The Contender (2000) Script

("Ring Of Fire" playing)

* Oh love *

* Is a burning thing *

* And it makes *

* A fiery ring *

* Bound by wild desire *

* I fell into a ring of fire *

* I fell into a burning ring of fire *

* I went down down down *

* And the flames went higher *

* Burn *

* Ring of fire *

* I fell into *

* Ring of fire **

(birds chirping)

MAN: Well, I bet you've been gettin' a lot of, uh...

Churchills... probably Mandela.

Some de Gaulles.

I'd have to go with, uh...

Anwar Sadat.

Anwar Sadat?

The former Egyptian president. Right.

No, no, yeah, I know. Two years at the paper, I never heard that one.

I'd have to say Sadat.

Talk about standing up to political and popular pressure.

I'd like to think that I had those kind of balls.

There's a guy who did not die in vain.

He died for peace.

Are there any ideas you'd die for, Governor?

Well, obviously, I'd die for this country.

I served, you know, not in Vietnam but Desert Storm. Right. The Bronze Star.

There wasn't whole a lot of shit to get in over there, but when there was, I was in it.

What I meant was, uh... would you take a bullet to advance abortion rights, flat taxes, things you've been behind for years?

I'd like to think that I'd die for civil rights.

(tires squealing) Jesus!

(rumbling, rattling)

(yelling)

Jesus Christ! What the... Governor! Governor!

Governor Hathaway!

Christ! What the... Governor! Governor! Jesus!

** ("Ring Of Fire": distorted)

Yes! No... a car...

(song continues)

No, the... uh... Off the...

I-I don't... I'm under a br...

Somebody's obviously in the car. The governor is in the water.

(song continues)

Yes, Governor Hathaway is in the water. (gasps)

You gotta send somebody out...

MAN: No, no, I want to see the car come out of the water.

Back it up. Back it up.

MAN 2: Okay, rewind!

(indistinct chatter)

No, thanks You okay?

I don't know about this, Fiona.

Governor... (clears throat) excuse me. Um...

Bottom line. You put your ass on the line out there.

You have this guy from the Post... Paul Smith is his name.

He's describing what you did as if you should get the Medal of Honor.

But that isn't the reality, is it, Dan?

She died. I mean, in the end, that's the reality.

There's one reality here, Governor.

The people have given you Reagan-like approval numbers.

Last week, you were in the 50s. Today, you are 82.

I mean, look at it this way, Jack.

That girl died. Okay? That's a tragedy. It is.

But you did everything you could possibly do to save her.

I mean, they couldn't save the Alamo either, but everyone who died there's a hero.

We're at a commercial. You're almost up, okay?

Okay.

Show your remorse but don't be broken.

You're a national leader now. Think that way.

Sit here.

FIONA: So... MAN: All right, ready?

Is Bert on our side? Absolutely.

MAN: ...three, two, one. DAN: This is it.

FIONA: After this, everybody will be on our side.

He has long been considered at the top of President Evans' list to fill the vacancy left by the death of the vice president almost three weeks ago.

But after the heroics that have become the stuff of national legend in the last couple of days, Governor Hathaway has become the nation's choice to take on the post of the heir-apparent to the presidency.

Governor, thank you for joining us.

Thank you, Bert. To say the least...

That's a nasty bit of business what happened on that river.

Nasty.

It's a damn shame you were the unlucky bastard in that spot.

Six and a half years in the White House, press still hasn't gotten wind of these little bastards.

Yeah, it's pretty, uh... pretty heroic, what you tried.

Just like everybody's been saying, very, uh...

Pure Audie Murphy.

Well, thank you, sir. I only wish I could have...

If it was me, I don't know if I would've dove in there.

Might have. But honestly, I don't know.

(exhales forcefully)

Well... uh...

At least for once, the press is turning one of us into a hero.

What was it like?

It was... It was cold.

Oh, sure, this time of year.

You were risking your life saving that woman.

The cold alone could've snapped you like a twig.

It was dark under the water.

The, uh, headlights were on. So were the interior lights.

I could see her face.

She was very pretty. Young.

She was terrified. Wow.

It was like, it was like she was being buried alive.

She looked at me.

And then she had this look of helplessness.

I-I tried to pull at the door, but, uh...

I-I needed air, you know?

I couldn't...

No. By the time I got back down to the car, she was dead.

Her face was frozen in that look.

She carried that look of terror right into her death.

You did more than most men would.

I wonder.

Look, Jack, it's just not gonna happen.

I can't nominate you.

I can't put you up.

We can't have another Chappaquiddick ever.

Chappa...

I tried to save her. Kennedy ran away, remember?

I tried... You failed.

Nobody's saying it was your fault, but you failed. It's a bad beef, Jack.

You're... (inhales deeply then exhales)

...one of the leaders of this party, a rising star, but you've got a Republican-heavy Judiciary.

They're not gonna give a rat's ass about that.

They're not gonna care about your years of service or what you've done for education in your state.

This would be it.

You know? A girl died and...

This administration needs a smooth confirmation.

...you let it happen.

We had a rocky time over the crime bill.

Can't have any more obstacles put in front of us.

Well, I appreciate you telling me personally, Mr. President.

I'll, uh...

I'll support whoever you select, of course.

I know that.

You're the future of the Democratic Party, and you always will be.

Well... there's a boatload of press out there.

I don't think you should avoid them.

Take it easy, Jack.

(sighs) I don't understand this, Kermit.

Six years ago, I was the best man for the job, and I'm still the right guy.

I have a great relationship with Runyon.

Listen to me. Isn't there something we can do about this?

Believe me, Jack, I've tried.

He's made up his mind.

Filling this slot may well be his swan song.

Wants to be careful with it. Let's not push it.

Why not keep in his good graces?

You're a good man, Jack. Want to see the governor out?

Jerry, you want to come in? Yes, sir.

KERMIT: Mr. President, Jerry's here.

That was as rough as it comes.

Never seen anybody look so defeated.

Yeah, poor son of a bitch. JERRY: Mr. President?

Saw the governor out there. He looks like he had the shit kicked out of him.

If I have any more caffeine, then I'll be voting for the flat tax.

I got this tea from the Greek ambassador.

Go on, sit. Never thought of Greece as a tea-producing country, but, Jesus Christ, if this isn't the tea to end all teas.

Well, looks like ol' Jack Hathaway's had a shitty week.

So Hathaway, he's out? That's solid?

That leaves us with Malloy or Hanson.

It's gotta be Hanson. Malloy's out.

Now, Mr. President, I think you know...

It's Hanson.

You know how I feel, Mr. President.

Hanson may have turncoated our way, but a turncoat's a turncoat.

Okay, we've had a vacancy for three weeks now.

The nation's moved from mourning to anxiety.

I need a vice president.

And I need a person who's gonna reflect my politics.

Fill it with Frank Malloy. No, no.

Malloy, he's-he's got an inflammation of ambition.

He won't be doing his job. He'll be preparing to do mine.

He's not even my second choice.

If it doesn't work with Hanson, we're gonna go back to Hathaway.

Sir, do you think that Hanson's a team player, really?

Senator Hanson is gonna work.

And it's the job of you two to make sure that that confirmation gets through.

Sir... I need to know I can count on you.

Of course you can, Mr. President.

JACK (on TV): The president and I discussed, uh... several issues, including the vice presidency.

REPORTER: Sir, did the president offer you the position?

JACK: Actually, I asked the president... (telephone ringing)

...to withdraw my name from consideration.

WOMAN: Don't answer it, please. Don't answer it.

MAN: I gotta get it. It's the red line.

WOMAN: No, no, no, no. Don't answer it.

Hanson here.

JACK: No, that conversation never came up except...

Yeah, of course I'll hold.

Shh. Quiet.

Hello, sir!

I'm great, sir, thank you. Yes.

As a matter of fact, we're watching him on C-SPAN right now.

No names were discussed.

Yes, she is. One second, sir.

REPORTER: Sir, there are rumors about you forming an exploratory...

It's the president. He wants to talk to you.

You wanna speak to him?

JACK: I have no plans underway...

Um, hello, sir. This is Senator Hanson speaking.

Oh, Christ.

That's what the prick said to you? He actually said, "We can't have another Chappaquiddick, Jack"

No, not Evans. That was Newman.

Newman said the thing about Chappaquiddick.

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

I mean, I don't even know...

That doesn't even make any sense, Jack.

You weren't some fucking drunk who drove your car off a fucking bridge and abandoned the whore you were fucking to die.

JACK: That's what I told them, Fiona. Not in those words. Not the way you say it.

You know, this is the second time they fucked us over.

Well, did he say who he was going with? No.

It's gonna be Malloy. That's what I'm hearing.

Fucking Frank Malloy.

Jack, he isn't worthy of...

FIONA: This isn't happening to me.

You can go.

So you're gonna take it up the ass, Jack.

You want to bend over and make their job a little easier?

You understand what's going on here?

This is it. Okay?

The whole fucking plan, Jack, everything was to get to this point.

We have one shot at this, and it's gone!

And you're gonna mope around like some fucking 12-year-old girl who can't get a date to the dance?

"Frank Malloy, that's what I'm hearing."

What would you like me to do, Fiona?

I'd like you to give a shit, Jack.

I'd like you to call Shelly Runyon back, and I'd like you to get this fucking thing fixed!

Why not? Because you've already gone over it.

I mean, It's done. It's ancient history.

I don't feel reconciled about it yet.

(indistinct chatter)

WILLIAM: Really? I don't think it's necessary. LAINE: Really?

Okay, well, I'll think about it.

WILLIAM: No, I think it's fine.

Okay, I'm not convinced.

Well, I...

Will, you sure you want to have alcohol on your breath the first time you meet the president?

No, you're right. No offense. Just wondering.

I'm married to the vice president, huh?

MAN: Whoa, whoa!

I haven't been confirmed yet.

In fact, I haven't even been asked yet.

You know what we gotta do pronto, Hollis?

We gotta start working Runyon.

Runyon's gonna be a problem.

HOLLIS: Why is Runyon gonna be a problem?

WILLIAM: 'Cause he's head of Judiciary.

Yeah, but the Senate takes care... WILLIAM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Everything but the vice president.

Twenty-fifth amendment doesn't specify who runs the show on that confirmation.

Rumor has it that, uh... the House has advise and consent on this one.

I guess Runyon lobbied just hard enough to get his committee the gig.

Yeah, I think he did.

You know what? I know his number-two guy, Ted Baker.

We went to college together. I'll get him on the phone, and I'll just start pummeling him right way.

No, no, no. Don't say anything to him yet. WILLIAM: Why?

Let's just get it on our own merit for right now. Let's not do anything...

All right. You know what? I'm not gonna argue with you.

Not only are you right, but you're about to go meet the president, and you look great.

