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U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) – the only GOP presidential candidate whose record actually matches his rhetoric – announced on Friday that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Paul made his candidacy official during an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, saying that he believed “the time was right” for him to jump into the race.

Some had speculated that Paul might decline to run in 2012 – paving the way for his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, to mount a campaign.

That obviously isn’t happening. In fact the obstetrician-turned-politician, who turns 76 this summer, told ABC that he believes he has a better chance of winning the GOP nomination this go-round than he did in 2008.

“Coming in No. 1 in the Republican primary is an absolute possibility many, many times better than it was four years ago,” Paul said in his interview, adding that “time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I’ve been saying for 30 years.”

Amen to that.

Not only are Paul’s fiscal conservative credentials unimpeachable, but he’sone of the few lawmakers in Washington, D.C. who has consistently fought to protect individual liberties. He’s known as the “Godfather of the Tea Party,” and with good reason.

Since being elected to the U.S. Congress in 1976, no lawmaker has come close to matching Paul’s fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism – an ideological combination that more Americans are embracing in light of our nation’s crushing deficit spending and steady encroachment on individual freedom.

Sadly, Paul’s purity of heart has resulted in him being dismissed by the mainstream media, which treated his 2008 campaign as a sideshow. He’s also had to rely on internet “money bombs” (online drives that raise numerous small contributions from individual citizens) as his establishment rivals rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the entrenched special interests they serve.

Obviously, we’re excited about Paul’s entry into the race. Unlike the front-running field of flip-floppers, panderers and ideological sellouts being pushed by the GOP, Paul has articulated a clear, concise fiscal conservative vision for this country – and has had the courage to follow it to the letter.

We hope he gives ’em hell over the months to come … and we hope voters who care about this country’s impending fiscal implosion pay attention to what he has to say.

Pic: via Daylife