West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Continuity * Queries About the President & His Family

Martin Sheen & Stockard Channing as President & Mrs. Bartlet © NBC

  1. Did Mrs. Bartlet have a "boyfriend" two years after the Bartlet's were married?
    • President has been married for 32 years [#104] but his wife had a "boyfriend" 30 years ago. [#17]
    • An extramarital lover wouldn't be called a "boyfriend" so the Bartlet's were referring to something that happened before they were married. President Bartlet seems to pay attention to numbers and she may just round them off, but many wives do pay attention to anniversaries and tend to know, without figuring, just how long they've been married. . . .
  2. Does this Nobel Prize winning economist think economists make astrologers look good?
    • Leo claims that the President would say "economists were put on the earth to make astrologers look good," but that seems an unlikely statement for an economist to make. And even if the President would make the statement, one of the economists in the room would surely make a comment about Leo talking like that about his boss's profession. [#101]
    • Within the world itself this is not easily explained. Maybe, Leo forgot for a moment that the President was an economist and was just using his name to express his own opinion (Leo occasionally does use the President's name to express his own opinion). But it is difficult to imagine him forgetting that the president is an economist.
    • However, Deborah Sullivan suggests that the explanation is simpler when she writes, "I've worked with economists (including, for a time, Nobel Laureate Larry Klein) for the past 16 years and most of them have quite a healthy sense of humor about their "science" (since they know it isn't exactly a science, more of a science/art mix). We often talk of economics as all smoke and mirrors."
    • And then Jeffrey T. Anbinder writes: "I'd like to point out that John Kenneth Galbraith, generally respected as one of the most consistent and brilliant economists of our time, once said: 'The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.' In other words, Leo was quoting him almost directly. And for Galbraith to make a statement like that clearly means that it's not nearly as unlikely a statement for an economist to make as you might have thought."
    • Outside the fictional world, however, the explanation is probably more that the writer of the pilot (Sorkin) didn't know while writing this line that the president he was creating was going to be a Nobel Prize winning economist. This, however, is no explanation at all for what happened in this fictional world.
  3. How come the President's doctors don't pick up on his MS in the very thorough annual exam all Presidents are given?
    • It seems that MS is fairly difficult to diagnose and if someone didn't mention his symptoms, doctors may never look for the indications. As Sam Stephens writes: "The only way to be certain of a diagnosis of MS is to do an MRI of the skull. If he doesn't have this done during his yearly exam (and why would he?), they would not find out he has the disease." For more information see The National Multiple Sclerosis Society which states: "There is no laboratory test, symptom, or physical finding which, when present or positive, always means a person has MS." About the type of MS Bartlet has, it says: "A relapsing-remitting course [of MS is] characterized by partial or total recovery after attacks (also called exacerbations, relapses, or flares). This is the most common form of MS."
    For information on who knew about the MS when, see our new page on the subject.
  4. Does the President like Mexican food or just guacamole?
    • The President comments that one of Abbey's friends thinks he's xenophobic because he doesn't like Mexican food [#17]. Yet in L.A., he chooses to have lunch in a Mexican restaurant [#16] (discrepancy pointed out by Andrea D. Buckley)
    • Of course, most Mexican restaurants offer other food (steaks, etc) and maybe he likes guacamole but not any other Mexican foods. Or maybe he wasn't being serious in his comment.
  5. How does the Secret Service keep track of the President's code name when it goes back and forth between two different ones?
    • The President's Secret Service code name was "Eagle" in August of 1999 [#102], but was changed to "Liberty" in January of 2000 [#12] (perfectly acceptable since the Secret Service needs to change its code names now and then). But then they changed it back to "Eagle" in early August of 2000 [#23-24] (and they would never go back to an old code name, though they might change to a whole new one). (This going back to the old code name was caught and pointed out to us by David S. Tokarski.)

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