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Senator: I didn't like this boy from the beginning. But most of us feel that no man who wasn't sincere could stage a fight like this against these impossible odds.

H.V. Kaltenborn: [Announcing on the radio] Half of official Washington is here to see democracy's finest show, the filibuster, the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in its most dramatic form. The least man in that chamber, once he gets and holds that floor by the rules, can hold it and talk as long as he can stand on his feet providing always, first, that he does not sit down, second, that he does not leave the chamber or stop talking. The galleries are packed. In the diplomatic gallery are the envoys of two dictator powers. They have come here to see what they can't see at home. DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.

H.V. Kaltenborn: [Announcing on the radio] ...It is the most unusual and spectacular thing in the Senate annals. One lone and simple American holding the greatest floor in the land. What he lacked in experience, he's made up in fight. But those tired Boy Ranger legs are buckling, bleary-eyed, voice gone, he can't go on much longer. And all official Washington is here to be in on the kill.

Clarissa Saunders: Do you mind if I give you a rough idea of what you're up against?
Jefferson Smith: No. Nope. Go ahead.
Clarissa Saunders: Well, Senator has a bill in mind, like your camp...Now, what does he do? He has to sit down first and write it up - the why, when, where, how, and everything else. Now that takes time.
Jefferson Smith: But this one is so simple.
Clarissa Saunders: Oh I see, this one's simple.
Jefferson Smith: Yeah, and with your help...
Clarissa Saunders: Oh, I'm helping, yeah. Simple and I'm helping, so we knock it off in record-breaking time of, let's say, three or four days.
Jefferson Smith: Oh, a-a day.
Clarissa Saunders: [incredulous] A day?
Jefferson Smith: Yes, just tonight.
Clarissa Saunders: Tonight. I don't mean to be complaining Senator, but in all civilized countries, there's an institution called dinner.

Clarissa Saunders: You get to your feet in the Senate, take a long breath, and start spouting, but not too loud because a couple of the Senators might want to sleep. Then a curly-headed page boy takes it up to the desk where a long-faced clerk reads it, refers it to the right committee...
Jefferson Smith: ...Why?
Clarissa Saunders: Look, committees are small groups of Senators that have to sit the bill down, look into it, study it and report to the whole Senate. You can't take a bill nobody ever heard about and discuss it among ninety-six men. Where would you get?...Now days are going by, Senator. Days, weeks! Finally, they think it's quite a bill. It goes over to the House of Representatives for debate and a vote. But it has to wait it's turn on the calendar...That's the order of business. Your bill has to stand way back there in line unless the steering committee thinks it's important.
Jefferson Smith: What's that?
Clarissa Saunders: ...Do you really think we're getting anywhere?
Jefferson Smith: Oh yes Miss Saunders. Now tell me, what's the steering committee?
Clarissa Saunders: A committee of the majority party leaders. They decide when a bill is important enough to be moved up toward the head of the list.
Jefferson Smith: Well, this is!
Clarissa Saunders: ...Where are we now?...Oh yeah, House. More amendments, more changes and the bill goes back to the Senate. If the Senate doesn't like what the House did to the bill, they make more changes. If the House doesn't like those changes, stymied.
Jefferson Smith: So?
Clarissa Saunders: So they appoint men from each House to go into a huddle called a conference and they battle it out. Finally, if your bill is still alive after all this vivisection, it comes to a vote. Yes sir, the big day finally arrives [pause] and Congress adjourns. [The smile on Smith's face droops.] Catching on, Senator?
Jefferson Smith: Uh huh. Shall we start on it right away or order dinner first?

