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

In a report published by Politico on Wednesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted that the fiscal cliff deal passed by the House of Representatives late Tuesday night will lead to deep infighting within the Republican Party.

Gingrich called the compromise, which was opposed by both House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) but supported by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), “a bad bill written in a terrible process and worthy of defeat."

“It will lead to a profound fight in the GOP," Gingrich said. 


Venezuela Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said the the country's leader Hugo Chavez is still in a "delicate" state following his surgery for cancer three weeks ago, the Associated Press reports.

"He's totally conscious of the complexity of his post-operative state and he expressly asked us ... to keep the nation informed always, always with the truth, as hard as it may be in certain circumstances," Maduro said. 

Maduro added that Chavez's health makes for "a complex and delicate situation."

The Venezuelan president has made no public appearances since he underwent the operation on Dec. 11.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R), chairman of the House Budget Committee and perhaps the most notable Republican member to support the fiscal cliff deal that passed the House of Representatives late Tuesday night, released a statement defending his vote.

The statement:

“We’ll never get our debt under control unless we tackle its main drivers: too little economic growth and too much spending. Without presidential leadership, it will be difficult to forge bipartisan solutions to our debt and economic challenges.

“Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase. We also provided certainty by making the lower tax rates permanent. The House has already passed legislation to prevent tax increases for every American family, and it is unfortunate that President Obama insisted on taking more from hardworking taxpayers. Despite my concerns with other provisions in the bill, I commend my colleagues for limiting the damage as much as possible.

“The American people chose divided government. As elected officials, we have a duty to apply our principles to the realities of governing. And we must exercise prudence. We must weigh the benefits and the costs of action—and of inaction. In H.R. 8, there are clearly provisions that I oppose. But the question remains: Will the American people be better off if this law passes relative to the alternative? In the final analysis, the answer is undoubtedly yes. I came to Congress to make tough decisions—not to run away from them.

“Now, we must return our attention to the real problem: out-of-control spending. Washington’s reckless spending drives the debt. And this debt is hurting the economy today. Unless we get at the heart of the problem, Americans will face a debt crisis—one that will threaten our most vulnerable in particular. It is our responsibility to prevent such a crisis.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Tuesday said he will sue the NCAA in federal court over the punitive sanctions levied against Penn State University for the institution's failures in the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the Associated Press reports:

The Republican governor scheduled a Wednesday news conference on the Penn State campus in State College to announce the filing in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.

A person associated with the university and knowledgeable about the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the lawsuit had not been filed, told The Associated Press that it is an antitrust action.


Fifty percent of Americans believe the country's best days are behind us, according to the findings of a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday.

That's slightly higher than the 47 percent of respondents who have a more optimistic outlook about the country's future. The poll showed a sharp divergence in the views between Democrats and Republicans. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats said the country's best days are still ahead of us, while 74 percent of Republicans said the best days are behind us.

As USA Today notes, the country as a whole has undergone a pessimistic shift since President Barack Obama first took office:

Battered by an economy that is only slow recovering — and soured by the spectacle of Washington dysfunction in the "fiscal cliff" debate — views of the nation's future and its fundamental promise have darkened in the four years since Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Then, even during an unfolding financial crisis, Americans believed by a double-digit margin that it was likely young people would have a better life than their parents, one facet of the classic American dream. 

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) on Friday released a statement after Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Vicki Kennedy, the wife of late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), both offered supportive words for the longtime congressman's senate bid.

The statement:

“Senator Kerry is one of the great senators in our nation's history. I have been proud to fight alongside him, and I am humbled and honored to have his strong support in this race.


“Together, Senator Kerry and I have fought hard for the families in our state and country, standing up against a Republican agenda that benefits billionaires and big oil companies that don’t pay their fair share. This is the kind of leadership we will continue to need in Massachusetts in the face of Tea Party obstructionism.


“The events of the last several weeks, from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have made it clear Massachusetts needs a senator who will fight the battles Senator Kerry and I have fought – for energy independence and environmental protection policies, as well as for an immediate ban on assault weapons. We need a senator who will protect Massachusetts from the Republican assault on the R&D investments that are vital to our innovation economy.


“Massachusetts voters are facing a critical decision about whether we continue John Kerry's tireless fight for the middle class or if we abdicate more power to the special interests. We must not turn back now. That’s why I want to continue this fight for the values and priorities that will move our state and nation forward and carry on John Kerry’s legacy of leadership in the Senate.”


“Vicki Kennedy is a Massachusetts treasure and a public service powerhouse, and I am proud to have her support in this important race for our state and nation’s future. Vicki is a health care hero, and Massachusetts’s national leadership in providing universal coverage is due in large part to her tireless commitment. Vicki has long heralded the need for sane and aggressive gun control measures, and her voice will be key to finally passing a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. It is because of Vicki’s energy, passion and commitment that Massachusetts and the entire nation are healthier, safer and a place for our children to thrive. I look forward to working with her to promote the health and best interests of the people of Massachusetts.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, followed Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) lead on Friday, releasing a statement to offer support to the announced senate bid of Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA).

The statement:

“Ed Markey has spent his career fighting for the people of Massachusetts. He has been a leader on some of the most important issues of our time and has repeatedly taken on the special interests in Washington. At a time when the country needs real leadership that looks out for the middle class, Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around.  He is exactly the kind of leader Massachusetts needs in the US Senate.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on Friday released a statement in which he offered effusive praise of Rep. Ed Markey's (D-MA) senate bid. Markey on Thursday announced his candidacy to fill the seat expected to be vacated by Kerry, who has been nominated to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The statement:

"While I began last week to formally step out of politics and it's very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts' senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey's for 28 years, I'm excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate. Ed's one of the most experienced and capable legislators in the entire Congress and it would be an almost unprecedented occasion for such an accomplished legislator to join the Senate able to hit the ground running on every issue of importance to Massachusetts. Ed's someone who authored and passed a visionary energy bill to deal with climate change; he's one of Congress' foremost experts on the Internet, telecommunications and new energy economies; he was a leader on nuclear weapons issues; and he's the House's leading, ardent, and thoughtful protector of the environment. Ed's upbringing in Malden and his service as the Dean of our delegation means he knows in his heart and in his head just what is important to every corner of our state. He's passionate about the issues that Ted Kennedy and I worked on as a team for decades, whether it's health care or the environment and energy or education. He's gutsy and tough, smart and sharp, a workhorse in Congress who has never forgotten where he came from or who sent him to Washington."