Sacred Cows

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Sacred Cows

by Joe Eszterhas

January 1992

Page 1

MONTAGE - OVER CREDITS

A political smorgasbord, spicy, funny: politicos telling lies: Nixon says he’s not a crook, Bush says no new taxes, Reagan says there are no homeless – intercut with politicos in action: LBJ showing us his gall bladder scar, LBJ pulling the beagles off the ground by their ears; Nixon pushing Ron Nessen away from himself; Jimmy Carter running himself into the ground, jogging; Gerry Ford’s adventures with golf balls and balance. These are only a few of myriad possibilities, and then we CUT DIRECTLY TO –

EXT. A CAMPAIGN RALLY - DAY

A suburban mall’s parking lot – hundreds of people, lots of red-white-and-blue everywhere. Signs that say “Taylor-Forrester” and “Jim Taylor For President”.

Republican Senator JIM TAYLOR of Illinois, in his late 40’s, attractive, stands on a bunting-draped stage. He speaks in an incisive rhythm.

Senator Taylor

I say we make America America again!

Let’s turn this country into the country we loved! An America without abortion! An America that believes in the Lord’s prayer! An America where decent, hard-working people aren’t robbed of their incomes to support panhandlers, welfare cheats, and affirmative action programs.

Loud CHEERS from the crowd.

EXT. A CAMPAIGN RALLY - DAY

A narrow side street in an inner city – thousands of people. Signs that say: ”Re-elect President Parr” and “Parr-Graham”. The President of the United States, SAM PARR, the former Senator from Nebraska, stands on top of the car. He is 64 years old; his face is craggy but except for his shock of white hair, he looks like he is in his mid 50’s. He speaks in a low-key, person to person style.

President Parr

We’re making progress. For four years now, we’ve devoted ourselves to finally solving our problems. I’ve never lied to you. I didn’t tell you it’d be easy. I didn’t tell you it could be done without new taxes. We’ve raised taxes. And we’ve made this country a better place for all Americans.

Loud CHEERS from the crowd.

Page 2

A TELEVISION SCREEN

We see the elaborate intro and THEME MUSIC for the EBS Nightly News with Tom Martin. And then we see MARTIN on screen: he is in his late 40’s; there is a polished sincerity about him.

Martin

Good evening. As the presidential campaign moves into its final month and the candidates prepare for their first debate tomorrow night in Cleveland, a Gallup-BBS poll shows President Parr with a still-climbing 28 point lead against conservative Republican Senator Jim Taylor. White House correspondent Lacy Morrow has been covering the President’s campaign.

LACY HORROW comes onscreen. She is in her mid 30’s. a very attractive but very serious-looking woman.

Lacy

What we’ve been seeing, Tom, is President Parr at his best, a man in close touch with the people, pressing the flesh and gathering further vitality from that process.

INT. TEE PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

Lacy Morrow still looks very attractive, half-naked. Next to her in bed is Sam.Parr, the President of the United States. He shuts the VCR off with a remote control and grins.

Sam

You know what that poll means? It means I don’t have to chase that piss- ant all over the country. I can stick around here and try to do some good.

Lacy (smiles)

I thought you liked pressing the flesh.

Sam

I do.

He turns to her and tondles her. She starts getting out of bed to dress. Be watches her appreciatively.

Sam

Where the hell are you going?

Page 3

Lacy (smiles, as she dresses)

I have a debate to cover in Cleveland tomorrow.

Sam

I’ll give you a ride on Air Force One.

Lacy (smiles)

You’re very nice in bed, Sam –

Sam

I’ll take “very nice” at my age, thank you –

Lacy (smiles)

But I’m’not going to take a chance of getting that idiot elected President of the United States because you got caught in bed with me.

Sam (smiles)

That’s very patriotic of you, my dear.

Lacy

There’s no future in it, either, Sam. Look what happened to Donna Rice.

Sam (stumped)

Who the hell was Donna Rice?

Lacy

See – Gary Hart.

Sam (grins)

Gary who?

Lacy (smiles)

You’re awful.

She comes to the bed, kisses him on the cheek.

Lacy

Good luck tomorrow. The future well- being of the Western World rests in your hands.

He puts his hand on her butt, cups it.

Sam (smiles)

Yes it does.

She knocks his hand away, smiles, and walks out. As soon as she goes, JACK HEFFERMAN comes in through another door. He is in his early 50’s, a take-charge kind of guy.

Page 4

Heff

Jesus. You took your time. I’ve been waiting out there for forty minutes.

Sam gets up out of the bed – he wears old-style boxer undershorts – goes to pour himself a drink.

Sam

I’m getting old, Heff. When I was a kid, I wished I could take more time. Now I wish I didn’t take so much!

Heff (grins)

It’s Jim Taylor. He wants to talk.

Sam

About what?

Heff

Beats me. Tomorrow night, before the debate. Just Jimbo and victor Mackey and you and me.

Sam

Tell him to come to the hotel.

Heff (shakes his head)

Strictly private, no media. He wants to meet at the hall, a half hour before the debate.

Sam thinks about it a long beat, sips his drink.

Sam

Do you know what Senator Taylor is, Heff? He’s a skunk.

Heff

That means we should take the meeting.

Sam (after a beat)

That means I should watch the spray.

They look at each other.

EXT. CONVENTION HALL - CLEVELAND - NIGHT

The President gets out of his limousine in front of Convention Hall. With him are his wife, EMILY, in her early 60’s, a very well-kept woman; DOC BARLEY, in his early 70’s, a rumpled old-style pol who is President Parr’s Congressional liaison and one of his oldest friends; and Jack Hefferman. The President waves to the crowd and, smiling, is led into the hall by a phalanx of Secret Service and law-enforcement types.

Page 5

INT. A MAKEUP ROOM - CONVENTION HALL - NIGHT

Makeup people are working on him. Doc is there and Heff and Emily, who is knitting and looks bored.

Doc (to makeup guys)

Watch the tint, okay? This isn’t Richard Nixon here!

Emily

Are we inviting President Nixon to the dinner for the Lithuanian vice- president next month?

Sam (hard)

No!

Heff

Yes we are. He called me twice about it last week. Mr. Nixon has a special feeling for Lithuania! .

Doc

He’s got a special feeling for anything and everything that can get him back into the White House. It’s like an arsonist going back to the scene of the fire.

Sam (grins)

It took us long enough to get him out of the White House; I’m not inviting him back in.

Doc

Thataboy, Sam. We’re not gonna let him burn it down. .

Heff

He doesn’t have anything else to do. Mr. President. The baseball season is over.

Sam says nothing.

Emily (to Sam)

How would you feel if you didn’t have anything to do and you just wanted to come to a White House dinner?

Sam

I wouldn’t want to go. I hate White House dinners. I don’t want to go now.

Doc

Frisk him at the door! Take his matches!

Page 6

A Secret Service agent comes in, whispers something to Heff.

Emily

I think that’s very mean of you, Sam. I remember when you weren’t quite so – mean.

They look at each other a beat.

Sam

I’m not mean, Emily.

She looks at him.

Heff

I’m going to have to ask everyone except the President to leave.

Doc (upset)

What do you mean I’ve gotta leave? What the hell’s going on?

Heff

National security.

Doc

Anytime anybody says that, it’s a lie.

They start out.

Sam (to Emily)

I don’t lie to you, Emily.

She looks at him a beat.

Emily

Heff does it for you.

And she goes. He looks after her a beat and then Senator Jim Taylor comes in, wearing his debate makeup, with his aide, VICTOR MACKEY. Mackey is a heavyset man in his 40’s.

Senator Taylor

Mr. President.

Sam

Jimbo.

Senator Taylor

You know Vic Mackey.

Sam

Better than I want to.

Hackey extends his hand; a beat, and then Sam barely shakes it. They sit on couches facing each other – the President and Senator Taylor in their makeup.

Page 7

Senator Taylor (after a beat)

Is this room secure?

Sam

Nothing’s secure anymore. Didn’t the CIA brief you?

Heff

It’s as secure as possible.

Mackey

What does that mean?

Heff looks at his watch.

Heff

We don’t have much time. You better say whatever it is you’ve got to say.

Mackey (after a beat)

Mr. President, do you remember what you did two weeks ago Saturday night?

The President thinks about it.

Heff (impatient)

What is this?

Senator Taylor

Do you?

Sam (after a beat)

Yes. I was at my brother’s farm in Nebraska.

Heff

I don’t get it. What does this have to do with –

Mackey

You went into the barn, didn’t you?

Sam looks at him a long beat.

Heff (in disbelief)

The barn? what barn? He went into the barn? So he went into the barn, so –

Mackey

We have a photograph, Mr. President.

A long beat. Sam just looks at him, then at Senator Taylor.

Sam (to Taylor, quietly)

You sonofabitch.

Page 8

A long beat, as they look at each other.

Heff

What about the barn? What’s going on- here?

Senator Taylor (to Sam)

You withdraw from the race. For reasons of health. Vice-President Graham takes your place on the ticket.

Sam just stares at them – Heff stares at Sam.

Senator Taylor

You’ve had a brilliant, long-lasting career. You don’t want to turn your place in American history into a, into a…

A long beat.

Mackey

Mockery.

A long beat as they look at each other.

Senator Taylor

You don’t have a choice, Sam. (he looks at his watch) We have three minutes.

Mackey (gets up)

A great pleasure seeing you, Mr. President. I look forward to reading your memoirs in your retirement.

Sam just sits there as they leave; Heff stares at him, sees his disturbed he is.

Heff (quietly)

Was Lacy out there with you?

A beat, and Sam shakes his head.

Heff (frantic)

What the hell happened? (he clears his throat, calmer) Mr. President, will you please tell me what happened?

Sam looks at him a long beat. A SECRET SERVICEMAN comes in.

Secret Serviceman

They’re ready, Mr. President.

A long beat, and Sam gets up. He looks very disturbed.

Page 9

INT. THE CONVENTION HALL - NIGHT

The President stands at one lectern; Senator Taylor at the other. Jim Taylor looks full of life; the President looks like he’s been poleaxed. Heff and Doc watch Sam Parr as he speaks.

Sam (haltingly)

Well, I think we’ve done some things… in this area… some great things we… should be proud of. Our housing income… our program income – our program of income… low- income… housing –

Senator Taylor smiles a tight, cruel smile.

A TELEVIVISION SCREEN

Tom Martin, the anchorman –

Martin

While Democratic spin-doctors are trying to put the best possible face on it, this was certainly not President Parr’s finest hour. His rambling, often disjointed, Jimmy Carter-like responses, his glazed, Reagan-like demeanor…

INT. AIR FORCE ONE - NIGHT

Eyes glazed, staring straight ahead, the President sits in the darkness, a drink in his hands. Heff sits next to him, staring straight ahead, too, saying nothing. A long beat, and then finally –

Sam

How bad was I?

Heff (after a beat)

I don’t know; we’ll see the numbers tomorrow.

Sam says nothing a long beat; he sips his drink. He doesn’t look at Heff.

Sam (quietly)

I was out at the farm – it was my dad’s farm, it’s Mose’s now. It’s where I grew up.

Heff (losing patience)

I know all that. I’m not asking you to compose a campaign biography here. I composed your campaign biography. (a beat; disgustedly) I knew I should’ve gone with you. I shouldn’t have gone back to D.C.

Page 10

A long beat – Sam sips his drink.

Sam

I was tired. Sweet Jesus, I was tired. These damn campaigns – running for office – do you know how much I hate running for office? Then Connie came in from L.A. She told me she’s getting divorced again.

Heff

So what – your daughter’s getting divorced again – what does that have to do with anything?

Sam (reflectively)

It depressed me. I didn’t raise her to get divorced all the time. I don’t know what’s happening to the values in this country, Heff.

Heff (after a long beat)

Sam – Mr. President, please –

Sam

I was so damn tired. I was so damn depressed. Mose and I started hitting the Jack Daniel’s. I got shit-faced – full-scale Teddy Kennedy shit- faced. I went into the barn to sleep it off. (a long beat; he smiles) I love that barn. I was in there all the time when I was a kid.

Heff (after a long beat)

So?

Sam (directly)

So I woke up with a hard-on and poked a cow.

Heff sits there a long beat, doesn’t look at him.

Heff (quietly)

I’m sorry?

Sam (impatient)

I poked a cow. I grew up on a farm, for Pete’s sake. Everybody does it. It’s as all-American as fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Heff (in shock)

You… poked… you mean –

Sam

Yeah, I fucked her.

Page 11

A long beat, and then Heff closes his eyes.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - MORNING

Heff and Doc sit there. With them are: MARK SIMPSON, 34, yuppie-ish, a presidential speech writer. BILLY LONG, 48, a battle-axe of a woman, very plain, the White House press secretary. CLARK CRAWFORD, 72, patrician, distinguished, a Democratic kingmaker and advisor to many presidents.

There is a silence in the room. They don’t look at each other, then –

Crawford

I’m sorry. I’m very, very sorry. I cannot accept this. I do not believe this.

Mark (a slight smile)

It is unprecedented. I’ll do some reading, but –

Crawford

I have been advising presidents since Franklin and Eleanor. I have sat in this office and discussed a great many… peccadilloes. Hr. Hoover was very industrious about bringing them to our attention. But this… this –

Doc

Aw, hell, Clark – it could’ve been worse for Christ’s sake – it could have been a bull!

Crawford (in shock)

A bull? I’m afraid I don’t – oh my God, I see now –

Doc

Come on – he didn’t steal any money for Christ’s sake!

Crawford

I wish he would have – I so much wish he would have –

Doc

You want a crook in the White House?

Crawford

I have many years of experience dealing with that kind of problem – oh my, yes indeed – thievery is routine, a part of the tapestry here almost –

Page 12

Doc (very irate)

Then let’s strip the goddamn walls! Knock’em the hell down!

A pause, and then the President walks into the room. He looks very chipper.

Sam

Good morning.

He looks at them, smiles. They avoid his look. He sits down casually behind his big desk.

Sam (looks them over)

Well, I see you’ve all been briefed.

A long beat as they avoid his look.

Billy (finally)

There is hardly any slippage from the debate. We lost two points. We’re 26 up. Figure the media will keep replaying the debate tape for 72 hours – we’ll lose, at the max, four more points.

Nobody says anything.

Doc (smiles)

They love you, Mr. President.

A long beat; nobody says anything.

Heff (hesitantly)

How do you feel, Mr. President?

Sam

Great. I slept like a baby.

They look at him. He grins.

Sam (suddenly serious)

All right. We’ve got a decision to consider, but I want to say a personal word to you.

He gets up and walks around as he talks; he is completely casual and easy-going.

Sam

I’m just an old country boy, you know. What happened in that barn happens all the time in farm country. (MORE)Page 13SAM (CONT’D) It’s like going up the water tower after the senior prom, it’s like having a beer with your dad the day you turn 18, like going to the cemetery with a picnic basket on Memorial Day. I woke up in that barn and got a little nostalgic, that’s all. (he smiles) Maybe I wanted to feel like I was 14 again. (a beat; he smiles) Oh boy, maybe I am getting old.

A long beat. and then, finally –

Doc (quietly)

Like hell you are, Sam. Like hell you are.

A long beat, and then –

Crawford (with distaste)

Is it illegal? Is – what you did – illegal?

Sam (casually)

Sure it is. (a beat) But if they started putting everybody in jail for it, they’d turn some states into Devil’s Island. (he grins) We’ve got more cowpokes in the midwest than they do in the Rockies.

A long beat, as they consider that.

Mark

I have to ask you, Mr. President – is what you did – is it a recurring problem? Is there a history they can allege –

Sam (dismissingly)

I haven’t poked one in fifty years.

There is a long pause. Doc stands up suddenly.

Doc (emotionally)

You screwed a cow. They’ll screw the country. You can’t pull out, Sam!

Mark (to Doc)

He didn’t pull out. (to Sam) Did you ejaculate?

Page 14

Heff (irate)

What the hell kind of question is that? This isn’t the Kennedy-Smith trial here!

A pause.

Sam (to Mark, slight smile)

I wasn’t half-hard, if that’s what you’re asking me.

They stare at him, in utter shock, a pause. Doc starts to laugh softly.

Doc

That’s for sure. Not if I know you, Sam.

A long beat as Doc laughs softly, then –

Crawford (wearily)

What about the photograph?

Doc (emotionally)

So what if they’ve got one! What are they going to do with it? Who’s going to show the President of the United States in flagrante on the Evening News?

Billy

Whether the networks use it or not would depend on-how revealing it is. I don’t know about the mechanics of this, cow-wise. How do you…

Sam (smiles)

Very carefully. But if you’re an old- style liberal Democrat, with great feeling.

Doc (emotionally)

They’re bluffing! We don’t even know if they’ve really got a picture.

A long beat, as they consider it.

Crawford

What if a photograph does surface? What if it does become… an issue. What is your defense, Mr. President? That everybody who grows up in that part of the country does it?

Doc (emotionally)

Yes! They got chili in Texas, orange juice in Florida, maple syrup in Ohio, and cows in Nebraska!

Page 15

Billy

I suppose we could try to extend our case to Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin –

Heff

Forget Wisconsin.

Billy

Why?

Heff

It’s the dairy state.

Billy

Oh shit. You’re right.

Mark

We’re never going to be able to make it as American as apple pie, Billy.

Billy

No, I guess not.

Heff (lost in thoughts)

We’ll write off Wisconsin! (a beat) Look. I’ve got it. What difference does it make what he does in the privacy of his bedroom or his barn? Isn’t that the kind of personal freedom we stand for?

Mark

We’ve always been pro-choice.

Doc (to Heff)

You’re damn right it is! He can turn it around on the bastards and make it a civil rights issue!

As they think about that, the President’s phone rings. He picks it up, listens, then hits a button on his desk. The big TV set in the back of the room comes alive. We see the anchorman, Tom Martin, on screen –

Martin

In a blistering address to the VFW convention in St. Louis, Republican “vice Presidential candidate Michael Forrester attacked what he referred to as “a long history of Democratic corruption.”

Forrester, of Wyoming, is a big, beefy man in his 50s.

Page 16

Forrester (on screen)

They’re not the party of Roosevelt, they’re the party of Teddy No-Pants and Gary Hart and Wilbur Mills and Barney Frank. They are the party of godlessness, harlotry, and abortion. Are they the kind of people you want leading your America?

Sam shuts the set off – a long beat.

Doc (emotionally)

What about Spiro T. Agnew getting paid off with shopping bags full of T-bone steaks. What about Nelson Rockefeller dying in the saddle humping his secretary? What about John Tower, that damn Texas dwarf with his hard-on, chasing that woman around his desk –

Heff (reflectively)

Why would they bring all that up now?

A long beat.

Crawford

Do you know what I wish, Mr. President? Do you know what I desperately wish? I wish you liberals would be more conservative in your daily affairs.

Sam (smiles)

Then we wouldn’t really be liberals. would we, Clark?

Crawford

I’ve always believed in hypocrisy.

Sam (smiles)

Not me.

Doc (affectionately)

There you go, Sam.

Heff (after a beat, quietly)

They’re setting us up. They’re not bluffing. They’ve got the photograph.

Sam (after a beat)

I agree.

He looks disturbed.

Heff (angry)

I want the CIA and FBI directors in my office in fifteen minutes!

Page 17

Sam (calmly)

Please make sure they don’t abuse their sanctions.

Heff (smiles)

Absolutely, Mr. President.

Sam (harder)

Absolutely not, Heff.

Heff (straight)

Absolutely. Mr. President.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - AFTERNOON

He sits, alone, turned away from his desk, staring out the window at the setting sun.

He reaches for his phone, picks it up.

Sam

Where’s my wife? (he listens) I’d like to come up and see her.

A beat, and he hangs the phone up and continues to stare out the window.

INT. THE LIVING QUARTEhS UPSTAIRS - AFTERNOON

Sam walks in. Emily is watching a painting being hung. Three young women aides are with her. The painting, consisting of a few lines, is very abstract.

The Aides

Mr. President.

Emily (to Sam)

It’s a Likaunas. (she looks at the painting) I hate it, don’t you?

Sam (after a beat)

I sure do. Why are you hanging it up if you hate it?

Emily

He’s Lithuanian. He’s coming to the dinner for the Lithuanian vice president.

She shrugs.

Sam (looks at her)

Seat him next to Nixon.

She looks at him.

Page 18

Emily

Thank you.

Sam

What is this? You used to dislike Nixon more than I do.

Emily

I probably still do. (she looks at him) Maybe I’ve just become more understanding in my… middle years.

He looks self-conscious.

Sam

Can I talk to you alone. Emily?

She looks at him, surprised.

Emily (to the aides)

Would you excuse us. please?

The women look at each other. They leave. Sam doesn’t know how to begin.

Emily

I have a reception for the National Council of the Junior League in 45 minutes, Sam.

Sam

Emily, Im the President of the United States –

Emily

– And I’m the first lady. And I’ve got my job to do just as you’ve got yours. And I’ve got to be somewhere in 45 minutes.

Sam (uncomfortable)

I know you’re the first lady, Emily, but if I can make time for you, you can make time for me, too, can’t you?

Emily (after a beat, sadly)

You haven’t made time for me in thirty years, Sam.

They look at each other a long beat.

Emily

What is it, Sam? Tell me.

He looks at her a beat, then away.

Page 19

Sam (with difficulty)

They’ve got some dirt they’re threatening to use in the campaign.

She says nothing; he looks at her; her face is a mask.

Emily

I feared the day would come when one of your… adventures… would… I’ve learned to seal myself off, Sam. The children are grown. They’ve known about your little… sweetmeats… for years. Connie, I’m afraid has become as promiscuous as you are. I’m sorry, Sam. I’m sorry for you… and I’m sorry for me… and I’m sorry for what it’s going to do to the country if it gets out.

Sam (rolls his eyes)

You have no idea what it’s going to do to the country.

Emily

Will I be embarrassed? Yes. Will I be humiliated? No.

Sam (after a long beat)

Well, I just’wanted to give you advance warning.

Emily

I got my advance warning thirty-seven years ago, the first time I discovered you were unfaithful to me. Although I’m sure that if I had been discerning, I would have discovered’it earlier.

A long beat, as they look at each other.

Emily (quietly)

Do you remember that little house we lived in in Chevy Chase when we first came here?

He says nothing, looks at her.

Emily

It had that little yard in the back – the kids were little – you’d come home from work early, we’d cook in the back yard…

She trails off.

Sam (quietly)

I remember.

Page 20

Emily (after a beat)

I don’t know whatever made me think of it. (she looks at her watch) I have to go.

He looks at her, nods.

Emily

Who is it – that little television hussy?

Sam looks at her a beat, then sheepishiy shakes his head.

Emily

Don’t lie to me, Sam – at least we’ve had that. It’s not a small thing in Washington.

She looks at him, then starts out, turns back to him.

Emily

You look so disturbed. (she smiles) I’m pleased you look so disturbed. You look like someone twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

Sam (shocked)

You didn’t have to say that. I didn’t do anything to deserve that.

Emily

I don’t care, Sam. Read my lips. I don’t care.

Sam (sadly)

You didn’t have to say that, either.

She looks at him a beat.

Emily (smiles)

No more tears. Four more years.

And she turns and goes out. He looks like he’s been slapped.

EXT. THE TRUMAN BALCONY OF THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

He sits out on the balcony, a drink in his hand, a phone next to him. He stares. Be picks the phone up. He looks very tired.

Sam

Can you get my son for me, please?

A long beat, as he waits –

Page 21

INTERCUT

– And we see SAM PARR, JR., a good-looking, easy-going man in his 40s on the phone in his ranch-style house in Denver.

Sam (very tired)

How’s the insurance business?

His smile is forced.

Sam Jr. (smiles)

Hey, dad – did you get my wire after the debate? I thought you were great, dad.

Sam

I stunk up the joint and you know it.

Sam Jr.

Naw, you were just a little tired, that’s all.

Sam

I certainly am tired, kiddo.

Sam Jr. (after a beat)

Hey, dad – are you okay?

Sam (with difficulty)

No, I’m not okay. I want to talk to you about something.

A long beat – he doesn’t know what to say.

Sam Jr.

Lighten up, dad – it can’t be that bad.

At that moment, Sam’s grandchildren, MILLIE, 6, and JOEY, 8, grab the phone from Sam Jr.

Millie

Hi, grandpa! We saw you on the TV! You were good, grandpa.

Sam (with difficulty)

Why, thank you, darling.

Millie

You want to talk to Joey? Joey got a new goldfish. He murdered the other one.

Joey (grabs phone)

I did not! I just hugged it too tight, grandpa!

Page 22

Millie (grabbing phone)

Bye, grandpa. Love you!

Joey (grabbing phone)

Bye. grandpa! Love you!

Sam (emotionally)

I love you too, goodbye!

Sam Jr. (gets phone back)

Sorry. What is it you wanted to talk to me about, dad?

Sam freezes – how can he tell him now?

Sam (after a beat)

Uh – listen, I’ve got to go. I’ve got Boris on the other line.

Sam Jr.

I hear he’s a real stud.

Sam

What?

Sam Jr. (grins)

You guys must have a lot to talk about, huh, dad?

Sam

Goodnight, kiddo.

Sam Jr. (laughs)

Come on, you can tell me –

And Sam hangs up and just sits there, staring into the darkness.

EXT. TEE ROSE GARDEN - NIGHT

He walks – there are Secret Servicemen all over the place trying to be unobtrusive.

Note: The Secret Servicemen wear sunglasses whenever they appear.

As Doc Barley is getting into his car, he sees Sam. Doc goes over to him.

Doc

What are you doing out here, Sam?

Sam (looks disturbed)

I just wanted to get some air, Doc.

Doc walks with him as they head toward the White House gates with this battalion of Secret Servicemen trying to blend into the darkness.

Page 23

Sam

You know something, Doc? Sometimes I think I never should have left the damn farm.

Doc

Well, just think what shape this country’d be in if you’d never lived here.

He gestures toward the White House.

Sam (smiles)

This country’s in great shape no matter what happens. Khaddafi, Saddam, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam. Watergate, Irangate, Contragate – we’re still ticking.

Doc

If we got through all that, we can get through Cowgate, too.

Sam looks at him and grins. They keep walking.

Doc

Now you listen to me, Sam. I’ve whored and pimped and fed at the public trough in this town for fifty years. I saw you when you first got here. You were so poor, you used go to every cocktail party in town to fill your pockets with hors d’oeuvres so you’d have some dinner. You remember that? You never took a penny in your life, you always had one consideration: the people… and maybe pussy. I don’t care if you hump hummingbirds, hamsters, and one-eyed rhinos. I’m not going to let you drop out of this race.

A long beat, as they walk.

Sam

I love this country. I don’t want to do anything to hurt it.

Doc

You pull out, Sam – and you’ll hurt it. That nitwit vice president of yours with his la-di-dah West Coast ideas doesn’t stand a chance against Jim Taylor and you know it. You think Jim Taylor cares about the people? (MORE)Page 24DOC (CONT’D) He cares about Texas oil and Boeing and the defense budget and the suburbs. He cares about the born- again and the never-born. Jim Taylor living here would make Nixon look like FDR and Reagan look like Abe Lincoln. Never mind you and your cow, that's obscene.

A long beat as they keep walking toward the gate.

Sam

This country’s like a big bus, Doc. And all the people in it want to make sure that the man at the wheel doesn’t go off the cliff. What in the world are they going to think about the busdriver if this stuff comes out?

He and Doc look at each other a beat, and then they keep walking. And the tourists who are down at the White House gates at all times during the day and night see the President of the United States now and start to applaud. Secret servicemen scamper as he looks at them applauding him.

Doc (quietly)

There’s your answer, Mr. President.

He looks at Doc a beat and then he moves down to the people at the gate, shaking hands, touching, feeling. His words are the routinized words of the politician: “How are ya?… Nice to see ya… Thanks for coming down…” We follow him as he moves down the gate.

A Young Woman

God bless you, Mr. President.

The Woman is clearly touched. He looks at her a beat, and then he turns to all of them.

Sam (quietly)

God bless you. God bless all of you. God bless every single one of you.

Doc watches him, sees that he is moved. Even Doc’s crusty, battered facade seems to soften a little, or maybe it’s just the light.

INT. HIS BEDROOM - NIGHT

He walks in. He looks very tired. The room is dark.

Lacy

Surprise!

Page 25

He puts the lights on, sees her under the sheets. She wears black lingerie. Lacy Morrow is a very beautiful woman. He stands there, looking at her.

Sam (a slight smile)

I’m tired, honey.

Lacy (big smile)

Well, get in here, Sam, I’ll freshen you up.

He sits down on the side of the bed, looks at her.

Sam (gently)

Don’t you ever worry that this… might go public… somehow?

Lacy

People wouldn’t mind with you. I mean, I’m not doing this with Nixon – oh my God, can you imagine? – or LBJ, can you imagine the wear and tear? Or George Bush – I would’ve made his heart skip a few beats, wouldn’t I, Sam?

Sam

You would’ve made his thyroid gland pop out his ears.

Lacy

Everybody knew about JFK. They didn’t mind. God, Sam, I’m so sorry I missed JFK. I was just a baby.

Sam (a little jealous)

Jack had a bad back.

Lacy (languorous)

He had to move very, very, very slowly.

A beat – he smiles at her sort of sadly – and then he gets up.

Sam

Good night. I’m going to find a couch.

Lacy (in shock)

Are you serious? What’s the matter? Something’s the matter, Sam. I just know it.

Sam

Nothing’s the matter.

Page 26

Lacy

Yes there is. I can tell. Something was wrong in Cleveland, too.

He smiles, steps closer to her, and kisses her gently on the cheek. His hand wanders under the cover for a second.

Lacy

There’s same sort of world crisis, isn’t there? Is it Saddam again – no, I bet it’s Yeltsin, isn’t it? He looks like rough trade, Sam – tell me, it’s Yeltsin, isn’t it? Tell me. I have to call it in.

He smiles, shakes his head, steps closer to her and kisses her gently on the cheek. His hand wanders under the covers for a sesond.

Lacy (sadly)

You don’t want to sleep on the couch, Sam. You’re the President of the United States.

His hand is under the sheet; we can tell he is fondling her breast.

Sam (to himself, quietly)

Oh, boy.

Lacy

You’re the most loving man I know, Sam. I sleep better knowing you’re in the White House. I sleep better knowing you in the White House.

She guides his hand.

Lacy

I sleep better knowing you knowing me in the White House.

Sam

I’m the horniest man I know. It’s always been my curse.

