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Psaki says binge-watching ‘The West Wing’ got her back into politics

Julia Nikhinson

Jen Psaki says she was inspired to return to politics after binge-watching “The West Wing.”

The White House press secretary said during a recent appearance on Rob Lowe’s “Literally!” podcast that she was a latecomer to the former NBC political drama, only getting her Bartlet administration fix after leaving the Obama White House in 2011.

“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 binged the entire thing,” Psaki said.

Before going on her viewing spree, Psaki said she had been “exhausted” by the work on Obama’s campaign and at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

“In a crazy way, [the show] 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.”

“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.’ ”

Lowe, who starred as fictional White House deputy communications director Sam Seaborn on the series, which ended in 2006, quipped, “When you’re up there getting grilled by [Fox News’s] Peter Doocy, you’re thinking, ‘Goddamn Rob Lowe’s the one who put me up here. Aaron Sorkin, and Rob Lowe and “The West Wing.”‘ ”

“All your fault,” Psaki, 43, replied.

Psaki pointed out that she once held the same job title in real life as Lowe’s Seaborn.

“That character was so inspiring because that idealism that Sam Seaborn had, that you embodied for many years, is kind of what the best of Washington is,” Psaki said.

“I never thought I’d be back in the White House,” she continued. “And now I get to work with all of these people who are a part of the press team, or 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,” Psaki said.

— Updated at 12:46 p.m.

Tags Aaron Sorkin Barack Obama barlet administration Jen Psaki Josiah Bartlet Rob Lowe The West Wing

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