501 7A WF 83429 512 Slow News Day
502 The Dogs Of War 513 The Warfare of Genghis Khan
503 Jefferson Lives 514 An Khe
504 Han 515 Full Disclosure
505 Constituency Of One 516 Eppur Si Muove
506 Disaster Relief 517 The Supremes
507 Separation Of Powers 518 Access
508 Shutdown 519 Talking Points
509 Abu el Banat 520 No Exit
510 The Stormy Present 521 Gaza
511 The Benign Prerogative 522 Memorial Day

7A WF 83429

President Walken: "If Zoey Bartlet turns up dead, I'm going to blow the hell out of something, and God only knows what happens next."

Bartlet: "So what's Walken going to do? Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war?"
Leo: "I'm really not at liberty to discuss that with you, sir."

Democrat Speaker: "You've elevated Walken and the Republicans. You've made them genuine players on the world stage."
Leo: "I didn't elevate them. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 did. And I'm not prepared to think about politics when we're under terrorist attack. The Republic comes first."

Larry: "If the economy is heading into a recession--"
Josh: "No, no, no. We don't ever use that word around here."
Ed: "What word? Recession? ...What should we call it then?"
Josh: "I don't care. Call it a boat show or a beer garden or a bagel."
Larry: "So if it is a... bagel, the Fed thinks it's gonna be a mild bagel."


Ryan: "Do you guys always walk so fast?"
Josh: "Yes"

Josh: "You're campaigning in the middle of a national tragedy...."
Atwood: "You don't get it, do you? The Republicans are in awe of Bartlet. He recused himself in the only way he could. In the way envisioned by the Constitution... The whole notion of the 25th Amendment is that the institution matters more than the man. Bartlet's decision was even more self-sacrificing because he willingly gave power to his opposition... We'd seem callous and unfeeling. In contrast to Bartlet's extraordinary gesture of courage and patriotism."

Bartlet: "It's about our allowing situations in these countries to develop in the first place... We choose the order and certainty of petty despots over the uncertainty and chaos of developing democracies."


CJ: "Smart offense."
Will: "Error-free ball."
Josh: "Knock yourselves out, but he's a slam dunk."
Toby: "Okay, that's one too many sports metaphors."

Zoe: "My dad loves Fourth of July stuff. Like Jefferson and Adams dying on the same day."
Charlie: "Adams thought Jefferson had survived him and 'Jefferson Lives' were his last words."

Will: "Diane Frost is a serious name."
Josh: "Diane is a serious loon of the left."
Toby: "I love Diane Frost. I'd marry Diane Frost if I were a member of her stated sexual preference, but Diane is the definition of unelectable."

Will: "Who is Robert Russell?"
Josh: "He's the Congressman from Western Colorado, and I don't mean the state, I mean the mining company."
Toby: "Bob Russell is not presidential."
CJ: "...Is he Bingo Bob?"

Will: "We're having trouble with the Democrats."
CJ: "Wow, along with the Republicans. That's kind of everyone."

Russell: "I'm sure that my name came up because some see me as the bland candidate. Nobody's nightmare. The triumph of mediocrity. If I were to take the job, I'd mean to confound those expectations, and I'd want you to know that."


CJ: "What's your point?"
Barrow: "That I know more about this you do."

Will: "The President wants more altitude. I'm having conscience issues."
Toby: "Well, I'm sure you've had to say things you haven't meant before. You've read friend's poetry, had girlfriends... just hold your nose and hype him."

CJ: "Do any of us know the price of milk?"

Toby: "In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising, it gives me great nausea to announce Robert Russell - Bingo Bob, himself - as your new Vice President."
Will: "This lapdog of the mining interests is as dull as he is unremarkable..."
Toby: "...as lackluster as he is soporific. This reversion to the mean..."
Will: "...this rebuke to the exemplary..."
Toby: "...gives hope to the millions unfavored by the exceptional... Bob Russell: not the worst, not the best, just what we're stuck with."

Russell: "I know my public profile, my political persona. I'm just glad to see there's such a keen awareness of the scale of the job you've all got ahead of you. I'm part of the team now, which makes all this pretty much your problem. Good luck with it."


Will: "I need to see my bed, I'm thinking of carrying a picture of it on my wallet."

Russell: "I'm playing with a handicap... the spare tyre on the automobile of government."

Donna (to Josh): "Your birthday is not for you, it's for the rest of us."

Leo: "He's a Democrat from Idaho. They use Democrats for target practice up there. Sometimes he's got to lean to the right."

