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OFF THE RACES: Trump ahead in Iowa, Hillary’s national lead slipping

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Trump leading Carson in Iowa 27 percent to 21 percent, with Ted Cruz in third place at nine percent.

CNN's latest national poll of Democrats: 37 percent for Clinton, 27 percent for Sanders, 20 percent for Biden.

National Journal tallies the GOP candidates' visits to early states and finds that the ones spending the MOST time on the ground are struggling for traction.

The New York Times, on GOP campaigns' debate strategies: "With the onetime front-runners Jeb Bush and Scott Walker sagging in the polls after middling performances in the last debate, on Aug. 6 — and with Mr. Trump rising despite divisive comments — many of the candidates are convinced that they are better off using the debates to make forceful and targeted appeals to viewers, rather than trying to knock out Mr. Trump, advisers to several campaigns said."

Here's the final list of who will be on stage for the September 16 CNN debate.

The Boston Globe reports that Team Romney is hoping to unite to stop Donald Trump.

BIDEN: Here's Alex Seitz-Wald's wrap of Biden's appearance on Colbert's late night show.

POLITICO writes: "In and around the vice president’s office, planning and outreach for the expected run is intensely underway, creating an energy that looks to those close to it like a campaign taking shape. They’re talking to donors, they’re connecting with old supporters, they’re starting to think about potential campaign staff hires, according to people familiar with the activity."

BUSH: He touted his tax plan in New Hampshire -- while taking some shots at Donald Trump, NBC's Jordan Frasier reports.

CHRISTIE: The New York Times traces the connections between Bridgegate and the ouster of United's CEO.

CLINTON: Some donors want Team Clinton to take on Sanders more directly.

She's stepping up her efforts to woo women, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Many voters are still unable to name Clinton's accomplishments, notes the Washington Post.

The State Department staffer who helped set up her private server formally took the Fifth on Thursday.

GRAHAM: The Washington Post spends some time with the South Carolina senator in New Hampshire: "Lindsey O. Graham has this election’s bleakest campaign promise: If elected, he will start a land war."

TRUMP: Here's an interesting thing Trump said re: his comments about Carly Fiorina: "Some comments are made as an entertainer and as everybody said, as an entertainer is a much different ball game."

WALKER: NBC's Shaq Brewster wraps Scott Walker's Eureka College speech yesterday, which included a focus on unions.

CONGRESS: Senate Dems block GOP action on Iran, securing Obama victory

Here's how last night's Iran deal vote in the Senate happened, per NBC's Halimah Abdullah.

More, from the New York Times: "Mr. Obama’s triumph in securing the deal — without the support of a single member of the party now in control of Congress — is refashioning the definition of victory for a waning presidency in the era of divided government."

The reaction to the Senate vote was quiet in Iran.


*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will interview Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, 9/11 Day of Service Founder Jay Winuk, Fmr. Gov. Howard Dean and NBC’s Richard Engel, Rehema Ellis, Jim Miklaszewski and Miguel Almaguer.