"I don't think there would be any chance they'd exclude my dad" from 2012 Republican debates, the new Republican senator from Kentucky told The Des Moines Register Saturday.
In July 2007, the elder Paul, a Texas congressman, was kept out of a Republican candidates' forum in Des Moines.
"I think it backfired on people when they tried to exclude him from things because his people became so motivated," Rand Paul said.
The younger Paul, visiting the crucial caucus state of Iowa, repeated he might run for president himself if his father does not.
"My guess is he's leaning in the direction of running," said Paul, who lives with his father in Washington. "But I can't, and don't, speak for him. ... He's not told me one way or another."
Rand Paul has been visible lately in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
"Now we're in Libya, and suddenly Ron Paul doesn't look so crazy anymore," Jeff Angelo, a Republican ex-state senator in Iowa, said. "More and more people say, 'That guy's right. I'm really tired of us intervening when there's no American interest.'"