Washington Post - Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) reportedly took daily steam baths in preparation for his 24-hour 1957 screed against the Civil Rights Act, to dehydrate himself and prepare for his separation from the urinal. In 1935, Sen. Huey Long (D-La.) managed to go for 10 hours when he rose to address matters in the National Recovery Act, but he was felled by nature: According to a 2005 Village Voice account of the day, “The Kingfish announced he would yield the floor to seek a conference with the leadership, and he ran for the toilet.”
“My urinary tract was in good shape that day,” says Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), the last torchbearer of the filibuster — he spoke for eight hours
in 2010 about tax cuts. “We got a call from the nurse,” though, he
says. She wanted him to make sure he walked around enough, to avoid
blood clots. The experience wasn’t scary, he says, because he was
speaking on something “I feel very strongly about.”
Sam Smith, 2011- I was fortunate enough to have covered a number of real filibusters.
Once I reported that "This afternoon it was JW Fulbright who said the
issue of discrimination was non-existent -- raised every four years for
political reasons." Fulbright at the time was participating in a
southern filibuster that had already been going 69 hours, far longer
than any previous effort.
Among those also taking part were Sam
Ervin and the rambunctious, hard-drinking Russell Long who managed to
hold the Senate floor for eleven hours. This, however, was no record.
Senator Wayne Morse had once gone over 18 hours and two years earlier,
Strom Thurmond had held the floor for more than a day.
reportedly described to Rep. Wayne Hayes in some detail how he managed
this feat without having to relieve himself, noting that he had taken
saunas, avoided liquids and so forth. Hayes listened thoughtfully and
then said, "Strom, I can understand how you went that long without
pissing, but what I can't figure out is how someone so full of shit as
you could have done it."
One filibuster would drift into another
and the hours turned into days. A group of reporters gathered around the
minority leader, Everett Dirksen, in the middle of a night and one
asked, "How are you doing?" The Wizard of Ooze told us he was doing all
right "but at some point I suppose I shall have to lie down and let
Morpheus embrace me . . . After two weeks the flesh rides herd on the
That was a real filibuster. Today, Dirksen would have just called Harry Reid and said, "Chalk me up for a filibuster."