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.
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton as couch potato didn't last long. Was anyone surprised?
While the former secretary of state 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.
AP Photo: Cliff Owen, File
Vice President Joe Biden
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."
AP Photo: Scott Bauer, File
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
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)
• Biden: No, not since 2007.
• Cuomo: Yes, coming in 2014.
• Clinton: Yes, coming in 2014.
• 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.
AP Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, File
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
GO TO IOWA: Its caucuses are the opening act of the nomination contest.
• Biden: Yes, spoke at Sen. Tom Harkin's fall 2013 steak-fry fundraiser. Raised money for Iowa congressional candidate Jim Mowrer.
• Clinton: No, avoiding big primary/caucus states.
• Cuomo: No.
• O'Malley: Yes, in 2012, when he headlined Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, a must-stop for many Democrats seeking to compete in the leadoff caucuses.
• Bush: Yes, in 2012.
• Christie: Yes, in 2012.
• Cruz: Yes, three times in three months in 2013.
• Jindal: Yes, summer 2013 visit, then flew with Iowa governor to governors association meeting in Milwaukee. In Iowa seven times in 2012.
• Paul: Yes, three times in spring and summer 2013.
• Perry: Yes, returned in November 2013 for first time since 2012 campaign. (due again in Dec)
• Rubio: Yes, in 2012 just days after the election. A new wave of visits to early voting states expected.
• Ryan: Yes, keynote speaker at governor's annual birthday fundraiser in November, in first visit since 2012 campaign.
• Santorum: Yes, 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, May fundraiser.
AP Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, File
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
GO TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: Nation's first primary comes after Iowa and is just as important.
• Biden: Yes, in 2012 campaign. Canceled planned 2013 fundraiser for state's Democratic governor because of son's health scare.
• Clinton: No.
• Cuomo: No.
• O'Malley: Yes, spoke at Democratic Party dinner in November. Also spoke at 2012 convention of New Hampshire Democrats.
• Bush: No.
• Christie: Yes, three times in 2012.
• Cruz: Yes, GOP fundraiser in August.
• Jindal: Yes, headlined state GOP fundraiser in May 2013, visited twice in 2012.
• Paul: Yes, headlined state GOP fundraiser in May.
• Perry: No.
• Rubio: Yes, multiple times in 2012.
• Ryan: Yes, in 2012. Canceled October 2013 visit because of government shutdown.
• Santorum: No.
• 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.
• Biden: Yes, headlined annual fundraising dinner in May 2013 for state party, appeared at Rep. James Clyburn's annual fish fry, Easter weekend vacation on Kiawah Island.
• Clinton: No.
• Cuomo: No.
• O'Malley: Yes, April speech to party activists.
• Bush: Yes, 2012 speech.
• Christie: Yes, helped Mitt Romney raise money in 2012.
• Cruz: Yes, "Pastors and Pews" event in November 2013, cultivating relationship with religious conservatives. Also visited in May, speaking to annual state GOP dinner.
• Jindal: Yes, August fundraiser for governor.
• Paul: Yes, Yes, foreign policy speech at the 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 re-election campaign of Gov. Nikki Haley
• Rubio: Yes, headlined 2012 Silver Elephant dinner.
• Ryan: Yes, in 2012 campaign.
• Santorum: Yes. Campaigned in April 2013 for Curtis Bostic in GOP House runoff race.
• Walker: Yes, attended August fundraiser for Haley, who came to Wisconsin to campaign for him in 2012 recall vote.
Reuters Photo: Joshua Roberts
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
GO ABROAD: Helps to give neophytes foreign policy cred, and Israel is a touchstone for U.S. politicians.
• Biden: Yes, globe-trotter, to nearly a dozen countries in Obama's second term including December 2013 visits to China, Japan and South Korea.
• 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. Canadian speech.
• Cuomo: Not much lately. Israel twice in 2002.
• O'Malley: Yes. Israel in 2013 this year for a second time. Also Denmark, Ireland, France, Brazil and El Salvador in 2013. Asia in 2011, Iraq in 2010.
• Bush: Yes, several overseas trips a year. Three times to Israel since 1980s.
• Christie: Yes, Israel and Jordan in 2012.
• Cruz: Yes, first visit to Israel in December 2012, again in January 2013 as part of Senate Republican delegation that traveled to Afghanistan, too.
• Jindal: Canadian speech to oil industry in August 2013, not overseas as governor.
• Paul: Yes, Israel and Jordan in January.
• Perry: Yes, recently back from Israel, latest of several trips there. Stopped in London to see British officials and financial leaders.
• Rubio: Yes, Israel and Jordan in February 2013, also Israel after 2010 Senate election. Britain in December.
• 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 April. Not been to Israel.
Getty Images: Michael Nagle
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
MEET THE MONEY: To know donors now is to tap them later.
• Biden: Yes, schmoozes party contributors at private receptions, helping Democratic campaign committees raise money from big-dollar donors before 2014 midterms.
• Clinton: Yes, can tap deep can tap deep well of Dem and activist money. Bundlers such as Hollywood moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban have signaled support. Worked fundraising circuit to help Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor in Virginia and Bill de Blasio's mayoral bid in New York City.
