Nearly 13 hours after he started, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ended a dramatic, old-fashioned filibuster early Thursday morning — having held the floor for most of the day and night to rail against the administration’s drone program while holding up the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director.
Business in the Senate ground to a halt Wednesday as Paul, aided by colleagues from both parties, launched into the filibuster as he challenged the president’s authority to kill Americans with drones.
Paul’s filibuster was longer than most in U.S. history, as most flame out by the 10-hour mark. Paul finished speaking around 12:40 a.m. local time, and his filibuster lasted 12 hours and 52 minutes.
“My legs hurt. My feet hurt. Everything hurts right now,” Paul told Fox News shortly after stepping off the Senate floor, saying he believes “we did the best that we could.”
“I would be surprised if we didn’t hear back from the White House,” Paul said. Click here to read more of the latest from Fox News.
Sen. Rand Paul took to the floor of the U.S. Senate just before noon Wednesday and vowed to stay there “at length” in order to filibuster John O. Brennan, whom President Obama has nominated to be the next CIA director.
Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, has said he will hold up the nomination until he gets more information about the U.S. drone execution program, which has become a major sore point for many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“I will speak today until the president responds and says, ‘No, we won’t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won’t kill you at home at night,’” Mr. Paul said early on in the filibuster, which began at 11:47 a.m. and by early afternoon showed no signs of slowing down.
Speaking from his corner desk, Mr. Paul, in red tie and gray suit and with a glass of ice water at the reach, spoke about political history and the origins of key constitutional precepts.
He was armed with binders full of information but rarely glanced at them as he rattled off important Supreme Court cases and names of lawyers involved in landmark race relations lawsuits.
The old-style, hold-the-floor filibuster is likely to heighten attention on Mr. Paul, who is thought to be mulling a presidential bid in 2016.
He has staked out a stance as a defender of constitutional rights and has not been shy about demanding votes on his priorities. But the single-handed filibuster is a more dramatic tactic, and he is using it to force attention to his opposition to the U.S. drone program.
“To allow one man to accuse you in secret — you never get notified you’ve been accused,” Paul said on the floor. “Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you’re killed. Is that what we really want from our government?”
Paul said he’d be raising the same complaints under a Republican president.
“No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country,” he said.