Yang Says Facebook Should Vet Political Ads: Campaign Update

Wendy Benjaminson

(Bloomberg) -- Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said Monday that Facebook Inc. should be accountable for false political advertising.

Yang told a group of reporters and editors at an event hosted by the Washington Post that the giant social media platform should “treat those things like the cable networks do.” Some networks have refused to run Trump campaign commercials that mischaracterize former Vice President Joe Biden’s role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor.

Facebook has already encountered harsh criticism about political advertising. Facebook’s policy is that it won’t fact-check posts from politicians, including ads. Biden and Elizabeth Warren have complained about the policy, but Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said it’s not the company’s role to verify political ads.

Yang also said that as president he would establish a Department of Technology, headed by someone the technology industry “likes and respects,” and who would be based in Silicon Valley.

Yang Says GDP Is an Outdated Metric (2:52 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said Monday that the three chief indicators for measuring the economy -- gross domestic product, the unemployment rate and the stock market -- are misleading because they don’t reflect the life conditions of most Americans.

“GDP is at record highs.” he told the National Press Club in Washington, adding that “stress levels, financial security, student loan debt, suicides, mental illness, drug overdoses” were also at “record highs and multi-decade highs.”

Yang, countering President Donald Trump’s claims about the healthy U.S. economy, said that GDP -- which calculates the value of all finished goods and services and is the most widely used measure of the economy -- is a “terrible measurement for national well-being.” He said it is more than 100 years old and doesn’t take into account technological changes such as self-driving trucks, which he said would “be tremendous for GDP and very very bad for many Americans.”

Other indicators like the stock market also weren’t relevant to the majority of Americans. According to Yang, the bottom 80% of Americans own 8% of stocks in the U.S. and the bottom half of Americans do not own any. “So if you’re cheerleading the stock market prices, you’re essentially cheering on the forces of the top 20% of Americans.”

He said that if elected president he would modernize GDP to “include health, life expectancy, mental health, environmental quality. And I’ll present it every year at the State of the Union.” Yang, a former entrepreneur who is campaigning on issues such as a universal basic income, is polling at about 2.2% in the presidential race, according to Real Clear Politics. -- Emma Kinery

Castro Says He Needs $800,000 Or He’ll Drop Out (11:43 a.m.)

Julian Castro said Monday he needs to raise $800,000 by Oct. 31 to keep his campaign going and secure a position in the November debate. If not, he’ll have to drop out, an aide said.

“Our campaign is facing its biggest challenge yet,” Castro campaign manager Maya Rupert said. “Secretary Castro has run a historic campaign that has changed the nature of the 2020 election and pushed the Democratic party on a number of big ideas. Unfortunately, we do not see a path to victory that doesn’t include making the November debate stage -- and without a significant uptick in our fund raising, we cannot make that debate.”

The revelation by the Castro campaign mirrors a pledge by rival Cory Booker, who said in September he’d have to quit the race if he didn’t raise $1.7 million in a roughly 10-day span. The gambit worked and Booker met his target.

Castro, while struggling in the crowded field, has made his mark on the hot-button issue of immigration by calling for decriminalizing border crossings and making them a civil violation. Elizabeth Warren, a front-runner, later adopted that position. -- Shail Kapur

Buttigieg Surge Makes Iowa a Three-Way Race (9:08 a.m.)

Pete Buttigieg’s support in Iowa has swelled and put him within striking distance of front-runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, according to a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Monday.The poll, taken Oct. 16-18, found the South Bend mayor with 13% support among 500 Democrats likely to attend the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Buttigieg trails former Vice President Biden at 18% and Massachusetts Senator Warren at 17%.

The results show Buttigieg has surged by 7 percentage points since the a USA Today/Suffolk poll conducted at the end of June, when he only had support from 6% of respondents and Biden led Warren by double digits. The new poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.4 percentage points.

The biggest loser during that time frame has been California Senator Kamala Harris, who vaulted to second place after a strong showing in the first Democratic debate in June but has fallen 13 percentage points and is now in a three-way tie for sixth place. -- Elizabeth Wasserman

COMING UP

Cory Booker is scheduled to speak at the National Press Club in Washington at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Julian Castro, Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders are to attend a town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. local time.

Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren are set to attend a forum hosted by the Bipartisan Justice Center in Columbia, S.C., Oct. 25-27.

(An earlier version corrected Booker’s name and link.)

--With assistance from Elizabeth Wasserman, Sahil Kapur and Emma Kinery.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wendy Benjaminson in Washington at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, John Harney

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