TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Opens Up on Pot Use in His Youth

Jeb Bush
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco, Jan. 23, 2015. Jeff Chiu—AP

The potential 2016 presidential candidate's high school years were tumultuous, reports the Boston Globe

Jeb Bush has dipped in and out of politics his whole life, serving as a two-term governor and more recently announcing a possible presidential bid in 2016. But as a student at an elite boarding school in Massachusetts, he was decidedly apolitical.

In an in-depth report in the Boston Globe, classmates remember the son of Congressman George Bush Sr. as indifferent and detached. Jeb Bush refused to join the Progressive Andover Republicans club at Phillips Academy in Andover, and declined to discuss politics, reports the Boston Globe. He also indulged in drugs and drinking.

“I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush said of his high school years, both of which could have led to expulsion. “It was pretty common.”

Bush’s grades were so poor that he was nearly expelled, and the possible 2016 presidential candidate remembers his boarding school experience as one of the most difficult times of his life, the Globe reports.

While other students “were constantly arguing about politics and particularly Vietnam, he just wasn’t interested, he didn’t participate, he didn’t care,” said Phil Sylvester, who said he was a Bush roommate for the early part of 10th grade.

Still, Bush, who went on to the University of Texas and was later named Florida’s Secretary of Commerce calls Andover Academy the place where “I learned how to think.”

Read more at the Boston Globe.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Scott Walker Comes To Washington to Bash Washington

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the American Action Forum in Washington on Jan. 30, 2015.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the American Action Forum in Washington on Jan. 30, 2015. Yuri Gripas—Reuters

A rising Republican star carves out a role as the beltway outsider

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to the nation’s capital Friday to attack Washington’s culture, dismiss its wisdom and call for removing its power, offering new clarity on his strategic approach for earning the chance to live downtown by winning the 2016 presidential election.

“Washington is kind of this top-down, government knows best,” Walker said to an audience of about a half-dozen supporters and more than 50 members of the media who gathered just a block from the White House. “It’s a tired, old approach that hasn’t worked in the past and I don’t think will work in the future. What I see in the states and for the people outside of Washington is a craving for something new, something fresh.”

Walker, who is deep into preparations for an all-but-certain bid for the Oval Office, called for a “transfer of power” from Washington, D.C. to the states. He called the city “68 square miles surrounded by reality,” with six of the 10 richest counties in America, according to the median income. “We need to transfer power, power from our nation’s capital here in Washington back to the cities and states in this country, where the people, where the hardworking people in this country can actually hold their government accountable,” he said.

“That’s what Our American Revival is really about: Transferring that power from Washington back to the people,” he said, referencing the name of his new 527 organization that is laying the groundwork for his presidential bid.

It was not the first time that Walker positioned himself as a Washington outsider, a strategy that he hopes will give him an advantage over other prospective candidates like Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who work weekdays in the city. But it was his most muscular expression to date of his role, ready to take on and slay the sacred cows of the beltway power networks. Walker’s tour comes on the heels of a well-received speech in Iowa before Republican activists last weekend, and just days after announcing his new 527 organization.

He also took time to criticize President Obama’s State of the Union speech. “That sounded like a person who wants to grow the economy here in Washington,” he said. “I think the rest of America wants to grow the economy in cities and towns all across this great nation.” He also quoted Ronald Reagan’s admonition that The federal government did not create the states, the states created the federal government,”

His true guides, he continued, were the nation’s founding fathers, whom he said he always looked up to as a child. “I was a little geeky,” he said. “I actually thought of our founders almost as super heroes. Bigger than life.

Walker was introduced by Republican financier Fred Malek, a former Green Beret and aide to Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, who effusively praised the presidential contender. “I can’t think of anybody I’d rather be in that foxhole with our in that firefight than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,” he said, calling him a “terrific leader.”

Asked by Malek about tackling the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Walker remained vague. “To me it’s not a matter of if there’s another attempted threat,” he said. “I’d do everything in my power to make sure families in this country would sleep safe.” He added that he would “take the threat to them.”

TIME 2016 Election

Mitt Romney Abandons 2016 Campaign For President

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee, gestures before speaking during the Republican National Committee's winter meeting aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Deigo, Calif. on Jan. 16, 2015. Gregory Bull—AP

Three weeks after raising expectations, Romney steps out of the spotlight

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told donors and supporters Friday that he will not run for president, just three weeks after upending the GOP field by suggesting he was seriously considering a third bid for the White House.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told donors, in remarks that were first published by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt and confirmed by a Romney aide.

