The President – Episode 101
Episode 101 -The Day The War Stood Still
Jackson: Holy shit, there’s a war?
(President Holden Jackson is sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, across from top advisor – and Englishman – Wilbur Chamberlain..)
Chamberlain: Yes, Mr. President, for quite some time now. In Afghanistan?
Jackson: (nods uncertainly) Ah, yes. Afghanmistam. Capital of Bangladesh. The City of Lights.
Chamberlain: No, sir. It’s in the Middle East. No matter, we have better people working on that. We’ve got to focus more on the campaign trail. The midterms are coming up and we have some tight races in some states with candidates we have to throw our weight behind. For instance, tomorrow we’ll be heading down to New Orleans to speak at an event for Senator Chibodeaux.
Jackson: (chuckles, lights a cigarette) The old dude with the hookers?
Chamberlain: Yes, he had some alleged troubles with prostitution in the past. You probably shouldn’t light that in here, Mr. President.
Jackson: (smirks) C’mon, I’m the President of the United States! What’s the worst that could happen?
(A soaked President Jackson and Wilbur Chamberlain are standing on the front lawn along with the entire staff of the evacuated White House..)
Jackson: (lighting a fresh cigarette) Well, the sprinklers work. Now, how bad do I need to stump for this Chibodeaux perv? Did I carry Louisiana?
Chamberlain: No, sir. Remember? You weren’t elected. You were only sworn in after the President; the Vice President; the Speaker; the Senate President pro tempore; the Attorney General; and the Secretaries of State; Treasury; Defense; Interior; Agriculture; Commerce; Labor and Health & Human Services all died in that terrible bus accident.
Jackson: Oh yeah, I remember. Yeesh, that was a bloodbath. Thanks for the reminder, Wilbummer.
Chamberlain: Which reminds me, we really should get cracking on a memorial. It’s been months since the tragedy.
Jackson: Yeah yeah, just have somebody make a marble statue of a flaming bus. Now, this Louisiana speech: We’re trying to win over these fools, right? How ’bout we end the war? They’ll dig that, won’t they? People don’t like wars. Wars are bad.
Chamberlain: Mr. President, with all due respect–
Jackson: (nods solemnly) Thank you.
Chamberlain: In this day and age, you cannot simply end a war. It’s not as simple as shutting off a machine.
Jackson: Sure it is. Just shut off all the tanks and guns and stuff.
Chamberlain: Mr. President, it’s a desert guerrilla war. There’s a strong insurgency. They’ll keep coming at us.
Jackson: (snaps his fingers) Then let’s just say we won.
Jackson: I’ll go on national television, at that hooker Senator thing. Pop a nice calming blue tie on and say we won. What are the Afghanistalimammies gonna do? Call us liars? (chortles) Who’s gonna believe them?
Chamberlain: (pausing for a moment) That’s actually not your worst idea.
Jackson: (pondering) Though it is gonna put a cramp in this whole “Wartime President” thing I got going.
(Holden butts out his cigarette in the grass and heads back inside..)
Jackson: (shrugs) Eh, we can always start another one.
(On the Air Force One flight down to Louisiana, President Jackson is playing Spit with Vice President Gary Busey..)
Busey: (slams all his cards down on the table) YAHTZEE!
Jackson: (frowns) That doesn’t make sense, Gary.
Chamberlain: Mr. President, if I may interrupt.
Jackson: Please. I think I just lost Yahtzee somehow, anyway.
Chamberlain: I’ve been on the phone with the heads of the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and General Robertson.
Jackson: Oh, thank God. I never understand a word those guys are saying.
Chamberlain: They all seem to agree that this whole ‘declaring victory’ idea of yours just might work.
Jackson: Of course it’s gonna work. It’s another one of my brilliant schemes.
Chamberlain: Right. So we drew up some language for you to look over. We’re gonna set up a live press conference once we set down in New Orleans; although it will most likely be on a slight tape delay, because of…
Jackson: Because of what, Wilbur?
Chamberlain: You know.
Jackson: (glaring) Because of what, Wilbur?
Chamberlain: You tend to swear a lot when you’re on live television.
Jackson: (shrugs) So I get a little emotional. I’m the President!
Chamberlain: There was the Sesame Street incident.
Jackson: Who knew that show was live? I thought those puppets were computer-generated.
Busey: (swigs a coffee in one gulp) Half those puppets are Scientologists.
Chamberlain: We just need you to take this speech very seriously. No swearing. Or giggling.
Jackson: I dunno. Every time I’m about to lie to the American public, I really wanna giggle.
Chamberlain: No. Giggling.
Jackson: (pouts) Fine.
Busey: And the other half are Sun-worshipers. Goddamn puppets.
Chamberlain: (glances askance at VP Busey)
(President Jackson is greeted on the tarmac by the aged Senator Chibodeaux..)
Chibodeaux: Hello dere, Mista Prezadent. How you gon’ do by dem?
Jackson: Um. Hello.
Chibodeaux: We eat crawfish po’ boys down hea, don’t ya know by dem.
Chibodeaux: We gon’ git on down, git a little frito pie.
Jackson: What was that? Frito pie?
Chibodeaux: Sho’ nuff, gon’ git a frito pie and a crawfish po’ boy in the toe dom down, Mista Prezadent.
Jackson: (turning to Wilbur) I’m getting about half of this. I think he’s hungry. Do you speak Louisianan?
Chamberlain: Let’s just proceed to City Hall, Mr. President. After you, Senator.
