2016 campaign checklist: Walker

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Associated Press

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 12:06 PM

A look at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "Right now, my calling is to be the governor.... I don't rule anything out." — ABC, Nov. 17. Has declined to commit to serving a full term if he wins re-election as governor in 2014. "I'm really focused on 2014, not getting ahead of the game. ... You guys can predict all you want."— Jan. 5, 2014, CNN.

Book: Yes. "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," was out in fall 2013.

Iowa: Yes. In May 2013, spoke to 600 at GOP fundraiser outside Des Moines. Talked about his seven years as a young child living in Plainfield, a tiny town in northeast Iowa. "Yeah, I'm going to Iowa, but I get invited to other states that have nothing to do with presidential politics," to Wisconsin State Journal.

New Hampshire: Yes, headlined a GOP state convention in October 2013, keynote at state party convention in September 2012.

South Carolina: Yes, attended August fundraiser for Gov. Nikki Haley, who came to Wisconsin to campaign for him in 2012 recall vote.

Foreign travel: Yes. China in April, on a trade mission for state. Hasn't been to Israel.

Meet the money: Yes. Headlined 2013 fundraisers in New York and Connecticut.

Networking: 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. Aides said he hoped to campaign for Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., but couldn't schedule it.

Hog the TV: Already on the Sunday news show scoreboard for 2014, with CNN appearance Jan. 5. Half dozen Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. "Crossfire" debate with Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont., and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. Also, Piers Morgan, Lou Dobbs, more.

Do something: Curbs on public service unions became a national flashpoint, but he won the effort and the recall election that followed. Opponents have challenged the law in court, and argued against a key provision before the state Supreme Court in November. A decision is pending.

Take a stand: Fiscal stewardship, from a GOP point of view. Tough guy against the unions and liberal defenders of the status quo. Says presidential and vice presidential candidates should both be current or former governors because GOP in Congress is the party of no.

Baggage: 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 despite his main campaign pledge in 2010 to create 250,000 private sector jobs in his term.

Shadow campaign: Keeps close counsel with in-state group led by Keith Gilkes; also stays in touch with top national GOP governor strategists such as Phil Musser and Nick Ayers.

Social media: 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 President Barack Obama.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ 2014 is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who might run for president in 2016. There's plenty to do, and the pace has quickened since The Associated Press last took a broad look at preparations for a potential campaign. Here's a look at one prospective candidate.

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