In the first of several episodes throughout the series' run that portrays ordinary Americans and how they interact with and ultimately affect the W.H., an Ohio middle school social studies ... See full summary »

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Nancy (as Renee Estevez)
Al Fann ...
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Storyline

In the first of several episodes throughout the series' run that portrays ordinary Americans and how they interact with and ultimately affect the W.H., an Ohio middle school social studies teacher, a widower who has recently filled the brief remaining term of his late wife in the House, joins two other reps to meet with Toby and Mandy about changes to unfair rules in the U.S. Census written into the latest federal budget. The other two, career politicians, are completely resistant to the changes, but Mr. Willis is swayed by a potent argument Toby makes regarding "strict constructionism" (generally conservative and libertarian belief that the U.S. Constitution is not a living document, and must be followed as written, unless officially amended through standard 38-state ratification) and the 14th Amendment. Toby is impressed with the man and his open-mindedness. Elsewhere, Sam tutors C.J. on the finer points of the census. Late in the episode, the staff meets for a late-night poker ... Written by meebly

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Drama

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3 November 1999 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Charlie tells one of the men in the bar that, to buy 19-year-old Zoey a drink, "you'd have to take her to Maryland". The legal drinking age in Maryland has been 21 since 1982. See more »

Quotes

Congressman Gladman: I thought we were here to talk about the census.
Josh Lyman: We are. The White House just wanted to take this opportunity to point out that you are criminals and despots.
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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: Enterprise: Cogenitor (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

West Wing Main Title
(uncredited)
Written by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony
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User Reviews

 
There were no two guys that either one of you could have taken.
20 October 2012 | by (Estero Island) – See all my reviews

The first episode to make me cry. A school teacher (Al Fann) has temporarily taken his deceased wife's spot in congress, and is key to budget vote involving census sampling. Toby manipulates the situation, but in an honest way. Leo tells Jed his wife has left him. The President gets Josh to take Charlie out for a beer, which turns into an outing with Zoe, CJ, Mallory, and Sam. Zoe is harassed, and Charlie defends her. Later, Jed makes her cry when she resists being given more secret service protection. He talks about the horrific prospect of her being kidnapped (foreshadowing one of the greatest story arcs of the series). Plus a great poker scene in which Bartlet challenges the room to name the fourteen types of punctuation. And we have a Butterfield in the building! The debut of Michael O'Neill as Secret Service agent Ron Butterfield, who would play in sixteen splendid episodes over seven seasons.


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