Texas Congressman Ron Paul is once again throwing his hat into the Presidential race. The conservative Republican will officially announce he's created an exploratory committee at an event later today in Iowa. Paul who ran in 1988 and in 2008, is a darling of the Tea Party and has a very loyal, albeit small, group of supporters thanks to his libertarian views favoring limited government, low taxes and free market policies.
Luckily for him, his criticism of the Fed and the government's handling of the budget, which were not major issues in the 2008, are now mainstream and could help him gain more support. At the very least, candidates will be forced to address monetary and fiscal policy issues on the campaign trail and in debates, which could speak well for Paul's candidacy.
Here's how the Business Insiders' Joe Wiesenthal puts it:
"It's inconceivable to think that in the GOP primary, candidates won't be asked for their position on Bernanke, quantitative easing, the role of the dollar, and of all the candidates, only Ron Paul has made a career on all these issues. In fact, after decades fighting his fight, he must be somewhat shocked that in just the last few years, his ideology has become so popular (or maybe he's shocked that it took so long).
In 2008, the GOP primary was dominated by Serious candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain and Fred Thompson and even Rudy Giuliani. They were content to basically ignore what Ron Paul had to say. This time, they'll be fighting on his turf."
But not all of Paul's view points will garner so much universal support. In terms of the Fed, he not only wants to limit their power, he wants to abolish the central bank altogether. He also favors a return to the gold standard, which would likely cause all kinds of market disruptions.
Plus, his libertarian view on social issues might be viewed as radical by moderate Republicans and independents.
Paul joins other GOP candidates Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in the race for the White House. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will not be joining them, having announced Monday he won't run. Romney and Donald Trump - who has yet to announce anything - lead most nationwide and early primary polls but Paul could quickly gain attention, especially if the debt ceiling and budget talks become major campaign issues.
Regardless, of the candidates, President Obama is looking more vulnerable based on poll numbers. Lately, it's gas prices that have hurt his approval ratings, Politico.com reports: "Of those surveyed for a Washington Post/ABC News poll who said rising gas prices are a "serious financial hardship," 39 percent approve of Obama's job performance. Just 33 percent in that group say he's doing a good job handling the economy."
Obama's overall approval rating in that same poll has fallen to 47 percent — the lowest it's been since September. (See: Stocks Rise, Obama's Poll Numbers Fall: What Gives?)
The morale of the story, the race is still up for grabs.
Why not Ron Paul? Tell us why you think he'd be a good or bad President