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TODAY   |  March 07, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul leads 13-hour filibuster

It started as a one-senator crusade shortly before lunch on Wednesday, but as the day went on, more senators joined Rand Paul of Kentucky to take a stand against drones being used to target Americans on U.S. soil. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> a heated fight in washington . a rare filibuster held in senate overnight while president obama held an even rarer dinner with republican lawmakers.

>> what a night here in washington . a rare sight, actual filibuster filled with actual talking. a mr. smith goes to washington d.c. type of drama held for 12 hours held by republican rand paul to prevent the vote on brennan to try to get the president to stop using drones.

>> i will speak until i can no longer speak.

>> reporter: kentucky republican rand paul wants assurances from the president and attorney general eric holder drones will not be used to target americans on u.s. soil.

>> the president should very frankly answer the question, will not kill non-combatants in america.

>> reporter: after two hours of going it alone, a few fellow tea party republicans joined in.

>> i believe the inquiry senator paul raised is a legitimate one.

>> reporter: by mid-afternoon, a democrat, oregon's warren widen.

>> i'd be interested in his thoughts this afternoon.

>> reporter: senator majority harry reid tried to put an end to the filibuster dubbed filly blizzard.

>> we need to know whether we will finish night or tomorrow.

>> reporter: as the hour got late, things got punchy.

>> that take mess back to another modern day poet by the name of jay-z.

>> we few, we happy few, we band of brothers .

>> reporter: but paul , who filibustered for nearly 13 hours despite admitting john brennan would be confirmed as cia director finally had to end when nature called.

>> i thank you very much for the forbearance and i yield the floor.

>> reporter: the president had a much friendlier run with a dozen senators as paul was speaking. the president breaking bred with the senators.

>> the dinner supposed to be quiet, sad it makes news. but in the normal in washington , a dinner like this makes news. it came from lindsey graham during a phone conversation last weekend. those invited to the dinner focused to stop the budget standoff were invited by graham and not the president. his closest senate friends were on the list but also invited senators who have a particular interest in the debate, tea party senators.

>> a very open honest sincere general discussion.

>> if there's one issue democrats and republicans agree in congress, it this is fact president obama they don't think does a good job of reaching out but he is trying to change things. his lunch date today, paul ryan .

>> the winds have changed in washington . chuck todd , thank you