Ron Paul makes it official: he's running for President in 2012

As ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl dubbed him in the piece preceding his announcement on GMA, Paul is considered the Godfather of the tea party. He's also the chairman of the House subcommittee on monetary policy, and on Wednesday he held a hearing regarding the Federal Reserve, which Paul would like to outright eliminate and set U.S. monetary policy back on the gold standard. If you listen to talk radio (or host a show like I do once a week) you can occasionally tap into Paul's constituency - a group of folks who think the Federal Reserve - America's largest central bank- is evil and unaccountable and should be stopped.

No doubt the bank - especially in the Alan Greenspan days- works far too secretively, feeding into conspiracy theories. In fact, it's because of critics like Paul that current chair Ben Bernanke did the impossible a few weeks ago - held an actual news conference.

Paul would like to eliminate the I.R.S. His other economic theories make him a curiosity with that subset of voters, but its his attacks on U.S. foreign policy that set him apart during the 2007-2008 campaign when he ran for the GOP nomination, and will no doubt make him a colorful character again this next cycle.

Paul courts controversy, and at 75, why not? His latest statement destined to create outrage (and not just amongst conservatives) is his comment Thursday night that he would not have ordered the raid to assassinate Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month.

In a radio interview earlier this week, Paul said the May 1 CIA-led Navy SEALs raid was "absolutely not necessary," adding "What if he had been in a hotel in London?...So would we have sent the ... helicopters into London because they were afraid the information would get out? No, you don't want to do that."

Paul said the United States should have arrested and taken bin Laden into custody, as was done with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

That comment was too much for a national tea party official to stomach, actually.

Tea Party Nation found Judson Phillips wrote on his website:

"If there is any doubt that Ron Paul should not even get near the Oval Office, even on a tour of the White House, he has just revealed it. For a Congressman to say the raid to kill the man who is one of the greatest mass murderers of Americans in history was, 'not necessary,' is simply nuts."

In 2007-2008, Paul was a refreshing voice however in the GOP debates, especially when it came to criticizing U.S. involvements in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Might we hear more Republicans calling for our troops to return home from Afghanistan in the wake of the UBL assassination? There's certainly more of that sentiment out in the heartland. But then again, it seems like the U.S. never leaves....anywhere.

Even President Obama's hype that he was elected in part to end the war in Iraq and is doing so is suspect; Although all U.S. troops are scheduled to leave that country by the end of this year, there are reports almost every other week about discussions between U.S. and Iraqi officials about our military staying "on" for an undetermined amount of time.

In any event, Ron Paul is going to make it interesting, which is what this GOP race for President needs.

Although nobody expects him to seriously contend, Ron Paul's announcement this morning live on Good Morning America could have an effect on the course of the 2012 Republican race for president, if for nothing else his single minded devotion to "end the Fed" - the Federal Reserve that is.

Paul spoke this morning to ABC's George Stephanopolous to give him and his fans the good news:

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