So... Doesn't she look great?

WILLIAM: Yeah, she looks great.

What do you think, Stevenson?

I'd go for the number six, slightly right of center, sir.

(smacking lips) That's what I was thinking.

(chuckles)

(bowling ball rolling)

That's what I was thinking.

EVANS: How's your average?

One forty-five last time out, sir.

That's not bad.

No!

(flubbering)

That's, that's what I get for my leftist tendencies.

Sir, Senator Hanson and her husband are here.

Shall I put them in reception? Bring 'em in.

Yes, sir.

Stevenson, I'm gonna need some time with the senator. Yes, sir.

Senator! LAINE: Mr. President.

I'm sure you remember my husband. Oh, Will Hanson.

Yes. The McMahon campaign.

Oh, we tried to steal your husband away.

He runs a hell of a campaign.

Hell of a campaign. Thank you, sir.

You gave me nightmare visions of, uh, having to return to my law practice.

Hi. Jackson Evans.

Hollis. Lewis Hollis.

What was that... What was the first name?

Hollis.

No, Lewis is my first name. Lewis. Welcome, Lewis.

So, have you guys been down here before?

BOTH: No.

Johnson, he, uh built it in '65.

Right now, some... terrorist camp in Libya is being spared a bombing raid because I'm obsessed with beating my 150 average.

You guys bowl?

LAINE: Uh... once in a while. WILLIAM: Well, uh... yeah.

Uh, what's your, what's your average?

Seventy. I don't have one so...

Hungry? You want some lunch before we speak?

LAINE: No, thank you, sir. WILLIAM: Fine, thank you.

Yeah? I saw this, uh, this movie once where the president is just tickled that anything he wants to eat he can get in a moment's notice.

Here. Turns out, it's the perk of the century.

Otto? OTTO (over intercom): Yes, Mr. President?

Yeah, sorry for the late notice.

Uh, for lunch, could you arrange some coq au vin... with a side of penne?

OTTO: Spicy or mild? Spicy.

And, uh... Oh... hazelnut pudding for dessert. OTTO: No problem, sir.

One day, I'll catch him napping.

Anyway, how much did we win that one by?

61 to 33, sir. Ah.

It's pretty easy getting over things when you win.

I guess Sudan is where the press will make its first hay.

I think if we announce, the press might have other things on its mind.

But, uh, you know, sir, Sheldon Runyon and Jack Hathaway have been friends for years.

And Runyon is going to come after me with all guns blazing.

No. Senator... You know that...

...why do we have to worry about Shelly Runyon's guns when I control the atomic bomb?

We'll introduce you to the Cabinet in one hour. I'll make the announcement then.

That's fine, Mr. President. That's the way Jerry Ford did it with Rockefeller.

I always thought it was pretty damn classy.

Have we notified all the networks?

Oh, yes. All the pundits are in a guessing feeding frenzy.

Box of Malomars says they've already anointed Malloy.

You look great, by the way.

Just great. Thank you, sir.

Okay, guys, one hour, the Cabinet Room.

Off to the races! (claps)

Senator, is this what you're gonna wear?

She looks fine. No, she does.

You look beautiful, Senator.

Thank you. Very becoming.

I think it works.

Let me explain how this is gonna work.

In a minute, POTUS is gonna come in. He's gonna make an announcement.

He's gonna introduce you to the vice presidential designate. WOMAN: Jerry.

Jerry, we hear that the president's decision is Malloy. Can you confirm this?

And I will ensure you in ten seconds, you're gonna have your answer, okay? So calm down.

All right. Then after he's made this announ... Dave.

I'm gonna give you guys, what do you say, 20 minutes for questions and answers.

So keep them short and, hopefully, sweet. All right?

And you can roll starting now.

And I'll introduce him in five... thousand... four... thousand, three... thousand, two.

Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.

Welcome. Good afternoon. Please.

Thank you for coming here on such short notice.

WOMAN: Laine Hanson. MAN: From Ohio WOMAN: Ohio. Got it.

As I embarked on the task of selecting a vice president I was driven by the emotion of wanting to make a choice that would've made Troy Ellard, my friend, proud.

Senator Laine Billings Hanson of Ohio is that person.

WOMAN: Senator, Senator... MAN: Sherri, you are first.

Ms. Hanson, do you feel that your being a woman played any type of a role in the president's decision?

Well, I, uh... Well, first, I just would like to say what an honor it is for me to be here before you in this position.

And I hope to serve up to the standards which President Evans set for me in that wonderful introduction.

Thank you so much, sir.

And, uh, to answer your question...

First rate, Mrs. Hanson. First rate.

Thank you. I learned a lot from Will.

Ah, yes, Will.

You, sir, are gonna have to make yourself scarce, I'm afraid.

No, of course. I'll give you your privacy.

No, I mean scarce.

During the confirmation period, I want you out of sight.

Pardon me? A wife who's always there behind her husband is perceived as supportive.

A husband following around behind his wife is perceived as a puppeteer.

Yeah, well, but I think-- No, no, honey.

No. I-I think Mr. Newman's right on, actually.

Let Hollis handle the day-to-day, and I'll be the man behind the curtain.

So, where do we go from here?

JERRY: One: The FBI's gonna have to do an extensive background check.

Director Friend will handle the investigation personally.

Yes, we made sure of that.

Just about every aspect of your life will be uncovered.

Your bank accounts, your medical reports.

You know? What am I forgetting?

Oh, correspondence to government agencies and speeches When Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed, they had over 300 agents working on him.

Wow. Well, they had a lot more life and cash to investigate, huh?

(laughter)

HOLLIS: You know, we'll do our own background check too in case anything falls through the cracks, just to be safe.

Yes, and at the same time, the House will put together a... (knocking on door)

Come in.

The House will put together its bipartisan subcommittee of the Judiciary to interview you and advise and consent to your nomination.

Shelly Runyon's running the show there.

Cheyenne, Wyoming, you're on with Vice President Designate Laine Hanson.

MAN (on phone): Hey, Larry, how are you? I'm fine. Thanks for calling.

Yeah, I just wanted to say to the senator that, uh, all of Cheyenne is with her.

That we think she's absolutely great for the country and this administration and congratulations.

LARRY: What's the question, sir?

MAN: I, uh, I just wanted to ask the senator, if she could pick one person from history to serve as her model for how to behave in office, who would that be? (knocking on door)

LARRY: Good question, Senator. KERMIT: Shelly?

LAINE (on TV): It sounds like a question I should...

Hey, guys. How are you? Nice to see you, Jerry.

KERMIT: Sorry to barge in on you. No, no, no, no.

I'm just watching your girl.

Gandhi, first female prime ministers?

Well, they were great leaders.

Would you put Thatcher in that category?

Oh, no, I don't think so.

Um...

You know what? I would have to say Thomas Jefferson.

RUNYON: Well. LARRY: A man?

JERRY: She's really something, isn't she? I don't really know her.

We served together a few years ago, and...

Well, I guess we, we just ended up in different company.

Take a... take a seat.

JERRY: Congressman, the president asked us to come down here.

He'd like to let you know that he'd very much appreciate your support in the senator's confirmation.

Really?

He asked me directly, Shell.

But the president didn't consider it important enough to, uh, ask me personally?

You know it's important, Shelly. It's the old man's swan song.

Putting a woman in office means something to him.

In any case, Laine Hanson is the absolute best choice.

Oh, you don't believe that, K. Come on.

You're too smart.

Look, I, uh... I don't mind she's a woman... but I'm, uh, I'm not confirming a woman just because she's a woman.

I mean, Laine Hanson has an extra burden.

She has to come on the world stage with perfect credentials.

Margaret Thatcher didn't have perfect credentials. The world respected her.

The world accepted Margaret Thatcher because they knew she had to answer to Ronald Reagan.

A woman better be pretty damn qualified to have nobody to answer to, and Laine, uh, Laine Hanson is not that.

Look me in the eyes and tell me that Laine Hanson is your first choice for the vice presidency.

Laine Hanson is my absolute first choice.

Oh, I'd so want you in my poker game.

Country needs a smooth confirmation, Shelly.

The president needs a smooth confirmation.

The country needs a, needs a competent vice president.

(phone ringing)

Excuse me a minute.

There's, uh...

There's only one person in the world that has that phone number.

So who's the, uh, second choice?

Well, we haven't really settled on anybody yet, congressman.

Tell me, if Laine Hanson were to be hit by a flying car, well, who would the president then select?

(sighs)

I think the president still likes Jack Hathaway...

Congressman.

SHELLY: You know, uh...

Jack Hathaway, there's a good man... for a Democrat.

There's a man I would say would have... a smooth confirmation.

Jack Hathaway?

Smooth as a baby's ass.

Well, he's already taken himself out of it, so... Right.

Right! Well, who the hell knows?

Perhaps Lainey will shock the world by pulling out her brilliance... and erudition at the hearings that none of us know she has.

So, Shelly, can we ask for basic fairness?

Fifty-fifty, Democrat and Republican at the hearings?

Of course you can.

Congressman! Congressman! Mr. Runyon.

Just wanted to steal you for a second, sir. I'm, uh, Reg Webster.

Oh, you're one of Stoney's boys?

Uh, no.

Hi, David. Hi, Shelly.

You staff or intern?

Actually, I'm a representative, sir.

Reginald Webster of Delaware. Oh!

Fuck me. I'm sorry, Webster. What can I do for you?

I'm running a little late.

Well, I was just hoping I could grab your attention for a second.

So, uh, what's the skinny?

Well, uh...

Well, I'm late, Mr. Webster.

Yeah, I just...

I understand that a chair's opened up in the committee, and I'd like to put my name forward.

I believe you'll find me industrious and hardworking.

Well, the Judiciary's for senior members.

Wheeling was in for five terms before we let him in.

My, uh, hands are tied. There's nothing I can do.

Shelly, I've been trying to reach you for five days.

I left you 32 messages. Well, leave me a 33rd.

Uh, where you from?

Delaware.

Oh, yeah, you, um...

You were... You knocked Emory Bettis out.

Emory used to be in the Thursday night game.

He was always good for a few hundred bucks.

I guess he ran his campaign like he played poker.

I take it you have a predisposition.

About the confirmation, I mean.

Uh... no. Actually, I'm 100% objective.

Mmm. Do you have a dictionary, Mr. Webster?

Yeah. Well, take a Magic Marker... cross out the word "objectivity."

Your constituents want you for your opinions, your philosophy... for your subjectivity.

Laver has to duck out of the way of that one.

There's one that Laver can't get.

He's still trying to recover.

And he zings another powerful forehand past Laver.

See that, Tim-Tim? Know what we call that?

We call that topspin. You know how we get topspin?

Uh-huh.

