Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox,
Anna Deavere Smith, Samantha Mathis, Shawna Waldron, David Paymer, Anne
Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas), an unabashedly liberal Democrat, is
just gearing up for re-election when he meets an attractive and sharp
environmental lobbyist named Sydney Wade (Annette Bening).
Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) is introduced as an immensely popular
Democratic president from the state of Wisconsin preparing to run for
re-election with a 63% approval rating. The President and his staff,
led by Chief of Staff A.J. MacInerney (Martin Sheen), attempt to
consolidate the administration's high poll ratings by passing a
moderate crime control bill. However, support for the bill from both
parties is not very strong. Conservatives and Republicans don't want
the bill at all, and liberals and Democrats think the bill is too weak.
If the bill passes, Shepherd's re-election is presumed by his team to
be a shoo-in.