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I watched Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? on PBS around 4 a.m. this morning and was compelled to continue watching. As the mother of a college student headed for a career in public service. I hope he has a chance to see this film. I'm sure it will inspire him.

Dear Jeff,

I don't know that I have ever been as inspired by someone in our political system as I have by you. I just saw your documentary and feel like you are one of the heros we need right now.

You have the dream, the vision, the instinct, the raw facts you have the courage to reveal, as well as a very articulate and compassionate way of communicating your message which galvanizes those who want change into positive action. I am so sickened by the crap that is oozing out of Washington, and like so many, feel helpless to fight the grotesque juggernaut of propaganda that is selling us all out.

I can finally have a little hope now that you are in the mix. I know you won't be selling us out to corporations, and you actually care about getting us out of Iraq! Thank you also for being pro choice!

THANK YOU FOR BEING SO COURAGEOUS AND STANDING UP FOR OUR RIGHTS!!! I would vote for you for President in a heartbeat.

Valentine Clark


I just watched by accident Can Mr. Smith get to Washington Anymore? I absolutely believe he or she can if approached the way Jim Smith approached the issue. I have been slightly involved in two such elections-both won-and they were as emotional, full of strength and motivation for the right issues as Jim Smith was. He would have had my vote and my participation and I still believe he has an important future in our country. We need men and women like him to lead . I would like to contribute to any campaign he is in or any campaign debt he may have. This program was and is powerful, especially for young people. To know they can make a difference and give them hope and optimism for democracy.Thank you

Stephen Hathway, MD


Just finished watching the Independent Lens program about Jeff Smith. It was a wonderful presentation. I hope that the material is presented to school children as part of their civics class.

Very well done. Thank you.


I loved the film and the content. Yes, I think the system can be fixed by public financing of campaigns and revealing the dirty tactics consultants and how they operate. I was SO happy to hear that Jeff finally triumphed in the later election and want to congratulate him for the tremendous tenacity required to run and to achieve that victory. And really good film-making, I think. Well edited, flows well, and the MUSIC IS SUPERB. The interludes of music and St. Louis scenes offsets the hectic campaign portions very well. Keeps the momentum and interest up. Feels like a horse race!

Alan Owens
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Because I have a handicap-I am mentally ill-I have no political opportunities. This show CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? demonstrates the problems involved in getting elected. I am tied to the grassroots politically; and this show underlines how hard it is to get from the grassroots to winning an election.

Furthermore, I learned a lot about how a campaigner administers the campaign to the voter. Perhaps someone will learn from Jeff Smith in the grassroots and win a national election.

Kansas City Missouri

I would vote for Jeff because he worked so hard & was tenacious & smart. I vaguely remember this being discussed by friends when I was in St.Louis/U-city last year. I think the system is fixable- I am inspired by many political candidates that don't have the money but are from the people that they serve. This year's mayoral race in KCMO will be interesting. Check it out Frank.

Alumna of Jeff's High School
St. Louis, MO

Way to go Jeff Smith! You put the rest of us Ladue-ites to shame! And I think it had something to do with the North County basketball more than a privileged up-bringing. And shame on Mom and Dad for laughing at your efforts and not making phone calls like Carnahan's mommie... argh

St. Louis, MO

I lived about two blocks outside this Congressional district in 2004 and therefore was not able to vote in this race but I followed the campaign with interest. I was deeply impressed with Jeff Smith's intelligence, energy, and enthusiasm. Two years later, I was happy to volunteer on Jeff's second camapign.

This film does a great job of capturing the drama and excitement of the campaign, and showing both the flaws and the amazing possibilities of our political system.

Walt B
El Paso, Texas

The second I started watching this film, I could not turn away. I want to think that the system can be fixed, we just need a thousand or so Jeff Smiths. I've been the voting age for 3 years, and up until this film, I had no real respect or care for politics. Jeff Smith inspired me to fight for what I want.

Carolyn Rose Goyda
Saint Louis, Missouri, US

I remember this election very well. It was one of the last my late mom struggle to csst a vote in - for Mr Smith.

His sign still sits in my living room.

Mr Smith's opponnent - still, is my US Rep; and I have yet to meet him nor see him on CSPAN - nor his sister who is now our Secretary of State.

We also have the "wonderful" dynasty in Missouri of US Rep Blunt and now Governor Blunt - elected with the help of Carl Rove.

As is atated in the last few minutes of this documentary - where I live - we have a Governor, US Rep, and President all elected based on name and not qualifications...

After we bring democracy to the rest of the world I hope we get to try it here...

