deal you
        just made, come New Hampshire, we're
        gonna go shopping for a new candidate.

    SYDNEY heads for the door--

             SHEPHERD
        You can't do that, Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        With all due respect, Mr. President,
        who's gonna stop me?

             SHEPHERD
        Well, if you go through that door,
        the United States Secret Service.
        That's my private office.
                  (pointing)
               You need to go out that way.

             SYDNEY
               (beat)
        Ah.

    SYDNEY, with as much dignity as she can muster, leaves the
    Oval Office. SHEPHERD muses about what has just transpired.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. THE BILLIARD ROOM - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD has converted one of the rooms on the second floor
    residence. His expert shot demonstrates that playing pool is
    something he does almost as well as being President. A.J.
    stands to the side with his pool cue.

             A.J.
        McSorley, McCluskey and Shane know
        we're making our move on the crime
        bill. They're circling the wagons on
        the assault weapons.

             SHEPHERD
        Should I meet with them?

             A.J.
        Let Lewis take a pass at them first.

             SHEPHERD
        Fine. 2 in the side.

    SHEPHERD sends the two-ball flying into the corner pocket.

             A.J.
        Nice shot, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        Nice shot, Mr. President? You won't
        call me by my name when we're playing
        pool.

    A.J. assesses the table.

             A.J.
        I will not do it playing pool, I will
        not do it in a school, I do not like
        green eggs and ham, I do not like
        them Sam I am.

             SHEPHERD
        At ease, A.J., and get away from the
        pocket. 9 in the corner.

    SHEPHERD makes the shot.

             A.J.
        Leo Solomon phoned. He said he was
        thrilled with the deal you made this
        morning.

    SHEPHERD lifts his cue for a moment...trying to think it
    there was something he was supposed to tell A.J.

             SHEPHERD
        I forgot to tell you.

             A.J.
        It's a waste of time.

             SHEPHERD
        Not our time. GDC makes a big
        push for the votes, and when they
        come up short, we move in with the
        softer bill, to get passed, we're
        everybody's hero. 3 in the side.

             A.J.
        Also, Sydney Wade called.

    SHEPHERD, a hair too excited by this news, misses by a mile.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney Wade?

             A.J.
               (beat)
        She wanted to apologize one more time
        for her behavior. 3 in the side.

             SHEPHERD
        Did she say anything about me?

             A.J.
               (beat)
        Sydney Wade?

             SHEPHERD
        When she called.

             A.J.
        Did she say anything about you?
        13 in the corner.

             SHEPHERD
        No, it's just that we had a nice
        couple of minutes together. She
        threatened me and I patronized her
        and we didn't have anything to eat,
        but I thought there was a connection.

    A.J. is staring at him in disbelief.

             SHEPHERD
        She didn't say anything about me?

             A.J.
            (quietly)
        Well, no, but I could pass her a note
        before study hall and--

             SHEPHERD
        Tell me this: Hypothetically, what
        would happen--

             A.J.
        I feel a nightmare coming on. 1 in
        the corner.

    He misses the shot.

             SHEPHERD
        --if I called Sydney and asked her
        to be my date at the State Dinner
        Thursday night?

             A.J.
        You're not serious.

             SHEPHERD
        Don't I sound serious?

             A.J.
        The President can't just go out on
        a date.

             SHEPHERD
        Why not? Jefferson did. Wilson did.

             A.J.
        You're not--

             SHEPHERD
        Wilson was widowed during his first
        term. He meets a woman named Edith
        Gault. He dated her, courted her,
        married her, and somewhere in there
        managed to form the League of Nations.

             A.J.
        Mr. President, this is an election
        year. If you're looking for female
        companionship, we can make
        arrangements that'll insure total
        privacy and--

             SHEPHERD
        I don't want you to get me a girl,
        A.J. What is this, Vegas?

             A.J.
        No, sir, this is the White House.

             SHEPHERD
        And I'm talking about something
        that in no way is at conflict with
        my oath of office. I'm a single
        adult, and I met a woman that I'd
        like to see again socially. How's
        that different from what Wilson did?

             A.J.
        The difference is he didn't have to
        be the president on television.
        You've said it a million times:
        If there were a television set in every
        living room 60 years ago, this country
        does not elect a man in a wheelchair.

             SHEPHERD
        What are you saying?

             A.J.
        We'll take a hit.

             SHEPHERD
        How big?

             A.J.
        I don't know. Five points. Maybe
        more.

             SHEPHERD
        Five points we're standing here
        talking about?!

             A.J.
        It could be more.

             SHEPHERD
        I drop five points when Wisconsin
        doesn't make it to the Rose Bowl.
        5 in the corner.

             A.J.
        Do you want me to have Kodak put
        together some numbers so we know
        what we're talking about?

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah.
               (beat)
        No. No. I don't want to check a
        polling sample to see if this is
        okay, like I'm asking permission
        to stay out an hour past curfew.
        This isn't the business of the
        American people.

             A.J.
        Mr. President, the American people
        have a funny way of deciding on
        their own what is and what is not
        their business.

             SHEPHERD
        I like her, A.J.
               (pause)
        Stop being my chief of staff for one
        minute.

             A.J.
               (beat)
        Give her a call.

             SHEPHERD
               (calling out)
        Janie!
               (to A.J.)
        She didn't say anything about me?

             A.J.
        She said you're taller than she
        thought you'd be.

             SHEPHERD
        That's something.

    JANIE enters--

             JANIE
        Yes, sir?

             SHEPHERD
        I need you to track down a phone
        number.

                                                            CUT TO:

 EXT. A RESIDENTIAL STREET IN GEORGETOWN - NIGHT

    Lined with red-brick, three-story walk-ups.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. BETH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    A few suitcases and two or three moving cartons serve as
    evidence that SYDNEY's staying with her sister BETH
    temporarily.

    BETH, still in hospital scrubs from a 12-hour shift, opens a
    bottle of wine while SYDNEY, in a bathrobe and wet hair,
    tries to get off the phone.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Richard...Richard, it wasn't funny.
        I acted like a college freshman at a
        protest rally.

             BETH
        Tell him the part about walking out
        the wrong door.

             SYDNEY
        Oh God, I forgot about that.
               (back into phone)
        No, Richard...Richard, I don't want
        to hear your Andrew Shepherd imitation...

             BETH
        I wanna hear it.

             SYDNEY
        I'm hanging up now, Richard...
        Tonight? I was gonna go to bed early
        and wake up when there's a new
        president.

    She hangs up.

             SYDNEY
               (continuing)
        The President must think I'm a third-
        rate jerk.

             BETH
        If he thinks you're a jerk, I'm sure
        he thinks you're a first-rate jerk.

             SYDNEY
        I'll tell you one thing, boy. I
        regrouped, you gotta gimme that.
        I pulled it together at the end. I
        stood in the middle of the Oval
        Office and I made it very clear that
        from now on, he who doesn't take the
        GDC seriously does so at his peril!

             BETH
        And then you walked out the wrong
        door.

             SYDNEY
        Are you gonna be throwing that back
        at me the rest of my life?

             BETH
        That's my current plan, yes.

    The TELEPHONE RINGS...

             SYDNEY
        That's gonna be Leo Solomon. He said
        he'd call at nine.

    SYDNEY picks up the phone--

             SYDNEY
               (continuing;
                into phone)
        Hello?

             SHEPHERD
        Uh, hi, is this Sydney?

    SYDNEY doesn't recognize the voice--

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Leo?

             PHONE VOICE
        No, this is Andrew Shepherd.

    SYDNEY looks at BETH and rolls her eyes, then explains to
    her--

             SYDNEY
        Andrew Shepherd.
               (back in the phone)
        You're hilarious, Richard. You're a
        regular riot.

    And we CROSS-CUT between SYDNEY and SHEPHERD.

             SHEPHERD
        Uhh...this isn't Richard, it's Andrew
        Shepherd.

             SYDNEY
        Oh, really. Well, I'm so glad you
        called, because I forgot to tell
        you today what a nice ass you have.
        I'm also impressed that you were able
        to get my phone number, considering
        I don't have a phone. Good night,
        Richard.

    SYDNEY hangs up the phone.


 INT. SHEPHERD'S PRIVATE OFFICE/THE RESIDENCE - NIGHT

    as SHEPHERD, undaunted, dials the number again.

             SHEPHERD
               (under his breath)
        This used to be easier.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. BETH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    as the PHONE RINGS.

             SYDNEY
        I don't believe this.

             BETH
        You want me to deal with him?

             SYDNEY
        No way. I may choke in front of
        Shepherd, but Richard Reynolds I
        can handle.

    She picks up the phone.

             SYDNEY
               (continuing)
        Hello?

    And we begin CROSS-CUTTING again between the two.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney?

             SYDNEY
        Are you learning-impaired?!

             SHEPHERD
        Listen, do me a favor. Hang up the
        phone.

             SYDNEY
               (beat)
        What?

             SHEPHERD
        Hang up the phone. Then dial 456-1414.
        When you get the White House operator,
        give her your name and tell her you
        want to speak to the President.

    SHEPHERD hangs up.

                                                   CUT TO:

 INT. BETH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    SYDNEY's still holding the phone and seems a little
    confused...an emotion which is about to be replaced by horror
    as the unbelievable into the reality.

             SYDNEY
               (to herself)
        This isn't happening to me.

    She dials.

             BETH
        What's going on?

             SYDNEY
               (to herself)
        It's not possible I did this twice in
        one day.

    The OPERATOR answers.

             OPERATOR
               (filtered)
        Good evening, the White House.

    SYDNEY swallows.

             OPERATOR
               (continuing; filtered)
        Hello?

             SYDNEY
                  (quietly)
        My name's Sydney Ellen Wade. I'd
        like to--

             OPERATOR (O.S.)
               (filtered)
        The President's expecting your call,
        ma'am. I'll put you right through.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S PRIVATE OFFICE/THE RESIDENCE - NIGHT

    He's just opened a bottle of beer when the phone rings.
    He picks up the phone--

             SHEPHERD
        Hello.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, I'm sure there's an
        appropriate thing to say at this
        moment. Probably some formal apology
        for the nice-ass remark would be in
        order. I just don't quite know how
        to word it.

             SHEPHERD
        It's my fault. I shouldn't have
        called you at home. Should I call
        you at the office tomorrow?

             SYDNEY
        No, sir, of course not. I mean --
        yes, you can call me anytime you want
        -- this is fine. Right now is fine.
        When I said "of course not," I meat
        that...You know what? The hell with it
        -- I'm moving to another country.

             SHEPHERD
               (smiling)
        What did you mean when you said you
        don't have a phone.

             SYDNEY
        I just moved to Washington over the
        weekend, and my apartment isn't ready
        yet. This is my sister's apartment.
        Come to think of it, how did you get
        this number?

             SHEPHERD
               (beat)
        How did I get the number. That's a
        reasonable question. I don't know.
        Probably the FBI.

             SYDNEY
               (trying to pretend
                it's just another
            guy on the phone)
        The FBI. Sure. 'Cause i-if you want
        to find someone and you're the
        president, that's who you would call.

             SHEPHERD
        You know who else is good at that?

             SYDNEY
        The C.I.A.?

             SHEPHERD
        Well, yeah, but I was thinking of the
        Internal Revenue Service. They have
        computer files that...Well...I should
        stop stalling. As I'm sure you know,
        the French have elected themselves a
        new president, and we're having a formal
        state dinner at the White House, and I
        was wondering -- and you're under no
        obligation at all -- but I thought it
        might be fun... I was wondering if you
        maybe wanted to go...with me, and uh...
        there it is. That's why I was calling.

    There's a long silence on the phone.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Sydney? Sydney, Congress doesn't
        take this long to--

             SYDNEY
        The President has asked me to join
        him in representing our country.
        I'm honored. I'm equal to the task.
        And I won't let you down, sir.

             SHEPHERD
               (beat)
        Sydney, this is just a dinner. We're
        not gonna be doing espionage or
        anything.

             SYDNEY
        No. Of course. I'm a little...uh...what
        do I do? I, I mean, where do I go?
        Should I meet you? Will you...

             SHEPHERD
        I'm gonna have a very nice woman
        named Marsha Bridgeport call you.
        She's the White House Social Director,
        and she'll help you with anything you
        want. Now when she calls you and tells
        you her name is Marsha Bridgeport,
        it'll help if you give her the
        benefit of the doubt.

             SYDNEY
        Of course.

             SHEPHERD
        I'll see you Thursday night.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, thank you for asking
        me. Really. This is a first for me.

             SHEPHERD
        Me too.

    They hang up.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 EXT. OLD EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUILDING - DAY

 INT. THE CRIME BILL WAR ROOM - DAY

    A large conference room at OEOB has been converted for the
    use of a half-dozen STAFFERS as well as ten or twelve
    interns, some of them high school age. A sign on a
    corkboard reads, "17 Votes in 69 Days."

    The two numbers are written on two separate pads of paper so
    that the top sheets can be torn off to reveal the following
    numbers in descending order.

    There is also a bulletin board that lists every member of the
    House of Representatives and is divided up into five columns:
    FOR, LEANING TOWARDS, UNDECIDED, LEANING AGAINST, and AGAINST.

             KODAK
        Who's on Indiana?
               (raising his voice)
        Excuse me. New people, I can't
        remember your names. Raise your
        hand if you're on Indiana.

    Two INTERNS raise their hands--

             KODAK
               (continuing)
        Put your hands down -- you're on
        Illinois.

    LEWIS comes in.

             LEWIS
        We've got Jarrett.

             KODAK
        What?

             LEWIS
        George Jarrett. He's ours. Solid
        "yes."

             KODAK
        I don't believe it.
               (to an INTERN)
        You. New guy. "Jarrett, Democrat,
        Minnesota." Slide his name on over
        to "for."
               (to Lewis)
        We just had his name laminated under
        "Undecided." How'd you get the fence
        pole out of his butt?

             LEWIS
        I wish I could take credit. He just
        said, "Lewis, I support the President
        a hundred percent ." Not the bill,
        the President.

             LEWIS
        We're gonna win this in a walk. It's
        like a kissing booth at a carnival.
        Give us a vote, get a photo-op with
        number 63.

    LEWIS reaches to the tote board and pulls the "17" off,
    revealing "16."

             LEWIS
        We should have gone after the
        handguns.

             KODAK
        We gotta do one thing at a time.

             LEWIS
        We don't have time to do one thing at
        a time.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. FOSSIL FUEL WAR ROOM - DAY

    A GDC conference room that SYDNEY, her assistant, DAVID, and
    two INTERNS have made into their 72-day headquarters. A
    similar tote board reads "23 Votes in 69 Days."

    The two interns are marking spreadsheets. DAVID is on one
    phone, SYDNEY is on another.

             DAVID
               (into phone)
        Carol, it's David in Sydney Wade's
        office. I want to confirm her lunch
        with the Congressman.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        We could do with a little party
        leadership, Mike. Is the Majority
        Whip takin' a break? Congress is in
        session, right, I'm not wrong about
        that?

    LISA, another intern, is hanging up a phone in the background
    and crossing to the corkboard.

             LISA
        I just got off with Luther Simons.
        Brock's on board.

             SYDNEY
        Terrific!

    She rips the "23" off, making it "22." SYDNEY reaches for
    her coffee and knocks over a cup of pencils. In righting the
    pencils, she knocks over her coffee.

             DAVID
        You're awfully jumpy today. What do
        you have -- a big date tonight?

    With that, a big pile of papers is sent flying off the desk.

                                                   CUT TO:

 INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

    It's a beautiful night. The White House, lit up and shimmering
    in its golden glow, would appear now to be exactly what the
    poet was looking at when he described The Shining City on a
    Hill.

    Limousines, several of which fly the flag of foreign
    diplomats, pull up one by one, their doors opened by white-
    gloved MARINES.

    White lights from television cameras mix with the fireworks
    of flashbulbs from the print media.


 INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

    The GUESTS -- of whom there are a couple hundred -- in black tie
    and evening gowns, are entering the receiving area.

    All this happening, of course, under the eye of the SECRET
    SERVICE AGENTS, both American and French, who are
    strategically placed throughout.

    The light from a TV camera comes on as a reporter begins a
    quick stand-up interview with ROBERT RUMSON, a handsome man
    in his late forties.

             REPORTER (LLOYD)
               (to the camera)
        I'm standing here with Senate
        Minority Leader Robert Rumson, just
        one of the many guests arriving at
        what, for a few hours at least, is a
        non-partisan White House. Senator,
        the latest public opinion survey
        shows the President with approval
        ratings that would make him all but
        unbeatable, come next November. Is
        there a Republican who can mount a
        serious challenge, and are you that
        candidate?

             RUMSON
        Lloyd, it's a long time till next
        November. Right now, I'm just
        looking forward to a pleasant evening.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

    Lucy is standing behind her father, tying his bow tie.

             SHEPHERD
        That's a little tight, Luce.

             LUCY
        It's supposed to be tight. It's
        supposed to make you look regal.

             SHEPHERD
        Is it supposed to cut off the blood
        flow to my face?

             LUCY
        All done.

    He looks in the mirror.

             SHEPHERD
        Not bad. Where did you learn how to
        do this?

             LUCY
        Social studies.

             SHEPHERD
        Very funny.
                   (smiles)
        Really, where did you learn?

             LUCY
        I don't know...I just guess...

             SHEPHERD
        Sweetie, did Mom teach you how to do
        this?

             LUCY
        Yeah.

             SHEPHERD
                   (pause)
        Lucy, is this okay with you? My
        having dinner with a woman?

             LUCY
        It's totally okay.

             SHEPHERD
        Are you sure? Because if you want to
        talk about it...

             LUCY
        Dad, it's cool. Go for it.

             SHEPHERD
        You know, I'm a little nervous.

             LUCY
        You'll be fine. Just be yourself.

             SHEPHERD
        Be myself.

             LUCY
        And compliment her shoes.

             SHEPHERD
        Her shoes?

             LUCY
        Girls like that.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. EAST WING ENTRANCE - NIGHT

    Dressed in formal, but not festive, clothes and holding, as
    always, her notepad, JANIE waits by the door.

    A SECRET SERVICE AGENT sits alone behind a small desk.

    The door opens and SYDNEY walks in. She's, needless to say,
    stunning.

             JANIE
        Miss Wade? The President wants you
        to join him upstairs in the
        residence. May I show you the way?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SITTING HALL/THE RESIDENCE - NIGHT

    This formal reception area is filled with special GUESTS. As
    SYDNEY walks in, A.J. goes to her immediately.

             A.J.
        Sydney, come on in. You look
        beautiful.

             SYDNEY
        Thank you. I have no idea what I'm
        doing here.

             A.J.
        I promise you there's no hidden
        agenda.

    SHEPHERD approaches SYDNEY.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney. Andrew Shepherd. We spoke on
        the phone.

             SYDNEY
        Yes, sir. I remember.

    ESTHER, MACINERNERY, A.J.'S wife, joins them.

             A.J.
        You know my wife, Esther.

             SYDNEY
        Sure. It's nice to see you again.

             ESTHER
               (affectionately)
        Sydney, the President told me about
        how you two met. I think it's
        priceless.

             SYDNEY
        I don't know what happened. One
        minute I was calling him a mockery of
        an environmental leader. The next
        minute I had a date.

             ESTHER
        Men like being insulted by women.
        It makes them feel loved. Don't ask
        me why.

             A.J.
        Sydney, when you meet the French
        President, don't make him feel too
        loved, all right? We just signed a
        new trade agreement.

             SYDNEY
        Got it.

    The French President, D'ASTIER, and his WIFE approach.

             SHEPHERD
               (to D'Astier)
        Mr. President, would allow me to
        introduce Sydney Ellen Wade of the
        Commonwealth of Virginia. Sydney,
        this is President Rene-Jean D'Astier
        and his wife Monique Danielle
        D'Astier of France.

             SYDNEY
        An honor to meet you both.

             JANIE
        Mr. President, I'm sorry to
        interrupt. The receiving line is in
        place.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney, it sounds like our table's
        ready.

    SHEPHERD's guests make their way out of the residence,
    leaving SHEPHERD with SYDNEY and the FRENCH PRESIDENT and
 MDME. D'ASTIER.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. STAIRCASE - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD and SYDNEY are walking down the staircase that leads
    to the red-carpeted hall through which the President enters
    the East Room.

    The GROUP escorting the President gives them wide berth so
    that the two of them can have some privacy.

             SHEPHERD
        Once we hit the bottom of the
        stairs, I gotta do a thing.
        You'll be escorted...

             SYDNEY
        They took me through it.

    After a slight pause--

             SYDNEY
               (continuing)
        Do you do this often, sir?

             SHEPHERD
               (beat)
        This is, actually, only our second
        State Dinner. The first was for the
        Emperor of Japan, who died shortly
        after that, so we stopped having them
        for a while, just in case.

             SYDNEY
        I meant do you go out on...do you--
        often--do you--

             SHEPHERD
        Do I date a lot?

             SYDNEY
        Well, yeah.

             SHEPHERD
        No. How 'bout you?

             SYDNEY
        Me? Lately, I seem to be going out
        on a lot of first dates.

             SHEPHERD
        Then you're experienced at this.

             SYDNEY
        Oh yeah, you can ask me anything.

             SHEPHERD
        How are we doing so far?

             SYDNEY
        It's hard to say at this point. So
        far it's just your typical first date
        stuff.

    And all of a sudden an INCREDIBLE SOUND from inside the East
    Room--

    --The Marine Corps Brass and Percussion Ensemble plays four
    ruffles and flourishes.

             SHEPHERD
        Damn. And I wanted to find a way to
        be different from the other guys.

    A BOOMING VOICE over the P.A. announces--

             VOICE (O.S.)
        Ladies and gentlemen, the President
        of the United States.

    And now -- the whole walk timing out with incredible precision --

             SHEPHERD
        By the way, nice shoes.

    --SHEPHERD walks into the hall as the Brass and Percussion
    Ensemble plays HAIL TO THE CHIEF.

    The 180 GUESTS come to their feet and applaud long and loud.

    The GROUP following the President catches up to the spot
    where SYDNEY has stopped walking. They all join in the
    applause. We can see in SYDNEY's face that she's been quite
    swept up.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. EAST ROOM - NIGHT

    The room is beautifully appointed, with the Marine Corps
    Dance Band playing dinner music -- and the SECRET SERVICE
    strategically positioned.

                                                            CUT TO:

 AT SHEPHERD'S TABLE

    STEWARDS are clearing away the main course and refilling wine
    glasses.

    In addition to the two main couples, and ESTHER MacINERNEY
    and TWO OTHER COUPLES are seated at the President's table.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, the President and Mrs.
        D'Astier look bored. They're not
        talking to anybody.

             SHEPHERD
        They're hammered. Esther, do you speak
        French?

             ESTHER
        Latin.

             SHEPHERD
        I thought you spoke French.

             ESTHER
        No, Latin.

             SHEPHERD
        Great, next time Julius Caesar comes
        to town, you're our gal. Sydney, I
        don't suppose that you speak any--

             SYDNEY
                 (taking over--
                  to D'Astier)
        Monsieur le President, nous sommes
        tous habilles, nous avons ce
        merveilleux orchestre, une piece
        magnifique...comment se fait-il que
        les invites ne dansent pas?

             SHEPHERD
               (proudly to A.J. and
                Esther)
        That's my date.

             D'ASTIER
        Je ne connais pas la tradition en
        Amerique, mais dans mon pays, si les
        invites de Louis XVI et Marie
        Antoinette avaient ose danser devant
        le roi et la reine, ils auraient
        perdu la tete.

             SYDNEY
        Really?

             MADAME D'ASTIER
        Absolument.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney, you didn't dissolve the NATO
        treaty, did you?

             SYDNEY
        I just said that we're sitting in this
        beautiful room, listening to the music
        of this wonderful orchestra, and I
        wondered why nobody was dancing.

             D'ASTIER
        And I informed Ms. Wade that in my
        country, a guest at the palace of
        Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette would
        soon find their head in a guillotine
        if they made the impertinent gesture
        of dancing without so much as a
        by-your-leave from the King and the Queen.

             A.J.
        I'll bet no one accused Louis of
        being soft on crime.

             SYDNEY
        There's a lesson there, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        More beheadings at the White House?

             A.J.
        Bob Rumson would embrace it.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm sure he would, but I have a
        better idea.

    SHEPHERD stands, holds out his hand to SYDNEY.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Would you like to dance?

             SYDNEY
        Uh, yeah, I guess. I mean, yes, sir,
        I'd love to.

    SHEPHERD and SYDNEY move to the dance floor, accompanied by
    the appreciative "oooh's" and "ahh's" of the GUESTS.

    The dance band begins, and SYDNEY and SHEPHERD dance...

    ...beautifully.

                                                      CUT TO:

 THE GUESTS

    each and every one of them, have stopped all conversation and
    are fixating on this captivating sight. As we go around the
    room, we can observe the subtle reactions of, at first,
    various anonymous GUESTS, then

                                                      CUT TO:

 A.J. AND ESTHER MACINERNEY,

    holding hands smiling as they watch their old friend, and we

                                                      CUT TO:

 RUMSON'S TABLE

    where the Minority Leader's game face can barely conceal the
    gears that have slowly begun to turn in his head, as we

                                                      CUT TO:

 SHEPHERD AND SYDNEY DANCING

             SYDNEY
        I don't know how you do it.

             SHEPHERD
        Arthur Murray. Six lessons.

             SYDNEY
        That's not what I mean. Two hundred
        pairs of eyes are focused on you
        right now, with two questions:
        "Who's this girl, and why's our
        president dancing with her?"

             SHEPHERD
        First of all, the 200 pairs of eyes
        aren't focused on me. They're
        focused on you. And the answers are
        "Sydney Ellen Wade" and "Because she
        said 'yes.'"


 LEWIS AND ROBIN

    looking on from the back of the room.

             LEWIS
        They make a nice couple.

             ROBIN
        Lovely.

             LEWIS
        We've got troubles.

             ROBIN
        Huge.

    As PEOPLE start onto dance floor, we

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. A BLACK LIMOUSINE - NIGHT

    as it pulls away from the White House and into the night. In
    the back, SYDNEY slips a shoe off and rubs her foot.

    She smiles, then turns around to look out the back window as
    the White House slips out of view.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. WHITE HOUSE - MORNING

 SERIES OF SHOTS - DAY IN THE LIFE

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. OUTER OFFICE OF THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    MRS. CHAPIL and JANIE are at their respective desks as
    SHEPHERD walks in.

             SHEPHERD
        Good morning, Mrs. Chapil.

             MRS. CHAPIL
        Good morning, Mr. President. Mr.
        Rothschild and Miss McCall are in the
        office, sir. They said they needed to
        speak with you before scheduling.

             SHEPHERD
        Fine. Janie, can you get me the
        number of a local florist?

             JANIE
        I'll take care of it, sir. Where do
        you want them sent?

             SHEPHERD
        I want to do it myself. I just need
        the phone number.

             JANIE
        I don't understand.

             SHEPHERD
        I want the phone number of a florist.

             JANIE
        You just want the phone number?

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah.

             JANIE
               (beat)
        I don't understand, sir, is there--

             SHEPHERD
        I want to send some flowers, Janie.
        I want to do it myself. I don't want
        to staff it out, and I don't want to
        issue an Executive Order. I just
        want a phone number.

             JANIE
        I'll get it for you right away, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Thank you.

    He heads into the office.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    where LEWIS and ROBIN are waiting anxiously.

             ROBIN
        Mr. President, we need five minutes
        before scheduling if you can spare it.

             SHEPHERD
               (to Robin)
        I just need two minutes to make a
        call and I'll be right with you.

    JANIE enters and hands SHEPHERD a piece of paper.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Thank you, Janie.

    She exits.

             LEWIS
        Who are we calling, sir?

             SHEPHERD
        I'm calling the Organization of the
        United Brotherhood of It's-None-of-
        Your-Damn-Business, Lewis. I'll be
        with you in a minute.

             LEWIS
        Yes, sir.

    LEWIS and ROBIN exit the Oval Office. SHEPHERD picks up the
    phone.

             SHEPHERD
               (to the OPERATOR)
        Yeah, good morning. How do I get an
        outside line? Really? That's simple.
        Thank you.

    SHEPHERD dials the phone number JANIE's given him.

                                                      CUT TO:

    LEWIS and ROBIN

    hovering near the outer office.

             LEWIS
        Janie?

             JANIE
        Yes?

             LEWIS
        What's the President doing?

             JANIE
        I'm sorry, I'm really not at liberty
        to say.

                                                      CUT TO:

 SHEPHERD ON THE PHONE

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Tell me something. What is the state
        flower of Virginia?

                                                      CUT TO:

 THE OUTER OFFICE

             ROBIN
        Does this have something to do with
        Sydney Wade?

             JANIE
        I'm really not at liberty to say.

                                                      CUT TO:

 SHEPHERD AT HIS DESK

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Is there someone else there who might
        know?
               (beat)
        No, I'm not trying to five you a hard
        time, I was--hold on please.


 THE OUTER OFFICE

    SHEPHERD'S VOICE comes through on INTERCOM.

             SHEPHERD (O.S.)
               (through intercom)
        Janie, what's the state flower of
        Virginia?

             JANIE
               (turning to MRS.
             CHAPIL)
        Mrs. Chapil. State flower of
        Virginia.

             MRS. CHAPIL
        The dogwood.

                                                            CUT TO:

 SHEPHERD AT HIS DESK

             JANIE (O.S.)
               (through intercom)
        The dogwood, sir.

             SHEPHERD
               (to JANIE)
        Thank you.
               (into phone)
        It's the dogwood.
               (pause)
        What? Hold on please.
               (to JANIE, through
                intercom)
        Janie, the dogwood is a tree, not a
        flower.

                                                      CUT TO:

 THE OUTER OFFICE

    LEON KODAK walks by.

             KODAK
        It's a tree and a flower.

             JANIE
        Are you sure?

             KODAK
        Yes. What's going on?

                                                      CUT TO:

 OVAL OFFICE

             JANIE (O.S.)
               (through intercom)
        Sir, it's a tree and a flower.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        The dogwood is both a tree and a
        flower. I'd like a dozen, please.
        Really? No dogwoods? How 'bout
        roses? Simple. Classic. Two dozen
        roses.

                                                      CUT TO:

 THE OUTER OFFICE

             LEWIS
        Janie, I'm the President senior
        domestic policy advisor. It's
        important that I have a full
        understanding of--

             SHEPHERD (O.S.)
        Janie! Do you have any idea where
        my credit cards might be?

                                                      CUT TO:

 SHEPHERD AT HIS DESK

             JANIE
        They're in storage in Wisconsin with
        the rest of your personal items.

             SHEPHERD
        Ah.
               (into phone)
        Listen, what might be better is if
        you just bill me for the flowers.
        I'm sure it'll be okay with your
        boss. Well, I don't know if you
        recognize my voice, but this is the
        President.
               (beat)
        The United States.
               (they've hung up)
        Hello, hello...

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. LEO SOLOMON'S OFFICE - DAY

    SYDNEY enters.

             SYDNEY
        Leo, you wanted to see me?

             LEO
        So there I was, thinking maybe I
        should give Sydney a call. She's
        new in town, doesn't know many
        people...

    LEO produces a copy of the morning paper, which has a photo
    of SHEPHERD and SYDNEY dancing.

             SYDNEY
        Leo--

             LEO
        Then I picked up the Times--

             SYDNEY
        It was crazy. He called me at home.

             LEO
        What's going on?

             SYDNEY
        Nothing. It was innocent. His
        cousin got the flu at the last
        minute.

             LEO
        Did you sleep with him?

             SYDNEY
        What?

             LEO
        Did you sleep--

             SYDNEY
        That's none of your business, Leo.

             LEO
        Yeah, it is, Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        You wanna tell me how my personal
        life in any way--

             LEO
        Because when it's the President, it's
        not personal. Sydney, I hired your
        reputation. I hired a pit bull, not
        a prom queen.

             SYDNEY
        That's unfair.

             LEO
        It's incredibly unfair. But you've
        spent a lot of time over the year
        telling me the trouble with the
        environmental lobby is that we don't
        understand the fundamental truth that
        politics is perception. This is a
        bad time to develop ignorance.

             SYDNEY
        You're making way too much of this.

             LEO
        Am I? This is your time, Sydney.
        You're sitting at the grown-ups'
        table. You have a chance to get
        everything you want -- run a national
        campaign, be a major player inside
        the party. But this relationship had
        better go all the way, because with
        the leader of the free world there is
        no halfway. Politics is perception,
        and if thing don't work out, the
        amount of time it'll take you to go
        from being a hired gun to a cocktail
        party joke can be clocked with an egg
        timer.

