Disclaimer: We claim no ownership of these characters. They are the property of Aaron Sorkin and NBC.
Notes: The following story takes
place immediately following the shooting at the town hall meeting. President Bartlet arrives back at the White House and begins to look back
at how they all got there. Flashback
sequences are indicated by ~~ Present day sequences are indicated in bold. As this is our first attempt at fan fiction writing we would enjoy any
and all comments. Thanks and happy
okay, but please ask the authors first.
Tara and Rachel
been hit? Whoís been hit?" President Bartlet heard the frantic calls on the Secret Service radios as
he sat in the limousine with his daughter, Zoey, who was sobbing in his arms.
what happened? Why would someone do
this?" Zoeyís questions tore at
the Presidentís heart. He
couldnít understand it, how was he going to explain it to her?
we have a report on my staffís condition?" The President quietly asked Ron Butterfield, who was head of his Secret
the scene isnít secure, reports canít be verified at this time,"
Butterfield said grimly, "we have to get you back to the White House."
presidential limo sped off towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, leaving the leader
of the free world wondering about the fate of his friends.
motorcade reached the White House in record time. The President and Zoey were quickly escorted to the Oval Office, where
the First Lady was waiting for them.
God, youíre both all right," Mrs. Bartlet exclaimed breathlessly, as she
enveloped them both in a hug.
First Family stayed like that for just a moment, the gravity of what they had
witnessed hitting home. President
Bartlet jumped towards his desk and quickly dialed for Mrs. Landingham, his
Landingham," he ordered, "get Ron Butterfield in here, NOW!"
walked back to his wife and daughter and putting his arms around both of them he
said, "Abby, why donít you take Zoey up to the residence and get her
settled. I have no idea about the
rest of the staff, and I need to talk to Ron to get an update. Iíll let you know as soon as I know something, I promise."
nodded, "Of course," she turned to her daughter, "Zoey, come on dear, let
me check you over. Letís go
upstairs." She placed her arms
protectively around her daughter and led her out of the Oval Office.
Bartlet sank into his office chair, the most powerful man in the free world and
he felt totally helpless as he waited for word on his staff. They were more than just a staff; they were his friends, his most trusted
advisors. In a way, they had become family. How did they arrive at this point? He
turned to stare at the window as he remembered how this whole presidency began.
Thanksgiving, 1997, the Governorís Mansion, Concord New Hampshire ~~
Jenny, itís about time you got here," Governor Jed Bartlet greeted his
friends, "Whereís Mallory?"
sends her apologies," Jenny McGarry explained her missing daughter,
"Stephenís family was having a family reunion for the holidays, and she
wanted to be there."
problem," replied Bartlet, "Ah, the things we do for love! Come on in. Abbyís
somewhere in this maze they call a house. ABBY!"
bellowed," answered Abigail Bartlet, "Leo, Jenny, how good to see you. With you being in Washington, we donít get together as often as we
with my job, weíre lucky we escaped Washington at all," Leo joked, as he
kissed Abbyís cheek.
two couples wandered into the sitting room as they continued to catch up.
remarked Jed, "would you relax? This
is supposed to be fun. Whatís
wrong, Jed," Leo assured his friend, "Well, Jenny and I were talking about
something on the way over here, but I wasnít going to mention it until after
dinner." He hesitated, looking to
his wife for support. Jenny nodded
as if to say, ĎJust say it.í
continued, "Have you thought about running for President, Jed?"
looked at him in shock, "Me? Why?"
else? Youíre the most charismatic
man in politics. You could give the
American people something to believe in again. The public doesnít want a John Hoynes running the State of the Union. They want someone they can trust. I
think youíd be perfect. If you
say yes, Iíll support you every step of the way. Címon Jed, what do we have to lose?"
do you hear what this crazy man is suggesting?" Jed asked his wife
I donít think heís so crazy," Abby replied, "If you want to do it, the
girls and I are behind you. I
donít think there is a better candidate in America. Leoís right, and he knows you almost better than I do."
not going to deny that the thought hasnít crossed my mind. But how do we get to the White House? I donít even know where to start," Jed rambled.
best friend just happens to be a political animal," Leo said with a smile,
"Does this mean you want to do this?"
got my family behind me and my best friend in charge, letís do it!"
exclaimed Bartlet, his eyes sparkling.
