The West Wing quotes

721 total quotes


Flight Attendant: Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you turn off your cellular phone.
Toby: We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line twenty months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system. And you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?

C.J.: Is there anything I can say other than "The President rode his bicycle into a tree?"
Leo: He hopes never to do it again.
C.J.: Seriously, they're laughing pretty hard.
Leo: He rode his bicycle into a tree, C.J. What do you want me to †"The president, while riding a bicycle on his vacation in Jackson Hole, came to a sudden arboreal stop." What do you want from me?
C.J.: A little love, Leo.

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?
Bartlet: No.
Van Dyke: Really?
Bartlet: On the other hand, I do think that five dollars is too high a price to pay for pornography.
C.J.: Why don't we all sit down?
Bartlet: No. Let's not, C.J. These people won't be staying that long. May I have some coffee, Mr. Lewis? Al, how many times have I asked you to denounce the practices of a fringe group that calls itself The Lambs of God?
Caldwell: Sir, it's not up to me to--
Bartlet: Crap. It is up to you, Al. You know, my wife, Abbey, she never wants me to do anything while I'm upset. [a staffer hands him coffee] Thank you, Mr. Lewis. Twenty-eight years ago, I come home from a very bad day at the State House. I tell Abbey I'm going out for a drive. I get in the station wagon and put it in reverse, and pull out of the garage full speed. [Leo and Sam appear in the doorway and quietly enter into the room.] Except I forgot to open the garage door. Abbey told me to not drive while I was upset and she was right. She was right yesterday when she told me not to get on that damn bicycle while I was upset, but I did it anyway, and I guess I was just about as angry as I've ever been in my life. It seems my granddaughter, Annie, had given an interview in one of the teen magazines. And somewhere between movie stars and makeup tips, she talked about her feelings on a woman's right to choose. Now Annie, all of 12, has always been precocious, but she's got a good head on her shoulders and I like it when she uses it. So I couldn't understand it when her mother called me in tears yesterday. I said, "Elizabeth, what's wrong?" She said, "It's Annie." Now, I love my family and I've read my Bible from cover to cover. So I want you to tell me from what part of the Holy Scripture do you suppose the Lambs of God drew their Divine inspiration when they sent my 12 year-old granddaughter a Raggedy Ann doll with a knife stuck through its throat? [pause] You'll denounce these people, Al. You'll do it publicly. And until you do, you can all get your fat asses out of my White House. C.J., show these people out.
Mary Marsh: I believe we can find the door.
Bartlet: Find it now.

Leo: [on the phone with the New York Times] 17 across. Yes, 17 across is wrong... You're spelling his name wrong... What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I am just an ordinary citizen who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I met the man twice. And I recommended a pre-emptive Exocet missile strike against his air force, so I think I know how...
C.J.: Leo.
Leo: They hang up on me every time.
C.J: That's almost hard to believe.

Sam: Ms. O'Brien, I understand your feelings, but please believe me when I tell you that I'm a nice guy having a bad day. I just found out the Times is publishing a poll that says a considerable portion of Americans feel the White House has lost energy and focus. A perception that's not likely to be altered by the video footage of the President riding his bicycle into a tree. As we speak, the Coast Guard is fishing Cubans out of the Atlantic Ocean while the Governor of Florida wants to blockade the Port of Miami. A good friend of mine's about to get fired for going on television and making sense, and it turns out I accidentally slept with a prostitute last night. Now would you please, in the name of compassion, tell me which one of those kids is my boss's daughter?
Mallory: That would be me.
Sam: You.
Mallory: Yes.
Sam: Leo's daughter's fourth-grade class.
Mallory: Yes.
Sam: Well, this is bad on so many levels.

Sam: About a week ago I accidentally slept with a prostitute.
Toby: Really?
Sam: Yes.
Toby: You accidentally slept with a prostitute.
Sam: Call girl.
Toby: Accidentally.
Sam: Yes.
Toby: I don't understand. Did you trip over something?

Toby: Mrs. Landingham, does the President have free time this morning?
Mrs. Landingham: The President has nothing but free time, Toby. Right now he's in the residence eating Cheerios and enjoying Regis and Kathie Lee. Should I get him for you?
Toby: Sarcasm's a disturbing thing coming from a woman of your age, Mrs. Landingham.
Mrs. Landingham: What age would that be, Toby?
Toby: Late twenties?
Mrs. Landingham: Atta boy.
Toby: Can I have a cookie?
Mrs. Landingham: No.
[Sam walks in]
Mrs. Landingham: Good morning, Sam.
Sam: Good morning.
Mrs. Landingham: Have a cookie, Sam.