    There's a quick knock at the door -- Leo's SECRETARY steps in
    with a strange-looking package.

             SYDNEY
        Leo, there is no relationship. It
        was one night. It's done.

             LEO'S SECRETARY
        Mr. Solomon, this was just delivered
        by White House messenger. It's
        marked "Perishable."

             LEO
        The White House has sent me something
        perishable?

             LEO'S SECRETARY
        It's for Ms. Wade.

             LEO
        Here we go...

    SYDNEY begins unwrapping the package.

             SYDNEY
        Relax, Leo. I'm sure it's just a
        formality.

             LEO'S SECRETARY
               (exited)
        It's from him.

             LEO
        Of course it's from him.

             SYDNEY
        So he had some staff flunky send
        me a fruit basket.

             LEO'S SECRETARY
        He wrote the note himself.

             SYDNEY
        I'm sure he didn't take the time to--

             LEO'S SECRETARY
        The messenger said he was waiting in
        the Oval Office for ten minutes while
        the President wrote the card.

             SYDNEY
        Okay, listen, so he--
               (to LEO'S SECRETARY)
        --it took him ten minutes to write a
        card?!

             LEO'S SECRETARY
        Apparently he went through several
        drafts.

    SYDNEY can't stifle her laugh -- she sees what the gift is.

             LEO
        What is it...what is it?

             SYDNEY
        A ham.

             LEO
               (beat)
        A ham?

             SYDNEY
        He sent me a Virginia ham.

             LEO'S SECRETARY
        Dig it, Ms. Wade. You're the
        President's girlfriend.

    SYDNEY's smile fades away...she looks at LEO.

             LEO
        There's never an egg timer around
        when you need one.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. THE NORTHWEST EXECUTIVE ENTRANCE - DAY

    as the white-gloved MARINE snaps the door open for SYDNEY,
    and we

                                                   CUT TO:

 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    SHEPHERD is conferring with LEWIS and ROBIN.

             ROBIN
        Sir, they're gonna be pressing today
        about whether the White House is
        prepared to soften the assault
        weapons section of the crime bill.

             LEWIS
        There is no need to entertain that
        at this point.

             ROBIN
        How do you want me to handle the
        Sydney issue?

             SHEPHERD
        The Sydney issue?

             LEWIS
        We should have a consensus on how the
        White House is going to handle it.

             SHEPHERD
        I sure hope the Sydney issue refers
        in some way to a problem we're having
        with Australia, because if it's
        anything else...

    JANIE pokes her head in.

             JANIE
        Mr. President, Ms. Wade is here to
        see you.

             SHEPHERD
        Tell her she can come right in. I'm
        finished here.

             JANIE
        Yes, sir.

             SHEPHERD
             (to LEWIS and ROBIN)
        There is no Sydney issue.

    SYDNEY enters, crossing paths with LEWIS and ROBIN. They
    exchange pleasantries.

             SYDNEY
               (to SHEPHERD)
        Thanks for seeing me on such short
        notice.

             SHEPHERD
        No problem. Did you get the ham?

             SYDNEY
        I got the ham, yes. Thank you very
        much.

             SHEPHERD
        I wanted to send you flowers, but
        there seem to be some kinks in the
        system. I'm really glad you stopped
        by. I had such a good time last
        night.

             SYDNEY
        So did I. It's just that...

    JANIE enters.

             JANIE
        They're 45 seconds away, sir.

    During the following, JANIE will go to the desk, pick up two
    briefing books and stick them in a briefcase and gather up
    his things -- all without interrupting the conversation a beat.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm delivering a luncheon speech at
        the Governor's Conference this
        morning. I'm sorry to--

             SYDNEY
        No, no, that's fine. I just stopped
        by to...

             SHEPHERD
        Are you free for dinner tomorrow night?

             SYDNEY
        Dinner?

             SHEPHERD
        Casual. In the Residence. Without
        the United Nations. My daughter'll
        be with us, so it may seem like the
        United--

             SYDNEY
        I'd love to meet Lucy, but...

    An AIDE has slipped in and hands SHEPHERD a note.

             SHEPHERD
               (reading to himself
               as he talks SYDNEY)
        She's gonna like you.
               (calling to the AIDE)
        Excuse me -- Jeff!

             SYDNEY
        Actually, I have some concerns that--

    The AIDE (JEFF) steps back in--

             JEFF
        Yes, sir.

             SHEPHERD
               (reading the note)
        I can't do this.

             JEFF
        Which? Robbins or Stackhouse?

             SHEPHERD
        Either one. I have to be in and out.

             JEFF
        Sir, Governor Stackhouse said he just
        needed 10 minutes. I think he wants
        to talk about the assault weapons.

             SHEPHERD
        Stackhouse wants to talk about
        grazing rights. Trust me.

             JEFF
        Got it.

    And he's gone.

             SHEPHERD
               (to Sydney)
        Sorry. You have concerns.

             SYDNEY
        Yes. Not many. A few. One. I have
        one concern.

             SHEPHERD
        Does it having anything to do with
        one of us being the President?

             SYDNEY
        You like to make jokes about this,
        but--

             SHEPHERD
        I am not mocking you, honest. I'm
        just a guy asking a girl over for a
        meal.

    And, as if from out of nowhere, a LOUD CLAAAMMERING, like the
    sound of a jackhammer against cement, comes from somewhere
    outside -- growing louder and closer --

             SYDNEY
        What's that?

             SHEPHERD
        My ride's here.

    And, sure enough, coming into view outside the windows of the
    Oval Office, is MARINE-1, the President's helicopter. JANIE
    comes back in and helps him on with his coat and scarf.

             SYDNEY
        Leo Solomon has serious concerns
        about my exploring a social, you
        know, scenario, with the President
        of the United States.

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah, well, when you put it that
        way, it doesn't sound that great
        to me either.

             SYDNEY
        It's just not--

             SHEPHERD
        Have dinner with Lucy and me. It's
        meat loaf night -- how presidential
        can it be?

    As SHEPHERD rushes out...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Seven-thirty.

    SYDNEY now stands alone in the OVAL OFFICE, trying to figure
    out what just happened.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. WHITE HOUSE - SOUTH LAWN - DAY

    Marine 1 lifting off the south lawn. TILT DOWN off night sky
    to reveal


 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SITTING HALL/THE RESIDENCE - NIGHT

    A room designed more for comfort than for show, with its
    overstuffed couches.

    Lucy enters.

             LUCY
        Are you Ms. Wade?

             SYDNEY
            (standing up, smiling)
        Sydney.

             LUCY
        Lucy Shepherd.

             SYDNEY
        Nice to meet you.

             LUCY
        My dad told me to tell you he's on
        the phone with his dentist and that
        I should behave myself and entertain
        you till he gets here.

             SYDNEY
        Your father's on the phone with his
        dentist?

             LUCY
        No. He told me to tell you he's on
        the phone with his dentist. He wants
        you to think he's a regular guy.

             SYDNEY
        Who is he on the phone with?

             LUCY
        The Prime Minister of Israel.

             SYDNEY
        They're probably not discussing his
        teeth.

             LUCY
        No. They're talking about that
        abbreviation I can never remember.

             SYDNEY
     C-STAD?

             LUCY
        Yeah.

             SYDNEY
        Capricorn Surface To Air Defense.

             LUCY
        Right.

    SHEPHERD enters.

             SHEPHERD
        Let meat loaf night begin.

             SYDNEY
        Everything all right with your teeth?

             SHEPHERD
        My teeth?

             SYDNEY
        The dentist.

             SHEPHERD
        Oh, right. I've got a cavity in my
        upper bicuspid region.

             SYDNEY
        You've got a short-range weapons
        system outside Tel Aviv.

             SHEPHERD
               (to LUCY)
        You turned on me.

             LUCY
        Can we eat?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. A POSE HOUSE IN CHEVY CHASE - NIGHT

    Two dozen limos and town cars line this suburban Maryland
    street, their drivers waiting patiently.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE HOUSE IN CHEVY CHASE - NIGHT

    A cocktail party is underway. This is a fat cat fundraiser
    for the Republicans.

             RUMSON (V.O.)
        You're over-thinking this.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE LIBRARY - NIGHT

    The look and feel of old money. Rumson is holding court with
    a half-dozen political insiders. Some smoke cigars; others
    sip their drinks.

             RUMSON
               (continuing)
        Voters aren't interested in how to
        achieve economic growth, and they
        don't want to hear our plans to
        strengthen foreign policy.

             STAFFER #1
        So it comes down to character.

             STAFFER #2
        The press like him, Senator. The
        networks, the newspapers, they're--

             RUMSON
        Reporters like him. Networks and
        newspapers like ratings and circulation.
        For all the bitching we do about liberal
        bias in the press when it comes down to
        a character debate...

             STAFFER #3
        The press is an unwitting accomplice.

             CARL
        Bob, the character debate didn't work
        out for us.

             RUMSON
        Because it couldn't. Our polling
        told us that attacking his character
        less than a year after he'd lost his
        wife was gonna be a turn-off and was
        gonna make people feel sorry for him.
        We couldn't run the campaign we wanted
        because the opponent was a widower.

             CARL
        He's still a widower. Time's passed,
        but--

             RUMSON
               (to the rest)
        You'll have to forgive my friend.
        He's been on a hunting trip and cut
        off from the world.

             CARL
        What's going on?

    And four STAFFERS grab whatever newspaper is closest to their
    hand and toss them to CARL.

             RUMSON
        The President's got a girlfriend.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. PRIVATE OFFICE/THE RESIDENCE - NIGHT

    LUCY, SHEPHERD and SYDNEY are finishing up a game of Scrabble.

             SYDNEY
               (to LUCY)
        Your dad says you're studying the
        Constitutional Convention.

             SHEPHERD
        She's not having any fun, though.

             LUCY
        Dad--

             SYDNEY
        You're not having fun?

             LUCY
               (to herself)
        This is a nightmare. This is a
        social studies nightmare.

             SHEPHERD
        They're doing a mock Congress. Each
        kid is playing one of the original
        delegates, and they debate the
        Amendments. Now what's not fun about
        that?

    LUCY gets up from the table and kisses her father.

             LUCY
        G'night, Dad.

             SHEPHERD
        G'night, sweetheart.

             LUCY
        It was nice meeting you, Mrs.--

             SYDNEY
        Sydney.

             LUCY
        It was nice meeting you, Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        Thank you. It was nice meeting
        you.

             SHEPHERD
        Sleep well, honey. I love you.

             LUCY
        I love you, too.

    LUCY leaves. SHEPHERD and SYDNEY are alone now.

             SYDNEY
        She's wonderful.

             SHEPHERD
        She's her mother.

             SYDNEY
        She's you.

    After a pause...

             SHEPHERD
        Would you like the 25-cent tour?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE EAST WING - NIGHT

    This is the "museum" area of the White House, the part you
    see when you take the official tour. Only a few lights are
    lit, and while the SECRET SERVICE AGENTS give SHEPHERD plenty
    of breathing room when he's in the residence, we'll still
    catch a glimpse of one of them rounding a corner in the
    distance or checking a doorway ahead.

             SYDNEY
        I thought C-STAD wasn't gonna be
        operational until January.

             SHEPHERD
        It was ready ahead of schedule.
        We've just been waiting for the
        personnel.

             SYDNEY
        The Israelis?

             SHEPHERD
        No, our guys. We've sent a team of
        Army instructors to train the
        Israelis.

    SYDNEY and SHEPHERD enter the:


 INT. THE CHINA ROOM - NIGHT

    Named for its beautiful glass display cases featuring full
    place settings of the official White House china and
    silverware from every administration since Jackson.

             SHEPHERD:
               (remembering)
        I think this is the dish room.

             SYDNEY
        It's not the dish--

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah, it is. It's the room with all
        the dishes.

             SYDNEY
        It's the China Room.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm more of a West Wing President.
        If you're curious about the mansion,
        there's probably a book you can get--

             SYDNEY
        There're about seven-thousand books.
        I'll get one for you.

    SYDNEY's been walking slowly around the room, looking at the
    display cases, and as she gets near one of the large windows,
    she takes another step which drapes her in a shaft of
    incredibly flattering moonlight.

    The vision isn't lost on SHEPHERD. They stare at each other
    for a moment.

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President -- have you ever noticed
        how similar the Van Buren flatware is
        to the Buchanan flatware?

             SHEPHERD
        Do you think there will ever come a
        time when you can stand in a room
        with me and not think of me as the
        President?

             SYDNEY
        This isn't a state of mind. You are
        the President. And when I'm in a
        room with you, oval or any other
        shape, I'm always gonna be a
        lobbyist, and you'll always be the
        President.

             SHEPHERD
        I got news for you, Sydney. As a
        lobbyist, you would never be alone in
        a room with the President.

    This last statement is not lost on SYDNEY.

    He moves toward her until they are both bathed in the
    moonlight. He puts his arms around her.

             SYDNEY
        You think this is a good idea?

             SHEPHERD
        Probably not.

    They lean in to kiss each other. They barely make contact
    when...

             AGENT #3 (O.S.)
        Mr. President...

    An AGENT is standing in the doorway -- SHEPHERD and SYDNEY
    break apart.

             AGENT #3
        We have a secure call from the sit-
        room.

    SHEPHERD knows what that means.

             SHEPHERD
        Excuse me.

    He moves out the door and into the corridor.

    SYDNEY, knowing something's wrong, instinctively moves to
    follow him and be with him, but the AGENT hasn't moved from
    the doorway, so--

             AGENT #3
        Sorry, ma'am.

             SYDNEY
               (beat)
        No...of course.

    SHEPHERD comes back in.

             SHEPHERD
        Listen--

             SYDNEY
        Is anything wrong?

             SHEPHERD
        I'm sorry, we're going to have to cut
        our evening short. The Libyans have
        just bombed C-STAD. I'll try to call
        you tomorrow.
               (to the AGENT)
        Can you show Ms. Wade out.

    SHEPHERD exits.

    SYDNEY, alone for a second in the dish room, is finally
    approached by a SECRET SERVICE AGENT, who starts to escort
    her out.

             CHAIRMAN (V.O.)
        The response scenario's in place...

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE SITUATION ROOM - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD, A.J., the SECRETARY OF STATE, the SECRETARY OF
    DEFENSE, and about a dozen or so Pentagon, Security Council,
    and Joint Chiefs OFFICIALS are doing exactly what they're
    trained for.

             CHAIRMAN
               (continuing)
        ...The F-18's are fired up on the
        Kimitz and the Kitty Hawk. They're
        just waiting for your attack order,
        Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        And we're gonna hit Libyan
        Intelligence Headquarters?

             MAN
        The N.S.A. confirmed they're the ones
        who planned the bombing.


             A.J.
        What's the estimate?

             GENERAL
        We'll level the building.

             SHEPHERD
        Libyan I.H.Q's in the middle of
        downtown Tripoli -- are we gonna hit
        anything else?

             GENERAL
        Only if we miss.

             SHEPHERD
        Are we gonna miss?

             GENERAL
        No, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        How many people work in that building?

             CHAIRMAN
        We've been all through--

             SHEPHERD
        How many people work in the damn
        building?

             DEPUTY
        I've got those number here. There
        are three shifts, so it--

             SHEPHERD
        The fewest. What shift puts the
        fewest people in the building? The
        night shift, right?

             DEPUTY
        By far. Mostly custodial staff and
        a few--

             SHEPHERD
        What time does the night crew go on?

             DEPUTY
        They're on now, sir.

             SHEPHERD
     A.J.?

             A.J.
        It's immediate, it's decisive, it's
        low risk, and it's a proportional
        response.

             SHEPHERD
        Someday somebody's going to have to
        explain to me the virtue of a
        proportional response.

    There's a SILENCE. SHEPHERD gets up and starts to head out
    the door.

             CHAIRMAN
        Mr. President?

             SHEPHERD
        Attack.
                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD is with A.J., LEWIS, ROBIN, KODAK and a couple of
    AIDES, all of whom look as though they've been called out of
    their homes in the middle of the night.

             A.J.
        Robin, as soon as our planes have
        cleared Libyan airspace, you can call
        the press. I don't know when we'll
        have the full B.D.A.--

             LEWIS
        General Rork says around O-Eight
        Hundred.

             ROBIN
        Sir, what do you think about a
        national address?

             SHEPHERD
        The last thing I want to do is put
        the Lybians center stage.

             KODAK
        I think it's a great idea, sir. You
        know Rumson's gonna be talking about
        your lack of military service.

             SHEPHERD
        This isn't about Rumson. What I did
        tonight was not about political gain.

