— -- NOTABLES
--PAUL RYAN IS WILLING TO BE SPEAKER BUT...: Rep. Paul Ryan said that he's willing to run for the House speakership, replacing Rep. John Boehner, if he garners the support of three key Republican groups, ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL reports. Ryan has given the Republican Study Committee, the Freedom Caucus and a moderate group until Friday to voice their support. The Wisconsin Republican, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had been pressured by members to consider a bid after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the race to take over from Boehner several weeks ago. http://abcn.ws/1W4hT01
--BIDENWATCH: Vice President Biden has no public events scheduled for today. He'll be meeting in the morning with President Obama for the daily briefing and will meet with his senior advisors in the afternoon, ABC's ALEX MALLIN notes.
--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: "My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up," the reluctant almost-candidate said, "of someday having my own kids ask me, when the stakes were so high, 'Why didn't you do all you could?'" That was Paul Ryan Tuesday night, outlining why he's prepared to possibly run for House speaker. But he could just as easily been quoting Joe Biden's inner monologue, as he prepares to possibly run for president. It's an extraordinarily coincidence of timing that has Ryan and Biden -- two former foes who squared off for No. 2 three years ago -- publicly contemplating roles as potential party saviors. The vice president is not stepping up just yet, yet sounding very much like a man who can't walk away. The congressman is claiming he's poised to do just that, even while stepping back squarely into the arena. Ryan is making an argument that he can rescue the Republican Party, though only via his own path forward -- a bold statement meant to call out his rivals. Biden is building an argument where only he can salvage the Democratic Party, his rivals notwithstanding. Both men are citing family in motivations and hesitations. But the most important discussions are clearly going on inside their heads at this moment. Ryan and Biden are separated by a quarter century of age and miles of ideology. Both, though, are concerned about futures that are dimmer than their pasts.
--CLINTON CAMPAIGN FLEXES MUSCLE AHEAD OF POSSIBLE BIDEN RUN: Joe Biden has yet to make a decision about jumping into the 2016 presidential race, but Hillary Clinton already seems to be running against him. Tuesday, Clinton's campaign blasted out a press release boasting that 50 African-American mayors from across the country would be endorsing her for president today. While Clinton's campaign didn't "cc" the Vice President on the email, it might as well have. ABC'S LIZ KREUTZ reports, the announcement -- which included the endorsements of more than 25 mayors from South Carolina, a state where Biden would likely hope to make gains -- is just the latest move by the Clinton campaign to flex its muscles and tout its strength in the face of Biden's indecision. http://abcn.ws/1knc78O
DONALD TRUMP SAYS JEB BUSH 'EMBARRASSED BY WHAT'S HAPPENING'. Front-runner Donald Trump says that fellow GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush keeps attacking him because the former Florida governor is "embarrassed" that he has failed to gain traction on the campaign trail and in the polls, ABC's MATTHEW CLAIBORNE reports. "Well, look, Jeb has had a very hard time," Trump said via telephone on "Good Morning America" today. "He's way down in the polls. He's doing very poorly. He's embarrassed by what's happening. So he has to attack me to try to get his numbers up. "The last thing we need is another Bush. We've seen what happens. The last thing we need is another Bush and he understands that and the voters understand that." http://abcn.ws/1QSkbsp
POLLING NOTE: TRUMP LEADS IN EXPECTATIONS, SHOWS STRENGTH ON ATTRIBUTES. Donald Trump leads the Republican presidential field in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, not only in vote preferences but in expectations as well -- a remarkable feat for the non-politician who's surprised the GOP establishment with his staying power as well as his support, ABC's JULIE PHELAN notes. Trump has leveled off with backing from 32 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote, easily enough to retain his frontrunner status. Fellow outsider Ben Carson follows with 22 percent, also flat this month after sharp summertime gains. Notably, even more leaned Republicans -- 42 percent -- say they expect Trump to win the GOP nomination for president. And given a list of six potential nominees, 43 percent pick Trump as having the best chance to win the general election just more than a year from now. FULL RESULTS: http://abcn.ws/1ZUaGiH
--TRUMP ALSO FARES WELL ON MANY KEY ATTRIBUTES: Nearly half of leaned Republicans -- 47 percent -- view him as the strongest leader; 39 percent think he'd be best able to handle immigration; 32 percent feel he is closest to them on the issues; and 29 percent say he "best understands the problems of people like you." In each case he leads the other top-five contenders for the nomination, Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. http://abcn.ws/1ZUaGiH
--TRUMP HAS WEAKNESSES NONETHELESS: More view Carson as the most honest and trustworthy (33 percent vs. 21 percent for Trump), and Trump trails Bush in having the best experience (31 vs. 23 percent). While 19 percent say Trump has the best personality and temperament to serve effectively as president, that compares with a similar 24 percent for Carson. http://abcn.ws/1ZUaGiH
TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Donald Trump has a rally this evening in Burlington, Iowa. Jeb Bush is in Nevada participating in a Western policy roundtable in Reno this afternoon. Tonight, he attends and participates in the LIBRE Initiative's LIBRE Forum in North Las Vegas. The LIBRE Initiative is a Hispanic group backed by the Koch Brothers. Ben Carson is still on his book tour and not campaigning. He will stop this afternoon in Edmond, Oklahoma. Chris Christie is also in Iowa. This afternoon he holds a town hall in Newton and this evening he will be in Des Moines for a Republican Party of Polk County Meet and Greet. Carly Fiorina is in Florida this evening speaking at a Reagan Day Dinner in Spring Hill. Martin O'Malley is in Washington, DC tonight where he attends the Civic Tech Pitch Competition and New Leadership Reception.