Yeah? Tell me. 'Cause Baby Jesus made topspin.

Wh-What?

Baby Jesus gave it topspin. Jesus?

Ah! Why do you say that?

Because Baby Jesus made everything.

Yeah? And who told you that?

Miss Moyer in kindergarten, and Mommy says that I have to listen to Miss Moyer.

Wow, this is news to me.

I gave up my career trying to strike that nonsense out of the public school system.

Well, maybe I ought to put him in public school, then.

Remember what I told you about moving your grip down and to the left? Uh-huh.

Yeah. Why don't you go see if Dad's found his bathing suit yet.

Okay? Gimme a hug, will you?

Yeah. Thanks, champ.

(chuckles)

They are paid to teach, not... To preach.

I know, I know, but he's six years old, dad, and he also believes in the tooth fairy and that George Washington never told a lie, so...

Well, it just, it drives me crazy.

Mary, you wanna turn the ball machine off?

MARY: Yes, Mr. Governor. Thank you.

(sighs)

Thanks for seeing me, Dad.

Why wouldn't I see you?

Partisanship.

I gotta love at least one Democrat.

You know, Dad, uh, I'm getting some reports that you might not be ready to back me.

That you're opposed to my confirmation...

So, you've heard quotes where I've said-- No, I haven't heard.

It's just that we should expect to be reading of your opposition, so...

Well, pardon my Swahili, but you're being led a line of pure bullshit.

I haven't said a word. I know, Dad. Maybe it's just that.

Maybe, you know, you've been quiet.

I hate the press. I know, Dad.

When I left the mansion, I swore I would never talk to them again.

I remember.

I suppose you're gonna force my hand on this, huh?

You wouldn't have to say much, Dad.

Just a little something. Okay, okay, okay.

I, uh...

I'll call back Joe Glynn at the Times.

He's okay. He'll write it up well.

I once leaked him some shit about Buchanan.

Damn near won him the Pulitzer.

Thanks, Dad.

Sure. Thanks.

What would you do, or have done, in my case?

Well... (sighs) when your president asks you to jump, it's pretty hard not to jump, that's for sure.

Yeah, but you remember what Ben Franklin said about the vice presidency.

No, I don't rem-- What did he say? I didn't talk to him this week.

He said he ought to be addressed as "Your Superfluous Excellency."

You know, in the past ten years, I've enjoyed the kind of power that the vice presidency can't offer.

I mean, why would anybody want to give that up?

Am I crazy?

Baby, power is where power goes.

Think you can beat me? Uh, yeah. Okay.

Hey, Tony!

Foul!

Can't trust those fuckin' people.

Speaking of which, Mr. Webster, god damn it, it turns out you're a Democrat.

I, uh, wasn't keeping it a secret.

Sad to say, I don't think I can bring you aboard the committee, son.

Ray Spies makes all the decisions regarding the other party.

It's a courtesy. But not a requirement.

No, it's not, that's true.

If Ray Spies interviewed me, he'd refuse to put me on the committee even for a minute... because he'd find out that when it comes to Laine Hanson, I went to my dictionary and crossed off the word "objectivity."

Are you suggesting...

Mrs. Hanson may not be your first choice for the position of vice president?

I'm suggesting that Laine Hanson has stricken our party with policies and attitudes that are best served across the aisle from where she came, that's all.

I take it, like most members of your party, your selection would be Governor Hathaway.

Well, governor Hathaway's a great man.

He's a visionary, he's a bona fide hero.

But he withdrew his name from consideration.

Minds can be changed.

How much, uh, discretion can I count on from you? A hundred percent, sir.

Even from your own leadership? I said a hundred percent, sir.

Good. (panting)

Good man. Good man.

I think if I make the rounds, do the Sunday morning talk shows, raise the level of the game a bit, outtalk her on the issues-- Issues?

What kind of fucking campaigns are they, uh, running in Virginia these days?

Not the kind I'm used to.

Jack, this whole thing with the girl drowning, It's bullshit! JACK: No, no, I was there, Shelly. The president told me himself. It's an excuse.

Jackson Evans has chosen to make putting a woman in office his swan song.

Laine Hanson is the only reasonable choice in your party.

He's not going with Boxer. She's, uh, she's too liberal.

He's not going with Jones because she's older than he is.

There's Winslet.

She's not coming off the Supreme Court.

Laine Hanson is attractive. She's a looker.

The mere fact that she was a Republican means that she can't be too far to the left.

It's a perfect pedigree.

We can't get you in by convincing him that you're the right man for the job.

We have to convince him that she's wrong.

Once we do that, you're in.

And Toliver, he's as much as told me...

Look, I'm not going for a low blow, Shelly. It's not my way.

I think what he's trying to say, Governor, is that you won't have to.

MAN: We have to go after her.

We have to make her wade in her own blood.

Excuse me, who did you say you were?

I'm Makerowitz.

Makerowitz. JACK: I'm sorry.

That doesn't mean much to me.

Web got somebody...

A friend of the Hathaway campaign.

Who is footing the not-too-unimpressive bill, Mr. Makerowitz.

Private citizen wants to do their own investigation...

What is it exactly you are trying to find out?

Campaign irregularities, bribes?

Isn't that the FBI's responsibility? Yes, it is.

But the FBI would not find anything. All of her money is tied up in blind trusts.

The kind of improprieties you're talking about there, I think that only helps her.

Personally, I think the nation would be relieved to know that just because she's a woman it doesn't mean she can't be as ruthless as the rest of us.

MAKEROWITZ: Governor?

You ever stabbed a man in the navel?

You?

Me? No, I haven't.

Stab a man in the navel, and that's all she wrote.

Bleeding is so swift and severe, it wouldn't matter if Jesus himself put His healing hand on the wound.

The bastard is dead.

We have to gut the bitch in the belly.

We all have to understand, we're going to obliterate her life... but it will get you the vice presidency.

(song playing indistinctly on radio)

(indistinct chatter)

Hey, Dog! Hey, Lewis, how are you doin'?

Wow, that's a plate of food!

Hey, you didn't have to dress up for me.

I had to accompany the senator to the Gridiron Lunch.

Tell you what, if John Q. Public could see the money that the knuckleheads that run this country spend on these lunches, there would be a second revolution.

I'm telling you, man, there is some money spent on these stupid lunches.

What is this? It's the reason you're here.

You can't let anybody know where you got this from.

And if Runyon found out I gave this to you, man, he'd-he'd fire me, and I don't want him as an enemy.

That's Lainey Hanson getting gang-banged. Yeah.

Looks like something out of Hustler.

(exhales forcefully) That's her for sure.

I know it's hard to tell with her... her face in someone's crotch... but that's her, man.

Why are you showing me this?

I will not be party to an ambush.

Why are you showing me this, Ted?

Okay.

I want out of Runyon's office, see?

And I thought maybe you could get me on staff with the senator or something? This is the best you could come up with? This shit?

This is shit.

Read the deposition of the LaVamere lady.

WOMAN: She was putting on a sex show.

MAN 1: How long did this go on for? It was hours.

MAN 2: How many hours? Three or four.

MAN 2: Which one? Three or four?

WOMAN: Three, I guess. MAN 2: Three.

WOMAN: In her defense, she was drunk.

To be honest, once she finished fucking and sucking those two assholes she was carried into another room, and boys were going in and out of there, but I don't know if she was fucking them.

When she came out, though, she was covered in cum.

It was awful. Excuse me, Counselor.

I, um...

May I? Of course.

Just to clarify, uh, why exactly was Mrs. Laine Hanson...

Strike that. Laine Billings involved in this, uh... appalling and disgusting behavior?

That's... That's what's important. COUNSELOR: Exactly.

LAINE: Thank you so much. It's great to see you guys.

There... there you go.

Thank you so much for your support. Thank you.

Thank you.

Hey. Hey, Madam Senator.

How you doing? I'm okay.

I wish you'd heard the speech. Yeah?

That line that you gave me about, uh, "If we can put a man on the moon, then why can't we put all men on the moon?"

Mmm. Yeah. It was perfect.

It really broke the ice.

Great audience for that, huh? Yeah, it was great. Yeah.

(sighs)

What's goin' on?

Uh... well, it looks like Runyon or, uh, or somebody close to him has been running a little private investigation, looking for stuff that the Feds wouldn't even touch.

It's, um... Yeah?

What is it?


What the...

(phone ringing)

KERMIT: He doesn't know anything about it.

So you're asking me to step down?

I'm asking you to do what's in the best interest of the party... and this president.

Well...

I'm sorry. I can't do it, not over this.

And if I know our president, he's not going to allow me or himself to get shot down over what would've been a private sexual encounter.

Some swan song for the old man, huh?

(sighs) It's just fuckin' awful.

Look, the senator got a little wild when she was 19.

What is the big deal?

Well, let me explain the big deal to you.

The people of this nation can stomach quite a bit.

But one thing they can't stomach is the image of a vice president with a mouthful of cock.

WILLIAM: Well, you don't have to use...

Look, let's use the word "alleged."

They got photos!

They got witnesses!

They got the "alleged" slut...

Hey! Let me tell you something.

I'm her husband first. I don't tolerate talk like that!

Will, calm down. Will, come on.

You better get used to it, Will.

Especially when not even your wife will defend herself.

Give me something, Laine. Anything.

Hell, just deny it. Why don't you just deny it?

It is simply beneath my dignity.

Dignity! Right.

Well, we'll just have to make this all not worthwhile for Mr. Runyon.

What have you got on the distinguished gentleman from Illinois?

Some pretty good stuff, actually.

Um, SEC Investigation, 1985... You got stocks?

I want something embarrassing!

Something sexual!

Little boys, midgets, that sort of thing.

Cows! I don't give a goddamn! Come on, Kermit.

If we do that, we're no better than he is.

We are no better than he is.

MAN: There's nothing there. He got married when he was 21.

There's no evidence he ever cheated on his wife.

Oh, wow, it's too bad we're not running in France.

We could really nail him on that one.

When do you have your lunch with him?

With Shelly Runyon? No. I'm not having lunch with him.

HOLLIS: Friday, 1 o'clock. It's scheduled tomorrow.

It's automatic. He's the committee chairman.

It was set up. SOP.

** (classical music)

(indistinct chatter)

Really appreciate it.

Hank, it's good to see you.

Laine. Shelly.

I'm sorry I started. You were late. I see.

I'm not too late, I hope. A minute or two.

Were you tied up with anything?

No, sorry. I'm just late.

Hi, Clem. Senator.

Nice to see you. You too.

I ordered you the porterhouse. Oh, no, I don't eat meat.

I'll have the penne. Thanks. You should...

You should really... Mmm.

Try the steak. Ask Hugo to burn it on the outside. No, thank you.

Thanks, it's okay. I-I really don't eat meat.

