FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In another example of his growing national influence, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is lending his name to support Young America's Foundation, a group interested in introducing conservatism to American youth.
Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green, is featured in a national fund-raising mailer sent out this week by the group that is based in Washington, D.C. The foundation has used national conservative leaders such as Sarah Palin to advocate for it.
Paul's involvement with the mailer, along with recent speeches to national audiences and his frequent appearances on national TV, is fueling speculation that he might run for president in four years.
Ron Meyer, spokesman for the Young America's Foundation, said Tuesday he thinks Paul has a promising future on the national political stage.
"We consider Sen. Paul one of the major voices now in this country for conservative values," Meyer said. "We would like to get him to speak to our group at our Reagan Ranch Center in California. We are appreciative of his help and see great things for him."
Paul has been quite active in building his national image.
Earlier this month, he spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference hosted by the American Conservative Union Foundation in Chicago.
He also wrote an opinion piece for USA Today about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's win in a recall election that garnered national attention. In it, Paul got to mention again his personal disdain for "huge deficits, bloated bureaucracies, bailout and special interests feeding at taxpayer's expense."
Paul is a regular guest on national cable news shows. Last week, he was on Fox News and CNN, talking about his legislation on warrantless domestic drone surveillance.
He has spent much of the past year campaigning across the country for the presidential candidacy of his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
After former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wrapped up this year's Republican presidential nomination, Rand Paul announced his support for Romney.
That prompted Paul's state director, Jim Milliman, to say that Paul might get more of the national spotlight in a prime speaking role at the Republican National Convention this summer in Tampa, Fla.
Paul is not saying much about a future presidential bid, but his activities underscore his aspirations to be a national leader.
In an email to the Lexington Herald-Leader on Tuesday about his support letter for Young America's Foundation, Paul said: "Supporting young conservatives at the collegiate level in Kentucky and across the country is an important part of fostering the next generation of leaders dedicated to limited government, defense of civil liberties, and upholding the Constitution. I am constantly inspired by the energy and dedication these young people have in supporting these ideals, and anything I can do to further their momentum is an honor and a pleasure."
With the letter and other national activities, "He's clearly trying to build up his national presence," said state Democratic political consultant Danny Briscoe of Louisville.
Briscoe said the more Paul emphasizes that he is a primary leader of the Tea Party, he improves his political career.
With a bigger national presence, Briscoe said, Paul could run for president in 2016, especially if Romney loses this year, or raise more money nationwide for his re-election race to the U.S. Senate in 2016.