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

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a statement Friday in which he expressed confidence that retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) will be replaced by an "independent-minded Democrat" in 2014.

The statement:

"For more than a generation, Senator Rockefeller has been a dedicated public servant, a brilliant legislator, and a loyal colleague in the US Senate. While we will greatly miss him in our caucus, I am confident we can elect an independent-minded Democrat to his seat next November. Democrats maintain nearly a two to one voter registration advantage over Republicans in West Virginia and I know there are a number of leaders there who will consider taking this next step to serve their state."

The chart above, courtesy of The Sacramento Bee, provides a comparison of gun-related homicides in the United States to other industrialized countries with populations of 20 million or more and a GDP of at least $30,000. 

(Photo credit: Staff/MCT/Newscom)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on Friday will announce that he does not intend to seek re-election in 2014, the Associated Press reports

Rockefeller was considered a vulnerable incumbent entering next year's midterm elections, and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) had already announced her intention to run for the Senate seat. According to CNN, the five-term incumbent will make the announcement at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker's 2014 U.S. Senate campaign submitted organizing papers to the Federal Election Commission earlier this week. 

The documents were filed on Monday, officially designating "Cory Booker for Senate" as the popular mayor's principal campaign committee. Booker announced his intention to run last month, even though incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has not said if he will seek another term. A poll released Thursday suggested that New Jersey Democrats strongly prefer Booker over Lautenberg. 

Read the campaign documents here.

Vice President Joe Biden on Friday is scheduled with representatives from the video game industry as part of his ongoing effort to develop gun policy recommendations in response to last month's massacre in Newtown, Conn., the White House announced. 

Biden will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at the meeting, which is slated to take place at 2:15 p.m. ET in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The vice president on Thursday met with several groups that have a stake in the simmering gun debate, including representatives from the National Rifle Association.

Former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan argued in her Wall Street Journal column on Friday that Republicans "should go to the populist right on the issue of bank breakup" to give the struggling party a shot in the arm.

From the column:

If you are conservative you are skeptical of concentrated power. You know the bullying and bossism it can lead to. Republicans should go to the populist right on the issue of bank breakup. Too big to fail is too big to continue. The megabanks have too much power in Washington and too much weight within the financial system. People think the GOP is for the bankers. The GOP should upend this assumption. In this case good policy is good politics.

Read the entire piece here.

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) continues to enjoy enormous popularity at home, a poll released Thursday showed that Republicans nationwide aren't quite as enthusiastic about him as his constituents.

The national survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed 44 percent of Republican primary voters with a favorable opinion of Christie, compared 29 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of the outspoken governor. Only New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) had lower favorability ratings than Christie among GOP voters. 

When asked who they would prefer to see as the party's presidential nominee in 2016, Republicans gave the nod to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) over Christie.


Twelve Iraqi prisoners on Friday escaped from a prison near Baghdad, the Associated Press reports. Iraqi authorities said some of the prisoners were affiliated with al-Qaeda and were awaiting execution. 

From the AP:

A police official said the early Friday jailbreak took place after the prisoners escaped through windows of their cells and seized the weapons of guards who were manning two observation towers.

A guard chief in Taji prison confirmed the information, adding that some guards were arrested and are being questioned to see if they helped the prisoners escape. Security forces started a manhunt to arrest the escapees.

A judge on Thursday ruled that James Holmes will stand trial for his alleged role in the deadly shooting last July at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater, the Associated Press reports.

From the AP:

District Judge William Sylvester ruled Thursday night that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to proceed with charges alleging James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a suburban Denver movie theater July 20.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.