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The fiction: 'The West Wing' (1999-2006)

Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen) is the liberal fantasy president, brilliant (Nobel Prize for economics), honest, compassionate. He even brought about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. But he can get New England grumpy when crossed and had a crippling case of MS he hid from the public. The reality: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a corporate lawyer, not an economist, but his deft handling of the Great Depression and the creation of the New Deal should be enough to earn him an honorary doctorate on the subject. His fireside chats made him America's grandfather in chief during World War II, even though he did his best to hide his growing illness (now considered to be Guillain-Barré syndrome) from the electorate. NBC
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