06x02 - The Strike Zone

Morning everyone.

Morning.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will begin its investigation into the McCord campaign this afternoon with a closed hearing with counselor to the president and former campaign manager Michael Barnow.

While President McCord is wholly confident that the Senate Intelligence Committee will find no evidence whatsoever to support Senator Hanson's claims that the McCord campaign cooperated with Iran's interference in the election, she respects and supports Congress' right to oversee the executive branch, and pledges full cooperation.

President McCord's historic education, science, and infrastructure bill passed with bipartisan support in Congress last week, and is moving forward.

Finally, following a long-standing White House tradition, President McCord will throw out the first pitch for the New York Mets' opening game at Citi Field this week.

( Laughter )

I'm told Syndergaard better watch his back.

( Laughter )

I'll take questions.

Daisy. Daisy.

Steve, go ahead.

This morning saw three major demonstrations protesting the severe hike in gas prices brought on by the new gas tax in the infrastructure bill.

How does President McCord respond to the criticism that this tax unfairly burdens lower-income Americans?

The president is very aware that Americans are feeling it at the pump this week.

As tough as it is, it's important to keep in mind that this is a short-term hardship that will lead to long-term gains.

It's also true that the recent oil refinery fire outside Philadelphia caused a spike in fuel prices in many eastern states.

All: Daisy. Daisy.

Keira.

This morning's poll in the Washington Chronicle show's President McCord's lowest approval rating since she took office.

Is the president concerned that the controversial gas tax is responsible for the drop?

Well, the ESI bill is the most sweeping legislation since the New Deal.

And it's gonna take months and years before its effects will reach every community.

A poll is just one moment in time.

But the point the protesters are making is that a uniform fuel tax puts a greater burden on lower-income Americans, and it should be replaced by a tax commensurate with income.

Again, the minimal fuel tax is being temporarily inflated due to the recent oil refinery accident.

So-so you're saying the protesters are overreacting?

Of course not, Frank.

When do you expect the prices to go down?

I don't have projections on that.

Why is the president throwing out the first pitch for the Mets?

Does she have a special connection to the team?

Well, as president of the United States, she supports every great American team.

And also, the Mets worked with her schedule.

Thanks, everyone, that's all.

( All shouting to Daisy )

I can admit when I'm wrong.

Are we taking this healthy thing too far?

I wouldn't call it wrong.

It's just a lot of chewing.

You know, you could get your chief of staff to bring us some of those dumplings.

The fried ones from Imperial Palace.

Sneak it right by the kitchen. Chef Cindy will never know.

It's almost like we both worked in intelligence.

Oh, it's just growing pains.

( Knock on door )

Madam President?

Elizabeth: Good morning.

Henry: Oh, you're just in time for ancient grains and, uh, marinated tofu.

Yeah, I'm cutting back.

Russia briefing.

Right.

Yeah. Wait a minute.

Where did I leave that binder?

Henry: Bedside table. You really should find some lighter bedtime reading, babe.

No. Actually, it was great.

State is killing it on this deal with Russia.

You're killing it as well, ma'am.

He has to be nice to me now. It's weird, right?

Henry: Well, he is right.

ESI was a huge victory.

Yeah. Not for everyone.

Honeymoon's over.

At least 40% of the country's gonna hate you at any given time, you might as well get used to it.

I was thinking about responding to the protests.

You know, explain the long-term benefits of the bill.

It already passed.

People hear a president talking about taxes, that's all they hear.

Yeah, well, that's all they're talking about as is.

I mean, we're losing the message.

Well, then, let Daisy face the firing squad.

That's her job.

Elizabeth is the one that talked the Russians into de-alerting their nukes, Russell.

Why not let her get out there?

Because she's not a diplomat anymore.

She's a leader.

Leaders don't negotiate with protesters, it looks...

Responsive?

Weak.

You ready?

By all means, let's go hold hands with a bunch of protesters who don't know how to open a savings account.

I need the briefing materials for the meeting with the secretary of commerce.

And cancel my lunch with Senator Baker.

Reschedule it for after the Russian signing.

Where are we with the head count on the signing ceremony?

Sorry. Yes, they're waiting for you.

Did you hear anything I just said?

Mr. Barnow asked me to wear these. He says all assistants are leakier than his grandfather's dinghy.

But I assure you, I would never offer confidential information to any...

I'm confused.

