The time for "testing the waters" has ended: Ron Paul is officially considering running for president. Last night, after several media outlets confirmed that Paul would announce an exploratory committee, the candidate relayed the news himself to Fox News Channel.

"We're going to announce that I'm going to start an exploratory committee...I'll stop by in Iowa on my way home, and that might lead to the next decision," announced the libertarian folk hero who's been on an obligatory book tour. The news isn't surprising: his aides had previously given 50/50 odds of running, his son, Rand, had signaled that he was deferring to let his dad have one more shot at the White House, and--honestly--everyone thinks the timing couldn't be better for the libertarian message.

As BI's Joe Weisenthal noted, this time around every GOP primary candidate will be quizzed on quantitative easing, their opinion about the Fed's Ben Bernanke, and the dollar's role in the world economy. "The ideological center of gravity in the GOP--and the whole country for that matter--has shifted a lot closer to Ron Paul's position," Weisenthal figured. That sounds as good a reason as any we've seen to launch a serious presidential bid.