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Way Too Early, But Inevitable: Looking at 2016

Photo by Damon Winter/Pool via Bloomberg

The Morning Line

With President Obama abroad, Mitt Romney gone underground and a quiet holiday week in Washington, the void is filled with a look ahead at the next presidential contest.

Too soon? Absolutely.

But when a popular senator of Cuban descent brings down the house in Iowa, and basically every single GOP governor bashes the 2012 nominee for sounding insular, and his running mate gets front-page treatment in the New York Times, it’s unavoidable.

Politico’s Lois Romano pointed out in her coverage of Sen. Marco Rubio’s attendance at Gov. Terry Branstad’s annual birthday fundraiser that the talk of compromise took place in Altoona 38 months before the first votes will be cast. Rubio “told reporters that he has been circulating drafts of his own immigration reform bill to his congressional colleagues, and has been getting good feedback,” and Romano noted he said, “People understand that we need to do something to address these issues, and we need to do it in a reasonable and responsible way.”

Rep. Paul Ryan was dubbed a “fiscal force” in Monday’s New York Times, with Jennifer Steinhauer writing about Ryan’s new role as negotiator in fiscal cliff talks. She writes:

The test will be whether Mr. Ryan — who declined last year to sit on another Congressional committee charged with taming the deficit, in large part because doing so might have hurt his prospects for national office — can make the transition from House budget philosopher to governing heavyweight who can help negotiate a bipartisan deal and sell it to his colleagues.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still wringing their hands over the comments Romney made to donors last week.

Consider these two governors going out of their way to diss Romney on the Sunday shows (via the Los Angeles Times):

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has seemingly been on a campaign to refute Romney’s remark, once again reiterated his opposition on “Fox News Sunday.”

“We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote. If we want people to like us, we have to like them first. And you don’t start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party,” Jindal said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker echoed Jindal’s remarks, and offered the recent success of Republican governors as an example for the party as a whole.

“We have to show that we are serious about reaching out and helping everyone, not just a group here, not just a group there,” Walker said, “but everyone in the country, live their piece of the American dream. And I think that starts with our governors as great messengers.”

Even GOP runner-up former Sen. Rick Santorum got in on the action, writing in USA Today over the weekend:

We Republicans are in a box, one largely of our own making. The American electorate didn’t buy our box. Millions stayed home instead — not because of how the box was wrapped, but rather, what we didn’t include in it. It’s time that conservative Republicans build a new box and offer Americans a broader, bolder and more inclusive vision of freedom and opportunity, as well as provide the tools to achieve them.

Don’t forget, whatever happens on the GOP side, the Democrats will have their own primary battle on their hands.

Vice President Joe Biden and his team have not stopped reporters from writing that in 2016 he will want to seek the presidency (for a third time). And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s future is wide open as she enjoys the role as the most popular American politician in the world. For now, those two will dominate the discussion. But keep an eye on the governors, senators and other Cabinet members working closely with the Obama administration.

It may seem like a long time from now, but with organizations to build, money to raise and coalitions to strengthen, serious candidates are thinking about getting the ball rolling.


The NewsHour and public media partners are exploring the states and contests that made the difference on Election Day in our Battleground Dispatches series. Airing Friday night was a piece from Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee about the initiative voters approved legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Watch Megan’s report here or below:

And NewsHour Production Assistant David Pelcyger profiled the Ganja Gourmet as an online extra.


Ruth Marcus filled in for Mark Shields on Friday’s NewsHour, calling 2012 a “remarkably substanceless campaign.”

Watch Ruth and David Brooks debate the issues here or below:


On Thursday’s NewsHour, Ray Suarez talked with Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz of Daily-Download.com about how digital campaigning evolved over the course of this election. They detailed how much money the president’s team spent online, and examined surveys looking at how Facebook may have influenced the outcome.

Watch here or below:


Today’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA:

If you want to live a long life, it’s good to be born in the USA. Americans born today can expect to live an average of 78.7 years. That’s a dramatic improvement from a century ago, when it was just 51.5 years.
While life expectancy is up across all groups, disparities remain. Poor southern states like Mississippi and Louisiana post the lowest life expectancy. Washington D.C. ranks at the very bottom with an expected lifespan of about 73 years.

The nonpartisan organization has retooled post-election to offer new facts tied to the news. Infographics pepper today’s fact.


  • Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is seeking another two-year term to lead the party. And he’s boasting about the RNC’s strong financial picture.
  • A Florida county won’t recount early votes despite Rep. Allen West’s requests in the unresolved race that has the incumbent down by more than 1,000 votes.
  • Democratic Rep. Ron Barber was declared the winner in the Arizona race for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ former seat. He won the special election to replace her and now holds the seat for a full term.
  • California Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray conceded Friday in his re-election bid.
  • FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver is back, and looking at 2014.
  • Revolution Messaging has a tip for future Republican nominees: “Turn off your Facebook advertising after the election is over.”
  • The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe profiles the “comeback kids” who are returning to Washington.
  • Talking Points Memo’s Evan McMorris-Santoro finds the pro-choice, pro-gay rights Republicans he dubbed the GOP’s “underground.”
  • Politico’s Manu Raju reports: “We ought to make certain that if we get engaged in primaries that we’re doing it based on the desires, the electability and the input of people back in the states that we’re talking about,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, told POLITICO. “And not from the perception of what political operatives from Washington, D.C., think about who ought to be the candidate in state X.”
  • Mr. Obama celebrated House Speaker John Boehner’s 63rd birthday. How about a nice bottle of 1997 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Altero?
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais is not all that popular right now on Capitol Hill.
  • The Virginian Pilot is not pleased about how a feline fared in the Senate contest. From Mike Gruss’ column: “Hank is a cat. And he, or rather his campaign manager, claims he finished third in the Virginia Senate race behind accomplished human beings Tim Kaine and George Allen.” (In case you were wondering, Hank’s slogan was “A better Virginia … a brighter future.”)
  • We don’t know what joke to make about this other than the president is not impressed.


  • Hari Sreenivasan talked to Pew’s Andy Kohut about voters’ moods post-election and how they view the state of politics in America. You can grade the campaign, the press and your own views about the next year in politics in the Pew Research Center/NewsHour Quiz.
  • The NewsHour details state-by-state decisions on health care exchanges.
  • Social Media Production Assistant Collen Shalby interviewed Andy Carvin about his must-follows during major international news.






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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

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