Biden his time. Will Joe run?

Hillary Clinton is surely muttering the same thing over and over today: Say it ain’t so, Joe.

After months of monotony about how the former First Lady, US senator, and secretary of state was marching toward the most certain party nomination in recent history for an open-seat presidential election, the wild speculation that Joe Biden might jump in the race suddenly seems a bit less wild.

It started with a Maureen Dowd column over the weekend reporting that Biden is giving serious consideration to run. Dowd reports the idea got a particular push from Biden’s son, Beau, as he was dying of brain cancer. Dowd writes — complete with some quoted dialogue on the words purportedly exchanged between Biden and son — that Beau wanted his father to promise him he’d run for president and not, in Dowd’s words, let the White House “revert to the Clintons.”

Dowd starts off with a tortured attempt to draw parallels between sleazy Hillary Clinton and sleazy Tom Brady. But after getting past those acrobatics, she settles on the issue of a potential Biden run — and all the soap-opera drama it would raise for President Obama to have his former secretary of state and his loyal VP in a showdown. In a blind quote designed to push Obama into Joe’s corner, Dowd has a former White House advisor dishing that the president “has no idea how much the Clintons dislike him.” (Guess he does now, or at least that’s the hope.)

A Sunday front-page Times piece fills out the story, with talk about how the freighter full of Clinton baggage — from decades past as well as current questions about her private email server and  upcoming hearings on Benghazi — seems to be showing up in poll numbers (57 percent said she was not honest and trustworthy in one recent survey).

“It’s not that we dislike Hillary, it’s that we want to win the White House,” a lawyer and South Carolina Democratic donor tells the Times. The attorney met recently with Biden’s chief of staff, the story reports.

The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins reports that a source close to Biden says the VP is “leaning strongly toward a 2016 presidential bid.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is exciting crowds, but most observers doubt the self-proclaimed socialist can win the Democratic nomination. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island governor and senator Lincoln Chafee have yet to catch much of a tailwind.

“I’d love to see Biden run,” Bay State Democratic strategist Scott Ferson tells Atkins. “He is authentic and people are looking for that.”

This much is clear: If Biden pulls the trigger, its effect on the race will easily merit the same characterization he offered to Obama five years ago to underscore the significance of the signing of the Affordable Care Act.

MICHAEL JONAS

 

BEACON HILL

State leaders, after months of behind the scenes negotiations, have agreed to a comprehensive, independent review of criminal justice policies with an eye toward reducing corrections costs and lowering recidivism rates. (CommonWealth) The cover story of CommonWealth‘s summer issue spotlighted the national rethinking of tough-on-crime policies and asked whether Massachusetts would formally join the effort.

Two Methuen police officers among a group of 25 recent hires had arrest records, but that information was not released publicly under an exemption in the Public Records Law. (Eagle-Tribune)

The perpetually short-staffed state medical examiner’s office will try to address its autopsy backlog with the help of additional support staff, because of the difficulty recruiting full-fledged forensic pathologists. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

An Eagle-Tribune editorial stands by the Patriots, but barely.

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch wants the city to buy property adjoining the Adams National Historic Park, which housed President John Adams’s home, in order to preserve it as open space. (Patriot Ledger)

A Metrowest Daily News editorial blasts Wayland for repeatedly violating the state’s Open Meeting Law.

OLYMPICS

The Globe says Boston should keep its eye on Widett Circle and the potential to transform the sprawling industrial area that had been targeted for an Olympic stadium. Sunday’s paper has an editorial and four accompanying opinion pieces from Mayor Marty Walsh, Renee Loth, Martin Zogran, and Tim Love.

CASINOS

Steve Wynn picks up the phone and calls Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, but the two can’t agree on what was said. Still, there is talk of a meeting after Labor Day. (CommonWealth)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, hero to liberals on most issues, is fighting to maintain accountability provisions in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Law — and clashing with teachers unions in the process. (CommonWealth)

US Rep. Seth Moulton says he will support the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration. (Associated Press) Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she will too. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Sen. Ted Cruz says the facts don’t support climate change. He accuses scientists of “cooking the books.” (Time)

A potential tie for the 10th and final slot for the Fox News debate this week could result in an 11th podium on the stage with both Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Texas Rick Perry being allowed to participate. (U.S. News & World Report)

When billionaires collide: Donald Trump labels five GOP opponents as “puppets” of the Koch brothers who “beg” the conservative benefactors for money. (New York Times)

Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush, predicts Donald Trump‘s candidacy will collapse once voters look beyond the showmanship and the sloganeering. (Keller@Large)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A contract covering 38,000 Verizon employees from Massachusetts to Virginia expired over the weekend, but the workers have held off for now on a threatened strike. (Boston Herald)

Charitable giving has gone up 8 percent in the first half of 2015, according to a new study. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

EDUCATION

In-state tuition in the nation’s public colleges and universities has risen a staggering 296 percent in the last 20 years while tuition at private schools has gone up a still-eye popping 179 percent in the same period. (U.S. News & World Report)

The Dearborn school building in Roxbury will be torn down to make way for a new 6-12 grade STEM academy after the state Historic Commission gave its approval to the plan. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH CARE

A program aimed at saving costs and improving health outcomes by better coordinating care for the state’s sickest residents — poor people with serious health conditions who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid — is instead sustaining huge losses. (Boston GlobeCommonWealth wrote previously about hopes for the approach.

Carolyn Kaelin, an acclaimed Boston breast cancer surgeon who then faced the disease herself and wrote poignantly about it in an effort to help other patients, has died at age 54.

TRANSPORTATION

A land swap between Lowell and the MBTA may be the key to jump-starting development of the Hamilton Canal District. (The Sun)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Obama administration prepares to release its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants, and it appears to be tougher than draft versions. (NPR) The plan seeks a 32 percent reduction by 2030. (Bloomberg) The Obama plan is attracting a lot of interest to the northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. (CommonWealth)

US Rep. Stephen Lynch and the mayors of Quincy, Weymouth, and Braintree are trying to dissuade Spectra Energy from building a controversial natural gas compressor station on the congested Fore River Basin. (Patriot Ledger)

The parent company of Berkshire Gas is investing in the embattled Kinder Morgan pipeline, saying when it goes into operation the company can lift its moratorium on adding new customers in Franklin and Hampshire counties. (Berkshire Eagle)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Donations surge to more than $100,000 for Gloucester’s Angel program, which offers those with opioid addictions treatment rather than prosecution. (Gloucester Times) Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello says he is not letting up in going after dealers. (Gloucester Times)

An off-duty Massachusetts state trooper was arrested on domestic violence charges and relieved of duty after an unidentified woman was taken from his Royalston home and hospitalized. (The Republican)

Youth courts in New Bedford and Fall River, a diversionary program where youthful misdemeanor offenders are prosecuted, defended and judged by other teens, are struggling to stay open because of budget constraints. (Standard-Times)

A Miami judge may have come up with a way to decriminalize mental illness. (Governing)

The New York Times uses a Baltimore woman’s drunken driving conviction as an exemplar of probation as an alternative sentence having extreme consequences..

MEDIA

The American Journalism Review will be no more.

Rolling Stone magazine, still reeling from its discredited and retracted story on rape at the University of Virginia, has appointed Men’s Journal editor Jason Fine as the new managing editor. (New York Times)

With its expose of nail salons being picked apart and the botched story on Hillary Clinton‘s emails, the Beat The Press panel wonders if there is a growing pattern of overreach at the New York Times.