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posted: 1/26/2014 6:00 AM

A look at potential presidential candidate Rand Paul

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  • Sen. Rand Paul

    Sen. Rand Paul
    Associated Press/Nov. 6, 2013

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A look at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: Americans want "for example, someone like myself" in 2016 if he chooses to run. -- Fox News, Nov. 18. Says he will decide in coming year. Previously: "We're thinking about growing the party. What comes after that, we'll see." June 17, Fox.

Book: Yes. But may need something less flame-throwing than 2012's "Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds," and something less dated and more broadly pitched than 2011's "The Tea Party Goes to Washington."

Iowa: Yes, three times in spring and summer 2013, including meeting pastors in July.

New Hampshire: Yes, headlined state GOP fundraiser in May 2013, met activists, went on radio. Joined Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and other Republican senators at Washington fundraiser for New Hampshire Republicans.

South Carolina: Yes, foreign policy speech at The Citadel military college and small GOP fundraiser in Charleston in November 2013 visit; headlined several fundraisers earlier in year.

Foreign travel: Yes. Visited Israel, Jordan in January, met Palestinian Authority as well as Israeli leaders, said in speech in Israel that speech U.S. should trim aid to Israel gradually. Member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Meet the money: Yes, attended Romney's Utah retreat in June with big GOP donors, golfed with some there. Met potential donors in New York City. Raised money for Nevada GOP at Las Vegas event in July.

Networking: Campaigned in fall 2013 for GOP candidates in Virginia governor's race and Senate election in New Jersey. Met Michigan Republicans in September. Pitched social conservative principles at Values Voter meeting in October, also meeting privately beforehand with evangelical leaders, in what shaped up to be an audition on social issues for several prospective candidates. Earlier in year spoke to Conservative Political Action Committee, Faith and Freedom Coalition forum, FreedomFest libertarian event in Las Vegas and at Reagan Presidential Library on California trip that also took him to Silicon Valley tech companies.

Hog the TV: Yes, more than a dozen Sunday talk show appearances since 2012 election, making him leader of the chattering pack, and fast out of the gate in 2014 with Jan. 5 appearance on ABC. Also frequent guest on news networks, especially Fox.

Do something: One-man, nearly 13-hour Senate filibuster to protest drone policy made country take notice, and impressed civil-liberties advocates outside his Tea Party constituency.

Take a stand: Tea Party plus. Fiscal conservative, criticizes surveillance state, praised Supreme Court gay marriage ruling as one that avoids "culture war," aggressive in seeking repeal of the health law. Joining in 2014 with liberal lawmakers and others in effort to roll back some mandatory minimum sentences and give judges more flexibility in fitting punishment to crime.

Baggage: Dear old dad: Must move beyond fringe reputation that kept father's presidential runs from going far.

Deflection: Full-speed ahead. Aggressively pressing libertarian principles, especially on anti-terrorism. Past positions: Expressed misgivings about how Civil Rights Act bans racial discrimination by private businesses.

Deflection: Reaching out directly to black voters and insisting the party needs to broaden appeal to minorities. He needs to broaden his appeal, too, beyond his Tea Party roots. The Washington Times canceled his column after he was found to have used passages from other people in his speeches and writings as if they were his own.

Deflection: Promising proper citations and footnotes for his pronouncements "if it will make people leave me the hell alone."

Shadow campaign: Has a leadership PAC called Rand PAC, has maintained ties to father's political network in early primary states.

Social media: Aggressive. Bragged on Twitter in June that he'd attracted more than 1 million likes for his Facebook page, where he lists his own books as his favorites. Countered New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's couched criticism of his opposition to warrantless wiretapping with a tweet declaring that Christie "worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom."

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