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West Wing Wiki

Will Bailey is the former Deputy White House Communications Director, White House Communications Director, and Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States.


Will's father, Thomas, is the former Supreme Commander NATO Allied Forces Europe, in whose ideological footsteps he seems to follow, while making a name for himself with quiet resolve. Will is his youngest son, by quite some way presumably, since Sam originally asks if Thomas is his grandfather. It can be assumed Will attended Carnegie Mellon University after he was seen wearing a Carnegie Mellon shirt while jogging at Camp David. He appears also to have attended the University of Cambridge, since he claims he was "President of Cambridge Union Society" on a Marshall Scholarship. Will has a Peace Corps mug on his desk, suggesting he is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.[1]


Will is originally the manager of the Horton Wilde campaign to represent California's 47th Congressional District, the seat for which Sam Seaborn later runs. He claims to have written speeches for three congressional candidates (including Wilde and a Democrat called Chulo in the Oregon 4th in 1994), as well as for California governor Gabriel Tillman.[2][3] Following his departure from the White House, Sam recommends Will to replace him as Deputy White House Communications Director with a note to Toby Ziegler that reads: "Toby — He's one of us." Toby, after first meeting Will, characterized him as "deeply schooled in Eastern philosophy". Will is also an Air Force reservist, as part of the JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corp, a fact that President Josiah Bartlet applauds.

Will is quickly added to the White House staff and there is the requisite amount of hazing when he is first hired and moves into Sam's old office for a temporary three-week contract to help with the President's second inaugural address. The hazing includes shaving cream on his parking spot, putting olives in his jacket pockets, Seaborn for Congress posters on his office windows and placing many bicycles in his office. Will slowly begins to win everyone over. Will's early and principled advocacy of American intervention to stop the genocide emerging in Equatorial Kundu in January 2003 was critical to persuading Bartlet to send US troops and declare a new Bartlet Doctrine of humanitarian intervention in his inaugural address, despite the initial scepticism of Toby Ziegler and other members of the White House. This leads Bartlet to appoint him as a presidential assistant and the new Deputy Communications Director.

In his first days as Deputy Communications Director, the entire writing staff quits and Toby and other staffers go to California to support Sam Seaborn's campaign for Congress. The task of writing several speeches about the administration's tax policy proposal falls to Will and 4 interns.

Vice President COS[]

Will left President Bartlet's staff soon after the appointment of Representative Bob Russell (D-CO) as Vice President of the United States, when he accepted Russell's offer to become his chief of staff and strategist. The main reason for his move to Russell's office was to prepare the Vice President for a possible run in the 2006 Presidential Campaign. After Leo McGarry suffered a heart attack, Greg Brock speculated that Will might be appointed Bartlet's new Chief of Staff, citing his military experience and growth in his role with Russell.[4]

Will also served as campaign manager for the favorite's run for the Democratic nomination, though Will and Russell at one point offered the role to Josh Lyman due to Lyman's greater experience with national campaigns. Will's role with Russell frequently brought him into conflict with Toby Ziegler, who continued to disdain the vice president, and later with Josh Lyman when he recruited Representative Matt Santos (D-TX) to challenge Russell for the nomination. In early 2006 Will confided in Leo McGarry that "I don't know what I think of [Russell], really", saying that while he was well-aware of Russell's flaws, he also believed he was plainspoken, clear-minded and ultimately had faith in him because he trusted Leo and Bartlet's choice of Russell as a potential successor to a president with a serious health condition.[5]

Communications Director and Post-Bartlet[]

When Russell lost the Democratic nomination to Matt Santos, Bailey remained on Russell's staff. However, he left his job when White House Chief of Staff C.J. Cregg "dragooned" him on very short notice to become White House Communications Director and Acting Press Secretary after the firing of Toby Ziegler for his role in the military space shuttle leak. He served in this role for the final months of the Bartlet administration and entered into a relationship with Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper.

After initally considering returning to California politics and then turning down an offer to become Executive Director of the DCCC ahead of the 2008 midterms, Will instead opted to move to the Oregon 4th Congressional District and challenge 15-year Republican incumbent Congressman John Heffinger (who Will had ran an unsuccessful campaign against in 1994). By the time of the dedication of the Bartlet Presidential Library in New Hampshire several years later, Will has become a Congressman who sits on Ways and Means as a backbencher "who may have a shot at chairman in 32 years."


  • (To C.J. as she became CoS): On behalf of the Vice President and myself, and every man who's ever had a Wonder Woman fantasy, it's a bright day. (Liftoff)



  • Eton College (valedictorian) (Not a real-world status which exists)
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Cambridge
    • President of the Cambridge Union Society
    • Marshall Scholarship


  • 1st Lieutenant, United States Air Force Reserve, JAG Corps


Notes and references[]

  1. "The Wedding"
  2. "I've written for three congressional races and a governor" - Artic Radar
  3. "I ran Chulo's campaign against [Republican Congressman John Heffinger] in '94. We lost by 15 points" - Institutional Memory
  4. Third-Day Story
  5. 365 Days

Bailey (D) | Heffinger (R) | Satchel (D)

Sam Seaborn
Deputy White House Communications Director
Toby Ziegler
White House Communications Director
Louise Thornton
John Heffinger
United States Representative for the 4th District of Oregon