She guides his hand lower, starts breathing deeper.

Lacy

And my… and America’s… blessing.

Sam

I guess I’m too old for the couch.

Page 27

Lacy

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, you are.

And he moves onto the bed with her.

INT. HIS BEDROOM - MORNING

He is asleep; Lacy is curled around him. Heff and Doc come storming into the room.

Heff (very agitated)

Mr. President!

Lacy covers herself up.

Sam

Jesus, Heff, this isn’t a damn peep show!

Heff

It’s a matter of national security, Mr. President!

Lacy (excited)

It’s Yeltsin, isn’t it? Tell me.

Heff

Yeltsin’s on our side.

Doc

Be is? Says who? ._

Lacy (imploring)

I can’t go, Sam. It’s my beat. They’ll fire me.

Sam sits up on the side of the bed in his pajamas, rubs his eyes.

Lacy

Please let me stay, Sam. Please. Please.

Sam

Go on now, honey. If it’s a real world crisis, I’ll give you your scoop.

She moves toward the door hesitantly, turns back.

Lacy

Do you promise, Sam?

Sam

I do.

Page 28

Lacy

Is it a firm promise?

Sam

It is.

Lacy

Is it unequivocal?

Sam

It’s unequivocally unequivocal.

And Lacy, trailing the sheet, is gone. Doc ogles her as she goes.

Doc (admiringly)

You old devil, you! (to Heff, grins) Did you see those bazookas on her?

Sam smiles at him, then looks at Heff, who looks agitated.

Sam (sadly)

It’s not Boris, is it?

Heff

I wish it were.

Be hands Sam a plain brown envelope. A beat, and Sam opens it, looks at a photograph – but we don’t see it. A beat, and then Sam shakes his head and puts it back into the envelope. They watch him. He stands up, stretches, and goes to a window, looks out.

Heff

It’s worse than I thought. There’s no frontal nudity. All you can see is your bare butt, her bare butt, and the smile on your face. It looks like it was carefully staged to make the Evening News.

Sam (after a beat)

All you can see is that I’m standing behind Elsie.

Doc

How do you know her name’s Elsie?

Sam

Every cow we ever had was called Elsie. (a beat) It doesn’t show me doing anything.

Page 29

Heff

I wish it would. Nobody could run it then.

Sam (turning from window)

I need some coffee.

He walks out of the bedroom to a sitting room. They follow him – Heff grabs a phone and orders coffee.

INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY

The President looks upset. Doc stands there. watching him; he looks calm. Heff comes into the room, very upset.

Heff

They want to get down into the mud, let’s get down in the mud! Let’s get the IRS in on itl Let’s check Jimbo's extra-curriculars!

Sam

I don’t get down in the mud, Beff. I never have and I never will.

Doc

I checked Jimbo out the day after his nomination.

Sam (startled)

You did? .

Doc

He’s clean.

Heff

Nobody’s clean except maybe George McGovern and he’s dead.

Sam

No he isn’t.

Heff

Yes he is. He died in a landslide in November, 1972.

Doc

Jimbo jacks off a lot, that’s it. But always in the privacy of his own suite or his own bedroom.

Heff

Damn!

Sam (smiles)

It figures.

Page 30

A beat.

Heff

They want an answer, Mr. President. what do we tell them?

Sam (nervous)

I need a cigarette.

Heff

No you don’t.

Sam (nervous)

The hell I don’t.

Heff (upset)

If you start smoking again, it’s going to be more controversial than Elsie!

Sam (upset)

God damn it!

Doc

He’s right, Sam.

A PHONE starts going off..

Heff (upset)

I told them coffee and Danish, why can’t they ever get the damn order right?

He starts going for a PHONE – sees it’s a red one that’s RINGING.

Heff

It’s the hot line!

Sam

It’s Boris.

Doc

That’s all we need – what does he want?

Sam goes to the phone warily, picks it up.

Sam

Hello? (he listens) Yes, Boris. How are you? (a beat) Well, I appreciate that, Boris. (a beat) Well, sometimes these things happen in our campaigns.

Page 31

Heff and Doc look at each other.

Sam (on the phone)

I just got the photograph a couple minutes ago myself.

Heff (to Doc, angrily)

Goddamnit!

Doc (angrily)

I knew it! I knew it!

Sam (on phone)

That’s nice of you, Boris, thank you. I appreciate that.

He hangs up. They stare at him.

Sam

Boris got it last night already.

Doc

I knew they were behind this.

Sam

Come on, Doc – nix on that –

Heff (upset)

Nixon? What about Nixon?

Sam

There is no “they” anymore, Doc. There is no more Soviet Union. We’re a liberal administration. We believe in the death of Communism.

Doc

How the hell did they get it before we did if they're not behind it? How did they get it they don’t exist anymore?

A beat, then –

Heff

Sound travels faster than light in this town, that’s how.

Sam

Boris was trying to help. He says they’ve got a lot of cowpokes in Russia, too.

Heff (excited)

Did he poke one? Sure he did. Take a look at the guy. He must’ve poked a hundred of ‘em. Will he cop to it?

Page 32

A long beat – as Sam thinks about all Of this. He reaches for a phone.

Sam (on the phone)

Get Senator Jim Taylor for me.

They watch him; what’s he going to say? A long beat.

Sam

Jimbo? (a beat) No deal.

And he hangs up – Doc is jubilant; Heff looks very concerned.

Doc (fervently)

God bless you. Mr. President.

Sam and Heff look at each other a long beat. Heff looks afraid.

INT. BBS NEWS HEADQUARTERS - NEW YORK - DAY

Three men are walking through the labyrinthine newsroom. ARTHUR SAMPSON is in his 60’s, the chairman of the board of EBS, a well-kept, handsome man. ELLIOT KOHNER is in his 50’s, the head of the EBS news division. with them is anchorman TOM MARTIN.

Sampson

I talked to Max Frankel and the new guy at the Washington Post. They have their copies. So do CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN.

Martin

What are they going to do with it?

Sampson

They’re calling us the same way we’re calling them. To see what we’re going to do with it and what they’re going to do with it.

Kohner

We’re having it analyzed – it’s a waste of time, but we’re doing it – nobody’s got the negative.

Martin

Well, it certainly looks like Sam.

Page 33

Sampson

Please. I am not even going to entertain the possibility that this is the President of the United States engaged in – in – without total, absolute, infallible scientific verification.

Martin (innocently)

Where did you grow up, Arthur?

Sampson

Where did I grow up? What does that have to do with it? I grew up in Boston. Where did you grow up?

Martin (slight smile)

I grew up in Estes, Iowa.

Sampson

I don’ t understand the relevance –

Martin (wiping smile off)

Never mind.

They walk into a small, cubicle-like office. Lacy Morrow sits there.

Lacy (smiles)

Arthur, Elliot – hi, what a pleasant surprise –

Elliot takes a photograph out of an envelope, puts it in front of her – we don’t see the photograph.

Lacy (jumps back)

Oh my God!

They watch her. She steps closer to it again.

Lacy

Oh my God! (a beat. then angry) That dirty – that – oh my God! – what is he doing to – is he –

Kohner

It seems that he is, yes.

Martin

Do you think it’s him?

Lacy (after a beat, recovering)

Well, I don’t know –

Page 34

Martin

Lacy, if you don’t know – nobody knows.

Lacy (flustered)

I don’t understand what you’re – what does that mean?

Kohner

You know what it means. We knew about the President’s… proclivities. That’s one of the reasons you re covering the White House.

Lacy (angry)

If I told my friend Gloria Steinem what you just said to me –

Kohner

I said it was one of the factors – a very minor, almost negligible, though not completely irrelevant… factor.

A long beat, as she looks at the photo, and then at them.

Lacy (quietly)

It’s Sam.

Sampson

How do you know, my dear?

Lacy

The smile.

Kohner

The smile?

Lacy (fondly)

I’ve seen that smile.

Sampson (smiles)

I see.

INT. A VAST CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

It is a meeting of the National Security Council. Vice President PETER GRAHAM chairs the meeting and sits at the head_of the long, beautifully-burnished mahogany conference table. He is 44, a good-looking, dark- haired, young-looking man.

Sitting around the table, with brass nameplates in front of them, are:

GENERAL BENJAMIN WOODS – big, burly, in his 60’s, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Page 35

ROBERT HASTINGS – thin, almost skeletal, in his 50’s, wearing steel wire-rimmed glasses, the FBI director.

ANDREW HARLEY – thin, almost skeletal, in his 50’s, wearing gold wire-rimmed glasses, the CIA director.

JUSTIN ANDERSON – short, bald, priestly, the Secretary of State.

JOE CARSON – broad-shouldered, in his 40’s, black, the Attorney General.

DONALD YANUCCI – horn-rimmed glasses, very trim, 50’s, the Secretary of Defense.

ABE GOLDHAN – 50’s, fiery, a pepper-pot of a man, the Secretary of the Interior.

Vice President Graham

I’ve asked you to come to this special meeting of the National Security Council in the utmost secrecy to discuss the gravest matter of national security: the competence of the President of the United States to govern.

As he speaks, we see that most of the men in this room don’t like him.

Vice President Graham

Will you please pass these down?

We see a stack of photographs: we don’t see the photo itself. As they pass them down, we see their facial reactions: some are open-mouthedh some cough, some show so response, one leers, some turn it upside down and ack.

The vice President and Secretary of State Anderson give each other a smug, victorious look as the others look at the photo.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - LATER

Everyone just sits there, their photographs in front of them. A long beat.

Vice President Graham

Who would like to begin?

General Woods

Does Sam know you called this meeting?

Page 36

Vice President Graham

Considering the matter at hand, and considering my own constitutional responsibilities and our possible courses of action, I thought it best not to advise the President.

General Woods

Sam’s gonna kick your ass!

SECY Of State Anderson (nervous)

I want to make clear that we are not here to pass on the authenticity of this alleged incident. We are here to consider the domestic and global national security implications posed by the potential international dissemination of these allegations.

General Woods

Sam’s gonna kick our ass, too!

A long beat.

General Woods

I don’t see what the big whoop-de-doo is. Sam’s always stuck it into anything that walks. He tied one on and… it happens.

ATTY General Carson

You mean he was drunk? The President of the United States was drunk?

SECY Of Interior Goldman

Well, I'd have to be pretty damn drunk to do it!

SECY Of Defense Yanucci

How much is the President drinking?

FBI Director Hastings

He’s always liked his Jack Daniel’s at the end of the day. He’s not joyriding around the ranch like LBJ did with a sixpack or crawling around on his hands and knees with Kissinger like Nixon did.

SECY Of Interior Goldman

His drinking has always been a part of his political strategy. When he was in the Senate, he voted with the north and drank with the south, and every bill he cared about got through.

Page 37

ATTY General Carson

What about the black box? Nukes and Jack Daniel’s don’t mix, do they?

General Woods

Don’t worry about the box. No President I’ve ever known even knows how to open it.

That stuns everyone a beat.

ATTY General Carson

There’s no evidence that the man in this photograph is the President of the United States. There’s no evidence of any kind even that this photograph is real.

General Woods (laughs)

Are you kidding? That’s Sam. How much do you want to bet that’s Sam?

CIA Director Marley

We are already analyzing the photograph – the glossy itself. We don’t have the negative, of course, but we are covertly active in determining the photo lab where it was processed.

FBI Director Hastings

We are overtly covertly active in making that determination.

ATTY General Carson

What does overtly covertly mean?

FBI Director Hastings

It means we are not doing what we are doing. To put it another way – we’re doing what we’re not doing.

ATTY General Carson (after a beat)

Observe your sanctions.

Marley And Hastings (together)

Of course.

Vice President Graham

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the networks were delivered copies this morning.

That stuns everyone. A long beat.

SECY Of Interior Goldman

Who the hell delivered ‘em?

Page 38

FBI Director Hastings

We’re active in making that determination.

CIA Director Marley

So are we.

A long beat.

SECY Of State Anderson (quietly)

I think we should consider asking the President of the United States to resign.

Vice President Graham looks like he is desperately trying to hide a secret smile.

SECY Of Interior Goldman

Are you crazy? In the final month of the campaign? We’d be handing over the White House to them.

SECY Of State Anderson

The vice President will –

General Woods (to Graham)

The Vice President’s going to get reamed worse than that cow!

Vice President Graham (angrily)

I resent that! I’ve served in the Senate, in the state legislature –

General Woods

In California!

Vice President Graham

My personal life is clean.

SECY Of Interior Goldman

Aw, bullshit!

Vice President Graham (offended)

I beg your pardon?

SECY Of Interior Goldman

You’re from California. You think anybody in America thinks Californians are clean? They think they’re from outer space.

Vice President Graham (taken aback)

President Reagan was from California –

General Woods (angrily)

He was from Notre Dame!

Page 39

FBI Director Hastings (after a beat)

Perhaps we’re overstating the potential public reaction to this.

CIA Director Marley

Perhaps we’re not.

Vice President Graham (angrily)

Please. This is aberrant behavior!

SECY Of Interior Goldman

You’re the Californian, you should be the expert on that!

Vice President Graham (angrily)

There is nothing in American history to compare to –

General Woods

Come on! We’ve had politicians doing it on the Capitol steps, doing it in the Potomac Basin, doing it in the White House closet –

FBI Director Hastings

The closet? Who?

CIA Director Marley

President Harding.

Hastings gives Marley a dirty look.

General Woods

Doing it on the way to the Bahamas. doing it on the stainless steel counter in the Senate cloakroom! How do you think Nixon got that eighteen minute gap on the tape?

CIA Director Marley

President Nixon? I don’t believe it.

General Woods

With JFK, they had to use triple- chlorine to de-sperm the West Wing pool.

FBI Director Hastings (to General)

How do you know that? That’s confidential FBI info –

General Woods

So now we’ve got a politician doing it in a barn. (MORE)Page 40GENERAL WOODS (CONT’D) That cow couldn’t have been any worse than generations of other bimbos in this town. We didn’t put any other president up on the cross for those bimbos.

A long beat.

SECY Of Defense Yanucci (to General)

You’re right.

General Woods

You’re damn right I’m right!

A long beat, then –

Vice President Graham

But… but… but…

Each “but” is weaker – Graham almost slumps to the table. They stare at him.

SECY Of State Anderson (quietly)

What about India?

General Woods

India? What about India?

SECY Of State Anderson (quietly)

Sacred cows.

SECY Of Interior Goldman

Sacred cows?

SECY Of State Anderson

Their cows, they’re sacred.

SECY Of Defense Yanucci

So they’re sa – oh, shit.

A long pause. No one knows what to say.

SECY Of State Anderson

India will break diplomatic relations with us.

General Woods

They’re all Hindus!

SECY Of State Anderson

So?

General Woods (grins)

The Hindus’ll get pissed, but the Muslims – the Muslims’ll love us for it.

Page 41

SECY Of Defense Yanucci

We’ve been seeking ways of reaching Islam anyway, haven’t we?

ATTY General Carson

We reached ‘em with Desert Storm, didn’t we?

General Woods

Other ways. Cheaper ways.

SECY Of State Anderson (tentative)

Yes?

General Woods (triumphant)

That’s what Sam was thinking of. He was trying to stop further terrorism.

SECY Of State Anderson

I’m afraid I don’t understand.

General Woods

It’s brilliant! You poke a cow; the Hindus hate you!- The Muslims hate the Hindus. The Hindus hate us, so the Muslims stop hating us!