January, 1998 ~~~
I, Josiah Bartlet, am announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United
States of America," Jed announced to the television cameras with Abby and Zoey
standing to either side of him. "Thank
you for coming, good day." The
Bartlets stepped from the podium set in the governorís pressroom. Leo stepped up to field the press.
Bartlet must attend to state matters at this time," Leo explained, "Youíll
hear from him again soon, thank you."
Bartlet family and Leo headed back to Jedís office. After everyone was seated, Jed asked, "Leo, any news on whether I have
a staff yet?"
Iíve got some calls into people, now we just play the waiting game," Leo
remarked, "Jed, youíve got to relax, this is just stage one."
know, I know," Bartlet answered, "anyway, Iíve got other work to do, and
Iím sure the rest of you have other places to be. Leo, letís meet later this afternoon to discuss our prospective
nodded and followed Abby and Zoey out of the office.
is a lot harder than it looksí, Jed thought to himself with a grim smile as he
concentrated on the work in front of him.
Later that afternoon ~~~
all these people look like wonderful candidates," Jed remarked as they sorted
through the piles and piles of resumes and letters, "I canít believe they
all want to come to work for us?"
donít think they would have sent us all this unless they were interested,"
answered Leo, "Those four on top are the ones weíll want to talk to."
looked over the ones Leo had mentioned. "These
people seem too good to be true. Why
would they want to work for our sorry butts?"
laughed, "For some reason, they seem to believe in the things you say and do! Donít know why, maybe theyíre not as smart as we thought." Jed laughed as Leo continued, "I think we should decide as soon as
possible. Youíre not paying me
enough to do all the work by myself! Letís
see today is Monday, how about meeting again on Thursday to make the calls? Does that sound okay with your schedule?"
know, itís been so long since Iíve planned my own schedule, I couldnít
tell you." Bartlet reached for
the phone, "Mrs. Landingham, do I have anything important on Thursday or
Friday? Great! Please clear my schedule except for any major disasters. Leo and I are going to be meeting for most of those two days. Iím going to get my very own campaign staff. Thank you, Mrs. Landingham."
you receive permission?" Leo asked with a smile. He laughed as his friend grimaced with mock pain. "Look at it this way, when we win, Mrs. Landingham can charm world
leaders with her mysterious cookies!"
White House office run by her will never be more organized!" Jed said with a smile, "Do Thursday and Friday work for
you? I know the Secretary of Labor
gets pretty busy. Bring Jenny
along; we could have a long weekend. I
know Abby would love to have you out here."
donít see why not. Nothing in the
Department of Labor is facing any catastrophes in the near future. Let me get a hold of Jenny to let you know for sure." He stopped to look at his watch, "Well, I better get out of here before
Jenny sends out a search party," Leo said, "Iíll see you on Thursday first
thing, right? The sooner we get
started, the sooner we can let them know our decision."
went over and shook Jedís hand. "Weíre
going to win this thing, Jed. I can
feel it. Hang in there, the
partyís just starting."
I know it," Jed groaned, "Have a safe trip back, my friend. Iíll see you Thursday morning."
Thursday morning, after the calls have been made ~~~
these kids have done more than we have in half the time," Jed remarked as they
looked at notes from their phone conversations, "Maybe one of them should be
they arenít old enough," Leo answered, "but if you have these people
around you, look how much you will gain. The
trick will be convincing them to work for two old geezers like us."
really doing this," Jed answered with a nod, "everything we talked about in
school, changing the world, weíre really going to do it. Whose first?"
