The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 9

Bartlet for America

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 12, 2001 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
127 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The staff and the F.B.I. work to combat a threat to firebomb black churches in Tennessee on Christmas Eve; accompanied by Jordan, Leo testifies before the House committee probing Bartlet's failure to disclose his M.S. during the presidential campaign; Sam and Josh try unsuccessfully to get Leo out of the line of fire of a Congressman on the committee intent on destroying Leo to advance his own political career; surprisingly, Leo receives a last minute reprieve at the hands of the Majority Counsel and the committee Chair.moreless

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  • Friends and Enemies.

    The cold open helped set the tone for the rest of the episode, humorous but with a very dramatic overtone. Leo's phone call with Josh instantly became one of my favorite moments.

    Josh: "I'm gonna help you, 'cause you know why?"

    Leo: "'Cause you walk around with so much guilt about everybody you love dieing that you're a compulsive fixer?"

    Josh: "No, Leo, no, it's 'cause 'a guy's walking down the street and he falls into a hole,' see?"

    The flashbacks to the campaign were incredible as well. I have been curious if we would ever see Leo fall off the wagon, and the way it happened was one of the most emotional moments of the series. The buildup of tension as he's telling Jordan, his lawyer, the story was done perfectly. Leo's description of the "little things" that he liked about drinking had me craving a low ball glass full of scotch because it was written so well. Though I'm not an alcoholic, nor do I know any, I thought Leo's description of how it is for him when he backslides was probably pretty accurate, and really made me feel for him.

    Leo: "I went to rehab, my friends embraced me when I got out. You relapse, it's not like that. 'Get away from me,' that's what it's like."

    It's one thing to know a character would walk through fire for someone, but it doesn't prepare you for watching them do it, and that's exactly what Leo did. Bartlet gave an incredible performance himself, I was close to tears when he said, "No, no not right now," as he felt the attack coming on just before he collapsed. The final scene between him and Leo was amazing. Not since the scene when Leo learns Bartlet has MS has Spencer's acting impressed me so much. And while everyone put forth a great performance, Leo definitely stole the show.

    It was also nice seeing Mrs. Landingham again who provided some welcome comic relief.

    Bartlet: "Speaking of crusty, New England relics."

    Mrs. Landingham: "Governor, does it frustrate you to constantly aim for humor and yet miss so dramatically?"

    Bartlet: "Nah."

    Without question the best episode since Two Cathedrals.moreless
  • Such a touching episode

    Out of all the West Wing episodes, the episodes containing flashbacks end up going above and beyond the expected greatness of the West Wing. The entire episode enlightens one even more on the history of Bartlet campaign with great interaction between Leo & Jed and cute interactions between the staff ie throwing the ball out the window! The present of the napkin at the end of the episode is a tearjerker. After all that Leo has been through with his addictions and alcoholism, it's touching to see the positives of his life & seeing him cry made me tear up. In addition, I involuntarily clapped my hands in glee when the head of the House committee stopped the hearing!moreless
  • Leo's hearing

    I have no words for this episode. It was so much better than i hoped. First I loved the flashbacks. I do not remember the name of the episode but the ones where we had last flashbacks were one of my favorites and this one.. I just adore how the open the backstory. And the whole hearing and the way president calls Leo before he goes in. And Josh and Sam trying to save Leo from that congressman who tries to advance his career and how that thing solves.. and how Leo talks about his drinking problems and the end.. the gift and he crying.. it was emotional and amazingly well donemoreless
  • Apropå 3.10 Bartlet for America och John Spencers underbarhet: ögonblicket när han berättar historien från kampanjen och han pratar om presidentens kärlek till podium...

    Apropå 3.10 Bartlet for America och John Spencers underbarhet: ögonblicket när han berättar historien från kampanjen och han pratar om presidentens kärlek till podium. Helt plötsligt säger han, i förbifarten, så kvickt att jag var tvungen att spola tillbaka för att höra att han verkligen sa det han sa:

    "I love him so much."

