Tag Archives: Martin O’Malley

Scott Walker’s approval rating stands mired at 38 percent

Scott Walker is setting himself up to run for a third term as governor.

Walker says he will wait until late 2016 or after the end of the year to make a formal decision, but also says he feels good about the progress he’s made and thinks he can build off it.

Walker made the comments to reporters Jan. 26 after he signed a bill at the Rock County Courthouse expanding the state’s Family Care program to the county.

Meanwhile, the latest Marquette Law School poll could mean trouble ahead for his next campaign. It found Walker’s approval rating mired at 38 percent, while 57 percent of registered voters in the state disapprove of the job he’s doing.

In September 2015, when the last poll was taken, 38 percent approved and 58 percent disapproved of the governor.

Only 36 percent of state voters say they would like for him to run for another term, while 61 percent would not like to see him run.

In September 2015, 35 percent supported a third term for Walker, while 62 percent did not.

A career politician, Walker has worked almost exclusively in politics since dropping out of Marquette University in 1990. Last year, he launched a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first candidate to drop out of the crowded race.

The Marquette poll, which is the most extensive in the state, also looked at presidential preferences among Wisconsinites who said they would vote in the primaries.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton received 45 percent of voters’ support, compared to Bernie Sanders’ 43 percent. Martin O’Malley, who has since dropped out of the race, had 1 percent support.

In the November Marquette poll, Clinton had 50 percent, Sanders had 41 percent and O’Malley had 2 percent.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump was supported by 24 percent, followed by Marco Rubio at 18 percent and Ted Cruz at 16 percent. Ben Carson was backed by 8 percent, with Chris Christie at 5 percent. Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina received 3 percent each. Jeb Bush and John Kasich were each at 2 percent, with Mike Huckabee at 1 percent and Rick Santorum at 0.

Those numbers represent a dramatic turnaround from the November poll, in which Carson led the Republican field in with 22 percent, while Trump and Rubio each had 19 percent of voters’ support. Cruz stood at 9 percent in the November poll.

For Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, Russ Feingold is supported by 50 percent of registered voters, with Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receiving 37 percent. Those numbers are almost unchanged since November.

Debate central: Milwaukee to host the Democratic candidates for president

The national spotlight returns to Milwaukee next month. The city, which hosted a GOP debate last fall, will host a Democratic presidential debate at 8 p.m. on Feb. 11.

The forum is at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus with PBS NewsHour co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as moderators.

“UW-Milwaukee has a long history of promoting civil discourse on important issues facing our society, and we are proud to host the debate on our campus,” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone said in a statement. “Our school is an incredibly strong academic institution with a vast alumni base, robust research profile and deep connection to the Milwaukee community — and we very much look forward to welcoming presidential candidates here this upcoming February.”

For the latest information on the debate, go to www.wisconsingazette.com.

MoveOn endorses Sanders in Democratic race

MoveOn.org Political Action on Jan. 12 endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

The progressive group’s endorsement is derived from votes cast by members. Sanders won 78.6 percent of the 340,665 votes cast. MoveOn said this was a record number of votes and the largest margin of victory in a presidential endorsement in its history.

Sanders, in a statement released by his campaign, said, “I’m proud to have MoveOn and its community of millions of members join our people-powered campaign. MoveOn has spent more than 17 years bringing people together to fight for progressive change and stand up against big money interests. MoveOn’s fight to give the American people a voice in our political system was reflected in the group’s internal democratic process. I’m humbled by their support and welcome MoveOn’s members to the political revolution.”

Ilya Sheyman, MoveOn.org political action executive director, said in a news release, “This is a massive vote in favor of Bernie Sanders, showing that grassroots progressives across the country are excited and inspired by his message and track record of standing up to big money and corporate interests to reclaim our democracy for the American people. MoveOn members are feeling the Bern. We will mobilize aggressively to add our collective people power to the growing movement behind the Sanders campaign.”

MoveOn pledged to mobilize millions of members in support of Sanders, focusing initially on turning out its 43,000 members in Iowa and 30,000 in New Hampshire.

Sanders is running against Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley for the nomination.

The first votes in the nominating process are less than a month away.

Prep for tonight’s Democratic debate? | A background guide

The Democrats’ debate lineup is down to a tidy trio, now that two of their presidential candidates have quit the race.

That should make it easier to keep the debaters straight: the woman, the socialist and … who’s that other guy? Oh yeah, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. 

The new math gives O’Malley, barely registering in polls so far, better odds of getting noticed Saturday night in this second go-round for Democrats.

A guide to the personalities taking the stage in Des Moines, Iowa, for the CBS broadcast.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Key features: Nearly everybody recognizes her. She’s the only candidate who’s lived in the White House already, as first lady.

A quick sketch:

_ Daughter of a fabric store owner and a homemaker living in the Chicago suburbs.

_ Met her future husband and future president, Bill Clinton, at Yale Law School.

_ After serving as first lady of Arkansas and then of the U.S., elected to Senate from New York.

_ Early Democratic front-runner in 2008, lost presidential nomination to Barack Obama.

_ Both praised and criticized in four years as Obama’s secretary of state.

Also of note:

Clinton has hung onto her front-runner status in the party despite congressional investigations into her use of a private email server as secretary of state and the fatal attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on her watch. She’s also faced questions about big donations from foreigners accepted by the Clinton family’s charitable foundation.

Might Clinton be for you?

Perhaps yes, if you prefer a Democrat who has a more aggressive foreign policy than Obama.

Perhaps no, if you want a president who comes into office untarnished by congressional probes. 

Some other distinguishing issues:

_ Make public universities affordable and community colleges tuition-free.

_ Tighten gun laws by expanding background checks and allowing lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

_ Opposes an Obama initiative that she once supported: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

In a nutshell:

Early favorite. Second-timer. Establishment.

BERNIE SANDERS

Key features: He’s an independent senator from Vermont who calls himself a Scandinavian-style democratic socialist.

A quick sketch:

_ Son of a Polish immigrant father; raised in Brooklyn with the accent to prove it.

_ A student civil rights activist at the University of Chicago in the `60s.

_ Unseated the Democratic mayor of Burlington, Vermont, by 10 votes in 1981.

_ Elected to U.S. House in 1990; Congress’ longest-serving independent.

_ Early and vocal opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Also of note:

Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, but he’s never been a Democrat. He represented an anti-war third party in four unsuccessful races for office in Vermont in the 1970s. He was elected Burlington mayor as an independent. He caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, but he’s called both the Democratic and Republican parties tools of the wealthy.

Might Sanders be for you?

Perhaps yes, if you want a president to tackle income inequality as “the great moral issue of our time.”

Perhaps no, if you want government to get smaller, not bigger.

Some other distinguishing issues:

_ Create a “Medicare for all” single-payer universal health care program.

_ Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

_ Make tuition free at public colleges and universities.

In a nutshell:

Socialist. Populist. Politically independent.

