Pace of Presidential Prep Picks Up

Updated: 04/07/2014 5:51 AM By: Jennie Olson

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Just about everyone thinking about running for president is kicking it into gear now, slowpokes included.
For months, many prospective 2016 presidential candidates have been rubbing shoulders with donors, networking with party leaders, getting on TV and otherwise auditioning for the contest ahead, especially on the Republican side.
Their pace is picking up. A few are even admitting now what has been obvious for eons: They're interested in the presidency, even if they aren't ready to commit.
Others have avoided the usual pathways, for reasons that make sense to them even if their inscrutability exasperates others.  "This is the time to show a little self-restraint," one of them, Jeb Bush, said back in November.
But that was then. He's shed some of that restraint now.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's inscrutability has bottlenecked the Democratic contest because several may decide not to run if she does. Asked in March, for the umpteenth time, about what she's going to do, she responded in her practiced coy fashion. "Give me your name and number," she cracked to a college student imploring her to run. "Obviously, thinking about all kinds of decisions."
But she's been picking up her activities, too. Ready for Hillary, a super PAC, has been busy on her behalf in early organizing. The question remains: When will Hillary be ready for Hillary?
What's clear is that springtime has arrived in 2016 presidential politics. Much more is going on since The Associated Press last took a broad look at who is doing what to get ready for a potential campaign.
Here's a summary of the main players.
For the Democrats, they are Vice President Joe Biden; Clinton, the former secretary of state; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
For the Republicans: Bush, the former Florida governor; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
NONDENIAL DENIAL: Cagey words that cloak presidential ambitions, none too convincingly.
Biden: "There may be reasons I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run." - February, CNN.
Clinton: "I haven't made up my mind. I really have not." - December, ABC.
Cuomo: "I'm sorry, I'm losing you. We have a technical difficulty. I'm running for governor of the state of New York." - Seeming not to hear a question about his presidential intentions. February, Fox Business Network.
O'Malley: "No one ever goes down this road, I would hope, without giving it a lot of consideration and a lot of preparation and a lot of thought work, and so that's what I'm doing." - February.
Bush: "I can honestly tell you that I don't know what I'm going to do." - His standard disclaimer.
Christie: "I am enormously flattered that folks would talk about me in my party as someone who they think could be a candidate for president. But I am absolutely in - nowhere near that consideration process." - Jan. 9 news conference addressing the scandal over Fort Lee, N.J., traffic tie-ups.
Cruz: "My focus is entirely on the U.S. Senate." - His standard disclaimer
Jindal: "My honest answer is I don't know what I'm going to be doing in 2016." - February.
Paul: "We're definitely talking about it, my family is talking about it. I truly won't make my mind up until after the 2014 elections. But I haven't been shy in saying we're thinking about it."  -March 9, Fox News.
Perry: "It's a long way down the road." - February, Iowa. Says he'll decide in December.
Rubio: "That's something that I'll consider later in this year, early next year." - March, NBC.
Ryan: "Jane and I are going to sit down in 2015 and give it the serious ... conversation, consideration that are required for keeping our options open. But right now I have responsibilities in the majority in the House of Representatives that I feel I ought to attend to, and then I'll worry about those things." March, CBS.
Santorum: "I'm certainly looking at it pretty seriously." March, Fox.
Walker: "I'm really focused on 2014, not getting ahead of the game. ... You guys can predict all you want." - January, CNN.
WRITING A BOOK: The perfect stage-setter for a campaign season, just ask Barack Obama ("The Audacity of Hope," 2006; "Dreams from My Father," 2004)
Biden: No, not since before 2008 election.
Cuomo: Yes, coming in 2014.
Clinton: Yes, coming in 2014.
O'Malley: No. "I'm not sure where I'd find the time for that." It's probably only a matter of time before he finds time.
Bush: Yes, on immigration.
Christie: No.
Cruz: Yes, book deal disclosed by his agent in April.
Jindal: Not since before 2012 election.
Paul: No, not since just before the 2012 election.
Perry: Not since before 2012 election.
Rubio: Yes, coming in late 2014 from the publisher of his 2012 memoir.
Santorum: Yes, coming in 2014.
Ryan: Yes, coming in 2014.
Walker: Yes, out in fall 2013.
