WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:
Nondenial denial: "Once I'm through with this term, then I'm going to give a hard look at it." — to The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, November 2013. "If I'm going to do a job as chairman of the (House) 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." — Wall Street Journal, November.
Book: Yes, recently announced and coming in 2014.
Iowa: Yes, keynote speaker at governor's annual birthday fundraiser in November 2013, in first visit since 2012 campaign. "Maybe we should come back and do this more often," he teased. Wife's family is from Iowa and their Janesville, Wis., home is only a few hours away.
New Hampshire: Yes, in 2012. Because of government shutdown, canceled an October 2013 visit to help a GOP House candidate.
South Carolina: Yes, during 2012 campaign.
Foreign travel: Yes. Middle East travel during congressional career, visited troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Meet the money: Yes, attended Mitt Romney's Utah retreat with major GOP donors, took some guests skeet shooting. Place on 2012 ticket gives him a leg up on money matters.
Networking: Yes, prime networker as 2012 vice presidential candidate. 2013 Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting. Helping fellow House Republicans raise money.
Hog the TV: Many Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election. Occasional guest on network news.
Do something: Republican broker of the bipartisan budget deal in December that averted a potential government shutdown in early 2014 and scaled back across-the-board spending cuts. The deal draws a contrast between Ryan and potential rivals who oppose it. A budget-hawk record to be judged on. May be emerging as influential moderate on immigration.
Take a stand: Cutting spending, taking on entitlements. Pushing for immigration overhaul, but largely behind the scenes. Did speak out in a Chicago appearance last April for immigration changes. Anti-poverty initiative on his 2014 plate.
Baggage: On one hand, budget pain. Critics are sure to dust off ads from 2012 presidential campaign blasting the sharp cuts that Ryan advocated for Medicare and other programs. But this is catnip to GOP conservatives. On the other hand, his December 2013 bipartisan budget deal risks trouble with the tea party. Still carries stigma of national ticket loss in 2012. Immigration position rankles some conservatives.
Shadow campaign: His Prosperity Action PAC.
Social media: Aggressive, with large following. King of Facebook among potential rivals in both parties. Seeks $10 donations for "Team Ryan" bumper stickers for his PAC and kisses a fish. Posts photo of President Barack Obama with his feet up on Oval Office desk. Commanding presence on Twitter, too, via an account associated with his political action committee and another as congressman.
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.