SECY Of State Goldman

The Muslims call their terrorists off forever. No more renewed hostage- taking. The world is a better.plage. All because Sam Parr schtupped a dow. It’s brilliant. He should get the Nobel Prize.

SECY Of State Anderson

But the Hindus will still hate us!

General Woods

Fuck the Hindus! They don’t take hostages!

A long pause. Anderson glances at Vice President Graham, then looks at the others.

SECY Of State Anderson

I see. Eyeball to eyeball diplomacy.

General Woods (smiles)

You’ve got it.

SECY Of State Anderson

Under deepest cover.

General Woods (smiles)

Deepest cover.

Page 42

There is another pause as the people around the table start to smile.

Vice President Graham (in defeat)

I didn’t think of that.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN - DAY

CLOSEUP – a horseshoe ring smashes the stake, hard – then another, then another – BOOM BOOM BOOM – three perfect ringers.

We see Sam pitching horseshoes.

Prom ANOTHER ANGLE, a limo pulls up and Vice President Graham gets out, watches Sam tossing the horseshoes warily, very nervously – then starts walking toward him.

Sam glances at Graham coming, keeps tossing the horse- shoes hard, throwing perfect ringers.

Graham nervously clears his throat.

Vice President Graham

Mr. President, I didn’t want you to hear this from anyone else –

His voice goes up a few octaves.

Sam (grins)

You here for your horseshoe lesson, Petey?

Vice President Graham

Mr. President, I’m here to tell you that I asked the National Security Council –

His voice wavers zanily.

Sam (smiles)

I know what you tried to do to me, Petey.

BOOM. Another ringer – it’s the Vice President’s turn.

Vice President Graham (gulps)

I hadn’t thought it out completely, Mr. President. I never considered… the considerations… implications… ramifications… Islam… eyeball to eyeball, the deepest cov –

Sam

Throw the damn shoe, Petey.

Page 43

The vice President throws. A complete miss.

Sam

Do you think I’m just an old cow who’s going to stand around getting kicked in the cud, Petey?

Vice President Graham

An old… cow? (he clears his throat) No, sir.

Sam throws. Another ringer.

Sam

You like seagulls, Petey?

Vice President Graham (nervous)

Seagulls, Mr. President?

Sam

I’m from Nebraska; I like cows. You’re from California; I figure you must like seagulls.

Vice President Graham (after a beat)

Uh. sure, I like ‘em. (a beat) Not, uh, not that much, though.

Sam (grins)

I like seagulls just as much as I like cows.

Vice President Graham (shocked)

You do?

The Vice President throws. Another complete miss.

Sam

Nothing pisses off an adult seagull more than to see a young chick sticking his neck out. You know what happens to the young chick who sticks his neck out, Petey?

Vice President Graham (swallowing)

No I don’t, sir.

Sam (hard)

You peck his eyes out, that’s what.

The Vice President suddenly blinks and blinks again.

Sam throws three horseshoes fast: BOOM BOOM BOOM – perfect ringers.

Page 44

Vice President Graham

Nice… nice… nice shooting, Mr. –

Sam (grins)

I hope you enjoyed your horseshoe lesson, Petey.

Vice President Graham (nervous)

Thank you very much, sir.

Sam nods and picks up some more horseshoes: the Vice President skitters toward his limo.

INT. LIMO

He sits in the beek, wipes the sweat off his brow, looks very nervous. Something smashes off the roof – it’s like a bomb, it scares the bejesus out of him.

Vice President Graham

What was that?

The Driver

Hail maybe, sir.

It’s a bright, sunshiny day. The Vice President looks out his back window. He sees Sam standing there, horseshoes in hand, grinning from ear to ear.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN

Heff stands behind Sam, who is watching the’limo pull away.

Heff

Nice shot, sir.

Sam grins, turns back toward the ring.

Heff (intensely)

Mr. President, it this thing leaks, it’s not going to be a leak, it’s going to be a blowout. It’s not going to be a blowout, it’s going to be the biggest blowout since Challenger.

Sam

What are you trying to tell me, Heff?

Heff

You’re going out on the campaign trail this weekend, that’s what.

Sam

The hell I am. I’m staying right here. They’re still Reagan’s flight controllers, you know.

Page 45

Heff

If this thing blows, we’re going to need all the stored-up goodwill we can get.

Sam

If this thing blows, Heff, letting them see me at my down-home, charismatic best is going to do about as much good as poor Hubert did trying to treat his cancer with Pepto-Bismol. What is all that commotion?

They hear a WOMAN’S yelling VOICE. They turn and see Lacy Morrow trying to get past some Secret Servicemen a couple hundred yards away.

Sam (stares at her)

Oh oh. Trouble.

He waves to the Secret Servicemen and starts heading toward Lacy as she comes toward him.

Lacy (very upset)

I don’t know what to say to you.

He draws her away to a private spot where no one can hear them.

Lacy (very hurt, angry)

I don’t know what to say to you, Sam! How could you… with that… that…

Sam (after a beat)

Are we off the record here?

Lacy (quietly, astounded)

What?

Sam (directly)

Are we off-the-record or aren’t we?

Lacy (after a beat)

We’re off-the-record.

He looks at her a long beat and then he smiles and shakes his head.

Lacy (hurt)

You don’t believe me. Sam? You think I’d – trick you?

Sam (gently)

Honey, you can violate confidentiality this one time and who knows? Maybe you’d make more money than you ever dreamed about your whole life.

Page 46

Lacy (earnestly)

I wouldn’t do that to you, Sam.

Sam (tenderly)

I know you feel something, Lace. I feel something, too. But we’ve both felt that something before and before that and before that – and we’ll both feel it again and again and again. So let’s not lie to each other now, honey. Trust me. This isn’t a good moment for it.

Lacy (after a long beat)

You’re right, Sam.

They slowly smile at each other.

Sam

I’ll say this: Whatever it is we’re talking about or not talking about – don’t take it personally. It doesn’t have anything to do with you.

She looks at him a long beat.

Lacy

You’re not going to hold this against me, Sam, are you? Trying to talk to you about it?

Sam

I’m a politician, honey, I always forgive and forget.

Lacy

I’m a journalist, Sam. I always forgive and forget, too.

Sam (smiles)

Then we’ve got nothing to talk about, do we?

She looks at him admiringly a long beat, smiles coyly.

Lacy

You’re such a man, Sam.

A TELEVISION SCREEN

The coy smile is gone; Lacy is all-business and very serious as she delivers the news on EBS.

Page 47

Lacy

Good evening. Three weeks before Election Day, with President Parr enjoying a seemingly-invincible lead in the polls, the candidates appeared before crowds of varying size in San Jose, Chicago, Louisville, and New York City.

EXT. AN INNER CITY STREET - DAY

The street is jammed, blocked off. Sam’s shirtsleeves are rolled up, his tie loose.

Sam

I’m not ashamed that this administration cares for the poor.

EXT. A SUBURBAN SHOPPING CENTER - DAY

Senator Taylor

I am not saying that we should cast a blind eye toward the disadvantaged.

INT. A SMALL UNION HALL - DAY

Sam

They’re not the’disadvantaged. They’re not the underprivileged. They’re not the economically deprived. They are the poor. Let’s say it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

EXT. A SOUTHERN BAPTIST CATHEDRAL - DAY

Senator Taylor

If this liberal trend continues. we’re going to be sending the Bible out in plain brown wrappers. Let’s end all this liberalism: We want our freedom back!

LOUD CHEERING.

EXT. A HOUSING PROJECT IN BED-STU!

Sam

I’ll tell you what Liberalism has done. It’s destroyed the “freedom” or the old to be dependent – the “freedom” of the farmer to be destitute – the “freedom” of the poor to live in urban slums – the “freedom” of our work force to be unemployed – and, thanks to federal aid to education, the “freedom” of all Americans to be just plain stupid.

Page 48

LOUD, overwhelming CHEERING. Sam stands there, grins, and waves.

INT. A LIMOUSINE - NIGHT

Sam sits in the back with Heff and Doc as the motorcade moves slowly through New York City traffic.

Doc (excited)

Did you see those crowds? They love ya, Sam. They love ya!

Heff looks at his watch as the traffic comes to a complete stop. Sam has a drink in his hand.

Heff

We should’ve blocked traffic.

Doc

Sam doesn’t block traffic. Nixon blocked traffic. Reagan blocked traffic. Bush blocked traffic. Sam doesn’t block traffic.

Heff (upset)

It’s the dumbest damn idea you ever had, Doc.

Sam (quietly)

Circle the wagons, boys.

They look at him: what is he talking about? He is staring out the window in the stopped traffic. They follow his look. A delivery man is putting on display a long row of tabloids at a newsstand. It is the National Snitch. The headline says: “EXECUTIVE ACTION.” Underneath, the photo of Sam and the cow. We don’t see the photo clearly.

EXT. AIR FORCE ONE - WASHINGTON

As they get off the plane – Billy Longr, the battle-axe press secretary, and Mark Simpson, the yuppie-ish speechwriter, are there. Billy hands them copies of the Snitch. They are heading toward a helicopter, speak over the NOISE of the chopper.

Billy

They say they got the photo from a reliable source. (to Sam) The First Lady has been calling you, your daughter has been calling you, and Presidents Yeltsin, Nixon. Carter and Reagan have been calling.

Page 49

Sam

What the hell do Nixon, Carter and Reagan want?

Billy

Mr. Nixon wants to talk to you about stonewalling. Mr. Carter wants to talk to you about JeSus. Mr. Reagan wants you to hire Ollie North.

Sam

What about Jerry Ford? Didn’t he call?

Billy

It’ll probably take him a few days to hear about it.

Heff

What about the networks?

Billy

Nothing so far, it’s just the Snitch.

Mark

This is bad mojo, Mr. President. This is very bad mojo. It’s certainly going to cost us Wisconsin; I’m not sure we can hold onto the dairy lobby, either.

They get into the chopper.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

The President and Heff and Doc and Billy and Mark sweep in – Clark Crawford, advisor to Democratic presidents, is already there with General Woods, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and FBI Director Hastings and CIA Director Marley. There is a tense, crisis atmo- sphere to the meeting.

Heff

How the hell can they have gotten somebody past the Secret Service to take that picture?

CIA Director Marley

It had to be an employee at the farm. We’re checking everyone.

FBI Director Hastings

So are we.

CIA Director Marley

I propose we hit the Snitch’s offices.

Page 50

FBI Director Hastings

You don’t have the sanction to do that anymore!

CIA Director Marley

Neither do you!

Sam (upset)

A burglary? Don’t you guys ever learn anything?

CIA Director Marley

We wouldn’t use the Cubans this time. How about those Israelis that trained the Colombian drug dealers? We know we can trust the Israeli.

Sam (upset)

Forget it! I don’t even want to hear it!

The PHONE RINGS. Billy picks it up.

Billy

It’s the First Lady.

Sam cringes – a beat.

Sam

I’ll call her back.

Billy (whispering)

She’s really pissed.

Sam (after a beat)

She always gets pissed when she finds lipstick on my collar.

Mark (brightly)

I’ve done some research. In 1702, Deward Hyde, the governor of New York, was a transvestite who presided over the legislature dressed in drag. There was a 19th Century congressman in Kentucky who kept an eleven-year- old mistress. President Buchanan was homosexual.

General Woods

Now we’re talking, Sam! There it is! So you did a cow, so what! We put it into historical perspective.

Crawford (to Sam)

Maybe you should consider a kind of fireside chat, 3 Checkers-speech, 90’s style.

Page 51

Sam (after a beat)

“My fellow Americans, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not a cowpoke.”

He shakes his head.

Billy

In prime time? What about little kids? They’re still going to be up.

Heff

They were up to hear about Judge Thomas and Long Dong. They were up to hear that the Kennedy kid wasn’t.

General Woods

They won’t care about this. This isn’t as bad as Pete Rose.

The PHONE goes off again – but it’s the red one, the hot line.

Heff

Oh, shit – not now, Boris!

Sam picks it up.

Sam

Hi, Boris. (he listens) I appreciate that, Boris. I’ll call you back, okay?

He hangs up.

Sam

Boris thinks this might be the right time to hold a quick summit at Camp David. He’ll take Mikey Gorbachev out of mothballs, bring him over here with him. We’ll ban some chemical weapons, do some photo-ops –

Doc (to Heff)

What if all three of ‘em said they poked one –

Heff

I don’t think Mikey’s the type –

CIA Director Marley

How about a war? Can’t we start some kind of limited, risk-free war that would distract everybody?

Page 52

Heff

We don’t know Boris well enough to do that.

Sam (to Marley)

You want to get people killed just because I woke up with a hard-on in a barn?

FBI Director Hastings

“War” is too strong. How about some kind of action – an incursion, pinpoint Patriots, we could get General Schwarzenegger into it.

CIA Director Marley

Schwarzkopf! Schwarzkopf’s the general, Schwarzenegger’s the actor.

Heff (hard)

Are you all nuts? We can’t do anything like that. This is October. Everybody’s always waiting for an October surprise. The op-ed page guys would eat us alive.

A pause.

Doc (desperate)

Well, what the hell are we going to do?

A long beat.

Crawford (quietly)

We could set up a policy task force.

They look at him like he’s nuts.

Billy

It’s hurricane season. Maybe we’ll get lucky. That’d be distracting. (to Sam) You could chopper in, stay overnight at a shelter, take some disaster money with you, find some hospitalized, photogenic babies –

Sam

I’m not staying overnight at any shelter.

Page 53

General Woods

Can we seed some tropical depressions?

CIA Director Marley

We don’t have that capability.

FBI Director Hastings (hopeful)

We’re working on it.

A pause.

General Woods (hard)

We can’t just sit here! We have to take action!

A long beat.

Mark

Can’t we get some of the multi- nationals to help us? How about Coca Cola? How about Sony?

FBI Director Hastings

How about Magic Johnson? How about Pee-Wee Herman? He got through it.

They give him a look.

Mark

How about the guy who invented the Zip Code?

They stare at him.

Heff

Who?

Mark

The guy who invented the zip Code – he must be a genius.

Doc (hard)

That guy oughta be shot!

A long beat, then –

General Woods (hard)

We’ve got to do something!

A long beat; no one says anything.

Sam

Well, I know what I’m going to do. I’m tired. I’m going to go to bed.

They look at him, astounded.

Page 54

Sam (smiles)

When in doubt, do right. That’s what Harry Truman said.

General Woods

We're going to use the bomb?

Heff (in disbelief)

We can’t do that.

Sam (casually)

We certainly can’t. Good night.

And he walks out of the room.

INT. ARTHUR SAMPSON'S HOUSE - IN THE HAMPTONS - NIGHT

Arthur Sampson, the chairman of the board of EBS, with Elliot Kohner and Tom Martin. A copy of the Snitch is in front of them.

Martin (angry)

Do you mean to tell me that with this thing at every checkout counter in the country – we’re not going to say anything about it? We’re not even going to have a reaction to the fact that it exists?

Sampson

It doesn’t exist.

Martin

It’s right here!

He holds it up – we see the back page, not the photo.

Kohner

Nothing exists except a photograph of dubious authenticity and even more dubious taste. The Snitch doesn’t say who took the photograph. All they say is that they’ve verified its authenticity and got the photograph from a “reliable source.”

Sampson

I am not going to accept their verification, nor am I going to accept their source. Nor am I about to accept their standards. This network will not lower itself to Snitch standards of journalism.

Page 55

Martin

Arthur, this photograph is going to be a nuclear explosion in Washington tomorrow. There are going to be calls for his impeachment, his resignation – this is bigger than the My Lai photos, Arthur. bigger than the Nixon tapes, bigger than the Zapruder film.

Sampson

But none of that is going to happen, you see, because it doesn’t exist. Not unless Max Frankel or Roone or Larry Tisch or Ted Turner or What’s His Name at the Post – or I – say that it exists. And we’ve been on the phone all night and we agree that it doesn’t exist.

Martin

What about the whole country? This is all everybody out there will be talking about.

Kohner

This country is going to be talking about whatever we’re talking about.

Martin

Come on, Elliot – you know that’s not true. They don’t talk about what we talk about - they listen to what we talk about, on days when we’re lucky. What they talk about is what they see in the Snitch. Like Teddy Kennedy bare-assed on that boat in the Mediterranean. Like Michael Jackson’s very loving relationship with his chimp.

Kohner (after a beat)

So?

Martin

What do you mean – so? We’ve got a responsibility, a public trust –

Kohner

They talk about Elvis sightings, too, don’t they?

Martin (after a beat)

Yeah.

Kohner

But we don’t put Elvis sightings on the Evening News, do we?

Page 56

Martin

This isn’t an Elvis sighting, Elliot.

Sampson (after a beat, evenly)

For the time being, Tom, that’s exactly what it is. (a beat) An Elvis sighting.

INT. THE WHITE HOUSE JACUZZI - NIGHT

Sam is asleep in the jacuzzi.

A Booming Texan Voice

Harry Truman was a pussy-whipped hick! He got over bein a hick, but he never got over bein pussy-whipped!

Sam looks at him. He wears all black – a black Stetson and a shiny, old-timey black suit and a black bolo tie over a white shirt. His hair is long in the back and snow white. He has a can of beer in his hand… LYNDON JOHNSON.

Sam

What are you doing here, Lyndon? I’ve got enough problems.

LBJ

I come to give you the benefit of my experience.

He takes a can of beer from his suit coat pocket and tosses it to Sam, who POPS it open.

Sam

I don’t want the benefit of your experience, Lyndon. Your experience was all bad.

LBJ

We’re all in the same big White House, son. We gotta stick together.

He gets calmly into the jacuzzi, fully-dressed.

Sam

Why the hell didn’t Jack come?

LBJ

I know what you’re goin through, son. I gone through the same thing.

Sam

You poked one, too?

Page 57

LBJ

Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t. That ain’t what I’m talkin about. I’m talkin Veetnam.

Sam

You were dead wrong about Vietnam.

LBJ

Maybe I was and maybe I wasn’t. But I hung in there. They were talkin about impeachin me –

Sam

I was talking about impeaching you. We didn’t have the votes.

LBJ

They made fun of me: of my ears, my nose, my surgical scars –

Sam

It was your own fault. You dropped trou and showed everybody your scars. Jack Valenti didn’t do it for you.

LBJ

Well, hell, son – you poked this cow yourself, didn’t you? You didn’t have Ollie North or Kissinger or Danny Boy Quayle poke her for you.

Sam says nothing, sips his beer. LBJ looks victorious, grins.

LBJ

But I hung on in there! They were throwin the book at me and I just… kept on droppin the bombs. And we won! By God, we won!

Sam

We lost. We had to ditch our choppers on the way out.

LBJ

I won.

Sam

You lost, Lyndon. You couldn’t even run for re-election.

LBJ

But I didn’t get impeached. The sonofabitch after me got impeached.

Page 58

Sam

He didn’t get impeached, either. He quit.

LBJ (fervent)

That’s what I’m saying to you, son. We’re Democrats! We ain’t quitters! Goddamn those little people in their pajamas to hell! Goddamn that hussy cow to hell! You just keep on… droppin the bombs.

Sam says nothing. LBJ gets up, sopping wet, and gets out of the hot tub.

LBJ

I like what you done with the house. That peanut farmer had it lookin like the YMCA. That wimp had it lookin like a yacht club. (he looks at Sam, grins) You want ‘em to name libraries after you, don’t you? (a beat; seriously) Take my advice, son.

Sam (after a beat)

Maybe I will,and maybe I won’t.

LBJ (grins)

You liberals! None of you ever did have any good sense. Good night, Mr. President.

Sam

Good night, Mr. President.

And LBJ walks away, trailing water after himself as Sam watches him.

INT. HIS BEDROOM - MORNING

He is asleep. We hear LOUD VOICES outside the room.

Connie (O.S.)

I don’t care if he’s asleep – I want to talk to him!

Sam opens an eye, grimaces.

Heff (O.S.)

Just let me go in and tell him –

Connie (O.S.)

I'm going to tell him! He’s my fa –

Page 59

The door swings open. His daughter, CONNIE, is there with SAM, JR. Connie is in her early 40’s, lots of makeup, on the svelte side.

Connie (loud)

-ther! The degenerate!

Sam and Connie stare at each other.

Heff

I’m sorry, Mr. President.

Sam Jr. (brightly)

Hi, dad!

Sam

Hi, junior. will you leave us alone, please. Heff?

Heff looks at them, leaves.

Connie (loud, enraged)

I have never been so humiliated in my life!

Sam

I need some coffee.

Connie (loud)

How could you rape that poor cow?

Sam

I didn’t rape anybody. I’m a politician – I don’t rape, I seduce.

Connie (to Sam)

God, you’re such a chauvinist! You’ve always been such a chauvinist!

Sam

Please. I really need some coffee.

Sam Jr. (brightly)

I’ll get it for you, dad.

Connie (to Sam Jr.)

You’re taking his side?

Sam Jr.

I’m getting dad some coffee.

Connie (to Sam and Sam Jr.)

You’re all alike! All of you!

Sam

Thank you, junior.

Page 60

Sam Jr. leaves. Sam gets up from the bed, puts his robe on.

Connie

You’re disgusting!

INT. THE SITTING ROOM

They have moved to the Yellow Sitting Room.

Sam (to Connie)

If you wouldn’t be leaving another one of your damn husbands, maybe this whole damn thing wouldn’t have ever happened.

Connie

It’s my fault? This – this act? It’s my fault? You commit this… act… my own father – and it’s my fault?

Sam

Do you have any idea how much you depressed me? Your mother and I have been married forty-three years. What’s your record marriage: three years?

He suddenly notices that Emily has come into the room and is standing behind him.

Sam (after a beat, hesitantly)

Good morning, Emily.

Emily (after a beat)

I don’t see too many good things about it yet, Sam.

They look at each other a beat.

Emily

I waited for you to call me back.

Sam

I was hushed, Emily. (a beat) I didn’t have the best day.

They look at each other. Sam Jr. comes in with the coffee.

Sam Jr.

Here’s your coffee, dad. I already put the sugar in it. (a beat, brightly) Hi, mom.

Page 61

Emily

Hi, junior.

Sam (to Sam Jr.)

Thank you.

A beat, as they stand there, then –

Emily (to Sam)

You shouldn’t have any sugar.

He looks at her a beat, then –

Sam

I know.

And he puts the cup down. Another long beat. then –

Connie (to Emily)

Sugar? Who cares about sugar? (a beat) How can you even stand the sight of him?

Emily and Sam look at each other a beat.

Emily

Sometimes I don’t know. (a beat; to Connie) He’s your father!

Connie (to Sam, hard)

I don't have a father!

Sam and Connie look at each other a beat.

Sam Jr. (quietly)

Lighten up, willya, Connie?

Connie (to Sam Jr.)

What? Maybe you understand what he did – maybe it runs in the family, huh, junior?

Sam

Cut the shit, Connie. Since you reached puberty, you screwed your way through the administrative assistants in the Nebraska legislature, the freshmen congressmen on the Hill, and at least one-third of the Secret Service – not counting your catalogue of fiances and ex-husbands.

Connie glares at him.

Page 62

Connie

I don’t believe this! I don’t believe you!

Sam

The apple ain’t gonna fall that far from the tree, huh. sweetheart? You’re damn right it runs in the family.

Emily (quietly)

Sam, don’t.

Sam

Why the hell not? (to Connie) I love you, Connie. but that doesn’t mean we can’t level once every twenty years. It hasn’t hurt you to be my daughter, has it? I’ve done more or your libido than The Pill and diaphragms and the sexual revolution combined. If I were you, I’d say thank you.

A long beat, and she glares at him, starts to cry and runs from the room.

Sam Jr.

Lighten up, willya, dad?

And he hurries from the room after her.

Sam and Emily are left there alone.

Emily (after a long beat, quietly)

You lied to me, Sam.

Sam

I don’t lie to you. I cheat, I philander, but I don’t lie to you.

Emily

You didn’t tell me about that…

Sam

For God’s sake, Emily – I tried to tell you – how the hell do you tell your wife that you…

A long beat, as they look at each other.

Emily

You’ve never lied to me before, Sam.

Page 63

Sam

Emily, for Pete’s sake –

Emily (quietly)

It was the only thing – it was the most important thing – that we had left.

He looks at her a long beat – he looks in pain.

Heff comes charging into the room.

Heff

Mr. President, I have to see you right away!

Sam doesn’t eyen look at him, his eyes still on Emily.

Sam (quietly)

Not now, Heff.

Heff

It is a matter of national security.

Sam looks at Heff.

Emily

More lies. Goodbye, Sam.

And she turns and walks out of the room quickly.

Sam (hard, to Heff)

What the hell did you have to lie to her for?

Heff

We have to get down to the War Room right away!

Sam (after a beat)

Are you serious?

Heff

Yes, sir.

INT. THE WAR ROOM

They walk in – the place is deserted.

Sam (astounded)

Where is everybody?

Heff

We cleared the room.

Page 64

Sam (astounded)

You cleared the War Room?

Heff

It clears by itself for the Super Bowl, you know. It’s just for a couple minutes, there’s nothing to worry about.

They get to the end of the War Room – a big TV screen is on. General Woods is there with Doc and CIA Director Marley and FBI Director Hastings.

On the screen, we see a man in his late 20’s – he has a beatific smile on his face. He is sitting in a chair with bright lights on him – there are figures around him in the shadows.

The Men (together)

Mr. President.

Sam looks at the smiling young man on the screen.

CIA Director Marley

His name is Jose Noriega.

Sam

That name rings a bell.

CIA Director Marley

Six months ago your brother Mose hired him as a stableboy at the farm.

FBI Director Hastings

His father was killed at the Bay of Pigs. He has harbored a lifelong hatred for liberal Democrats.

The young man suddenly giggles onscreen.

Sam

What’s he laughing about?

CIA Director Marley

We’ve given him a harmless drug that will erase his memory for forty-eight hours.

Sam

You drugged him? You don’t have the sanction to drug him.

FBI Director Hastings

Mr. President, he took the photograph of you in the barn. He sold it to the Snitch. The Snitch turned it over to Senator Taylor.

Page 65

General Woods

He’s the only witness to whatever it was that happened in that barn. The only witness.

Sam

What are you suggesting, Ben?

Heff

The General is suggesting, Mr. President, that without a live, talking witness, all they’ve got is a shadowy picture that won’t ever make the evening news.

A long beat – Sam laughs a nervous laugh.

Sam

Come on, you don’t really expect me to go along with this, do you?

Doc

He’s gonna go public, Sam! The sonofabitch doesn’t just want to make money, he’s got a bigger hard-on than you had. He wants to fuck you!

A long beat.

CIA Director Harley (quietly)

We don’t have to… fade him. We have a drug that we can give him that will… soft-focus him.

Sam (suddenly)

No!

Doc

He’s gonna ruin you, Sam! You think I like this kind of stuff? I’ve spent my whole life fighting this kind of stuff. But this guy… Are you just gonna let him assassinate you? This guy’s just like Oswald. Let’s take the damn gun out of his hand!

The young man suddenly giggles again onscreen.

Sam

What did you do – brainwash this guy? You kidnap him, you drug him, you clear out the War Room – now you want to brainwash him into some kind of vegetable –

Page 66

CIA Director Marley

We would not brainwash him, Mr. President. We are well aware of our sanctions. He would only have a minimal amount of very well-focused, almost pinpoint, memory impairment with minimal personality dislocation.

Sam (angrily)

Forget it!

FBI Director Hastings

That’s what we’re suggesting he do – forget it. We call it the Eldridge Cleaver pill. Cleaver took one – he forgot about the Black Panthers.

Heff

There were rumors Reagan took one during Iran-Contra. It made him more convincing.

CIA Director Marley

Unconfirmed rumors, sir, that President Reagan took one too many.

Sam thinks about it a longrbeat, then –

Sam

I’m not going to turn everything this country stands for upside-down just because I… I’m not going to do that. you understand? End of discussion. Free Noriega. Now. Get this damn War Room cranked up again. Now. (a beat, then – hard) Do it!

Heff (after a beat)

Yes, sir.

Noriega giggles like a hyena onscreen.

INT. TEE CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE WAR ROOM - DAY

Sam walks angrily away; Doc catches up to him.

Sam (angrily)

I don’t want to hear it. Doc!

Doc

You’re committing political suicide, Sam! Please. We’ve had a whole history of suicidal, death-wise Democrats. Think about it, Sam. McGovern, Carter, Teddy. Hart, that silly Greek geek – you’re not like those guys, Sam – are you?

Page 67

Sam stops, looks at him.

Sam (hard)

I’m not going to screw up everything this country stands for! I don’t want to be President that bad.

Doc

If you’re not willing to screw up everything this country stands for, Jim Taylor’s going to screw this country up so bad no liberal Democrat will ever have a chance to screw it up again.

Sam (angrily)

What the hell kind of choice is that?

He starts walking again; Doc keeps pace.

Doc

It’s a choice between Nixon and Humphrey, okay? But just remember – Nixon turned out worse than Hubert ever would have.

Sam (angrily)

How do you know that?

Doc

Because Hubert already had his cancer. He would’ve died in office.

Sam stops, looks at him a,long beat, and then storms away angrily.

Heff comes out of the War Room and starts running after him.

Heff

Mr. President!

He turns, stops. Heff gets there, very upset, out of breath. Doc joins them.

Heff (after a beat)

Mr. President, I don’t know how to tell you this.

Sam

What is it now? More damn national security?

Heff (after a beat)

The First Lady has disappeared. She was at the Mayflower making a speech, she stopped in the restroom –

Page 68

Doc

I knew it! I told you! It’s the damn Commies! First they fix you up with the cow, then they kidnap Emily –

Sam (hard, very angry)

Will you get it straight, Doc? There are no more Commies! (a beat, quietly) She hasn’t disappeared. (a beat) She’s left me.

He starts walking again. They gape at him.

Doc (loud)

What for? What the hell for? What’d you do to deserve that? We’re in the middle of a campaign!

Heff is rolling his eyes – he looks like he is going to cardiac.

Heff

This can’t leak! I mean this absolutely can’t – can’t – can not –

He desperately tries to control himself – tries a half-way normal tone.

Heff

Do you think she’s going to come back?

Sam (simply)

I don’t know. (a beat) I’m just the President of the United States. How the hell do I know?

He walks away as they gape at him.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN - DAY

He is throwing horseshoes – BOOM, BOOM. He looks very angry – stops suddenly with a horseshoe in hand, then drops it listlessly.