C.J.: Sir, this may be a good time to talk about your sense of humor.
Bartlet: I've got an intelligence briefing, a security briefing, and a 90-minute budget meeting all scheduled for the same 45 minutes. You sure this is a good time to talk about my sense of humor?
C.J.: No.
Bartlet: Me neither.
C.J.: It's just that it's not the first time that it's happened.
Bartlet: I know.
Toby: We're talking about Texas, sir.
Bartlet: I know.
C.J.: USA Today asks you why you don't spend more time campaigning in Texas and you say it's because you don't look good in funny hats.
Sam: It was big hats.
C.J.: What difference does it make?
Bartlet: It makes a difference.
C.J.: The point is we got whomped in Texas.
Josh: We got whomped in Texas twice.
C.J.: We got whomped in the primary and we got whomped in November.
Bartlet: I think I was there.
C.J.: And it was avoidable. Sir.
Bartlet: CJ, on your tombstone it's gonna read 'Post hoc ergo propter hoc.'
CJ: Okay, but none of my visitors are going to be able to understand my tombstone.
Bartlet: Twenty-seven lawyers in the room, anybody know 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc'? Josh?
Josh: Ah, post, after hoc, ergo, therefore... After hoc, therefore something else hoc.
Bartlet: Thank you. Next? Leo.
Leo: 'After it, therefore because of it'.
Bartlet: 'After it, therefore because of it'. It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other. But it's not always true. In fact it's hardly ever true. We did not lose Texas because of the hat joke. Do you know when we lost Texas?
C.J.: When you learned to speak Latin?
Bartlet: Go figure.

Bartlet: I don't need a flu shot.
Morris: You do need a flu shot.
Bartlet: How do I know this isn't the start of a military coup?
Morris: Sir?
Bartlet: I want the Secret Service in here right away.
Morris: In the event of a military coup, sir, what makes you think the Secret Service is gonna be on your side?
Bartlet: Now that's a thought that's gonna fester.

Lloyd Russell: [referring to his Presidential run, speaking to Mandy, who just drove her car onto a curb] It wasn't going to happen.
Mandy: You know what the worst part about this is?
Lloyd Russell: Well, I think you dinged up your suspension pretty good.
Mandy: No, Lloyd, it's the party they're having, right now, in the West Wing, at my expense.
Lloyd Russell: They're not having a party in the West Wing.
Mandy: I've worked with these people for two and a half years. They like to win and they like to gloat.
Lloyd Russell: I'm sure you're wrong.
Mandy: I'm sure I'm not.
Lloyd Russell: There are very serious people working at the White House. A blow is struck for party unity today, there's no cause to gloat.
[scene cut]
Josh: Victory is mine, victory is mine. Great day in the morning, people, victory is mine.
Donna: Morning Josh.
Josh: I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.
Donna: It's going to be an unbearable day.

Josh: A couple of things for you to bear in mind. First of all, he didn't know she was a call girl when he slept with her. He didn't pay her. He didn't participate in, have knowledge of, or witness anything illegal. Or for that matter, unethical, amoral, or suspect.
C.J.: Okay. A couple things for you to bear in mind. None of that matters on Hard Copy!
Josh: You're overreacting.
C.J.: Am I?
Josh: Yes.
C.J.: As women are prone to do.
Josh: That's not what I meant.
C.J.: That's always what you mean.
Josh: You know what, C.J., I really think I'm the best judge of what I mean, you paranoid Berkeley shiksa feminista! ...whoa, that was way too far.
C.J.: No, no. Well, I've got a staff meeting to go to and so do you, you elitist Harvard fascist missed-the-deans-list-two-semesters-in-a-row Yankee jackass!
Josh: Feel better getting that off your chest there, C.J.?
C.J.: I'm a whole new woman.
Josh: You look like a million bucks, by the way.
C.J.: Don't try to make up with me.

Sam: [reading a newspaper article, quoting a congressman] Folks down here are patriotic, fiercely patriotic. The President better not be planning on making any visits to this base. If he does, he may not get out alive.
Toby: He said that? Sitting there with military officers?
Josh: Don't take the bait.
Toby: Josh.
Josh: Don't take the bait!
Toby: You'd better believe I'm going to take the bait.
Leo: There ought to be a law against it.
Josh: Why'd you get him started?
[Leo shrugs]
Toby: There is a law against it! How about threatening the life of the President? He was talking to other people: how about conspiracy? They were military officers, how about treason? That was a member of our own party, Leo. That was a Democrat who said that!
Leo: It's bad, I know.
Toby: That's it?
Leo: What are you going to do?
Toby: Have the Justice Department bring him in pending felony charges.
Josh: Toby's right. What's the good of being in power if you're not going to haul your enemies in for questioning?
Toby: We're really not gonna do anything about this?
Leo: Yeah, cause what we really need to do is arrest people for being mean to the President.
Toby: There is no law. There is no decency.
Josh: He's just getting that now.

