Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told The Washington Post in an interview Friday that she is “seriously interested” in running for the White House in 2016.

“You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested,” Palin said, when asked to clarify her thinking about a possible presidential bid…

Palin said, “It is a significant step, of course, for anyone to publicly announce that they’re interested. Who wouldn’t be interested? Who wouldn’t be interested when they have been blessed with opportunities to speak about what is important to this country and for this country?”

Former Massachusetts Gov. and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead over other potential 2016 Republican contenders in a new poll.

Mr. Romney is at 24 percent in the Rasmussen poll that asked likely Republican voters to pick who they would vote for if the 2016 GOP presidential primary were being held in their state today from a group of eight possible contenders. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was next at 13 percent, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 12 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 11 percent.

“The next president of the United States needs to be someone that has a clear view of what’s happening in the world, a clear strategic vision of America’s role in it, and a clear tactical plan for how to engage America in global affairs,” [Marco Rubio] said to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. “And I think for governors, that’s going to be a challenge initially because they don’t deal with foreign policy on a daily basis.”

The country’s national security, he said, is the “central obligation of the federal government.” It was a subtle dig at his fellow establishment Republicans, two of whom happen to be former governors: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rubio’s Florida colleague, former Gov. Jeb Bush, who are each openly considering a 2016 bid. And it set the tone for how Rubio will attempt to frame a presidential campaign…

“I’ve certainly been very engaged in political and national security and foreign policy debates,” he said, noting that he’s been involved not only because it’s important, but because he enjoys it. “And I feel very comfortable discussing and debating that with any of the potential candidates or anyone else who might want to discuss it.”

“If I do run, I’ll be myself and we’ll see how Iowans like that,” Christie told reporters last week while in Iowa for Gov. Terry Branstad’s inauguration…

Christie’s big Iowa debut came the next year, when he headlined a fundraiser for Branstad that drew 800 people and netted $400,000 in the closing weeks of Branstad’s comeback campaign for governor…

Those efforts have won Christie the loyalty of some influential Branstad staff, including former chief of staff Jeff Boeyink, who set up meetings between Christie and Republican lawmakers and county GOP leaders last week.

“Republicans are not going to win a national election unless voters have an emotional attachment to our candidate,” said Boeyink, who would be expected to play a key role in Iowa for Christie. “Chris Christie has that ability.”

Bush signaled he would offer the country the “adult conversations” he said are lacking in Washington and would focus on people who have been left out of the economic revival.

“Sixty percent of Americans believe that we’re still in a recession,” Bush said. “They’re not dumb. It’s because they are in a recession. They’re frustrated, and they see a small portion of the population on the economy’s up escalator. Portfolios are strong, but paychecks are weak. Millions of Americans want to move forward in their lives — they want to rise — but they’re losing hope.”

Bush was sharply critical of Washington — not only of President Obama but also of the Republican-controlled Congress — saying there were too many “academic and political hacks” with “hard-core ideology” who are running the country without making progress.

“They’re basically Maytag repairmen,” he said. “Nothing gets done.” Bush added, “It is time to challenge every aspect of how government works — how it taxes, how it regulates, how it spends — to open up economic opportunity for all.”

Walker isn’t as well-known some other potential Republicans who might run, but his team is busy articulating to donors how they think he could be formidable should he enter the race.

Here’s their thinking: With the number of Republicans likely to run in 2016, candidates will likely be viewed as part of one of three camps: the establishment (Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie); social conservatives (Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum); and grassroots (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul).

While most candidates will likely fit into one of those lanes, Walker supporters argue he is popular in all three. The argument goes that the establishment loves how Walker has won three statewide races in four years in a purple state and was a proven fundraiser in all those contests; social conservatives love that Walker, whose father was a Baptist preacher, is a credible voice on their issues; and tea partiers love that he’s fought tough battles and won them.

At the center of Paul’s rebuttal was an effort to reconcile his libertarian ideology, which stress smaller government, fewer taxes, and fewer international entanglements, with concerns over growing economic disparities in the United States and mounting international turmoil.

