A dozen Republican senators, including John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), chose to dine with President Obama at a Washington hotel Wednesday evening rather than join Senator Rand Paul on the Senate floor to provide him brief ten-minute question breaks during his historic filibuster.
Paul took the Senate floor at 11:17 am on Wednesday and held the floor for nearly thirteen hours. Republican Senators who stayed with Senator Paul and provided him short respites during his filibuster (under the Senate rules, a filibustering Senator may allow brief questions without yielding the floor) included Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and John Thune (R-SD).
The dozen GOP Senators who dined with Obama while Paul filibustered CIA Director nominee John Brennan in opposition to the unconstitutional authorization of drone killings of American citizens on American soil may have expressed a spirit of bipartisanship, yet the imagery and optics juxtaposing the two events could prove difficult to overcome.
Senator Johnson of Wisconsin appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s FoxNews program On The Record Wednesday evening to describe the evening’s dinner with Obama:
Other senators who joined the dinner with Obama included Mike Johanns (R-NE), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Richard Burr (R-NC).
Update: Larry O’Connor notes: “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) notebaly attended the dinner with the President and then made their way to the Senate Chambers and participated in the filibuster.”