Independent Lens is always educational and makes one think !

james brown
coalmont , tennessee

At 14 I wanted to be President and believed it was possible. At 30 I find myself merely wanting to graduate college. I come from the poor rural south. I liked the story about Jeff Smith and the concept. Yet, I still don't believe in the system. While Jeff Smith was running for congress people were getting their brains blown out in Iraq and Afghanistan. We, the poor, fight the wars abroad. They, Jeff Smith, and the up and coming middle class fight the war in government at home. I think both the growing poor population and the upper middle class that claws at the power can both agree on one thing, and that is that we desperately want a more pure representative government. We want to destroy the *1."polyarchy" that is the United States political system. After being honorably discharged from Air Force Special Operations Command with a mental illness, I have found myself too god damn crazy to finish college.(I lack 15 hours to earn a B.A. in Political Science)Even if I did finish, it's a sh***y excuse for a school, and my education can best be described as mediocre. I am a drone in the hive of society. Yet, I still want to believe. Yes, the flame of hope still flickers within me. Thank You for that Team Jeff Smith. I am the only one of 5 siblings to come this close to escaping ignorance.

*1."Polyarchy": a book by Robert Dahl of Yale University who explains, in detail, this concept and problem that people like Jeff Smith battle.

Margaret Fitch
Plano, TX

I thought this film was fantastic. This fellow should be cloned - we definitely need many, many more like him. To the filmmakers and the subject, MUCH continued success.


As a St Louisan living in Chicago I must say this documentary "made me proud" although the election outcome did leave much to be desired. Can anyone tell me what Jeff Smith is up to now? The credits at the end of the doc say he was voted into MO State Congress, but I don't find his name listed in Member directory.

Editors note:

After filming ended for CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE?, Smith taught government at Dartmouth College. He returned to St. Louis and decided to run again for Senate, this time for Missouri's fourth district, which lies in St. Louis City. Smith's campaign utilized many of the grassroots mobilization tactics he employed during his first run for Senate. In 2006, he won the Senate seat with a sweeping victory, and was inaugurated on January 3, 2007.

Portland, OR

An oustanding documentary. Inspirational and essential viewing for those who want to restore our government. Jeff is the kind of leader we need.

Patrick Bills
Springfield, MO

I am always dubious of successful politicians and establishment candidates of both parties. My personal slogan is "Vote Everyone Out, Three Times!" Only then do I think that things will change. However, only public financing of campaigns will begin to make the necessary changes. That, and something has to be done about media consolidation. A handful of media (Wall Street) elites and campaign contributors (Also Wall Street investment types) have a stranglehold on our democracy and will only allow us to choose from certain types of candidates from both parties. Thank you for covering some of the mechanisms of what has become a system of control.

Connie Loftis
Northbrook, Ill

Wow! What an inspiring film! Politics aside, as a human being Jeff Smith is truly an inspiration. I wanted to jump up and down right in my own living room while watching Jeff work his dream of running for office with a passion that is sorely missing in today's world. No matter the political race, no matter the outcome, just by his heartful, caring nature Jeff will bring hope to people's lives. No small thing. Note to Jeff: "Never, Never, Never Give Up." Winston Churchill

Denise Ross
Rapid City, SD

As a newspaper journalist who covered South Dakota's 2004 US Senate race, where John Thune beat Tom Daschle, I so appreciate the look at a candidate as a human being and at what politicians go through.

Perhaps part of the problem in the system is how easy it is to demonize and lionize these people. Once they're packaged as commodities, the public doesn't allow them to be human, doesn't grant them any respite.

(The film did this with Russ Carnahan, in my view, painting him as one-dimensional.)

A fasciniting insight, and, for my money, better than the War Room.

Toni Anderson
Chicago, Illinois

Stupendous film! Jeff Smith represents the type of political that we need in the 21st century. I hope this film encourages Americans to return to grassroots politics to get out the vote. Further, your documentary should be shown to every high school and college student studying political science. I intend to work with the Obama team for 2008 and am betting that their strategy will encompass grass roots organizing. Your film is inspiring and so is Jeff Smith. I will be following his political progress in the years to come.

San Francisco, CA

I loved this documentary. As a kid, I believed in RFK, and I haven't seen a politician since then who has made me feel hopeful. Jeff Smith has done that, and has made young people feel like they can get involved and have someone who speaks for them. It's nice to know that, even though he didn't win this particular race, it's still possible to go far and eventually get elected through really hard work, a community of support, and believing in yourself. I think Americans are ready for a different breed of politician. Kudos to the filmmakers for making me feel like I was right beside him every step of the way in an exciting and emotional campaign.

Elaine Trikolas Kisisel
East Chicago, IN

I started watching the film because I am a Northwestern classmate of Richard Gephardt. But then I became "hooked" and "memorized" by the genuine enthusiasm, intellect, and vision of Jeff Smith, the campaign staff and volunteers, not to forget his unique (God Bless her) mother. What an excepetional story told in a heartfelt and realistic manner. Kudos to all!!! The inspiration offered by youth should always be celebrated!! Thank you for this absolutely uplifting experience!!!

scott wafrock
san francisco CA

i was very impressed by jeff smith and his grassroots volunteers & campaign. he is exactly the kind of new blood our political system needs and i certainly hope he has his sites on higher aspirations. mister smith reminded me a lot of robert kennedy and he gives me hope for our country's future.

