from dpa: Texas Congressman Ron Paul announced Friday his bid to gain the Republican Party nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Paul, 75, made the announcement on ABC Television’s Good Morning America. A radical free-market libertarian, Paul was a fringe presidential candidate in 2008 whose small but loyal following raised unexpected millions of dollars for his campaign, though he fell well short of the conservative party’s nomination. Opposed to nearly all foreign military deployments, Paul was one of the few members of Congress among the hawkish Republicans who voted against the 2003 Iraq invasion, and he has called for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Paul, a medical doctor by training, had already formed a presidential exploratory committee last month. Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, declared himself a candidate on Wednesday. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, another failed 2008 candidate, and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty have formed exploratory committees for their expected presidential runs.