Did we cooperate with the Iran hack or not?

Good morning. We did not.

Then why the hell do I have 22 pages of strategy for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about nothing?

Obviously, this is pure theater.

But with Mike's unusual position at State and some of his relationships, we wanted to think through every angle.

Is there anything to worry about?

Is it ever pretty when some puffed-up senator wants to play Jimmy Stewart and shine a light on the operatives who actually make this country run?

I never crossed any lines, and I definitely didn't help Iran hack into somebody's divorce records, if for no other reason than I wouldn't want anyone to hack into mine.

That's actually not a bad argument.

Well, keep it minimal in there.

You want political theater? Let's bore 'em to death.

The president made it clear she wants full cooperation.

Mike: This is Washington.

I can fully cooperate without giving them anything.

Why is POTUS weighing in on this?

I'm White House counsel, Russell.

She reached out to reiterate her wishes.

I thought I made it clear she's out of the loop.

One leaked comment about strategy, the press will turn it into a full-blown coverup.

I haven't read her in on anything substantive.

She did, however, say that if questioning gets into Mike's time as chief of staff, she wants us to answer.

Mike: Sure. Why would we bother claiming executive privilege?

This is why I don't want her in the loop.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Guys, we all serve at the pleasure.

That doesn't mean we help her commit suicide.

Answer, but keep it minimal.

Yeah.

And for God's sake, stop reading her in!

( Indistinct chatter )

Woman ( quietly ): That is her.

Man ( quietly ): Yeah, that is her.

Hey.

Hi. Hey.

Uh...

Oh, I'm sor...

Griffin. Sorry.

Hey. Stevie.

Sorry. I'm never sure if I should introduce myself or...

Yeah, sure. I mean, I have the same problem all the time.

Not really. Uh, thanks for meeting me.

Of course.

I mean, thank you.

Um, Blake had very nice things to say about you, so...

Really?

That's... Gosh, that's funny. I always thought that he found me to be a horrible roommate.

( Laughs )

No.

But I was a reliable baritone in the a cappella group, so...

I see.

...that must have made up for my poor dish washing skills.

Boy, you're even prettier in person.

Oh...

Sorry. Oh, my God, that's a weird thing to say.

No. No, no. It's totally fine.

Um...

Forgive me.

No, it's... ( Laughs )

I'm actually not really, like, used to being out in public.

I usually just eat lunch alone at my desk and...

Sure, sure.

Oh, you have that...

That's so cool, you're with the Human Amnesty Association.

Yeah.

They must be really grateful for the attention.

I... hope I'm bringing more to it than just attention, but they probably are, yes.

I'm sorry.

( Gavel banging )

Do you solemnly swear to give this committee the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?

I do.

Mr. Barnow, would you describe your position at the State Department?

I served as Secretary's unofficial advisor and legal counsel.

This was a highly unusual position, was it not?

It was unusual for me in that I wasn't paid.

Ah, so you were rewarded for your time with a senior White House position?

Mr. Barnow was clearly a trusted advisor.

I think the Committee would agree that's pretty standard criterion for a staff position.

Hanson: Very well.

During your time as an unpaid, unofficial advisor at the State Department, were you privy to any negotiations for the United States' agreement with Iran?

I never reviewed any documents or spoke to any officials regarding that agreement.

When the secretary traveled to Tehran for a secret meeting with Zahed Javani, were you aware of the trip?

I was not.

In your time as Candidate McCord's campaign manager, were you ever approached by anyone who offered damaging information about any of her political opponents?

Like every campaign, we contracted with a firm for oppositional research, but we saw no need to seek or accept any information outside of that which we were already paying for.

Did this research include information about Senator Miller's extramarital affair, or his illegitimate children?

No, it did not.

Hanson: You had no knowledge whatsoever of those allegations before they were reported in the press?

I was notified the day before it was published.

Really? Because in your written testimony, you stated you had no knowledge of it prior to its being published.

Mr. Barnow was contacted for comment the day before.

This is clearly what he meant by having learned of the story through the press.

( Indistinct chatter )

Madam President, are you concerned about the investigation of your campaign manager?

Man: What are your goals for your upcoming visit to Lebanon?

Will you consider eliminating the gas tax in light of the protests?

Listen, one of my primary initiatives in the ESI bill was to wean us away from foreign oil and to foster the growth of renewable energy.