Late Thursday, Romney invited donors and supporters to a conference call to announce his plans. “Please join me for an update call tomorrow at 11:00 AM EST / 8:00 AM PST,” Romney’s political team wrote in an email, signed “All the best, Mitt.”

Romney told those on the call that he is confident he could once again win the Republican nomination. But he also acknowledged, “it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.” He added hat he believes that another Republican would best be able to challenge likely Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” he said. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

“You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country,” he said. “But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.”

Romney, who met privately in Utah last week with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is not expected to endorse a candidate in the already crowded GOP field.

On the call Romney said it was “unlikely” he would reconsider his decision to step aside, and freed his donors and supporters to work for other candidates. “Please feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee,” Romney said. Many Romney aides and donors had already sought out work with other contenders. Just Thursday, David Kochel, Romney’s Iowa strategist, signed on with Jeb Bush’s campaign.

He delivered the prepared statement in an even tone on a four-minute call with supporters and donors, ending his remarks with the words “Bye bye.” An aide said Romney wrote the remarks, in which he thanked supporters for their patriotism, himself.

In a statement following the call, Bush praised Romney as a “patriot” and a leader of the GOP. “Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense,” he said. “Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.”

 

TIME 2016 Election

Lindsey Graham Forces Foreign Policy On 2016 GOP Field

Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Lindsey Graham speaks at a press conference in Washington on January 13, 2015. Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The talk on the trail these days is focused on Main Street. But that could change.

At the moment his staff hit publish on a new pre-presidential campaign website, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had distinguished himself from the rest of the already unwieldy Republican 2016 field. “Security Through Strength,” was the name of his new group, with a military-style combat unit shield as its logo.

Foreign policy would be Graham’s focus, and his tack would be unmistakable: He would be the candidate who could update Ronald Reagan’s Cold War vision of “Peace Through Strength” for the ongoing battle against radical Islam. Visitors had to read a couple hundred words of filler before any mention of domestic policy appeared. “Graham is also a leader in cutting spending,” the copy reads. Also, as if it were an afterthought.

As a political strategy, this was a bold move, given that most of his challengers have been focused their rhetorical fire on the cause du jour, the economic frustrations of the struggling American middle class. But then presidential campaigns rarely end where they begin, as Graham’s biggest backer, Arizona Sen. John McCain learned well in his 2008 race. That contest began squarely in McCain’s wheelhouse, as a foreign policy debate over the Iraq War. But it ended with an economic crises that McCain was not equipped to handle. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he was on record admitting in 2007.

There is a real potential for 2016 to follow the same pattern in reverse. Domestically, the economy remains stuck in neutral for most Americans, but gas prices are dropping, the labor market is firming, and the ground may be set for incomes begin to rise again. Overseas, however, the world is as tumultuous as it has been in a decade, with terrorist attacks in Europe, a virtual proxy war bubbling up between NATO and Russia in Ukraine, tense nuclear negotiations with Iran and Sunni radicals redrawing national boundaries in the Middle East.

In this environment, Graham stands relatively alone in clearly presenting a foreign policy vision. “I don’t think we’re anywhere close to the point where we need to be,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told TIME. Bolton is contemplating a run for president to keep foreign policy in the national conversation. “Having two paragraphs in a stump speech should not be confused with having a foreign policy,” he said.

Some would-be candidates have talked about foreign policy more than others. On Sunday evening at a panel hosted by a group affiliated with the Koch brothers, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who sits on the Foreign Relations committee, had as much criticism for the governors as he had for ideological rival Sen. Rand Paul, who has presented a more modest vision of U.S. power abroad. “Taking a trip to some foreign city for two days does not make you Henry Kissinger,” Rubio said, in apparent reference to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was at the Koch event and is planning a trip to the United Kingdom next month.

Similarly, Mitt Romney has made clear that foreign policy will be a central theme of his third run, should he choose to continue with the race. “The President’s dismissal of real global threats in his State of the Union address was naive at best and deceptive at worst,” Romney said Wednesday, in a speech before students in Mississippi.

But other Republicans, especially the deep bench of governors with White House ambitions, have yet to find their footing. Instead of offering a vision, they have been focused on schooling themselves in the arts of international trade craft.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been receiving briefings by a team including Bob Zoellick, the former president of the World Bank and U.S. Trade Representative, and Brian Hook, a former assistant secretary of state and Romney campaign advisor. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been soliciting briefings from foreign and domestic policy experts for more than a year to study up for a second campaign. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has co-authored a hawkish foreign policy white paper last year with former Sen. Jim Talent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who launched his political organization this week, is expected to start receiving policy briefings in the next several weeks, with Marc Thiessen, the American Enterprise Institute scholar—and co-author of Walker’s book—expected to play a key role.

