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2016 campaign checklist: Who's doing what?

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14 2013 5:23 p.m. MDT

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Associated Press
Non-denial denial: "Someday, maybe once we get past all this, we'll take a look at it. ...That's not anything I've really spent a whole lot of time thinking about." The Washington Post, March 16. "All this" referred to bringing down Wisconsin's unemployment rate and winning re-election as governor next year, although he pointedly would not commit to serving a full term if he does.

Book: Yes. "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," is being published in the fall. Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen is ghost writing.

Iowa: Yes. In May, 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." Non sequitur to Wisconsin State Journal.

New Hampshire: Yes, keynote at September 2012 state Republican convention.

South Carolina: Yes, attending late 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: Belle of the ball as host of the National Governors Association summer meeting in Milwaukee. Conservative Political Action Conference, Aspen Institute.

Hog the TV: four Sunday talk show appearances since 2012 election.

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 unions and liberal defenders of the status quo.

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: Consults with top GOP governor strategists such as Phil Musser and Nick Ayers.

Social media: Posts every little thing on Facebook. "Glad USDA is keeping cranberries on school menus. I drink several bottles of cranberry juice each day!" Followed by: "Celebrated feds decision on cranberries by having a big glass of cranberry juice with my ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch." And: "Another beautiful day in Wisconsin!" And: "Glad I waited until sun was much lower before I mowed the grass. It is hot today." Many exclamation points. On Twitter, spread word about beer doughnuts at state fair, promotes policy, pokes Obama.

(Contributor: Tom Beaumont, Des Moines, Iowa)
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