Being Blunt Never Hurt Madam Secretary... Or Did It?

Elizabeth McCord is a master of direct diplomacy.

Elizabeth McCord is a master of direct diplomacy.

As Secretary of State on Madam Secretary, Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) faces tough situations that can call for tough words. She's not afriad of being blunt, leading to some of our favorite moments on the show. Of course, being blunt doesn't always work out like she hopes—giving us a few lessons and a few laughs.
“You're giving me the 'you're an idiot' look.”

“You're giving me the 'you're an idiot' look.”

Elizabeth snapped at Michael Barnow, a special consultant she hired to help with the budget hearing fiasco in "Whisper of the Ax." The two were discussing why she maintained the staff from the previous Secretary of State despite it leading to massive problems. Michael's comeback was even more blunt: "Because you're an idiot."
“By mystery, do you mean born out of wedlock or sired by aliens?”

“By mystery, do you mean born out of wedlock or sired by aliens?”

Amid a crisis in Yemen during "Another Benghazi," Elizabeth faces a challenge at home when her oldest daughter makes headlines for protesting a new policy at her university. Elizabeth's team wants to release a statement about her "mystery" daughter. Her pointed response sent the message that they had more important things to work on.

"I like a man with a big moral compass. It's a real turn-on."

When Henry was dragged into an international negotiation with Russian Foreign Minister Gorev, he proved his strong moral integrity—something his wife Elizabeth clearly finds attractive.

"It's my job now. And you're fired."

On "Blame Canada," Mr. Bollings rudely claims that Vincent Marsh would have been the next President and Elizabeth wouldn't have had her job. She happily fires him, demonstrating the reality of how things turned out.

"And now I'm going to barf. That speech is so terrible. No offense Matt."

Elizabeth doesn’t like the speech prepared for her to address a dire situation in Western Africa in "The Call." She ultimately goes off script at the press conference, leading to a panicked staff and stunned nation.
“Did I miss anything on the way here? Like Texas seceding?”

“Did I miss anything on the way here? Like Texas seceding?”

When a Texas state trooper is killed by a Mexican cartel smuggler, Elizabeth arranges an extradition deal in “Standoff” and successfully prepares herself for dealing with Texas Governor Lockwood. Her quip to one of her team members comes after she had to apologize to Ambassador Lopez for violating Mexican sovereignty. 
“What did you just say? Because what I thought you said is that I'm the hero of this story.”

“What did you just say? Because what I thought you said is that I'm the hero of this story.”

Though she helps to run a nation, when Elizabeth was called a “hero” by her Press Coordinator Daisy, she snapped back. Elizabeth insisted that she didn’t deserve the title and that Frank Cole was the true hero.
“I’m sorry. I didn't know you felt pain.”

“I’m sorry. I didn't know you felt pain.”

Unafriad of conflict, Elizabeth often locks horns with image consultant Michael Barnow. In "There But For the Grace of God," Michael asked why Russell Jackson is visiting. Elizabeth changed the subject to his dog, a "painful" subject for him. Ultimately, Russell pressures her to invoke executive privilege when subpoenaed—only to reveal everything, himself. The situation raised the prospect of jail time and reminds Elizabeth that it might be worth listening to her consultants.

"Maybe when I get back, you can model that apron au naturel... I'm not on speaker phone, am I?"

Secretly in Iran to prevent a coup that could impact President Dalton's administration, Elizabeth tries to keep things spicy with her husband. The steamy remark on "Tamerlane" was quickly followed by a moment of personal panic.

"You know, if men knew how sexy they looked fixing stuff, they'd never stop."

Elizabeth ogled her husband Henry as he repaired the gutters in a light snow, prompting this observation.