GO TO IOWA: Its caucuses are the opening act of the nomination contest.
Biden: Yes, spoke at Sen. Tom Harkin's fall 2013 steak-fry fundraiser, a must-stop for many Democrats seeking to compete in the leadoff caucuses. Raised money for Iowa congressional candidate Jim Mowrer.
Clinton: No, avoiding big primary/caucus states.  But Ready for Hillary is mobilizing for her in the state.
Cuomo: No.
O'Malley: Yes, headlined Harkin's 2012 fundraiser.
Bush: Yes, in 2012.
Christie: Yes, in 2012. More travel driven by politics in the cards now that he's chairman of Republican Governors Association for 2014 election year.
Cruz: Yes, four visits in eight months. In March, addressed influential Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators in Des Moines and GOP event in Mason City.
Jindal: Yes, summer 2013 visit, then flew with Iowa governor to governors association meeting in Milwaukee. In Iowa seven times in 2012.
Paul: Yes, three times in 2013. In March, snagged the state GOP chairman, who announced he was quitting to join Paul as an adviser.
Perry: Yes, visited Des Moines suburbs and Davenport in February, meeting GOP activists and attending an event with business leaders sponsored by the Koch brothers' Americans For Prosperity. Also met with Gov. Terry Branstad and addressed a Des Moines crowd of 400 in November.
Rubio: Yes, in 2012 just days after the election. A new wave of visits to early voting states expected.
Ryan: Yes, keynote speaker for Iowa GOP's big fundraising dinner in Cedar Rapids this spring. Main speaker at governor's annual birthday fundraiser in November 2013, in first visit since 2012 campaign.
Santorum: Yes, recent visit with strategists and media. August 2013 speech to conservative Christians in state where he won the 2012 caucuses. Screened his new Christmas movie in Iowa in November.
Walker: Yes, fundraiser last year.
GO TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: Nation's first primary comes after Iowa and is just as important.
Biden: Yes, raised money for three Democrats in March visit for job-training event. Quipped: "I'm here about jobs - not mine."
Clinton: No. But Ready for Hillary has sent people there this year.
Cuomo: No.
O'Malley: Yes, spoke at Democratic Party dinner in November. Also spoke at 2012 convention of New Hampshire Democrats.
Bush: No.
Christie: Yes, three times in 2012.
Cruz: Yes, two April trips and one last year.
Jindal: Yes, keynote speech to local Republican organization in March, headlined state GOP fundraiser in 2013, visited twice in 2012.
Paul: Yes, visiting state for spring events in Dover and Manchester. Won straw poll at March meeting of Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua. Several visits last year.
Perry: No.
Rubio: Yes, making his first appearance of the 2016 season, in May, at county Republican dinner. Multiple visits before 2012 election.
Ryan: Yes, headlined Manchester fundraiser in February for former House colleague. Canceled October 2013 visit because of government shutdown.
Santorum: Yes, March speech to Northeast Republican Leadership Conference marked his return to a state where he performed weakly in 2012 campaign.
Walker: Yes, headlined a GOP state convention in October 2013, keynote at state party convention in September 2012.
DON'T FORGET SOUTH CAROLINA: First Southern primary and big in its own right.
Biden: Yes, headlined annual fundraising dinner in May 2013 for state party, appeared at Rep. James Clyburn's annual fish fry, Easter weekend vacation on Kiawah Island.
Clinton: No.
Cuomo: No.
O'Malley: Yes, April speech to party activists.
Bush: Yes, 2012 speech.
Christie: Yes, helped Mitt Romney raise money in 2012.
Cruz: Yes, "Pastors and Pews" event in November 2013, cultivating relationship with religious conservatives. Also visited in May, speaking to annual state GOP dinner.
Jindal: Yes, August fundraiser for Gov. Nikki Haley.
Paul: Yes, foreign policy speech at The Citadel military college and small GOP fundraiser in Charleston in November 2013 visit; headlined several fundraisers earlier in year.
Perry: Yes, two-day visit in December 2013, addressed state GOP. In August, raised money for Haley's re-election campaign.
Rubio: Yes, headlined 2012 Silver Elephant dinner.
Ryan: Yes, in 2012 campaign.
Santorum: Yes. Campaigned in April 2013 for Curtis Bostic in GOP House runoff race; Bostic lost.
