Rand Paul: odds good one of Pauls will run for president

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says the
odds are better than 50-50 that a Paul will run for president next
year but it's unclear who would be the family standard-bearer. But
one thing is certain: the younger Paul won't make a bid for the
White House if his father, Ron Paul, tries again.

Ron Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas, unsuccessfully
sought the Republican nomination in 2008. Now Rand Paul, the junior Kentucky senator and tea party favorite, is being encouraged to
jump into the coming political fray if his father sits out next
year's race- never mind that he's only weeks into the job after one
of the most-watched Senate races last fall.

The Kentucky senator said he's not ruling out a bid if his
father decides against a repeat run.

"The biggest decision for me is whether my father runs or
not," the younger Paul told reporters Thursday.

Nonetheless, Rand Paul said it sounded "pretty reasonable"
that one of the politically prominent Pauls would be in play.

"I think there will be one on the ballot," Paul told reporters
after speaking to a Rotary club gathering in Louisville. "I think
there's a good chance of that."

Rand Paul added that he is preparing to visit Iowa, the state
that holds the nation's lead-off caucuses. Early next month, he
will speak at an Iowa Republican event dubbed "Night of the Rising
Stars."

Any entry by the younger Paul would further cement his swift
political rise. The eye doctor from the Kentucky city of Bowling
Green won election in November after emerging from near obscurity
and endearing himself to conservatives with his prescription of
balanced budgets, low taxes and less government regulation.

Though a freshman senator, Paul says he's already getting
encouragement to run.

"We've had supporters in different states indicate that if my
father is not running, that they would like me to," he said.

Paul said he and his father have talked "indirectly" about
next year's race.

"I don't know if he's made his decision yet," he added.

No matter what ensues, Paul said he would like to play a part in
next year's GOP primary sweepstakes in some form.

"I just want to be part of that, whether it's actually as a
candidate or just trying to help decide who the candidate is,"
Paul said. "I just don't know that yet."

He said the tea party deserves a role in determining the GOP
nominee.

Any Paul in contention would face a crowded field of Republicans
hoping to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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