Now, I know that a lot of Americans are feeling this right now.

I remember when Henry and I both had long commutes, and a spike in oil prices meant we had a lot less at the end of every month.

How did you get through it?

I mean, one of the things that we did, we checked the air pressure in our tires regularly.

And believe it or not, that little bit of maintenance gave us a few extra miles on every tank, so...

The point is, if we are going to address climate change head on, then we need to come together and make these sacrifices now, while there's still time left.

Thank you.

Woman: Madam President, when you throw out the first pitch at Citi Field, will you throw it from the stands or the mound?

Did you ask my predecessor that question?

( Reporters chuckling )

I'm gonna do what every president since Ronald Reagan has done.

I will see you on the mound. Thanks, everyone.

Thank you, guys. That's it. Thank you.

How far is it from the mound to home base?

It's home plate, and it's 60 feet, six inches.

Now, see? Why the extra six inches?

Blake: Uh, you'll be introduced by the president of the Press Association, Gabriela Mendez, then remarks for 15 minutes, then 50 handshakes and 20 photos backstage.

When did presidents ever have time to play golf?

I can schedule that.

Daisy: Mm, not this Sunday.

There's the prayer service.

That's not reading face, that's worried face.

What?

Just an opinion piece.

A dumb one.

What's it about?

The comment about checking the air pressure in the tires.

He's trying to make it seem out of touch.

Okay, the reporter asked me what we did, and now I'm Marie Antoinette with a pressure gage.

At least they're distracted from the Senate hearings.

On a positive note, there's a lot of excitement on Twitter for your first pitch.

Daisy: That's true. #FirstPitch is trending.

No pressure there.

Only tire pressure.

Hanson: Apart from your work with members of

NIAC, have you worked with any other organizations tied to Iranian interests?

Olivia: Senator, Mr. Barnow has already submitted a complete list of all relevant business relationships...

Hold on, no, I-I may have, I may have forgotten one.

A guy named Farhad.

Very chatty waiter at Farhad's Falafel.

What? Money, money changed hands.

You may find this inquiry worthy of contempt, Mr. Barnow.

I assure you the American people do not.

Let's move on to the campaign stop last July.

In Bangor, Maine.

A moment, please?

( Quietly ): Uh, where's, where's he going with this?

( Whispering ): He's spinning his wheels.

There was nothing illegal. Just... run out the clock on it.

When you're ready, Mr. Barnow.

In order to understand what happened in Bangor, first, we really have to go back to Portland.

Elizabeth: I can't,

I can't have another meal on the bus, I'm sorry.

Okay, we're an hour and a half outside of Portland.

It's 10 minutes, Mike.

Okay, what you, what you need is sleep.

What I need is to work on my stump speech!

There is nothing wrong with the speech.

People think I sound like a robot.

Mike: See, every candidate has their own version of road burn, the point at which all reserves of optimism and resilience are worn away by the lack of sleep, wretched food, and a relentless schedule under constant scrutiny. The danger with road burn is that it generally leads to a meltdown. And my number one job as campaign manager is to make sure that this meltdown did not occur in front of cameras.

Hey, we really should be back on the road.

Mike...

Well, there's too much radiation out here.

Something you can handle with your new...

( Bird squawks )

Oh, my God! Look!

Mike: And then it happened.

Oh...

That poor thing.

Elizabeth: Ooh... it's still breathing.

Must've fallen from its nest.

Oh, well. Circle of life. Shall we?

Oh, bless your heart. Absolutely not.

We're not leaving this creature here to die alone.

We're all it has. We've got to do something.

Blake: All right, all right, I'll-I'll look up a vet.

Or a wildlife sanctuary.

I'm not touching that thing.

Yes.

Mike: I mean, you have to remember, she had just run circles around Miller in a town hall debate.

And all the press could talk about is how she seemed "overprepared."

The more hatred Miller spewed, the more his poll numbers went up, and there was nothing we could do about it.

And somehow, rather than think about our dying campaign, or our dying democracy, it was easier, for a moment, to think about a dying bird.

In .5 miles you'll pass Apple Blossom Highway.

You couldn't find anything closer?

We're ten minutes from the freeway.

You sure they're open?

Blake: Yes, I called ahead. They know we're coming.

It's right up here on the right.

Oh, yeah. It's right on the right. Right there.

Mike: I was willing to indulge this, to a point. But even I had my limits.

