Biden holds surprise meeting with Sen. Warren

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BY BARBARA BOLAND

Fueling speculation of a 2016 presidential run, Vice President Joe Biden had a last minute change of plans and held a confidential meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at Washington, D.C.’s Naval Observatory Saturday.

The 72-year-old vice president has begun to seriously consider a third run for the White House after his son Beau Biden, who passed away late May from brain cancer, reportedly asked his father to do so. Several polls have shown that a Joe Biden run would have widespread Democratic support.

CNN reports that two sources confirmed that Biden met with the senator, who is popular in liberal circles. She has always shot down her fans’ suggestion that she run, while not endorsing any of the candidates currently in the race.

Biden was initially slated to return to his Wilmington, Del., home after he returned to the capitol around 11 a.m. Saturday, CNN reported.

“The vice president traveled last minute to Washington, D.C. for a private meeting and will be returning to Delaware,” an aide said to CNN.

Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff declined to comment further on the meeting.

BIDEN MEETS WITH WARREN

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Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden met privately with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday in his residence at the Naval Observatory, CNN has learned, another sign he is seriously deciding whether to jump into the Democratic presidential race.

The meeting between Biden and Warren, confirmed by two people familiar with the session, is the biggest indication yet that Biden is feeling out influential Democrats before announcing his intentions.

Beloved by liberal Democrats, Warren decided to sit out a campaign of her own, but she has yet to formally endorse a candidate. In an interview on Friday, she told WBZ in Boston: “I don’t think anyone has been anointed.”

The vice president arrived in Washington shortly before lunchtime, even though his official schedule said he was planning to spend the weekend at his home in Delaware.

Kendra Barkoff, a Biden spokeswoman, declined to comment on the meeting. But an aide to Biden confirmed a meeting, telling CNN: “The vice president traveled last minute to Washington, D.C. for a private meeting and will be returning to Delaware.”

Another source familiar with the meeting told CNN that Warren went to the meeting at Biden’s request.

CNN/ORC Poll: Majority of Democrats support Biden run

CNN/ORC Poll: Majority of Democrats support Biden run 05:52

Biden is increasingly weighing whether to challenge Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates for the party’s presidential nomination. A small team of advisers has spent weeks quietly putting together a campaign strategy and fundraising plan in case Biden decides to run. He had at least one meeting with them this week in Wilmington, one person familiar with the session told CNN.

He has told his associates he intends to make his decision in the next month, an announcement that could upend the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination.

With the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary six months away, Biden is the leading figure Democrats believe they could turn to if they needed to find an alternative to Clinton, whose favorability ratings have taken a deep hit as her email use while secretary of state is drawing deeper controversy.

Biden, 72, has a large and loyal collection of friends and advisers from more than four decades in Washington. Yet even inside his sprawling constellation, affectionately known as “Biden World,” deep divisions exist over the wisdom of him making another bid for the presidency.

Mapping out the steps

Earlier this week, Biden met with top advisers at his home in Delaware to further map out the steps to mounting a third presidential bid, though people familiar with the confab say the vice president is no closer to deciding on a run.

Biden met with his political team in Wilmington, where he spent the last week out of sight following a vacation in South Carolina. Longtime political allies Mike Donilon and former Sen. Ted Kaufman were among the operatives advising Biden on a run, a person familiar with the meeting said.

The factors Biden continues to mull include a timeline for getting in the race, and a fundraising plan that could help him launch a come-from-behind campaign against Clinton.

Like many Democrats, Biden and his team are carefully eyeing the continued questions about Clinton’s email use at the State Department. Developments this week, including allegations that classified information may have passed through her private account, have led to new anxiety within the Democratic Party about the frontrunner’s viability.

Those jitters haven’t necessarily led to widespread calls for Biden to join the race; at the White House, there is some concern a Biden candidacy could end poorly and damage the vice president’s reputation.

But with polls showing Clinton’s trustworthiness slipping, some top Democrats are looking elsewhere.

“Frankly when it became clear that he was giving the race serious consideration, I just raised my hand,” Steve Schale, who ran President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns in Florida, told CNN on Wednesday. Last week Schale joined “Draft Biden,” the independent group encouraging the vice president to run.

