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

The National Rifle Association suffered a backlash in many circles following its combative press conference last week, but a poll released Thursday indicated that the powerful pro-gun lobby has retained ample support from much of the American public.

According to Gallup, 54 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the NRA, compared with 38 percent who have an unfavorable view. The results are consistent with the public's attitudes toward the group since the end of the 20th century. At least 50 percent of Americans have had a favorable opinion of the NRA in Gallup's polling since 1999, peaking at 60 percent in 2005. A majority of the public hasn't had an unfavorable view of the organization since 1995. Gallup first measured the NRA's popularity in 1993. 

As expected, there is a sharp partisan split when it comes to the NRA: 83 of Republicans in Thursday's poll said they have a favorable opinion, while 58 percent of Democrats have an unfavorable opinion.

Officials at the Methodist Hospital in Houston will be offering no further updates on the condition of former President George H.W. Bush out of respect for the family's privacy, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.

Reports on Wednesday indicated that Bush had been placed in an intensive care unit. Bush has been in the hospital since last month nursing bronchitis-like symptoms.

Hospital spokesman David Bricker on Thursday would not confirm to the Times if the 41st president was still in intensive care, adding that additional information will only be offered to the public after the family decides that "events warrant" an update.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday released a statement in which she called on Republican leadership in the House to "come back to work and stop stonewalling every effort" to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

The statement:

"The House Democratic leadership is calling on the Republican leadership to come back to work and stop stonewalling every effort to get the job done, including making sure that taxes are not raised on tens of millions of middle class families. 

"House Democrats have been standing ready and willing to return to Washington to vote on critical issues including the middle class tax cuts, Sandy disaster relief, the Violence Against Women Act, the Farm Bill – all while we continue to work on a bipartisan solution to avoid the fiscal cliff.  There are plenty of reasons for this Do-Nothing Congress to get back to work. 

"The House Republican leadership has run out of excuses and out of time.  Their inaction continues to threaten middle class Americans with higher taxes.

"With five days left before the fiscal cliff,  Speaker Boehner should immediately call the House back into session to allow a vote on the Senate-passed middle class tax cut bill that the President has said he would sign immediately."


Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips on Thursday disputed that President Obama claimed a mandate in November's election, arguing that his re-election victory came over "the worst candidate in history in Mitt Romney."

"You know, Obama ran on the fact he was going to raise taxes, the Republicans put up the worst candidate in history in Mitt Romney, yet Obama allegedly has this mandate," Phillips said during an appearance on MSNBC. "Well, why did Republicans keep the House if Obama has this great mandate? People don't want their taxes going up. What people do want is spending cuts."

The White House on Thursday released a statement from President Obama on the announcement from Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson that she will resign late next month:

Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson has shown an unwavering commitment to the health of our families and our children. Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution. Lisa has been an important part of my team, and I want to thank her for her service in my Administration and her tireless efforts to benefit the American people. I wish her all the best wherever her future takes her.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Thursday accused House Speaker John Boehner of dragging his feet on fiscal cliff negotiations until he's won another term as Speaker of the House.  

"John Boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than about keeping the nation on firm financial footing," Reid said during a fiery address from the Senate floor. "It's obvious, Mr. President, what's going on around here. He's waiting until Jan. 3 to get re-elected as speaker before he gets serious with negotiations because he has so many people over there that won't follow what he wants. That's obvious from the debacle that took place last week. And it was a debacle."

Reid was referring to Boehner's decision last week to call off a vote on his so-called "Plan B" in what was an embarrassing admission by the House Speaker that his proposal lacked sufficient support. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Thursday blasted House Speaker John Boehner from the Senate floor, accusing the Republican leader of operating the House of Representatives like a "dictatorship." 

Reid said Boehner is actively blocking a vote on a proposal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, even though Nevada's senior senator claimed the package has more than enough support to pass both houses of Congress.

"Everyone knows, including the speaker of the House of Represenatives today, that if they had brought up the Senate-passed bill that would give relief to everyone making less than $250,000 a year, it would pass overwhelmingly," Reid said. "Every Democrat would vote for it, Republicans would vote for it. But the speaker, he says, 'No, we can't do that.' It has to be a majority of the majority. So they've done nothing."

Reid went on to say that Boehner is denying the will of "the vast majority of the House of Represenatives." 

"The American people, I don't think understand, the House of Representatives is operating without the House of Representatives," Reid said. "It's being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the House of Represenatives to get what they want. If the 250 would be brought up, it would pass overwhelmingly. I repeat."



Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday announced that she would be stepping down from her post, the Associated Press reports

Jackson's resignation marks the end of a tenure at the EPA that spanned almost four years. She was the first African-American to head the agency.

A frequent target of Republican criticism, Jackson offered no specific explanation for her resignation.

"I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference," Jackson said in a statement. 

Jackson will officially step down after President Obama's State of the Union address next month.

A non-profit organization on Thursday said the number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty dipped by 20 percent in 2012 after a two-year rise, the Associated Press reports.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 127 federal, state and local officers have died thus far — a toll that puts 2012 on pace to be the least deadly year for law enforcement since 2009 and the second lowest number of deaths since 1960. Forty-nine of the deaths involved firearms. 


Nearly 60 percent of Americans said they support stricter gun laws but majorities expressed opposition to bans on specific types of firearms, according to a poll from Gallup released on Thursday.

Fifty-eight percent said that laws "covering the sale of firearms" should be made more strict, while 34 percent said that no changes should be made and a mere 6 percent said that laws should be made less strict.

But while there's robust support for tighter gun control, the poll found majority opposition to bans on certain weapons. Fifty-one percent said they are opposed to a ban on semi-automatic weapons and 74 percent indicated that they oppose a ban on handguns. The poll showed wide support for a ban on high-capacity magazines: 62 percent said they favor a prohibition on such clips, which have the capability of containing more than 10 rounds. 

Correction: This post has been updated to indicate that 62 percent support a ban on high-capacity magazines.