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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The 2016 field of presidential candidates highlighted their various positions on gun control on Thursday while offering prayers and support in the wake of a shooting in Virginia that took the lives of two television journalists.

Other prominent shootings have prompted strong reactions from both sides -- calls for stronger gun control from the left and calls to respect the Second Amendment from the right.

Vester Flanagan, described by authorities as a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ, shot and killed reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward while they were on the air Wednesday morning.

When Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was asked this morning on CNN whether he would do something different with gun policy, he said he would not.

“I don’t think I would because this is really a sick person. This isn’t a gun problem. This is a mental problem,” he said. “That’s what they should be focusing on instead of guns -- they should be talking about mental health because there’s so many things that can be done.”

He went on to call himself a “Second Amendment person,” adding that the shooting in Virginia was “horrible” and “a very sad commentary on life.”

But the real estate mogul has changed his tune since writing his book in 2000. “I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he wrote in “The America We Deserve.”

On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton vowed to continue her support for gun control after the tragic shooting.

"Heartbroken and angry. We must act to stop gun violence, and we cannot wait any longer. Praying for the victims' families in Virginia," tweeted Clinton.

“But I will also reiterate we have got to do something about gun violence, and I will take it on,” she told reporters in Ankeny, Iowa, on Wednesday. “If we had universal background checks, if we could just put some time out between the person who’s upset because he got fired or domestic abuse or whatever other motivation may be working on someone who does this, maybe we could prevent this kind carnage."

While Joe Biden considers whether to jump into the 2016 race, Clinton's strongest competition right now, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, referred reporters to his previous statements on gun control, which have been criticized by the left for being too moderate.

"I am saddened by the senseless deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward," tweeted Sanders. "Jane and I have their families and friends in our thoughts."

“We can't have people demagoguing against folks just because they go out and hunt and they own guns,” he said on ABC News' This Week in late June. “On the other hand, rural America has got to understand that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago.”

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has not gotten traction in the polls and is struggling to regain the spotlight, pointed to President Obama as a source of the problem.

“Well, first off, the deaths are an awful tragedy but let's focus on what the real problem is,” he said on Fox and Friends Thursday morning. “We're not enforcing law in this country. ... This president and this administration hasn’t enforced them.”

Other Republican candidates, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, expressed their support on Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday.

“What law in the world could have prevented him from killing them, whether it was with a gun or a knife or a bomb,” Rubio said in New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe. “What has happened to us as a society that we now devalue life to such a level? What has happened in our society that people have become so violent? That’s the fundamental question we need to confront.”

Neurosurgeon and GOP candidate Ben Carson expressed a similar sentiment on CNN Wednesday night. "People are the problem, not so much guns," he said. "People use knives, people use bats, people us hammers to bludgeon people to death. I don’t hear anybody talking about taking those things away."

Other candidates, including Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Huckabee, continued to offer their support on social media.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- President Obama marked a decade of recovery after Hurricane Katrina, touring New Orleans on Thursday not only to get a first-hand look at the progress made after the storm destroyed the city, but also to encourage its residents to achieve "real change."

"If Katrina was initially an example of what happens when government fails, the recovery has been an example of what’s possible when government works together,” President Obama said during remarks at a community center in New Orleans Thursday afternoon.

While the president acknowledged the government's challenge to rebuild the region’s infrastructure in the wake of the disaster, he stressed that “real change” to social and economic barriers is “even harder" to attain.

“It takes courage to experiment with new ideas and change the old ways of doing things. That’s hard. Getting it right and making sure that everybody is included, and everybody has a fair shot at success -- that takes time. That’s not unique to New Orleans. We got those challenges all across the country,” he said.

But President Obama credited the people of New Orleans as an inspiration to him as he shares that message over the duration of his presidency.

“I’m here to hold up a mirror and say because of you, the people of New Orleans working together, this city is moving in the right direction,” he continued. “I have never been more confident that together we will get to where we need to go. You inspire me.”

The trip is President Obama's sixth visit to New Orleans, and his ninth trip to Louisiana as President in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, the president took aim at congressional Republicans, noting that he expects lawmakers to pass a budget next month that doesn’t include any extraneous policy riders or threaten to shut down the government.