Draft Biden, which began earlier this year as a bare-bones effort to rally support behind Biden, has recently morphed into a full-fledged organizing campaign, including robust fundraising efforts, that could provide a framework for Biden should he jump into the race.

Costs of running

Biden’s advisers have told the vice president he must decide by Oct. 1 — roughly a week after his self-proclaimed “end-of-summer” deadline. A top Biden adviser told CNN this week the vice president is expected to wait at least until mid-September to announce a decision.

If Biden does mount a run for president, the cost of flying him from event to event on Air Force Two would come under scrutiny, as political travel for sitting presidents running for re-election has for decades.

Current regulations enacted during the last presidential election stipulate a candidate must reimburse the government for a pro-rated share of an equivalent-sized charter plane.

Biden often flies in a C-32, the military analogue to a Boeing 757. The cost to charter a 757 is between $12,000 and $15,000 per hour, according to charter companies.

That’s far less than the actual costs to fly Air Force Two, which comes retrofitted with secure communication and navigation equipment, and costs north of $100,000 to operate per hour.

Concerns over Biden 2016 run?
Concerns over Biden 2016 run? 02:13

Travelers who must reimburse the government for political trips include the candidate and any staff traveling on behalf of his campaign. Other passengers, including security personnel, aren’t required to reimburse the government for their portion of the trip.

The goal of the regulations: to ensure the costs of an office-holder’s travel requirements neither hinder nor help a candidacy.

If he runs, Biden could combine campaign trips with official travel to mitigate the costs, which presidents have done for decades. The formula breaking down campaign and official costs, however, has been kept secret by White Houses going back to the 1970s.

The distinction between official and political travel has also been blurry in the past. Official travel requires the president or vice president to be advancing or explaining the work of the administration — and as vice president, much of Biden’s campaign pitch would entail doing just that.

Clinton has traveled using a mix of commercial and private air, none of which is nearly as large as a Boeing 757. The Gulfstream G500 she flew to Martha’s Vineyard in on Saturday costs between $7,000-$8,000 to charter per hour.

But she or her campaign must foot the bill for the entire flight, not only a pro-rated portion of it, or a percentage split with official travel. Unlike Air Force Two, the government assumes none of the costs.

In her first quarterly FEC filing from July, Clinton’s campaign reported spending almost $134,000 on a single private jet service, Executive Fliteways.

As a former first lady, Clinton travels with a Secret Service detail, though its footprint appears far smaller than Biden’s. The Secret Service is not reimbursed for any costs associated with political travel.

UPDATE: GOP Consultant Asks If Trump Pays Extra For Anal With Coulter

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BY BETSY ROTHSTEIN

GOP consultant Rick Wilson may have kicked the women’s movement to the curb Tuesday morning when he suggested that GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is paying to have anal sex with Ann Coulter.

The remark from the conservative commentator (and occasional Daily Caller columnist) came in response to a crack Coulter made about most PHENOMENAL Twitter fight ever that occurred Monday between Breitbart News editor John Nolte and Wilson.

Wilson insisted on CNN over the weekend that Breitbart News is a virtual cheerleading squad for Trump. In return, Breitbart News thinks Wilson has lost his damn mind.

Wilson was apparently not too jazzed about Coulter’s comment, so he suggested that she was prostituting herself out to Trump.

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Wilson may want to watch his mouth, or not. Maybe he gets more bookings this way. Even before the whole bloody incident between FNC’s Megyn Kelly and Trump, Wilson went on TV and called Trump “verbally incontinent.” He’s also called Trump a “giant, epic, douche canoe.”

As the saying goes, takes one to know one?

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/18/update-gop-consultant-asks-if-trump-pays-extra-for-anal-with-coulter/#ixzz3jCSPiclC

N Korea threatens to ‘invade US’ unless S Korean military exercises aren’t halted

North Korea has issued new nuclear threats to the US saying it will respond accordingly if Washington does not cancel military exercises with South Korea. Pyongyang says it is ready to use its latest weapons, which are “unknown to the world.”