WHAT MIKE HUCKABEE IS SAYING ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY:
@bgittleson: Huckabee this week criticized GOPers proposing cuts to social security benefits. On Friday, he called out Kasich. WATCH: http://bit.ly/1PA0PuQ
@bgittleson: Huckabee this week criticized GOPers on social security. Last week, he called proposed cuts "an absolute absurdity." WATCH: http://bit.ly/1MDYNnk
with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ
JIM WEBB WITHDRAWS FROM 2016 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FIGHT. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said he is "stepping aside" Tuesday from the Democratic presidential race, leaving the door open to an independent bid for the White House. "I'm withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic party's nominee for the presidency," he said. Instead, the former Republican said he would discuss the possibility of an independent run for president -- which is significantly more difficult and requires significant funding -- during the "next couple of weeks." He said he understands the "histories of independent candidacies." "We'll just have to see what happens next," he said, ABC's RYAN STRUYK and MARYALICE PARKS reports. http://abcn.ws/1XhCFGT
WHAT HAPPENED 5 OTHER TIMES JOE BIDEN WAS DECIDING WHETHER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. The political world may have reached a fever pitch ahead of Vice President Joe Biden's decision as to whether to seek the White House in 2016. But for Biden, this is not new territory. At 72, it may be the last time Biden will have to decide whether or not to run for president. But as a man who has spent the majority of his life in public service dreaming of one day occupying the Oval Office, it is a decision he has deliberated at least a handful of times before now. ABC's JORDYN PHELPS takes a look back at the two previous times that Biden did seek the White House and the other three other instances when he considered the prospect before deciding against it. http://abcn.ws/1PEN7Wo
MARTIN O'MALLEY HINTS AT 'BAD BLOOD' WITH HILLARY CLINTON. Martin O'Malley appears to have a message for Hillary Clinton: It used to be mad love, but now they've got bad blood. On ABC's "The View" Tuesday, the Democratic presidential candidate took a page out of Taylor Swift's songbook, performing her hit "Bad Blood." The song is purportedly about friend-turned-foe Katy Perry, also a Hillary Clinton supporter. "Katy Perry, I'm told, is doing like a benefit concert for one of my opponents in Iowa," O'Malley, 52, said of Perry's planned rally for Clinton. "So, in response, I thought I would offer this up for Taylor Swift." ABC's ALI DUKAKIS has more. http://abcn.ws/1jRSoh3
JOE BIDEN CLAIMS HE PRIVATELY SUPPORTED BIN LADEN RAID, YEARS AFTER SAYING HE OPPOSED. As he inches closer to deciding whether he'll enter the 2016 race, Vice President Joe Biden provided new details Tuesday on the deliberations over the Osama bin Laden raid, seemingly revising his position on one of the most important decisions of the Obama administration. Speaking at a forum honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale, Biden said he privately advised the president to go forward with the 2011 raid, a decision he previously has said he opposed, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ and ALEXANDER MALLIN report. During the forum, Biden recounted the national security meeting the president held to decide whether to conduct the raid. In that meeting, Biden had suggested more surveillance was needed before a raid was launched, but Tuesday Biden said he told the president privately that he supported the raid after the meeting concluded. http://abcn.ws/1kmAfZc
HOW KIM DAVIS, DAVID VITTER'S VICES AND A BIG-RIG TRUCKER COULD STEER THE 2016 CONVERSATION. It may feel like the 2016 race to the White House has sucked all the oxygen out of politics. But the living, breathing state of smaller-scale politics is on full display in three governor's races that have seen lively debates over immigration and gay rights, the scope of the federal government and the role of Confederate history in modern America. Some of the same themes that have helped frame national conversations will appear on state ballots in coming weeks, with Louisiana casting a first round of votes Oct. 24, followed by Nov. 3 elections in Kentucky and Mississippi. Will Bobby Jindal bashing and a tough stance on immigration play well with the Louisiana electorate? Do Kentucky voters see Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis as a symbol of religious liberty or a scofflaw who violated same-sex couples' legal right to marry? ABC's JOHN KRUZEL has more on everything you need to know in 2015 politics. http://abcn.ws/1LJ4YtI
GEORGE W. BUSH REPORTEDLY SAYS OF TED CRUZ: I 'DON'T LIKE THE GUY.' When Ted Cruz worked on George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, Bush affectionately gave Cruz the nickname of "Theodore" because the young Texan was so serious. Now, President Bush has reportedly referred to Cruz as a guy he doesn't like. Politico first reported Monday that President Bush told donors supporting his brother Jeb that Cruz gets under his skin and will be formidable competitor in Texas and the south. "I just don't like the guy," Bush told donors according to Politico. ABC's JESSICA HOPPER and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE have more. http://abcn.ws/1LIWwuu
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
5 NEW HAMPSHIRE DINERS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES NEED TO VISIT TO WIN THE STATE'S PRIMARY. In 1992, New Hampshire handed a victory to a struggling Bill Clinton. Well, it wasn't a victory, exactly. He finished second. But it was a surprisingly good finish for a struggling governor from Arkansas -- so good that Clinton declared himself "The Comeback Kid." The nickname stuck as he surged into the White House. In Manchester, people credit his victory to his love of retail politics: handshake after handshake, meal after meal, in places like the Red Arrow Diner, one of the many eateries presidential candidates need to practically live in if they want to win. But what diners can turn presidential contenders into winners? ABC's BRAD MIELKE has more. http://abcn.ws/1LB2Ssk
@KSoltisAnderson: Trump will end when voters get bored or when HE gets bored. With another act always on deck, does either seem likely soon?
@MelindaDC: My story on the Princeton professor who's advising half of the Republican field: http://bloom.bg/1NTRLk6