Aaron Sorkin got the idea for a story about the NSC card after George Stephanopoulos showed him his card. Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers assured Sorkin that the card didn't exist, unaware that only certain people were issued one.
In the last scene, when 'President Bartlet', referring to the space program says "with outstretched fingers we touched the face of God", he's paraphrasing the last line of the poem 'High Flight', by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., a favorite poem among aviators and astronauts. Ronald Reagan's speechwriter Peggy Noonan also famously paraphrased the line in Reagan's speech after the Challenger disaster.
Not only is the Andrew Jackson block of cheese story a true one from the real Jackson Administration, but several years after this show went off the air, President Obama also added a real "Big Block of Cheese Day" to his administration's schedule. On January 24, 2014, the Obama White House announced that in the spirit of both Andrew Jackson and the television program "The West Wing," they would host a real version of the show's "Big Block of Cheese Day," in which White House officials would be available to answer questions from ordinary Americans (albeit online instead of in person, as the "cheese day" meetings were on the show). This announcement was kicked off by a video, posted on the White House's official website, that featured "West Wing" stars Bradley Whitford and Joshua Malina and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. The first real Big Block of Cheese Day took place on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. On January 16, 2015, the White House announced that they would again be holding a Big Block of Cheese Day. This time, the video announcement (titled "Big Block of Cheese Day Is Back, and It's Feta Than Ever") featured White House Press secretary Josh Earnest and West Wing cast members Bradley Whitford, Joshua Malina, Mary McCormack, Dulé Hill, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, and Martin Sheen. The video described the event as "like Reddit, but without the weird stuff."