Psaki says binge-watching 'The West Wing' brought her back to politics

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki says binge-watching “The West Wing” helped inspire her to get back into politics.

Psaki started watching the award-winning TV drama after leaving the Obama White House in 2011, feeling exhausted, she remarked during an appearance last week on actor Rob Lowe’s “Literally!” podcast. 

“I’m working at this consulting firm and I started watching ‘The West Wing.’ And I don’t know what prompted me to watch it, but I watched, I binged, the entire thing,” Psaki said.

U.S. White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., Dec. 20, 2021.
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

“In a crazy way, it really brought me back to come back to politics and I ended up coming back and doing the 2012 campaign, and traveling with then-President Obama on his reelection,” Psaki added. “So I was basically gone for like six months, and then I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to go back, I’ve got to go back.'”

In the TV series, which ended in 2006, Rob Lowe, 57, played fictional Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn. 

WEST WING — SEASON 1 — Pictured: Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn — Photo by: Steve Schapiro/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Psaki, 43, first began as deputy White House press secretary under Obama and was later elevated to the role that the character of Seaborn held in the series.

Psaki remarked that Lowe’s character of Seaborn was inspiring because of the character’s idealism in the show, which she called “the best of [what] Washington is.”

THE WEST WING — SEASON 3 — Pictured: (l-r) Stockard Channing as Abbey Bartlet, Janel Moloney as Donna Moss, Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn, Martin Sheen as President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, John Spencer as Leo McGarry, Dule Hill as Charlie Hill, Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman, Allison Janney as Claudia Jean ‘C.J.’ Cregg, Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler — Photo by: James Sorensen/NBCU Photo Bank

“So in other words when you’re up there getting grilled by [Fox News White House correspondent] Peter Doocy, you’re thinking, ‘goddamn Rob Lowe’s the one who put me up here. Aaron Sorkin [the show’s creator], and Rob Lowe and “‘The West Wing,'” stated Lowe. 

“All your fault,” replied Psaki. 

On Jan. 20, 2021, Psaki made her debut in the White House Briefing Room as President Biden’s press secretary. 

“I never thought I’d be back in the White House,” Psaki told Lowe during the podcast. “And now I get to work with all of these people who are a part of the press team or are earlier in their career than I am, in their 20s or early 30s, who have that idealism that is like bursting out of their pores that makes you want to be here every day.”

“There’s lots of Sam Seaborns wandering around here,” she added. 

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