LAS VEGAS — Wisconsin’s Scott Walker says the next GOP leader must do a better job explaining why the party’s policies will help ordinary Americans. Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal is urging the Republican Party to rethink its pitch to voters. Their fellow governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia says Republicans should look to outsiders to fix partisan gridlock in Washington.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is holding court with admirers — and ignoring reporters as he ducks into nominally private meetings. And Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is packing his bags for a very public trip to Iowa.

Yes, the jockeying for 2016 has already begun.

Less than two weeks after Republican nominee Mitt Romney came up short in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama, the next class of potential GOP presidential hopefuls is laying the groundwork for bids of their own. Some subtle and some overt, the maneuvering by would-be-candidates runs along a sometimes perilous path marked by donors, operatives and party elders.

“Everybody who is already thinking about the 2016 presidential race needs to have their head examined,” Jindal said in an interview on the sidelines of the Republican Governors Association meeting on the Las Vegas Strip. “Anybody thinking about 2016 is absolutely ridiculous.”

Yet, here’s Jindal, providing a stinging criticism of Romney’s campaign and offering an alternative. He urged his party to work for middle-class voters and to shed the label of a party for “big business and big banks.” The party needs to retool its entire messaging — not just “minor cosmetic changes” — and go after every voter, he said, not just those who are white.

“There’s a lot of important work that needs to be done over the next several months and years,” the 41-year-old Louisiana governor said, positioning himself as a pragmatic candidate in a party that lacks a standard-bearer.

Wisconsin’s Walker tried to soften his image with a big-tent pitch that welcomed more voters. The first governor to survive a recall election, Walker said the answer lies in how leaders communicate with voters.

“I think it’s not that our beliefs are wrong,” said Walker, 45. “I don’t think we do an effective enough job of articulating those beliefs and what it means in people’s lives.”

He isn’t talking about a 2016 candidacy, of course, but Walker said governors’ experiences are typically an advantage.

“Governor Walker is focused on helping small businesses grow Wisconsin’s economy and create jobs,” campaign spokesman Tom Evenson said when asked to comment on a possible 2016 presidential run.

In appearances and interviews, the 58-year-old McDonnell worked to cast himself as the conservative foil to Obama, tweaking the Democratic administration on everything from health care to energy policy. At every opportunity, McDonnell spoke of himself as a political outsider.

“There is a brand, there is a set of ideas that Republican governors are offering that stands in fairly stark contrast to what Washington is offering,” McDonnell told reporters on Thursday. “Washington is broken. It’s in debt. It’s engaged in partisan bickering.”

The Virginia governor, who is set to leave office in early 2014, is already fanning speculation about his next move. He is coming off a successful turn as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and stepping up his national profile.

Another tough-talking figure, Christie tried to dodge headlines entirely on his trip to Las Vegas, his first outside New Jersey since Superstorm Sandy battered its coastline. Christie, 50, brushed aside questions about his political future and steadfastly refused approaches from reporters.

Instead of a public show, Christie met in private with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, one of the GOP’s top strategists and a potential kingmaker in 2016.

To be sure, other would-be candidates are eyeing the next presidential race, and it’s far too early to draft an exhaustive list of potential contenders. For instance, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is keeping his network of supporters in Iowa engaged. And Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville, has returned to his job in Congress while his allies work to make sure he doesn’t preclude a presidential bid.

Such behind-the-scenes efforts are in stark contrast to Rubio, the 41-year-old, first-term senator from Florida, who is making a post-Election Day trip to Iowa this weekend. Ostensibly, the purpose of Rubio’s trip is to attend Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday party, but the political importance is not lost on anyone, given that Iowa hosts the first presidential caucuses.

You might also like

(36) comments

Observer5
Observer5

I'd love to see Scooter get the 2016 nomination. He'd make Mitt look like a genius and get maybe 100 electorial votes. .

grampabucky
grampabucky

Hilary will win in a landslide.

array1
array1

Due to his lack of edumacation, walker would be the perfect gop candidate for president.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Education is so important that the Democrats ran a candidate for Lt. Governor who had never even attended college.

