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Trump's 2020 re-election campaign faces surprising cash crunch

Money concerns are very real for President Trump's campaign — an unusual predicament for a sitting president, and one that worries veteran Republican operatives, with Trump so far behind in swing states as the race climaxes.

Why it matters: The campaign's view is that Trump will get his message out, and he depends less on paid media than normal politicians. But the number of states Trump has to worry about has actually grown, and Joe Biden's massive August fundraising haul has given his campaign a lift as early voting begins.


The New York Times leads today's paper with a big Labor Day scene-setter with several intriguing references to money problems for Trump:

  • "The light television spending and advertising blackouts in some key states have mystified allies," The Times reports.
  • Trump "is expected to increase television spending next week, but several Republicans said that Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager since July, was taking a cautious approach after the former leadership spent huge sums on television and digital ads earlier this year, to no discernible effect."

Last Monday, AP's Brian Slodysko reported that the Trump campaign had pulled most TV ads over the previous week, ceding the airwaves to Biden, who was outspending Trump by more than 10 to 1.

  • Biden and DNC raised a stunning $365 million in August, breaking the record for one month of presidential fundraising.
  • At the end of July, before the announcement of Sen. Kamala Harris swelled Biden's fundraising, Trump reported slightly more cash on hand.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years, but still remains at decade low

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

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Career official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

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House Democrats unveil sweeping reforms package to curtail presidential abuses

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at preventing presidential abuse and corruption, strengthening transparency and accountability, and protecting elections from foreign interference.

Why it matters: While the bill has practically no chance of becoming law while Trump is in office and Republicans hold the Senate, it's a pre-election message from Democrats on how they plan to govern should Trump lose in November. It also gives Democratic members an anti-corruption platform to run on in the weeks before the election.

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TikTok's content-moderation time bomb

When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.

Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

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Making sense of China's very vague new plan to reach "carbon neutrality"

Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.

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Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball

In addition to keeping out the coronavirus, the NBA bubble has also delivered a stellar on-court product, with crisp, entertaining play night in and night out.

Why it matters: General managers, athletic trainers and league officials believe the lack of travel is a driving force behind the high quality of play — an observation that could lead to scheduling changes for next season and beyond.

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Senate Republicans release report on Biden-Ukraine investigation with rehashed information

Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), on Wednesday released an interim report on their probe into Joe Biden and his son's dealings in Ukraine.

Why it matters: The report's rushed release ahead of the presidential election is certainly timed to damage Biden, amplifying bipartisan concern that the investigation was meant to target the former vice president's electoral chances.

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The high-wage jobs aren't coming back

Reproduced from Indeed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has caught up with high-wage jobs.

The big picture: Early on, the pandemic walloped hiring across the wage spectrum and in every sector. Now, states have opened up, and the lower-wage retail and restaurant jobs have slowly come back — but higher-paying jobs are lagging behind.

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