2016 campaign checklist: Perry

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Associated Press

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 3:06 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A look at Texas Gov. Rick Perry's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "Second chances are what America has always been about." ABC's "This Week," November 2013. Says he'll decide in coming year.

Book: Not since 2010.

Iowa: Yes, returned in November for first time since last campaign, audience of 400 in Des Moines, and met governor and lieutenant governor.

New Hampshire: No.

South Carolina: Yes, spoke to state GOP in December 2013. Also visited in August to raise money for Haley's re-election campaign. This is the state where he announced his presidential campaign, in August 2011, and where he ended his campaign, in January 2012, two days before its primary.

Foreign travel: Yes, recently back from Israel, latest of several trips there. Photo op with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met Cabinet members, also stopped in London to see British officials and financial leaders.

Meet the money: Has proven a highly effective fundraiser as America's longest-sitting governor, both from grassroots activists and mainstream Republicans. Has led many job-poaching missions in big states with Democratic governors and met privately during those trips with donors in California and New York.

Networking: Spoke at Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2013 as well as its regional meeting in St. Louis in September. Addressed conservative activists at a RedState Gathering in New Orleans in August, mistakenly saying he was in Florida. Spoke at National Federation of the Grand Order of Pachyderm Clubs, a Republican network, in San Antonio. Job-rob tour in various states helps make connections.

Hog the TV: Might be picking up pace. Only a few Sunday talk show appearances since the election. Debated President Barack Obama's health care law with Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., on "Crossfire" in September 2013.

Do something: "Texas Miracle" job-creation boom has seen state create a third of the net new jobs nationwide over last decade, although Texas has disproportionately high percentage of hourly workers earning minimum wage or less. Helped muscle through new abortion restrictions. Challenged a top Democrat on the abortion issue by asking her, what if her mother had aborted her?

Take a stand: A prominent voice on conservative issues since before the birth of the tea party. Wants to ban all abortion in Texas, relax environmental regulations, boost states' rights; opposes gay marriage. Predicts "sticker shock will be felt on every level" from health care law in 2014.

Baggage: "Oops!" Memories of his stumbling 2012 campaign, a quick progression from a front-runner to flameout.

Deflection: He's got a more serious, mature look with dark-framed eyeglasses donned in August 2013 and more touches of gray for the man dubbed "Governor Good Hair." He followed up his "oops" brain freeze in a November 2011 debate, when he forgot the name of a federal department he wanted to close — the Energy Department — by poking fun at himself: "I'm glad I had my boots on tonight because I sure stepped in it out there."

Shadow campaign: Created a political action committee, Americans for Economic Freedom, in fall 2013 to raise his profile again, help him test the waters and broadcast ads promoting Republican leadership around the country. The group, using more than $200,000 left over from the PAC that raised millions for his 2012 campaign, was formed with Jeff Miller, a former chief financial officer for the California Republican Party, as CEO. Board members include Marc Rodriguez, chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a fellow Texan, St. Louis beer baron August Busch III, economist Art Laffer and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose 2012 White House campaign Perry endorsed upon giving up his own presidential bid. The new PAC and private marketing fund Texas One paid for his October trip to Britain and Israel.

Social media: Active. One popular tweet was accidental — from his pocket, he said — and consisted of "I." Followers jumped in to complete his sentence. One offered: "I ... really like Obamacare." (He doesn't.) Facebook appears staff-generated. Calls himself a presidential candidate, apparently a leftover from last campaign.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ 2014 is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who might run for president in 2016. There's plenty to do, and the pace has quickened since The Associated Press last took a broad look at preparations for a potential campaign. Here's a look at one prospective candidate.

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