Boogga Boogga
Boogga Boogga

Congratulations to the Democrats and Young People! You now own it and you can't blame Bush.
The next terrorist attack you own it.
Can't get a job after graduation, you own it.
Sky rocketing energy prices due to Obama's EPA shutting down the energy producing states, you own it.
A nuclear Iran, you own it.
Bowing to the Soviet Union, you own it.
Another severe recession, you own it.
A volatile border with Mexico, you own it.
Trouble getting good health care, you own it.
Higher health insurance costs and health care costs, you own it.
No budget, you own it.
Our allies mistrust, you own it.
Another trillion of debt, you own it.
More Benghazi situations, you own it.
No one willing to join the military, you own it.
Trouble getting a loan to buy a home, you own it.
More dependency on food stamps, you
own it.
Trouble finding good employment, you own it.
Several part time jobs instead of a good job, you own it.
A World Government, you own it.
The UN governing the United States instead of ourselves, you own it.
A Senate that will not bring any legislation to the table even if it is "Dead on Arrival", you own it.
China controlling our world trade trampling all over us, you own it.
Loss of our freedoms as we have known it in the past, you own it.
A dictatorship instead of a democracy that follows the Constitution, you own it.
Less take home pay and higher living costs, you own it.
Driving a car that looks like a toy, you own it.
More government corruption and lies, you own it.
More toleration of extreme and fanatical Islamists, you own it.
Terrorist attacks called work place incidents, you own it.
Your revenge instead of love of country, you own it.
President
George Bush is out of it now, and
there is not another good man for you to vilify and lie about. In a way
I am relieved that another good man will not be blamed when it was
impossible to clean up this mess you voted for. Have a good day. God
bless the United States! God is our hope now.

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

First of all I just have to say: Romney lost - get over it.

Secondly, the sky isn't falling. All of your hand-wringing, drama queen histrionics don't change that.

Come out of your partisan echo chamber. Join the rest of America grounded in reality. Love your country more than your party.

nan3
nan3

If Walker runs for anything nationally, we're going to hear that fake Koch call he fell for about a trillion times. When asked about turning down the $ for the trains, he'll say, "When they said trains, I thought they said brains, and asked for a slow one".

JoeBiteme
JoeBiteme

Walker and Ryan in 2016.

Nav
Nav

I get a BIG laugh when I imagine them as a ticket.

I think Governor Walker might have to wait until he gets clearance on the John Doe proble.

I thinkn Ryan might want to wait until he gains his credibility. The label "loser" will be with him for a while.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Loser? Is that like when JFK lost the VP nomination? What had JFK done in either the House or Senate? Had he chaired any committees? He was thought of by his colleagues as a light-weight rich playboy. And he had pretty much lived up to those thoughts.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Loser? Is that like when JFK lost the VP nomination? What had JFK done in either the House or Senate? Had he chaired any committees? He was thought of by his colleagues as a light-weight rich playboy. And he had pretty much lived up to those thoughts.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Loser? Is that like when JFK lost the VP nomination? What had JFK done in either the House or Senate? Had he chaired any committees? He was thought of by his colleagues as a light-weight rich playboy. And he had pretty much lived up to those thoughts.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Loser? Is that like when JFK lost the VP nomination? What had JFK done in either the House or Senate? Had he chaired any committees? He was thought of by his colleagues as a light-weight rich playboy. And he had pretty much lived up to those thoughts.

Mr LaMarr
Mr LaMarr

"Piyush" Jindal. Get it right.

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Jindal might just save the GOP. And no, that's a good thing. This country needs two parties that aren't ruled by zealots and ideologues.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Who, then, will you get on the Democratic side?

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Translation: "I know you are,but what am I?"

Brilliant rebuttal. Simply brilliant.

TheJudoon
TheJudoon

I'm so tuned out - Kill your T.V.

AngryDeuce
AngryDeuce

Man, I sure hope someone blows enough smoke up Walker's rear-end to tell him he has a hope in hell of achieving any national office, let alone the Presidency. Watching his past get torn apart will be *so* much fun!

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Don't kid yourselves — jockeying for the 2016 Democratic nomination has also begun.

LiLa
LiLa

Dems have their candidate: Hillary Clinton.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Did we learn nothing about dynasties from watching Bush the Adequate diluted into Bush the Lesser? The last thing we need in anti-royalist America is a re-enactment of the War of the Roses.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Watch out for George P. The Kennedys seemed to have done fairly well.

Shake
Shake

Ha ha ha. Walker will have to run from prison. The feds have him in their sights.