I mean, isn't there anything you can do?

At this point, our options would be to let nature take its course, or I can help things along.

( Quietly ): Okay, I'm sorry.

But we're gonna need a second opinion.

No. No.

We already left hundreds of donors waiting for you in Portland.

If we miss this endorsement...

I have made every stop.

I haven't seen my kids in three weeks.

Beth, we have too much to do.

I'm asking for one thing.

This one thing.

Excuse me.

I'm... I'm so sorry. I think she's gone.

( Gasps )

Oh...

My God.

How do we know it's a she?

Wait. Let's go to Bangor.

One more thing.

( Blake humming )

♪ Amazing grace ♪
♪ How sweet... the sound. ♪

( Birds singing )

And then, finally, we were on to Bangor.

I'm afraid that's all the time we have today.

It seems Scheherazade has been interrupted.

Committee will reconvene at 9:00 a.m. for the pertinent facts of the event in question.

Thank you.

( Quietly ): Round one, McCord.

Elizabeth: Well, that's not fair.

Because H.W. was captain of his baseball team at Yale.

Of course he can throw.

Yeah. The dude's a boss. He just... He just hits the mound and, like, fires it.

Elizabeth: Show me Coolidge again.

Okay.

Well, that's about all we got.

You mean it's further than that?

A little bit.

Come on.

How...

Fire it in here, babe.

Let's see what you can do.

Elizabeth: No leaks to the press if I smash a window.

You know how that story'll go.

Uh, "Cougar-in-chief throws like a girl"?

You did not just say that.

Cougar-in-chief?

I didn't... I didn't make that up.

Are people saying that?

Don't answer that.

Come on. No thinking.

Now hum it in, babe, come on. Stop talking.

( Exhales )

( Muffled scream )

Oh, my God.

I broke the White House.

No, that was, that was great.

Uh... let's try it again.

I don't want to.

You've totally got this, Mom.

Here. Here.

Excuse me, are you a current employee of the White House?

Busted. ( Chuckles )

I mean, seriously, though, why is your coffee so good?

That's above your security clearance, ma'am.

So, how's it going?

Are you, uh, sad that you're not working on policy?

ROTUS is feeling like a promotion.

Plus, I still get to weigh in.

Wait, ROTUS?

Receptionist of the United States.

( Chuckles ) Oh, my God.

Are we just not going to talk about the date?

Ah... well, I sort of assumed that Griffin had already told you.

So...

He said it was a little awkward.

Yeah, it was like bombing a job interview.

Oh. Shoot, I'm sorry.

No, no, no. He was a super nice guy.

Really, just exactly like you said.

Um, I don't know, maybe... maybe I, like, tanked it on purpose.

Oh... I get it.

You are still not over me. ( Laughs )

You got it. ( Chuckles )

Okay, so, here's the thing: first, he says to me that I'm prettier in person?

Oh, how dare he?

Okay.

But then he... he just, like, knew everything about my family.

And it... it got weird. I don't know.

You do realize your family is, like, internationally famous, right?

Well, I guess it still freaks me out.

What your mom had for breakfast is public record.

Look at where they live.

Please, if it were me, I'd be Eloise.

I'd move in, slide down the bannisters, try to get the Secret Service to dance with me.

Try to get a good table at that sushi spot that I can never get into.

Hmm.

I get it. It's not you.

You... You work at a human rights organization, you're very serious and committed.

Excuse me.

It's not like I never have fun.

How would I know?

You haven't posted on Instagram since the campaign.

What? So if I don't post, that means that I'm not having fun?

That's what the youth of America is saying.

Blake...

See? Fun can be had while working for the government.

Very busy. Very busy.

Hanson: Resuming the testimony of Michael Barnow.

Right. So we had to miss the campaign event in Portland, but thanks to the bird's blessedly swift expiration, we were now making excellent time to Bangor.

Where you expected to receive the endorsement of State Senator Cyrus Woodhouse of Maine, correct?

Exactly.

He was hosting a summer fair at a community center bearing his name.

Hanson: And with Senator Woodhouse's endorsement, you felt reasonably confident of winning Maine's second congressional district.

Netting us another electoral vote.

Which you desperately needed.

Not sure that's how I would've put it at the time, but yes.

( Loud horn honking )

Mike: It's go time, people!

( Mumbling ) I'll get you some coffee.