Alongside attacking the Affordable Care Act, for example, Paul also stressed that he does not intend to cut the social safety net. While saying he stands behind a “stronger, better” military, he suggested cutting the Pentagon’s “civilian bureaucracy” in Washington…

Notably, Paul repeatedly jabbed his colleagues in Congress, calling for term limits on all members and accusing the legislative body – which he called “a privileged class”— of exempting itself from the laws it passes. Throughout the speech he turned his criticism back to Congress, stressing that he is a Washington outsider who remains out of step with the political establishment.

“I’ve only been in office a short time, but one thing I’ve discovered is that there’s no monopoly on knowledge in Washington,” he said. “We have set up a privileged class in Washington and Americans are sick and tired of it.

Mr. Carson is such a newcomer to Republican politics that he hasn’t voted in a GOP primary in decades, having registered as an independent and with a third party. But his team is setting high goals for 2016. The campaign’s chief executive, Terry Giles, a Houston attorney who is also a newcomer to political campaigns, said he aims to raise $100 million to $150 million for the first four primary states—an unlikely figure for a candidate who doesn’t have a network of big donors and who aides say dislikes making fundraising calls himself.

Mr. Giles said the campaign aims to carry 55% of the popular vote in November 2016. “You’ve got to be double digits for it to be a mandate,” he said…

Mr. Giles discounted Mr. Carson’s lack of political experience and said the better credentials were his life experience—growing up poor in Detroit and becoming a world-renowned neurosurgeon, known for leading a team of 70 who in 1987 separated twins joined at the head. That, he said, was better preparation for the White House than the résumés of potential GOP primary competitors such as Mr. Bush.

“Maybe what we have been doing in America is voting for the wrong model of leadership,” Mr. Giles said. “Eight years of being governor of Florida, is that a greater experience than being Ben Carson and all that he’s accomplished?”

3. Foreign policy has become as important as social issues, and that means people will listen to John Bolton. One simple sentence explains the new prominence of foreign policy in the race: It’s a dangerous world. With the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Paris attacks, the troubling resilience of terror networks, worrisome developments in Russia, the challenge of China — when all of those are combined with the sense that the Obama administration either doesn’t know what is doing or is badly misguided, or even worse, Iowa conservatives have become deeply concerned about foreign policy. Then remember that the governors who are running have no foreign policy experience, and the senators are all recent arrivals on the national stage. Who knows enough about the world today to address those problems? Enter John Bolton, the former Bush administration United Nations ambassador who is deeply versed in foreign affairs…

9. Rick Perry will get another chance, but it will be a very narrow one. How could the former Texas governor ever come back after his gaffe-ridden 2012 campaign? It’s likely that most observers, if asked in 2013, would have said no one could recover from that. But Perry has worked hard to present himself as a different man this time around, one who has taken the time to study the issues. The problem is, even if he does better, Perry will have an incredibly slim margin of error. The first gaffe and it will be “Oops” all over again…

12. You know what Bobby Jindal said about Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe, a statement that resulted in Jindal being criticized and mocked by mainstream commentators? It turns out many social conservatives in Iowa really liked it. To them, Jindal was warning about the danger of enclaves of unassimilated Muslim populations in an age of Islamic radicalism, a problem they fear could be in store for the United States. Jindal, who is himself the model of an assimilated American from an immigrant family, not only did not suffer from his remarks but instead benefited from them.

On the GOP side, it really is a free-for-all. Don’t count on Jeb’s money and establishment connections to win over skeptical GOP voters. And, while Mitt can count on “buyer’s remorse” to gain sympathy and respect from the base, buyer’s remorse isn’t a message. Christie’s negatives among the base look like a gap that is simply too big to, um, bridge. The three Senators seem the most awkwardly positioned. They are part of DC at a time when DC is more dysfunctional than ever. That leaves the Governors. None are super dynamic, and none have much name ID. Even so, it’s a lot easier to build name ID than to try and fix already hardened negative perceptions about oneself. Moreover, one would rather be accused of being “boring” than being on the wrong side of key issues (like Jeb on Common Core, Paul on military issues, or Rubio on immigration). At the end of the day, the key will be endurance. The nomination will depend on which candidate has the discipline, the stamina and the ability to avoid getting caught in political land-mines, saying or doing stupid things, while still remaining appealing.