This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 7, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, after Senator Rand Paul filibustered yesterday for almost 13 hours on the Senate floor, the White House has finally taken time out from their busy schedule to answer one simple question -- would this administration categorically rule out the use of unmanned drones to assassinate American citizens on U.S. soil?
Now earlier today, in a condescending open letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Senator Paul, wrote America's top cop, quote, "It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question. Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that question is no."
Now, was that so hard? Why does the administration only feel the need to give straight answers when their backs are against the wall? Now, it appears that Senator Rand Paul felt he had no other choice than to do what he did yesterday, and that is, he didn't live the Senate floor or his feet for exactly 12 hours and 52 minutes.
Now, Senator Paul showed stamina, a passion that many Americans could admire. Others joined him on the floor, various times to show their support and to give him a chance to catch his breath. Now, we know that you could not watch all 13 hours so here is a snapshot of Senator Paul's filibuster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY: I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA.
I will speak today until the president responds and says, no, we won't kill Americans in cafes.
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: I would note that your standing here today like a modern Mr. Smith goes to Washington, must surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile.
PAUL: The president says, I haven't killed anyone yet. He goes on to say, and I have no intention of killing Americans, but I might.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: I know you've been here for a while. Let me give you some free advice, keep some water nearby.
PAUL: Do we really live in Alice's wonderland? Is there no one willing to stand up and say to the president, for goodness sakes you can't sentence people before you try them.
RUBIO: The president was George W. Bush and this was a question being asked of him and it responses the silence we've gotten, we'd have a different scenario here tonight.
PAUL: They shouldn't just drop Hellfire missile on your cafe experience.
CRUZ: I'm pretty certain for the record that I can confirm that no teleprompter was in front of the senator from Kentucky's desk.
PAUL: The Fifth Amendment does apply to all Americans and there aren't exceptions. I thank you very much for your forbearance, and I yield the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HANNITY: Joining me now with reaction, former speaker of the House, former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, you know, you've been urging Republicans to engage. Is this engagement?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a terrific performance of leadership, of courage, stamina, of determination on the part of Senator Rand Paul. He performed two very important services, first on the immediate question, he got the administration to admit that the president really doesn't have the authority to kill Americans outside of combat in the United States.
So, it's a very important thing to put to rest and if there's any doubt about it left, Congress should pass a law making it definitive. Clearly as commander-in-chief, at a moment of national crisis, he could authorize something in order to avoid a disaster, but short of that, the bias should be overwhelmingly in favor of protecting illegal rights of American citizens.
Second though, Rand Paul gave us a case study in what courageous energetic leadership can be, that every member could exercise, both in the House and Senate. You don't have to wait around for group think and the leadership to tell you what to do. You can get up and you can change things and I was very pleased last night that Mitch McConnell late in this long filibuster came to the floor --
HANNITY: He did.
GINGRICH: -- as the leader to commend his colleague from Kentucky. I thought it was exactly the right gesture. I think we need more Rand Pauls, we need more people willing to get up and do what they think is right. And I think that we would be a lot further down the road towards hemming in this president if we had more people willing to do that.
HANNITY: You know, there were four stars that are emerging. And I remember this young, kind of bold, brash congressman from Georgia who had a series that he put together called "Renewing American Civilization" which ultimately led to Republicans to take over the Congress in the first time for 40 years. But between Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Tim Scott of South Carolina, all participated last night.
I think we've got a young, dynamic block of conservatives that are showing not only that they will stand up for what's good for the country, but it seems to me that that's good for them politically as well. The old guard have something to learn here.
GINGRICH: Look, Sean, much more important in politics, I hope the House and Senate leadership in the Republican Party will take a lesson from yesterday. I hope they will encourage the Rand Pauls, encourage the Mike Burgesses, for example, in the House or the Louis Gohmerts, encourage the people who are willing to get up and take a risk and do something. They're not always going to be right, but their willingness to fight for what they believe in really is what makes a difference in once again creating a grass roots movement that can take this country back and move us back to a constitutional Republic.
HANNITY: Yes, and he did talk about shredding the Constitution. The original letter from Eric Holder to Rand Paul left the door wide open, if an emergency arises I'll examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president. He wouldn't say unequivocally, no. I was pretty disappointed in John McCain. I want to show you that John McCain didn't excoriate Eric Holder, he went after Rand Paul. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: I don't think that what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people, to allege that the United States of America, our government would drop a drone Hellfire missile on Jane Fonda. And that -- that is -- that brings the conversation from a serious discussion about U.S. policy to the realm of the ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Very misguided to me. He should have been questioning Eric Holder and why Eric Holder didn't say flatly what he eventually said today -- no, the answer is no, you can't do it.
GINGRICH: Well, no, what I find sad about Senator McCain's recent comments, both to Ted Cruz when Ted Cruz was frankly rising legitimate questions, and again yesterday with Rand Paul is, you know, when I first knew John McCain in the House, he was a maverick, in the Senate for years, he was a maverick. Of everybody I know in the Senate, I don't know anybody who had a better record at bucking the leadership doing what he thought mattered, marching to his own drummer.
And I think it is unfortunate, but I think frankly, it doesn't hurt Ted Cruz, and it doesn't hurt Rand Paul, it hurts John McCain. The country is moving on, we're in a new era, people know that these are legitimate questions, and as you pointed out, when the attorney general sends a letter up that implies the president has the right to kill Americans who are not engaged in combat -- it's a very important distinction. If you're an American and you're engaged in fighting the United States, you're engage an act of treason, the president and his commander- in-chief has every right to target you as he did an American in Yemen I think two years ago.
But if you're an American who might be vaguely indirectly engaged in something and that you've not been proven in a court of law, you're not an active combatant, you have every right to be protected under our Constitution or the Constitution has no meaning.
HANNITY: You know, is this, you feel and I tell you the e-mails came flying in. Twitter was going nuts. I felt the momentum shift between -- and we'll talk about this in the next segment about sequestration, the president overreaching, his apocalyptic talk, between that and Rand Paul. I just felt a shift. You can feel it. Did you feel that or --
GINGRICH: And I just wrote in a newsletter at GingrichProductions.com entitled "Pioneers of the Future versus Prisoners of the Past." I think you just described a situation where you clearly have Rand Paul and others who are the pioneers of the future and unfortunately some former leaders who have become prisoners of the past in a way that becomes really pretty embarrassingly obvious in some of these exchanges.
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