Thursday, March 7, 2013

LIVE: Rand Paul Is Still Going Strong In Hour 12 Of His Historic Filibuster On Civil Liberties

Rand Paul FilibusterSenator Rand Paul took over the Senate floor Wednesday with a old-fashioned, talk-until-you-drop filibuster against John Brennan's nomination as CIA director vote, delivering a protracted speech on civil liberties and President Barack Obama's abuse of executive power.

"I will speak until I can no longer speak," Paul began Wednesday morning. "I cannot sit quietly and let [the President] shred the Constitution."
Paul began speaking just before noon and, at 11:47 p.m., entered his 13th hour on the floor.
He became the first Senator to use the "talking filibuster" in more than two years. He was joined several of his Senate colleagues around the three-hour mark, and the group had grown to 10 by the 10th hour of the filibuster.
Paul's marathon remarks have focused on violations of civil liberties under the Obama administration, and particularly on a letter sent by Attorney General Eric Holder this week, which claimed that the President has the legal authority to use military force against American citizens on U.S. soil.
“When I asked the president, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding an unequivocal, ‘No,'" Paul said Wednesday. "The president’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that."
Later, Paul warned about the ambiguity over who could be targeted by drones, suggesting that they could have been used during 1960s campus protests.
"Are you going to just drop a hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?" Paul asked. "Are you going to drop a missile on Kent State?"
After more than three hours at podium, Paul was relieved by Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
"You're standing here like a modern-day 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,'" Cruz told Paul admiringly. "You must surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile."
"I think Sen. Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counterterror strategy," Wyden said.
Wyden Ron Filibuster
CSPAN - The Tea Party trio was joined soon after by Kansas Republican
Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the NRSC, and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden,
a vocal opponent of Obama's drone program.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, another GOP darling, joined the filibuster briefly around the fifth-hour mark.
Taking the floor, Rubio joked to Paul: "Let me give you some advice — keep some water nearby."
After six hours, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid interrupted the filibuster to try to get a cloture vote on Brennan's confirmation.
"I think the rest of the body needs to know if we're going to finish tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day," Reid told Paul.
Ted Cruz FilibusterBut the Kentucky Republican dug in, telling Reid he would only end the filibuster if Obama or Holder clarify their position on killing Americans in the U.S.
"I'm not in the position to talk to the Attorney General," Reid replied, visibly irritated. "Everyone should plan on coming tomorrow. We're through for the night."
With the matter resolved, Paul turned back to his filibuster, welcoming Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey to the floor. Later, Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss took the floor. Then, Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso joined Paul on the floor, becoming the 10th Senator to take part in the filibuster.

But Paul started to show signs of fading around 5:20 p.m., when he appeared to whisper to someone, "Can you you get me some candy?" A few minutes later, he admitted that the end was in sight.
"I'm already getting tired, I don't know how long I'll be able to do this," he said.
He added: "This will be a blip in his nomination process. But I hope people will see it as an argument for how important our rights are."
Just after 7 p.m., Paul said he would give up the filibuster if Democrats consented to vote on a non-binding resolution that would define their opposition drone strikes of American citizens on U.S. soil. But Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) objected, instead offering a committee hearing on drone strikes. Paul declined to relent on his filibuster.
Under Paul's resolution, the Senate would have said that "the use of drones to execute or target American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates Constitutional rights" of due process.
A little before 8 p.m., Cruz came back to the floor and began reading tweets that in support of Paul. Saying he was "getting a little tired," Paul thanked Cruz for "bringing news of the outside world," because electronic devices are not permitted on the Senate floor.
And shortly after 10 p.m., Cruz returned again to the floor, armed with more supportive tweets.
"You da man. That would be 'd-a-m-a-n,'" Cruz said, reading off one of the tweets.
Around 11:20, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) joined the fray, becoming the 11th Senator to filibuster Brennan's nomination.
Mitch McConnell
"It really is remarkable to see this process unfold," Thune said. "...It certainly is remarkable to me to see the remarkable effort [Paul] is putting forward. Too often, we don't see enough of it around here."

After Thune, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to the floor. He called it an "extraordinary effort" and said he planned to oppose Brennan's nomination.
"Let me thank him for his courage and conviction," McConnell said of Paul.
Watch the filibuster live here >

SEE ALSO: Rand Paul's 10 best lines >
SEE ALSO: Krauthammer: This is the moment Rand Paul became a star >
SEE ALSO: DRUDGE: Here come the drone wars! >

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