The former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, supported his brother’s foreign policy while in office, but has rarely spoken out on more recent threats. Last month he called for strengthening, rather than weakening, the U.S. embargo on Cuba, for instance. It is not clear whether he has started formal briefings, but he has been reaching out to an array of experts in recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the calls.

Some Senate aides have pointed out that the state leaders could find themselves at a steep disadvantage in the general election. “We need someone who can credibly push back against Hillary Clinton’s failed record,” said an aide to one Senator eyeing the White House. “And the governors can’t do that.”

But governors may also have an advantage, not having their foreign policy so clearly defined before they run. Paul has been largely defined as an isolationist, while Rubio and Graham are affiliated with neo-conservatives, and Ted Cruz is has taken a hawkish line on many issues but favors budget cuts to defense programs.

“We don’t know very much of the foreign policy viewpoints of Jeb, Christie, and Walker,” said a veteran Republican policy aide to presidential candidates. “They have an opportunity to formulate and articulate the worldview that makes the most sense given time and space.”

That strategy works better if no one is forcing foreign policy questions into the debate at this early point in the cycle. In other words, a good day for Lindsey Graham, who enjoys easy access to the national press off the Senate floor, may be a bad one for many of his rivals in the months to come.

TIME Congress

Paul Gets Assist from 2016 Rivals on ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill

Rand Paul speaks at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council meeting in Washington
U.S. Senator Rand Paul speaks during the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council meeting in Washington D.C. on Dec. 2, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

The three Republicans senators potentially running for the White House in 2016 agree on at least one thing: The Federal Reserve should be audited.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul re-introduced a bill with Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida on Wednesday to order the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to review the Fed’s monetary policy decision making and increase congressional oversight.

The bill has a much greater chance of making it to the Senate floor under new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is one of 30 co-sponsors according to Paul’s office. Former Rep. Ron Paul, Rand’s father, pressed lawmakers for years to audit the Federal Reserve and similar bills have passed the Republican-controlled House in the past.

“A complete and thorough audit of the Fed will finally allow the American people to know exactly how their money is being spent by Washington,” said Paul in a statement. “The Fed’s currently operates under a cloak of secrecy and it has gone on for too long. The American people have a right to know what the Federal Reserve is doing with our nation’s money supply. The time to act is now.”

The bill is unlikely to be signed into law by President Obama. In December, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that she would “forcefully” oppose such legislation as it would jeopardize the central bank’s independence with “short-run political interference,” according to the Hill.

TIME 2016 Election

Perry Says 2016 Plans ‘Moving Right Along’ Despite Indictment

Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry speaks at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.
Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry speaks at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015. Jim Young—Reuters

Still expects to announce a run in May or June.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said his plans to run for president in 2016 are “moving right along” despite a Texas judge’s decision Tuesday not to throw out a pair of indictments against him.

A Texas grand jury indicted the then-governor in August on two abuse-of-power charges which claim he violated the law when he threatened and ultimately vetoed funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s office following a high-profile drunk driving arrest for its district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg. The longest-serving Texas governor and his legal team argue the charges are baseless and amount to a “criminalization of politics,” and Perry reiterated Wednesday that he’d do it again if he had the chance.

On Tuesday, a judge poked holes in the prosecution’s indictment, but declined to throw out the two charges, saying he was unable to do so before trial. Perry’s legal team is filing an appeal of that decision, an effort expected to take several months.

Perry, who ran for the White House unsuccessfully in 2012, has been laying the groundwork for a repeat bid for more than two years, traveling heavily to the early presidential states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to support local candidates and build a network of supporters. He said in a press conference that his plans are continuing despite the ongoing criminal proceedings against him.

“We’re going to continue on,” he told reporters, suggesting that the prosecution would bolster his argument to voters. ” Americans are looking for a leader who’s not afraid of standing up, who won’t be intimidated.”

Perry indicated he has already made a decision to seek the White House, and is planning an announcement in the spring.

“We’ll make a decision—or, actually, make an announcement, it’s a better term—in the May, June timetable just like we intended to,” Perry said Wednesday.

After the indictment, Perry’s political team sold t-shirts showing his smiling booking photo with the slogan “Wanted: For securing the border and defeating Democrats” on one side, and Lehmberg’s less-glamorous one and the text: “Guilty: driving while intoxicated and the perversion of justice.”

