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.
Toby wants to use a bipartisan breakfast to discuss real issues instead of making it a staged event; Sam floats the idea of moving the press room across the street; Leo wants Josh to apologize to a columnist on his behalf; Leo and Toby realize they need to start thinking about reelection.
Sam meticulously prepares a speech for the President to give to the environmental lobby, but Toby wants to sneak in some criticism of their failure to condemn environmental terrorism. Leo tries to convince the President to support his pet project - a missile defense shield - despite its continued failure to produce results, and the fact that it likely contravenes an anti-ballistic missile treaty. Several countries including Great Britain have sent new ambassadors to Washington to be recognized by the White House. C.J. travels to New York on a delicate mission to ask ...
While a live TV show is broadcast from the West Wing following the State of the Union, the staff must covertly deal with a hostage situation in Colombia. CJ learns that a special guest at the state of the union has a black mark on his record that could taint the administration. Ainsley Hayes is afraid to meet the President in person.
The surgeon general makes some controversial comments about marijuana, leading to an attack by family values groups and an unsolicited comment by Bartlet's middle daughter, Ellie, to Danny Concannon that her father wouldn't fire the s.g. The president summons Ellie from med school in Baltimore to the W.H., and we learn that she, unlike her parents and sisters, is shy and reticent, and has always felt like the family outcast in Jed's eyes. Elsewhere, Sam gives a visiting movie producer a verbal lynching for publicly calling the president a coward after Charlie turns ...
On this year's "Big Block of Cheese Day", a college friend of Donna's asks Sam to help her get her late grandfather, accused of being a Communist spy inside the U.S. government, a presidential pardon; dealing with the recent revelation that his father had been having an affair for the past 27 years, Sam faces off with an F.B.I. agent, and later with Nancy McNally, over the pardon. Elsewhere, a group of cartographers completely re-educates C.J. on her perception of the globe, and one-time protester Toby, with the help of a straight-talking female security guard, speaks...
Josh finalizes a $6B health care plan that has strong support from both parties in both houses and appears to be a slam dunk for passage, but 78-year-old Senator Howard Stackhouse pulls a last-minute surprise--he wants money added for autism research or he'll filibuster. Thinking it's just a bluff, Josh blows off the senator, who then filibusters for more than eight hours while the WW staff waits desperately to begin their weekend with the episode unfolding as staffers write e-mails to their family members describing the evening's action. Elsewhere, Sam tries to ...
Following the Vice-President's remarks to him, Toby realizes the truth behind the President's illness: multiple sclerosis. Toby, Leo, and Bartlet discuss the possible political implications of this if it goes public including possible jail time for the 17 people who now know about the illness. Meanwhile Sam, Josh, Donna and the rest of the staff, unaware of the illness, struggle with a speech the President is to give at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
President Bartlett talks to the White House Counsel about the concealment of his MS. An enraged Toby has CJ grill the West Wing staff to find a leaker. Josh and Donna spar over a financial bailout of Mexico.
With hypothetical polling numbers showing them it will be political suicide, staffers prepare to announce the President's condition. As they do, a military crisis flares up in Haiti and Josh faces off against two senators who are against the Government's tobacco industry suit. But as badly as the day seems to be going, a tragedy will come from a car wreck at 18th and Potomac that will affect everything.
As the Haitian army continues their seizure of the American embassy there, Bartlet and the staff prepare for the announcement that Bartlet has M.S. and the President must decide whether or he will seek re-election. As the funeral for Mrs. Landingham takes place and the announcement draws nearer, Bartlet thinks back to his past in search of the answer to the question everyone is asking: Will he seek re-election?