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'Abigail Anne Abbey' Bartlet, M.D.', former First Lady of the United States, was a fictional character played by Stockard Channing on the television serial drama The West Wing''.
Overview Abbey is a world-class physician and wife of more than thirty years to President Bartlet (in the first season episode "Five Votes Down," President Bartlet mentioned to Charlie that they had been married 32 years- meaning they were married in 1967.. Her maiden name is Barrington. The location of her undergraduate education is unknown. However, President Bartlet once confided in C.J. Cregg (his then press secretary) that he'd changed his mind about becoming a priest during his undergrad years at Notre Dame after meeting Abbey. It is unlikely that Abbey attended Notre Dame, because the University did not admit female students before 1972; however, Notre Dame's sister school, Saint Mary's College, was established in 1844, so the young Ms. Barrington could easily have attended there.She received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Her specializations are in internal medicine and thoracic surgery. She began practicing medicine some twenty-five years before the start of the series, and is on the staff of both Boston Mercy Hospital (fictitious) and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. She is Adjunct Professor of Thoracic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. She and her husband have three daughters: Elizabeth, Ellie, and Zoey. At the beginning of the series, Zoey is said to be 19 but this was retconned at the end of season 2 to being closer to 17. In season 2, Ellie was in medical school at Johns Hopkins University. Elizabeth is a bit older than Ellie and is the only one who is married with children throughout the series until the final season when Ellie marries "the fruit fly guy"(Abbey once said in "Isaac and Ishmael" that she had Liz very young). In the fourth season episode "Inauguration: Over There", it was established that Abbey never let the children have sugar (specifically candy) growing up, but that Jed gave it to them all the time behind her back.To protect the secret of her husband's multiple sclerosis, Abbey gave the President doses of betaseron, which helped keep his MS in check. It was only after he collapsed and was confronted by Leo that she revealed their secret to a member of the White House senior staff. Her decision to medicate her husband, in violation of several American Medical Association rules, caused her to decide to give up her medical license for the duration of her stay in the White House. However, she has begun to do some volunteer work at a local clinic.Abbey had forced her husband into a "deal" with her that he would only run for one term because of his MS. She was distraught and very angry with Jed when he broke this promise and proceeded to run for reelection anyway. Things were tense between the two for the latter half of the second season, but as the third season progressed they worked through it.Abbey was a recurring character during the first two seasons, and the seventh and last season. She appeared as a regular during the third through sixth seasons, despite the fact that there are many episodes in which she does not appear, a fact consistent with real life, where the First Lady must perform official duties all over the country and therefore cannot stay constantly with her husband at the White House.
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