In an episode originally broadcast live (there are two versions, one for the Eastern and Central time zones; one for the Pacific time zone), Santos and Vinnick square off in a debate with TV newsman Forrest Sawyer (as himself) moderating. Halfway through the debate, Santos departs from the "script" and begins delivering statements while pacing the stage; Vinnick joins in. Other cast members appear briefly in backstage film segments, and Ellen DeGeneres hosts (also on film) from an adjacent sound stage. Alan Alda (Vinnick), an accomplished stage actor, seems much more comfortable with the live format than Jimmy Smits (Santos) who blows several lines during the East Coast hour.
Did You Know?
The episode was shot "Live" so the TV-debate would have the same live debate "flavor" that the real debates have. This is most notable in the quality of the image on screen, which is more crisp, than the image of the other episodes, which is actually shot on 35mm film See more
When Vinick says: "The same people who told you we were gonna run out of oil by the end of the twentieth century are now trying to scare us with global warming", he forgets to say theories at the end, but Santos still responds "Theories?!". See more
This is not a law enforcement problem. This is an economic problem. If Mexico's economy was as strong as Canada's, there wouldn't be a problem. The President cannot solve this problem. You cannot seal a 2,000-mile border. Mexico has to solve it. Mexico has to grow its own economy. It has to provide enough jobs so that it's not worth it to try to cross into our borders illegally. There is no other real solution to this. And Senator Vinick is smart enough to know that, and I think you are, too.
West Wing Main Title
Written by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony See more