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Former Sen. Gravel speaking in 2007 during his last presidential campaign. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Editor's Note: Gravel officially dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination in early August and endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders on August 6, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

Key facts about Mike Gravel
  • Age: 88 ... Gravel would be 90 years old — if elected — when he takes office.
  • Born: Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Undergraduate: Columbia University
  • Date candidacy announced: April 8
  • Previous roles: Alaska representative and Alaska Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator
Gravel's stance on key issues
  • Foreign policy: In "A Political Odyssey," Gravel shared his non-interventionist opinion on foreign policy. He doesn't believe sanctions work, specifically in Iran. Gravel also supports cutting military spending by 50%. He wants to end support for Saudi Arabia and foreign arm sales and opposes the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
  • Big businesses: Gravel wants big businesses to be broken up, and leaders of corporations to be held directly responsible for the actions of their organizations.
  • Health care: Gravel calls health care is a human right, and thinks the U.S. should develop a universal health-care plan.
  • Climate change: Gravel supports the Green New Deal, and has a progressive climate platform that includes eliminating all single-use plastic products.
  • Immigration: Gravel labels the Trump administration's immigration policy as "monstrous." He supports open borders for non-criminals and abolishing ICE.
  • Electoral college: Gravel wants it abolished.
Key criticisms of Mike Gravel
  • Notoriety: Gravel's campaign is, by and large, not being taken seriously. In part, that is because he said his intention for running was to make it onto the debate stage, rather than win the nomination. However, Gravel seems to be taking his own candidacy more seriously as time passes.
  • Age: Gravel is the oldest person seeking the presidency, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is 77, and Joe Biden, who is 76.
  • Campaign strategy: Gravel isn't planning to travel for his campaign.
1 fun thing about Mike Gravel

Go deeper:

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House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.

The Democrats' debt dilemma

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats find themselves in a political and potentially catastrophic economic quagmire as Republicans stand firm on denying them any help in raising the federal debt ceiling.

Why it matters: The Democrats are technically right — the debt comes, in part, from past spending by President Trump and his predecessors, not only President Biden's new big-ticket programs. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is saddling them with the public relations challenge of making that distinction during next year's crucial midterms.

Pelosi's endgame

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears at a news conference on Tuesday. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) began her infrastructure endgame Tuesday, pressuring centrists to ultimately support as much social spending as possible while pleading with progressives to pass the roads-and-bridges package preceding it.

Why it matters: Neither group can achieve what it wants without the other, their ultimatums be damned. The leaders of both acknowledged the speaker's unique gift for pulling off a deal after separate conversations with Democratic leaders.

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