O Canada! Potential 2016ers Head North

Now is the time for ambitious pols to be looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election — nevermind that the midterms are barely in the rearview mirror. The desire to hold the nation’s top office has several would-be candidates flocking to an unlikely destination: Canada.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie flies to Calgary on Thursday before making stops in Toronto and Ottawa on Friday. The trip is being billed as a trade mission in which the Republican will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and it comes just three months after the Garden State governor urged that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline “be done today.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, announced earlier this week that she would be headlining  two events on Jan. 21 — one in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and another in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, sponsored by mega bank CIBC. Notably, Clinton has been skewered by both Democrats and Republicans alike for not taking a firm position on Keystone.

“For someone like Christie, foreign affairs isn’t in his wheelhouse, so it’s a winning issue for him,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, adding that Congress would want to bring up Keystone immediately early next year when it has a majority in the Senate. The pipeline is something “all Republicans can rally around. It’s not something that divides Republicans like immigration reform.”

Read more from Aliyah Frumin at MSNBC.com

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Analysis & Political Strategy