             KODAK
        But it can be, sir. What you did
        tonight was very presidential.

             SHEPHERD
        Leon, somewhere in Libyan right now
        there's a janitor working the night
        shift at the Libyan Intelligence
        Headquarters. He's going about his
        job 'cause he has no idea that in
        about an hour he's gonna die in a
        massive explosion. He's just going
        about his job 'cause he has no idea
        that an hour ago I gave an order to
        have him killed. You just saw me do
        the least presidential thing I do.

             KODAK
        yes, sir.

             PRESS (V.O.)
        Mr. President...Mr. President!

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING ROOM - DAY

    SHEPHERD is at the podium taking questions. He's flanked by
    his PENTAGON STAFF. A.J. and LEWIS stand to the side. ROBIN
    stands out of the way.

             SALLY
        Is there anything at all about the
        C-STAD weapons system that could have
        been mistaken by Libyan Intelligence
        as offensive rather than defensive?

             SHEPHERD
        No. We did everything but show them
        the blueprints. The hardware was
        sitting in a airplane hangar for a
        month. They didn't hit it until the

    American personnel got there. Leslie.

             LESLIE
        Sir, there's an unconfirmed report
        that you were with Sydney Wade when
        you learned of the attack. Can you
        comment?

             A.J.
               (sotto to ROBIN)
        Get him off.

             SHEPHERD
        Yes, we'd just finished dinner.

             ROBIN
        Last question.

             MARK
        Sir, would you care to comment on
        the status of your relationship?

             SHEPHERD
        We don't have a relationship. We
        just had dinner.

             CAROL
        Can you tell us if she spent the
        night at the White House or did--

             SHEPHERD
        Folks, a lot of people got killed
        last night. Let's try to keep our
        eyes on the ball, okay?

    SHEPHERD is herded out of the briefing room amidst a chorus
    of "Mr. President" 's.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE WHITE HOUSE CORRIDOR - DAY

    SHEPHERD walks away from the briefing room with ROBIN. JANIE
    joins him.

             ROBIN
        That was my fault, sir. We should
        have prepped you for that.

             SHEPHERD
        There's nothing that needs prepping.
        A.J., let's meet with the leadership
        after we meet with the Security
        Council.

             ROBIN
        "Newsweek" is begging for ten minutes
        today. Any ten minutes you got.

             SHEPHERD
        Nobody gets ten minutes today.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S PRIVATE OFFICE - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD sits at his desk, is on the phone. A TELEVISION
    NEWSCAST is doing a report on Congressional reaction to the
    events of the day. ROB RUMSON is talking.

             SHEPHERD
        Lewis, tell the speaker to wait.
        I want to talk to him. No, I'll be
        right down.

             RUMSON
        ...Last night, the price of his
        liberal programs was raised to
        include the blood of 22 American
        soldiers.

    He hangs up. On the TV, we see a quick sound bite from RUMSON.

             RUMSON
        ...Mr. Shepherd's read a lot of
        books, but you didn't need a Harvard
        degree to see this comin' a mile down
        the road.

             SHEPHERD
        I went to Stanford, you blowhole.

             RUMSON
        The fat that our Commander-in-Chief
        has not served one day in uniform--

    SHEPHERD clicks off the TV and then stares at

 A SLIP OF PAPER THAT SAYS "SYDNEY"

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

             BETH (V.O.)
        This box just says "Miscellaneous."
        Is this bedroom miscellaneous or
        kitchen miscellaneous?

 INT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    SYDNEY and BETH have been getting SYDNEY moved in. BETH is
    holding a carton.

             BETH
        Sydney?

             SYDNEY
        Why did I have to kiss him?

             BETH
        You kissed him?

             SYDNEY
        Yeah.

             BETH
        You didn't' tell me that.

             SYDNEY
        I kissed him.

             BETH
        Where?

             SYDNEY
        On the mouth.

             BETH
               (exasperated)
        Where in the White House?!

             SYDNEY
        In the dish room.

             BETH
        The dish room?

             SYDNEY
        The China Room.

             BETH
        Then what happened?

             SYDNEY
        He had to go and attack Libya.

             BETH
        It's always something.

             SYDNEY
        I've gotta nip this in the bud. This
        has catastrophe written all over it.

             BETH
        In what language?! Sydney, this man
        is the leader of the free world.
        He's brilliant, he's funny, he's
        handsome, and he's an above-average
        dancer. Isn't it possible our
        standards are just a tad high?

    The PHONE RINGS--

    SYDNEY freezes.

    The PHONE RINGS again.

             BETH
               (continuing)
        Answer the phone.

             SYDNEY
        It's him.

             BETH
        Answer the phone.

             SYDNEY
        He's gonna ask me to come over
        there.

             BETH
        Answer the phone.

             SYDNEY
        I don't want to go over there.

             BETH
        Answer the phone.

             SYDNEY

    All right. But I'm gonna end it
        on the phone. I'm not gonna go
        over there.
                                                        CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD opens his door, revealing SYDNEY. Agent COOPER is
    letting her in.

             SYDNEY
        I just came over here to tell you
        why I can't see you anymore.

             SHEPHERD
               (to COOPER)
        Thanks, Coop.

    SHEPHERD closes the door.

             SYDNEY
        Look, I know you've had a tough
        day.

             SHEPHERD
        Not as tough as some. You want a
        drink? Lemme take your coat.

    But SYDNEY doesn't take her coat off.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, this isn't gonna work.

             SHEPHERD
        Sure it will. You button the top
        button, and it doesn't fall off
        the hanger.


             SYDNEY
        That's not what I...

             SHEPHERD
        I didn't think so. Listen...

             SYDNEY
        I've really enjoyed the time we've
        spent together, but this has
        catastrophe written all over it.
        Please, Mr. President, don't pursue
        me outside the political arena.

             SHEPHERD
        Well, I have no intention of pursuing
        you inside the political arena, so
        that leaves everything out, and
        that's unacceptable to me.

             SYDNEY
        If I were on your staff, I would tell
        you that the absolute worst thing you
        can do coming into an election year
        is to open yourself up to character
        attacks, and the fastest way to do
        that is to prance around like the
        playboy of the Western world.

             SHEPHERD
        Let's clear up a couple of things.
        Number 1: I seldom prance.
        Number 2: I have no intention of
        engaging in a character debate, and
        Number 3: You're not on my staff.

             SYDNEY
        Yes, of course, but if you'll follow
        the immutable--

             SHEPHERD
        Why is that, by the way?

             SYDNEY
        Why's that?

             SHEPHERD
        Why aren't you on my staff?

             SYDNEY
        You can't afford me.

             SHEPHERD
        How much do you make?

             SYDNEY
        More than you do, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        The name's Andy. How much money do
        you make?

             SYDNEY
        What the hell does it matter how
        much money I--

             SHEPHERD
        You would raise your voice to the
        President?

             SYDNEY
        I'm only thinking about the health
        of your Presidency. You think this
        morning's press conference was the
        end of it? Bob Rumson's gotta be
        drooling over this.

             SHEPHERD
        Are you attracted to me?

             SYDNEY
        I beg your pardon?

             SHEPHERD
        I asked if--

             SYDNEY
                (of course she is)
        That's not the issue--

             SHEPHERD
        Well, I tell you what. Let's make
        it the issue. Let's try something
        new, 'cause I know that most couples,
        when they're first getting together,
        are inclined to slam on the brakes
        because they're concerned about Bob
        Rumson's drool.

             SYDNEY
        You're not most people.

             SHEPHERD
        You know what your problem is?

             SYDNEY
        What's my problem?

             SHEPHERD
        Sex and nervousness.

             SYDNEY
        Sex and nervousness is my problem.

             SHEPHERD
        Yes. Last night when we were
        looking at the different place
        settings in the dish room, I
        realized that those place settings
        were provided by the First Ladies.
        And I'll bet none of those First
        Ladies were nervous about having
        sex with their President husbands.
        And you know why?

             SYDNEY
        No, but I'm sure you'll explain it
        to me.

             SHEPHERD
        I will. Because they weren't
        presidents when they met them. Not
        the case here.

             SYDNEY
        Ahhhhhh.

             SHEPHERD
        You see what I'm getting at?

             SYDNEY
        Yes. May I use your bathroom for a
        moment?

             SHEPHERD
        Sure. It's right through there.

             SYDNEY
        I want to freshen up.

             SHEPHERD
        As you pass through, you'll see a
        large closet on your left. And if
        you feel comfortable, hang up your
        coat, and when you come back I'll
        have fixed up a drink, we'll sit on
        the couch, and I will explain to
        you my plan.

             SYDNEY
        You have a plan? Don't make me
        wait. You're on a roll.

    SYDNEY disappears into the BATHROOM/DRESSING ROOM area.
    SHEPHERD keeps talking as he goes to the bar and makes a
    couple of drinks.

             SHEPHERD
               (speaking up)
        Okay. You're attracted to me, but
        the idea of physical intimacy is
        uncomfortable because you only know
        me as the President. It's not always
        gonna be that way, and the reason I
        know that is because there was a
        moment last night when you were with
        me and not the President, and I know
        what a big step that was for you.
        So, Sydney, I'm in no rush. Here's
        my plan: We're gonna slow down.
        When you're comfortable, that's
        when it'll happen.

    SYDNEY comes back into the room...she's wearing one of
    SHEPHERD's dress shirts and nothing else. She walks toward
    him.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Perhaps I didn't properly explain
        the fundamentals of the "Slow Down"
        plan.

             SYDNEY
        You explained it great.

    She moves closer to him.

             SHEPHERD
               (pause)
        Are you nervous?

             SYDNEY
        No.

             SHEPHERD
        Good. My nervousness exists on
        several levels. Number 1 -- and
        this is in no particular order --
        I haven't done this in a pretty
        long time. Number 2: Any expectations
        you might have, due to the fact that
        I'm, you know...

             SYDNEY
        The most powerful man in the world?

             SHEPHERD
        Exactly, thank you. Just so you
        remember that's a political
        distinction that comes with the
        office. I mean, if Eisenhower were
        here instead of me he'd be dead by
        now. And number three...

             SYDNEY
               (gently)
        Andy...

    They're both standing, facing each other...

    They gently kiss. They just stay with it until it becomes
    easier and better and exactly what they want.

             RUMSON (V.O.)
        Does New Hampshire want traditional
        American values back in the White
        House?

             CROWD
        Yes!!

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. AN ELKS LODGE - NIGHT

    A crowd of 300 or so is being whipped into a frenzy.
    Rumson's bringing it home under a campaign banner
    proclaiming: THE PRIDE IS BACK -- BOB RUMSON.

             RUMSON
        Does New Hampshire want the pride back?

    The CROWD goes nuts upon hearing Rumson's signature phrase--

             CROWD
        Yeah!!!!!!!

             RUMSON
        My name is Bob Rumson. And I'm
        running for President.

    And as the CROWD loses its mind, we

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - DAWN

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S BEDROOM - MORNING

    It is very early, and SHEPHERD is still asleep. As we PULL
    BACK, WE REVEAL that he is alone in his bed. The PHONE RINGS.

    SHEPHERD picks it up--

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Yeah...put him through.
               (listens)
        Lewis, it is 5:00 a.m. You gotta
        get yourself a life, man.
               (listens)
        Yeah...all right.

    He hangs up the phone and looks around the room, only to
    notice SYDNEY is tiptoeing around in the dim light, trying
    to quietly dress herself and gather up her things. SHEPHERD
    watches this odd spectacle for a moment before he says--

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Sydney?

    SYDNEY turns around.

             SYDNEY
        Hi.

             SHEPHERD
        What are you doing?

             SYDNEY
        I wanted to leave the building before
        the press corps got here.

             SHEPHERD
        I have those same thoughts every day
        of my life. Say, you know Lewis
        Rothschild, don't you? Well, he's...

             SYDNEY
        Sure. Boy, Lewis'd go nuts if he
        knew I'd spent the night.

    There's a KNOCK on the door.

             SHEPHERD
        ...on his way up.

             SYDNEY
        What?

             SHEPHERD
        Come on in, Lewis.

    LEWIS comes in--

             LEWIS
        'Morning, Mr. President. Hi, Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        Hi, Lewis. Well, Mr. President,
        thank you for taking the time to go
        over those fossil fuel numbers. I'll
        just get my coat, and be on my way.

    SHEPHERD laughs at SYDNEY's purposely lame try--

             SHEPHERD
               (to LEWIS)
        What's the situation?

             LEWIS
        They're camped out at every exit.

             SYDNEY
        Who? Who's camped out?

             LEWIS
        The press.

             SYDNEY
        The press is camped out?

             LEWIS
        You shoulda taken a cab, Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        They know my car?!

    ROBIN enters.

             ROBIN
        Good morning, Mr. President. Hi,
        Sydney. I came over as soon as Lewis
        called.

             SHEPHERD
        Thank God.

             ROBIN
        I think the important thing is not
        to make it look like we're panicking.

             SHEPHERD
        See, and I think the important thing
        is actually not to be panicking.

    A.J. KNOCKS on the open door and walks in.

             A.J.
        Good morning, Mr. President. Good
        morning, Ms. Wade. I see everyone's
        getting an early start today.

             LEWIS
        How do we exit Sydney from the
        building and what do we say to the
        press at that point?

             ROBIN
        We need a diversion.

             SYDNEY
        A diversion.

             ROBIN
        You understand that by diversion
        I'm not saying we set the White
        House on fire.

             SHEPHERD
        No, please, let's do.

             LEWIS
        Can I state very clearly that I
        can't be party to anything illegal.

             A.J.
        Good for you, Lewis.

             LEWIS
        Say what you want, but it's always
        the guy in my job that ends up doing
        eighteen months in Danbury Minimum
        Security Prison.

             SHEPHERD
        Rest easy, Lewis. We're not creating
        a diversion.

             ROBIN
        No diversion.

             SHEPHERD
               (to SYDNEY)
        We'll have somebody take you home.

             A.J.
        Esther's over in my office. She's
        got the station wagon outside.

    SHEPHERD regards A.J. for a moment...clearly the man planned
    ahead.

             LEWIS
        Okay. Good. Now, the press
        statement.

             SHEPHERD
               (to SYDNEY)
        Sydney, when you leave here, you're
        gonna run into reporters and
        photographers. Your picture's gonna
        be taken every day, and you're gonna
        be asked questions every day. Answer
        them, don't answer them -- it's
        entirely up to you. The White House
        has no official position except to
        say "no comment."

             ROBIN
        No comment?

             SHEPHERD
        The White House doesn't comment on
        the President's personal life.

             LEWIS
        We can't just leave it at that, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        I tell you what, Lewis, we just did.

             LEWIS
        But, sir...

             A.J.
               (the meeting's over)
        Thank you, Mr. President.

    LEWIS, ROBIN and A.J. say their "Thank you, Mr. President"'s
    on the way out ...

             A.J.
               (continuing)
        Sydney. Esther'll be in my office.
        You take your time.

             SYDNEY
        Thanks, A.J.

    A.J. leaves...

             SHEPHERD
        I'm sorry about all this. We'll do
        it better next time.

             SYDNEY
        I'm no expert, but I thought we did
        it pretty good this time.

             SHEPHERD
        No, I mean...

             SYDNEY
        I know. I had a good time.

             SHEPHERD
        Me, too. I'll call you. I'll be in
        Panama, but I'll call you.

             SYDNEY
        I'd like that.

    SYDNEY gives him a good-bye kiss...

             SYDNEY
               (continuing)
        Bye.

    She exits the bedroom.

             SHEPHERD
        All right...okay...this is good.

                                                      CUT TO:

 A SERIES OF SHOTS - DAY/NIGHT

    AS we move through a series of quick DISSOLVES, all M.O.S.,
    we HEAR in VOICE-OVER the sounds of American's electronic
    media -- network news, news magazines, gossip shows, talk
    radio, political round tables, etc. -- dissecting the
    "Girlfriend Factor."

 INT. FOSSIL FUEL WAR ROOM - DAY

    SYDNEY and the TEAM are in full gear. Lisa rips off another
    vote on the tote board, making it "14 Votes in 51 Days."

             REPORTER #1
        Sydney Ellen Wade, the political
        strategist who accompanied President
        Shepherd to last week's state dinner,
        reportedly spent the night at the
        White House as a guest of--

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. CRIME BILL WAR ROOM - DAY

    The tote board reads "8 Votes in 45 Days." KODAK is pointing
    to a spot on an electoral map to emphasize a point to a young
 INTERN.

