Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Poster

Harry Carey: President of the Senate



  • [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, all right.

  • 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.

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