The Note: The Debate Stage Is Set


--WHO'S ON THE STAGE: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. And the stage order will be as follows: Christie, Rubio, Carson, Walker, Trump, Bush, Huckabee, Cruz, Paul, Kasich (facing the stage from left to right).

--WHO'S MISSING: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore. These seven candidates will participate in a separate, one-hour forum at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

--THE SECRET SAUCE: Fox News told the candidates that they would choose the top ten candidates based on an average of the five most recent national polls by major news organizations. Fox used the following polls in their analysis: CBS News on 8/4; Bloomberg on 8/4; Fox News on 8/3; Monmouth University on 8/3; Quinnipiac on 7/30.

--DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT 2016? Meet the presidential candidates in a minute. Collect all 22!

--WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING: "Our field is the biggest and most diverse of any party in history and I am glad to see that every one of those extremely qualified candidates will have the opportunity to participate on Thursday evening," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. "Republicans across the country will be able to choose which candidate has earned their support after hearing them talk through the issues. Democrats will have to take Hillary Clinton's word that she deserves to be their nominee. While the RNC is moving forward with our sanctioned debate schedule, the DNC has yet to even announce when they will put her onstage."

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: As Republicans prepare for their debate, it's clear that Hillary Clinton is already involved in hers -- or, at least, the one she wants to be having. While GOPers tangle with each other, she is choosing to debate Republicans rather than her fellow Democrats. Not just any Republican, either (though she'd gladly take on Donald Trump when given the opening): Twice in the past week she's gone out of her way to engage Jeb Bush directly on the campaign trail. Tuesday's swift attack, on Twitter and later at a campaign event, engaged Bush on a quote where he later said he "misspoke," when he said as an aside in a riff on Planned Parenthood, "I'm not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women's health issues." That's in Clinton's campaign wheelhouse, of course. The broader point, though, is that she's looking for pitching on that part of the plate, so long as it's served up by a Republican. Any day Clinton can have herself running against an opponent, not just compared against herself, is a win in that campaign's scorebook. It's actually a dynamic that fuels the theory that a Joe Biden candidacy is good for Clinton. For now, though, she's happy to swing at the easiest Republican pitching she can find.

HAPPENING TONIGHT: The global law firm Jones Day, in partnership with the Washington Post, will be hosting a 2016 discussion, moderated by Chuck Todd with participation from the Post's Dan Balz, Karen Tumulty, Peter Hamby from SnapChat and a health care discussion with Mike Carvin, who argued the ACA cases and Ben Ginsburg. The event, being held at the Cleveland office of Jones Day, is open media; those interested in attending the event can contact Joe Brettell at Event Link and Webcast:


AHEAD OF FIRST GOP PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DEBATE, FWD.US LAUNCHES TWO NEW INTERACTIVE TOOLS. The advocacy group founded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg devoted to immigration reform debuted two new online interactive tools -- the GOP Future Project and Presidential Candidate Tracker -- today. The tools, according to the group, are "to help inform and empower reform supporters who are closely following continued efforts around the passage of immigration reform legislation." The 'Presidential Candidate Tracker' is a list of every 2016 candidate with his or her latest statements or comments on immigration reform, which will be regularly updated. The 'GOP Future Project' is a map of changing trends in demographics over time and allows the user to adjust GOP vote share among these demographics.



HILLARY CLINTON AND JEB BUSH CLASH OVER WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES. An off-hand remark Jeb Bush made yesterday afternoon on the funding of women's health issues has Hillary Clinton fuming, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ notes. "Just today we got another window into what Republican candidates really believe. Jeb Bush said he's not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues," Clinton said last night during an organizing event in Denver, Colorado. "Now, he's got no problem giving billions of dollars away to super wealthy and powerful corporations, but I guess women's health just isn't a priority for him." Clinton's remark came just hours after Bush's unscripted gaffe, where he said, "I'm not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women's health issues," during a discussion on Planned Parenthood. Bush later released a statement on his website acknowledging he "misspoke," but Clinton's campaign was quick to jump on the remark.

TRUMP ON GOP DEBATE: 'I'D LIKE IT TO BE VERY CIVIL'. Though Donald Trump has so far released the private cell phone number of one of his competitors and been criticized by others for his harsh tone on the campaign trail, the real estate mogul says he wants this debate to remain "civil," according to ABC's KATIE KINDELAN. "I don't want to attack anybody and maybe I'll be attacked and maybe not," Trump said today in a phone interview on "Good Morning America." "I'd rather just discuss the issues." "If I'm attacked I have to, you know, do something back, but I'd like it to be very civil," he said.

NOTED: TRUMP TURNS HIS CELLPHONE VOICEMAIL INTO A CAMPAIGN AD. Trump has turned the tables on Gawker. After the online site released one of Donald Trump's cellphone numbers, the GOP presidential candidate changed his voicemail Tuesday morning, ABC's JOHN SANTUCCI reports. "Hi, this is Donald Trump and I'm running for the presidency of the United States of America," he says on the recording. "With your help and support, together we can make America truly great again!" Hear Trump's full voicemail:

TED CRUZ TALKS ABOUT HIS 'TAKE THE HIGH ROAD' DEBATE STRATEGY: In a radio interview last night with Eric Erickson, presidential candidate Ted Cruz was asked if there was one candidate in particular he wanted to go toe to toe with. Cruz said he isn't planning to attack other candidates and is hoping for a "substantive, policy-based" debate. "There will be some candidates there who come to the stage looking to tear down other candidates. That is not going to be my approach. My approach has consistently been to take the high road, to follow Reagan's 11th Commandment, so I do not intend to speak ill of, to impugn the character, integrity of any of the Republican candidates."

JOE BIDEN GETS PRAISE, NO ENDORSEMENTS FROM SENATE DEMOCRATS. If Vice President Joe Biden runs for president, as people close to him have suggested he's thinking of doing, he might not pick up much support from members of the Senate, some of whom he worked with there -- at least not right away. Many Senate Democrats are already declared supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and some just skirted the question altogether when asked, simply responding that they are fans of Biden personally, according to ABC's ALI WEINBERG. "I love Vice President Biden, he is so good at so many things," Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, a Clinton supporter, said. "I love Joe Biden! I'm not going to go there," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said.


WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA DID FOR HIS BIRTHDAY. President Obama dined at Capitol Hill restaurant Rose's Luxury for his 54th birthday last night, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. The popular Washington, DC restaurant doesn't take reservations. Presumably, they made an exception for President Obama. (Either that or a White House staffer stood in line for hours to secure the president's table.) According to pool reports, the president's entourage included the first lady, Valerie Jarrett, his half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her husband Konrad, as well as niece Leslie Robinson.


@GoogleTrends: Fun fact: the 10 #GOPDebate main candidates are also the 10 top searched on @Google in the last week

@aebrandenburger: Jeb 2016 Store is live - including Guaca Bowle & My Dad t-shirt. Check it out:

@FoxNews: .@MichaelCohen212 on #GOPDebate: "@realDonaldTrump's been preparing for this basically his whole life." #Hannity

@alicetweet: So much for @GovMikeHuckabee secret trip to the @rock_hall in Cleveland Thurs. - he just mentioned on @megynkelly File #GOPDebate

@JFKucinich: Hillary Clinton's Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush #hedgingthebets