'Last Man Standing': Vanessa Baxter Makes Major Decision in Political Campaign

On this week's episode of Last Man Standing, Vanessa Baxter finally got her state assembly campaign up and running after getting some conflicting advice from husband Mike and friend Carol Larabee. She not only had to make big policy decisions in "Break Out the Campaign," but she also had to pick her campaign manager. In the end, she realized the best person to write her campaign announcement speech was herself.

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(Photo: Michael Becker/Fox)

At the beginning of the episode, Mike (Tim Allen) found Vanessa (Nancy Travis) practicing her campaign announcement speech. She was struggling and realized she needed a campaign manager. Carol (guest star Tisha Campbell) agreed to take the job, but Mike could not stop chiming in with advice. Vanessa invited him to listen in on their brainstorming session and disagreed with every suggestion Carol came up with. Carol wanted to pitch Vanessa as a tough candidate, but Mike thought she take a softer approach.

"This is Vanessa we're talking about, not some sharp-elbowed broad from the roller derby," Mike said.

Carol insisted Vanessa needed to show people she was prepared to play politics.

However, Vanessa eventually agreed with Mike and fired Carol. "Good, because she was dead weight," he told her.

Vanessa decided to take advantage of Mike's marketing skills combined with what he knows about her personality. He would sell her as a kind candidate and had some ideas for her speech. Vanessa just had a few ground rules.

"Just no references to Reagan, or Elway... or that orangutan from the Clint Eastwood movie," Vanessa said.

"You took all the colors off my palate!" Mike said as Vanessa left the Outdoor Man office.

Later, Mike offered his ideas for the speech. Vanessa and Jen (Krista Marie Yu) joined forces to make some changes on the speech. Mike was surprised by this, but Vanessa explained she needed to find a tone that works for her. He decided to move on though to make up slogans. He tried out "Baxter: Better Schools for a Better Tomorrow" and "Baxter: Putting Students First." Vanessa suggested "Baxter: She understands the real needs of Colorado's teachers and students, many of which are the results of chronic underfunding."

"The issues are just way more complex and my ideas are too nuanced to fit onto a bumper," Vanessa told Mike.

"Mr. Baxter: Back to the drawing board," Jen chimed in.

Since this whole brainstorming session did not go well either, Vanessa fired Mike from her campaign.

Later on, Vanessa found Mike and Carol having a "reunion" of fired campaign managers in the kitchen. She explained she knows what she wants to say, she just doesn't know how to say it.

"Do what I do," Mike said. "Just open your mouth and stuff comes out."

Vanessa explained she was worried the first impressions her speech would leave behind. So Mike and Carol suggested she just speak her mind when announcing her candidacy.

At the high school, Vanessa freaked out and started questioning the speech she wrote. Her worries were interrupted when Jen told Vanessa she was so proud of her for running for office, since that is impossible in her home country. This gave Vanessa a last-second boost of confidence before she made her speech.

The speech did not go well at first when Vanessa tried to read from her notes. She put the cards down and then spoke form the heart.

"Look, do I have all the answers? I can't promise you that, but I will listen to you and I will work with you and I will do everything I can do to find those answers," Vanessa told the gathered crowd. "That I can promise you. So I am here today to ask you to please help me start this process. Because our kids are worth it. That's why I want to run for State Assembly. Hello, my name is Vanessa Baxter."


New episodes of Last Man Standing air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

Photo credit: Michael Becker/Fox