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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. Her mother passed away some time ago. She is Catholic. (The Crackpots and these Women)
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 Bartlet for America campaign by Toby Ziegler, who was impressed by her work with EMILY's List, an organization that helps fund women running for political office. Toby surprised her in her backyard just moments after she was fired from her PR job, making C.J. fall into her 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).
White House Career
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, due to some threats to American embassies in Asia.
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.'s most prominent romantic relationship on the show was her long on-again, off-again flirtation with Senior Washington Post White House correspondent Danny Concannon, whom C.J. felt she could not date due to the conflict of interest their jobs possed.
Danny spends 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 before being told by C.J. herself that she actually loved the Goldfish crackers. Nevertheless, C.J. keeps Gail throughout her time at the White House, becoming a staple on her desk. Gail's decoration changed from episode to episode, ranging from a miniature White House, a miniature Presidential podium (often seen around the State of the Union) to many other relevant decorations that matched the theme of a specific episode.
At the start of President Bartlet's second term, and after a two-year absence from the Press Room, Danny returned from his stint overseas after hearing a first-hand account of a Bermuda signal agent who had the day off when Abdul Sharif's plane went off radar 85 miles off of Bermuda. Thus, Danny attempts to break the story of the Bartlet administration's assassination of Qumari defense minister Abdul Sharif, again putting him in direct conflict with C.J. Despite all of this, she warns him to post his story after he agrees to push posting it for a couple of days due to plausible threats (and Zoey Bartlet's eventual kidnapping) once it is clear President Walken might break the story himself, which wouldn't be fair to Danny.
Sometime after C.J. became White House Chief of Staff, during the last few months of the Bartlet Administration, Danny returns once again and invites C.J. to a dinner date with him. Though she intended to delay their relationship until President Bartlet was out of office, it is revealed they get together shortly after Leo's fatal heart attack and continue to sleep together during her last two months in office. However, it is implied she is hesitant to define their relationship before the Inauguration and he grows increasingly frustrated with the lack of communication about their future together on her part. After a big fight with just two weeks left, C.J. agrees to prioritize herself and her choices for once, choosing Danny and Franklin Hollis' extraordinary offer.
In the flash-forward to the Bartlet Presidential Library dedication, three years in the future from mid-2006 (The Ticket), it is first revealed to the audience C.J. and Danny are together (presumably married) with a child after the Bartlet administration ended. They reside in Santa Monica, California.
- National Merit Scholar
- Master's degree in Political Science - University of California, Berkeley
- 1998 Triton-Day Public Relations Agent at a California public relations firm
- 1999-2005: White House Press Secretary
- 2005-2007: White House Chief of Staff
- 2007-present : President & CEO of the Frank Hollis Foundation
- Member of EMILY's List
- 1998 Campaign Spokeswoman for the "Bartlet for America" presidential campaign
- 1999-2005: White House Press Secretary
- 2005-2007: White House Chief of Staff
Behind the scenes
- The character is supposedly loosely based on Bill Clinton's first Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, who also 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.