Walker: Yes, attended August fundraiser for Haley, who came to Wisconsin to campaign for him in 2012 recall vote.
GO ABROAD: Helps to give neophytes foreign policy cred, and Israel is a touchstone for U.S. politicians.
Biden: Yes, globe-trotter. Poland and Lithuania in March, seven trips to the Americas since 2009, including March visit to Chile. December 2013 visits to China, Japan and South Korea, countless trips to Afghanistan and Iraq during wars.
Clinton: Another globe-trotter, nearly 1 million miles as secretary of state. Limited overseas travel in 2013: honorary degree at St. Andrews University in Scotland in September; trip to London in October for a diplomacy award and a fundraising concert for the family's foundation. Attended memorial services for Nelson Mandela in South Africa in December. Two recent speeches in Canada.
Cuomo: Not much lately. Israel twice in 2002.
O'Malley: Yes. Israel in 2013 this year for a second time. Also Denmark, Ireland, France, Brazil and El Salvador in 2013. Asia in 2011, Iraq in 2010.
Bush: Yes, usually several overseas trips a year. Three times to Israel since 1980s.
Christie: Yes, Israel and Jordan in 2012.
Cruz: Yes, first visit to Israel in December 2012, again in January 2013 as part of Senate Republican delegation that traveled to Afghanistan, too.
Jindal: January 2014 trade and investment mission to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, first time overseas as governor. Canada in August 2013 to speak to oil industry about his support of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Paul: Yes, Israel and Jordan in January.
Perry: Yes, recently back from Israel, latest of several trips there. Stopped in London to see British officials and financial leaders.
Rubio: Yes, visited the Philippines, Japan and South Korea in January, foreign policy speech in London in early December and Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Afghanistan in February 2013. Also went to Israel after 2010 election to Senate.
Ryan: Yes, Middle East during congressional career; visited troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Santorum: Scant foreign travel while in the Senate drew notice in 2012 GOP campaign.
Walker: Yes, China in 2013 trade mission.
MEET THE MONEY: To know donors now is to tap them later.
Biden: Yes, actively fundraising for Democratic committees and candidates in 2014 midterms. Headlined fundraiser at home of Biden donor in Florida for House candidate Alex Sink in February; Sink lost the special election in March.
Clinton: Yes, can tap deep well of Democratic and activist money. Raises money for Clinton foundation. Bundlers such as Hollywood moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban have signaled support. Ready for Hillary super PAC raised more than $4 million in 2013. Worked fundraising circuit to help Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor in Virginia and Bill de Blasio's mayoral bid in New York City.
Cuomo: Flush coffers for 2014 governor's race.
O'Malley: Yes, in December ended his year as finance chairman for the Democratic Governors Association and is one of the party's top fundraisers.
Bush: Yes, longtime connections on Wall Street and beyond. Flew to Las Vegas in March to meet GOP super donor Sheldon Adelson. In February, his short video for GOP fundraiser at Donald Trump's Palm Beach, Fla., estate was a bigger hit than Cruz's keynote speech. Party in summer of 2013 for his immigration book at home of Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and a leading Republican bundler.
Christie: Yes, became GOP governors chairman in November, giving him regular access to the party's top national donors. In that capacity, has already met donors in Idaho, Vermont, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts and Utah. Was one of a handful of high-profile Republicans to meet with Adelson in Las Vegas at his resort casino in late March.  One of three prospective candidates who attended Mitt Romney's retreat with major party donors in Utah in June 2013.
Cruz: Yes, met in March with top California conservative donors and keynoted Trump fundraiser. Has list of potential donors that's still growing after he collected more than 1.5 million signatures for the online petition "Don'tFundObamaCare," which he began in 2013.
Jindal: Yes, met leading GOP donors in New York City, as most GOP prospects do over time.  Among prospective candidates who visited Iowa GOP donor Bruce Rastetter's farm in August 2013 for annual fundraiser for the governor.
Paul: Yes, attended Romney's 2013 Utah retreat. Met GOP donors in New York City.
Perry: Yes, has proven an effective fundraiser, both from grassroots activists and mainstream Republicans. Has led many job-poaching missions in big states with Democratic governors and met privately during those trips with key donors, especially in New York and California.
