Feb 19, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 411 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: What happens tonight won't stay in Vegas

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Cengiz Yardages and Mario Tama/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg's hundreds of millions put him on stage tonight in Las Vegas, but now his wealth will expose him to an onslaught of tests and attacks, Axios' Alexi McCammond writes.

Why it matters: The race is boiling over before Super Tuesday, with multiple campaigns eager to take their shot at Bloomberg and slow down the building momentum of Bernie Sanders.

Themes to watch:

  1. Joe Biden v. Bloomberg: The former VP's campaign is displeased by Bloomberg ads giving the impression of an Obama endorsement.
  2. Elizabeth Warren v. Bloomberg: She tweeted yesterday that debate viewers will get "a live demonstration of how we each take on an egomaniac billionaire."
  3. Bernie v. Bloomberg: Sanders' national press secretary tweeted that "Bloomberg will surely be forced to defend" various "claims of racial & sexual harassment."
  4. Bernie's health: The 78-year-old had a heart attack last year, and he won't disclose new information beyond letters from doctors last year, despite renewed media interest.
  5. The rest of the stage: Pete Buttigieg impressed in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Amy Klobuchar's campaign is ascendant. Will they engage their fellow candidates or sit back and let them eat each other alive?

The bottom line: Sanders and Bloomberg now combine for roughly 44% of the national polling average, a remarkable total for an Independent and the former Republican mayor of New York City.

The stage for tonight's debate. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Tweet du jour: Ryan Newman going home
Screenshot: Twitter

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman has been released from the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, after a crash at the Daytona 500 left him with serious injuries.

  • Newman had been leading in the final lap of the race when his car flipped and burst into flames as it slid across the asphalt.
2. What you missed
  1. The Pentagon's top policy official will resign at the request of the president. Go deeper.
  2. The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy protection amid sexual abuse lawsuits. Go deeper.
  3. LendingClub has agreed to buy Radius Bank in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $185 million. Go deeper.
  4. Sign of the times: A group of female progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads. Go deeper.
  5. Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign is paying Californians to regularly post endorsements about the billionaire, the Wall Street Journal reports.
3. 1 fun thing: Goodbye, 35X

Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Say goodbye to Gate 35X: Construction has started on replacing the D.C. rite of passage with a new concourse, DCist reports.

  • "Adam Tuss with NBC4 first noted the construction updates."
  • The airport describes "Gate 35X as 'less-than-pleasing' and 'infamously congested.'"
  • "But any one of the 6,000 daily passengers who journey through the gate—which is really just a claustrophobic bus terminal that funnels passengers to the tarmac—would likely recognize it by these descriptors: a 'crime against humanity,' a dreaded 'hell gate,' 'punishment,' 'the worst gate in the country.'"
Mike Allen