One crisis at a time. That's my motto.


Stevie: Oh, my god, you already know?
Elizabeth: I don't know.
Stevie: Mom, I don't know how you made it twenty years in the CIA with that *lousy* poker face.

Henry: Look, before we throw out a solid parenting strategy that's worked *pretty* well for more than two decades, let's deal with the problem at hand. There's only one thing we can do.
Elizabeth: Right. Nothing.
Henry [simultaneously]: Talk to her.
Henry: The key to our solid parenting style is that we're always on the same page. [Elizabeth gives him a look] Usually always.

I just want you to know that I am going to take care of this Harvard Law business. Cause this...will not stand. Not while I have breathe in my body, and the private phone numbers of forty Harvard Law mega donors in my contacts. Five years ago, I got a dictator's kid with a two point five GPA into that school, so believe me I will get your far more capable daughter in as well.

Russell [to Elizabeth]

Russell: Elizabeth, hang on.
Elizabeth: Ah, Russell, you heard the president. Let it go.
Russell: Hey, I already have. Faustian bargains always take me an extra minute. No, no, no, I'm all in.

I knew as leader of the free world, I would make some tough decisions, but whether to give a billion-dollar yacht to a an arms dealer...that I did not see coming.


Nadine: Okay, but why would Pirosmani ever agree to help us? A cease fire works against his self-interests.
Elizabeth: We need to get him to see the bigger picture. Pirosmani makes a huge effort to stay out of our cross-hairs. Who know? He might welcome the opportunity to have us in his debt. And, as my mother always said, no harm in asking.

Elizabeth: Your dad and I, we love our kids more than you can imagine. Mostly 'cause your ours. But we also love your differences.
Allison: Even Jason?
Elizabeth: Even Jason.

I'm not even applying to colleges unless I know that they'll take me. Underachieve, it's the only way to go!


Jason [about the billion dollar yacht seized by the DEA]: Hey, dad, you got to come check this thing out. It has a missile detection system, two helipads, three swimming pools, and a submarine that doubles as an escape pod. I got to figure out how to get one.
Henry: Well, I can think of two ways. Become a Bond villain or invent a social network. In the meantime, would you set the table?

Senator Carpenter: Now, if the Secretary of State were to put in a word on my behalf, I'm sure DoD would shake loose a jet. [chuckles] And then I might be inclined to help you with your request.
Elizabeth: So...if I call DoD, you will pass the emergency waiver?

Senator Beau Carpenter: We have these food aid rules for a reason.
Elizabeth: Yes, to, uh, subsidize US farmers so they can sell off their grain overages.
Carpenter: Now, that's a very simplistic...
Elizabeth: ...And to give US shipping companies the monopoly so they can overcharge and underperform on delivery. It is a...inefficient and wasteful system.
Carpenter: Welcome to the United States government.

Madam Secretary Quotes

Somebody sent me this after one of the terrorist attacks. It's a poem called Good Bones by Maggie Smith. The last part of it goes, "Life is short and the world is at least half terrible and for every kind stranger there is one who would break you, though I keep this from my children. I'm trying to sell them the world. Any decent realtor walking you through a real hell hole chirps on about good bones. This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful?”


Jason: Some woman says it's the President's office.
Elizabeth: The PTA?
Jason: The United States.