Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren clashed in a heated exchange over campaign financing at the Democratic debate on Thursday night, with Warren rebuking the mayor for hosting big-dollar fundraisers and Buttigieg shooting back that he's the only candidate on stage whose net worth isn't in the millions.

Why it matters: It was a dramatic manifestation of a fight that has been brewing online and on the campaign trail for weeks. Warren argued that decisions shouldn't be made in "smoke-filled rooms" where politicians can be corrupted by money, while Buttigieg countered that candidates shouldn't be relying on "purity tests" and turning down donations when they're in "the fight of our lives" against President Trump.

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FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

John Bolton's book "The Room Where it Happened." Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

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