Hey, Bess? Senator Woodhouse is right outside.

I need you to work that old man like Daddy Warbucks on Christmas. You with me?

You got this?

Yeah.

Grab your gla... glasses.

Coffee?

Glasses.

Coffee.

Glasses... Glasses on. Okay.

Glasses on. - Here we go.

This way.

I'm going. Okay.

Walk this way.

( Applause )

( Quietly ): Senator Woodhouse, second congressional district.

Senator Woodhouse, so nice to meet you, sir.

Thank you.

It's not a good day.

Senator, uh, Mike Barnow.

I'm Secretary McCord's campaign manager.

We spoke on the phone.

Woodhouse: Oh, yes.

Elizabeth: Senator, I-I wanted to tell you how grateful I am for this endorsement.

I know that we can do great things for the second congressional district of Maine.

Well, we'll have to see about that.

Not sure I can endorse a Communist.

Aide: Senator...

Listen, I love my granddaughter to pieces.

But she's a radical.

And frankly, a bit of a loose woman.

If we could have a moment.

These people wanted to say "hi."

Gosh, I haven't been called that in years.

Call the hotel in Augusta, tell them we're gonna be early.

Yeah.

No. No.

We are not leaving. We can stay.

Yes.

The Pepperidge Farm guy is sundowning.

We're not staying.

Okay.

So we don't get the endorsement.

That's why we're here.

I mean, we're here.

I-I got a great speech.

It's... Everybody's w...

There's a quilting bee.

Bess!

Oh, my gosh...

I think I feel worse for the granddaughter.

She's loose. She doesn't care.

The-the secretary wasn't in charge of passports directly, but I will share your concerns.

Will you excuse me for one second?

We are pulling the plug if this thing doesn't get started in ten.

Where's the senator?

I was about to ask you.

Okay. Aw, will you yank her out of the quilting circle?

I have to hit the little campaign manager's room, and then we're out.


( Indistinct chatter )

All I want is bad pay-per-view and a minibar.

That's not good.

Senator?

You need a hand in there?

( Groans )

We're not getting that endorsement, are we, Senator?

Mcgrath: Once you determined Senator Woodhouse was deceased, how did you proceed?

Mike: The way any campaign manager would.

Determine the scope of the crisis, secure the perimeters, minimize the fallout.

What "fallout," exactly, were you concerned about?

Mike: I had a candidate who was extremely sleep-deprived, in denial/despair about her sinking poll numbers, and feeling beaten up by a hostile press.

If we had to miss an event to bury a dead bird, what was a dead senator gonna do to us?

Mike: We've got to get her on the bus.

We've already missed the thing in Portland, um, and we-we obviously lost the endorsement.

If we miss this town hall in Burlington...

Okay, okay. What-what's the plan?

( Sighs ) Oh...

You go get her, go get her. I'll take care of this.

Okay.

Go, go.

Now, see, I've never even tried to make a-a lattice crust.

Hi... Hi. I have to steal her for one second.

Oh. Bye.

Are we starting soon? I can't feel my feet.

Yes, um, slight change of plans.

Um, there's a-a power outage in Burlington...

Oh.

...so we have to go there immediately, so they can have a tech check first thing tomorrow morning.

( Chuckles ) "Tech check." "Tech check" rhymes.

Yes, yes, yes. You need sleep.

Mike: Thanks so much!

It was great to see you, everybody. Don't forget to vote!

Everybody on the bus. Go, go, go, go, go, go.

We're going to hell.

No, we're going to the White House.

Can you explain why, in your haste, you took the time to call 911 from a pay phone?

I'm sorry, what relevance could that possibly...

My son Zach has a severe peanut allergy, and among other things we were told to always call 911 from a landline so the dispatcher can trace your call to a precise location and get the response team there even faster.

So you were just following protocols, as you understood them.

Absolutely.

Hanson: Can we hear the audio, please?

Dispatcher ( over recording ): 911. What's your emergency?

Mike: Yes, I would like to report a death, a dead body.

He is in the bathroom at the Cyrus, uh, Woodhouse Community Center on River Road.

Yeah, on Cyrus Woodhouse.

Yes, that's also the name of the dead person.

Dispatcher: Can you tell me exactly what happened, and who am I speaking to?

Mike: I-I don't know! He was, he was very old, and he's in the men's room, and I have to go, and no, I cannot give you my name.

