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

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday again insisted that gun control advocates should not back down from the National Rifle Association, asserting that the pro-gun lobby is not as powerful as some believe.

"There are some legislators who think differently or they think their careers would be limited if they go against the NRA. I don't happen to think that's true," Bloomberg said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "The NRA was notoriously unsuccessful in this last election term. They set one major priority and that was to defeat Barack Obama. And I think in a couple of weeks you're going to see an inauguration. Barack Obama's getting inaugurated again. Shows you the power of the NRA."

Bloomberg continued, "You can beat the NRA."

Watch the exchange:


President Barack Obama notched a clear political triumph over House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in fiscal cliff talks, according to a poll released Tuesday, with the Republican leader earning poor ratings from a little more than half of GOP voters.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showed 53 percent of registered voters nationwide approve of Obama's handling of the negotiations, compared with 40 percent who disapprove. Conversely, 56 percent of voters — including 52 percent of Republicans — disapprove of the way Boehner conducted himself in the budget negotiations.

The poll is another indication that Obama emerged as the clear victor of the often tense negotiations. A survey from Pew Research Center released on Monday showed that 57 percent of Americans thought Obama got more of what he wanted than Republicans on Capitol Hill in the deal that ultimately passed the House of Representatives last week.

The outsized political bump awarded to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) following Hurricane Sandy has not let up, according to a poll released Monday.

According to the latest findings from Fairleigh Dickinson University, 73 percent of registered Garden State voters approve of the job Christie is doing as governor, including 62 percent of Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans. The poll also indicated that Christie is the overwhelming favorite to win re-election in the state's gubernatorial race this year, besting all would-be Democratic challengers in hypothetical matchups by at least 30 points. 

Moreover, 61 percent of New Jersey voters believe the state is on the right track — an impressive figure in the wake of a devastating natural disaster and perhaps an affirmation of Christie's post-Sandy stewarship.

The PollTracker Average shows how Christie's approval rating, which has long been high, has soared to staggering heights following Sandy.



Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), the coastal Mississippi congressman who voted against a bill to help pay insurance claims for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy despite publicly appealing for federal dollars after Hurricane Katrina, will visit disaster areas in New Jersey and the northeast on Tuesday, the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. reports.

Echoing a statement provided to TPM by his spokeswoman last Friday, Palazzo told the Sun Herald that he intends "to bring attention to the need for disaster-relief reform, and insurance reform and how we're going to build back resilient communities and make sure that we mitigate for future storms." The second-term congressman, who called for federal funds after Katrina as deputy director and CFO of the Biloxi Housing Authority in 2005, also reiterated his concern about the price tag associated with disaster relief.

"The bigger picture is we also have to recognize that we have a financial disaster that is looming in this country that I believe, personally, in my heart, is going to be greater than any natural disaster that has ever hit us," Palazzo said. "We can't let opportunities go by where we don't address these serious issues."

Palazzo was one of only 67 members, all Republicans, to vote against the Sandy relief bill that easily passed the House of Representatives last Friday. He will tour Sandy-affected areas with his colleagues to "show his support" for relief efforts, according to the Sun Herald.

President Barack Obama was deemed the clear political winner of Republican leaders in Congress of the just-concluded fiscal cliff negotiations, according to a survey from Pew Research Center released on Monday. 

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said Obama got more of what he wanted in the bill that passed the House of Representatives and was signed into law last week, compared with only 20 percent who said Republican leaders in Congress got the better end of the deal.

The poll also showed that 48 percent approve of Obama's handling of the fiscal talks, while 40 percent disapprove — a tepid rating, but one that is much stronger than the one given to the Congressional GOP. A mere 19 percent of Americans said they approve of the way Republicans on Capitol Hill handled the talks, while 66 percent disapprove. 


In an interview with The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel on Monday said he demonstrated an "unequivocal, total support for Israel" throughout his career as a senator.

The former Nebraska senator bristled that his critics — many of whom are former GOP colleagues who previously spoke glowingly of him — have "completely distorted" his record on U.S. policy toward Israel while he has been "hanging out there in no-man's land unable to respond to charges, falsehoods and distortions."

But Hagel insisted that there is "not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli, not one (Senate) vote that matters that hurt Israel."

"I didn't sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counter-productive and didn't solve a problem," Hagel said in his first interview given since being made President Barack Obama's official nominee to head the Pentagon.

Read the entire interview here.


Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) on Monday announced that he will introduce a bill to stop the much-ballyhooed proposal for the U.S. Treasury Department to mint trillion dollar platinum coins in an effort to avoid the debt ceiling.

The statement:

“Some people are in denial about the need to reduce spending and balance the budget. This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren’t so serious about it as a solution. I’m introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks,” Rep. Walden said.

“My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn’t just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air. We sat down and figured out how to balance the books. That’s what Washington needs to do as well. My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt. We must reduce spending and get our fiscal house in order,” Rep. Walden said. 

Within the last week, numerous media reports (example here) have suggested that the U.S. Mint could create trillion dollar platinum coins, which would then be deposited into the Federal Reserve to be used to pay the federal government’s bills or avoid hitting the debt ceiling. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, touted the proposal last week (storyhere). New York Times columnist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman suggested the idea in an article as well (click here). Other leaders in Washington, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have urged the President to raise the debt limit unilaterally without permission from Congress.

After the owner of the complex had challenged the original decision, a city attorney in Dallas announced Monday that the scheduled demolition of Lee Harvey Oswald's apartment will go ahead as planned, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Originally ordered to be razed in 2011, the owner objected and managed to delay the demolition. But Andrew Gilbert, senior assistant city attorney, said in a letter that the city will conduct asbestos abatement "over the next several days" and then will begin "the immediate demolition."

A pro-gun activist who made headlines with an open letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) compared federal gun control laws being considered to policies of Nazi Germany during an interview on Fox News on Monday. 

Appearing on "Fox & Friends," Joshua Boston discussed his combative letter to Feinstein before making a series of provocative historical references to convey why he feels threatened by new gun laws. 

"It’s something we’ve seen happen time and time again in history, with Stalin," Boston told host Steve Doocy. "It happened in Cambodia. Then of course the Third Reich. No one saw that coming until it was too late."

Watch the exchange:


h/t Think Progress

Republican National Committee deputy communications director Tim Miller on Monday mocked the lack of diversity in President Barack Obama's second-term cabinet nominations, taking to Twitter to refer to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and the administration's current counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as "3 old white guys who supported/voted for Iraq & DADT."