From the San Jose Mercury News:
"She's still reeling from the cancellation of ``West Wing,'' done in by ratings and star John Spencer's death. She was so impressed by the quality of the drama, she says, she approached the creators about writing her into the show. She eventually took over the role of the president's no-nonsense secretary.
``When the show came on, I was crestfallen that I wasn't in it,'' she says. ``It was one of the few shows on the air that had anything to say. And it didn't hurt that it expressed a political view that I preferred to see expressed. So I immediately tried for a guest spot. I said I could be a lobbyist or something. I never expected to finally end up with a recurring role.''"
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From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
"Sentinel: About "The West Wing." What was the experience of shooting the last season like for you?
Tomlin: We were all weepy. I had to leave the stage. When I did my last shot, I was turning the office over to the new presidential secretary, and that was the last shot and it was too close to the truth. And I was going to start some ugly crying unless I left. So I had to leave, so I could come back with some kind of dignity. I was really choked up and moved. Unless you were very attentive, you wouldn't have noticed, because they never want us to overplay anything. I had to turn away when I said my last line to her, "Be empathetic, and you'll be fine." And it was really like we were leaving the White House.
Sentinel: To what degree were you clued in on who would win the election in the show?
Tomlin: None, really. For ages, I just assumed it was Jimmy Smits who played Democratic candidate Matthew Santos, and I think most everybody did. But I read an article not too long ago that they had sorta planned Alan Alda, who played Republican Arnold Vinick to win. But we're not told much."