Kasich Makes Quick Rise in Polls

“It could have been embarrassing: The sitting governor of Ohio left off the primetime Fox News debate stage in his home state because of low poll numbers,” The Hill reports.

“But in the two weeks since he launched his presidential campaign, John Kasich has bypassed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans who have been in the race longer.”

Walker Still Not Sure Obama Is Christian

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker still isn’t sure President Obama is Christian, Time reports.

Said Walker: “I don’t know. I presume he is.”

He added: “You’re not going to get a different answer than I said before. 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 him.”

Trump Leads GOP Field

A new WSJ/NBC News poll finds Donald Trump has jumped to the front of Republicans’ 2016 presidential candidate field nationally, holding that position even after a spate of incendiary comments by the real-estate magnate about Mexican migrants, other GOP candidates and party leaders.

The poll found that 19% of Republican primary voters picked Trump as their first choice, followed by 15% for Scott Walker, 14% for Jeb Bush and 10% for Ben Carson.

Biden Begins to Explore Presidential Bid

Vice President Joe Biden and his associates “have begun to actively explore a possible presidential campaign, which would upend the Democratic field and deliver a direct threat to Hillary Clinton, several people who have spoken to Mr. Biden or his closest advisers say,” according to the New York Times.

“Mr. Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Mrs. Clinton or who have grown concerned about what they see as her increasingly visible vulnerabilities as a candidate.”

Fox News Sets Rules for Debate

Bloomberg: “According to two people familiar with the network’s plans, candidates will get one minute to answer each question addressed to them by moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier during the program, which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time on August 6.”

“Candidates who are called upon will be given only 30 seconds for rebuttals. If a candidate’s name is invoked during someone else’s answer to a question, that candidate will get a chance to respond for a length of time at the moderator’s discretion. The campaign of one leading candidate believes after communications with Fox executives that there will not be a rigorous attempt to make sure all ten candidates get equal time to speak.”

Trump Builds His Campaign Machine

Donald Trump “is assembling a team of political strategists and campaign staffers charged with sustaining his lead in the Republican presidential polls,” The Hill reports.

“While strategists say Trump still got a ways to go to catch up to his rivals for the White House, he is taking aggressive steps to build a political machine, particularly in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Obama to Unveil Even Tougher Climate Plan

“In the strongest action ever taken in the United States to combat climate change, President Obama will unveil on Monday a set of environmental regulations devised to sharply cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants and ultimately transform America’s electricity industry,” the New York Times reports.

“The rules are the final, tougher versions of proposed regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency announced in 2012 and 2014. If they withstand the expected legal challenges, the regulations will set in motion sweeping policy changes that could shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants, freeze construction of new coal plants and create a boom in the production of wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources.”

Democrats Take Trump Seriously

The Guardian “has learned that Trump has joined the tier of Republican White House hopefuls to whom the DNC assigns a full-time staff member, devoted to responding to statements and pushing back against his campaign.”

“Previously, the staffer in question only had New Jersey governor Chris Christie to monitor. But as Trump’s fortunes have risen in the polls and Christie’s have fallen, the DNC has changed its focus.”