“Our economy has been moving and continues to grow, and unemployment continues to come down, and our work is not yet done, but we have to have that sense of steadiness and vision and purpose in order to sustain this recovery so that it reaches everybody and not just some,” President Obama said. “It’s why we need to do everything we can in government to make sure that our economy keeps growing."

“That requires Congress to protect our momentum, not kill it,” he warned. “Congress needs to fund America in a way that invests in our growth and our security and not cuts us off at the knees by locking in mindless austerity or short-sighted sequester cuts to our economy or our military.”

Congress must pass a bill to fund the government by September 30 or the government could shut down for the second time in two years.

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Isaac Brekken/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — On the heels of the Democratic National Committee summer meeting in Minneapolis, a new Quinnipiac poll out Thursday morning shows Hillary Clinton clocking in a 45 percent, her lowest number in a national poll during this election cycle.

[SEE THE FULL POLL RESULTS HERE]

The new poll also shows that only 34 percent of voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy, while six in 10 say she is not. Still, the former secretary of state holds a broad 23-point lead over Bernie Sanders.
 
Vice President Joe Biden, who is thought to be considering a 2016 run, earned the highest favorability rating of any 2016 candidate in Thursday’s new Quinnipiac poll. Despite not being in the race, Biden garnered 18 percent support from Democratic voters, likely fueling more buzz around his potential candidacy among top Democrats and in the media. But the Vice President will be on minds in Minneapolis Thursday: he held a conference call with DNC members on Iran Wednesday.
 
On the Republican side, Donald Trump’s lead has stretched to its widest of the election cycle, pulling ahead of the field by 16 points in Thursday’s new poll. The real estate mogul’s 28 percent support is his best of the primary season, followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 12 percent and Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tied at 7 percent.

With Clinton sinking and Trump ticking higher, could we be approaching the day when Donald Trump’s lead is wider than Hillary Clinton’s?

We’ll have to wait and see.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump's new national co-chairman Sam Clovis, who recently defected from Rick Perry's campaign, sent emails as recently as two months ago questioning Trump's Christian faith and condemning his comments about John McCain, according to emails obtained by ABC News.

Sam Clovis, while serving as Perry's Iowa chairman, wrote in an email titled "Faith and Our Candidates" that that one candidate's comments "reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal."

"Of all the potential candidates who spoke, one of them left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs," Clovis wrote.

Clovis' emails were originally reported by the Des Moines Register, but ABC News has independently obtained copies and confirmed they came from Clovis' email address.

The candidate that Clovis was referring to was Trump, according to the Des Moines Register.

Clovis, a military veteran, also sent the following reply on July 20 to an activist who emailed him saying Rick Perry should apologize for condemning Trump's comments about John McCain, in which he blasted the veteran's war record.

"His comments were offensive and people responded accordingly. I was offended by a man who sought and gained four student deferments to avoid the draft and who has never served this nation a day -- not a day -- in any fashion or way," Clovis wrote in the email.

"Why should I not be suspicious of someone who cannot come to say that he believes in God, that he has never asked for forgiveness and that communion is simply wine and a cracker," Clovis subsequently writes in the same email.

When asked by ABC News whether the candidate mentioned in his emails were in fact Donald Trump, Clovis pointed ABC News to the Des Moines Register article.

At the time these emails were sent, Clovis was Rick Perry's Iowa chairman. He signed on with Trump's campaign as national co-chairman earlier this week.

In an interview with ABC News, Clovis said he and Trump resolved the issues expressed in the emails before signing on with his campaign.

"There's no better way to resolve it than to have a discussion," he said. "The answers that Mr. Trump gave me were more than satisfactory and I wouldn't be working for him if they weren’t."

Clovis did not divulge details of his conversation with Trump, but said he wanted to hear about Trump's faith and views on veterans. He also said he researched "all of the wonderful things" Trump has done for veterans.

Rick Perry, whose campaign is strapped for cash, announced that funds were too low to compensate staffers earlier this month. Clovis told ABC News he was one of those staffers.

Clovis is a paid employee of the Trump campaign, he said. He said he is on a 1-year unpaid leave of absence from his job teaching at Iowa's Morningside College.

