Nov 16, 2019

Bloomberg 2020 decision "days, not weeks" away

Stills from Bloomberg's ad campaign

Michael Bloomberg's final decision on a presidential run is "days, not weeks" away, a person familiar with his thinking tells Axios — with an announcement expected before Thanksgiving.

Driving the news: The source said the billionaire and former New York mayor's funding of a $100 million, digital, anti-Trump ad series is "a step toward running for Mike, not a step away from running," and that “he is actively preparing."

The ad campaign, first reported by the New York Times, is aimed at helping whoever wins the Democratic nomination by beginning general election spending now to target Trump early in the battleground states.

  • The first of these ads are expected to go live by Monday.
  • One still image previewed to Axios addresses Trump's use of social media, saying, "A tweet shouldn't threaten our country's security" and "tantrums are not presidential. You shouldn't have to worry about what he'll say on Twitter."
  • Another depicts Trump and Republicans laughing in the White House Rose Garden and says that when it comes to protecting Americans with pre-existing health conditions, "Trump doesn't care."

The digital ads initially are focusing on voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — three states where Trump's narrow victories in 2016 cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — and in Arizona, which Bloomberg considers ripe for a Democratic pickup. They could expand to other states.

The bottom line: If Bloomberg gets in, his ability to compete financially against Trump will be one of his strongest arguments for electability.

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Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.

1.9 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

Data: U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Another 1.9 million people filed for unemployment last week, the Department of Labor said on Thursday.

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic is still putting a historic strain on the labor market, though the pace of unemployment applications continues to slow.