MARTIN O’MALLEY

Key features: He’s a former Maryland governor who champions data-driven leadership — and sings, too.

A quick sketch:

_ Father was a suburban D.C. lawyer; mother’s been a congressional staffer for nearly three decades.

_ Met his wife while they were University of Maryland law students.

_ Elected Baltimore mayor at age 36, he took a statistics-heavy approach to reducing crime.

_ During two terms as governor, ending in January, he signed laws legalizing gay marriage, repealing the death penalty.

_ The longtime frontman of a Celtic rock band, he sometimes sings and plays guitar at campaign events.

Also of note:

One of the achievements O’Malley boasts about — dramatically reducing Baltimore’s high crime rate as mayor — is getting new scrutiny in a time of national Black Lives Matter protests. Critics contend that O’Malley’s zero-tolerance anti-crime policies fostered a culture of harassment and abuse of black citizens that they blame for the death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody in April.

Might O’Malley be for you?

Perhaps yes, if you want to shield people in the country without legal documents from deportation until immigration law is overhauled.

Perhaps no, if you dislike his history of raising taxes.

Some other distinguishing issues:

_ Increase Social Security benefits for seniors by raising payroll taxes on high earners.

_ Toughen gun laws, including requiring a background check with fingerprints for every gun sale.

_ Tighten banking rules and break up big banks to end potential for bailouts.

In a nutshell:

Policy wonk. Liberal. Young voter strategy.

On the Web…

For details on how to watch the debate, go to CBS News. 

In early delegate count, Clinton has commanding edge

Hillary Rodham Clinton has locked up public support from half of the Democratic insiders who cast ballots at the party’s national convention, giving her a commanding advantage over her rivals for the party’s presidential nomination.

Clinton’s margin over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is striking. Not only is it big, but it comes more than two months before primary voters head to the polls – an early time in the race for so many of the people known as superdelegates to publicly back a candidate.

“She has the experience necessary not only to lead this country, she has experience politically that I think will help her through a tough campaign,” said Unzell Kelley, a county commissioner from Alabama.

“I think she’s learned from her previous campaign,” he said. “She’s learned what to do, what to say, what not to say – which just adds to her electability.”

The Associated Press contacted all 712 superdelegates in the past two weeks, and heard back from more than 80 percent. They were asked which candidate they plan to support at the convention next summer.

The results:

Clinton: 359.

Sanders: 8.

O’Malley: 2.

Uncommitted: 210.

The 712 superdelegates make up about 30 percent of the 2,382 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. That means that more than two months before voting starts, Clinton already has 15 percent of the delegates she needs.

That sizable lead reflects Clinton’s advantage among the Democratic Party establishment, an edge that has helped the 2016 front-runner build a massive campaign organization, hire top staff and win coveted local endorsements.

Superdelegates are convention delegates who can support the candidate of their choice, regardless of who voters choose in the primaries and caucuses. They are members of Congress and other elected officials, party leaders and members of the Democratic National Committee.

2016 hopefuls struggle to stay fit on the campaign trail

Scott Walker is counting steps on his FitBit. Jeb Bush swears by the Paleo diet. Bobby Jindal is a “gym rat.”

With long travel days and a fresh slab of cherry pie never far away, the campaign trail is notoriously unhealthy. But many 2016 presidential candidates are striving to make smart lifestyle choices as they tour the small town diners and pizza places of the early voting states.

“I try to do at least 10,000 steps a day,” said Walker, the Wisconsin governor.

He said he got the step-counting wristband for Christmas and competes with his family and staff to see who moves the most in a day. He added, “The FitBit’s got me obsessed.”

Walker isn’t the only candidate trying to get exercise on the road. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio does an early morning workout in hotel gyms. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also wears a FitBit and likes to take phone calls while walking. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum does at least 50 pushups a day and former executive Carly Fiorina works out on the elliptical most mornings, aides said.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had back surgery in 2011, said late last year that he has a workout routine that focuses on core strength. Asked about his back, he said: “It’s good. I quit running and I quit wearing cowboy boots … I do a lot of pull-ups, pushups, planks, crunches, and I ride a stationary bike.”

Diet is important to many 2016 hopefuls, too. Bush has slimmed down using the Paleo diet, heavy on lean meats and vegetables and low on carbohydrates and dairy.

The former Florida governor has been known to toss the roll off his plate to stick to the rules. He cheats from time to time, though. In the spring he was caught on camera digging into blueberry pie in New Hampshire.

These efforts help with health and stamina. But the candidates also want to look good on camera and along the rope line in a selfie-ready world. President Barack Obama showed a disciplined approach to health and fitness during his campaigns, rising for pre-dawn workouts. First lady Michelle Obama is also a fitness devotee whose “Let’s Move” campaign strives to reduce childhood obesity.

Hillary Rodham Clinton tries to avoid pizza, work out regularly and do yoga from time to time, said spokesman Nick Merrill. And former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said working out regularly and opting for vegetables over fast food helps with the stresses of the trail.

“You can’t get sick when you’re in this sort of job,” said O’Malley, a fitness devotee. At 52, the former Maryland governor is in enviable shape for men half his age.

“So like an athlete, your body becomes your tool,” he added.

Politicians who struggle with weight must do so in public. Two years ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had surgery on his stomach to make it smaller. He hasn’t revealed how much weight he’s shed, but he has slimmed down considerably and gets complimented frequently by potential voters.

While the surgery means Christie’s diet is selective, he has taken time to indulge on the trail. At an Italian-American Heritage Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, Christie partook in a bacon-wrapped date, but passed other food he was offered to an aide.

“Oh no, no,” he reportedly said before indulging, according to The New York Times. “Iowa wraps everything in bacon!”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has been more vocal about his health. Huckabee dropped 100 pounds through diet and exercise about 12 years ago and documented his success in his book “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork.” In the past few years, however, his weight has crept back up noticeably — especially for a man who made a public issue of his weight loss.

“I’ve eliminated sugar, fried foods, junk foods,” Huckabee said. Still, he said there are always temptations when campaigning and it is tough to eat a salad on the run: “The other day we were at Pizza Ranch, so I had a couple slices of pepperoni. We looked at each other and said, ‘We can’t do this but once in a while.'”

Voters can see for themselves how often “once in a while” really means.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of two doctors in the race, offers this campaign grub philosophy: “If you have to eat fast food on the trail, skip the fries. If you have time for a sit-down dinner, eat only half the meal.”

Still, some have a slightly less puritanical approach to eating on the road. The long and lean Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he loves the gym, which he proved during a lengthy workout, surrounded by security guards, at Milwaukee Gold’s Gym during a governors conference in the city several years ago. But Jindal said he also loves nachos.

“I’ve got an approach that is good enough that it will offend everybody because, a lot of people exercise a lot and say their bodies are temples and they eat really healthy,” Jindal said. “I’ve got the opposite mentality.”

He says he gets to work out almost every day and after he does that, “I should be able to eat what I want.”

