Hillary Rodham Clinton had planned to spend the last two weeks of August on vacation, unwinding and fund-raising on the exclusive shores of Long Island. But, as it turns out, this is no time for a vacation.

Amid concerns about Mrs. Clinton’s softening poll numbers and her exclusive use of a personal email server as secretary of state, she will interrupt her Hamptons stay next week to travel to the Midwest and try to shift attention back to her campaign message by unveiling new policy positions…

With questions about Mrs. Clinton’s use of private email persisting — a federal judge said Thursday that the practice did not comply with government policies — and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. considering seeking the Democratic nomination, the late-August doldrums have proven anything but.

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Compelled by her own carelessness to address the long-simmering scandal, Clinton adopted an air of impertinence. She looked down her nose at the reporters questioning her behavior. She displayed exaggerated body language, shrugging and gesticulating wildly, communicating to journalists that the line of questioning to which she was being subjected was improper. Perhaps most gallingly, when repeatedly asked if she had wiped the server herself, Clinton joked, “with a cloth?” Perhaps knowing that her embellished display of disdain for the process of campaigning for the presidency was not going over well, Clinton abruptly ended her presser almost mid-sentence. But before she retired to the comfort provided by her coterie of flatterers, Clinton bid the press one last discourtesy by turning briefly and throwing her hands up in a shrug on her way out the door.

For a candidate with a tarnished and deteriorating public image, this press conference was a disaster…

Even if there were no more shoes to drop in the ongoing saga involving Clinton’s emails, and there will be, it has done possibly irreparable damage to her viability as a presidential candidate. Clinton’s flippant and contemptuous behavior has only made the problem worse.

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[S]ome Democrats supporting Mrs. Clinton have quietly signaled that they would re-evaluate their support if Mr. Biden joined the race. For example, Tom Daschle, an influential former Senate Democratic leader who has given the maximum amount allowable to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, has indicated that he would reassess his position if Mr. Biden entered the race, according to people who have been in contact with him in recent days…

But the vice president and his closest advisers are also monitoring Mrs. Clinton as she tries to put questions over her use of a private email server while secretary of state behind her. On Thursday, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing troubling signs for Mrs. Clinton in three key states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In each state survey, at least 6 in 10 voters said the former secretary of state was not honest and trustworthy. Fewer than 4 in 10 voters in each state held a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton, compared with nearly 6 in 10 who viewed her negatively…

“He’s not unrealistic that if she’s able to right the ship here, at this point it’s tough, really tough, to see a lot of Democrats coming off her,” said one former senior Obama administration official who recently discussed the merits of a campaign with Mr. Biden. “On the other hand, the things with the emails and everything else could deteriorate — who knows? So I think he’s figuring he’s got another month or so to see what happens, to sort of put feelers out there.”

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Vice President Joe Biden met privately with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday in his residence at the Naval Observatory, CNN has learned, another sign he is seriously deciding whether to jump into the Democratic presidential race.

The meeting between Biden and Warren, confirmed by two people familiar with the session, is the biggest indication yet that Biden is feeling out influential Democrats before announcing his intentions.

Beloved by liberal Democrats, Warren decided to sit out a campaign of her own, but she has yet to formally endorse a candidate. In an interview on Friday, she told WBZ in Boston: “I don’t think anyone has been anointed.”

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Some Hollywood Democrats are flirting with Joe Biden as he mulls a 2016 presidential run while Hillary Clinton’s email scandal gains momentum.

Now that Steven Schale, a former Obama campaign strategist, has joined the Draft Biden 2015 super PAC as an informal adviser, key donors are looking at funding the current Vice President, insiders tell TheWrap…

“I’ve spoke to a lot of people who said to me, ‘Listen, I’ve already given money to Secretary Clinton but I’m not thrilled with her campaign and her lack of trustworthiness. If the Vice President jumps in I’m there,’” Mandel said.

While he won’t name any names, Mandel says many of the people who’ve contacted him are “big donors” with very deep pockets, adding Hollywood money is already making its way to Biden coffers.

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As Hillary Clinton faces a new round of questions about her email use as secretary of state, some longtime allies are increasingly worried that she’s learned little from past scandals, and is falling back on her tendency to mount a legalistic defense that only encourages perceptions that she has something to hide.

A key concern is whether top campaign operatives new to Clinton’s orbit have enough influence in crafting her response to the email controversy. A source with inside knowledge of the Clinton campaign voiced concern that the candidate and her longtime attorney David Kendall are the only ones calling the shots — and can have a tin ear when it comes to the politics, rather than simply the legal status, of the email saga…

“There is definitely concern out there,” said Brock, who also serves on the board of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA. “In speaking with people, I’ve learned that the qualms go away once they know the facts and the evidence, which most people are not taking the time to sift through.”…

“I get nervous about seeing stories with these words together — FBI, Clinton, criminal investigation,” said another Democratic operative with ties to the campaign. “If there’s anything to be nervous about, it’s that the average voter will remember those words.” Multiple sources said another major concern is what the campaign doesn’t know — what’s in the contents of more than 62,000 emails.

