David Palmer administration
|Played by:||Timothy Carhart|
|First episode:||"Day 2: 8:00am-9:00am"|
|Last episode:||"Day 2: 11:00am-12:00pm"|
Rayburn was at Northwest Regional Operations Complex when David Palmer arrived, and told him that he might not be able to make some of the commitments he wanted to because of the gravity of the terrorist threat. Rayburn said that there were representatives from all branches of the military as well as FBI and CIA, and that Mike Novick was on a plane heading towards them. As Palmer arrived in the sub-basement of the Complex, Rayburn began the conference with all the heads of the military by stating that there was a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists on U.S. soil in Los Angeles. He said that the intel had been triple-sourced. Rayburn brought up images that Lynne Kresge recognised as being from the Valentine's Day bombing on the West Bank. Terrorist Mamud Rasheed Faheen was supposedly killed in the attacks but he had been spotted five days before and an associate - Jason Park - confessed that Faheen had a nuclear bomb and planned to use it. He explained that Faheen was led by a splinter group called Second Wave who were unofficially supported by Afghanistan. Palmer demanded to speak to their Prime Minister, but the prime minister denied any affiliation with the group ("8:00am-9:00am").
After the call, Palmer talked with Rayburn who insisted that Palmer should involve the Pentagon to discuss retaliation. Palmer said that he was unsure if the Middle Eastern prime minister he spoke to - as well as his government was responsible for the threat. Eric Rayburn suggested that Palmer call Jack Bauer, as CTU had been unable to reach him and he might be helpful in the situation. Palmer agreed, and convinced Jack to go into CTU. Rayburn gave another conference to Palmer and the chiefs, saying that casualties could reach up to 14,000 if it is a dirty bomb. Palmer asked for the worst case scenario: Rayburn gave an example of a stolen Soviet nuclear warhead which a properly configured trigger that was detonated 500 feet above the city, which could result in 100 square miles being instantly irradiated, as well as around two and a half million casualties and global repercussions which could last up to five years. Rayburn pushed for military action, but Palmer said that it was too soon. He adjourned the meeting. However, Rayburn set up a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff despite Palmer's wishes. When Palmer confronted him about this, Rayburn said he did it in case Palmer changed his mind, but the President angrily told him that he did not want his own people second guessing and working against him on a day like today ("8:00am-9:00am").
Lynne told Palmer that the press had begun to ask questions, and wanted to know why he cut his fishing trip short. Palmer agreed to deal with it. Rayburn questioned why Palmer would take time out to "coddle" the media rather than dealing with the situation, and Palmer reminded him of the seriousness of mass hysteria. Palmer approached Rayburn later on and asked if they had progressed with finding a suspected. Rayburn said it was too soon. Palmer reminded him that the bomb could go off at any moment, but Rayburn said that he was not sure they would be able to stop it. He suggested that Palmer spent some time deciding what to do if the bomb did go off. He reiterated his idea that Palmer should talk to the Pentagon. Palmer understood his opinion and left for his office ("9:00am-10:00am").
Lynne went to Rayburn with intel from Jack Bauer about an upcoming attack by Joseph Wald's crew on CTU Los Angeles. Rayburn understood that the terrorists wanted to cripple CTU's investigation to divert attention away from the main attack. However, he was resistant to tell CTU about the attack because it would blow Jack's cover. Lynne said that it was the President's decision, but Rayburn reminded her that he was busy with the media. While the President was away, he told her that it was his call. She stormed away in frustration with his decision ("10:00am-11:00am").
When the President finally arrived in the O.C., Lynne tried to approach him. Before she could do so, Rayburn stopped her, and she deduced that he was the one who told Jenny to keep the President away from her. He tried to justify his choice, and told her that it was too late. Lynne thought otherwise. She tried to walk away, but Rayburn held her by the arm and said that she would not want him for an enemy. Palmer noticed the altercation, and asked what was going on. Lynne explained about Jack's call and the threat to CTU. Palmer questioned why CTU had not been contacted, and Rayburn tried to justify himself by saying that the only losses would be "infrastructure and personnel." Palmer said that was unacceptable, and told Lynne to contact CTU. Rayburn told Palmer that he felt he was making a mistake, and the President walked away. Several moments later, Rayburn told Palmer that they were too late and CTU had been hit ("10:00am-11:00am").
Rayburn told Palmer that they did everything they could to help CTU. Palmer — still not knowing that Jack had called forty minutes before the attack — wished that Jack had called a few minutes earlier so they could have saved the CTU employees. Rayburn suggests going over his evacuation plan. Palmer told Rayburn that he would call when he was ready to meet about the plan. After the meeting, Lynne approached Rayburn and blamed him for the death of the people at CTU. Rayburn suggested that she could have told the President, but she rebuked that Rayburn had blocked all of her efforts to warn Palmer. Rayburn told her that Lynne had been the one who spoke to Jack, and said that he was protecting the President. He left, leaving Lynne under the impression that Rayburn had bribed her to keep quiet about the attack ("11:00am-12:00pm").
Lynne, Palmer, Rayburn, and other officials in the O.C. watched a CNB news report by a field reporter who stated that not much was known about the attack besides that it was on a government building. He said that early speculation suggested towards terrorist involvement. Rayburn used the attack in favor of his evacuation plan, but Lynne said that the evacuation itself would cause panic, which Rayburn listed as one of the things that could be avoided through his strategy. He countered that it could be done in stages discreetly, but Lynne did not understand how they could discreetly move nine million people. Rayburn said that General Preston assured military backing to contain civilian unrest. Lynne reminded everyone that intel suggested the attack would occur on that day, but Rayburn's plan needed a week for evacuation. Rayburn said he could only protect a certain number of people in the timeframe given, and he considered it a "win" if he could get twenty percent of the population out of the city. Lynne argued that they did not even know the location of the bomb, so they did not have a fair location to start the evacuation. Rayburn tried to show ten high probability target areas, but Palmer said that he was uncomfortable with the plan. Rayburn said that it would protect Palmer politically, but Palmer told Rayburn that if the bomb did go off, re-election was not his greatest concern. Palmer announced across the table that until there was good evidence about the location of the bomb, he refused to evacuate the city. Rayburn looked displeased ("11:00am-12:00pm").
After Lynne told Palmer that she and Rayburn knew of the threat to CTU thirty minutes before the attack, Palmer had Agent John and another agent escort Rayburn into his office so he could fire him. Rayburn tried to justify his decision, but Palmer told Secret Service to take him away, and told Rayburn that Agent Armus was waiting to speak with him ("11:00am-12:00pm"). Rayburn's boss, Roger Stanton, quickly took Rayburn's former place at Palmer's side ("12:00pm-1:00pm").
- President Palmer: Why is there a conference call set up to the Joint Chiefs?
- Eric Rayburn: Oh, uh, I put that in place in case you changed your mind. ("Day 2: 8:00am-9:00am")
- Eric Rayburn: Sir, we have a serious situation here, and taking time out to coddle the media -
- President Palmer: What you don't get, Eric, is that once the rumor mill starts, then we've got two problems. The last thing we need is mass hysteria. ("Day 2: 9:00am-10:00am")
- Eric Rayburn: What can I say, Mr. President? I've never been sanguine about our chances of stopping it, not with just a few hours warning. ("Day 2: 9:00am-10:00am")
Background information and notes
- Though Rayburn answered to Roger Stanton, who was the mastermind of the Coral Snake conspiracy, no link between Rayburn and Stanton's conspiracy was affirmed.