TPM News

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By Nikki-Gordon Bloomfield

Bentley might be better known for its fast, powerful, luxury cars typically owned by celebrities, sports stars and business moguls -- but that doesn't mean it can't be environmentally responsible too

That's the message being given by company CEO Wolfgang Durheimer as the firm looks towards its future in an industry increasingly occupied with fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Further confirming what we already knew about Bentley's future eco-car plans, Durheimer gave more details to Car and Driver earlier this month at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, making it clear that with the right technology from sister company Volkswagen, Bentley could adopt both plug-in hybrids and diesel engines for select markets.

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Mitt Romney may be trying to make new friends with the tea party, but it seems that some tea partiers are not interested in giving him a friendly welcome.

Freedomworks, which has made standing in the way of Romney's presidential ambitions a goal, will protest Romney's appearance at a Tea Party Express event in New Hampshire this weekend, according to Politico.

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According to a chagrined tea party leader, Christine O'Donnell will once again be a belle at the movement's ball for Sarah Palin this weekend.

The Delaware News-Journal reports the Iowa-based Tea Party of America re-invited O'Donnell to speak at its Saturday event in Indianola, Iowa after booting her from the list of speakers.

On Twitter late Tuesday, O'Donnell wrote she has "humbly re-accepted the re-invitation."

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A new national poll from Quinnipiac University shows that national races on both the presidential level and for Congress are in a dead heat as Washington prepares to return to work in September. Tex. Gov. Rick Perry now leads the announced GOP field in his quest for the presidential nomination, the first choice of 26 percent of Republican voters, followed by former frontrunner former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at 20 percent, in what is now the fifth national poll Perry has taken the lead.

The poll also shows that President Obama, whose approval rating has been weakened by a slow economy and general disdain for Washington, is running very closely with both Perry and Romney. Obama leads Perry with 45 percent to the Texas governor's 42, and ties Romney at 45 percent. Both matchups are within the poll's margin of error and therefore a statistical dead heat.

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Anthony Weiner's seat, which includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn, should be safe for Democrats, but the September 13 special election to replace him is proving surprisingly competitive. Democrat David Weprin is losing ground to Republican Bob Turner. Making matters worse for Democrats, Weprin has turned into a gaffe machine right as voters are tuning in for the final stretch.

The influential New York Daily News savaged Weprin over the weekend after he belly flopped on a simple question from their editors: what is the national debt? With a reported "deer in headlights" look, he twice guessed $4 trillion, about $10 trillion off from the correct answer. As cringe-worthy a moment as it was on its own, its impact is much worse in Weprin's case: he's been selling himself as a fiscal Mr. Fix-it, touting his eight years as chair of the City Council's finance committee as his top qualification.

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For some undefined but Texas governor-sized-and-shaped reason, Mitt Romney is suddenly very interested in attending tea party events.

It's a strategy that's easy to mock, considering the tea party-friendly Rick Perry's poll numbers -- and Romney's penchant to say the right (read: well-received) thing -- but it shows that Team Romney is actively stepping up to the Perry challenge, which could have a dramatic effect on Perry's march to the top of the field.

But for now, the sheer political expediency of Romney's upcoming tea party tour has political observers snickering and Democrats pointing and laughing. But Team Romney says there's nothing to see here.

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Over the last week we've seen that the "inevitable candidate" strategy from former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney will surely need recalibration -- mainly due to Rick Perry's arrival in the race. Where Perry has succeded in crafting both hype around his candidacy and real support amongst a wide section of the GOP base, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has struggled to expand her appeal beyond the far right of the party, influential though it is.

But is Romney finished just because of a round of bad polls? Of course not. In fact, it's been reported that he'll now contest Iowa, something he had previously not committed to given his polling leads in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. That lead in South Carolina is now gone, according to two new polls, and it vanished within a few weeks of Perry entering the race. So now Romney may be in the fight for Iowa, and as such could make moves towards a new strategy. Sure, Romney was on soft ground as the frontrunner, but that ground doesn't immediately harden when Perry puts his feet down.

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It's a mistake to read much into the fact that the Super Committee picked a staff director, or that he's a long-serving Republican aide. There's a temptation to read deeply into these developments, but ultimately the 12 members of the Super Committee will either reach an accommodation or they will not, and that much is up to them.

On that score, it is interesting that the staff director, Democrat or Republican, has extensive knowledge of the tax code.

This goes back to the final hours of the debt limit deal. The Super Committee will draft legislation that CBO will score relative to current law. That means CBO will score whatever they produce as if expiration of ALL the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012. Want to make Bush's lower-income and middle-class tax cuts permanent, and let the top bracket cuts expire? No can do. That scores as a big tax CUT -- and thus counts against the committee's goal of reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

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The recently-concluded Wisconsin state Senate recalls, in which Democrats came just shy of their uphill goal of winning a majority in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation, may have set a record. In addition to many millions of dollars and countless man-hours being expended -- resembling Congressional races at the federal level -- they were possibly the most negative campaigns on record in this country.

According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which is now headed up by former UW-Madison professor Ken Goldstein, the overall advertising on the pro-Democratic side weighed in at 99% negative, with 89% negativity on the pro-Republican side.

"People are always wanting to say, 'This campaign is the most negative!'" Goldstein told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I'll say it. I've never seen a campaign more negative."

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