Sen. Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour “talking filibuster” of John O. Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA featured both weighty constitutional questions about the power of the government to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil. But it also had its moments of levity. Here are the best moments CQ Roll Call saw.
1. In speaking hour after hour, Paul would often repurpose the same information. One of his favorite refrains was about Alice in Wonderland, highlighting that the queen sought to hand down punishment before issuing verdicts.
“They say Lewis Carroll is fiction. Alice never fell down a rabbit hole, and the White Queen’s caustic judgments are not really a threat to your security. Or has America the Beautiful become Alice’s Wonderland?” Paul said.
2. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., recognized by Paul to ask a question, said “Just let me give you some free advice: keep some water nearby.”
3. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, came to Paul’s aid on several occasions, by speaking to the underlying legal issues and, in what may be a first for the Senate floor, reading reaction from Twitter commending Paul for his exercise.
4. “This is getting perilously close to a debate and I’m sorry for those who are observing it if it looks like the Senate is actually in debate,” Assistant Majority Leader Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., quipped late in the proceedings.
5. A weary Paul ceded a point to Durbin, saying, “Touche” when the Democrat questioned Paul about the definition of an imminent threat to U.S. national security. Durbin asked whether Osama bin Laden had posed such a threat even when there was no evidence of immediate attack. The exchange drew criticism from some conservatives who argued Paul was not talking about bin Laden to begin with since he was not an American citizen.
6. After conservatives on Twitter mocked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for not being on the floor, the minority leader joined the fray in the 11th hour. McConnell added heft to the rabble-rousing filibuster by saying he would urge other Republicans to block Brennan’s nomination.
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