Lyman," said Leo as he picked a piece of paper off the top of the stack.
like him, Leo," Bartlet told his friend, "he reminds me a lot of you at that
age. He knows what he wants and he
knows how to get there."
smiled, "I donít know about being like me, Jed, but youíre right. He has been in politics long enough to know that there is no glory in it,
just a lot of hard work. Heís
tough; a natural leader, he really knows the ins and outs of Washington. Josh Lyman would be a definite asset to your campaign staff."
Leo paused, "He got you with that speech, didnít he?"
"Mr. Secretary, Iíve seen Governor Bartlet speak on a number of occasions
and Iíve seen the results of his state administration in Washington. I believe in the things that you say, Mr. Bartlet. I have the same hopes for the future. Iím a Democrat through and through. Iíve seen what Washington does; itís nothing but a game. You can give the regular Joe Americans out there something to believe in,
to trust again. Youíre different,
you are a politician, but you stand by your morals, I respect that. I would be honored to help you change the world. It takes tough skin to survive in Washington, and Iíve got the toughest
skin around. You let me come to work for you, and I can see that the
things you need get done." --
all those nice things he said about me really went to my head! Heís a definite keeper." Jed said with a smile, "Whose next?"
Cregg," Leo replied as he grabbed yet another paper from the stack. "She has all the contacts with the media. Letís see, graduated from Berkley, excellent communicationsÖJed,
sheíd be a great liaison to the press.
she actually wants to do that," Bartlet interjected as he thought about what
the Californian had said on the phone the previous day.
"Mr. Governor, Iíve heard you speak on several occasions and I know what the
press thinks of you. They respect
you as a leader; mud is not often slung in your direction. If you let me come
work for you, I can help you keep that reputation. Iíve been in journalism
long enough to know what Iím doing. Iíve
played hardball with the big boys, and I came out on top. I believe in what you say, Mr. Governor. I think I can help you get to Washington." --
proven she can keep her head when the going gets tough. I like her spunk, sheís a tough cookie," Jed replied,
"I definitely want her on my staff."
right along," Leo said, smiling at Bartletís comment, "Toby Ziegler. Jed, I donít know about this guy. Heís very cynical. I donít know if we can have too many cynics in one place,
you can barely handle me!"
smiled, "But Leo, this guy is such a hard-worker. I mean he worked his way from City College to the government of New York
City. He knows how to get stuff done.
I donít think we can afford NOT to have him with us. Heís a very talented writer.
two friends pondered as they remember what Ziegler had said.
McGarry, with all due respect, I know how to get what I want. Iíve played the political game, as you know. I respect Governor Bartlet and what he stands for. He could bring something to the White House that no one has seen since
1960. He has the charisma, the
heart, the guts, and most important the morals to win this election. The American public is ready for a change and Governor
Bartlet is that change. I believe
in your candidate, sir. I want to
help you get to Washington. Iím
the guy you can send in to scrap and fight the tough fights." --
right," Leo conceded, "This guy could be a real asset to us, especially when
we get to Washington. He could
really be valuable in the tough situations. Heíll stay."
Leo, I must say, weíve got one hell of a staff started," Bartlet remarked,
"Didnít you say there was one more guy we needed to discuss?"
Jed, the guyís name is Sam Seaborn," Leo replied, "Heís a lawyer who
went to school at Princeton. Heís
a smart one, Jed. Iíve read his
law briefs. Heís a published
author, works at Dewey-Ballantine right now, young guy who wants to change the
world. Remember that
Governor laughed, "Finally, someone who could give me a run for my money!"
Governor Bartlet, sir, Iíve had the pleasure of hearing you speak on several
occasions. I must say you inspire
me. I admire the fact that you are
not afraid to stand up for what you believe in. I wanted to practice law so I could change the world, to make it better
for the little guys. Maybe this
profession has jaded me, but I canít change the world as a lawyer. When I heard your speech to announce your candidacy sir, I knew I wanted
to help you win this election. I
can help you change the world, let me come to work for you."--
guy really impressed me," remarked Governor Bartlet, "he could come in real
handy in sticky situations, heís a fighter. Honestly Leo, these are the people I want working for me. Can you imagine them as the White House Senior Staff if we win this
we win this thing, Jed. WHEN we win
this thing," Leo answered, "Does this mean you want me to call them and
offer them positions?"