The drills are due to take place Monday and have become an annual event for the US, South Korea and other allies, a fact that has often irked North Korea. The exercises, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, are aimed to “protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula,” a statement from the Korea-US Combined Forces Command stated, as cited by CNN.

As has been the case in the past, Pyongyang has shown its displeasure, but the rhetoric coming out of the secretive nation has been stronger than in previous years.

“The army and people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are no longer what they used to be in the past when they had to counter the US nukes with rifles,” a spokesman for North Korea’s National Defense Commission (NDC) said.

The spokesman added that “North Korea… is the invincible power equipped with both [the] latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world.”

“The further Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises are intensified, the strongest military counteraction the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will take to cope with them,” he added.

READ MORE: ​N. Korea demands halt to South-US military drills, threatens with ‘unimaginable holocaust’

State television in North Korea has been trying to present a message to the people that the country’s military is in a better position now to counter the perceived threat that is posed by the US and its allies. Media reports from Pyongyang even claimed that North Korea was ready to attack Washington on US soil.

“If [the] United States wants their mainland to be safe,” said a newswoman for the state TV station, KCNA, “then the Ulchi Freedom Guardian should stop immediately.”

READ MORE: US-S. Korea war games prompt Pyongyang declaration: Ready for final battle

North Korea has also threatened to launch “indiscriminate” military attacks against South Korea, unless Seoul stops launching propaganda broadcasts across the border. South Korea started to resume sending loud radio propaganda messages for the first time in over a decade after a landmine attack severely injured two South Korean soldiers. Seoul has blamed North Korea for the attacks.

However, Pyongyang vehemently denied the accusations that it was responsible for the mine incident, calling them“absurd,” and its frontline army border command on Saturday demanded the broadcasts be halted immediately or risk “an all-out military action of justice to blow up all means for ‘anti-North psychological warfare’ in all areas along the front,” AFP reported.

The action will involve “indiscriminate strikes which envisage even possible challenge and escalating counter action,” the command said in a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency.

Washington has brushed aside the comments coming out of Pyongyang, with a former US Army general, who had previously taken part in the Ulchi drills saying that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is just seeking attention from the international community.

“One of the key propaganda goals of the young leader is to just get on the radar of the US,” said retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who was speaking to CNN. “With all the other things we’re focused on — ISIS, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Russia and Ukraine, etc., Kim Jong Un wants to ensure he grabs attention.”

The US-led exercises involve South Korea, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, New Zealand and the UK. The drills are expected to last for 12 days and will conclude on August 28.

Kasich: ‘Black lives matter, especially now’

CaptureBY RYAN LOVELACE

The “Black Lives Matter” protest movement has caused headaches for presidential candidates on the campaign trail this summer. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich lent his voice to their rallying cry, and said “black lives matter, especially now.”

CNN’s Dana Bash asked Kasich about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, in the wake of the protesters’ recent actions. Twoangry protesters forced Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a socialist running as a Democrat, to leave the stage in Seattle, Wash., so that they could complain about progressivism’s white supremacy. When former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said, “all lives matter” at a Netroots Nation event earlier this summer, the outrage from Black Lives Matter protesters forced him to apologize.

Bash also mentioned Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this week before asking Kasich, “What’s your view on this?”

“I’ve been very involved in Ohio,” Kasich responded. “We have a collaborative effort with community leaders, African Americans, law enforcement, and they’ve come up with 23 recommendations.”

“Can an elected official apologize for saying all lives matter?” Bash interrupted.

“I don’t know about that whole issue, I’m just telling you what we’re doing,” Kasich answered. “And all lives do matter. Black lives matter, especially now, because there’s a fear in these communities that the justice isn’t working for them. But it’s about balance and I’m not going to get myself caught in some sort of a wedge, the community has to understand the challenges of the police and the police have to understand the challenges of the community.”

Kasich has traveled through New Hampshire this week, a state where he has performed better in the polls than in other states across the country. He is tied for tenth place nationally, but is in third place in New Hampshire, according to Real Clear Politics’ average of polls nationwide and in New Hampshire. The governor will head to Alabama on Monday, and visit Iowa, during the state fair, on Tuesday.