Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / Pool / AP/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama said at a tech conference Wednesday that one key to his decision-making was relying on staff and surrounding himself with a diversity of viewpoints, before adding:

"The other thing that is helpful is not watching TV or reading social media."

Why it matters: Obama has largely avoided major criticisms of President Trump, but he used his comments at a conference for Splunk, a company that helps businesses make sense of their data, to draw a contrast between the two administrations.

  • Obama admitted during his speech that he made mistakes in hiring. "I won’t say we enforced perfectly the 'no-jerk rule,' but its a pretty good rule. I won’t say who violated that rule."
  • He then added: "I'm proud of the fact we didn’t have indictments. I’ve said that before but that is pretty rare in modern day." Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation resulted in the indictments of 6 former Trump advisers.

Other highlights: Obama said there are tough calls you have to make as president, citing the decision to go after Osama bin Laden as a 50-50 call and bailing out Chrysler as a 60-40-type decision.

  • To make those calls, Obama said, you need the facts without spin or sugar coating, as well as a diversity of opinion.
  • Obama added that it's also important that the people who serve in the administration aren't there for fame or money: "Are folks here because they want to serve the American people?"

Obama cited health care as one of the key areas where Big Data can help, both to cut costs and improve outcomes.

  • "Almost our entire federal deficit, at least when I was president, could be accounted by what we spend on health care vs. what other industrialized countries spend" to get similar outcomes.
  • The government, he said, has tons of data from running Medicare and Medicaid. "All that stuff is really powerful. It can be powerful for researchers, it can be powerful for policymakers."
  • But, he added, medical data is at the same time highly personal and individual privacy needs to be protected.

Obama said that there are "a handful of big issues that if we don’t get right we have real problems. You can anticipate what those might be. Climate change is a big problem."

  • "Ultimately, it is a moral decision we make that we are, as much as possible, going to mitigate this problem we’ve created."
  • Obama also warned about income inequality and people living in filter bubbles, a problem he said is exacerbated by social media. "That's not healthy for a democracy and it's not healthy between countries. That's how wars get started and bad things happen."

On a lighter note, Obama acknowledged he remains a Chicago Bulls fan, but admitted: "It’s been a while since we were as competitive as we would like."

  • As for the local team, the Golden State Warriors, Obama praised the team and its coach and said it can survive the loss of star Kevin Durant. "You’ll be fine. Steve Kerr is a great coach, and more than that he is a good man."
  • There may be some rebuilding needed, but he said the team has created a culture that will endure and help that process. "Their best players just care about the team and are willing to make sacrifices."

Go deeper

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.

Scoop: Buzzy media startup Puck launches in beta

Puck.news

Puck, a splashy new digital media company, is coming out of stealth mode, Axios has learned. The company debuted its landing page, puck.news, on Wednesday, and will officially launch its website in September.

Why it matters: The company has been quietly building a roster of top talent, but hadn't confirmed its branding or exact business plans up until now.

NOAA's updated hurricane outlook calls for even more storms in 2021

Hurricane Dorian seen on Sept. 2, 2019. Photo: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday updated its 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasonal forecast, slightly increasing expectations for the number of named storms and powerful hurricanes.

Why it matters: With the U.S. already reeling from extreme heat and wildfires, disaster response agencies are overstretched. A particularly destructive and active hurricane season could overwhelm some of its response capacity.