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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

Before he delivered remarks on fiscal cliff negotiations at the White House on Friday evening, President Obama said he met with both House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). A previous report indicated that only Obama and Reid participated in the meeting.

During a Friday evening briefing at the White House, President Obama said that neither side "can get 100 percent of what they want" in fiscal cliff negotiations, telling members of Congress that they are not participating in a contest over "who looks good and who doesn't."

President Obama on Friday evening said members of Congress should use the time off for the holidays to "cool off" and "drink some egg nog" before returning to Washington to hammer out a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

The Associated Press reports:

President Barack Obama is meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss a way to avoid the fiscal cliff. The president plans to make remarks at the White House following their meeting.

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker isn't ready to comment on the prospect of a tense intraparty primary in the state's 2014 U.S. Senate race. 

During an interview with NJTV that will air on Saturday afternoon, Booker, who on Thursday announced his intentions to explore a Senate bid in two years, said the notion that he will have to face Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in a primary is an "inappropriate" hypothetical. The 88-year-old Lautenberg has not disclosed whether he will seek another term in 2014.

"That hypothetical question is inappropriate right now," Booker said. "Let me afford him the respect of hearing what his thoughts are and what he wants to do. He hasn't commented on that yet."

Booker also rejected the assertion from some that he is pressuring Lautenberg to step down.

"I know he doesn't give a care of who's running against him," Booker said. "This is Frank Lautenberg we're talking about."

In contrast to National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Friday said he doesn't think putting armed guards in every school is a sound response to last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. 

“In general I don’t think that the solution to safety in schools is putting an armed guard because for it to be really effective in my view, from a law enforcement perspective, you have to have an armed guard at every classroom,” Christie said while appearing at an event in Newark, N.J. “Because if you just have an armed guard at the front door then what if this guy had gone around to the side door? There’s many doors in and out of schools.”

Christie didn't see LaPierre's Friday morning press conference, where the pro-gun lobby chief called on Congress to allocate sufficient funding to put armed police officers "in every single school in this nation." As such, the popular Republican made it clear that he wasn't responding directly to the NRA.

“I don’t know the totality of the proposal so I’m not commenting on the NRA proposal in particular because I don’t know it yet,” Christie added.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday released a statement in which she celebrated President Obama's nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to serve as her successor, while also expressing hope for a speedy confirmation process:

Today, I spoke to Senator John Kerry and congratulated him on his nomination to be the next Secretary of State.  I also spoke with President Obama and told him that he has made an excellent choice. I hope Senator Kerry will be confirmed quickly.

I have been privileged to know John for many years and to call him a friend, colleague, and partner.  He will bring decades of service to our country and deep experience in international affairs.  The son of a career Foreign Service Officer, diplomacy is in his blood.  As a decorated veteran, he knows what it takes to defend our nation and our values.  As a leader in the Senate, he understands how to build coalitions and craft compromises.  As a statesman respected around the world, he will be able to sustain and extend America’s global leadership. 

John Kerry has been tested – in war, in government, and in diplomacy.  Time and again, he has proven his mettle.

Read the full statement here.

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