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Leo McGarry

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McGarry
Leo McGarry
Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Titles Secretary of Labor (-1995)
White House Chief of Staff (19992005)
Vice President-elect (2006)
First Episode "Pilot"
Last Episode "The Cold"
Appearances 136 episodes (see below)
Played By John Spencer
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1948
Date of Death November 7, 2006
Hometown Chicago
Home State Illinois
Leopold (Leo) Thomas McGarry was the former United States Secretary of Labor, former White House Chief of Staff, Senior Counselor to Democratic President Josiah Bartlet, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee for the 2006 election, and, posthumously, the Vice President-Elect of the United States.

BiographyEdit

Leo McGarry was born in Chicago, Illinois to an alcoholic father who shot himself one night after a row with his wife. Leo also had two sisters, Elizabeth and Josephine.

Military careerEdit

Leo joined the United States Air Force and flew F-105s for the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing during the Vietnam War. During this time, he and his friend, Ken O'Neill, were shot down near Hanoi and O'Neil carried a wounded Leo through the jungle for three days. It was suggested in The Portland Trip that he attended the University of Michigan.

In the Private sectorEdit

He was a Senior Corporate Officer for Muller-Wright, a defense contract company with Ken O'Neil for over ten years according to President Bartlet. (An Khe)

Political careerEdit

After having served one term as Secretary of Labor from 1991 until 1995, Leo went to New Hampshire in 1997 to persuade Governor Josiah Bartlet, an old friend, to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Having so persuaded Bartlet, Leo became his campaign manager, dubbing the campaign "Bartlet For America" and hiring such top political talent as Josh Lyman, Toby Ziegler, C.J. Cregg, and Sam Seaborn to work for the campaign. Eventually, Governor Bartlet, who was considered to be an insurgent candidate by the media, defeated Senator John Hoynes of Texas (whom Leo picked as Bartlet's vice presidential nominee to balance the ticket) for the nomination and went on to win the presidency.

Bartlet's TermsEdit

As President Bartlet's Chief of Staff and top advisor, Leo had an office adjacent to the Oval Office and sat in with the President in the Situation Room. Leo was very involved in the formation of policy and the day-to-day operations of the White House and its staff. Leo was a recovering alcoholic and valium addict. His problems with alcohol, as well as his workaholic attitude towards his job as Chief of Staff, contributed to his divorce from wife Jenny. It has also been revealed that Leo was an Air Force veteran, having flown F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers in the Vietnam War.

Leo McGarry was from Chicago, Illinois, though there seems to be some family connection to (likely one or more of his parents were born in) Boston, Massachusetts. In seasons 2 and 6, Leo was said to be from Chicago, and in a season 1 episode Josh Lyman called Leo "Boston Irish Catholic." During the episode The Portland Trip, it was strongly suggested by a conversation between the President and Leo that Leo attended the University of Michigan, at least for undergraduate work. It is also implied that Leo has a law degree, as in And It's Surely to Their Credit he told Josh Lyman that if he was going to go ahead with the lawsuit of the Ku Klux Klan that he, Sam, and Toby would take a leave of absense and join Josh's legal team.

Leo and Jenny have a daughter, Mallory.

In season six, McGarry had a heart attack outside Camp David, leading to his replacement by C.J. Cregg, the White House Press Secretary. He later returned to work after Bartlet's last State of the Union Address in his new role as Senior Counselor to the President. He stated that he would not work in any presidential campaign to succeed Bartlet. However, Bartlet asked him to run the Democratic National Convention when it seemed likely to deadlock. As the convention neared its endpoint - Josh Lyman convinces Congressman Matt Santos, to select McGarry as his vice presidential nominee. This was particularly ironic, because McGarry had earlier repeatedly insisted that Santos drop out of the race for the sake of party unity.

During the ensuing campaign, the press and others tended to refer to McGarry as "Mr. McGarry" as opposed to "Secretary McGarry" as would be the standard protocol for a former cabinet member.

