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The Lid: Where the 2016 Race Stands After Biden’s Decision

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Elected officials took to Twitter to make hackneyed political jokes about Back to the Future Day, because they hate your childhood memories and constantly seek to poison them.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

With Joe Biden Decision Day in the rearview mirror, here’s what we *think* we can expect in the next few weeks. First, Clinton will likely increase her lead: In our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Clinton’s lead over Sanders was 20 points with Biden in the race, but 25 points when Biden was left out. Also in the same poll, just 30 percent of Democrats said they wanted Biden to run, while 38 percent said they would prefer if he stayed out of the race. Interestingly, the *only* group who were a net positive on that question were non-white voters -- a group that, at least so far, Clinton is winning with flying colors.

And/but: In some ways, Biden’s move - just a day before Clinton’s Benghazi testimony on Capitol Hill - makes the stakes for Clinton that much higher in the short term. Now that her chances of getting the general election nod have gone up, her performance at the hearing will be seen as a key indicator about whether she can assuage independents’ concerns and not be saddled with the controversy well into next year. If she does well, Clinton will have had nearly the best October possible for the secretary of state - between Biden’s exit, her strong debate performance and a not-insignificant boost in the polls. But if she has a bad performance, expect a new round of commentary and Democratic handwringing that maybe Joe Biden made a mistake.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

BIDEN: He seemed to send a message to Hillary Clinton while announcing he would not seek the Democratic nomination in 2016.

TRUMP: He is the only Republican candidate that has not purchased a database of voter information, according a Quartz analysis of his financial disclosures.

BUSH: The super PAC supporting him is out with a new ad airing on Fox News.

SANDERS: Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders plans to start a robust television advertising campaign next month in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Washington Post reports.

FOR THE RECORD…

“I think Joe Biden made correct decision for him & his family. Personally, I would rather run against Hillary because her record is so bad.”

-- Donald Trump tweeting his reaction to Biden’s decision.

TOMORROW SKED

Hillary Clinton appears before the Benghazi Select Committee at 10 a.m.

Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee are both in South Carolina.

Ben Carson continues his book tour in Oklahoma and Missouri. Carly Fiorina is in Arkansas and Bobby Jindal is in Iowa. John Kasich hits both New Hampshire and Iowa.