Peter Simpson

I currently am in the middle of viewing your program and heard Mr. Smith just touch upon a topic that I am so passionate about which is spending our energies and efforts on the front end of the teen sexuality issue. I just completed a paper for a graduate class on the exact same issue. We as a nation are focusing all our energy on the back end of the problem. We have already let the camel under the tent and watching it pass out of our tent. God love him and God bless for articulating this message. Continue to share this message to our American families to talk to their children about respecting themselves, to use protection, and cherish their goals that one has for one's future. Fight the peer pressure, tap into your family, your faith, your teachers for support to find ways to escape these situations. But if you find yourself in a position that might put you at risk, repsect yourself, your future, your partner and use protection so that we can lay to rest the issue of abortion in our lifetime.


i see here everything i abhor in the parasitic society we call "politics"...from the family career entitlements to money shows their total lack of respect from everything from bleeped expletives ( on camera no less)then speaking in churches( how hypocritical can one be?)to made for tv charades to influence votes..i cannot convey my dissatisfaction in words with my donations being wasted on this type of programming . it would be much better spent on basic civics and teaching the differences between right and wrong.small wonder kids are immulating what they see every day.

Knoxville TN

An excellent program. Jeff Smith and his team are a true inspiration and a bulwark against negativity. Now, his family must have a much more positive attitude about what he is doing and has done. It just goes to show it is all about attitude.


What appalls me most is that this Rep. jerk (my view of him) is so absent when votes are up. this is no less than shameful. as an American he should respect the system better all the more that he is an elected official. what a shame that the people elected him over a better candidate. who cares if he was young and lacked experience. he has heart and that is what is clearly sorely missing in our US gov't. yes i have encountered candidates i have wanted to help. I've campaigned for a few folks and put up yard signs etc. what inspired me was her dedication and forcefulness in spirit. she gave facts to support her statements and used her background of being an attorney as clout for her assertions. the system can be fixes if and only if we have more people like Jeff Smith who are willing to step OUT of their comfort zone and reinstate actual ISSUES and reality rather than who can make more money and be a Bush and/or Republican puppet. this system CAN be fixed but not by doing the same ol thing but breaking OUT of the shell to address the problems in a whole new way. but i agree with Mr. Popper that it is fixable. therein lies my hope. fantastic documentary, dear Mr. Popper. thank you and thank YOU Jeff Smith! and shame on the other guy for missing so many votes.

Jeffrey Hughes
St. louis, MO

It is important to point out that as this is essentially one of the uncontested seats, it is virtually always Democratic, the stakes for the primary were particularly high. Although I was and remain a strident Carnahan supporter, Jeff Smith's congressional campaign was both a boost for progressive issues in this district, and a reminder that one can still have a real impact even at the grassroots level. Smith's later election to the state senate is a great bonus for the State of Missouri as well as his future political aspirations.

Carol Cullens

I agree that the system is broken. I don't believe in the blame game, but I have my own well-shared ideas on the causes. I do, indeed think that the system is fixable, and if it takes grassroots action, then I am happy to be part of that. It is still "We, the People" as far as I am concerned, and we have the capability to take back and repair what has been mishandled.

I have encountered a prospective candidate who lived in my area and whom I overheard complaining about local issues, and a neighbor and I told her she should run for city council. She did, and we were ecstatic on election night to watch the votes come in and there she was, a city council member. Not too many years later she ran for mayor, and we supported her again, and she won quite handily. We knew where she was coming from, which was also where we were coming from. Her honesty and matter-of-fact attitude won us over, and she has proven to be trustworthy and definitely worthy of our support.

I think Jeff Smith has the qualities I want in a person who might someday represent me in Washington. I was recently telling a friend (about another candidate who seemed as idealistic as I am), "Let's face it, there's no 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' these days, but maybe we need to get back to that."

Retta Crawford
St.Louis, Missouri

I have met a political candidate that I did feel I could help and it was Jeff Smith. I was Jeff's first volunteer when he opened a small campaign office a block from from my home..I saw his signs for Congress in the window and thought who's this guy running for Con.Gephardt's seat? Talked with his staff and cold turkey approached him at a rally in Clayton at Sen.Bond's office. The rest is history and Jeff is a great friend and mentor..For a guy shorter than my 17yr. son with a cute smile and Kennedy like white shirt tie style I enjoyed his campaign for Congress and now can call him Senator Smith instead of Congressman...This film Frank made opened the Eyes of many..

Corinne Smith
Austin, TX

That virtual voting quiz was cool. I learned a lot along the way about how we are easily influenced by a "lack" of information. Thanks! Looking forward to seeing this doc.

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