Paul plans major announcement Friday

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is expected to officially announce his candidacy for president on Friday in New Hampshire.

Paul is scheduled to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the morning and then to deliver a speech at 10 a.m. at a campaign-style rally in the town of Exeter.

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Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Paul, would only bill the events as part of a “major announcement,” but the congressman said Wednesday he would make his decision within the week.

The libertarian congressman has repeatedly said he is receiving great support from voters and is attempting to run a stronger campaign than he did in 2008, the last time he ran for president.

Just over two weeks ago, Paul went to Iowa to announce he had formed an exploratory committee, which allowed him to test the waters by building a campaign infrastructure and raising money.

During that time, he hired staff and opened an office in that early caucus state, where he is looking to make a major play in the race for the GOP nomination. He also raised over $1 million in one day last week, using an online “money bomb” tied to the first GOP primary debate.

Overall, Paul has started some of the heavy lifting for his 2012 campaign earlier than he did during the 2008 cycle.

In the last campaign, even though he announced his bid in March 2007, Paul did not open an Iowa headquarters until August of that year, mere days before the important Ames straw poll.

Paul, whose libertarian views set him apart from other contenders in the field, has appealed to more traditional members of the conservative movement. He announced the formation of his exploratory committee on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program.

With the rise of the Tea Party movement, Paul believes his core message of limited government and fiscal conservatism will resonate better with voters.

But Paul has made it clear he does not plan on changing his beliefs as a tactic to broaden his appeal to conservatives, most of whom are hawkish on national defense.

The congressman, who opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said this week that he would not have authorized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, expressing concern about international law. He previously said the al Qaeda leader’s slaying should spark a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Still, more than any other year, Paul believes now is his time.

“The conditions of the county are so much different when it comes to the economy, the foreign policy, the debt problem that we have, and the frustration and the anger that we have with the people,” he said in Iowa this week, according to the Des Moines Register. “These last four years there’s been a lot of changes and a lot of changing attitudes.”

This story was originally published at 10:53 a.m. and updated at 7:26 p.m.