Bush's brain, Karl Rove, flexed his muscle and showed off a cool party trick at Thursday's Atlantic's Ideas Forum. Not only does Rove have a good idea of who in the Republican Party is contemplating a 2016 White House run, he can name them all in one swoop by where they live. "I'm going to do it geographically, east to west: Christie, Rubio, Bush, Paul, Kasich, Snyder, Walker, Jindal, Perry, Cruz," Rove said. "I'd do it alphabetically, but I think in terms of maps, not letters."
For those who need a minute to play catch up, he's talking about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. In the middle of the list are two Midwestern governors, not normally mentioned in presidential discussions -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. (You could also argue that Kasich should be listed before Paul, as parts of Ohio are located further east than Kentucky, but that's neither here nor there.) Rove concluded his list with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and the two Texans, Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz. (Also noteworthy, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was not on Rove's list.)
"Every one of them's got a certain skill set now, they're about ready to be stretched," Rove said, explaining that how the White House wannabes behave in 2014, running up to the midterms, will be key to see who's ready for the presidency. "[D]o they do things in 2014 that cause people to say, 'You know what, this is about something bigger than their personal ambitions?'" Rove said. "These may sound like simple things, but they are really tough tests to pass."