Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is heading back to Iowa.

In a move sure to stoke further buzz that the 2012 Republican nominee for vice president has not completely ruled out a bid for the presidency in 2016, Ryan will headline the Iowa Republican Party's annual Lincoln Dinner on April 11.

"As our party's nominee in 2012, Paul Ryan brought a tremendous amount of new energy to our ticket," said Iowa Republican Party Chairman A.J. Spiker. "As a congressman he's created a conversation about the budget that most in Washington are unwilling to have, and he's a proven leader armed with solutions to expand opportunity for all Americans."

The dinner is a favorite event for Republicans hoping to make political inroads in a state key to winning the party's nomination for president. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has made no secret he is mulling a run for the White House, headlined the event last year.

Ryan's interest in running for president is less certain. He is no doubt popular in Iowa: He was the featured guest at Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's birthday bash in November, and a December Des Moines Register poll showed Ryan leading the potential Republican field for president.

But Ryan, currently the House Budget Committee chairman, is expected to take the reins of the influential Ways and Means Committee when Rep. Dave Camp's term in that role expires.



The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for House Democrats, named 16 candidates to its "Red To Blue" program, which identifies districts in which Democrats have a high chance of winning a seat from a Republican.

“There’s no question — these candidates are on the side of average Americans, and they've shown throughout their careers that they’ll work together to help make the middle class more financially secure and solve our problems — the exact antidote to the flawed priorities of this broken Republican Congress,” said Rep. Steve Israel, the DCCC chairman.

But were every one of those candidates to win, it wouldn't be enough to take back the House. Democrats need to win 17 seats to gain a majority — a target that appears out of reach in a political climate increasingly favorable to Republicans.

Indeed, Democrats appear to recognize the challenges presented in this midterm election year, and they have publicly tried to manage expectations.

Israel, though, said in an interview that "it's too early to tell" whether a 17-seat pick-up is out of reach.

In addition to its Red to Blue candidates, the DCCC also put three districts without candidates in the program, and another 16 districts to the second tier of competitiveness.

The first round of Red to Blue candidates hail from districts in thirteen states.



The National Republican Senatorial Committee wants you to know Steve Daines, the Republican candidate for Senate in Montana and one of the party's most promising recruits in a high-stakes midterm election year.

“He’s always outside,” Daines’ mother says in a new “behind-the-scenes documentary” produced by the NRSC that is neither behind-the-scenes nor a documentary, technically speaking.

The committee hopes the film — which profiles six Republicans, runs 45 minutes and took more than two months to produce — will show a lighter, positive side of its candidates before Democratic attacks begin in earnest.

“This is our effort to start defining our candidates early and show who they really are,” said NRSC spokesperson Brad Dayspring.

And the NRSC is defining its candidates early with a relentlessly positive, humanizing tone, attempting to avoid some of the pitfalls of former party candidates, such as Mitt Romney, who voters thought to be cold or detached.

The NRSC plans to use the film at house parties nationwide, or show candidate-specific snippets at campaign events.

Viewers are treated to Images of a young Daines fishing and hunting, highlighting his love for the outdoors and Montana.

Other segments feature Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu; former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, running for an open seat; and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.