Clarissa Saunders Quotes in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)


Clarissa Saunders Quotes:

  • 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 who ever tried to lift his thought up off the ground. Odds against them 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. That 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, everyday, common rightness, and this country could use some of that. Yeah, so could the whole cockeyed 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 them 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 thinking 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.

  • [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.

  • 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."

  • Jefferson Smith: Boy, you should have been there!

    Clarissa Saunders: I know, it was a wonderful party, and your suit went over big, and she looked beautiful, and when you left she said, "Thank you, Mr. Smith," but it was the way she said it, you nearly fell through the floor. Horseradish!

  • Clarissa Saunders: They're not letting what Jeff says get printed in the state. Now if I give you a raft of it over the phone, can you print it up and spread a billion copies? Swell! Get ready to take this down, Mrs. Smith.

    Ma Smith: Boys, everything about Jeff, get pencils and paper.

    Clarissa Saunders: Alright, here we go.

    Ma Smith: All ready, Clarissa.

    Clarissa Saunders: She called me Clarissa. Okay Ma! JEFF TELLS TRUTH, SHOWS UP TAYLOR!

  • [last lines]

    Clarissa Saunders: [shouts] Yippee!

  • Clarissa Saunders: When Foley died, why didn't I clear out? How many times have you heard me say "I'm fed up with politics and I"... No, I let him talk me into staying. Secretary to a leader of little squirts! Why? Because I need the job and a new suit of clothes!

    Diz Moore: Would you settle for a husband?

    Clarissa Saunders: Mmm, I sure would!

    [suddenly realizes he's referring to himself]

    Clarissa Saunders: Huh?

    Diz Moore: You know my old standing offer. Diz Moore, poet of Washington correspondents.

    Clarissa Saunders: [smiling] Oh, that again.

    Diz Moore: I'd cherish you - and I'd stay sober.

    Clarissa Saunders: Oh, Diz, you're a wonderful egg. I don't know, maybe if I saw you once with your hair combed or something...

    [Diz sheepishly finger combs his hair]

    Clarissa Saunders: [laughs] No, I don't even think that would do it.

  • Clarissa Saunders: Diz, what do you think? Daniel Boone's lost.

    Diz Moore: No?

    Clarissa Saunders: Lost in the wilds of Washington.

    Diz Moore: Well, if your boy friend's gonna blaze trails, I'm going over to the Press Club.

    Clarissa Saunders: Aw, stick around. He might want us all to put on short pants and go out hiking. You wouldn't want to miss the exercise.

    Diz Moore: Every time I think of exercise, I have to lie right down until the feeling leaves me. Say, wouldn't it be funny if he was lost?

    Clarissa Saunders: The Boy Ranger? Oh, he'll show up. He must have a compass with him.

  • Clarissa Saunders: I'm still asking myself, what is he? Animal, vegetable or mineral?

    Diz Moore: Maybe he's an oyster.

  • Nosey: I'll make it right with you.

    Clarissa Saunders: What do you mean right?

    Nosey: What do I mean? I tell you what I'll do. World Series. A pass. A pass! In a month it will be worth fifteen bucks.

    Clarissa Saunders: Well!


  • Senator Joseph Paine: How'd it happen?

    Clarissa Saunders: Look, I merely took him home. I didn't tuck him in and give him his bottle. That's McGann's job.

    Senator Joseph Paine: McGann just phoned - out of his mind. Smith's gone again. Do you know where?

    Clarissa Saunders: Yes, he went up to Mount Vernon to give himself a patriotic address.

  • Senator Joseph Paine: Now, then, Saunders. You stop this nonsense and go back to Smith's office and go to work and get him to the Senate by twelve o'clock.

    Clarissa Saunders: Look, Senator, I wasn't given a brain just to tell a Boy Ranger what time it is.

  • Clarissa Saunders: Look, when I came here, my eyes were big blue question marks. Now, they're big green dollar marks.

    Senator Joseph Paine: Smart, girl, eh. All right. Finish this job properly and you get a handsome bonus. And by properly, I mean keep Smith away from anything that smacks of politics.

  • Clarissa Saunders: You're bill is ready. You take it over there and you introduce it. You get to your feet in the Senate and 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 sift a bill down, look into it, study it, report to the whole Senate. You can't take a bill nobody ever heard about and discuss it among 96 men! Where would you get?

    Jefferson Smith: Yeah, I see.

    Clarissa Saunders: Good. Now, where are we?

    Jefferson Smith: Some committee's got it.

    Clarissa Saunders: Now, days have gone by Senator. Days. Weeks! Finally, they think its quite a bill. It goes over to the House of Representatives for debate and a vote. But, it has to wait its turn on the calendar.

