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Rand Paul Inches Closer to White House Bid, Plans 'Big' Foreign Policy Speech

Jul. 9, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
Faith And Freedom Coalition Holds Policy Conferenc
Sen. Rand Paul is planning a major foreign policy speech this fall, a signal the Kentucky Republican could be moving closer to a presidential run. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul is planning a major foreign policy speech this fall, a signal the Kentucky Republican could be moving closer to a presidential run.

“We have a big speech coming up on foreign policy,” Paul told Defense News during a brief Tuesday interview.

He said the speech, which will garner national media and public attention, will “probably” be held at the National War College here “in the fall.”

High-profile speeches on foreign policy and national security issues often are among the boxes a potential presidential candidate will check as they are trying to decide whether they would have a chance to capture their party’s nomination.

“Delivering a major foreign policy address, usually at some type of military associated university or war college, has become somewhat of a check-the-box agenda item for prospective GOP presidential candidates,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think tank. “This is a way to outline a broader vision about how they see the world and America’s role in it.

“Given recent events and a world increasingly unstable, I would expect additional sitting members of Congress with an eye on the White House to do the same as Sen. Paul,” Eaglen said.

Defense News reporters intended to ask Paul about his rumored presidential ambitions, but the senator said he had to end the sit-down interview before they had a chance to do so.

Paul is a tea party darling, following in the footsteps of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. His popularity among Republicans is clear.

For instance, he won the straw poll earlier this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). And a CNN/ORC International poll released in March had Paul leading former Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., 16 percent to 15 percent, with the rest of the total split among a handful of other potential 2016 GOP hopefuls.

Barbara Opall-Rome contributed to this report.

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