Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warned Bluegrass State reporters Wednesday not to expect an announcement about a possible 2016 presidential bid until next year, while also opining about other policy priorities.
"I want to be part of the national debate," Paul said. "I think the country faces a lot of problems, and I do want to be a part of trying to bring about answers and solutions for making the Republican party big enough that we can be competitive again, but I won't make any decision until 2014 or so."
Paul also would face re-election to the Senate in 2016.
Speaking to press assembled at the University of Kentucky, where the tea party favorite gave a wide-ranging policy speech, Paul spoke about some of his favorite subjects, including the gun violence debate and his bids to curtail foreign aid to countries such as Egypt. Paul also spoke about the Kentucky Legislature's approval of legislation regarding regulation of industrial hemp production.
"As soon as it passes and is law, I'm going to try to send a letter to the president asking him to give Kentucky a waiver," Paul said. "We could be one of the first states to grow hemp. That'd be great."
Paul is one of several senators championing an effort in Washington, D.C., to legalize industrial hemp.
The Louisville Courier-Journal on Thursday posted video of Paul's comments to a gaggle of reporters in Lexington.