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Mike Bloomberg waves to supporters in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Super Tuesday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Never in American history has a presidential candidate spent more to get less than Mike Bloomberg, making his buy-a-nomination bid a big bust. 

Why it matters: Bloomberg spent $600 million to win as many states as every American who chose not to run: zero. (He has American Samoa to show for it.)

  • Fellow billionaire Tom Steyer got off — and out — cheap by spending less than half that much to tie Bloomberg in states won.

What's next: Look for Bloomberg to drop out as soon as this morning, and try to save face by promising to spend a helluva lot more to defeat President Trump with someone other than him.

  • Bloomberg returned to New York after speaking in West Palm Beach last night. Sources expect him to address staff at his headquarters today.
  • He doesn't want history to remember him as the spoiler who helps Sanders win the nomination, or hands re-election to Trump.

What happened:

  • Bloomberg bet Joe Biden was toast. He was wrong. 
  • Bloomberg bet Democrats would rally around him as the Electable One. He was wrong.
  • Bloomberg bet he could buy support with TV ads, while avoiding tough media interviews. He was wrong.
  • Bloomberg bet on a brokered convention. That could still happen, but he appears dead wrong that Democrats would turn to him as their savior.

Bloomberg's rivals — especially Elizabeth Warren — went after aspects of his record as a businessman and former Republican and New York mayor, and Bloomberg stumbled badly in his first debate appearance.

  • They hit him for past lawsuits and court settlements with women in the workplace, New York's stop-and-frisk policy and his views on taxes and China.
  • They seized on the Democratic base's mistrust of billionaires and the #MeToo movement and painted Bloomberg as an out-of-touch elite.

What they're saying: A nighttime Twitter thread by Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey gives the candidate an exit strategy if he wants one, and space to redefine success:.

  • Sheekey said that in just 100 days Bloomberg had gone from 1% in polls to being "a contender," and built a national coalition that can defeat Trump.

A Bloomberg campaign official told Axios that the endorsement of Biden by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), and the departures of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg from the contest, had a "profound impact" on Super Tuesday's results.

  • "I'm from New York, so I know Bloomberg," supporter Stephen Dickstein told Axios at Bloomberg's rally in West Palm Beach, Florida. "I think he has done an amazing job but he’s not gonna be the nominee."

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump with Michael Flynn in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped Tuesday night.