Donald Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Hillary Clinton compared her Republican rivals’ views on women’s health issues to those of “terrorist groups” in a Cleveland speech Thursday.

She named Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, calling their conservative views on reproductive rights “dead wrong for 21st century America,” pledging her campaign is “going forward, we are not going back.”

“Extreme views about women, we expect them from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies,” Clinton said.

Clinton specifically named Rubio’s position to make all abortions illegal even in case of rape and incest and Bush’s position — along with many of his GOP opponents — to defund Planned Parenthood.

"I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer or the teenager who didn't get pregnant because she has access to contraception," Clinton told the crowd. "Or anyone who has ever been protected by an HIV test."

Republicans immediately pounced on the comments, with the Republican National Committee sending out a statement calling her comments a “new low” and calling on her to apologize.

“For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign. She should apologize immediately for her inflammatory rhetoric,” RNC national press secretary Allison Moore said.

Jeb Bush tweeted that Clinton “compares pro-life Americans to terrorists, but defends despicable PP treatment of unborn? Her priorities are totally wrong.”

Clinton mentioned Kasich in her riff as well and he released a statement touting his poll numbers and calling the attack “misleading.”

In her remarks in the general election swing state she also mentioned Wednesday’s murder of two journalists saying “we have got to do something about this.” “It’s time to come to grips with this,” Clinton said. “I know politics are hard, I’ve got the scars to prove that and I know that when it comes to gun violence… a lot of people just basically say, ‘It’s just too hard, we’re not going to try this again.’ I’m gonna keep going. I am not giving up. I’m not going to sit by while more good people die, make it 24 or 48 or 72 hours of TV coverage and then we all just say there’s nothing we can do until the next time people are murdered by gun violence.”

Clinton was interrupted at times by Black Lives protesters, but said “We’ve got to come to terms about some hard truths about race and justice in America. Just like we have to come to terms about the truth about guns in America.”

A new poll from Quinnipiac University released Thursday showed her still with a broad lead against her opponents, but with her lowest number among Democrats in any national poll this cycle, 45 percent.

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(GREENVILLE, S.C.) -- Donald Trump is ready to settle one issue once and for all: Does he wear a rug?

"I don't wear a toupee,” Trump told a laughing crowd at an event in Greenville, South Carolina. “It's my hair. I swear."

He then decided that the situation required an “inspection” -- so he called a woman from the crowd onto the stage to tug at his hair.

“Yes, I believe it is,” she told the crowd when asked if the hair was real.

The real estate mogul did admit, as she came up on stage, that he uses hairspray.


ABC Latest News | Latest News Videos

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Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America(ANKENY, Iowa) — Hillary Clinton left her Hamptons vacation Wednesday to get back on the campaign trail in the critical state of Iowa, where she fielded questions about Vice President Joe Biden and his potential run for president.  

“I mean Joe has had more terrible events than most people can even contemplate. Losing his first wife, losing his first daughter, now losing his son. I think everybody should — he has to do what he has to do, but I’m just going to continue with my campaign,” Clinton said. “I’m going to do what I believe I should be doing and he will have to decide what he should be doing.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The competition for architects seeking to build the Obama presidential library has begun.

On Wednesday, the Barack Obama Foundation began the process of officially soliciting architectural designs for the library, which is to be built in Chicago on one of two locations: Jackson Park or Washington Park.

The deadline to submit plans is Sept. 16. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will then personally select the finalists from among the submitted designs. Those finalists will then be asked to submit proposals for the project.

The foundation says a final architect will likely not be announced until after a contract is finalized sometime early next year.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Thursday? Read below to find out their schedules:

Donald Trump


Trump is back on the trail Thursday with a morning event and possible press conference in South Carolina.

Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are also both in South Carolina.

Hillary Clinton

Still on her break from vacation, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in the general election swing state of Ohio Thursday. She’s attending a grassroots “organizing meeting” at Thursday morning.

The Democratic National Committee summer meeting kicks off in Minneapolis Thursday. All of the announced 2016 candidates will take the stage, including Hillary Clinton on Friday.  

Rand Paul continues his western tour with stops in Idaho.

Martin O’Malley is in New Hampshire while Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker and Carly Fiorina are in Iowa.

