Eli Attie

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Eli Attie is an Emmy-winning writer, producer, and former White House staff member. He served as Vice President Al Gore's chief White House and campaign speechwriter through Gore's concession of the 2000 presidential election, which Attie and Gore wrote together.[1][2] Attie was a longtime writer of the drama series The West Wing and House.

Early life and education[edit]

Attie grew up in New York City. His mother is acclaimed feminist painter Dotty Attie,[3] his father was commercial and fine art photographer David Attie, whose work he has helped to revive,[4] and his brother is widely-published mathematician Oliver Attie. He is a graduate of Hunter College High School and Harvard College. While in college, he was an editor of The Harvard Crimson.


As a young speechwriter for Al Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign, it was Attie who broke the news to Gore on election night -- as he was about to deliver a concession speech Attie had written -- that he was suddenly only 600 votes behind George W. Bush in Florida, and that the election might not be over.[5][6]

After working in the real White House and on the campaign trail, Attie became a writer on the NBC-TV series The West Wing for the last five of the show's seven seasons, ultimately serving as supervising producer.[7] Series creator Aaron Sorkin has written that Attie "made a big impact immediately," reducing the show's need for part-time consultants.[8] A number of the show's key storylines came from Attie's own experiences in politics. In addition, according to David Remnick's biography of Barack Obama, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, and other news sources, Attie used then-Senator Obama as a model for the character of Matt Santos, a presidential candidate played by actor Jimmy Smits in the final two seasons of the show.[9][10] Attie was nominated for Writers Guild and Humanitas awards for the episode "Election Day: Part 2", in which Santos wins the presidency. In 2020, Attie collaborated with Sorkin on new material for the show's HBO Max reunion special, A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.[11]

Attie was a frequent guest on "The West Wing Weekly", a podcast that went episode-by-episode through the entire series. He has also been a guest on political consultant David Axelrod's podcast "The Axe Files",[12] and on Aimee Mann and Ted Leo's podcast "The Art of Process".[13]

Attie was a writer and co-executive producer on House for the last five of its eight seasons, and was nominated for a Humanitas award for the series finale, "Everybody Dies", which he co-wrote with series creator David Shore. His more recent television credits include Fox's well-reviewed baseball drama Pitch and Showtime's Wall Street drama Billions.

In addition to his work in television, Attie's screenplay "Smile Relax Attack" was included on the Black List, an industry list of executives' most-liked scripts,[14] and he has done numerous movie rewrites.

Attie has worked as a rock critic for The Washington Post, Slate, and other publications. He is currently on the board of Let America Vote, a non-profit founded by Jason Kander that fights voter suppression.[15]

Attie won ASCAP's Deems-Taylor award for pop music writing.[16] He is a seven-time Emmy nominee and a three-time WGA award nominee; he won an Emmy Award for "The West Wing Documentary Special" and a Peabody Award for the September 11th special America: A Tribute to Heroes.[17]


  1. ^ Smith, Roger (20 November 2002). "Al Gore Has Stopped The Sighs". Jewish World Review.
  2. ^ "Reading Aloud Podcast". 5 December 2014.
  3. ^ Interview Magazine: "Ranger Games: Dotty x Eli Attie" By Eli Attie and Alexandria Symonds retrieved December 9, 2014
  4. ^ Barone, Joshua (21 July 2016). "A Son's Sleuthing, a Father's Archive and Capote's Vanished Brooklyn". New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  5. ^ Margolick, David (October 2004). "The Path To Florida". Vanity Fair.
  6. ^ Tapper, Jake, Down & Dirty, The Plot To Steal The Presidency, 2001, Little, Brown: p36-37.
  7. ^ "Eli Attie on the Internet Movie Database".
  8. ^ Sorkin, Aaron, The West Wing Seasons 3 & 4, The Shooting Scripts, 2003, Newmarket Press: p224.
  9. ^ Smith, Ben (5 April 2010). "Imagining Obama On 'The West Wing'". Politico.
  10. ^ Stelter, Brian (29 October 2008). "Following The Script: Obama, McCain and 'The West Wing'". New York Times.
  11. ^ "The West Wing Reunion Special: Collider Review".
  12. ^ "Eli Attie on The Axe Files".
  13. ^ "Eli Attie on The Art of Process".
  14. ^ "The Black List: Full Roster". Deadline.
  15. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  16. ^ "36th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award Winners Announced". ASCAP.
  17. ^ "Eli Attie awards on the Internet Movie Database".