Governor Robert Ritchie, R-FL: My view of this is simple: we don't need a Federal Department of Education telling us our children have to learn Esperanto, they have to learn Eskimo poetry. Let the states decide, let the communities decide on health care, on education, on lower taxes, not higher taxes. Now, he's going to throw a big word at you - "unfunded mandate." He's going to say if Washington lets the states do it, it's an unfunded mandate. But what he doesn't like is the federal government losing power. But I call it the ingenuity of the American people.
Moderator: President Bartlet, you have 60 seconds for a question and an answer.
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: Well, first of all, let's clear up a couple of things. "Unfunded mandate" is two words, not one big word. There are times when we're fifty states and there are times when we're one country, and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn't fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That's a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year - from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans, with their Eskimo poetry. 12.6 out of a state budget of $50 billion. I'm supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is: Can we have it back, please?
Moderator: Governor Ritchie, many economists have stated that the tax cut, which is the centrepiece of your economic agenda, could actually harm the economy. Is now really the time to cut taxes?
Governor Robert Ritchie, R-FL: You bet it is. We need to cut taxes for one reason - the American people know how to spend their money better than the federal government does.
Moderator: Mr. President, your rebuttal.
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: There it is. That's the ten word answer my staff's been looking for for two weeks. There it is. Ten-word answers can kill you in political campaigns. They're the tip of the sword. Here's my question: What are the next ten words of your answer? Your taxes are too high? So are mine. Give me the next ten words. How are we going to do it? Give me ten after that, I'll drop out of the race right now. Every once in a while... every once in a while, there's a day with an absolute right and an absolute wrong, but those days almost always include body counts. Other than that, there aren't very many unnuanced moments in leading a country that's way too big for ten words. I'm the President of the United States, not the President of the people who agree with me. And by the way, if the left has a problem with that, they should vote for somebody else.
Governor Robert Ritchie, R-FL: [after the debate] It's over.
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: You'll be back.
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: My daughters are here?
Abbey Bartlet: Are you kidding? Ellie's wearing makeup.
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: Well, I don't approve of that.
Abbey Bartlet: You understand she's 27, right?
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: I don't approve of that, either.
Toby Ziegler: I'm not sure I can watch any more. No, wait - I can, I can.
Will Bailey: Several members of my family worked for NATO.
Sam Seaborn: You're not by any chance Thomas Bailey's grandson.
Will Bailey: I'm his son. I'm the youngest one.
Sam Seaborn: Wow. That had to be an interesting career day. "Hello, I'm Will's father, and I'm Supreme Commander NATO Allied Forces." Bet not a lot of people took your lunch money.
Will Bailey: No.
C.J. Cregg: He's not a little bit crazy?
Toby Ziegler: Albie Duncan?
C.J. Cregg: Yeah.
Toby Ziegler: No. No. No. A little bit.