March 7th, 2013
01:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Rand Paul on filibuster: 'We had no plan'

(CNN) – The decision to take to the Senate floor with questions on drones was a last minute one, Sen. Rand Paul explained in an exclusive interview with CNN Thursday, detailing how he wasn't totally prepared to remain standing for thirteen hours straight.

"We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day," Paul told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, adding that since the Senate leadership typically decides who speaks on the Senate floor, it's often difficult to begin a traditional filibuster.

"One of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded," he said.

His voice was still recovering from his epic floor remarks, Paul said, though he got a break from a bevy of Republican senators (and one Democrat) who joined in during the day. And he speculated he may have "lost a few pounds" by only eating an occasional candy bar – which cameras caught him noshing on throughout the day.

"There's a candy drawer, and if you go to the candy drawer, you can sneak around and get a candy bar," he said. "But I see you caught me with half the candy bar in and half out of my mouth. My wife said can't you chew with your mouth closed on the floor?"

The grueling conditions are all part of the rules of a traditional filibuster, which Paul admitted were demanding.

"It's not easy. My feet were hurting by the end of the day. You can't leave the floor and you can't sit down. So you can't use the restroom or do anything like that," he said, admitting the staff in the chamber are often more knowledgeable about restrictions than lawmakers themselves.

One of his tips? "I decided to drink very little water and have no caffeine."

Paul hasn't been without his Republican critics, including the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which Thursday urged him 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 his CNN interview. "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."

Paul revealed the White House had reached out to his office, though the Kentucky Republican didn't offer additional details of his communication with the Obama administration.

Later Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter responding to Paul's questions about the legality of drone strikes against United States citizens.

The letter, Carney said, addressed the question about whether the president has the authority to use a drone loaded with a weapon to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.

Reading from the letter, Carney said "the answer is no."

At 1:15 p.m. ET, Carney said the letter was sent to Paul "within the last half hour or so."

Speaking afterwards on CNN, Paul said he was satisfied with the response.

"I'm quite happy with the answer," the senator from Kentucky said on CNN. "I'm disappointed it took a month and a half and a root canal to get it, but we did get the answer."

In his interview, Paul speculated that Obama and he could have more in common on the issue than it may appear.

"When Barack Obama was a senator, I think he would have been standing with me last night," Paul said. "I think he, like [Democratic Sen. Ron] Wyden, would have come to the floor and supported me yesterday. I think he's either forgotten or needs to be more explicit in what his beliefs are."

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • Rand Paul
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. jim

    What a bunch of spoiled brats. Nothing suprises me any more with tthe circus we have in town.

    March 7, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Ghoti

    It's funny that people think that this kind of stuff in unrealistic. If that's the case, what's the point of the 5th amendment? It's not there for crazy hyperbolic scenarios. It's there to prevent a corrupt and/or over zealous government from infringing upon the rights of its citizens. Denouncing the use of drones to kill US citizens on American soil without due process should be something we can ALL agree on. And if Rand is "mistaken" on the facts, then why doesn't the President clarify by unequivocally stating that it is unconstitutional for the US government to target US citizens who are not an immediate (not imminent) threat? It would be SO simple to clear up and would take all of 2 seconds.

    March 7, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. The Dude

    "We had no plan" pretty much sums it up.

    March 7, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Rands Da Man!

    Martial Law Mr. Paul, look it up! They've had the right to do this since before your birth. So to argue the point of if peacetime or wartime is a better bet than arguing this point.

    March 7, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. liberty andjustice

    What ever happened to being innocent until proven guilty? Now we the white house considers using drones on our own soil to kill with out being proven guilty ? Where is the justice? Which branch of the government is making the laws ? Which one is legal to do so ?

    March 7, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. d slocum

    Rand Paul is a fraud! He demanded answers on 'hypothetical" drone strikes, then totally twisted the response from Eric Holder to imply that the US may well use drone strikes against Americans on American soil. The man should be docked at least a day's pay, at the very least. Better yet, he should be impeached. He was wasting time and trying to cause trouble, all on his trumped up charges. He also wasted Holder's time, and that of the American people.

    March 7, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Willie K.

    He had the wrong shoes on? Are there special shoes Senators must wear for filibusters? I've heard of running shoes, but this is a little bit extreme, even for Rant Paul!

    March 7, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. GOP = Greed Over People

    This is why "precedents" are a bad idea, which is exactly what the shrub did with the warranties wiring tapping, off shoring torture camps and Gitmo.

    Eroding American rights is never a good idea regardless of who is president.

    The GOP needs to remember that, should they ever win a national election again.

    Otherwise, you might have a former VP writing a book and then doing a book tour touting how proud he is that his party began chiseling away at all of our rights.

    Uh, oh, wait...

    March 7, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. us_1776

    Rand, it's hard to take you seriously with that 1890 mindset.


    March 7, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    And yes, a coherent argument can be made for killing Americans on American soil, the name Timothy McVeigh immediately springs to mind

    March 7, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Renee31460

    Rand Paul is a ridiculous little man. Just like his daddy. God help Kentucky....ok dumbo, did you get your 'should have been logical answer'. It is unconstitututional for the President to allow such things. Geez how much oxygen did you waste, when all you need do was pick up the phone. God help Kentucky!!! I fear that ship has sailed.....

    March 7, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    No plan? Nothing new from the right wing morons in congress and beyond 🙂
    The truth finally but we already know that the repugs have no plan except to trash the country and our elected President.
    Curly top I would give YIU a hint. Your are NEVER going to be president and if you think that the 30% of the country that thinks like you will get excited about your dumbness remember most of us don't like you.

    March 7, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Greg

    You can relax now Mr. Rand, Mr. Holders response is that you're safe.

    March 7, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Name lynn

    Rand the people have a answer for you its say wipe out an go visit the your friend hes awaiting for you hell. bye bye

    March 7, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Gary

    Paul is just mad that they stopped the White House tours. Now he has No chance of ever seeing the inside of the White House.

    March 7, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. dreamer96

    Does Rand Paul remember that on 9/11/2001 Bush gave the go ahead to shoot down anymore hijacked passenger jets..but no more existed....We knew for years about a Bin Laden plan to hijack 12 passenger jets and fly them into US government buildings, the Congress, White House, Pentagon, the CIA headquarters...and other tall towers like the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Seattle tower, and buildings in L.A.

    I guess that is why NORAD had drills just like the real 911 attack, and sent fighters out over the ocean to intercept any more...To bad they did not understand the meaning of Home Made Cruise Missiles.....and the FBI reports of Muslims just wanting to learn to fly large passenger jets and not to take off or land...Hmmm

    Bush was willing to kill some innocent Americans, to save more lives dying in a more attacks...3,000 died in New York...

    March 7, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
1 2 3