Supporters of Joe Biden thought he was a telemarketer when he called

Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Wednesday, Oct. 21, and this is what's on our radar:

  • Joe Biden says he won't run for president , ending months of speculation
  • Even so, Biden criticized Hillary Clinton three times in 36 hours
  • Biden called a super PAC that wanted him to run; the group thought he was a telemarketer 
  • Clinton will testify this week before the House Benghazi committee, and her team is viewing it as a chance to introduce her foreign-policy vision
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush  will address the Libre Intiative Wednesday night -- here's a look at the Koch brothers backed group 

Libre Initiative, backed by the Koch brothers, tries to attract Latinos to GOP

 (L.E. Baskow / Associated Press)

(L.E. Baskow / Associated Press)

For much of the last decade, national Republicans have grappled with how to court Latino voters.

Time and again the party has failed -- leading pundits to offer insights and postmortem analyses about how the GOP can become more inclusive.

Now, efforts are falling to outside groups, such as the Libre Initiative, bankrolled by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.

Several Republican presidential hopefuls have visited with Libre leaders, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be the latest, as he is set to address the group at a forum in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

The influence of groups such as Libre, which as a 501(c)4 nonprofit can raise unlimited amounts of money and does not have to disclose its donors, could have an influence on the 2016 election with about 28 million Latinos eligible to vote.

Here is some background on the Libre Initiative:

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Among Joe Biden's phone calls: the super PAC that supported his not-to-be nomination

After announcing his decision to stay out of the presidential race, Vice President Joe Biden retreated to his office and spent much of the day Wednesday as one would expect: fielding and also placing personal calls from the scores of political contacts he has assembled in more than four decades in public life.

Among the incoming calls was one from Hillary Rodham Clinton, his would-have-been opponent for the Democratic nomination:

One of the first calls Biden made was to the Chicago offices of Draft Biden, the grass-roots effort that had tried to lure the vice president into the race, and would have ultimately supported him if he had mounted a campaign.

"It came in as a blocked number. We thought it was a telemarketer," said one official with the super PAC.

The call was more than a quick courtesy, the official said, going on nearly 20 minutes.

"He was just thankful for all the hard work."

Biden's Rose Garden announcement came suddenly and as a surprise to some staff in the White House. The ceremony itself was hastily arranged so that President Obama could attend before leaving on a brief trip to West Virginia.

Biden's decision itself came Tuesday night, according to his office, after a day full of nostalgia for Biden. It ended speculation that had loomed over the Democratic race for months.

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CNBC Republican debate stage is set

Support (and perhaps a bit of relief) from potential Biden opponents

 (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Democratic candidates who would have been Vice President Joe Biden's primary opponents showed support, if not outright relief, in reaction to his announcement Wednesday that he's decided not to run for president.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the party's nomination, called Biden a "good friend and a great man" in a tweet. In a later statement, she said she admired his devotion to family, his work to save the auto industry and his continued fight for higher wages, safer communities and world peace.

"It's a record to be proud of, defend, and build on," said Clinton, who also served with Biden in the Senate. "And I am confident that history isn't finished with Joe Biden. As he said today, there is more work to do. And if I know Joe, he will always be on the front lines, always fighting for all of us."

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont thanked the vice president for his long public service and praised him for outlining a Democratic agenda that included fighting income inequality. "I look forward to continuing to work with him to address the major crises we face," Sanders said in a statement.

National polls showed Biden trailing Clinton and Sanders, who have spent months gathering support and dollars on the campaign trail. In a Rose Garden speech that may cap a more than four-decade political career, Biden acknowledged that the window to mount a viable campaign had closed.

Nonetheless, he would have been a welcome addition to the race, said former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who's also seeking the nomination. "I will always admire his strength in the face of adversity and his passion for bettering our country," he said in a statement.

"Few Americans have had his breadth of public service," former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, another contender, said in a statement.

As for the Republicans, front-runner Donald Trump got in a dig at Clinton, saying on Twitter that he would rather run against her record. "I think Joe Biden made correct decision for him & his family," he tweeted.

