JOSH: (to staffer, whilst simultaneously holding a phone call with Otto, who is elsewhere in the building. The camera cuts back and forth between them during their conversation) Securing America's future. "Securing"--not "strengthening". He's not a personal trainer. (into phone, as he walks away) Is that statement all set?
OTTO: All set.
JOSH: Got a woman to read the thing?
OTTO: Right out of Central Casting.
JOSH: No nose rings ... brow piercings?
OTTO: Trust me, this gal's a cold glass of milk. She was working for the Midwest Coordinated Campaign. (beat) Lou asked for the binders if Vinick's Senate flip-flops.
JOSH: Yeah ...
OTTO: Are we about to run our very first--
JOSH: (concentrating on the TV) They're starting--I'll call you back. (he ends the call)
NEWSREADER: (on TV) "... in Washington, where their response to the independent ad attacking Matthew Santos ..."
JOSH: (passes a clipboard to a different staffer than before) Yeah, tell him no. We're not doing the Al Smith dinner. Not in the middle of all this.
DONNA: (on TV) "Good afternoon. It is wrong and misleading to imply, through edited footage, that Congressman Santos is for abortion without limits ..."
(as she speaks, the camera shifts to Josh, who stares at the screen, dumbfounded. He speed-dials a number on his mobile phone)
OTTO: (answers at his end) This is Otto.
JOSH: That's ... Donna.
DONNA: (in the background) "... that is not his position ..."
DONNA: "... he has always believed ..."
JOSH: That's Donna. The ... Dairy Queen. Donna Moss! What-what happened to our fortysomething soccer mom?
OTTO: Lou hired her last week to do Midwest press. Looks too young, huh?
(cut back to Josh, who looks down with an expression that is a cross between a grimace and a smirk)
DONNA: "... but while Congressman Santos ..."
OTTO: Uh, the Women's Alliance for Choice just called, they wanted an urgent meeting with the Congressman?
JOSH: Yeah, we were talking about an endorsement event. Have Leo do it. I-I don't want Santos meeting with the pro-choice lobby until this abortion stuff cools down.
DONNA: "... and the American people need to know, which is the real Arnold Vinick?" (Josh hangs up and stares at the screen, his eyebrows slightly raised in disbelief at what he's seeing) "... The one who supports a woman's right to choose, and votes accordingly, or, the one whose party has a pro-life platform ..."
LOU: (as she enters, Josh clicks off the converter) Hey.
JOSH: You hired Donna Moss?
LOU: No, I picked her off the street and put her on national television.
JOSH: She was the absolute wrong person for that hit on Vinick. Didn't we say fortysomething with kids?
LOU: We said a woman, and she was great!
JOSH: She worked for Russell in the Primary.
LOU: So did half the available Democratic talent.
JOSH: She worked for me before that.
(Lou leaves the office and walks into the bullpen, Josh trailing behind her)
LOU: Well, that is a strike against her, I can see why you're concerned. (beat) Debate negotiations are off.
JOSH: They're off?
LOU: We walked away. I gave it to the Times and the Journal.
JOSH: You better hope this works! Vinick can live without debates--if we don't get him, we're toast.
LOU: This is exactly what we need to even expectations--proof we're willing to walk away. If we're lucky, the Times is going to call us a roadblock.
JOSH: Donna Moss gave dozens of bad quotes about Santos in the Primary. You may run communications, but I'm Campaign Manager--I sign off on any new spokesperson. (Lou studiously ignores him) The Women's Alliance for Choice is thinking of endorsing Vinick.
LOU: Okay, very bad news.
JOSH: Ohhh, yeah.
LOU: Is it public?
JOSH: Not yet.
LOU: Maybe it'll hurt Vinick with his own right wing.
JOSH: Great--Vinick loses the right, keeps the middle and left, and the only way for us to get votes is by plastering the Ten Commandments all over our campaign bus.
JOSH: (in the hallway) Hey, did you talk to Joey Lucas? She's got another version of our flip-flop spot without the monster chiller theatre music.
LOU: Yeah. Come with me. (she grabs him by the arm and starts leading him down the corridor)
JOSH: Where are we going?
LOU: Bedroom off the staff room.
JOSH: Okay, I don't want to see ungracious--we've all been under a lot of pressure--it's just that--
(Lou leads him into the bedroom, where Donna sits on the edge of the bed. She is as surprised to see him as he is to see her)
JOSH: (he stares at her, mouth open) Hi.
DONNA: Hi. (she stands up)
LOU: I don't know what the problem is between you two, but she's great on television and I don't care if she worked for Francisco Franco in the Primary, right now it's all hands on deck, so ... work it out. (she shoves a file folder at Josh and walks out, leaving the door open)
JOSH: (business-like; without looking up at Donna) What kind of on-the-record experience do you have?
DONNA: Is this a job interview?
JOSH: I'm Campaign Manager, I hire the staff, it generally involves an interview. On-the-record experience?
DONNA: Six hours ago, nationally televised press conference. Santos-McGarry campaign.
JOSH: References if we want to pursue this?
DONNA: Josh Lyman, Campaign Manager. Try the main switchboard.
JOSH: He'd tell you that campaigns demand loyalty. You don't go working for the other guy.
DONNA: Who happened to be the party's front-runner.
JOSH: You knew I wasn't supporting him. Me, your mentor in professional politics.
DONNA: The guy who taught me to answer a phone--who kept me in grunt-level servitude because I knew he liked his hamburgers burnt like hockey pucks?
JOSH: You ditched me when I gave you a career!
DONNA: As a short-order cook--I'm still waiting for the spatula!
LOU: (re-enters the room) Hope you two are getting along like peas in a pod. It just broke over the wires--Women's Alliance wants to meet with Vinick. I need you to spin it bad for him, fine for us.
(Josh turns and leaves, Lou and Donna follow him out)
DONNA: How's that even possible?
LOU: Bad for us, worse for him--whatever sticks to the wall.
JOSH: Vinick just landed in New York, too. Still no intelligence on what he's saying at the Smith dinner.
BRAM: What kind of hit did we take in last night's tracking poll?
JOSH: Four per cent on "shares our values", but Vinick took a bigger hit. Fifty-nine per cent think he should denounce the ad, and more swing voters think he's a typical Republican.
LOU: They won't when he's endorsed by the leading pro-choice group in America.
JOSH: We need a way to spin it if they do endorse Vinick--it'd be a political earthquake.
BRAM: From a group that's supposedly on our side.
DONNA: They're not on our side. They're on their own side--they're an interest group, jockeying for influence. You think their supporters will vote Republican, no matter what their leadership says? Poll that. I bet 85 per cent of them are dyed-in-the-sackcloth Santos supporters.
JOSH: (reflects for a moment) Phone Joey with that question for tomorrow's poll.
LOU: I'm on it.
(Donna glances at Josh, who is staring back at her thoughtfully)