Rand Paul: 'Gut feeling' Hillary won't run in 2016

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says his "gut feeling" is that Hillary Clinton will decide against running for president in 2016 — and he says that's good news for Republicans. 

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“All the polls show her trouncing any opponents,” Paul said in an interview for a Vogue profile published Wednesday. 

The Republican senator is considered a potential candidate — and early front-runner — for the nomination and has become a leading voice within his party on national security and privacy issues. 

In the same profile, Paul's mother, Carol, said her son would have to lay the groundwork before a decision, and any announcement would come after the midterm elections next year. 

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“Rand says he won’t declare that he’s going to run until after 2014. ... Groundwork has to be set,” Carol Paul said in a profile of the senator. 

But the senator's mom said said the idea of a Rand Paul presidential run in 2016 “feels real.” 

Paul has made about a half dozen trips to early nominating states this year — a must among likely presidential contenders as they gauge support for a run. He told Fox News in August that he and his family had “been considering” a run. 

Paul’s wife, Kelley, said Bill Clinton’s role in the White House if Hillary Clinton ever became president would be complicated by his “predatory, offensive” behavior toward women, alluding to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. 

Paul has sought to expand the party to include his brand of libertarianism — with a high-profile filibuster against U.S. drone policy earlier this year and his vocal criticism of military intervention in Syria. 

But he has also had spats with a number of GOP lawmakers, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

McCain even joked in July that it would be a “tough choice” voting for Paul if he was matched up against Clinton in a presidential contest.