Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fourteen Days Of The West Wing - Day 6 (catching up)

C.J. Cregg started on the show as the White House Press Secretary, but following Leo's first heart attack she became White House Chief Of Staff. Her role as Chief Of Staff tended to be more procedural and less advisory than Leo's. Josh once called her a "paranoid Berkeley shiksta feminista!" (to which she responded that he was an "elitist, Harvard fascist missed-the-Dean's-list-two-semesters-in-a-row Yankee jackass!"), but it was said with love. C.J.'s love life is rather chaotic. She has always had a strong attraction to reporter Danny Concannon although their jobs made it impossible for them to connect until recently. There have been other men, including a one night stand with anold class mate who had served time for white collar crime, another one night stand with John Hoynes, and an involvement with Secret Service agent Simon Donavon who had been assigned to protect her, which might have become something more had Donavon not been killed just after the assignment ended. She kept her private life private however, which led to speculation about her sexuality.

As Press Secretary C.J. told the press what they needed to know (which on occasion was only what she herself was allowed to know) and rarely gave in to the temptation to speak out and give opinions of her own. That is what makes this excerpt, from the Season 3 episode Enemies Foreign and Domestic outstanding and unusual.

C.J. There was a fire at the King Fatah Middle School in Medina. Seventeen girls died in the fire, when they were prevented from coming out into the street and rescue workers were prevented from saving them.
Sam: What was preventing them?
C.J.: The Muttawa. The girls weren't dressed properly. Don't comment! I haven't spoken to the President, to Leo, to State, to anybody. You guys want to muzzle me before I go in there, speak now or forever hold your peace. God knows it's not likely I'm gonna.
[C.J.: walks out of her office.]
Toby: Let's get a good spot.

C.J.: Good morning!
Reporters: Good morning!
C.J.: I have some scheduled details on the summit. Air Force One will depart Andrews at 7pm Friday, arriving at Helsinki 4am Eastern time, that's 11am Saturday local. Presidents Bartlet and Chigorin will have their first meeting at three o'clock at Mantyniemi - that's change, photo op, stills only, at the beginning of the meeting.
Katie:C.J.? What does the President see as the goals of the summit?
C.J.: Well, first to meet the new Russian president, but they share the aspiration of building a secure and undivided Europe.
Steve: C.J., are you aware of the fire that happened at King Fatah Middle School?
C.J.: Yeah, that's a tragedy. Chris?
Chris: Saudi news is reporting that rescuers were prevented from getting to several female students by religious police.
C.J.: Yeah, I read that too. Steve.
Chris: Does the White House have a comment?
C.J.: I literally just got this a minute and a half ago. I haven't spoken to the President, or Chief of Staff, State or anyone in communications, this is just me.
Steve: Well, do you have a comment?
C.J.: I don't, no.
Steve: I'm sorry, C.J., but you're not outraged by this?
C.J.: Outraged? I'm barely surprised. This is a country where women aren't allowed to drive a car. They're not allowed to be in the company of any man other than a close relative, they're required to adhere to a dress code that would make a Maryknoll Nun look like Malibu Barbie. They beheaded 121 people last year for robbery, rape, and drug trafficking, they've no free press, no elected government, no political parties, and the royal family allows the religious police to travel in groups of six, carrying nightsticks and they freely and publicly beat women. But "Brutus is an honorable man." Seventeen schoolgirls were forced to burn alive because they weren't wearing the proper clothing. Am I outraged? No, Steve. No Chris. No, Mark. That is Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace. Bonnie, then Scott.

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