I'll just go ahead with the penne.

Spicy? Yes, please.

Okay. Thanks.

(sighs)

So, how are... Will and the boy?

Let's forego the small talk today, Shelly.

It'll make me feel cheap.

Let the big talk begin.

Have you seen this?

That's my... That's my file on you, Senator.

Mm-hmm. How did you get it?

Have you read it yet?

How did you get it?

Have you read it?

(sighs)

What do you have to say for yourself?

With all due respect... um, Senator... it doesn't matter what I have to say for myself.

Oh, it doesn't?

It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, all you can claim about me... claim, is that I had sex...

Deviant sex. Oh, deviant?

Who says it was deviant? I do.

And what I say, the American people will believe.

And you know why?

Because I'll have a very big microphone in front of me.

Oh, wow, you must really hate me, Shelly.

I don't hate you. It's not possible to hate you.

You're...

What the hell was it that Reynolds called you the other day?

Groovy. You're a groovy chick.

No, what I, um, what I do detest is your selfishness.

(chuckles) I have served this nation without regard for personal income for over ten years.

You are selfish because you want to take on a job that positions you to assume a mantle of gigantic responsibility, and you do it, you do it full well with the knowledge...

Of what?

What?

Greatness is the orphan of urgency, Laine.

Greatness... only emerges when we need it most, in times of... of war or calamity.

I can't ask somebody to be a Kennedy or a Lincoln.

They were men created by their times.

What I... what I can ask for is the promise of greatness.

And that, Madam Senator... you don't have.

Well, then...

I just wouldn't be using sex as leverage... if I were you, Sheldon.

No.

Because, you know, there's one thing you don't want.

It's a woman with her finger on the button who isn't getting laid.

Will that be the argument the senator offers up before the committee?

(chuckles)


MAN: Sir?

Can I get you something to drink?

Uh, no, I'm fine. Thank you. You sure?

No, great. Thanks a lot.


Ah, Mr. Webster. Mr. President.

Good to see you. It's an honor, sir.

I've been meaning to have you up here for some time now.

Really? Excuse me.

Willie?

Thank you, Willie.

Yeah, you betcha. You, uh, unseated that old bastard Bettis.

He must've voted against me 70 percent of the time.

You know what this is?

That's a shark steak sandwich.

Fucking shark steak. Hmm.

You want half?

Uh, no, thank you.

Are you a vegan?

No. Uh... Had lunch?

So, uh, you choose not to break bread with the president of the United States?

Thank you.

When I was in the Senate, Bettis, he could always be counted to leave half a grand at the poker table.

Always stayed in, never folded. Always wanted that miracle card.

That's good, isn't it? Mm-hmm.

Now, Truman, he was a poker player.

Damn fine one, as I understand it.

Son, I understand you may be making a mess of our plans to put Laine Hanson into the vice president mansion.

Right now, sir, I cannot see supporting Laine Hanson.

How old are you? Me, I'm 28.

And, uh, at that age and experience, you think you're the one to sit and judge Mrs. Hanson?

Well, that's the whole point, isn't it?

I am, sir.

Mr. Webster, I'm asking you to lay off... as a personal favor.

It's one thing to break ranks and vote against my candidate but to actively attack her from the bench, that's another.

Mr. President, I just don't believe in Laine Hanson... especially when we have at our disposal Governor Hathaway.

He's a party loyalist and a genuine hero.

And I cannot and shall not vote for a candidate simply because she's a woman.

I am nothing if I do not follow my heart, sir.

I envy you.

I do. You know why?

Because someday, years from now, you're gonna come in here with your family... and you're gonna look up at my painting... and you'll be able to say to them, your kids and grandkids, that, "Way back then, I defied my president.

It cost me my reelection, kept me out of politics forever.

I was on the track to maybe one day end up here... destined to make the kind of changes in this country that only great men, given the right time and place, can make, and I have none of that now, but that's okay... because I did what was in my heart."

The heart, it can never be wrong, can it, Mr. Webster?

Mmm. Delicious.

You got a little, uh... Uh...

Hi.

I'm Jack Hathaway. How are you?

Hi, sir.

Um...

Ow.

I'm Special Agent Willomina.

Sure is good of you to meet me.

Well, it's a pleasure. How can I help you?

Well, I know you're busy, so this will be as routine as it gets.

Did, uh, my girl offer you some coffee or something to drink?

Oh, yes, yes, she did.

She was very nice, your girl.

Yes, she is. She's very nice.

So anyway, um... like I said, I just want to cross a couple of T's, little stuff.

You know, it's all just part of the process, and...

By the way, sir, I was real impressed with your graciousness on the whole Senator Hanson thing. Oh?

You know, in supporting her. Real gracious.

Oh, well, as you know, I, uh, I withdrew my name from consideration.

Right. Right.

And I think she's a-a-a real fine choice.

I mean, anybody that knows her knows that.

Oh, how long have you known her?

Oh, well, actually, I don't. I don't really...

Oh, I'm sorry. because when you said, "Anybody that knows her"...

I know, uh... I know people who know her. Uh-huh.

Uh, I'm happy to give you their names, if you'd like.

Great.

I don't really know her, uh, but I've seen her several times at functions and, uh, I think she'll do a real good job.

Sir, can I just say that...

I was really hoping you'd go for the position, especially after what happened on the Apachaway.

I think people would think, in the back of their minds, "This here's a guy who takes risks when the right thing's at stake."

Lifesaver? No, thanks.

Well, anyway, uh, some real bad luck your being right there.

Well, not if I'd been able to save her.

No, no, in the crabbing area.

Oh, it's just that you were fishing for bass, so...

Yeah, well, that, that probably explains why we didn't catch anything. (laughs)

You fish in the Apachaway a lot, though, so I thought that you would know that, but...

I don't fish a lot. I just thought your equipment was pretty sophisticated, but...

If you're gonna fish, it's... No, no. There's a difference between wanting to fish and having the time to fish.

Tell me about it.

TIMOTHY: And he freed the slaves and won the Civil War.

LAINE: That's right! That's right.

He was probably our greatest president.

TIMOTHY: Even greater than George Washington?

Well, it's a running debate.

Laine Hanson. Oh, Mr. President.

And you must be one Timothy Hanson.

Timothy Muskie Hanson. Oh!

(chuckles)

Well, Timothy Muskie Hanson, how would you like a great big cookie? Any kind you want.

No, thank you. Any kind at all.

Oatmeal, white chocolate... No, thank you.

Well, actually, we just had dinner, but thanks, though.

Uh, in that case, shall we have our picture taken, young man? Hmm?

How do I look? Your tie's a little crooked.

Well, can't take a picture like that.

Will you straighten it for me?

(grunts)

Your, uh, mommy tells me that you know more about the presidents than most grown-ups.

I like to study them. Mmm! Me too.

Well, I think we're ready for business, Dennis.

Sir.

You must be very proud of your mom.

Yeah, being the vice president is better than being the president.

Oh, I'm sure you're right.

'Cause nobody wants to shoot the vice president.

So, you must be feeling pretty excited right about now.

Please sit.

Hmm? Well, I think I'm a little nervous.

Well, good! Good.

Night before a confirmation hearing.

Anything else, I would've withdrawn your name.

What about this Webster, sir? Ah, one second.

Uh, anybody here hungry?

No, thanks. No, sir, I'm not. Thanks.

Otto? OTTO (over intercom): Yes, Mr. President. could you whip up some Kung Pao chicken but with walnuts?

No problem, sir.

Ah, the kid. Met him.

You know this young congressman, Webster?

No, sir, I don't.

No matter. Uh...

He reminds me of me when I was his age. That's bad.

K, you need to put out word that no matter what this kid does nobody's to give him a hard time.

He's misguided, but he's got something. And one day, who knows?

All right, sir. I'm sure the senator can handle Mr. Webster.

There is one concern we need to...

EVANS: Oh, right, concern. Uh, Laine? Mm?

K told me about your little sexual romp in college.

Shit. Tomorrow is the 17th.

Glenda? Yes, sir?

Tomorrow is Jacobson's birthday. Have you got something for the son of a bitch?

Yes, sir. You got him a leather-bound Don Quixote.

Oh, good, good. Good gift. Metaphorical gift.

He'll be trying to figure out why I got him that forever.

(door closes)

Ah, were you married at the time?

Um, I was a freshman in...

You know, sir, I'm just not going to comment on the whole thing.

It's beneath me, and it's beneath the press.

That's the way to go. Fuck the press.

Senator Hanson does not kiss and tell.

It's perfect. Maybe I was a little too rough on Shelly in Hartford.

Then this would all be moot, 'cause you wouldn't be president, sir.

You know what?

Married, unmarried, one guy, two guys, the whole football team.

Who the fuck cares?

You... you just look those bastards in the eye and tell them exactly that.

These guys, they're gonna confirm you.

But they want to embarrass you in the process.

They want to send you into this administration as a virus.

So you have only one choice.

Yes, sir?

Don't... be embarrassed.

RUNYON: Two hours, gentlemen.

It is now up to us to light the spark... which will result in a moral uprising, so that we may have... a new birth of national honesty... and decency.

And sometimes in this process... you will question even yourselves.

And that's, uh, that's good, that's healthy.

For what are we if we are not what we believe?

Laine Hanson... is a cancer.

A cancer of liberalism.

A cancer of disloyalty.

Her nomination itself is the... is the cancer of affirmative action.

What we will sing with voices stentorian... is that she is the cancer of virtuous decay.

Clausewitz said that war is the natural extension of politics.

But politics is also the extension of war.

(coughs) They are one and the same.

Now, in this war, there... there will be casualties.

So help me God... not among us.

REPORTER: Senator, could we have a word?

(talking over each other)

Kermit, the president canceled his golf game with me.

He always cancels golf games. You know that.

Don't worry about it. Yeah, not with me.

That's all right.

MAN: Kermit, can I talk to you a second?

KERMIT: We'll talk later.

HOLLIS: They're home, they're happy, they're watching, they're proud.

Lewis, this is it. Thank you.

RUNYON: Order. Order.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Sheldon B. Runyon from the great state of Illinois.

It is my privilege and my honor... to serve as the chairman of these special hearings.

We are here today for only the third time in our history to ensure the proper implementation of the 25th amendment and for the first time, the House has taken on that responsibility.

Myself and my esteemed colleagues are determined... to ensure that this... very important matter be handled with, um... expedition and dignity.

We are proud to welcome our friend and colleague, Laine Hanson. Madam Senator, I welcome you.

Thank you, Mr...

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Will the gentlelady from Ohio please rise and raise your right hand?

Madam Senator, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do. RUNYON: Please be seated.

WEBSTER: Mr. Chairman, point of order.

RUNYON: The Chair recognizes Mr. Webster of Delaware.

