Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Who Wants to Live Forever?





BARTLET
I really did wake up energized this morning.

LEO
I know.

BARTLET
I never go to bed that way.

LEO
I know.

BARTLET
Just once, in this job, I’d like to end a day feeling as good as I did when the day started. 
[pause] 
Are you bothered by this?

LEO
The memo?

BARTLET
Yeah.

LEO
Yes.

BARTLET
We’ve heard it all before, Leo. You drive me to political safe ground. It’s not true.

LEO
I know it’s not true.

BARTLET
Good. [heads for his desk]

LEO
You drive me there.

BARTLET
[turns] What the hell did you say?

LEO
And you know it too.

BARTLET
Leo?

LEO
We’re stuck in neutral because that’s where you tell me to stay.

BARTLET
You’re wrong.

LEO
No. I’m not, sir.

BARTLET
You want to do this now?

LEO
Sir?

BARTLET
You came to my house, Leo.

LEO
Mr. President?

BARTLET
You came to my house, and you said, “Jed, let’s run for President.” 

I said, “Why?” 

And you said, “So that you can open your mouth and say what you think!” 

Where’d that  part go, Leo?

LEO
You tell me, Mr. President. I don’t see a shortage of cameras or microphones around  here. 

What the hell were you waiting for?

BARTLET
Look...

LEO
Everything you do...

BARTLET
This morning-

LEO
Everything you do says: 
“For God’s sakes, Leo. I don’t want to be a one-term President.”

BARTLET
Did I not say put our guys on the F.E.C.?

LEO
No sir. You did not do that.

BARTLET
Leo!

LEO
You said -- No! 

You said, "Let’s dangle our feet in the water of whatever the hell it is we dangle our feet in, when we want to make it look like we’re trying without pissing  too many people off!"

BARTLET
You’re writing a fascinating version of history, my friend.

LEO
Oh, take a look at Mandy’s memo, Mr. President, and you’ll read a fascinating version of it.

BARTLET
You brought me in on teachers. 
You brought me in on capital gains. 
You brought me in on China. 
And you brought me in on guns.

LEO
Brought you in from where? 
You’ve never been out there on guns.
You’ve never been out there on teachers. 

You dangle your feet, and I’m the hall monitor around here.
It’s my job to make sure nobody runs too fast or goes off too far.


I tell Josh to go to the Hill  on campaign finance, he knows nothing’s gonna come out of it.

BARTLET
That’s crap.

LEO
Sam can’t get real on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because you’re not gonna be there, and every guy sitting across the room from him knows that.

BARTLET
Leo, if I ever told you to get aggressive about campaign finance or gays in the military, you would tell me, “Don’t run too fast or go to far.”

LEO
If you ever told me to get aggressive about anything, I’d say I serve at the pleasure of the President. 

[pause]

But we’ll never know, sir, because I don’t think you’re ever gonna say it.

BARTLET
I have said it, and nothing’s every happened!

LEO
You want to see me orchestrate this right now? 

You want to see me mobilize these people? 

These people who would walk into fire if you told them to. 
These people who showed up to lead
These people who showed up to fight.

[points at Charlie]

That guy gets death threats because he’s black and he dates your daughter. 

He was warned: “Do not show up to this place. You’re life will be in danger.” 

He said, “To hell with that, I’m going anyway.” 

You said, “No.” 

Prudent, or not prudent, this 21 year old for 600 dollars a week says,
 
“I’m going where I want to because a man stands up.”

[pause]

Everyone’s waiting for you. I don’t know how much longer.

BARTLET
I don’t want to feel like this anymore.

LEO
You don’t have to.

BARTLET
I don’t want to go to sleep like this.

LEO
You don’t have to.

BARTLET
I want to speak.

LEO
Say it out loud. Say it to me.

BARTLET
This is more important than reelection. I want to speak now.

LEO
Say it again.

BARTLET
This is more important than reelection. I want to speak now.

LEO
Now we’re in business!

Leo goes to the table and picks up a pen and writes on a pad.

BARTLET
What’s happening?

LEO
We got our asses kicked in the first quarter, and it’s time we move up the mat. 

BARTLET
Yes!

LEO
Say it.

BARTLET
This is more important than reelection. 
I want to speak now.

LEO
[while writing] I’m gonna talk to the staff. I’m gonna take them off the leash.

BARTLET
You have a strategy for all this?

LEO
I have the beginnings of one.

BARTLET
What is it?

LEO
I’m gonna try that out for a little while.

Leo puts the pad on the desk in front of the President. It reads, “LET BARTLET BE BARTLET.” 
The President looks at it and back to Leo as his chief of staff goes back into--
LEO’S OFFICE. The staff are still inside. Leo takes off his jacket and leans on his desk.

LEO
Listen up. Our ground game isn’t working. If we want to walk into walls, I’d want us running into them full speed.

JOSH
What are you saying?

LEO
Well, you can start by telling the Hill the President has named his nominees for the F.E.C.

Josh looks surprised.

LEO
And we’re gonna lose some of these battles, and we might even lose the White House, but we’re not gonna be threatened by issues. 

We’re gonna put them front and center. 

We’re gonna raise the level of public debate in this country, and let that be our legacy.

[turns to Josh

That sound all right to you, Josh?

JOSH
I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

LEO
[to C.J.] Yeah?

C.J.
I serve at the pleasure of the President.

Leo turns to Sam.

SAM
I serve at the pleasure of President Bartlet.

LEO
Toby?

TOBY
I serve at the pleasure of the President.

Everyone turns their frowns into big smiles.

LEO
Good.

Leo turns to his desk and gets a clipboard. He turns back to his staff.

LEO
Then let’s get in the game!

Toby, Sam, Josh and C.J. exit. Leo walks to a table to get a pen. He looks at the open  door to the Oval Office. He sees Bartlet, who has been standing there watching. 

Bartlet nods at him. Leo smiles back before Bartlet walks back to his desk.

DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES.
FADE TO BLACK.
THE END

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