Next presidential Election Day
It's a time to get to know donors, to get the public to know you on TV and social media, to visit big primary states, network with the activists and ideologues, produce a vanity book, polish a record, deflect personal baggage, take a stand, develop a world view and scout for advisers and political organizations that can power up a campaign team.
All this, for the season of harvest to come. And all while sounding coy about running.
Here's a look at the hoops that people interested in the presidency must generally jump through to prepare for a campaign - whether they end up running or not - and who's doing what.
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; and for the Republicans, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
The non-denial denial: "I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America. But it doesn't mean I won't run." GQ interview, July.
Book: Not lately. Could be time for a sequel to "Promises to Keep" from `07.
Iowa: Yes, in 2012 campaign. Schmoozed with Iowa power-brokers during 2013 inauguration week in Washington. (Poor Iowa caucuses showing knocked him out of the 2008 presidential race.)
South Carolina: Yes. Headlined annual fundraising dinner in May for South Carolina Democratic Party, a speculation-stoker in big primary state. Appeared at prominent South Carolina Dem Rep. James Clyburn's annual fish-fry. Spent Easter weekend this year with wife at South Carolina's Kiawah Island, near Charleston. Vacationed there for a week in 2009 as well.
Foreign travel: You bet. Frequent foreign travel and plenty of foreign policy experience by former chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Countless trips to Iraq and Afghanistan during President Barack Obama's first term. Already been to India, Singapore, Rome, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Colombia in second term.
Networking: And how. Cozied up to key players during inauguration week, including reception for activists from New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina among other states; dropped into the Iowa ball, met environmental and Hispanic activists. Also, keynote speech at Michigan Democratic Party dinner. Making calls for House Democrats' campaign organization, assisting in recruitment of candidates to run next year. Speech to South Carolina Dems. Raising money for Democrats. Campaigned for new Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. Speaks regularly to special interests. One week in May: Monday, spoke to religious leaders at the White House; Tuesday, voting rights talk with African Americans; Wednesday; immigration talk with Asian Americans; Thursday meeting with firefighters about Boston bombing. And on the fifth day, he rested.
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What day is the presidential election next month?
The United States presidential election of 2012 will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It will be the 57th quadrennial presidential election. The winner is based on who wins 270 of the possible 538 Electoral College votes.