McCain, Graham snipe at Paul for filibuster
March 7th, 2013
01:33 PM ET
7 years ago

McCain, Graham snipe at Paul for filibuster

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul's epic filibuster Wednesday garnered a swell of support, both from fellow Republicans on the Senate floor, and online among his base of grassroots libertarians.

But at least two of his colleagues weren't so impressed.

"All I can say is that I don't think that what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said on the Senate floor. McCain, along with fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, were skeptical of Paul's claim that the Obama administration was dodging the question of whether or not Americans could be killed by drones within the United States.

During his thirteen hour filibuster, Paul cited actress Jane Fonda, who notoriously protested against the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

"No one will ever forget Jane Fonda swiveling around in North Vietnamese armored guns, and it was despicable. And it's one thing if you're going to try her for treason, but are you just going to drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?" Paul asked during his marathon session.

McCain, who admitted Fonda wasn't his "favorite American," wasn't thrilled with Paul's argument.

"Somehow to allege that the United States of America – our government – will drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda, that that brings the conversation from a serious discussion about U.S. policy to the realm of the ridiculous," the Arizona Republican sniped.

Graham, a close ally of McCain's in the Senate, wondered why Paul and other Republicans were just now asking questions about the American drone program.

"To my Republican colleagues, I don't remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone," Graham said. During his filibuster, which lasted until early Thursday, Paul was joined by a throng of GOP lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, John Cornyn of Texas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, also spoke during the filibuster.

Graham, speaking on the Senate floor, couldn't recall any vocal opposition to former President Bush's use of drones.

"They had a drone program back then. So what is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up? What are we up to here?"

Graham and McCain were joined in their criticism Thursday by the right-leaning editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which urged Paul to "calm down."

"The U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else," the paper's editorial read.

"The Wall Street Journal is right on a lot of issues and they're wrong on this issue," Paul responded in an exclusive interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash. "The problem is if I call you an enemy combatant, how do we know if you are or aren't? That's just me calling you and accusing you of a crime."

"Should there be enough power by any politician, Republican or Democrat, to just say you're an enemy combatant and a hellfire missile drops on your house?" he asked. "That's what they're saying. With every fiber of my body, I believe that's unjust and unconstitutional."

Filed under: John McCain • Lindsey Graham • Rand Paul
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. WhereIsPalin

    Hey Kentucky..............what were you thinking?!?

    March 7, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Hemi1

    John McCain & Lindsey Graham are nothing but RINO's (Republicans in Name Only), or better yet, forces from the Republican (dark) Side for a clear example of what is wrong with the U.S. Senate as it exists today. Ineffectual leaders, whom often sound like Mr. Rogers from PBS, who have NO plans for bettering the US, but can easily criticize others who at least have plans. These two, like Harry Reid, and a few others from the opposite side, are the reason the Senate is a total money making, log jam of irresponsible self-serving public servants. Better to start all over again, than to put up with them for another term. Dang shame they even draw a salary.

    March 7, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. surf for sun

    Someone needs to inform Rand Paul that the proper Republican protocol is to fillibuster and obstruct in slilence, not out in the open where your actions can be seen.

    March 7, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    "To my Republican colleagues, I don't remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone," Graham said.

    WOW – BWHAHAHAHAHA – ROFLMAO! You tell it like it is Mr. Graham.

    March 7, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. evan

    John and Lindsey should just go ahead & get married. They will never be happy until they can officially become a family. Lindsey can still keep his home in SC so he can keep his job. Just make it official already.

    March 7, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    It's really about extremist, armed militia groups worrying about having their training camps taken out by drone. That is what this is really all about. They had figured that they could fight off the black helicopters. But, they've realized that their little pop guns are no match for a drone closing in at hundreds of miles an hour.

    March 7, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. kayla

    still sucking on some soar grapes i see.

    March 7, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Bill

    Well the block bullies may want the US to use such weapons against Americans, but I think the majority of republicans and democrats are in agreement with Rand Paul on this one. Shame he had to waste valueable time where they could be solving the economic problems. I remember when a Democrat Mayor ordered the use of C4 to be dropped on the roof of a fortress in Philadelphia killing terrorists and their families (MOVE), and burning down a few blocks of about 100 homes to end a standoff between the police and the Terrorist group. A lot of innocent people died, but the city spent millions rebuilding their homes and then got sued for millions more by one of the surviving terrorist. Nah, don't think we should be bombing homes or fortresses in cities. Our taxes pay for the aftermath a million or more fold for such unnecessary disasters.

