The Note: Joe Biden in the On-Deck Circle

Hillary Clinton is losing steam in a new national poll this morning.


--CLINTON LOSING STEAM IN NEW NATIONAL POLL: On the heels of the Democratic National Committee summer meeting in Minneapolis today, a new Quinnipiac poll out this morning shows Hillary Clinton clocking in a 45 percent, her lowest number in a national poll during this election cycle, ABC's RYAN STRUYK reports. The new poll also shows that only 34 percent of voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy, while six in 10 say she is not. Still, the former secretary of state holds a broad 23-point lead over Bernie Sanders.

--BIDEN WAITS IN THE ON-DECK CIRCLE: Vice President Joe Biden, who is testing the waters on a 2016 run but isn't jumping in, earned the highest favorability rating of any 2016 candidate in today's new Quinnipiac poll. Despite not being in the race, Biden garnered 18 percent support from Democratic voters, likely fueling more buzz around his potential candidacy among top Democrats and in the media. But the Vice President will be on minds in Minneapolis today: he held a conference call with DNC members on Iran yesterday.

--TRUMP'S SUPPORT HITS NEW HIGH: On the Republican side, Donald Trump's lead has stretched to its widest of the election cycle, pulling ahead of the field by 16 points in today's new poll, ABC's RYAN STRUYK reports. The real estate mogul's 28 percent support is his best of the primary season, followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 12 percent and Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tied at 7 percent. With Clinton sinking and Trump ticking higher, could we be approaching the day when Donald Trump's lead is wider than Hillary Clinton's?

--CLINTON ON EMAILS: 'I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY': On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton took slightly more responsibility for using a private email server yesterday, but stopped short of a full apology, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and CECILIA VEGA report. At a press conference in Ankeny, Iowa, she said, "it clearly wasn't the best choice. I should have used two emails. One personal, one for work, and I take responsibility for that decision and I want to be as transparent as possible."

--CLINTON ON GUN VIOLENCE AFTER VIRGINIA SHOOTING: Hillary Clinton seemed to get emotional when speaking about the shooting of the two journalists in Virginia yesterday, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and ALANA ABRAMSON report. She said she was "stricken" and feels "great heartache" about what happened. She added: "I will also reiterate we have got to do something about gun violence, and I will take it on."

ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: There were no jokes but there were some notes consulted when Hillary Clinton gave her latest -- and most contrite -- explanation for the email mess that's threatened to gobble up her campaign. "I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible," she said about her choice of intermingling public and private correspondence on the now-famous privately held server. The contrition comes amid new signs of the toll the story has taken on her campaign: A new Quinnipiac poll finds fewer voters viewing her as honest and trustworthy than think the same of Donald Trump. And Vice President Joe Biden has moved from backstage to the wings. According to associates of Vice President Joe Biden, the public and private signals from the White House have been pure encouragement -- a suggestion, at least to some, that there's disappointment and even resentment about how the Clinton campaign has progressed these last few months. That same poll shows Biden running as strong or stronger against major Republican candidates. It also asked respondents to offer the first word that comes into mind when they hear Clinton's name. The top three? "Liar," "dishonest," and "untrustworthy."


Donald Trump is back on the trail today with a morning event and possible press conference in South Carolina. Hillary Clinton is still on her break from vacation, today campaigning in the general election swing state of Ohio. She attends a grassroots "organizing meeting" at 10 am. Joe Biden spends his day behind closed doors today. Yesterday, he held a conference call with DNC members. The topic was lobbying for the Iran deal, but when asked about a possible run he said, " If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up."



WHAT JOE BIDEN TELLS TOP DEMOCRATS WHEN HE THINKS NO REPORTERS ARE LISTENING. On a conference call with top Democrats ahead of the party's summer meeting, Vice President Joe Biden said that he is still undecided about a run for the White House in 2016 and closely consulting with his family on the decision, sources familiar with the session told ABC News. "If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up," he said. Biden has been grief-stricken since the end of May over the death of his son, Beau, due to cancer, but has also been quietly stepping up calls to gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy. Biden is expected to finalize his decision in the next six weeks. The Biden conference call Wednesday was hosted by the Democratic National Committee and billed as a chance for him to deliver the administration's case for the Iran nuclear deal, ABC's CECILIA VEGA, ARLETTE SAENZ and DEVIN DWYER report.

CLINTON INTERRUPTS VACATION TO CAMPAIGN IN IOWA. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton left her Hamptons vacation to get back on the campaign trail and be in that critical state of Iowa, according to ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, CECILIA VEGA and ALANA ABRAMSON. At a presser in Ankeny, Clinton fielded questions about Vice President Joe Biden and his potential run for president. "I mean Joe has had more terrible events than most people can even contemplate. Losing his first wife, losing his first daughter, now losing his son. I think everybody should-- he has to do what he has to do, but I'm just going to continue with my campaign," Clinton said. "I'm going to do what I believe I should be doing and he will have to decide what he should be doing."

DONALD TRUMP TO HOLD MEETING WITH RELIGIOUS LEADERS. Trump is expected to host a meeting of religious leaders September 28. Sources within the Trump campaign say this private meeting is not affiliated with the campaign, ABC's JOHN SANTUCCI reports. "I was privy to meet Mr. Trump and I immediately liked him," said Pastor Darrell Scott of the New Spirit Revival Center, who plans to attend the meeting and met Trump several years ago. "I liked his style, his bravado, his charisma and for lack of a better word his honesty." Dr. Scott, who has led his Cleveland based church for 22 years, says he reached out to Trump after he announced his candidacy asking for this type of meeting and offered to help round up religious leaders from around the country. "There will be Evangelical leaders, Pentecostal, there will be some Rabbis -- it's going to be a melting pot. Black, white and Hispanic representation as well," said Scott.

'TIME IS RUNNING OUT': WHAT STATE PARTY CHAIRS ARE SAYING ABOUT A JOE BIDEN 2016 RUN. What will Joe do? It's the question on Democrats' minds as Democratic National Committee members gather in Minneapolis for their summer meeting. Vice President Biden won't be speaking at the gathering, although the announced candidates -- including Hillary Clinton -- are all slated to address members. Biden did speak with DNC members Wednesday, lobbying Democrats on the Iran deal on a conference call. It was a call on policy, but it also meant Biden was at the top of members' minds right before the meeting kicked off. When ABC News reached out to state party chairs across the country, most who plan to attend the meeting, we spoke with 12 who mostly agreed that while there is room for a Biden candidacy, he is running out of time. ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE has more.

2016: WE NEED MORE HEALING, NOT MORE DIVISION. There is an old Cherokee Native American legend about the two wolves that feels once again apropos for today's conversation in our country, and the emergence of the Summer of Trump, MATTHEW DOWD writes in his latest column. As I survey our country's politics and communications, I increasingly worry that candidates and others are feeding the bad wolf within -- within themselves, ourselves and the body of the country. Instead of attempting healing and uniting us in one common vision, some leaders are exacerbating the divisions and distrust. MORE:


@RonBrownstein: A reminder that the presidential politics of #guncontrol could be very different than the Congressional politics

@QuinnipiacPoll: #election2016 Biden Runs Better Than Clinton Against Top Reps; Trump GOP Lead Grows As Clinton Dem Lead Shrinks

@SerenaMarshall: Amazing... @WDBJ7 set up this spread for the reporters covering the tragic shooting. @ABC

@KTumulty: In five days, political reporters will lose the "well, it's August..." rationale to explain what's going on in the 2016 race.

@ArletteSaenz: "Time is running out" for Joe Biden's decision on 2016, Dem state party chairs tell @shushwalshe