--WHAT WE'RE READING -- WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTS BIDEN LEANING TOWARD 2016 RUN: From the Journal's Carol E. Lee and Reid J. Epstein: "Vice President Joe Biden, who has long been considering a presidential bid, is increasingly leaning toward entering the race if it is still possible he can knit together a competitive campaign at this late date, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Biden still could opt to sit out the 2016 race, and he is weighing multiple political, financial and family considerations before making a final decision. But conversations about the possibility were a prominent feature of an August stay in South Carolina and his home in Delaware last week, these people said. A surprise weekend trip to Washington to meet with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), a darling of the party's liberal wing, represented a pivot from potential to likely candidate, one Biden supporter said. 'The vice president has not made a decision about his political future,' Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said. 'Anyone speculating that he has made a decision is wrong.'" http://on.wsj.com/1KeNSU7 ABC's JON KARL had more on the speculation swirling around Biden on "Good Morning America." WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1NvPdrI
--HAPPENING TODAY: Biden meets with President Obama for lunch at the White House.
--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: Agita does not necessarily mean an opening. That's an important distinction to Vice President Joe Biden, as he considers a run that would inject high drama and countless new storylines into what was supposed to be a march dictated by inevitability for Hillary Clinton. We know Biden would bring name recognition, deep experience, and a zeal for running that couldn't be matched. We also know that he's 0-2 in presidential races already, and that his own worst enemy tends to speak for himself -- literally. There may be no moment that's more favorable to a potential Biden candidacy than this one, with Clinton's email controversy interrupting the summer only by the utterings of Donald Trump. That's different, though, than a grassroots yearning for Biden. When it comes down to it, he's neither generationally nor ideologically all that distinct from Clinton. That means the differences would have to come in tone (check) and, pretty quickly, where he seeks out divisions. Biden is not a natural intra-party attacker, and that could very well be what it takes to defeat the frontrunner.
--IN THE NOTE'S INBOX -- BIDEN TAPS NEW COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR. A release from the vice president's office: "The Vice President announced today that Kate Bedingfield will serve as his Communications Director, starting Monday. She succeeds Shailagh Murray, who was appointed Senior Advisor to President Obama. Bedingfield comes to the Vice President's office from Motion Picture Association of America, where she was the Vice President of Corporate Communications. 'Kate is a talented individual who brings a range of communications experience to the team,' Vice President Biden said. 'She will be a key advisor to me, a terrific asset to our office, and an important member of the entire White House organization.'"
TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Hillary Clinton is on vacation today in the Hamptons, but we will see her leave her tony Amagansett rental later in the week for events, including stops in Iowa. Donald Trump is also off the trail. He will return to Iowa tomorrow. Jeb Bush is in McAllen, Texas today where he will be discussing border security, according to his campaign. His ongoing war of words with Trump included Bush's use of the controversial term "anchor babies" in heated exchanges with the press. His son, George P. Bush, said his father will tone down that highly charged rhetoric on immigration, according to an interview he gave the Spanish-language magazine La Opinion. The other candidates on the trail today are mostly in the early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. In South Carolina today on the GOP side, several candidates will attend Rep. Jeff Duncan's 5th Annual Faith & Freedom BBQ in Anderson. Ben Carson, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz will all attend.
with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
BILL RICHARDSON ENDORSES HILLARY CLINTON. Former Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he will support former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in her bid for the presidency in an exclusive statement to ABC News. "I have spoken to President and Secretary Clinton and we have patched up our disagreement from the 2008 election. I am pleased to announce I wholeheartedly support Secretary Clinton's candidacy for the Presidency. Her leadership on issues like foreign policy, immigration, climate change and economic populism are important to the future of the country," the statement read. Richardson, who served in the administration of former president Bill Clinton, gave his endorsement to then Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign cycle. http://abcn.ws/1JDSSmq
--EXCLUSIVE -- WHAT CLINTON IS SAYING: "I thank Governor Bill Richardson for his endorsement," Clinton said in a statement. "For more than three decades, Bill has worked doggedly to make our country and our world more equal, safe, and free. Through his many years of public service, Bill has been a good friend to me and an unerring friend to the American people. I am grateful for his trust and his support."
MARTIN O'MALLEY ON BIDEN RUN: WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE ANOTHER 'LIFELONG' DEMOCRAT. Responding to reports that Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering entering the 2016 presidential race and met privately with liberal star Sen. Elizabeth Warren this weekend, Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley told ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS Sunday that it would "be nice to have at least one more lifelong Democrat in the race." Stephanopoulos asked O'Malley if that was a shot at Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, who is the longest-serving independent member of Congress, but is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. "No, it is a compliment to Vice President Biden for also being a lifelong Democrat," O'Malley said, adding that he has "a great deal of respect" for Biden and thinks he is a "very, very good and decent man," ABC's MARYALICE PARKS writes. http://abcn.ws/1JIGzW6
DONALD TRUMP PLANS ON EXECUTING IMMIGRATION PLAN THROUGH 'MANAGEMENT.' Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday defended his newly released immigration reform plan, which calls for the deportation of millions of undocumented workers in the United States, saying he'll accomplish the objectives through "management." In a plan released earlier this month, Trump called for an end to birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants and for the deportation of undocumented workers, according to ABC's BENJAMIN BELL. He did not offer more specifics as to how undocumented workers would be removed from the country or how much the plan would cost. "It's called management," he said. "I'm going to get great people that know what they are doing." When asked by ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS if he expected "neighbors to start turning in neighbors," Trump replied, "I don't know what's going to happen." http://abcn.ws/1MGGjWx
SCOTT WALKER SAYS HE'S NOT SEEKING TO REPEAL 14TH AMENDMENT. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he has no plans to alter the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States, ABC's BENJAMIN BELL notes. In an interview earlier this week, Walker seemed to indicate his support for getting rid of the constitutional right of birthright citizenship before stepping back from that position later in the week, leaving unclear his position on the issue. He answered "no" Sunday if he plans to try and repeal or alter the 14th Amendment "My point is any discussion that goes beyond securing the border and enforcing the laws are things that should be a red flag to voters out there, who for years have heard lip service from politicians and are understandably angry because those politicians haven't been committed to following through on those promises," Walker said. http://abcn.ws/1JdsQ4b
5 STORIES YOU'LL CARE ABOUT IN POLITICS THIS WEEK. A quiz on the news...Hillary Clinton raised her hands in front of the gathered press this week to do which of the following things...A) Catch a pass thrown by Marco Rubio; B) Create a perch for a bald eagle to land on; C) Demonstrate for reporters what a real anchor (not the TV kind) does; D) Sign up for "Juno 2"; or E) Volunteer to be Deez Nuts' running mate. So the real answer isn't above, just as Deez Nuts won't be president. But the political world is settling on the realization that Donald Trump may be harder to erase than any emails. ABC's RICK KLEIN highlights the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead. http://abcn.ws/1U0sXKM
@reidepstein: Only Marco Rubio and John Kasich have emerged from Trump Summer unscathed http://www.wsj.com/articles/joe-biden-is-leaning-toward-a-2016-run-1440373384 ...
@PostRoz: Dixville Notch and the midnight vote will not die without a fight. From @bterris. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-problem-of-dixville-notch-once--and-future--home-of-midnight-voting/2015/08/23/158021a0-3abe-11e5-9c2d-ed991d848c48_story.html ...
@sbg1: Potential Biden run divides Obama orbit http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08/possible-biden-bid-already-dividing-loyalties-in-the-white-house-121650.html ... via @POLITICO