Senator ends long floor speech blocking CIA pick

March 8, 2013 11:16:12 AM

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WASHINGTON -- A tea party senator from Kentucky used an old-style filibuster lasting nearly 13 hours to block Senate confirmation of John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director. 

 

Sen. Rand Paul ended his filibuster shortly after midnight, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also a Kentucky Republican, said he would continue to oppose Brennan's confirmation and try to keep the debate going. 

 

After Paul yielded the floor, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., filed a motion to cut off debate on Brennan's nomination and bring it up for a vote. 

 

Paul ended his lengthy speech with a joke. He said that he was tempted to go another 12 hours and try to break former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond's filibuster record of 24 hours, but he needed to use the bathroom. 

 

"I discovered that there are some limits to filibustering and I'm going to have to go and take care of one of those in a few minutes," Paul said. 

 

But Paul's performance clearly energized his colleagues and even he seemed invigorated as the night progressed. Paul, a tea party favorite and a Republican critic of President Barack Obama's unmanned drone policy, started just before noon Wednesday by demanding the president or Attorney General Eric Holder issue a statement assuring that the aircraft would not be used in the United States to kill terrorism suspects who are U.S. citizens. He wasn't picky about the format, saying at one point he'd be happy with a telegram or a Tweet.