Sen. Rand Paul is considering a run for the presidency in 2016, but will not decide until next year, the Kentucky Republican said today at the Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
A Tea Party favorite, libertarian like his father-congressman and perennial presidential candidate, Paul told reporters he plans on multiple visits to primary states in the next few months to gauge his viability as a candidate.
Paul, 50, had previously said he was " seriously" considering a run.
He said the visibility he gains from being considered a presidential prospect helps his voice to be heard.
On the issues of the day, he said gun-control measures now before the Senate would do nothing to stop mass shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn., so he opposes them. Paul says the federal government should enforce existing laws, not make more.
Paul did indicate support for the immigration bill introduced in the Senate today. But, despite not having read the details, he still plans to introduce amendments to make border security even more stringent.
He did endorse a pathway to "citizenship" after the border is secure, terminology he had refused to utter out loud until this morning. Instead, Paul had previously called for an underclass of legal immigrants without full citizenship in a speech last month that was widely seen as his first indication that a run at the presidency was on his mind.
He was widely criticized in the Latino community for attempting to please both his conservative base and reach out to Hispanics by endorsing a legal status far short of citizenship. Paul used the word "citizenship" today and did not advocate a secondary category of residency.