(AP) WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, popular with conservatives and libertarians in the GOP, said Wednesday he is considering a presidential campaign in 2016 but will not make a decision before next year.

Paul said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor that he wants to be part of the national debate and said that remaining open to a presidential bid would give him a broad audience on a number of policy issues.

“I want to be part of the national debate. Whether I run or not, being considered is something that allows me to have, I think, a larger microphone,” Paul said. He added: “We’re considering it. We won’t make a decision before 2014.”

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