Paul: Don't expect decision on White House run until 2014

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he won't decide whether to run for president until 2014.

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"I want to be part of the national debate. I think the country faces a lot of problems, and I do want to be part of trying to bring about answers and solutions for making the Republican Party big enough so that we can be competitive again, but I won't make any decision till 2014 or so," he told reporters at the University of Kentucky on Wednesday.

Paul is considered a likely presidential contender and has, in recent weeks, rocketed to national prominence following his highly-publicized talking filibuster of John Brennan, President Obama's nominee for CIA director. The 13-hour filibuster was widely popular among conservatives and libertarians.

Supporters believe Paul can build on the base of staunch libertarian and young supporters established by his father, former lawmaker and GOP presidential contender Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Paul has shown a willingness to work with establishment figures and engage in the behind-the-scenes dealmaking that his father eschewed, and he'd likely be able to count on the support of Tea Party voters for a bid.

And there are early indications he's planning to run — Paul will appear at the Iowa GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner this May, a traditional pilgrimage to an early primary state for presidential hopefuls.

And one former Paul aide previously told The Hill that the senator is, at this point, likely to run in 2016.

“Rand is positioning himself. He's going do this. He's going to take a run at it until he wins or until it's no longer realistic,” the former aide said.

Postponing the decision until 2014, however, will give Paul the opportunity to begin to establish his operation and reach out to donors before officially jumping in the race.