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The Week in 2016: What Mattered (And What Didn’t)

In today's rapid-fire political news cycle, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the different news out there. So here's a look back at the past week in the 2016 presidential contest, making sense of the developments and events that we think mattered -- and those that didn't.

What mattered

1. Biden's my heart and soul "are pretty banged up": Different people could interpret Joe Biden's remarks on that DNC conference call differently. But they – along with NBC's and Politico's additional reporting – suggest that Biden, at the very least, is trying to calm down the presidential speculation. The 2016 door remains open, but he's not running through it just yet.

2. Jeb mixes it up with Trump: Bush's decision to engage Donald Trump – again – appears to be an effort to diminish the rest of the field, as well as to show some strength to Republican voters. But it has a clear drawback, too: If Jeb is willing to draw a rhetorical sword, Trump is always going to pull out a gun – or a cannon – in response.

Bush Takes Aim at 'Good Talker' Trump on Immigration 1:01

3. "Anchor babies" = Asians: Jeb Bush was factually correct that wealthy Chinese nationals come to the United States to have children who will be American citizens. But extending the "anchor baby" debate to Asians is also a sure-fire way to alienate Asian Americans, who have been swing voters in the past.

4. Democratic leaders are increasingly nervous about Hillary's emails: Two points to make about this week's New York Times story: One, Democrats are nervous creatures by nature (remember the handwringing over Obama's debate performance in Denver?). Two, this nervousness will become a MAJOR problem if the FBI doesn't quickly close the door on its investigation. But Clinton backers received some encouraging words from national-security writer David Ignatius: “Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it’s not something a prosecutor would take to court.”

What didn't matter as much

1. Last Saturday's Biden-Elizabeth Warren meeting: Yes, the news fanned the flames of the Biden presidential buzz. But be sure to read the Boston Globe to see that Biden and Warren aren't exactly BFFs – or a presidential-campaign team in the making.

2. Hillary takes "responsibility" for not using two different emails: Sure, it was a change in her rhetoric for using a private email account (and server) as secretary of state. And it signaled some contrition. But shouldn't she have said this months ago?

3. Trump and Cruz teaming up to oppose the Iran deal: The announcement that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will appear together in DC next month to oppose the Iran deal probably isn't the best way to convince fence-sitting Democrats to nix the deal, right?