The Corner

Bolton Plans a Tour of Early-Primary States

Watch out, Rand Paul.

As Paul, a Kentucky senator, plans for a 2016 presidential run, he is talking up his views on foreign policy, which, broadly speaking, include less intervention in foreign conflicts and a smaller military budget.

But Paul’s positions and rapid ascent have alarmed many Republican hawks. Behind the scenes, they’re worried that he has a shot at the nomination.

Enter John Bolton. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is being encouraged by several leading conservative power brokers to consider a presidential bid.

Bolton, who briefly considered running for president in 2012, hasn’t made up his mind. But sources tell me that he is moving closer to giving the idea serious consideration — serious enough to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire.

Later this year and throughout 2014, the former Reagan and Bush official will begin an informal national tour. He’ll give speeches, huddle with GOP leaders, and push back against the party’s libertarian shift. He’ll make the case for a muscular foreign policy.

Sources say Bolton is also planning to launch a few related groups that will help elevate his argument and his national profile. Whether the efforts evolve into a presidential campaign in a couple of years is unclear, but Bolton is, without a doubt, looking to be a player.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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