"I think that's reflected in both our travel and some of the staffing decisions that we've made," he told the AP. "We — if in fact I make that final decision on a run — want those elements to be in place."
One of those elements is moving his top spokesman, Alex Conant, this week from his Senate office to his political action committee. Conant served as a spokesman for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's short-lived 2012 GOP presidential campaign and has spent the last few years as Rubio's lead Senate spokesman.
That move comes after he spent the last several days wooing conservatives, first at the annual meetings of the Conservative Political Action Committee, where he delivered a brief but stirring defense of American exceptionalism. Over the weekend, he spoke at meetings of the Club for Growth in Palm Beach and earned a strong response for a confident speech on foreign affairs.
Rubio will be stuck in Washington most of this week tending to his day job. He's expected to unveil a new tax reform plan alongside Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a key conservative policy leader who usually aligns himself with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), another potential presidential aspirant, on major legislative or tactical moves in the Senate.
This weekend, Rubio will make appearances at two other critical events for conservatives: an American Enterprise Institute meeting at Sea Island, Ga. and the first annual "Ag Summit" to be held in Des Moines. Both events will draw other GOP presidential wannabes.
While he seeks to distinguish himself by speaking out primarily on foreign policy, Rubio faces the prospect of overcoming comparisons to one of his political godfathers, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is also expected to run for president. Bush has spent much of the last two months scooping up millions of dollars in donations for his PACs, much of it in Florida, where longtime politics operatives and observers say most of the Republican establishment is steering towards Bush.
But Rubio aides insist that the senator will be competitive financially, and will be able to tap a national donor network he began building during his insurgent 2010 campaign for his Senate seat. Much of his fundraising effort is led by Wayne Berman, who was finance chairman for the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
In a recent interview, Berman said that while Republicans are expected to draw several qualified candidates to run for president, he believes Rubio represents "a fresh face, the next generation."
"I wanted to be helpful to someone who I thought could help the party turn the generational page," he added.
In its report on Monday, the AP had mentioned former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) as a leading Rubio donor, but he denied those reports. "I am enthusiastically supporting Governor Jeb Bush," he said in a statement. Paxon said he met with Bush last month in Washington and expressed his full support for the former governor.
Dallas-based investor George Seay has been mentioned as another possible backer, according to people familiar with the senator's plans
Rubio is also staffing up. In addition to Conant, he has Terry Sullivan and Todd Harris as top political advisers. Sullivan was spotted alongside Rubio during much of his recent tour to promote a new book, "American Dreams." In New Hampshire, Rubio has recruited Jim Merrill, a veteran GOP operative who previously worked for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign.