❝ In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising... ❞

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Toby Ziegler

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg was the White House Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to President Josiah Bartlet.


Originally from Dayton, Ohio, C.J. attended U.C. Berkeley. Her father (Talmidge Cregg) was a high school math teacher. C.J. has a couple of older brothers (The Black Vera Wang) and a niece, Hogan. She initially worked at a public relations firm in New York, which she left to do PR for one of Toby's failed senatorial campaigns. According to Toby, she made a minimal impact and they lost in a landslide (Access). She would go on to work at a prominent California public relations firm, where she made $550,000/year, before coming to work for Governor Bartlet's 1998 presidential campaign, making a modest $600/week.  She was recruited to the campaign by Toby Ziegler, who was impressed by her work with EMILY's List, which helps fund women running for political office.  Toby surprised her in her backyard just moments after she was fired from her P.R. job.  C.J. fell into the pool. (In the Shadow of Two Gunmen). According to her, the biggest mistake she ever made was having a one-night-stand with then Texas senator John Hoynes (Full Disclosure). She is a Catholic. (The Crackpots and these Women)

White House

As White House Press Secretary, C.J. was sharp, well-spoken and witty. She was less than pleased to discover that her Secret Service codename was "Flamingo", a bird which C.J. described as being "ridiculous-looking". On festive occasions, C.J. can be persuaded to perform her dead-on lip synch of The Jackal by Ronnie Jordan, which Sam Seaborn described as "Shakespeare the way it's meant to be done."

C.J. was at the Newseum in Rosslyn, Virginia when the President and his staff were fired upon by a pair of young white supremacists.  C.J. remembered being knocked down when the shots began and noticed her necklace was missing.  She later figured out Sam was the one who pushed her out of harm's way.  

Toward the end of Bartlet's first term, C.J. received a series of death threats after publicly criticizing Saudi Arabia's treatment of women. C.J. often represented a contradictory view on many volatile topics that enter the West Wing, such as the weapons sales to Qumar and the right of the public to be told something that may only serve to cause panic and chaos. After the death threats were discovered, C.J. was placed under the protection of Secret Service agent Simon Donovan, with whom she kisses before he is shot at a convence store. As President Bartlet and his entourage visited New York to watch 'The Wars of the Roses', Simon was told the FBI had detained the perpetrator. Simon pulled C.J. out of the crowd and delivered the news privately. Shortly after leaving C.J., Agent Donovan visited a local grocery shop and unknowingly walked into the middle of an armed robbery.  After detaining one gunman, a second, unseen suspect shot and killed him.  C.J. was visibly distraught after learning of Donovan's murder. (Posse Comitatus).

Shortly before President Bartlet's second inauguration, C.J. returned home to deliver a speech at her 20th high school reunion.  She saw her father, suffering from Alzheimer's, struggling to cope with life. His third wife, previously C.J.'s English teacher, had left him. C.J. wrestled with the reality of her dad's deteriorating condition.  After taking him to see a doctor, she attempted to give her speech, but was called back to Washington as she spoke.

CJ Resigns

C.J. resigns as Press Secretary.

Midway through Bartlet's second term, Leo McGarry suffered a near-fatal heart attack and was forced to resign his position as White House Chief of Staff.  Bartlet named C.J. his successor, at Leo's suggestion.  After a rough period of "learning the ropes", she settled into her new position and earned the respect of her colleagues and the Washington political establishment.  Late in the term, C.J. was initially suspected of leaking classified information about a secret military space shuttle to New York Times correspondent Greg Brock, but Toby Ziegler eventually confessed to the crime and was fired. After Matthew Santos won the presidential election to succeed Bartlet, Josh Lyman attempted to recruit C.J. into the administration.  She was also offered several lucrative positions at major corporations.

C.J. had a long on-again, off-again flirtation with Washington Post White House correspondent Danny Concannon, although C.J. felt that they could not date because it would be a conflict of interest. 

Danny spent several of the early seasons trying to woo C.J. After Josh Lyman advised him of C.J.'s love of "Goldfish". Danny bought her a live goldfish as a gift; he later discovered C.J. loved Goldfish crackers.   Nevertheless, C.J. kept the fish, which was named "Gail", according to Danny, by "the guy in the store." throughout her time at the White House.  At one point, she installed a miniature White House, and later a miniature podium in the bowl.  Danny attempted to break the story of the Bartlet administration's assassination of Qumari defense minister Abdul Sharif, again putting him in conflict with C.J.

After C.J. became White House Chief of Staff, Danny returned and invited C.J. to dinner with him. After much difficulty they seem to agree that they can begin a real relationship after President Bartlet leaves the White House.  In a "flash-forward" to the dedication of the Bartlet Presidential Library, it was revealed C.J. had indeed, married Danny and had a child with him.



Work History

Political History

Behind the scenes

  • The character is supposedly loosely based on Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, who served as a consultant to the show.
  • Allison Janney won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2000, 2001) and two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (2002, 2004) for her portayal of C.J. Cregg.  She was nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress category twice more (2003, 2006) but did not win.  Janney also took home numerous awards and nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Awards.
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