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President Obama Gives Joe Biden ‘Blessing’ for 2016 Bid

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WASHINGTON —

Vice President Joe Biden received President Barack Obama’s “blessing” to make a 2016 bid for the White House, according to a senior Democrat.

But that’s if Biden chooses to run — the decision is his, the source said.

Biden met with the President for one of their regularly scheduled lunch meetings Monday.

Later in the evening, Biden is turning to a pair of President Barack Obama’s most trusted advisers as he deepens his examination of how to mount a successful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Vice President was expected to huddle at his residence Monday night with Anita Dunn and Bob Bauer, the husband-and-wife team who have been at Obama’s side for much of the last decade, two people familiar with the meeting told CNN. Steve Ricchetti, the Vice President’s chief of staff, was also expected to attend.

Dunn, a former White House communications director, and Bauer, a longtime lawyer to Obama, were among those invited to a meeting at the Naval Observatory in Washington. Ted Kaufman, a loyal Biden confidant who briefly occupied his Senate seat from Delaware, was also among those gathering to discuss how — not whether — Biden could run, if he decides to do so.

Biden is leaning toward running, several people involved in discussions tell CNN, but they stress that he has not yet firmly made up his mind to launch a candidacy.

The meeting on Monday night, along with his private session on Saturday with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, underscores the length he is going to explore a run.

While many top Democrats have already signed onto Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, several former Obama advisers tell CNN they would work for Biden if he jumps into the race. Dunn and Bauer would be a high-profile addition to any potential campaign, and could send a signal to other Democrats that they should join Biden’s effort. It is not known if they would ultimately work for Biden if he does enter the race.

Bauer is one of the top Democratic election lawyers in Washington, who helped guide Obama’s presidential campaign eight years ago. Dunn, a veteran of presidential campaigns, served as a communications director during Obama’s first term. She was also an adviser to former Sen. Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader.

Key Democratic fundraisers have been invited to a meeting with Biden after Labor Day, a source close to Biden confirmed to CNN.

The meeting, first reported by The Washington Post, is scheduled to be held at the Naval Observatory and is expected to occur the week after Labor Day.

The source characterizes the session as “one of several logical and necessary steps” the Vice President needs to take to get the best sense of the terrain. The source also says outreach to other party leaders is also planned.

The source says nothing is decided or firm about the Vice President’s intentions but conversations are ongoing and deliberations could take most of September as Biden decides whether to enter the presidential race.