A September 28 NewsBusters posting presciently forecast how “ABC's new Commander in Chief drama...clearly intends to make the conservative Republican 'House Speaker Nathan Templeton,' played by Donald Sutherland, the foil on the show revolving around Geena Davis as 'President Mackenzie Allen.'” On Tuesday's episode, the villainous Templeton has been told that “Special Assistant to the President Vince Taylor” is HIV-positive and he plans to reveal his health situation and to out him as gay, a move that so outrages Templeton's chief aide that she alerts the White House. Friends of the parents of “Kelly Ludlow,” Press Secretary to the independent President, then come to DC with a tape of a 16 millimeter film of a 1965 fund-raiser, featuring the future House Speaker, made by their father who recently died.
On the grainy black and white videotape of a smoke-filled room, Templeton contended that “segregation is the word of God” and railed about how “if the Lord Almighty wanted colored people to mix with whites...he wouldn't have placed them on separate continents.” Referring to the Supreme Court, the early Templeton argued that “nine men in Washington can't change natural law” and, bringing up the KKK, that “black robes are worse than white robes." Templeton then laughed. President Mackenzie calls Templeton to the Oval Office where he explains: “I was a young, Southern Democrat saying whatever I had to say to get elected." Showing him the video works, though, and he backs off his nefarious scheme to out Taylor.
Video of what ABC portrayed as the background of the conservative Republican politician, in Real or Windows Media. (Transcript follows as well as link to actor Donald Sutherland's recent rant against President Bush and the U.S.)
The show carried a “story by” credit for the Executive Producer of the program, TV veteran Steven Bochco.
Back in September, in an interview on the BBC, Sutherland delivered a tearful rant against President Bush and American conservatives: "We have children. How dare we take their legacy from them? How dare we? It's shameful what we are doing to our world.” Sutherland also charged that Bush and GOP leaders “only care about profit. They will destroy our lives. And so it's something you have to care about if you're passionate about the lives of our children because we've stolen their future.” For more, check this October 6 NewsBusters posting.
On the November 15 episode, Press Secretary Kelly Ludlow enters the Oval Office and explains what friends of her parents discovered in an attic:
“They found all these 16-millimeter films, which they had transferred to tape. This one has footage of Nathan Templeton at a private fund-raiser in 1965. You may want senior staff to see this.”
President Mackenzie gathers the senior staff and they watch on a TV the grainy black and white video tape of Templeton in a smoke-filled room:
“They're trying to make segregation a dirty word. But segregation is the word of God. If the Lord Almighty wanted colored people to mix with whites, to live with whites, to marry whites, he wouldn't have placed them on separate continents. Nine men in Washington can't change natural law. They can't change God's truth. I say black robes are worse than white robes.” (Templeton then laughed.)