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Four Days in Denver

Baucus finds Dean huddling with the convention’s parliamentarian about when to start the fourth ballot. Baucus tells Dean both candidates have to get in a room alone and work this out. Dean explains what he’s just gone through, says it’s hopeless. Baucus has a plan: Tell Hillary I want to meet with her alone in this room in ten minutes to discuss endorsing her before the next ballot. Tell Barack the same thing. Dean says they’ll walk out as soon as they see each other. Baucus says: And leave an undecided superdelegate undecided? I don’t think so.

Hillary’s Secret Service bubble moves through the hallways of the convention hall, with her inside it. Barack’s flying wedge of Secret Service agents moves him off the convention floor toward the Baucus meeting. The Sharks and the Jets arrive at the holding room at the same time. Holy shit! Hillary and Barack both turn to leave, then Hillary turns back, thinking she can now go in there alone and get the Baucus endorsement. Then Barack turns back. They both turn away again and both turn back again. There’s an uncommitted superdelegate on the other side of that door. Neither candidate can let the other go in that room alone. They both enter, Barack holding the door for Hillary.

Barack (deferentially): Mr. Chairman.
Baucus: Thanks for coming.
Hillary: Max, I thought—
Baucus: It’s time for you two to work this out.
Baucus starts to leave. Hillary follows Baucus toward the door, then Barack follows Hillary. Baucus herds them back into the room.
Baucus: Listen up. Your health-care bill (shifts glance from one to the other) has to come through my committee. So does your tax bill, the changes you wanna make to NAFTA—I could go on and on. You walk out of here now, and one of you somehow makes it to the White House, I guarantee you you’re gonna have the worst first year ever. (Exits.)

Barack: Well, here we are … Hillary, I—
Hillary: You’re a better speaker than I am.
Barack (confused): Uh …
Hillary: Way better. Better than Bill. Best I’ve ever seen.
Barack: Uh, thank—

Hillary: When you go out there and accept the nomination, it’s gonna be the best speech of this convention, no question about it. (beat) Even if you’re accepting the nomination for vice-president. You’re gonna be the rock star on the ticket no matter what I do.
Barack: I don’t want to be VP.
Hillary: The way we’re going, you probably won’t have to be. McCain’s ahead of both of us in the polls now. If we lose, you’re the front-runner for the nomination to run against McCain four years from now, and you know that would be an impossible race to lose.
Barack: If we win—
Hillary: You’re the front-runner for the nomination eight years from now, when you’re what? Fifty-four? And you’ve got VP experience to run on.
Barack: Lotta good that did Al Gore.
Hillary: Look, if you run at the top of the ticket and lose to McCain, that’s it. End of story. You will never have another chance. Ask John Kerry how easy it is to get the nomination again.
Barack: So, I’d be your VP and Bill would be what? Your executive vice-president?
Hillary: Don’t worry about Bill.
Barack: I’d worry about him a lot less if he was my VP’s husband.
Hillary: I don’t want to be VP.
Barack: Been there, done that?
Hillary: Kinda, yeah. And I learned a lot.
Barack smiles—here we go with the Hillary’s-experience bullshit.
Hillary: Talk to Al Gore about what he learned as VP.
Barack: I think he learned it’s a dead end.
Hillary: You don’t—
Barack: Hillary, I care about two things exactly as much as you do: the party and getting the nomination.
Hillary: You mean you don’t give a shit about the party and you’d kill to get the nomination?
Barack (smiles): You wearing a wire? (beat) You know, all that ugly ink you’ve been getting all summer about destroying the party, handing the election to McCain—there’s only one person who can make that go away. Me. That brilliant acceptance speech you’re expecting me to give can put you back where you belong—hero of the Democratic Party—can put your husband back where he belongs—respected statesman. Nothing else can.
Hillary: Winning can.
Barack: If you got the nomination, you’d lose to McCain and the Clintons become the official destroyers of the Democratic Party. End of story. Have fun in the Senate after that.
Hillary: C’mon, I can beat McCain. I can—
Barack: Hillary, your negative is at 49 percent. You have the highest negative of anyone who’s ever run. You cannot possibly win in November.