Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * *

     Gravel is a former two-term senator from Alaska; his books include 
"A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Man's 
Fight to Stop It."

     He said today: "Whenever something comes up that [Senate minority 
leader] Mitch McConnell is opposed to, like finance reform now, he just 
threatens a filibuster. Then [Senate majority leader] Harry Reid backs 
down and pundit after pundit says you need 60 votes to pass it. Baloney. 
You need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, but a filibuster is a really 
costly thing to do.

     "I used the filibuster for five months to end the draft in 1971. I 
succeeded. I'm proud of what I did. I helped end the war in Vietnam. But 
I paid a price politically and among my colleagues for using the filibuster.

     "The filibuster is a tool you can use, for good or for ill. The 
Dixiecrats used it for bad reasons -- to delay civil rights legislation. 
I used it for good -- to end the Vietnam War.

     "Right now, the vast majority of Americans want strong finance 
reform legislation. So let the Republicans filibuster and bring the cots 
out and make the Senate be in session 24 hours a day. The public will 
rightly view them as regressive and obstructionist."

     Gravel has proposed a National Initiative for Democracy, a method 
of direct democracy, "so that people can directly overrule the 
government." It is outlined here: .

     Also see the IPA news release "GOP 'Filibuster Hypocrisy'" at .

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167