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A fast 2014 start on presidential prep

Wednesday - 1/22/2014, 7:20pm  ET

CALVIN WOODWARD
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- This is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who are considering running for president in 2016.

You could see them stirring in 2013 as they plugged holes in resumes, took preliminary steps to build potential campaign organizations and made carefully calibrated moves to get better known by Americans generally and key constituencies in particular.

Most, but not all, are ticking off items on what could be called the presidential prep checklist. And they've got baggage to deal with.

The pace has quickened since The Associated Press last took a broad look at who's doing what to advance their high ambitions.

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. For the Republicans: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 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.

An updated look at the field in motion:

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

Democrats

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

Clinton: "I haven't made up my mind. I really have not. I will look carefully at what I think I can do and make that decision sometime next year." -- ABC, December 2013.

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." (Poll came out before Christie's traffic tie-up flap)

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."

Republicans

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'll have to make a decision around this time next year about whether I'm interested in running for another office or re-election or becoming a private citizen." -- January 2014.

Ryan: "If I'm going to do a job as chairman of the (House) 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: "I'm really focused on 2014, not getting ahead of the game. ... You guys can predict all you want."-- January 2014.

___

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)

Democrats

Biden: No, not since 2007.

Cuomo: Yes, coming in 2014.

Clinton: Yes, coming in 2014.

O'Malley: No.

Republicans

Bush: Yes, on immigration.

Christie: No.

Cruz: No.

Jindal: No, not since 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.

Perry: Not since 2010.

Rubio: Yes, coming in late 2014 from the publisher of his 2012 memoir, "An American Son."

Santorum: Yes, coming in 2014, "Blue Collar Conservatives."

Ryan: Yes, recently announced and coming in 2014.

Walker: Yes, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," came out in the fall.

___

GO TO IOWA: Its caucuses are the opening act of the nomination contest.

Democrats

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.

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