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posted: 1/26/2014 6:00 AM

A look at potential presidential candidate Marco Rubio

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  • Sen. Marco Rubio

      Sen. Marco Rubio
    Associated Press/Jan. 8, 2014

 
Associated Press

A look at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "I'll have to make a decision around this time next year about whether I'm interested in running for another office or re-election or becoming a private citizen." Jan. 12, 2014, CBS.

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Book: Yes, now has a new book tentatively scheduled for release in late 2014, from same publisher of his 2012 memoir "An American Son."

Iowa: Yes, visited just days after 2012 election, but largely holding off on a new wave of trips to early voting states until 2014.

New Hampshire: Yes, multiple appearances before 2012 election. Has an invitation from New Hampshire GOP leaders to visit again. In May 2013, his Reclaim America PAC put up ads to defend GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte against attack ads from group financed by then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

South Carolina: Yes. In ahead of the 2016 pack, headlining state's Silver Elephant dinner in 2012. Stay tuned for more.

Foreign travel: Yes. Delivered foreign policy speech in London in early December, visited Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority in February. Also went to Israel after 2010 election to Senate, Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2011, Spain, Germany, Haiti and Colombia in 2012. Member of Senate Intelligence Committee.

Meet the money: Yes, went to New York and California to meet potential donors. Also attended a fundraising strategy meeting at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters in Washington with well-connected lobbyists and Romney bundlers. Among the top fundraisers in early 2016 field in campaign and leadership political action committees.

Networking: 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. Spoke at Conservative Political Action Conference, Faith and Freedom Coalition forum, more. In October won standing ovations at Values Voter conference when affirming his Christian faith and denouncing "rising tide of intolerance" toward social conservatives. Delivered keynote address at fundraiser for the Florida Family Policy Council, an evangelical group that led the successful 2008 effort to ban gay marriage in the state. In late November, delivered foreign policy speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute before going to London.

Hog the TV: Yes. January 2014 on "Face the Nation" on CBS. Blanketed all five Sunday news shows one day in April 2013, before he dropped the subject of immigration; made several other appearances since. Frequent guest on news networks. Was granted coveted chance to present televised Republican response to Obama's State of the Union speech in 2013, which he did in two languages and with jarring reach for drink of water.

Do something: Broker of Senate immigration overhaul, though he's gone quiet on the issue. Working with anti-abortion groups on Senate version of bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Early leader in call to link funding of federal health care law to government shutdown.

Take a stand: A 2014 initiative on poverty that calls for replacing the earned income tax credit with a federal wage supplement for workers in certain low-paying jobs. Also, consolidate anti-poverty federal money into a single agency that would transfer the money to states. Advocate Tea Party fiscal conservatism and repeal of the health care law.

Baggage: A rift with his 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 Obama's health law in July speech to Tea Party in Florida. Dry-mouthed Rubio suffered embarrassing moment when he clumsily reached for water while delivering GOP response to Obama's State of the Union address.

Deflection: Self-deprecating jokes about it. Thin resume, although Obama helped deflect this for him with joke at White House Correspondents Dinner. Obama, who served less than four years of his six-year Senate term before winning 2008 election, cracked about Rubio: "I mean, the guy has not even finished a single term in the Senate and he thinks he's ready to be president." Accused of embellishing timeline of parents' departure from Cuba for political gain.

Shadow campaign: Reclaim America PAC led by former deputy chief of staff, Terry Sullivan, veteran of South Carolina politics. The PAC has already spent six figures to defend Ayotte on gun control and expects to be active behind GOP candidates across country in 2014 election. Expects to begin more aggressive travel to early voting states in 2014.

Social media: 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.

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