Sam (angrily)

Goddamnit, Emily – I didn't lie to you.

He stands there a long beat – sees some gardeners getting out of a pickup truck nearby. He stands there, sort of staring, lost in his thoughts.

And then he ambles slowly over to the pickup truck – the gardeners are now a distance away.

Page 69

He sort of glances inside, still looking like he’s lost in his thoughts: he sees a straw hat and sunglasses on the dash, a worker’s jacket on the front seat.» The keys are in the ignition.

He looks at the White House a long beat, gazing at it, then back inside the truck.

Sam (quietly)

Why the hell not? (a beat, then louder)Why the hell not?

INT. THE PICKUP TRUCK - LATER

as it stands at the White House maintenance gate. Behind the wheel: The President of the United States. He wears the’straw hat, the sunglasses, the worker’s jacket.

The guard doesn’t even look at him, looks at the number of the truck and waves him on.

Sam pulls out into the street hesitantly – cars pass him, HONK their HORNS at him. He moves off into another lane – another car really HONKS at him, cuts him off.

Sam (to himself)

Goddamn Republicans!

The other driver gives him the finger. Sam returns it angrily and then starts to laugh at himself – first softly, and then with a cackle.

INT. THE PICKUP TRUCK - DAY (LATER)

He is driving, wearing his sunglasses, jacket and hat. He sees a series of direction signs – the last one says “CHEVY CHASE” – he makes a wild left-hand turn, heads for Chevy Chase.

EXT. CHEVY CHASE - LATER

A middle-class neighborhood; very similar tract kind of houses. He drives the truck slowly, looking at houses.

He makes a turn onto another street, looks at the houses, then stops. He shuts the motor off and stares at one. It is a small house with a nice little back yard, a Weber grill in the back, two little kids – a boy and a girl, playing. The kids are black.

He states at the scene a long beat, then turns away.

There is a red Corvette a couple hundred feet down, across the street, facing him. He stares at the Corvette a long beat and sees the woman sitting in the driver’s seat. It is Emily.

Page 70

They stare at each other a long beat, and then he gets out and walks very slowly, very hesitancly. up to the red Corvette.

Emily

What are you doing here?

Sam (after a beat)

I came out for a drive.

Emily (after a beat)

That’s not what I asked you, Sam.

He looks at her a long beat.

Sam

Where’d you get the car, Emily?

Emily

I stole it. Where’d you get yours?

Sam

I stole mine, too.

They look at each other a beat, trying to hide their smiles from each other.

Emily

It’s a nice car, isn’t it?

Sam (looks at it)

Yes it is.

Emily

I hate those smelly limousines.

Sam

I do too.

Emily (sharp)

Then what do we ride in them for all the time?

They look at each other a beat, then away. They don’t know what to say to each other.

Emily (after a beat)

Do you remember? We’d all pile into our old Nash after dinner and we’d buy the kids an ice cream cone.

Sam

I remember. Connie was making eyes at the soda jerk.

Emily

She was not.

Page 71

Sam

She was too.

A long beat – they don’t know what to say.

Sam (blurting it)

Emily, please don’t leave me.

Emily (after a beat)

Because of the campaign.

Sam (after a beat)

No, damnit. (a beat) Because we’ve been together for 43 years. (a beat) Forty-three years, Emily. It counts for something.

Emily (after a beat)

I hardly ever see you.

Sam (after a beat)

You’ve always hardly ever seen me. That’s nothing new.

Emily (flares)

Don’t you try any of that political double-talk on me! I used to see plenty of you when we lived here, Sam Parr. Plenty of you! Or don’t you even remember that?

Sam (after a beat)

I remember.

Emily

Then shut your trap.

Sam

Okay.

A long beat. They look away from each other. Finally –

Sam

Can I ask you something, Emily?

She looks at him suspiciously. A long beat, then, quietly, gently.

Sam

Would you like an ice cream cone?

She looks at him a long beat, deadpan.

Page 72

Emily

You’re shameless. You’re a shameless politician. Sam.

Sam (a slight smile)

I know.

They look at each other warily.

Emily

Get in the damn car.

Sam

Can I drive?

Emily

No.

Sam

Please?

Emily (hard)

N. O.

Sam

I’ve never driven one of these before. I’ve seen them on TV.

Emily (hard)

I stole it. I'm driving it.

Sam

Okay, okay – don’t make a federal case out of it –

And he hurries around the side and gets into the Corvette.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - THE WHITE HOUSE

Heff sits behind the President’s desk. With him are Doc, CIA Director Marley, FBI Director Hastings. and General Woods.

Heff (quietly)

He walked up to one of the gardeners’ trucks and stole it.

Doc (hard)

Borrowed it!

Heff

Borrowed it. Sorry.

General Woods (quietly)

He doesn’t know how to drive anymore.

Page 73

A long beat as they consider that.

FBI Director Hastings

Does he have any insurance?

Heff (in shock)

Christ. I’m sure he doesn’t.

General Woods

You mean to tell me that the President of the United States and the First Lady are out there somewhere, separately – without the Secret Service – out there with all those… people?

Heff

Voters.

General Woods (angry)

They’re people!

Doc (grandly)

He can take care of himself with… people. She is people.

General Woods (angry)

She is not people! She’s a politician’s wife. And he’s a politician. He can take care of himself in here and up on the Hill with other politicians and their wives. He’s a babe in the woods out there!

They look at each other a long beat.

Doc (calmly)

He did this in the first Senate campaign – we were sixteen points down - he found this waitress. You should have seen the bazookas on her!

They stare at Doc in disbelief and consternation.

Doc (smiles)

He’ll be back. So will she. They have an argument. First she goes stomping out. Then he goes stomping out. It’s normal.

They look at him a beat.

General Woods (in a whisper)

Who’s in charge?

Page 74

Heff (smiles)

I am.

General Woods

Do you expect me to go to sleep tonight thinking you’re in charge?

Doc (shrugs)

We’re all in charge.

They look at each other; they don’t like that any better.

Doc

It’s like a plane… we’re sort of on… automatic pilot… for a little while.

A beat; Doc smiles – they stare at him.

INT. THE CORVETTE - DUSK

The First Lady drives. They are eating ice cream cones.

Emily

You are not supposed to have sugar.

Sam (philosophical)

I’m not supposed to do… other things, either… but I still do them.

She glances at him – then steps on the gas, hot-rods around a guy. He looks at her.

Sam

You’re pretty good. Emily.

Emily

I’m going to steal cars more often. It’s fun.

Sam

Don’t - please – I’m in enough trouble already.

Emily

You – it’s always you, isn’t it – your career. What about my career?

She suddenly looks very angry.

He glances at her.

Sam (warily)

Well, your career is a part of my career, isn’t it?

Page 75

Emily (angry)

Do you know how hard I’ve worked all these years? Do you know how many hands I’ve shaken? No wonder I have arthritis –

Sam (warily)

That’s not my fault. Emily –

Emily (angry)

Oh yes it is! I hurt every day because of you!

Sam

I’m sorry, Emily –

Emily

My face hurts! Do you know how my face hurts for months from all the damn smiling I have to do in a campaign?

Sam

No, I never even –

Emily

You never even – I know you never even – get out of the car, Sam.

Sam stares at her.

Sam

What?

She stops.

Emily

All these years of work, all this pain, and you! You throw it all away –

Sam

Come on, Emily, please –

Emily

For a cow. For a damn cow. Get out of this car, Sam!

He looks_around – they are on a busy highway.

Sam

What am I going to do out there?

He looks a little scared.

Emily

You’re going to find a ride. Out! Now!

Page 76

A beat, and he slowly gets out of the car. As he is almost out –

Sam (panicked)

Emily!

Emily (angry)

What?

Sam (after a beat)

I don’t have any money.

A heat, she looks at him, opens her purse, and throws him a bill. He looks at it, and as he looks, she roars away.

He stands there, out on the road, wearing his straw hat, his sunglasses, his jacket. He looks lost.

He watches as the Corvette disappears – turns to the road, and a big Mack truck lays its HORN on very loudly and he gets out of the way.

He stands, looks at the traffic, and licks his ice cream cone.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

The First Lady pulls the Corvette to a stop in front of the White House gates – there are no other cars around. She gets out, takes a last, longing look at the Corvette, and walks to the guard’s gate.

The Guard is looking downuat a sheet of paper.

Emily (evenly)

Will you open the gate, please?

The Guard stares at her, keeps staring. He starts trying to speak. He can’t.

EXT. A TOWNHOUSE IN GEORGETOWN - NIGHT

Sam gets out of a cab. He wears his shades and his straw hat. He walks up to the door, gets a key from his pocket, opens it.

INT. THE HOUSE

It’s dark. He puts the lights on, starts going up the stairs.

Sam

Lacy? Lacy, honey?

Page 77

INT. HER BEDROOM

She is in bed in the darkness, making love. They are on their sides. She hears Sam.

Lacy

Oh my God!

He misinterprets it.

His Voice

It’s so good, it’s so good!

The door opens. Sam stands there and puts the lights on and for the first time we see that it is Vice- President Graham in bed with Lacy.

Vice President Graham

Mr. President.

He is frozen in a… delicate position. So is she.

Sam (after a beat)

I don’t believe it.

Lacy

This isn’t what it looks like, Sam.

Vice President Graham

It is not, Mr. President!

Sam (getting upset)

What are you screwing him for? I’m the President.

She disengages herself with… difficulty… and tries to get her breath back as she speaks.

Lacy

Don’t… take… it… personally.

Sam (upset)

I’m not taking it personally. I’m taking it politically.

Lacy

No, no, no, this isn’t political –

Sam

I’m not through yet! It’s too early for you to… premature for you to develop… new sources. I didn’t think you’d ever do this to me, Lacy.

He looks hurt.

Page 78

Vice President Graham

I certainly don’t mean anything political being here, Mr. President –

Sam (to Lacy)

Are you trying to tell me this is just… sex, Lacy? Are you trying to tell me this isn’t a premeditated political… action?

Vice President Graham

That’s right. That’s right. It’s sex. It’s just sex.

Sam (hard to Graham)

This is Washington, damnit! There is no such thing as non-political sex! Don’t insult my intelligence!

Lacy (after a beat)

I’m sorry, Sam, I didn’t mean to… there have been so many rumors…

Vice President Graham (very nervous)

I’m sorry, Mr. President. I didn’t consider the full considerations, the implications, the ramifications – it’s like the Hindus, I didn’t think – I know how you feel about sea gulls –

Lacy (to Graham)

What are you talking about?

Vice-President Graham just shakes his head; he looks very scared.

Sam (after a long beat)

When I’m re-elected to my second term, Lacy, when you find yourself without your “informed white House sources” – that’s when you’re going to be sorry, Lacy.

Lacy (to Sam)

You’re not going to – withdraw?

Vice President Graham (looks at her)

I did already. Can’t you tell?

Lacy (looks at Graham)

I guess not.

Sam (to Graham)

Buddy boy, I’m going to remember what you did to me in this room.

Page 79

Vice President Graham (nervous)

I didn’t do anything! She didn’t feel anything! Nothing happened! (to Lacy) Isn’t that right, hon? Nothing happened. Nothing. Nothing. I’m not bragging. She didn’t feel anything.

He smiles at Sam.

Vice President Graham

Absolutely nothing.

He looks down at himself.

EXT. THE House - NIGHT

Sam walks out. An unmarked car is standing there, two MEN by it. They look like Secret Servicemen.

A Man

Can we give you a ride, Mr. President?

Sam

Sure.

They open the back door for him. He gets in.

INT. EBS HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT

Jose Noriega sits with his AGENT, a man in his 60’s who looks like Walter Winchell. with them are Arthur Sampson, the 60ish chairman of the board of EBS, Elliot Kohner, the,head of the news division, and Tom Martin, the anchorman.

Sampson

Do you really think you can come in here and shake the network down? We are not in the business of paying for news stories.

The Agent

All he wants is what everybody else wants; a house in the suburbs, a Mercedes, a pool in the back, a weber barbecue. What’s so un-American about that?

Kohner (hard)

I’ll tell you what’s un-American about it. He wants those things by assassinating the character of the President of the United States.

Noriega sits there and grins like a loon.

Page 80

The Agent

This is the negative – I have affidavits here from four nationally: respected photography labs attesting its authenticity.

Noriega keeps grinning like a loon. Sampson, Kohner, and Tom Martin look at the affidavits and look at each other.

The Agent

Mr. Noriega is willing to tell his story exclusively to your network. If you’re not interested, fine. We’ll go someplace else.

The Agent stands up dramatically; Noriega just sits there grinning.

Kohner (after a beat)

Fine. We’re not interested.

The Agent starts heading for the door; Noriega sits there not moving, grinning into their faces. As the Agent gets to the door –

Sampson

Just a minute.

Noriega giggles. The Agent turns, looks at them.

Sampson

How much did CBS offer you?

The Agent

A million one.

Kohner

Arthur, we don’t want to do this.

Martin

Yes we do, Arthur.

Sampson

No we don’t. (a beat) But if somebody has to do it, we don’t want it to be CBS, do we?

Martin (to himself)

I think I just saw Elvis.

Sampson (to the Agent)

We’ll give you a million two.

Noriega cackles.

Page 81

The Agent (smiles)

Done.

Martin (to himself)

Elvis looks fan-tastic!

Noriega keeps cackling loudly. They look at him disgustedly.

Kohner (with distaste)

Can he speak English?

The Agent

Yes he can.

Noriega keeps cackling.

Kohner (to Noriega, with distaste)

Say something.

Noriega suddenly stops cackling and, with a perfectly straight Face, dramatically, and without an accent –

Noriega

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the President of the United States… doing this.. horrible thing.

A long beat, and then he suddenly grins, and in a heavy Latino accent –

Noriega

Okay, amigos?

They stare at him.

INT. THE CAR - NIGHT

Sam sits in the back with the two guys in Suits up front as it nears the White House.

One Of The Suits

You had a lot of people worried about you, Mr. President.

Sam

Well, sometimes you’ve just got to get out of the house, it starts driving you nuts.

One Of Them (grins)

I know what you mean, Mr. President.

Sam (smiles)

What are you boys – CIA, FBI?

Page 82

One Of Them

KGB, Mr. President

The car has pulled up to the White House gate. Sam seems taken aback by that.

Sam (after a beat)

I thought the KGB didn’t exist anymore.

One Of Them

It doesn’t, Mr. President.

INT. SECRET SERVICE CONTROL ROOM - THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

Three Secret Servicemen sit at a bank of video monitors. They wear their sunglasses, like they do everywhere.

On one of the monitors, we see Sam walking up the White House driveway in his straw hat and jacket.

The Secret Serviceman

Who in hell –

Another Secret Serviceman

Grounds alert! Scramble! Scramble!

They frantically start hitting buttons.

EXT. THE DRIVEWAY OF THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

Sam walks up the driveway toward the White House… and groups of Secret Serviceman, Uzis raised, literally blow out the door toward him in their sunglasses.

One Of Them (yelling)

Get down on the ground!

Another

Freeze!

Sam (quietly)

Wait a minute!

One Of Them

Get the fuck down.

Another

Don’t move.

Sam (desperate)

It’s me!

And several Secret Servicemen literally fly toward him and knock him to the ground, as others converge around them with their Uzis pointed. A helicopter with a spotlight is overheard now – the scene is blinding and deafening.