DeathEdit

On Election Night, McGarry went up to his hotel room in Houston to take a nap before the results came in. McGarry collapsed in his hotel bathroom of an apparent heart attack. He was found by Annabeth Schott and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. McGarry's death came ninety minutes before the polls closed in California and other western states, thus giving some voters this information prior to casting their vote. Despite McGarry's death, the Santos-McGarry ticket narrowly won the election over the Vinick-Sullivan ticket by a 30,000 vote margin in Nevada and McGarry posthumously became the Vice President-Elect after Santos's victory.

McGarry's funeral was held at an unnamed Catholic church, though the funeral was filmed at The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, Maryland. President Josiah Bartlet, President-elect Matthew Santos, Josh Lyman, Charlie Young, former DNC head Barry Goodwin, and McGarry's unnamed son-in-law served as pallbearers. Vice President-Elect McGarry was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Though McGarry was not seen again onscreen (in flashback or otherwise) after his death, his presence (and lack thereof) is felt in the final episodes of the series, most prolifically in the series finale when his daughter presented a gift to President Bartlet that she found in Leo's posessions. In the show's final scene, Bartlet opened the gift to find the napkin with the words "Bartlet For America", which McGarry had written to start Bartlet on his Presidential journey almost a decade earlier and which President Bartlet had framed and given as a gift to Leo during the House of Representatives' hearings into the apparent MS cover-up towards the end of his first term.

Whitford Spencer

Josh Lyman and Leo McGarry.

ResumeEdit

EducationEdit

Military CareerEdit

Political CareerEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

Parallel to Bush Administration Edit

It should be noted that Leo's approximately six and a half-year tenure as Chief of Staff would be rather extraordinary in our world (though, during the George W. Bush Administration, Chief of Staff Andrew Card served for over five years). The average tenure since 1945 has been approximately two years, however this may not be true in the West Wing universe. Leo would also be considered historically a very powerful Chief of Staff - comparisons could be drawn to H. R. Haldeman (often called the "second most powerful man in America" during Richard Nixon's administration) in terms of influence and closeness to the President, if one ignores Haldeman's ethical foibles.

There appear to be many similarities between McGarry's character and real life Vice-President Dick Cheney. Both were former Cabinet Secretaries and White House Chiefs of Staff, and both are older and considered to be more experienced than their respective running-mates. It seems that Santos' choice of McGarry as his running-mate is due to his own lack of experience in foreign affairs and security issues, whereas McGarry's deep understanding and expertise of the issues is shown in his service during the Bartlet administration. This was also true of Cheney when he was selected to be Bush's running-mate, as he too lacked experience in these areas while Cheney served as Secretary of Defense in the administration of George H.W. Bush. McGarry's and Cheney's health was also a factor during their respective campaigns as both suffer from heart conditions.

