One of the things that The West Wing set out to do was to present an ideal, an intellectually brilliant man performing a public service as a politician because he felt it was his duty to give something back. Bartlet, for all of his intellectual meanderings and folksy tales, is a brilliant man who doesn't suffer fools and finds the idea of playing down to the masses insulting both to him and the masses. in this scene from the Season Three finale Posse Comitatus Bartlet finds himself confronted by everything that he hates in the form of the Republican nominee for President, Governor Robert Richie of Florida, a man who has brought playing to what he supposes the masses want to a fine art. Through most of the conversation Bartlet manages to be cordial but in his last line dismisses his opponent as the insignificant creature that he is.
Ritchie: Mr. President.
Ritchie: You enjoying the play?
Bartlet: I am. How about you?
Ritchie: We just got here. We were at the Yankee game. We were, you know, hung up in traffic.
Bartlet: Yeah, I know. Listen, politics aside, and I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but you probably insulted the church, and you can head it off at the pass if you speak to the Cardinal tonight.
Ritchie: Well, I didn't mean to insult anybody.
Ritchie: And it's a baseball game. It's how ordinary Americans...
Bartlet: Yeah.... No, I don't understand that. The center fielder for the Yankees is an accomplished classical guitarist. People who like baseball can't like books?
Ritchie: Are you taking this personally?
Bartlet: No. Something horrible happened about an hour ago. C.J. Cregg was getting threats so we put an agent on her. He's a good guy. He was on my detail for a while, and he was in Rosslyn. He walked in the middle of an armed robbery, and was shot and killed after detaining one of the suspects.
Ritchie: Oh. Crime. Boy, I don't know.
Bartlet: We should have a great debate, Rob. We owe it to everyone. When I was running as a governor, I didn't know anything. I made them start Bartlet college in my dining room. Two hours every morning on foreign affairs and the military. You can do that.
Ritchie: How many different ways you think you're gonna find to call me dumb?
Bartlet: I wasn't, Rob. But you've turned being un-engaged into a Zen-like thing, and you shouldn't enjoy it so much is all, and if it appears at times as if I don't like you, that's the reason why.
Ritchie: You're what my friends call a superior sumbitch. You're an academic elitist and a snob. You're, uh, Hollywood, you're weak, you're liberal, and you can't be trusted. And if it appears from time to time as if I don't like you, well, those are just a few of the many reasons why.
Bartlet: They're playing my song.
In the future, if you're wondering, "Crime. Boy, I don't know" is when I decided to kick your ass.
The relationship between Bartlet and his personal aide Charile Young is perhaps one of the closest in the series. They seem to provide eachother withsomething missing intheir lives. Charlie is the son Bartlet never had while Bartlet is a superior replacement for the father who abandoned him. Certainly in later seasons Bartlet never expressed anywhere near the amount of pride in his son-in-law that he did for Charlie. In this scene from the Season Three episode Stirred shows the pride that Bartlet has for the young man who has bloomed under his care is apparent.
Bartlet: Yup. It was the rebate.
Charlie: It wasn't a rebate. It was an advance.
Bartlet: You say potato.
Charlie: I do say potato, and so does everybody else I know.
Bartlet: We wanted to inject some money into retail and tourism.
Charlie: Why not wait until people were supposed to have the money?
Bartlet: The economy might have improved on its own by then.
Charlie: In which case the whole thing would have been pointless in the first place.
Charlie: Economists just make it up as they go along, don't they?
Charlie: Did it work?
Bartlet: Not that much. Most people did what you did. They saved or they paid down debt.
Charlie: We don't want people save or reduce their personal debt?
Bartlet: We do, but when the next guy's President.
Charlie: You win.
Bartlet: I always do.
Charlie: Yes sir.
Bartlet: I'll tell you what I find interesting though.
Charlie: What's that sir?
Bartlet: You. $35,000 a year, a sister to support, and you gave $1,435 to charity. I'm not so sure that check isn't better off in your hands than ours. Oh, I'm taking it. Don't be ridiculous. But when you get to your place tonight you're going to find a new DVD player and that wimp-ass Bond movie.
Charlie: Mr. President...
Bartlet: And I threw in Yeoman of the Guard on CD.
Charlie: That was an incredibly nice gesture.
Bartlet: I'm really something.