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Will Vice President Joe Biden run for president?

Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily tour along the road to the White House. Here's what we're watching Sunday, Aug. 2: 

  • Will Vice President Joe Biden leap into the 2016 presidential race? A decision isn't expected until September , but questions about his possible candidacy made news this weekend. The Times' Michael Memoli explores.
  • Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are in Dana Point, Calif., for a retreat attended by wealthy conservative donors who are closely tied to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker visited the retreat on Saturday and talked immigration and President Obama's faith
  • Dr. Ben Carson was on NBC's "Meet the Press" where he  talked about the upcoming debate, Black Lives Matter and more

New emissions rules likely to help shape White House race

 (Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

With Monday's release of landmark rules to combat global warming, President Obama is putting into place what probably will be the last piece of his ambitious second-term agenda -- one that highlights deep divisions in the country and helps shape the race to succeed him.

On immigration, healthcare, same-sex marriage and now climate change, Obama has aggressively used the powers of his office to align public policy with the values and aspirations of a largely urban, liberal and minority constituency heavily concentrated on the East and West coasts.

Read more of the report by The Times' David Lauter.

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At donor retreat, Charles Koch compares network to civil rights movement

 (Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Charles Koch on Sunday compared his powerful donor network to the civil rights movement, according to the Washington Post.

Koch, who is hosting hundreds of wealthy conservative donors for a private weekend retreat in Dana Point, called on fellow donors to follow in the footsteps of those such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Susan B. Anthony.

“History demonstrates that when the American people get motivated by an issue of justice that they believe is just, extraordinary things can be accomplished,” he said, according to the Post.

Read more of the Post report.

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Polls today are not going to determine the next president.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) while speaking Sunday at a high-dollar donor retreat in Dana Point.

Race for final spot on GOP debate stage enters homestretch

In the race to see which presidential hopefuls qualify for the first debate of the Republican primary season, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio are in a three-way tie for the last two slots, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicates.

Each received 3% support from Republican primary voters, according to poll results released Sunday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Fox News, the host of Thursday's first presidential debate, will select the candidates invited onstage. To qualify a candidate must place in the top 10 based on an average of the five most recent national polls recognized by the network as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. Fox has not said which polls would qualify and has also reserved the right to add at least one more participant in the case of a tie.

The NBC/WSJ poll also showed Donald Trump, the billionaire real-estate tycoon whose rhetoric about immigrants and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have come under intense focus in recent weeks, leading the field at about 20%.

He's followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, both at about 13%.

The poll was conducted from July 26-30 and interviewed 252 Republican primary voters. It was the second poll in recent days to show Christie, Kasich and Perry competing for the likely final two slots in the debate. A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed a similar lineup.

Trump wishes other GOPers good luck

Ben Carson: 'I hope that people will get an opportunity to see who I really am'

 (AP)

(Associated Press)

When GOP presidential candidates arrive on stage in Cleveland Thursday for the first debate of the 2016 election, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson will be among them. Carson, who has never run for political office, will also be joined by another political outsider: Donald Trump.

Carson was a guest on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday and discussed Trump, Black Lives Matter and immigration. Below are some quotes:

I hope that people will get an opportunity to see who I really am, not who other people have said that I am. And will have an opportunity to actually see what I think about a variety of subjects. You know, I have a tendency to be asked about medical things. And very seldom do I get asked about, you know, other types of political things that are important.
Carson on what he hopes to accomplish Thursday in Cleveland
Of course all lives matter, and of course we should be very concerned about what's going on, particularly in our inner cities. It's a crime, you know, for a young black man, the most likely cause of death is homicide. That is a huge problem that we need to address in a very serious way.
Carson on Black Lives Matter movement
What I would do instead is let them register and become guest workers, they have to back tax penalty, and they have to pay taxes going forward. It does not give them voting rights, it does not make them a citizen, and if they want citizenship, they get in the back of the line and go through the same process as everybody else, because we cannot neglect the people who have done it the right way.
Carson on the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally

New 'super PACs' help 2016 mega-donors customize their political clout

 (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

(Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

For discerning, super-wealthy donors looking for a distinctive way to advertise clout, the 2016 presidential election offers a new perk -- their own specially tailored "super PAC."

Political professionals working on behalf of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, both Republicans, have set up multiple super PACs with nearly identical names, all in the interest of catering to the wishes of the well-heeled, particularly the moguls willing to write seven-figure checks.

The idea is to convince these donors they will have a measure of control over how their money is spent.

The Times' Joseph Tanfani has more.

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Question to Scott Walker: Is President Obama a Christian?

I don't know. I presume he is. I've never asked him about that. As someone who is a believer myself, I don't presume to know someone's beliefs about whether they follow Christ or not unless I've actually talked with them.”
Walker, at a retreat for wealthy donors in Dana Point on Saturday

Talk of a Joe Biden 2016 run begins to mount

 (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Amid heightened speculation about whether he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination, Vice President Joe Biden remains at least a month from a decision and has largely left preparatory work to a small circle of trusted longtime aides.

Biden has returned to full involvement in political and official work after a period of mourning the death of his son Beau. As his schedule has become more active, and as he's continued to return the hundreds of condolence calls and messages, conversations have inevitably turned to 2016 -- either to ask the vice president about his plans, or to encourage him to run.

Read more of this report from The Times' Michael Memoli.

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