AppearancesEdit

Season 1 appearances
"Pilot" "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" "A Proportional Response" "Five Votes Down" "The Crackpots and These Women"
"Mr. Willis of Ohio" "The State Dinner" "Enemies" "The Short List" "In Excelsis Deo"
"Lord John Marbury" "He Shall, from Time to Time..." "Take Out the Trash Day" "Take This Sabbath Day" "Celestial Navigation"
"20 Hours in L.A." "The White House Pro-Am" "Six Meetings Before Lunch" "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" "Mandatory Minimums"
"Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" "What Kind of Day Has It Been?"
Season 2 appearances
"In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part I)" "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part II)" "The Midterms" "In This White House" "And It's Surely to Their Credit"
"The Lame Duck Congress" "The Portland Trip" "Shibboleth" "Galileo" "Noel"
"The Leadership Breakfast" "The Drop In" "Bartlet's Third State of the Union" "The War at Home" "Ellie"
"Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail" "The Stackhouse Filibuster" "17 People" "Bad Moon Rising" "The Fall's Gonna Kill You"
"18th and Potomac" "Two Cathedrals"
Season 3 appearances
"Isaac and Ishmael" "Manchester (Part I)" "Manchester (Part II)" "Ways and Means" "On the Day Before"
"War Crimes" "Gone Quiet" "The Indians in the Lobby" "The Women of Qumar" "Bartlet for America"
"H.Con - 172" "100,000 Airplanes" "The Two Bartlets" "Night Five" "Hartsfield's Landing"
"Dead Irish Writers" "The U.S. Poet Laureate" "Stirred" "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" "The Black Vera Wang"
"We Killed Yamamoto" "Posse Comitatus"
Season 4 appearances
"20 Hours in America (Part I)" "20 Hours in America (Part II)" "College Kids" "The Red Mass" "Debate Camp"
"Game On" "Election Night" "Process Stories" "Swiss Diplomacy" "Arctic Radar"
"Holy Night" "Guns Not Butter" "The Long Goodbye" "Inauguration (Part I)" "Inauguration: Over There (Part II)"
"The California 47th" "Red Haven's on Fire" "Privateers" "Angel Maintenance" "Evidence of Things Not Seen"
"Life On Mars" "Commencement" "Twenty-Five"
Season 5 appearances
"7A WF 83429" "The Dogs of War" "Jefferson Lives" "Han" "A Constituency of One"
"Disaster Relief" "Separation of Powers" "Shutdown" "Abu el Banat" "The Stormy Present"
"Opposition Research" "Slow News Day" "The Warfare of Genghis Khan" "An Khe" "Full Disclosure"
"Eppur Si Muove" "The Supremes" "Access" "Talking Points" "No Exit"
"Gaza" "Memorial Day"
Season 6 appearances
"NSF Thurmont" "The Birnam Wood" "Third-Day Story" "Liftoff" "The Hubbert Peak"
"The Dover Test" "A Change Is Gonna Come" "In The Room" "Impact Winter" "Faith Based Initiative"
"Opposition Research" "365 Days" "King Corn" "The Wake Up Call" "Freedonia"
"Drought Conditions" "A Good Day" "La Palabra" "Ninety Miles Away" "In God We Trust"
"Things Fall Apart" "2162 Votes"
Season 7 appearances
"The Ticket" "The Mommy Problem" "Message of the Week" "Mr. Frost" "Here Today"
"The Al Smith Dinner" "The Debate" "Undecideds" "The Wedding" "Running Mates"
"Internal Displacement" "Duck and Cover" "The Cold" "Two Weeks Out" "Welcome to Wherever You Are"
"Election Day (Part I)" "Election Day (Part II)" "Requiem" "Transition" "The Last Hurrah"
"Institutional Memory" "Tomorrow"

See also Edit

Cabinet of President Josiah Bartlet
Vice President   John HoynesBob Russell
Secretary of State   Lewis Berryhill
Secretary of the Treasury   Ken KatoKaren Browning
Secretary of Defense   Miles Hutchinson
Attorney General   Dan LarsonAlan Fisk
Secretary of the Interior   Bill Horton
Secretary of Agriculture   Roger Tribbey
Secretary of Commerce   Mitch Bryce
Secretary of Labor   Carl ReidJack Buckland
Secretary of Health and Human Services   Blieden
Secretary of Education   Jim Kane
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development   Deborah O'LearyBill Fisher
Secretary of Transportation   Keaton
Secretary of Energy   Ben ZaharianBill TrotterGerald Deloit
Secretary of Veterans Affairs   Weaver
White House Chief of Staff   Leo McGarryC.J. Cregg
Director of Central Intelligence   George RollieRob KonradGeorge Rollie


Preceded by:
unknown
Secretary of Labor
Leo McGarry
Succeeded by:
eventually Carl Reid
Preceded by:
unknown
White House Chief of Staff
Leo McGarry
Succeeded by:
C.J. Cregg
Preceded by:
John Hoynes
Democratic Vice Presidential candidate
Leo McGarry
Succeeded by:
unknown

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