Ben Carson is on Huckabee turf in Arkansas.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- What will Joe do?

It’s the question on Democrats’ minds as Democratic National Committee members gather in Minneapolis for their summer meeting. Vice President Joe Biden won’t be speaking at the gathering, although the announced candidates -- including Hillary Clinton -- are all slated to address members.

Biden did speak with DNC members on Wednesday, lobbying Democrats on the Iran deal on a conference call. It was a call on policy, but it also meant Biden was at the top of members’ minds right before the meeting kicked off.

When ABC News reached out to state party chairs across the country, most who plan to attend the meeting, 12 mostly agreed that while there is room for a Biden candidacy, he is running out of time.

Ray Buckley, party chair for the first-in-the-nation primary New Hampshire Democrats, told ABC News “there may be room for Vice President Biden,” but cautioned “time is running out.”

“We in New Hampshire love an exciting primary,” he continued, but stressed if Biden does run, he can’t skip the early states, especially the Granite State.

“Skipping Iowa and New Hampshire has not served any candidate well in the decades past so that would be a curious decision to make,” Buckley said, referring to reports he may skip the first two voting states. “He has a deep reservoir of affection and if he chose to run he certainly would receive support from folks.”

"That said (his) two previous campaigns haven’t been successful in New Hampshire, but he would be entering this race as a sitting vice president so whether or not there is room for him, that’s for him to decide, for his team to decide,” he added.

Jamie Harrison, head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said Biden has “some strong supporters here in the state, he spends his vacations here…he has really strong relationships here, people with clout,” adding that if he gets in he will be “able to compete” in the state.

Harrison, who won’t be attending the meeting in Minneapolis, said “the Clinton campaign is very strong” in the state, calling them “top rate.”

“I think it’s going to be a contest, I don’t think the Clinton people are taking anything for granted,” he said. “They learned a lesson from 2007, 2008 and they will make sure every vote is counted and you make sure to court every vote and that’s what it seems like they are doing.”

Harrison, like Buckley, said he doesn’t think a Biden entry to the race would hurt the party, saying of the GOP, “They’ve got 17 people and they haven’t broken their party yet, I’m sure we can handle six or seven.”

The opinions of these two crucial primary states echoed among state chairs across the rest of the country, although some were less optimistic about Biden’s chances.

Nancy Worley, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, said “under most circumstances” it would be too late for a candidate to enter the race, but since he’s the vice president his name recognition makes it possible for him to enter the race now. Worley noted, however, that it’s time for Biden to make up his mind.

“At this point he needs to either make a decision or decide not to get in,” she said.

Mark Hammons, the chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, agreed, answering “just barely” when asked if there is still time for Biden to enter the race. He added that it will be “hard for him to catch up,” and running at this point requires having key people in key states and that is getting “harder and harder every day.”

Ana Cuprill, the party chair from Wyoming, says as far as her state goes she has “not heard too much talk about Biden being a viable candidate. Most folks are still fairly in one camp or the other with Secretary Clinton or Sen. Sanders.”

Vince Powers, the chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said he hears from party members, “’Boy, I hope he jumps in,’” but stressed that may not turn into votes, although he thinks when it comes to his state “a lot of Democrats would be pleased if he jumped in.”

Bruce Poole, the Maryland chairman, is in the camp of those who believe Biden will jump in saying he is “starting to think more likely than not the vice president is going to run.” In a compliment to Biden, he said voters now “want authentic.”

Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, says that even though some state officials have already backed Clinton, it’s not a done deal.

“It certainly is not going to be easy for anyone to cut into that level of support,” he said. “But Joe Biden is well-liked. He’s a great orator. He’s someone people genuinely love and believe in, so he could perhaps do that.”

Jim Burn, the party chair of Biden’s original home state of Pennsylvania, said he is excited about Biden’s possible run because “we feel as if we know him. He has that connect-ability.”

“Only the vice president knows the answers if the timing is right,” Burn said. “The fact that he continues to hold high level meetings with the senators and other stakeholders tells me he’s moving towards a decision."

Utah Chairman Peter Corroon said he thinks there would be “a lot of people who would be open to looking at Joe Biden.”