Page 83

One Of Them

Turn him over!

They turn Sam over; his straw hat has fallen off; his sunglasses are broken. A long beat, and then –

One Of Them

Oh my God!

A long beat, as Sam starts to get up.

One Of Them

Mr. President.

They stare at him. Sam looks at them a very long beat. He looks like he’s going to kill them.

Sam (quietly)

Good job. Well done.

He forces a polician’s grin for a beat, then looks at them like he’s going to kill them again, then forces another grin and starts trudging for the White House door, limping a little.

Heff and Doc come running to him.

Doc (upset, concerned)

Holy Christ, Sam, it’s not safe out there!

Sam (upset)

It’s perfectly safe out there! It’s not safe in here!

He gives the Secret Servicemen another dirty look.

Heff

Are you all right, Mr. President?

Sam

I was fine until I came back here.

Heff

Noriega’s going network tomorrow.

Sam shows no reaction.

Heff

Didn’t you hear me, Mr. President?

Doc (looks at him)

Are you sure you’re okay, Sam?

Sam

I got drunk. I fucked a cow. I stole a car. Emily stole a car. (MORE)Page 84SAM (CONT’D) Emily kicked me out of her car. Lacy fucked Petey Graham. The KGB drove me home. The Secret Service beat the shit out of me. And Noriega’s going on network tomorrow. I’m just fine, Doc, how are you?

They stare at him a beat.

Doc

The KGB, huh? And you said the Commies didn’t exist.

Heff (casually)

We’re in the middle of a meeting – you may as well join us, Mr. President.

He looks at Heff a beat, then nods.

He looks defeated.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

A crisis atmosphere – General Woods, Clark Crawford, Mark Simpson, Billy Long, FBI Director Hastings and CIA Director Marley are here. Sam walks in wearing his straw hat, his broken sunglasses, and his worker’s jacket. with him are Heff and Doc. They all rise.

All Of Them

Mr. President.

Sam goes wearily behind his desk and sits down, still wearing the hat and the sunglasses. He looks awful. Those in the’room keep looking him over. A pause, then –

General Woods (forcing it)

We’re gonna kick ass, Mr. President!

Sam slumps in his chair – it’s Heff who gets up and controls the meeting.

Heff

We sure as hell are!

Sam just sits there wearily.

Heff

I want strategy memos on the Watergate, Kent State, Chappaquiddick, and Irangate cover-ups on my desk at eight!

Mark

You’ve got it.

Page 85

Heff

I want the entire file on the Judge Clarence Thomas cover-up and the Anita Hill character assassination.

FBI Director Hastings

Yes, sir, Mr. – (he clears his throat) Heffernan.

Heff

I want the details about Coca-Cola’s involvement in that piece of pubic hair that was or was not caught on the Coke can.

CIA Director Marley

Yes sir. Mr. Heffernan.

Heff

I’m not going to let the fate and fortune of this country get turned around by one soft-ass moo-cow.

General Woods

Should I call General Schwarzenegger?

Heff

Not yet. I love this country too much to let our Presidency be destroyed.

Sam just slumps there behind his shades; Doc watches him.

INT. A TV SQUDIO - NIGHT

Jose Noriega, looking very serious, wearing a nice, serious suit, sits being interviewed by Lacy Morrow.

Noriega (quietly, dramatically)

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the President of the United States. It was a horrible thing.

Lacy is equally dramatic and quiet.

Lacy (hushed)

What were your thoughts as you watched –

Noriega (after a beat, hushed)

This… this was our… President?

Lacy (after a long beat)

Was it?

Page 86

Noriega (hushed)

You know it was.

Lacy (almost losing it)

I beg your pardon?

Noriega

You have the negative.

Lacy (after a beat)

Oh. Yes.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

Billy Long stands in front of a mob of NEWSMEN reading a statement.

Billy

The President did not engage in any – impropriety. He will not dignity these allegations further with –

A Reporter (yelling)

Will the President hold a news conference?

Billy

The Justice Department will conduct a full scale investigation of these allega –

A Reporter (yelling)

Will he appoint a Special Prosecutor?

Billy

The Justice Department will examine the negative of the photograph and –

EXT. AN AIRFIELD - DAY

Senator Jim Taylor, with a mob of Reporters, standing outside his campaign plane –

Senator Taylor (statesmanlike)

I hope, for the sake of this country, that these allegations are false and I ask all Americans to remember that, no matter how damning the evidence seems to be, all men are innocent until proven guilty.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

Sam in front of a mob of Reporters. He looks like he is going through the motions.

Page 87

Sam

We will hold the summit at Camp David with President Yeltsin three days after the election. President Gorbachev will be present as an advisor to both of us.

A Reporter

What about the cow?

Sam

We will discuss the immediate demobilization of –

Another Reporter

Did you engage in deviant behavior?

Sam

26 nuclear missile silos in Byelorussia, Georgia, the Ukraine – Our efforts for peace –

Another Reporter

Did you get a piece of the cow?

INT. A TELEVISION STUDIO - NIGHT

We hear the EBS JINGLE and see the logo for the Evening News and then Tom Martin is on the air.

Martin

As Americans heard a farmhand’s allegations concerning the sexual behavior of the President of the United States, the Gallup-EBS Poll reported an overnight drop of twelve points in President Parr’s lead over Senator Taylor.

TV COVERAGE

A REPORTER doing street interviews.

The Reporter

How do you feel about these allegations concerning President Parr?

Man In A Suit

I’m horrified.

A Young Black Dude

Hey, whatever’s right, you know?

A Proper Matron

It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it.

Page 88

A Farm Woman (tractor behind her)

Well, I like President Parr, but I don’t know about, you know… I grew up on a farm. We’ve got eleven cows. I hear it happens, but, you know… I have three brothers, but as far as I know they never… Come to think of it, they did spend a lot of time in the barn.

EXT. PASCAGOULA, MISSISSIPPI - FILM FOOTAGE

We see footage of a hurricane battering Pascagoula. As we watch the footage, we hear –

Martin (V.O.)

The unexpected storm, which developed suddenly and fooled forecasters, struck the Pascagoula area late last night. President Parr interrupted a campaign swing through the Midwest and canceled a trip to Wisconsin to fly to Pascagoula.

We see film footage of San in a shelter, talking to people. As he is about to kiss a very photogenic baby, the mother yanks the baby away from him.

INT. AN AUDITORIUH - NIGHT

Senator Taylor waving to a huge crowd, as they applaud him mightily. He gets off the stage and is surrounded by Reporters.

A Reporter

Senator, did you change your wording from the text at the conclusion of your speech?

Senator Taylor

I never deviate. (he grins) I am not a textual deviate.

MONTAGE - A SERIES OF HEADLINES

The front page of a daily – “TAYLOR: I AM NOT A TEXTUAL DEVIATE.”

The front page of a tabloid, a photograph of a cow: “EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: FIRST LADY?

Another tabloid, another photograph of a cow: “HERE’S BESSIE!”

A news magazine – the headline: “SCANDAL IN WASHINGTON.”

On its cover, we see photographs of Fanny Poxxe, Liz Ray, Rita Jenrette, Donna Rice, and a cow.

Page 89 The front page of the New York Post – Sam, at a campaign banquet, a glass or milk in his hand. The headline: “EVERY BODY NEEDS…”

EXT. CALCUTTA, INDIA - FILM FOOTAGE

Hundreds of thousands of people rioting, running through the streets, burning American flags, attacking the American Embassy – on the periphery of the action, we see some sacred cows gazing benevolently.

Martin (V.O.)

In Calcutta, 972 people were killed in the largest anti-American rioting in the history of that country, as the government prepared to break diplomatic relations with the United States.

EXT. A TV STUDIO

The patrician Clark Crawford, on a David Brinkley-type talk show.

Crawford

Of course I’m certain these allegations are untrue, but let’s put this into context. When Grover Cleveland ran for the White House, he had fathered an illegitimate child and his opponents were chanting – “Ma, ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House ha ha ha.”

EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. FILM FOOTAGE

We see hundreds of cows milling around in front of the White House, surrounded by angry protesters.

Martin (V.O.)

It was a joint protest sponsored by the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s once-again- reborn Moral Majority and the Animal Rights Defense League.

INT. A TV STUDIO

Tom Martin is on the air.

Martin

As President Parr crisscrossed the country campaigning today, once again avoiding the state of Wisconsin, the Gallup-EBS Poll, for the first time, showed Senator Jim Taylor with a four point lead.

Page 90

EXT. A FACTORY GATE IN OAKLAND. CA

Sam, speaking to a small crowd –

Sam

Do we want to reverse everything we’ve accomplished?

A Heckler

Did you reverse the cow?

Sam

In a nation where unemployment is at its lowest in –

A Heckler

How low was the cow?

We see people with signs in their hands that say: “PARR AND BESSIE”.

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

The helicopter lands – Sam gets out with Heff and Doc. They move quickly toward the White House, but Reporters yell questions.

A Reporter

Are you going to appoint a Special Prosecutor?

Another Reporter

What about the Justice Department investigation?

Another Reporter

Why won’t you comment directly?

Sam cups his hands over his ears as the helicopter blades roar and pretends he doesn’t hear the questions… we’ve seen that gesture somewhere before.

INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

They get inside. He stops dead.

Sam (quietly)

Christ.

He leans against a wall, closes his eyes.

Sam (bitterly)

Did you see what I just did? Did you see me pretend that – (a beat, then, hard) Goddamnit! I’ve sunk as low as Ronald Reagan.

Page 91

A long beat; he looks at them.

Sam (quietly)

I never in my life imagined I’d sink that low.

A beat, and then he turns and walks away from them. He looks destroyed.

INT. A MASSAGE ROOM - THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

He is being massaged very hard, really being beaten. He just lies there, looking exhausted, a drink near him.

Heff (hard)

We’ve got to do something, Mr. President. We’re going to lose this office if we don’t!

Doc (bitterly, to Heff)

Why don’t you try seeding another damn hurricane? (to Sam) Maybe you should go on Barbara Walters and shed a few tears.

Heff (to Doc, hard)

And say what?

Doc

It doesn’t matter. Nobody listens to her – they just wait for the tears.

Sam doesn’t even look at them – his eyes are closed and he is being beaten.

Heff (desperate)

Do you know how out of control this is getting? Penthouse is paying $100,000 to some kid who works on your brother’s farm who says he screwed the same cow. Gary Hart is covering the rest of the campaign for the Miami

                              Herald</u>. <u>Gary Hart</u>! Six kids, aged 12 to 14, were arrested in upstate New York for kidnapping a cow with sexual intent. What's next? Are the pimps going to put them out on 42 Street?

Doc

It’s safe sex, you know. I read up on it.

Heff gives him a look.

Page 92

Doc

It is.

Sam doesn’t even look at them.

Heff (quietly)

The Speaker’s coming over tomorrow with the Party chairman. There’s talk of asking us to resign.

Doc

They won’t do that!

Heff

Why not?

Doc

Because they’d get stuck with Petey Graham. He’s better insurance for Sam than what’s his name was. Bush’s guy… Redford.

Sam says nothing, his eyes are closed.

Heff (desperate)

Hr. President, please – we’ve got to do something.

Sam

Yeah, I know.

He doesn’t even open his eyes. They stare at him.

Doc

What, Sam?

Sam

I don’t know.

He doesn’t open his eyes.

Heff (after a beat)

I do.

A beat, and then Sam opens one eye and looks at Heff.

INT. THE SITTING ROOM - WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

Sam stands in his robe, looking out the window – Doc and Heff are in the room behind him, watching him intently. A long beat as he stares. then –

Sam (simply)

No.

Page 93

Heff

We don’t have a choice, Mr. President.

Doc (desperate)

Who the hell’s gonna get hurt, Sam?

Sam

Everybody will. The country will. I will. Noriega will.

Doc

Fuck Noriega! He’s a chiseling, grubby little smut peddler!

Sam

He’s a human being.

Doc

Since when?

A long beat.

Heff

This is our choice, Mr. President. You agree to do this – nobody gets deleted, erased, edited, faded, Cleavered – whatever – and we’ve got a chance. This country has a chance. If you don’t, it’s over.

Doc

It’s like the hostages, Sam. Carter didn’t do anything about ‘em, he went down in peanut oil. You’re gonna go down in cowshit.

A long beat – as they watch him. He stares out the window.

Doc

You know what I heard the other day? I heard when Jimbo was eight years old, he wanted a black briefcase for Christmas. Think about it, Sam. Do you want somebody like that in here?

Sam says nothing.

Heff

Mr. President, Jim Taylor isn’t Barry Goldwater. He isn’t even Ronald Reagan. He’s Joe McCarthy without the booze. He’s going to play with this country the same way he plays with himself.

Page 94

Sam looks at Heff, his face deadpan.

Doc

Where was Joe McCarthy from, anyway?

Heff

Wisconsin.

Doc (mortified)

Oh God.

A pause – as Sam keeps watching Heff.

Heff

It’s your call, sir. You’re still the President.

A long beat.

Doc (very loud)

You gotta take action, Sam! For Christ’s sake! For the country’s sake!

A long beat, and then Sam nods.

Sam (quietly)

Okay.

He looks like he’s just stabbed himself in the gut. Heff smiles.

EXT. THE AMERICANA HOTEL - NEW YORK - NIGHT (FILM FOOTAGE)

Lots of policemen, spinning red lights, two hookers being brought out in handcuffs -r and then we see Jose Noriega, his hands cuffed behind him, being led out by a bevy of policemen.

Martin (V.O.)

Police said they were acting on an anonymous tip when they arrested Noriega at the American Hotel. He was in the company of two women with long records for prostitution. They recovered fourteen ounces of cocaine in his room. He will be charged with possession of cocaine for sale.

We see Noriega yelling to the cameraman.

Noriega (V.O.)

I don’t do drugs! I don’t know these women! I had a drink at the bar! I don’t remember anything!

Page 95

EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

Billy Long in front of a bunch of reporters. She reads from a statement.

Billy

We have no comment on Mr. Noriega’s arrest. He is innocent until proven guilty. The tawdriness of the circumstances of the arrest should cast no light on the false allegations he has recently made.

EXT. A TOWN SQUARE - DAY

Senator Taylor talking to reporters.

Senator Taylor

I don’t have any comment. Since the beginning of this campaign, we’ve strived to take the high road. This campaign is going to be decided on issues, not dirt.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

Heff shuts the TV off. With him are Doc, Mark Simpson, Billy Long, and Sam.

Heff

Nobody cares about issues! Nobody has, noboby ever will! They care about money and they care about dirt.

Doc

There’s a whole change of attitude already on The Hill this morning. The Speaker has invited you to his prayer breakfast.

Sam

I’m not going.

Heff

Yes you are. We’ll write you a special prayer. We could use some prayer photos right now.

Billy (excited)

His arrest is going to change the entire focus of this thing. They’re all going to start doing stories about Noriega’s background. His allegations will be on the jump pages next to the hemorrhoid ads.

Page 96

Sam looks at her a beat and then looks away. He is the only one in the room who doesn’t look excited; he looks depressed.

Sam

Have we got the overnights yet?

Heff

Any minute.

Doc (excited)

They’re going to release him on bail this afternoon. There are going to be more reporters there than when that little girl fell in the well.

An aide comes into the room briskly, goes to Heff, gives him some sheets of paper.

Heff (grins)

All right, here we go!

He stares at the sheets of paper.

