Quotes: The West Wing
Laurie: Tell your friend POTUS he's got a funny name, and he should learn how to ride a bicycle.
Sam: I would, but he's not my friend, he's my boss. It's not his name, it's his title.
Sam: President of the United States. I'll call ya.
—from the opening minutes of the pilot episode
I serve at the pleasure of the President.
—repeated phrase throughout the show, but introduced in the episode Let Bartlet Be Bartlet
You're a son of a bitch, You know that? She bought her first new car and You hit her with a drunk driver. What? Was that supposed to be funny? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene. I don't know whose ass he was kissing there, 'cause I think You're just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman - a warning shot? (chokes up) That was my son! What did I ever do to Yours but praise His glory and praise His Name? There's a tropical storm that's gaining speed and power. They say we haven't had a storm this bad since You took out that tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. You know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. It doesn't even carry guns. It just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That's all it can do. Gratias tibi ago, Domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I've committed many sins. Have I displeased You, You feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn't good? Bailed out Mexico! Increased foreign trade. Thirty million new acres of land for conservation! Put Mendoza on the bench! We're not fighting a war. I've raised three children. That's not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a Deo pio, a Deo iusto, a Deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem. Tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui, officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem.
(crushes his cigarette to the floor of the National Cathedral)
You get Hoynes!
—President Bartlet chewing out God, Two Cathedralsnote
"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before... and I know the way out.'"
—Leo to Josh, about why Leo sent Josh to counseling, Noel
Josh: "I'm gonna help you out and you know why?"
Leo: "Because you're so obsessed with everyone you love dying that you're a compulsive fixer?"
Josh: "No. Its because there's this guy walking down the street and he falls into a hole, see..."
— Twenty episodes later, Bartlet for America
Sam: "[Ritchie] said this is how ordinary Americans got their entertainment."
Toby: "I've been to 441 baseball games at Yankee stadium; there's not a single person there who's ordinary."
Sam: "Heh I know."
Toby: "...you making fun of the Yankees?"
Toby: "They went to the Yankee game..."
Sam: "He's coming at intermission."
Toby: "Well, I'm not sure that suits me. Making an entrance after the President. [with lots of head bobbing and gesturing and crazy eyes] That's just not how we play bridge, it's not how we say cricket."
Sam: "Okay but you're starting to freak me out a little bit."
Toby: "Talk to me."
Sam: "There was an incumbent President who was facing a primary challenge, and on the day of the primary, his staff sent his motorcade into a district that was heavily favored by his opponent in order to tie up traffic. Now I would like to make it plain that I would never do anything to tamper with an election..."
Toby: [patting his cheek and squeezing his face] "I, am so, proud of you."
Sam: "You're really very much freaking me out."
John Van Dyke: "The First Commandment says Honor thy father."
Toby Ziegler: "No it doesn't."
Josh Lyman: "Toby..."
Toby Ziegler: "It doesn't!"
Josh Lyman: "Listen..."
Toby Ziegler: "No! If I'm going to make you sit through this preposterous exercise, we're going to get the names of the damn commandments right!"
Mary Marsh: "Okay, here we go..."
Toby Ziegler: "Honor Thy Father is the Third Commandment!"
John Van Dyke: "Then what's the First Commandment?"
President Josiah Bartlet: (entering the room) "I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other god before me." (beat) "Boy, those were the days, huh?"
John Van Dyke: "If our children can buy pornography on any street corner for five dollars, isn't that too high a price to pay for free speech?"
President Josiah Bartlet: "No."
John Van Dyke: "Really?"
President Josiah Bartlet: "On the other hand, I think that five dollars is too high a price to pay for pornography."
President Josiah Bartlet: "I'm sorry. Uh, you're Dr. Jenna Jacobs, right?"
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "Yes, sir."
President Josiah Bartlet: "It's good to have you here."
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "Thank you."
President Josiah Bartlet: (distracted by the fact that Jacobs is the only one still sitting when he entered the room) "The awesome impact of the airwaves and how that translates into the furthering of our national discussions, but also obviously how it can..." (stares at her a moment) "Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D.?""
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "A PHD."
President Josiah Bartlet: "A PHD."
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "Yes, sir."
President Josiah Bartlet: "In psychology?"
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "No, sir."
President Josiah Bartlet: "Theology?"
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "No."
President Josiah Bartlet: "Social work?"
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "I have a Ph.D. in English literature."
President Josiah Bartlet: "I'm asking 'cause on your show, people call in for advice and you go by the name Dr. Jacobs on your show, and I didn't know if maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced training in psychology, theology or health care."
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "I don't believe they are confused. No, sir."
President Josiah Bartlet: "Good." (beat) "I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination."
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does."
President Josiah Bartlet: "Yes, it does. Leviticus."
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: "18:22."
President Josiah Bartlet: "Chapter and verse." (beat) "I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?" (beat) "While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo Mc Garry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police?" (beat) "Here's one that's really important 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?" (longer beat) Think about those questions, would you?"
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: (very uncomfortable, looks around looking for support and finds none; she opens her mouth to speak, but...)
President Josiah Bartlet: "One last thing... while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits." (Jacobs, embarassed, slowly rises to her feet."
President Bartlet: "More than any time in recent history, America's destiny is not of our own choosing. We did not seek nor did we provoke an assault on our freedom and our way of life. We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive. 44 people were killed a couple of hours ago at Kennison State University. Three swimmers from the mens team were killed and two others are in critical condition. When, after having heard the explosion from their practice facility, they ran into the fire to help get people out. Ran into the fire. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They're our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars. God bless their memory, God bless you and God bless the United States of America. Thank you. "
—20 Hours in America