nodded, "Make the calls Leo. We
need these guys here in New Hampshire as soon as possible." He grinned at his friend of over forty years. Theyíd been through so much together and there would be so much more. "Letís get started."
smiled back and reached for the phone.
to the present
at how far they had all come since they had first joined up with the campaign. President Bartlet could not even begin to imagine what he would do if he
lost one of his senior staff members. He
was just not going to allow himself to even think like that. ĎIím going to stay focused on the positive and take things one-step
at a time,í he thought. About
that time there was a knock on his door.
he said. Into his office walked Ron
Butterfield with his first update on the situation.
President, I have just received a report from Mr. McGarryís secret service
detail." President Bartlet
felt his heart stop. This had to be
good news. Leo had overcome so many
obstacles in his political career and still had so much left to accomplish.
"Well?" He said.
McGarry is fine. He has a few
scrapes and bruises from being shoved to the pavement, but other than that he is
fine" Ron Butterfield informed the president. "He will be arriving here shortly. At this time, I have only heard from his detail. We are stilling waiting to hear about the rest."
Bartlet let out a huge sigh of relief; his best friend was unharmed. Even though he had heard this, the president was still eager to see for
himself that Leo was truly okay. One
staff member accounted for, five more to go. President Bartlet again let his thoughts wander back to the early days of
The following week after the selection of the campaign staff~~
newly assembled campaign staff of Governor Josiah Bartlet met in the
governorís personal office to discuss the upcoming caucuses and elections that
they would be facing.
we get started, I want to say something to all of you," Bartlet began,
"First, I want to thank you all for agreeing to be part of my campaign. You are definitely some of the best and brightest political minds Iíve
ever been in contact with. Having
said that, however, I want to make you all aware that this isnít going to be
easy. Senator Hoynes is the front-runner in this; weíre
considered the dark horse. All I
ask of each of you is that we make this a good fight. Weíll fight hard and weíll fight fair. Only then can we honestly say we won."
of Ďyes sirsí were offered from the staff. Leo stood up.
next thing we need to do is assign each of you specific duties. I hope these will reflect your individual strengths and talents, but I
think some of these may overlap each other, so just be prepared to do what is
asked of you. Josh, I want you to
be the political director. Youíve got enough pull over Congressmen that you can get
our foot in the door." Josh
nodded his understanding. Leo
continued, "CJ, I want you to be our liaison with the press. I donít have the patience to deal with those piranhas anymore and
youíve got the contacts. Theyíll
respect you more than they do me. Toby,
Sam, I need you guys to handle our communications. You are the writers; find a way for us to say what we want to without
offending anybody. Any speeches
that Governor Bartlet has to give come from you, got it?" The two men nodded. "Like
I said, these jobs may overlap, and you may be working with each other on
projects. We will have daily
meetings to discuss our agenda for that day. I suspect that we will start traveling soon, so start clearing you
and Leo looked at each other and smiled. "Letís
get to work."
1998, Bartlet campaign headquarters, Manchester, New Hampshire ~~
New Hampshire primaries were in full swing. The polls had closed; all they had to do now was count the votes. There was no question Governor Bartlet would do well in his home state,
what was in question was just how well he had done. In a moment of panic, Leo had sent Josh to the polling headquarters to
see what he could find out. The
rest of the staff is trying to wait patiently until Josh calls them with news. Governor and Mrs. Bartlet sit quietly on a couch, CJ and Sam work on
possible responses for the Governor, Toby and Leo pace back and forth, unable to
take the tension.
if you donít sit down, Iím going to have you replace the carpet," Mrs.
Bartlet remarked. When Leo looked
at her questioningly, she explained, as she pointed to the carpet, "You and
Toby are wearing a hole in the carpet."
smiled, but continued pacing. Finally
the phone rang.
