A look at preparations by Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:
Nondenial denial: “I’m really focused on 2014, not getting ahead of the game. … You guys can predict all you want.” — Jan. 5, CNN.
Book: Yes. “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge,” was out in fall 2013.
Iowa visits: 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 2013 fundraiser for Gov. Nikki Haley, who came to Wisconsin to campaign for him in 2012 recall vote.
Foreign travel: Yes. China in 2013 on trade mission. Hasn’t been to Israel.
Meet the money: Yes, addressed Republican Jewish Coalition at a Las Vegas gathering in March where the main attraction was Sheldon Adelson, a prolific Republican donor and casino owner who’s looking where to place his bets in GOP field. Headlined 2013 fundraisers in New York and Connecticut.
Networking: 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 last September. Hosted the National Governors Association summer meeting in Milwaukee in 2013. 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 a couple of appearances. Half-dozen such 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.
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. Release of thousands of emails in February shed new light on a 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 as he campaigns for re-election in the fall.
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.