Did Obama Take His ‘Cure Cancer’ Line From A ‘West Wing’ Episode?

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Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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President Obama’s call for “a new national effort” to cure cancer during his State of the Union address on Tuesday seemed familiar to fans of Aaron Sorkin’s “West Wing” television show.

That’s because there was an entire episode in 2002 of the NBC show where the fictional president played by Martin Sheen made nearly identical comments.

On Tuesday, Obama said: “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done…For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

During the “West Wing” episode “100,000 airplanes,” Sheen’s character, President Josiah Bartlett, wants to pledge curing cancer over the next decade during his annual address to Congress.

In the show, the president is talked out of actually making that pledge.

But a draft of Bartlett’s State of the Union read during the episode went: “Over the past half-century, we’ve split the atom, we’ve spliced the gene, and we’ve roamed Tranquility Base. We’ve reached for the stars, and never have we been closer to having them in our grasp. New science, new technology is making the difference between life and death, and so we need a national commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of possibility. And so, I announce to you tonight, that I will bring the full resources of the federal government and the full reach of my office to this fundamental goal: we will cure cancer by the end of this decade.”

The Obama White House has been known to borrow from Sorkin’s show before: administration officials are expected to participate in another “Big Block of Cheese Day,” something that came straight out of the “West Wing.”

Rob Lowe, who played the character Sam Seaborn in the show, tweeted about the similarities during Obama’s speech.

Here’s a clip from that episode:

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