Likely GOP rivals, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Govs. Chris Christie Scott Walker, released statements Tuesday in support of Perry.

 

TIME 2016 Election

The Palin v. Hillary Troll-Off of 2015

Sarah Palin
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) walks onstage to speak at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington on Sept. 26, 2014. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

At the Iowa Freedom Summit over the weekend, Sarah Palin did her very best to troll Hillary Clinton. At one point, she held up a “Ready for Hillary” car magnet and quipped, “I’m ready for Hillary.” The dig earned a cacophony of hooting and applause.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Super PAC Ready for Hillary, which has been laying the groundwork for a Clinton campaign for the past two years, fired back. The group launched a new online fundraising site that pictures a still frame of Palin holding up the Ready for Hillary car magnet—an obvious attempt to aggravate the Democratic base, which loves to hate the wink-prone former governor of Alaska.

“Sarah Palin says Republicans will be ready for Hillary,” the text above the photograph reads. “Let’s show her she’s wrong.” It urges Clinton supporters to pony up $20.16 or more for a Ready for Hillary car magnet of their own.

At the Iowa Freedom Summit, Palin struck a feminist note, which was itself a not-so-subtle dig at Clinton’s potential electoral strength as the first female president. Palin said there shouldn’t be a “no girls allowed” sign on the Oval Office door, but insinuated that the first female commander-in-chief should be her rather than Hillary.

Palin also played off the title of Clinton’s 1996 book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, reminding her fellow conservatives that it will take a “village” to defeat Clinton, should the former Secretary of State win the Democratic nomination.

TIME 2016 Election

The Secret Meanings Behind the Names of Presidential Super PACs

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, waves to the crowd during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015. Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Long before the campaign buttons and bumper stickers, today’s presidential candidates must create an outside fundraising committee. And while they aren’t always in total control of these groups, the names can be secret decoder rings that explain the central themes of the campaigns they are preparing.

Here’s a look at the names of five groups backing 2016 candidates and what they might signal.

Right to Rise

What is it? A leadership PAC and a separate super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida

Where does the name come from? The “right to rise” was coined by a historian to describe President Lincoln’s views on economic opportunity. After Rep. Paul Ryan used the phrase, Bush wrote a guest editorial about it in the Wall Street Journal in 2011.

What’s it mean? The name is a sign that Bush intends to focus on pocketbook issues for the middle class, which has been stuck with stagnant wages for more than a decade. The fact he embraced the term was also a key tipoff that Ryan was not going to run.

Our American Revival

What is it? A tax-exempt 527 organization

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Where does the name come from? Walker used the phrase “our American revival” in a recent statement critiquing President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

What’s it mean? The term “revival” has religious undertones that Walker, a preacher’s kid, surely recognizes. It’s also a sign he intends to run as a bold, populist counterpoint to Obama’s tenure in Washington.

Leadership Matters for America

What is it? A political action committee

Who does it benefit? Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey

Where does the name come from? Christie used the phrase “leadership matters” during his 2012 keynote speech at the Republican presidential convention for Mitt Romney.

What’s it mean? Christie is running on his own personality and leadership style. He intends to highlight his time as governor as well as his brash and sometimes confrontational style to contrast himself with Obama and his Republican opponents.

Stand for Principle

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

Where does the name come from? In a 2014 speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Cruz argued that Republicans need to “stand for principle” in order to win elections.

What’s it mean? Cruz intends to run as the conservative choice among the Republican field, with an orthodoxy at the center of his message that will contrast him against past nominees such as Mitt Romney and John McCain, not to mention current contenders like Christie and Bush.

Ready for Hillary

What is it? A super PAC

Who does it benefit? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Where does the name come from? The super PAC was formed by Clinton supporters to build lists of grassroots supporters and recruit major donors before she announced a campaign.

What’s it mean? The name doesn’t portend much about Clinton’s campaign, since she didn’t choose it, at least not personally. But it does take on a central theme of the emerging Clinton juggernaut—the notion that America is now “ready” for a female president and that it’s Clinton’s turn after her 2008 primary loss.

TIME 2016 Election

8 Long-Shot Republicans Who Are Running for President

There’s been some debate recently over which 2016 candidates belong in the top tier of the primaries. There are the obvious national names: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie. And there’s a group of candidates who are genuinely in contention: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul.

However you slice it, though, there’s another group of GOP candidates entirely. That third tier of candidates: the wild card, long-shot, soon-to-be also-rans who gamely give it their best shot and sometimes pull off an upset, or at least work their way into a better job. (Howard Dean may have not made it to the White House, but he did end up as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.)

