Just after 11:30 p.m., a few hours after dining on steak as President Obama's dinner guest, Pat Toomey walked onto the Senate floor to give his Republican colleague a 15-minute respite from a filibuster that was approaching the 12-hour mark.
The Pennsylvania senator had been on the floor earlier Wednesday to show support for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who gave a half-day continuous speech, successfully delaying the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA by using the rare, traditional means of holding up a vote by talking nonstop. The near midnight appearance was Toomey's second showing.
One-by-one Republican senators relieved Paul, though only from talking, he could not leave the floor to go to the bathroom. By the late hours GOP senators were reading Twitter feeds, quoting Shakespeare and making pop culture references. (Paul's bladder forced the end of his filibuster shortly before 1 a.m.)
Toomey opted for the more serious route, as is his way, reading from a letter Paul sent to Brennan asking for further clarification of the U.S. drone policy. The crux of the filibuster speeches focused on a response Paul had received from Attorney General Eric Holder that asserted the U.S. could, during "an extraordinary circumstance," launch a drone strike on American soil, but had "no intention" of doing so.
Toomey concluded, just before midnight, by asking Paul if he'd received any additional information from the administration on its drone policy since starting his filibuster. Paul said he had not and did not expect any correspondence from the White House that night.
Of course, in a twist of ironic timing, 12 Republican senators, including Toomey, spent more than two hours with the Commander in Chief that night. But the Republicans in attendance apparently did not bring up Paul's filibuster or U.S. drone strikes during dinner, according to a tweet by NBC's White House reporter Kelly O'Donnell.
Updated: As pictured above, Toomey sent Paul a bag of Milky Way candy bars on Thursday to congratulate him on his filibuster effort. Paul had quickly scarfed down a Milky Way during his floor speech.
Also Thursday, Sens. Lindsay Graham and John McCain took to the Senate floor to chastise Paul and the GOP senators who supported him, calling the notion that Obama would strike U.S. citizens "ridiculous." Graham said the views are long held by Paul, but essentially called the other Republicans hypocrites.
Both men were at the Obama dinner with Toomey.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun