When the President collapses on the eve of his State of the Union, it's diagnosed as the flu. But when the First Lady cancels a trip and rushes home to look after him, Leo suspects the first family is hiding something about Bartlett's medical condition.
In preparation for the Friday night briefing for the Saturday papers and news broadcasts -- nicknamed "take out the trash day" because it disposes of all the stories the White House doesn't want heavy coverage on, and because Saturday is the least read paper of the week -- the staff take on a variety of chores: C.J. prepares to meet with the family of a Matthew Shepard-type victim of murder just because he was gay, and discovers something unexpected about the young man's reticent father; Josh and Sam contend with an angry Republican house committee leader who wants to...
A drug dealer's appeal of the federal death penalty is rejected by the Supreme Court, which upholds the death sentence with execution scheduled for the following Monday. One of the defense lawyers on the case is Sam's old high school bully, and he appeals directly to Sam to involve the president. During a weekend in which he was supposed to be in a yacht race, Sam opts to stay at the W.H. and try to convince his fellow staffers and ultimately Bartlet that the president should commute the sentence. Meanwhile Josh, after a night of heavy drinking at a bachelor party, ...
In a lecture at Georgetown, Josh recalls the previous week at the White House, during which he replaced a dentally impaired C.J. in the press room and gave a memorably disastrous briefing, responding to a reporter's question (sarcastically, although taken quite seriously) that the White House had a secret plan to fight inflation. Meanwhile, he's intermittently on the phone with Toby and Sam, who have flown to Connecticut and are now lost in a rental car on the Connecticut Turnpike. They've gone on critical business: the president's nominee for the Supreme Court, ...
When the Federal Reserve Chairmen dies, Bartlet must quickly choose a successor in order to avoid a financial chaos. However, he is reluctant to pick the obvious choice for Fed Chair, who used to be Abby's boyfriend. The matter is worsened when Danny Concanon receives a quote from the first lady saying she supports her ex-boyfriend, leaving Bartlett more irate. Meanwhile, Josh and Toby are courting congressman in order to get more votes for a bill they already won. However, a congresswoman, who felt 'betrayed' by Abby, poses a threat to the bill.
A stealth fighter is shot down over Iraq, leading to Bartlet ordering a military rescue as Toby worries about his brother trapped on a space shuttle orbiting the Earth. CJ deals with the ramifications of misleading the press about the rescue as the staff prepares for a town hall meeting that night. The town hall meeting goes well until the President leaves...and shots ring out.
With the midterm elections coming up, Toby looks for a way to stop hate groups; Charlie and Zoey decide whether to continue their relationship; President Bartlet discovers the egg cream and is concerned about an ultra-right-wing candidate running for school board in his old district in New Hampshire; and Sam is asked to put White House help behind an old friend running for Congress. This episode includes the President's confrontation with a right-wing radio talk show host using a famous list of modern applications of Biblical laws. Oh, yes, and psychics at Cal Tech ...
After a Republican commentator trounces Sam on television, President Bartlett decides to hire her over the objections of the staff. Josh and Toby mediate a conference between U.S. drug companies and an African President whose country is dying of AIDS.
Sam helps Josh battle his health insurance company; Ainsley Hayes encounters her firebrand boss and hostile colleagues; Abby gives the President some good news about his health; C.J. discovers a retiring General intends to publicly criticize the president.
The administration considers recalling Congress to pass a nuclear test ban treaty; a Ukranian politician arrives unannounced at the White House; Sam reluctantly asks Ainsley to summarize a position paper; C.J.'s personal and professional relationship with Danny becomes more complex.
C.J. joins the President on a flight to Portland after a wisecrack about Notre Dame; Josh seeks to defeat an anti-gay marriage bill; Sam wants to rewrite an education speech; an oil tanker appears to be violating UN sanctions; Josh teases Donna over her dating record.
Dozens of Chinese stowaways are discovered in a container ship in California; Toby looks to pick a fight over school prayer with a recess appointment; Thanksgiving at the White House sees C.J. in charge of turkeys and Charlie looking for the ultimate carving knife.
The President and NASA plan a TV event for a probe's landing on Mars; satellite photographs show a suspicious-looking fire in Russia; Leo asks Toby and Josh to decide on the next postage stamp; Sam and C.J. have personal reasons for not wanting to accompany the President to a concert.
Josh speaks to a psychiatrist about the events of the last three weeks: Toby hired musicians for the foyer, an Air Force pilot disobeyed orders, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the White House, and Josh managed to cut his hand quite badly.