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Rand Paul raises national profile by using filibuster to take stand on drone controversy
“I think this is something we should look at,” he said.
But Mr. Paul said he wanted more than vague promises down the road.
Late in the evening, he told colleagues he was in contact with the White House but that no promises or statements had been forthcoming.
While Democrats wouldn’t give Mr. Paul the assurances he was seeking, they were accommodating of his filibuster, including allowing him to yield for very long questions that sounded more like speeches — something that stretches Senate rules past their breaking point.
As he crossed the 11-hour mark, Mr. Paul’s fight was gaining more support among his colleagues, with five of them on the floor to help share the rhetorical load — including Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, who had not yet spoken.
Mr. Paul now joins an elite group of senators who have had the moxie, fortitude to launch an old-style solo filibuster.
The filibuster is an old parliamentary tactic that essentially means holding the floor and blocking action. It was elevated to iconic status by the Jimmy Stewart movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but it is rare that anyone attempts a filibuster.
The last time a senator held the floor and talked at length was Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, who spoke for more than eight hours in 2010, objecting to an end-of-year tax-cut deal. But Mr. Sanders wasn’t blocking any action.
Mr. Reid, the current Senate majority leader, was the last one to launch a real one-man filibuster blocking action when he spoke for more than nine hours in 2003, halting some of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Mr. Reid spent his time reading from a book he wrote about his hometown, Searchlight, Nev.
Mr. Paul didn’t resort to those tactics. Instead, he had come to the floor armed for the long haul.
He had several binders of information, and his staff kept reloading his supply throughout the day.
In one 10-minute period, Mr. Paul covered everything from constitutional privacy to corruption in African governments to libertarianism versus conservatism to the history of the auto bailouts.
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