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Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

President Barack Obama on Monday strongly urged Republicans to avoid allowing a government shutdown in the forthcoming debt limit fight, but said the American public would likely pin the blame on "all of Washington" if it were to occur. 

"I suspect that the American people would blame all of Washington for not being able to get its act together," Obama said at the White House news conference, the last of his first term. 

 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and leaders in the state legislature have struck a tentative deal to usher in a bold new gun control law, the Associated Press reported on Monday. The deal would make New York the first state to institute new gun-related measures following last month's mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

From the AP:

The tentative agreement would further restrict New York's ban on assault weapons and limit the size of magazines to seven bullets, rather than the current 10. Other elements, pushed by Republicans, would refine a mental health law that allows for civil confinement of people determined to be a threat to others.

Cuomo outlined his proposal during a fiery State of the State address last week. 

Renowned Republican pollster Frank Luntz on Monday had a brutally honest take on the GOP's central platform plank. 

Luntz said the party's focus on the size of the federal government, rather than its overall effectiveness and efficiency, makes for a poor message.

“The American people don’t care what the size of government is,” Luntz said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends." "They do care what types of services government gives and, quite frankly, how much government takes.”

It's the second time in a month that Luntz has aimed public criticism at the right, with the messaging guru arguing in late-December that the National Rifle Association was out of step with the American public.

Watch the exchange:

 

(h/t Mediaite)

 

 

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) on Monday urged President Barack Obama to "go around Congress" and make a recess appointment to install a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, arguing that the vacancy caused by GOP opposition in Congress is no different than having no one at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security.

"It is relatively easy and it has been done multiple times," Bloomberg said during a gun policy summit at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. 

In a significant shift in the public's attitudes from one year ago, 38 percent of Americans expressed dissatisfaction with the country's current gun laws, according to findings from Gallup released Monday.

Last year, Gallup's polling showed only 25 percent of the public were dissatisfied. Still, more Americans — 43 percent — are satisfied with current U.S. gun laws, although that's down from the 50 percent who expressed satisfaction a year ago. 

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D) will seek to add further restrictions to the state's already-tough gun laws, the Boston Globe reported on Monday.  

DeLeo said he is confident that there "will be some movement" on gun policy during this legislative session.

“There is a feeling among all of us — from the administration to the Senate to us — that this is one of the priority subject matters for us to address this session. I do feel there will be some movement,” DeLeo told the Globe. “We’ve got to do something about it.”

From the Globe:

DeLeo did not speculate on how gun laws might change, but the outlines of a prospective House bill show that legislators are almost certain to reexamine restrictions on semiautomatic assault rifles, one of which was used in the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn.

The weapons are banned in Massachusetts if manufactured after 1994, but that cutoff allows residents to own older versions and outfit them with high-capacity ammunition clips, lawmakers said. That loophole, similar to one in a federal ban that expired in 2004, is expected to draw close scrutiny from legislators.

 

The step-brother of President Barack Obama will seek the governorship of a county in western Kenya, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Fifty-four-year-old Malik Obama's bid for governor of the county of Siaya may pit him against Oburu Oginga, the brother of Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Malik Obama and President Obama share the same father.

 

Although he's confident that some form of gun-related legislation will ultimately pass Congress, freshman Sen. Angus King (I-ME) on Monday raised doubts about an assault weapons ban.

King emphasized his desire to place limits on high-capacity magazines and institute mandatory background checks, but suggested that "it's tough to define" what constitutes an assault weapon.

"The biggest issue to me is the size of the magazines. That's sort of the common thread that connects a lot of these massacres," King said on CBS. "The assault weapon ban is a tough one because it's tough to define what an assault weapon is. And if we're just defining it by what it looks like, that doesn't do much for me. I'm much more interested in the functionality and whether that's really a different weapon than my buddy's semi-automatic hunting rifle."

Watch:

 

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) on Monday said his 2014 U.S. Senate bid remains in "the preliminary stages," adding that the focus of all New Jersey voters should be supporting their two senators, including five-term Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Lautenberg has yet to announce if he will seek another term, which would set up a marquee Democratic primary next year against the popular mayor, but an aide to the longtime senator blasted Booker late last week. During a Monday appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Booker made it clear that he isn't in campaign mode quite yet.

"As you know, I made a decision not to run for governor, to focus on the end of my term. That's really what my focus is. This is going to be my most productive year as mayor. We've got about a billion dollars worth of new investment coming in to Newark. We're going to have a city balanced budget for the first time in a decade or two. We're going to also be hiring more police officers. So, that's my focus. I have to file that account, as you probably know, because I can't even do research on a federal office without having a federal account. And so for the rest of it, I think a lot's going to happen during this state election year. I'm going to let that happen. But my intention is to run for United States Senate. It's still in the preliminary stages. I'm going to let things happen that should happen. The focus right now, frankly ,for all of New Jersey should be our two senators, supporting them in fiscal cliff negotiations, Sandy relief, debt ceiling. We should be supporting Frank Lautenberg, supporting Bob Menendez. And me, I have a big job to do here in Newark."

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