CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.
1. GOP donors look to Walker, Rubio: Iowa, of course, remains the first official stop in the presidential nominating process. But there was an early GOP trial of sorts over the last several days in Las Vegas, and the buzz out of the meeting is a telling snapshot of the early – very early – state of play.
The Republican Jewish Coalition meeting drew a handful of GOP prospects and while the host, GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, got most of the attention, the gathering featured many important Republican fundraisers and activists.
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Chris Christie had many fans and potential backers on hand, but reports from those at the meeting also indicated significant worries about the toll of Bridgegate. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also made a strong impression. But he is exploring, not committed to, a 2016 run, so even those inclined to support Bush were careful to think about a Plan B.
Word from the scene was that Scott Walker and Marco Rubio were getting a fair amount of buzz from those looking for a horse, especially in the event Bush doesn’t run and Christie is considered too weakened.
2. McConnell saving cash to counter potential outside group attack: Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell won’t have trouble raising money if he needs it for his re-election bid. And he is neck and neck in polls with Democrat Alison Lundgren Grimes. So you might expect a McConnell ad barrage against the Democrat.
But McConnell, even though comfortably ahead at the moment, also faces a tea party primary challenge from Matt Bevin.
So Manu Raju of Politico reports McConnell is marshaling his resources, in part because “they are worried about outside groups coming in and attacking McConnell ahead of that May primary.”
3. Christie's comeback strategy: Two women deliberately picked for interviews: Politico’s Maggie Haberman shared word from Chris Christie’s inner circle that perhaps his new media offensive did not go as planned.
For starters, Maggie is told Team Christie deliberately picked two women: Diane Sawyer of ABC and Megyn Kelly of FOX.
“The idea was to go for a softer tone because they believed that they knew they were going to get heat “ for the Christie-commissioned report that said he knew nothing in advance about the George Washington Bridge lane closings.
“They felt it was important to get him back on the media bike essentially and let him just get back to normal,” Haberman told us. But Christie also had a press conference, and was at times combative. “A lot of his allies were caught by surprise at the confrontational tone,” Haberman said.
4. Democrats in the "chickens with their heads cut off stage": The Atlantic’s Molly Ball shared insights on the Democrats’ “chickens with their heads cut off stage.”
In her words assessing “the level of Democratic panic. There is a lot of 2010 déjà vu going around. They just lost a special election, they even got Scott Brown back to torment them. So there is a question about is this going to be 2010 all over again and if so how do they deal with it.”
5. Biden's week courting the base with an eye to 2016?: When the boss is away, the understudy tends to the base – perhaps with an idea of a campaign to come.
That was the gist of what Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev shared with us, noting Vice President Biden’s busy week courting Democratic constituencies while President Obama was overseas this past week.
Among his stops: a gay rights gala in Los Angeles, a job training event in New Hampshire, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington.
A tweet from Biden’s office about his jobs training event in the state that happens to hold the first primary in the presidential race: