TPM News

Next week, Toyota's president, Akio Toyoda, will fly across the world to appear before Congress in a bid to explain quality problems that since last fall have led to nearly 8 million recalls -- and perhaps several deadly crashes. Meanwhile, the company's main competitor in the domestic market, General Motors, is now largely owned by the U.S. government.

That's prompted some observers on both sides of the Pacific to paint the controversy as a 1980s-style showdown between the Stars and Stripes and the Land of the Rising Sun.

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Speaking at CPAC, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) became another conservative speaker to show just how much they still like George W. Bush.

"We really have a great sense of humor in Minnesota. We do, we are very good-humored people, and if you could put the first slide up for me, if you would," said Bachmann -- revealing a picture of the famous billboard in Minnesota, which contains a photo of George W. Bush with the message, "Miss me yet?"

The crowd cheered. Bachmann exclaimed: "You like that! I do, too!"

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Harold Ford Jr., the not-yet-a-candidate who may challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), has apparently been tweeting without the knowledge of his staff.

A reporter for City Hall News yesterday asked Ford's spokeswoman, Tammy Sun, if the @HFord2 handle belonged to Ford.

"What Twitter feed? He is not tweeting," Sun wrote. "We are not involved at all with that. ... Don't know who is doing it. Could just be a fan."

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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) issued a statement today regarding the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform. He also addressed next week's Health Care Summit. Read the full text after the jump.

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Early reports paint a picture of Joe Stack as a normal guy, described as personable and calm by those who knew him, whose burning anger at the government was present just below the surface.

Stack allegedly killed himself and at least one other Thursday when he piloted his Piper Cherokee plane into a building in Austin that housed IRS offices.

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The co-chairs of President Obama's deficit-reduction commission, Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, told PBS Newshour last night that reform of Social Security and Medicare is on the table.

The president "insisted everything be on the table," said Bowles, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, when asked if the commission would consider "modifying" entitlement programs or raising taxes.

Simpson, who as a senator called for the partial privatization of Social Security, was more frank.

"You have two choices with Social Security. You either raise the payroll tax, or decrease the benefits -- or start 'affluence testing,'" he said. "The rest of it is B.S. And if the people are really ingesting B.S. all day long, their grandchildren will be picking grit with the chickens."

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Indiana Democrats are on the verge of having a new candidate for the Senate seat of retiring Dem Evan Bayh, with Rep. Brad Ellsworth about to jump in -- though they won't be able to officially have a nominee in legal terms for a little while.

Chris Cillizza and Politico report that sources say Ellsworth is definitely in the race. A high-level Democratic source has also confirmed the news to TPMDC. (Late Update: Ellsworth himself has confirmed it to the local NBC station in Evansville.)

The Indianapolis Star also reports that Democratic state Rep. Trent Van Haaften has filed to run for Ellsworth's House seat. However the Star reports, it turns out that state law will prevent the Dems from being able to select the Senate candidate until after the May 4 primary.

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February 19, 2010: The Conservative Political Action Conference continues! Follow the latest updates at TPM's CPAC Wire. And check out our first CPAC 2010 slideshow here.

Above, Mitt Romney (left) arrives onstage after his introduction from Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA). Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential contender, delivered a campaign-like speech.

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Kristin Dowd, assistant to the executive director of Concerned Women for America.

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Books for sale at the Townhall.com table

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Robert Davi, narrator of Carly Fiorina's infamous"Demon Sheep" web video.

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Frank Enten sells political buttons and memorabilia.

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com






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J.D. Hayworth, who's challenging Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in this year's Republican Senate primary in Arizona.

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John F. McManus, president of the John Birch Society, a CPAC co-sponsor.

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




The "Fairtax Board Game."

Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com




Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association.

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Photo by Jeff Malet / maletphoto.com

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