The Bartlet Administration Backs Clinton: Inside 'The West Wing' 's Passionate and Prank-Filled Campaign Trail Reunion

"We love when we get these special projects because we get more time together," Mary McCormack tells PEOPLE of campaigning with her The West Wing castmates for Hillary Clinton

Photo: Courtesy Hillary for America

They’re walking and talking – for Hillary.

Some of The West Wing cast gathered together to travel across Ohio, over the weekend, reliving their fictional political backgrounds as they stumped for real Democratic Presidential nominee Clinton.

“[I have] renewed respect for the energy that it must take to be a candidate, because it’s exhausting,” Josh Malina, who portrayed Will Bailey on the drama series, tells PEOPLE from the battleground state.

Malina, joined by former costars Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, Dulé Hill and Richard Schiff, was called to action by Mary McCormack, aka Deputy National Security Adviser Kate Harper.

McCormack tells PEOPLE that a recent turn as attorney Roberta Kaplan in an upcoming ABC miniseries led her to reuniting the Bartlet administration staffers.

“[Kaplan] was trying to think of people from Ohio that could maybe come and be surrogates and get the word out,” explains McCormack, 47. “And I said, ‘Oh, I know Allison Janney is from Ohio, but why stop at Allison? I could call the whole gang and see if we can put the band back together.’ ”

It didn’t take much for everyone else to sign on, she says: “They’re like superheroes to me, because they don’t ask too many questions, they’re like, ‘It’s important, let’s do it.’ ”

The group is all united behind a passion for ensuring Clinton’s spot as the next President.

“There’s no question, this is absolutely the most qualified human being ever to run for President,” says Whitford, who played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman. “She has been a leader in terms of giving people access to health care. And in her children’s health insurance program, equal rights for women, LGBT rights – she has been fighting the good for fight for 45 years.”

Adds Schiff, “I do not have faith that Donald Trump has any real interest in leaving the world a better place than how we found it… So there’s no debate here, there’s no question. I would vote for Donald Duck over Donald Trump.”

All agree that the race to the White House is not ensured for the Former Secretary of State, though.

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“We’re having a circus, and there’s only one candidate who is trying to talk about content and issues and the other one is trying to turn it into a wrestling match,” says Schiff, who starred as Toby Ziegler on the 1999-2006 series.

Regardless of how Americans cast their ballots, the castmates want to highlight the importance of voting.

Schiff explains, “I would look at our job as to get people excited about this election because I think a lot of America is turned off by it. They’re tired of and are disillusioned by the vitriol.”

“Please take part in the election, even if you’re voting for the other side,” he urges. “It’s important to exercise your right, participate, so democracy can work the way it’s supposed to. Don’t leave it to other people to decide your fate.”

Still, the rocky road to November 8 has been unforgettable – and not something the stars think even West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin could have dreamed up.

“What I’ve been saying about The West Wing is that on the show we had rational, well-intentioned Republicans,” Whitford says. “Obviously, Donald Trump and his antics, we would have never insulted the Republican party on The West Wing by having a candidate who mocks people’s physical disabilities, who demeans women. We’re living in some bad writing right now.”

Echoes McCormack, “It’s crazy. You can talk about policy, and the contrast is so stark. Here’s a woman who, you know, dedicated her entire life to making people’s lives better, literally from a little girl to a young woman… Compared with a guy who makes fun of disabled people, and calls women fat pigs. I don’t know how you say to your children, ‘This is our leader.’ ”

Aside from their call to action, the group is focused on thanking the “inspiring” and “hard-working” Clinton volunteers, Malina, who is busy fronting a new, West Wing-themed podcast, says.

“We’re really just trying to meet volunteers from city to city that are really doing the real work, the grueling real work that leads a Presidential campaign,” he explains. “We’re just trying to re-energize them by thanking them.”

But they’re keeping it light too. Malina is up to his usual pranks, his castmates say (when he’s not falling to McCormack’s daughter in Mad Libs).

During a Saturday night dinner at Applebee’s, the Scandal star orchestrated a restaurant-wide sing-a-long for Whitford’s “60th Birthday” (which he won’t actually celebrate until October 2019).

“When Josh Malina is anywhere within 30 miles, a practical joke is very likely,” Schiff advises.

Whitford is out for revenge: “Josh Malina needs to understand one thing: payback’s a bitch.”

No matter what, though the actor promises, “We are united behind Hillary.


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