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THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT




	T H E   A M E R I C A N   P R E S I D E N T

	Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

	--------------------------------------------------------------

	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 it'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 8×10 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.

	--------------------------------------------------------------



American President, The



Writers :   Aaron Sorkin
Genres :   Comedy  Drama  Romance


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