McCain, Graham slam Rand Paul filibuster

McCain says Paul's speech was a "stunt" to "fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms"

Published March 7, 2013 7:02PM (EST)

Though most Republicans rallied around Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during his filibuster, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. were less than pleased.

McCain said Thursday that Paul's claims about drone use were “totally unfounded," and, quoting from a Wall Street Journal op-ed from earlier, added that “The country needs more senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about." He added: “To somehow say that someone who disagrees with American policy and even may demonstrate against it, is somehow a member of an organization which makes that individual an enemy combatant is simply false."

Graham agreed: “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, do you? They had a drone program back then, all of a sudden this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up. What are we up to here?”

“People are astonished that President Obama is doing many of the things that President Bush did. I’m not astonished. I congratulate him for having the good judgement to understand we’re at war,” he said. “And to my party, I’m a bit disappointed that you no longer apparently think we’re at war.”

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Filibuster John Mccain Lindsey Graham Rand Paul Republicans