The Texas congressman is making his third run for the presidency, continuing to ride a small-but-steady wave of financial and political support from a hard-core group of libertarians. His unabashed straight talk such as suggesting the United States invited the 9/11 terrorist attack with its foreign military actions have won him supporters as well as ardent critics. Paul is spreading his attention across the country with an unclear endgame, especially since he has announced he will leave Congress as the end of his term in January 2013. His biggest challenge may be convincing voters beyond his base that he is a serious contender and not a vanity candidate.
— Written by Glen Johnson, Boston.com politics editor