Jefferson Smith: Did you ever have so much to say about something, you just couldn't say it?
Clarissa Saunders: Try sitting down.
Jefferson Smith: I did - I got right back up again.
Clarissa Saunders: Now look. Let's get down to particulars. How big is this thing? Where's it gonna be? How many boys will it accommodate? You've got to have all of that in it, you know.
Jefferson Smith: Yeah, yeah, and something else, Miss Saunders. The uh, the spirit of it. The idea - the - '[[He snaps his fingers] How do ya say it? [He walks to the window in which the lighted Capitol Dome is seen. He points out at the Dome] That's what's got to be in it!
Clarissa Saunders: What?
Jefferson Smith: The Capitol Dome.
Clarissa Saunders: On paper? [She lifts her eyebrows a little]
Jefferson Smith: I want to make that come to life for every boy in this land. Yes, and all lighted up like that too! You see, you see, boys forget what their country means by just reading 'the land of the free' in history books. And they get to be men - they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: 'I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't. I can. And my children will.' Boys want to grow up remembering that.
[Saunders looks at Smith with a new expression - she has stopped taking notes]
Jefferson Smith: And that-that steering committee, or whatever it is, they've got to see it like that. And I know Senator Paine will do all he can to help me, because he's a wonderful man, isn't he Miss Saunders? You know, he knew my father real well.
Clarissa Saunders: [uneasy] He did.
Jefferson Smith: Yeah, yeah. We need a lot more like him, his kind of character, his ideals.

Jim Taylor: Anything that benefits the state is mighty important to me. Owning a lot of its industry, newspapers, and other odds-and-ends. Now if I felt that you had the welfare of the state at heart like I have, I'd say you were a man to watch. Now what do you like? Business? If you like business, you can pick any job in the state and go right to the top. Or politics? Huh? If you like being a Senator, there's no reason why you can't come back to that Senate and stay there as long as you want to. [Smith rises slowly and confronts Taylor eye-to-eye.] If you're smart. Now you take the boys here, or Joe Paine. They're doing all right. They don't have to worry about being re-elected or anything else. They're smart. They take my advice.
Jefferson Smith: [in an incredulous tone] You mean you tell these men and Senator Paine what to do?
Jim Taylor: Why yes. Joe Paine has been taking my advice for the past twenty years.
Jefferson Smith: You're a liar.

Clarissa Saunders: I see. When you get home, what are you gonna tell those kids?
Jefferson Smith: I'll tell 'em the truth. Might as well find it out now as later.
Clarissa Saunders: I don't think they'll believe you, Jeff. You know, they're liable to look up at you with hurt faces and say, 'Jeff, what did you do? Quit? Didn't you do something about it?'
Jefferson Smith: Well, what do you expect me to do? An honorary stooge like me against the Taylors and Paines and machines and lies...
Clarissa Saunders: Your friend Mr. Lincoln had his Taylors and Paines. So did every other man whoever tried to lift his thought up off the ground. Odds against 'em didn't stop those men. They were fools that way. All the good that ever came into this world came from fools with faith like that. You know that Jeff. You can't quit now. Not you! They aren't all Taylors and Paines in Washington. Their kind just throw big shadows, that's all. You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other living man. You had faith in something bigger than that. You had plain, decent, every day, common rightness. And this country could use some of that. Yeah - so could the whole ****-eyed world. A lot of it. Remember the first day you got here? Remember what you said about Mr. Lincoln? You said he was sitting up there waiting for someone to come along. You were right! He was waiting for a man who could see his job and sail into it. That's what he was waiting for. A man who could tear into the Taylors and root 'em out into the open. I think he was waiting for you Jeff. He knows you can do it. So do I.
Jefferson Smith: What? Do what, Saunders?
Clarissa Saunders: You just make up your mind you're not gonna quit and I'll tell you what. I've been thinkin' about it all the way back here. It's a forty foot dive into a tub of water, but I think you can do it.
Jefferson Smith: Clarissa, where can we get a drink?
Clarissa Saunders: [slapping his knee] Now you're talkin'!

