What Inquiring Minds Want to Know About the 2016 Presidential Field

These are the key questions about the next presidential race.

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(Left) Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul speaks with reporters at the 114th annual VFW National Convention on Monday, July 22, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (Right) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Clinton Global Initiative America's meeting Friday, June 14, 2013, in Chicago, Ill.
Paul doubled down on his critique of Christie following a Nashville fundraising event over the weekend.

How did you spend your summer vacation?

While the president vacations on Martha's Vineyard, the 2016 presidential wannabes summer in Iowa. Vice President Joe Biden will soon be there to roast pigs with Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Potential Republican candidates Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christine will soon be there to roast each other.

You can never predict what might happen in a presidential campaign. Back in 2007, the conventional wisdom was that John McCain could not win the GOP nod and that Hillary Clinton couldn't lose the Democratic one. So much for the CW.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

In that spirit, it's a better time to ask questions about the 2016 presidential contest than it is to answer them. Inquiring minds want to know:

Will Hillary Clinton run? She has burnished .his credentials with a successful stint as secretary of state. But does she want get back into the grind after a very difficult campaign in 2008?

Who will reprise Barack Obama's role from 2008 and be the Democratic anti-establishment candidate will who run against Hillary Clinton and Washington powerbrokers? Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland?

Will a Latino Democrat step up to the plate to take advantage of the growing influence of Latinos in the party? Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic convention, will also be at Harkin's bacon barbeque in September. Barack Obama, of course, was the keynoter at the 2004 Democratic convention.

Will Rand Paul and Ted Cruz lead the GOP and the eventual nominee even further to the right? To win the GOP caucuses in Iowa, the Republican candidates will alienate moderate voters in order to kowtow to extremists like Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.. Mitt Romney's attempts to woo the tea party extremists in the spring of 2008 killed his chances of winning in the fall. Will the same thing happen in 2016?

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

Can the Republican Party unite in the fall of 2016 after a divisive nomination campaign? In a recent interview with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Channel, Paul described Christie as a "big government person." Or did the senator really mean that Christie was a big person in government? Paul went on to say that if Christie was the 2016 Republican nominee for president, "I couldn't endorse our candidate".

Will the Boston Red Sox hang on to get in the AL playoffs after the miserable season they had last year? How did that question get in there, anyway?

For the answers to these and other questions, make sure you keep up with the Thomas Jefferson Street Blog and my blog. The answers may surprise you and the pundits, pollsters and prognosticators in Washington.

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