• Cuomo: Flush coffers for 2014 governor's race.
• O'Malley: Yes, as finance chairman for Democratic Governors Association in 2014 midterm campaign, and as one of the party's top fundraisers.
• Bush: Yes, party this summer for his book at home of Woody Johnson, owner of New York Jets and leading Republican bundler.
• Christie: Yes, now chairman of Republican Governors Association, which means regular access to GOP's top national donors. This follows aggressive 2013 national fundraising tour for his governor's race.
• Cruz: Yes, visited major donors in New York City in November 2013 and met with Donald Trump. Building donor lists from the more than 1.5 million people who signed the online petition "Don'tFundObamaCare."
• Jindal: Yes, met leading GOP donors in New York City. Among prospective candidates who visited Iowa GOP donor Bruce Rastetter's farm in August 2013 for annual fundraiser for the governor.
• Paul: Yes, attended Romney's Utah retreat with major party donors, met GOP donors in New York City.
• Perry: Yes, has proven an effective fundraiser as America's longest-sitting governor, both from grassroots activists and mainstream Republicans. Has led many job-poaching missions in big states with Democratic governors and met privately during those trips with donors in California and New York.
• Rubio: Yes, met major GOP donors in New York City, attended Washington meeting with Romney bundlers.
• Ryan: Yes, attended Romney's Utah retreat with major party donors, has 2012 campaign money connections.
• 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, headlined 2013 fundraisers in New York and Connecticut.
Getty Images: Alex Wong
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
NETWORK LIKE MAD: Taking their case to ideologues, activists and party heavyweights who hold great sway in nomination race.
• Biden: Yes, vigorously with Dems and activists. Keynote speeches at annual state Democratic Party dinners across country. Campaigned for new Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, new Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey.
• Clinton: Steady presence now on speaking circuit, delivering paid speeches to industry groups and conferences and appearing before a number of groups with ties to the Democratic coalition.
• Cuomo: Very little on the radar. Skipped national governors meeting in August.
• O'Malley: Yes, vigorously, and big splash at national governors meeting.
• Bush: Yes, with conservative activists, education leaders.
• Christie: Yes, vigorous outreach now as the new Republican Governors Association chairman.
• Cruz: Addressed 2012 Republican National Convention before he was even elected to the Senate; landed coveted slot as keynote speaker at Conservative Political Action Conference in March. Persistently courts religious and economic conservatives; campaigned for Virginia tea party-backed gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli in Richmond in October 2013.
• Jindal: Yes, plenty of conservative courtship. Campaigned for GOP in 2013 Virginia governor's race. Speeches to Republican and conservative groups in Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York, Alabama and Indiana in the fall about Justice Department lawsuit against Louisiana's school voucher program. December speech in Philadelphia about energy policy.
• Paul: Yes, plenty. Campaigned in fall 2013 for GOP candidates in Virginia governor's race and New Jersey U.S. Senate election. Met Michigan Republicans in September. Conservative activists, tech leaders, Reagan Presidential Library speech.
• Perry: Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2013, and its regional meeting in St. Louis in September. RedState Gathering in New Orleans in August; job-pitching tour in various states helps make connections.
• Rubio: Yes, conservative and party activists, focused lately on repairing tea party relationships strained over immigration. Campaigned for Republican in Virginia governor's race. Spent more than $200,000 in early December 2013 from PAC to help Arkansas Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton.
• Ryan: Yes, prime networker as 2012 vice presidential candidate. Helping fellow House members raise money.
• Santorum: His Christian-themed film company is his calling card. Previewed "The Christmas Candle" for conservative religious leaders at Values Voter conference in Washington, and screens it for other like-minded groups.
• Walker: Campaigned for GOP in Virginia governor's race. Spoke to Michigan Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island in September 2013. Belle of the ball as host of the National Governors Association summer meeting in Milwaukee. Conservative Political Action Conference, Aspen Institute.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
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.
• Biden: No, not lately.
• Clinton: No
• Cuomo: No. Prefers radio.
• O'Malley: Sparred with Perry over job creation and health care on CNN's "Crossfire" in September 2013. Not much on the Sunday shows since 2012 campaign, when he appeared frequently.
• Bush: Blanketed the five Sunday shows one day in March 2013 to plug his book on immigration, a few appearances other times.
• Christie: Yes, late-night TV circuit, playing for laughs. Four Sunday news shows in one day after his 2013 re-election.
• Cruz: Yes, half dozen Sunday news show invites since August alone. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in November 2013. Appears on Fox News almost every week, sometimes multiple times; frequent guest on 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. Frequent guest on news networks, especially Fox.
• Perry: Might be picking up pace. Only a few Sunday talk show appearances since the election. Debated Obama's health care law with O'Malley on Crossfire" in September.
• Rubio: Yes. Blanketed all five Sunday news shows one day in April 2013, before he dropped the subject of immigration, and several other appearances since. Frequent guest on news networks.
• Ryan: A half-dozen Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. Occasional guest on network news.