    March 7, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. It's Only Bad When They Do It

    "They had a drone program back then. So what is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up? What are we up to here?"
    Good question Senator.

    March 7, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Dave

    McCain is soooo jealous. What a loser. Can't have Paul steal any thunder. Of course, McCain is as big a neo-con warmonger as there is.

    March 7, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. evilroyslade

    If your a terrorist your going to die by what ever method and no matter where you are.

    March 7, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    "We declare our right on this be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."

    March 7, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Its the height of irony that any of the GOP Senators would bother to speak on this issue, since I doubt none of them had any problems at all with the various forms of spying and eavesdropping the government has engaged in since 2001. The only reason why Paul is speaking out on this is that the militia groups that support him could be taken out, groups like the Hutaree Militia in Michigan, who planned to massacre people at military funerals. Yep, armed domestic terrorists need to be protected, and Aqua Budda will do it for them.

    March 7, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Grampa

    Yep, Rand Paul is a raving, drooling Tea Party lunatic. Check. Time to move on.

    March 7, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. gakloncz

    Rand Paul is standing on the side of the constitution. Read it. He's right. And, he's standing on principles. To be openly lambasted by two of the moderate Republicans (by the way moderate Republicans don't win presidential races), shows the changing of the guard in the GOP.

    March 7, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Name lynn

    Larry curley an stupid need to take a hike to the mountains because thats who you idiot be talking to no one listening to the crazy people.

    March 7, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Louis Grue Jr.

    Lindsey Graham and John McCain after that snipe at Rand Paul can just go over to the Democratic party because they obviously rather take up for and be with Mr. Obama who I do not trust as far as I can throw an elephant. America, you will find out in due time how much you should have trusted Obama. He who giveth can also taketh away !!

    March 7, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    Two of the biggest cowards in the Senate angry at one of the craziest Teatrolls in the Senate because he shamed them by at least having the courage of conviction to stand up and say what he believes and defend it. And you know what? It worked...he got some sort of response from the WH that made him happy and therefore moved the ball forward. The Grampa Grumpy Doll and Twinkletoes would much rather be able to obstruct and cause gridlock by sniping from the bushes and using a broken filibuster system to require supermajority votes or use secret holds and back room deals to cause stagnation. Randroid shamed them both and shamed the rest of the GOP/Teatroll Senate for at least having the courage to air it all publicly. It was a whole truckload of crazy, but it moved the ball. These two and the rest of the GOP/Teatrolls DON'T WANT THE BALL MOVED. EVER.

    March 7, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....and do you know why Rush Limbaugh doesn't have guest in his show? Because he's a Blowhard who can't debate the issue

    former President Bush's use of drones – "They had a drone program back then. So what is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up? What are we up to here?"

    You tighty righties just got BUSH wacked! LOL

    Ron Paul will filibuster and then vote for the same nominee; what a wasteful venture? I wonder why he yielded the floor....he should go on and on for all I care!!!!

    March 7, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Ol' Lefty

    I don't like Paul much, but he's right on this one. And McCain and Graham are throwing a hissy because Paul is taking some of their face time they so crave w/ the DC Punditocracy.

    March 7, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Louis Grue Jr.

    Very simple question for Americans ! American Socialists are completely united, the conservatives are completely un united ! Who do you think will end up controlling this great country ? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, that's why I'm so P****d off at this country !!

    March 7, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    "They had a drone program back then. So what is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up? What are we up to here?"
    I think Sen. Paul may have been actually expressing the concerns of right wing, armed militias. "Can they come after us?"

    March 7, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Old Boy

    Rand Paul wasn't in the Senate when Bush was there. He couldn't have questioned him on the issue.

    March 7, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Jack

    McCain and Graham need to go away already. What ever happened to term limits??? These two pieces of milk toast are as worthless as Obama.

    Obama rapes the country while McCain and Graham stands around and watches it happen. Go Rand Paul, and I hope someone kicks McCain and Graham in the coconuts!

    March 7, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Fortinbras

    For enemy combatants abroad, drone strikes are an appropriate means for liquidation. For enemies who happen to be citizens, drone strikes are too humane. They should instead have hungry lions dropped on them.

    March 7, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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