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The Lame Duck Congress

Original Airdate 11-08-00 Rerun 03-07-01

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Josh, Toby and Sam want the President to consider calling a lame-duck session of Congress to try to pass a test-ban treaty, and C.J. leaks news of this to Danny (Timothy Busfield)---who initiated the story in the first place by asking if the White House was "considering" calling the session. Meanwhile, Donna goes on the warpath over carpel-tunnel syndrome; Sam and Ainsley (Emily Procter) teach each other a thing or two; and a Ukrainian reformer (Eugene Lazarev) shows up---drunk---at the White House, demanding to see the President.
From NBC:
A wily President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) considers the extraordinary option of recalling the Senate from a winter holiday to push through a ratification of a new nuclear test-ban treaty -- despite the lame-duck status of many Senators who will not return in the next session -- while the drunken Ukrainian leader, Vasily Konanov (Eugene Lazarev) thunders through the White House demanding to see the President. Elsewhere, Toby (Richard Schiff) is shocked to hear that even if the Senate returns, the White House might still lack the necessary votes; Sam (Rob Lowe) learns something when he grudgingly works with new Republican assistant counsel Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter); a stubborn C.J. (Allison Janney) argues against allowing reporter Danny (Timothy Busfield) private access to the President for a series of exclusive stories; and Donna (Janel Moloney) is on a mission to get the President to back legislation on repetitive stress injuries.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Star
Timothy Busfield as
Danny (Daniel) Concannon Washington Post Reporter
Guest Starring    
Emily Procter as Ainsley Hayes Associate White House Counsel
Eugene Lazarev as Vasily Konanov Ukrainian reformer
Mike Starr as Tony Marino former Senator
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
David Kaufman as Bob Fowler in Toby's meeting
Richard Tanner as Joe Fox in Toby's meeting
Tegan West as Peter Senator's Aide in Sam's meeting
Brian Stepanek as Senator's Aide #2 in Sam's meeting
Wayne Wilderson as Senator's Aide #3 in Sam's meeting
Devika Parikh as Bonnie Communications' Aide
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Sima Kostov as Russian Woman Hooker
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter
Charles Noland as Steve Reporter
Amy Turner as Waitress  

Information Links


Media Quotes

Or another time they'll say that, "We're going to have a scenario involving a foreign leader that's come to the White House. Are there any kind of interesting experiences you've had?" And I might reel off three or four, some of the weird foreign leaders who have come to the White House and give them a little scenario that they can use in the show in some fashion. - Marlin Fitzwater

"Popular Politics"
by Terence Smith
September 8, 2000
Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

here's where they are as of Monday, September 25th [2000]. They're finishing up episode six, and he just turned in episode seven today. He started to brainstorm episode eight during the Forum

Posted at
by Jenn
September 26, 2000
Message 6797
Notes from the Harvard Law School Forum with Aaron Sorkin

The people who have had this job before, the Joe Lockharts and the Marlin Fitzwaters, do have trouble envisioning an ongoing relationship, a romantic relationship, between a press secretary and a member of the press. - Terence Smith

I do too. C.J. does too. And I sort of think that that relationship is not going to be going any further. I think that Danny, Tim Busfield's character, wants it to, and that'll be interesting stuff to play, too, because I think that C.J. has definitely decided this is not good because it's already come up in her professional life, where people are asking, "Are you making that decision because of Danny or because of, you know, what's really going on?" And that's not good. - Allison Janney

"Popular Politics"
by Terence Smith
September 27, 2000
Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

The new Republican-era consultants are providing more than political balance. They bring with them behind-the-scenes anecdotes from previous administrations. Fitzwater, for example, who had an extraordinary 10-year run with Reagan and Bush, has already detailed an insider's version of Boris Yeltsin's first visit to the White House. Yeltsin was in Parliament at the time, challenging Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He wanted to meet President Bush, but the president thought Gorbachev would take offense if he received Yeltsin in the Oval Office.

"Yeltsin refused to come in the building, in effect, unless he could meet the president," Fitzwater recalls. A compromise was struck: Yeltsin agreed to meet Bush in the national security adviser's office, "so he could say he met the president and we could say he never got into the Oval Office."

Sorkin loves the anecdote - and says it may show up in an episode.

"Inside The West Wing's New World"
by Sharon Waxman
November 2000
George Magazine

"One thing that I share with Ainsley is that I love to eat. I eat all the time," says Procter, who inherited her father's fast metabolism but also runs, bicycles, dances, and weight trains for insurance. "It was in my second episode that [Ainsley] was eating a lot and eating everybody else's leftovers, and I just sat there dumbfounded, thinking, 'There's no way that he knows this about me.' My family called me and said, 'Now, did you tell him that?' It's just kind of known in my family, if you haven't finished it, I will eat it."

"'West Wing' conservative branches out"
by Virginia Rohan
May 18, 2001
Bergen Record

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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