GOP hopefuls have had that chance at the Iowa State Fair, where pork chops on a stick, deep fried butter and corn dogs are favorite treats. Also available this year: deep-fried nacho balls, apple pie on a stick and the “ultimate bacon brisket bomb.”

Ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley enters race for Democratic presidential nomination

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley entered the Democratic presidential race on Saturday in a longshot challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2016 nomination, casting himself as a new generation leader who would rebuild the economy and reform Wall Street.

“I’m running for you,” he told a crowd of about 1,000 people in a populist message at Federal Hill Park in Baltimore, where he served as mayor before two terms as governor. O’Malley said was drawn into the campaign “to rebuild the truth of the American dream for all Americans.”

O’Malley has made frequent visits in recent months to early-voting Iowa, where he was headed later Saturday, and New Hampshire, his destination Sunday. Still, he remains largely unknown in a field dominated by Clinton.

Already in the race is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who could be O’Malley’s main rival for the support of the Democratic left.

An ally of former President Bill Clinton, O’Malley was the second governor to endorse Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007. But he made clear that he thinks Democrats deserve a choice in the 2016 primary.

“The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth … between two royal families,” O’Malley said. “It is a sacred trust to be earned from the people of the United States, and exercised on behalf of the people of the United States.”

He pointed to recent news reports that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein would be “fine” with either Clinton or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a leading Republican contender and the son and brother of presidents, in the White House.

It was a forceful message that O’Malley will focus on overhauling the financial system, a priority for liberals opposed to the bailouts of Wall Street banks.

“Tell me how it is, that not a single Wall Street CEO was convicted of a crime related to the 2008 economic meltdown? Not a single one,” O’Malley said. “Tell me how it is, that you can get pulled over for a broken tail light, but if you wreck the nation’s economy you are untouchable?”

Aides said O’Malley called Hillary Clinton on Friday to tell her he was running.

The 52-year-old O’Malley has spoken often about the economic challenges facing the nation and said he would bring new leadership, progressive values and the ability to accomplish things.

“We are allowing our land of opportunity to be turned into a land of inequality,” he told the crowd.

O’Malley has presented himself to voters as a next-generation figure in the party, pointing to his record as governor on issues such as gay marriage, immigration, economic issues and the death penalty.

His tenure was marked by financial challenges posed by the recession, but O’Malley pushed through an increase in the state’s minimum wage while keeping record amounts of money flowing into the state’s education system. He backed a bill to allow same-sex marriage, which lawmakers passed and voters approved in 2012. He oversaw a sweeping gun-control measure and a repeal of the death penalty.

He also raised taxes on multiple occasions — on higher earners, sales of goods, vehicle titles, gasoline, cigarettes, sewer services and more. Republican critics branded him as a tax-and-spend liberal and the GOP defeated O’Malley’s hand-picked successor in 2014.

But his record on criminal justice has been scrutinized in recent weeks after riots in Baltimore broke out following the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in police custody following his arrest last month.

O’Malley was known for his tough-on-crime, “zero tolerance” policies that led to large numbers of arrests for minor offenses. Critics say it sowed distrust between police and the black community.

Supporters note the overall decrease in violent crime during his tenure. O’Malley has defended his work to curb crime, saying he helped address rampant violence and drug abuse.

A few demonstrators gathered near the park to protest O’Malley’s criminal justice policies as mayor, an office he held from 1999 until his election as governor in 2006. During O’Malley’s speech, there was sporadic shouting from protesters, including one who blew a whistle.

O’Malley called the unrest “heartbreaking” but said “there is something to be learned from that night, and there is something to be offered to our country from those flames. For what took place here was not only about race, not only about policing in America. It’s about everything it is supposed to mean to be an American.”

Megan Kenny, 38, of Baltimore, who held a sign that said “stop killer cops” and yelled “black lives matter,” said she thought O’Malley’s decision to run was “a strange choice,” especially because of the recent rioting. She attributed the unrest to his “ineffective zero-tolerance policy.”

O’Malley could soon be joined in the Democratic field by former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who plans to make an announcement next week, and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who is exploring a potential campaign.

Sanders has raised more than $4 million since opening his campaign in late April and sought to build support among liberals in the party who are disillusioned with Clinton.

In a sign of his daunting task, Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, his former boss and mentor, is supporting Clinton. She said in a statement that O’Malley “should follow his dreams. And while I’ve already announced my support for Hillary Clinton, I know that competition is good for democracy.”

One of O’Malley’s first tasks as a candidate would be to consolidate support among Democrats who are reluctant to back Clinton and eyeing Sanders.

“It’s not going to be a free pass for anybody running for president,” said Jereme Leazier, an O’Malley supporter who traveled to the rally from Hagerstown, Maryland. “He’s going to ask the hard questions.”

Associated Press writer Brian Witte contributed to this report.


O’Malley works to position himself as Clinton alternative

There are some Democrats in Iowa who aren’t all that “Ready for Hillary.” So far, there’s little evidence they’re ready for Martin O’Malley, either.

“I think it’s because they haven’t met me yet,” O’Malley said.

The former Maryland governor spent part of the weekend campaigning in Iowa, where certain Democrats have a strong desire for an alternative to likely candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who would enter the race for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination as the dominant front-runner. Some don’t find Clinton liberal enough, others enjoy their role vetting candidates and still others value a competitive caucus season for party fundraising and organizing.

“I think probably Clinton is a shoe-in, but I want someone in the race who will push a little bit to the left,” said Monica Kurth, of Davenport, who attended the Scott County Democratic dinner where O’Malley spoke on Friday evening.

No matter the reason, those seeking competition for Clinton acknowledge besting the former secretary of state will require an act of herculean political strength. O’Malley, in a way, does, too. At a certain point, he said, “the race quickly narrows between the once inevitable front-runner and the new and unknown candidate who emerges to offer a more compelling alternative.”

O’Malley, who first came to Iowa in 1983 as a volunteer for Gary Hart’s presidential campaign, has invested heavily in the state. He made four trips to Iowa last year, put 14 staffers to work on state campaigns and contributed nearly $50,000 to local candidates. He now has one Iowa staffer on the ground exploring his chances for support in the caucuses.

Many of the more than 200 people who turned out to see O’Malley in the Mississippi River city of Davenport on Friday said they were meeting him for the first time. He touted his time in office during his speech, including his work to raise Maryland’s minimum wage and increase state spending on education. The crowd enthusiastically applauded and rose to their feet several times when O’Malley bemoaned income inequality and called for more oversight of Wall Street and the financial industry.

“Over the last 12 years, wages have been going down, not up,” said O’Malley, who concluded eight years as governor of Maryland in January. “In fact, last year, Wall Street bonuses alone were double the combined earnings of every single American working for minimum wage to take care of their family. Until we solve this problem, we cannot rest _ as a party or as a people.”

They were comments aimed squarely at those still pining for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to get into the race, something she has said repeatedly she will not. An effort to draft Warren into the race has been underway for months, organized by the liberal groups MoveOn.org and Democracy for America.

