2016 campaign checklist: Paul Ryan

CALVIN WOODWARD
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at preparations by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: “Janna 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.

Book: Yes, coming this year.

Iowa visits: 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. “Maybe we should come back and do this more often,” he teased. Wife’s family is from Iowa, and their Janesville, Wisconsin, home is only a few hours away.

New Hampshire: Yes, headlined Manchester fundraiser in February for former House colleague, Frank Guinta, who is trying to win back the seat he lost in 2012.

South Carolina: During 2012 campaign.

Foreign travel: Yes. Middle East travel during congressional career, visited troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meet the money: Yes, attracts Wall Street interest. Attended Mitt Romney’s 2014 Utah retreat with GOP donors and policy leaders, also in 2013. Addressed GOP donor Paul Singer’s Manhattan Institute at same May event that heard from Jeb Bush. Had a follow-up reception with Singer and Woody Johnson, Romney’s 2012 finance chairman. Has money connections from 2012 campaign.

Networking: Yes, prime networker as 2012 vice presidential candidate, addressed Conservative Political Action Conference in March, the 2013 Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting and more. Helping fellow House Republicans raise money.

Hog the TV: Many Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. Occasional guest on network news.

Do something: Republican broker of the bipartisan budget deal in December that averted a potential government shutdown in early 2014 and scaled back across-the-board spending cuts. The deal draws a contrast between Ryan and potential rivals who oppose it. A budget-hawk record to be judged on. May be emerging as influential moderate on immigration.

Take a stand: Cutting spending, taking on entitlements. Anti-poverty initiative has also become a focus, taking him to poor precincts and producing detailed report on the poor that could be precursor to legislation. Pushing for immigration overhaul, largely behind the scenes.

Baggage: On one hand, budget pain. Critics are sure to dust off ads from 2012 presidential campaign blasting the sharp cuts that Ryan advocated for Medicare and other programs. But this is catnip to GOP conservatives. On the other hand, his December 2013 bipartisan budget deal risks trouble with the tea party. Still carries stigma of national ticket loss in 2012. Immigration position rankles some conservatives. Comments in March about cultural “tailspin” in inner cities and “generations of men” having lost the work ethic there struck some as veiled racism. Deflection: Called his remark “inarticulate.”

Shadow campaign: His Prosperity Action PAC. Questions remain about whether he will make a presidential bid given his rising influence in Congress.

Social media: Aggressive, with large following. King of Facebook among potential rivals in both parties. Seeks $10 donations for “Team Ryan” bumper stickers for his PAC and kisses a fish. Posts photo of President Barack Obama with his feet up on Oval Office desk. Commanding presence on Twitter, too, via an account associated with his political action committee and another as congressman.

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