[The filibuster begins]
President of Senate: The Chair recognizes... Senator Smith!
Jefferson Smith: Thank you, sir.
Clarissa Saunders: Diz, here we go.
Jefferson Smith: Well, I guess the gentlemen are in a pretty tall hurry to get me out of here. The way the evidence has piled up against me, I can't say I blame them much. And I'm quite willing to go, sir, when they vote it that way - but before that happens I've got a few things I want to say to this body. I tried to say them once before, and I got stopped colder than a mackerel. Well, I'd like to get them said this time, sir. And as a matter of fact, I'm not going to leave this body until I do get them said.
Senator Joseph Paine: Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
President of Senate: Will the Senator yield?
Jefferson Smith: No, sir, I'm afraid not, no sir. I yielded the floor once before, if you can remember, and I was practically never heard of again. No sir. And we might as well all get together on this yielding business right off the bat, now.
[laughter from the gallery]
Jefferson Smith: Now, I had some pretty good coaching last night, and I find that if I yield only for a question or a point of order or a personal privilege, that I can hold this floor almost until doomsday. In other words, I've got a piece to speak, and blow hot or cold, I'm going to speak it.
Senator Joseph Paine: Will the Senator yield?
President of Senate: Will Senator Smith yield?
Jefferson Smith: Yield how, sir?
Senator Joseph Paine: Will he yield for a question?
Jefferson Smith: For a question, alright.

Senator Joseph Paine: I wish to ask my distinguished colleague, has he one scrap of evidence to add now to the defense he did not give and could not give at that same hearing?
Jefferson Smith: I have no defense against forged papers!
Senator Joseph Paine: The Committee ruled otherwise! The gentleman stands guilty, as charged. And I believe I speak for every member when I say that no one cares to hear what a man of his condemned character has to say about any section of any legislation before this House.
President of Senate: Order, order, gentlemen.
Jefferson Smith: Mr. President, I stand guilty as FRAMED! Because section 40 is graft! And I was ready to say so, I was ready to tell you that a certain man in my state, a Mr. James Taylor, wanted to put through this dam for his own profit. A man who controls a political machine! And controls everything else worth controlling in my state. Yes, and a man even powerful enough to control Congressmen - and I saw three of them in his room the day I went up to see him!
Senator Joseph Paine: Will the Senator yield?
Jefferson Smith: No, sir, I will not yield! And this same man, Mr. James Taylor, came down here and offered me a seat in this Senate for the next 20 years if I voted for a dam that he knew, and I knew, was a fraud. But if I dared to open my mouth against that dam, he promised to break me in two.

Jefferson Smith: [after all the other Senators walk out] Oh, Mr. President, we seem to be alone. I, I'm not complaining for a social reason; it's just, I think it'd be a pity if these gentlemen missed any of this, and...
[Clarissa starts waving from the visitors gallery, and making hand signals]
Jefferson Smith: And, uh...
[he grabs the rule book]
Jefferson Smith: I, I call the chair's attention to... to, uh... Rule 5 of the Standing Rules of the Senate, Section... Section 3. "If it shall be found that a quorum is not present, a majority of the Senators present" - and that looks like me - uh, uh, "may direct the Sergeant-at-Arms to request, and if necessary compel, the attendance of the absent Senators." Well, Mr. President, I so direct.

Diz Moore: [dictating into phone] In protest, the whole Senate body rose and walked out.
Clarissa Saunders: No! No, not that straight stuff. Now listen, kick it up, get on his side, fight for him! Understand?
Diz Moore: You love this monkey - don't you?
Clarissa Saunders: What do you think? Now listen, go to work. Do as I tell you.
Diz Moore: [into phone] Throw out that last, take this. This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor machine, allegedly crooked inside and out. Yeah, and for my money, you can cut out the "allegedly."

Senator Joseph Paine: He can raise public opinion against us - if any part of this sticks...
Jim Taylor: Aah, he'll never get started. I'll make public opinion out there within five hours! I've done it all my life. I'll blacken this punk so that he'll - You leave public opinion to me. Now, Joe, I think you'd better go back into the Senate and keep those Senators lined up.

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