Among that crowd, O’Malley isn’t yet the first alternate to the preferred alternate — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“His name has not come up in visits I’ve had with my progressive people at all,” said Brenda Brink, a liberal activist from Huxley, Iowa, of O’Malley. “I think people are just so interested in Bernie or Elizabeth.”

Or, perhaps, Joe Biden. Former Obama campaign volunteer William Pierce organized and launched a super PAC called Draft Joe Biden this past week, with plans to hire state coordinators in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and the singular goal of persuading the vice president to get in the race.

“I’m a lifelong Clinton fan. But the thing is, this isn’t a dynasty — it isn’t a monarchy,” Pierce said. “We need people outside of the great Clinton family to represent us.”

Officially, O’Malley has not launched a campaign, but his decision to pass up the chance to run for the seat of retiring Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski was viewed by most as confirmation of his intentions to compete for the Democratic nomination.

“He was fantastic. He touched on every issue that is near and dear to my heart,” said Maria Bribriesco of Bettendorf after his Friday speech. “I think he will give (Hillary) a run for her money.”

How they run: The 2016 presidential checklist

Here’s a look at the who, what, when and where of the 2016 presidential contest at the cusp of summer. Why? Because more is going on than you might think two years from the event.

To those who might run, 2016 is the day after tomorrow and there’s no time to waste.

For almost a year, The Associated Press has been tracking movements and machinations of more than a dozen prospective presidential candidates.

They are, for the Democrats, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; 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.

Latest twists and turns:

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

Democrats

Biden: “If I decide to run, believe me, this would be the first guy I talk to. But that decision hasn’t been made, for real. And there’s plenty of time to make that.”- April, CBS, in joint interview with President Barack Obama.

Clinton: “I just want to get through this year, travel around the country, sign books, help in the midterm elections in the fall and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses.” – June, ABC. Said Republican criticism of her handling of the Benghazi episode gives her “more of a reason to run.”

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, speaking to reporters in Baltimore.

Republicans

Bush: “I can honestly tell you that I don’t know what I’m going to do.” – His standard disclaimer. Says he’ll decide by year’s end whether to run. One factor in his decision: Whether he can run an optimistic campaign and avoid the “mud fight” of politics.

Christie: “I’m certainly thinking about it, but I won’t make any decision until 2015, and I’ve got a job to do.” – End of May, to reporters in Tennessee. Also: “It’s a lifetime away until 2016.”

Cruz: “My focus is entirely on working for Texans in the U.S. Senate.” – February. He said that not in Texas or in the Senate but in the important presidential primary state of South Carolina.

Jindal: “It’s something that we’re certainly thinking about and we’re praying about. My wife and I, we won’t make any decisions until after the November elections.” – May, after addressing Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.

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: “I’d be fibbing to you if I told you I knew what I’m going to be doing.”- May, in Iowa. Says he’ll decide in January.

Rubio: “It’s something I’ll consider at the end of this year.” – May, on ABC. Does he feel ready to be president? “I do, but I think we have other people as well.”

Ryan: “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.

Santorum: “I don’t know if I can do this. It’s just tough.” – April, AP interview. Timing of decision? “A year at least, probably.”

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)

Democrats

Biden: No, not since before 2008 election.

Clinton: Yes. Splashy tour for “Hard Choices,” released in June, puts her front and center.

Cuomo: 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.

Republicans

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.

Ryan: Yes, coming in 2014.

Santorum: Yes, “Blue Collar Conservatives” released in late April, says: “Do Republicans really care less about the person at the bottom of the ladder than Democrats do? To be painfully honest, I would have to say in some ways `yes.'”

Walker: Yes, out in fall 2013.

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. Then in May, attended party for Iowans who came to Washington for annual lobbying trip. Raised money for Iowa congressional candidate Jim Mowrer. Schmoozed with Iowa power brokers during 2013 inauguration week in Washington.

Clinton: No, avoiding big primary/caucus states. But Ready for Hillary is mobilizing for her in the state.

Cuomo: No.

O’Malley: Yes, mid-June events. Headlined Harkin’s 2012 fundraiser.

Republicans

Bush: Has been holding off on splashy visits to early voting states but hosted spring fundraiser May 22 in Florida for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Attended 2012 economic development meeting in Iowa.

Christie: Summer visit expected. Can test his theory that “they love me in Iowa, too.” Hosted New Jersey fundraiser for Branstad in May. More travel driven by politics in the cards now that he’s chairman of Republican Governors Association for 2014 election year. Campaigned in Iowa in 2012.

Cruz: Oh yes, four visits in eight months, and on tap to join several other prospects at August Christian conservative event.

Jindal: Yes, state GOP conference in June. Also, summer 2013 visit, then flew with Iowa governor to governors association meeting in Milwaukee. In Iowa seven times in 2012.

Paul: Yes, state GOP conference in June, after three visits in 2013. In March, snagged the state GOP chairman, who announced he was quitting to join Paul as an adviser.

Perry: Yes, three times in six months, more ahead in July and August. Campaigned for Senate hopeful Matt Whitaker in late May and promised to return often for Branstad’s campaign. Visited Des Moines suburbs and Davenport in February, meeting GOP activists and attending an event sponsored by Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. Met Branstad and addressed Des Moines crowd of 400 in November.

Rubio: Yes, just days after 2012 election, but has been largely holding off on a new wave of trips to early voting states. That’s changing.

Ryan: Yes, was keynote speaker for Iowa GOP’s big fundraising dinner in Cedar Rapids in April. Main speaker at governor’s annual birthday fundraiser in November 2013, in first visit since 2012 campaign.

Santorum: Yes, state GOP conference in June, earlier visit with strategists and media. Also 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.

Democrats

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, returned in June. Also spoke at 2012 convention of New Hampshire Democrats.

Republicans

Bush: No.

Christie: It’s been awhile. June visit scheduled. Visited three times in 2012.

Cruz: Yes, three times since August.

Jindal: Yes, keynote speech to local Republican organization in March, headlined state GOP fundraiser in 2013, visited twice in 2012.

Paul: Yes, addressed Freedom Summit in April. Won straw poll at March meeting of Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua. Several visits last year.

Perry: No, but had group of 13 conservative leaders from the state to Texas for private meeting in May.

Rubio: Yes, splashy debut in May, first visit of the 2016 season, headlining fundraisers, meeting local officials, giving interviews. 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.

Democrats

Biden: Yes. In May, gave commencement speech at University of South Carolina and headlined Democratic fundraiser, first visit since he spoke at state party’s annual fundraiser a year earlier. Several earlier visits since 2009.

Clinton: No, but things are stirring. At a May meeting in Columbia partly sponsored by Ready for Hillary, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine urged Democratic women to “think about pledging your support right now” to ensure she has “millions of us ready to take the field with her” if she runs.

Cuomo: No.

