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Asaph Holiday is an overly meek editorialist for The Balance , a conservative weekly newspaper. Ordered to write a favorable editorial about Stephen Prime, a corrupt politician, Asaph refuses, but when his boss, Franklin Brumbaugh, insists because Prime is a member of his club, Asaph backs down. Beulah Boyd, Asaph's secretary, is in love with him, but he is too shy to notice. He learns that an old college friend, Wynn Rixey, is coming to town and is inspired to tell Beulah about their exploits. Beulah admits that she thinks the paper has had a bad effect on him. Inspired by his memories of a more adventurous youth, Asaph asks Beulah to dinner, and she responds by inviting him to her apartment. There he meets two of her friends, Alex Romanoff, a Communist, and Millie, and under their influence gets extremely drunk. The next morning, he wakes up in bed with Alex who, he learns, is pledged to prevent the election of Prime because his actions at the time of a bank failure caused the suicide of a bank employee. To get rid of Alex, Asaph agrees to publish his indictment. When Prime learns about the letter Alex has mailed to the Balance , he first tries to buy the paper and, when this fails, sends his campaign manager to bribe Brumbaugh's mistress, Olga, into stealing the letter. In the meantime, Rixey arrives in town, and under his influence, Asaph calls Beulah, arranging for her and another woman to join them for an evening out. They go to a private club and gain entrance by pretending to be friends of Mr. Sweeney, a name Asaph picks out of the air. Asaph gambles, drinks, dances and generally has a wonderful time. When he encounters Alex at the club, he decides to stand up to Brumbaugh and write an editorial against Prime. Asaph, Rixey and Beulah drive to the newspaper office where they find Olga and Brumbaugh being held at gunpoint while Prime's men look for the missing letter. Asaph walks into the office and takes the gun away from the thief. Holding a gun on all three, he rewrites the Prime story. By accident Rixey sets off the fire alarm, which brings the police who arrest the crooks, and Asaph stops Prime from stealing the letter. To protect Brumbaugh's reputation, Asaph pretends that Olga arrived with him and his party, and then uses the situation to force Brumbaugh to make him editor.