    Det dyker upp där, mitt i en annan historia, nästan utan det märks och utan att avsnittet eller ens Leo lägger någon större notis vid repliken, och det är det som är hela grejen. Det är en stream of conciousness-grej, mitt under berättelsen kommer Leo att påminna sig själv om sin kärlek till presidenten och så slinker det ut, bara för att. Lysande.moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

James Handy

James Handy

Joseph Bruno

Guest Star

Steven Gilborn

Steven Gilborn

Paul Dearborn

Guest Star

David St. James

David St. James

Darren Gibson

Guest Star

Joanna Gleason

Joanna Gleason

Jordan Kendall

Recurring Role

Mark Feuerstein

Mark Feuerstein

Clifford Calley

Recurring Role

Tim Matheson

Tim Matheson

John Hoynes

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The flashbacks show Leo getting drunk in 1998. He must have been lying in "Take Out the Trash Day" when he said he hadn't had a drink since 1993.

    • Jordan says that Woodrow and Edith Wilson have been dead for eighty years, but Edith lived into the 1960s.

    • In a flashback, C.J. says that Bartlet has ten years on Hoynes. But in "Enemies", Hoynes says he is fifteen years younger than Bartlet. Presumably, C.J. was rounding off.

    • In the flashback scene where C.J. and Toby are tossing the basketball back and forth, when you look out the window behind Sam, it's snowing. In the window behind Toby, there is no snow.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Leo: My father was an alcoholic, his father was an alcoholic, so in my case...
      Jordan: Ain't nothing but a family thing?
      Leo: That's right.

    • Chairman Bruno: I would like our 10-minute breaks to be closer to 15 minutes than they are to a half-hour.

    • Jordan: I don't like this. You pay me $650 an hour, you tell me everything.
      Leo: What do I have to pay to only tell you some things?
      Jordan: I don't know, but you have to pay it to another lawyer.

    • Leo: I went to rehab, my friends embraced me when I got out. You relapse, it's not like that. "Get away from me." That's what it's like.

    • Bartlet (to Mrs. Landingham, in a flashback): Speaking of crusty New England relics.
      Mrs. Landingham: Governor, does it frustrate you to constantly aim for humor and yet miss so dramatically?

    • Bartlet (on the phone to Leo, who is about to testify): Listen, I don't care that much about your ass but if you need to perjure yourself to protect me you're going to damn well do it.
      Leo: Sir, this isn't a secure phone call. So I'd like to say to the 17 global intelligence networks listening just then, that he was kidding just then.

    • Mike Casper: There's no amount of money, manpower or knowledge that can equal the person you're looking for being stupid.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Awards and Nominations:
      This episode was a 2002 Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Thomas Del Ruth, A.S.C.).

      Nomination at the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Series (Lauren Schaffer)

      John Spencer won the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode and in "We Killed Yamamoto"

      Won the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series along with several other episodes from the season (Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, John Wells, Kevin Falls, Alex Graves, Christopher Misiano, Michael Hissrich, Kristin Harms, Llewellyn Wells)

      Nominated for 2002 ADG Award for Excellence in Production Design for a Television Series Episode of a Single-Camera Series (Kenneth Hardy)

      It was also a 2002 ASC Award Winner for Outstanding Achievement in Episodic Television Series (Thomas Del Ruth, (A.S.C.).

      Commedation at the 2002 Prism Awards for TV Prime Time Drama Series Episode


    • Josh: I'm gonna help you. 'Cause you know why?
      Leo: 'Cause you walk around with so much guilt about everybody you love dying, that you're a compulsive fixer?
      Josh: No, Leo, no. It's 'cause a guy's walking down the street and he falls into a hole, see?

      There is actually two references in the above mentioned quote. Leo references to Josh's reaction to get the card in the 1st season episode "The Crackpot and these women" and then Josh makes a reference to a parable that Leo told Josh back in the Season 2 episode "Noel".

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