Rand Paul: 13-hour filibuster features Rubio quoting Wiz Khalifa - FOX 35 News Orlando

Rand Paul: 13-hour filibuster features Marco Rubio quoting Wiz Khalifa

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Rand Paul, a Republican senator and tea party favorite from Kentucky, used an old-style filibuster lasting almost 13 hours to take control of the chamber and block Senate confirmation of John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director.

Sen. Paul ended his filibuster Thursday shortly after midnight, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also a Kentucky Republican, said he would continue to oppose Brennan's confirmation and resist ending the debate on President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the spy agency.

Speaking hours later on the Senate floor, McConnell said Paul deserves an answer from Attorney General Eric Holder on whether the Obama administration has authority to use lethal force against a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen.

"It simply doesn't have that right, and the administration should just answer the question," McConnell said. "There is no reason we cannot get this question answered today, and we should get this question answered today. Frankly, it should have been answered a long time ago."

The Obama administration has said it has not conducted such operations inside U.S. borders, nor does it intend to. Paul and backers said that wasn't good enough. They wanted the White House to rule out the possibility of them happening altogether.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Senate would vote to end the filibuster Saturday morning unless lawmakers can reach an agreement to vote earlier.

Paul's performance, which centered on questions about the possible use of drones against targets in the United States, clearly energized a number of his GOP colleagues, who came to the floor in a show of support and to share in the speaking duties. And even as the night progressed, Paul appeared invigorated despite being on his feet for so long. Actual talking filibusters have become rare in the Senate, where the rules are typically used in procedural ways to block the other party's agenda.

After Paul yielded the floor, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., filed a motion to cut off debate on Brennan's nomination, setting up a vote for later this week.

Paul, a critic of Obama's drone policy, started just before noon Wednesday by demanding the president or Attorney General Eric Holder issue a statement assuring that the aircraft would not be used in the United States to kill terrorism suspects who are U.S. citizens. But by the time he left the Senate floor, Paul said he'd received no response.

Paul wasn't picky about the format, saying at one point he'd be happy with a telegram or a Tweet. Paul said he recognized he can't stop Brennan from being confirmed. But the nomination was the right vehicle for a debate over what the Obama White House believes are the limits of the federal government's ability to conduct lethal operations against suspected terrorists, he said.

"No president has the right to say he is judge, jury and executioner," Paul said.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee used Paul's stand to raise money for GOP candidates and said Thursday that they received donations "in the high five figures as of last tally."

About a dozen of Paul's colleagues who share his conservative views came to the floor to take turns speaking for him and trading questions. McConnell congratulated Paul for his "tenacity and for his conviction," and he called Brennan a "controversial nominee."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, read Twitter messages from people eager to "Stand With Rand." The Twitterverse, said Cruz, is "blowing up." And as the night went on, Cruz spoke for longer periods as Paul leaned against a desk across the floor. Cruz, an insurgent Republican with strong tea party backing, read passages from Shakespeare's "Henry V" and lines from the 1970 movie "Patton," starring George C. Scott.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, made references to rappers Jay-Z and Wiz Khalifa. Rubio, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016, chided the White House for failing to respond to Paul. "It's not a Republican question. It's not a conservative question," Rubio said. "It's a constitutional question."

Along with Cruz, Rubio and McConnell, other Republicans who joined Paul on the floor included Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also made an appearance. Wyden has long pressed for greater oversight of the use of drones.

The record for the longest individual speech on the Senate floor belongs to former Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Paul ended his lengthy speech with a joke. He said that he was tempted to go another 12 hours and try to break Thurmond's record, but he needed to use the bathroom.

"I discovered that there are some limits to filibustering, and I'm going to have to go and take care of one of those in a few minutes," Paul said.

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