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Rand Paul rises, Jeb Bush jockeys: a big week for possible 2016 contenders (+video)

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The 2016 presidential race may be a long way off – but, as NBC's First Read notes, there was a striking amount of maneuvering among potential candidates this past week. While Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky probably "won" the week with his now-famous filibuster, he wasn't the only one who may have helped himself in the run-up to the 2016 campaign.

Here's a look at some of the possible contenders jockeying for position, and how they may have scrambled the race:

Rand Paul 

The junior senator from Kentucky set the rest of the field on notice that he is a force to be reckoned with by staging an old-fashioned talking filibuster, protesting the Obama administration's drone policy. Critics called it a political "stunt," but as stunts go, this one clearly worked. On a snow day when little else was going on, the unexpected spectacle of a legislator embracing physical discomfort to make a point drew unabashed praise from partisans on both the right and the left, and it put Senator Paul squarely in the media spotlight.

He earned a piece in Thursday's Politico saying that he was now in "the top tier of Republican power players" – and Paul himself "confidently" acknowledged that he was seriously considering a White House run.


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