Leo answered breathlessly. The
entire room waited, frustrated that they could only hear Leoís side of the
conversation. "Hi Josh," Leo
said, "YeahÖokayÖright, weíll be right downÖsee you in a bit." Leo hung up the phone, as the rest of the room waited for the results of
the election. Everyone breathed a
sigh of relief when he turned around and grinned at the Governor and Mrs.
blew them out of the water, Jed," Leo reported, the grin on his face spreading
to the rest of the room, "We didnít just beat them, we ran away with the
votes. Josh said that the polling
guys thought it might be some kind of record. Anyway, weíve got to get down there now; the press is going to be
expecting a statement. Plus,
youíve got to verify that everything on the ballot is correct."
and Abby exchanged a grin and Abby leaned up to kiss her husbandís cheek,
"Youíre first major victory, my dear," she whispered, "After we do all
the public stuff, letís go back to the house and let the staff celebrate with
Governor nodded his agreement and announced, "After we do all this proper
mumbo jumbo, everyone is invited to our house for a little staff celebration." He quickly included, "Within reason, of course." Everyone in the room laughed as they headed for the polling headquarters.
old Josh. Look at all the
excitement he has caused since joining the staff. Not one but two failed relationships with co-workers, Mandy Hampton and
Joey Lucas. And, who could forget
the comments he made to Mary Marsh on national TV. ĎWhile Josh has a tendency to get a little over zealous Iíd much
rather have him playing with me instead of against me,í thought the president. ĎWhere would Zoey and I be if Josh hadnít brought Charlie to us? That has to be the number one best thing Josh ever did.í This thought brought a smile to his face as he thought about how much
Charlie had grown since joining his staff.
While the president reflected on his relationships with Josh and Charlie,
Ron Butterfield was on the phone in the corner of the room receiving the latest
news, Mr. President, Josh and Charlie are just fine. No injuries at all. Josh was
far enough behind everyone that he was able to take cover and Gina managed to
knock Charlie to the ground at the same time she was covering Zoey. Theyíll be arriving here shortly. Iím sorry I doní t have any information on your other staff
at this time, but I expect to soon as they now have the area secured," he
informed the president.
you Ron," said the president.
and Charlie are all right. President
Bartlet offered a silent prayer of thanks and prayed for good news on the rest
of his staff. The president
was so thankful that he would not have to inform his daughter or Donna that
either one was hurt. Everyone
knew how much Zoey and Charlie cared for each other. As for Josh and Donna, while it was not clear to them, it was clear to
everyone else how they felt about each other. ĎIs Josh headed towards another office romance?
I hope we can all handle it,í thought the president with a chuckle. His thoughts again began to drift back to how they had all gotten here.
Later that night, Governor Bartletís private home, Manchester, New Hampshire
night, Jed and Abby wanted the staff to relax after their hard work on the
recent primaries. Their home in
Manchester had more than enough room to accommodate all of them. Jed, Abby, Leo, and Jenny watched in amusement as the other
members of the staff were engaged in a heated card game.
"They seem to work well together," Abby commented, "I mean,
everything is running smoothly. Youíve
been competitive in all the primaries and the public seems very taken with you. Most of all, youíve got a staff that is poised, hard-working and
doggedly supportive of you."
husband smiled, "Theyíre good people."
"Jed, these people are going to win you this election," Leo remarked
with a twinkle in his eye, "with the right direction of course."
that night, the entire group sat in the Bartletsí spacious living room, still
riding high from their victory a few hours earlier.
"CJ, the time has come," Sam announced, "When is ĎThe Jackalí
going to make an appearance at this victory celebration?"
started to protest with a shake of her head when Sam, ever the attorney,
"You canít back out now," he told her, "we all heard you promise
that you would perform whenever we won a primary."
and Josh nodded as they remembered.
"Come on, CJ," Toby pleaded, "Mrs. Bartlet and Mrs. McGarry
havenít seen you do it. Iím sure they would like to know what us guys are so
"Well, I have to admit I am a little curious," answered Mrs. Bartlet,
"what about you, Jenny?" Her
"Oh, all right," CJ gave in to her colleagues, "I hate to see grown
men beg. Iíve got the tape if
someone has something to play it in."
