Sen. Rand Paul’s epic filibuster opposing the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA came to an end early Thursday morning as he finished speaking around 12:40 a.m. local time, 12 hours and 52 minutes after he began.
“My legs hurt. My feet hurt. Everything hurts right now,” Paul told Fox News afterwards, 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.
The Kentucky senator’s effort to hold up Brennan’s nomination was designed to prompt the Obama administration to acknowledge that it did not have the legal authorization to use a drone strike to kill Americans on U.S. soil.
“I will not sit quietly and let him (Obama) shred the Constitution,” Paul said Wednesday. Quoting the Fifth Amendment, he added, “No person will be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process.”
By keeping the filibuster going through prime time, Paul forced network news to cover the issue.
Throughout the day, several of Paul’s Senate Republican colleagues came to his aid, allowing him time to rest his voice. Utah Sen. Mike Lee led this effort, as did Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Even one Democrat joined in, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.
And, in what may be a first, Cruz shared a number of “tweets” that were in favor of Paul from the Senate floor. The filibuster was all the rage on Twitter, with the hashtag #StandwithRand trending throughout the evening.
In a show of support, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did come to the floor and congratulate Paul for his “tenacity and for his conviction,” according to Fox News.
The record for the longest filibuster — at more than 24 hours — belongs to the late Rep. Strom Thurmond.
Ironically, as Paul was taking his stand to get the attention of the president, moderate Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain led a delegation of twelve Republican senators in having dinner with President Obama at the Jefferson Hotel near the White House.
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