(clears throat) Mr. Chairman, I direct your attention to page 16, tab C-25 of the ledger, This is a transcript of the Q-and-A session between the nominee and several students from Harvard University.

RUNYON: Page 16?

WEBSTER: Uh, page 16 at the bottom of the page.

Uh, you'll see the following remarks in reference to a question regarding the separation of church and state.

The nominee said, and I quote, "The separation exists because we cannot have a fairy tale govern a nation."

What, sir, is the point?

Well, the senator just swore an oath to an entity she does not believe in.

RUNYON: Madam Senator, you understand... that you have promised to be truthful to this committee? Yes.

And you understand that lying to this body is perjury, punishable by law? Yes, I do understand that.

Well, I think we're... I think we're all agreed that even though the senator has shown a disdain for religion and those practicing it-- which is her constitutional right-- that does not necessarily, Mr. Webster, make her a liar.

I'm confident we can proceed.

Uh, Madam? Yes?

For the record, would you state your name and address?

Yes. My name is Laine Hanson, and my address is...

WOMAN: You can just do that, pull phone records?

WILLOMINA: Well, I work for a pretty powerful guy.

WOMAN: Well, yeah, we're close. We were close for a while.

That's till recently, of course.

Our career paths sort of went in different directions.

Well, at least you have your life.

You know, there's nothing sinister going on here.

At this point, we just need to look at every aspect of her life and find everyone that knew her.

You never know what you're gonna find.

Oh. Did you find anything? No, no, not really.

Not really? You mean...

Well, a little bit, actually.

Um, I did speak to some of your other classmates, and they told me she was pretty wild.

Wild? Yeah, she was wild.

Wild enough you can be sure the tabloids are gonna have a field day with this.

Have you spoken to them? Mm...

Tabloids? Me? No.

But somebody somewhere's gonna talk.

But not you. Uh-uh, no.

It's okay if you have. We're not gonna lock you up or anything.

(laughing): No, I haven't.

So no one like, the, um... maybe, the National Enquirer... or one of those silly television programs, that show, um... Access... Confidential?

Yeah... No, no, no.

No, but I don't really know anything.

The last time I talked to her, it was just, "The kid this, the kid that."

According to our records, you spoke to her, uh, on the 15th.

Three weeks ago? Yeah.

Yeah, that... that makes sense.

I... She was going to Vegas.

Oh, is that right? Vegas? Yeah.

She asked me to go along with her. It was gonna be her treat even.

I couldn't go because I had to work.

We were gonna stay at one of those ritzy new places.

The, um, Bellage...

The Bellagio?

Yeah. Right.

With the contortionist. I've never been.

You've been going through my desk.

It never crossed my mind when I was a younger woman that I'd be this age and not have kids.

Somehow in my mind, kids.

Raising them, making them good people.

That's what I wanted.

And then I met you, and I realized that I'd be trading my dreams so that we could live yours.

We sacrificed all of that so we could do good.

We have done good.

I was never prouder when you fought to make hate crimes a capital and federal offense.

You stood so tall, defying the world, and you won.

An-and it was then that I realized that all of our sacrifices were not in vain, that you were a good man.

And now, everything you have ever achieved will be eliminated because, with this horrible filth... you'll go down as a second-rate Joe McCarthy.

Your problem, Shelly, is that you have no sense of history.

She's no good.

(indistinct announcement on TV)

State department has begun to upgrade...

MAN: Whoa! ...the UH-1H helicopters to super-acuity status.

Come on! And based on the terms of the contract...

Come on. ...we're expecting 10 fully upgraded helicopters.

See, Daphne? This is how you get to the top.

(announcement continues in background)

Lew?

Lew?

RUNYON: Now, I have an issue to speak of, and I'm most gravely concerned.

If this body will indulge me, I have before me... a perfect example of the need for this institution... to pass the Internet Libel Protection Act.

In the Nichols Report piece posted to 40 million Internet subscribers, it is claimed that you, uh, Senator... were involved in a sexual imbroglio while in college.

That is... trading favors... with... several partners in exchange for entry into a sorority.

Though I will not waste the committee's time with such... nefarious and sleazy innuendoes...

I will not deny the senator her right to, uh, to respond.

Uh, Mr. Chairman, I have nothing to...

I will just not respond to this article.

And I say "Bravo" to you, Senator.

Bravo to you.

First let me state... that I encourage every American... and every citizen on this planet to boycott... the Nichols Report.

This is the type of filth and, um, degenerate pornography that should not see the light of day.

I can only assume, Senator, that you will, uh... not only bring suit against the perpetrators of...

but also against the remarkable look-alike who appears in these disgusting photos.

And when you do file suit, know that it, uh... it comes with my full support.

Your refusal to deny this, uh, report of sexual deviance... will not have an effect on this, uh, committee on whether or not it votes to advise and consent to your nomination.

REPORTER: Mr. President, do you have a comment on the allegations made on the Internet today?

I'm not gonna discuss any allegations, especially those on the Internet.

REPORTER 2: But, sir, the sexual allegations were made very public today by Congressman Runyon. Mm.

And I'm sure he quite regrets that.

(laughter)

REPORTER 3: Sir, if you agree with the, uh, allegations, or agree the allegations are accurate, uh, do you think that Senator Hanson is morally fit to take office?

I'll tell you what.

I'm sure that, uh, President Mateo and I would both welcome the votes of only those people with sexual indiscretions in their past.

We'd be landslide victors every time.

REPORTER 4: Mr. President, are you willing to say right now that...

Hey, Sheila. They've been waiting for you for about ten minutes.

Okay. Hey.

Henry, I gotta talk to you in five minutes, okay? Okay.

(indistinct chatter)

How about "Her involvement in prostitution"?

No, no, no, no. It's uh... You gotta couch it like it's something... for the FB... the AG to investigate. Okay.

Hi, Reggie. Hi.

Well, how about, "How embarrassing it is... that the..." No, no, no. Who...

What? Where's Gil... Gilmore?

Gilmore. Gilmore. Um, Idaho? Iowa?

Can I interrupt for one second? Uh... we're all set with America Live.

Uh, what are you guys talking about?

We're just going over, uh...

We're just going over our statement in response to The Washington Post story.

What story? Well...

The one that says the secret investigation is ongoing... to determine whether she accepted money... for her, uh, activities in college.

(scoffs) I didn't hear about this.

Well, it's, uh... It's, um...

It'll be in to...

It'll be in tomorrow afternoon's edition.

Just in time for the congressman to make his statement and just in time for it to, uh, stick in the minds of Americans over the weekend.

Ah, well, what's the source? Where'd they get the story?

Unnamed sources close to the investigation.

I see.

Al.

Al! Yes?

Um... We can, um...

Let's, uh...

Let's dot the I's, cross the... cross the T's on this one later.

All right, thank you.

I, uh...

I think I have some self-righteous indignation coming my way.

Well, is there any truth whatsoever to the story?

Well, there will be an investigation.

Yeah, but she's gonna have the truth on her side.

I mean, she's just gonna deny it and make us all look like we're fools. Let her.

Let her deny just that part of the story.

MAN: Hold here. What? Oh.

That's all right. I can do that myself. Yeah.

Thank you.

America Live is not in the circus business.

No... No, he's right. Pete's always fair.

LAINE: Should I hear anything in this?

HOLLIS: He's gotta stop with all the "senator."

You're gonna be vice president.

You'll talk about legitimate issues of concern.

Right. Where is the senator's monitor?

There is no monitor for her. She'll hear Pete in the earpiece.

That is a piece of shit. We talked about this, Ray.

If Peter's gonna be able to see her, she has to be able to see him.

He's got a sensory advantage over her.

You wanna pull her? I'm not talking about pulling her.

I'm just saying it's bullshit.

Will Hanson. Yeah, I know.

She was just great in the hearings today. You know, cool and collected.

Hi. Steve Poullet. Hey.

(indistinct chatter)

Should I hear anything? Oh... Yeah, I got it. I got it. Okay, great.

Oh, it's that one. Yeah, I know.

Can't hear... Yeah, right, got it.

LAINE: Oh, yeah... Okay, I've got the intro now.

I got it.

Thank you for having me, Peter.

Sure, that'd be fine.

Well, it has been a taxing experience, um, but if we're forced to take the voters out of the equation, I think that the vetting system by simple necessity must be arduous.

Mmm.

Well, I have to plead motherhood on that one, Pete, but I not only served on the Foreign Relations Committee, but I sponsored the Hanson-Fineman Bill which readjusted the War Powers Act to allow the executive to respond to state-sponsored terrorism, like that of Iraq, Libya, North Korea, for instance.

But rather than boring you with my resume I'd rather answer your questions on specific issues of foreign policy.

Um, I suppose I could ask you, Mr. Crenshaw, how you'd feel in the same situation.

No. Why would I answer that for you?

Sorry. It's simply a privacy issue.

Look, I won't address issues of sexuality in a hearing room or on national television or anywhere else for that matter.

Where's the control room for America Live?

The control room for America Live? Down the hall.

Excuse me. The control room for America Live?

Where is the fucking thing? Where's the control room.

Where's the... It's right down there.

Fuck!

Straight ahead. No, no, no... Well, then...

It's down here, down here, down here, down here!

Don't tell me we're gettin' sandbagged!

We're getting sandbagged by this fucking guy!

I knew you couldn't trust this fucking guy!

PETE (on TV): Senator Hanson, do you recognize Mr. Poullet?

LAINE (on TV): Uh, no. (chuckles)

You know, I don't have a monitor here, so I can't see him.

STEVEN: The truth is that Lainey and I had that one incident, and I don't believe we ever saw each other again after that.

To her credit, she was very drunk when she had sex... with my friends, uh, my brothers and I.

A sandbag is what it is. He's fucking your friend.

LAINE: No, not at this gentleman, but you. I mean, this...

He has obviously infiltrated your show.

PETE: Mrs. Hanson, you still have not taken a stand on the accuracy of this report.

STEVEN: It's very accurate, Pete.

And those photos are accurate too.

We had them up on the frat house bulletin board for months.

We called that Life in the Sex Laine.

What are we gonna do now, Hollis?

We're gonna sue him.

...but it certainly applies here.

I will not dignify those remarks or your questions with a response.

Good evening.

KERMIT: The guy's a jerk. We're never gonna put our people on that show again.

Some asshole called in and made this idiot claim.

Now they've got to investigate.

The whole situation's a son of a bitch.

RUNYON: I would, uh... I would like to start by saying that much has been made of the reports in the press of an investigation... into the possible-- possible, I say again-- criminal behavior on the part of the nominee.

This committee will wait for a report from the, uh, the FBI... before taking this matter up.

However, I'll once again afford the nominee an opportunity to, uh, to respond.

