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Rick Perry staff to volunteer 'until the ship is corrected'

It’s unclear if the pay suspension is permanent, but most on the Iowa staff are still planning to volunteer “until the ship is corrected.”

Jeb Bush takes aim at Hillary Clinton on Iraq and the rise of ISIS, saying she “stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away” …. Rick Perry has stopped paying staff amid money crisis…. A friendly August early-polling reminder… Donald Trump and FOX have a détente…. And Clinton tries to change the conversation from Trump to the GOP (particularly Rubio) on women’s issues.

Rick Perry’s financial woes: NBC’s Alex Moe confirms reports that Rick Perry’s campaign has stopped paying its staffers in all states amid lackluster fundraising. A source tells Moe that it’s unclear if the pay suspension is permanent, but that most on the Iowa staff are still planning to volunteer “until the ship is corrected.” The money drain illustrates how much Perry’s narrow miss of the primetime debate stage last week hurt; a solid performance wouldn’t have launched him into the top tier, but it might have prevented the campaign fundraising spigot from running this dry.  

The good news for Perry: his series of super PACs have amassed a war chest of something in the neighborhood of $17 million, so his money problems don’t automatically mean that he’s headed for the exits himself.  (And remember: Perry isn’t a candidate who gives up easily; remember his surprise decision in 2012 to stay in the race despite an anemic showing in the Iowa caucuses?)  Still, being in crisis mode and risking losing staff two months after your presidential announcement is a blow that would be hard for any candidate to recover from, let alone one who’s so damagingly defined by his mistakes four years ago.

Jeb Bush takes aim at Hillary Clinton on ISIS, Iraq. Jeb Bush is set to deliver a major foreign policy address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library tonight, and he’ll take a significant swipe at Hillary Clinton on Iraq and the rise of ISIS. According to excerpts from the Bush campaign, he’ll say: “Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge…then joined in claiming credit for its success … then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away. In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once. Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the President and Secretary Clinton – the storied “team of rivals” – took office? So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers.”

The tone is a shift from late last month, when Bush was criticized for holding back on tough talk even as Clinton attacked him from the stage at the National Urban League. By pinning the rise of ISIS on the Iraq withdrawal – and highlighting Clinton’s role in what he calls the “mistakes” that have enabled the growth of Islamic terrorism, he can try to make the conversation about his Democratic rival’s role in problems at the END of the war rather than his brother’s role in the beginning of it. The speech is at 9pm ET.

A polling context reminder: Speaking of Rick Perry, NBC’s Brooke Brower reminds us that early national polling always pairs best with a dose of historical context. Case in point: An NBC/WSJ national poll at the end of August 2011 had Rick Perry leading the field with 38%, followed by Mitt Romney at 23% and everyone else in single digits. Eventual Iowa Caucuses winner Rick Santorum pulled 3%. Going back one more cycle, an early September 2007 NBC/WSJ national poll had Rudy Giuliani leading the GOP field at 32% followed by Fred Thompson at 26%, John McCain at 14% and Romney at 11%. Eventual Iowa Caucuses winner Mike Huckabee pulled 4%. On the Democratic side, that same national NBC/WSJ poll in September 2007 had Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama 44% to 23%. John Edwards pulled 16% with everyone else in single digits.

By the week of Labor Day in both 2007 and 2011, there had been several GOP debates already. On the Democratic side in 2007, we were getting ready for the TENTH debate happening days after Labor Day. On Labor Day 2015, we’ll be getting ready for just the second GOP debate on Sept. 16th. The first Democratic debate will be Oct. 13th.

The Donald and FOX say they’ve made nice:  There’s a reported détente in the FOX News-Donald Trump feud after last week’s debate. Trump tweeted yesterday that network president and “great guy” Roger Ailes assured him that he’d always be “treated fairly,” while Ailes put out a statement that reflected perhaps a less chummy conversation. “We discussed our concerns, and I again expressed my confidence in Megyn Kelly,” he said. “She is a brilliant journalist and I support her 100 percent. I assured him that we will continue to cover this campaign with fairness and balance. We had a blunt but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared.”

