*Ehrmmm... eep... ehrmmm... eep...* The printer in the Bullpen chirped over the TV.
"This is The Capital Beat with Mark Gottfried. Tonight from the right, Republican Political Analyst Ainsley Hayes, and from the left, White House Senior Advisor Sam Seaborn with Chris Eisen at the Pentagon, and Marjorie Clarke in New York." The news broadcaster announced as the panelists' headshots flashed on the screen.
*Ehmmkkkkk deep... ehrmmmkkk deep...* 'Huh that's weird.' A blonde woman furrowed her brow at the printer from her desk.
"DONNA!" A man's voice bellowed from one of the offices.
"Don't shout." She replied.
*Eeekkkkk feep deep feep deep... eeekkkk feep deep feep deep...*
Donna marched over and opened his office door. "How many times have I told you not to shout?" She stared down a smug, arrogant auburn haired man.
"Anyway, Sam's about to go on Capital Beat, if you wanna come watch."
*Eeekkkkk feep deep derp ... Eeekkkkk feep deep derp...*
"I was just gonna ask you about that."
'Josh, Josh, Josh, Josh. What would you do without me?' “Way aheada you, my friend." He followed her out to the Bullpen.
"Aimsley Hayes? Who's that?" Josh asked as he sat on the edge of the desk with his hands in his pockets.
*Eeeeekkkk feep deek derp... Eeeeekkkkk feep deek derp...*
"She writes op-eds. I don't agree with her on many issues, but she's a gifted and brilliant writer. Her gift of prose rivals Sam' and Toby's." Donna glanced at the printer.
Mark opened with, "Good evening. Before we get to Chris and Marjorie tonight on the Capital Beat, the House is expected to vote next week on President Bartlet's one point five billion dollar education package. Sam Seaborn, why is this bill better than its Republican counterpart that the President vetoed last year?"
Sam's perfect teeth flashed a smug smile against the White House backdrop. "Because it buys things the teachers need, like textbooks. In a fairly comprehensive study that was done, an alarmingly high number of teachers - forty percent of teachers in Kirkwood, Oregon, for instance, and Kirkwood, Oregon being a fair model for public school districts across the country - forty percent of the teachers in Kirkwood, Oregon report not having sufficient textbooks for their students. The package offered by the Republican-controlled Congress offered a grand total of zero dollars for new textbooks."
Josh clapped. "That's my boy, Sam!"
*Eeeekkkk feep deek derp-derp ... Eeekkkkk feep deek derp-derp...*
Donna walked to over to the printer as Mark turned to Ainsley. "Ainsley Hayes? Is that true?"
”No, it's not." Ainsley responded as she jotted down notes.
'Oh, this will be good.' Donna hoped to see an intelligent woman put Sam in his place.
'Oh little girl, I thought I told you not to overreach and to stick with the talking points.' Mark thought as he looked at Ainsley with her french vanilla ice cream blond hair that trailed to the floor. "Is Sam Seaborn lying?"
"Lying's an awfully strong word." Ainsley said as Donna unplugged the printer.
”Do you...?" Mark started to ask.
Ainsley's gaze shattered Sam's confidence. "Yes, he's lying."
”And we should tell the truth about education."
"Well, if you're gonna call..." Sam mumbled.
"The bill contained plenty of money for new textbooks. Also computer literacy, school safety, physical plants. The difference is we wanted to give the money directly to communities and let them decide how best to spend it, on the off-chance that the needs of Lincoln High in Dayton are different from the needs of Crenshaw High in South Central L.A."
Josh ran to Toby's office. "Toby. Come quick! Sam's getting his ass kicked by a girl!" He beamed and then ran back.
Toby leapt to his feet. "Ginger, get the popcorn!" He said to a red-headed woman with a big smile on his face.
Mark addressed Sam. "Sam, why did the President veto the bill?"
"Because it guaranteed by law that ninety-five percent of the money goes directly into the classroom and bypassed the pork-barrel buffet, which is troubling to this President because he doesn't work for the students..." Ainsley clarified.
”Well, that's just..." Sam blundered.
Ainsley leaned forward. "….and he doesn't work for the parents of the students. …. He works for the teacher's union."
"The difference with the old..." Sam attempted to counter Ainsley.
”The bill contains plenty of money for textbooks, Mark, and anyone who says otherwise is flat-out lying. And we should tell the truth about textbooks. Textbooks are important, if for no other reason than they'd accurately place the town of Kirkwood in California and not in Oregon." Ainsley said.
”And we're in business. We'll be back with more Capital Beat after this." Mark said.