Tom Steyer defended his billionaire status at the 5th Democratic debate Wednesday following months of attacks over using wealth to bankroll his campaign.

THE WASHINGTON POST'S ASHLEY PARKER: "You have spent over $300 million of your own money in support of your political goals. How do you respond to critics who see you as the embodiment of a special interest?"

STEYER: "What I've done over the last decade, is to put together coalitions of ordinary Americans to take on unchecked corporate power... Over the last decade, with the help of the American people, we have taken on and beaten the oil companies. We have taken on and beaten the tobacco companies. We have taken on and beaten utilities."

The big picture: Much of the 2020 Democratic field is rejecting large-dollar donations and focusing on grassroots fundraising. Steyer, who's vowed to use $100 million of his own money in the race, has faced accusations of buying his way to success. He launched his campaign in July.

  • Billionaires are facing increasing backlash from Democrats. Both Steyer and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also a billionaire and is expected to make a decision this week on whether he'll enter the Democratic race, have felt some of the heat.

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GOP fears "little guy" attack on Amy Coney Barrett

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

White House aides and Senate Republicans have spent the past week readying binders full of messaging and rebuttals to guide Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a pre-Nov. 3 confirmation. "We knew for days it was going to be Amy," a Senate GOP aide involved in her confirmation process told Axios.

What we're hearing: Beyond the expected questions about her views on religion, abortion and health care, Republicans worry about Democrats painting Barrett as someone who is insensitive and unfair to “the little guy,” one source involved in the talks told Axios.

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 32,938,616 — Total deaths: 995,465 — Total recoveries: 22,782,724Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 7,101,774 — Total deaths: 204,618 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Debate commission co-chair: We don't expect moderators to fact-check candidates

Presidential Debate Commission co-chair Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said Sunday he doesn't expect Fox News anchor Chris Wallace or any of the other moderators to fact-check President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden at the debates.

What he's saying: "There's a vast difference between being a moderator in a debate and being a reporter who is interviewing someone," Fahrenkopf said on CNN's "Reliable Sources."