The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden expands lead in new national poll

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report — From New Hampshire — Biden expands lead in new national poll | Why Harris's campaign is at a crossroads | Pollsters see soft support for Dem primary candidates | Castro qualifies for next debate | Gillibrand stumps in NH in push to qualify | Warren's 2,000+ selfie line | Trump dismisses recession talk as fake news | Mueller fades from spotlight | Eric, Lara TrumpLara Lea TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden expands lead in new national poll Eric, Lara Trump welcome second baby What kind of madness will Democrats back this time? MORE welcome baby daughter



Add a podium:

Via CNN's Grace Sparks, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has reportedly qualified for the Democratic primary debate in September.

The requirements: Candidates must poll at 2 percent or more in four separate polls and need 130,000 unique donors. 

Other candidates who are close to qualifying: "Hawaii Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTrump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy Beto needs to revive talk about his 'war tax' proposal Gabbard: 'Debate or no debate we are driving forward' MORE also notched another 2% in the poll, getting her second qualifying poll for the debates. Her campaign says she has already met the fundraising threshold. Billionaire Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerCNN announces details for LGBTQ town hall New poll finds Biden, Warren in virtual tie in Iowa Gabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate MORE is still one poll away from qualifying and New York Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDefense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR MORE has one poll. Steyer has met the fundraising threshold while Gillibrand has not." 

The deadline for candidates to qualify for September's debates: Aug. 28


It's Tuesday. Filing from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.) campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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A morning campaign stop in New Hampshire:

Presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) met with community leaders in Manchester, N.H. this morning for a roundtable to discuss mental health.

What to know about Gillibrand's mental health plan:



She knows her audience: One of the doctors participating in the roundtable, Dr. Doug Phelan, gave a brief rundown of his career in New Hampshire: "...and I've stayed because I really love being here." Gillibrand chimed in, "What's not to love?"

Whooops: Gillibrand's backdrop was made of campaign signs. One flew off before the event started. Another fell down mid-discussion. Video of one of the signs falling:



Gillibrand is the only presidential candidate holding a campaign stop in New Hampshire today. The next candidate stops are happening on Thursday. See for yourself: 



Gillibrand has not yet qualified for the September Democratic primary debate. She was asked by reporters this morning whether the Democratic National Committee's debate qualifications are fair. "You know I just have to follow the rules," Gillibrand responded. "That's my job. But those are certainly things voters can consider."

Gillibrand on whether she will qualify for the next debate: "I'm very close to getting my 130,000 individual supporters. I'm hoping your viewers will go to and send a dollar so I can keep raising up issues like this and I'm hoping I will be rewarded in New Hampshire when there's the next poll out in New Hampshire."

Here's the new ad her campaign is running in Iowa and New Hampshire in the final push to qualify: 


New poll -- Biden expands his lead:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat MORE has expanded his lead among 2020 Democrats in a new CNN poll. The numbers: Biden leads with 29 percent, followed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul MORE (I-Vt.) with 15 percent and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument MORE (D-Mass.) with 14 percent. For context: Biden's support has risen 7 points since the survey in June.


Interesting read -- No one wants to be exclusive these days:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "Pollsters say one of the most striking characteristics of this cycle's Democratic presidential primary is the relatively soft support for top-tier candidates, even after an intense focus on the race by the national media."

The worry -- choosing the wrong nominee: "The fear of putting up the wrong person is palpable," said veteran Democratic pollster Jeremy Rosner. "It comes up in every focus group and every conversation I have with Democrats. It's top of mind and intense and it's behind a lot of the fluidity in this race." 

Democrats are in three categories: "You're not seeing the groundswell behind any one candidate," said Democratic pollster Chris Kofinis. "There's a segment that thinks a centrist or a moderate is best to beat Trump. Others think you need someone from the left to rally the base. A third segment has no idea." 

How this could play out:


Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNearly 60 US mayors pen op-ed backing Buttigieg's 2020 bid Gabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE IS BANKING ON THIS:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed concerns about his low polling, saying most primary voters are "going to make their decision late."



Via The Hill's Amie Parnes:


Being able to smile for that many photos is an accomplishment on its own:

For context: Around 90 minutes in, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) still had around 2,000 people left in line for a selfie.

Wow: Here's the crowd at Warren's rally. Photo:



On three now, what do we call it?

Fake. News.:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE and his advisers are adopting a familiar mantra in response to concerns about a slowing economy: fake news.

Where Trump puts the blame: He's a hostile media creating a manufactured crisis to prevent him from winning reelection in 2020.

Trump told reporters: "I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money."





President Trump's son Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpSenior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job Democrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties WaPo gives Eric Trump 4 Pinocchios after ObamaCare website claim MORE and his wife, Lara, announced the birth of their second child, Caroline Dorothy Trump

Photo of the now family of four:


Remember Robert? Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE?:

Via The Hill's Olivia Beavers, "Robert Mueller's Russia report has largely faded from the airwaves less than a month after the former special counsel's high-profile congressional testimony, a possible warning sign to Democrats that most voters have lost interest in the probe."

What this means for House Democrats: "Fading public interest in the Mueller probe would be an unwelcome development for House Democrats, particularly as the Judiciary Committee presses forward with its investigation into possible obstruction and potential abuses of power by the president."

From Republican strategist Ford O'Connell: "Both sides at this juncture think that they don't gain anything electorally from talking about Russia. The Democrats would prefer to put all of their energy into the idea of cultural issues that Trump may be a white supremacist, that's the reason why they're moving off of it." 



So many metaphors here.:



Getting traction -- people are up in arms over this tweet:

If you want to see the full report



The House and Senate are out. 

President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets the president of Romania.

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds an expanded bilateral meeting with the president of Romania.

4:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a ceremony to swear in the U.S. ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia.



9:20 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence spoke at a National Space Council meeting in Chantilly, Va. Livestream:



Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day.



The Washington Monument is reopening to the public on Sept. 19 after being closed for three years of renovations. Details:

Tickets: "Same-day tour tickets for visits between Sept. 19 and Oct. 18 will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:30 a.m. each at the Washington Monument Lodge. The Lodge is located in 15th Street between Madison Drive, NW and Jefferson Drive, SW. Beginning Oct. 10 at 10 a.m., tickets for tours from Oct. 19 on can be reserved online at"


And to get you through your day, "please take a moment out of your day to appreciate the poise, elegance and natural grace of the panda"