LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul made it official Tuesday: He's running for President of the United States.

Paul made the announcement at the Galt House where a crowd of supporters and national media watched him kick off his run for the White House.

Paul became just the fourth Kentuckian to make a serious run for the White House, joining Henry Clay, Zachary Taylor and Abraham Lincoln.

"Today I announce, with God's help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate for President of the United States of America," Paul said to the cheers of a packed ballroom.

They are the words Paul supporters had been waiting to hear. The eye doctor who, five years ago, upset the establishment to win a senate seat, is now running for the White House as a Washington outsider.

"The Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives must be stopped," he said.

Paul hit all the themes he's been emphasizing as Kentucky's Junior Senator; limited government, reduced spending, and protection of privacy rights.

"I say that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business," said Paul.

While Paul preached reducing the role of government, he also promised to continue the war on terrorism, and was not shy about naming names.

"The enemy is radical Islam. You can't get around it. And not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind," said Paul.

Paul also continued his appeal to minority voters, calling for school choice and criminal justice reform.

"I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally, and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed," he said.

It was message that resonated with the packed crowd.

"We've come to take our country back," Paul said.

In attendance, a who's who of Kentucky Republicans including three of the four GOP candidates for governor.

"Our country is desperately in need of new direction. We're on the wrong track headed in the wrong direction," said former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner.

"Very few times in history has a freshman senator had the impact that Rand has had. I'm proud to stand with Rand, and I think he's got an excellent shot at being the next President of the United States," said Agriculture Secretary James Comer.

Democrats are already on the attack, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Paul's views "outdated and way out of the mainstream."

Former Kentucky State Sen. Georgia Davis Powers questioned Paul's record on civil rights.

As for Paul, he's headed to the early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina.

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