e-book The 2012 Presidential Voters Guide: President Barack Obama vs. Governor Mitt Romney

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Meet the money: Yes, very friendly with major donors nationwide as former head of the Republican Governors Association, and has strong contacts with both grass-roots activists and mainstream GOP donors from his years in office. Also has led many job-poaching missions in big states with Democratic governors and met privately during those trips with key donors, especially in New York and California.

Networking: Yes, spoke at the past two Conservative Political Action Conferences, as well as its regional meeting in St. Louis in September.

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Job-rob tour in various states helped make connections. Hog the TV: Raising his profile lately, making several national TV appearances while starring in a flood of media spots in California designed to persuade businesses based there to move to Texas. Previously, though, not much. Only a few Sunday talk show appearances since election, including one in February with three other governors.

Helped muscle new abortion restrictions into law last summer. Challenged the Democratic candidate to replace him as governor, state Sen. Wendy Davis, on the abortion issue by asking, what if her mother had aborted her?

Take a stand: A prominent voice on conservative issues since before the birth of the tea party. Shadow campaign: Created a political action committee, Americans for Economic Freedom, in to raise his profile again, help him test the waters and broadcast ads promoting Republican governors around the country. Board members include Marc Rodriguez, chairman of the U.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a fellow Texan, St.

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Social media: Active. Facebook appears staff-generated. Calls himself now simply a politician, though he was still listed on Facebook as a presidential candidate long after he left the race. Iowa visits: Yes, just days after election, but largely holding off on a new wave of trips to early voting states until later this year.

New Hampshire: Making his first appearance of the season, in May, at county Republican dinner. Multiple appearances before election. South Carolina: Yes. Stay tuned for more. Meet the money: Yes, aggressive national fundraising outreach, including trips to New York and California to meet potential donors. Also attended a fundraising strategy meeting at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters in Washington with well-connected lobbyists and Mitt Romney bundlers from election. Among top fundraisers in early field in campaign and leadership political action committees.

Networking: Yes, conservative and party activists, focused in part on repairing tea party relationships strained over immigration. Well-received speech to Conservative Political Action Conference in March, though he lagged in the symbolic straw poll. S Senate in Arkansas. Delivered keynote address at fundraiser for the Florida Family Policy Council, an evangelical group that led the successful effort to ban gay marriage in the state. In late November, delivered foreign policy speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute before going to London.

Hog the TV: Staying on par with most rivals in Sunday news show appearances.

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Blanketed all five Sunday shows one day in April , before he dropped the subject of immigration; made several other appearances since. Frequent guest on news networks. Worked with anti-abortion groups on Senate version of bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Early leader in so-far futile effort to starve federal health care law of money. Take a stand: A initiative on poverty that calls for replacing the earned income tax credit with a federal wage supplement for workers in certain low-paying jobs.

Also, consolidate anti-poverty federal money into a single agency that would transfer the money to states.

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Advocate tea party fiscal conservatism and repeal of the health care law. Recent focus on foreign policy and education, too. Deflection: Self-deprecating jokes about it. Thin resume for presidency, but others — Obama included — have powered through that problem. Bush shadow: unclear if he would run should his mentor, former Florida Gov.

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    Will begin more aggressive travel to early voting states starting in May. Social media: Aggressive, with large followings, appears to make personal use of Twitter more than staff-generated Facebook. Takes lots of shots at the health law. Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan. New Hampshire: Yes, headlined Manchester fundraiser in February for former House colleague, Frank Guinta, who is trying to win back the seat he lost in Middle East travel during congressional career, visited troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Place on ticket gives Ryan a leg up on money matters. Networking: Yes, prime networker as vice presidential candidate, addressed Conservative Political Action Conference in March, the Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting and more. Helping fellow House Republicans raise money. Hog the TV: Many Sunday news show appearances since election. Occasional guest on network news.

    Do something: Republican broker of the bipartisan budget deal in December that averted a potential government shutdown in early and scaled back across-the-board spending cuts. The deal draws a contrast between Ryan and potential rivals who oppose it. A budget-hawk record to be judged on. May be emerging as influential moderate on immigration. Take a stand: Cutting spending, taking on entitlements. Anti-poverty initiative has also become a focus, taking him to poor precincts and producing detailed report on the poor that could be precursor to legislation.

    Pushing for immigration overhaul, largely behind the scenes. Baggage: On one hand, budget pain.

    Michigan (16 Electoral Votes)

    Critics are sure to dust off ads from presidential campaign blasting the sharp cuts that Ryan advocated for Medicare and other programs. But this is catnip to GOP conservatives. On the other hand, his December bipartisan budget deal risks trouble with the tea party. Still carries stigma of national ticket loss in Immigration position rankles some conservatives. Social media: Aggressive, with large following. King of Facebook among potential rivals in both parties.

    Commanding presence on Twitter, too, via an account associated with his political action committee and another as congressman. Iowa visits: Yes, recent visit with strategists and media. Also, August speech to conservative Christians in state where he won the caucuses. Illness kept him away from an event last April by Faith and Freedom Coalition. Screened his new Christmas movie in Iowa in November. New Hampshire: Yes, March speech to Northeast Republican Leadership Conference marked his return to a state where he performed weakly in campaign. Campaigned in April for former Gov.

    Sanford won. Networking: Opened with Texas speech to conservative think tank and followed with speech to Conservative Political Action Conference criticizing GOP establishment. Speeches around the country. Screened it for other like-minded groups. Hog the TV: Yes, largely in pursuit of plugging his Christmas movie. Radio, too. Teamed up with Democrat Howard Dean as sparring partners for debates on the air and with audiences. Occasional Sunday news shows.

    Do something: Making Christian-themed, family-friendly movies at the moment; has record from Senate days. Disabilities Treaty. Social conservative activism goes way back. Focus on blue-collar economic opportunity.