Toby: "Where's our hundred days? Where's our Great Society? Where's our New Frontier? Somebody's got to do what we came here to do."

Josh: "You're leaving the party because of me?"
Carrick: "I'm not leaving the party because of you - but you made it a whole lot easier."


Donna: "Schadenfreude?"
CJ: "You know, enjoying the suffering of others. The whole rationale behind the House of Representatives."

Josh: "I feel good. I have my health, I have central air... in the hierarchy of pain and suffering, I really can't complain. I mean, I will."

Donna: "Sam wanted me to remind you: You gotta roll with the punches."
Josh: "Do people keep cliche thesauruses around for times like this?"

Leo: "Anything new on Carrick?"
Josh: "Yeah, he's a Republican."

Leo: "Nobody's happy you lost Carrick, but we're all about moving forward and we can't do that without you. I do, however, have to take you out to the wood shed and whack you with a two-by-four."
Josh: "...Whack away."

CJ: "We need to go back now. I told Leo we'd only be here a few hours. He needs you to meet with Singer and the Blue Dogs. The Chancellor is waiting and there's something about a war between ancient civilizations."
Bartlet: "These people need me."
CJ: "No, sir, they don't. Maybe they did yesterday. But now they need their town back. They need their police officers working, not clearing intersections for your motorcade. They need the 50 motel rooms we took last night for people who lost their homes."

Donna: "All the stuff we never have time for. Stuff we thought we'd fix when we got here but never did. Foreign adoption policies. Hybrid energy partnerships. Extending the roadless conservation plan.... Funding special education for kids with disabilities. Ammunition control: 'What's a gun without bullets?' A 21st centrury Teachers Corps..."


Toby: "It's time to get Ashland off the bench, Leo."
Will: "There's this thing called the Constitution. It's a nagging little document, I'll grant you, but..."

Josh: "Haffley's not Prime Minister. You take this to the president, you know what he'll say?"
Leo: "He'll say yes."
Josh: "How can you say that?"
Leo: "To keep the lights on. To make sure a couple of million government employees keep getting paid. It's two more months."
Josh:"This isn't governing, it's duck and cover."
Leo: "He'll say that, too."

Chief Justice Ashland: "I think it's time we called each other by our first names Joe."

Ashland: "Its all compromises, now. The ones who have no record of scholarship; no body of opinions, nothing you can hold them to. That's who they'll confirm. Raging mediocrities... I have good days and bad. But on my worst days, I am better than the amped-up ambulance chasers you could get confirmed by this Senate. You can't do it, Jed. You're not strong enough. The Speaker's running the table and I can't take a chance."


Donna: "There's no agreement."
Josh: "How far apart are we?"
Donna: "They're leaving the building."

Leo: "Don't go out there again until morning."
CJ: "Okay, but the enemy's advancing and you had better give me more than a squirt gun before the sun comes up."

Leo: "It's not always enough to be right sir... you're putting all our chips down on a single hand we can't win."

Russell: "If you want to blame someone, blame James Madison."

Haffley: "We could give ever student in America $10,000 a year, but instead we fund the Department of Education."

Bartlet: "Well, I'm not going to negotiate with anyone who holds a gun to my head. We had a deal. I don't care if my approval ratings drop into single digits. I am the President of the United States, and I will leave the government shut down until we come to an equitable agreement."


Donna: "There are pages turned down with Post-its to tell you which of your relatives the gifts are for. If you're happy with the choices you should initial at the X. If you're not happy with the choices, you should remember how this goes when you try to do this yourself."
Josh: "I like the polar fleece stuff."
Donna: "Who's in charge of shopping?"
Josh: "You are."

Leo (to Josh): "You have to go back and tell him no. In no uncertain terms. Draw a picture if you need it. A ballot in a circle with a line through it."

Abbey (to Jed): "You're a bright guy, and that's a stupid question."

Elizabeth Bartlet: "We're a good team. We have different strengths, skills. He has skills you've never even bothered..."
Jed: "He's a great guy and a fantastic father. You're the politician. Why the hell don't you run?"

Josh: "Who's that for? You picked your own gift?"
Donna: "I'm in charge of shopping."
Josh: "I got your gift."
Donna: "No, you didn't. Three weeks in advance?"
Josh: "I saw it Thanksgiving. I got it."
Donna: "No, you didn't. What is it?"
Josh: "I'm not telling you."


Toby: "I've been walking up and down these aisles looking at these old men, these great and terrible old men, and thinking: prosperous, free and democratic Saudi Arabia - something to wish for. But the men on this plane spent the better part of the late 20th century trying to play God in other countries. And the regimes they anointed are the ones that haunt us today. Yeah, I'm not making much progress with the eulogy."