Chibodeaux: (playing spoons on his knees for some reason) Git on down, git on down!
(On live, tape-delayed national television, airing on every major network..)
Jackson: My fellow Americans, I am extremely fucking excited to be standing before you today to announce…that we have won the war in Afgoobastam.
(News ticker at bottom of screen corrects him.)
Jackson: We bombed the last of the terrorist caves, so they have nowhere left to hide; because they’re all dead. So, we win. Na-na na-boo-boo. Suck it, Afgoobastam. Everybody should really get out there on Wednesday–
Chamberlain: (whispers from offstage)
Jackson: …Tuesday and vote for Senator Chibodeaux because the war is over, sailors will be kissing blonde women in Times Square for magazine photographers and because he probably didn’t bang all those hookers who continue to come forward. Besides, who’s gonna believe a bunch of dirty whores anyway? I don’t. Every one I’ve ever spoken to is a dirty liar.
Busey: (standing behind President Jackson on the dais) Ain’t that the truth!
Jackson: In conclusion, voting is an important aspect of being an American. It is one of the few freedoms you have left, so you should utilize it. But only to vote for Sen. Chibodeaux. Because the other guy is a dickhead. Good night. And fucking God bless America.
Jackson: (smiling broadly as he steps off stage) There, I think that went well.
Chamberlain: One of your best “winged” speeches yet, Mr. President.
Jackson: Freestyles, Mr. Chamberlain. They’re called ‘freestyles’.
Chamberlain: Not so sure about the ‘good night’ part, as it’s two in the afternoon. Also, you might have undersold the whole war being over thing. And you may have insinuated that you’ve dealt with prostitutes in the past.
Jackson: (chuckles) I honestly couldn’t tell ya, Wilbur. I sorta blacked out when those lights came on. I was in the zone, baby! (high-fives VP Busey)
Chamberlain: It’s just that, I don’t think that any of this is gonna help the Senator.
Jackson: (eye roll) Senator, what did you think of the speech?
Chibodeaux: Crawdaddy po’ boys!
Jackson: See? He loved it.
(An aide runs up, handing Wilbur Chamberlain a cellphone..)
Aide: I’ve got the President of Afghanistan on the line for President Jackson, sir.
Chamberlain: (taking the cellphone) I’ll handle this.
Jackson: (snatches the phone away) Gimme that. Mr. President, great to hear from you. (…) Yes, I know. It’s great news. (…) Well, I understand how there could be some confusion there. (…) Yes, but you see, he was sleeping with hookers. (…) No, hookers. (…) Ha ha. Good one, Mr. President. (shrugs toward Wilbur) I understand, take care.
(Holden hands the phone back to the aide and lights a cigarette while Wilbur stares at him expectantly..)
Jackson: Hmm, what?
Chamberlain: (holds his hands out) What do you mean ‘what’? What did the President of Afghanistan want?
Jackson: Oh. Yeah, Afgimlystan’s been conquered by warlords. Everybody’s dead.
Busey: (guffaws inappropriately)
Jackson: Guess we really screwed the pooch on that one, huh guys?
Chamberlain: My God.
Jackson: Well, at least we saved ‘ol Chibodeaux’s career, eh Senator? OH, C’MON!
(President Jackson turns to see Sen. Chibodeaux being fellated in public in broad daylight by a hooker..)
Chibodeaux: (playing spoons on top of hooker’s bobbing head) Hoowee, hot jambalaya pie!
Chamberlain: Just get on the plane, don’t answer any questions.
Jackson: Relax, crumbum.
(A ravishing, bespectacled brunette with freckles steps in front of President Jackson. Two Secret Service agents move in and put their hands on her shoulders, holding her back..)
Jackson: (raises an eyebrow) Hel-lo. Stand down, boys.
Sanchez: Jessica Sanchez, Washington Post. Mr. President, is it true you fabricated the entire war victory in order to garner votes?
Jackson: Wha? Uh..
Chamberlain: Mr. President, don’t answer that. No more questions, people.
Jackson: No, no. I got this, Wilby. Ms. Sanchez, why don’t you hop on the ol’ bird here with me and I’ll answer all your questions.
Chamberlain: (whispering) Mr. President!
Jackson: (leaning into Wilbur’s ear) Shut up, dude! She’s hot!
Sanchez: Sir, I’m actually already booked on this flight. I’m with the White House Press Corps.
Jackson: (smiles) Nice.
(The other assembled reporters snicker.)
Chamberlain: Holden, let’s go.
Sanchez: President Jackson, do you realize the damages of declaring victory in a war we have not won?
Jackson: (squints) You saw that Senator getting blown on stage a few minutes ago, right? I mean you all saw that, right?
Chamberlain: Mr. President! (waving his arms at the Press Corps) This is all off the record, people.
Jerry Thames, NY Times: No it isn’t! No it isn’t! I’m writing it down in my notebook!
Chamberlain: Oh, no fair Jerry!
Jackson: (puts a hand on Jessica’s shoulder) What a buncha dorks, huh?
Sanchez: Mr. President, are you flirting with me?
Chamberlain: (grabs Holden by the arm) Okay, now we’re definitely done. Stop writing, Jerry!
Jackson: (hollers back over his shoulder) I’ll be in the big room in the back cabin if you wanna hang out!
Chamberlain: (pushes Holden inside the plane)
Jackson: (poking his head out the door) I’ve got booze!
Sanchez: (turns to Jerry) Those idiots know the vote was ten days ago, right?