O’Malley: Yes, in May to campaign for state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Democratic candidate for governor. Also made a 2013 speech to Democratic activists.

Republicans

Bush: Yes, 2012 speech.

Christie: Summer visit expected, to raise money for Gov. Nikki Haley. Came in 2012 on behalf of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Cruz: Yes, speech at The Citadel military college in April was third visit in a year, following event with religious conservatives in November and speech to annual state GOP dinner last May.

Jindal: Yes, made third visit in a year in June, as keynote speaker at state GOP’s biggest gathering, the Silver Elephant dinner.

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 Gov. Nikki Haley’s re-election campaign.

Rubio: Yes, headlined 2012 Silver Elephant dinner.

Ryan: Yes, in 2012 campaign.

Santorum: Yes, April GOP event at The Citadel military college, where two sons are cadets. Campaigned in April 2013 for Curtis Bostic in GOP House runoff race; Bostic lost.

Walker: Yes, attended August 2013 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.

Democrats

Biden: You bet. Took in World Cup soccer in Brazil in June as part of his ninth trip to South or Central America since 2009. Attended June inauguration of Ukraine’s new president. Eastern Europe in May. Ukrainian capital in April to symbolize U.S. commitment to new government in its struggle against pro-Russian insurgents and threatening signals from Moscow. Long at forefront of Obama administration’s diplomatic maneuvers with Kiev. Sent to Poland and Lithuania in March to reassure NATO allies anxious about Russia’s annexation of Crimea. December 2013 visits to China, Japan and South Korea. Countless trips to Iraq and Afghanistan during first term.

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. Several engagements in Canada. Trip to Oxford, England, for daughter’s graduation in May.

Cuomo: Doesn’t get around much. Israel twice in 2002.

O’Malley: Yes, considerable. Israel last year for a second time as governor; also visited there as Baltimore mayor. Also Denmark, Ireland, France, Brazil and El Salvador in 2013. Asia in 2011, Iraq in 2010.

Republicans

Bush: Yes, usually several overseas trips a year. Three times to Israel since 1980s.

Christie: Yes, Israel and Jordan in 2012.

Cruz: Yes, Ukraine in May, meeting leaders of the protest movement that ousted pro-Russian president. Visited Israel, Ukraine, Poland and Estonia to meet various leaders on the same trip. Has been to Israel two other times since 2012, including as part of Senate Republican delegation that went 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 2013.

Perry: Yes, has visited Israel numerous times including an October trip that included a photo op with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meeting Cabinet members and a separate stop 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.

Democrats

Biden: Yes, headlined fundraiser for Democrats in late May at San Francisco home of billionaire Tom Steyer, a leading Democratic donor. Is actively fundraising for Democratic committees and candidates in 2014 midterms. Regularly schmoozes contributors at private receptions.

Clinton: Can tap deep well of Democratic and activist money. Former President Bill Clinton’s vigorous fundraising for Democratic candidates further expands that potential source of donors for her. She’s been raising money for Clinton foundation. The super PAC Ready for Hillary has raised nearly $6 million since its founding last year to support a candidacy. Priorities USA said in January it will back Clinton if she runs, signaling support from senior members of President Barack Obama’s campaign team. Prominent bundlers such as Hollywood moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban have indicated their support.

Cuomo: Flush coffers for 2014 governor’s race.

O’Malley: Yes, has many bases covered as one of the party’s top fundraisers. Raised more than $1 million for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and in December ended his year as finance chairman for the Democratic Governors Association.

Republicans

Bush: Yes, addressed well-heeled crowd at Manhattan Institute, led by GOP benefactor Paul Singer, in May. Flew to Las Vegas in March to meet GOP super-donor Sheldon Adelson and address Republican Jewish Coalition at Adelson’s company airport hangar. In February, his short video for a GOP fundraiser at Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, 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. Has longtime Wall Street connections.

Christie: Yes, his year as GOP governors chairman gives him regular access to GOP’s top national donors as he raises record sums to help candidates. Some big donors, though, question whether he’s still a viable prospect after scandal surfaced over politically motivated traffic tie-ups in New Jersey. Addressed Romney’s Utah retreat drawing together donors and establishment-focused policy people. Was among a handful of high-profile Republicans to meet with super-donor Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas at his resort casino in late March. Followed up with more Jewish donors at New York event attended by Adelson in May. Courted donors for his re-election campaign in 2013 national tour, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted an event at his Palo Alto home.

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, headlined luncheon in April at Boston-area equity firm led by Romney’s former national finance chairman and Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, an event that drew together the 2012 presidential candidate’s inner circle. Also attended Romney’s 2014 and 2013 Utah retreats. Has met GOP donors in New York City.

Perry: Yes, friendly with big donors nationwide as former head of Republican Governors Association and has strong contacts both with grass-roots activists and mainstream GOP donors after so many years in office in Texas. In May, attended Manhattan Champions of Jewish Values event with mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and Christie. Has led many job-poaching missions in big states with Democratic governors and met donors privately during those trips, especially in New York and California.

Rubio: Yes, aggressive national fundraising outreach, including trips to New York and California to meet potential donors. Raised more money last year than potential rivals Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Among a handful of possible candidates to attend September 2013 event at home of Woody Johnson, New York Jets’ owner and Romney’s 2012 national finance chairman.

Ryan: Yes, attracts Wall Street interest. Addressed GOP donor Paul Singer’s Manhattan Institute at same May event that heard from Bush. Had a follow-up reception with Singer and Woody Johnson. Attended Romney’s 2014 and 2013 Utah retreats, 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.

Democrats

Biden: And how. Says he 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: Frenetic pace of book tour has a distinct campaign feel. In May, attended her first political event of the year, a fundraiser for Pennsylvania congressional primary candidate Marjorie Margolies, mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton (Margolies lost). A steady presence now on the speaking circuit, delivering paid speeches to industry groups and conferences and appearing before college crowds and groups with ties to the Democratic coalition.

Cuomo: Sparingly. Rarely leaves New York.

O’Malley: Yes. Busy season, with speeches to Democrats in California in March, Wisconsin in April, Massachusetts in May, Iowa in June, Nebraska in July, more. “I’m going to do quite a bit more traveling this summer … supporting like-minded Democrats in states with important races,” he wrote in a May fundraising letter from his political action committee. Was Democratic governors’ chairman for two years until December 2012.

Republicans

Bush: Doing more this year politically after a long period of “a little self-restraint.” Already a GOP establishment favorite; House Speaker John Boehner has been nudging him to run. Recent travels to Tennessee, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. Endorsed GOP establishment favorites in North Carolina Senate and California governor primaries. Skipped Conservative Political Action Conference in March, after giving keynote speech to the influential group a year earlier.

Christie: Yes, more than 20 out-of-state appearances in at least states as chairman of GOP governors group. Bolstering his political network in important primary states. Spring speech pleased activists at Conservative Political Action Conference, which snubbed him last year because he’d been too chummy with President Barack Obama in Superstorm Sandy’s aftermath. Addressed Republican Jewish Coalition spring meeting in Las Vegas, spending a full day with top donors and GOP operatives.

