The West Wing Episode Guide -
Bookmark this Site

The Portland Trip

Original Airdate 11-15-00 Rerun 03-21-01

Previous Episode  ||  Season 2 Episode Index  |  Main Index  |  Season 2 Information Index  ||  Next Episode
Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes


The President is taking a red-eye to Portland, Ore., to deliver an education address, and Sam must go with him because he can't get the speech right. Toby must also go, to help Sam, and C.J. has to go, too, because she's being punished for making disparaging remarks about the President's alma mater, Notre Dame. Back at the White House, Josh spars with a gay Republican congressman (Charley Lang) over a bill on homosexual marriage, and Leo monitors a minor crisis in the Persian Gulf involving an oil tanker.
From NBC:
While President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and some of the staff are en route overnight to Portland for a major education speech, Leo (John Spencer) remains behind to monitor a tense situation in the Persian Gulf when a foreign tanker is suspected of smuggling contraband oil and fires on U.S. Navy helicopters sent to investigate. Elsewhere, Josh (Bradley Whitford) is on a tight deadline when he debates with an opposing party's congressman, Matt Skinner (Charley Lang) -- who happens to be gay -- the merits of a bill brought before the President that would prohibit same-sex marriages. On the plane, Toby (Richard Schiff) tries to re-work Sam's (Rob Lowe) questionable speech on education while Charlie (Dulé Hill) offers a novel idea that would result in more teachers. In addition, new hire Ainsley (Emily Procter) is content to perspire freely in her overheated office while secretary Margaret (NiCole Robinson) worries that her boss, Leo, might be tempted to take a drink after he signs his divorce papers.


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
Charley Lang as Matt Skinner Congressman
David Graf as Colonel Mark Chase  
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Michael Tomlinson as Congressman  
Gregg Daniel as Steve Adamley  
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Jana Lee Hamblin as Reporter #1 Bobbi
Don Chastain as Reporter #2  
Randolph Brooks as Arthur Leeds (last name) / Reporter
Richard Hoyt Miller as Air Force One Steward  
Timothy Dale Agee as Air Force One Steward  
Michael Cunio as Adamsley's Aide Mike

Information Links



DGA Awards

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Night Nomination for
Paris Barclay

Prism Awards

TV Prime Time Drama Series Episode Commendation

Media Quotes

"Sam's a stingy Uncle, ... On Air Force One, you pay for your own lunch," - Dee Dee Myers

"Coast to Coast"
by Kendall Hamilton
September 6, 1999

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

We're about to shoot an episode on Air Force One, for instance, and we're going to take liberties, small liberties, with Air Force One, as we take small liberties with our White House set. You are going to absolutely believe this is Air Force One, and it's going to have the effect that we want it to. And that's all that matters. - Aaron Sorkin

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

PlanetOut: The idea for this storyline came out of a conversation you had with Aaron Sorkin.

Charley Lang: Right. I did two episodes of the show last season. This past winter I was working on the No on Knight campaign. [The Knight Initiative, which was passed by California voters in March, prohibits same-sex marriages in the state.] In the midst of doing my political work, I called Aaron up and said that I wanted to talk to him about a topical idea for the show. So I came in and let him know about the issue -- which he was already somewhat familiar with -- and then that evolved into the idea of gay Republicans. Both of us were very curious about how they do that -- how they reconcile their orientation with their political values.

Then I got a call this fall asking if I'd like to do another episode. I didn't know what it was about. But when I got the script, it was all about what Aaron and I had discussed. And in the course of the episode, my character, Congressman Skinner, comes out as gay.


PlanetOut: Why does Skinner, as a gay man, support the Marriage Recognition Act?

Charley Lang: Well, it's interesting. Being a gay man myself and a Democrat, it was an interesting challenge to get inside the mind of a man who is gay and who would support something like this. The beauty of Aaron's writing is that he doesn't write black-and-white characters. They're not good guys and bad guys. Everybody he writes has a real, credible humanity. And he makes a case for Skinner, because Skinner gets challenged on the episode. People ask him how he can be a member of a party that disagrees with who he is. The upshot of it is -- as my character talks about -- that he has a lot of other priorities; his life isn't all about being a homosexual.

PlanetOut: Did you feel that how your character dealt with these conflicts was true to life, true to how gay Republicans might really feel?

Charley Lang: To tell you the truth, I don't know a lot about it. I know people who are gay Republicans, but I haven't had this conversation with them. I haven't really gotten into it. But the way that it was brought out in the episode made it make more sense to me than it ever had before. I felt it was a window inside the experience that I had never thought of. In fact, it made me more curious and made me want to have these dialogues. That's what I'm hoping the show will do -- foster dialogue between very polarized elements of the gay community.

"The West Wing's Special Guest Star"
by PlanetOut News Staff
November 15, 2000

I guess the point that Skinner was trying to make [on The West Wing] - what he says is that his entire life doesn't have to be about being gay. - Aaron Sorkin

"A Few Good Stories"
by Paris Barclay
February 13, 2001
The Advocate

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
Previous Episode  |  U.S. Flag Main Index 2 Cast Season 2 Episode Index U.S. Flag Season 2 Information Index  |  Next Episode