- - Sunday, October 24, 2010

TRANSPORTATION

Tighter rules eyed on fuel efficiency

Tractor-trailers, school buses, delivery vans and other large vehicles will need to be more fuel-efficient under standards coming from the Obama administration.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department plan to release a proposal Monday for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, beginning with those sold in the 2014 model year and into the 2018 model year.

People familiar with the plan say it will seek about a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption from long-haul trucks. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they didn’t want to speak publicly before the official announcement.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama takes break from campaign stump

President Obama had some time to recharge his batteries Sunday after wrapping up a five-state campaign swing, but he will be back at it Monday as he tries to help Democrats hold on to one or both houses of Congress.

At rallies and fundraisers from Oregon to Minnesota, the president told Democrats to shake off the midterm blues. He told voters that putting Republicans back in power would reprise the very policies that sent the economy reeling.

Polls suggest a number of the key races tightening, though they include races where Democrats had been running ahead.

Mr. Obama returns to the campaign trail Monday in Rhode Island and will spend the final weekend before Election Day barnstorming across Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio.

NEW YORK

Governor hopefuls push transparency

ALBANY | Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would eliminate New York’s notorious “three-men-in-a-room” practice used in negotiating any big deals, including the annual state budget.

It’s a rare, bold strike at the closed-door negotiations among the governor and Senate and Assembly leaders that have become key to substantial accomplishments but also are at the heart of Albany’s dysfunction and power politics.

Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo is taking a different route. He said he would use technology to make more live feeds of meetings available to the public and put far more data online.

As attorney general, Mr. Cuomo ordered Project Sunlight, which provided a comprehensive website of lobbying data, contracts and campaign contributions.

NEVADA

Interest groups spend millions on Senate race

LAS VEGAS | Outside interest groups in recent days have poured nearly $5.2 million into the race between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Democrat defending his seat, and Republican challenger Sharron Angle. The groups are expected to spend millions of dollars more on advertising before the Nov. 2 election.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the expenditures between Oct. 8 and Oct. 21 bring total outside spending in the race to $13.5 million.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the numbers were separate from the $42 million that the Reid and Angle campaigns had spent through Oct. 15.

The Center for Responsive Politics said that only two Senate races, in Pennsylvania and Colorado, have drawn more independent expenditures.

Pro-Republican groups overall have spent $7.8 million in Nevada, while pro-Democratic groups have spent nearly $4.1 million.

KENTUCKY

Paul hails ‘tea party’; Conway touts coal

PADUCAH | Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Rand Paul said Saturday that if “tea party”-backed candidates like himself win on Election Day, they will have a clear mandate to balance the budget and bring federal spending under control.

“There will be one story written on Nov. 2,” Mr. Paul told several hundred exuberant supporters in western Kentucky. “If we lose, it will be that the tea party cannot win an election, that you are too radical, you’re too conservative, you believe in the Constitution too much.”

Mr. Paul’s Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, made a pitch for stronger mine safety laws during a campaign swing through the eastern Kentucky coalfields.

“People want an independent Kentucky Democrat who will stand up for coal,” Mr. Conway said. “I think coal is a very important part of our energy future.”

Mr. Conway also released a TV ad Saturday saying Mr. Paul’s support for a national sales tax would “crush Kentucky families.”

DEMOCRATS

‘Strong trends’ give Kaine confidence

The Democratic National Committee chairman says his party’s get-out-the-vote efforts will be critical in determining the outcome of who controls Congress after the election.

Tim Kaine said his party sees “strong trends” in early voting and at rallies that suggest the kind of higher turnout that usually favors Democrats.

Mr. Kaine told ABC’s “This Week” that he thinks Democrats will keep control of the House and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, will retain leadership.

REPUBLICANS

Steele: GOP willing to work with Obama

The chairman of the Republican National Committee rejects charges that Republicans have refused to work with President Obama.

Speaking Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Michael S. Steele said the GOP has made its positions clear on issues including the economy, health care and the environment.

But, he said, Democrats have “summarily rejected” ideas put on the table by Republicans.

Mr. Steele said GOP leaders “couldn’t even get a meeting with the president.”

He said he thinks voters are tired of the way Democrats, who control the White House and Congress, are running the federal government.

The RNC leader predicts an “unprecedented wave” of voter dissatisfaction will give his party control of the House, and possibly the Senate, after the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

VERMONT

Honesty is hot topic in governor’s race

MONTPELIER | Vermont’s two major gubernatorial candidates have entered the home stretch of a bitter fight by accusing each other of low blows in their 13th and final debate.

Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican Brian Dubie accused each other Saturday of being dishonest in campaign ads and earlier debates in characterizing each other’s positions.

On the issues, they said they would resist calls to dip into the state’s rainy-day fund to fill a budget gap estimated at $112 million for the coming year. Mr. Dubie said he would support arming state police with stun guns, while Mr. Shumlin said he hadn’t made up his mind on that issue.

They are seeking to succeed Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican who is not seeking a fifth term.

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