Reaction from around the Democratic universe:

I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully, to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation. And this is what I believe.
Joe Biden, announcing he will not seek the Democratic nomination for president. Read more of his speech at the link below.

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And here's what Clinton had to say

In his speech, Biden repeated a thinly veiled criticism of the Democratic front-runner, saying the country needs a less partisan political atmosphere.

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Joe Biden is giving what sounds like it would have been a campaign speech

Biden's quest for the presidency lasted more than a generation

Vice President Joe Biden’s decision not to run for the White House, announced from the Rose Garden on Wednesday with his family and President Obama at his side, would appear to be near to an end of a career in elected office that has lasted more than 40 years and a quest for the presidency that has stretched for more than a generation.

For months, a close circle of advisors — and at times the vice president himself — worked to build support for what would have been a third campaign for the White House. Aides said he felt confident he could run a viable campaign.

But Biden's deliberations were complicated by his struggle to reconcile his political ambition with his family’s anguish after the death of his eldest son, Beau, in May.

Beau was our inspiration. Unfortunately I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.

Had Biden run, he would have started from a strong platform. After seven years at Obama’s side, he can claim a hand in the achievements of what many Democrats see as a successful administration.

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Joe Biden says he won't run for president

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Watch: Biden makes his announcement

Biden to make statement from the Rose Garden

How Hillary Clinton is approaching the Benghazi hearing

For Hillary Rodham Clinton, testifying before the House Benghazi committee on Thursday once promised to be a formidable task, but it has turned into an opportunity to lay out her foreign policy vision.

The Times' Evan Halper and Michael A. Memoli explain what changed, and what Clinton is doing to prepare:

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Donald Trump: Jeb Bush is 'embarrassed' by his poll numbers


Donald Trump dismissed Jeb Bush yet again over his lagging poll numbers during an interview on "Good Morning America," claiming Bush is "embarrassed" about his standing and that's why he attacks Trump.

Trump went on to bash Bush for his brother's record as president, going so far as to claim that had Trump's immigration policies been in place at the time, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks may have been prevented. Trump said the hijackers were in the U.S. because of weak visa laws. All of the attackers entered the U.S. legally on temporary visas, and nearly all had valid visas at the time of the attacks, according to the 9/11 Commission.

Joe Biden goes after Hillary Clinton again

 (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden may still ultimately stay out of the race for president. But on Tuesday night, he made clear he doesn’t mind making Hillary Rodham Clinton uncomfortable in the process.

For the third time in less than 36 hours, Biden took a veiled shot at Clinton for including Republicans on her list of "enemies" during last week’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas. And what Biden first said almost in passing was, by its third utterance, unmistakable.

"It is possible, it is necessary, to end this notion, to end this notion that the enemy is the other party. End this notion that it is naive to think we can speak well of the other party and cooperate," Biden said at a dinner honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale.

"What is naive," he continued, "is to think it is remotely possible to govern this country unless we can. That is what is naive."

In implicitly criticizing Clinton, and more explicitly the dysfunction in Washington, Biden seemed to be following the Obama campaign’s 2008 playbook against her, when the soon-to-be president vowed to put a generation of partisan animosity behind him.

"One of the reasons why it's so hard to govern today is that it's almost impossible, ladies and gentlemen, to reach consensus if you accuse someone else of being unethical, or in someone's pocket," Biden said.

Acknowledging Mondale and former President Jimmy Carter, both in the audience, he said: "The lesson I learned from both of you is how can you govern this incredibly diverse democracy without arriving at consensus. It's simply not possible."

"It's mostly important that everyone in this room understand the other team is not the enemy. If you treat it as the enemy, there is no way you can ever, ever, ever resolve the problems we have," Biden said in concluding his remarks.

Biden has faced increasing pressure from senior Clinton figures to make a final decision about whether to run for president, one he appears unlikely to make for at least another day. Biden's comments Tuesday could have been a signal that he is indeed leaning toward entering that race, or simply a warning to Clinton's team to ease off the pressure.