Cruz: Yes, vigorously. Gave well-received speech and won presidential straw poll at Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans in late May. Was among headliners of Western Republican Leadership Conference in Utah in April, the same month he addressed the NRA’s April leadership forum by video. Addressed Conservative Political Action Conference in March, after landing group’s coveted keynote role in 2013. Addressed 2012 Republican National Convention before he was even elected to the Senate.

Jindal: Big time and small time, far and wide. Addressed South Carolina GOP dinner as well as Iowa convention in June, May commencement address at Liberty University in Virginia, a familiar stop for prospective candidates. Addressed NRA annual leadership forum in April, 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, supporting Republican candidates and promoting achievements. Has close ties with social conservatives. Created political action committee to help conservative candidates running for Congress, giving him continued opportunities to network nationally.

Paul: Yes, and now roaming freely beyond tea party tent. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell used Paul’s testimonials in primary campaign that beat back a tea party challenger. Paul had private audience in April with Romney advisers from 2012 campaign, is helping Republicans across political spectrum, including moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and has pitched in with party leaders to heal divisions from last campaign. Had spring speeches at Harvard and University of California. Generated buzz and won symbolic straw poll at Conservative Political Action Conference in March.

Perry: Yes, interrupted by cries of “Run, Rick, run!” while addressing Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans in May, following recent appearances in Florida and Pennsylvania. That speech went better than last summer, when he mistakenly referred to being in Florida during a RedState Gathering event in New Orleans. Also spoke at past two Conservative Political Action Conferences.

Rubio: Yes, stepping it up. Private audience with Republican National Committee in Memphis in May, right after his New Hampshire trip. Earlier outreach to conservative and party activists focused 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. Speech to National Rifle Association in April; also foreign policy speech at University of Texas, more.

Ryan: Yes, prime networker as 2012 vice presidential candidate; now helping fellow House members raise money. One of several prospective candidates at Romney’s June retreat.

Santorum: Addressed NRA convention in April; speeches to groups around the country, including Conservative Political Action Conference. 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.

Democrats

Biden: He’s back. After being largely absent from the airwaves for more than a year, Biden has resumed frequent interviews, including joint TV appearance with Obama in April. He did a TV blitz the morning after the State of the Union, a CNN interview aboard an Amtrak train and dished on his skin care routine and his wife’s oddball pranks during an interview with Rachael Ray. But not a Sunday news show fixture.

Clinton: She’s back. Doing high-wattage interviews to promote her book and herself, starting with prime-time ABC interview that was timed to book’s release. Was largely absent from airwaves before that. But showed up for Barbara Walters’ last taping of “The View” in May. Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed her at Arizona State University in March. Sat down with Walters, who named her the “Most Fascinating Person of 2013” in December. Appeared jointly with Obama on CBS’s “60 Minutes” early 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.

Republicans

Bush: Blanketed the five Sunday shows one day in March 2013 to plug his book on immigration, a few appearances other times.

Christie: He’s back, too. Shook a leg on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in June, marking his return to late-night TV, where he liked to cut up before the traffic scandal surfaced and made him keep his head low. Last year, tended to avoid the usual sober circuit – most conspicuously, the Sunday news shows – although he appeared on four of them the day after his 2013 re-election.

Cruz: Yes, now a mainstay on Sunday news shows. 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, including one in April from New Hampshire. Frequent guest on news networks, especially Fox.

Perry: Making many national TV appearances while starring in flood of media spots to persuade businesses in Democratic-led states to move to Texas. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” in May: “I’m going to be across the country talking about red-state versus blue-state policies. Hopefully engaged in a good, thoughtful, winsome conversation about how do we make America more competitive.”

Rubio: Staying on par with most rivals in Sunday news show appearances, did one from New Hampshire in May. Blanketed all five Sunday shows one day in April 2013 to talk about immigration, before he dropped the subject. Frequent guest on news networks.

Ryan: Many Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. Occasional guest on network news.

Santorum: Yes, promoting his new book. Plugged his 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.

Democrats

Biden: Leading Obama’s review of federal job-training programs, prime player in U.S. response to Ukrainian crisis. His office co-chaired a White House task force to address sexual assault on campuses. Point man on gun control, which failed. Negotiated fiscal cliff deal.

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, Connecticut, 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, won legislative approval in April of minimum wage increase, a 2014 priority.

Republicans

Bush: As Florida governor, revamped state educational system, cut taxes, managed state through hurricanes.

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. Facing massive state budget deficit, proposed slashing pension fund payments over the next year to balance budget.

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, eight of those while he was Texas’ longest-serving solicitor general, between 2003 and 2008.

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 saw state create a third of net new jobs nationwide for 10 years ending in 2013, 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 potential rivals who opposed it. Budget-hawk record to be judged on. Emerging as influential moderate on immigration.

Santorum: Making Christian-themed, family-friendly movies at the moment; record from Senate days.

Walker: Curbs on public service unions became national flashpoint, but he won the effort – and the recall election that followed.

TAKE A NATIONAL STAND: Effective state governance is nice but leaders must build national stature on issues of the day.

Democrats

Biden: Eclectic. Guns, violence against women, gay rights, veterans.

Clinton: Eclectic. 2013 speeches focused on the economy, housing, opportunities for women, voting rights. Avoided taking a position on Keystone XL pipeline when asked about it after Toronto speech in June.

Cuomo: Environmentalists nationally and the energy industry are closely watching his pending decision whether to allow fracking in upstate New York counties near the Pennsylvania line.

O’Malley: The liberal checklist: more spending on education, infrastructure, transportation; supports same-sex marriage, immigration reform, repealing death penalty, pushes environmental protections.

Republicans

Bush: Unapologetic proponent of Common Core education standards and immigration changes opposed by many in GOP.

Christie: Moderate on the reach and functions of government; bipartisanship.

Cruz: Anti-Obama’s health care law, pushes broader tea party agenda.

Jindal: A record of privatization to show he means government should be trimmed, happy to carry a social conservative banner.

Paul: Tea-party plus, with a libertarian streak that places him to the left of rivals on some issues, to the right on others. Fiscal conservative, criticizes surveillance state. Says GOP should back off on pushing state voter ID laws offensive to blacks. Health law scold. Joining in 2014 with liberal lawmakers and others in effort to roll back some mandatory minimum sentences and give judges more flexibility in fitting punishment to crime.

Perry: In June, likened homosexuality to alcoholism as a condition that can be controlled, bringing a sharp rebuke from Christie. Perry said that, for example, “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.” Prominent voice on conservative issues since before the birth of the tea party. Wants to ban all abortion in Texas, relax environmental regulations, boost states’ rights.