             REPORTER #2
        The President returned from Panama
        this evening after a three-day tour
        through Central America. His first
        order of business: An intimate
        supper with Sydney Wade at a romantic
        Georgetown bistro.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. BISTRO - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD and SYDNEY are sharing what seems to be an intimate
    candlelit dinner. We PULL BACK TO REVEAL a restaurant packed
    with SECRET SERVICE, and PRESS outside police barricades,
    shooting through the windows of the restaurant.

             REPORTER #3
        Conservative and religious family
        organizations are starting to smell
        blood in the water as--

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. LUCY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

    Lucy is giving a little trombone recital for SHEPHERD and
    SYDNEY. SYDNEY cheers madly at the end of the piece, giving
    Lucy a big hug for her effort.

             RADIO GUY (V.O.)
        All right, caller, you're on the air.


             CALLER (V.O.)
        Dan, what about Lucy Shepherd? Is
        anyone concerned about this little
        girl? Can we now finally have a
        serious debate about family values?

 EXT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - DAY

    SYDNEY exits her apartment and is once again hounded by the
    press.

             SCHLOCK TALK SHOW HOST (V.O.)
        We're gonna take a commercial break.
        When we come back, we're gonna meet
        a junior high school classmate of
        Sydney Wade's, who says--

                                                            CUT TO:

 EXT. NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, CITY HALL - DAY

    Rumson's getting the pride back into a couple of hundred
    innocent bystanders.

             SHOWBIZ REPORTER (V.O.)
        ...Showbiz Weekly was in Hollywood
        for the star-studded gala. Also on
        tonight's program: Day 15 of the
        Sydney Watch. Is the world's most
        eligible bachelor off the market?


 EXT. GDC BUILDING - NIGHT

    SYDNEY exits the building and is mobbed by the press.

                JOHN McLAUGHLIN TYPE (V.O.)
        Political polling analyst Ed Earl,
        with the President's job approval
        taking an eight-point dip from his
        personal best of 63 percent three
        weeks ago, should the White House be
        concerned that the Girlfriend Factor
        has left Shepherd vulnerable to the
        kinds of character questions he was
        able to avoid three years ago?

             ED EARL (V.O.)
        Well, if they're not concerned, they
        sure oughta be.

             RADIO GUY

 INT. PRESS BRIEFING ROOM - DAY

    ROBIN is hearing a question she's been asked 88 times
    already. She keeps her cool as best she can and merely
    shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head "no."

                JOHN McLAUGHLIN TYPE (V.O.)
        Columnist Cynthia Skyler, how much
        will this new wrinkle affect his
        ability to put together a win on his
        crime bill?

 EXT. MANCHESTER RAMADA - NIGHT

    Establishing shot of the Ramada.


 EXT. A SUITE AT THE MANCHESTER RAMADA - NIGHT

    Rumson and his STAFF are buzzing about amid room service
    tables and late-night take-out as STU enters the room with
    a manila envelope in his hand.

             RUMSON
               (into phone)
        I agree a hundred and ten percent,
        Mrs. Harper. That's why I'm up here
        in the dead of winter talkin' about
        it with you folks.

    Rumson is signaling for an AIDE to take over his phone call.

             RUMSON
               (continuing;
                into phone)
        That's very generous of you, ma'am,
        and I'm gonna take that money off
        your hands right now.

    He hands off the phone--

             RUMSON
               (continuing)
        What do you got for me, Stu?

             STU
        Call me Santa Claus, Senator.

    Several TOP AIDES join this slightly confidential conversation.

             STU
               (continuing)
        She's got an FBI file.

             RUMSON
        Shit, Stu, my mother's got an FBI
        file.

    RUMSON starts to walk away when STU pulls an 8$B!_(J10 photo from
    the manila folder.

             STU
        I've got art.

    RUMSON comes back. STU hands him the photo.

             STU
        It's a demonstration outside the
        Department of Commerce. The
        picture's old, and a lot of the faces
        are obscured by the smoke, but this
        is Sydney right there in front.

             RUMSON
               (staring at the photo)
        Oh man...tell me the smoke is coming
        from what it looks like it's coming
        from.

             STU
        Yes, sir -- it's burning flag.

    RUMSON gives it one last look, passes it back to STU, and
    turns back to his phone.

             RUMSON
               (singing softly)
        "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. FOSSIL FUEL WAR ROOM - DAY

    A few more young INTERNS have been added, and most are hard
    at work on the phones -- ("___ from the Global Defense
    Council. We're encouraging voters in your area to phone or
    write your Congressman regarding...etc.")

    The tote board now reads "11 Votes in 42 Days." David is
    supervising things while SYDNEY is trying to lose her
    patience on the phone.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        I understand, Congressman...Of
        course you need to deliberate.
        I know the fact that there isn't
        any heavy industry in your district
        doesn't make this decision any
        easier. But we met three weeks ago,
        and at the end of that meeting you
        said that you were leaning our way
        but that you wanted to sleep on it.
        Since I haven't heard from you since
        then, the only conclusion I can
        reach is that you haven't slept in
        21 days.

             DAVID
               (to SYDNEY)
        Ask him about his position on
        stateboard for Hawaii.

    SYDNEY wads up some paper and flings it at David to shut him
    up.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Harry, think like a father for a
        second. Wouldn't you like your
        kids to be able to take a deep
        breath when they're 30? Thank you.
        You're doing the right thing.

    She hangs up.

             SYDNEY
               (continuing;
                announcing)
        Tote board's heavy.

    The room CHEERS, knows what this means. DAVID rips off the
    11, revealing 10.

             DAVID
        How's this?

             SYDNEY
        That's better!

    Everyone gets back to work as SYDNEY and DAVID speak among
    themselves.


             DAVID
        Hey, Syd, I saw on your schedule
        you're gonna meet with McSorley,
        McCluskey and Shane.

             SYDNEY
        Yeah, the Motown Three said they'd
        give me 30 minutes next week.

             DAVID
        Sydney, these are people who
        represent people who make cars for
        a living.

             SYDNEY
        Yeah.

             DAVID
        Cars, you understand, run on gasoline.

             SYDNEY
        Hey, I know it's a long shot, but if
        I can get one of them, it'll be a
        huge payoff in visibility.

             DAVID
        Well, if we're gonna try, we should
        do some prep work. You wanna order
        in?

             SYDNEY
        I can't work tonight. I'm having
        dinner at the White House. We can
        start early tomorrow.

             DAVID
        Okay. I'm having lunch at the
        Kremlin, so we'll have to, you know,
        start real early...

             SYDNEY
               (exciting)
        Good night, David.

             DAVID
        ...in order for me to catch the
        morning plane to Moscow.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. THE WEST WING - DUSK

    The President's motorcade sits in its formation, engines
    running, waiting for its passenger.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DUSK

    JANIE and a couple of AIDES are in a familiar routine, doing
    their last-minute scrambling to get the President out the
    door so that he doesn't fall behind his usual "45-minutes-
    behind-schedule" schedule. SHEPHERD is on the phone at his
    desk.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Douglas, does the N.R.A. have
        videotapes of you playing golf with
        Satan? We've already softened the
        assault weapons. We're leaving the
        SKS, the mini 14, and about 250 other
        types on the street. I mean, how
        much pull can one lobby--

    JANIE catches SHEPHERD's eye and makes a subtle gesture to
    her wristwatch.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing;
                into phone)
        --Yeah, look, we're gonna continue
        this tomorrow. I'm late for the
        party fund-raiser. I'll be sure
        and put in a good word for you,
        by the way.
               (listens)
        Okay.

    He hangs up.

             JANIE
        You're incredibly late.

    They head to door as A.J. enters from the other side of the
    office.

             A.J.
        Mr. President. I just got off the
        phone with the Federal Mediator in
        St. Louis. Management just walked
        away from the table. The baggage
        handlers, pilots and flight
        attendants are getting set to walk in
        48 hours.

             SHEPHERD
        I studied under a Nobel-Prize-Winning
        economist. You know what he taught
        me?

             A.J.
        Don't have a airline strike at
        Christmas?

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah. I'm going to St. Louis.

             A.J.
        You can leave straight from the fund-
        raiser. Janie, get him outta here.

             SECRET AGENT #4
               (sotto)
        Liberty's moving.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. THE WEST WING - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD is getting into the limo when LEWIS and ROBIN hurry
    out to catch him.

             ROBIN
               (calling)
        Sir...

             JANIE
        He's incredibly late.

             SHEPHERD
               (to LEWIS and ROBIN)
        Hop in. We'll talk in the car.

    As they do they're told, and the motorcade gets on its way.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S CAR - CONTINUOUS

             LEWIS
        We've got a small problem.

             ROBIN
            (meant for LEWIS)
        It could've been a small problem.
        It's now at the very least a medium-
        sized--

             LEWIS
        Robin sees it as a problem. I see it
        as a opportunity.


             ROBIN
        It could've been an opportunity
        if we'd caught it...

             LEWIS
        We caught it.

             ROBIN
        At 5:45. Five-forty-five doesn't do
        me any good, Lewis. Five-forty-five,
        network news is in makeup.

             LEWIS
        You've got 14 people working for you.
        Did any of them--

             SHEPHERD
        Guys, do I have to be here for this
        meeting?

             LEWIS
        I'm sorry, sir. It's the evening
        news. It was buried as the third
        story--

             ROBIN
        --It's got a bullet.

             LEWIS
        Sydney was at a protest rally where
        they burned a flag.

             SHEPHERD
               (pause)
        Today?

             LEWIS
        About 13 years ago.

             ROBIN
        Outside the Department of Commerce.
        Anti-apartheid.

             SHEPHERD
        Let me see if I've got this: The
        third story on the news tonight was
        that someone I didn't know 13 years
        ago, when I wasn't President,
        participated in a demonstration where
        no laws were being broken in protest
        of something that so many people were
        against it doesn't exist anymore?
               (beat)
        Just out of curiosity, what was the
        fourth story?

             LEWIS
        See, I think it's important, when we
        deal with it, that we--

             SHEPHERD
        Don't deal with it.

             LEWIS
        Excuse me?

             SHEPHERD
        They're trying to get us to swing at
        a pitch in the dirt. No one ever
        wins these fights. It'll go away.

             LEWIS
        I'm not sure that's the wisest--

             SHEPHERD
        Aw...hell!

             ROBIN
        See, it's already distracting you.
        Why don't you let A.J. and Lewis--

             SHEPHERD
        No, you reminded me, I'm supposed to
        have dinner with Sydney tonight.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    SYDNEY and BETH stand in front of a full-length mirror.
    SYDNEY's holding a dress to herself to check it out.

             SYDNEY
        It's terrific, Beth. I love it.

             BETH
        I can't believe I'm loaning you
        clothes. I thought you owned every
        piece of clothing there was.

             SYDNEY
        Work clothes. I always have dinner
        at the White House wearing a suit.
        I thought a dress would be nice.

             BETH
        Go ahead, try it on. I brought
        earrings, too.

    The PHONE RINGS. SYDNEY answers it--

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Hello...
               (listens)
        I'm just trying on dresses. How do
        you feel about leather?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERD'S CAR - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD's on the phone to SYDNEY.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        I feel terrible, but I have to
        cancel our date tonight.

             SYDNEY
        Another woman?

             SHEPHERD
        No, I've gotta go to St. Louis and
        avert a massive airline strike.

             SYDNEY
        Boys, if I had a nickel for every
        time I heard that one.

             SHEPHERD
        Thanks for understanding. I'll call
        you tonight

    SHEPHERD hangs up the phone.

             SHEPHERD
        Boy, I hate doing that. She was
        trying on dresses.

             LEWIS
        I tell any girl I'm going out with to
        assume that all plans are soft until
        she receives confirmation 30 minutes
        beforehand.

             ROBIN
        And they find this romantic?

             LEWIS
        Well, I say it with a great deal of
        charm.

    SHEPHERD sees something out the window and gets excited.

             SHEPHERD
        Look! Look! There it is! Carmen's
        House of Flowers! We gotta stop.

             LEWIS
        What?

             SHEPHERD
        I gotta get her flowers.

             LEWIS
        Here?!

             ROBIN
        Now?!

             SHEPHERD
        I broke our date. This is what men
        do.

             ROBIN
        It's not what men do. I know no men
        who do that.

             SHEPHERD
        Coop, I'm gonna hop out at that
        flower shop.

             AGENT COOPER
        You're gonna hop out, sir?

             LEWIS
        No, he's not hopping. Sir, no
        hopping. Stay in the car. I'll get
        the flowers.

             SHEPHERD
        Then it's not personal.

             LEWIS
        Let the agents do a security sweep.
        We don't know who's in there.

             SHEPHERD
        You think there's a florist who's
        planning an assassination on the
        off-chance that I'd be stopping by?

             LEWIS
        It's possible.

    SHEPHERD hops out of the car. AGENT COOPER trails after him.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. STREET - IN FRONT OF FLOWER SHOP - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD's sudden decision sets off a chain reaction of
    Secret Service activity to accommodate the change of plans.

 INT. CARMEN'S HOUSE OF FLOWERS - NIGHT

    A high school GIRL is behind the counter, talking to a friend
    on the phone. Her back is to the door when SHEPHERD walks in
    with a couple of SECRET SERVICE AGENTS scrambling to keep up.
    SHEPHERD begins surveying the various flowers that are behind
    the glass.

             GIRL
               (into phone)
        At the basketball game...

             SHEPHERD
        Excuse me--

             GIRL
        No, at the game. I'm telling you,
        Kiki wasn't even there.

             SHEPHERD
        Excuse me--

             GIRL
               (to Shepherd)
        I will be right with you.

    The GIRL notices, and the receiver falls from her hand as
    she stares in disbelief.

             SHEPHERD
               (to the GIRL)
        Hey, I don't know if you're the
        one I talked to on the phone...
        Virginia, dogwood, the President
        ...any of it ring a--

    And apparently it does, because the GIRL faints and falls to
    the floor.

             SHEPHERD
        Same girl. She remembers me.

             AGENT COOPER
        She'll be fine.

             RUMSON (V.O.)
        Yes, and I'm glad to see ol'

    Andy's got himself a girl.

    APPLAUSE and appreciative LAUGHTER from a CROWD as we

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. MEMPHIS GRAND HYATT - NIGHT

    RUMSON is speaking to a black-tie fund-raiser for the
 REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE.

             RUMSON
               (continuing)
        Never mind she's the hired gun of
        an ultra-liberal political action
        committee.

    The crowd's getting into it--

             RUMSON
               (continuing)
        Never mind that the President takes
        the Fifth anytime a reporter has the
        temerity to ask a question about a
        woman in a position to exert enormous
        influence over a huge range of issues.

    A wave building--

             RUMSON
               (continuing)
        Never mind that this woman's idea of
        how to unwind at the end of a tough
        day is by getting together with her
        ACLU pals and setting American flags
        on fire...

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. PRESIDENTIAL SUITE/ST. LOUISE HILTON - NIGHT

    The RUMSON FAMILY glows from a TELEVISION in the corner.
    LEWIS and ROBIN react to the news highlight reel of that
    day's screw-up.

             ROBIN
               (to herself)
        No reaction from the White House.

    SHEPHERD's off in a corner, talking on the phone. The
    Presidential Suite has been turned into the St. Louis Oval
    Office for the night as STAFFERS zigzag around room service
    tables during the late-night preparations.

 INT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - SAME TIME

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        What do Lewis and Robin think?

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Brutus and Cassius? They want me to
        get into the character debate and mix
        it up.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Lewis and Robin are very smart.

             SHEPHERD
               (to LEWIS and ROBIN)
        Sydney says you guys are really
        stupid.

             SYDNEY
               (shouting through
                the phone)
        I didn't say that!

             SHEPHERD
            (to LEWIS and ROBIN)
        She's questioning your loyalty.

             LEWIS
        Hell, I question it all the time.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Wait a second, here comes my favorite
        part.

    He's referring to RUMSON on the TV.

             RUMSON (V.O.)
        My name is Bob Rumson, and I'm running
        for President.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        It's a good thing he cleared that up,
        'cause the crowd was gettin' ready
        to buy some AMWAY products.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        His number are climbing.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Sydney, his number have nowhere to
        go but up.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        What about yours?

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        We're fine. We'll be back up in the
        60's once I get the votes for the
        crime bill.
               (beat; into phone)
        Say, what're you doing this weekend?

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        I've got some work I was gonna bring
        home. Why?

