Advisers tell Biden: Decide by October 1

Story highlights

  • Biden deliberates about his 2016 strategy and how late he could jump in
  • Walker to unveil his plan to replace Obamacare on Tuesday
  • Another Koch or Adelson? A GOP power broker makes a bold play

Washington (CNN)Joe Biden's 2016 deliberations, a Bill Clinton comment that might not go over so well at home, Scott Walker's plan to replace Obamacare, a new GOP power broker is born, and Jeb Bush's bipartisan ISIS plan -- those stories filled our Sunday trip around the "Inside Politics" table.

1. Biden's road to running

Some of it is political. Much of it is emotional.
    And as Vice President Joe Biden mulls joining the 2016 presidential race, close advisers and allies say they are not sure what he will decide, and suggest it is a waste of time to try to read tea leaves from one conversation to the next.
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    So they are preparing, and answering his questions.
    Among the things the vice president has been told, according to several sources familiar with meetings and conversations over the past few weeks:
    • That it will be difficult but not impossible to assemble a viable campaign operation. Not impossible, but nowhere near on par with the depth and experience level of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
    • That, in the view of several people involved, the best way to think of the possibility is with the framework of a four-state initial strategy: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The idea here is that, if Biden were to run, the first four contests on the nominating calendar would deliver a clear verdict as to whether he had a real chance to knock Clinton from her front-runner status or whether a third Biden presidential run was destined to end in disappointment like the first two.
    • That to mount a reasonable campaign in those states it would be wise to think in the ballpark of $25 million to $30 million, plus $100 million. The smaller figure would be hard money -- smaller contributions to the official campaign organization; the larger would be for a pro-Biden super PAC.
    • There are competing thoughts on a timetable, though there is a general consensus that October 1 is as late as the VP could wait to decide.
    One joke being kicked around in Biden circles -- assuming he decided to run -- calls for a morning announcement on October 13 and then a dramatic appearance that night at the first Democratic primary debate, in Nevada. Again, that's a joke.

    2. Bill Clinton defends his record and puts Hillary in an awkward spot -- again

    The Glass-Steagall Act probably doesn't come up much at the dinner table or around the water cooler at work. But the law regulating relationships between banks and securities firms is a big part of the debate about the 2008-2009 financial collapse, and comes up a lot among liberals and populists.
    Well, CNN's MJ Lee took note of a remark this past week where former President Bill Clinton defended his stewardship on the issue -- and she notes it could cause candidate Hillary Clinton a bit of a headache.
    "Here's something Bill Clinton said this week that actually didn't get a lot of pickup," said Lee. "He said there's not a single piece of evidence to show when he repealed Glass-Steagall, it led to the financial crisis. This is a line that is going to haunt Hillary Clinton when she talks about being tough on Wall Street and wanting to rein in big banks."
    "And you watch the crowds that turn up at Martin O'Malley rallies and Bernie Sanders rallies -- they're holding up 'Bring back Glass-Steagall' posters."

    3. The next Koch or Adelson? A big Michigan donor makes a policy play

    The DeVos family of Michigan long has been a player in state and national GOP affairs, but is looking to ramp up even more this presidential cycle.
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    Jonathan Martin of The New York Times shared reporting about a forum organized by Betsy DeVos to promote conservative education ideas.
    She is holding it in New Hampshire, and drawing an impressive guest list.
    "Well, she's not as well known as (Sheldon) Adelson or (Charles and David) Koch, but Betsy DeVos, who's a big Michigan donor, is going to be staging a big education summit Wednesday in New Hampshire, sort of entering the fray of some of these superdonors," said Martin.
    "She has a big crowd coming from the candidates: Jeb Bush is coming, you're going to see John Kasich coming, Carly Fiorina coming. A combination of a hot issue on the right, which is education and vouchers, a big donor, and a key state."

    4. Walker plans to detail the 'replace' part of his Obamacare repeal plan

    "Repeal Obamacare" is a frequent promise from Republican presidential candidates. They also promise to replace many provisions -- but haven't been all too forthcoming with specifics.
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, struggling of late, hopes to distinguish himself from his GOP presidential rivals by adding some meat to the "replace" promise.
    Nia-Malika Henderson of CNN told us the plan is coming.
    "Scott Walker, who's been slumping in the polls a bit in Iowa as well as New Hampshire, on Tuesday in Minnesota will unveil his alternative to Obamacare," said Henderson.
    "He'll unveil a plan that will talk about expanding affordability, expanding choices and eliminating waste in health care. We'll see what kind of traction he gets from this, and it also puts the onus on other candidates who want to repeal Obamacare -- what is their alternative in terms of replacing it?"

    5. Bush's ISIS plan has a bipartisan ring to it

    Jeb Bush plans to flesh out his plan for combating ISIS this week, and the details are unlikely to draw too much criticism from Democrats.
    Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post shared advance details of the Bush approach and noted that foreign policy experts observe that they overlap with many of the recommendations made recently by leading Democrats.
    "They pointed to an op-ed in The Washington Post ... co-written by Michele Flournoy, who of course is considered to be a possible defense secretary under Hillary Clinton, and Richard Fontaine," said O'Keefe.
    "They propose helping out the Sunnis and the Kurds more directly, embedding Special Forces with Iraqi security forces going after ISIS, deploying forward air spotters to help pick out some air raid sites, and then a new global campaign against ISIS. Well guess who else is proposing that -- Jeb Bush."
    "So they point out that while he's getting a lot of flak for this right now, the eventual Democratic nominee might be proposing the same things, so smart of him to get out in front."