• Santorum: Yes, plugging 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: Half dozen Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. "Crossfire" debate with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Also, Piers Morgan, Lou Dobbs, more appearances.
Reuters Photo: Kevin Lamarque, File
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING: For voters who want to support doers, not just talkers.
• Biden: Point man on gun control, which failed. Lots on foreign policy. Negotiated fiscal cliff deal. December 2013 trip to Asia put him front and center in regional dispute over China's new air defense zone.
• Clinton: Record as secretary of state, senator and first lady.
• Cuomo: Pushed New York's legalization of gay marriage, first gun-control law after Newtown, Conn., school massacre. 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.
• Bush: As Florida governor, revamped state educational system, cut taxes, managed state through hurricanes.
• Cruz: Leading force in dispute that partly shut the government, 21-hour Senate speech against Obama's health law. Texas' longest-serving solicitor general argued before U.S. Supreme Court nine times.
• Christie: Won November 2013 re-election, becoming first Republican to earn more than 50 percent of New Jersey vote in a 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.
• 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 has seen state create a third of the net new jobs nationwide over last decade, 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. Court decision pending on a challenge to a key provision of that law.
Getty Images: Mark Hirsch
Former Sen. Rick Santorum
TAKE A NATIONAL STAND: Effective state governance is nice but leaders must build national stature on issues of the day.
• Biden: Eclectic. Guns, violence against women, gay rights, veterans.
• Clinton: Eclectic. Recent speeches have focused on the economy, housing, opportunities for women, voting rights.
• 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.
• Bush: Education, immigration, economy.
• Christie: Moderate on the reach and functions of government; bipartisanship.
• Cruz: Anti-health law' 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. Fiscal conservative, criticizes surveillance state. Praised Supreme Court gay marriage ruling as one that avoids "culture war." Health law scold.
• Perry: 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; opposes gay marriage.
• Rubio: Economy, abortion, tea party fiscal conservatism; immigration liberalization if he decides to get back to it. Another voice against health care law.
• Ryan: Cutting spending, taking on entitlements, rolling back Obama's health law.
• Santorum: Social conservative activism goes way back. Focus on blue-collar economic opportunity.
• 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.
Reuters Photo: Fred Prouser
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
BAGGAGE TO CHECK: It's never too early to deal with skeletons in the closet; rivals will be rattling them soon enough.
• Biden: Flubs, fibs, age. Deflection: "I am who I am."
• Clinton: Benghazi, Libya; polarizing when political, age. GOP wants to pin blame on her for vulnerability of U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that came under deadly attack.
• 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: A record of raising taxes that could be challenged by less liberal Democrats, never mind Republicans.
• Bush: The Bush factor. Does the country want a Bush dynasty after presidents George H. W. and George W.?
• Christie: The fat factor and man dates with Obama and Bill Clinton.
• 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: Plans to renounce 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: Poked fun at himself for forgetting in a GOP debate one of the federal departments he would close as president, Energy.
• 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: Make 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.
• Santorum: Overshadowed by newer conservative figures, conceivably out-popes the pope on some social issues. 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.
• 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 near bottom in job creation.
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.
• 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. 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.
• Bush: He's a Bush, so he's got connections. Statehouse lobbyist Sally Bradshaw, chief of staff when he was governor, is his go-to political person.
• 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 logical 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 the country. Chief of staff Chip Roy ghost-wrote Perry's 2010 book about federal overreach.
• Christie: New 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. Hired senior Romney media mind Russ Schriefer in late spring.
• 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.
• Paul: Has leadership PAC called Rand PAC, maintains ties to father's political network in early primary 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: Expects to begin more aggressive travel to early voting states in 2014. Reclaim America PAC led by former deputy chief of staff, Terry Sullivan, veteran of South Carolina politics, expected to be active behind GOP candidates across country in 2014 midterms.
• Ryan: His Prosperity Action PAC.
• Santorum: Keeps in touch with chief supporters of his winning 2012 Iowa caucus campaign, giving him a leg up on a campaign organization in the state.
• Walker: Consults with top Republican governor strategists such as Phil Musser and Nick Ayers.
Reuters Photo: Larry Downing
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
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.
• Biden: Not active on Facebook, occasional contributor to his office's vigorous Twitter account.
• Clinton: Nearly 1 million followers on Twitter, her preferred social media outlet.
• 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. On Facebook, his PAC-generated page is more active than official governor's account.
• 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, poses with a hunting rifle on his campaign accounts and in the usual suit and tie with flag backdrop on his Senate accounts. 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 in June that he'd attracted more than 1 million likes for his Facebook page, where he lists 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. Calls himself a presidential candidate, apparently a leftover from last campaign.
• 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, where he relentlessly plugs his new movie, gives away tickets and goes after the health law.
• Walker: Posts vigorously on Facebook and on his Twitter accounts. "Wow is it cold out." 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, Josh Lederman, Nancy Benac, Brian Witte, Bill Barrow, Tom Beaumont, Steve Peoples, Michael Gormley, Will Weissert and Melinda Deslatte contributed to this report.
Join MSN News on social