A Walker-Rubio ticket?

The "Inside Politics" forecast
The "Inside Politics" forecast

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The "Inside Politics" forecast 04:25

Story highlights

  • O'Malley using YouTube to test out attack lines
  • How Clinton's new hire could help keep the Obama coalition together
  • Republican concerns about the new 2016 primary calendar

Washington (CNN)Early Clinton campaign calculations, the favored way for one of her opponents to channel his concerns, a GOP ticket for the generations, and Republican calendar concerns filled our Sunday trip around the "Inside Politics" table.

1. Watch the volume as O'Malley uses YouTube to test Clinton pokes
Slowly but clearly, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is intensifying his criticism of overwhelming Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.
    How aggressive will he get? Stay tuned -- literally.
    CNN's Jeff Zeleny says O'Malley enjoys using YouTube videos as a quick way to spread his opinion -- and question moves by Clinton, like her reversal on the question of whether she supports allowing undocumented workers to obtain driver's licenses.
    "Every time Hillary Clinton sort of adjusts her positioning from '08 to '16 -- her statement on the drivers' licenses that we discussed and other things -- Martin O'Malley has been releasing a YouTube video showing a speech where he has done something different, so watch for that to continue," said Zeleny.
    "Those YouTube videos on his channel will be a key part of the race --the liberals love them."
    2. The "Obama Factor": Clinton finds a lot to love, and some distance
    Hillary Clinton is a big fan of President Obama's health care law, but not so much of a booster when it comes to his presidential leadership style.
    The Obama-Clinton dynamic
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    So reports AP's Lisa Lerer, who was in Iowa this past week for the Clinton campaign rollout, and who analyzes one of the most fascinating balancing acts for the onetime Obama 2008 rival who, of course, went on to serve loyally as his secretary of state.
    "She embraced key portions of his legacy -- coming out strong for the health care law, for his push for immigration legislation -- but it wasn't all sunshine and light," said Lerer. "She also took subtle digs at his leadership style— she said America was on the wrong track-- I can't believe I'm saying this but at times she sounded almost like a Republican."
    3. In big policy choice, Clinton signals an important campaign focus
    In Democratic politics, Kamala is the Harris sister who gets the most national buzz. But Maya Harris is about to play a big role in the question of how Hillary Clinton plots her path to 270 electoral votes.
    Kamala Harris is the California attorney general and a 2016 Senate candidate, for the seat being vacated by Democrat Barbara Boxer.
    Maya Harris just signed on for a top policy role in the Clinton campaign -- and CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson reports it is a hiring with a clear message.
    "One clue, I think, is Maya Harris," said Henderson. "Her resume is really a liberal's dream. She has worked at the Center for American Progress, ACLU, she's also done work on community policing and police reforming, and she also has a very interesting paper that looks at the importance of women of color to the electorate."
    "So I think this hire is going to be really interesting in what it means for the kind of policy initiatives that Hillary Clinton rolls out and the sort of appeals she makes to women of color, who are so crucial to getting the Obama coalition back together again."
    4. Walker-Rubio? Rubio-Walker? A general contrast with some GOP buzz
    Marco Rubio drew a direct generational contrast with Hillary Clinton when he officially joined the GOP 2106 race, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also often talks of his hope Republicans will look for a next-generation leader as their next presidential nominee.
    A Walker-Rubio ticket?
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    A Walker-Rubio ticket? 00:46
    In political circles -- meaning among junkies and strategists -- there is constant debate about potential tickets -- at this stage of the process a hypothetical and then some because neither man has been tested on the trail.
    But Jonathan Martin of The New York Times says his recent travels suggest the talk about a Walker-Rubio pairing is not limited to inside the Beltway chatter.
    "They both would offer that kind of generational dynamic in the same way that Clinton and Gore did ... in 1992," said Martin.
    "But what's interesting is, in New Hampshire over the weekend, I was there for the big cattle call of all the candidates, for the first time from an actual activist -- not an operative but an activist -- I heard somebody float the idea of a Walker-Rubio race in 2016."
    5. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and then?
    Heading into the 2016 cycle, the Republican National Committee used its muscle to make some changes to the presidential nominating process, including fewer sanctioned debates and a primary calendar that was less front-loaded.
    Now, some big GOP establishment figures are worried the changes could help candidates who make the establishment cringe -- especially Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
    Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina keep their traditional slots at the front end of the calendar.
    Florida is usually the next big contest, but it could be eclipsed by -- sports fans will get this -- what is becoming known as the "SEC primary."
    It is important to note the exact calendar is still a work in progress.
    But what worries the establishment is the likelihood of a Super Tuesday -- or maybe back-to-back Tuesdays -- in early March that include a number of conservative Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, maybe Louisiana.
    The shift is one reason former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee thinks the 2016 environment could be more favorable to him than 2008. Ditto for Rick Santorum. They did well in the South, but it didn't matter much because John McCain and Mitt Romney, respectively, were well on their way to the nomination by the time those bruises were inflicted.
    Again, there might yet be more changes. But more and more leading establishment figures are grumbling changes designed with the best of intentions might end up hurting their favorites -- people like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio -- and helping those with strong evangelical connections -- like Huckabee and Cruz.