( Dial tone sounds )

You know, not every situation is actually in the campaign manager's handbook.

( Applause )

( Crowd cheering )

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to Citi Field the President of the United States, Elizabeth McCord.

Crowd: Oh! ( Gasps )

Oh, my God!

( Booing )

Come on, man.

I didn't, I didn't...

Mr. Met. No, no, no. I...

Oh. Oh. Oh, my God.

( Distorted booing )

( Crowd cheering )

( Gasps )

No, I didn't...

( Thumping )

Whoa, arm's looking good.

( Groans )

Yeah, it's still not the full distance yet. I...

Well, what is it?

The gas tax protests or pitch anxiety?

I had a nightmare that I beaned Mr. Met with my pitch. Yeah.

( Chuckles )

I don't know, it was probably a symbol for how I'm clobbering America with my gas tax.

Well, I have something to take your mind off it.

Guess who called me yesterday.

Ali?

No. I only hear from her when I'm lurking on her Instagram.

No, Dmitri Petrov.

Is he allowed to call you?

Well, you're about to grant amnesty to U.S. and Russian intelligence officers, so I'd say yes.

What did he want?

To thank us for the deal, and to ask permission to contact Stevie.

That's, like, weirdly patriarchal and romantic at the same time.

Uh, considering he was never supposed to be dating her in the first place, I appreciate the gesture.

Well, what did you say?

It was up to him.

( Sighs )

I mean, I kind of love that he's still thinking about her, you know? And I happen to believe that she's still hung up on him.

Think we should give her a heads-up?

And risk watching her spiral again if he doesn't follow through?

No, thank you, sir.

True.

I say we just stay out of it.

You know? Let it play out the way it's gonna play out.

( Laughing ): God, I love it when it's not up to me.

( Groans ) Okay.

I love you.

Come on.

I love you, too.

( Applause )

I want to thank Secretary Thompson and Foreign Minister Avdonin for this historic agreement between our nations.

When two great powers come together to share intelligence and unite against common enemies, the whole world benefits, so thank you.

Thanks, everyone. That's all for today.

Konstantin, it's nice to be working with you again.

Congratulations on the promotion, Madam President.

Secretary Thompson, you hit it out of the ballpark.

You threw the pitch, Madam President.

Your boss is a great diplomat, Nina.

She learned from the best.

Blake: ( Clears throat ) Ma'am?

Yes?

It's, uh, time to take you to the stadium.

Oh, boy.

Does the President of Russia also have to play sports?

No, he chooses to, and somehow, he always wins.

( Chuckles )

Get those to the staff secretary.

Make sure NSC has a copy.

Candace: Of course, Mr. Jackson.

What happened to the other kid, uh, Trevor, was it?

Travis.

Travis.

I needed an upgrade.

Senator Gates is waiting in your office, I pushed the Transportation Secretary to 3:00, and your wife asked if you're free for lunch.

You didn't answer, did you?

I mentioned that you and the Senator had plans, but...

And then she asked you where, and you told her, didn't you? Damn it.

Do you not understand when you're being worked for information?

I'm very sorry. It won't happen again.

You're damn right it won't.

( Overlapping protests )

Stevie: I do not understand why they are still attacking you over the air pressure thing.

I mean, it does save gas.

( Chuckles ) Oh, my God. If that's a meme about me, I don't want to see it.

Mom, no.

It's, uh, actually it's from this guy that-that Blake set me up with.

Um, we had a really awkward lunch, and then... Here. He hasn't given up.

( Both laugh )

Isn't that good?

Well, he's got strong GIF game, I'll give him that.

Yes. Yes, he does.

It's always nice when they fight for you.

( Chuckles ) Yeah, it is.

( Indistinct chatter )

( Grunts )

Ah.

Ah, Kevlar, so flattering, and it breathes, too.

There are a few protesters in the stands.

( Groans ) Can't they leave the politics out of baseball?

They're just exercising their first amendment rights.

Okay. Remember H.W.

No thinking, just hit the mound and fire.

Yup. Right over home base.

Henry and Stevie: Home plate.

Plate.

Guard: We're ready for you, Madam President.

Home plate. Home plate.

You got it.

( Crowd cheering, chanting )

Announcer: Please welcome to Citi Field, the President of the United States, Elizabeth McCord.

I want to, I want to back off on the gas tax.

