GOP contender Ron Paul to visit Washington state

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul plans to hit three Washington state cities in a two-day campaign visit this week.

A rally in Vancouver is scheduled Thursday afternoon, followed by a King County rally Thursday evening at a Seatac airport hotel.

Paul's campaign has also announced a Friday town hall meeting for Tri-Cities residents in Richland.

Paul is running against Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for the GOP presidential nomination.

On Sunday, he said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that there's virtually no difference among his rivals. He says all three represent "the same status quo."

Santorum is exploring Secret Service protection after a rowdy Monday night rally in Tacoma, Wash.

Santorum hosted an outdoor rally adjacent to the campsite of Tacoma, Wash., Occupy protesters. They chanted and yelled during most of the event. Two protesters were dragged away by police.