I, too, will wait for the FBI report before responding.

Madam Senator.

Tell us a little bit about your family. You have a son.

Mm-hmm. Yes, I have one six-year-old boy, Timothy.

That's a very nice age.

Uh, now, I see, uh...

I see here that when you, um... when you had Timothy, you were absent from your duty... for a few months' maternity leave.

Yes, I believe it's the right and responsibility of every mother to be able to take maternity-- Paid maternity leave.

Yes. I don't believe we should penalize our citizens for having children.

I think I'm on safe ground saying that valuing motherhood is quite nonpartisan.

Um, were you to, uh... Were you to get pregnant again, do you... do you plan to take maternity leave?

Um, I've not given that any consideration.

No? Are you, uh... Are you still able to bear children?

Yes, I am... Yeah, I believe, yes, I am.

Yet you have not given this matter any consideration.

Perhaps that means... No, strike that.

Madam Senator... let us assume you ascended to the presidency... and you were to have a child during your term, would you cede your duties to your vice president and for how long?

Mr. Chairman, would the chair expect to have the designate assure this committee that she would have her tubes tied before she assume office?

Mr. Chairman, I humbly request a point of order. And you will be afforded one.

With all due respect... You will be afforded one when I am finished.

Excuse me. The truth is that while we have not put a seal on the concept of having another child, my husband and I practice birth control.

Mm-hmm.

Okay, I would, uh... now like to, uh... enter the arena of loyalty.

Loyalty is a revered quality among vice presidents.

Would you agree? Yes, very much so. Yes.

Yet you chose to officially move from the Republican to the Democratic party when you left the House to run for the Senate.

I view switching parties as a testament to my loyalty to my country.

I felt that the Republican party had shifted from the ideals that I cherished through my youth.

As a Republican, did you ever... vote along party lines but against your own beliefs?

No, never.

You still believe in every vote you made? Yes.

Including your vote to impeach President Clinton? Yes, I do.

That was an issue of fairness.

The president, as commander in chief, stood by while several military officers, (indistinct chatter) including candidates for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs were prosecuted for adultery or were not permitted to advance their careers.

Now, I am opposed to making adultery, or even lying about it, a crime in our armed forces.

But while it is a law, it should be enforced without consideration of rank, even if that rank is commander in chief.

Perhaps the senator is unaware that commander in chief is not actually a military rank.

No, I am aware of that.

What I think we can say of President Clinton is that he was not guilty but responsible.

(laughter)

Uh...

"Not guilty but responsible."

I am... I like that.

I, uh, I-I may, uh... I may use that.

If you wish, you can go ahead. Thank you.

When... (clears throat)

When considering you for the vice presidency, we must also consider your worthiness as, uh... as commander in chief.

Would you agree? Yes, I do.

Oh, in that case, given your feelings on the matter... have you ever committed adultery?

No, I have not. No. No?

You're quite sure? Madam Senator, you understand that, uh, you are under oath.

Yes, I understand that between the two of us, I'm the one that's under oath.

LAINE: When you guys go before the Antitrust Committee, don't you want Hank on your side?

MAN: Sure, but not at any price.

You remember the last time we spoke, you were sitting right where you are right now.

Hank was sitting right where Len is.

You started telling him what a shame it would be if the refrigeration systems on the trucks went out. Kinda...

Well, Hank's a hothead, and he took that as a threat.

If we were threatening him, he'd know it.

Well, that's what I thought, but now we have some massaging to do.

Hank's gotta be treated with kid gloves. (telephone rings)

MAN (on phone): Senator Hanson? Oh, sorry.

Yep? Congressman Webster's here to see you.

Guess we got our ten minutes. Okay, send him in.

No, I want to resolve this. I do. I do. Just give me a few minutes.

If you want something to drink, Jerry will take care of you. Okay? Thank you.

We're gonna get right back into this? We will. We will.

So, Senator, you want me to sit in?

Make sure the congressman's clear on everything?

I think we'll be fine. Won't we, Mr. Webster?

WEBSTER: Yeah. We'll be all right. Thanks.

Proud of yourself?

So, what can I do for you, Mr. Webster?

Ah... Well, I'm sure you're wondering why I'm here.

I think you're here because you want to know why I'm not fighting back.

Because despite it all, you've got some odd sense of fair play.

And you're kicking my ass.

It's gone from feeling like easy pickings to out-and-out bullying.

I feel like there should be some back and forth between us, you and the committee.

I'll give you back and forth on social security, relations with Israel, on the Dow Jones, the census, almost everything, but not this.

No, not my personal life. It's just nobody's business.

That's not what the people will tell you. The people will tell you it is their business, that you're setting the standards of morality for their children.

Especially their girls.

Have you ever heard of Isaac Lamm?

Hmm? Isaac Lamm? No.

He was the first one to come before HUAC-- the House Un-American Activities Committee.

And, uh, he was also the first one to name names, first to cooperate with the government.

The dominoes fell from there.

Careers crushed, families destroyed.

Just imagine, Mr. Webster, if Mr. Lamm had just said, "Fuck you," to the committee.

Imagine how much harder he would've made it for them.

Are you accusing the committee of sexual McCarthyism?

Well, it's not necessary to make the accusation.

Oh, I just can't respond to the committee's lightly veiled accusations because it's not okay for them to be made.

Or maybe you can't respond because the answers you have to give are too embarrassing.

You know what?

You're young.

That's okay. That's okay. You're young.

And, uh, I'm just gonna choose to be amused by your naivete, give you the benefit of the doubt.

I'm gonna spell it out for you even more clearly.

If I were a man, nobody would care how many sexual partners I had when I was in college.

And if it's not relevant for a man, it's not relevant for a woman.

Jerry, send the folks back in, would you, please? JERRY: Okay, Senator.

I gotta finish this up.

MAGGIE: He's not a bad man.

He believes in what he's doing.

There's... an odd sort of integrity there.

But in this business, with so much at stake, it's not enough to believe in yourself, you have to be right.

This is an ideological rape of all women.

Timmy, that's a little too high.

Okay, Mommy.

Thank you, sweetie.

Well, then I'll survive it for all of us.

Tomorrow morning, Congressman Marshall is gonna ask you some questions.

He's going to hit you with abortion.

And I promise you that Shelly will find some way to call you a baby killer.

We're ready for him, Mrs. Runyon. Our position papers are first-rate.

Every one of them. You let him finish.

Then you look him in the eye and you ask him...

"Mr. Runyon, 20 years ago, your wife Maggie had an abortion.

Do you think her a murderer?"

He's a hypocrite.

No, he's not.

Shelly has no idea.

MARSHALL: Are you saying you would appoint a Supreme Court justice based on his being pro-choice?

Mr. Marshall, the vice president does not appoint Supreme Court justices.

Should you succeed the president or even advise the president?

I would be inclined, though not without flexibility to disregard any man or woman who is pro-life from serving on the High Court.

So you would allow a personal political belief to enter into such a decision?

No. Abortion isn't a constitutional issue.

The fine ladies and gentlemen who serve on the Supreme Court, which is now stacked with right-wing appointees have no business deciding whether the women of this nation will have to resort to back-alley abortions...

You mean they have no business deciding whether women have a license to commit murder.

RUNYON: Mr. Marshall, your time has expired.

Sir, if the distinguished gentlelady from Ohio would simply answer the question...

RUNYON: I think the lady has made clear her propensity for abortion.

Oh, come on, Mr. Runyon!

RUNYON: Mr. Lewis, you do not have speaking privileges.

Mr. Chairman, I find your term, "propensity for abortion" misrepresentative of my position.

I have a propensity for a woman's right to choose.

To abort a child! A fetus.

No, to kill... to kill a baby as it grows in the womb.

Personally, Senator...

I do not believe that it is the right of our citizens... to... to butcher a defenseless human being simply... simply as a matter of choice.

At the risk of my own future, I tell you this:

If you support the right of a woman to choose, you are supporting... nothing less than a-a-a holocaust of the unborn.

Mr. Chairman, are you calling me...


I believe my position on this issue is clear.

Yes, madam, it most certainly is.

God, I love this game. (laughs)

(coughs)

When she tries to tell me how to do it, I just go right on and do it my way.

Then she comes back and changes it afterwards, and that way...

Jeez. Come on.

(coughing)

Good one, sir.

You're an all-weather golfer, I see.

What kind of stick you using there?

It's a putting stick. Right, putting stick.

When I asked for you last week, they said you were in Vegas.

Business, sir. Vegas is business?

Well, I did blow a roll of quarters, but, uh...

Will you excuse us?

How's that cough doing? Aah.

That's her casino account balance.

She offered to take her sorority sister to Vegas, her treat.

RUNYON: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?

I do.

Please state your name for the record.

Cynthia C-H-A-R-L-T-O-N Lee.

Thank you. Please, uh... please be seated.

We will start the questioning with Mr. Skakle.

Mr. Skakle, the five-minute rule is in effect.

SKAKLE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Miss Lee.

Miss Lee, hello. I'm over here.

Thank you for joining us today.

Now, you are under subpoena, is that correct?

Yes.

Miss Lee, could you speak directly into the mic?

Yes. I understand you're nervous, but believe me when I tell you you're among friends.

Now, Miss Lee, you are not married.

No... No.

No, I'm not. But you once were.

I was married to William Hanson.

Who is now married to the nominee. Yes, uh...

He married Laine after our divorce.

It was about seven years ago.

Divorce. Right. I've read your divorce papers.

Um, ladies and gentlemen, that by the way is tab 76.

Uh... and they cite irreconcilable differences.

Could you tell us what were those irreconcilable differences?

I can't really pinpoint them.

Was your husband physically violent to you?

No.

Did you have financial disagreements or disagreements over how to raise your kids?

We didn't have children.

Well, were there infidelities?

Yes. There was one.

And is it safe to say that this infidelity precipitated the divorce?

Miss Lee, please answer the question verbally.

Was that a yes? Yes, it was.

I-I-It was a yes.

SKAKLE: Did you, ma'am, have the affair? No.

It was your husband then? Yes.

Uh, Will hand...

Will was in charge of Laine Billings' first senatorial campaign.

He was with her all the time.

Are you suggesting the senator, the nominee, had an affair with your husband?

Once again, Miss Lee... I'm sorry. Yes. Yes.

Yes. Thank you.

Did the nominee know Mr. Hanson was married?

Laine was my friend. My good, good friend.

Miss Lee, would you explain to this committee as you did in your deposition how you discovered that the nominee was involved in an affair with your husband?

Yes. Um...

On the night of the elections, uh, I was at home.

I had the flu, and...

I was watching TV, watching Laine about to make her acceptance speech.

Uh, I was very sad that I couldn't be there.

It was a triumph for Laine and my husband.