And here’s Megyn Kelly addressing the comments Trump made about her: “I felt he was asked a tough but fair question. We agree to disagree.” Trump appeared on Fox and Friends this morning, chirping “it’s great to be back with you!”  The fact that both parties here appear to be playing nice after more than 72 hours of acrimony shows just how valuable their synergy is to both sides when it works – particularly with that 24 million-viewer ratings coup from Thursday night hanging out there.

Clinton pivots to a Rubio attack: As our sibling publication The Lid wrote yesterday, Clinton is grappling with much the same issue as her GOP rivals when it comes to maneuvering around Donald Trump to land a punch on a different opponent. But here’s how she attempted it yesterday -- getting a series of questions about Trump from reporters in New Hampshire, she had this to say:  “When one of their major candidates, a much younger man, the senator from FL, says there should be no exceptions for rape and incest, that is as offensive and as troubling a comment you can hear for a major candidate running for the presidency. So [Trump’s] language may be more colorful and offensive, but the thinking, the attitude toward women is very much the same, it just is delivered in a different package.” Rubio shot back, calling Clinton’s views on abortion “radical.” But you can expect to hear more about Rubio’s stringent position on abortion ban exemptions; public polling shows that views on abortion have held relatively stable, particularly over the last 10 years, with just 19 percent saying that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

On the trail: Rand Paul appears at a Politics and Eggs event at St. Anselm College. Hillary Clinton holds a town hall to discuss her college affordability plan– and she’ll also talk about substance abuse at an event later in Keene, NH. Donald Trump addresses the Genesse and Saginaw Michigan Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner, and Jeb Bush gives his foreign policy address at the Reagan Library in the evening.

OFF TO THE RACES: “It’s all entertainment”

The New York Times notes how Democratic activists are erasing the names of Jefferson and Jackson from their annual gatherings.

BUSH: Here’s the AP with its preview of Jeb Bush’s big foreign policy speech – and his swipes at Hillary Clinton.

He's out with a new video about the threat of ISIS and his opposition to the Iran deal.

CLINTON: She called Trump "all entertainment" last night, pivoting instead to slam Marco Rubio on his recent comments about abortion.

CRUZ: NBC's Hallie Jackson reports on Cruz's Southern strategy.

PAUL: He labeled Donald Trump a "bully" and an "empty suit" in a conference call with reporters Monday night.

POLITICO reports: "Paul has been furiously lobbying Kentucky Republican leaders ahead of an Aug. 22 decision to rewrite party rules so he can run for president and reelection to his Senate seat simultaneously, a hedge to hold onto power should his Oval Office aspirations falter. Running for the two offices at once creates tricky legal hurdles that are only surmountable with the assent of the Kentucky Republican Party’s leadership and central committee. Though that approval once seemed assured, several members of the party executive committee told POLITICO they’re seeing increasing trepidation, in part because of Paul’s perceived fade from contention but also because he hasn’t yet fulfilled promises to cover the cost of any changes."

PERRY: As National Journal and CBS reported - and NBC confirms - Rick Perry has stopped paying his staff amid lackluster fundraising. More, from The Washington Post. "Former Texas governor Rick Perry's presidential campaign is no longer paying its staff because fundraising has dried up, while his cash-flush allied super PAC is preparing to expand its political operation to compensate for the campaign's shortcomings, campaign and super PAC officials and other Republicans familiar with the operation said late Monday."

SANDERS: He drew another monster crowd in Los Angeles. The Washington Post: "On Monday night, Sanders’s campaign said that 27,500 people were inside and outside the venue — a figure impossible to independently verify. But nearly every seat in the building appeared to be taken and the arena floor was packed. Outside, thousands more watched on large screens."

TRUMP: In remarks on her show Monday night, FOX's Megyn Kelly said: "I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism, so I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor." And she said she would not respond directly to Trump's attacks on her.

The Washington Post offers some background on Fred Trump, Donald's father and a builder of less elite homes than his son. "Where Donald sought the spectacular in Manhattan, Fred built thousands of units of good but banal government-backed housing for New Yorkers who would never dream of penthouse living."

Now-departed Trump aide Roger Stone told TODAY that Trump is in the race to “save the United States.”

And around the country...

Yes, Melissa Gilbert from 'Little House on the Prairie' is running for Congress.