McCain, Graham snipe at Paul for filibuster
Updated On: Mar 07 2013 01:21:50 PM CST
Sen. Rand Paul's epic filibuster Wednesday garnered a swell of support, both from fellow Republicans on the Senate floor, and online among his base of grassroots libertarians.
But at least two of his colleagues weren't so impressed.
"All I can say is that I don't think that what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor. McCain, along with fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, were skeptical of Paul's claim that the Obama administration was dodging the question of whether or not Americans could be killed by drones within the United States.
During his 13-hour filibuster, Paul cited actress Jane Fonda, who notoriously protested against the Vietnam War in the 1970s.
"No one will ever forget Jane Fonda swiveling around in North Vietnamese armored guns, and it was despicable. And it's one thing if you're going to try her for treason, but are you just going to drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?" Paul asked during his marathon session.
McCain, who admitted Fonda wasn't his "favorite American," wasn't thrilled with Paul's argument.
"Somehow to allege that the United States of America -- our government -- will drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda, that that brings the conversation from a serious discussion about U.S. policy to the realm of the ridiculous," the Arizona Republican sniped.
Graham, a close ally of McCain's in the Senate, wondered why Paul and other Republicans were just now asking questions about the American drone program.
"To my Republican colleagues, I don't remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone," Graham said. During his filibuster, which lasted until early Thursday, Paul was joined by a throng of GOP lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, John Cornyn of Texas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, also spoke during the filibuster.
Graham, speaking on the Senate floor, couldn't recall any vocal opposition to former President Bush's use of drones.
"They had a drone program back then. So what is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up? What are we up to here?"
Graham and McCain were joined in their criticism Thursday by the right-leaning editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which urged Paul 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 an exclusive interview with CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash. "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."
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