Mom...

There are other ways to fund the bill.

After all the political capital you spent getting the bill through Congress, backing off now could be a major embarrassment.

We're already embarrassed.

Look at them.

Why aren't we listening?

Can we discuss this when there isn't a stadium crowd waiting for you?

I can't... I have to go watch this on my phone.

Sorry.

Okay, honey.

Announcer: Welcome, Madam President.

( Crowd cheering, applause )

( Organ playing lively music )

( Crowd cheering )

Our ceremonial catcher is Luis Guillorme.

( Crowd cheering, applause )

( Crowd laughing )

( Crowd cheering )

Announcer: Madam President, it's your pitch.

( "I Got More Bills Than I Got Pay" Sonny Ellis plays )

Announcer: Great job, Madam President.

( Announcer continues indistinctly )

You told the catcher to move forward.

It's my job to make her look good.

No, Russell, it's your job to help her execute her policies effectively.

You know I respect the hell out of you, Henry, but don't tell me what my job is.

Let me ask you something.

If Conrad wanted to make a policy change, would you openly contradict him?

I've got eight years' experience in the White House...

No, just answer the question, Russell, because I see a chief of staff second-guessing and micromanaging the elected leader of this country.

'Cause this isn't like any other presidency.

Anything that came at Conrad comes at her twice as hard.

All right? You don't want to know the threat reports I get, or what this Congress is capable of doing to her, and you won't have to 'cause I'm the one thinking five steps ahead to protect her from the worst of it.

I get that you're trying to protect her, I do, but I think that you and I and everybody out there is just gonna have to take a breath and find out what it looks like to have a woman president by having one, by letting it happen and not looking for the pitfalls.

The country elected her, and now it's time to let her lead.

Announcer: And now, here they are: Your New York Mets!

( Crowd cheering )

Mr. Jackson's waiting for you in the Oval, ma'am.

Oh, gosh, thanks. ( Stammers )

You really don't have to do this anymore.

I thought you needed it after your egg white frittata.

With cashew cheese.

Nuts and cheese, really two different things.

Yes, ma'am.

Congratulations on the pitch, ma'am.

You'll be happy to know the Internet loves you again.

A little high and wide, but I guess I didn't embarrass myself.

Good morning.

Russell: Good morning. It was a solid throw and full distance from the mound. Impressive.

( Whispers ): He's so nice to me. It's hard to get used to.

Um...

Daisy, I want to release a statement this morning announcing that I'll be looking into ways to delay or roll back the gas tax, and then I'm gonna need an updated list of proposals for new revenue streams to make up the deficit.

Yes?

With respect, Madam President, giving in to protesters risks turning your biggest legislative win into a defeat.

I hear that, but I don't see how responding to the objections of the people I was elected to serve makes me weak.

I know we're all panicked about the approval rating, but if throwing a ball makes people love me again, then how much could it really matter?

Well, Conrad didn't like it, either, but your approval rating is how you get things done.

Right now Hanson and his minions are realizing they're gonna have to put off murder until next week.

It's crude and it's fear-based, but it works.

Okay. Well, uh...

You might be right about this one, but I do want to get to work on that statement, please.

Thank you.

Blake: Thanks, ma'am.

You okay, Russell?

I will be.

Hi. Devon.

Nina Cummings from State.

I called about getting the docs signed by Mr. Jackson?

Uh, he's in, if you want to get them signed now.

I'm heading out.

Oh. Well, it can wait until you get back.

I'm not coming back.

Not that I mind.

Oh.

Russell: Unless you're the president or my wife, go away.

( Scoffs )

Oh. Excuse me. ( Clears throat )

Um, State needs your signature.

I'd leave them with your assistant, but he left, so...

Fine.

It's better if I do everything myself anyway.

You know, um, Devon out there worked for a Supreme Court justice.

Well, then he should have figured out how to answer a phone.

Yeah. Mm.

For a... legendary gatekeeper, it's kind of surprising how little value you have of your own.

I know it's-it's hard to replace somebody like Adele, but if you just give people a little bit of time and training, instead of throwing them all on the scrap heap at the first misstep...

You finished?

I'm sorry.

No one else will say it because they're scared of you.

Not a problem for you, is it?

Ambassador Harriman taught me not to take crap from anybody.

Fine.

You're hired.

What?

If Harriman liked you, you're good enough for me.

