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Upon his arrival at the Hotel Westbrook in New York City, presidential aspirate Senator Melvin G. Ashton is asked by Lew Gibson, a newly hired publicist for Ashton's political party, to accept an honorary induction into the Cherokee Indian tribe, which the publicity-hungry senator eagerly agrees to do. Political boss Fred Houlihan then arrives at the Westbrook and demands that the inept Ashton give up his presidential hopes, but he refuses, much to Lew's delight. Back at his office, Lew's work for Ashton becomes sidetracked by the arrival of the beautiful Valerie Shepherd, though he is already romantically involved with newspaper woman Poppy McNaughton. That night, after Ashton gives a long-winded speech, during which he once again denies his presidential candidacy, Poppy breaks up with Lew, as she is nauseated by his support for the incompetent senator. The newspapers are soon filled with headlines proclaiming Ashton's candidacy, and after reading them, Houlihan goes to the senator's hotel room in the middle of the night and demands once again that he give up his presidential dreams. Ashton, however, informs the political boss that during his thirty years in politics he has kept a daily diary, which chronicles all the actions of their political party, honest and not. With that blackmail threat, Ashton begins a cross-country speaking tour of the United States and, despite his ineptitude, quickly rises to second place in the polls. After a political rally at Madison Square Garden, however, Ashton discovers that his prized diary is missing. While Ashton suspects Karl, a communist hotel waiter, of the book's theft, Lew accuses Poppy of stealing the diary. Later, Robert Oakes, Ashton's ex-secretary, is discovered in the room next door to the senator's, and while he has the diary's jacket cover, he swears that someone else stole the book before he did. Meanwhile, Lew discovers that his old friend and Valerie's boyfriend, Bill Fisher, is a political enemy of Ashton, having authored a bill in the senator's home state to investigate the senator. Through her own journalistic investigation, Poppy also comes to the conclusion that Valerie stole the diary, as the young woman had purchased a book of the same size from a New York bookseller. The next morning, Houlihan asks Ashton to resign from the Senate for the good of the party, but the penniless senator refuses unless the party can find him another source of income. Limited by Ashton's abilities, the political bosses finally promise to make him the commissioner of a professional sports league, a job that pays twice as much as the presidency. At the same time, Poppy steals a locker key from Valerie's purse and recovers the stolen diary, only to have Lew then take it from her. Although Lew calls Ashton to tell him that he has safely recovered the diary, Houlihan has difficulty convincing Ashton to take a pay cut and return to politics. The publicist has a change of heart, however, and gives the diary back to Poppy. After the revelations in Ashton's diary are published, Ashton and his cronies are forced to flee the country, and the senator later becomes the chief of a South Seas Island.