ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: The sleepover at the Senate has all of the signs of a typical slumber-party. Pizza. Cots. Even some song & dance.
No sooner had Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that there would be no procedural votes between midnight and 5 a.m., then a mass exodus of senators started as many legislators headed to their cars to go home for some much needed sleep. As the senators streamed towards their cars in the Capitol parking lot, TV cameras spotted a rowdy group of Code Pink protesters greeting them with jeers and cheers, depending on the senators’ stances on the Iraq war. Just to spice up the night, the Code Pinkers suddenly broke into song with an impromptu rendition of "Stop! In the Name of Peace!". To say it was "American Idol"-worthy would not be incorrect, assuming one is referring to the likes of the infamous William Hung. Alas, Simon Cowell was nowhere to be found. For an encore, the Pinkers belted out "He’ll Bomb the Whole World If He Can", dancing along to the beat.
While Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who crossed the aisle to side with Democrats and support the Levin-Reed amendment, was greeted with cheers, others were not so fortunate. Poor Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was not only heckled by the people in pink, but also lost his car in the dark Capitol parking lot. After minutes of wandering around aimlessly with a policeman by his side, all the while being jeered by the protesters at every turn, Stevens finally found his car and headed out into the night. And not a moment too soon for the confused – and surely tired – senator.
Meanwhile, the action on the Senate floor slowed considerably as the night progressed. After Reid conducted the midnight vote, he announced a five-hour gap before the next one, giving some senators a chance to head home. Almost all did, leaving an unlucky few, including Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., John McCain, R-Ariz., and others, behind to continue speaking on the floor through the night. The chamber will fill up again at 5 a.m. as bleary-eyed legislators return for the next vote of the night, er, morning. More debate will follow, concluding in a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Levin-Reed amendment at 11 a.m. this morning.