Rand Paul ‘interested’ in 2016 presidential run

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is hinting that he may run for president in 2016.

“Am I interested in thinking about that? Yes,” Paul, the son of retiring Texas congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, said when asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if he might explore his own presidential bid in four years.

Paul added that he wants “to be part of the national debate,” but said he is not ready to make the final decision to run.

“I am different than some in that I am not going to deny that I am interested,” Paul said. “I’m not going to deny that I think we have to go a different direction because we’re just not winning.”

The Kentucky senator added that the Republican Party should do more to expand its appeal, particularly among Hispanics. Paul said he supports an eventual pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants so long as the nation’s southern boarder is secured.

He also said he supports loosening the restrictions on marijuana usage.

“I think for example we should tell young people, ‘I’m not in favor of you smoking pot, but if you get caught smoking pot, I don’t want to put you in jail for 20 years,’” Paul said, adding that such matters should be decided at the state level.

When asked about the fiscal cliff, Paul said he advocated compromising with Democrats on some issues so long as tax hikes are kept off the table.

“How about another compromise? Republicans who think military spending, myself, who think national defense is important, should compromise and say, ‘you know what, not every dollar spent on the military’s sacred, we can reduce the military spending,’ that’s a compromise,” he said. “Democrats should compromise also — entitlements and welfare — the spending can come down.”

Rep. Ron Paul ran unsuccessfully for president twice as a Republican and once as a Libertarian, and cultivated a passionate following in his 12 terms in the House of Representatives.

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