She was up at the podium. Will was by her side.

He was holding her hand in victory.

And on the other side of Laine... she was just sort of clasping that person's hand.

But with Will... their hands were interlaced.

It was odd that I noticed it, but...

Um, my doorbell rang.

I answered the door, and there was a gentleman there... dressed very nicely, he had a yellow tie on, and...

He had papers for me.

SKAKLE: Papers? I'm sorry. Separation papers.

Since the committee chose to humiliate a private woman in the most public possible setting, I would like to apologize to her alike, and I will also do so privately when she allows me to do so.

Um, what I did to Miss Lee was wrong.

It was not done out of malice. Indeed the opposite.

Um...

(sighs) Love is an involuntary reflex, and I fell victim to it.

Um, I deeply regret causing Cynthia pain, and it is especially saddening for me because... of how close we once were. And, uh... whether or not the affair that Will and I had should have any bearing on my assuming office is for the committee to decide.

I dare not assume that I have the objective wisdom to make that determination. Thank you.

Senator, are you suggesting the public... Okay, she's had a long day.

You all know what she's going through. Come on, come on.

And she was your best friend? LAINE: This was, uh, Runyon deposed Will's ex-wife today, and, uh... she stated that Will and I had had an affair...

She saw her fucking holding hands, interlocked fingers with this gal, and she knew that she'd been fucking him.

LAINE: That's wha... That's what she said.

LAINE: I'm sorry. KERMIT: It's a bad beat.

(exhales forcefully)

I'm not sure that I get the point of all this.

You said under oath that you never committed adultery.

Mm-hmm. That's right.

KERMIT: You perjured yourself.

I didn't commit adultery. You were fucking Will when he was married. All right, all right, K...

Even the most loose definition of committing adultery would not include that.

K, you know, goddamn it, she's right. You're right, Laine.

In order for it to be committing adultery, she'd have to be married at the time.

You're nitpicking in reverse now.

Your husband may have been an adulterer. You're not. Fine.

What you are is a sex-crazed, home-wrecking machine.

The female Warren Beatty.

Runyon knows that you're clean of the perjury, but he's got the world thinking you're something out of a bad soap opera.

You've goddamned crystallized the difference between being guilty and being responsible.

Are you asking me to step down, sir?

No. No, it's not gonna be that easy for you, and it's not gonna be that easy for them.

They caught you being a human being. That's all.

I'll die before Shelly Runyon checkmates me.

KERMIT: I think what the president's trying to say is that the Sitting Bull routine isn't working.

The Sitting Bull routine? No!

(clearing throat)

Fight back.

Show them Laine Hanson isn't gonna take their shit.

Take the fight out of 'em.

And what's the process? Confess.

Confess? Yeah, confess.

Confess. Confess to the gang-bang.

Confess to all of it. EVANS: Well, look at...

Look what it did for Clinton with Flowers.

KERMIT: Play it any way you want. It didn't hurt his numbers.

It improved his numbers. Show indignation about how a man would never have to go through hell for having done this.

Confess and demonstrate to the young women of America how such sexual impropriety can ruin their lives.

Confess and preach about the dangers that alcohol can bring to you.

For God's sakes, just confess!

I understand, Kermit, truly.

I understand, and you know what?

It's really just nobody's business.

Well, it is our fucking business!

Listen, Laine...

I don't care who you fucked... and how many times in how many positions... as long as it doesn't threaten the administration.

You can be cavalier on your own dime.

Mr. President.

(exhales forcefully)

I am fully prepared to step down... but my personal life... and my past...

are just that. But I will do whatever you say.

Show them why Laine Hanson is my nominee with your closing statement.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the committee:

Uh, remarkably enough, it seems that I have some explaining to do.

So... let me be absolutely clear.

I stand for a woman's right to choose.

I stand for the elimination of the death penalty.

I stand for a strong and growing armed forces because we must stomp out genocide on this planet, and I believe that that is a cause worth dying for.

I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home. Period.

I stand for making the selling of cigarettes to our youth a federal offense.

I stand for term limits and campaign reform.

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of church and state, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did.

It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government, but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism.

Well, I may be an atheist... but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church.

The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear.

My church is this very chapel of democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes.

I need my heart, my brain and this church.

Get in there, get in there, get in there, get in there.

Oh, shit! Come on, come on, come on!

Senator? Oh...

Hello, Freshman.

Madam Senator, I just wanted to steal a couple of seconds.

What? See what whores do on their time off?

(chuckles) Ah!

Listen, I, uh... I know the things I've done.

They may not have been nice or considered politically savvy... but they have served the greater good, and they have been honest.

(scoffs) Okay.

Look, I know you're not a whore.

I'm not gonna talk about it. I know. You're not talking about it.

Somebody else has come forward.

Somebody else from the night of the incident sent me this letter.

They didn't send it to me. They sent it to the committee.

I just happen to be in charge of all the correspondence.

I really don't think you can keep quiet about what's in there.

Mr. Runyon has a copy, and now so do you.

WEBSTER: I beg you, Senator, to deal with this.

How long is this flight? About an hour and 40 minutes.

POTUS is scheduled to address the American Legion on the third.

So they'll have a draft for you... American Legion?

Who approved that? I don't know.

I thought he had the DAR Dinner that night.

Yeah, but we have a five-hour window.

Hey, Chuck. Hey, Kermit.

Sir, did you get the AP reports?

What's that? Okay, uh...

POTUS's poll numbers are down 23%. Oh, no shit.

And Hanson's in the low 30s. Captain, get in there. I'll talk to you in a minute.

Are you Willomina? Yes, sir.

MAN: Let's get this Huey moved to the south side.

You asked to see me?

Is this your handiwork? Yes, sir.

How many people have seen this?

I gave it only to the director.

And who have you talked to about this?

Nobody.

Not a husband? Boyfriend?

Grandma in Kalamazoo? No, sir. Nobody.

Keep it that way.

Yes, sir.

You did a good job, Special Agent.

Sir! Uh, sir, I just...

I just wanted to ask, ask you. Um, well...

Are you gonna dump her?

Because, now, Sir, this may be really, really inappropriate, but if that's what you guys are thinking...

Please, she's... You can't do it. She's hope.

Hope that the standards... That there is no double standard.

Hope that the goals can be the same.

You know what? You're goddamn right.

That was absolutely inappropriate. (helicopter engine whining)

Robertson.

(helicopter blades whirring)

RUNYON: Oh, well, I wouldn't take it too hard.

It's not exactly fair when six foxes and one chicken are voting on what to have for dinner.

EVANS: Well, that's not playing fair. I'll give you that.

You want an oatmeal cookie?

Trevor? I'm getting them, sir.

I find these raisins, these giant raisins... Well, you'll see.

Taste like grapes.

Shelly, you really made a mess of things for me.

You sure did clobber me.

Isn't it possible, sir, that I was... that I was acting in the best interests of the United States? No.

No, it's not possible, and that's what pisses me off. It's all about retribution for Hartford.

Thank you, Trevor. That'll be all.

Go ahead. Try this. It's wonderful. No.

I may have taken the presidency from you, Shell, but you... you one-upped me.

You took away my legacy.

Well, I look at her, and I see someone who has proven the capacity for disloyalty.

Or the capacity for seeing the light.

We're both sticking to our guns.

The difference is... mine are loaded.

Look, it doesn't matter, does it?

She's not being confirmed.

We can talk for days about greatness and leadership, but it all comes back to the same fact that Laine Hanson will not be confirmed.

I have seven from your side who are... who are giving her the ax.

Oh, indeed, the ax?

We can go through the process of a vote.

You can... you can waste time and suffer the humiliation, or... or we can just move on.

There's a lot of good folk to choose from. Who?

Who can I be certain you'll confirm?

The man you wanted in the first place: Jack Hathaway.

Shelly.

Good man.

Okay, Shelly...

I'll give you Governor Jack Hathaway, but I wanna make damn sure you're gonna give him a smooth ride.

Well, you have my word. There's a reason they call me Honest Shell.

Irony, Shelly. I want an insurance policy.

I want a piece of the rock. I wanna make sure you're not gonna pull some kind of baloney out of your hat and make a mockery of my administration again.

Listen. This is what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna ask Mrs. Hanson and Mr. Hathaway up to the Oval Office before the DAR Banquet tomorrow night.

I want you there as well, but, Shelly, before then, I need you to marry yourself to this guy.

I need you to make a public statement that makes his sinking your sinking.

Otherwise... But I'm not sure I can...

Let's make this confirmation fast and furious.

Help me save face on this one. Okay.

DRIVER: Oh, man. Mr. Runyon, prefer I take you around back?

No, I'll be fine. Yes, sir.

REPORTER: Mr. Runyon...

(clamoring)

How do you respond to the rumors that Mrs. Hanson has withdrawn her name?

That is a rumor I've not yet heard.

Have you heard about the possibility of Governor Hathaway returning to the list of vice presidential...

Governor Hathaway is a... is a fine man.

You think he'd have a smoother ride than Mrs. Hanson?

Well, let me go on record as saying that there is, uh, in my opinion, there is no man alive-- no Democrat alive... (reporters laughing)

...uh, who could bring more, uh, more integrity to the, uh, to the office of the vice presidency.

Uhm, I would stake my career on Governor Hathaway's, uh, smooth and efficient confirmation.

As for Laine Hanson...

Got everybody, Glenda? Yes, sir.

He says you can go in whenever you're ready.

Great. Hello, Jack. Kermit.

Fiona, you're looking particularly... fetching this evening. Thank you, sir.

I believe this is the first one of these affairs for you, right? Yes. Yes, it is.

My 37th. Oh...

You look great. Hello, Shelly.

Newman.

Everybody would understand if you... if you wanted to delay for two weeks.

I'm not sure I could stomach another two weeks.

(door opens)

Oh, Jack.

Jerry. Good. Nice to see you. How are you?

Mr. Hanson.

EVANS: Gentlemen. Jack. Mr. President.

There he is! Shelly!

Hello, Mr. President.

Uh, you know what?

Before we get started, I can't stomach the idea... of touching that chichi food we always get served at these state dinners.

Glenda? GLENDA (over intercom): Yes, sir?

Could we put together a grilled cheese sandwich?

Muenster on rye.

GLENDA: Right away.

Oh, sorry. Where are my manners? You guys want anything?

No, thank you, sir. Shelly?

Jesus, uh, Shell, those were some... very nice things you said about Jack.

Jack, there. I understand that you two have never met.

LAINE: No, we haven't. EVANS: Laine Hanson...

Jack Hathaway. It's a pleasure.

I'm quite in awe of you. Thank you. Thank you.

I'm, uh... (intercom beeps)

GLENDA: Mr. President?

Yes, Glenda?

