Rand Paul to visit Israel on Mideast tour
Senator's office has requested meetings with top officials
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, will travel to the Middle East in the new year, his spokeswoman confirmed.
Paul will travel to Israel and Jordan in early January for the information gathering trip lasting a little over a week, his communications director, Moira Bagley, said.
It will be his first trip to the region, she said.
The trip will no doubt stir speculation surrounding his interest in a bid for the White House, which he addressed in interviews on ABC and CNN.
In the CNN interview earlier this week, he said, "What I've said is that I won't deny I'm interested - a little bit different than 'I am interested.' "
The trip will be privately funded and not paid for by the federal government, Bagley said.
Paul's office has requested to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Jordan's King Abdullah, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Joining Paul on the trip will be evangelical activist David Lane, Iowa Chairwoman for Concerned Women for America Tamara Scott, Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party Chad Connelly, and Pastor Brad Sherman, who headed up the Iowa pastors for Mike Huckabee effort in 2008.
His father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, made his third unsuccessful bid for the presidency this year and is retiring from the U.S. House.
News of the trip was first reported by the website CBN.
Copyright 2012 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.