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OFF TO THE RACES: Trump doesn’t challenge man’s anti-Muslim claims

Backers of the carried-interest tax break are rushing to defend the idea after both Donald Trump and Jeb Bush proposed gutting it.

NBC's Benjy Sarlin previews tonight's Heritage Action forum in Greenville.

BIDEN: Draft Biden official Josh Alcorn was overheard on an Amtrak train saying "I am 100 percent that Joe is in,” writes National Review.

And/but: From POLITICO: "People who’ve spoken with the vice president say he doesn’t seem in any rush. Earlier in the process, Biden's staff had been insisting to some reporters that the "end of summer'' isn’t technically until Sept. 23. That’s next Wednesday. No one believes at this point that’ll be the cutoff."

BUSH: He's struggling in an unfamiliar role: underdog.

CLINTON: She's promising a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline "soon."

On the debate over the debates, she said on CNN: "I will certainly show up anywhere the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tells us to show up"

FIORINA: The LA Times looks at the structural challenges ahead for her campaign.

Great look from NBC’s Alex Jaffe and Kailani Koenig at how her super PAC is testing the legal limits of campaign coordination.

O'MALLEY: From the Washington Post: "The Maryland State Ethics Commission will not launch an inquiry related to former governor Martin O’Malley’s purchase of furniture from the governor’s mansion in Annapolis, according to a statement Thursday night from the state Attorney General’s office. Upon leaving office in January, the family of O’Malley, a Democratic presidential hopeful, took dozens of items that his administration had deemed “excess property" to furnish their new home in Baltimore."

RUBIO: His campaign is out with a video on his debate performance.

SANDERS: His campaign raised $1.2 million after the Correct the Record oppo hit that linked him to Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

TRUMP: He didn't correct a questioner in New Hampshire on Thursday who claimed that the president is Muslim, NBC’s Kailani Koenig reports.

He's also taking new shots at Carly Fiorina over her business record.

From POLITICO: "Mentions of Trump on both television and radio have been trending downward for a month from their post-Fox debate high. His share of Twitter conversation relative to other candidates has declined in recent weeks, and his odds in political prediction markets have dipped in the hours since Wednesday night’s debate."

CONGRESS: Preparing for a shutdown

Obama met with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi Thursday to prepare for negotiations over a potential government shutdown.

More, from Roll Call: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., laid out their demands to reporters late Thursday outside the West Wing. The duo pushed for a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open without riders and with any additional funding equally divided between defense and non-defense programs 'dollar for dollar.'"

And POLITICO writes: "The same Republicans who campaigned on doing away with legislative crises are careening toward government shutdown in less than two weeks with still no concrete plan to stop it."

OBAMA AGENDA: Back to Gitmo

Roll Call reports that the president's plan to close Gitmo won't include a recommendation for a single prison site in the U.S.

After another attempt by Republicans failed to stop it, the administration is preparing to implement the Iran deal.

Via the Wall Street Journal: "The Obama administration is considering scrapping its effort to create a large-scale Syrian force to fight Islamic State as it searches for alternatives to prevent the American-led effort from collapsing, officials said."


*** Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” line-up: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell will interview Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, NBC’s Chuck Todd and Hallie Jackson, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Anne Gearan and the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett.