AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. Photo: Asa Mathat for Vox Media

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says T-Mobile's deal to buy Sprint faces an "uphill battle" but said it may succeed where his own efforts to buy T-Mobile failed.

Stephenson, speaking at the Code Conference, said he hasn't taken a stand personally on the deal. But he noted that, although it is a classic horizontal merger of two competitors, the landscape has shifted considerably since AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile back in 2011.

"It will probably get a different review than our deal," he said. "Power to them if they get it done."

Meanwhile: AT&T, of course, is busy trying to win approval of its own deal to buy Time Warner, which the Department of Justice has sued to prevent.

Stephenson talked up the benefits of marrying content and distribution, but declined to say what his fallback plan might be if that deal gets blocked.

"I don’t even want to go there," he said. "The judge has asked us to be very cautious. That answer might have implications to how people view the deal."

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Mayors plan multifront attack on census shutdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of mayors are banding together to fight what they consider to be an inaccurate and abruptly curtailed 2020 census, using an arsenal of legal, legislative and congressional efforts.

Why it matters: The outcome may determine whether President Trump or Joe Biden controls the redistricting process, which governs everything from congressional representation and redistricting to funding for schools and Head Start.

Moderator Kristen Welker will not control mics during final presidential debate

President Trump and Joe Biden at the first presidential debate in September. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

A producer from the Commission on Presidential Debates will manage the operation of the candidates' microphones during Thursday's final presidential debate — not the event's moderator, NBC's Kristen Welker — a source with knowledge of the event told Axios.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Alexi McCammond: Given President Trump's accusations of partisanship against the other debates' moderators, it makes sense that Welker would want to steer clear of any such optics during her stint in the chair.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: Many U.S. deaths were avoidable — The pandemic is getting worse again.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.