Part of the fun of watching the inauguration of our 44th president is thinking about who the 45th president will be.
And a lot of that action, as it has in the past, will take place here in New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary, probably sooner than you think.
Each presidential campaign cycle seems to start earlier and earlier.
Once the 44th president -- Barack Obama -- settles into his second term of office after his ceremonial inauguration today, you’ll start hearing about and reading about visits to the Granite State by politicians to the who are clearly testing their legs for a presidential marathon.
Clues are already beginning to emerge in what will be a wide open race among Democrats and Republicans.
If Joe Biden decides that he wants to upgrade his public service job from vice president to president, he’ll have the backing of Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Biden’s was one of the first congratulatory phone calls that Hassan received on election night back in November.
And Hassan was one of a handful of people invited to Biden’s private swearing-in held on Monday in the foyer of his home on the campus of the Naval Observatory
The big shoe -- or heel -- that’s waiting to drop, of course, is the decision of Hillary Clinton, now exiting stage left from four years as Secretary of State.
She has time and again that she isn’t interested in running for president, but that could change over time and if it does she’ll have the backing of Jeanne Shaheen and her husband Bill.
During Campaign 2008 Shaheen was running for the U.S. Senate, but Bill Shaheen served as Clinton’s New Hampshire co-chair as the former First Lady was running for the Democratic primary for president.
Shaheen herself in advance of the 2016 campaign will either still be an incumbent senator, or she will have lost her seat, which comes up for election in 2014.
Among Republicans, particularly here in New Hampshire, all eyes are on Kelly Ayotte, the state’s GOP junior U.S. senator.
She, like Hillary Clinton, continues to fend off speculation about a presidential run for 2016.
Yet, the speculation persists.
She achieved some national prominence for being on a short-list of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential possibilities.
She continues to have a national role for the GOP, and therefore continues to come up when Republican names are tossed about for 2016.
She was included most recently in a list prepared by the Christian Science Monitor.
Those are some of the many examples of the local ties that could play a big role in the presidential primary come 2016.
We’ve only just begun to speculate.
Paul Briand is an editor for the Live Free or Die Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages the discussion and analysis of New Hampshire politics and policies.