Good Thursday morning from Chapel Hill, where Jim VandeHei and I will launch the "Smarter Faster Revolution" at UNC at 12:15. (RSVP via The Daily Tar Heel.) Situational awareness: Richard Cordray will step down as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau amid growing speculation that he will run for governor of Ohio as a Democrat (Bloomberg) ... Time Inc. is said to be in talks to sell itself to the Meredith Corporation, in a deal backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch. (N.Y. Times)
President Trump yesterday declared his 12-day Asia swing "historic." A David Ignatius column says that may indeed prove true, but "probably not in the way he intends":
Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, has a similar megatrend interpretation — but says it was baked even before Trump's trip. Bremmer wrote his clients, with his idiosyncratic punctuation:
The Ignatius column, "Trump's extraordinary 12-day adulation tour," adds:
P.S. Trump tweeted yesterday: "The failing @nytimes hates the fact that I have developed a great relationship with World leaders like Xi Jinping, President of China."
Trouble for tax reform as one Republican senator opposes, and another has qualms:
House votes today: Passage looks assured. Vote will come after Trump makes a trip up to the Capitol to talk to House Republicans at 11:30 a.m.
Be smart: Vote counters expect Collins will be a "no." The great unknown is Sen. John McCain: Does he consider it better for his legacy to vote "no" because of the plan's deficit impact and lack of bipartisan support — or "yes" so he can get more for defense?
Go deeper: See Axios' tax bill tracker, by Caitlin Owens.
FORTUNE Businessperson of the Year is Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of chip maker Nvidia, based in Santa Clara:
FORTUNE's runner-ups: #2 Jamie Dimon (CEO, JPMorgan Chase) ... #3 Marc Benioff (CEO, Salesforce) ... #4 Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon) ... #5 Mary Dillon (CEO, Ulta Beauty) ... #6 Ajaypal "Ajay" Banga (CEO, Mastercard) ... #7 Huateng "Pony" Ma (CEO, Tencent Holdings) ... #8 Dan Schulman (CEO, PayPal) ... #9 Marillyn Hewson (CEO, Lockheed Martin) ... #10 Francisco D'Souza (CEO, Cognizant).
Giving a 21-minute wrap-up on his Asia trip in the Diplomatic Room yesterday, "Trump pauses address to nation to take 2 big swigs of water," by AP's Ken Thomas:
Axios Facebook video: "Everybody gets thirsty sometimes."
Rubio retweeted yesterday's Fox video and added: "Similar, but needs work on his form. Has to be done in one single motion & eyes should never leave the camera. But not bad for his 1st time."
Trump used variations of "respect" eight times: "Everywhere we went, our foreign hosts greeted the American delegation, myself included, with incredible warmth, hospitality, and most importantly respect."
"Republican leaders are exploring a dramatic remedy to salvage the Alabama Senate seat as fresh polling shows Roy Moore's prospects fading fast," Politico's Alex Isenstadt and Eliana Johnson report:
"Two more women accuse Moore of pursuing them," the WashPost's Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites report on A1: "Moore's campaign did not directly address the new allegations."
Axios' Jonathan Swan reports that Steve Bannon believes Moore's denials, so he's sticking with him.
"The U.S. Flooded One of Houston's Richest Neighborhoods to Save Everyone Else," Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its cover story:
CNBC's "Squawk Box" (6 to 9 a.m.), as much a part of a mogul's breakfast as the treadmill, yesterday got a new set overlooking Times Square. (Co-anchor Joe Kernen jokingly called it "Squawk Square.") Fun facts:
"Leonardo da Vinci's rediscovered portrait of Jesus Christ sold at auction [in New York yesterday] for $450.3 million, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold," the Wall Street's Journal's Kelly Crow reports on A1:
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Lawrence Luhring, a New York art dealer, expressing his astonishment over the new record set by the sale of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" for $450.3 million,: "There is too much money in the world."