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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

NBC sportscaster Bob Costas on Tuesday sought to clarify the editorial he read at halftime of Sunday night's NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. Those remarks, made in the wake of the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, sparked controversy among many on the right. 

Appearing on MSNBC, Costas reminded viewers that he was quoting "one aspect" of a piece by sportswriter Jason Whitlock, who wrote that Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins would still be alive if the troubled football player didn't possess a gun. Costas acknowledged that other factors were involved in the murder-suicide but he chose to mainly focus on America's "gun culture" due to time constraints.

"I do not think that's the only aspect, or possible aspect. There's clearly a domestic violence aspect, there's clearly the question -- as I alluded to in a general way -- of what effect playing football, which we know has debilitating effects on mind and body at least for some, what effect that might have had," Costas told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. "What effect alcohol and drugs might have had. And then another aspect of that is easy access to guns and a gun culture, and it was that aspect, the gun culture, that I focused on, not to the exclusion of the others but just because I didn't have all that much time."

Watch the interview:

 

Fifty-eight percent of Americans favor an end to the country's prohibition on marijuana while nearly half believe that President Obama should not undermine a new law in Colorado permitting recreational cannabis use, according to a poll released Tuesday. 

The poll, conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project, shows that 33 percent of those who believe that marijuana should be legal feel strongly about the matter, while a quarter supports legalization but does not feel strongly. 

Moreover, 47 percent believe that Obama should allow Colorado to implement Amendment 64, a law passed last month by voters in the state to regulate marijuana comparably to alcohol. Only 33 percent think that Obama should wield federal resources to prevent the law from taking effect and 20 percent said they aren't sure. 

Fifty-five percent of Coloradans voted in favor of Amendment 64, giving the measure more votes than Obama picked up in the state.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) continues to look susceptible to a primary challenge from the right in a poll released Tuesday, but the two-term incumbent comfortably tops all would-be intraparty rivals — except for former presidential candidate Herman Cain.

The latest automated survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows that a slightly plurality of Georgia Republicans, 43 percent, would prefer someone more conservative. Thirty-eight percent of GOP primary voters said they want Chambliss to be the party's nominee in 2014. 

Despite that vulnerability, the poll shows Chambliss trouncing every prospective candidate who's signaled an interest in running — Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. Chambliss likewise claims wide leads over long-shot candidates such as conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who announced last week that he will not run.

But Cain, the colorful former pizza magnate who saw an unlikely rise in the polls last year as a presidential hopeful, tops Price among in-state Republicans 50 percent to 36 percent. Chambliss is by far the most electable Republican, the poll shows, indicating that the 2014 race in Georgia could bear some resemblance to a key 2012 senate race.

From PPP:

In terms of the general election the Georgia Senate race is somewhat reminiscent of the Indiana contest this cycle- if Chambliss is the nominee the seat is probably safe for the GOP, but if someone far to his right wins the primary the Democrats might have a chance if everything goes their way.

The only Democrat who comes particularly close to Chambliss is 2002 foe Max Cleland, who despite being quite popular with a 50/27 favorability rating, only musters a tie at 45. Chambliss leads former Governor Roy Barnes 48-40, Congressman John Barrow 50-37, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed 52-37, and State Senator Jason Carter 52-34. Those folks are all of a higher caliber probably than who the Democrats will be able to get to run, and they still don't come all that close.

The reason Chambliss does so well against all of those folks is that he actually has a fair amount of appeal to Democrats. 28% approve of him, a lot more crossover support than we see for most politicians these days. If Chambliss was taken out in the primary, it's likely the Republicans would end up with a nominee who doesn't have that going for them. We tested Tom Price against all the Democrats as well and he would trail Cleland 47-39 and Barnes 46-40 while leading Barrow only 40-38, Reed 43-38, and Carter 42-36. It could have the potential to be a race if Chambliss does get primaried.

 

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is writing a book on his "many battles with coronary disease and the revolutionary changes in treatment that helped keep him alive," the Associated Press reported Monday.

Cheney is collaborating with his cardiologist on the book, which is slated to be published by Scribner next fall.

Raw video footage, courtesy of the Associated Press, captured footage of a deadly typhoon that ravaged the Philippines on Tuesday. At least 33 people were killed in the storm, according to the AP.

 

 

Former Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) has resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks following a dispute over the direction of the leading tea party organization, Mother Jones reports

Armey's decision has yet been made public, but his resignation was outlined in an email sent to Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, and obtained by Mother Jones on Monday. The email indicates that the two sides are not parting on congenial terms.

From the report in Mother Jones:

In the email, Armey indicated that he wants nothing to do with FreedomWorks anymore. He asked that all user names, passwords, and security-related data created in his name be emailed to him by the close of business on December 4. He even insisted that FreedomWorks—"effective immediately"—was "prohibited" from using a booklet he authored. Was Armey's resignation a reaction to the recent election results? "Obviously I was not happy with the election results," he says. "We might've gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction. But it isn't that I got my nose out of line because we should've done better."

 

Nearly half of Americans doubt that President Obama and Congress will strike a deal on the so-called "fiscal cliff" before the year-end deadline but a majority is prepared to blame Republicans on Capitol Hill for such a failure, a poll released Tuesday shows.

The latest Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll shows that 49 percent of Americans do not think an agreement will be reached before January 1, 2013, when self-imposed automatic spending cuts and tax hikes are slated to take effect if a deal is not produced.

But the poll also shows that 53 percent believe that the congressional GOP will be more blameworthy if an agreement isn't ironed out, while 27 percent believe Obama will be more to blame. Twelve percent said that both sides should share the blame equally.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans consider themselves either "moderately" or "very" religious, according to findings from Gallup released on Tuesday.

The survey shows 40 percent consider themselves very religious, while 29 percent said they are moderately religious. Secularism remains a minority view in the United States, the survey indicates. Only 31 percent said they are nonreligious. 

The head of NATO on Tuesday joined the President Obama and others in issuing a stern warning to the Syrian government to not deploy chemical weapons on its own people, the BBC reports

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime would be "completely unacceptable." 

The Syrian government has repeatedly insisted that it does not have access to such weapons, and would not use them on its own people if it did. 

President Obama is mulling the possibility of tapping Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to be the next ambassador to the United Kingdom or France, Bloomberg reports Tuesday. 

Wintour was one of the Obama campaign's biggest fundraiser, memorably co-hosting a high-dollar dinner for the president at the Manhattan home of Sarah Jessica Parker.

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