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        The negotiations are going pretty
        well here. It looks like the
        nation's going to keep on flying.
        Lucy's sleeping over at a friend's
        house Saturday night.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        What'd you have in mind?

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        Have you ever been to Camp David?

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Camp David? Sure. I used to go
        there all the time, but then they
        changed chefs and...

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        It's sass, right? You're sassing
        me.

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        Yes.

             SHEPHERD
               (into phone)
        I'll have a car pick you up Saturday
        morning.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. CAMP DAVID - DAY

    Scattered STAFF and MARINE PERSONNEL hold their hats to their
    heads against the wind that MARINE-1 kicks up as it touches
    down on the helicopter pad.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. HELICOPTER - CONTINUOUS

    SYDNEY, nose pressed against the window, is drinking it in.
    SHEPHERD is finishing up a crossword puzzle.

             SYDNEY
        Do you ever get used to helicopters
        dropping you off at your front door?

             SHEPHERD
        How many "e"s in "kaleidoscope"?

             SYDNEY
        I guess you do.

                                                 DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD and SYDNEY are lounging in front of a fireplace,
    having hot cups of something alcoholic. SYDNEY is reading a
    book. SHEPHERD is running through satellite TV channels,
    searching for something.

             SYDNEY
        Oh good God.

             SHEPHERD
        What?

             SYDNEY
        I'm looking at your college
        transcripts. This isn't human.
        Nobody gets this many "A's." You
        were like a Stepford student.

             SHEPHERD
        Are you still reading that ridiculous
        biography?

             SYDNEY
        Actually I finished Andrew Shepherd:
        Road to the White House. Now I'm onto
        Shepherd: The Early Years.

             SHEPHERD
        Seven-trillion-dollar communications
        system at my disposal, you'd think
        I'd be able to find out if the
        Packers won.

             SYDNEY
               (re the book)
        Oh, Andy...C-minus in Women's
        Studies?

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah...that course wasn't about what
        I thought it was gonna be about.

    SHEPHERD has landed on a news station.

             NEWS ANCHOR #!
               (on T.V.)
        ...for his routine physical exam.
        Doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital
        pronounced President Shepherd in
        excellent health.

             SHEPHERD
        Who cares? Let's see some scores.

             NEWS ANCHOR #2
               (on T.V.)
        While the President spent the day at
        Camp David, G.O.P. presidential
        hopeful Robert Rumson continued his
        attacks on President Shepherd's
        character. During the Saturday
        morning news program Capitol
        Review with Kenneth Michaels,
        Senator Rumson suggested that GDC
        political director Sydney Ellen Wade,
        whose personal relationship with the
        President has been causing the White
        House headaches over the past two
        months, may have traded sexual favors
        for key votes in the Virginia State
        Legislature while lobbying for the
        Virginia Teachers Association.

    The NEWS PROGRAM goes to the segment showing RUMSON and
    MICHAELS on that morning's show. SHEPHERD and SYDNEY sit and
    watch...knowing they're about to take a punch...powerless to
    stop it...

             MICHAELS
               (on T.V.)
            Wait a minute, Senator--

             RUMSON
               (on T.V.)
        I'm not saying--

             MICHAELS
               (on T.V.)
        --'cause that's a heck of an
        accusation to make, and--

             RUMSON
               (on T.V.)
        I'm not making an acc-- let me be
        very clear. I'm not making an accusation.
        I am saying when we hear one thing,
        we dismiss it. We hear two, we dismiss it.
        But when several, several well-
        respected members and former members of
        the Virginia State House--

             MICHAELS
               (on T.V.)
        Can you give us names?

             RUMSON
               (on T.V.)
        --each of their own accord, comes to
        me and expresses concern over the
        woman standing next to -- I don't even
        know, do we call her the First Mistress?
        When several--

             SYDNEY
        My God. He's making this up as he
        goes along.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm so sorry about this, Sydney.

             SYDNEY
        Oh, man. My father heard that.

    SHEPHERD clicks off the T.V.

             SHEPHERD
        You gotta tell him to turn a deaf ear.

             SYDNEY
        My father doesn't have a deaf ear.
        He hears fine out of both. So do I.
        So does my sister, so do my friends.
        You're the only one who seems to--

             SHEPHERD
        Sydney, I can't challenge the school
        bully to a fight just because he
        picked on my girlfriend.

             SYDNEY
        I'm not asking you to. I can take
        care of myself. This isn't about me.
        How can you keep quiet? How do you
        have patience for people who claim
        they love America but clearly can't
        stand Americans?

             SHEPHERD
        I have one more election left, Sydney.
        I don't have the luxury of losing my
        patience.

             SYDNEY
        I want to say something, but I'm
        gonna fumble it a little bit, so I'd
        just like you to wait till I'm done
        before you respond. I'm in love with
        you. I'm certain of it. And I want to
        be with you more than anything. But
        maybe things would be better for you
        if I disappeared for a while.

             SHEPHERD
        Things will be better when I pass a
        crime bill. And Sydney, if you
        disappeared, I'd find you.

    He goes to kiss her, she responds.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 EXT. SOUTH LAWN - NIGHT

    The official White House Christmas Tree is glimmering for the
 TOURISTS.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. RESIDENCE - NIGHT

    An informal Christmas party is underway with maybe 20 GUESTS,
    some of them familiar faces.

    SHEPHERD and a GREEN-BLAZERED MAN

             GREEN BLAZERED MAN (GILL)
        Mr. President, militant women are out
        to destroy college football in this
        country.

             SHEPHERD
        Is that a fact?

             GREEN BLAZERED MAN (GILL)
        Have you been following this
        situation down in Atlanta? These
        women want parity for girls'
        softball, field hockey, volleyball...

             SHEPHERD
        If I'm not mistaken, Gill, I think
        the courts ruled on Title 9 about 20
        years ago.

             GREEN BLAZERED MAN (GILL)
        Yes sir, but now I'm saying these
        women want that law enforced.

             SHEPHERD
        Well, it's a world gone mad, Gill.

    LEWIS, KODAK and ROBIN stand huddled with cups of eggnog...

             KODAK
        The country has mood swings.

             LEWIS
        Mood swings? Nineteen post-graduate
        degrees in mathematics and you
        explain going from a 63 to a 46
        percent approval rating in 5 weeks
        on mood swings?

             KODAK
        Well, I could explain it better, but
        I'd need charts and graphs and an easel.

             ROBIN
        Fellas, we haven't slept in three
        years. Can't we forget work for one
        night and take this moment to enjoy
        each other as friends? It's
        Christmas.

             LEWIS
               (pause)
        It's Christmas?

             KODAK
        Yeah, you didn't get the memo?

 AT THE BUFFET TABLE

             KID #1
        'Cause your father's President, does
        he automatically get to be on money?

         LUCY
        I honestly don't know.

             KID #2
        I think only if he's a really good
        President.

    A.J. spots SYDNEY as she walks through the doorway and comes
    over to her. She seems a bit agitated.

             A.J.
        Hey, Sydney, Merry Christmas.

             SYDNEY
        Merry Christmas, A.J.

             A.J.
        Where you been?

             SYDNEY
        I got stuck on DePont Circle. I can
        never remember which lane I'm
        supposed to take. Then I got cut off
        by this idiot cab driver who starts
        screaming at me like it's my fault.

             A.J.
        Syd, relax. It's Christmas.

    SHEPHERD joins them.

             SHEPHERD
        Hi, Syd. Get stuck on DuPont Circle
        again?

             SYDNEY
        It's not funny. I hate that place.
        Can't you declare it a Federal
        Disaster Area or something?

             SHEPHERD
        I'll look into it.

             A.J.
        What were you doing up on the Hill,
        anyway?

             SYDNEY
        Ahhh...I had a terrible meeting
        today. Totally lost my cool with
        McSorley, McCluskey and Shane.

             SHEPHERD
        You went to see the Motown Three?

             SYDNEY
        I pitched 'em the hill.

             A.J.
               (beat)
        On its merits?

             SHEPHERD
        The woman knows no fear. She'd lobby
        the Carolinas to the American Lung
        Association.

             SYDNEY
        It was a disaster.

             A.J.
        You're in good company. I sat with
        'em a week ago. They told me there
        was nothing on the President's
        domestic agenda they were more
        committed to defeating than the crime
        bill.

             SYDNEY
        Well, congratulations, fellas, you're
        outta the cellar. McSorley told me
        the only thing on the President's
        domestic agenda they were more
        committed to defeating than the crime
        bill was the fossil fuel package.

    This catches SHEPHERD and A.J. by surprise--like accidentally
    drawing to an inside straight.

             A.J.
        You're kidding, right?


    SYDNEY isn't aware she's said anything of particular
    consequence.

             SYDNEY
        No, I'm not kidding. It's funny that
        he used the same words.

    A.J. and SHEPHERD are trying to study the situation without
    giving anything away.

             A.J.
        Yeah...

             SHEPHERD
        I don't think the Pep Boys know too
        many words.

             SYDNEY
        I'm gonna get a drink and shake this
        off. When I come back, I'll have
        Christmas spirit.

             SHEPHERD
               (beat)
        Okay.

             SYDNEY
        Is something wrong?

             SHEPHERD
        No, I was...I was thinking about--
        nothing.

             SYDNEY
        I'll be back in a minute.

    She goes off.

             A.J.
        Did what I think just happened, just
        happen? Did the GDC's political
        director just tell the President and
        the White House Chief of Staff that
        there are three votes on the crime
        bill that can be bought by stickin'
        the fossil fuel package in a drawer.

             SHEPHERD
        No, the GDC's political director
        didn't tell us anything. Sydney Wade
        told her boyfriend and her
        boyfriend's best friend that she had
        a lousy day.

             A.J.
        It doesn't change the facts, Mr.
        President. If Sydney gets her 24
        votes and we're three short, there's
        some maneuvering to be done.

             SHEPHERD
        I made a promise, A.J.

             A.J.
        You made a deal, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        I made it with Sydney.

             A.J.
        You made it with the GDC.

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah, well, this is all academic
        anyway. We're not going to need
        those votes.

             A.J.
        If your approval rating drops any
        more, things are gonna get tight.

                                           DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. A WASHINGTON WATERING HOLE - NIGHT

    LEWIS sits with a Congressman's aide.

             LEWIS
        I'm hearing rumors that your boss
        is wavering on the crime bill.

             AIDE
        You can't believe rumors, Lewis,
        you know this town.

             LEWIS
        That's what I wanted to hear.

             AIDE
        I'll tell you, though. My boss is
        starting to waver on the crime bill.


 INT. A POSE WASHINGTON RESTAURANT - DAY

    A lunchtime crowd is doing business over white wine, oysters
    and cobb salads. SYDNEY, a CONGRESSMAN, and his LEGISLATIVE
    AIDE are going at it.


             CONGRESSMAN (PENNYBAKER)

        Sydney, everybody cares about the
        environment during a phone survey.
        On election day, nobody gives a
        damn. That's, that's why you have
        a job.

             SYDNEY
        Congressman Pennybaker, on election
        day, people give a damn about what I
        tell them to give a damn about. And
        that's why I have a job.
               (offering the bread
                basket)
        Did you want another roll?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. FOSSIL FUEL WAR ROOM - DAY

    DAVID is on the phone--

             DAVID
               (to the INTERNS)
        She got Pennybaker.

             VOICE
        All right! Good job!

    DAVID rips off the top sheet of the tote board, which now
    reads "5 Votes in 14 Days."

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 CONGRESSMAN MILLMAN'S OFFICE - DAY

    MILLMAN is walking on a treadmill while LEWIS stands by.

             LEWIS
        Congressman, it was our understanding
         that we had your support.

             MILLMAN
        Hey, look, I like your boy. Always
        have. But for God's sake, kid,
        does the woman have to spend the
        night?

                                   DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. FOSSIL FUEL WAR ROOM - DAY

    INTERNS photocopying, clipping, stamping, crunching numbers,
    drinking coffee...DAVID is on an extension, listening to
    SYDNEY's final pitch over the phone.

    The tote board reads: "3 Votes in 5 Days."

             SYDNEY
               (into phone)
        We've got the full backing of
        the White House, Katherine.
               (listens)
        Yes, at 20 percent. Three more votes
        and the President sends it to the
        Hill.
               (listens)
        Katie, 10 years from now any cars
        with an internal combustion engine
        is gonna be considered a collector's
        item. Come on board, we'll make your
        Volvo a classic.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY

    LEWIS and KODAK, each with an AIDE, have been meeting with
    two CONGRESSMEN and their AIDES.

             LEWIS
        Congressman, the assault weapons
        are gone.

             KODAK
        The bill is priced to move, see.

             CONGRESSMAN
        The bill isn't the issue, fellas.
        I'm facing a serious challenge in
        November, and the President's
        coattails aren't what they used
        to be.

             KODAK
        The President's coattail's are gonna
        have room for you, Congressman, you
        leave that to us.

             AIDE
        We left that to you people, Leon,
        and the President's in a free-fall.

             KODAK
        I wouldn't say he's in a free--

             CONGRESSMAN
        I just can't give you my vote.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. A.J.'S OFFICE - DAY

    LEWIS and KODAK stand in front of A.J.'s desk.

             LEWIS
        The well is drying up. The
        President's gotta make a move or
        we're gonna die fast and quiet.

             KODAK
        What if I do a new poll? We give
        him detailed public opinion.

             LEWIS
        And we put Sydney in the new model?

    A.J. hesitates.

             LEWIS
               (continuing)
        A.J., it's meaningless unless we ask
        him about Sydney.

             A.J.
        Fine. Do it.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    The street's been temporarily closed to traffic, and SECRET
    SERVICE AGENTS man the sidewalk. The PRESS and ONLOOKERS
    form a small crowd, kept well at bay by police barricades.

 INT. SYDNEY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

    SHEPHERD and SYDNEY are finishing up dinner.

             SHEPHERD
        This was delicious. Thank you. Is
        there any left?

             SYDNEY
               (taking his bowl)
        Tons. I didn't think you liked it.

             SHEPHERD
        Are you kidding me, of course I did.
        But actually it's not for me. The
        agent who checked the food thought
        it was delicious, and I sort of told
        him I'd bring him some if there was
        any left.

             SYDNEY
        So you didn't like it.

             SHEPHERD
        No, I loved it.

             SYDNEY
        You're lying.

             SHEPHERD
        No, I'm not.

             SYDNEY
        You are. I can tell when you're
        holding something back. You do a
        thing with your face.

    SYDNEY pops a bottle of port and pours two glasses.

             SHEPHERD
        When have you seen me do a thing
        with my face?

             SYDNEY
        Two days before I met you. You
        gave a speech for the Daughters
        of the American Revolution. I was
        there.

             SHEPHERD
        You were?

             SYDNEY
        You remember the speech?

             SHEPHERD
        Vaguely.

             SYDNEY
        "American can no longer afford to
        pretend that they live in a great
        society."

             SHEPHERD
        Ah.

             SYDNEY
        There was supposed to be something
        else after that, wasn't there?

             SHEPHERD
        How did you know?

             SYDNEY
        I told you. The face.

    SYDNEY hands him a glass. They clink glasses and sip.

             SHEPHERD
        Wow...what's the occasion?

             SYDNEY
        You're looking at a lady who's two
        votes shy of the promised land.

             SHEPHERD
        Two votes?

             SYDNEY
        I got Pennybaker. That got me Cass
        and Zimmer.

             SHEPHERD
               (beat)
        That's great, Sydney. I mean it.
        That's great work.

             SYDNEY
        Well, I'm not there yet.

             SHEPHERD
        Look, no matter what happens, you
        have every right to be proud of
        yourself.

             SYDNEY
        I'll be proud when I see you sign
        the bill.

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah, well...

             SYDNEY
        Andy.

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah?

             SYDNEY
        You're doing that thing with your face.

 CUT TO:

 EXT. OLD EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUILDING - DAY - EAST

    A light rain is falling.

                                     CUT TO:

 INT. CRIME BILL WAR ROOM - DAY

    KODAK sits at his desk staring at a computer printout. LEWIS
    is nearing the end of a phone conversation that isn't going
    well. He's pacing around with the phone...desperate and
    intense.

    The tote board reads: "1 Vote in 2 Days." ROBIN enters.

             ROBIN
               (to KODAK)
        How're the numbers?

             KODAK
        Bad.

             ROBIN
        How bad?

             KODAK
        Forty-one. Character across the
        board.

             ROBIN
        Who is Lewis on with?

             KODAK
        Jarrett. He's trying to keep his
        finger in the dam.