"The stereoís right over there," Bartlet pointed her in the right
sat patiently as CJ began to dance and lip-synch to Ronnie Jordanís "The
Jackal". Soon the entire room was
clapping along to the music. Leo
leaned over to say something to Toby. Before
any words came out Toby whispered, "With all due respect, Leo, youíre
talking to me during ĎThe Jackalí"?
Who could ever forget the first time they saw CJ perform ĎThe
Jackalí? Hard to believe someone
with her poise and demeanor could cut loose like that. One minute she could be handling the rapid-fire questions of the press
with ease and the next she would be entertaining her co-workers. CJ is such a versatile person. Would
these hallowed halls and those who grace them see CJ perform ever again? ĎI pray to God that that is not the case,í mused the president.
As he was thinking about the last time he had seen CJ perform ĎThe
Jackalí, he heard Ron say Flamingo was unharmed and heading to the White
House. Another staff member had
come through this horrific ordeal safely. Only
Toby and Sam left to hear about. When
would this nightmare end?
Late February, 1998, South Carolina primary ~~
Bartlet and his staff are still furiously working in their hotelís conference
room as the polls closed. All
information they had so far predicted that it was too close to call. Once again, the group was trying to wait it out. Abby had accompanied them, and now she was trying to keep everyone calm. She was having little to no success. The entire campaign staff, the governor included, was pacing. Finally, Mrs. Bartlet called her husband aside to report her
she told him, "if you donít give them something constructive to do soon,
those people are going to go crazy in there. Leoís going to give himself a coronary, Josh and Toby are going to kill
each other, CJ is going to pull her hair out, and Sam isÖwell, I donít know
what Sam is going to do. You need
to take charge. I know youíre
nervous, so are they. Theyíre
looking to you for what to do."
I ever tell you that you are the smartest woman in America?" her husband
asked, "Youíre right, Abby. Letís
go take charge."
listen up!" the Governor boomed. Everyone
stopped in his or her tracks. "We
need to get some stuff done around here. CJ,
Toby, I need to know what to say once this thing is over with. Start working on some potential responses, I donít want any surprise
speeches so let me know when you get something so I can look it over. Leo, take Josh and go over the running mate list again. Make ABSOLUTELY sure that none of them have any skeletons that will come
jumping out of their closets when they are thrust into the public spotlight. Weíre not going to need a decision yet, but stay on top of it. And Sam, since you, for reasons I donít know, have more contacts in
this state than any of us, get on the phone and find out what you can about an
end to this. Get to work, everyone,
let me know when you get some answers."
staff came to life. Everyone got
busy on his or her projects. Governor
Bartlet smiled. He still smelled
was on the phone, still getting whatever information he could, but still trying
to keep up with the reports that were coming in on the televisions that were in
hour goes by, and no word. CJ and
Toby have finished their speeches, and are keeping an eye on the televisions for
Sam, who is still trying to reach his contacts. With a yell he quickly hangs up the phone. "We did it!" he shouts. "80% of the votes counted, and weíve got 54% of that vote. We can kiss Carolina good bye!"
you have confirmation?" Leo asked.
then the phone in the conference room rings, causing the entire room to startle. Sam went to answer it.
headquarters," he answers. The
rest of the room waits impatiently as they try to understand his end of the
sir, I understand," Sam replies and hangs up the phone, his face not showing
any emotion. "Thereís your
confirmation," he shouts jubilantly, "South Carolina polling headquarters,
Bartlet 70%, Hoynes 30%! We did
room comes alive with shouts of relief and jubilation at their important
victory. Jed gathers Abby in a warm
embrace. The staff is hugging each
other, and patting each other on the back.
in!" the Governor replied with a shock, "we made it to the big time. Maybe now everyone will take us seriously. Sam, Iíll never doubt your contacts again!"
least until one of them is wrong, right sir?" Leo asked his friend with a grin
in Samís direction.