Rubio: Proposes higher retirement age for Social Security benefits for younger workers and restraints on benefit increases to the wealthy. 2014 initiative on poverty calls for federal wage supplements for some low-wage workers instead of earned income tax credit. Economy, abortion, tea party fiscal conservatism; immigration liberalization if he decides to get back to it. Another voice against health care law. Has become a leading GOP voice in foreign policy, pressing for stronger U.S. action in geopolitical hot spots. On climate change: “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

Ryan: Cutting spending, taking on entitlements, rolling back Obama’s health law. Anti-poverty initiative this year.

Santorum: Social conservative activism goes way back. Focus on blue-collar economic opportunity. Speaking against libertarian streak in GOP, a “strain of conservatism that has no basis in conservatism.” Book calls climate change “hyped-up crisis.”

Walker: Fiscal stewardship, from a GOP point of view. Tough guy against the unions and liberal defenders of the status quo. Says GOP in Congress is the party of no.

BAGGAGE TO CHECK: It’s never too early to deal with skeletons in the closet; rivals will be rattling them soon enough.

Democrats

Biden: Flubs, fibs, age. Deflection: “I am who I am.” Saddled by Obama’s low approval ratings.

Clinton: Age, Benghazi and the politics of being a Clinton. Republicans are already raising questions – if not innuendo – about her health. GOP strategist Karl Rove suggested she may have suffered health problems more serious than acknowledged in her concussion and hospitalization in 2012, bringing rebukes from her husband and advisers. Deflection: She laughed off Rove’s comments and said she has no lingering effects from her “serious concussion.” GOP wants to pin blame on her for vulnerability of U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that came under deadly attack in 2012. In long-confidential documents from Bill Clinton’s administration, advisers urged her to “be real” and “humanize” herself, revealing concerns about her authenticity as a public figure.

Cuomo: New York economy is dragging, his poll numbers have sunk, went through public and bitter divorce with Kerry Kennedy, daughter of late Sen. Robert Kennedy, in 2005.

O’Malley: State-run health insurance exchange website was an expensive bust, prompting officials to make an embarrassing switch in April to one based on Connecticut’s. Contraband- and drug-smuggling scheme at state-run Baltimore City Detention Center that resulted in 44 people being indicted has state lawmakers looking to make reforms. Has record of raising taxes that could be challenged by less liberal Democrats, never mind Republicans.

Republicans

Bush: The Bush factor. Does the country want a Bush dynasty after presidents George H. W. and George W.? Courting trouble with the right with positions on education and remarks in April that people who cross into the U.S. illegally are doing so as an “act of love” for their families.

Christie: If you have to declare “I am not a bully,” you’ve got a problem. Apologized in January 2014 for highway lane closures apparently ordered by his aides as retribution against a mayor who did not endorse him for re-election. Also fired his deputy chief of staff and denied knowledge of the machinations. Episode deepened questions about what Christie, or those around him, will do to win and contributed to a significant drop in his poll standings. Investigations continue. Blamed state’s budget mess on Democrats, creating some wear and tear on his reputation as a bipartisan figure.

Cruz: Reputation as a hotheaded upstart, also part of his appeal. Polarizing within his party. Also comes with birther baggage: Questions have been raised in some quarters about his constitutional standing to become president because of his birth in Canada, to a Cuban father and American mother. Deflection: Renounced Canadian citizenship.

Jindal: Ambitious plan to replace state’s personal and corporate taxes with higher sales taxes flopped, delivered dud of a speech when given juicy platform of responding to Obama’s first presidential address to Congress in 2009. Deflection: Poking fun at himself. Jindal administration’s award of a $200 million Medicaid contract is under investigation by state and federal grand juries.

Paul: Dear old dad: Must move beyond Ron Paul’s fringe reputation. Bridge-burning in Congress endears him to tea party, could bite him otherwise. Deflection: GOP outreach to minorities. The Washington Times canceled his column after he was found to have used passages from other people in his speeches and writings as if they were his own. Deflection: Promising proper citations and footnotes for his pronouncements “if it will make people leave me the hell alone.”

Perry: “Oops!” Memories of his stumbling 2012 campaign, a quick progression from a front-runner to flameout. Deflection: Owns up to his “botched efforts” in last campaign. Also a potential drag: a grand jury investigation in Austin into whether he abused power by cutting off state financing for an office of public corruption prosecutors led by a Democrat who refused to resign after being convicted of drunken driving.

Rubio: Rift with tea party constituency on immigration, “a real trial for me.” Deflection: Go aggressive on a matter of common ground, which he did in pledging to take apart the health law. And stop talking about immigration. Response to Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech was remembered only for his clumsy reach for water. Deflection: Made fun of himself.

Ryan: Budget axe cuts both ways – catnip to conservatives but people want their Medicare. Carries stigma of 2012 election loss as running mate. Tea party not happy with his late 2013 budget deal. Comments in March about cultural “tailspin” in inner cities struck some as veiled racism. Deflection: Called his remark “inarticulate.”

Santorum: Overshadowed by newer conservative figures. Deflection: Being overshadowed means being an underdog, and he can thrive at that. Feisty 2012 campaign became the biggest threat to Romney’s march to the nomination. New book contains provocative passages for future rivals to dredge up.

Walker: Some things that give him huge appeal with GOP conservatives – taking on unions, most notably – would whip up Democratic critics in general election. Wisconsin has lagged in job creation. Release of emails in February shed light on criminal investigation into whether Walker’s aides were illegally doing campaign work for the 2010 governor’s election while being paid as county employees. Walker, then a county executive, wasn’t charged but the episode has proved a distraction.

RUN SHADOW CAMPAIGN: One way to run without running is to have a political action committee to promote ideas or other candidates for office, or to hire advisers who can switch to a campaign when the time comes.

Democrats

Biden: Constrained by his current job but tapped longtime adviser and former lobbyist Steve Ricchetti to be his new chief of staff; maintains close contact with political advisers past and present.

Clinton: Ready for Hillary super PAC set up by supporters is laying groundwork, so are others. Several old Clinton hands are advising the group, including Craig T. Smith and Harold Ickes.

Cuomo: Overshadowed by Clinton’s shadow campaign. Considered a likely contender if Clinton ends up not running.

O’Malley: Set up a PAC called O’Say Can You See and hired two people for fundraising and communications.

Republicans

Bush: He’s a Bush, so he’s got connections. Sally Bradshaw, chief of staff when he was governor, is his go-to political person.

Christie: Republican Governors Association chairmanship allows him to grow his national profile with voters and party officials with regular travel and key appearances. Began building broad coalition of donors through his national fundraising tour in spring 2013. But the shadow of the traffic scandal still hangs over his shadow campaign.

Cruz: Has leadership PAC, Jobs Growth and Economic Freedom. Has been one of the largest beneficiaries of Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund and has gotten millions of dollars and grassroots logistical support from the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Ending Spending PAC. Heritage Action PAC helped sponsor Cruz’s summer anti-health-law trip around Texas and country.

Jindal: Created Washington-based nonprofit, America Next, in October 2013 to push policy ideas nationally. For executive director, tapped Jill Neunaber, who worked on Romney’s presidential campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire. In March created PAC to help conservative candidates.