Rubio: Yes, aggressive national fundraising outreach, including trips to New York and California to meet potential donors. Among a handful of possible candidates to attend September 2013 event at home of Woody Johnson, New York Jets' owner and Mitt Romney's national finance chairman.
Ryan: Yes, attracts Wall Street interest, attended Romney's 2013 Utah retreat, has money connections from 2012 campaign.
Santorum: 2012 shoestring campaign was largely fueled by a super political action committee to which Republican donor Foster Friess gave more than $2 million.
Walker: Yes, addressed Republican Jewish Coalition at a Las Vegas gathering in March where main attraction was Adelson, who's looking where to place his bets in GOP field. Headlined 2013 fundraisers in New York and Connecticut.
NETWORK LIKE MAD: Taking their case to ideologues, activists and party heavyweights who hold great sway in nomination race.
Biden: And how. Plans to campaign in more than 100 races in the 2014 election. Meets regularly with former Senate colleagues and congressional Democrats. Gives keynote speeches at annual state Democratic Party dinners across the country. Making calls for House Democrats' campaign organization, assisting in recruitment of candidates. Campaigned for new Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. Speaks regularly to special interests.
Clinton: Steady presence now on speaking circuit, delivering paid speeches to industry groups and conferences and appearing before a number of groups with ties to the Democratic coalition.
Cuomo: Sparingly. Rarely leaves New York.
O'Malley: Yes, busy spring, with speeches to California Democratic state convention in March, Wisconsin Democrats in April and Massachusetts Democrats in May. Was Democratic governors' chairman for two years until December 2012.
Bush: Doing more this year. Recent travels to Tennessee, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. Skipped Conservative Political Action Conference in March, after giving keynote speech to the influential group a year earlier.
Christie: Yes, vigorous outreach now as the new Republican Governors Association chairman. Also spoke in March to Conservative Political Action Conference, which snubbed him last year. Addressed Republican Jewish Coalition spring meeting in Las Vegas, spending a full day with top donors and GOP operatives.
Cruz: Yes, addressed Conservative Political Action Conference in March, after landing the group's coveted keynote role in 2013. Persistent courting of religious and economic conservatives in Texas and beyond. Pitched social conservative principles at Values Voter meeting in October. Addressed 2012 Republican National Convention before he was even elected to the Senate.
Jindal: Yes, big time and small time, far and wide. Addressed Conservative Political Action Conference in March, also in 2013. Made time for fundraiser for local sheriff in Michigan. Altogether, has spent much of his time during six years as governor on the road, talking to GOP and activist groups in other states, supporting Republican candidates and promoting his achievements. Created political action committee in March to help conservative candidates running for Congress.
Paul: Yes, plenty. Generated buzz and won symbolic straw poll at Conservative Political Action Conference in March. Campaigned in fall 2013 for GOP candidates in Virginia governor's race and Senate election in New Jersey. Met Michigan Republicans in September. Pitched social conservative principles at Values Voter meeting in October, and much more.
Perry: Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2013, and its regional meeting in St. Louis in September. RedState Gathering in New Orleans in August; job-pitching tour in various states helps make connections.
Rubio: Yes, conservative and party activists, focused lately on repairing tea party relationships strained over immigration. Well-received speech to Conservative Political Action Conference in March. In Virginia governor's race, campaigned for Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who lost.
Ryan: Yes, prime networker as 2012 vice presidential candidate; now helping fellow House members raise money.
Santorum: Opened 2014 with Texas speech to conservative think tank and followed with speech to Conservative Political Action Conference. Speeches around the country. His Christian-themed film company is his calling card with religious conservatives.
Walker: One of only a few 2016 prospects who spoke to Republican Jewish Coalition. Skipped the big Conservative Political Action Conference in March, appeared there last year. Campaigned for GOP in Virginia governor's race. Spoke to Michigan Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island in September 2013.
HOG THE TV: Achieving national recognition by sermonizing on the Sunday news shows, or going for soft questions and easy laughs on late-night TV.
Biden: He's back. After being largely absent from the airwaves for more than a year, Biden has resumed frequent interviews, including a TV blitz the morning after the State of the Union and a CNN interview aboard an Amtrak train. He even dished on his skin care routine and his wife's oddball pranks during an interview with Rachael Ray to promote the health care law. But not a Sunday news show fixture.