Sam (quietly)

They didn’t buy it, did they?

Heff looks at him a beat and then Heff suddenly whoops very loudly.

Heff (very excited)

Up eight! We’re only three back! It’s a dead heat! They bought it hook line and sinker! Hook! Line! And sinker!

He laughs.

Mark

Congratulations, Heff.

Billy (to Heff)

Nice going, Heff.

Heff (laughts)

They always buy it. They’re voters. They’re dumb.

Sam looks at him a long beat.

Sam (quietly)

They are not dumb. They’ve just been misguided too long by people like me. I told them I wouldn’t lie to them. That’s why they elected me. (a long beat) And I lied to them.

Page 97

He gets up wearily. He looks almost broken.

Sam (quietly)

I don’t deserve being here.

And he starts slowly, wearily from the room.

Heff (with a grin)

What – Jim Taylor deserves being here and we don’t?

Sam turns to him and looks at him a beat, then –

Sam (quietly)

Tom Jefferson deserved being here. Abe Lincoln deserved being here. FDR deserved being here… and Jack. (a beat) And I used to take great pride in the fact that maybe, just maybe, Sam Parr deserved being here… a little bit… too.

A beat, and he turns and goes out of the room.

INT. THE SITTING ROOM - THE WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

He sits alone on a couch’wearing an old robe, a drink in his hand. The TV is on. He is watching Tom Martin with Lacy Morrow.

Martin (to Lacy)

Lacy, we’ve got six days until the election – three before the final debate – what do you sense the mood to be out there?

Lacy

Well, I think there has been a real shift, Tom. People in this country like Sam Parr. They didn’t want to believe these scurrilous allegations to begin with. I think what you’re seeing is genuine affection for him, trust in him, overcoming these –

He shuts the set off and, almost in a daze, turns to the window, stares out. He sips his drink and, drink in hand he opens the glass door and steps out onto the patio. He buttons up his robe – it’s cold. He stands there, looking at the lights of Washington, D.C. A long beat.

A Familiar Voice (behind him)

Well, hell, Sam, I had problems keeping mine zipped, too.

Page 98

He turns. JOHN F. KENNEDY stands there in the shadows with that wonderful smile. Sam turns away from him. looks out at the lights. JFK stands next to him, partially hidden by the darkness and the shadows. A long beat, then –

JFK

It’s not a missile crisis, is it? It’s just a cow.

Sam (quietly)

I miss you, Jack. More than you’ll ever know.

JFK (after a beat)

It was a long time ago. more than twenty-five years.

Sam

It was the day before yesterday;

A long beat – they stand next to each other, both of them looking out at the lights of the city. They don’t look at each other as they talk.

JFK

I liked this old place. I had fun here.

Sam (after a beat)

Well, I’m not having any fun.

JFK

But that’s your fault, isn’t it, Sam? I’m not talking about your cow. You’ re letting them define the terms. The Sam that I knew set the terms and let it hit the wicker fan.

Sam (after a beat)

Lyndon came by and told me to keep on dropping the bombs.

JFK

Lyndon was an asshole. Was, is, and eternally will be. (after a beat) It could’ve been worse, Sam. You’re lucky Nixon’s alive. Imagine him coming back to see you.

They look at each other, smile, and Sam looks away again.

JFK (after a long beat)

Define the terms, Sam.

Page 99

Sam (after a long beat)

I’m getting old, Jack. I’m not sure I have it in me anymore.

JFK (after a long beat; quietly)

I never had much experience with age.

A long beat, as they stand there next to each other and say nothing.

Sam

Are you okay, Jack?

JFK (quietly, after a beat)

I miss everybody, Sam. More than they’ll ever know.

A long beat, as Sam stands there, staring ahead, the drink in his hand. It almost looks like there are tears in his eyes. He turns to JFK… and there is no one there.

A long beat, and he turns and goes back inside.

He goes to a telephone. He stands there a beat, then reaches down and dials.

Sam

Emily – did I wake you? - (a beat) I’m in the sitting room. (a beat) No, no, it’s nothing. I just wanted to ask you to come to the debate with me. (a beat) I know you always come. I just wanted to ask you to come. (a beat) Well, because it occurred to me that I hadn’t asked you to do anything in a long time. (a long beat) Goodnight, Emily.

And he hangs up, stands there a moment.

EXT. A TOWN HALL - NIGHT

Tom Martin is on the air, an old town hall that looks like it belongs in a different century lighted up behind him.

Page 100

Martin

The candidates arrived tonight for their final debate before the election, in the little town at Nashua, New Hampshire, in this old stone building that has been the town hall for one hundred and twenty-three years.

We see FILM FOOTAGE of Sam arriving with Emily; of Jim Taylor arriving with his wife. Sam looks spiritless, going through the motions.

Martin (V.O.)

The debate will begin as President Parr has taken a four-point lead over his Republican rival in what has been the most topsy-turvy race in Presidential political history.

INT. A DRESSING ROOM - NIGHT

Sam with Doc, Heff, and Emily. Emily is knitting. A makeup man is working on Sam.

Heff

Keep hitting away at the peace and prosperity issue. Drop in the Summit whenever you can. It’s pronounced Mos-coe, not Mos-cow. Stay cool, be Presidential, you’re above all of it.

Doc (hurt)

No he’s not! He’s a man of the people.

Heff

Of course he is. (to Sam) You’re above all of it, that’s our stance. Okay? You got it?

Sam looks at him a beat, nods.

Sam (quietly)

Could I ask you to leave me alone, please? I’d just like to… sit here a minute.

They look at him with concern, then at each other, then start heading out.

Sam

Would you mind… staying with me… Emily?

Page 101

Doc and Heff glance at each other. She looks at him evenly a beat.

Emily

If you like.

She sits back down. They leave. She continues her knitting. He just sits there. staring.

Sam (quietly)

Sometimes I wish I could… knit.

Emily

Maybe one day I’ll teach you.

Sam

No thank you.

They look at each other and then she continues her knitting.

Emily

Are you scared, Sam?

She looks up at him. A beat, and he nods.

Emily (a quiet smile)

I haven’t seen you scared since we… began.

A long beat, then –

Sam

What do you think I should say out there?

Emily

I’m not a politician.

She keeps knitting, doesn’t look at him.

Sam

That’s why I’m asking you.

She keep knitting, doesn’t look at him.

Emily

Well, you could probably go out there and be Presidential and you’d probably win.

Sam (after a beat)

I probably would.

She looks up at him.

Page 102

Emily

But you’d probably never be the same Sam Parr again, would you?

He looks at her. His face is deadpan. A long beat as he stares at her and she continues her knitting.

Emily (quietly)

You could try telling the truth.

She doesn’t look up at him when she says it.

Sam (after a beat)

They’d tar and feather me.

Emily

Maybe. You’d deserve it.

She doesn’t look up, keeps knitting, and then she looks at him and smiles.

Emily

Have you ever been tarred and feathered?

Sam looks at her, doesn’t get it.

Sam

What?

Emily (smiles)

Have you ever known anyone who’s been tarred and feathered – really tarred and feathered – not in the newspapers or on TV – but with real tar and feathers?

Sam (after a beat)

No. Why?

She goes back to her knitting. A long beat.

Emily

Wouldn’t it just wash off?

She looks up at him.

Emily

It might hurt, but it’s just tar and feathers – wouldn’t it just… eventually… wash off?

He looks at her a long beat and smiles slowly – it is a warm, private, deeply affectionate smile.

Page 103

INT. THE TOWN HALL STAGE - NIGHT

The town hall is filled – we see many of the politica1 faces here that we’ve seen before – the Cabinet members. General Woods, Crawford, etc. We can go to their facial reactions as we want.

Tom Martin is the moderator. A panel of news people face the candidates – among them is Lacy Morrow, looking very business-like. The candidates stand behind lecterns.

Sam looks downcast; Senator Taylor is buoyant.

Martin

Each candidate will have five minutes for his opening statement. Senator Taylor won the coin toss and has elected to begin. Senator Taylor.

Senator Taylor

I’m here to speak to you of a bygone America! An America without affirmative action! Without welfare! without bums in the streets! An America ready and willing to take care of itself.

INT. THE TOWN HALL - LATER

Senator Taylor

Let’s make this country the country of our forefathers once again! Let’s return to the old-time ethical standards! The morality that made this nation great!

There is VERY LOUD APPLAUSE; Taylor has looked great. Heff looks at Doc, winces.

Martin

President Parr.

Heff and Doc watch him with concern. A long beat, and he says nothing. FROM HIS POV, we see Lacy sitting there prim and proper. He looks at Lacy, then looks away from her. He looks at Emily and holds her eye a long beat.

Sam (quietly)

Holy cow.

Heff looks at Doc – his mouth drops open – he gapes. There is shock in the hall, TITTERS.

Page 104

Sam (loud)

Holy cow!

There is LAUGHTER now, movement –

Heff (to Doc, frantic)

He’s lost it – sweet shit, he’s lost it!

Doc (smiles)

You wanna bet?

Sam (hard)

He has the gall to talk about ethical standards and morality – this sanctimonious little jerkoff –

He points to Taylor, who gapes – the beginning of pandemonium in the hall, some reporters running for the doors – -

Sam

Who tried to blackmail me out of this race!

More people running about in the hall.

Senator Taylor (desperate)

That’s not true! That’s not true! He’s crazy!

Sam (hard)

Morality, he says. Well, I’m not going to be blackmailed!

Some APPLAUSE; other people speechless; reporters running about.

Sam

Yes, I diddled that cow!

Complete pandemonium. Emily smiles.

Sam

I diddled one when I was fourteen years old and I diddled one in the same barn last month, just like my dad and his dad did before, and a lot of men have diddled a lot worse than that cow, let me tell you.

Complete chaos in the hall.

Sam

Let me tell you something else. I lied to you.

Page 105

Things suddenly Start to settle down – people seem to be in shock.

Sam

I stonewalled… just like that pathetic… but I did something worse than that. I made a decision to frame Mr. Noriega and get him arrested for something he didn’t do.

Gapes – BOOS, NOISE from the crowd.

Sam (slowly)

And there is no excuse for that. I dishonored my office.

Heff is sitting on a chair with his head between his legs. It is quiet once again in the hall.

Sam (quietly)

I’ve got nothing else to say to you. It’s out in the open now. You know what I’ve done. When I came into office, I told you I wasn’t going to lie to you. And now I know one thing: when I go out, that’s still going to be true.

A beat, and he simply starts to walk away from the mike CHEERS and BOOS and pandemonium begin again. Then he turns back to Taylor, who looks like he is going to faint.

Sam

And you, sir, you can stay up here as long as they’re willing to listen to you. But I don’t even want to be in the same town with you.

More BOOS, APPLAUSE, pandemonium as he calmly walks offstage.

A SERIES OF QUICK CUTS

Newspaper headlines from across the country:

NORIEGA FRAMED

PRESIDENT ADMITS BESTIALITY

PSYCHODRANA IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

PRESIDENT: TAYLOR A “JERKOFF”

TAYLOR: PRESIDENT “CRACKERS”

NIXON PLANS COMEBACK

CUOMO CONSIDERS RUNNING

NORIEGA TO SUE GOVERNMENT

DON DOWN 123! MARKET CLOSES!

YELTSIN: PRESIDENT “NORMAL”

FIRST LADY: “I’M PROUD OF HIM”

PETE ROSE TO PREZ: “DON’T GIVE UP ON HALL OF FAME.”

Page 106

INT. A WHITE HOUSE MEETING ROOM - DAY

The room is crowded with cabinet people and White House people. Billy Long comes in.

Billy

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

Sam comes in to APPLAUSE. He stands in front of them. There are no reporters here.

Sam

It doesn’t look like I’m going to have a chance to make a victory statement this time out, so I just wanted to come by and thank you. Keep up the good fight. The difference between us and them is that we believe in being human and they don’t. We believe in human beings and they believe in something they call America and we call insensitivity.

Emily watches him – we see the pride in her eyes. Sam looks at Emily.

Sam (eyes on Emily)

If I let you down, forgive me. But I’m human, too.

A long beat as he and Emily look at each other.

INT. EBS ELECTION CENTRAL - DAY

Tom Martin sits in front of a lavish electronic set with no one in the b.g.

Martin

America votes today as the candidates went back to their hometowns –

We see FILM FOOTAGE of Taylor and of Sam –

Martin (V.O.)

Senator Taylor to Peoria, Illinois and President Parr to his brother’s farm in Denison, Iowa.

We see FOOTAGE of Sam arriving at the farm.

Martin (V.O.)

The Gallup Poll, meanwhile, showed a dramatic thirteen point lead for Senator Taylor amid rumors that he has already selected General Norman Schwarzkopf as his Secretary of Defense.

Page 107

We see a photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

INT. HIS BROTHER'S FARMHOUSE IN NEBRASKA - NIGHT

The room is big and jammed – Doc. Heff. Billy, Mark, Emily, Connie, Sam Jr., Sam Jr.’s kids, General Woods, Attorney General Carson. We hear no dialogue, see a series of faces. They don’t look happy.

INT. THE DEN

Sam sits in the small den wearing old clothes. Emily sits across from him on a couch, knitting.

Nothing is said a long beat – we hear NOISE from outside the room.

Sam

What are we going to do?

Emily (knitting)

We’ll take walks.

Sam

I hate walks.

We hear more NOISE outside.

Emily

We’ll take trips.

Sam

I hate flying.

From outside, we hear people chanting “FOUR MORE YEARS.”

Emily

I’ll teach you to knit.

Sam

Like hell you will.

She looks up at him; she smiles. He smiles slowly as the CHANTING gets LOUDER outside. Their eyes are on each other and he reaches over and holds her hand very gently and very slowly raises her hand to his lips and kisses it. We see the tears in her eyes and then the door SLAMS open very hard and Doc stands there as the CHANTING is very loud now.

Sam looks at Doc. Doc just stands there, unable to speak, a man in shock. Sam keeps holding Emily’s hand.

Doc (in a whisper)

We even won Wisconsin.

Page 108

He looks at Doc a beat, kisses Emily’s hand again and gets up and moves in a daze outside of the den.

INT. THE LIVING ROOM

As he steps through the door, lights are in his face, people are mobbing him.

There are CHEERS, hugs, pandemonium – all under bright TV lights.

Heff is there, leaping up and down with excitement.

Heff

We did it! We did it! Goddamn, we did it.

He hugs Sam; Sam backs away from the hug.

Sam

You’re fired, Heff.

Heff stands there, frozen, a statue, as others – Connie, Sam Jr. hug Sam – he backs away from this swirling melee as the Secret Servicemen form around him – and continues backing until he is out a side door.

EXT. TEE-PARMHOUSE

He leans against the backdoor in the darkness, catching his breath.

JFK's Voice

You okay, Sam?

Sam (after a beat)

I’m fine, Jack.

JFK's Voice

You told ‘em the truth, Sam. That’s what they wanted. That’s all they’ve ever wanted.

He leans against the door and closes his eyes a long beat, and then we hear a cow MOO and he opens his eyes.

A cow stands a few feet in front of him. It has ambled out of the barn.

He stares at the cow a long beat. The cow looks right at him and MOOS again.

Sam (gently)

You go on back there, Elsie. Get some sleep.

Page 109

The cow MOOS again, turns and, flipping her tail, sashays back toward the barn as we –

FADE OUT.

THE END