Several characters refer to Leo McGary as the greatest political mind in the White House, including President Bartlet.
There is no specific era in which the Bartlet administration operates.
The set of the West Wing differs from the actual White House. Generally, it is much more spacious, decorative, and clean, with considerably more glass. The lobby was modeled after the Kennedy administration's foyer.
The premise of the show, one that chronicles the daily lives of the senior staff of the White House, was conceptualized and pitched by Aaron Sorkin on the same day.
Whenever President Bartlet exists a limousine, the doors are shut after him. In reality, the doors remain open in case he should be rushed back into the vehicle.
The name of Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman was lifted from a Doonesbury Cartoon. The actual strip can be seen on Lyman's desk.
Bartlet's bizarre way of putting on his dress jacket is actually Martin Sheen's real-world method; he suffered a permanent crippling of his arm during birth.
Both John Spencer and his character Leo McGary are reformed alcoholics.
Originally, creator Aaron Sorkin did not include the President in the cast, instead focusing on his senior staff, and the functioning of the West Wing. Martin Sheen's performance, and the "cheesiness" of leaving the President out of every scene, convinced Sorkin otherwise.
Whenever President Bartlet exits a limousine, the doors are shut after him. In reality, the doors remain open in case he should be rushed back into the vehicle.
Democratic Nominee Matt Santos was inspired by then-Senator Barack Obama. In the seventh season, Santos wins the election, two years before President Obama.
The set and some of the lines from the first few episodes came from the movie "The American President," which Sorkin previously wrote.
Josiah Bartlet was named after founding father and political activist Josiah Bartlett; the two are related.
Ep. 1 Pilot When Leo is coming into work and greeting people by name, He gets everyone's name right except Jefferey's, who he calls Joe.
Ep. 1 Pilot When we first see josh, there is a magazine on Josh's desk with him on the cover. The Magazine is called "George".
Ep. 1 Pilot The New York Times crossword that Leo attempts to correct is 17 across, the name is spelled Khaddafi.
Ep. 2 Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc After talking with Morris, President Bartlet is introduced to two people by Leo, Stuart White and Ray Finley.
Ep. 22 What Kind of Day Has It Been? When Bartlet replies to low-ranking members of his staff, he gets every name wrong.