“I think if he’s going to get in, now is the time; if he waits too much longer, he’s going to be playing catch up especially with the machine Hillary Clinton is,” Corroon said, noting again that now may be the time Biden’s perceived authenticity could help a possible run, adding that it’s helped one candidate on the other side of the aisle.

“Joe Biden is Joe Biden, with all the great things about him and all of his thoughts and failures. The one thing he is is real and I think the people of the United States are looking for real people now, and frankly I think that’s why Donald Trump has been successful,” Corroon said.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama spoke about the shooting that left a pair of Virginia journalists dead on Wednesday with an ABC affiliate, calling their deaths heartbreaking.

"It breaks my heart every time when you read about or hear about these kind of incidents," the president told WPVI-TV in a one-on-one interview. Acknowledging the ongoing investigation into the shooting of a television reporter and a cameraman from WDBJ, a CBS-affiliate in the Roanoke-Lynchburg television market, perpetrated by a former employee of the station, Obama expressed hope that action could be taken to stem the tide of gun violence.

"What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism,"  Obama says in the interview. "We're willing to spend trillions of dollars to prevent terrorist activities, but we haven't been willing, so far at least, to impose some common sense gun safety measures that could save some lives."

He went on to discuss how Congress is "bottlenecked" on gun control, but praised the cities and state legislatures who have taken action. "I hope that that grassroots movement to say that people can have guns for hunting and for protection but that we can also have some common sense rules - like background checks - that those will make a difference."

"My hope," Obama concluded, "is that public pressure continues to grow."

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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is expected to host a meeting of religious leaders Sept. 28. Sources within the Trump campaign say this private meeting is not affiliated with the campaign.

“I was privy to meet Mr. Trump and I immediately liked him,” said Pastor Darrell Scott of the New Spirit Revival Center, who plans to attend the meeting and met Trump several years ago. “I liked his style, his bravado, his charisma and for lack of a better word his honesty.”

Dr. Scott, who has led his Cleveland based church for 22 years, says he reached out to Trump after he announced his candidacy asking for this type of meeting and offered to help round up religious leaders from around the country.

“There will be Evangelical leaders, Pentecostal, there will be some Rabbis – it’s going to be a melting pot. Black, white and Hispanic representation as well,” said Scott.

Trump Organization EVP Michael Cohen says the event is being “organized by several very high profile evangelical preachers including Dr. Scott.”

On the campaign trail, Trump has not talked about his religious views except to say he is a Presbyterian and next to Trump: The Art of the Deal, which he wrote, his favorite book is the Bible.

Responding to a question from ABC’s Tom Llamas during his media avail Tuesday in Dubuque, IA Trump said "I love the bible. I'm a Presbyterian. I went to Sunday school. Dr. Norman Vincent was my pastor, to this day one of the great speakers I've seen," he said.

"You hated to leave church. You hated when the sermon was over. That's how great he was. One of the things that's so incredible about the New Hampshire numbers is I lead with everybody...But one of the groups I lead with substantially Evangelicals.”

Dr. Scott, who is African American, dismisses the suggestion by some that Trump is a racist.

“I know for a matter of fact he is not. We’re going to exchange ideas and dispel any notion at this meeting because people’s opinions have been formed based on others. You can’t be a racist and be as successful as he is. He’s very genuine,” said Scott.

Scott also said he admires Trump's leadership.

"I want to hear straight from him his view points, his ideas, his strategies for America and to see if we share common beliefs and goals. I want to expose him to the African American community,” says Scott who has one hope of Mr. Trump eventually attending one of his Sunday services in Cleveland. "I tell people if you knew him you’d like him.”

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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(ANKENY, Iowa) -- Speaking to reporters on the Wednesday morning shooting in Virginia that left two television reporters dead, Hillary Clinton vowed to tackle the issue of gun violence if elected president.

"We have got to do something about gun violence," Clinton said at a press event in Ankeny, Iowa, "and I will take it on." She added that while "many people...face it," some "turn away because it's hard."

Acknowledging that gun violence and legislation is a "very politically difficult issue in America," Clinton said that she believes "we are smart enough, we are compassionate enough to balance the legitimate second amendment rights, with preventive measures and control measures so whatever motivated this murderer...we will not see more deaths."

