Just a few miles from where US President Barack Obama dined with a dozen Republican senators, Rand Paul, another Republican, filibustered, on his feet for over eight hours.
Paul was still on his feet, fortified by a candy bar and multiple glasses of water, reading from a binder supplemented by extempore homilies, when Obama walked in for the dinner.
Filibuster is a typically US legislative procedure allowing members of Congress to delay or block decision on matters they oppose through unending speeches. Paul was filibustering the appointment of John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for CIA boss, demanding a policy clarification on drone attacks.
Paul, a senator from Kent-ucky and son of the Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, cannot stop Brennan. But he is making a point. And flagging his claim on the party’s nominee for president in 2016. He is a candidate, and a formidable one after Wednesday night, encored by leading Republicans.
Obama, on the other hand, was trying to establish a new normal for his presidency’s second term: an outreach to Republicans who have opposed pretty much everything he has tried to do.
The dinner attended by a dozen Republican senators including Obama’s 2008 presidential election rival John McCain was intended to break an impasse over spending cuts.