I'll call the secretary.

Um...

( Laughs )

Wow! I mean, I was really hoping that it was a tiny shirt for a gerbil.

Yeah, I mean, well, there's no need to patent a tiny shirt, but a unique item like the wearable gerbil display shirt... it requires the protection of a U.S. patent.

I see.

What can I say?

Your job is way more fun than mine.

I don't know. I think your job is a little more important.

There you go.

Oh, thank you.

That has to be important.

Well, I guess...

It's important to the person who invented it.

With this?

What are you... what are you doing?

I'm just giving this lady a better shot.

( Camera phone clicking )

( Laughs )

Here, why don't we, uh...?

Let's take our own photo.

An "ussie" if you will.

Oh. Wait. Should I wear the hat? No?

That's totally up to you.

Tough call. All right, I'm gonna do it.

Okay.

Oh, yeah, worth it.

( Phone camera clicks )

Woman ( over P.A. ): Welcome, passengers. We're just about to begin boarding for this afternoon's flight to Dulles International Airport.

Mr. Barnow, you were saying you saw your efforts to cover up the death of Senator Woodhouse as part of your duties as Elizabeth McCord's campaign manager.

Senator...

I thought that the death of Senator Woodhouse was a situation I needed to manage, because up to that point, I was operating under the assumption that nothing could be worse for the McCord campaign than for this incredibly powerful, effective Secretary of State to be seen as a weak, vulnerable woman.

Then we got to Burlington.

Yeah, I want gender pay equity, but I want more.

I want a living wage for every working American.

You know, my father-in-law raised four kids on a steelworker's salary.

That just wouldn't be possible today.

But we will get there, because every American deserves that.

Thank you for asking.

Thank you.

Hi, Secretary McCord.

Ginny Matthews.

Hi.

Um... when I was 16, I got pregnant and dropped out of high school.

Fortunately, my mom made me get my GED, and then I went on to nursing school with the help of a few loans.

Um... at the hospital where I worked, I saw pain medication prescribed every day, and I saw... what it did to people, so, a few years ago, when my husband Howard had to have surgery, I told him, "Don't take that stuff."

But he needed help with the pain, and... that's what they gave him.

( Crying ): Three years ago, I...

( Sniffles )

...found him... dead from an overdose.

Um...

Without his salary, I couldn't keep up with the mortgage, and last year, I lost my house.

Now I stay with my daughter, but she can barely afford groceries, much less medication for her son's asthma.

I'm not looking for a handout, and I'll admit when I screw up, but I got to tell you, I'm asking myself, you know...

...is this h... is this how... how it's supposed to be?

( Microphone squeaks )

( Quietly ): No.

That's not how it's supposed to be.

( Applause )

( Camera shutters clicking )

Mike: We all know what happened next. By morning, most of the country had seen that video, and her polls shot up six points.

Vulnerability wasn't her weakness, it was her superpower.

It was in that moment that I realized the old playbook meant nothing anymore.

It's also the moment I might have believed in politics again.

For, like, a day.

I have the coroner's report from the Chief Medical Examiner's office in Bangor, Maine.

It lists the cause of death for Senator Woodhouse as anoxia due to asphyxiation.

Interestingly, the report declines to rule out foul play.

Can I see that report, please?

I'm sorry. What on earth are you trying to imply?

Not implying anything, Mr. Barnow.

I'm laying out the facts from your own testimony.

You stated that the loss of Senator Woodhouse's endorsement would have been a grave public embarrassment to the candidate, one you said multiple times was your "number one priority" to avoid.

Seriously?

Senator, that is an outrageous accusation founded on wild speculation.

Are you accusing me of murder? Are you insane?

Why don't we call a quick recess?

Are you redecorating?

We cleared things out for pitching practice.

We're gonna put it all back tomorrow.

Really?

I was kind of hoping for a driving range.

( Laughs )

Well, here's to a bump in the approval rating.

All I had to do was publicly admit I made a mistake.

I wouldn't say the gas tax was a mistake.

Henry: That pitch didn't hurt, either.

( Elizabeth laughs )

Did I hear Scotch?

There are dumplings, too.

Mike: Best dorm party ever.

So... how were the hearings?

I can ask now that it's over.

Anything but.

Forget the Iran hack.

They are looking into everything.

And if they can't find it, they will find it anyway.

Russell: So, it's war.