When I was in Kentucky last year reporting this piece on Mitch McConnell, I heard quite a bit of talk in Republican circles that Rand Paul--then still in the midst of his first Senate campaign--had designs on the White House. Like, soon. To be honest, I dismissed it out of hand because I didn't believe anyone would contemplate running for president at a point when their Senate tenure had to be measured in days, rather than years. I chalked up the rumors to establishment-Republican resentment of a Tea Party insurgent who had embarrassed the state's Republican eminence. But it looks like I may have been naive: According to the Charleston Post & Courier, Rand Paul is already testing the waters in South Carolina with an eye on the 2012 presidential race. Maybe Mitch McConnell will get to fill that Kentucky Senate seat after all.