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Robert Russell, Jr., known unflatteringly as Bingo Bob, was a Congressman from Western Colorado who became Vice President of the United States in 2003 after the resignation of John Hoynes and the Zoey Bartlet kidnapping. He was the frontrunner in the 2006 Democratic primaries, losing to Matt Santos.
Russell was born in 1948 (Requiem), the son of Robert Russell, Sr. He had flat feet and took to wearing cowboy boots to help his walking. It later contributed to his persona. After a lengthy public career in Colorado (Han), Russell was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994, and won reelection in 1996 and 1998. (Jefferson Lives) He would serve on the House Energy Committee with Congressman Jeff Haffley. (Shutdown) Congressman Russell also served alongside Congressman Matt Santos the House Administration Committee, also known as the "Siberia" of House Committees. (Freedonia)
Russell was seen as a "bland Congressman," known for getting along with people at home and in the House. He won reelection in the 2000 mid-terms and in Bartlet's 2002 "lonely landslide." He had met Josh Lyman on one occassion, although it was brief and he didn't believe Josh would remember him. (Jefferson Lives)
- See Bob Russell during Season 5 for episodic details.
Congressman Russell was amongst those listed by new-Speaker Jeff Haffley as "acceptable" choices for VP, in a ploy to stop the administration from nominating Lewis Berryhill. After meeting with everyone on the list, Bartlet settled on Russell in order to avoid a fight and to give Russell a chance to "confound expectations" of him. Russell asked for direct access, with weekly lunches, and would go on to hire then-Deputy Communications Director Will Bailey as his chief of staff. As part of his increased access, Bailey would attend staff meetings.
- See Bob Russell during Season 6 for episodic details.
He was briefed on a Norwegian working dinner. (The Mommy Problem) When his chief of staff, Will Bailey took over as White House Communications Director, C.J. went to make amends with Russell. (Here Today) When Bruno Gianelli found a briefcase belonging to Matt Santos, it consisted of a day planner with embarrassing notes on how Santos disliked Russell. (Two Weeks Out) A week before Election Day, Russell was campaigning in his home state for Matt Santos. (Welcome to Wherever You Are) Colorado would end up swinging Democratic that year. (Election Day (Part I))
Russell was amongst the dignitaries who attended Leo McGarry's funeral. As he was the same age as Leo, it spurred him to consider working out more. After the wake, he called Matt Santos with an offer to "stay on as VP." He was congratulated on his years of service, but the offer was not taken. (Requiem)
Like John Hoynes before him, and in contrast with Jed Bartlet, Bob Russell comes across as a pragmatist and career politician. He has no personal issue with making incompatible statements or promises which will not be fulfilled, only a concern about any that might do so visibly. He shows no clear signs of true loyalty to anyone else, and during his campaign for the nomination is entirely willing to be the first candidate to 'go negative'.
However, since his role as VP is largely to 'balance' the President and bring to the ticket what he does not, it may well be that he is in those same ways a good running mate for Bartlet, being conservative, more a 'man of the people', and not inclined to hand-wringing over morally difficult decisions, because (apparently) to him they aren't. Matt Santos being an idealist in the Bartlet vein, there are clear contrasts between the two.
Russell maximises his own exposure and positive publicity, for example slipping into his own good wishes for President Bartlet's health in "Impact Winter" the fact that he was "playing tennis when I heard".
Behind the scenesEdit
|Vice President of the United States|
July 2003 – January 20, 2007
Eric Baker (unconfirmed)
|United States Congressional Delegation from Colorado|
|Crandell (D) | Moseley (R)|