West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Threads & Relationships * Jed Bartlet & Leo McGarry
Leo & President Martin Sheen as the President & John Spencer as his best friend © NBC
How long have they been friends?
When C.J. tries to ask Leo what the President will do about something, Leo refuses to speculate:
"I've known him for 40 years... and all I can promise you is that on any given day, there's no predicting what he is going to choose to care about." [#101]
About this, Jay Todtman writes us: "This seems to be a direct quote from Silverado. Cobb (Brian Dennehy) says it to Linda Hunt about Paden (Kevin Kline)."
If Leo was merely using a quote which seemed to fit the situation, that would explain why, when under oath, he later states:
"We first met about thirty-two years ago, but our friendship began about eleven years ago." [#53]
But then Mallory stated at some point that she regarded Bartlet as an uncle while she was growing up and she would have been in college 11 years ago so the numbers don't fit! There is the possibility that they were close friends during the 32 years since they met but that their friendship deepened considerably 11 years ago leaving Leo to think that the first 22 years of their friendship was a lesser stage.

Their past is strong and has already stood the test of time. That produces knowledge of each other's strengths and weaknesses:
"Did you have a drink yesterday?"
"No, sir."
"You going to have one today?"
"No, sir."
"That's all you have to say to me."
"You know it's going to make things very hard for awhile."
"You fought in a war. Got me elected. You run the country. I think we all owe you one, don't you?" [#9]

But Leo is not only a friend, he is someone who wants what's best for the Administration and the American people:
"I'm going to need an exit strategy that will cause the least embarrassment and turmoil during the Mendoza confirmation." [#110]

When he is forced to talk about it publicly, Leo says:
President Bartlet "Requiem"
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet at Leo's casket
NBC Photo: Mitchell Haddad
"The President and I have a long history and a very close personal relationship." [#12]

Leo has a tendency to think it's cold when Bartlet doesn't. Comments are exhanged in [#23-24] and also later when Leo finds the president playing chess outside:
"You understand we've got heating inside, right?"
"This isn't cold, it's crisp."
"No, it's cold."
"Well, you're a big wussy." [#36]

Leo gives advice to the President while the president plays chess against himself (advice the President takes --- yet there has been no indication they play against each other):
"Knight to King-4."
"It will leave the Bishop open."
"You're going to sacrifice the Bishop for the Queen's Rook."
"Four moves down." [#36]

Leo expresses some of what he feels for Bartlet:
"A podium is a holy place for him. . . .He makes it his own, like it's an extension of his body. . . . He sees it as a genuine opportunity to change minds, also as his best way of contributing to the team. He likes teams. I love him so much." [#53]
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