Paul: Has formidable leadership PAC called Rand PAC, has maintained ties to father’s political network in early primary states and benefits from strong tea party support. Is starting to build teams on the ground in most states.

Perry: Created Americans for Economic Freedom PAC in fall 2013 to raise his profile again, help him test the waters and broadcast ads promoting Republican leadership around the country. Group used more than $200,000 left over from the PAC that raised millions for his 2012 campaign.

Rubio: Beginning more aggressive travel to early voting states, has lagged potential rivals on that front. Ramping up in other ways, too: Shuffled his staff and directed political resources of his Reclaim America PAC to three big Senate midterm races this year, one of them the GOP primary in Iowa.

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

Santorum: Keeps in touch with chief supporters of his winning 2012 Iowa caucus campaign, giving him a leg up on a campaign organization in that state.

Walker: Consults with top Republican governor strategists such as Phil Musser and Nick Ayers.

GET WITH IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: A must for spreading ideas, poking competitors, raising money, organizing events and showing a personal side, though often a very canned version.

Democrats

Biden: Launched Instagram account in April. Not active on Facebook, occasional contributor to his office’s vigorous Twitter account.

Clinton: About 1.4 million followers on Twitter, her preferred social media outlet. Tweets photos of her posing with Republican Sen. John McCain, members of the Russian feminist protest group Pussy Riot, more. Tweets that grandmother-to-be is “my most exciting title yet!”

Cuomo: Few if any personal tweets; Facebook also generated primarily by staff.

O’Malley: On Twitter, standard governor’s fare but promotes rare appearances by his Celtic rock band, O’Malley’s March, for which he sings and plays guitar, banjo and tin whistle. Posted photo of himself playing banjo in downtown Annapolis in May. On Facebook, his PAC-generated page is more active than official governor’s account.

Republicans

Bush: Tweets and posts many Wall Street Journal stories, education thoughts and some Bush family doings.

Christie: More engaged in Twitter (“It was great to be able to visit with the owners of Rossi’s Rent-A-Rama in Ortley today.”) than Facebook.

Cruz: Active on Facebook and Twitter, much content is pumped out by staff.

Jindal: Active on Twitter and on Facebook, where he lists among favorite books, “John Henry Newman: A Biography,” about recently canonized British cardinal and sage. Also favors James Bond movies.

Paul: Aggressive. Bragged on Twitter last year that he’d attracted more than 1 million likes for his Facebook page, where he listed his own books as his favorites.

Perry: Active. One popular tweet was accidental – from his pocket, he said – and consisted of “I.” Followers jumped in to complete his sentence. One offered: “I … really like Obamacare.” (He doesn’t.) Facebook appears staff-generated.

Rubio: Aggressive, with large followings, appears to make personal use of Twitter more than staff-generated Facebook. Takes lots of shots at the health law. On Facebook, lists “Pulp Fiction” movie and “The Tudors” historical fiction TV series among favorites.

Ryan: King of Facebook among potential rivals in both parties, with nearly 4.9 million likes. Seeks $10 donations for “Team Ryan” bumper stickers for his PAC and kisses a fish. Posts photo of Obama with his feet up on Oval Office desk. Commanding presence on Twitter, too, via an account associated with his PAC and another as congressman.

Santorum: Active on Twitter and Facebook.

Walker: Posts vigorously on Facebook and on his Twitter accounts. Many exclamation points. “Glad USDA is keeping cranberries on school menus. I drink several bottles of cranberry juice each day!” Promotes policy achievements and his TV appearances, reflects on sports, pokes Obama.

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Josh Lederman in Washington; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa; Steve Peoples in Boston; Michael Virtanen in Albany, New York; Will Weissert in Austin, Texas; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Erik Schelzig in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.


Maryland gov signs marriage equality bill

Maryland’s governor has signed a measure legalizing gay marriage. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

However, opponents are expected to petition the law to a referendum on the November ballot.

Referendum organizers need to collect almost 56,000 signatures to put the measure before voters and are expected to rely heavily on churchgoers who oppose same-sex marriage as a matter of faith, to reach that goal.

Over the weekend, some pastors were already using their sermons to shop the referendum effort to their congregations, asking members to sign up for email alerts, put their name on petitions and overturn the law come November. The Catholic Church, which has 1.2 million parishioners in Maryland, has also openly opposed the bill.

A Sunday service at the Hope Christian Church in Beltsville was filled with murmurs of agreement as a spokeswoman for the Maryland Marriage Alliance rallied the congregation against the law.

Some churchgoers said they are bound by their faith to vote against gay marriage.

“It’s a personal value and opinion. It has nothing to do with President  Barack Obama,” said 54-year-old DeBorah Martinez, who has attended Hope Christian for three years.

Six states and the District of Columbia currently recognize gay marriages. The state of Washington has also legalized gay marriage, and its law takes effect in June. Voters there are expected to petition the measure to referendum this fall.

Maine legalized the unions for same-sex couples in 2009, but later that year became the only state overturn a such a law passed by a legislature.

Meanwhile, about 30 states have constitutional amendments that seek to prohibit gay marriage, most by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Donald Norris, chairman of the department of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County said black churches could heavily influence the referendum, but liberal voters who come out to support Obama could offset the votes against same-sex marriage.

A number of factors could tip the vote on a referendum, Norris said. For example, a weak Republican presidential candidate could mean conservative voters stay home and don’t cast ballots against the law.

“It’s going to really depend upon a variety of things that are going to happen between now and November,” Norris said.

Gay marriage advocates are hoping that young voters – whom they expect to support their cause – will turn out for Obama as they did in 2008.

“I think Obama’s election turns out a number of different people,” said Sultan Shakir, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition of gay rights groups that worked to get the bill passed. “(There is) a lot of attention around people who attend church, but there are plenty of other demographics who are going to be turned out.”

The advocates also think it is inappropriate to leave what they consider a civil rights issue to the discretion of voters.

“It’s sad to me that anyone would think that it’s OK to put up the rights of a minority to a popular vote,” said Lisa Polyak, chairwoman of the board of directors for the gay rights organization Equality Maryland. “We have children, we have lives, we have jobs and we just want to go about them with integrity.”

Proponents of gay marriage are also counting on religious leaders who support of the bill to influence their congregations and for labor unions to urge their members to vote to keep gay marriage legal. Some black pastors who supported the measure as a matter of civil rights appeared publicly with O’Malley, a Democrat, during the legislative debate.

Babatunde Adedayo, a 29-year-old from Upper Marlboro, said the president and his stance on gay marriage will likely influence his peers in November. Obama supports civil unions, but has not endorsed marriage for same-sex couples

“I think this affects every facet of our culture,” Adedayo said after the service at Hope Christian. “As a black African American in America, it is something the black church takes seriously and depending on Barack Obama’s stance on this, it will affect a lot of people.”

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