— -- NOTABLES
--BY THE NUMBERS: Bernie Sanders is closing in. That's the latest from a new poll released in Iowa over the weekend, showing Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton leading Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders by only 7 percentage points, 37 percent to 30 percent. The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg News poll also shows Vice President Joe Biden, who is still considering entering the race, at 14 percent. The poll comes less than three weeks after a Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce poll in New Hampshire on August 11 showed Sanders leading Clinton, 44-37, in that state. Still, Clinton maintains a broad national lead, ABC's RYAN STRUYK writes. She led Sanders by 23 points in a Quinnipiac poll early this week. http://abcn.ws/1EsnHIX
--WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SAY? The seven-point margin is Clinton's smallest lead in Iowa this election cycle, and her 37 percent support is her lowest showing in the state since the campaign began. The numbers show more of a decline in support for Clinton than an increase in support for Sanders. Other polls this summer have shown Sanders hovering around 30 percent in Iowa. But in the past, Clinton has garnered support from roughly half of Iowans. That leaves a rather high 14 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa unready to choose a candidate at this point. The poll also finds that among voters under 45 years old, Clinton is losing to Sanders by a broad 23 points. http://abcn.ws/1EsnHIX
--MEANWHILE, ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE: Donald Trump maintains his lead in Iowa with 23 percent, although neurosurgeon Ben Carson is closing the gap, up from 10 percent in a May Bloomberg/DMR poll to 18 percent now. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who had been leading in Iowa earlier this summer, seems to be fading back into the pack, tying with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for third with only 8 percent support. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were tied with 6 percent support, while former HP CEO Carly Fiorina clocked in with 5 percent, according to ABC's RYAN STRUYK. http://abcn.ws/1EsnHIX
--ABC's JONATHAN KARL breaks down the numbers on "Good Morning America." WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1KWPmhL
--SANDERS SPEAKS: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday he does not know whether new poll numbers putting him within 7 percentage points of Hillary Clinton in Iowa mean her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is in trouble, but his campaign is "doing great." "You know, it's not just in Iowa. It's in New Hampshire. It's all across this country," he said on "This Week." "I think people are responding to our message." Sanders admitted that Clinton was "way ahead" of him in terms of her support among Democratic Party and institutional leaders, but argued that many of them might still support him in the end, ABC's MARYALICE PARKS reports. http://abcn.ws/1KvAHhK
ANALYSIS--ABC's RICK KLEIN: Is Ben Carson's moment next? The retired neurosurgeon has none of Donald Trump's showmanship, and he isn't even a middle-of-the-night attack-Tweeter. But he is in a strong second place in Iowa, just five points behind Trump in the new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, eclipsing the support of Ted Cruz and Scott Walker combined. A whopping 79 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers view Carson favorably, with only 8 percent (!) viewing him unfavorably. That suggests tremendous upside for a man who is every bit the outsider Trump is, only with, arguably, a more compelling personal story and, inarguably, a less abrasive personal style. The anti-establishment fervor that's driving Trump has more than enough left over for Carson, evidently. And he's running stronger than Trump among women and evangelicals in the new poll, too.
--MORE E MAILS COMING TODAY: A new batch of Hillary Clinton's private emails is set to be released today by the State Department amid an ongoing FBI investigation into whether Clinton, while serving as Secretary of State, mishandled classified information on her private server, ABC'S ALEX MALLIN writes. According to court documents in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Vice News, State Department officials told the Washington Examiner they plan to release "6,106 or more pages" of emails today. http://washex.am/1fQZGPS
-- AND EVEN MORE NUMBERS: A sweeping seven in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the nation, according to a new Quinnipiac poll this morning, ABC's RYAN STRUYK reports. Four in ten say they are "very dissatisfied." Only 2 percent say they are "very satisfied." And three-quarters of American voters are either "dissatisfied" or "angry" with the federal government, reflected in the success of 2016 candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who have no experience in elected office. Meanwhile, voters disapprove of Democrats in Congress by almost 40 points, while they disapprove of Republicans in Congress by almost 70 points. http://bit.ly/1oV1iXX
--TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's RYAN STRUYK: It looks like an exciting, unpredictable month of August in the race for the White House is approaching a quiet end. Frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have no public events today, with Clinton back to the Hamptons to continue her vacation. Republican establishment favorite Jeb Bush is also off the trail. Meanwhile, Chris Christie hits the late night circuit, appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. John Kasich takes to Michigan while Marco Rubio is in Nevada for a meet-and-greet. And in the early states, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal are in Iowa. Ted Cruz has three events in New Hampshire.
--THE WHITE HOUSE GOES NORTH TO ALASKA from ABC's JOHN PARKINSON and SERENA MARSHALL: President Obama flies to Alaska today -- becoming the first U.S. president to visit Arctic Alaska, to begin a three-day trip where he'll highlight his energy agenda and warn of climate change. The president is making headlines today in Anchorage for renaming Mount McKinley back to its original name, Denali, or High One. The decision is being applauded by Alaskans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, but has upset Ohio Republicans like Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Bob Gibbs, who consider President William McKinley's namesake on North America's highest peak, a sacred honor for the 25th U.S. president. Even Speaker Boehner says he's "disappointed" in the president's move. The visit to the 49th state promises to be a decent photo op -- with the president touring glaciers like Seward's Exit glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, which has receded more than 1.25 miles; and visit fishing villages before heading to the Arctic Circle, all to highlight the dire need for action on global change. The trip comes amid growing controversy over the administration's recent decision to grant Shell Oil permits for offshore drilling. Meanwhile, many Alaskans -- including its congressional delegation -- are fearful the president could take executive action to declare a new national monument in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The White House has signaled the president will not make an announcement like that on this trip.
--FATHER OF SLAIN JOURNALIST TO CONGRESSMAN: SHAME ON HIM. "He had no problem cashing his check from the National Rifle Association during the 2014 election cycle," Andy Parker says of Rep. Goodlatte, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. But on sensible gun control bills, "He refused to lead," Parker writes in a very strong editorial in this morning's Washington Post, according to ABC'S TOM SHINE. "He did absolutely nothing to contain the carnage we are seeing...shame on him," he adds. Parker describes his new passion, gun control, in kayaking terms, a sport his daughter Alison loved and enjoyed the weekend before she was gunned down. "Never stop paddling. You just have to paddle through the rapids. You just have to paddle through...whatever it takes." http://wapo.st/1hraHIN
THE BUZZ with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL PREDICTS DONALD TRUMP SUPPORT WILL FADE AFTER 'SUMMER OF SILLINESS.' Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal expressed optimism for his own presidential campaign in the face of Donald Trump's surging popularity, calling it a symptom of the early campaign season. "I think after we get past the summer of silliness and insults, the voters are going to begin to look at who is prepared to do the job," he told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ on "This Week." "I believe I am the candidate best able to do this job on the first day." Like several of his fellow Republican presidential candidates, Jindal said Trump has tapped into "anger" and "frustration" to draw his large crowds, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS writes. "What the polls tell me is that nobody really has any real voters right now," he said. http://abcn.ws/1JF4nnx
MINNESOTA SEN. KLOBUCHAR CONFIDENT CLINTON WILL AVOID REPEAT OF '08. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is confident Hillary Clinton's campaign will avoid a repeat of 2008, when she lost the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama, even as the party's frontrunner starts to slip in the Iowa polls and faces growing controversy over her private email server. "Her campaign is so much different than 2008," Klobuchar said Sunday on "This Week." "It has energy, it's organized, it is a grassroots campaign." Although Klobuchar, a Democrat, has endorsed Clinton this election cycle, she supported Obama in 2008. A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll shows Clinton polling at 37 percent in Iowa, losing ground to Bernie Sanders, who is at 30 percent. http://abcn.ws/1JFblZy
OBAMA RENAMES MT. MCKINLEY 'DENALI' AHEAD OF ALASKA TRIP. President Obama has changed the name of Alaska's Mt. McKinley to Denali, the White House announced Sunday, a day before the president is set to visit the state. "Denali" is the Alaskan Native name for the mountain, which is North America's tallest - and a site of cultural significance to Alaska's native population. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell signed the order renaming the mountain on Friday. Obama will officially rename the peak in Anchorage today, where he will kick off his presidential visit to the 49th state, ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL notes. http://abcn.ws/1FabYJR
5 STORIES YOU'LL CARE ABOUT IN POLITICS THIS WEEK. If we have our undisputed frontrunners, why does nobody seem to be happy about it? Maybe it has something to do with the hair. Donald Trump has his, but we're not sure his rivals will have theirs by the time they read all of Trump's Tweets. Hillary Clinton says she colors hers, but the focus of the Democratic race is on some men who most certainly don't. As Labor Day weekend approaches, we're talking about Bible verses, chocolate bars, and Asian people. At least we're entitled to ask some questions, we assume. ABC's RICK KLEIN looks at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead. http://abcn.ws/1JEpWsP
SCOTT WALKER DOESN'T RULE OUT BUILDING A FENCE ALONG US-CANADA BORDER. When it comes to securing the nation's borders, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he has heard "legitimate concerns" from voters about the need to strengthen security along the U.S. border with Canada, not just Mexico, ABC'S JORDYN PHELPS reports. Asked by NBC about the notion of building a fence along the Canadian border, the Republican presidential candidate said it's an issue "for us to look at." "Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire," Walker told NBC News' Chuck Todd in a "Meet the Press" interview that aired Sunday. "They have raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that's a legitimate issue for us to look at." http://abcn.ws/1JrFegT
HOW JOE BIDEN SURPRISED DELAWARE DEMOCRATS AHEAD OF 2016 DECISION. Home in Wilmington, Delaware, for the weekend, Vice President Joe Biden made an unannounced stop by the Sussex Democratic Jamboree in Lewes, spending time with his most loyal supporters as he contemplates a presidential bid, according to ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL and ARLETTE SAENZ. The vice president "wanted to thank the community for all their support the last few months," a Biden aide said of the visit to the event, an annual fundraiser for the local Democratic Party. "It was a very unexpected surprise," said Chad Lingerfelder, the vice chair of the Sussex County Democrats who has known the vice president for 20 years. Biden spent 10 minutes standing on a table with a microphone in hand, thanking the loyal crowd for backing him "emotionally and politically through the highs and lows," Lingerfelder said, adding that Biden did not discuss a 2016 bid in his remarks and or take questions from reporters. http://abcn.ws/1hLQmyv
IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, CHRIS CHRISTIE SAYS HE WOULD TRACK IMMIGRANTS LIKE FEDEX PACKAGES. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday that if he is elected president he will track immigrants and foreign visitors the way FedEx tracks packages. "At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It's on the truck. It's at the station. It's on the airplane," Christie said, speaking at a VFW hall in New Hampshire Saturday morning. "Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them." As president, Christie said, he would enlist the help of Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, to show Immigration and Custom Enforcement how to track immigrants who might otherwise overstay their welcome, ABC's ADAM DESIDERIO notes. "We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in, and then when your time is up, we go get you and tap you on the shoulder and say, 'Excuse me, thanks for coming, time to go,'" Christie said. http://abcn.ws/1F7NBwb
DONALD TRUMP SAYS HE'LL DECIDE ON THE POSSIBILITY OF THIRD PARTY RUN 'SOON.' GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Saturday that a decision is imminent about whether he will run as a third party candidate. "We're going to make a decision very soon and I think a lot of people are going to be very happy," Trump told reporters in Nashville Tennessee, after addressing the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. Trump was the only Republican at the Fox News GOP debate that took place earlier this month who would not rule out a third party bid were he to fail to win the GOP nomination, ABC's BENJAMIN BELL and ALANA ABRAMSON report. If he does commit to support the party's nominee, however, a new rule adopted by the South Carolina Republican Party would bar him from competing in the state's primary, and other state GOP organizations have said they are considering a similar rule. He must file paperwork for the South Carolina primary by September 30th. http://abcn.ws/1EshTiu
WHAT WE'RE READING
"What Happened to Scott Walker?," by Dan Balz and Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surged into the top tier of the Republican presidential race with a fiery speech in the depths of winter in Iowa. But his candidacy has wilted in the heat of a summer dominated by Donald Trump, with loyalists and supporters now calling for an immediate mid-course correction. Walker's backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump's booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who -- in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races -- continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman's following. These supporters say what is needed now is a return to basics, a more disciplined focus on the issues Walker long has championed in Wisconsin. They say there also needs to be a clear acknowledgment inside the campaign that the governor has yet to put to rest questions about his readiness to handle the problems and unexpected challenges that confront every president. http://wapo.st/1Euds6U
@maggieNYT Valerie Plame to headline fundraiser for Clinton in the "post-Snowden" world http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/08/31/valerie-plame-is-among-hillary-clintons-september-fund-raisers/ ...
@mikiebarb "This thing's going to the convention," Hugh Hewitt says of GOP primary. "Book your rooms"