The 2012 election just concluded about nine months ago. But the 2016 presidential campaign season is already gearing up. This might be welcome news to campaign junkies, but for the rest of America, it all seems to be happening too soon.
With President Obama unable to run again in three-and-a-half years, the field of candidates on both sides is sure to be large. Heck, you might even be considering running. Here are six signs that you're considering running for president.
You're Going to Iowa
It's only been 82 weeks since the 2012 Iowa caucuses, the first presidential nominating contest in the country. And the 2016 caucuses are just under two-and-a-half years away.
But like your annoying neighbor who never seems to go away, presidential hopefuls think now is just the right time to head back to the Hawkeye State.
Rand Paul rang the doorbell in the middle of the football game. Bobby Jindal tracked in mud from the yard. Ted Cruz is raiding the closet for the pretzels.
Well, at least Cory Booker couldn't make it … this time.
Deny that you're interested in running for president, sort of
Every presidential hopeful is like the Miguel Cabrera of non-denial denials. They knock it out of the park every time.
Ted Cruz: "We are having a national debate about which direction the country should go…and what I am doing now is trying to participate in that national debate. I'm not focused on the politics…the last office I was elected to was student council. So this has been a bit of a whirlwind."
Andrew Cuomo: "Not at all."
Hillary Clinton: "I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again. I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before."
Joe Biden: "I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America … But it doesn't mean I won't run."
Rick Perry: "The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership – today I am announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas. I'll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path.
Rand Paul: "I'm not going to deny that I'm interested."
Dude, Rand, you're not supposed to say that. You're running for president!
You're locking horns with another presidential contender
Rand Paul and Chris Christie are staking out positions as standard bearers of the libertarian and establishment wings of the GOP, respectively. And they're not doing much to hide their disdain for one another.
From their views on national security to Hurricane Sandy relief, it's clear that Paul and Christie don't really agree on much. They've been yapping back and forth for over a week now.
It's gotten so bad that Paul is calling the New Jersey governor the "King of Bacon." (It was about discretionary spending, get your mind out of the gutter).
But, guys, it's only 2013 and all the talking is bound to get old. Remember, our founding fathers settled things the OG way.
You sit through "friendly" meals
For the past five years, President Obama and Hillary Clinton have put the past aside and been total BFFs.
And now that Hillary is thinking about running for president again, they're doing everything they can to put that friendship on display. I mean, just look at this photo from their lunch on Monday. Best friends.
The political implications (and the fact that the meal was closed to the press) fueled media speculation. So, the White House released the menu (grilled chicken and pasta jambalaya, in case you were wondering) and a spokesman reiterated that this was just a friendly meeting, nothing more.
"It's largely friendship that's on the agenda for the lunch today," deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Noticing a theme?
But this double serving of friendship left Joe Biden, who's considering presidential a run himself, in a bit of an awkward position. So Hillary met the vice president for breakfast on Wednesday.
I heard they went to Friendly's.
You've got a PAC on your side
It's way too early for potential candidates to form their actual campaigns, but many of them already have political action committees working on their behalf.
In most cases, these loosely affiliated groups raise money, promote a candidate's policy agenda and endorse friendly political candidates. They come in different shapes and sizes, from leadership PACs to super PACs.
But mostly, we just like gawking at the names. There's the eponymous RAND PAC, Ted Cruz's über-obvious Jobs, Growth, and Freedom Fund, Marco Rubio's blandly patriotic Reclaim America PAC. And don't forget the Ready for Hillary PAC, because who among us isn't ready for Hillary?
You've been arrested on gun charges
We in the media spend way too much time covering the major party candidates. What about the lesser, third-party candidates?
One who's been in the news recently is anti-government activist Adam Kokesh. He was arrested earlier this month after posting a video of himself holding an apparently loaded shotgun in downtown Washington, D.C. on July 4th, according to reports.
Kokesh says that he's going to run for president on a platform of abolishing the U.S. government. But you'll have to wait until 2020 to get a glimpse of him on the campaign trail.