Sam, Samí thought the president Ďlook at all the trouble youíve gotten
into in the past.í Hitting on
Leoís wife, befriending a call girl and then telling Mallory all about it, and
falling off a boat. ĎI still
wonder how that happened. Sam, you
have to be okay because there is no way that Leo or I am going to tell Mallory
youíve been hurt. The two of you
have had your rough patches, but itís starting to look like smooth sailing
ahead, so please, please be all right,í raged the president.
April, 1998, Iowa primary ~~
Iowa primary turned out to be one of the most important primaries in the
campaign. It was a big state, in
terms of votes, and the Bartlet staff was working overtime to court those votes. They had holed up in a hotel room and were frantically trying to keep up
with the situations that were thrown at them. Senator Hoynes had beaten them in one southern primary and the staff was
showing signs of fatigue. The
Governor and Leo had picked sections of the hallway outside the room to pace, CJ
was trying to follow the television reports, Josh was on the phone, trying to
find out any information he could, Sam was beginning the speeches that would be
used later in the evening. Toby
surveyed the room. Ď This is like
watching a slow moving demolition truck,í he thought to himself. One by one, he looked at each person in the room, watching the
desperation and exhaustion that had come over each of their faces.
did somebody die in here," Toby remarked. His three colleagues looked up from their duties.
"You are acting like weíve already lost. Hoynes only beat us in one primary. Just because it was Texas, doesnít mean that the fight is over. That was one little battle; weíve still got a war to win." He pointed to the door; "Those two men out there brought us in here to
do a job. Letís finish what we
others in the room smiled at him and got down to business.
had pulled out a victory in Iowa, and gotten back into the swing of things all
thanks to Tobyís pep talk. ĎToby,
youíd better be all right because I will never forgive you if I have to
promote Sam. Youíve been critical
in getting this administration to where it is. I need you to get us through the rest of this term and another one. No one challenges me like you Toby. I need you whether I like to admit it or not,í thought the president.
"Mr. President, I just heard from Toby and Samís details and they are
both fine. A few scrapes and
bruises, but nothing to bad," Ron informed.
"Thank you" the president said quietly. "When will they be here?í
"Your staff should be arriving in the next few minutes sir. Iím going to give you some time with them and then I should have a very
detailed report of the situation for you," said Ron.
"That will be fine. Thank
you for all youíve done," said the president.
As Ron leaves the offices, President Bartlet drops his head into his
hands. Everyone was safe and
accounted for. They had all come
through this night physically unscathed, but it was going to take a long long
time if ever for the emotional wounds to heal. President Bartlet thought back to the day when they knew they were all
headed to this office.
Election Day, 1998 ~~
Day came, cold and brisk. Bartletís
campaign staff had decided to spend the day at the Bartlet farm in Manchester at
the Governor and Mrs. Bartletís request. Leo started the day by handing out orders as they sat around the living
most important thing to remember today is to stay calm. I know you are all professionals, but I also know this is
everyoneís first presidential campaign. Try
to keep busy throughout the day. Hereís
what we need to do. CJ, Sam, get in
touch with whomever you know in California. Theyíre going to be a big player in todayís game. With you being from there, it might be easier for you two to get that
information rather than us East Coast boys. Josh, find out what your friends in Washington know. I want to find out what the bigwigs are saying; Congress, Senators,
somebody has got to know something! Toby,
start working on possible speeches for both possible outcomes of today, I want
to see a first draft ASAP."
took a moment to survey his staff. They
looked like a bunch of nervous rabbits. ĎNot
that I blame them,í he thought, ĎIím the top rabbit!í At that moment the Governor and Mrs. Bartlet entered the
room. Everyone started to stand,
but the Governor motioned for them to keep their seats.
wanted to make sure Leo wasnít overreacting yet," Mrs. Bartlet told them,
"and to make sure you all understand that we want you to make yourselves at
home here today. That was the whole
purpose for the invitation. This
day is going to get pretty tense. Take
some time to relax, if you can."
you, Mrs. Bartlet," was echoed through the room.
