Instead of a public show, Christie met in private with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, one of the GOP's top strategists and a potential kingmaker in 2016.
To be sure, other would-be candidates are eyeing the next presidential race, and it's far too early to draft an exhaustive list of potential contenders. For instance, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is keeping his network of supporters in Iowa engaged. And Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has returned to his job in Congress while his allies work to make sure he doesn't preclude a presidential bid.
Such behind-the-scenes efforts are in stark contrast to Rubio, the 41-year-old, first-term senator from Florida, who is making a post-Election Day trip to Iowa this weekend. Ostensibly, the purpose of Rubio's trip is to attend Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's birthday party.
"It's going to be a great event," Branstad said with a wide grin.
The political importance is not lost on anyone, given that Iowa hosts the first presidential caucuses.
"Come to Iowa," Branstad urged, "early and often."
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