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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

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

U.S. Chamber decides against political ban for Capitol insurrection

A pedestrian passes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters as it undergoes renovation. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact that the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."