Sir, the kitchen's all out of Muenster.

Really? Wow. Well, um, let's get on that.

We don't want the wheels coming off the wagon.

This is, uh...

(smacks lips) This is quite an event. Here we are, uh...

Quite a sad event.

Mr. President, if I may? Yes, please.

A short while ago, you told me that you thought I might be the future of the party.

I know that these are tough times and, uh, the future is uncertain... but I'm very pleased to think that I might be able to help make things a little smoother.

The future, yes. Well, um, there is one thing quite certain about the future.

What's that? (coughs) Sir?

You have the right to remain silent... Fred.

I have to read him his rights.

Fred, the governor, he knows his rights.

You know your rights, right, Jack?

You don't have to humiliate him.

You fucked up, buddy.

The girl, do you know what she was?

What girl?

The girl in the river, Jack. She was a paralegal.

Before that. She was military. Fourteen Golf.

We, uh, we found the money that you put in her account at the Bellagio.

FRED: Two hundred thousand dollars. EVANS: And that ad in...

FRED: Soldier of Fortune. EVANS: Yeah, Soldier of Fortune.

I don't mind confessing, I am at a total fucking loss.

Shelly, he paid her to go off the fucking bridge.

He paid her to save her.

(chuckles) Jesus Christ.

Shelly, listen, maybe I... You shouldn't say anything.

Jack, look, we respect...

FRED: You're going to have to come with me now. Fred. Fred.

Listen, we respect you. We're trying to make this go as smoothly as it possibly can.

I know you meant no harm.

Hell, I don't even know what... What would the, uh, charge be?

Negligent homicide.

Oh, negligent homicide.

Sir.

Good luck, Mrs. Hanson. You too.

Who doesn't want a shortcut to greatness?

(clears throat)

Oh, it's a goddamn shame about the Muenster.

Mr. President.

Yes, Shelly?

You set me up.

Well, just this once.

For the record, sir...

I, uh...

I find what you did to be manipulative...

Mr. Chairman, let's just say

"I'm guilty but not responsible," hmm?

And, Shelly, you needn't worry about us exposing the fact that you leaked all that horrible material about Laine on the Internet.

We, uh, we know that you were just following your heart.

Yeah, Hartford, it was a tough one.

But... well, it doesn't make a difference.

She, uh, she still is who she is.

Yes, she is.

And you are who you are.

You're still coming to the banquet, aren't you?

Because I'd love to see you. Is your wife in town?

(indistinct chatter)

KERMIT: Nice to see you, Colonel. Nice to see you too.

May I introduce tonight's honoree, Miss Barr?

Congressman Webster. Honor, madam.

And, Congressman, you know the senator, of course.

Yeah, we go about two feet back. Oh...

I asked them to have you seated at my table tonight.

If you want to break bread with me. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Don't eat all the hors d'oeuvres.

Little shark steak sandwiches?

Yeah. Save me some.

EVANS: Admiral.

Oh...

EVANS: Last time I shared one of these, it was with the president of Russia.

Or maybe it was the kid who won Wimbledon for the second time.

LAINE: Well, I'm honored, sir.

(coughing)

You're not supposed to inhale.

(both laugh)

Maybe that's the first thing you should've told me.

(sighs)

(paper rustling)

Recognize this affidavit?

Where'd you get that, sir?

Where you got yours.

Where Shelly Runyon got his.

From Mr. Webster.

He may not know his right from his left, but apparently he does know right from wrong.

I understand you even less now, Senator.

You are an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Wrapped in a riddle.

Whoa! Watch your... Watch your step, Senator.

What if I told you that I'm just busting at the seams to know what exactly happened that night... to hear the truth from your own lips?

Totally off the record. (guests clapping)

Not between the president and the senator, but between the president and Laine.

Better than that. Between Jackson and Laine.

Well, I had just turned 18 when I got to college, and I had never been away from home, not really.

And, um, I was immediately...

I was immediately lonely.

And that's when the sorority kicked in.

I wanted them, they wanted me, you know?

I was the daughter of the governor, for chrissake.

True blue catch. I guess so.

And like any other sorority, they have an initiation, a rush.

And they have this girl, this woman that Runyon deposed, Patty LaVamere.

She runs the sorority, and she gives it to me straight:

If I wanna be in, I have to go to their brother fraternity and have sex... with two boys.

What a coup for them, huh?

Daughter of a big-time Republican doing a frat house?

But I say, "There's no chance."

The whole thing was pretty hairy. I bet.

But, uh, six beers later, I'm talking a different tune so off we go to the frat house.

Half the girls were there, about a zillion boys.

They're cheering my name. "Laine! Laine! Laine!"

And I'm just stumbling around, and...

Eventually I just say, "I'm gonna go for it."

I mean, if getting laid is a common initiation for boys in the frat, then why not for us, right?

You're asking me? No, I'm not.

Oh, sorry. Sorry. Go ahead.

That's... that's okay.

Um... so they send me into this room.

And it's dark and dim. And there are these two guys there, and they both have towels wrapped around their waists.

And the first guy, he, uh, slips his towel off.

Yeah... And I see his thing, and...

I take it in my hand... and I say... (laughs)

It was the first thing...

What did you say? ...that came into my head.

I said, "I'm sorry, I don't smoke."

(both laugh)

And then I just got the hell out of there.

You okay, sir? Oh, no, I'm just thinking what I'd pay to be back in college again.

The next day, the campus was rampant with word... that I had been the center of a gang-bang.

I mean, the governor's daughter.

Let me tell you. That's one hell of a bell to un-ring.

What about the photographs? Not me.

I never took my clothes off.

And, uh, even if I had, I've got this big ol' birthmark on my right thigh that the lady with the lovely physique in the photo lacks.

No witnesses?

Pure urban legend and a little bit of wishful thinking thrown in, I think.

You know, Laine... you could've looked those pricks in the eye and told them the truth.

Under oath. Told them they were full of shit.

And barring that, you could've at least told me.

But see, it really wasn't any of your business either, and it still isn't.

You know, there's something about almost puking on a Havana that just turns a girl... to blush.

This letter from Jack Bennet... Jack.

...and Larry Bellows, affidavit, I guess, that you got from Webster.

It pretty much says that nothing happened that night.

And, you know, they're ready to come forward to be deposed.

Well, that's very good of them.

So, that's it. The end.

Good guys win.

I'm gonna call a press conference tomorrow, read that letter, and damn it if you don't have the fastest confirmation on record.

No, sir.

"No, sir"? What, "No, sir"?

I mean...

I would prefer that we not have the press conference, sir.

Laine, maybe you've been out of law school too long.

This is what they call exculpatory evidence.

Yes, I realize that. This is your ticket to wherever history is gonna take you.

Yes. But principles only mean something if you stick by them when they're inconvenient.

If I ever did answer the questions, you know, even to exonerate myself... that would mean that it was okay for them to have been asked in the first place, and it isn't.

You would sacrifice your reputation? Yes, I would.

A lot of people have sacrificed a lot more for a lot less.

(indistinct chatter)

We've got him! We have Goliath.

Sir, are you all right, sir?

It's okay, guys.

POTUS is secure. Busted.

MAN (on radio): Of course, the president addressing a joint session of Congress... is always unusual, always an event.

And this speech is scheduled to begin momentarily.

In fact, we understand that the president has arrived at the US Capitol now.

LAINE: I don't care if I never see any of these guys again.

Sources in the White House have told us that the president...

It's gonna be okay.

...does intend to withdraw the name of Senator Laine B. Hanson...

I still have another year and a half on my term.

That's a long time to recover.

Then there's always...

Given the stunning charges made against Laine. ...Governor Jack Hathaway, those on the inside are suggesting that today...

Honey, it's gonna be fine.

It's gonna be okay. ...the president will, in fact, designate...

Ambassador Francis J. Malloy as his number two. Yeah, thanks.

Pace me at five to ten, okay?

(indistinct chatter)

...early after the greeting of the president of the United States.

Here we go.

Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States of America.

(applause)


(cheering)


(cheering continues)

Thank you.

Thank you.

Napoleon once said, when asked to explain the lack of great statesmen in the world, that, "To get power, you need to display absolute pettiness.

To exercise power, you need to show true greatness."

Such pettiness and such greatness are rarely found in one person.

I look upon the events of the past weeks, and I've never come so to grips with that quotation.

So, ladies and gentlemen of this Congress, it pains my soul to tell you that you have brought blood and shame under this great dome.

Your leadership has raised the stakes of hate to a level where we can no longer separate the demagogue from the truly inspired.

And believe this, there are traitors among us.

And I'm not talking about those of you who sided against your party leadership.

I'm talking about those of you who were patriots to your party but traitors to the necessary end result, that of righteousness, the truth, the concept of making the American dream blind to gender.

And, you know, I am not free of blame.

Right from the start, I should've come down here, pointed a finger your way... pointed a finger your way... and asked you, "Have you no decency, sir?"

(cameras clicking)

Yesterday...

I met...

Mr. Runyon... you may walk out on me, you may walk out on this body, but you cannot walk out on the will of the American people.

Americans are a good people, they're a just people, Mr. Runyon, and they will forgive you, but they will not forget.

Hate and ego have no place residing in what my good friend, Laine Hanson, calls the chapel of democracy.

So, let me make one thing clear.

You come at us with whatever weapons that you have in your arsenal but there is no weapon as powerful as that of an idea whose time has come.

A woman will serve in the highest level of the Executive.

Simple as that.

Yesterday...

I spoke with Laine Hanson.

I told her that she could decide her own destiny.

If she wanted to continue her fight for confirmation, that I would stand beside her.

She has asked me to allow her to step aside.

She told me that she wanted my administration to end on a note of triumph and not controversy.

Understand, those of you who worked to bring Laine Hanson down, that she asked to have her name withdrawn from consideration not because she isn't great but because she isn't petty.

Because those two conflicting leadership traits could not live as one within her body or her soul.

Greatness. It comes in many forms.

Sometimes it comes in the form of sacrifice.

That's the loneliest form.

Now, it turns out that Laine Hanson is a woman, an American of devout principle, and she has inspired me to act alike, and I cannot accept Senator Hanson's withdrawal.

And I'm now calling for an immediate vote of confirmation of Laine Hanson.

And, Mr-Mr. Speaker, I would like to make this a live roll call.

I want to see the faces of those of you who would eliminate the possibility of greatness in American leadership because of half-truths, lies and innuendoes.

I will not be deterred by partisanship.

I will not be deterred by misogyny.

I will not be deterred by hate.

You have now come face-to-face with my will.

Confirm my nominee, heal this nation, and let the American people explode into this new millennium with the exhilaration of being true to the glory of this democracy.

Thank you.

(applause)


How's that for a swan song?

You're back, Laine.

Yeah, I know.

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