             LEWIS
               (into phone)
        You're supposed to be a United States
        Congressman, for the love of Christ.

    ROBIN and KODAK appear in the doorway, sensing a surprise
    development. LEWIS is losing it on the phone.

             LEWIS
               (continuing; listens)
        But you're not gonna stay at 41.
        The numbers are gonna be go back up.
               (listens)
        But they're gonna go back up.
               (listens)
        George...
               (listens)
        Congressman...
               (listens)
        Congressman Jarrett...
               (listens)
        George, it's crunch time. It's
        personal. This is one of those
        moments. It's just you and the
        President. Now that's it gonna
        be?

    LEWIS looks over at ROBIN and KODAK ...his face telling the
    story.

             LEWIS
               (continuing)
        Yeah.
               (listens)
        Yeah.
               (listens)
        Hey, George? Can I tell you
        something? We're gonna win this
        thing. We're gonna get the votes
        and we're gonna win. And after we
        do, I mean that very night, I'm
        gonna go to Sam & Harry's, I'm gonna
        order a big steak, and I'm gonna make
        a list of everybody who tried to fuck
        us this week.

    ROBIN and KODAK are trying to get their friend from setting
    fire to a bridge out of pure frustration.

         ROBIN
               (a whispered shout)
        Lewis!

             LEWIS
               (into phone)
        Vote your conscience, you chicken-
        shit, lame-ass--

    LEWIS hangs up the phone. He takes a deep breath, slumps
    down in the nearest chair, and looks up at ROBIN and KODAK.

    There's a long silence before LEWIS says--

             LEWIS
               (continuing)
        We lost Jarrett.

             KODAK
               (beat)
        I hope so. 'Cause, you know, if
        that was an "undecided," then we
        need to work on our people skills.

    LEWIS picks up the phone and punches in a few numbers. Even
    before that line starts ringing, he picks up another phone
    and punches in a different set of numbers.

             LEWIS
               (into the first phone)
        Karen, it's Lewis. Could you hunt
        down Congressman Quincy for me. I
        need to talk to him right way.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    SHEPHERD stands in front A.J., LEWIS, ROBIN, and KODAK.
    JANIE is somewhere in the background.

             A.J.
        We lost Quincy, too.

             SHEPHERD
        Did he give a reason?

             LEWIS
        He thinks your numbers aren't likely
        to rebound.

             KODAK
        We're three votes down again, sir.

    There's a pause before ...

             KODAK
               (continuing)
        Mr. President, as of this morning,
        Sydney only needed one more vote.
        The Motown Three have gotta be
        scared blind. I don't think there'll
        be a better opportunity.

             ROBIN
        The press is expecting an
        announcement on the crime bill by
        the Sate of the Union.

             KODAK
        If you agree to stick 455 in a drawer
        until after the elections, they'll
        give you the three votes.

             ROBIN
               (beat)
        And we declare victory, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        We said as a last resort.

             KODAK
        We're there, sir. The State of the
        Union is 48 hours away.

             SHEPHERD
        No. Come on. There's gotta be three
        votes someplace else.

             KODAK
        There isn't.

             SHEPHERD
        Bullshit, Leon. There's gotta be
        somebody we haven't--

             KODAK
        There isn't, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Storch.

             KODAK
        I beg your pardon?

             SHEPHERD
        What about Storch?

             A.J.
        Mr. President--

             KODAK
        Storch is a "no."

             SHEPHERD
        Wagner.

             KODAK
        No.

             SHEPHERD
        Sobel.

             KODAK
        No.

             SHEPHERD
        Clark.

             KODAK
        No.

             SHEPHERD
        Not that Clark, the one from
        Indiana.

             KODAK
            (pause)
        That one too, sir.

    SHEPHERD is stopped.

             A.J.
        Mr. President, I think we have to
        do it.

             SHEPHERD
        She is one vote away, A.J. It's
        important legislation that for the
        first time has a legitimate chance.
         I think she deserves every possible
        opportunity to--

             LEWIS
        She? You meant "it," didn't you,
        sir? You meant the "important
        legislation" deserves every
        opportunity.

             A.J.
        Lewis, shut up.

    There's a horrible silence in the room. SHEPHERD has locked
    eyes with LEWIS.

             SHEPHERD
        You got something to say to me?

             LEWIS
        Respectfully, sir. I think we should
        examine the new poll for more than
        its value as a box score.

             SHEPHERD
        Examine what? They don't like that
        I'm going out with Sydney.

             LEWIS
        It's not that simple, sir. I think
        this poll helps bribg a murky problem
        into specific relief.

             SHEPHERD
        Whose problem we talking about,
        Lewis? Yours? You worried about
        your job? This poll isn't talking
        about my Presidency. This poll is
        talking about my life. Two hundred
        and sixty-four million people have
        decided--

             LEWIS
        Mr. President, two hundred and sixty-
        four million people don't give a damn
        about your life. They give a damn about
        their own.

             A.J.
        All right, that's enough.

             LEWIS
        Mr. President, you've raised a
        daughter almost entirely on your own,
        and she's terrific. What does it say
        to you that in the last seven weeks,
        59 percent of this country has begun
        to question your family values?

             A.J.
        The President doesn't answer to you,
        Lewis.

             LEWIS
        Oh yes, he does, A.J.  I'm a citizen,
        this is my president, and in this
        country it is not only permissible to
        question our leaders, it is our
        responsibility. But you already know
        that, Mr. President, because you have
        a deeper love of this country than
        any man I've ever known, and I want
        to know what it says to you that in
        the past seven weeks 59 percent of
        Americans have begun to question your
        patriotism?

             SHEPHERD
        Look, if people want to listen to Bob
        Rumson--

             LEWIS
        They don't have a choice! Rob
        Rumson's the only one doing the
        talking. People want leadership.
        And in the absence of genuine
        leadership, they will listen to
        anyone who steps up to the
        microphone. They want leadership,
        Mr. President. They're so thirsty
        for it, they'll crawl through the
        desert toward a mirage, and when
        they discover there's no water,
        they'll drink the sand.

             SHEPHERD
               (evenly)
        Lewis, we've had Presidents who were
        beloved, who couldn't find a coherent
        sentence with two hands and a
        flashlight. People don't drink the
        sand, 'cause they're thirsty, Lewis.
        They drink it 'cause they don't know
        the difference.

    The room is slightly stunned by what their President has just
    said.

    SHEPHERD picks up the polling data and heads to the door...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing; on his
                way out)
        Make the deal.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE FOSSIL FUEL WAR ROOM - DAY

    SYDNEY, SUSAN, DAVID, INTERNS and STAFFERS are having a
    little office celebration. Champagne flows from paper cups.
    Streamers and balloons adorn the tote board, which reads 0
    Votes in 1 Day.

    SUSAN, maybe a little drunk, has concerned SYDNEY.

             SUSAN
        I want to go on the record and
        apologize for my attitude toward you
        since your arrival.

             SYDNEY
        I didn't notice. Was there an
        attitude?

    A PHONE RINGS, and one of the staffers takes it. SYDNEY
    tries to rejoin the party, but--

             SUSAN
        I think I have a lot of pent-up
        hostility.

             SYDNEY
        Well--

             SUSAN
        I wonder who I can blame it on.

             SYDNEY
        I'm not really qualified to--

             SUSAN
        'Cause I've been blaming it on my
        mother and my ex-husband, and that
        hasn't been working.

             DAVID
               (approaching SYDNEY)
        Leo needs to see you.

             SYDNEY
        Tell him to get over here. It's a
        party.

             DAVID
        He needs to see you in his office.

             SYDNEY
        It can't wait?

             DAVID
        He just got off the phone with
        MacInerney. There's been a
        development.

    SYDNEY holds for a moment...then heads out the door and we

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. A CORRIDOR IN THE RESIDENCE - LATE AFTERNOON

    TROMBONE MUSIC comes from LUCY's bedroom as SHEPHERD rounds
    the corner.

 INT. LUCY'S BEDROOM - LATER AFTERNOON

    SHEPHERD pops his head in.

             SHEPHERD
        Sounds good.

             LUCY
        It's progressive.

             SHEPHERD
        I'll say.

             LUCY
        Hey, Dad, what's wrong with Sydney?
        You guys have a fight?

             SHEPHERD
               (beat)
        What do you mean?

             LUCY
        She seemed pretty--

             SHEPHERD
        You saw her?

             LUCY
        She's here.

             SHEPHERD
        Where?

             LUCY
        In your room. Why is she mad?

             SHEPHERD
        Don't worry about it.

             LUCY
        Were you a dork?

             SHEPHERD
        Practice your music.

             LUCY
        If you were a dork, you should say
        you're sorry. Girls like that.

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. SHEPHERED'S BEDROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

    SYDNEY is going through the closet in search of something.
    The door opens, and SHEPHERD steps in, perhaps a little
    tentatively. He doesn't see SYDNEY at first.

             SHEPHERD
               (calling out)
        Syd?

    SYDNEY comes out.

             SYDNEY
        Have you seen a gray cableknit
        sweater?

             SHEPHERD
        A grey...sweater? No. I called
        you at the office, but...

             SYDNEY
        It's Beth's. I wore it here one
        time, and I didn't want to leave
        it.

             SHEPHERD
        Where were you going?

    SYDNEY continues her search.

             SYDNEY
        I'm going home, and then I'm going
        to Hartford.

             SHEPHERD
        Connecticut?

             SYDNEY
        Yes. Do you know if it was sent with
        your dry cleaning by any--

             SHEPHERD
        What's in Connecticut?

             SYDNEY
        Richard Reynolds' campaign. He may
        be able to get me a job.

             SHEPHERD
        When did you decide to get a new job?

             SYDNEY
        Not long after Leo Solomon fired me
        from my old one. Beth's gonna kill
        me. She loves that--

             SHEPHERD
        Why did he fire you?

             SYDNEY
        Total failure to achieve any of the
        objectives for which I was hired. I
        told him he was being unreasonable.
        After all, I did get to dance with
        the President and ride in Air Force
        One a couple of times. But you know
        those prickly environmentalists.
        It's always gonna be something with
        them. If it's not clean air, then
        it's clean water. Like it isn't good
        enough that I'm on the cover of
        People Magazine.

             SHEPHERD
        I'll call him.

             SYDNEY
        You'll call him? You mean you'll
        call him yourself? Personally?
        It'll come from the President?
        That's a great idea. I think you
        should call Leo and make a deal. He
        hires me back for, say, 72 days. I
        go around scaring the hell out of
        Congress, making them think that the
        President's about to drive through a
        very damaging and costly bill.
        They'll believe me, right, 'cause I'm
        the President's Friday Night Girl.
        Now I don't know if you can dip into
        this well twice, especially since
        I've lost all credibility in politics,
        but you never know, I might just be
        able to pull it off again. I might
        be able to give you just the leverage
        you need to pass some ground-breaking
        piece of crime legislation -- like a
        mandatory three-day waiting period
        before a five-year-old can buy an Uzi.
        Fuck the sweater -- she'll have to
        learn to live with disappointment.

    She starts to exit

             SHEPHERD
        What do you think went on here today?

    She stops.

             SYDNEY
        I know exactly what went on here
        today. I got screwed. You saw the
        poll, you needed the crime bill,
        you couldn't get it on your own,
        so I got screwed.

             SHEPHERD

        The environment got screwed. Nothing
        happened to you today, Sydney.
        Governing is choosing. Governing is
        prioritizing. I've made no secret of
        the fact that the crime bill was my
        top priority.

             SYDNEY
        Well then, congratulations. It's
        only taken you three years to put
        together crime prevention legislation
        that has no hope of preventing crime.

    SYDNEY heads out the door--

             SHEPHERD
            (stopping)
        Sydney. Please. I don't want to
        lose you over this.

             SYDNEY
        Mr. President, you got bigger
        problems than losing me. You just
        lost my vote.

    And SYDNEY is out the door...

    ...we HOLD on SHEPHERD, looking like a man who's taken a lot
    of punches to the heads...

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE POOL ROOM - NIGHT

    A rack of billiard balls explodes from the break.

             A.J.
        Hartfort? What's in Hartford?

             SHEPHERD
        Richard Reynolds' district office.
        She's thinking of running his
        campaign. Four in the corner.

    SHEPHERD gets down over the ball--

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Hartford. The insurance capital of
        the world. Have a good time, Syd.

    SHEPHERD smacks the ball, BULL'S-EYE.

             A.J.
        Listen. I'm gonna have Janie clear
        your schedule for the weekend. You
        need to get some rest.

             SHEPHERD
        You handling me, A.J.?

             A.J.
        No, sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Good. 14 in the side.

    SHEPHERD gets down over the ball...

 SMACK!!!

    ...but instead of the cue hitting the ball, it's A.J.'s palms
    slamming the cue against the table.

             A.J.
        But I sure as hell will if you don't
        start gettin' your head outta your ass.

             SHEPHERD
        Excuse me.

             A.J.
        Lewis is right. Go after this guy.

             SHEPHERD
        Has he lied?!

             A.J.
        What?

             SHEPHERD
        Has Rumson lied in the last seven
        weeks?

             A.J.
        Has he lied?

             SHEPHERD
        Other than not knowing the difference
        between Harvard and Stanford, has he
        said something that isn't true? Am
        I not a Commander-in-Chief who's
        never served in the military? Am I
        not opposed to a Constitutional
        amendment banning flag burning? Am
        I not an unmarried father who was
        sharing a bed with a liberal lobbyist
        down the hall from my twelve-year-old
        daughter?

             A.J.
        And you think you're wrong?

             SHEPHERD
        I don't think you win elections by
        telling 59 percent of the people that
        they are.

             A.J.
        We fight the fights we can win.

             SHEPHERD
        Don't--

             A.J.
        You fight the fights that need
        fighting!

             SHEPHERD
        Is the view pretty good from the
        cheap seats, A.J.?

             A.J.
        I beg your pardon.

             SHEPHERD
        It occurs to me that in 25 years I've
        never seen your name on a ballot.
        Why have you always been standing a
        pace behind me?

             A.J.
        Because if I hadn't been, you'd be
        the most popular history professor
        at the University of Wisconsin.

             SHEPHERD
        Fuck you.

    SHEPHERD's tossed his cue stick and is heading out...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Have Lewis put the final drafts of
        the State of the Union and the Crime
        Bill announcement on my desk in the
        morning.

             A.J.
        Yes, sir.

    SHEPHERD gets to the doorway...stops...turns around...

             SHEPHERD
        If Mary hadn't died...would we have
        won three years ago?

             A.J.
        Would we have won?

             SHEPHERD
        If we'd had to go through a character
        debate three years ago, would we have
        won?

             A.J.
        I don't know. But I would've liked
        that campaign. If my friend Andy
        Shepherd had shown up, I would have
        liked that campaign.

    SHEPHERD looks away...nods absently...

             SHEPHERD
               (pause)
        Yeah.

    SHEPHERD exits, leaving A.J. alone as we

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. WHITE HOUSE CORRIDOR - NIGHT

    A series of shots showing SHEPHERD walking down the corridor
    to the dish room, then walking down a long corridor which
    contains a series of paintings of various presidents. Then
    sitting alone in the Oval Office, lost in thought...

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

 INT. RESIDENCE DINING ROOM - EARLY MORNING

    SHEPHERD and LUCY are eating breakfast in silence, neither of
    them very happy, each with their own problems. A nearby T.V.
    MONITOR glows with the live coverage of ROBIN's morning press
    briefing.

    Finally...

             SHEPHERD
        You're not hungry?

             LUCY
        This is oatmeal.

             SHEPHERD
        Yeah.

             LUCY
        We never have oatmeal.

             SHEPHERD
        It's good for you.

             LUCY
        I'm from Wisconsin. I need food.

             SHEPHERD
        You're not from Wisconsin. I'm from
        Wisconsin. You've lived in
        Washington your whole life.

    He glances toward the T.V. screen. ROBIN's standing up there
    doing what she's been told: "No comment...No, this President
    is not participating in character debates..." He mutes the
    volume.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        How are you doing in your
        Constitutional debates?

             LUCY
        We're done.

             SHEPHERD
        You're done?

             LUCY
        We ratified it last week.

             SHEPHERD
        Oh...well...that's good. Why didn't
        you tell me?

             LUCY
        It's not a big deal, Dad.

             SHEPHERD
        Okay, I give up. I don't care why
        you're not happy in social studies.
        I care about why you're not talking
        to me about why you're not happy in
        social studies.

             LUCY
        Dad, I'm perfectly--

             SHEPHERD
        You're not perfectly happy. You
        don't think I know when something's
        bothering you?