Here’s a closer look at eight long shot Republican candidates for president.

John Bolton
Ambassador John Bolton speaks during Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority event in Washington on June 19, 2014. Molly Riley—AP

John Bolton

Who is he: Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Signs he’s running: He went to the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, his PAC and Super PAC have been ramping up activity, and last year he spent more than $10,000 on Twitter ads.

Why he’s a long shot: He also considered a bid in 2012, but decided against it. He’s never won elected office, and his focus is almost entirely on foreign policy, rarely a winning subject.

Bob Ehrlich
Bob Ehrlich speaks during a rally in Clarksburg, Md., Oct. 24, 2010. Jose Luis Magana—AP

Bob Ehrlich

Who is he: Former governor of Maryland

Signs he’s running: He’s met with donors to discuss financing a campaign, he’s talking about setting up a leadership PAC and he’s going to make his fourth visit to new Hampshire next month.

Why he’s a long shot: Ehlrich has lost the last two elections he’s run in – Democrat Martin O’Malley ousted him from the governorship and then beat him again the next election cycle- and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush already have the blue-state governor spot filled up.

George Pataki
Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks during the dedication ceremony in Foundation Hall at the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero in New York City on May 15, 2014. Richard Drew—Pool/Getty Images

George Pataki

Who is he: Former governor of New York

What are the signs he’s running: He said he’s considering a run, and he visited early primary states South Carolina and New Hampshire in 2014.

Why he’s a long shot: He openly considered bids in 2008 and 2012 and decided against it both times. If he were to run for 2016, he would likely struggle to win over the conservative base with his moderate views on abortion.

Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Lindsey Graham speaks at a press conference in Washington on January 13, 2015. Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Lindsey Graham

Who is he: Senator from South Carolina

Signs he’s running: He filed with the IRS to create a “testing the waters” committee. John McCain, who serves with Graham on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, has been vocal about urging Graham to run.

Why he’s a long shot: He angered the Tea Party wing of the GOP with his support for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and his willingness to work with Obama and Democrats in Congress.

Rick Scott
Florida Governor Rick Scott applauds during his speech after the swearing in for his second term as governor of Florida at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. on Jan. 6, 2015. Mark Wallheiser—AP

Rick Scott

Who is he: Governor of Florida

Signs he’s running: Scott himself has been largely quiet about a run, but some Republican party leaders and other Florida “insiders” have said he has eyes on the Oval Office.

Why he’s a long shot: He’s a divisive figure and has never gotten more than 50% of the vote in Florida, and he’s mostly a stranger to the national stage. Also, he ran a firm that had to pay the largest fine in U.S. history for Medicare fraud.

Mike Pence
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence gives a speech in Indianapolis on Jan. 27, 2015. Michael Conroy—AP

Mike Pence

Who is he: Governor of Indiana

Signs he’s running: He went to Israel in December and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an unusual move for a governor to make. He’s also being backed by the Koch Brothers.

Why he’s a long shot: He doesn’t have nearly as deep a fundraising base or organization as other candidates.

Rick Snyder
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address in Lansig, Mich. on Jan. 20, 2015. Al Goldis—AP

Rick Snyder

Who is he: Governor of Michigan

Signs he’s running: He’s planned a bold travel schedule for 2015, ostensibly to talk about Detroit’s resurgence but also most likely to tout his accomplishments on the national stage.

Why he’s a long shot: He may be too moderate for the more conservative wings of the base (he doesn’t have a strong record on social issues), and he lacks a solid campaign infrastructure.

Tennessee U.S. Senator Corker
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker speaks to the Chattanooga Times Free Press staff in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Aug. 20, 2014. Doug Strickland—AP

Bob Corker

Who is he: Senator from Tennessee

What are the signs he’s running: He’s been dropping hints, saying things like, “”Every senator has probably thought about it.”

Why he’s a long shot: He’s built his image in the Senate around deal-making, and the more hardcore Republican base won’t like his willingness to compromise with Democrats.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Watch the Speech That Got People Talking About Scott Walker

Iowa Freedom Summit Features GOP Presidential  Hopefuls
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Scott Olson—Getty Images

A single speech can launch a presidency. Just ask Barack Obama, who got his start toward the White House with a well-received oration at the 2004 Democratic presidential convention.

On Saturday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gave a well-received speech in Iowa, home of the crucial first-in-the-nation caucuses on the road to the 2016 nomination.

While it’s too soon to tell if the speech will actually push Walker into position, it’s worth watching just to see how a well-done speech can capture people’s attention.

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