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President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen)

Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer)

Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford)

  • Badass: nicknamed "Rambo" for the nerve of his attacks.
    • And as a nod to the inspiration for his character, Rahm Emanuel, who is nicknamed "Rahmbo".
  • The Big Guy: Shares this role with CJ. She's The Enforcer, he's the attack dog.
  • Breakout Character: Though it started in Season 2, by the final seasons it became pretty much The Josh Lyman Show, with everyone else featured in only about half the episodes and the lame-duck Bartlet Administration itself taking a backseat to Josh's quest to pass the torch.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: He can't ask women out properly, which Donna points out in relation to Joey Lucas and Toby in relation to Amy.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor
  • The Chew Toy
  • Combat Pragmatist: When it comes to politics, Josh doesn't much care what he has to do, so long as he wins.
  • Dead Big Sister
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Expy: A Brilliant young lawyer who isn't afraid to be ruthless and pragmatic. Issues with his father, an incredibly sarcastic personality, a tendency to act without thinking, a far more relaxed approach to work than His colleagues, Idealistic with a touch of cynicism and an attractive female co worker with a potential relationship. You could be forgiven for mistaking Josh for Tom Cruise's character Danny Kaffee from the Sorkin penned A Few Good Men.
  • Genius Ditz
  • Guilt Complex: A massive unjustified one due to the number of bad things that have happened to friends and loved ones.
  • Heroic BSOD: Josh goes through more breakdowns, and Freak Outs than the rest of the cast combined, complete with developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder courtesy of his Dead Little Sister and the shooting.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Informed Ability: For a supposed political genius, he sure screws up a lot politically. Starting with the pilot episode. Bartlet even points this out during one of these screw-ups.
  • Manipulative Bastard: They're all politicians, but Josh is the most underhanded when it comes to getting what he wants.
  • The Spock: While not as much as Leo, he's definitely colder, more calculating and more ruthless than others in getting stuff done.
  • Stepford Smiler
  • Troubled but Cute: A mild version.
  • Undying Loyalty
  • UST/ Will They or Won't They?: With Donna. They Do.

Communications Director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff)

Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney)

Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe)

Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff Donna Moss (Janel Moloney)

Personal Aide to the President Charlie Young (Dulé Hill)

Vice President John Hoynes (Tim Matheson)

Associate White House Counsel Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter)

Vice President Bob Russell (Gary Cole)

  • Hidden Depths: Picked to fill Hoynes' spot as Veep, Russell was meant by Haffley to be a thorn in the side of Bartlet's administration AND a non-threat to Congressional Democrats who were hoping to run for President once Bartlet's second term ended. Russell spites both expectations by proving reliable to Bartlet as well as garnering front-runner status for the 2006 campaign.
  • Strawman Political: Russell is basically the walking personification of every negative stereotype about modern politicians: he's dumb, bland, graspingly ambitious, has no firm ideological convictions, takes special-interest money by the forklift-load, and will do just about anything to win an election.

Republican Senator/Candidate For President Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda)

Democratic Congressman/Candidate For President Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits)

Will Bailey (Joshua Malina)

Speaker Of The House Jeff Haffley (Republican) (Steven Culp)

  • The Big Bad: He's about as close as the later seasons come to having a main antagonist, and can usually be counted upon to be behind any attacks on the administration or its policy.
  • The Chessmaster: Fancies himself one. Compared to Bartlet AND Santos, he's not.
  • Jerkass
  • Recurring Character
  • Smug Snake: Very bright, and capable of using the Republican majority in Congress quite effectively, but unable to alter his plans, and extremely stuck-up and unlikeable in person.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Has a minor one when the President pays him a surprise visit.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's an unlikeable jerk, but his portrayal never becomes significantly worse than this. He's not evil, just very, very right wing.

Director of the Women's Leadership Coalition Chief of Staff to the First Lady then Director of Legislative Affairs Amy Gardner (Mary-Louise Parker)

  • Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male: The episode where she cuts Josh's phone cord and throws his cellphone in the soup so that she can beat him on a bill is played for laughs. Please imagine if the positions were reversed.
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: An unusual case. While they are dating, Josh and Amy find themselves on the opposing sides of fight over a welfare-reauthorization bill which ends when Josh manages to get Amy fired. They stay friends throughout the rest of show (even briefly dating again).

 Amy: I fought you, I lost, I had a drink, I took a shower. 'Cause that's how it is in the NBA.

Executive Secretary to the President Delores Landingham (Kathryn Joosten)

  • Killed Off for Real
  • Last-Name Basis: All other assistants are "Donna" or "Carole" or "Bonnie" or what have you, but she is always "Mrs. Landingham." This is due to the fact that she's been looking after Jed since he was a child, and he's simply always known her as "Mrs. Landingham" due to the age difference. She was his father's secretary, but she ended up becoming the chief maternal influence in Bartlet's life.
    • Jed only calls her "Dolores" about twice in the show: In 18th and Potomac just before she's killed and in the flashback to the first time they met, when she firmly corrects him.
  • No Badass to His Valet: Basically the only person in the cast other than Abbie who is never intimidated by the President.
  • Old Retainer: She was originally Bartlet's father's secretary.
  • Servile Snarker
  • Team Mom
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