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[Madison sends Burden to the backwaters of the state to learn about political upstart Willie Stark
] Jack Burden
: What's so special about him? Madison, the Editor
: They say he's an honest man.
[to Willie Stark
] Jack Burden
: You throw money around like it was money.
: I tell you there's nothing on the judge. Willie Stark
: Jack, there's something on everybody. Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption.
: Anne, Burden's Landing is a place on the Moon. It isn't real. It doesn't exist. It's me pretending to live on what I earn. It's my mother trying to keep herself young and drinking herself old. It's you and Adam living in this house as though your father were still alive. It's an old man like the judge dreaming of the past.
: How'd you get him here? He was out stiff. Jack Burden
: A hair of the dog that bit him. Sadie Burke
: Hair? He must've swallowed the dog!
: Was she pretty? Jack Burden
: How should I know. I wasn't looking at her face.
: [Inside the governor's swerving car being driven at dangerous speeds by Sugar
] You'll never live to be impeached! Willie Stark
: Boy, I'll live to be President!
: Appeal to their emotions. Make them laugh; make them cry; make them mad, even if they get mad at you. But for heaven's sake, don't try to improve their minds.
: What is my weakness? Jack Burden
: You can't look at something that's broke without having to fix it. Adam Stanton
: Why is that a weakness? WHY IS THAT A WEAKNESS? Jack Burden
: It makes you do things you don't wanna do.
: You only get a couple of moments that determine your life. Sometimes only one. And then it's gone. Forever.
: To find something, anything, a great truth or a lost pair of glasses, you must first believe there would be some advantage in finding it. I found something a long time ago, and have held on to it for grim death ever since. I owe my success in life to it; it put me where I am today. This principle: what you don't know, won't hurt you. They called it idealism in a book I read.
: [to Anne, explaining what happened to his marriage
] A lot of tangled bedclothes and unspoken loathing, then spoken loathing and no tangled bedclothes.
: The friend of your youth is the only friend you'll ever have. For he doesn't really see you. He sees in his mind a face which doesn't exist anymore, speaks a name... Spike, Bud, Red, Rusty... Jack... that belongs to that now nonexistent face. He's still the young idealist you used to be, still sees good and bad in black and white and men as sinners or saints but never both and feels superior in the knowledge that you no longer can distinguish the two. That's what drives you to it. To try to stick the knife in. There is a kind of snobbery in failure like the twist to the mouth of a drunk.