The 2016 presidential election only seems far away if you're not planning to run in it. For those who are thinking about seeking their party's presidential nomination, there's so very much to do, starting yesterday.
This is a time to get to know donors, to get the public to know you on TV and social media, to visit big primary states, network with the activists and ideologues, produce a vanity book, polish a record, deal with personal baggage, take a stand, develop a world view and scout for advisers and political organizations that can power up a campaign team. All while sounding coy about running. And in some cases, not even being sure you will.
The main players: For the Democrats, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; and for the Republicans, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
NON-DENIAL DENIAL: Cagey words that cloak presidential ambitions, and none too convincingly.
Biden: "I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America. But it doesn't mean I won't run."
Clinton: "I have absolutely no plans to run. ... I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of women and girls, and hopefully be writing and speaking. Those are the things that I am planning to do right now. ... I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is."
Cuomo: "To the extent that I'm focusing on politics, it's my (governor's) race next year."
O'Malley: "By the end of this year, we're on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of the candidacy for 2016."