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American President, The (1995) movie script

by Aaron Sorkin.

More info about this movie on IMDb.com
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 i
	t'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 8x10 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.

THE END


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