The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

May 12, 2014

Presidential checklist: preparations in motion

(Continued)

Walker: Fiscal stewardship, from a GOP point of view. Tough guy against the unions and liberal defenders of the status quo. Says GOP in Congress is the party of no.

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BAGGAGE TO CHECK: It's never too early to deal with skeletons in the closet; rivals will be rattling them soon enough.

Democrats

Biden: Flubs, fibs, age. Deflection: "I am who I am." Saddled by Obama's low approval ratings.

Clinton: Benghazi, Libya; polarizing when political, age. GOP wants to pin blame on her for vulnerability of U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya that came under deadly attack in 2012. In long-confidential documents from Bill Clinton's administration, advisers urged her to "be real" and "humanize" herself, revealing concerns about her authenticity as a public figure.

Cuomo: New York economy is dragging, his poll numbers have sunk, went through public and bitter divorce with Kerry Kennedy, daughter of late Sen. Robert Kennedy, in 2005.

O'Malley: State-run health insurance exchange website was an expensive bust, prompting officials to make an embarrassing switch in April to one based on Connecticut's. Contraband- and drug-smuggling scheme at state-run Baltimore City Detention Center that resulted in 44 people being indicted has state lawmakers looking to make reforms. Has record of raising taxes that could be challenged by less liberal Democrats, never mind Republicans.

Republicans

Bush: The Bush factor. Does the country want a Bush dynasty after presidents George H. W. and George W.? Courting trouble with the right with positions on education and remarks in April that people who cross into the U.S. illegally are doing so as an "act of love" for their families.

Christie: If you have to declare "I am not a bully," you've got a problem. Apologized in January 2014 for highway lane closures apparently ordered by his aides as retribution against a mayor who did not endorse him for re-election. Also fired his deputy chief of staff and denied knowledge of the machinations. Episode deepened questions about what Christie, or those around him, will do to win, and contributed to a significant drop in his poll standings. Investigations continue.

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