The TAKE with Rick Klein
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Is there room in a crowded primary for a billionaire? What about one who almost certainly won't make the next debate?
And is having unlimited funds to spend on one's own behalf indicative of the problems in politics -- or part of the potential solution?
Those are among the big questions Tom Steyer's late entry into the Democratic presidential primary field poses for Democratic voters.
With lines about "banks screwing people on their mortgages," Steyer's campaign launch video sounded at times like something Sen. Elizabeth Warren might have scripted.
But his vow to self-fund his campaign is pretty much the opposite of what Warren and other candidates are trying to achieve.
Steyer's candidacy will be a topic of debate, whether or not he makes the stage at the end of this month.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Instead of acknowledging why alleged victims may have been upset, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta unflinchingly stood by his actions and decisions 10 years ago in the controversial plea deal in a sex crimes case involving financier Jeffrey Epstein.
He tweeted on Tuesday: "With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator."
Acosta also tweeted: "The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence."
Democrats will likely continue to call on Acosta to resign.
And while President Donald Trump complimented his cabinet secretary on Tuesday -- and said he felt "very bad" for him -- he also left open the door to take action.
"We'll have to look, we'll have to look at it very carefully," Trump said in the Oval Office.
The fact is, Trump has had to look into controversies involving his cabinet officials many, many times in just 2 1/2 years. Acosta is one of only eight cabinet members who have been with the administration since early 2017.
For all the criticism already levied against Steyer for his billionaire status, he's eager to paint himself as an outsider in a race that's been dominated by political insiders.
His campaign announcement video spent four minutes on a veritable who's-who of infamous faces, moneyed villains deployed as a foil for his staunch stance against corporate corruption. Among them: Bernie Madolf, Donald Trump Jr. and Sr., "Pharma Bro" Martin Shrkeli, Paul Manafort and Epstein. The gang's all there -- figures who put a face on the forces Steyer said he's running to defeat.
His campaign told ABC News that Steyer has used his wealth to fight systemic failure, donated it "to progressive causes" and is using the money to "fight corporations."
But that foil may be flipped as Steyer's progressive competitors take issue with his fortune. It's sure to come up on the debate stage, if Steyer can make it there. His campaign acknowledges the debate stage isn't likely to be the right platform to make his case, but with his considerable resources Steyer is better positioned than most candidates to introduce himself to the American public on a national stage.
ONE MORE THING
This year's third Democratic primary debate will be hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision and is scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston, the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief National Affairs correspondent Tom Llamas, who says the calls for Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's resignation are growing louder in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein indictment. Then ABC News Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer recaps arguments over an Obamacare lawsuit Tuesday. And ABC News' James Longman checks in from London amid backlash over leaked cables from the U.K. ambassador to the U.S. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, talks with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks. https://bit.ly/2FA0CIm
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