Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was not named after the objectivist philosopher and author Ayn Rand, his father clarified for Reddit users Thursday.
"My wife had the children and she had the privilege of naming the children," former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, wrote during an "Ask Me Anything" question-and-answer session.
"[H]is name is not after Ayn Rand," Paul wrote. "His name is RANDALL despite some things that have been around on the Internet. He was called 'Randy' at home, and he became 'Rand' after becoming a physician."
During his successful 2010 Senate campaign, Paul gave a similar explanation in a video posted to YouTube. "There are many stories out there on the Internet, most all of them apocryphal, some of them saying I've legally changed my name," he said. "No, I just shortened my name, I was always Randall. ... I was not named after Ayn Rand, although I do have a great deal of respect for her."
The Russian-born Rand's advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism is increasing popular among Republican politicians and is frequently denounced by Democrats and liberal pundits. Her atheism is sometimes invoked as a reason for Republicans to not tie themselves too closely to the "Atlas Shrugged" author. Rand died in 1982 at the age of 77, in New York City.
The Kentucky senator acknowledges he is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, and recent polls suggest he'll have significant support in Republican primaries. His father, however, offered praise for one of his possible opponents during the Reddit session.
Former Gov. Gary Johnson, R-N.M., the Libertarian Party's 2012 presidential nominee, would be a "great!" presidential candidate in the future, Paul wrote, describing his beliefs as "pretty darn close to what I believe in."
After losing his bid for the 2012 GOP nomination, however, Paul declined to endorse Johnson over Republican candidate Mitt Romney, presumably out of caution for his son's political future.
Johnson has openly weighed seeking the third party's presidential nomination again in 2016. In an Aug. 15 Ora TV interview with Larry King, Johnson faulted Senator Paul for not being, in his opinion, "socially tolerant [and] socially accepting."