Lawmakers Write to 'West Wing' Character
By DEVLIN BARRETT
The Associated Press
Friday, February 27, 2004; 2:46 AM
WASHINGTON - People, it's just a television show.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. John McHugh are picking a fight with the fictional "West Wing" over a scene aired Wednesday night in which an aide discussed closing a real-life New York military base.
Clinton, D-N.Y., and McHugh, R-N.Y., fired off a letter Thursday to Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman, the TV character played by Bradley Whitford.
"Dear Josh," begins the letter from Clinton and McHugh, who are real, to Lyman, who is not.
On Wednesday's episode of the NBC drama, a general meeting with Lyman suggested Fort Drum in northern New York, site of deep-snow combat training, may be shuttered.
"We want to make sure that such a recommendation doesn't make it into another West Wing scene," the tongue-in-cheek letter says. "It is important that all White House advisors have the most current information to respond to such flawed proposals."
The surreal missive shows just how seriously some lawmakers take the actual threat of base closings. Clinton and McHugh are trying to protect Fort Drum and other military facilities in New York during an upcoming round of closures.
"We are willing to meet with you directly to address any other concerns that you may have," the pair wrote, before thanking another fictional person on the show for "trying to save Social Security" in a previous episode.
"Josh Lyman is quaking in his boots," said "West Wing" producer Laurence O'Donnell, who wrote Wednesday's episode.
O'Donnell said that in his earlier job as an aide to the late New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Fort Drum was always in danger. In his show, at least, it will be saved.
© 2004 The Associated Press