As the State of the Union speech nears, the President ponders a lengthy list of prisoners eligible for pardon - but he must weigh the political implications of "the benign prerogative" - while Charlie befriends an attractive young woman and shares insider tidbits until he learns that she will begin the White House beat as a reporter.
Elsewhere, Toby takes the heartland's temperature by joining pollster Joey on a mall polling tour that could affect the language of the upcoming speech.
In addition, the First Lady vows to be more pro-active in influencing her husband while Bartlet entertains a Colorado couple whose fundraising efforts also include an impassioned plea.
original airdate--January 14,2004 rating--11.9 million
music--"West Wing Main Title" by W.G. Snuffy Walden