Clinton: No. But late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed her in March. Appeared with Obama on CBS' "60 Minutes" in January to talk about tenure as secretary of state; gave interview to Barbara Walters late in 2013.
Cuomo: No. Prefers radio.
O'Malley: Getting back in the swing. January 2014 Sunday news show appearance on CNN was first in months, followed by CBS in February.
Bush: Blanketed the five Sunday shows one day in March 2013 to plug his book on immigration, a few appearances other times.
Christie: Not so much since traffic scandal surfaced. Before that, liked to cut up on late-night TV. Four Sunday news shows after his 2013 re-election.
Cruz: Yes, several Sunday news show appearances already this year, plenty last year. Frequent guest on Fox News and CNN.
Jindal: No, only a couple of Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election.
Paul: Leader of the chattering pack with more than a dozen Sunday talk show appearances since 2012 election. Fast out of the 2014 gate with Jan. 5 appearance on ABC. Frequent guest on news networks, especially Fox.
Perry: Raising his profile lately, making several national TV appearances while starring in flood of media spots in California designed to persuade businesses based there to move to Texas. Only a few Sunday talk show appearances since 2012 election, including one in February with three other governors.
Rubio: Staying on par with most rivals in Sunday news show appearances. Blanketed all five Sunday shows one day in April 2013, before he dropped the subject of immigration; made several other appearances since. Frequent guest on news networks.
Ryan: Many Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. Occasional guest on network news.
Santorum: Plugged Christmas movie on "The Colbert Report," Fox News, MSNBC and more. Radio, too. Teamed up with Democrat Howard Dean as sparring partners for debates on the air and with audiences.
Walker: Already on the Sunday news show scoreboard for 2014. Half dozen or so Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. Also, Piers Morgan, Lou Dobbs, more national TV interviews.
ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING: For voters who want to support doers, not just talkers.
Biden: Leading Obama's review of federal job-training programs. Point man on gun control, which failed. Lots on foreign policy. Negotiated fiscal cliff deal. December 2013 trip to Asia put him front and center in regional dispute over China's new air defense zone.
Clinton: Record as secretary of state, senator and first lady. Recent initiatives to help children's health and education and status of women.
Cuomo: 2014 budget proposal calls for tax cuts for businesses, homeowners and renters. In 2013, pushed through nation's first gun-control law after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. Led New York's effort to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011. Minimum wage boost, on-time budgets, teacher standards.
O'Malley: Toughened gun laws, repealed death penalty, saw voters approve gay marriage after he got behind legislation to approve it, set up a framework to develop offshore wind power.
Bush: As Florida governor, revamped state educational system, cut taxes, managed state through hurricanes.
Cruz: Leading force in dispute that partly shut the government, 21-hour Senate speech against Obama's health law. Argued before U.S. Supreme Court nine times, with eight of those coming while he was Texas' longest-serving solicitor general, between 2003 and 2008.
Christie: Won November 2013 re-election, becoming first Republican to earn more than 50 percent of New Jersey vote in quarter-century. Led state's response to Superstorm Sandy. Agreed to expand state's Medicaid program under the new health law while some other Republican governors have refused to do so. Vetoed a bill that would have sanctioned gay marriage, but declined to appeal a court ruling that legalized it.
Jindal: Privatized much of Louisiana's Medicaid program, shrank public hospital system, signed statewide voucher program that covers private school tuition for certain students. Signed abortion restrictions, fought liberalization of adoption law, making it impossible for gay couples to adopt jointly. Hurricane and Gulf oil spill disaster response.
Paul: One-man, nearly 13-hour Senate filibuster to protest drone policy put him at forefront of civil liberties debate.
Perry: "Texas Miracle" job-creation boom has seen state create a third of the net new jobs nationwide over last decade, although Texas has disproportionately high percentage of hourly workers earning minimum wage or less. Helped muscle through new abortion restrictions.
Rubio: Broker of Senate immigration overhaul, though he's gone quiet on the issue. Early leader of effort to link financing of health care law to government shutdown. Working with anti-abortion groups on Senate version of bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Ryan: Negotiated December 2013 bipartisan budget deal that scaled back across-the-board spending cuts, drawing contrast with