The Ides of March was the day (March 15) that Julius Caesar was assassinated. In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" before being stabbed to death, Caesar is told by a Soothsayer: "Beware the ides of March."
As stated in the DVD audio commentary, the bar where Stephen meets Tom Duffy is called Head First and is located directly across from the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium. It's named for Pete Rose, who would slide head first. Paul Giamatti, who plays Tom Duffy, is the son of the late Bart Giamatti, who as Commissioner of baseball imposed the lifetime ban on Pete Rose.
After watching Morris stating on a video that extremism cannot be faced with more extremism and that America should understand why its enemies behave as such, Ryan Gosling's character mockingly says "Hello, my name is Neville Chamberlain and I'd like to be your Commander-in-chief". This is a reference to the attitude of the British Prime Minister who, before World War II, blindly believed he could negotiate with Hitler towards peace, with disastrous consequences.
Some of Governor Mike Morris's (George Clooney) campaign posters are inspired by Shepard Fairey's iconic "Hope" poster, used during Barack Obama's campaign in 2008. The AP photograph that Fairey used in "Hope" was taken at a 2006 press conference in which then Sen. Obama shared a stage with fellow Senator Sam Brownback and George Clooney, who had just returned from Sudan. Indeed, the image in the "Hope" poster is of Obama listening to Clooney speak.
Several times in the movie, characters ask young interns if they are "Bearcats," which refers to the University of Cincinnati. George Clooney attended the University of Cincinnati (briefly), though he never graduated from college.
Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) says about a slur on his opponent, "I don't care if it's true. I just want to hear him denying it." This is a reference to a statement attributed to Lyndon B. Johnson, who allegedly referred to an opponent as having carnal knowledge of farm animals. When an aide said he couldn't say that because it wasn't true, Johnson replied, "I know but I just want to hear him deny it."
In a title tussle, Sony originally wanted to use the play's more recognizable moniker for U.S. audiences, but wound up going with George Clooney's choice, "The Ides of March". "Farragut North" debuted off-Broadway in 2008.