WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) talks with reporters as Senate Republicans and Democrats head to their weekly policy luncheon on March 19, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate is expected to pass a revised continuing resolution and send their edits back to the House in order to prevent a government shutdown next week, but any action in the Senate may be delayed until later in the week. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Rand Paul is doing much more than "considering" running for president.
The Kentucky Republican is clearing a path to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, with a series of upcoming early primary state visits, a beefed-up political operation and a plan to raise his profile.
His national coming-out begins Friday, when he's scheduled to be the featured guest at the Iowa Republican Party's annual spring fundraiser, a plum speaking gig in the state expected to host the leadoff caucuses.
Paul's road is far from easy, given other names in the prospective field and the national GOP's wide divide. But he enjoys tea party backing and access to father Ron Paul's past presidential campaign networks.
He heads to New Hampshire later this month and South Carolina in June.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)