Oddly enough, Republican Sen. Rand Paul — who voted against ending the filibuster — was one of the four GOP senators who voted to back Hagel’s confirmation.
Why? That’s exactly what Glenn Beck wants to know.
“Help us understand your vote for Hagel,” Beck said Thursday.
“First of all, I was the deciding vote to filibuster him and the only way to defeat him was to filibuster,” Sen. Paul explained, repeating his claim that he only supported the motion to block Hagel because he wanted more information on the president’s defense nominee.
“So we had 41 votes. I was called and lobbied hard from the other side to change on the 41,” he continued. “Within three days, many Republicans announced they weren’t going to filibuster anymore … we didn’t get any information — which is why we have filibustering! “
The senator continued:
We never had 51 votes to defeat him, but we had 41 for a while. So we come back the next week and I vote again to filibuster him. So I was one of 27, but that’s when the game was over. There was no stopping him when 27 voted. Fourteen people bailed on us and that’s when Hagel was nominated.
On the final passage, I did vote to allow him to go through mainly because I’ve said all along that the way I treat political appointees is that, for the most part, I give deference to the president.
I will fight tooth and nail to get information and to get information in advance, but in this case I decided that no information came forward that would eventually disqualify him.
Beck seemed skeptical.
“Why do you vote to support him? Why wouldn’t you vote ‘Present’ or ‘No’? I mean, you’re fine with him? You’re fine with Hagel?” Beck asked.
“It’s one of these things where I don’t treat it as an issue, I treat it as a presidential nomination to a political office,” Sen. Paul answered. “I think the president does have the right to form his cabinet.”
“I voted for John Kerry and I got some grief for that,” he continued, “I agree with nothing that Kerry represents … I just have made the decision that on these type of appointees, unless I can find information that they’ve taken money from a foreign government or given us information that was not accurate, then I go ahead and let the president make his political appointees.”
However, according to the senator, he was also aiming for something much bigger than the appointment of a temporary White House cabinet member.
“I … wanted Republicans to stick together to try to help me get information on [John] Brennan,” he said, referring to President Barack Obama’s CIA nominee.
“And one of the things that people may not realize about this place up here is that by being part of the filibuster team, I’m also able to get some people to help me now on the Brennan nomination,” he added.
In short, he claims his maneuvering on Hagel’s confirmation was about recruiting enough allies to “stymie” the Brennan nomination and pressure the Obama administration into publicly announcing it won’t conduct drone strikes in the U.S.
Here’s the discussion via TheBlaze TV:
“I think the leverage of the filibuster with this is what I’m using to try to get the White House to admit publicly – and if they do admit publicly that they will not and do not claim the authority to do drone strikes in America – basically I will have created a precedent,” Sen. Paul explained.
“Even though it’s not a law, it’ll have been a president admitting that he doesn’t have authority. And no president (Republican or Democratic) likes to ever admit that they don’t have the authority.”
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Featured image screen grab.