Four days after the Democratic convention, Josh begins to staff up the Santos campaign. With Santos and Leo effectively strangers - and Leo not an experienced campaigner - adjustments of roles and responsibilities are required in order to deliver a strong and consistent message. The White House prepares to launch the military Space Shuttle on its rescue mission to the Space Station amidst growing suspicion that proof of its existence was deliberately leaked by someone in the Administration. The Republicans offer Bartlet a concession on an education bill in an attempt ...
Despite vigorous campaigning, the Santos campaign still struggles to articulate its message and keep the focus on domestic issues rather than gossip and trivia. Although Santos served decades in the military and remains in the reserves, Vinick still appears the stronger candidate on national security issues due to stereotypes about Republicans and Democrats. The White House's decision to halt their own investigation into the leak is a savvy legal move, however it could prove to be costly politically: while Vinick can slam the President for this decision, it's not so ...
With Santos gaining momentum, the Vinick campaign devises a strategy to catch them off-guard by focusing on immigration issues: by taking a pro-immigration stance, they force Santos to spend time courting the Latino vote. A powerful Christian group is nervous about supporting a Republican presidential candidate who is pro-choice, and demands a guarantee that Vinick only appoint pro-life judges. Vinick hopes that the strong religious credentials of his running mate Sullivan will be enough to satisfy the Christian base, but inevitably finds himself in a difficult ...
The Santos campaign faces questions on intelligent design and evolution during a campaign stop focusing on education in Pennsylvania. Margaret testifies before the committee investigating the leak, which has also served most current and former members of the Bartlet administration with subpoenas. A suicide bombing in the Middle East throws the region into chaos and threatens to postpone all campaigning. An intelligence analyst assigned to brief the Vinick campaign demands to speak with CJ.
A pro-life special interest group launches an ad attacking Santos for his abortion stance, but Vinick also sees it as trouble since he's also pro-choice and doesn't want to draw attention to the issue. With Vinick ahead in the polls, he has no incentive to debate Santos and thus continues to drag his feet over negotiations. Back at the White House, C.J. orders new Communications Director Will Bailey to not answer questions from the press about the leak investigation.
The Santos campaign's difficulties with the black community continue when a Latino police officer shoots a black child; C.J. offloads preparations for Ellie's wedding to Will when Kate needs her help with Kazakhstan; Josh visits Toby.
President Bartlet's plan to attend his daughter Ellie's White House wedding is jeopardized when Russia and China mobilize troops over growing chaos in Kazakhstan. The Santos campaign has gained ground on Vinick over the last few weeks, but with less than two months until the election it's not clear that the gap can be closed. As Josh obsesses over the electoral math, tracking polls, and decisions on where to spend advertising money, some Democrats are nervous that the election is slipping away, and urge Santos to fire Josh as campaign manager.
Danny tells C.J. some important news about the President's son-in-law over dinner; C.J. attempts to broker an international deal to stop genocide in Darfur; Josh twists C.J.'s arm to get her to help the Santos campaign.
THE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT-ELECT SEE FOREIGN POLICY DIFFERENTLY - Eyebrows are raised when the President-elect places a call to the president of China and offers a different position than that of Bartlet. Meanwhile, Josh picks his deputy chief of staff.
BEING PRESIDENT CAN BE HARD ON THE FAMILY - While Santos is wrapped up in choosing his new Vice President, Helen is overwhelmed by the issues facing the new First Family. Meanwhile, Vinick must find a new road now that the election is over.
Two weeks before the inauguration, CJ and the rest of the Bartlett administration consider what they will do next. CJ examines her relationship with Danny and considers whether or not to suggest to the President pardoning Toby.