5 Stories You'll Care About in Politics This Week

From Clinton's campaign to foreign policy hot spots.

ByABC News
April 12, 2015, 4:27 AM

— -- As Hillary Clinton and Sen. Marco Rubio inch closer to their presidential campaigns, President Obama awaits Congress on two big foreign policy gambits.

Here's a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:

1. Hello, Hillary

The suspense is gone. But there's no minimizing this, even if it's only a tweet that gets it all started. Hillary Clinton is set to begin try No. 2 in her campaign for the White House.

We're led to believe she'll be humbler, chastened, and different -- yet unbelievably heavily favored all the same.

The roll-out is expected to be a slow one, starting with social media and a video -- not that that's been tried before. Then will come early-state visits, with team Clinton rejecting big campaign rallies for smaller, intimate settings, at least in the early going.

Plans, of course, can be disrupted: Clinton is set to jump in as new questions emerge regarding foreign donations to her family's foundation, and she still hasn't set a date to talk e-mails with the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.

2. Big Target

Hillary Clinton's entry into the race will open a new 2016 chapter that many will rush to write.

It will unleash the anti-Hillary forces, which have hardly been bashful to date in staking out strong stances against almost anything she's ever done. Before we even get to the Republicans, we start with the Democrats.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is now considering a presidential run, leading with talk of Clinton's perceived shortcomings.

On the Republican side, PACs and candidates will vie for position as the sharpest anti-Hillary voices; Clinton's vulnerabilities were already a theme of Sen. Rand Paul's launch. By the end of the week, a multi-candidate GOP forum in New Hampshire could be an audition for the best Clinton-themed one-liners.

3. Marco's Mark

It's either great luck or terrible timing that has Sen. Marco Rubio getting his big moment on Monday at just about the same time Hillary Clinton dominates the news cycle.

But if anyone can meet the challenge it might be Rubio, the dynamic freshman Florida senator who's set to position himself as representing a new generation of leaders for a Republican Party desperate to widen its presidential-year appeal. That means positioning not just against Clinton but her fellow 60-something Jeb Bush, who happens to be one of Rubio's political mentors.

Rubio has stronger foreign-policy credentials than many of his rivals and a position on immigration that will take some explaining to the GOP base.

4. Christie Comeback?

Forget bridges -- if that's possible for the moment. Will Chris Christie play on the road?

The Christie comeback would run through New Hampshire, where he'll arrive Tuesday for a few days of the kinds of town-hall meetings he's made famous back in New Jersey. Anything can happen in those settings, of course -- and what Christie is likely hoping is that he can answer questions about where he's been with a few strong exchanges with voters.

He's also hoping that long-expected (and long-delayed) possible indictments of former close associates don't interfere with his campaign messaging, with reports swirling that prosecutors are wrapping up their Bridgegate probe.

In any event, Christie needs to get back into the political conversation sooner rather than later.

5. Hot Spots

Two of President Obama's biggest foreign-policy gambits are coming to critical junctures as Congress returns from a two-week break.

Communications between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro are heating up, along with the push to remove Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

On Iran, a key Senate committee is set to consider a bill that would give Congress an oversight role in any nuclear deal -- with the promise of more congressional involvement in the near future.

The president has arguably made more progress in his relationship with the Cubans and the Iranians than he has with Republicans in Congress. Those facts will be on display during this legacy-building phase of Obama's second term.