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Who's jumping through which hoops for 2016

Tuesday - 12/31/2013, 10:10am  ET

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Clinton as couch potato didn't last long. Was anyone surprised?

While she was getting back in the game, others who might run for president were in motion, too.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie socked away a big re-election victory in New Jersey and scored a prime position in his party to raise money and make friends.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., plugged a gaping hole in his resume with a new book.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin rode to the rescue as Republican broker of a December budget deal that avoided a repeat of the fall government shutdown.

Vice President Joe Biden popped up in so many places, with his hand in so much, it might be fair to wonder if there's more than one of him.

For the more than a dozen likely and just-maybe 2016 presidential contenders, it's been a busy year laying the groundwork for a potential campaign even as they continue to deny, though with less oomph than before, that they are doing any such thing.

The election is almost three years away, for goodness sake. But time flies when you have so much prep, positioning and auditioning to do.

It's a tricky balance, getting in people's faces so they get to know you but don't get sick of you.

Might Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, peak too soon with his firebrand politicking and relentless networking?

That's not a risk faced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. He's been blowing off almost everything a potential candidate is supposed to be doing at this point.

Other than governing his state, Cuomo is doing little more than sitting back and being his sexy self. Anointed sexiest 55-year-old by People magazine, he set aside his distaste for national TV long enough to rub it in with his brother, Chris, a CNN host. But he called in instead of appearing.

Here is a look at how these potential 2016 presidential candidates are progressing on a big to-do list as they head into an even more demanding political year: Clinton, Biden, Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley for the Democrats; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Christie, Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ryan, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Walker for the Republicans.

NON-DENIAL DENIAL: Cagey words that cloak presidential ambitions, none too convincingly.


Biden: "Oh, we'll talk about that." In November 2013, when asked about running.

Clinton: "I'm not in any hurry. I think it's a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it's also not one that has to be made soon."

Cuomo: Concerning a presidential poll suggesting New Yorkers prefer Christie to him: "It said Chris Christie has better numbers for president than I do. Yeah, because he's running for president, and I am not."

O'Malley: "By the end of this year (2013), we're on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of the candidacy for 2016."


Bush: "There's a time to make a decision. You shouldn't make it too early, you shouldn't make it too late. There's a time. There's a window. And this is not the time for me. This is the time to show a little self-restraint."

Christie: "I am not going to declare tonight ... that I am or I'm not running for president. I won't make those decisions until I have to." -- October 2013.

Cruz: "My focus is entirely on the U.S. Senate." His standard disclaimer.

Jindal: "I don't know what I'm going to be doing in 2016."

Paul: Americans want "for example, someone like myself" in 2016 if he chooses to run.

Perry: "Second chances are what America has always been about" -- referring to his ill-fated 2012 campaign and chances he'll try again.

Rubio: "I told people I haven't even thought about that. That's a decision far in the future."

Ryan: "If I'm going to do a job as chairman of the Budget Committee, as a leader of my party, I cannot let my mind be clouded with personal ambition. I'm going to make those decisions later."

Santorum: "A year from now, I'll have to make that decision," he said in November. Is he open to running? "Sure."

Walker: "Right now, my calling is to be the governor. ... I don't rule anything out."


WRITE A BOOK: The perfect stage-setter for a campaign season, just ask Barack Obama ("The Audacity of Hope," 2006; "Dreams from My Father," 2004)

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