Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

Outgoing Rep. Allen West (R-FL) on Thursday morning suggested that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who postponed her testimony regarding the September attack on a U.S. mission in Libya that was scheduled for this week after fainting and suffering a concussion, is not legitimately under the weather but instead came down "with a case of Benghazi flu."

“I’m not a doctor, but it seems as though that the secretary of state has come down with a case of Benghazi flu,” West said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends." “I think we have to get to the bottom of this, there’s still very — countless amount of unanswered questions.” 

Watch the exchange:


Seventy-three percent of Americans oppose immediate military intervention in Syria, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Thursday, but those attitudes would flip completely if circumstances were to deteriorate in the war-torn country. 

The poll indicates that the public would be more supportive of military intervention if chemical weapons were used or if Syria attacks launches an attack on American ally. Sixty-three percent said they would support military involvement if the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad deploys chemical weapons on its own people, while 70 percent would be in favor of a U.S. military intervention if the Syrian government loses control of those weapons. 

Moreover, 69 percent said they would back military intervention if Syria attacks an ally to the U.S.

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Wednesday dismissed Time magazine's selection of President Barack Obama as its person of the year for 2012, arguing that the news weekly is no longer relevant. Appearing on Fox News, Palin backed up her argument by citing the magazine's previous selection of her on its annual list of the most influential people in the world.

“Time magazine, you know, I think there is some irrelevancy there, to tell you the truth,” Palin told Fox's Greta Van Susteren. “I mean consider their list of the most influential people in the country and the world, some who have made that list — yours truly! that ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give Time magazine and their list of people.”

Watch the exchange:


A report from the Sri Lankan government on Thursday said that 25 people are dead and 14 more are missing from flooding and mudslides caused by three days of driving rain throughout the country, the Associated Press reports.

The New York Giants' Victor Cruz on Wednesday met with the family of Jack Pinto, the 6-year-old boy who was killed last week in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. 

Cruz was Pinto's favorite player, and the youngster was buried in the star wide receiver's jersey on Monday. 

"You never go through some circumstances like this," Cruz told ESPN about his meeting with Pinto's family. "This was definitely the toughest by far."

A slight majority of the American public believes the policies advocated by the Republican Party are too extreme, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday. 

The 53 percent of adults who said the GOP's policies are too extreme dwarfs the 37 percent who view the Democratic Party the same way. Fifty-three percent also believe that Republicans should be the side to compromise more in fiscal cliff negotiations, compared with 41 percent who believe that Democrats should concede on more of the positions they support. 

The poll was conducted Dec. 17-18 using live phone interviews with 620 American adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The millions of dollars President Barack Obama's re-election team spent on ads tailored for mobile devices paid off, campaign operatives told AdWeek in a story published Tuesday:

In the case of mobile video ads, the Democratic operatives said they got click-through rates from 3 percent to 19.5 percent during the race's crucial stretch run when Mitt Romney appeared to surge in late October and early November. The promos criticized the GOP candidate's tax plan and praised Obama's auto industry bailout, among other examples.

"We knew we had to be in mobile," said Shannon Lee, the campaign's digital lead who previously worked at interactive shop Digitas. "The work we did there was exciting because we felt it was directly impacting the election."

More from AdWeek on who the ads targeted:

The ads typically zeroed in on young, female and Hispanic voters in Ohio, Michigan, Nevada, Iowa, Florida and Colorado, appearing via mobile properties owned by major regional news outlets such as the Cincinnati EnquirerDetroit Free PressLas Vegas Review-Journal, Des Moines RegisterMiami Herald and Denver Post. The Obama digital team also bought ads directly from CNN, The Weather Channel, Associated Press and Pandora, leveraging through those publishers' mobile apps.

Half of the country is dissatisfied with the Obama administration's handling of the September attack in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead, but a solid majority rejects the notion that the White House misled the American public on what transpired, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. 

On the heels of a scathing report released Tuesday by an independent panel that highlighted a litany of failures on the part of the State Department in the lead-up to the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the poll shows that 50 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the administrationhave handled the matter. Forty-three percent are satisfied. 

But 56 percent of respondents said they do not believe the White House has "intentionally misled" the public about the attack, compared with 40 percent who believe it has. 


CNN's Piers Morgan on Tuesday unloaded on a pro-gun advocate during an extremely contentious interview on his show. 

During the interview, Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, contended that adding more guns in society and arming teachers could help prevent mass shootings like the one last week in Newtown, Conn., arguing that attempts to institute stricter gun control laws in European countries have failed. 

That set off Morgan, who proceeded to compare gun-related deaths in America to other industrialized countries. When Pratt attempted to counter Morgan's statistics, the host fired back with an insult.

“You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?” Morgan said.

“It seems to me that you are morally obtuse,” Pratt responded. “You seem to prefer being a victim to being able to prevail over the criminal element. I don’t know why you want to be the criminal’s friend.”

Watch the exchange:


Police in Scottsdale, Ariz. surrounded a local middle school Wednesday morning after a food-service worker reported seeing an armed person there around 6 a.m., Phoenix-based KTVK reports. The worker reported seeing a man dressed in a long coat with a holstered weapon. Police had covered 75 percent of the school's grounds by 9 a.m. and found nothing suspicious.

Below is video from KTVK's coverage of the incident.