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Mrs. Clinton has now lost control over events, which is precisely what she was trying to ensure when she created her own homebrew computer system in the first place…

[Former CIA operative Robert] Baer pointed out that if he had sent a document like the one Hillary Clinton had on her server over the open Internet he’d get fired the same day, escorted to the door and probably be charged with mishandling classified information. When asked if this situation was a “deal breaker” for Clinton’s presidential candidacy, Baer said, “As a national security employee, a former one, yes.”

“I can’t tell you how bad this is,” he added. “A lot of things get talked about, a lot of gossip, but having documents like this sent across the Internet, it could be hacked very easily and probably were hacked, is a transgression that I don’t think the president of the United States should be allowed to, you know, have committed.”

Bob Woodward, who knows about such things, said that the Hillary Clinton email scandal “reminds me of the Nixon tapes. Thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his …. Hillary Clinton initially took that position, ‘I’m not turning this over, there’ll be no cooperation.’ Now they’re cooperating. But this has to go on a long, long time, and the answers are probably not going to be pretty.”

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Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat gaining attention nationwide who isn’t linked to an FBI investigation. Why some Democrats still continue to believe a candidate can win the White House with the Justice Department, FBI, and other intelligence agencies investigating this candidate’s email practices, seems to overlook one obvious fact. Nobody has ever won the White House with an ongoing FBI and Justice Department investigation, and it doesn’t seem that the FBI or Justice Department will cease investigating Clinton’s email saga by Election Day; 444 days away.

In reality, the real frontrunner within the race for Democratic nominee is the candidate gaining momentum every single day, without overwhelming media coverage. Bernie Sanders is in reality the likely choice for Democratic nominee, since his competition is linked to an ongoing FBI investigation. Statisticians and pundits can serve as naysayers, but the reality is that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders is constantly dwindling, and yet Clinton’s email saga is just beginning. For these reasons and more, the realistic choice for Democratic nominee is the Vermont Senator, not the former Secretary of State who is now under scrutiny from various government agencies.

Fabricated or real, the scandal exists, and nobody can win the White House with the FBI as a running mate.

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The Democrats have all their eggs in one basket pretty much: Hillary Clinton’s increasingly basket-case campaign. Clinton is growing more and more testy at news conferences, and her advisers are showing fatigued judgment in preparing questionable talking points like the one she delivered recently about the social media site Snapchat. (The site allows users to send messages that disappear on their own.)

The Clinton campaign seems totally oblivious to the seriousness of the investigation into her private email server.

It goes without saying that when you’ve got the Justice Department crawling through your emails, you’ve got real trouble. Making bad jokes about it or suggesting that the inquiry is just “politics” suggests a profound tone deafness or a fatal flaw in the campaign.

Even as Clinton continues to outpoll Republicans, it’s not beyond the realm of imagination that she will one day drop from the race.

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Clinton, as she showed then and has shown since, is not one to walk away. She embodies that all-American quip about the going getting tough and the tough getting going. But I just hope that there are those, somewhere in her entourage, who are even now begging her not to do it, and to bow out while there is still time to do so with grace.

Reality must be looked in the eye. Clinton is a hugely divisive figure, including within her own party – and not primarily because she is a woman. There is the clan question. What does it say about the meritocratic credentials of the United States that two of the most favoured candidates for 2016 are closely related to recent presidents? Neither is to blame but in my book, this alone would be a reason for both Clinton and Jeb Bush to leave the field. It is also a reason why they may not be electable…

Clinton’s chief liability, though, is the baggage she carries of her own. This includes the matter of that private email account she is claimed to have used professionally while secretary of state, and her handling of the murder of the US ambassador in Libya. The latter suggests a reluctance to accept ultimate responsibility, which is not a good recommendation for a president. The former suggests confusion about where to draw the line between the personal and the professional – a line more clearly drawn in US politics than here. Her explanations – most recently to reporters in Iowa, where she talked about “convenience” that turned out “to be not so convenient” – remain unsatisfactory and high-handed…

She can cite personal reasons (concerns about her husband’s health, for instance), or the hope that she has left time for another woman – the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, or the health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius – to run. But call it quits she should, unbeaten.

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Using private servers helped shield her work product from the public and congressional committees trying to find out more about Benghazi. But her paranoia, and her arrogance, could also very well have put her country at risk…

And a candidate who puts their own politics over security — especially if that candidate is widely thought by voters to be untrustworthy — has a problem…

The political problem for the Democrats is that she might lose the election. But what if she were to win?

We will have elected an imperial personality who felt entitled to use private email for government business — email that, reportedly contained classified information including discussions on secret drone programs and other matters.

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Via RCP.

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If Hillary starts to implode you will see a vacuum that you have not seen in many, many years,”