A fast 2014 start on presidential prep

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WASHINGTON (AP) - This is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who are considering running for president in 2016.

You could see them stirring in 2013 as they plugged holes in resumes, took preliminary steps to build potential campaign organizations and made carefully calibrated moves to get better known by Americans generally and key constituencies in particular.

Most, but not all, are ticking off items on what could be called the presidential prep checklist. And they’ve got baggage to deal with.

The pace has quickened since The Associated Press last took a broad look at who’s doing what to advance their high ambitions.

The main players: For the Democrats, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. For the Republicans: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

An updated look at the field in motion:

NONDENIAL DENIAL: Cagey words that cloak presidential ambitions, none too convincingly.

Democrats

Biden: “Oh, we’ll talk about that.” In November 2013, when asked about running.

Clinton: “I haven’t made up my mind. I really have not. I will look carefully at what I think I can do and make that decision sometime next year.” - ABC, December 2013.

Cuomo: Concerning a presidential poll suggesting New Yorkers prefer Christie to him: “It said Chris Christie has better numbers for president than I do. Yeah, because he’s running for president, and I am not.” (Poll came out before Christie’s traffic tie-up flap)

O'Malley: “By the end of this year (2013), we’re on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of the candidacy for 2016.”

Republicans

Bush: “There’s a time to make a decision. You shouldn’t make it too early, you shouldn’t make it too late. There’s a time. There’s a window. And this is not the time for me. This is the time to show a little self-restraint.”

Christie: “I am not going to declare tonight … that I am or I’m not running for president. I won’t make those decisions until I have to.” - October 2013.

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