"I want to reiterate," Clinton continued, "how important it is we not let another terrible instance go by without trying to do something more to prevent this incredible killing that is stalking our country."

"Intentional, unintentional, murder-suicides, it happens everyday," Clinton added, "and there is so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available, if we had universal background checks, if we could just put some time out between the person who's upset because he got fired or domestic abuse or whatever other motivation may be working on someone who does this, maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage."

"So, I hope that in addition to expressing sympathy to those directly affected, this is maybe for the media, for the public, for elected officials, for every American, what it hopefully will finally take for us to act," she concluded.

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Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On a conference call with top Democrats ahead of the party’s summer meeting, Vice President Joe Biden said that he is still undecided about a run for the White House in 2016 and closely consulting with his family on the decision, sources familiar with the session told ABC News.

Biden has been grief-stricken since the end of May over the death of his son, Beau, due to cancer, but has also been quietly stepping up calls to gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy. On Saturday, a sign of just how serious his exploration has become, Biden met privately with liberal icon Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The moves -- and latest comments to DNC members -- have fueled speculation about whether he will run. Biden is expected to finalize his decision in the next six weeks.

“I just want the vice president to decide to do what’s right for him and his family,” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton told reporters in Iowa Wednesday. “He has to do what he has to do, but I’m just going to continue with my campaign.”

The Biden conference call Wednesday was hosted by the Democratic National Committee and billed as a chance for him to deliver the administration's case for the Iran nuclear deal.

ABC News dialed into the call -- which was not publicly advertised as open to the press but had no stated restrictions -- and was repeatedly disconnected by the operator after several minutes at a time.

As Biden discussed an academic analysis of how yellow cake is enriched, a brief history of U.N. resolutions against Iran and how he believes Iran will be blocked from the bomb, ABC News was abruptly given the boot.

“That resolution has three things in it,” Biden was explaining several minutes into the call. “You can’t get a nuclear weapon ...

Operator: “I am unable to let you listen to the call.” (click)

When ABC News re-dialed into the call, the operator again disconnected our reporter after a few minutes of listening.

“You need uranium to 90 percent to make a bomb,” Biden could be heard discussing. “That’s a longer process and 3.7 won’t get you there. Here’s the deal they have to ...“

Operator: “I’m sorry, due to customer request, I’m no longer allowed to allow you to listen to the conference call.” (Click)

A spokeswoman for the DNC did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment. Some news outlets were allowed to remain on the call.

“He’s an interesting choice of a spokesperson,” given the 2016 chatter, one DNC participant told ABC News.

While the purpose of the session was to ostensibly lobby Democrats for the deal in his official capacity, to many political observers it was a chance for Biden to put his name –- and foreign policy chops –- front and center ahead of the party’s meeting. Biden won’t be speaking at the gathering in Minneapolis, but 2016 candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will.

“It’s ironic. He’s doing this call the day before the DNC meeting,” another DNC member told ABC News. “Good for him.”

The White House has so far not taken sides in the 2016 Democratic primary, but has publicly offered a boost to Biden lately.

Asked by ABC News whether it would be “easier” for the president if Biden did not run -– given divided loyalties to both his vice president and former secretary of state -– Obama spokesman Josh Earnest Wednesday demurred.

“I know there are some who have made that assessment,” he said. “Let me just say, that's certainly an assessment that other people are welcome to conclude. ... The vice president has more than earned the right to have the space and time to make a decision about whether or not he would like to be a candidate for president."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush will release his new book Reply All for pre-order on Amazon on Wednesday night.

The book is considered a memoir of Bush's time as governor of Florida, using email exchanges with his staff, members of the media, and his constituents to showcase what Bush's campaign calls "his mission of being the best leader possible for Floridians." The book is set to be published in late October, according to Bush's campaign website.

During his time as governor, his campaign says Bush spent 30 hours each week communicating via email. Among the topics discussed in the book are his work on education, his vetoing of thousands of earmarks, saving money for taxpayers and streamlining the Florida economy.

On his campaign website, Bush released a sample chapter on his handling of a number of hurricanes in 2004, titled "We Will Prevail."

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