Charlie: "Are you the devil?"
Angela: "It's folks that act like angels that I worry about."


Toby: "More college kids think they'll see UFOs than Social Security cheques."

Will: "Russell's instinct is to make fun of his blandness, salt his speeches with self-deprecating jokes."
Josh: "Such as?"
Will: "'Bob Russell is so dull, his Secret Service code name is Bob Russell.'"

Toby warns Rina: "Tell anyone what you're doing or what the topic is, become any more likeable before this project is over--"

Senator Gaines: "Either you're lying, or the left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing."

Donna (to Rina): "I was tired of everyone dressing the same, anyway."

Bartlet: "I'm the one who's accountable. Not in the morning papers... but in fifty, a hundred years, when Tuesday's poll samples have crumbled into dust."


Josh: "What I know is politics, public perception. And the image of NASA is not good. Telescopes launched that can't focus, planetary probes that crashed because engineers mixed up metres and feet. The only time NASA makes the front page anymore is when something goes wrong. You need to get off the front page. This administration only has one space priority: that you guys stop screwing up."

Josh (later): "I prepare even for meetings I don't want to go to. I wasn't improvising."

Donna: "Would you be going if she weren't attractive?"
Josh: "We'll never know."

Leo: "My generation never got the future it was promised... Thirty-five years later, cars, air travel is exactly the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped."
Josh: "The personal computer..."
Leo: "...Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon?"

Bartlet: "Your argument boils down to asking that the world trust you."
Israeli PM: "As does America's."

Toby: "The fate of the world just hung on a Bingo Bob brainstorm... we need a better plan."


Kenny O'Neill: "And no arguments about being too busy saving the world for democracy."
Leo: "Saving it from democracy is what it feels like."

Barrow: "We can't go get them. Sending a retrieval team into North Korea will be seen as an act of war."
Leo: "We're still at war with North Korea. We've never signed an armistice."

Josh: "How's she doing?"
Toby: ""I think the Christians did a little better with the lions."

CJ: "Health care reform! From a guy who's still on the fence about the application of leeches!"

Leo: "We were out in the jungle for three days. Kenny carried me on his back, hid me under piles of leaves while he went to find us water. I was delerious. I lost a lot of blood. He coulda left me, he shoulda left me. He never did. We found a clearing where we could send up a flare, and a couple hours later these two Hueys show up taking all kind of AK fire. Men died for us. We had a responsibility to live our lives with integrity and honesty to honour their sacrifice."

Bartlet: "Corruption of the best is the worst."


Toby (to Ed & Larry): "This meeting's about politics. Facts won't help."

Will (to Josh): "The Vice President would like to urge you not to close any bases in states with more than one electoral vote."


CJ: "I'd pretty much do anything to avoid using 'Mr. President' and 'your daughter' in the same sentence."


Toby: "I'd be yelling too."

Leo: "I've got ten bukcs says you're banging your head against a wall."
Josh: "Twenty."

Abby: "Would you like me to do interviews with the Press Corps?"
CJ: "God, no. They're the most cynical bastards on the planet. You need to get beyond the Washington echo chamber and speak right to the people... Give a Muppet a check up. Get your message out."

Charlie: "I'm crazy for Muppets, I'm just trying to act cool."


Josh: "Lang? Isn't she a lefty?"
Leo: "Yes. We want the left flank sufficiently mollified and the right flank sufficiently panicked so as to inspire a little conciliation on all flanks."

Shelton: "There are moderates who are called that because they're not activists. And there are moderates that are called that because sometimes they wind up on the left and sometimes on the right... My allegiance to the eccentricities of a case will reliably outweigh my allegiance to any position."

Lang (stunning Josh and Toby): "Can I get some water while you regroup?"

Toby: "Shelton's not bright enough for you?"
Josh: "I want more than bright. If we had a bench full of moderates in '54, Separate but Equal would still be on the books..."
Toby: "Moderate means temperate. It means responsible. It means thoughtful."
Josh: "It means cautious. It means unimaginative."

Ashland (to Josh and Toby): "Who let them in? Carrier pigeons?"

Donna: "Omigod! You're putting my mom's cats on the Supreme Court."

Donna: "Is Lang still in there? ...She has to leave. Her evil twin is on the way."

Bartlet (about Mulready): "You like him?"
Toby: "I hate him! I hate him, but he's brilliant."

