After nearly 13 hours during which he had only a few short breaks while sympathetic senators took over the talking, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky ended his filibuster of John Brennan’s CIA nomination early Thursday.
As he wrapped up the marathon talkfest, Paul said he hoped he had put a spotlight on the Obama administration’s use of drone attacks and would be getting a response from the White House to his call for a pledge that such strikes will not be used against U.S. citizens on American soil.
“I’m hopeful that we have drawn attention to this issue, that this issue will not fade away, and that the president will come up with a response,” Paul said in his closing remarks, as The Hill reports.
Paul didn’t threaten Sen. Strom Thurmond’s record-setting filibuster of 28 hours, 18 minutes (set in 1957 when the South Carolina senator was a Democrat, as USA Today reminds us) or the two other filibusters that went 20+ hours.
As Politico writes, Paul said he might have tried for a record if nature’s call hadn’t been too strong: “I would try to go another 12 hours and try to break Strom Thurmond’s record, but there are some limits to filibustering and I am going to have to go take care of one of those here,” he said.
Courtesy of C-SPAN’s video library, we’ve made a clip of the entire filibuster.
National Review has broken the filibuster up into highlights. Among the moments it points to: “As we approached the sixth hour of the filibuster, Senator Rand Paul said the president’s use of drone strikes recalled the Queen’s approach to justice in Alice in Wonderland. He asked, ‘Has America the beautiful become Alice in Wonderland?’ The senator compared the Queen’s demands for ‘sentence first, verdict afterwards’ to the administration’s sentencing of terrorists to death before they have been tried in court.”
On Morning Edition, NPR’s Tamara Keith told host Renee Montagne that Paul “felt like this drone issue was important and not getting enough attention. … He stood there … [and] really stayed on message. … Rand Paul got a lot of attention to the issue of drones and their potential use in America.”
Paul, the son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), is being talked about as a potential 2016 presidential contender.
The Senate could vote on Brennan’s nomination later today.