Nov 25, 2019

What Mike Bloomberg is thinking as he kicks off his 2020 run

In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg shows off the open-office "bullpen," then revolutionary, that he brought to City Hall. Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Ignoring early states and refusing donations, Michael Bloomberg is trying an unorthodox route to the Democratic nomination that's based on skipping the usual slog and running a national campaign against President Trump from Day 1.

The big picture: Polling shows a daunting road, but Bloomberg insiders tell Axios the 77-year-old billionaire calculates that he has room to grow rapidly, since his backstory as a businessman, philanthropist and successful New York mayor isn't well known.

Details: One of the tabs on Bloomberg's website, which went live yesterday, is "Getting Stuff Done." The plan is to show him as the antithesis of Trump: programmatic, disciplined, focused.

  • But voters want an emotional connection, one of Bloomberg's challenges.

First look ... Bloomberg today will announce a hot surrogate: journalist and author Tim O’Brien is becoming a senior adviser to the campaign, leaving his role as executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion.

  • The former N.Y. Times reporter and editor got to depose Trump after the mogul sued him in 2006 over O'Brien's biography, "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald." The case was tossed in 2011.
  • From the forthcoming release: "O’Brien will advise the Bloomberg campaign on strategy, policy, and messaging, and serve as a surrogate."

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

Palantir CEO reflects on work with ICE

Palantir CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO" that there have "absolutely" been moments he wished the company hadn't taken a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • "Did I suffer? ... I've had some of my favorite employees leave," Karp told "Axios on HBO."

Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the strictness of her state's coronavirus lockdown in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it was necessary — despite the protests that have drawn national attention — because of how quickly the state's cases were rising.

The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.