Governor interrupted, "I just want to say one thing before you get started on
what Leo has assigned you." The
room stopped as he continued, "No matter what happens today, I want you all to
know a few things. Iíve never
worked with a finer group of people. I
am so very grateful that each of you agreed to come work for me. Youíve worked very hard, I only hope we are going to witness the fruits
of that work. Regardless of the
outcome of today, we fought the good fight, and thatís something you can all
be proud of. We ran a clean
campaign, there is nothing more noble than that." He smiled at them, "Now get to work."
it turned out, that clean campaign had brought them to this point. ĎEverything was going so well today. The town hall meeting was a huge success, how could it have gone so
horribly wrong?í President
Bartlet thought. He
wanted to meet with his staff as soon as they returned to the White House. Bartlet needed to see them for himself, to make sure they were okay. The Oval Office was quiet. Mrs.
Landingham, ever diligent, was outside at her desk awaiting the arrival of the
senior staff. All the President
could do was sit and wait, like he had been doing for most of the night. A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.
he said as Mrs. Landingham entered.
President, the senior staff is here," she reported.
you, Mrs. Landingham," President Bartlet smiled as she left the room and the
members of his staff entered the Oval Office. They all moved slowly, but they were all there, all five of them
relatively unharmed. They
stopped in front of the desk as they would for a normal briefing.
evening, Mr. President," they all mumbled.
forget protocol," Bartlet admonished them, "sit down all of you, before I
sic Abby on you for not taking it easy. Iím
just glad none of you were seriously hurt."
I have something to say, and this is going to get corny and sentimental, so
consider yourselves warned," President Bartlet stood, "I wish I could tell
you that the nightmare of tonight will go away, but that would be lying. I canít help feeling somewhat responsible for putting you in this
situation, but itís not my fault. When
you agreed to this job, you didnít agree to have bullets whizzing past your
heads. Neither did I. But
not everyone agrees with the administration, you know that. Some people donít agree with whom my daughter goes out with. Thatís who attacked us tonight, white supremacists. Zoey and Charlie didnít agree to that either, but now weíre all in
the middle of this. I wouldnít
blame you if you wanted to offer me your resignations right now. But before you think about that, let me say this. Donít let hate win, donít let fear win. We can still make a difference in this crazy world. Iím still President of the United States. I need each and everyone in this room; youíve made me who I am today. Weíre a family, and dammit, families stick together and fight. So letís fight, letís fight hard and letís fight fair. Fight the hate; fight the injustice of this world. But we canít fight unless we do it together, each one of us contributes
a characteristic that makes us one hell of a staff." President Bartlet looked at each member of his staff as he continued. "For instance, Sam, you have such a good spirit. You are always willing to jump in and fight for the little guys. Iíve always admired that about you. CJ, you bring color and brightness to a very tough
environment. You handle sticky
situations with the poise and grace of no other. Itís a remarkable characteristic, never lose that. Josh, youíve got tough skin, but what most donít know is that if you
peel away the tough skin, you find a very sweet and sensitive human being. Like Sam, you are always willing to jump in and fight, no matter who
needs help. Toby, your sense of
humor is like nothing I have ever witnessed. It could get you out of many sticky situations, dry as it is. Youíre a tough cookie, but if you let some of that humor through,
youíre even tougher." Bartlet
stopped, as he looked at Leo, his friend of over forty years. "And you, Mr. McGarry," his voice cracking with emotion, "your
loyalty never ceases to amaze me. You
are my best friend, the best friend anyone could ever have. Without your belief in me, we would have never been able to
start on this remarkable journey. I
thank you, my dear friend. We are a
family, with all the problems, defeats, celebrations and joys. I canít do this without each of you behind me."
Oval Office got remarkably quiet. Then
Leo stood and spoke; "I serve at the pleasure of the President." Toby followed, "I serve at the pleasure of the President." Each staff member stood and pledged once again their loyalty to President
you," he said, his voice gruff, but with a smile, "now letís get back to