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A dramatic claim of sudden acceleration in Southern California involves a Toyota Prius. Plus, Northrup Grumman pulls out of a $40 billion contract, leaving Boeing the only bidder. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, President Obama is back on the campaign trail, asking crowds to tell fellow Democrats to vote for healthcare reform. Can he rally his own party in the Senate and Congress?  Will Republicans seize an advantage either way?

Banner image: Screen capture from video of California Highway Patrol helping James Sikes stop his Toyota Prius on March 8, 2010.

Main Topic Obama 'All Fired Up' Again, but Is It Too Little, Too Late? 32 MIN, 46 SEC

President Obama is barnstorming for healthcare reform to be passed by Democrats only. But members of his own party still need convincing. Public opinion polls are not encouraging, and Republicans say, come November, any bill Democrats vote for "will be the issue in every race in America." After yesterday' s rally for healthcare reform in Pennsylvania, Democratic Senator Arlen Specter said, "That' s the most fiery I' ve seen him since the early campaign…"

Charles Babington, Associated Press (@cbabington)
Reid Wilson, The Hill (@PoliticsReid)
Mark Hemingway, Weekly Standard (@Heminator)
Jonathan Chait, New York magazine (@jonathanchait)

The Big Con

Jonathan Chait

Main Topic More Acceleration Problems for Toyota 13 MIN, 41 SEC

Toyota is investigating the Prius again after an incident yesterday on Interstate 8 near San Diego. Sixty-one year-old James Sikes says, when he started to pass another car, his accelerator stuck and he couldn't stop his Prius from speeding faster and faster. He called 911, and the California Highway Patrol sent a car that gave him instructions on its loudspeaker. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Toyota is investigating Sikes' car and is planning a recall. Toyota is facing lawsuits for deaths and injuries and at least 89 class-action cases from owners who say their cars have lost value because of safety recalls, according to the Associated Press.

Jeffrey Liker, Professor of Engineering, University of Michigan
Mike Quincy, Automotive Specialist, Consumer Reports

The Toyota Way

Jeffrey Liker

Reporter's Notebook Northrop Gruman Drops Bidding for Aerial Refueling Planes 6 MIN, 13 SEC

One of the biggest defense contracts in history will be let without competitive bidding, now that Northrup-Grumman has pulled out of competition to build the next generation of re-fueling planes. That leaves Boeing alone for a contract worth $40 billion. And there will be an impact in Southern California. Peter Sanders covers aerospace for the Wall Street Journal.

Peter Sanders, Reporter, Wall Street Journal

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