"Mr. President? Can I speak with you for a moment?"
"Sure you can. That'll be fifty thousand dollars, please."
"No Sir, I'm not one of your contributors. I'm part of the White House staff."
"Legal or kitchen?"
"Damn. I was hoping for a sandwich."
"I understand, Mr. President, but there's a problem we have to deal with first. There have been allegations that -"
"I never touched her!"
"No, I'm on the other legal staff."
"I never touched her either!"
"Sir, I'm part of the team that's defending your campaign contributions. People have begun questioning the ethics of using your office as a fund-raising platform."
"Oh, people don't question anything. Only the Republicans give a damn about what I do, and they're not really people - some of them are barely human. All real people care about is watching TV."
"Perhaps, but your fund-raising is what's on TV now. The press has hundreds of tapes, each showing shady money men greasing your palms in the Oval Office."
"But I haven't done anything illegal ... at least not recently."
"Legality is not the point. Just the mere appearance of impropriety could be damaging. It looks like the leader of the free world is peddling his influence."
"Who's the leader of the free world?"
"That would be you, sir."
"Influence? Me? But nobody ever does what I want: - not Congress, not the Supreme Court, no one. Hillary won't even let me change the channel when Leno comes on."
"So instead, you just give White House 'coffees' and collect checks."
"It's a good life, if a tad banal."
"But, Mr. President, it's unethical."
" It's politics. What did you expect?"
"Sir, you've got listen to-"
"No, you listen to me. I'm a politician, and politicians need TV ads, bumper stickers, mass mailings, spin teams and a whole lot of other stuff that doesn't grow on trees."
"You see, politics is a business like any other. We have to compete for attention. Nike's got Super Bowl ads, cigarettes have billboards and Pepsi has five Spice Girls. Five! And I, the leader of the free world, don't even have one.
Our country is just one big marketplace. How can I lead my people if I don't have the means to market myself? It's my duty to solicit contributions. I mean, if some Chinese want to give me $5 million, what could be more American?"
"That was inspiring, Mr. President."
"No, not really."
"Damn. And I majored in inspiration at Georgetown, too."
"I'm sorry, sir, but you've got to stop these fund-raising tactics before someone indicts you."
"No problem. Now, were you drinking regular or decaf?"
Ginsburg is a senior