March 9th, 2013
04:14 PM ET
10 years ago

Inside Sen. Paul's filibuster

(CNN) - If he had to do it again, he would wear a different pair of shoes.

That's one of the lessons Sen. Rand Paul took away from his nearly 13-hour filibuster on Wednesday that lasted late into the night. As he told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash in his first television interview after the exercise in oratory, "We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day."

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Paul, a Texas Republican, penned an op-ed for The Washington Post on Saturday and further explained the goal behind his marathon session on the floor of the Senate.

"I wanted to sound an alarm bell from coast to coast," he said. "I wanted everybody to know that our Constitution is precious and that no American should be killed by a drone without first being charged with a crime. As Americans, we have fought long and hard for the Bill of Rights. The idea that no person shall be held without due process, and that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted, is a founding American principle and a basic right."

He led an actual filibuster on the Senate floor, preventing the body from considering any other business - had it been interested in doing so - by speaking from just before noon until about 12:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Later that day, he received an answer to his question from the Obama administration.

"It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: 'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?'" Attorney General Eric Holder wrote. "The answer to that question is no."

In the op-ed, Paul thanked the Republicans in the Senate and House - including the "conservative cavalry" of congressmen - who came to his aid by asking questions which relieved him of the need to speak constantly through the entire filibuster.

And he recalled one moment which he described as unforgettable - when Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, brought him some refreshment.

"I was not allowed to drink anything but water or eat anything but the candy left in our Senate desks," Paul wrote. "But he brought me an apple and a thermos full of tea - the same sustenance Jimmy Stewart brought to the Senate floor in the movie 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'"

Filed under: Rand Paul • Senate
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Name Catmandew

    You go Senator now if we can get our fearless leader to understand our rights we might get somewhere

    March 9, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Hotdog

    It is a shame that the elected officials are not doing what they were elected to do. His filibuster lasted thirteen hours and it did not change the mind of any ones vote. The intended purpose of the filibuster ruling has been abused IMO. It's a waste of the tax payers money and it should taken of the books because it is useless.

    March 9, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. afreshview

    From the choice of foot gear one can assume how far Mr Paul can see into the future. I don't want that guy anywhere near the levers of power.

    March 9, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. John

    What did he prove by doing that, all he did was talk and look like a Idiot for thirteen hours. He will never win to be President.

    March 9, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Yanni

    A reactionary senator stand and talk rubbish for thirteen hours and take pride. A wise man would have built a house with the same amount of time

    March 9, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Fillibuster reform please for this nation with voter reform.

    March 9, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. DENNA

    So Rand, what else are you going to do now? Try really doing your job instead of fooling around on the tax payor dime. The filibuster is not a toy. Grow up!

    March 9, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Dan5404

    Rand Paul is no Jimmy Stewart. He is no crusader setting things right, either. There is no drone conspiracy just as there is no conspiracy to take all the guns as the radical NRA has falsely claimed for as long as anyone can remember. His entire filibuster was just a showoff piece to get publicity for a presidential run in 2016. It's all part of the paramoid, delusional world of the ultra-right that seems to speak for the GOP these days. Even McCain and Graham ridiculed Paul for pretending to believe such a ridiculous charade. Paul will have the same success as his dad, and rightly so. They re both far out from the American voter majority.

    March 9, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. B

    " We had no plan." Finally a republican who comes forward and admits the truth about his party!

    March 9, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. db

    I have gained a ton of respect for this man! Thank goodness there is still some politicians that understand that we Americans should have our rights and our freedoms!!!!

    March 9, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. loops808

    Thank godness for Senator Paul. Those on the left who had questions about the drone policy were willing to stay silent for the sake of politics. Most agreed with Paul's position, but just didn't have the guts to speak up. Could you imagine if this was Bush?

    March 9, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    Hotdog- The purpose wasn't to influence anyone's vote, it was to get an answer from Holder on the the scope of the drone program. He was looking after everyone's individual liberty and freedom, including yours.

    March 9, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. Evergreen

    It appears that if he had asked the right questions, he would have gotten the information he was seeking.

    March 9, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. Name lynn

    Rand you are not the president, an obama is not hurting the poor people, an obama is not making the poor people pay rich people taxes. An you can go an do what you need to do best shut upppppp.

    March 9, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  15. AZ Woman

    What you SHOULD have thought to do different, if you wanted to make a statement, was to fillibuster during something of importance and ABOUT something of importance, not some LAWYER'S response at trying to be neutral. You BLEW something out of context, you USED your position on something unimportant, you PANDERED to the extremists in the party, and you MADE no difference. All you will be remembered for is being inconsequential. You'll be remembered through history as much as Rick Santorum and Herman Cain.

    GOP, give me someone serious to vote for and I'll think about it.

    March 10, 2013 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  16. sick of republican phonies

    A true American hero! Can anyone imagine the hardship and pain he must have endured, protecting America in uncomfortable shoes? Subsisting for 13 hours on only candy bars and an apple, just like Washington's army at Valley Forge? Is there anything this fearless patriot won't endure for us?

    March 10, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |