Tobias "Toby" Zachary Ziegler, was the White House Communications Director for seven years under President Josiah Bartlet.


Prior to Bartlet Administration

Tobias "Toby" Ziegler was born and raised in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn in New York City.  His father, Jules "Julie" Ziegler, had been involved in organized crime since before his son's birth.  Toby had a brother, David, who was a NASA astronaut.  He was raised a diehard fan of the New York Yankees, and often expressed his disdain at the team's rivals in the American League East division. Toby claimed at one point to have seen 441 games at Yankee Stadium.

A longtime professional political operative, Toby worked on a city council campaign, two Congressional races, Senatorial and gubernatorial races and the two Bartlet presidential campaigns.  The 1998 Presidential Election was his first win on a campaign.

Bartlet Administration

To be West Wing-wikified

Toby was hired as White House Communications Director for President Josiah Bartlet.  He later learned he was not the first choice for the job.  His primary responsibility was to coordinate the "message" for the administration and ensure it is properly expressed by administration officials and allies in Washington.  He was also the President's primary speechwriter, sharing responsibility for the highest-priority speeches with Sam Seaborn.  In addition, he serves as a senior domestic policy advisor.

He was close friends with the other members of the senior staff, and had a good working relationship with communications assistants Ginger and Bonnie.  His prickly, dour personality was unsettling to strangers, but endearing to those he considered friends.  Toby often threw a rubber ball at the window separating his office from Sam's as a way of getting Sam to come quickly.  He continued the tradition when Sam was replaced as Deputy Communications Director by Will Bailey.  Will, attempting to work out his frustration about the second inaugural address, shattered the window with a throw of his own.

At some point early in Bartlet's first term, Toby separated from and later divorced his wife, Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt of Maryland. The two had clashed over Andie's desire to keep trying to conceive a child, while Toby wanted the couple to consider adoption. Three years later, Toby and Andie conceived fraternal twins; they named the boy Huckleberry ("Huck" for short) after Andie's grandfather, and the girl Molly after a Secret Service agent gunned down during the abduction of Zoey Bartlet.

Toby was, along with the rest of the senior staff, in Rosslyn, Virginia when white supremacists opened fire on the crowd.  Toby was unhurt but became concerned when he had trouble finding Josh Lyman.  He found Josh slumped against a wall with a critical gunshot wound to the torso and screamed for help.

He was the first member of the senior staff (after Chief of Staff Leo McGarry) to learn of Bartlet's concealment of his multiple sclerosis.  He figured out something was wrong when Vice-President John Hoynes held an event in New Hampshire, a critical state in presidential primaries.  As Bartlet explained the disease and his concealment, Toby grew angry and confrontational.  After cooling down, he offered his support to his colleagues when it was their turn to speak to the President.

Toby was heavily involved in the 2002 reelection campaign.  He made the campaign be about :"Smart or not. Engaged or not." He called President Barlett "a heavyweight", and urged him to make the campaign "about  a heavyweight". Along with Josh Lyman and Donna Moss, he was left behind by the Presidential motorcade during a campaign stop in Indiana.  The trio spent 20 hours trying to make their way home, constantly running into obstacles along the way.  Early in the day he lost a bet with Josh and was forced to say "I work at the White House" whenever he said his name.  That evening, he struck up a conversation with a man named Matt Kelly, who had taken his daughter to visit Notre Dame but was worried about how he would pay for her education.  After the talk, Toby and Josh were inspired to advocate a plan to make college tuition tax deductable for Americans under a certain income threshold. 

Toby once had a crush or "a touch of the poet", in C.J.'s words, for U.S. Poet Laureate, Tabatha Fortis.

During the final year of Bartlet's second term, a White House source leaked classified information about the existence of a military space shuttle to New York Times correspondent Greg Brock.  As staffers were being issued subpoenas and intense scrutiny began to fall on Chief of Staff C.J. Cregg, Toby confessed to C.J. that he was the source of the leak.  He was fired and became the target of federal prosecution.  Because of this, he sat in the back of the church during the funeral of former White House Chief of Staff and Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Leo McGarry.  His relationship with Josh Lyman, already strained after Josh's resignation to run the Matthew Santos presidential campaign, was tested again by the shuttle scandal.  Despite several tense exchanges, Toby unofficially advised Josh during the final weeks of the general election campaign.

Toby was pardoned of his crime by President Bartlet, in what turned out to be the President's final official act before leaving the White House.

After the Bartlet Administration

A "flash-forward" reveals Toby has become a professor at Columbia University at the time of the Bartlet Presidential Library's dedication.  His relationship with his colleagues and the President appeared significantly repaired.



Political History


  • In Clement Rollins' list of subpoenas, his name is given as "Toby Zachary Ziegler" ("Ways and Means"). However, while being deposed by Freedom Watch regarding a lawsuit brought against Andrea Wyatt for failing to disclose her pregnancy during the 2002 election, he states his full name as "Tobias Zachary Ziegler" ("Holy Night").

Behind the scenes

See also


White House Communications Director
Will Bailey
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.