Nav
Nav

Governor Walker has a very BIG ego if he thinks he is ready to play in the big league. I would, however, love to see him run for President and "articulate" the Republican beliefs like he says they have not been articulated.

The Republican party has traditionally talked about how loyal they are to their party members. . But look how loyal they are being to their leader Mitt Romney. One day before the election they were heaping praise on the man and talking him as being the nation's savior. Now they are criticizing him like he commited the cardinal sin. What a bunch of bozos.

tomtom
tomtom

now if Walker would run for prez instead of local news organizations doing lightweight background biographies of Walker we'd have some heavy hitting professional independent biographers digging into every nook and cranny of Walker's past.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Speaking of big egos, can you imagine a freshman Senator with zero executive experience thinking that he could be President? While all politicians above the State level have ego to spare, I have not seen an ego as out sized as Obama's.

When you lose, no matter which party you represent, there are discussions of errors made and corrections to be made. That's how politics, and life, works.

Nav
Nav

The freshman senator you refer to, Barack Obama, had earned an outstanding education at Harvard University (compared to scott Walker never having completed a college degree). Barack Obama also encouraged people to excercise their rights to vote as a community organizor, in contrast to Scott Walker who tried to find ways to suppress people from voting. Barack Obama has won a Nobel Peace prize, comparfed to Governor Walker who has divided the whole state.

Comparing the record of Brack Obama to Governor Walker's record is ludicrous!

tomtom33
tomtom33

Where are Obama's academic records? Won a Nobel for what? Harry Truman never even attended college nor did the union guy who ran for Lt. Governor.

Obama has managed to divide the entire country, though. I guess that beats dividing a State.

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Quote: "While all politicians above the State level have ego to spare, I have not seen an ego as out sized as Obama's."

Reply: Your statement could be viewed as a thoughtful, insightful analysis based on your presumed intellect.

But then, when one considers that you've spent the majority of your waking hours on the internet posting GOP talking points, it really paints your opinion as little more than sour grapes.

JakeWeery
JakeWeery

Sure tomtom33, it was Obama who "managed to divide the entire country". It had nothing to do with the scores of whining Republicans making secession noises. It has nothing to to do with the nut job Birther movement. It has nothing to do with the Fox News media calling him a terrorist and a "retard". It has nothing to do with the daily temper tantrums being thrown by ideologues in your party who can't get over the fact that you lost - twice. It has nothing to do with the fact that half of the republicans I know go about claiming, "he's not MY President". No, it has nothing to do with all you hand-wringing, fist-pounding, foot-stamping, tantrum-throwing ideologues who insist the sky is falling. No, 30% of America makes it a point to wear their hatred of our President on their sleeve and - wait for it - it's Obama's fault.

George Orwell called. He said your double-speak is a blatant copyright infringement.

tomtom33
tomtom33

A leader knows how to lead. Obama does not. Every President faces very stiff opposition. Did you sleep through the GW Bush years? Clinton governed while the GOP, for the most part, held both Houses.

Whazzat
Whazzat

Put a white helmet on that guy and you'd swear he just stepped off the short bus. What a lap dog for ALEC and the other right wing demagogues.

einstein
einstein

Walker kissed billionaire asses and let them brain wash him for $$. It's the only reason he got anywhere. The guy is an intellectual and moral failure of a human being. Imagine if he had to get anywhere on his own in this world?

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

Our governor says "I think it’s not that our beliefs are wrong,” said Walker, 45. “I don’t think we do an effective enough job of articulating those beliefs and what it means in people’s lives.” You betcha, Governor Walker. Keep hammering public education and belittling the poor and jobless. Keep dividing and conquering to keep those plebes in their place. Keep believing the people of Wisconsin love you and that you are a big deal. All of that smugness will shorten your career, which is my fondest wish--besides having one more Twinkie before they all disappear.

witness2012
witness2012

beingbucky, I agree with everything you said- except for wanting to eat one more of those hydrogenated fat, high fructose corn syrup-laden hostess products.

Just say no- your heart will thank you.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Exchange ideas and opinions on posted articles. Don't promote products or services, impersonate other site users, register multiple accounts, threaten or harass others, post vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language. Don't post content that defames or degrades anyone. Don't repost copyrighted material; link to it. In other words, stick to the topic and play nice. Report abuses by clicking the button. Users who break the rules will be banned from commenting. We no longer issue warnings. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.