Mulready: "They can't put me on the Court. Just like you can't put Evelyn Lang on the court. It's Sheltons from now on."


CJ: "You begin every day juggling a very precise schedule which completely, completely falls apart mid-morning."


Josh: "How'd you become a free-trader?"
Will: "America has a quarter of the world's wealth and only two percent of the customers. You have to sell to others.... Keep out cheap foreign drill-bits and that country will keep out cheap American something-else and that costs us jobs.... You have to go with what grows the economy... So, how did you become a free-trader?"
Josh: "I came to work for one."


Debbie (to Jed): "For an Anglo Saxon, you were darn funny."

Toby: "He's a featherweight who only looks like a lightweight because he's got you propping him up."
Will: "He's the heir apparent."
Toby: "Don't say 'heir apparent' when we have men in moon suits hermetically sealing the Oval. This is Russell's only shot... A night like this."

CJ: "If he was giving you every opportunity, you'd have grown out of this job three years ago. Can't blame him, he's never going to find anyone as capable as you. I wouldn't give you up either."
Donna: "It's the White House."
CJ: "It's not the White House. It's him."

Leo (to Abby): "You couldn't find a nuce baby seal campaign?"

Debbie: "My immune system sees harmless ragweed pollen as poison."

Toby: "What you wrote for Russell tonight was profoundly disturbing."
Will: "Because he upstaged the President."
Toby: "Because he might win... It never for a second before crossed my mind but you keep this up and he may win."
Will: "Thanks."
Toby: "That's not a compliment. You need to get the hell out of there. You're grooming this clown for a victory and then what?"

Josh (to Kate): "You're not a spy in a Ukrainian nuclear laboratory anymore."


Fitzwallace: "After 50 years one option would be to get over it."

CJ: "We need a policy. Hoping no one would notice seems to have run its course."

Settler: "This is the safest environment..."
Settler: "In Jerusalem if you see an Arab you don't know - here if you see one you know he is dangerous."

Israeli Soldier: "Nothing I will ever do is more important."

Bartlet: "I promise that those responsible will be brought to justice."
Gail Fitzwallace: "Don't promise that. I know the world."


Bartlet: "'Tyranny of terror'? 'Deathmongers'? What is this, Tolkien?"

Israeli Ambassador: "Mr. President, we received information on the whereabouts of a man responsible for the repeated killing of our citizens. We had the specific location and little time. Would you have done any differently?"

General (to Bartlet): "Woodrow Wilson didn't know a battalion from a battery when he took office... Admiral Fitzwallace thought you might find it... reassuring."

Leo: "Today's priority is not world peace."

Leo (about Josh): "A domestic political aide who refers to Italy as 'the one with the boot'".

Kate: "If someone wanted you dead, you'd be dead already."
Josh: "Yeah, that's not reassuring."


As it turns out, the Republicans are pleased as punch about this trade deal, because they are West Wing Republicans, and thus don't care about lost jobs or constituents or anything like that, and secretly throw parties every time the rich get an opportunity to screw the poor. Oh, to live in such a simple world.
        - Television Without Pity reviews "Talking Points"

I must say I find it compulsive, a huge dose of wish fulfilment. If only politics and politicians really were like this. The West Wing is a utopian looking glass to real events... it has a better collection of moreishly sympathetic characters than any other drama I can remember. But there are cracks appearing. The snappy dialogue doesnít quite crackle and pop as political rap the way that it did, and the loss of Rob Lowe was severe. His replacement is a pale shadow. They should have cast against type rather than going for the clone. I also rather mind being included by proxy in the clan of softly leftie fans who get their political feelgood jollies from a dose of The West Wing every week. Particularly in America, itís become PlayStation politics for liberals, where they get to whack the neo-cons and always have the last word.
        - AA Gill, reviewing season 5 for "The Times"

Over on The West Wing, it was election day. Jed Bartlet, a sagacious Democrat president so pure of heart that even his illegal conspiracies are virtuous, took on Governor Robert Ritchie, a Republican yahoo who is, effectively, Dubya in a pantomime cape. You can see why Americans love this show. It's what their government would look like if the founding fathers' dreams had been realised. And you can see why politicians love it. It's a magic mirror in which each one can be the fairest of them all. I love it because it applies the meticulous standards of US sitcom writing to sophisticated drama. . . ah, who am I kidding. I love it because it's a beautiful, polished soap opera and it makes me come over tearfully patriotic for a nation I don't even belong to.
        - David Bennun, in Britain's "Mail on Sunday"

>> More West Wing quotes - the best Jed & Leo quotes from Anne.

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