Rand Paul says he's ready to run in 2012

Freshmen Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) feels ready to run for president in 2012, saying in an interview that he's not content to settle in as a legislative back bencher and doesn't feel the need to wait his turn when it comes to a run for higher office.

In response to a question about his relative lack of experience as a lawmaker, Paul noted in an interview with Radio Iowa that President Obama faced the same criticism during his 2008 campaign.

"Didn't seem to hurt him, did it?" said Paul.

The first term senator again said he would defer to his father — Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) — in 2012 if he opts for another run at the GOP nomination. But Paul said he feels enough urgency about the nation's problems that if his father decided against a run he might not hesitate to launch his own 2012 campaign.

"I feel the passion to fix the problems in our country before it's too late," Paul said. "And so, many who say, 'Why don't you just sit on the back bench and when your time has come in 12 or 15 or 20 years, then you come forward?' I see a shorter timeline not just for me, but I see a shorter timeline for our country."

Paul was in Iowa over the weekend, speaking at GOP fundraiser on Saturday and promoting his new book with a stop in Des Moines.