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The visit, so soon after Election Day, is among the first hints of a field of contenders for 2016. It was roughly this time four years ago that Mr. Romney started pushing his national profile ahead of a second presidential bid; his op-ed piece in The New York Times “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” was published Nov. 18, 2008.

Of course, none of the potential candidates are anywhere close to deciding on a White House run, let alone announcing it. But early trips like this one start to introduce the politicians to the local activists and volunteers that fuel the early nominating states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.