365 Days

365 Days

365 Days is also a best-selling book about the Vietnam War by Ronald J. Glasser.
365 Days is also a song by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

"365 Days" is episode 122 of The West Wing.


On the day after Bartlet gives his last State of the Union address, Leo returns to the West Wing in an undefined role (later revealed to be a Special Counselor to the President), figuring out what to do during the remaining 365 days of Barlet's term. The tone of the episode is one of melancholy: Leo wanders about at first, seemingly aimless. He tries, and fails, to give a little speech to the team at the beginning of the episode before they scatter to the crises of the day, and is left in his new office watching old State of the Union addresses. The staffers do return throughout the day individually to ask for Leo's input on policy issues from American policies in Latin America (Kate Harper) to selling Congress on a tax that will actually help poor people (Charlie).

The President is sick: he needs to take regular naps. When Leo asks Toby where the fire was in the State of the Union speech (a speech that everyone is lavishly praising him for but Toby makes plain wasn't work he's proud of) Toby looks at him, incredulous and shouts: "You've had a heart attack and he can't stand up!" Toby says that most Presidents spend a lot of time going out and selling their SotU ideas, while he has VP Russell for a week. He also questions Will Bailey's loyalty.

After the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia (repeatedly referred to as an idiot) makes a speech about the upcoming elections there, a Socialist candidate surges in the polls. His followers later kidnap several American contractors working on drug eradication efforts. The President is harshly critical of the CIA Director and Kate points out that the contractors are prisoners of war. Other international issues that are briefly referred to take place in North Korea, Burundi, and Chechnya.

The First Lady has to attend a Daytona Drag car rally. She is dreading it, until Annabeth briefs her on the "advantages" (hotties driving the vehicles). This is really the only comic element in a sober narrative, including the First Lady's over the top reaction when meeting the winning NASCAR driver.

The president and Leo have a healthy bland dinner, as befits their medical conditions. Finally Leo blurts out what he wanted to say all day: "You only have 365 days left! Make the most of it before we walk through those doors!" The President is tired and ill, of all people, Leo "Mr. Double Bypass" should know this. But Leo is adamant. Eventually, that evening, the President calls together the White House Staff, and Leo gets to finally speak. 364 days left, he says, and we can affect more change in any one of them than in a lifetime after leaving the White House forever. What can we do? One by one, CJ, Toby, Charlie, all suggest pressing concerns, changes they would like to see made in the time they have left.

It is also one of only five episodes in which character Josh Lyman does not appear.

In this episode Will feels the need to explain his actions to Leo by saying "I haven't sold my soul to the Devil … I may have rented it for a little while", but it is evident that he has doubts about the Vice President, Bob Russell. He tells Leo, "You must have seen something in him, to appoint him the VP"… Leo does not tell Will that Russell became VP because the GOP Congress forced the then-weak Bartlet administration to forget about a strong candidate for the post (Secretary of State Berryhill) and accept Russell as the nominee.

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