             LUCY
        Damnit, Dad!

             SHEPHERD
        Hey!

             LUCY
        You know--

             SHEPHERD
        Talk to me.

             LUCY
        Look--

    LUCY winds herself up. It would appear she's about to burst.
    She's about to say the hardest thing she's ever had to say in
    her life--

             LUCY
               (continuing)
        --sometimes when you talk, you say
        things I disagree with.

    SHEPHERD is stunned and totally confused...

             SHEPHERD
        Almost every time I talk, I say
        things you disagree with.

             LUCY
        I mean politically.

             SHEPHERD
               (pause)
        Politically?

             LUCY
        Yes.

             SHEPHERD
               (pause)
        What do you mean?

    It just starts spilling out in a stream--

             LUCY
        Yes. Okay. Yes. Sometimes, I mean,
        I'm not sure. You know a lot more
        than I do -- but still, I have these
        feelings, and I don't think they're
        wrong. Like, okay, for instance, I'm
        not so sure it's all right to burn a
        flag. I mean, it really bothers a lot
        of people, and I don't know why you
        think it's okay. I hear Senator
        Rumson talk, and some of the things
        he says sounds right to me, and I
        think, "God, am I like Bob Rumson?!
        I mean, Dad thinks he's a jerk. Dad
        hates this guy!
        Why am I agreeing with him" And then
        I think, "Well, maybe I'm not really
        like Bob Rumson, but maybe I'm not
        like Dad either." But the point is
        I'm the President's kid, and people
        pay attention to what I say, and if
        I say something different from what
        you say, it'll be embarrassing for
        you. So I can't just get up in social
        studies class and say whatever I want.

    SHEPHERD is silent...totally blown away...he had absolutely
    no idea...

    He stands up slowly and moves toward her...LUCY doesn't know
    what's coming...

             SHEPHERD
               (quietly)
        Stand up please.

    LUCY gets up slowly...

    She's never seen her father like this...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        I want you to pay very close
        attention to what happens now.

    SHEPHERD knees down, cups her daughter's face in his hands,
    and gently kisses her forehead. He pulls her to him and
    holds her in a tight embrace...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        In your  lifetime, you will never
        embarrass me. It could never happen.
        You're not the President's daughter,
        Lucy, you're mine.
        And no one's gonna vote me out of
        that job. You're my daughter, and
        everything else is a distant second.
               (more)
        School is for you, Lucy. You say
        what you want. The only thing you
        have to do to make me happy is
        come home at the end of the day.

    LUCY squeezes her dad tight...they hold the embrace for a
    long moment.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        One more thing. I don't dislike
        Senator Rumson because of his
        political views. And even if you
        voted for everything he would vote
        for, that wouldn't make you like him.
        There's a fundamental difference
    between you and the Bob Rumsons of
        the world.

             LUCY
        What's that?

             SHEPHERD
        The difference is that he says he
        loves America. Saying you love
        America is easy. What takes
        character -- and this is what you
        have--

    SHEPHERD trails off, realizing he's about to quote Sydney...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        What takes character is loving
        Americans.
               (beat)

    And now it's as if SHEPHERD is waking himself up from the
    longest trip of his life...

    ...he looks over at the T.V. monitor..."No comment"...
    "No, I don't know how many other ways I can say it. The
    White House isn't getting involved in..."

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Luce, I gotta go.

             LUCY
        Dad, is everything all right?

             SHEPHERD
        Everything's fine. I'm just a little
        late for work.

    He heads for the door, shouting out as he goes--

             SHEPHERD
        Somebody get my daughter some food!
        The girl's from Wisconsin, for cryin'
        out loud!

    And he's gone as we...

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. THE PRESS BRIEFING ROOM - EARLY MORNING

    ROBIN is on her last drops of energy and patience.

             REPORTER #4
        Robin, will the President ever
        respond to Senator Rumson's
        question about being a member of
        the American Civil Liberties Union?

    But instead of hands going up, the PRESS CORPS suddenly
    stands. ROBIN turns to see SHEPHERD stride in and step up to
    the podium.

             SHEPHERD
        Yes, he will. 'Morning.

             ROBIN
        Good morning, Mr. President.

    SHEPHERD takes the podium. There's a palpable BUZZ in the
    room as video operators adjust their equipment, etc. People
    starts to stand.

             SHEPHERD
        That's all right, you can keep your
        seats. For the last couple of
        months, Senator Rumson has suggested
        that being president of this country
        was, to a certain extent, about
        character...

 ANGLE - ROBIN

    who's picked up the receiver from a wall phone and punches in
    four numbers.

    She turns in to the wall to shield her conversation from the
    rest of the room.

             ROBIN
               (into phone)
        Lewis...call A.J. and come on down
        here...I don't know, but
        something's happening.

             SHEPHERD
        ...and although I have not been
        willing to engage in his attacks on
        me, I've been here three years and
        three days, and I can tell you
        without hesitation: Being President
        of this country is entirely about
        character.

    LEWIS enters with A.J. and KODAK.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        For the record: Yes, I am a card-
        carrying member of the A.C.L.U. But
        the more important question is why
        aren't you, Bob? This is an
        organization whose sole purpose is to
        defend the Bill of Rights, so it
        naturally begs the questions.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Why would a senator, his party's most
        powerful spokesman and a candidate
        for president, choose to reject
        upholding the Constitution? If you
        can answer that question, then,
        folks, you're smarter than I am,
        because I didn't understand it until
        a couple of minutes ago. Everybody
        knows American isn't easy. America is
        advanced citizenship.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's
        gonna put up a fight. It's gonna
        say, "You want free speech? Let's
        see you acknowledge a man whose words
        make your blood boil, who's standing
        center stage and advocating, at the
        top of his lungs, that which you
        would spend a lifetime opposing at the
        top of yours. You want to claim
        this land as the land of the free,
        then the symbol of your country can't
        just be a flag; the symbol also has
        to be one of its citizens exercising
        his right to burn that flag in
        protest." Show me that, defend that,
        celebrate that in your classrooms.
        Then you can stand up and sing about
        the land of the free. I've known Bob
        Rumson for years. I've been operating
        under the assumption that the reason
        Bob devotes so much time and energy to
        shouting at the rain was that he simply
        didn't get it. Well, I was wrong.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't
        get it. Bob's problem is that he
        can't sell it. Nobody has ever won
        an election by talking about what I
        was just talking about.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        This is a country made up of people
        with hard jobs that they're terrified
        of losing. The roots of freedom are
        of little or no interest to them at
        the moment. We are a nation afraid
        to go out at night. We're a society
        that has assigned low priority to
        education and has looked the other
        way while our public schools have
        been decimated. We have serious
        problems to solve, and we need
        serious men to solve them. And
        whatever your particular problem is,
        friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is
        not the least bit interested in
        solving it. He is interested in two
        things and two things only: Making
        you afraid of it and telling you
        who's to blame for it. That, ladies
        and gentlemen, is how you win
        elections. You gather a group of
        middle-aged, middle-class, middle-
        income voters who remember with
        longing an easier time, and you talk
        to them about family and American
        values and personal character. Then
        you have an old photo of the
        President's girlfriend. You scream
        about patriotism and you tell them
        she's to blame for their lot in life,
        you go on television and you call her
        a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done
        nothing to you, Bob. She has done
        nothing but put herself through law
        school, prosecute criminals for five
        years, represent the interests of
        public school teachers for two years,
        and lobby for the safety of our
        natural resources.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        You want a character debate? Fine,
        but you better stick with me, 'cause
        Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your
        league. I've loved two women in my
        life. I lost one to cancer, and I
        lost the other 'cause I was so busy
        keeping my job I forgot to do my job.
        Well that ends right now.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Tomorrow morning the White House is
        sending a bill to Congress for its
        consideration. It's White House
        Resolution 455, an energy bill
        requiring a 20 percent reduction of the
        emission of fossil fuels over the
        next ten years. It is by far the
        most aggressive stride ever taken in
        the fight to reverse the effects of
        global warming. The other piece of
        legislation is the crime bill. As of
        today it no longer exists. I'm
        throwing it out. I'm throwing it out
        and writing a law that makes sense.
        You cannot address crime prevention
        without getting rid of assault
        weapons and handguns.
        I consider them a threat to national
        security, and I will go door to door
        if I have to, but I'm gonna convince
        Americans that I'm right, and I'm
        gonna get the guns. We've got
        serous problems, and we need serious
        men, and if you want to talk about
        character, Bob, you'd better come at
        me with more than a burning flag and
        a membership card. If you want to
        talk about character and American
        values, fine. Just tell me where and
        when, and I'll show up. This is a
        time for serious men, Bob, and your
        fifteen minutes are up. My name's
        Andrew Shepherd, and I am the
        President.

    SHEPHERD exits the press room, leaving a stunned room in his
    wake.

    The MURMURS begin from the PRESS CORPS. They're talking
    among themselves, confirming that they just saw what they
    just saw. ROBIN steps to the podium.

             ROBIN
        Any questions?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. HALLWAY - WEST WING - DAY

    A.J. and LEWIS are following after the President.

             A.J.
        Well, you don't see that every day
        of the week.

             LEWIS
        He's got the whole White House Press
        Corps asking each other how to spell
        "erudite."

             A.J.
        Lewis, call the printer.

             LEWIS
        I know. Gotta rewrite the State of
        the Union.

             A.J.
        Every word, Lewis. It's a whole new
        ball game. You've got 35 minutes.

             LEWIS
        Oh, good. I thought I was gonna be rushed.

    LEWIS goes off in one direction. A.J. heads towards the Oval
    Office.

                                                            CUT TO:

 INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

    SHEPHERD is on the phone.

             SHEPHERD
        I don't want the limo. I don't want
        an escort.

    A.J. enters.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        I want a plain, ordinary, non-
        bullet-proof automobile. Someone
        around here must have a Chevy I
        can borrow. Well, find one and
        meet me outside the West Wing
        entrance in five minutes.

             A.J.
        Where are you going?

             SHEPHERD
        I'm going to her house. I'm gonna
        stand at her front door till she
        lets me in. And I'm not leaving till
        I get her back.

             A.J.
        How're you gonna do that?

             SHEPHERD
        I haven't worked that out yet. But
        I'm sure groveling will be involved.

             A.J.
        You're just gonna drive over?

             SHEPHERD
        I'm the Commander-in-Chief of the
        most powerful army in the world.
        You don't think I can drive ten blocks?

             SYDNEY
        Just stay away from DuPont Circle.
        I hear it's murder this time of day.

    SHEPHERD doesn't need to turn around to know who's standing
    in the doorway, but of course he does anyway.

             SYDNEY
        Hi, A.J.

             A.J.
        It's nice to see you, Ms. Wade. If
        anybody needs me, I'll be in the
        Roosevelt Room, giving Lewis oxygen.

    A.J. exits.

             SYDNEY
        I heard your speech. I was in my
        car, and it just kind of steered
        its way over here.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm glad.

    SYDNEY and SHEPHERD just gaze at each other for a moment and
    smile. SYDNEY starts toward him.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Sydney, I didn't decide to send
        455 to the floor to get you back.

             SYDNEY
        I didn't come back 'cause you decided
        to send 455 to the floor.

    They move to kiss. It doesn't last very long because...

             LEWIS
               (entering)
        Mr. President, I thought you might
        want to look at this. I moved Social
        Security up front. Hello, Sydney.

    JANIE enters--

             JANIE
        Mr. President, Leventhal at
        Treasury wants two minutes. Hello,
        Sydney.

    MRS. CHAPIL enters--

             MRS. CHAPIL
        Mr. President -- Excuse me, Miss
        Wade -- Miss McCall is on her way
        over.

             SHEPHERD
               (to SYDNEY)
        I've got some things to do.

             SYDNEY
        Yes, you do.

                                                      CUT TO:

 EXT. THE CAPITOL - NIGHT

    It's lit up and glowing on this cold, clear night.

             ANCHOR (V.O.)
        We're only a moment or two away from
        the arrival of President Shepherd and
        his State of the Union address.
        Lloyd, you've served on the staffs of
        several past administrations, what
        kind of last-minute activity is the
        President engaged in right now?

                                                      CUT TO:

 INT. A VIP ROOM - NIGHT

    It's off the main corridor, and it's being used as a green
    room for SHEPHERD and his group -- LEWIS, KODAK, A.J., JANIE,
    and various AIDES and STAFFERS. People are buzzing around in
    a last-minute flurry. SHEPHERD is fumbling with his cuff
    links.

             SHEPHERD
        I'm having a cuff links crisis.

    LUCY takes his sleeves.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing; to LUCY)
        I think they've locked.

             LUCY
        Hold still.

    ROBIN steps in.

             ROBIN
        Mr. President, they're waiting for
        you.


             LUCY
        All done.

             SHEPHERD
        Lewis.

             LEWIS
        Sir.

             SHEPHERD
        Things have been a little rough
        between us lately.

             LEWIS
        I know sir, I'm sorry.

             SHEPHERD
        Don't stop what you're doing.

             LEWIS
        That's kind of you, sir, but I
        realize I've been a little
        insensitive about some personal...

             SHEPHERD
        No, you were right. Two hundred and
        sixty-four million people don't give
        a damn about my life.

             LEWIS
        Just so you know I've never been one
        of them, Mr. President.

             ROBIN
        This way, people. Let's go.

             SHEPHERD
               (to LEWIS)
        See you after.

    The PEOPLE in the room start to gather their things and exit,
    ROBIN handling any and all last-minute "Mr. President"'s as
    she herds people out the door.

    LUCY walks past SHEPHERD. She holds SHEPHERD's old tattered
    textbook and has it opened to a specific page...

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        Whatcha got there, Luce?

             LUCY
        Article 2, Section 3, of the U.S.
        Constitution. Executive Powers.
               (reading)
        "He shall, from time to time, give to
        the Congress information of the State
        of the Union, and recommend to their
        consideration such measures as he
        shall judge necessary and expedient."

             A.J.
        Sounds right up your alley.

    SHEPHERD looks at his old friend and extends his hand for a
    deeply-felt handshake. A.J. grasps SHEPHERD's hand and then
    pulls him into a strong embrace.

    A.J. whispers a shout into SHEPHERD's ear--

             A.J.
               (continuing)
        Give 'em hell, Andy.

    A.J. pulls away, leaving SHEPHERD to enjoy the moment without
    having to speak--

             A.J.
               (continuing)
        You've got 30 seconds, Mr. President.

             SHEPHERD
        Thank you.
               (to LUCY)
        I'll see you afterward. I want a
        critique.

    The room clears out...revealing SYDNEY, dressed like the
    First Lady she's soon to be, sitting against the window sill.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        There's been something I've been
        trying to give you since our first
        date. I tried a bunch of times, but
        somehow I've always managed to trip
        over my job.
               (beat)
        Anyay...

    SHEPHERD has picked his black canvas gym bag with the gold
    Presidential seal.

    He reaches in the bag and pulls out a bouquet of flowers.

             SHEPHERD
               (continuing)
        These are for you.

             SYDNEY
        They're beautiful.

    JANIE pokes her head in.

             JANIE
        Mr. President?

             SHEPHERD
        Gotta go.

             SYDNEY
        Should I stay here?

             SHEPHERD
        No, walk with me.

    They exit into a hallway lined with Congressional STAFFERS,
    SECRET SERVICE, CAPITOL SECURITY, WHITE HOUSE STAFF, and,
    most prominently, A.J., LEWIS, ROBIN, JANIE and KODAK.

    SYDNEY is still clutching her flowers as they near the double
    doors to the House Chamber--

             SYDNEY
        How'd you finally do it?

             SHEPHERD
               (raising his voice
                above the cheering)
        Do what?

             SYDNEY
        Manage to give a woman flowers and
        be President at the same time.

             SHEPHERD
        Well...it turns out I've got a rose
        garden.

    SYDNEY is stopped in her tracks as--

    --the doors to the Chamber fly open--

             DOORKEEPER
        Mr. Speaker!!!...THE PRESIDENT OF THE
     UNITED STATES!!!

    The CHAMBER leaps to its feet in a thunderous ovation,
    shouts of "Bravo!" from the gallery...

    At the back, LEWIS and ROBIN and KODAK are trying to maintain
    their professional cool, but it's a moment impossible not to
    get caught up in...SYDNEY is clutching her flowers with both
    hands...SHEPHERD is making his way down the aisle, shaking
    hands and receiving congratulations and good wishes, and we

 FADE OUT.

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