WASHINGTON (AP) -- The 2016 presidential election only seems far away if you're not planning to run in it. For those who are thinking about seeking their party's presidential nomination, there's so very much to do, starting yesterday.
This is a time to get to know donors, to get the public to know you on TV and social media, to visit big primary states, network with the activists and ideologues, produce a vanity book, polish a record, deal with personal baggage, take a stand, develop a world view and scout for advisers and political organizations that can power up a campaign team. All while sounding coy about running. And in some cases, not even being sure you will.
The main players: For the Democrats, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; and for the Republicans, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
NON-DENIAL DENIAL: Cagey words that cloak presidential ambitions, and none too convincingly.
Biden: "I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America. But it doesn't mean I won't run."
Clinton: "I have absolutely no plans to run. ... I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of women and girls, and hopefully be writing and speaking. Those are the things that I am planning to do right now. ... I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is."
Cuomo: "To the extent that I'm focusing on politics, it's my (governor's) race next year."
O'Malley: "By the end of this year, we're on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of the candidacy for 2016."
Bush: "My thinking is not to think about it for a year."
Christie: "I'm nowhere near making that decision yet, at all. I mean, I think anybody who tries to plan in politics that far in advance is crazy. ... I love being governor and I want to stay as governor."
Jindal: "The reality is anybody who's thinking about 2016 needs to have their head examined. It's way too early."
Paul: "We're thinking about growing the party. What comes after that, we'll see."
Rubio: "I told people I haven't even thought about that. That's a decision far in the future."
Ryan: "I will give it serious consideration, but I'm going to do that later on."
Walker: "That's not anything I've really spent a whole lot of time thinking about."
WRITE A BOOK: The perfect stage-setter, just ask Barack Obama ("Dreams from My Father," 2004; "The Audacity of Hope," 2006.)
Biden: Not since "Promises to Keep" from '07.
Cuomo: Yes, coming in 2014.
Clinton: Yes, coming in 2014.
Bush: Yes, on immigration.
Jindal: Yes, but in 2010.
Paul: "Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds," in 2012; "The Tea Party Goes to Washington," 2011.
Rubio: Yes, "An American Son: A Memoir," 2012.
Ryan: Among various authors of "The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal," with the snoozy sub-sub-title: "Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution."
Walker: Yes, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," is coming in the fall with former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen as ghost-writer.
GO TO IOWA: Its caucuses are the opening act of the nomination contest.
Biden: Yes, in 2012 campaign.
O'Malley: Yes, headlined Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry in the fall.
Bush: Yes, in 2012.
Christie: Yes, in 2012.
Jindal: Yes, summer visit, then flew with Iowa governor to governors association meeting in Milwaukee. In Iowa seven times in 2012.
Paul: Yes, Lincoln Day Dinner in May, meeting with pastors in July.
Rubio: Yes, in 2012 just days after the election.
Ryan: Yes, multiple times as 2012 veep candidate. Keynote speaker at governor's annual birthday fundraiser coming in November.
Walker: Yes, May fund-raiser.
GO TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: Nation's first primary comes after Iowa and is just as important.
Biden: Yes, in 2012 campaign, and 2013 fundraiser planned in Maine for New Hampshire governor.
O'Malley: Yes, once in 2012.
Christie: Yes, three times in 2012.
Jindal: Yes, headlined state GOP fundraiser in May, visited twice in 2012.