Usually Republicans are suspected of harboring presidential aspirations when they speak at a Lincoln Day Dinner near Des Moines or sample the corned beef hash at a Manchester diner. Rand Paul got the political press's attention by taking a dip in the Dead Sea.
"This trip to meet with Israelis, Arabs and Palestinians is absolutely the first step in his 2016 White House campaign," evangelical leader David Lane, who organized the visit, obliged in an interview with the Washington Times.
Paul held a conference call with intrigued reporters upon his return from Israel. He defended Israeli national sovereignty, ripped the "arrogance" of American policymakers who presume to know more about local conditions than the people who lived there, praised the country as a strong democratic ally.