Rand Paul will join Ted Cruz in the quest for the Republican nomination today, and he's armed with a slogan that Politico describes as one "designed to evoke populist, anti-establishment themes": "Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream." But despite the attempts to drum up excitement around his bid, Politico notes today's announcement "will prove one of the most anticlimactic presidential announcements of modern times," reporting that Paul's campaign for the White House began in earnest four years ago. "Within the first year of the Senate term, he really started to focus on it," a former aide tells Politico, which charts his path in a lengthy piece. It has him revealing his presidential plans to his "brain trust," a 10-strong group, just days after Mitt Romney's own imploded.
From there he set out to woo more than the base nurtured by father Ron Paul while still touting his own uniqueness. Politico zeros in on this moment as key in his effort to do so: his 13-hour filibuster in March 2013 of John Brennan's nomination as CIA director, during which he argued against the use of drones to attack Americans. Moving forward, his advisers say Paul will focus on a flat tax, IRS reform, term limits, privacy, and justice reform, and market himself as a "libertarian-minded conservative." After revealing his plan to take the White House at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky., today—the first of five stops on a so-called announcement tour—Paul will make appearances in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada this week and host a Facebook town hall meeting.