Bartlet: What's the virtue of the proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: I'm sorry?
Bartlet: What is the virtue of a proportional response? Why's it good? They hit an airplane, so we hit a transmitter, right? That's a proportional response.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Sir, in the case of Pericles 1 --
Bartlet: [talking over him] They hit a barracks, so we hit two transmitters.
Admiral Fitzwallace: That's roughly it, yes, sir.
Bartlet: This is what we do. I mean, this is what we do.
Leo: Yes, sir, it's what we do. It's what we've always done.
Bartlet: Well, if it's what we do, if it's what we've always done, don't they know we're going to do it?
Leo: Sir, if you'd turn your attention to Pericles 1 --
Bartlet: I have turned my attention to Pericles 1. It's two ammo dumps, an abandoned railroad bridge and a Syrian intelligence agency.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Those are four highly-rated targets, sir.
Bartlet: But they know we're gonna do that. They know we're gonna do that! Those areas have been abandoned for three days now. We know that from the satellite, right? We have the intelligence. [over Leo's attempt to speak up] They did that, so we did this. It's the cost of doing business. It's been factored in, right?
Leo: Mr. President --
Bartlet: Am I right, or am I missing something here?
Admiral Fitzwallace: No, sir. You're right, sir.
Bartlet: Then I ask again, what is the virtue of a proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: It isn't virtuous, Mr. President. It's all there is, sir.
Bartlet: It is not all there is.
Leo: Sir, Admiral Fitzwallace --
Admiral Fitzwallace: Excuse me, Leo...pardon me, Mr. President, just what else is there?
Bartlet: The disproportional response. Let the word ring forth, from this time and this place, gentlemen, you kill an American, any American, we don't come back with a proportional response. We come back with total disaster! [He bangs the table]
General: Are you suggesting that we carpet-bomb Damascus?
Bartlet: I am suggesting, General, that you, and Admiral Fitzwallace, and Secretary Hutchinson, and the rest of the National Security Team take the next sixty minutes and put together an American response scenario that doesn't make me think we're just docking somebody's damn allowance!

Bartlet: Did you know that two thousand years ago a Roman citizen could walk across the face of the known world free of the fear of molestation? He could walk across the Earth unharmed, cloaked only in the protection of the words civis Romanus -- I am a Roman citizen. So great was the retribution of Rome, universally certain, should any harm befall even one of its citizens. Where was Morris's protection, or anybody else on that airplane? Where was the retribution for the families, and where is the warning to the rest of the world that Americans shall walk this Earth unharmed, lest the clenched fist of the most mighty military force in the history of mankind comes crashing down on your house?! In other words, Leo, what the hell are we doing here?!
Leo: We are behaving the way a superpower ought to behave.
Bartlet: Well our behavior has produced some crappy results, in fact I'm not a hundred per cent sure it hasn't induced it.
Leo: What are you talking about?
Bartlet: I'm talking about two hundred and eighty-six American marines in Beirut, I'm talking about Somalia, I'm talking about Nairobi-
Leo: And you think ratcheting up the body count's gonna act as a deterrent?
Bartlet: You're damn right I-
Leo: Oh, then you are just as stupid as these guys who think capital punishment is going to be a deterrent for drug kingpins. As if drug kingpins didn't live their day to day lives under the possibility of execution, and their executions are a lot less dainty than ours and tend to take place without the bother and expense of due process. So, my friend, if you want to start using American military strength as the arm of the Lord, you can do that. We're the only superpower left. You can conquer the world, like Charlemagne! But you better be prepared to kill everyone. And you better start with me, because I will raise up an army against you and I will beat you!
Bartlet: He had a ten day old baby at home.
Leo: I know.
Bartlet: We are doing nothing.
Leo: We are not doing nothing.
Bartlet: We're destroying-
Leo: Four high-rated military targets!
Bartlet: And this is good?
Leo: Of course it's not good. There is no good. It's what there is! It's how you behave if you're the most powerful nation in the world. It's proportional, it's reasonable, it's responsible, it's merciful! It's not nothing. Four high-rated military targets.
Bartlet: Which they'll rebuild again in six months.
Leo: Then we'll blow 'em up again in six months! We're getting really good at it... It's what our fathers taught us.
Bartlet: Why didn't you say so? Oh, Leo...when I think of all the work you put in to get me to run and all the work you did to get me elected...I could pummel your ass with a baseball bat.

Josh: I have to tell you, he's ordinarily an extremely kind man, placing a very high premium on civility. Today...it's just been a very difficult few days for him.
Charlie: I think I should probably go.
[Bartlet comes in]
Bartlet: Excuse me, Charlie? Can I see you inside, please? Come on, it's okay.
[Charlie walks toward him hesitantly and Bartlet sticks out his hand]
Bartlet: I'm Jed Bartlet.
Charlie: I'm Charles Young, sir.
Bartlet: But you prefer Charlie, right? Listen, Leo McGarry filled me in on the situation with your mother. I'm so very sorry. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of calling Tom Connolly, the FBI Director, and we had the computer spit out some quick information. Your mother was killed by a Western .38 revolver firing KTWs, or what are known as cop-killer bullets. Now, we have not had a whole lot of success yet in banning that weapon and those bullets off the streets, but we're planning on taking a big whack at it when Congress comes back from recess. So, what do you say? You want to come help us out?
Charlie: [smiling] Yes, sir, I do.
Bartlet: Thank you, Charlie. [shakes his hand]
...
Charlie: I've never felt like this before.
Josh: It doesn't go away.