    Jefferson Smith: The calendar?

    Clarissa Saunders: Yes. That's the order of business. Your bill has to stand way back there in line unless the steering committee thinks its important...

    Jefferson Smith: What's that?

    Clarissa Saunders: What?

    Jefferson Smith: Steering committee?

    Clarissa Saunders: You really think we're getting anywhere?

    Jefferson Smith: Oh, yes, Miss Sauders, now, tell me, what's the Steering committee?

    Clarissa Saunders: The committee of the majority party. They decide when a bill is important enough to be moved up to the head of the list.

    Jefferson Smith: Oh, this is!

    Clarissa Saunders: Pardon me, this is. Where are we now?

    Jefferson Smith: We're in the House.

    Clarissa Saunders: Oh, yeah, the House. More amendments. More changes and the bill goes back to the Senate, The Senate doesn't like what the House did to the bill, they make more changes. The House doesn't like those changes, stymied.

    Jefferson Smith: So?

    Clarissa Saunders: So, they appoint men from each House to go to a huddle called a caucus and they battle it out. Finally, if your bill is still alive after all this devastation, it comes to a vote. Yes sir, the big day finally arrives - and Congress adjourns. Catching on Senator?

  • Jefferson Smith: It hasn't been easy, has it?

    Clarissa Saunders: No complaints.

    Jefferson Smith: I mean, for a woman, you've done awfully well!

  • Jefferson Smith: What's your first name?

    Clarissa Saunders: Why?

    Jefferson Smith: Well, I, eh, everybody just calls you plain Saunders.

    Clarissa Saunders: Well, I also answer to whistles.

  • Diz Moore: What did you get me outta bed for?

    Clarissa Saunders: Shhh. Sit tight. The show's about to commence.

    Diz Moore: Do mind telling me what's about to go on around here?

    Clarissa Saunders: Certainly. Now, there's the principal actor in our little play: Don Quixote Smith - man with bill. Over here, one of the supporting characters.

    Diz Moore: Who?

    Clarissa Saunders: That gorilla in man's clothing: McGann.

    Diz Moore: Oh, you mean, puss in boots.

    Clarissa Saunders: Yeah, mostly puss. Aw, another prominent character in our play, the silver knight, soul of honor on a tightrope.

    Diz Moore: You wouldn't be a little bit goofy, would you?

    Clarissa Saunders: Diz, Don Quixote with bill will get to his feet in a minute and speak two important words: Willet Creek. When that happens, the sliver knight will fall off his tightrope and puss will jump outta his boots.

  • Clarissa Saunders: Sicking that horrible dame on him - when he's goofy about her.

    Diz Moore: What dame?

    Clarissa Saunders: Paine!

  • Diz Moore: Better be nice to that gal. The latest poll makes her old man the party choice for the White House. She may be the next First Lady of the land.

    Clarissa Saunders: Imagine reading, "My Day by Susan Paine in the neck." He isn't gonna be hurt enough as it is, she has to twist a knife in him too... jackass. "I'll turn my glamour on him," she says.

    Diz Moore: Oh, forget it. What's it to you?

    Clarissa Saunders: Nothing, I'm just...

    Diz Moore: Okay, okay. Then, stop worrying. I told you the dopes are going to inherit the earth anyway.

    Clarissa Saunders: I wonder, Diz, if this Don Quixote hasn't got the jump on all of us. I wonder if it isn't a curse to go through life wised up like you and me.

    Diz Moore: Now, look here kid. If you're going to wonder, let's go down and do it over a hunk of steak, huh? Come on, snap out of it. Drink up! Here's to bigger and better dopes.

    Clarissa Saunders: And to Don Quixote.

  • Clarissa Saunders: So, you wanna be a Senator, huh? You're gonna build a camp on a little creek. See this? Deficiency Bill. Section number 40. A dam going up where you think your camp's going to be. Ever hear of it? Noooo! They read all about it in the Senate today. But, you weren't supposed to hear. That's why that ritzy dame took you in tow. That's why they sent you here in the first place! Because you don't know a dam from a bathtub. Go ahead! Be a Senator. Try and mess up Mr. Taylor's little graft. But, you can't. And you can't in nine million years! Go home! Don't stay around here making people feel sorry for you.

  • Jefferson Smith: Clarissa, where can we get a drink?

    Clarissa Saunders: Now you're talkin'! Come on over to my place.

  • Diz Moore: Is this some of your shenanigans?

    Clarissa Saunders: Shhhh.

    Diz Moore: What's the matter?

    Clarissa Saunders: Pray, Diz. If you know how.

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